Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Out with the Old, In with the New: Week 2

This is my weekly kick in the butt to get pending projects done by the end of the year. To see previous links, click here. Also linking up weekly with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

I have made some progress so here is a recap.

Original List:

1. Ornament swap. Still working on this and still can't share details.

2. Stocking for Stockings for Kids. Sadly, this one I am not going to get done by tomorrow to mail it so it's getting crossed off the list.

3. Monthly Challenge block. I just have to sew my test block together.

4. Kaleidoscope quilt. Same as last week.

5. Drunkard's Path quilt. I have all the pieces cut and just need to sit down and sew them together.

DPQAL Solids

6. Zig Zag quilt. Same as last week.

7. Market Tote. Same as last week.

8. Halloween mini. Same as last week.

9. Surprise mini. I have the pieces cut and need to sew them together.

10. Cowl to match hat and mitts. Done! And with a better photo.

Winter Set

11. Pattern for hat. Same as last week.

12. Business logo/details. Same as last week.

Added Projects:

1. Mini X quilt. Angus approves.

Angus approved

Looks like I need to get to work. Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mini X's

Ever since Debbie posted her Mini X quilt at A Quilter's Table I have been wanting me make one myself. Luckily, she posted a tutorial for it and it is charm friendly! A win-win in my book as I'm trying to use up the charm packs in my stash. I even was able to use only my stash for this project.

Mini X's

Detail of Mini X's

Debbie's instruction were really easy to follow and this could be done in a few hours. I got distracted doing other things in between steps, so I finished the binding this morning. I went back and forth between machine and hand stitching it but I wanted to share it today and also give machine binding another go. I'm not sure I would ever use it on a larger project, but for smaller projects, it makes quick work of them.

If you make one of these beauties yourself, feel free to share in her Flickr group as well!


I have pieces cut for another mini quilt that I'm hoping to get working on tomorrow. I think I am getting addicted to these because they are a great way to practice techiniques and a quick finish!

Thank you, Debbie, for sharing this tutorial!

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story and the Stash Project at Clover & Violet.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Winter Knits

I decided to take a little break over the weekend from posting anything. My Thanksgiving was both good and bad. Good because it was spent with a great family, but bad because Chad's father is nearing the end of his cancer battle. He can't eat much anymore and can barely walk, so he will be going into the hospital for awhile to get some fluids. His family spent most of the day talking about funeral arrangements, which was weird for me because any family member that has died during my life has died suddenly.

Anyway, this isn't supposed to be a somber post. It's just been on my mind.

I did manage to finish the remainder of my matching knit set over the weekend. I showed you the hat and one mitt earlier this month. Now I have a second mitt and a cowl to go with. Luckily it isn't cold enough to wear them quite yet, with the exception of the mitts when taking my dogs for a walk.

I was chasing daylight when taking these photos and had some distractions. If I think about it, I will take more pictures to show them better this week.

Knitted Set

Distracted by my dogs fighting.

Dog Attacks

And there was a lot of this. Jameson thought the mitts were for him to play with.

Jameson Modeling the Cowl

So then I volunteered him to model the cowl.

I did a little Black Friday shopping at some local stores and also Joann's. I couldn't turn down the deal on flannel! I am using it as quilt backing for my Drunkard's Path quilt. I picked up some fabric at a local quilt shop and yarn at a yarn shop. I didn't have much to spend but if I did, I would have came home with a ton of yarn. I may splurge a little and go back for the camel. It was so soft!

I hope your weekend was a good one! See you tomorrow with a mini quilt to share.

Friday, November 25, 2011

FMQ Practice 3

Wow, did I get behind on these! This week was all about catching up so I can be on track with everyone else. I missed practicing and laughing along with you.

I'm just going to share photos because I don't really care for the looks of any of them and don't see myself using any of the patterns. I say that right now, but that could always change. However, this practice is just making all of us more comfortable with different types of quilting. Thank you, Cindy!

FMQ Practice

FMQ Practice

FMQ Practice

FMQ Practice

FMQ Practice

I have to say, I really hate this one the most. I lost the star somewhere in there.

