Sew Frou Frou Quilter

Spreading warm wishes one quilt at a time…




I’ve been contemplating 2015 for the past few days and in looking back over 2014, I felt like I was constantly running here and there and always feeling a little disappointed.  I’ve decided this year i am going to Savor-savor the time I have with my kids, savor the time that I get to sew, savor the time I have with my family, savor time with friends no matter how fleeting that time is.

2014 was the year my oldest graduated from her children’s theatre.   I sobbed big ugly tears during that last cast party.  She graduated 8th grade.  She started high school band and color guard; I had been warned that it was a huge time suck but truly did not realize just how much a commitment it was (not only on her part but also my part).  It’s been a difficult year-I left the warm embrace of parents that I had gotten to know over the past 5 years in the children’s theatre group to enter this huge band parent community where I have just felt lost.  There were competitions every weekend during the fall and when we weren’t doing that, we were going to my son’s football and baseball games there rest of the weekend.  Needless to say. my sewing time was limited.

I would love to say that I took full advantage of that sewing time and made beautiful projects or at the least, had fun.   I set myself up for disappointment this year by joining 2 online quilting bees though; this took up all my free time.  I finally gave up on doing the Sew Kitschy Sew Along around the same time I probably stopped posting here.  It was all I could do to keep up with the bees.  One probably shouldn’t join 2 bees the first time they finally decide to give quilting bees a try.  The Stash Bee was wonderful-everyone was so good about completing their blocks and just being nice.

As a complete contrast, the Instagram bee has not been so delightful.  3 girls dropped out which was disappointing but they had life problems that got in the way and they dropped out before anyone ever had to make them a block so I really have no complaints about that.  Of course, the women that dropped out had September, November and this month (January)–my month was December so I offered to take November so that we could finish the bee up and leave everyone stress-free for the holidays.  I received a block from 1 person in November.   Another girl just had a baby and I told her not to worry about getting me a block.  I received a block from one other bee mate in December.  I’ve made blocks for the 3 people that dropped out.  I have yet to receive a block or even an email or Instagram tag from the other 5 women.  One of those women sold her book on Instagram back in October-at first, I thought I might be getting a block really early but now I think I am wrong.  I have been on an emotional roller coaster about this stupid bee ever since October.  So here’s the thing how long I should wait until I call it and accept the fact that these women will not be sending me a block?  I know no one made me make blocks for these women, no one made me send an OOP B&C fat quarter to one because she really needed it, no one made me cut up my AMH fat quarter for another’s block, no one made me go through my scraps and send cute little novelty fabric to the woman that was expecting her first grandchild…but I’m kind of disappointed that I haven’t even received an e-mail saying “Hey Laura, sorry but I’m just not going to get that block done for you.”  I really expected more common courtesy from these women but then maybe I expect too much.  Sigh…(deep breaths).

Anyways, enough whining!  This year (and maybe forever) no bees with people I don’t know.  My sewing time this year is going to be ALL ABOUT ME!!!! (after I finish baby girl’s and oldest daughter’s quilts, that is :).  To that end, I have purchased some lovely fabrics from Hawthorne Threads and my LQS:


That top right AMH is voile--absolutely Luscious.  I had no idea that voile was that heavenly.

That top right AMH is voile–absolutely Luscious. I had no idea that voile was that heavenly.

and I plan to complete some lovely quilts to hang on the quilt ladder that my daddy finished for me for Christmas:

The quilt on my ladder is a birthday gift from my mother--I love it!

The quilt on my ladder is a birthday gift from my mother–I love it!

So here’s to more posting this year.  I should have Lil Bee’s quilt done soon–I am anxious to share it.  Happy New Year!


Done, Finished, Complete, Woohoo!

My hubs kept reminding me that I told him in February that I should have his quilt done in a week.  It seems that signing up for 2 online quilting bees (and doing the Sew Kitschy BOM) is a little more demanding than I anticipated.  I have been trying to get my bee blocks out of the way early in the month but allergies/sinus headaches, etc. have been getting in the way.  Last time he asked about his quilt, I told him that I might be able to finish it if I had a second machine because then I would have one all set up for quilting and the other could be used for piecing…..he laughed.

