sweet puppy

fleury fooled ya

We made it until Christmas day, then puppy started to eat the tree with a vengeance. I'm kinda glad we lasted that long....

our Christmas, in pictures

fleury christmas collage 3

Our holiday consisted of an almost quiet day at home. We lit the fireplace, made some eggnog (Martha's recipe, try it, you'll thank me later), turned on the tree lights, got our toes warmed by quilts and puppies and played country Christmas tunes on the radio.

And then to break up the calm, quiet day, we chased a puppy around the tree for stealing ornaments.

*Also, he's growing so fast and pushing 30 pounds now at 3 months old, but I still think it's endearing that he still thinks he's a lap dog. I just am picturing him trying to get his whole self on me when he weighs as much as me.*

ho ho ho

fleury ho ho ho

I imagine this was our puppy's internal conversation (from left to right):

"Thanks for this lovely chew, ma!"

"It sure is yummy!"

"What?! You say it's not a chew toy?"

"Sure seems that way to me, is this how I wear it?"

"Oh, ma, I'll just give you puppy kisses so you stop taking my picture."

a white {GSD} Christmas

Santa came early this year and left us the cutest little pup, Fleury (named after the Penguin's goaltender). We got this little guy in November, just before Thanksgiving, and have been on our toes ever since. We took these pictures with lots of "sits" and "watch me's" and oodles of treats, but I thought he did quite fantastic!

fleury christmas
Fleury, 3 months

fleury christmas collage 1

So, Happy Holidays from us to you!


so, santa?

so, you're telling me there's this big, fat guy that's gonna break in? and i can't bite him?
So you're telling me, there's a big, fat guy that's going to break into our house and I'm not supposed to bite him? Ha.

lipstick on a pig

As part of Pink Castle's Blue Moon Scrap Challenge (hosted at Stitched in Color), I won a little bundle of fabric - a gorgeous collection of blues, minty aquas and a punch of red. Only catch - use it or lose it! I had to make something with these 9" x 11" pieces pretty quickly.

In our new house, the laundry room has cabinets and space to be jealous of, but it's gray (oh the gray in this house is overwhelming...). Which really compliments the exciting white appliances and cabinetry, gray counters and the framed view of the A/C units.  So, when I saw this bundle of fabrics, it screamed "Make me your laundry room curtain!" You know, so I could get some color going on in there.

So I set about figuring out how to streeeetch that fabric to the max. I really wanted to do a chevron design. Initially, I laid them out as more of a repetitive Charlie Brown type chevron. It was ok, but knowing I would only get two rows seemed kind of sad looking...not very exciting and not using up nearly enough surface area.

scrap challenge
So instead, I went for a more wonky chevron design and eventually settled on using the boldest, darkest color to help tie them together at their points. I thought it helped with the movement across the curtain.

Not to waste any fabric, I put a few baby chevrons at the bottom with a few of the scrap pieces.

For the life of me, I couldn't get the stripe to really play nicely on the front. So I placed a sliver of it on the liner. Now when I'm outside, I can see a little peak of pretty through the window. I know, here I sort of cheated. We were only supposed to use one other fabric outside of the bundle (I used Robert Kaufman's Essex Linen in Flax), but I really needed to line this with something and, living in the hot desert, it made sense to put the lightest surface possible on the side facing out (for fading and heat reflective purposes).

scrap challenge

Later, after it was hung in it's rightful place, husband came up with a great idea (funny how he does that sometimes...). Going back to that stripe fabric, he asked why not make a little tie back for it, so that we can let some light into the room sometimes. So, I stitched up another sliver of the stripe and backed it with some essex linen. I didn't have a long enough length for a full tie back, so I created a button with some of the leftover teal quilter's linen from the bundle. Now it's a little cuff to contain the drape! That man is a genius sometimes.

laundry

Here's it is in our laundry room. Putting a fun, bright curtain in our laundry room, it's sort of like putting lipstick on a pig. But at least it makes me smile as I'm sorting and washing and drying and folding....(you know I need all the motivation I can for this most dreaded chore!)

