December 23, 2011

school spirit

I love facebook for many reasons. Mostly because it has allowed me to reconnect with friends from different stages of my life... childhood, high school, college, sorority, work, etc. But I also love how it has allowed me to share my love of quilting with my friends. And every once in a while, I will get a message from a friend like the one I got from my friend Leighann a few months ago.

"Hey Stefanie- Do you still make quilts? I am looking to have my daughter Abby a Western KY quilt made for Christmas and wondered if you might be interested. The colors are red, black and white."
 So that began a conversation about size, pattern etc. We settled on a twin size quilt and she really liked the Mix Tape Quilt pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. Once I had received the deposit, I got busy ordering fabric, including some custom designed by myself and printed through Spoonflower.

This quilt went together very quickly and would be a great beginner pattern. I would suggest that beginners start with a smaller size. This is the largest quilt I've ever made. It's HUGE and is going to look awesome in her dorm room.

I backed this with Dottie in Christmas Red by Moda and it is just so darn cute. I'm a sucker for red/white polka dots.

Because of the size, I opted to send this out to be quilted on a longarm. I found a local gal who does great work with pantographs and is SO reasonable. I think she only charged me $40 to quilt this (and it was back in two weeks). I just love the loopy look. I have used this same quilter on five other projects and she did a beautiful job on all of them. I will definitely be using her again. She doesn't have a website, so if you are interested in contacting her, please leave a comment and I can email her contact info to you. (PS - If you are a no reply blogger, be sure to include your email address in your comment).

I delivered this quilt (along with two others she ordered) to my friend Leighann last week and she loved them all. That's the most satisfying part... creating an heirloom that will be cherished for years and years.

December 20, 2011

counting stars

I started my journey as a quilter almost two years ago. Since that first stitch, I've finished dozens of projects and this is only the second quilt I've completed for myself. I'm not complaining. It feels good to make something and give it to someone else, but every once in a while, it's nice to make something just for yourself.

I first saw this quilt here. I was instantly in love with it and bought the fabric immediately. I got busy with lots of other things, and was afraid I would let the holiday season pass me by with all the fabric just sitting in a drawer in my sewing room. Then one day, I made up my mind I was going to do this. So I pushed it to the front of my list (even ahead of a few custom quilt orders I had taken) and vowed not to put it aside until it was finished. Since I had three custom quilts to deliver before Christmas, I had to work quickly.

This was one of the larger and easier quilts I've ever made, which I didn't expect just looking at the pattern. It's just so gorgeous and I am so glad I pushed myself. After it came back from being quilted, I got it bound and it is so nice to snuggle up under this by the fireplace while I watch my Christmas tree spin round and round. 

So, my advice to all my fellow craftaholics out there is very simple... make those creative projects for yourself a priority. You deserve something special too!

December 19, 2011

a day at the races

Last month our guild held a Jelly Roll Race. For my non-quilting readers, a jelly roll is an assortment of forty 2.5" fabric strips. You can either create your own assortment or many manufacturers sell them in a range of coordinating fabrics. Basically, you sew the strips together end-to-end and then through the course of five "laps"of folding, sewing and cutting, you end with one quilt top. This is a super-quick way to make a quilt. These won't win any awards, but they keep you just as warm as those that require lots of time. 

I knew I wanted to make something for Christmas. I had already planned a Christmas quilt for myself and knew my husband would want one too. I selected this really cute line of fabrics, you may recognize it from the pillows I posted a few days ago. I thought this quilt turned out really cute and best of all, it took less than two hours to piece. I sent this out to be quilted on a longarm, so all i had left was the binding. Easy peasy!!

December 16, 2011

so, how've you been?

It's been a busy couple of months for this craftaholic and even though my blog hasn't featured any of it (yet), I've been busy crafting lots of pretties. I wanted to share these cut little pillows with you today. I made them for the Music City Modern Quilters Guild Secret Santa Swap. I was lucky enough to be secretly paired with my friend, Chelley. She always has a cute display of seasonal pillows on a little bench in her entryway, and I thought she would like these.

This was a super-simple design and pieced together in no time. Every bit of fabric used on the front was leftover scraps from the quilt tucked beneath the pillows in the photo above. More on that quilt later. I'm such a sucker for using some sort of white, and I can't get enough of straight line quilting these days. I just love the texture it lends to solids.I finished these with a really simple envelope back and added the red with green stripe as binding for a great pop of color. This was my third project using Countdown to Christmas by Sweetwater for Moda and I just love it. I have a few more things I'd like to make with it and I'm hoping I can get one of them done before Christmas (a girl can dream, right?).