So anywho, here is what I have done in the meantime:

Trellis Crossroads block for @debzlou in the Modern InstaBee

Trellis Crossroads block for @debzlou in the Modern InstaBee






Trellis Crossroads block for my Sampler version of the Modern InstaBee blocks

Trellis Crossroads block for my Sampler version of the Modern InstaBee blocks


A dotty dresden for Michele for the April StashBee.  I love this one-it was hard to send this one off:)

A dotty Dresden for Michele for the April StashBee. I love this one-it was hard to send this one off:)


And now, are you ready?  I FINISHED HUBS’ QUILT!!  I’ll be honest, I hemmed and hawed for quite some time once I had it basted.  I was really worried that trying to quilt such a heavy quilt was going to ruin my poor little Singer sewing machine and/or the t-shirts in his quilt.  Finally, I decided to ask the lovely ladies in my traditional guild if I was just being ridiculous or if I should send the quilt out to a longarmer.  Of course, one gave me a pep talk that I could do it and one agreed that t-shirt quilts were heavy and I probably should send it out.  So, just as I was about to go ahead and at least make an attempt to quilt it, a third lady, LoAnne,  invited me over to her house to quilt it with her on her long arm.  Of course, I was over the moon.  What better outcome–I still got to quilt most of the quilt myself and I quilted on a long arm machine for the very first time in my life.  It was fantastic and nerve-wracking at the same time. I told Loanne that this was the most excited that I had been about the “Albatross” in forever.  I loved every minute of it!  Ever since I’ve been daydreaming about where I could set one up in my house (as if).

So do you want to see hubby with his quilt?  Naturally, we went to take pictures of it on the park trails where he usually runs and it was a beautiful day to do so.


Hubs with his quilt!

Hubs with his quilt!




Each block/shirt has a special story:


The first marathon that he ran and he swore that he would never run another one.

The first marathon that he ran and he swore that he would never run another one.


The race a friend convinced him to run 2 weeks later and he finished third.

The race a friend convinced him to run 2 weeks later and he finished third.


His Boston race is the centerpiece of the quilt.  It didn't really have a design other than the logo on the sleeve so I tried to scatter bits of the shirt all over the top.

His Boston race is the centerpiece of the quilt. It didn’t really have a design other than the logo on the sleeve so I tried to scatter bits of the shirt all over the top.


Getting this finished is such a huge weight off my shoulders.  I’m hoping that I will start cranking quilts out now that this one is done.  My girls have reminded me that they are next in line.   Of course, I have also decided to make an entry for the Michael Miller challenge–my first thought was a spinoff of pinwheels and then I saw that they already had a free quilt pattern with pinwheels. What about you?  What have you been working on lately?


Bee Blocks and fabric indulgences

So much has been going on this month with the kids and trying to keep up with my self-imposed quilty deadlines that my blog has suffered a little.  So let’s catch up.  First, the Albatross is not quilted (yet) but it is basted.

It's a good thing this quilt isn't any bigger or I would have had to baste it in the basement (shudder).

It’s a good thing this quilt isn’t any bigger or I would have had to baste it in the basement (shudder).

I actually ran out of safety pins and had to re-distribute them–I may baste a little too close together but I’ve never FMQ’d anything this big.  This quilt really brings home the phrase “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”.  My goal was to have this done by Valentine’s day but I still had to do my 2 bee blocks for the month.  Since I only have one machine, I switched over my foot and needle to work on those.  So, as soon as my sew kitschy block for February is done, I am on this.


On to the bee blocks.  First is my block for the Modern InstaBee.  Our queen bee Sarah chose the Stacked Windmills block in The Modern Bee book and asked for scrappy with a low volume background.  I was really nervous about this block since it asked for a scant 1/4 inch seam–usually that means my block ends up an inch bigger than it is supposed to be.  This block went together perfectly though.  I really love how it turned out and Sarah seems to like it too.  I love it so much that I decided to make a duplicate of all the blocks I do in this fabric combo.  The print fabrics are from Josephine Kimberling’s Field Day for Blend Fabrics; the gray/white dot was the last I had so I’m not sure what line it is.   The low volume backgrounds includes some white mirror ball dots by Michael Miller, the French text fabric that came in a blogger bundle from Pink Castle Fabrics, and a very light gray/white design by Dear Stella.

Stacked Windmill blockNext up is the February block for the Stash Bee.  Queen Bee Cheryl asked for a Dutch Rose block (which you will recognize as a smaller version of the Swoon block) using this tutorial.  Cheryl asked for shades of purple and gray on a snow background.  I was excited about this block because I have a Swoon pattern waiting in the wings for me to do out of a bunch of hoarded Bonnie and Camille fabric and I have just been waiting to feel confident enough in my skills to tackle it (yeah, I know I’m ready to do it but Lil Bee keeps reminding me that she is next in line and then of course the teenager starts moaning about being the last one in the family to get a quilt–major mom guilt).  Back to Cheryl’s block, I was worried that my selection of purples are slim but I managed to find some fabric in my stash that worked.

