Thursday, March 31, 2011

Proud Mama

Don't you love it when your children do things that make you proud? My daughter came home one day last week telling me about a situation at school where some girls were picking on her friend. She told me that she had stood up for her friend, but in retaliation, one of the girls started picking on her. I asked her what she did in that situation and she said she removed herself and moved to the boys' table. You know, she may not always do everything right, but she makes me proud to be her mom every day.

On another note, we had our quilting guild meeting Monday night with a special speaker, Muriel Pfaff. She appears in costume to educate you about the life of a specific woman from history (in our case, Mary Todd Lincoln) and then shows off many of her quilts.
These were taken with my phone so the quality is not great, but believe me, the quilts were beautiful.

You can probably guess who she dresses up like for this quilt. Yup, it's Betsy Ross. The back of this one was very neat because she was able to find some fabric of Betsy sitting and quilting the flag. She had another one for Amelia Earhart that had fabric with little biplanes on it. I would love to be this creative.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Getting it under control...

Okay, so not only do I have lots of goodies to report that I picked up during the Quilt Shop Hop, I am also in the midst of several projects, none of which have been completed yet. I think I'm going to take heed of my DH's words and complete something before I start something new.

New Project:
I have a baby shower to go to in a couple of weeks so I got the crazy idea that I might be able to start and finish a baby quilt for it. This is a modified version of Amy Smart's Chain Linked quilt. I'm just using bright colors and lots of prints.

Ongoing Projects:

The top is finished to my On the Road to Spring quilt. I have the batting ready; I just need to piece together the back and I'll be ready to put it together.
As my strip stash grows, I keep adding more blocks to my version of Film in the Fridge's string quilt. It's a bit slower since it depends on the variety and type of strips I have in my stash but it's coming along .
Okay, so the stack on the right has been trimmed and stack on the left, well... not so much. This charm pack quilt is going to take a while. Probably quite a while...

Completed projects awaiting quilting: uh, yeah, that's zero.
Completed projects awaiting binding: um, see, yeah, that's zero too.

Okay, so maybe I don't have a lot to show for my progress thus far, but I have goodies that I bought at the Shop Hop!

I really had no idea I had bought quite as much as I did. It was only a few thing here and there, but with 11 shops I guess it added up. I got a great bundle of Amy Butler fabric, a pack of 6 black/white fat quarters, several fat eighths and assorted fat quarters. I've already used some of the dinosaur and pirate fabric for my boy quilt, and I also got some of that Georgia fabric they developed.

Hmmmm.... I love it! I just haven't decided what to do with it. A girl at A Scarlet Thread mentioned using it as part of a t-shirt quilt where the t-shirts are from various GA locations. Maybe. Maybe not. We'll see. Good luck with your projects!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: Hobo bag, modified

Okay, so my plan for Tutorial Tuesday is to either create my own tutorials or to show items I have made using other bloggers' wonderful tutorials. Today is the latter. Last weekend I was in need of a gift for an 8 year old girl so I created the following bag for use as a beach bag.
I used simply modern mom's Hobo Dance Bag Tutorial and found it very easy. I made only a few minor modifications to her original tutorial. After cutting my outside purse pieces, I added an applique letter to the front (the polka dots make it blend a bit) using Skip to My Lou's free printable letters for applique. I printed and cut out the letter I chose to use. Then I flipped my letter backwards and traced it on the paper side of a piece of Heat n' Bond.
 I cut out the Heat n' Bond letter and ironed it to the wrong side of my fabric following the instructions of the package. I then cut out my letter again, removed the paper, and ironed it to the front piece of the purse on the right side. I then machine stitched close to the edge of the fabric using a straight stitch. You could do this using a zigzag stitch as well, or you could handstitch it down using a blanket stitch.

I also added a pocket on the inside of the bag to keep little items that 8 year old girls like to carry around. Plus, I just can't make a bag without a pocket! I added the pocket at the beginning as well, right after cutting all the pieces for the inside and outside of the bag. I also added some medium weight interfacing to the outside bag pieces to give it some substance. I have noticed that some tutorials add their interfacing to the lining fabric but I like to put it on the outside fabric as it also keeps it smooth.
Instead of using  plain strips of fabric for the handles, I created tubes of fabric with which to create the braids. This was done because I used a cotton fabric rather than a canvas type fabric like in the original tutorial. I really didn't want to have to deal with fraying fabric. I just cut 2 1/2" strips of material in the length she recommended and created a long rectangle. Next, I folded the rectangle in half with right sides together to create a long, skinnier rectangle.  You can iron it if it helps you. Align the edges and sew a 1/4" seam along the edge using a straight stitch. 

