Monday, June 27, 2011

Perfection is...

...a new rotary blade :) Perfection! Or as Chandler from "Friends" would say, "gum WOULD be perfection." I love that show.

Clip (it won't let me embed :[ ):

I'm cutting all day... I'm working on about 7 projects at once right now! This one is for a new baby quilt. What are you up to? Hopefully, sewing-related or summery activities if you are on the side of the world that has summer now?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Finished Quilt: "Ladybugs for Bailey"

This quilt is for a very special little girl in my life. She will *technically* be my niece next year when I get married, but she and the other kids already calls me Aunt Jess :)

(Those monstrous feet belong to my wonderful fiance!)

Bailey just turned four. I was dating Mike when she was born, and also when her little sister was born. I remember holding her when she was a baby - she loved grabbing for my necklaces and hair. Now, her family lives in Texas, but they are coming to visit for the whole month of July! I can't wait to spend time with them and give her the quilt.

My senior prom (she was about a year old):

When she turned 2:
Last time I saw her, I asked if she wanted me to make her a blanket. She said yes, and that she wanted "pink, purple, ladybugs, and my name, Bailey Mae." I was only happy to oblige. ;) Plus, I added the bee in, because I found out she's going to be a bee in a play (I can't figure out a better way to write that last part!)

I am so happy to finally finish this quilt because it's been in the making for the whole first half of this year! I've been posting bits and pieces of it but nowwww it's doneeee :) Sigh of relief.

I'm still experimenting with applique - all the flowers, lady bugs, stems, words, antennae, and singular bee were stitched on with a zig zag machine stitch.

Dimensions: 56 in x 65 in

Quilting: Stipple on the inside square, stitch in the ditch around the borders and charm squares. This is also the first time I've really done some legitimate hand quilting. I didn't realize how long it takes, but I really love the way it looks. I quilted in the purple border - I thought about doing a second, different colored thread there too, but I like the way the one quilted border looks.

I also hand quilted around each layer of the flowers (you can see this in the last picture above).

Design: For the flowers and stems, I was inspired to make them 3D by Piece n Quilt and this Ruffled Flower Rag Quilt tutorial by Bobbie. The original inspiration for this quilt is from Piece n Quilt, too (I can't find the link but I saved this picture on my computer because I knew something similar would be perfect for Bailey):

Fabric: Many! What can I say, I love to make it scrappy. It's a Hoot, Dream On, Soul Blossoms, Love, Innocent Crush, Fandango, American Jane Pindot, Sunkissed, others, remnants from my mom's stash, scraps I've gathered from other quilters. I got out my charm packs and mixed an matched for the second border.

Backing: Pieces with same hodge-podge of fabric mentioned above (several pieces from my mom's stash)

Binding: Machine stitched to the top, hand stitched to the back. A purple paisley fabric I found at Joann's - I really love it and need to get more.

I'll post a picture when I give it to her!

Linking up to:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WIP Wednesday!

I'm looking forward to doing a lot of WIP Wednesday posts this summer!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

"Ladybugs for Bailey" quilt!!! Look for a post tomorrow all about it. If the weather is good I'm going to force/bribe my brother to help me with a photoshoot :) Here's a sneak peak of it air drying on our banister:

New Projects:
1. A very special quilt that I probably won't be able to talk about until the end of the summer. No pictures, either! But I can tell you it involves Bubble Jet Set!

2. Warm/Cool Quilt Along at In Color Order. I just picked out my fabric - I'm behind the progress everyone else has been making because I decided to join in late! But that's okay. I plan on cutting the charm squares this week. I might be making two of these if it goes well; one for a baby coming in August, and one for 100 Quilts for Kids.

Ongoing Projects:
My rainbow dresden wedding quilt (see previous progress here) - I cut my 6 yards of Kona White up today into 22 x 22 inch squares... I'm gearing up to do scrappy borders for each block. I think I'm going to individually quilt each block because this one is going to be a WHOPPER. Also contemplating the backing a lot... I've been inspired to continue this thanks to Jennifer at Ellison Lane Quilts. :)

On Hold:
1. My summery dress
2. Tie
3. 2 T shirt quilts (soon! soon! soon! Those I know won't take too horribly long to finish)

(Blogger is being stupid again and it turned my photo... oh well. A box and a bag of t-shirts).