If you are not already participating, please do join us! There is no pressure to be perfect and you can learn something new.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

First of all, I am thankful for being blessed with waking up each morning. This may seem small, but I suffer from fairly severe asthma and wake up unable to breathe from time to time.

I am thankful for Chad coming into my life at the right time. Despite living next to a now former friend, we didn't meet until after I had been out of a relationship for awhile and taken care of some baggage in my life. I can't imagine my life without him and am happy that I can call him a best friend, as well as boyfriend.

(Excuse the horrible wind-blown hair. Eek!)

I am thankful for Jameson and Angus who sometimes annoy me when they bark too much, but really bring a smile to my face daily. I also cannot imagine my life without them and do not mind that I cannot travel as much as I used to because I have to be home with them. They were really a factor in turning my life around as well.

Maplewood State Park

I am thankful that I live in a time and place where I can pursue my dreams.

And lastly, I am thankful for the connections I have been making through the online community. I look forward to getting to know more of you and sharing a creative link around the world.

Thank you for stopping by and if you are in the United States, have a great holiday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Out with the Old, In with the New

Did you know there are less that 40 days left this year? I know everyone is focusing on Christmas projects, and I am too to a certain extent, but I also want to work on finishing the projects I have started by the end of the year.

I made up a list of the key things I want to focus on. I didn't want to overwhelm myself because then I would get nothing done. I'm also allowing myself to work on things not on this list if the fancy strikes me.

1. I signed up for the ornament swap that Lindsay at Lindsay Sews and Craft Buds is hosting. Our partners are not secret, so I won't go into detail here because I don't want to spoil the surprise. Thus far, I am in the planning stage and moving into the creating stage. I would like to finish this by the end of the month. The mailing date is by December 9th, but my partner gave an address at her university, so I would like to get it to her before the semester is over.

2. Also on board is a stocking to donate to the Stockings for Kids from Lyanna at Purple Panda Quilts. I had misplaced the fabric I was going to use and did find it over the weekend. Now I just need to put it together and get it in the mail. Mailing date is by December 1st. I'm going to use charms that were left from my Christmas mini I made over the summer.

Close Up Shot

3. Test block for the monthly challenge at Raccoon Creek Quilts. I know I've mentioned it before, but I really think Candi is putting together fun challenges each month. For November, it is to design a 12" block. I have sketches and measurements, so now I need to translate it into fabric.

4. Kaleidoscope quilt-a-long. Top only because the backing I have planned will make it reversible, if it works that is.

Two rows done

I do have to unpick some of this row because the points don't meet. I was going to just go with it, but it still bothers me.

Not quite there

5. Drunkard's Path quilt-a-long. Top only as well, mostly because I don't know what I'm doing with the back yet. I did get binding though. I'm still at the same point I was when I posted Monday.

6. Zig Zag quilt-a-long. Top only as well. I haven't even cut into my fabrics on this one. I'm pretty much not letting myself join anymore quilt-a-longs until I finish these three.

7. Market Tote at Clover and Violet. I haven't cut into these either or started the embroidery. Jennie just had her baby though, so she said things are delayed a bit. (Congrats!)

8. Halloween mini using Ghastlies. I could just put this off until next year, but knowing me, I will forget why I cut out the fabrics, or misplace them. It's best that I finish it and store the finished piece until next fall. This should be a quick finish since everything is cut.

9. Surprise mini that will tie in with a giveaway I will be doing in December to celebrate my birthday month. I do turn 30 afterall, so there is some need for a celebration! I will be finishing this hopefully this weekend and will reveal it before I post the giveaway.

10. Cowl to match my cabled hat and fingerless gloves. I did get yarn and should be bringing this with me when we travel on Thursday.

New Hat and Fingerless Gloves

11. Speaking of the hat, I tossed around sharing the pattern for free here, but decided to try selling it. I have to work on writing it out so it can be followed by someone who isn't familiar with it already and knit it up again using the rounded top variation. Then I will need a couple test knitters, so if you are interested in that, let me know.

