31 January 2011

ABSS Sew Along: The Cosmo Bag

As I mentioned earlier this month, I am participating in the Amy Butler Style Stitches Sew Along. I had a heck of a time getting the book because I accidentally ordered the wrong book from Amazon, but didn't realize it until I was calling around trying to find out why my order still hadn't arrived 2 1/2 weeks later! Luckily, I did realize it before our weekend trip to Wyoming and South Dakota. So I called the Borders in Rapid City to make sure they had a copy (which they did, Phew!) and was finally able to start working on my bag last week.

Across the street from Borders there happens to be a Hancock Fabric store. Sometimes I think I live on another planet because I've never heard of this store before, but it's a fabric shop so who cares. :)

While Jake was in the store next door looking for a new wool scotch cap I wandered around the fabric store. Then I found the remnants pile. I found a great piece from Robert Kaufman that was screaming for me to use it for the Cosmo Bag. I used a solid orange for the handles and the interior pocket and bottom and a cute mustard floral for the rest of the interior.

Close-up of exterior fabric


Button closure

I had a bit of a difficult time understanding the pattern at first, but I prefer patterns with lots of pictures because that's the way my brain works. It went together pretty easily once I figured out each step. To me, it is a well written pattern (just needs more pictures) and I can't wait to get started on February's bag.

By the way, I had previously mentioned that most of the bags that I will be making in this sew along will be Christmas gifts...I'm keeping this one for myself. :)

26 January 2011

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

This is my first week of joining in on WIP Wednesday. Go on over to freshly pieced to check out all the other cool WIPs going on.

I've decided that I need to enjoy the process more. I like to work on projects, but I'm always looking towards the final product. What's the point in creating these things if I'm not having fun the whole time? I think posting my progress will help. Sometimes I feel like I haven't gotten anything done because I don't have that final product yet.

So, here's what I've been up to this week...
Squares, circles, and binding cut for Birdie Big Blocks quilt, previously mentioned in this post.

Cottage Apron (from "One-Yard Wonders") pieces cut.

Secret project

Pieces cut for Amy Butler Cosmo Bag for ABSS Sew Along.

Now to start putting things together. :)

24 January 2011

CSN Stores Review: Coming Soon!

I was recently invited to do a review for CSN Stores. I hadn't heard much about them, but I have seen them mentioned out there in the blog world. So I visited a couple of their websites (they have over 200!) and I decided it would be a wonderful opportunity to help promote an online business and hopefully get more readers. (Some days I feel like I'm just talking to myself, which I do already.) I don't know what sort of product I'll get to review, maybe it will be some modern furniture. Who knows. I just know it will be fun.
And since I love to share (it is part of my name and all), I'm hoping there will be giveaways in the future as well.
So stayed tuned.

19 January 2011

The Past Week

Block for String Me Along quilting bee

Turkeys right outside my window

Finished a puzzle

Cordie playing in the snow

Redwork embroidery for a swap

Another prairie sunrise

17 January 2011

Queensland Flood Relief

I sure you all have heard of the horrible flooding in Eastern Australia right now. Toni at make it perfect is hosting a huge auction to help with relief from this terrible tragedy. Go visit her auction and check it out. If the auction items are too rich for your blood (there are some VERY generous bidders out there) there are also some raffles going on as well, just keep clicking and you'll find them. :)



I love books! Novels, journals, sketchbooks, old books, new books, you name it. I read every night before I fall asleep, I used to write my own picture books when I was younger, I'm addicted to used book stores (sadly, there are none within 100+ miles of where we live). I love books!

When I saw this picture on Quilt Dad's blog I decided that I wanted a graph paper sketchbook. As I said, I love sketchbooks, but the blank pages scare me. When I see all that white my mind goes blank. I like the lined books, but the lines often draw my eyes, and mind, off the page. Graph paper is great! It keeps me on the page and I can see shapes form within those little squares. And I can keep everything in its proper proportion, which is important to me.

After checking out the few stores in the area that might carry a graph paper sketchbook/composition book I realized that I was probably going to have to make my own.

So that's what I did. I picked up a couple of packs of graph paper and got started. I should have taken pictures of the process, but I didn't. What started as a 20 sheet booklet of 8.5" x 11" graph paper turned into this...
The Opal Owl one is mine and the bandanna one is Jake's.

Lays flat when open, which is nice.

I've never bound a book before, but I had a lot of fun designing and making these. I think I will be picking up more graph paper packs the next time I'm in town.

14 January 2011

Latest Projects

I'm LOVING my new sewing machine. She's a bit touchy about things sometimes, but that's to be expected since I'm not used to working on a computerized machine. The picture below is my first attempt at free motion quilting (FMQ). Boy was that fun! Obviously, I need work on controlling my stitch length, but I think I did a pretty good job for a first try. I've always been a doodler and quickly realized that FMQ is just doodling. :)

Pot Holder

Mini Quilt for an online swap.
This quilt is on its way to London. I hope it makes it there OK, I've never shipped international before.