Dutch Rose block


Okay, I hinted at some fabric indulgences.  First, I won some assorted True Colors fat quarters back in January from Scott Hansen at The Blue Nickel Studios

My prize

Speaking of Blue Nickel Studios, Scott asked for birthday blocks bearing the colors of the woods.  My first attempt was a 6 inch bear paw which looked a little sad after I mis-pieced blocks twice (you may have seen it on Instagram) so I opted for just a quarter of that block at 6 inches:

Birthday block for Scott Hansen at Blue Nickel Studios

Birthday block for Scott Hansen at Blue Nickel Studio

Since I am participating in 2 bees, I decided I needed to beef up my stash a little so I bought a few blogger bundles at Pink Castle Fabrics.  I always think I should buy the rainbow bundles but every time, I chicken out.  These fabrics are really gorgeous though and there are a few text/low volume fabrics which I need:

 I also got some golden tickets with this purchase.

I also got some golden tickets with this purchase.

And finally, since I don’t have a lot of low volume fabrics I picked up a few botanics and Echino fabrics from my local quilt store, Crimson Tate:

The hexie bees and bicycles  were just too cute to pass up!

The hexie bees and bicycles were just too cute to pass up!

Have you seen the new tone on tone pearl bracelets by Lizzy House?  I think that may have to be my next purchase.  Am I right?


Stash swap

So this year the local guild that belong to decided to do a monthly blind swap of 12 -3.5 inch squares.  Every month, we get a random bag of 12 squares from someone else and by the end of the year, we will have a finished quilt.  These are the charms I received in December:


IMG_0518Did I mention that this exchange was with my traditional guild?  No pearl bracelets here:).  (Of course, I didn’t give out any mirror ball dots or AMH squares either.  I chose a traditional looking charm pack  from my stash and cut 12 blocks down to 3.5 inches).  I’m hoping this exercise helps me grow.  Some of the quilts that I find most beautiful have some odd fabric pairings.  I decided to pair the red and blue squares with a scrappy selection of tan/cream and white fabrics and make HSTs for now:

IMG_0517That lower right fabric is Osnaburg (a linen looking cotton).  I have seen some beautiful quilts made by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen using Osnaburg so I have been stalking JoAnn’s  for months and finally found some.  Have you ever tried it in your quilts?


A little bit of this and a little bit of that

My loops aren't even on every side but since this is really the first time I've done anything other than a stipple since June, I'm okay with that.

My loops aren’t even on every side but since this is really the first time I’ve done anything other than a stipple since June, I’m okay with that.

In addition to working on my bee block, I have been trying to get my SkillBuilder quilt completed.  I was hoping to get it done by the Jan. 19 deadline but I still have 16 blocks left to quilt and  borders and sashing to piece.  Although it is very tempting to just stipple everything so I can finish, this quit is more about the journey and actually learning skills so I am not going to rush it.  With that in mind, I went a little eclectic in my fmq of the em-dash block:

Pebble practice

Pebble practice

More pebbles

Loopy pebbles

Some loops which I obviously need to practice because they aren't symmetrical at all

Some loops which I obviously need to practice because they aren’t symmetrical at all and I haven’t tucked in my loose ends yet.

I thought I had taken a picture of the feather I did–half of it looks pretty good; I realized after doing one side of the feather that I needed to put the presser foot down (ooops) so there will be ripping.  I think I will try a flower in the peach.  The quilting is going so much better than it was in June–apparently working with the right tools (bobbin washers, thread holder, pink teflon thing, gloves, extension table) makes a big difference!  You should really check out the group on Flickr–there are some people that have  amazing talent.

Last weekend, I also made my first block of the Sew Kitschy BOM (designed by Kristy @ Quiet Play).  I used the orange and blue DS Quilts fabric that I have been collecting.    I think I need to buy some varied shades of solid orange and blue fabrics to break up some of the prints  as this turned out a little busier that I wanted it to be.

Potholder and oven mitt in DS Quilts fabric

Potholder and oven mitt in DS Quilts fabric

I was going to make it in aqua and red but realized that I have barely any red.  I have maybe 5 reds and none of them coordinate.  This is beyond incomprehensible — my favorite color is red.  How is it that I have not been buying red?  Obviously,  I NEED to make buying red fabric a high priority.  Any suggestions on some awesome red fabrics that I should purchase?


