Monday, June 27, 2011

Makin' It

Remember David Naughton?  Nine times out of ten I have this song running through my head.  (The tenth time it's usually the theme to "Mr. Belvedere.")

David is back on this blog to tell you about how I've been Makin' It.  "It" in this case being a brand new quilt!

For this new quilt for my nephew Henry, I'm just using squares -- patterned squares and white squares.  That sounds boring, but actually you can make a lot of different shapes and patterns when you combine them in the following way.

First, pin a patterned square to a white square, right sides facing each other:

Then, using your ruler and a water-soluble marker or pencil, draw a straight line from one corner to another:

Using this line for reference, sew 1/4" away from the pencil line on both sides so you end up with two seams:

Then, cut down the pencil line so you have two triangles:

Finally, open the triangles, press the hems, and you end up with two squares 1/2 white and 1/2 patterned!

These 1/2-and-1/2 squares can then be combined in so many different designs and patterns.  I think for Henry's quilt I'm going to make chevron stripes!

Thanks David Naughton!!!!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Spray Painting in the Candle Light

Sounds romantic, doesn't it?

Actually, it actually refers to some wooden leaf-shaped wall candle sconces I just spray painted the other day.  Are "wooden leaf-shaped wall candle sconces" a thing?  I just mean that they look like this:

Pretty cute right?  I found them on Etsy.  Now I know some people are against painting wood, but let me assure you that these were poorly-stained plywood with lots of blobs and patches and not things of beauty.  So we do not have any qualms about painting them.

After a coat of spray primer and two coats of white spray paint, they look like this:

Ummmmm...  semi-cute?  I probably should have sanded them first or filled in the deep grain areas with wood filler, but I figure they will be up on a wall with a candle or something on the little shelf so it's not such a big deal.  Also, I was high on fumes!  JK!  Not really.

I am thinking that they might be a part of the mini-makeover of my bedroom (which is still in progress) (actually which has not yet begun).   According to UPS Tracking, the curtain fabric should be arriving today!  GET EXCITED!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More Peeps!

Hot on the heels of my recent semi-successful Castle Peeps quilt, I was powerless against the cuteness of the new Lizzy House fabric collection called 1,001 Peeps!  I picked up a set in the dusk palette.

Genies and sultans!  And I think a magic carpet!

Castle scenes and lamps:

Stars and diamonds and more castle minarets:

It's like ALADDIN!  A whole new world!

Speaking of Aladdin, when I lived in NYC, my friends and I used to go to this semi-gross karaoke bar in Chinatown called Winnie's.  The best time we were there, a group of SUPER DRUNK Japanese businessmen got up and sang "A Whole New World" from Aladdin with their arms around each other, swaying back and forth the whole time.  It was magical!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011



No, of course not.

As I'm sure you can't wait to find out, CBT is "continuous bias tape" -- a long strip of material cut on the bias.  You make it by cutting a rectangle of fabric at a 45 degree angle (so the threads are diagonal instead of up-and-down), sewing that fabric into a parallelogram, sewing your parallelogram into a tube, then cutting that tube into strips!

Here are my yards and yards of tape made from 1 yard of turquoise fabric:

See how the grain of the fabric is diagonal?  Ignore jagged edges.  Need new scissors.

I'm not going to lie to you.  It was very complicated.

Luckily, there were detailed instructions in my favorite sewing book, so I was able to manage.

I did run into one problem where I just couldn't figure out how to make the parallelogram.  I had to ask my husband for help.  I ask him for help all the time on my sewing projects!  This is how he helps:

Me:  Can you help me with this?  My brain is so confused!

Husband:  Sure.  What are you trying to do?

Me:  [Reads the directions out loud, very slowly.  Immediately figures out how to do it correctly.]

Husband:  What???  What language is that in?  What is "BI-AAASSS"????

Me:  Don't worry!  I figured it out!

Husband:  Well, ok.  [Goes back to watching Swamp Brothers on TV]


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Personal Note

Last night I was quilting while wearing half-moon reading glasses (on a chain) and thinking about what my life would be like if I lived in the "Game of Thrones" world.

How much more nerdy could that be?  The answer is none.  None more nerdy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Castle Quilt Completed!

I finished the castle quilt!  Yay!!!!!!!!  I'm very glad it's done.  I really ran out of steam near the end and was just sort of racing to finish it.  That may have resulted in a reduction of quality control, but that's OK. It was still a good project, and I noticed that my blocks are much more lined up than in the past!  So I must be improving or learning or something.  Me learn good.

Front view (see how most many some of the blocks line up!):

Back view (you can sort of see the diagonal quilting):

I'm happy it is done, but there are two things that I'm not totally happy with.

