Saturday, February 25, 2012

Have You Met Amy?

Blog Tour Button

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was when Amy contacted me to be involved with the blog tour for her Craftsy Block of the Month Series. There are so many fabulous bloggers in the lineup I was actually expecting Amy to send me a message telling me she had sent me the invitation by mistake! Take a look at the other stops on the tour:

Feb 24 - Miss Print
Feb 25 - Hoosier Toni
Feb 27 - Fresh Lemons
Feb 28 - Qubee Quilts
Mar 2  - mon petit lyons
Mar 3  - Mel's Own Place
Mar 7  - Sew Paint Create
Mar 9  - SoChick
Mar 14- Ellison Lane

The Craftsy BOM is an online video series taught by Amy Gibson. It is a free course available at Craftsy and Amy demonstrates two blocks per month. There is also a discussion forum where you can gets tips and post pictures of your creations. Sounds super fun, right? Over 25,000 people are already partying over there and you can sign up at any time, so what are you waiting for?

I think that I first met Amy through a Fussy Cut Swap she was hosting on her awesome blog
Stitchery Dickory Dock and I've been hooked ever since. She is so funny and sweet and makes some seriously awesome projects! Not to mention all her helpful tips and tutorials...

I'm channeling my inner Barney Stinson today so we can play "Have You Met Amy?"

~How long have you been sewing?  About 20 years.  My mother taught me through 4-H as a kid, and I think one of my first project was a denim elastic waist skirt.  I wish I still had it!  

~What kind of machine do you use?  I use a Husqvarna Viking Mega Quilter.  My favorite things about it are the fact that it's so solid (must weigh more than both my kids put together!), and the automatic thread cutter.  It's the ultimate time-saving luxury!

~Any favorite tools or tricks?  I adore Faultless Heavy Starch- I use it on every project.  I also really love this stuff called "InvisiGrip" by Omnigrid, that sticks to the bottoms of my rulers like window clings and keeps them from slipping.  It's like magic!  Hmm, oh yeah, and my Olfa rotary circle cutter (it's like a compass with a blade)- that thing just rocks!

~Care to share a few of your favorite projects?  Love the modern mini I just finished for Ellison Lane's Modern Mini Challenge- sweet old timey silhouettes of my daughters paired with some tiny wonky stars- it's definitely been making me smile every time I walk by it.

  And of course, it's a treat tucking my 3yo in bed every night with her new Disappearing 9-Patch "big girl" quilt that I finished last fall- my favorite part is the diagonal striped binding.  
Also, the Cathedral Window baby playmat I did for Moda Backshop in November- I adore it!  
Oh, I'm also teaching a class right now at Fancy Tiger Crafts on the Lil Fox paper piecing pattern by Artisania, and what a fun little project that has been!  I just love how cute it is in a simple wooden hoop, or worked into a project- like this knitting bag I made a friend for Christmas.

~What kind of work did you do before becoming a mom and quilter extraordinaire?  I worked as a commercial print model booking agent at a talent agency for about 8 years, and before that, I was a college student out on the East Coast,  doing musical theatre, changing my major every other week, and eventually meeting my husband.

~What exactly is Craftsy and how did you get involved with it? Craftsy is an online craft learning community that offers a myriad of interactive video classes on everything from quilting to gardening to jewelry-making.  I was so excited to find out that they were based right here in my home state of Colorado, when I met them at the Sewing Summit last Fall.  They have been so much fun to work with- I'm so blessed to be involved in what they're doing!

~Favorite block from your BOM series?  A hexagon applique block that I designed called "Sunny With A Chance of Hex"- it's coming up in April.  I just love the idea of pairing English paper piecing with free-form applique.  It's so happy!