Kona White, white clothes and white shoes

Can you see it?

Can you see it?

I avoid having and using all 3 of these things.  I don’t like buying anything white.  It will get dirty.  Whenever I do buy something white, it inevitably gets something on it by the end of the day and it’s not that I’m more careless or messier than the next person, but I can’t keep white things nice.  It doesn’t help that I live in the rust belt/limestone belt of the nation either.  Anyways, as any good phobic person, I try to stay away from bright white (except for my brief delusion that white kitchen cabinets would be divine with 3 kids).   I will buy  cream, Kona Snow, and off-white items though.   So imagine my dismay when the first block asked for by our Stash Bee hive mama, Heather,  called for a bright white background (ugh).  I can do this, I thought.  It’s just one block-I’ll do it real quick, ship it off and  everything will be fine….

The block is a paper pieced Kite/Mill and Stars block.  It’s really nice.  I unfortunately used a glue stick to keep the fabric on my paper and then scorched the glue when I was giving it a final press.  I’ve dabbed it with water but I can still see the scorched glue so I will be making a second block and not using glue this time–wish me luck or I’m going to have to go buy more white Kona.

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Starting the year out right

Project Endeavor 2014 is starting off well.  Of course, snowpocalypse is partially the reason I am getting so much done right now.  I finished my hubby’s pillow and my friend’s water bottle carrier (yes, they were late for Christmas but I finished them instead of putting them away for next Christmas).  First – the leg lamp pillow:

My version of the Leg Lamp pillow designed by Sarah Bailey of Sew What Sherlock.

My version of the Leg Lamp pillow designed by Sarah Bailey of Sew What Sherlock.

When I first saw that Sarah Bailey at Sew What Sherlock was designing a leg lamp pillow, I was giddy.  My husband has threatened to buy a leg lamp for years and now he has one that has my stamp of quilty approval.  I used Kona for everything except the shoe and garter belt which was a lacy print from Moda’s Little Black Dress.  I even added cheap nylon netting over the leg Kona like Sarah suggested.  This pattern is Awesome–go get her free pattern here.  As some of you may know by now, I kind of decide to do awesome things at the last minute (like this pillow) and then realize that I’m in over my head.  I only had a few paper piecing mishaps–not using a big enough fabric piece  here and there which I ended up patching in as another piece and mistakenly layering the netting in the wrong order when I sewed the leg –but I was able to get it all pieced in an evening.  (I added the “Fragile” to the side using scrapbook letter stencils to cut letters out of fabric which I glued on and then stitched around when I quilted the pillow.)  In fact, if I hadn’t completely forgotten to buy matching threads to quilt it, my husband may have actually received this pillow on Christmas Day.  Ok, maybe not because it did take me some time to figure out how to sew this zipper in the back of the pillow too–I found a great tutorial for that here.  I suggest that if you make this pattern into a pillow, put some sashing around the entire block so you can actually see the shoe.

The second project was a water bottle carrier that I made for a friend at work.  When I saw this boston terrier voile fabric by Kokka, I knew I had to buy it and make Staci something.  The easy answer would have been to make a cute voile scarf but Staci isn’t a scarf wearing kind of girl.  Staci has recently started volunteering with an animal rescue organization and devotes a lot of time on the weekend going to Pet Smart and trying to get abandoned pets with good families.  Staci is also a pretty thrifty person too so I know she takes her own water with her and since she’s kind of a germ freak, I know she’s not setting that bottle down just anywhere–thus, the perfect gift which she can use while volunteering and walking her own BT dog, Preston.  I used the pattern from Kathy Mack at Pink Chalk Fabrics which you can find here.  This pattern is super easy until you get to the part where you have to sew the circle in at the bottom–that was a bear.


I have also finally finished piecing all my Skillbuilder blocks and have borders on all of them now.  I may be optimistic in thinking I can get that done by Jan. 19 since I still have 17 blocks to fmq, and borders to make/quilt for it and I am waiting for 4 more yards of background fabric  to get here ( don’t you hate it when you buy a unique color of Kona at JoAnn Fabrics and they don’t order another bolt just in case you run out?–perhaps I should re-think my aversion to using Kona white).  I’m not counting on the fabric getting here until next week since over half the state is still under lockdown due to the snow.  I’ll save the Skillbuilder for it’s own post since it pretty much consumed my entire year-but here’s a glance at the most recent fmq attempt–not great but at least it’s not full of eyelashes on the back.  I still need to tie in some threads and quilt the dotty fabric–I think Alyssa did pebbles but I think a nice feather would look good…

My loops aren't even on every side but since this is really the first time I've done anything other than a stipple since June, I'm okay with that.