The first one is the actual quilting.  I'm still only quilting in straight lines, but I wanted to do something a little different, so I sketched out this pattern:

Once I had a pattern, I used painter's tape (the blue stuff) to mark my lines.  Although the quilt turned out to be slightly smaller than twin size, it was still the biggest one I've made.  As such, I found it very difficult to do the actual quilting -- there was so much material all over that it was hard to contain it and keep it smoothed out.  I had a lot of problems with the fabric between the last few of each quadrant of the quilted lines bunching up.  Luckily, however, once I washed the quilt and the fabric squished up, the bunches became less obvious.

I'm also not happy with the binding.  I usually machine sew the binding onto the front of the quilt, then fold it over and hand sew it to the back.  This time, I pinned the binding directly into place on the quilt and sewed it on through the front and the back.  I don't think it looks so good:

So in the future I'm going to go back to doing it the old way.  This was was much quicker for sure -- but the results are a little less cute.

I'll also have you know that I made a matching pillow using the leftover fabrics!  The pillow insert came from Ikea - it is the 16 x 24 size which is slightly smaller than a standard pillow.

The good news is that even though I am not 100% happy with this quilt, my son just loves it!  He was using it to watch TV:

And now it's on his bed as a summer-weight blanket (those Star Wars decals are lookin' gooooood):

So, all things considered, I think this project was a success!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Soggy Boy Project Alert!

Even though I am not 100% done with the Castle Peeps quilt, I am already a-rarin' to go on my next project.  (PLUS I have several other projects in the pipeline -- including bolster pillows, more curtains and a hat!)

Apparently, after I made this quilt for my baby niece, her older brother got a soggy face and said "where's my quilt?"  SAD!!!

So now I am going to tackle a toddler-boy appropriate quilt.  Here's what I know: he loves the color LELLOW!  Also, his room is green (like a pickle) so I wanted some fun fabrics that incorporated those hues.

Enter the Red Letter Day collection by Lizzy House:

I really love this print especially!

I sure hope my nephew likes his new quilt and it makes him turn that frown upside down!  (Well, in around 4 to 6 weeks from now or whenever it is done).  Also, I just heard he doesn't poop the bed any more!  YAY!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Back it Up!

Now the back of the Castle Peeps quilt is done!

I wanted to feature the horizontal pattern of the "towers" print, so I did wide stripes.

Good news -- the intended owner of this quilt gives it a thumbs up!

Next step: quilting!  First, I just need to make my quilt sandwich (layer the back and the front with batting in between).  I'm hoping that this quilt can go from "almost done" to "finished" by Monday.  We will see...  My frantic reading of the "Game of Thrones" books is really cutting into valuable quilting time.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Fabric Alert!

I have so much new fabric right now!  It is making me very excited for upcoming projects.  One of my favorite collections is Spring Street by Carolyn Gavin:

There are adorable rain drops:

And birds!  Which I thought were chickens but now I'm not so sure....

My plan is to use this bundle (20 fat quarters) to tackle this quilt:

This behemoth is the "Modern Crosses" quilt featured as the cover of this book.  I bought this book specifically to make this quilt!  I love it!  Also, I am nervous!  This quilt will require greater skill in cutting and piecing accuracy than I currently possess.  I think I'm going to wait to tackle this one until I have more confidence in those areas.

Don't worry though - I have a lot of projects still to do!  Check them out tomorrow!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wild Weekend

I really went on a sewing bender this weekend!  So much sewing.  Actually, it went by quickly.

On Friday evening, I finished the 42 squares for the top of the quilt:

And by Saturday evening, I had a completed quilt top!

With questionable corners:

But cute patterns and colors.

Now I am working on the back of the quilt.  I'm thinking stripes..... we'll see!  Hope your weekend was more fun than mine!


Friday, June 10, 2011

Where The Magic Happens

Have you ever seen an episode of "Cribs" where the celebrity giving a tour of his/her house didn't say "this is where the magic happens" upon entering his/her bedroom?  The answer is no.  Because it never didn't happen.  They all say it.

Well, brace yourself, because this is where my magic happens!

Uggggh.  I am not happy with this look.   I want things to be a little more crisp and gender-neutral.  In other words, I think it is time for a mini-makeover!

I'm not going to paint or anything - but I'm thinking of replacing the drapes and duvet cover, and also changing the pillow situation.

Remember when I went to Rosie's Calico Cupboard (a happening place!) for quilt fabric?  Well, I also got some fabric that is going to be the inspiration for the makeover.  This:

It is Joel Dewberry Sunflower in Lake.   I'm going to make an oversized, rectangular bolster pillow for the bed.  I'm also going to replace the duvet with a solid white one, and rethink the pillows in general.

