Sunday, July 15, 2012

Harry Potter Quilts...

My dearest friend came home for a visit this weekend so I could finally give her the birthday/graduation present I had in mind for her since January, and that I actually completed last month.

She is a complete Harry Potter nut, like, obsessed, so when my sister-in-law were thrifting months ago and she found the most amazing piece of fabric ever, I had to buy it! Three Harry Potter panels for $1.50. I didn't know what I'd do with three, but I knew at least one was destined for Courtney's quilt.

The binding is brown print from Hobby Lobby that matches the blue diamonds on the back perfectly

Solids are Kona. I'm terrible at writing down names so I don't know them. 

Courtney graduated with her PhD in May and has a birthday in August so I figured July would be an acceptable time frame to give it to her. I used this tutorial and made a very simple  zig-zag front, or, back, as it happens. It took me awhile to get the layout right and I had to rip a few seams out and patch a few seams up when I lost some points in trimming, but all in all I'm totally in love. Makes me want to make a bigger zig zag quilt...maybe.

To quilt this thing was a challenge because I followed the zigs and had to turn the quilt so often. A bigger quilt would prove even more challenging, but with patience it could be done, which is of course why I would have trouble....

I liked the brown around the outside because it made me think of a wand, or something, if that makes sense. It just seemed the only possible choice for it and it works perfectly. She absolutely loved it and that made me happy.

Now what to do with the other two panels...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sexy Hexie(s)

It's raining here in Michigan tonight, and I'm home with Maple for the next few days while Jim galavants around North Carolina visiting his buddies.

As the title suggests, I've been making more hexies.  I've been making more hexies out of my dissertation. I'm on my ___th draft and so have about a dozen old drafts and parts of drafts laying around the house so I started salvaging some of the waste and printing on the back of them. It sort of feels good to sew it up and rip it apart when I complete a flower.
Take that focus groups!

I've  been working on a Grandmother's Flower Garden for some time--about 2 months now I guess. Since I made the hexie pillow I found a love of making the itty bitty things and decided I had to keep going. The very first quilt I made was all hand-pieced and I loved the process of doing that. I like fast finishes and having pretty quilts around my house, but I also really wanted to make something that would take awhile and allow me to enjoy the fabrics.

The brown and green fabric with red "flowers" are Grandma's fabric
I started looking for 30's prints, but found out how much designer fabric really costs, so I started looking for rip-off reproduction prints. I found some actual 30's prints on sale and many others were from various places--Hobby Lobby, Joann's, Walmart, etc. Some were actually my grandmother's fabrics that I found downstairs after she died. I'm really excited about this quilt and am loving the process and the progress so far.

REALLY love that white with blue ring flower

 The variety of prints I think is going to be really fun and I really can't wait to see it when it's finished. I'm planning on a blue/aqua sort of background.

It's going to be big and take awhile to finish, but I'm totally ok with that.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Le'ts COVER some things

Ok, cheesy title, but it's true.

I made this awhile ago, and as my current trend with blogging seems to go,  I didn't blog about it. Sooo, now I'm remedying that.

I had the idea to document my quilting/sewing/creative adventures online, but also in print. For nostalgia, posterity, so I can look back when I'm old and see the pretties I made. So my future kids and grandkids can look at it after I'm gone to see the pretties I made. So when the internet finally takes over and we're mindless machine-zombies I'll still have hard proof of the pretties I made. And so I can look at my progress, improvement in skill, and have fun.

I used this tutorial from 

It was fairly easy to make and follow the directions, though I did admittedly have some trouble sewing the flaps to the main body of cover, hence no close-ups of that part because it's pretty messy. But that's more to do with my still-learning abilities than the tutorial.

I've written in the journal exactly 3 times with pictures, but the cover really is beautiful and I fully intend to add more soon....

The fabric is Joel Dewberry, from one of the Aviary lines I believe....... The inside polka dot is another Hobby Lobby find I think. Or a remnant from Jo-anns. I've got to start writing stuff down. Another use for the journal! Enjoy.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I'm Baaaack

Whew, ok. It's been a seriously long time since I've written anything. This time I (sort of) have an excuse.