Also, interior pictures in a tiny, dark-ish room as quite hard to take! Don't mind the bad photo, but I wanted you to get a peak of it in it's true home.

Thanks so much to Rachel of Stitched in Color for hosting such a fun challenge and to Pink Castle Fabrics for the lovely stack of fabric!

how to: ticker tape place mat

It all starts with a pile of scraps.

scrap pile
Before I started my place mat, I sorted my scraps by color and then into two piles. The first pile should be larger scraps that are rectangular or square-ish. We'll get to those later. The second pile should be for all those little scraps - odd shapes, small sizes, triangles. I went ahead and ironed my scraps. Because for reals, mine were a mess.

I also had leftover off white fabric. From what, I'm not sure. But I had it, so I cut it into 17.5" x 13" pieces for the front of the place mat. 

tracing the shape
To begin making the place mat, I found a picture online in the relative shape that I wanted. I printed that on regular paper (sized to be around 7" x 9"), but then traced it on tracing paper. I suppose you could also use transfer paper here, but I think it helped later on to have the tracing paper. Once traced, I flipped it over, placed it on my fabric and went over the lines again. This transferred the pencil markings from the trace paper to the fabric. DIY transfer paper, basically. They come out fairly light at first, but I went over them again with plain old pencil. If you wanna get all fancy, you can use fabric pencils or pens.

assmebly
To create the shape, I started with the center of the leaf and worked my way outwards. This is just sort of like a puzzle. Take a little scrap and see where it looks like it might be a good fit. It takes some imagination because they won't all really be perfect, but I started out more general and trimmed later. I added some of the vein lines to the interior of my leaf to help with placement of those pieces. I think it helps to define the leaf shape.

ticker tape placemat
Once I had a general leaf-y shape, I began to trim. I drew lines on the fabric to indicate where I should trim each piece as I went, one by one. I did end up with a few gaps after trimming, but I just filled them in as I went.

assembly
The tracing paper came in handy here because I was able to lay it over the shape and re-trace the shape onto the fabrics so I could use it as a guide for trimming. I tried to be restrained in following the outline precisely. Since it is more improvisational and abstract, I didn't want to have every curve and point perfect.

glue the pieces
Next, I glued the individual pieces down onto the fabric with a washable glue stick. I would never use glue if I wasn't planning on washing these, but they are place mats which will get dirty and see plenty of washing machine time. The glue will come out in the wash so I was a-okay to use it here. I started with the largest center piece and worked the center first, to establish spacing. I tried to leave enough equal space in between each piece so that I could stitch later and it would still have a visible gap.

(And now, like those cooking shows where they take out a fully cooked roast 15 minutes after they put it in the oven, we switch to a fully quilted leaf, because I was running out of daylight for pictures, and everyone knows photos taken at night, under artificial lighting are gross and not blog worthy.)

zig zag
Once glued, I basted my fabric to some batting and began using a zig zag stitch on the edge of each shape in a coordinating thread color. I also free-formed some sketchy veins in there.

placemat backing

Flipping the mat over, I started to lay out my backing pieces. This is where all those larger pieces I sorted out at the beginning come into play. The pieced strips were actually leftovers from my orange quilt, with a couple extra blocks of fabrics thrown in there. This one turned out pretty square and orderly, but it can be crazy. Just depends on the scraps you're working with. (I know, you could totally do a solid backing in a coordinating fabric, but this was my I want all my scraps made into something so they don't smother me project, so I pieced the back.)

Then, I added a binding (made from 2.5" scraps) and ta-da! One festive fall place mat.

ticker tape placemat
And just for kicks, here are some of the other leaf shapes I've laid out in other fall colors:

other possibilities

blue moon...

...I knew just what you were there for.

blue moon

Well, I knew what I would make with you at least.

I thought that these colors would be perfect for my laundry room curtain. I mean, laundry rooms are a bit drab and this palette, with it's bold blues, vibrant red and soft aquas just make me happy. So maybe I'll enjoy doing laundry? It's doubtful, but at least maybe the space will be more inviting.