12. To link with that, I think I have settled on a business name. I've been tossing out a few things in my head and letting them sit with me before keeping them around or rejecting them. I want something personal to me. At first I thought of Red River Fiber Studio, but if we move from here, then it doesn't apply much. Next came Wanderlust Studio, which is still a possibility. The front runner is Terrier Landing Fiber Studio named in part from Jameson and Angus. I sketched a logo as well and before the end of the year want to have this finalized.

Want to join me? Let's give each other support on finishing the old so we can start the new year with fresh work areas and ideas! I'll be updating this every week and linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dead Simple Finish! Oh, and a Little Bread Recipe Too

With the help of some down time at work I was able to finish sewing the binding. (I always carry a project of some kind in case this happens.)

Without further ado, may I present my Dead Simple quilt.

Dead Simple Finish!

Free motion leaves

I opted to do a mini quilt and am glad I did. Not only do have a finished piece, but I used it to showcase some free motion quilting that I would not have tried on a large quilt. It can also function easily as a wall hanging or on a table, which is where it is living right now.

Back of quilt

Close up of quilting on the back

As a reminder, this photograph I took this summer was my inspiration for the color palette. It also was the inspiration for the quilting design I did. I thought about doing a full tree, but I kept coming back to sketchy leaves.

Inspiration for my Dead Simple Quilt

A huge THANK YOU to Lynne at Lily's Quilts for hosting this quilt-a-long and also to Cindy at Fluffy Sheep Quilting for hosting the weekly free motion quilting practice, which is what I did before tackling the actual quilt.

FMQ Practice

I also want to thank Leah at the Free Motion Project for all of her work teaching others how to break out of the straight line.

Can we talk about the back? I didn't want to do just a solid color and knew finding a print that I would like would not happen. So I took some extra squares to create a little interest. Chad, on the other hand, hates the back. Don't get me wrong, he loves the rest of it a lot and was pretty impressed. I tried to tell him that modern quilting doesn't involve boring backs and there are some that are more mish-mashed. I am not so much a fan of just slapping fabric together randomly, but I see it all over. What do you think? What kinds of backs do you tend to put on your quilts?

ETA: I'm linking this up with Fabric Tuesday over at Quilt Story. I've seen their button on so many blogs and finally checked it out tonight.

Also linking up to Celebrate Color. Check out all of the amzing projects featured over there!

I also want to share with you what is becoming my favorite bread recipe. No kneading either, for those of you who do not like doing it. I don't have photographs of it because the lighting in our kitchen is horrible. I did adapt my recipe from Bake at 350, so if you want photos, there are some there.

A few notes. I don't buy self-rising flour because it is easy to replace using simple ingredients. And as far as the beer goes, I have used both Blue Moon and Bud Lite. Blue Moon is the favorite here, even though Chad only drinks Bud Lite. I thought he would like it, but he says he was spoiled with the flavor of the Blue Moon first. I'm also working on a spin made with Guiness and chocolate, but that may wait until after Thanksgiving.

Cheddar Beer Bread

3 c flour
3 3/4 tsp baking powder
3/8 tsp salt
3 T sugar
1 T garlic powder
1 T Italian seasoning
1 C cheddar cheese
12 ounces beer, room temperature (very, very important!)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray or grease a loaf pan and set aside. Stir together all ingredients except the beer, making sure they are well mixed. Pour in the beer and stir until combined. Sometimes I skip the spatula and use my hands. It is sticky and it can be easier to mix it without a tool. Dump into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack.

Then either allow to cool or slice into immediately. I don't like waiting for it too long and always slice off the end while it is still warm and enjoy it with a little butter.

I will be bringing this to Thanksgiving and make it all the time at home. It is great with eggs at breakfast, as a replacement for grilled cheese with some tomato soup, as sandwich bread, or with some spaghetti.

I'm linking this up with Debbie at A Quilter's Table. She features Tuesday at the Table every week and this week is hosting a linky with a contest. Be sure to check it out!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cutting Progress

I thought I would be finished with my Dead Simple quilt by today so I could share that with you. But I decided to hand sew the binding and it's taking longer than I thought. It will be done and shared before Thanksgiving.

In addition to working on that piece, I decided to sit down with my rotary cutter and get as much done that I could handle. I don't have a table I can cut on so I sit on the floor. It gets old, as you can imagine. One day when I have a studio space I will have a table dedicated to only cutting.