My loops aren’t even on every side but since this is really the first time I’ve done anything other than a stipple since June, I’m okay with that.

Goodness, a week in and 2 finishes–Project Endeavor may be just what I needed.

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2014 Endeavor

Rather that go on lamenting about all that went wrong or did not get finished this year, I am going to forge on with my touchstone word for 2014:


This year, I will endeavor to BE more productive, healthier, wiser, happier, charitable, industrious, inspirational, etc.  I am going to put forth more effort on every front; I will Endeavor to finish projects, continue with projects, tackle new ideas and stop asking “what if”.

That begins with finishing the leg lamp pillow for my husband.  If you follow me on Instagram, you saw my last minute efforts to finish a Christmas present and realize at 12:30 Christmas morning that I had not bought thread to quilt the pillow.  Since the roads are so terrible here today that I decided to turn back from my drive into work today, I plan on finishing that today.  I also hope to at least glue baste these letters onto a quilt that I have planned for my daughter:




All perfect words of inspiration for a little girl (and even her mom).

I’m off to finish a pillow.


I think I need a craftervention

(Revised.) While I have loved doing the Skillbuilder BOM, it’s always been looming over my head and I’ve felt like that’s all I’ve done all year (mystery quilt and baby quilt aside).  Plus,  I’ve been watching all these fabulous bee blocks everyone has been doing and I really want to do one so I signed up for next year’s Stash Bee.  Also, last week, my traditional guild decided that next year we will do a charm swap every month and make a block.

Cue the 3 BOM e-mails I’ve received in the past week.  I don’t know if I can resist.   First is the Sugar Cube Block 2014 by Amy Gibson .  I have to say that I  have loved seeing all the sugar cube blocks spread all over the internet this year.  Amy’s BOM for 2014 is going to be a mystery though I’m sure it will be super-cute.  I don’t think I’ve seen her do anything that wasn’t cute since I started following her.  Even her children are adorable.  Then there’s Kristy at Quiet Play.  Have you seen the paper- pieced quilt that she designed?  How cute is that?  It doesn’t even have to be a quilt – wouldn’t these be awesome potholders to hang on your kitchen wall!  Gah, the cuteness…. (Actually, I know that I’m going to definitely do Kristy’s –I have to – just look at how cute that Sew Kitschy button looks on my sidebar).  Finally, Alyssa over at Pile O’Fabric has another fab BOM planned for next year It’s a sewing theme – I don’t know about you but I have been coveting sewing themed blocks ever since the Sew Out Loud QAL 2 years ago   sew out loud quilt along.  Seriously, I know I can’t handle 5 blocks a month on top of the to-do list of quilts that I want to do but these all sound so great. Maybe I should just do Kristy’s and hope for a couple adorable potholders.

By the way, did I mention that I started a honey cowl; yep after 3 hours of knitting, I have exactly one row to show for it.  It has been relegated to the after Christmas (maybe) pile.  I’m also seriously tempted to use my blue and orange DS Quilts fabrics to participate in the APQ quilt-along that’s gearing up.  Uh yeah, about that craftervention.

Wow!  look at that progress….

Wow! look at that progress….

I did manage to catch up on 2 more blocks for the Skillbuilder BOM-only 2 more to go and I can do all the fmq that I haven’t done since the first set of blocks…

Confession by finished, I mean it's fused.  I wussed out on the piecelique and I'm just doing raw edge appliqué.

Confession -by finished, I mean it’s fused. I wussed out on the piecelique and I’m just doing raw edge appliqué.

So do you have an elf on the shelf or a variation thereof?  Our “elf” took selfies the other night while riding on the broken airplane in our office and made a slide show.  Lil Bee was thrilled to tell her friends about it.  What does your elf typically do during December?

Flying elf


I have been doing stuff

Between all the dentist and orthodontist appts, and play week and sick kid week;), I have managed to do a little bit more on the SkillBuilder BOM.

Not too happy with this one – it looks like I put a pink circle on a paper bag-well, they can’t all look fabulous.

These are the Candyland blocks – I’m happy with these.

A stash pull for an orange and blue quilt that I am obsessing about. I think it needs more blue and maybe another yellow. What do you think?