More tomorrow!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Small update and Big Giveaway at 1 Choice 4 Quilting

First, for all inquiring minds, my sewing day today was much better :) All machine quilting done, hand sewing of the binding is 3/4 done, and tomorrow I'm trying my hand at hand quilting, *gulp* (I don't know how else to phrase that, even though it sounds weird =P). I will have finish pictures, AND a button, AND a new banner soon! Whoopee! It's like Christmas in June!

P.S. Check out a quilting related Post Secret here :) It made me smile.

ANYWAY, the point of this post - the 1 Choice 4 Quilting giveaway. Five winners - 4 will get Strawberry Fields FQs with 2 yards of Bella Solids and 1 blogger will pick a Moda tote bag (maybe me? Although I've been lusting after Strawberry Fields, haha!). How cool is that? They always have great giveaways. Go enter now - you have until June 27.

To all the dads out there, Happy Father's Day! :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Jessica and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Quilting Day :(

In first or second grade, I remember my teacher reading a book to us, and the title has stuck with me ever since: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. This label has come up on a few select days in my life where it seems like everything goes wrong (I'm sure everyone has those days). Well, quilting was bad today. Just bad :(

I don't like to complain or emit negativity, but I knew that my readers would be able to relate. Twice, I couldn't get my bobbin to wind (I tried about twenty times each time and finally, somehow, got it to work - don't ask me how because I couldn't answer that!).

Then, I realize that the stippling - this is my first time doing free motion on a quilt bigger than baby size- was off in many places. I'm having trouble stitching evenly. So, I spent some much-needed quality time with my seam ripper.

I realized that I'll use two full spools of thread for the quilting. Boo. Poor college student - but at least thread isn't TOO expensive...

Then - I realized that the basting I did with many, many pins and safety pins, did not really help. The quilt seems more puffy than flat, although I'm not done quilting yet. Next time I'm definitely going to try basting spray - which I recently received a tutorial and several tips about from Ceri at InspiredbyFelix (thanks, Ceri!) :).

But, arghhh. I just wanted to get most of it done so I can sew the binding this weekend! I guess I should be grateful that my sewing machine is in working order.

And today was the last day of school, so I'm not subbing anymore - SO, I can sew all the time! I hope.

Thanks for reading my rant if you got this far! =P :) I *should* have some "finish" photos posted at the beginning of next week.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Two Giveaways and Three - Count 'em, Three - Accuquilt Go! Giveaways

Hurry up and enter them!

A beautiful apron giveaway over at The Little Mouse, a blog I just discovered. There's also a great giveaway with Shabby Fabrics over at ...just one more stitch - for three jelly rolls - and 2nd and 3rd prizes get $25 shop gift certificates. Pretty sweet!

Also, if you don't have an Accuquilt Go!, here's your chance! I personally would love to have one, but I would also be happy if one of my readers won ;)

Here at Samelia's Mum;

Here at Its Sew Kiki;

and here at Talin's Corner.

Enjoy and good luck!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sewing and Quilting should be Olympic Sports - don't you agree?

They should be! I work up such a sweat! I'm fortunate enough that my family has air conditioning, but I really think I get quite a work out =o)

I've been doing a little of this...

(not quilting, but design - I didn't want the black thread to show on the backing because I'll be quilting the whole thing in white)

And this...

(basting. My least favorite part of quilting. I wish I didn't have a least favorite part, but I do. I know it partially has to do with the fact that I don't have enough space anywhere in my house!)

I'll have the quilting and binding done within the next few days (I hope! At least by the weekend, because I'll be substitute teaching all week.)

What are you up to today?

Monday, June 6, 2011

100 Quilts for Kids - Help Out!

I know we are all busy with quilts, WIPs, and other projects - and of course, life! - but this is a project I think we all can do. We all have scraps and great ideas - so make a baby or toddler-sized quilt for this great cause. Some of the things I feel most passionate about are tolerance education and children. I will be doing it, no doubt.

