Sew Frou Frou Quilter

Spreading warm wishes one quilt at a time…


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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.

BEE BLOCKS

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

FABRIC INDULGENCES, ETC.

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?


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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_0519

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?


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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?


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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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A weekend of progress

I don’t know if it was the fact that I was following all the sewing summit posts on Instagram or if it’s because I have 2 quilt guild meetings this week but I feel like I did more this week than I have in a while.  I probably still won’t have anything to show at the guild meeting since I seemed to jump around on projects but at least I am progressing forward.

So I am still working diligently on the my 3rd(4th?) attempt at the Diamond Carat.  Seriously, this block is kicking my butt.  I am just hand piecing it now and that seems to be working better than the attempts at EPP and paper piecing it (the directions called for EPP).  Hand sewing is a nice thing to have for the evening since I can do it in front of the tv with the rest of the family; I don’t feel as guilty doing that as I do running off to my sewing machine in the evening.  I have decided this pass at the block is going to have to be gold because I am not doing it again.  I think Alyssa was prepared for that instance since one of the blocks (that I haven’t made yet–did I mention that I’m a bit behind) actually ends up making an extra that Alyssa sweetly suggests we could turn into a pillow.

I, or rather TweezerGirl and I, finished my Broken Arrow Block.  Can I get a WOOT, WOOT?

I'm a little in love with this block.

I’m a little in love with this block.

Isn’t TweezerGirl cute?

Tweezergirl has it all together!

Tweezergirl has it all together!

After all the picking of freezer paper, she still looks happy and composed.  So with TweezerGirl’s help I am now ready to move onto Blocks Lesson 7.   Uh yeah, the group started Block 9 last week.  I haven’t even logged onto Flickr to see just how many people are actually keeping up.  I still have to quilt mine before I can actually say that I am caught up.

I worked a little on the “Jinxed” quilt.  I am so close to the end with this quilt, I really just need to finish.  True to form with this quilt, I realized that I cut a whole bunch of triangles down that should not have been cut down:-\   Fortunately I bought my black Kona with a coupon at Joann’s and told them just to give me the whole bolt (so I don’t have to worry about matching dye lots or anything).   I’ve started sewing blocks into rows and then got tired of pressing so worked on sewing the piano key border together.  Cross your fingers for me, I may just have a finished top by Thursday’s guild meeting.

My ten year old son has decided that he no longer wants his “baby” furniture in his room (actually he decided that about 2 years ago but we’ve been stalling because it was hard enough to paint over the mural of Thomas the Train back then).  We finally decided we would paint over it because It needed some serious cleaning if we wanted to sell it.  So today, I sanded and put the first coat of black paint over this…

It just broke my heart to cover this cute design up.

It just broke my heart to cover this cute design up.

This little dresser served as a changing table for all 3 of my children and I just have to face it, I don’t have any babies anymore.

Watched Mr. H. play his last football game of the season on Saturday.

wpid-20130810_135323.jpg

They lost.  Poor guys, they were doing so well in the first half and then it just all fell apart.  I’m going to miss seeing this little guy in his jersey and orange pants every weekend.

And lastly, I blogged.  I hope you all had a productive weekend too.


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I’m just giddy with this idea

Last week on IG (note that I’ve now become completely addicted to Instagram), I saw a teaser for making your own text fabric by Latifah of the Quilt Engineer blog.  My first thought was “cool, I don’t have to search all over for the perfect text print”.  But this weekend, I had one of those lightbulb moments that well, just made me giddy.  It’s what I love about quilting–that feeling that you have just come up with the most amazing idea. Do you feel that way too?

My idea involves Lil Bee.

Her eyes light up over paint.

Her eyes light up over paint.

She loves to make art and she does so in large doses.  Note the 6 paintings above that were done in probably 30 minutes.  I love that she wants to create things-it makes my heart warm and fuzzy.  That being said, I’m constantly finding art littered all over the house.  A few weeks ago, I finally convinced her that we couldn’t keep it all (I know, I felt like the biggest ogre but I honestly don’t want to be on a episode of hoarders a couple years from now).  So we went through and picked her favorites that we would definitely keep and hang up in the toy room like

She put this one in the school art show--it's called Crazy...

She put this one in the school art show–it’s called Crazy…

The rest we took pictures of so that we could burn them to a CD or perhaps make a book on Shutterfly.

So anyways, I so want to encourage her creativity and nurture her interest in all crafts.  She so wants to be involved in my quilting/sewing and Latifah’s idea of making your own text fabric got me to thinking.  I could have Bee draw her own pictures on fabric with fabric paint/fabric markers and we could work together to sash all her masterpieces into quilts and give them as gifts to her grandmothers for Christmas.  Heck, it doesn’t even have to be an entire quilt, we could make coasters, hot pads, or placemats with her artwork.  I’m really excited about this idea and so is Bee.  I think it will be a great way to ease her into sewing.

So what do you think?  Stay tuned to see how this works.


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More blocks for the SKillbuilder BOM (almost) finished and a recipe

They still need borders and fmq but I’m calling it a finish for now.  As noted in previous posts, my sewing machine and I have been butting heads when it comes to FMQ.  So, I am concentrating on the blocks for now and will get to the quilting once I’m caught up.  Yes, I’m still working myself up to tackle the EPP block again.  I like paper piecing but I’m definitely having issues  with having enough fabric for a 1/4 inch seam allowance for the finished block–does anyone else have this problem?  I’m going to have the fix the Geoswirl for just that reason–I needed a 1/4 inch around the entire block so added 2 strips but forgot to account for the fact that my biscuit strip needed to be longer.  I may just take those 2 strips off and make my border strips bigger to account for the 1/4 inch-I haven’t decided.

GeoswirlHere is the GeoSwitz

Not sure how I feel about this block.  I may have gone overboard with the orange!

Not sure how I feel about this block. I may have gone overboard with the orange!

So the next blocks that Alyssa is going to have us do are the broken chevrons and broken arrow.   The broken arrow looks fun; I think the chevrons will be time consuming but not so much as the woven chevron was.

So I promised a recipe.  I made these last night (I did not take a picture of it)–Oven baked onion rings.  They were delicious!  I sliced up a vidalia onion and dipped it in egg and the dredged it in a mixture of Parmesan cheese and some cajun spice.  I put them on a baking sheet coated with olive oil and baked them for 40 minutes at 450 (turning them over at 20 minutes).  The kids actually ate them.  I don’t know about you but that is a constant struggle at our house –finding something remotely healthy that all 3 kids like.  It was SO nice to have a peaceful dinner full of yummy remarks rather than whining (it almost made up for my day at work).  Another plus, this fit into the recent sugar reductions that I have made with my diet.  So far, I have gone 5 days with no sugar and/or sweeteners passing my lips.

This is completely off-topic but Janice Zeller Ryan’s post here about Instagram convinced me to give it another try.  I had it on my old phone but I felt at the time it was eating up my battery (may have just been my lousy phone) and I felt a little weird about some of the bloggers I was following (I felt like I was spying on them)-but hey, I guess if they want to put it out there for everyone, why should I feel uncomfortable about it.  So anyway, I’m giving it another try–I am sffquilter and most of my stuff will be quilty/sewing.  I put most of my family stuff on my personal Facebook page and a few things here on the blog that I want to document in more than a sentence.  So what are your thoughts about Instagram?