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)