Thursday, January 29, 2009

Still sewing

I have had busy week (hubby has been home a lot with gall bladder problems - he's seeing a surgeon in 2 weeks - yay!) but part of being busy has been sewing. I have kept up with my goal, 28 days so far! Project Improv has inspired me so much. I have made more wonky log cabins, and more and more...I replaced a lot of my first ones. I fell into a log cabin groove and figured out how I wanted them to look, so of course that meant starting over with some of them.

I also started some 'string' blocks. I am loving these so much! This piece below will become a table runner... I am off to the fabric store today to get some solids for the borders, and there will be some applique somewhere on the borders. Not sure exactly what or where yet. Still thinking on that. I am excited to get some hand applique going again.

And this long strippy piece will become placemats. I have two of these long pieces.

I also decided to do some string blocks in colors that I just don't work with. Why not stretch myself??? Brenda (from Pumpkin Patch Primitives), you will like these colors a lot better lol!! The long red strips are felted wool. Still deciding which configuration to use, the 'X' or the square...

All of this sewing has meant I have been spending many hours in the basement in my quilt room. It gets pretty lonely down there sometimes, and I have a radio/cd/mp3 player my hubby bought me for Christmas, so I actually took it out of the box and started using it. After giving up on talk-back radio I went to the library and got a talking book on CD. I read all the Twilight books this summer, so I stuck with the whole Stephanie Myer theme and took out "The Host". That sucker is 24 hours long!! I am onto CD number 5 of about 20. Believe it or not, a science fiction/alien story can be good to quilt to:)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kitchen Love

When we bought this house 1 1/2 years ago, it wasn't for the kitchen. It has 40 year old cabinets which are just ugly ugly ugly, and faux brick on the walls from the 70's. The old owners had put it up themselves, and thought it was quite the selling point. I didn't want to point out the ugliness of the orange-tinged cabinets with the pink-tinged brick. But with there not being a spare 50K or so in the budget right now, it all gets to stay!! There was however $25 in the budget when we bought the house for paint! So my ugly kitchen got a little taste of the good life with new orange walls. I know you have all heard me talk about my orange kitchen, and even seen photos of it. Well last week it got stepped up a notch.

A friend from church, Shannon, is an architect and a phenomenal organizer. She offered to help one person re-organize any one room in their home and give them lots of pointers on how to make it a better workable space. So we all put our names in a hat, and mine.....wasn't picked. Not what you were expecting, right?! But I just KNEW that I was the person meant for this mini-makeover, so I wasn't surprised at all (OK so I was totally surprised!) when Shannon called me to say that the original person drawn couldn't do it, so they pulled another name was drawn and it was me! Woo Hoo!!

So Shannon came over, took lots of before photos, then we got to work. (I will get her to send me some before photos and add them here when I get them)

I chose my kitchen to be re-done. She took everything out of my cupboards and re-organized them in ways that I had never even thought of, but which make so much more sense. Then she wrote a list of homework for me to do over the next week, such as clean out my junk drawer, (admit it, we all have one)so here are my newly cleaned out junk drawers - yes I had more than one...
There were several things I needed to get, including shelving. Her idea was to put some shelves up high along two walls and move all my 'pretties' up there, which would in turn create more space in the cupboards where they were stored. I LOVED this idea, as I miss having space above my cabinets to do this with.

I bought the shelves and brackets ($44 for everything at Home Depot), and really got into the spirit of it all and made curtains and the bag bag which you saw in a previous post. I already had a bolt of white muslin, so I just bought 2 yards of the orange polka dot at Joann's and made some simple but cherry curtains.
I had some Homegoods/TJ Max gift cards, so I bought some orange cooking utensils and a few things to put up on my new shelves.

Well when Shannon came back to install the shelf and take 'after' photos, she was so excited to see that I had made the curtains etc. She said not everyone does their 'homework'! I will admit that I didn't do one thing on the list - I was supposed to clean out my fridge. I just ran out of time, BUT Shannon, if you are reading this, it's all done now!

Shannon and I installed the shelves, and when we put all my stuff on them, it was like magic - I fell in love with my kitchen!
I have always loved my orange walls, but I knew it all needed to be pulled together better. For some reason, the cabinets and faux brick don't seem so bad anymore, and my huge table/chairs seem smaller. Best of all, we seem to be spending more time in there. I actually look forward to being in there now! I do plan on painting the cabinets and brick, but am waiting for warmer temperatures to do that.

