It looks like I will be making some New York Beauty Blocks in September, I am really looking forward to that! Tune in later this month to see them!
Only two bee blocks this month, one a tad bit easier then the other, but both a little challenging, which is always a good learning experience. The first, a String X block for "QuiltGenius" in the Quilting newBEEs group. Overall this block is simple, but I find you have to be pretty precise on the final construction to get those "white" lines to make good points. Two of my points are good, but the other two, not so much. I think my problem was that those lines that are supposed to measure a precise 1/2" weren't quite that. Oh well, hopefully she doesn't mind. Interested in making this block? Tutorial can be found HERE. This finished block measures 14.5" x 14.5." Oh and those "white" lines aren't white, but rather a nice light mint green, which is an unusual contrast to all those deep reds. Really a stunning quilt block.
Next up are Pod blocks for "spontaneousthreads" in Always Bee Learning. Since this group is based on all of us learning a new technique each month, Stephanie really came up with a good technique for all of us to learn. This technique can be found in the book "Quilting Modern" by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen. I honestly haven't had much time to really study this book, but after trying this one technique, I really want to go through the book, step by step. The technique for these blocks is really well described and easy to understand. The top left hand block is the first one that I made, and you can see that I was able to make one with no problems, first try! These are a variety of sizes, but the average is around 5" x 10." Stephanie will have quite an amazing quilt and I can't wait to see what she does with all these blocks!
It looks like I will be making some New York Beauty Blocks in September, I am really looking forward to that! Tune in later this month to see them!
Oh Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, not technically Fall, but not really the Summer anymore either. Since most beach days and time spent at the pool are over for most I thought I would share these beach robes that I actually made last year and never got around to sharing on my blog. These beach robes are from a pattern from Dana over at MADE, and are so fabulous! You can purchase The Beach Robe pattern HERE. I sewed up three of them, two for my big boy and one for my niece. I love them, and honestly think this pattern and use of towels are just genius! They work great, are easy to sew and the kids love them too.
The pattern uses either regular towels or beach towels, one or two depending on the size of the towel and size you are wanting to make. I managed to squeeze by the skin of my teeth each of these robes out of one beach towel, each one was the 3T-4T size. Since I was making the biggest size the pattern offers, I had to make the robes short sleeved in order to make these robes out of one towel, but honestly that works out great since it is so hot outside anyway! I lined the hood of each robe with either cotton prints or solids and made my own bias tape out of matching colors of cotton. All of the edges are either covered with bias tape or enclosed in some way, and the only exposed seams I used the serger to make them nice and neat. The first one I made, the girly flower one took the longest, maybe about a day, on and off, but the two for my son went together so quickly and I finished both in one day. I absolutely adore this pattern, and plan to make more for my new little guy next year when he is bigger. My son wore these last year (that is when I took these pictures) and even though he has grown considerably they still fit great this year, and I honestly think he will be able to use them next year too, which is awesome.
The most challenging part of this pattern is the cutting out process and since I bought each of these towels on clearance for less than $8.00 each, I was bound and determined to make the pattern fit onto one towel. Two of the towels (the monkey print and the blue and green color blocked) are directional prints, but with a LOT of thought, I managed to squeeze all the pattern pieces on the towels. Two of the towels also featured unusual ends, the flower print featured "Tommy Hilfiger" strips on each end that I was able to make work perfectly for the ties on the robe, and the blue and green color blocked towel had a different type of fabric on the ends that wasn't terry cloth, so I had to avoid using it for the main body, but managed to use it for the ties also, which worked out perfectly for both robes.
This pattern is a great beginner sewing project, especially if you are new to sewing clothes. Dana suggests the easy way to add sleeves (great for the beginner) or the harder (or normal way) to add sleeves, which is what I did, but either method works great and creates a very professional finish. Everyone who has seen these robes can not believe that they are handmade and wanted to know where I purchased them. Nothing better or more complimentary than that! I think you can tell from these pictures just how much my little guy enjoyed being "warmed up and dried off" after getting out of those cold pools!
Sad to see the end of Summer, but excited to bring on the colder temperatures and routines of Fall!
I had to share what has been at my table lately! This little mess! First rice cereal, below peaches and most recently sweet potatoes (not shown.) Rice cereal is good, but peaches are the pits! Ha-Ha! No seriously, he doesn't like peaches. So far sweet potatoes have been a hit. Hard to believe that he will be seven months old on Friday!
Linking up an nontraditional post to Tuesday at the Table over at A Quilter's Table! Head on over and check out everyone's delicious recipes!