One project that I haven't talked about before is for a sewing machine cover. I currently use the hard plastic top from the carrier I have. I hate using it because it's boring and bulky. My design for my first fabric cover is going to involve hexagons and embroidery. I haven't made any progress on it because I didn't have any fabric cut out. Now I do and can get working on it.


I also cut the prints for my Drunkard's Path quilt. I will have 20 mega blocks that are made up with 16 drunkard's path blocks. For the prints, if you remember, I am using pre-cut charms, so that reduced cutting time. My next step is cutting into my solid so I can get started. The fabric is pressed and hanging over my sewing chair so I will get to it sooner rather than later.

DPQAL Prints all Cut!

I have a short three day week at school and work and then Chad and I will be going out of town to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family. I got a call from his sister last night asking if I would make a few things for dinner: the bread, a pie, and possibly a salad of some sort. I'm a vegetarian so I will probably make a pasta salad for myself and to share. The pie I am undecided on. I was going to make a chocolate one, because that is Chad's favorite and he has been asking for one recently, but his mom is already making that. Last year I did make a chocolate and a lemon meringue, but I'm leaning towards pecan this year. And the bread? Chad wants my cheddar beer bread (only made with Blue Moon though) and I'm not sure if that's a turkey friendly bread. I'm thinking of making a loaf of it and rolls as well. Good thing I love being in the kitchen.

I'm mostly excited for this long weekend because I will be able to spend it working on projects. I did a deep clean of the house this past weekend before it snows a lot. We did get a mini storm last Friday, but it has melted already.

Happy Monday to you all!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Photo Break

I just got home from my portfolio presentation, which went well. I was nervous about speaking in front of the entire art faculty, but I managed to make it through without fainting or throwing up. Whew.

One of my favorite photographs I have taken throughout school is this one of Angus. It was shot on a 35mm Minolta SLR. I then developed the film and printed it.


I love film photography and one day I will have a darkroom at home so I can keep shooting.

Now I'm going to take advantage of the few hours I have until I go to work to sew. I will be back over the weekend to share what I manage to get through!

Have a great Friday!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My First Quilt and a Little Pottery

I mentioned before that I was going to share the first quilt I ever made once I photographed it. Well, since I made it for one of my classes, I documented it for the portfolio presentation I have to give this Friday.

This isn't the best picture and I didn't think to take detail shots for you. This is based on the King Arthur legend and involves quilting, applique, and embroidery. It was made for the final project in a 2D design class and the one stipulation was that we had to spend at least 30 hours on the project. With all of the hand work I easily bypassed that and didn't really finish it as I would have if I didn't have a deadline. I am nothing if not ambitious, however, and do intend to tweak some things on it before I call it completely done.

First Quilt

It's obviously not fuctional and meant to be hung on a wall. In fact, I haven't completed a fuctional quilt (yet). By the end of the year I will change that.

I also have some of my finished ceramic bowls to share with you. I love them and am so happy that I was able to learn a new skill. I have three more bowls that are similarily glazed, as well as 14 other pieces that I still have to glaze. I don't know if I will do them all this color or change it up. Now that we have a month left of classes, we can't make anything else new. Too bad that I thought of making bakeware now instead of when we were throwing these. Maybe if I have the chance I will take another ceramics class and do just that. (Ignore the nasty white stuff in these photos. It has since melted for today, though I'm sure it will be replaced with more later tonight.)




I am determined to get some sewing time in this week now that the big items are off my list. I hope your Tuesday is going great!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Found Around Blogland

This week as not been productive as far as completing projects goes. I have been brainstorming though and getting some things done for school.

The major one was writing a piece for the review I have to do this upcoming Friday. The writing is due tomorrow and I'm pleased that I got it done early. It wasn't like it was challenging really as we just had to write about where we are in our degree, where we have been as far as classes go, and where we want to go as we progree through school and after. Basically making everyone think about their future now instead of just weeks before graduating. Luckily, I have already been contemplating this topic and now I will have the chance to bounce it off of my instructors and get some tailored assistance from them. Now I have to put together the PowerPoint I will be presenting and in order to finish that, I need to finish photographing and scanning the work I want to showcase.

