Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Quarters on Fat Tuesday

As I mentioned, I joined the Sew, Mama, Sew! Fat Quarter Swap. The ladies said that over 400 joined the swap, which is 1800 fat quarters being mailed in the next 7 days. Wow. I think swappers are single-handedly keeping the USPS operating. This weekend I picked out the fabrics from my stash, trimmed them down if necessary and packaged them up.

The first and third quarters are a tan/cream paisley I used to make place mat and napkin sets for a life-long friend. The second and fourth (which has tiny red dots that didn't show on the picture) are from Lily's EZ Camper Quilt.

I didn't make it to the post office yesterday, but I definitely will today. I really love putting together swap packages. I was so happy with them, I forgot to take a picture of what is in the packages. Making little note cards and address labels to match gives me warm fuzzies.

Winning stuff also gives me warm fuzzies. I was a lucky winner of the Blue Mix Fat Quarter pack from the Sew, Mama, Sew! blog! All I had to do was check out their fat quarter project of the day and leave a comment. I was going to do that anyway. These came late last week and really made my day. I don't know what to do with them yet, but I think I will incorporate some of them into Jaxson's baby quilt. I should really get started on that.

The fabrics are Ocean Garden Mist~Nouvea Moda, Briquetage~Alexander Henry, All Cotton~Alexander Henry, Darla~Tonya Whelan, Woodland Wonderland~Jay McCarroll (which has the cutest little pink ants roaming the wood rings) and Rose Ocean Mist~Nouvea. All of them are beautiful and soft. I can hardly wait to transform them into new stuff.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wonky Kitchen Mat

Even though my wonky log cabin bathmat didn't turn out just as I had hoped, it wouldn't get me down. Here is the end result of what I am calling my first successful result at wonky log cabins. (I actually followed some instructions...amazing.)

It is pieced together with gifted fat quarters and backed with a marbled black fabric like the dividing strip. My feet are quite pleased with their new mat, too. They only have throw a fit when we have to stand at the sink to wash dishes, not that we do that too often.

Overall I am pretty happy with it. It has nice bright colors, it's a little wonky to offset the checkerboard kitchen tiles, and I made it. What more could a girl ask for?

Well, it does need some kind of anti-slip grip on the bottom, but that will be worked out. Jeffery T sends it flying when he tries to run after laying on it all day.

Free-motion quilting is still a skill I need to work on, but I am getting much better. All the wonkiness is practice for my next project. A friend of mine in Mississippi is having a baby boy in May. Her shower is in a few weeks and I am making the baby a wonky log cabin quilt and some bibs as a present. I hope to start on that this weekend.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wonky log cabins + Ruby = A Happy Sunday

Wonky log cabin quilt blocks are a lot harder than they look. That being said, if you follow the instructions they are pretty simple and very fun.

I did not follow the instructions when making this bath mat. I had read through them earlier in the day and tried to remember what I had read. Yeah, that's not recommended. I started out wrong and couldn't really get back on track.

So many things went wrong with this, but I am still OK with it. Not super proud, but OK. It's about 2 inches smaller in each direction than I had planned. I should have added two more rounds, but the reason for that kind of goes back to starting wrong. I should have started by making a bunch of 1-1/2" strips then pieced those rather than freelancing everything and running out of usable fabric pieces. Oh, well. I have started on attempt number 2 and it is going much better. The printed directions are sitting next to my sewing machine. It really is quite amazing what happens when you do what you are supposed to.
Last Sunday, my guy and I decided to ride our bikes 8 miles (and over a big bridge) to one of our favorite neighborhoods. It is a super hip part of town with cute and/or trendy and/or hippie shops lining the street. As we were walking to the end of the block, my guy spotted this beauty sitting next to the dumpster of the old apothecary shop (which is being turned into an Asian Bistro).Instantly I regretted not bringing a motorized vehicle. To say that I wanted this treasure is an understatement. I seriously considered getting a piece of rope, tying it to my beach cruiser and towing it home 8 miles and even if we had to go up a big bridge.

When we (finally) got back home from our 16 mile round trip bike ride up and down a big bridge twice, we hopped in the Single Cab and headed back to the treasure spot. All the way there my guy kept teasing me saying that it wouldn't be there and someone else who had driven there in the first place already took it home. I'm not ashamed to say that I had my fingers crossed the whole way back. Luckily it was still there and we snatched it!
In it's past life this radiant red box was the fiberglass casing of a cooler. I like think it held ice cream treats for sick little girls and boys, or for good little girls and boys who took their medicine without throwing a tantrum.
It has some brackets on the back that would have hinged for a flip top lid. A friend of ours (The Toughest Guy in the Neighborhood, but that's a whole other story) is an electrician and said that the brand name is definitely a freezer manufacturer.
It will now be my new sewing table! I need to clean it up a bit and add a tabletop of course, but I can't wait! I'll put all my fabrics and notions in bins and stack them in the belly. It will be so pretty.
Right now I am sewing on a fold up cardboard table I bought 7 years ago to sell Princess House crystal. It has a hinge in the center so I can't cut very long pieces of fabric on it. It's a sad state. When I start to sew even remotely faster than the turtle setting on my machine, the whole table starts to jump up and down, which causes the machine to jump and all the things on the table to jump and move and go crashing onto the floor. Case in point, I sent my container of full and slightly full bobbins onto the floor. Those really aren't that fun to pick up.
Back to old red. I need to think of a name for her. A lot of sewers name their dress form, but I really feel a connection to this table. I'm bouncing a few around, but I haven't made up my mind yet. Maybe Ruby. Maybe...