So, that's the challenge. Now that I won these babies over at Stitched in Color, I have just over a week to bust out a fabulous looking curtain to dazzle and amaze (and increase the happiness factor of the new laundry room). I'm thinking some stripe/chevron-ness will do the trick. If you just love this bundle too, head on over the Pink Chalk Fabrics to pick one up for yourself.

a ::little:: stashing

I'm so excited to be showing you what the postman brought crammed in my mailbox the other day. Some fabulously fall colored prints that are just dying to be sewn into something!

some amh and art gallery stashing

Some Anna Maria Field Study prints and a few Art Gallery blenders. I just love that feather print.

indie by pat bravo

Indie by Pat Bravo! I've had my eye on this collection for a while now, but with all the hustle and bustle of summer it never made it to my shopping cart. Thank goodness that little oversight was remedied. I honestly would have selected very few of these fabrics on their own, but I just love the line as a whole.

I really want to combine maybe a little of this (Field Study) and a little of that (Indie) to make a throw quilt. I'm still deciding between Anna Maria's feather pattern, a simple flying geese, or a friendship braid. Any thoughts? I think they all would be beautiful and very fitting for the warmth of these fabrics.

sarah jane - out to sea

I also threw in some of Sarah Jane's Out to Sea. I love her fabrics so it was hard not to buy the whole line but my pocketbook (and my husband) draws the line at a certain point of fabric insanity.

Side note: Have any of you seen the show American Pickers on History? Well, my hubs loves it and they have a phrase they use when they just start to get stupid and buy everything they see - "junk drunk." I swear this also applies to fabric. Just one more thing turns into .... ack! 

I bought some of these at my LQS, but most of them I ordered online at Hawthorne Threads. Their shipping was pretty amazing and their pricing was awesome (comparable to fabric.com!).

for natalie

Our little Love group at do.Good Stitches had a swap recently. I ended up with Natalie as my super secret swap partner. She asked for a sewing machine cover or a wall hanging/mini quilt.

sewing cover for natalie
I went with the machine cover in blues and greens (one of the color combos she mentioned liking, if you couldn't tell by a quick visit to her blog!) After checking out her Flickr favorites, I noticed an overwhelming number of HSTs and spiderweb blocks. So, HSTs it was. I had really wanted to try them for a while now and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

sewing cover for natalie - the binding
I picked out some solids and wanted to spice it up with one bold print. This herringbone pattern seemed like her style (geometric, not too floral) and it's dark, rich color complimented the other solids nicely.

I added a linen border to break up all those triangles and provide a place for your eyes to rest. The herringbone pattern made for some fabulous binding (I actually originally bought this print because I thought it would make for a lovely binding).

I really hope she loves it!

sneak peak: ticker tape turkey day placemats

I dare you to say that three times fast.

On thing I have noticed as I re-organized my sewing things into their new (and much improved) space is that I have developed a serious scrap problem. I've only been sewing for a year so it had me quite nervous about what would happen if I continued to collect (but ignore) them.

Now, big scraps (my term for anything over about 4" square, just shy of a charm square) I have no issue with. I actually raid my larger scraps quite often for little projects and my monthly do Good Stitches blocks. But using the larger scraps creates smaller scraps. And that is where we have a problem, folks.

I had been searching for a use for those itty bitty scraps. The ones too big to be termed "trash" - especially if it was a particularly pretty fabric - but still a little bit small to seem useful for any real project. Oh, and triangles. HST trimmings, bias binding scraps, on point square leftovers. There are tons of ways to end up with triangles, but not really any good use for them.

placemat 2
So far, this is what I have. I plan to work on more to complete a set of six in time for Turkey day. Which happens to be my favorite day of the year. ;-)

I'm making quite a dent, but I'm sure will still be left with a few remaining scraps. What do you make with yours? 

retreat recap: the old west

retreat old west
While at the quilt retreat, we stopped in "downtown" Seligman for a dinner out at Westside Lilo's Cafe (German/American style food). We walked around before dinner since we were a bit early for our reservation. The little town there (totally fake, more like a movie set) made for some fun photographs. I especially liked the jail (which I went in), the outhouse (which I didn't) and the 10,000 gallon tank of moonshine (which I can only hope was full).