And as usual, it all looks so much better in you are all invited to come on over and check it out - I'll even make cinnamon rolls for the occassion ;)

And now you know the story of how I fell in love....with my kitchen:)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Log Cabin Improv

15 days and counting! Still stitching here in New Hampshire ;) Sometimes it doesn't start until 11.30 and goes until 1am - OK I'll admit, that's exactly what happened tonight. But I do have photos to share!

You all saw the pink and orange improvised log cabin in my last post. Well I am now working on my actual project, and decided to keep going with the log cabin theme. I haven't actually done many in my quilting life. I never really liked them that much. BUT I am in love with the wonky improv kind. Maybe it's just the traditional ones I don't like?

So I pulled a Kaffe fabric from my stash that I bought last year specifially to be a border in a quilt. I had no idea what that quilt would be at the time, all I knew was that I had to make one using it!

I pulled the colors for my blocks from the Kaffe fabric. I do this ALL the time with my quilts - it's my favorite method of choosing colors. This way you know that your blocks will all look great together. After all, if the colors were good enough to be put in fabric together, then they are good enough to combine in blocks. I haven't gone wrong with this method yet!

For this project, I only chose 3 colors. Red, blue, and green. My main goal with this project was to do something out of my comfort zone. First to fit the bill was using log cabins. Second was to use solids. I can confidently say that I now love solids! I think I need to buy a yard of solids in every different color!

Back to the plan is to make some kind of 'Welcome' wallhanging for my living room entry way. Right now it is looking very plain and unwelcoming, since all the Fall and Christmas decorations are put away.See? Told you! The colors are a little off - I mean, I did just take the photo at 1am and the flash makes it look awful!

Anyway.....I am just trying to figure out a good design for the blocks (I will be making more), the border fabric, and the word welcome somewhere in there. Perhaps even a wonky house or two might make an appearance. If you have any ideas, please let me know! I think it needs to be horizontal to fit the space. Oh, and DON'T tell my husband, but I plan on painting my living room soon - preferably while he is at work one day. I love the brown, and was quite insistent on painting it that when we moved in, but it has run it's course. I think a nice light aqua with white trim would do the trick. Darling, I really hope you're not reading this!! Opposite this space, on the other wall, is this quilt, so you can see I'm going for the whole red/aqua theme...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Project Improv

I know a lot of you are involved in Project Improv over at Jacquie's blog, Tallgrass Praire Studio, and I am too. See the button I have over on the left hand column? Go on, have a's right there, underneath my blog archives...see it now? Ok, now click on it - it will take you over to Jacquie's post where you can read all about it.

A brief rundown, in case you didn't click on the button (will you just do it already!) is that each participant will make a quilt - any kind, any size, but we aren't allowed to use a pattern. We need to just do it 'improv' style - you know, wonky log cabins, houses, stars, whatever we feel like, but we pretty much have to just make it up as we go along, and try something new in the process. I haven't decided yet what I am going to make, but I do know my 'something new' is to incorporate solids. I really don't do solids, but I just love the way that Jacquie uses them, so I bought some over the weekend and we will see what happens!

Now, another important part of Project Improv is that each participant (there are over 100 of us - wow!) is to make a 12.5" log cabin block and they will all be made into charity quilts. We got to choose which colors we would do it in - aqua/red, orange/pink, or green/blue. I chose orange/pink, and made my block last night. And just so you can see how much snow we have, I also took a photo of the block from far far away....can I just say right now how much I love our snowblower?!
Now if you saw my kitchen you would know I love orange, and after making my block last night, I am leaning towards doing an orange/pink quilt for my project to put in the kitchen. There have been many changes in my kitchen this last week which I still need to blog about - it's coming, I promise! I am 11 days into my goal now. I even sewed today already - I fixed a zipper in a friend's hubby's pants. I know, it's not quilting, but it's still sewing!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Bag Bag

So far, so good...I have taken a stitch in something every day since Jan 2nd. This could become I habit...I hope!

Today I want to show you the "Bag Bag" I made. What do you call these things anyway? I like Bag Bag - a fellow Kiwi blogger, Liz, (check out her blog and please leave a comment if you have a moment - I'm sure she's sick of reading my lone comments!) calls them that and I like it too, so that's what I'm calling them from now on.

