love, fleury

fleurys tent
My mom is the best. She's always getting me such fun, new toys. Check out this new tent she bought me for the car. I don't think she read the instructions right though because she keeps telling me to sit on top of it - something about dog hair and vacuums. Don't worry though, I showed her how it was meant to be used and crawled underneath. Now if only she would get me a camping stove - we'd be in business.

Love,
Fleury

last weekend

Oh, last weekend. It was a doozey. I woke up, let the dog out like any other morning and he just was barking up a storm. Fleury is not a barker, except to alert us to something, so that should have been my first clue that something was up. I put my glasses on and walked outside.

flood

A pipe in our back yard had broken and as the sprinklers turned on, water was flooding the backyard. I shut off the water, of course, but to Fleury it was like the weekend gods had come down and blessed him with a pond of his very own in the back yard. He frolicked and ran and dug and blew bubbles for a good hour or so before he completely wore himself out.

flood
But, all good (or inconvenient) things must come to and end. The pipe has been repaired and the lake dried up. Poor Fleury. 

rockin' robin

I recently (like in the past 3 months-ish) started my own little round robin swap. I really wasn't sure going in what to expect, but honestly, it's my favorite swap to have participated in. I started by making my center block, the warm colored star at the bottom. My first addition was to Kristan's center, the spools. I decided to keep with the sewing theme, I'd add a ric-rac border. Unknown to me at the time, she's going to use this quilt for her new business venture - a brick and mortar fabric store in Dallas.

rockin' robin
My next border was for Audrey's center. To be honest, the bright, almost neon color scheme isn't something that I am familiar with working with and a little out of my comfort zone. But suprisingly, after going through some scrap stash, I realized I had almost all of the solids used in this quilt. And I really wanted to keep the border simple since it had already had some fussy, fancy borders and thought it could use something to make those pop without overwhelming the quilt. I came up with this assymetrical mosaic border and really really liked how things were turning out. It's kind of crazy how that works sometimes - you do your most creative work when you are pushed from your comfort zone.

I love how my quilt is turning out - it's so unexpected and nothing I ever would have thought of myself, but really makes me smile.

photography: take 1

fabric photo 12
photo 1
I really enjoyed Plum and June's blog hop this summer, and guess what? Now she's hosting a little Quilt Photography workshop. I always love and appreciate good photography, especially in a media like craft blogging where lots of the potential readers are visual in nature.

{Before I go on, I have to say a HUGE big thank you to Maureen Cracknell for sending me this cute bundle of Luxe in Bloom and featuring my QAYG quilt!}

fabric photo 5
photo 2
I photograph with a Canon PowerShot SD 4000 IS digital camera. It's a handy little point and shoot that takes a decent quality photo. I like that it has a variety of settings, both in full manual and also semi manual mode. I shot all of these photos in the auto mode, which defaults to the macro setting at close range. I do shoot in the semi manual (Program) mode frequently as well. I'm a little intimidated by the manual settings and it being a point and shoot, they are sometimes cumbersome to change and play with, but before I dive into buying a very expensive (and bulky) DSLR camera, I'd like to play more with the manual mode on the camera I do have.

fabric photo 8
photo 3
This photo session was taken in my sewing room with natural lighting. It doesn't get the best lighting during the day, but it's easy to access props and a (sometimes) clean white surface for photographs. I normally don't bother too much with props when photographing, but I really did like how the photos with props had that little something extra.

All photos were post-edited in Photoshop. I used a define/sharpen action as well a lightening action to get the color and crispness I was pleased with. I then re-sized all the photos to 600 in width using a separate action. If you find that you do a lot of the same things to your photos over and over again, it's helpful to create an action so that with one click, the entire process can be applied quickly and easily. You can also find and download plenty of free actions online.

fabric photo 10
photo 4
Before hitting "Post" on any new entry, I do upload all the photograph contenders to the post and "Preview". Sometimes, although I love a photo during the editing process after I see it within the post it just doesn't translate the way I wanted, or clashes with another photo in the post. Then I can delete and rearrange which photos I like within the post prior to publishing. I usually delete the duds from the photo stream, but today, just for you, I left them up so you can peek at those that didn't make the cut. Out of the 59 photos taken, 21 were edited. 8 were included in this post.

fabric photo 11
photo 5
Several of these were taken with my go-to layout, the typical fabric stack. I tried to mix it up by incorporating different backgrounds - some with the sewing machine and others with a solid white background (comic book boards since my dog chewed the poster board I had been using for this purpose). I tried mixing up the stack by making it a little imperfect, which is how stacks usually are around here. I took a few shots with the stack all lined up, but I preferred the messier look - I thought it added some life to the photos.

fabric photo 3
photo 6
Then I looked at some other ways to "pose" the fabric since I have wanted to try to get away from my typical fabric stack shot. I still prefer the stack shots, but some of these have some merit.