The town is situated on Route 66,  super small and really in the middle of nowhere. But they sold Sarsaparilla in the general store, so no complaints here.

retreat old west
Did you miss Part 1? See that recap here.

retreat recap: part 1

retreat
Earlier this week, I attended a sewing retreat with the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild. I didn't really know what to expect as this was my first quilt retreat, but it was a blast! There was sewing and socializing and quilt shop visiting. There was camp fire building, marshmallow roasting and recipe swapping.

retreat
We stayed at Tumbling Rock Ranch in Seligman, Arizona. It was a nice change from the Nevada desert. There were mountains and greenery, trees and flowers. We even had a few rain showers while we were there - and once the rain broke, even a rainbow! I saw my first tarantula and despite having no rotary cutter or sewing machine needle accidents at the retreat, I still ended up in the ER! (I brushed against a cactus while unloading another retreater's things. Um, it sucked. I'm also writing this still sort of loopy from Benadryl, so I'll edit as needed when it wears off. Hopefully I'm not rambling too much, although I am noticing that this is fourth sentence within a parentheses, so I'll stop now...) 

I worked on several projects making a lot of progress on each, but finishing none. I'll be posting more about those projects as well as some of my secret quilter items (both received and gifted) once I get them unpacked and photographed.

retreat
Stay tuned - more to come once these drugs wear off!

lately.

buckets

Lately, I've been crazy busy...because we bought a house!

There's lots of mopping and scrubbing and sweeping and wiping and repairing and disinfecting that takes place when you buy a house. And, at least when buying a short sale property, there's lots that happens really, really, mind blowingly fast.

So, unfortunately, I've been doing more cleaning than sewing and ordering in more Chinese take-out than cooking. I'm utterly exhausted. Just getting dressed this morning, I tried to put on underwear without first taking off my pajama pants.

I'll post a little more when normal brain function returns. Full sentences are giving me trouble.

mr. postman: a NYB mini sew and tell

modernista mini
From top left: Block 4, Block 2, Block 0, Block 7
I made this mini as part of the Modernista Homemade sewing swap. I only knew a little about my partner, mostly that she liked stars, paper piecing, HSTs and bright colors - mostly of the pink and aqua variety.

I thought about just doing some solid HSTs (I also love HSTs, the simplicity is so lovely sometimes), but I also really wanted to try out the New York Beauty Blocks. I used tutorials for these four blocks (0, 2, 4, 7), although once you make one, it's pretty repetitive as far as technique. (The tutorials are nice for cutting sizes, though).

modernista mini
Block 4 was definitely my favorite as far as the final look of the block. My husband was sad to see this mini go and , so I'll have to revisit these blocks to make something for myself at some point. I'm thinking that using just one of the blocks (my fav of course) in Christmas colors would be a fun wreath alternative. Also, after tossing it over the railing to take a photo, I realized how in red, white and blue, a few of these together would make some festive Fourth of July decor. Especially the skinnier pointed blocks - they sort of remind me of fireworks!

moderinsta mini
I also made a travel sewing kit using this tutorial and a star pincushion to match. After tossing in some little goodies, this shipped off to my partner. I sure hope she likes it! It's not my typical style/ colors at all, but fun to work on!

Sorry for the terrible photos. I had to get this in the mail, so I took them at noon (quite possibly the worst time ever) at a park with plastic grass. Yes, it's as discussing as it sounds.

moderinsta package
Doesn't that plastic grass look so green and shiny?

travel sewing case

happy hexies

While taking Rachel's handstitched class, I really wanted to learn English paper piecing (EPP). I love the intricate star and hexagon shapes that you can make with the technique. Unfortunately, I couldn't get into Storm at Sea, so I did an alternate block and ended up machine paper piecing them. Still, I wanted to give the technique a shot (I'm in this class to learn after all), but with a project I really was excited about.

