Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day Coming

Well, twice a year Sew Mama Sew! has a huge blogland giveaway day--I'm sure you've all participated in it.  I've even won a couple of items--which is shocking, because I have the worst luck with drawings. 

Every time I think I'm going to participate next round, but then I get busy and time flies and I totally forget about it until I start seeing giveaways on my blog following list and think "oh crap, missed it again".  Well, not this time!  I tweeted Sew Mama Sew to get the date ahead (May 21st BTW) just so I could get ready.  Now I just need to decide what to giveaway--I kind of cover quilting, sewing and crafting on this blog, so it could be from any of those categories.  Maybe a finished item or maybe supplies.  What do you think?  What would you like to see in a giveaway?

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Congrats to My Sis!

Just a quick moment of total bragging here.

My sister just got the notice that she passed the Oregon Bar!!!  She'll be sworn in as a licensed attorney for Oregon on her birthday--May 10th.  (She is also licensed in Montana were she lived for a few years.)

Anyway, I'm just so proud---that's a lot of work (and memorizing and stress).

Way to go Sis!  Watch out world you just got one heck of an attorney!
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rapid And Tiny Zakka Swap--RATZ

A fun new swap group is starting--come join me in the fun!  It's the Rapid and Tiny Zakka Swap or as we like to call it the RATZ Swap!  RATZ

Some of us from the Doll Quilt Swap wanted some quick, easy swaps between rounds, so this new group was born.  We'll be making and swapping small usable items like grocery bags, cup cozies, zip bags, luggage tags, inches, etc.  Our first round is key fobs--how fun is that!  There are so many cool tutorials and patterns out there that I've always wanted to try, now I have the perfect excuse.  This is an international, no extras included, swap--keeping it simple--you just create the item, stick it in an envelope and mail it off.  Everything is fairly small and light weight keeping postage down--and everything is quick and easy to make, keeping time involved down!  Join in on the rounds you want and watch on the ones you don't--but always have fun in the commentary!

For those who are wondering what exactly a zakka item is, here's Wikipedia's definition:

Zakka (from the Japanese 'zak-ka'(雑貨)or 'many things') is a fashion and design phenomenon that has spread from Japan throughout Asia. The term refers to everything and anything that improves your home, life and appearance. It is often based on household items from the West that are regarded as kitsch in their countries of origin, but it can also be Japanese goods, mainly from the fifties, sixties, and seventies. In Japan there are also so-called Asian zakka stores; that usually refers to Southeast Asia. The interest in Nordic design or Scandinavian design, both contemporary and past, is also part of this zakka movement. Zakka can also be contemporary handicraft.
Zakka has also been described as "the art of seeing the savvy in the ordinary and mundane". The zakka boom could be recognized as merely another in a series of consumer fads, but it also touches issues of self-expression and spirituality. "Cute, corny and kitschy is not enough. To qualify as a zakka, a product must be attractive, sensitive, and laden with subtext."

I hope you all join in the fun!

Oh and here's a bit of fun now--a discount code for  It expires 4/30/12 at midnight, but you can use it as many times as you want.  For 20% off a purchase of $40 or more, just use code FB412.  Have fun shopping!
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Monday, April 9, 2012

DQS 12 Sent - Wildflower Wonky

Busy, rainy Spring Break; four days of school and then a four day weekend with absolutely beautiful weather!  And was I ever busy.  But...the taxes are done and ready for the preparer, snuggle blanket of minky sewn and given, sewing area sort of cleaned up, lots of walks in the sunshine, bird feeders refilled (how is it that such tiny creatures eat so much?), and oh, yeah, my doll quilt got finished and mailed.  I'm kind of tired, but I've got one last thing to do--show it off to all of you!

Before I forget, here's some fun goodies I sent along--2 fat quarters (who doesn't like more fabric--ha ha, I sound like that commerical "who doesn't want more cash"), some of my favorite chocolates, and the book Zakka Style which is full of lovely projects.

Okay, back to the quilt.  I decided, after much debating on patterns to go with a wonky or liberated log cabin style.  (We were to incorporate one of the following blocks into the design: flying geese, log cabin, churn dash, drunkard's path and New York Beauty; and have a total of six blocks minimum, plus not use any white/cream solids.)  My partner loves contemporary quilts, so I thought she'd like that.  There are a total of 20 blocks ranging between 3.5 inches and around 5 inches long (all are 4 inches wide).  I used a no-show mesh stabilizer as a foundation to sew the fabric to--an idea I got from the book String Quilt Revival.  I found the stabilizer both on the authors' website and at Nancy's Notions.

I really wanted to try an all solids quilt after reading through City Quilts by Cherri House.  After some thorough "stalking", I was inspired by images of the area where my partner lives.  The landscape is stunning when all the wildflowers come out!  So, I selected some colors from the multitude of wildflowers, keeping with the warm, yellow-based tones that my partner seems to prefer.