I flew to Philly about 2 months ago for the exciting  nerve-wracking process of defending my dissertation proposal. I flew in on a Sunday, defended Monday, and flew home. Short, and thankfully, sweet. I passed! I have some revisions to do (which still haven't been done) but I am finally moving on to another step in the PhD. process. Other than that, tons of subbing and some nice weather have kept me away from blogging in awhile.

In the meantime, I've been doing TONS of sewing. Like, lots. I'll hopefully be updating more frequently now as I got my camera to upload to the Mac. yay! So, without further ado, here's one of my projects from the last 3 months.

A simple, hexie pillow. I took these along with me to Philly and stitched away the day in the airport. I cannot believe how much I love this pillow.

 Most of the hexies were random scraps I found at Mel Trotter thrift store or leftover from my fairytale quilt, which I don't have pictures of so I'll remedy that.

 The purple border is Kona Cotton Crocus I think. The green border I forget, and the binding and back were bargain finds at Hobby Lobby. Finished at 16 x 16. My love of hexies was officially born with this pillow. Enjoy!

Monday, February 27, 2012


It's been awhile since I've posted, and there's not even a reason for it! I have been doing a lot of subbing the past few weeks, and sewing, which I'm excited about, but other than that, there's absolutely no reason why I shouldn't be posting. I guess maybe because I have to take more (and better) pictures of all my projects, both finished and in progress. And maybe because I have a mac now, and my camera won't upload pictures onto it, so I have to put them on my old laptop, then transfer them to a flash drive, then upload them to the Mac (problems, problems). And also because I'm laaaazy. And waiting, always waiting, for my dissertation drafts to come back from my committee so I can edit them, overnight them, and wait for more rounds of editing. It's a terrible, awful, gut-wrenching process. I. Hate. It.

I've been waiting for a month and still nothing. Oi. Hopefully I get them soon, but at the same time, I'm glad I don't have to work on it. It's a frustrating/confusing process.

Anywho, that's all for now. I should post pictures of my quilts, and drawstring bags, and the AMAAAAZING (in my opinion) pillow I made this weekend. And I will. Later....

But here's a pic to sum up my mood...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Begin at the Beginning

Today I thought I'd backtrack a bit and share my first quilt. This quilt was years in the making. It began when I was in middle school--maybe 13 or 14? I frequently went with my grandma to stay with my aunt in the Upper Peninsula (U.P. for non-Mitten folks) and we would shop and antique and eat delicious sweets. It was on one of these trips that I started taking notice of all the amazing quilts my aunt had made all over the house. She was an amazing quilter and she offered to teach me.

I vaguely remember choosing fabric (her stash was beyond belief) and having her teach me to sew on the sewing machine. I pieced rows together and cut them into a simple patchwork. I left with it being mostly finished and never saw the quilt again.

Until two years ago when, when I was home for Christmas, I opened a box and there it was! Finished, quilted, and just as I remembered! I was so excited to see it again. My aunt had finished it for me and sent it to me as a great surprise.

 Look at the quilting! I've never had anything long-arm quilted before, but my aunt had this one sent out. It's so beautiful to look at the details.

I have since started using it on our bed. I always thought quilts were too delicate or precious to be used, so it sat in a box for a few years until I figured, if I spent the time making it, why not display it? It's definitely getting good use....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mini-sewing Saturday

I Accomplished something on my to-do list today. My boyfriend was off filming a short film all day for a local film festival, and as it was cold and snowy and I am in-between dissertation drafts, I decided to do some sewing.

  • Make (several) mini quilts/blocks to hang around the house

I had originally intended to find a quilt pattern I liked and just make one block for a mini wall-hanging. I had picked up a bunch of old quilt magazines at an antique store last weekend for $1 each and I looked through them all again this morning. I found a pattern in every one that I could see hanging on the wall. So, I took my magazines, my laptop, and my coffee and went downstairs to get started.