I had bookmarked this post ages ago, but had never had the gumption to actually try hexies. Silly me, they are super easy! I don't know what I was waiting for. But turns out applique week was right after paper piecing week, so it seemed the stars had aligned for this previously shelved project: hexagon applique jeans!

hexie jeans

I had a pair of jeans. Yes, I bought them with holes (Dad, don't be shaking your head, I feel it way over here). But the holes were not so large until one day, playing with a sweet and adorable cousin, the baby made a break for it and in my fast attempt to run and scoop her up, I heard the riiiiiipp that so often accompanies these kinds of things.

So my chic little peep hole had turned into a gaping, unattractive mammoth of a hole. I measured and one hexagon flower would take care of the whole (or hole?) thing.


hexie jeans

hexie jeans

This was an easy, single afternoon project that was super fun! I was thinking of what else to add hexagons to, but I don't want to be that crazy lady with the funny clothes. I'm much too young for that.

I apologize for the somewhat interesting photos. It's hard photographing your knees, attractively, while wearing pants in over 100F weather. These are most definitely fall pants.

I'm linking this project up to The Handmade Parade at There and Back - head over to check out all the fabulous hand made projects!

alternatives

paper piecing week
This last week was English paper piecing week at Handstitched Class. I hemmed and hawed which fabrics to use and how to lay them out for days. I finally settled on some choices and had basted all the shapes together and arranged them to see how the Storm at Sea block would turn out.

I hated it. It seemed to be too busy with the patchwork (which I was totally digging). I also couldn't get the right mix of fabrics with what I had on hand and as much as I like a fabric store adventure, I really wanted to be sewing. 

So I put it off day after day until I ran out of days. Then I did what I should have done all along. A different block. One that I liked. That worked with what I had. (Insert palm to forehead and a big duh).

paper piecing week

I really like the simplicity of this block. I think it will look nice with the on point squares in the next round. And since I have embroidery on a linen background and plan on using linen for the large hand quilting round, I think it will be nice to also accent those corner blocks with some nice hand quilting as well.

And I even got to work on a hexie project with all the spare time this left me! (Reveal coming soon, promise!)

sew and tell: orange crush

orange crush quilt

orange crush quilt

This was a fun, quick quilt to make. Even with my hemming and hawing and waiting for fabric orders and learning two new techniques, it only took about a month. Not too shabby. I'm pretty happy with my machine quilting, although I do hope it gets better with practice. I really did enjoy the paper piecing and am now working on a new paper pieced project since I liked it so much!

When brainstorming for this project, I knew I wanted something a little bit mushy. I had this quilt floating around in my head and had seen this photo floating on pinterest (I use it as a search engine even if I don't actually pin). Both seemed like good candidates because they would use the strips pretty nicely without too much cutting which would make the project go much more quickly. So I sort of combined these two lovelies into something a little different.

orange crush quilt

After the heart, I still had some strips left over so I added the pieced strip to the back of the quilt and used the rest to create a scrappy binding. I really do love it!

But somehow, over the course of the past few weeks, my "Orange Crush" quilt has been renamed as "The Napper" around these parts. I think it may have something to do with this....

naping

...happening every time someone snuggles under it.

To see what other LVMQG members made with their strips, check out this link.
For more about this quilt, check out this link.

last weekend

hiking the mt
hiking the mt
hiking the mt
hiking the mt
hiking the mt
Last weekend, while my sister was in town, we took a break from the desert heat and went hiking in the mountains! It was a beautiful 65F. Amazing. All the hills and real trees and greenery almost made it seem like we were a little closer to back east. We could even see some snow still on the mountain if we looked high enough and squinted!

We did get pricked by these little, tiny cactus that are quite innocent looking, but luckily by the time we got back to the car, all was well and our legs stopped burning.
In other completely irrelevant news, we found a Rita's Italian Ice. The first one in Vegas! Brand spanking new! Right next to my favorite quilt shop! Ok, Vegas, I'm warming up to you. Maybe you aren't so bad after all...

ritas!