I was inspired by the one shown on Pink Penguin, as it was different from the usual cylindrical ones you see, (and I have made in the past) and Ayumi surprised me by leaving a comment along with her measurements! I ended up making mine a little bigger - it finishes at around 20"x8", but I had a lot of bags to stuff in there... I didn't use any batting or do any quilting, but I did use Craft Fuse which gave it a nice firm finish. Best of all, I was able to use some of my very favorite scraps, and a piece of vintage ribbon which came in a package I won back here. Oh and the only reason it is hanging where it is, is because the old owners of our house had put a hook in the ceiling there to hang a plant, and well, I was just desperate to hang it somewhere - anywhere - to see how it looked!
Now you may see some orange polka dotted curtains behind the bag...I need to save something to share next time, so the story of how and why they came to be will be revealed in the next day or two. Needless to say, it has been a very busy weekend!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

6 Days...

Oh yes, I have indeed stitched for 6 days in a row. I can hardly believe it myself! I must admit though, that for 3 of those days I didn't do any stitching until 11.30 at night and squeezed it in just so I could keep on track. But it still counts, right?!!

I have just finished sewing down the binding on another mini quilt. This one is 8x9" I used some yummy wools for the background - they were so nice to work with! And we happen to have had snow again last night, so I thought real snow would make an interesting background for a quilt with 'woolen' snow!

I didn't need to look any further than out my living room windows to get inspiration for this one. Lots of snow, blue/grey skies and bare trees. That about sums it up! Plus with the ice-storms we have been having, there are a lot of lop-sided trees in NH at the moment. If you want to read more about that, you can pop over to my other blog where I did a post about it back in December.

But back to the little quilt, since showing the quilting on the back was so popular with my tiny house, I took a photo of the back of this one too, though you won't see the quilting as well because of the patterned background...

So on my sewing schedule today is a bag to put my grocery bags in. At first I was thinking of doing a cylindrical one like this...BUT then I saw this lovely one on Pink Penguin yesterday, and am leaning heavily to that style. I could use lots of scraps and just do wonky strips. So in other words, today I plan to do some stripping!

Monday, January 5, 2009

3 days in a row

Yes I have actually sewn for 3 days in a row. I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but as my MIL Carmen says, baby steps!!

I have finished the two mini quilts I showed in my last post. First up, the wonky log cabins...

I realized that this may be the first quilt I have ever made using just one line of fabric. Usually I take the planned-scrappy approach, using fabrics from many fabric lines. It is interesting how easy it is to co-ordinate fabrics when they all come from the same line. Fancy that! And though I didn't plan it this way, the quilt fits perfectly on the shelf with all my doo-dads. I suppose it has found it's home:)

Next is the tiny house. It is only about 6x8 inches, so quite small. I really had fun playing with the quilting, so of course I had to take a photo of the back for you to see...

Then last night I started on another little quilt. The only stitching done so far is joining the blue wool to the white wool. But it is indeed stitching, so it does count!! I'll tell you more about it tomorrow when it hopefully will be done.

So far I am really enjoying this challenge I have set for myself. I am very motivated to both sew and blog. I really hope I can keep the motivation up!

Friday, January 2, 2009

New mini-quilts

So I made this goal for the new year. I planned on stitching something every day for a year. It could be anything - stitches with a sewing machine, hand applique, sewing a button on hubby's shirt, anything! Well January 1st came and went and I failed my goal. In one day! Can anyone beat that???! I think my 'year' will have to end January 2nd 2010!

But tonight I made up for it. I had 3 wonky log cabins made from the Flea Market Fancy fabrics I won a few posts back, and some houses I was going to make something with for the recent craft fair I vended at. The houses and log cabin blocks were still on my design wall saying, "Quilt me! Quilt me!!", and so I listened to their pleas.

I am going to make lots of mini quilts this year. I would love to just plaster the walls in my home with them! Brenda at Pumpkin Patch Primitives is my inspiration for this. We have become great friends - in REAL life! Wow! - and the only kind of quilts she makes are little ones. You walk in her home and every wall and horizontal surface is tastefully decorated with mini-quilts. I have learned from her that you can put quilts anywhere you want! So this is my year of the mini quilt.

My cabins and house are not quite finished - I just have to stitch down the bindings, (which will fulfil my stitching requirement for tomorrow) but here is a sneak peek for now, hanging threads and all... The good thing about my goal for the year is that I should have a lot of things to show and share with you. I'm back on the blog-train!!