As soon as I started getting out scraps, I came across a piece of brown toile that I knew I had to sew with. Disclaimer: I LOVE toile. I can't get enough of it, but I hardly have any because, well, it costs $$, which I don't have much of right now. So, the precious bit I had, I wanted to use wisely. I started sewing and cutting and this is what I ended up with:

It didn't turn out quite like I intended, but I'm pretty happy with it. Afterall, it IS my very first mini ever. It lays kind of crooked so I think I should have ironed the whole thing once I was finished. It's now happily installed in the bathroom. I just quilted straight lines on all the seams. The toile was a remnant from Hobby Lobby and the white roses I had. The green is a beautiful print from Sandy Gervais (my growing favorite fabric designer), Grand Finale.

But that's not all! I made another. It was so much fun making the first, I had to keep going. This one was a wonky block built around a scrap of Heather Ross's Far Far Away III (I think). Princess and the Pea. Other fabrics were from FFA, Sandy Gervais, Joel Dewberry, and Amy Butler I think. I'm so bad with remembering fabric lines. Anywho, this one was quilted on the seams as well. It hangs in our bedroom hallway. I'm seriously in love with this one.

Maple likes this one too. Can't you tell??

Friday, February 10, 2012

To do list....

It's cold and snowy here in The Mitten. Friday night and I'm home with my dog Maple who won't stop whining! This isn't new for her, it's just annoying for me :) My boyfriend is out with his friends, and as I'm a perpetual hermit and lately prefer the company of my sewing machine, I figure it's a good compromise to stay warm inside while he battles the snow and icy roads.

I had to replace my sewing machine belt this afternoon so I could finish binding a quilt I was working on. (No pictures yet as I wait for said boyfriend to take some decent pictures on his fancy camera). After the quilt was finished, I finally decided to clean up my sewing/craft/junk deposit room. I live in my grandparents old house and use my grandma's ancient Kenmore with built-in cabinet. I love this machine. I learned to sew on it a few months ago, and it's sturdy, and sentimental. I feel close to Grandma when I sew on it. But it's still frustrating, unpredictable, and finicky. The room the cabinet is in is in our freezing cold basement, and is tiny and cluttered. When I moved into this room, I put every single bit of craft-related anything I had accumulated over the course of the past year that I've lived here and none of it it has moved since.

Empty jars, bottles, spray paint, vintage sheets I've collected, boxes of...stuff. All sitting under the stairs and making me feel cluttered and claustrophobic. So I decided to organize tonight. I feel better when I clean, but avoid it like the plague... such a conundrum. It only took an hour or so of shifting, moving, hiding, and organizing, but it looks like a whole new space. Now, I can walk around the room, sit and stare lovingly at my growing stash of fabric and sheets, and open drawers and boxes that have never before been opened. Such a great feeling!

As I was feeling so inspired but not ready to start a new project tonight, I decided to make a list of projects  I'd like to tackle sometime in the near future. Here are a few:
  • make burp cloths for a friend's baby shower
  • Attempt a "Swoon" quilt block 
  • Make (several) mini quilts/blocks to hang around the house
  • Learn to read a pattern so I can make bags/purses
  • Make more drawstring bags with this amazing tutorial 
  • Learn how to paper piece (very hesitant about this one)
  • Make half-square triangles --sounds simple, but I can currently only measure 1/2 and 1/4 inches so I have some issues to work out ;)
That's kind of it for now. There's more, but I think this is long enough. I'll (hopefully) be able to update and post pictures as I tackle each of these items. Hope you stick around to see my progress....

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A drop in the bucket

Well, I took the plunge and started a blog. I've been thinking about, talking about it, stalking other blogs to learn about it, and now I've done it. I started crafting last summer when I found the amazingness that is garage sales. Shortly thereafter, I stumbled upon blogland and finally found the courage to make my first quilt. Now, 6 months later, I'm fully submerged in the quilty/crafty/ thrifty world and love every second of it. If I could, I'd do it everyday, all day. But, I can't. So...this blog will hopefully enable me to live in the dreamworld a bit longer. I'm hoping to chronicle my journey in crafting, quilting--mistakes, successes, frustrations, and $$ I don't have spent on fabric--and other, random escapes from real life of dissertation-writing and lesson planning and stress. So, thanks for stopping by and checking out my Chronicles... I hope you enjoy your time here as much as I do!