During my breaks from working on this and other things I've come across some posts on other blogs that you may be interested in participating in.

First up is something I've mentioned before. Candi at Raccoon Creek Quilts started a monthly challenge in October. I didn't finish my goal for that month, but that's ok. I did get all the blocks done and two rows sewn on my kaleidoscope quilt. I may finish is sometime this year hopefully. Anyway, this month she put forth the challenge to design a quilt block that finishes at 12". I've had some down time at work so I do have some sketches made. I need to figure out measurements and maybe make a test block. She didn't say if that was part of the challenge this month, just that December will tie in with this design. If this is something you want to do, head over to her blog and jump in!

Second is from Debi at My Happy Sewing Place. She may not be familiar to you as she doesn't quilt. If you are interested in vintage style and garment sewing, you may have come across her. However, what she came up with can apply to anyone in blogland. She wants to make the week of November 21st the Sew Grateful Challenge. Basically, make a post that week in thanks to other bloggers. Either by using something you have won in a giveaway, joining in a sew-a-long/knit-a-long/etc, or using a tutorial. I plan on doing this purposefully that week and if you want to as well, swing by her blog, let her know you are in, and grab a button!

The last two things are more general in nature because they apply to creative challenges. The first I came across last year, and did participate with a different blog I had, but life got in the way and I really didn't like the focus of that blog. I will be joining in again with the monthly prompts from Creative Every Day, even if I can't do something every day. The other is new to me as of today, and is also a monthy prompt to apply to any sort of creative output. Julia Crossland runs the Being Creative Project and hosts a monthly link-up to show off what you have done.

Whew. At first I wasn't going to post about these because really, do I need more going on in my life? But I also like some focus and love the community that I have found here. I hope at least one of these sparks your interest as well and that you will join in with me.

Now to get back to some school work. I also need to finish reorganizing my workspace. I'm downsizing a bit and need to weed out some things. I'm taking the approach of a fresh space fostering a refreshed mind and focus to get things done. With my birthday (30!) approaching as well I want to think about goals for the upcoming year as well.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ideas for a Color Wheel

I mentioned before that I joined in on the Color Wheel Charm Swap. Since I've been busy and haven't had much time to make anything, I've been using the dead time I have away from home to think about new projects. The bigger one was what to do with the charms I will be getting.

I have been wanting to make a fabric color wheel, so that's my number one project idea. I've been doing some sketching and my ideas are so over the place that I thought I would check out Flikr to see what others have done. I put together a mosaic of photos I like, but my ideas are different. I will share those once I have the charms in front of me. Some of my ideas may not work based on what fabrics are included.

Color Wheel Inspiration

(Credits for photos can be found by clicking on the mosaic.)

For those of you doing this swap, have you thought about how you're going to use the charms?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Haul-idays

I'm sure you will be seeing many posts about the contest Chronicle Books is running. Normally I don't post about contests but how can I pass up the chance to win $500 worth of books for me, for one of you, and for a charity? Yep, you can win these same books that I picked out.

The charity I would choose would be my local library network, the Lake Agassiz Regional Library. I have so many fond memories of days spent there picking out books and would love to give back to show my appreciation. I think it's great that Chronicle would allow the charity to choose their own items too.

My list comes in right under $500. $499.15 to be exact.

1. Craft, Inc

2. Microworlds

3. Paper Cutting

4. Le Japon Artistique

5. Famous Frocks

6. The Liberty Book of Home Sewing

7. Pattern Magic

8. Amy Butler's Style Stitches

9. French General: Treasured Notions

10. Whip Up Mini Quilts

11. Embroidered Effects

12. French General: Home Sewn

13. Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts: Woolly Embroidery

14. Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing

15. Sublime Stitching

16. Amy Butler's In Stitches

17. Denyse Schmidt Quilts

18. Thirty-Six Views of the Eiffel Tower

19. 100 Years of Fashion Illustration

20. Little Bits Quilting Bee

So what are you waiting for? Leave any comment here to have a chance in case I win and make sure you create your own wish list and post it to your blog. You have until December 2nd to do it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Inspiration: Quilt National '09 Exhibit

I mentioned yesterday that I took a little field trip. Almost daily I drive by most of the museums in my area and noticed that one of them is showing an exhibit from the Quilt National '09. I kept thinking I needed to go and since it ends this weekend, I finally made it there.