Please let me introduce you to Black-Eyed Pea. She was running around the yard when I was taking pictures of Ruby. The camera is Pea's cue to ham it up. She kept running in front of Ruby, or laying next to her when I was taking these pictures. I snapped one of Pea alone so she wouldn't feel left out.
Yeah, I think Ruby may fit. I'll try it out on her and see what she thinks.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Complete Randomness aka Strawberries, Chocolate, Bunting, Swaps, and Tikis

While at the farmers' market two weekends ago I picked up a half flat of these beautiful strawberries. Some were sliced for easy munching, others were transformed into a delicious topping for strawberry shortcake. But the best of the bunch were dipped in that heavenly chocolatey goodness!

These babies were consumed nearly immediately. I like to call it a poison check, just to make sure no one gets sick from them...

This set was able to make it a few more days, but not many.

The lovely folks at Sew Mama, Sew! blog are spending the month of February in the world of Fat Quarters. Daily projects, swaps, interviews and of course fat quarter giveaways. Last week one of the projects was making bunting. I took the opportunity to make a string of bunting for my friend's son's birthday. It was very easy to make and makes me smile everytime I see it. I hope he enjoys it to. It was sent off to him with a little chocolate covered popcorn for the rest of his family.

SMS is also hosting a fat quarter swap. Sign ups end Friday, so go there now if you would like to join in on the fun.

Another great swap is about to start again. I started the Bend-the-Rules Sewing Swap using projects from Amy Karol's awesome book last year. We did three projects and took time off for the holidays. In the mean time I handed the admin duties over to Adrienne of A Cultivated Life. She's asking for suggestions for the next project and will start the sign ups on Sunday. This was a great swap with great projects and you should join it, too!

I know this is a random change of subject, but my guy is an amazing artist. He owns DCsurfaces, a decorative concrete company where he applies and sells acid staining materials and concrete countertops among other things. He always has things swimming in his head and when he gets them out it is truly amazing. Several weeks ago he made these tiki masks. Three very different styles, but all made by hand from concrete. Once they cured enough he acid stained them for color.

The one above is an island style mask. It really looks like it was carved out of lava rock.

The tribal style tiki mask was acid stained in several colors to show off the details.

This Mayan style tiki mask is huge. It's between 3 and 4 feet tall and 2-1/2 to 3 feet wide. If you are interested in any of these, you can contact him through here. He's amazing, I know.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Like I Said

Defense wins championships! (And a little bit of offensive muscle never hurt either!)

Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers!

P.S. Dear Pittsburgh Steelers,

I am so proud of you! You made it through an incredibly tough regular season, battled through the playoffs and earned your way to Super Bowl XLIII. And what a game it was!

James Harrison rumbling down the entire length of the field to score a touchdown with no time left in the first half. Then falling out in the end zone to catch his breath. Ben Roethlisberger connecting with Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes to move the chains down the field. Fast Willie Parker and Gary Russell battling for running yards. My boy Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor causing havoc in the secondary for Arizona's receivers. James Woodley putting a hurting on Kurt Warner. Coaches Tomlin, LeBeau and Airen weaving together a spectacular plan. I loved every minute.
But then the Cardinals scored a touchdown. Then a safety. Then another touchdown. If you were trying to give Steeler Nation a heart attack, it worked. Down by 3 with less than four minutes on the clock. I still had faith in you. That's along time on a football field. My heart may have been racing and trying to pound through my ribs, but I had faith.
When I saw Roethlisberger eye-balling Holmes, I knew things were brewing. Down in their own "Gold Zone" nothing would stop the Steelers from scoring. Holmes and Roethlisberger barely missed the connection in the back left corner of the end zone. The offense set up again, and in magical Holmes-Roethlisberger fashion the pass as tight to a boundary line, a little high to keep the ball away from the defense and the play was perfectly executed with outstretched arms and toes dragging in the end zone making the Pittsburgh Steelers the first NFL team to win six championships!
I have one request, if I may. No more heart attacks for Steeler Nation. Our poor bodies can't take that again!
Your beloved fan,
Hermione J. Schwartz =]