fabric photo 2
photo 7
fabric photo 1
photo 8
This last shot was a last ditch attempt to do something a little out of my comfort zone. Although the base fabric is in need of some pressing, I do think it came out well as far as showing off the fabrics and incorporating some props. I also really like that it seems like it's going to get used and worked with instead of just a pretty pile of fabrics. 

half a year

That's how long we've been puppy parents. And it surprises me just how big this little fluff of energy has grown. He's a big, old 8 months now, over 60 pounds and still growing.

fleurys balls 1

fleurys balls 3
balls, 8 weeks to 8 months
We've spent what feels like a fortune in various toys, but it seems that we pretty much should save all our money and invest in Chuck-Its. I don't know what it is about these particular balls, but they are very much his favorite. We've tried other balls and some are fun for a short time, but nothing like these. He seriously carries  them from inside to outside and back again. If he's awake, there is almost always one in his mouth. The only time there isn't is when he has dropped it in your lap so that you can throw it so that he can chase it until it is in his mouth again. Rinse, repeat.

His absolute favorite is obviously the heavily damaged one, gaping open.  

fleurys balls 4

fleurys balls 5
 On an unrelated note, I'm so excited that I got the chance to participate in this year's Let's Get Acquainted New Blogger Hop hosted by Plum and June. It's a great way for new, modern quilting bloggers to get to know one another in the vastness of blog land.

It kicked off in June with some great blogs and continues until the end of July. I posted just last week. Click on the icon below to take you over to the Blog Hop page for the complete list of participants and follow through to check out their totally fun blogs!

Plum and June

the photos that weren't

I've been having a lot of success finishing things up lately. Unfortunately, the weather hasn't been very cooperative - harsh sunlight (even in the early morning) and crazy, mad wind have ruined several photo shoots. Usually, I just wait it out. But this has been going on for about a month now and a girl's gotta move on (and ship quilts!)

pictures that werent

pictures that werent

pictures that werent

pictures that werent

pictures that werent
What I wouldn't give for some New England or Midwest spring weather right about now...

How do you deal with bad photo weather?

houndstooth quilt progress

After narrowing down some color choices for Genny's houndstooth quilt, I selected a dark navy (Kona) and, of course, yarn dyed Essex linen in flax as the two primary colors. I'm still playing with an accent color, but thought I would start assembling these blocks to not waste time while I hemmed and hawed over design decisions.

genny 1

genny 4
Cutting was surprisingly easy, despite things being cut to the odd 6 1/8" dimension. I assembled strips for the striped squares and am picking out those little corner ends over coffee and a Criminal Minds marathon.

genny 3
I still hold the view that it's more fun to assemble a quilt as you go instead of working from a pattern, but this was a really easy pattern so far and the prep work has gone surprisingly fast. Some chain piece assembly in the coming days and straight line quilting (still debating on the diagonal versus next to the seams...) should also make this a pretty fast finish.

genny 5
The backing fabric is ordered, a couple prints from the Indian Summer line. I really do love that collection of fabrics and was glad that it worked so well for this quilt (and the little boys it is for).

hop on over and stay awhile

me at the lake

Hello to all of you hopping along from the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop! I am so happy to introduce you to myself and my blog!

I'm Jess - an interior designer turned homemaker and quilter. I started on my quilting journey just a bit over a year ago. I got my machine (a basic Husqvarna Viking Emerald 118) and began piecing a quilt for my guest room. After I had finished that quilt, I got involved in my local guild, began collecting fabric and spending my free time making hand sewn goodness.

first quilt collage 2
my first quilt
I really like projects that stretch my creative muscles. I've been working on some projects from patterns recently, but I get pretty bored with those rather quickly. The projects where I start and don't know where I'll end up, tweaking and working and creating as I go, are my favorites.

sewing cover/ mug rug/ curtain
I also love scrappy projects. I really enjoy taking the leftovers from old projects and making them into something unexpected.

placemats/ scrappy trip
I always like having a few projects going on. Right now, I'm working on a Retro Flowers quilt, my first commissioned quilt, my scrappy quilt-as-you-go (below left), and my hand stitched Modern Medallion quilt (below right). I like moving back and forth from projects in various stages, but nothing beats a finish!

qayg/ modern medallion
When I'm not sewing, I really love to cook and I love the outdoors. I often go hiking with my husband and our pup, Fleury (a sneaky little pup with a sarcastic sense of humor). Speaking of the fluff ball, I recently made him a bed and since y'all asked for one, I also created a tutorial on how to do it, so stop by again next week to check that out, won't you? Fleury asks that if you make one for your puppy, that all thank you correspondence be sent to him (and if you are feeling like sending a little something, he prefers liver treats).

he likes it!
You can find me on flickr, threadbias, and bloglovin'.

Also check out these other great blogs, posting as part of the hop today:

Green @ So Sew Green
Gwendellyn @ The Rainbow Revolts
Amira @ Little Mushroom Cap
Kathy @ Kayak Quilting
Michelle @ Factotum Of Arts
Paula @ The Sassy Quilter
Kris @ Sew Sunshine
Camilla @ Faffling

sew and tell: a surprise quilt!