This is just a tiny bit of what i've been up to recently, but i have six, yes SIX quilts that I've finished up in the last couple weeks that I can't wait to show you.

November 10, 2011

third time's a charm

A few days ago, I put my latest Pretty Little Pouch in the mail for my partner. I have loved, loved participating in these fun swaps. This time around, I struggled with what to make for my partner. There was a bit of a difference in what she said she wanted and what was shown in her mosaic. I sometimes have a hard time verbalizing what I like too, so I went with the visual clues and hope I hit the mark.

This pouch features some tiny scraps of Verna I've been hoarding. Those of you who truly know me, know I don't usually save anything smaller than a 5" square, so you know I had to love this fabric to hang on to it. I set it against an Oatmeal colored linen, which I just love. My first instinct was to use white instead, but I know that can be a bit impractical, so i stepped out of my comfort zone a bit. I love the casual look it lends.

Minimal quilting on this piece... just enough to give a little texture and visual interest. I lined it with a really cute print from Verna. I've got just a tiny bit of yardage from that collection in my stash, so I parted with a small bit to finish this sweet bag in style.

My partner indicated she loved the Sherbet Pips line of fabrics. I happened to have quite a few scraps left from this quilt just waiting for a new home. I filled the pouch with all those scraps, a great sample pack of thread from my friends at Aurifil and a little pack of sewing machine needles. I hope my partner is happy with everything.

Only one swap left for me for the year. It's for the Music City Modern Quilters Guild Secret Santa Swap. I'm really excited about it and trying to decide what to make for my partner.

October 19, 2011

just what i needed

I came home from running a few errands on Monday and was feeling slightly cranky. I'm not exactly sure why, but I was. Some days are just that way I guess.

Anyway, I stopped at the mailbox to get our delivery for the day and was intrigued by a padded envelope with a familiar return address label. To be exact it was the Signature Stripe Address Label from Stationery With Style. My customers don't normally send goodies to me in the mail, and I could tell from the feel of the package, it was probably something good.

Oh, it was good alright. It was good and perfect and lovely and positively gorgeous. Apparently my swap partner for Round 3 of the Pretty Little Pouch Swap was also one of my customers. How fun is that?

She said in her note that she was intimidated about making something for me, but considering what she made, I can't honestly figure out why she was ever worried. I was completely awestruck by the beauty of it. It has had me smiling for three days. Considering my mood on Monday, it was just what I needed, so thanks, Cherie. I couldn't love it more!

September 26, 2011

time flies

I knew it had been a while since my last post, but 25 days... seriously?! This month has been crazy busy and I think it's just a foreshadowing of things to come between now and the holidays. We're in the final stretch folks! I need to get busy on some of seasonal projects... pronto!

One exciting development since my last post is that I have sold my first custom quilt. One of my childhood friends had seen some of my work on facebook and contacted me recently. Her daughter has just been accepted to Western Kentucky University for next Fall and she wanted to surprise her with a quilt for Christmas. The school colors are red, black & white and she wanted to incorporate the school logo somehow.

Since WKU is a smaller school, I knew I'd never find fabric with their logo, so I designed a print in two colorways and had it printed by Spoonflower (more on that later). My friend chose the Mix Tape Quilt pattern by Elizabeth Hartman... the perfect choice, I think.

By this past Saturday all of the fabrics had arrived. I'm thrilled with all of them... especially the Red Dottie by Moda. It just makes me smile. I'm happy to report that it's all been cut up and sewn back together. Love quick and easy patterns like this! Once I get the sashing finished up, it's off to the quilter. Yes, I am sending this one out. I've got several projects to finish up and I met a longarmer a few weeks ago and really want to give her a try. The price was right, too!

Hopefully I'll have a pieced top to show you in the next day or so. Hope you all have been enjoying a wonderful Fall. Like all the other seasons this year, Fall arrived in Nashville rather abruptly. No gradual shift from Summer to Fall and with the incredibly hot Summer we had, I was happy for the change. Now if we could just do something about all this rain.