The museum that is showing it is quite unique, so this post is going to be about it as well.

Hjemkomst Center

We have a few art museums and an air museum, but we also have one dedicated to the history of the county and a ship that was built in the 1970's and early 1980's. I don't want to go into all the details here so please check out the full story here on their website. The man who built the ship wanted to sail it from Lake Superior in Duluth to Norway. He called it the Hjemkomst, which means homecoming in Norwegian, and built it himself with the help of some friends. He was diagnosed with cancer while working on it and sadly, he did die before seeing through with the sailing of it. His family, however, did make it a point to sail to Norway in his honor. Now the ship is on display here and is pretty much the landmark for my hometown. I have been to the museum so many times over the years and still enjoy going from time to time to see the other exhibits.

Hjemkomst Center

Hjemkomst Center

Hjemkomst Center

Hjemkomst Center

Hjemkomst Center

A newer replica to the museum is of a stave church which was built on the site a few years ago. I have yet to be inside of it and one day I will. The outside is just amazing and really pays tribute to the large population of Norwegian descendents. (I am personally about a quarter Norwegian and a fraction Danish, so I grew up surrounded by Scandinavian items.)

Hjemkomst Center

Hjemkomst Center

Anyway. I have a soft spot for unique museums and feel blessed to be near one. Do you live near a museum that celebrates a specific cultural group? Or a museum built around a unique item?

The main reason I went, like I mentioned, was to see the quilts on display. I didn't get photos of all of them, mostly because of the poor lighting, but there also were fewer than I was expecting and I would say about half of them were not interesting to me.

Quilt National '09 Exhibit

This quilt is an abstract representaion of a display of embroidery floss. I had a "why didn't I think if that?" moment when I saw it.

Quilt National '09 Exhibit

This is made up of yo yos on a background. Seeing it opened my mind to how versitle they really are. I don't always care for some of the traditional uses for them, but this.. oh the possibilites!

Quilt National '09 Exhibit

These squares are only a couple inches each. So much detail in them.

The one thing I really got out of this exhibit was examining the quilts up close. What you don't see when viewing all the fabulous pieces online is construction. And if the person who made it doesn't go into detail, it's hard to figure out how it was put together. In person, it's possible to see those things. I will definately be keeping my eyes open for other exhibits and shows in my area. I know the quilt guild here does a show and I have thought about joining them. I looked over their website though and most of the work online is not me. I suppose I could always go to a meeting to check it out further. It would be nice to have face-to-face interaction with other quilters in addition to all of you!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Few Things

I finished knitting this hat over the weekend and would have finished the gloves if I had not ran out of yarn. Seriously, I don't have enough to make up the thumb on the second one.

This hat is similar to the one I made for a baby. The difference is that the top is a little peaked. This wasn't intentional and Chad thinks it looks funny. I actually like it but will also be knitting up one with a rounded top. This is my original pattern as is the pattern for the gloves. But those are pretty boring as they are just basically a tube with a thumb. Once I get more yarn, I will probably make up a matching cowl for this set.

Onto the photos...

New Hat and Fingerless Gloves

New Hat

New Hat and Fingerless Gloves

New Hat and Fingerless Gloves

Miss Toni posted about a Christmas ornament swap earlier today. I decided to sign up and can't wait to start once my partner is assigned to me. It's being hosted by Lindsay Sews. If you're interested yourself, you have until Thursday to join in!

Thursday also happens to be the original deadline to get the written part of my presentation for school done. It has not moved to next Monday but I am going to try to get it done over the next couple days anyway. Then I have to photograph the pieces I'm going to talk about and put together a PowerPoint. I still haven't decided what I'm going to include for sure.

I took a little field trip this afternoon and will share it either tomorrow or Thursday. Depends on how I do on some deadlines I have going on.

Have a great day!