...but rather an official "big boy." First day of Pre-K, as you can see, he was super excited. In his uniform and awesome new "super power" shoes that he adores. We were fortunate enough to be chosen in the "lottery" to get a slot into Pre-K, in an Arts and Technology specialized school. Even though this process was years in the making, I guess I'm still not ready, but what mother is? I didn't cry, but am a bit sad. The house is awfully quiet. When we kissed him goodbye this morning, he had the look of "wait, where are you going?" I pray that the day goes smoothly and that he isn't too upset. When we left, he was already making fast friends, which is the ultimate benefit of this whole thing, other kids to play with! Let's hope we have a happy and productive school year, filled with learning and new friends!
I ended up having a smaller amount of blocks to make in July, but alas was completing them last minute, or should I say mailing them last minute, which seems to be the hardest part for me, getting to the post office. Does anyone else hate that place, or is it just me?
First up is a block for Debbie (flickrdeb50) in the Modern Blocks Bee. She chose a rather simple block named Binary and found on pages 22-23. She stuck with all cool colors and I think this quilt will be simply beautiful. I can't wait to see how she designs this quilt.
Next up are two partial blocks for Kristina (kristina.withak) in Always Bee Learning. Her main block for the month was a simple log cabin like variation, but alas my packet was missing two central pieces, so I wasn't able to put the block together for her. Here it is below in pieces. She also asked if we were willing to make some more hexagons for her, which is what we did for her turn last year, and I was more than willing to help out. I love English Paper Piecing! You can see those Amy Butler hexagons below too.
Last but not least, it is my turn next (August) in the Modern Blocks Bee, and I have chosen to have the group members make Stargazing found on pages 178-179. I know this block looks really crazy busy, and honestly this one that I made will be the most visually busy. I sent the group a variety of fat quarters from Swanky by Chez Moi for Moda fabrics to use as the background, and the turquoise stripe is a JoAnn's print by Denyse Schmidt to be used as the stars. I can't wait to see what each block looks like since all of the backgrounds will be different!.
Now that it is August 1st, I guess the next round is on the way to me now! Am I the only one totally freaked out that it is already August? Where is the year going?
Every month Kristy over at Hopeful Threads holds a new charitable sewing event. Every month it is a different task ranging from cloth diapers to dresses, all for people in need in other countries. Be it that every month is a new goal and donation, you can join in any time and contribute. This month (July) all participating are making shorts for boys to send to Children in Families in Cambodia. Since I am surrounded by boys, I figured this would be a great month for me to contribute. Below are the pictures of the two shorts that I am contributing to this goal. Both are 18/24 month size, with a simple elastic waist. Kristy was aiming to have 100 pairs to donate, and as of right now, she already has 200! So awesome! Be sure to head over to Hopeful Threads at the beginning of August to see what Kristy announces as the new event and you too can contribute!
The next event is currently ongoing and you can join in right now! Jessica (Euphoria on Flickr) is hosting Bibs for Babies - A Charitable Event for Crafters. She is asking that you make 2 bibs and send them to her. She in turn will collect them all and donate them to Operation Baby Shower, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides joyful baby showers for military families to ease the burden of deployment. It is so great to support our military families who are working so hard for our wonderful country. Below are the two wipe-able (protective clear plastic layer on top) bibs that I am donating to this cause. They are backed with terry cloth and feature snap closures for ease of use and it keeps baby from yanking it off, which is a feature that I love when making and buying bibs! All bibs must be mailed by August 31, 2012, so you still have plenty of time to join in! Head over to the Flickr group for more information.
Oh yes friends, I am aware that we are a hop, skip and jump from August, but I promise, none of these blocks were actually late, I just don't have the blogging time that I wish I had, heck any free time these days would be so nice. Oh well, someday... enough whining, on to the blocks!
The first two are Tokyo Subway Map Blocks by Elizabeth Hartman, tutorial found HERE. These blocks are for Megan "hehehe922" in Always Bee Learning, who just had a darling baby boy, congrats Megan! She was so smart to have bee members put together these blocks for her, if I had to make this quilt, all those squares would drive me NUTS!
These square blocks are for Valarie "Between Quilts" in the Modern Blocks Bee. She let us pick from 4 blocks in the Modern Blocks Book, and I chose Pinball Machine found on page 136-137. The block looks kinda wonky in my picture, but I promise, it isn't, maybe it is just an optical illusion? The three little ones below are just free form blocks that I made for her in various sizes. Her finished quilt will be for her son and will consist of lots of these types of blocks. I think it will be so adorable and grow with him so well!