September 01, 2011


Yesterday I saw this while scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. If you've known me anytime at all, you probably know that this is right up my alley in terms of design and simplicity. I'm a little obsessed with this quilt pattern and am thinking about all the different fabric collections I want to make this in... Farm Fresh, Ruby, Bliss, Jovial, Countdown to Christmas, Flurry... I could go on. See, told ya I was obsessed. Based on my calculations (because I never follow anyone else's instructions completely) I can use 7 fat quarters and solids for the front. What a coinkydink that I have all these fat quarter bundles just begging to be busted. I think my list of quilts to make just got a lot longer!

Here's the tutorial if you wanna make this once or a thousand times over!

August 27, 2011

out with the old, in with the ... older?

I've been spending a little bit of time over the past month or so getting my new sewing room together. I never realized how much work this was going to be. I'm trying to organize as a go. My old way of doing things would have been to drag all my stuff in there, heap it in a pile and figure it out later. I want to keep this space workable and in order, so it's taking a while to get everything in place. I've still got a long way to go, but today I took a step that I've been trying to avoid for a while.

When my Grandma Edi died, I was lucky enough to end up with two sewing machines. I got her mid-90's era Singer and her mother's (Grandma May, my namesake) National Sewing Machine Co. treadle machine. I've had this in my garage for a couple of years not really knowing where to put it in my house, as we don't have much space. My husband really pushed me to find a way to get this in the house, and when we decided to convert a bedroom to a sewing room, I thought this would make a wonderful little table for a TV and some other essentials.

After lots of heavy lifting, I can now enjoy sharing my space with a cherished family heirloom and the entertainment of my flat screen television. It's a perfect fit in my room and now that it's in place, I'm that much closer to having this room complete.

August 25, 2011

tasty early birthday

Yesterday, my sweet husband took advantage of his last day off for the month to do a little birthday shopping for yours truly. My special day is still a week away, but he couldn't contain his excitement, and wanted to give one of the gifts to me now. I was so thrilled with what he chose...

This amazing Breville Panini Maker.  I just love Panini sandwiches! I have eyed these at Williams-Sonoma for years, but since we have a George Foreman that never gets used, I just couldn't justify spending the money. Now that I have one, I can totally see why this is so much better than the Lean Mean Grilling Machine!

I broke it in right away last night by grilling up some fresh veggies. Oh my goodness! It was so easy, and so good. I think this will have a permanent spot on the counter!

Do you love kitchen gadgets, too?
Have you ever made panini's at home?

August 23, 2011

quilting along... with myself

I was feeling rather ambitious a few months ago and obligated myself for a couple of quilt-alongs. I'm trying to pretend that I'm not seven weeks behind on The Farmer's Wife. I will get caught up. Eventually.

Anywho... in the interest of actually getting something done, I made the decision to start on the Synchronized Squares Quilt-along (never mind that it's been over for about two months now). I've been dying to make a quilt for myself. I've been using a postage stamp quilt that was made by my great-grandmother about 70 years ago and I'm afraid either me or my dogs may ruin it. And that would make me sad. This project looked easy enough. So I pulled out some fabric and started cutting.

This is my first attempt at raw-edge piecing. I love the casual, scruffy look to it. But it's not as much of a disaster as a rag quilt (am I the only one who doesn't like those?). I followed the directions provided and although I'm making two more quilts based on this pattern, I am not following the designers directions anymore. I think the general idea was to make it easy, but I found it to be more complicated to do a bunch of pressing from the start and then things didn't match up right. It was not my idea of fun.

I love the look and that's why I'm making this at least two more times. This is just perfect for a baby quilt. I can just see a sweet little one playing with the softly fraying edges. One other tidbit if any of you are inclined to create this beauty... free motion quilting + raw-edge piecing = no fun. Not even a little bit. I'll do some fun and fabulous straight line quilting on the others and that should work just fine.

The best part, was finally getting to snuggle under my very own quilt. The first of many I will be making for myself. I'm kinda selfish that way!

August 18, 2011

make mine modern: sent

It's been swap city around here the last few months. Lots of fun and I've enjoyed it, but I am really looking forward to some no-deadline crafting for a while. It's been a really crazy week at my house. My hubby injured his back, then became really sick and we spent some time at the hospital. This is the first chance I've had to document the package that I sent on it's way Monday.

For this swap, we were to send at least a yard and a half of fabric and a hand-made item for our partner. We fill out a questionnaire beforehand so we have an idea of what to give, but it's also a good idea to stalk blogs and flickr pages to get a better idea of your partner's likes.