~Anything new and exciting coming up in your future?  I can't wait to start my Swoon quilt this month at our modern guild retreat (3 days of sewing in a relaxing retreat space, with yummy food and no kids!!!).  Um, yes please!  I'm also excited to start stitching up a chunky chevron quilt based on February's block, for a friend who's due to have her baby any day now.  I better get on it!  Beyond that, who knows...only time will tell! :)

~How do you get your teeth so dazzling white?  Ha!  Yeah right!  I credit red wine, coffee, spaghetti sauce, and Crest White Strips! ;)


As if getting to know Amy Gibson wasn't exciting enough, the generous folks at Fat Quarter Shop have offered the chance to win a $25 gift certificate at every stop on the tour. So that's 14 chances to win!

To enter, just leave one comment telling me what your favorite quilt block/design is right now.
I'll randomly choose a winner Wednesday, Feb. 29 Saturday, March 3rd at 8PM Eastern time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pancake Day!

How many of you knew that today is unofficially Pancake Day? 

Somehow I have missed out on that little tidbit for the last 31 years, but thankfully I have been schooled. All my life, this was just the day before Ash Wednesday, meaning it was the day I needed to figure out what I was giving up for Lent. This usually means that I attempt to consume my weight in chocolate because I wouldn't be tasting it again until Easter.  Somehow the memo that pancakes were to be consumed never made it to my mother, either. I don't remember ever getting them on Shrove Tuesday, though I can't really blame her as it is a school morning and we usually had to be on the bus by 6:45.

But upon reading several other blogs talking about their traditions of eating pancakes on this day, I decided that it needed to be done. I like a little variety in my pancakes, so this morning we tried a new recipe, 
Peanut Butter Pancakes from This Homemade Life. So, so good. The kids loved them and even saved a couple for me.

Since I have no fun pictures to share about the pancakes, I looked through my folders and found this one from about a year ago. Aren't my helpers cute in their aprons?

 **Linking up to Tuesdays at the Table with Debbie at A Quilter's Table. Head over there and read about her fun day at Pike Place Market! I may be a little jealous.

Monday, February 20, 2012

One For Me

Friday morning I decided that I needed a new bag... Like, right now. 

Wyatt's preschool was delayed for an hour because of dense fog, so I only had about 40 minutes at home before I had to go back out and pick him up. I got my fabrics picked out and the pattern pieces all cut out for another 241 Tote. I really enjoyed making the ones I did last fall, so it was an easy decision. I didn't get any more sewing time that day, but Saturday morning I got right to work. Only I realized that in my excitement the day before I had cut out four of the pieces using the wrong fabrics. But once I got that corrected there was no stopping me! Well, except for diaper changes, snacks, settling arguments...just the usual around here.

I used two of the prints from the Denyse Schmidt's Aunt Edna line and linen for the pockets and strap.

I can't wait to take it with us to Florida in a few days! It looked like it was warm outside so I ran out to take a couple of pictures, but I was wrong. The cold winds made me wish I was already on the beach! 

I also decided that my camera needed a new home, so after I got done making my bag I whipped up one of these babies using Keyka Lou's excellent pattern.

The plaid is another DS print and the lining/straps are more of the print that I used for my tote. This is the first Keyka Lou pattern that I have used but it won't be the last. Michelle's patterns are very well-written and easy to follow.

**Linking up to {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations**

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Upcoming Fun

Have you heard of the Craftsy Block of the Month? It is a free video course over at Craftsy, hosted by Amy Gibson of Stitchery Dickory Dock

Craftsy BOM Banner

I'm very excited to be one of the stops on the Craftsy BOM Blog Tour that kicks off this Friday.

Feb 24 - Miss Print
Feb 25 - Hoosier Toni
Feb 27 - Fresh Lemons
Feb 28 - Qubee Quilts
Mar 2  - mon petit lyons
Mar 3  - Mel's Own Place
Mar 7  - Sew Paint Create
Mar 9  - SoChick
Mar 14- Ellison Lane

The Fat Quarter Shop has generously offered up fun giveaways for each stop of the tour, so be sure to join us to learn more and have a chance to win!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

And the Winner is...

You've all been on the edge of your seat waiting for this one, haven't you?