You can then use attach a safety pin to one end and feed it back through so that it is right side out. After creating 3 tubes of both fabrics, I used the original instructions to attach one side of the handle and continued with her instructions from there.

I LOVE this bag. The 8 year old's mom has already hinted how much she loves it as well. I think she'd like one of her own. What's rolling around in my head right now is how to modify it in order to add a zipper. To add a magnetic clasp would be very easy to do. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Manic Monday...

Girl Scout incentive pickup, ballet, t-ball game (cancelled due to wet field), dinner, Quilt Guild meeting. All of this AFTER starting to clean the house, finishing the laundry for the weekend, spending an hour and a half trimming squares for my charm pack quilt, going to Hobby Lobby and going to the grocery store. Is it time to breathe yet?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Serene Sunday...

A beautiful church in Atlanta I saw while on my quilt shop venture this week.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Atlanta Quilt Shop Hop 2011: Done!!

Well, I finished it. And 11 quilt shops all around Atlanta in 3 days is no minor task, let me tell you. But it's nice when you have good company. Thanks for going with me today, Helen!
Anyway, we started our day at Little Quilts in Marietta. How do you get there? Well, first you have to pass the big chicken...
Can I just say I have never seen the big chicken, but he is totally cool! His mouth opens and shuts, and his eyes move around in alternating circles. I want one. Do they make mini ones? I had to take a picture of it for my kids. They'd love one too. What were we talking about? Oh yeah, quilt shops. Little Quilts is great. It is yet another shop set up like a house which I love.

Excuse my open car door; I had to back up enough to get the whole sign. They have a great selection of civil war type fabric if you're into that but they also carry a lot of more modern type fabrics which I love.
Next we went a few streets over to Tiny Stitches. I love their take on the "Quilter's Tour of Homes" quilt blocks. Instead of creating a quilt, they put theirs into a book and created a story which incorporated each block.
I loved it! I don't know that I would make a house quilt but I really liked the idea of a book. This would be a great way to make something for a small child. Our last stop in Marietta was Red Hen Fabrics. Forgive me as I momentarily vent; how is it that Marietta gets three quilt shops and all the other shops seem to be spread out all over the place? Just thinking out loud here! Or thinking in type, or thinking in writing, or.... oh never mind.
Has anyone been to Red Hen Fabrics? This is posted on their website. When I saw it on the internet I thought the car was painted that way. Nope. It's a quilt. Unreal. It's like a car cover. An amazingly colorful, hancrafted car cover. The fabric store's not too shabby either. I found it rather eclectic; a barn like look outside, a mod podge of quilts inside (ranging from traditional to asian inspired), and Nirvana playing on the overhead speakers. Very interesting.
Our last stop was Stitch 'n Quilt in Mableton. The owner had taken the 'firehouse' theme to a new level by temporarily dying her hair red. All the employees wore dalmation prints and there was a really cute fire station quilt with firetrucks and dalmations on it right in the middle of the store. Very cute.

I really enjoyed my 2011 Quilt Shop Hop trip this year. I may wait a couple of years to do it again though. Once I get all the fabric I bought washed, ironed and put away, the Big Guy might not let me set foot in another store for a while. At least until I actually finish something...

Friday, March 25, 2011

More Atlanta Quilt Shop Hop and some Quick Driving!