Last up are these two Granny Square blocks, tutorial found HERE. They are for Hilary "kalanchoe612" in Bee Connected. I honestly wanted to keep these blocks so badly, they are gorgeous! She had us leave them untrimmed, which I honestly thought was GENIUS! This will be a beautiful quilt, can't wait to see it finished, and now I want to make one myself!
Hope you are having a wonderful summer!
I'm getting Figgy with it!
Yes, those lovely jars contain Fig Preserves or Fig Jam as I like to call it, and it is easier to spell. Doesn't really look like figs, and to be honest, it doesn't really taste like figs either, but you won't hear me complaining. I like figs, but they aren't my favorite, and I'm not really sure what I did to create this unique tasting batch, but this jam tastes a lot like strawberries, and the pretty color lets my brain think it is strawberries too.
My mom brought over bags and bags of figs this weekend from a neighbor who was swimming in them, and since one batch was really really ripe, I decided to go ahead and cook them, thus the canned jam you are looking at here.
I jumped online, looked up this RECIPE, and got to chopping, then cooking, and finally canning. I did not want to leave the figs whole, so I quartered them, and then in the cooking process used a potato masher and mashed the heck out of them. I left the skins on and just cut off the stem and the very bottom of the fig. Below are the ingredients and measurements that I used, and I am putting it here more as a reference for myself later, like I said earlier the full recipe is available at the link above or below.
Fig Jam (or Preserves)
5 1/2 cups of quartered figs, stems and bottoms removed.
7 cups of sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 box of regular pectin
Step by step directions can be found HERE. I found this site to be very easy to follow and understand. The longest part is cleaning the figs, the rest goes really quickly!
My mom and husband seem to think that the lemon juice is what created or preserved the pretty pinkish red color, but I'm not sure. Any ideas? Maybe it was just this variety of figs, the inside was very pink/red and the outside was not very brown, but rather more of a light green/brown color. I'm rather ignorant on the matter, but was quite pleased that it turned out so pretty.
Make sure to hop on over to A Quilter's Table and visit Debbie and all the other entries this week at Tuesday a the (summer} Table!
A bit disappointed that I was unable to attend Sewing Summit later this year, also disappointed that most likely I won't be attending Quiltcon. Really extremely disappointed that I couldn't be part of the Anna Maria Horner embroidery retreat also. Do you see a trend here? I do. Blah. Being in the funk that I was, I started thinking about taking Rachel's Handstitched Class. You know, the Rachel from Stitched in Color. It would be fun to take a class this summer, so I bit the bullet and signed up. I will admit that I have done a bunch of these techniques before, but there were a few that I had never attempted, and I thought it would be great fun to learn something new.
We are already in Week 3, though we have one week of lessons and one week off, so it is really like we are in Week 2. Unfortunately for me, I am already rapidly falling behind. Seven projects have been introduced, and alas this little needle book is the only project I have completed at this point. I do so like it though, and this is the first time I have ever done reverse applique, which is really neat and has so many possibilities. The blanket and running stitch are not new to me, so I decided to take liberties with Rachel's pattern and create my own design, thus my little needle book features raindrops and a sassy little umbrella. I didn't have a fancy button, so I went with a clear one that would show off that funky thread that I saved from some packaging I received in the mail one day.
I thought the raindrop lining fabric was appropriate! If you were wondering what is next to the scissors, it is my seam ripper, never leave home without it!
Below is my selection of fabrics for the Medallion Quilt we are making in the class. A different palette for me, but I love the modern fabrics. I was getting everything ready to start, but alas had wax paper instead of freezer paper, and yes, there is a HUGE difference. Oh well, everything is a learning experience. Hopefully I can locate some freezer paper soon!
It is absolutely amazing to me that I was nominated as a finalist in the Summer Sewing Contest over at Ellison Lane Quilts. Thank you so much! Wow, I am truly blown away. If you have already voted for me, thank you, I truly appreciate it. If you have yet to vote, you can HERE, and no, I'm not asking for your vote, there are so many great finalist, you should vote for the one you love, but if you love mine, I'm number 11. Just saying.
In my original post about the Patchwork Prism, I shared that we were considering hanging it above our fireplace. Well here it is, in all its glory! We both love it and boy does it brighten up the room!
I also have a few random bits I would love to share:
I read a great blog post over at The Sometimes Crafter about the various evolutionary stages of a quilter. I loved it and thought it was so appropriate. You can read it HERE.
I am in desperate need of a new iron, and am seriously considering this model HERE. Do you know anything about Singer Irons? I am also in the serious researching stage of this sewing machine found HERE, to be used exclusively for machine quilting. Any thoughts or advice? That's it folks....