The next stop for the Traveling Stash is...

YAY, Lindsay!! The stash doesn't have too far to travel this time! 

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Thanks so much for the well wishes yesterday! I'm feeling a bit more human today, but poor baby Max seems to have picked up the bug now. Hopefully it will be easy on him!

Here's my only finish for the week:

 The Mullet Bag, for my partner in the For the Love of Solids Swap. You can see it again here.

The only other progress I have made this week has been some hand-stitching on my pouch for the Mouthy Stitches swap. Where does everyone get the pretty colors of perle cotton that I see all over creation? Because my JoAnn's has some awful selections. I ended up getting some variegated colors because they were the only ones I could find that came close to having decent colors in them. 

I still have a bit more stitching to do on the back, then I should be able to get this baby together. I hope I don't totally wreck it when I do the zipper ends. I still have not gotten the hang of those!

A bit more subdued on the back. I kind of like the linen-colored stitches, if only they were a little straighter...

**Linking up to WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced**

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Traditions at the Table

Do you and your family have any traditions for Valentine's Day?

Roger and I have never really done much to celebrate, but now that the kids are getting older and understand a bit more about it I am trying to be a little more festive. Last year we had pink chocolate chip pancakes with strawberry syrup for breakfast, cut into heart shapes of course. I'm pretty sure I also cut their sandwiches into hearts, too. And we made Roger some chocolate dipped pretzels with heart sprinkles that afternoon.

This year? Not so much. I woke up yesterday with a bad cold and by today I basically feel like I've been steamrolled. Unfortunately, Wyatt remembered those heart pancakes and has been asking about them for days. I'll admit that it was lunch time before I actually got around to making them, but the boys didn't care a bit. I had grand plans of strawberry syrup and mango-cherry smoothies but that didn't exactly pan out, either. 

I couldn't find my camera in time to get a picture of the actual pancakes, but I did get this one of a satisfied little boy...

Have you checked out all the other fun recipes being shared at Tuesdays at the Table? Lots of good stuff happening at everyone's tables!

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm Calling it the Mullet Bag...

Business in the front....

Party in the back!

**Pattern is the Go Anywhere Bag by Anna Graham of Noodlehead

Linking up to {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations and Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story

**Looking for the Traveling Stash Giveaway??**

Friday, February 10, 2012

Traveling Stash Giveaway!

Remember a few weeks ago when Ali was looking for someone to pass along the Traveling Stash?
That's right, I won!! How excited do you think I was when this box showed up in my mailbox?

"What is the Traveling Stash?" you may be asking...Basically it is a box filled with random goodness such as fabrics, notions, patterns, etc. If you win the Stash, you are welcome to take out whatever you want to keep, then add in your own items and pass it on. You can read more about it here.

Here's what I found when I opened the box...

It was so fun looking through all those fabrics and thinking of what I might want to keep and what I would be adding into the box. 

So, would you like to be the next Stash recipient?

Just leave one comment here, maybe tell me something you are looking forward to? 

Here's mine: It is cold, grey, and snowy here today but I am looking forward to our Florida vacation in a couple weeks. I need some warmth! Your turn!!

Here's the fine print:

To enter, you must be:
1. An active blogger
2. A U.S. resident (Sorry international friends!)
3. You must promise to refill the box after you have taken out what you want to keep. 

 I'll keep the giveaway open until 8 PM Eastern time Wednesday, Feb. 15th. Sound good?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I have managed to get a fair amount of sewing done this past week, though as you have seen, most of it was in the form of bee blocks. Want to see them again?

Modern BOM for do.Good Stitches

Asterisk blocks for Quilting for Kids
"Boxed In" for Modern Blocks Bee

In Progress:
I started working on my zippered pouch for the Mouthy Stitches Swap. I never sketch out a design before I begin sewing, and this is one of those times it may have been helpful to do a bit of figuring first...