Have you ever had one of those days where you thought, "Now why did I do that?" Yeah, well, it was definitely one of those today. After getting started on the Shop Hop yesterday, I definitely had the bug. So I decided that I would attempt to squeeze in what I could today. I was already planning another trip tomorrow to the north side in the Marietta area so I thought I'd try to knock out some of the ones on the east side that I didn't see yesterday. I can honestly say that I did not have any intentions of seeing all of them because I didn't think I had time. Needless to say, my tires are still smoking (just don't tell my husband)! I started at Patrick's in Covington. I will say, do not rely on a navigation system to get you to this place. Get where the system takes you and then drive further.
May I just say that Patrick's is quite an interesting quilt shop? It seems they decided to do some one stop shopping so they combined a quilt shop with a garden shop. Maybe a husband/wife duo started it with the intention to feed into both spouses' interests?
Look past the fertilizer, and the paper bags. Yeah, up against the wall. See the quilts and the fabric? That's the quilt shop side of Patrick's. Really kind of cool.
I was then able to go by Sweet Home Quilt Co. in Conyers. What a sweet building! I love stores in old houses! And it doesn't hurt that this house is filled with wonderful fabric and other sewing goodies.
Is that not the sweetest place you've ever seen? I love it. I also visited Patchwork Cottage in Lawrenceville and GA Sewing and Quilting in Buford. Patchwork Cottage really seemed to have gotten into the theme, "A Quilter's Tour of Homes." Their part was based on a haunted house so they had all dug into their Halloween decorations at home to put the store in full haunting mode. I had such a wonderful time.
I will say it is very interesting to drive from one side of Atlanta to the other at any time of the day. I thought I would be okay with it being just after lunch time. However, this is Atlanta we're talking about so there has to be some major traffic at all times. Needless to say I made it to the school on time to pick up the kiddos at the end of the day. Only to find out that, "Oops, he did it again," Little Man had gotten yet another oops note at school for behavior. I will say it is usually silly behavior and not mean or aggressive behavior. Not that it makes it any better to see that little white slip of paper in his backpack...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Atlanta Quilt Shop Hop and Sewing Goodies!

My friend Mitzi and I braved Atlanta traffic today to start hitting some of the great quilt shops participating in the Atlanta Quilt Shop Hop this year. I was unfamiliar with the wonderful quilt shops around the Atlanta area so this was a great way for me to get out there and see which stores fit what I like to create. First we hit Intown Quilters in Decatur. They had a great selection, were very friendly and knowledgeable, and I was able to pick up some of the last available 'Georgia' fabric they had while I was there.
Then we ventured southward to A Scarlet Thread in McDonough.
Okay, someone just needs to find me a corner to hang out in at both of these stores because I was loving everything they had. Too bad money really doesn't grow on trees. Sigh....
When we arrived we saw two members of our very own quilting guild outside in the cold wind selling raffle tickets for our beautiful opportunity quilt. You rock ladies! I was only able to stand out there for a few minutes before making a mad dash inside. We also visited Quilts n' Fixins in Jonesboro. All shops had little baggies for visitors which included a free quilt block. They also have charms at each store so you can create a momento of your shopping trip craziness!
Other than shop hopping today, my MIL visited last night and brought me a large box.

What could be inside said box, you say? Sewing goodies. These were things she'd saved over the years so there were things to be saved, things to be ditched and things to be boxed up to take to our quilting guild meeting to see if others might be able to use them. I salvaged some fabric, buttons, snaps, and hem tape for myself.
These are the goodies for the quilting guild. I'll drop these by at our meeting next week. Ribbon, binding tape, ric-rac, and assorted odds and ends. And I just know someone's dying for that retro 70's tin to store stuff in. Gotta have it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring is Springing...

I love spring. I started really getting into photographing the birds around our house during the springtime several years ago. One of my favorite birds was Tom. That was actually short for 'Peeping Tom' since he loved to light on the window to our deck so he could look into the house. He did this so often, he acquired his name and it stuck.
Tom was quite photogenic and seemed to know it. He was very much a ham when he knew I had the camera out and frequently got his picture taken.

Handsome, huh? Yeah, she thought so too.

So they moved into the birdhouse, had some babies both in the spring and in the fall, then they moved on. Now their children come back every year and do the same. And even in this economic climate, I think we may have some buyers...

Maybe they'll just rent for now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Starting a blog

Hmmm... I've thought about doing this for a long time but wasn't sure I'd ever go through with it. I give it up to Mitzi at for encouraging me to start! I love your blog, Mitzi! Hopefully this will give me a way to post things I do but also give me an option for staying in touch with far away family so they can keep up with what we do.
I'm currently working on several quilts and am working on two different quilt alongs. First I'm working on Randi's "On the Road to Spring" quilt in various shades of pink, black and a hint of green. This one actually has a very personal story behind it.
I'm also doing a more muted and organic looking version of Karrie Lyne's charm pack quilt.
I actually expect this one to take quite a while because it is much more involved. I am still working on the basic squares and have quite a long way to go.
And (because we crafters just can't work on one thing at a time!) I'm also working on something to use up all those scraps. I chose to do a paper pieced string quilt by Film in the Fridge. I love ALL of her quilts!

Hopefully some of these will get finished soon. I am attempting to do most of my own machine quilting unless it is too large so these will reach completion in time!