Close-up of the tail.

Close-up of his scales.
You can't see it in the pictures, but in the blue floral fabric in the corners I stitched some waves for the fish to swim through.

That's all for today. Thanks for stopping by!

12 January 2011

A Quilter's Dream

Or at least, a newbie quilter's dream...

My Christmas present from Jake's aunt, who taught [is still teaching] me how to quilt.

All the right feet.

Even more feet.

A place for everything.

She also brought me a cute quilt pattern with some gorgeous fabric...

And this cool western purse...

With cute detailing...

And pockets around the entire inside...

...And this cool bag that looks like a quilt!

Thanks Leigh!!!!

08 January 2011

Virtual Quilting Bees

When I began sewing last summer I started looking for inspiration online. This search opened up a whole new world that I had no idea even existed. I had heard/read about blogs and forums and such, but had no idea what they were really all about. After following link after link after link I discovered that people were meeting on various online forums and swapping things in the mail. I joined SwapBot which is a fun way to meet people from all over the world and learn new crafts. I've learned how to do redwork embroidery, how to make fabric yo-yos, learned what mug rugs are, and braved new to me quilting techniques. For those who don't know what mug rugs are, they are miniature quilts, approximately 6" X 8", large enough to hold your mug and a small snack.

I've also discovered that there is so much more to Flickr than just posting pictures. (I sort of knew that before, but I had a difficult time navigating the site until recently.) With this discovery I found even more swaps and was introduced to the world of Virtual Quilting Bees. The specifics of each bee vary, but basically there are a set number of members for each bee and they commit to making a quilt block for each of the other members throughout the bee's life. Each member hosts a different month and they decide what sort of block they would like the other members to make for them. Sometimes the host sends out fabric to the others and sometimes we use fabric from our own stash, it just depends on the bee.

I am in 2 bees right now. The first one I signed up for is called String Me Along. It is a 16 month bee with 1 host each month. The host sends out fabric to the rest of us with a pattern and instructions. We have close to a month to complete the block and send it back. I just received the fabric today, so I'll be working on it later this week.

The other bee is the Modern Stash Quilting Bee (MSQB). MSQB is a 6 month bee with 12 participants, so we have 2 hosts each month. In this one we use fabric from our own stash to create the blocks. The host posts their request with a picture of an example block and we make our blocks from this information.

So, enough talk...Here are pictures of the first two blocks for the MSQB.
Framed fussy cut improv block in yellow and gray.

This will be cut into four pieces and sewn together with pieces from the other blocks to make a unique and colorful quilt.

03 January 2011

ABSS Sew Along

The other I mentioned a sew along that I'm participating in. Actually, I mentioned a couple, but today I'm going to tell you more about the Amy Butler's Style Stitches Sew Along.

For those of you who don't know, Amy Butler is a fabulous pattern maker and fabric designer who recently released a new book, Style Stitches, with tons of new bags made with her gorgeous fabric. There are 12 main projects in this book, so my bloggy buddy, Bree, decided to host a sew along where the participants would do one project each month. At the end of each month one completed bag will be chosen and the maker of that bag will win a prize. I am donating the February prize from my soon-to-be-open shop. I'm just excited to be donating a prize, not to mention how fun it will be to join in on the sew along. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with over the next year.

And, Bree is giving away a copy of Style Stitches to one lucky winner! Entries are open through Thursday.

So, pick up your copy and head on over to the sew along and by the end of November you'll already have 11 Christmas presents finished and ready to go!

02 January 2011

Another New Year

First, let me say Happy New Year to you.

Thank you for reading my gibberish. :)

I began this blog to journal about my creations (jewelry, sewing, horse gear, etc.) and to help me keep track of my commitments. This year I have big plans for growing my sewing skills. In October I did an awesome bag swap through Sew, Mama, Sew and made a new friend, Bree, whom they paired me up with. We still keep in touch through email quite often and I'm participating in her Amy Butler Sew Along beginning this month. I also joined SwapBot in September and have done a few sewing related swaps. I am in 2 virtual quilting bees through Flickr, which start this month. And yesterday, I decided to participate in the 2011 Bloggers' Block-a-palooza. I'm also opening a shop on Etsy on the 5th. Yes, two days from now. So much to do for that still. Plus, I will be having another giveaway to kick off our grand opening.

I don't really do resolutions for the New Year because they're usually broken so quickly, but this year I want to succeed so I do have a couple achievable goals for 2011.
* Finish unfinished projects- I started this resolution in 2010 and did quite well, but I've started more projects in the past year, so I can continue this goal.
* Try new things- Whether it's a new sewing technique or reading a different genre of book, I resolve to try new things and get out of my comfort zone more often this year.
* Stay connected- I'm not very good at keeping in contact with old friends. It's not an intentional thing, I just forget, especially now that we live in a cell phone-free zone. I can't just shoot off a text to someone. So this year I plan to "just say hi" a little more often.

If you're interested, share a couple of your resolutions and we can help motivate each other to keep them going the whole year!