This is going to be the front of the pouch. I really like it, but this sucker is going to finish to be about a 12" pouch. I've been assured that isn't too big, but it seems large to me. I had also not intended for the star to take up the entire front, but wanted it to be somewhat smaller and off-center. But I suppose that is what I get for being impulsive. Now to decide how to finish it. I had thought about a little hand-stitching, but I'm truly awful at that and am unsure what color to use. Stick with one, or continue the rainbow? Or what about just some echo-quilting around the star?

No Progress:
Wyatt's quilt...That's right, the kid's birthday has come and gone and still no blanket. Though he hasn't even asked about it. The top is finished, I just need to get a little kid-free time to lay it out and baste.

Hometown Road to Tennessee...not much to say really....

So there you have it. What have you been working on?

Head over to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced to see a lot of other great works in progress!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another Installment Of..

Things I've been doing while procrastinating my swap projects...

I know that I have mentioned the flickr group Quilting for Kids before, but I wanted to show you the blocks we are working on for our fourth quilt. Anyone is welcome to join the group, just go and sign up to donate a block or two to help make quilts for kids in the foster care system, organized by Sarah of  So Sarah Sews.

This quilt is for a 16-year old girl, and Sarah chose any style asterisk blocks in colors of purple, grey, chartreuse/lime, and white. I think this is going to be a really fun quilt when she gets it together.

I'm not sure why I keep putting off my swap projects, especially since it seems that everyone else is nearly finished with theirs. I do have a plan for my For the Love of Solids partner, I just need to get started on it.

This is my initial stack of fabrics for the project. My partner's favorite colors are orange, yellow, and aqua. I'll be making her a bag, I just need to decide on a pattern. I was originally thinking it would be the Go Anywhere Bag, but I saw Amy Butler's Birdie Sling and now I can't decide. She wants a large bag, so while the Go Anywhere Bag looks fairly big, I think the Birdie Sling is larger. Anyone ever made that one? I also need to decide if I'm going to use Kona Coal or Essex Linen for the main portion. Decisions, decisions!

I've had many ideas for my Mouthy Stitches swap partner as well, but it seems like every time I look at the flickr pool, there are so many beautiful pouches being made that I rethink my plan. My partner is also super-talented, so that makes it even more intimidating! But this swap deadline is coming up, so I better get to work!

What do you do while procrastinating??

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bee Blocks and an Observation

Do I get some kind of prize for having my bee blocks done by the second day of the month?

These blocks are for the Imagine circle of do. Good Stitches. Sarah chose the September Modern Block of the Month from Sew, Mama, Sew and we could use any colors we wanted, with a white background. Solids or prints, our choice. So of course I had to make a solid one first. This is not a paper-pieced block, though it could easily be made into one. But I wanted to try making it the way it was intended. I had a few issues with the first one, but in the end it actually turned out better than the second block.

Not bad, but I really shouldn't have used such an obvious directional print for the center triangle. Looks a bit wonky...

For my Modern Blocks bee, Alix requested the "Boxed In" block using Stitched in Color and Kona Medium Grey. 

This was such a quick block to make and I'm sure her quilt will look great once she gets all the blocks together.

And now for the observation...

You know how every time you go to the grocery store it seems like the manufacturers have decreased the size of their product but maintained the price, or sometimes even raised it a bit? Well, I buy All Free and Clear detergent as it is the only one that doesn't cause my kids' skin to go crazy. We like it. I buy it in a huge jug and have noticed the last few months that the size of the measuring cup has increased significantly. What a sneaky way to try to make you use more detergent! Am I the only one who thinks this? Seriously, if you were used to using the cup on the left and filling it just over halfway per load, then they go and throw you that big guy on the right, are you really going to pour in the same amount as before? Or would you think that isn't nearly enough and dump in a bit more? Ok, enough ranting. It obviously hasn't affected me enough to quit buying the stuff...

On a somewhat related note...Anyone make their own detergent? I tried it once but could not get it to work right with our crazy hard water. But now we have a water softener so I may try it again. Anyone?