I have been wanting to make myself a few zig-zag pillows for a while, so I decided to practice on my partner's goodie. Aside from the fabric, I am really nuts about how this turned out. The fabric is nice, but doesn't really go with anything in my house, so there was no chance of this sticking around here. I threw in some other goodies I thought she might like and then stuffed a flat rate box to the point of bursting and off it went. I hope she loves it.

August 08, 2011

more swapping

Once was just not enough with the {pretty little pouch swap}. They started Round 2 a few weeks ago and I just had to participate. I decided to switch things up a bit this time and make a boxy pouch. These are great for so many things. While there is nothing little about this pouch, I think it's all kinds of cute and very functional.

My partner wasn't super-picky about what she liked, so I decided to design this as a reflection of things I really like. With that in mind, I used fabrics from Bliss by Bonnie & Camille (my favorite line) accented with a basic solid white. I chose to quilt this using a straight line method in white. I love the texture it creates... simple and subtle.

For the inside, I decided to laminate this great Bliss Check in Aqua to make it water resistant and easy-to-clean with a damp cloth. The seams have been dressed up with binding in the oh-so-popular Bliss Red Dot.

I really love this bag and am feeling just a teensy bit sad to give it away. Guess I'll have to make one for myself now!

at last

I can now take this project off my WIP list. I am so happy to have it complete. It seems like completing this project presented me with many challenges... most of them of my own doing. I'm impatient by nature, and that character flaw follows me into quilting (and everything else I do). The look of this quilt appears deceivingly simple, and to some degree it is. Well, to be fair, it really isn't that complicated at all. It's just a big quilt. Because I was making this exactly as the pattern specified, I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer size of it. If I were making this purely for myself, I am sure I would make it a bit smaller.

Still no final decision about keeping or selling. I'm going to let this one sit for a while before I decide. If you love this quilt and want to make one of your own, Burgundy Buttons will have this available as a quilt kit featuring the Sherbet Pips line as I've used here. Be sure to keep checking their site to see when the kits are ready for purchase. (There is currently a kit for this pattern with Strawberry Fields fabrics)

July 31, 2011

rut roh

I had an unfortunate incident yesterday. I was quilting an enormous quilt on my new cabinet (which i love) that has the oh-so-fancy electric machine lift. Unfortunately, I didn't have my machine placed properly on the platform and when I pushed the button to raise it up to table height, I snapped the presser foot connector right off. Not smart. After expressing a few choice words, I promptly ordered a replacement. What a bummer!

I was able to finish quilting, though. Thanfully my machine has a start/stop button, so the presser foot isn't absolutely necessary. It worked for FMQ, but I wouldn't recommend using that feature for anything else.

Have you made any dumb mistakes lately?

July 27, 2011

i'm still here

Gosh, it's been a wee bit crazy the last several days. If you are a regular reader, you will remember that earlier this month, I ordered some new furniture for my sewing room. This was all very exciting, but I was not expecting delivery until August or September. Imagine my surprise when I learned on Friday that my furniture was in Nashville. YIKES!

This bit of news set off a flurry of activity. I still needed to empty the last of the guest room furniture out, patch & paint walls and trim, get the rest of the house clean so I could have all the carpets steamed, schedule an electrician to install a ceiling fan and light, order the wall shelves, and maybe a few other things I've forgotten. The only task left undone is the ceiling fan. I couldn't find anything locally, so I ordered online and will have to wait a few weeks before that part is done. This morning I assembled the new chairs and now I only have a few more hours to wait until my Koala's are delivered. Between the excitement and exhaustion, I can hardly stand it.

What have you been up to?

July 21, 2011

one step closer

So yesterday, I shared my anxiety over my current WIP. I was not planning to show any photos until it was finished, but Leah really, really wanted to see it. So I obliged with a quick iPhone photo. I figured while I was in the sharing mood, I would let you all take a peek too. My apologies for the crummy pic.

Just for a bit of reference. The floor in this part of the kitchen is about 9" wide. That's how enormous this thing is and I am freaking out about how I am going to get this quilted on my little 'ol machine. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

July 20, 2011

feeling nervous

I'm helping my sweet friend, Leah, at Burgundy Buttons with a quilting project. A few weeks ago she asked if I would test a pattern for her. She provided me with the fabric, as the quilt I make will be used as a kit sample. I finished piecing the top yesterday and I got the backing fabric sewn together this morning. Now, comes the quilting part.