Here are the blocks arranged but not sewn together yet.  You can see bits of the white foundation mesh where the fabric is floating up.

I made a pieced label incorporating the fabrics from the front.

That's right--no peeking!  It's a secret swap until it arrives!
I debated back and forth about piecing the back or even using a print, but in the end, I went with my gut and stuck to a solid.  I think it was the right choice--the quilting looks better on the solid than I think it would have looked otherwise.

The back is quilted with a 100% cotton multi-color Coats & Clark machine quilting thread that blends from red to orange to green.  It is a 50 weight thread.  It gave me no trouble in the bobbin.
The quilting is a continuous rectangle spiraling outward.  With different threads for the front and back.

For the front I used a size 30 trilobal polyester from Japan.  It is labeled Signature, A&E Inc., Pixelles and is called Sunrise.  This multicolored thread blends from deep red to orange to yellow and has a slight silky sheen to it.  Very easy to quilt with.
The binding is done in the same fabric as the back (although I did consider using some Pure Organics Steel).  I think this helped to add a finished line to the quilt without detracting from the design with something too stark like black.  I'll be doing a tutorial later on the way I did the mitered corner binding (hint:  its not the typical method, but it is easy).

I love how this turned out!  Creating this quilt was a lot like using crayons--there were no prints to distract the eye or hide in.  The design, while simple in idea, actually took a bit of thought and planning so that the colors and shapes all played nicely together.  The quilting was kept simple so as not to compete with all the lines of color, but add its own dimension too.  Contemporary quilts always look so simple to me, but having finished this little one, I can honestly say there's a whole lot more that goes into their design.  I think there might just be a few more contemporary quilts in my future!

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Doll Quilt Swap 12 Received!

All the way from Cary, North Carolina, comes a little doll quilt to my door...or post office box as the case may be.  The lovely Nichole Partridge (partridgepeartree) made me this adorable mini quilt and sent along a few goodies to boot!

Do you see that Kaffe Fassett fat quarter?  Nichole really did her homework--I love Kaffe!
Nichole sent along a cute little journal (I'm thinking of using it as my quilt ideas book) and some extra fabric including some fabulous houndstooth print and some Kaffe Fassett.  I already know what I want to do with each (which, believe me is rare, I'm someone who debates a million ideas usually).

But, of course, the best part is the doll quilt!  My partner must have spent quite some time "stalking" me because she really nailed it with this one.  I love all the scrappy bits this little quilt has--something new to discover each time I look at it.  I also have a fondness for all those lovely red and aqua/turquoise quilts out there so I am happy to finally have one of my very own.  And, well, I just can't help liking these wonky (or liberated) churn dash blocks.  You might remember that last year I had a bee block done with large liberated churn dash blocks in black and white fabrics.  Let me just say these little guys are way cuter!  The combination of prints and wonky is just right for lending the quilt a bit of quirky happiness that makes me smile when I look at it.

I love that the border is made up of uneven blocks which fits the style of the blocks so much better than if they were all the same size/shape.
Here's the back of the quilt--again, gorgeous, cheerful fabric.  Judging from this quilt, Nichole has great taste in fabrics--her stash must be fabulous to stare at!  :)

When this quilt arrived, I told Stars--"here's our new wall quiltie" and he looked up at the blank spot on the wall and then back at the envelope in my hand and smiled his big border collie smile.  Then when I took out the quilt and held it up for him to see he got up and came over to sniff and look (he's a good boy and doesn't rub his nose on the quilts) and then flopped over and started his snortle noises which he normally only makes after eating something beyond delicious or has the best time playing. 

Then tonight when I was hanging it on the wall, I put it where I thought and asked, "what do you think about here?" and all of sudden he made his whine squeak which is his not happy noise.  So I moved it over to another spot and asked about that spot and he stopped and smiled.  So that is where I left it.  (I guess he's getting particular about where I hang the art.  It was his 11th birthday yesterday, so I'll let him have his way this time, lol.)

He's never reacted this strongly to a quilt before--he must really LOVE it!  Which is good--because so do I!

I told my sister that the gang in the center is Stars as the bunny, me with the hat and my younger sister trying to peek in, lol!
 Now aren't you all just a bit jealous?
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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Super Swap--Table Runner Received

I waited for a sunny day to photograph the table runner I received from Jan Roberts for the Super Swap so you could see how cheery it is.  When I received it, it was one of those rare Spring days in Oregon that has sunshine and opening the box and seeing the table runner with the light hitting it was just beautiful.

Isn't that just lovely?  It is a pieced, quilted runner.  I love how each of the flowers and birds is different--I do love scrappiness!  The fabrics all coordinate so well together too.

Even the back is pretty--guess I could always flip it over for Summer, lol. 

Okay, before it goes back to its place as Easter/Spring decor, here's a close up on the blocks so you can see Jan's superb work of art.

Have a great Easter!
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