As quilters, we all know how good making a quilt makes us feel. And by giving our quilts to some deserving person, we hope that it makes them feel similarly good - a fabric hug of sorts.

lizzys quilt - front

lizzys quilt - back
Last year, a neighbor of mine (and one of my little sister's besties) was diagnosed with bone cancer. Everyone knows the C word is kind of scary, but this girl and her family met the diagnosis with a strength and faith that left me humbled.

People back home were able to surround her and her family with comfort and support (and food - the casseroles were pouring in!). Since I wasn't able to send a casserole, I thought I'd make something that might keep just a little better through the mail - a quilt!

I reached out to some friends and they helped me quickly put together the quilt top. Then, the short sale that had been stalled for. ev. er. finally went through! Moving and a new pup added a delay, but I eventually got finished with the quilting and binding!

lizzys quilt  - label

lizzys quilt - binding
And the quilting.....the quilting on this was giving me fits. I couldn't wait until this project was complete and out in the mail! It was a serious headache - but once I got it all bound (in some simply color ombre strips!) I started to come around again and discover the fun, vibrant, cheerful quilt that I had envisioned.

I hope my neighbor enjoys it!

(not) a love, fleury post

*Warning, this post contains graphic images...Hide your eyes people, hide your eyes.*

I have been slowly introducing the pup to the sewing room and teaching him good sewing room manners. Basically, lay down on the quilt on the floor and be a good dog so mama can get some sewing in.

Unfortunately, he likes fabric scraps as much as I do...

puppy + sewing room = disaster

puppy + sewing room = disaster
....and tries his own paw at designing.

And recently, he tried his hand at sewing, but he couldn't quite figure out how the machine worked...

this just happened.
....and murdered it instead.

Later, he gave me lots of kisses to try and make up. But I learned my lesson: do not trust a cute puppy. This face - it does bad things.

did i do something wrong?

string scrap sewing kit

When I was making my qayg string quilt, I ended up with small, beautiful scraps. Since these were still far to beautiful to throw away, I pieced these tiny things into a sewing kit. It has been on my to do list ever since I made one for my modernista swap partner almost a year ago. I had wanted one for myself but had pushed that aside in favor of other projects.

strings and things sewing kit
I like this little one. It's so very me - the calm me - not the jacked up on three cups of coffee me. There's three pockets, one on the left panel and a divided pocket on the right panel. There's also a scissor pocket, a felt needle book and the white ribbon to hold thread. The measuring tape is mostly for show, but I guess might be useful sometime.

strings and things sewing kit
I had fun with the quilting, although it is a bit hard to see in these photos. I machine bound it (still trying it on small projects, even though it still isn't coming out nicely) in a shot cotton. Never bind in a shot cotton. It was ridiculously hard to keep pressed well so the binding is a bit wonky. But all in all, I'm pleased with it and it was a fun use of the scraps leftover from my strings quilt.

strings and things sewing kit

options

I'm making a second dog bed for the Flower. His first bed gets taken upstairs and then downstairs and then upstairs...and well, it's exhausting. Ok, it's not really that bad, but I figured if we had one up and one down, it sure would be convenient.

I decided to make the top out of linen - Essex white and the yarn dyed flax (gosh I love that fabric, my fav!) in the Houndstooth pattern that I'm using for Genny's quilt. For the sides, borders and bottom, I wanted to add a bit of color. Here are the fabrics I pulled from my stash:

option 1-2
I really liked these two. They are boy-ish but soft. I think they would go nicely with the light houndstooth while still adding a touch of playfulness and color.

option 3-4
But...I also really like this yellow linen Heather Ross print. I bought it on sale (50% off!) at my local quilt shop and have been trying to insert it into every project since. It is sunny and pops against the light houndstooth pattern. It's a little girly, sure, but it is for a dog and I'm pretty sure he won't know the difference. I could always combine it with the greens above for a little masculine touch. The two navy prints really are quite bold against the light top and I'm not sure if they work, but maybe if the top is quilted with a navy or aqua thread it would tie nicely together.

What is your favorite combination?

**And stay tuned - I'm working up a tutorial for those of you that asked that should be up soon.**

mug rug swap

My local quilt guild is swapping mug rugs with the Fort Worth Modern Quilt Guild. I made two, with scraps from my chevron curtain. I went with fairly dense quilting so it would lay pretty flat and sturdy - nothing is worse than your morning coffee spilling.

I thought they turned out pretty fun, although I tried machine binding again. Still hate it. I had so many misses on the back it was driving me crazy, and on a piece this small, I don't even think it was faster. Still, I hope my swap buddies enjoy it and I can't wait to see what I receive from my far away guild buddy!

mug rug swap with fort worth MQG

mug rug swap with fort worth MQG
I'm linking this up to Ellison Lane's mini quilt challenge. Click the link to check out other mini bits of pretty.