Normally, this is the part of the process that I enjoy the most, but this quilt is so big that I am really nervous about it. It's about 75" square. The largest I've quilted so far was 65" square. I need to get this finished so Leah can get the kit on her site, but there's a part of me that wants to run and hide. Am I being silly?

I think I'll get it sandwiched and basted today and put off the quilting until this weekend. Afterall, I've got two weeks worth of Farmers Wife blocks to catch up on.

July 16, 2011

one fine day

Yesterday was a truly great day. A fun outing with one of my favorite people in the world, tasty lunch, seeing the new Harry Potter on a 78' screen in 3D, and adding a "few" new things to my stash.

I think this may be bordering on excessive, but my, oh my, it sure is nice to look at. Have a wonderful Saturday!

July 13, 2011

my first pattern

It's official! My first pattern is complete and for sale. You can purchase your very own PDF copy from my etsy shop. I hope to have it available for sale through some online quilt shops soon as well. Thanks to everyone for supporting and encouraging me to publish this pattern.

July 10, 2011

making room

There are lots of great new fabric collections on the way from Moda, which means, I need to clean out my stash a bit. I've recently placed quite a few things in my etsy shop and I'll be adding more later this week. Be sure to check it out. If you make a purchase, be sure to let me know you follow my blog and I'll be sure to send you an extra goodie.

July 07, 2011

week six - farmer's wife quilt-along

Block 11 - Broken Dishes

If I had not rushed through this block, it would have been right on the first try. Since I was being impatient, I didn't trim & square my half-square triangles. Since they were slightly bigger than they should have been, my first attempt at the block was too big. So I took it all apart, trimmed the HSTs and put them all back together again. So much for wanting to finish in a hurry. I am very excited about how well everything matches up on this block.

Block 12 - Broken Sugar Bowl

This block came together quickly and without any un-sewing. I love it when I don't have to pick up the seam ripper.

July 06, 2011

good things come to those who wait

I started quilting in March 2010. I had just left behind a career in Corporate America and was trying to stay within a budget. I had a new machine, loads of glorious designer fabrics and my dining room table. After a few months, my husband shamed me out of the dining room, and I invested in a sewing table... a $30 folding table from Target. It has served it's purpose, but I have been longing for a sewing space of my own. The wait is almost over, because today I had a fun conversation with a sweet gal from...

And she helped me order this...

and this...

and it will be delivered in the next 4-8 weeks. Which means, I have to get busy clearing out a guest room, repainting, etc. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. I'm not usually a patient person, but I am so happy I waited for this, because it is truly more than I ever imagined I would be able to have.

July 01, 2011

week five - farmer's wife quilt-along

I've had so many fun projects going on this week, I was so thankful for these quick and simple blocks. These came together easily and I was quite proud of the result if I do say so myself. Without further ado...

Block 9 - Box

Block 10 - Bowtie

Looking ahead in the book, next week will involve lots of broken things... dishes and sugar bowls. Can we say bulky seam allowances? Yikes!

June 30, 2011

how to build a better burger

Start with a soft, golden, sesame see bun...

Next comes the thick, juicy, flame-grilled burger...

Don't forget the cheese! Here's a big slice of sharp cheddar...

I love a slice of red onion for a little bite...

You can't beat a fresh-from-the-garden slice of tomato...

Add some kosher dill slices for a tangy crunch...

How about a bit of buttery smooth bibb lettuce...

Now that's a better burger! Are you hungry yet?

This has been a really fun project and I sure hope my swap partner likes it. The theme is summer/barbeque. I thought rather than make a boring potholder from a novelty print, I would build a burger out of potholders. I'll wrap this up and send it on it's way to a new home tomorrow.

June 29, 2011

summer splash

I looked to the season for inspiration for the tea towels for my swap. It was fun digging through my fabric stash and selecting some of my favorites to create the beach ball and flip flops.

Since I design my applique patterns in Illustrator anyway, one of my favorite tricks is to then cut the fabric with my Cricut. Anytime I can let a machine do the work for me, I'm in. After a a few minutes of cutting, these were a cinch to iron on. I love the look of blanket stitching on applique and it is quick and easy, too.

These will be on the way to their new home tomorrow. I'm kind of sad about that. Guess I may have to make some for myself. That will have to wait... as I have a giant cheeseburger to make. I'll be back in a few days to tell you all about it.