The final piece of the puzzle will be replacing the soggy yellow drapes with something crisp and navy.  I haven't purchased any fabric for this yet - but I have three contenders.  Let's take a look!

Option 1 is Herringbone in Lake - nice navy and white pattern.  Sort of like chevrons!  A good one!

Option 2 is Nap Sack in Lake.  Also nice.  And the name - so apropos!  Who wouldn't want to be ensconced in a nap sack?

Option 3 is Acorn Chain in Lake.   Hmmmmm......

I think I know which one I'm going to pick!  Do you have a preference?  Are you going to start calling your bed the Nap Sack?  Share!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Another Piped Pillow! In Pink!

I made this pillow this past weekend to go with the quilt for Charlotte.  I had a lot of leftovers from the quilt -- both strips and binding.  I like to have excessive supplies for a project so I can feel free to make mistakes.  Here, I used the leftover strips to make the front of the pillow and used leftover binding strips to make the piping.



To make the piping, I bought some upholstery piping cord at Joann's and sewed it into the binding strip.  Once the cord has been sewn into the binding fabric, you just sew it onto the front side of the pillow, lining up all the cut seams.  Then, sew the back of the pillow to the front as usual.  When you flip your pillow right-side out, the piping is there -- like magic!

Speaking of magic, are you into "Game of Thrones" on HBO?  I am LOVING it.  But then again I really like nerd-based-fantasy-medieval-magik-with-a-K-type entertainment.  I've just started on the books too!!!

Back to pillows, I do think this one came out pretty cute.  Next time, however, I will use bias-cut fabric instead of straight-cut fabric for the piping (the pattern will look better).

I'm gearing up for my bedroom bolster pillow project and definitely want it to be piped -- so this was good practice.  Just wait until you see the fabric I got!!!!  And watch Game of Thrones!!!  Let's discuss plot points ASAP!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer Cake!

Do you remember when V-8 introduced their non-tomato-based "V-8 Splash" fruit drinks?  This was at least 10 years ago or so.  I think Y2K madness was starting to happen at this time.  Anyway, I was getting my hair cut that summer and the hairdresser kept going on and on about how much he loved V-8 Splash and how much V-8 Splash he'd already had that day and how much V-8 Splash he was going to drink later and how V-8 Splash was the official drink of Summer '99.  This is true!

Well, it looks like this rooty-tooty fresh 'n fruity berry summer cake is going to be the official dessert of Summer '11.

I found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen.  The first time I made it, I used strawberries, and it was incredible.  This time, I used a mix of berries (blue, black & rasp).  I over-berried it and it got a little gooey in the middle, but it was still very, very good.  And sort of healthy, right??  Right!

Here it is before baking:

And after:

Yum!  Make a summer cake!  You will not regret it!  Well, you might if you are a night-eater like me, but that's another issue altogether...

Monday, June 6, 2011


I've been making pretty good progress on the Castle Peeps quilt.  I decided to use a pattern called "Square One" from the book Simplify by Camille Roskelley, using the various Castle Peeps fabrics as the squares, and keeping the borders and sashing white.

The quilt has 42 squares in it.  At first, I was just going to use various combinations of the Castle Peeps prints.  But that made the squares look too much alike.  Here are the 12 squares I've completed so far:

See?  Kind of busy AND boring (not a good combination).

To remedy this situation, I went to the quilt store (Rosie's!  Finally!  It WAS a happening place!) to look for solids and small monochrome prints in the green/brown/yellow color scheme.  According to my quilt books, these types of fabrics are called "blenders."'

I found a nice yellow print that sort of looks like it has brush strokes:

And a very interesting ombre fabric that goes from olive green to brown:

So I'm going to cut these up and add them to the remaining squares for the quilt.  I think having some solids in there will quiet down the loudness and also make the cute prints stand out more.

Only 30 squares to go!  Ugggghhhhhhh.  

PS - I also got a TON of other fabrics at Rosie's!  Look for them soon!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Finished! And Clean!


This blog needs more Jerri Blank!  Also, the quilt for baby Charlotte is finished!  I even washed it to make it soft & squishy.  This was actually the first time I'd washed one of my (3) quilts, so I was glad it came out so well.  Also, I found the cat sleeping on it, so I had to wash it.  Are you ready???

Here it is!!!  With a 5 year old for size reference!!!

And here is the back!!!  Which might be cuter than the front!!!

I decided to quilt it using diagonal lines in one direction:

I think it looks good that way -- not too busy.  Also I don't know how to do the swirly-designy quilting.  So straight lines it is!

I'm very happy with it!  I hope my sister likes it too.  Now I just have to make a little pillow to go with it.  And get started on the next one!  Such is the quilter's burden.....