Swim, Bike, Quilt

All the details can be found here, at Swim, Bike, and Quilt. Kate emailed me about the cause about a month ago, and I was interested from the start. I hope you'll join me.

The button is on my right sidebar, and you can put one on your blog to help spread the word, too. Kate is having a giveaway here for this.

Happy sewing :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A finished Jigsaw Mug Rug and more about my Europe trip - with pictures!

I've been SO BUSY the last two weeks! I'm still behind on blogs, and I have had just a little time to quilt. I've been cleaning, babysitting, and substitute teaching. I also visited with a friend all weekend! I thought summer was supposed to be less busy than the semester... but it's not. Hopefully this week, I will get more quilting in. I also wanted to tell you more about my trip.

I have a mug rug to show you! I'm officially calling this a Jigsaw Mug Rug. It's supposed to be wonky! I made two of these before (here's one), but this was for my sister.

Sister: *suddenly grins* I want a mug rug! Can you make me one?
Me: *Is surprised* Sure!! What do you want?
Sister: Anything.
Me: What about rainbow colored?
Sister: SURE!
Me: Look through my scrap bin and pick out which fabrics you want.
She had a blast.

(Blogger is being stupid and even though the picture is actually the other way on my hard drive, it won't appear like that here :( Boo. Sorry about that).

I'm still working on my niece's quilt, and I'll post a picture soon of its progress! I'm so excited to finish it and give it to her for her fourth birthday - and to start some other projects. And finish those WIPs. And my lovely sister and I are designing a new header. Ah, the busy life of a quilter! I'm sure you can all relate!

Thanks for all of the welcome back comments, by the way! I really appreciate it. I had a blast in Europe. I also promised a few people that I would talk about my experience a little more here. Well, it was definitely worth every penny - I'm paying for the trip by myself, so that was one thing to take into consideration when deciding to go. Luckily, I received two grants to help me fund my way, for the purpose of doing research for my thesis on Holocaust memorials (which I talked more about here) and for buying books.

Prague Castle - the largest castle in the world. It's a huge complex. That's me in front of one of the tallest and most intricate buildings I've ever seen in person - the cathedral.

The trip was quite a mixture of the sad and of the happy. We had so much fun seeing Berlin and Weimar, Germany, Prague, Czech Republic, and Krakow and Warsaw, Poland. Each place was different in its own unique way - but Berlin and Prague were my favorites. Berlin, because I'd been anxiously hoping to go there for three years after studying the fall of the Wall (and it ended up being all I had dreamed and more), and Prague, which was the most beautiful place I've ever seen. We did a lot of "shopping" - which also sometimes meant just browsing because I was trying to be careful with my money. I tried to buy an accessory or something small for myself in each place, and I did :)

One of the old squares in Warsaw. The city was 90% destroyed during WWII, and rebuilt. Just gorgeous. The building on the right is the Royal Castle.

Berlin was very modern - close to what you would think of New York City, but only a few skyscrapers and much friendlier people in general (I also felt safer there than I usually do in NYC, ironically enough! - but, I really do love NYC :) ).

Nighttime in Berlin. Love.

Weimar, Germany was what someone once described as "a city inside a park" - nature abound and the history of Goethe, the famous composer, is everywhere.

A shot of the scenery - a partial old castle or building or some sort - in Weimar.

Prague was full of interesting architecture and we were able to meet my professor's parents there.

Krakow was very old but sad - it seemed haunted by the Holocaust. As Poland's second largest city and the former capital, the population of Jews went from around 60,000 people - down to 200 registered Jews. There were memorials and the remains of Jewish architecture in many places, as well as part of the ghetto wall. There was spirit there as well though - we felt it while we ate in a Polish/Jewish restaurant in the middle of the former ghetto. Warsaw was also interesting - the capital and largest city - about 400,000 Jews, which became about 400 after the war. So, so sad but so worth our attention and remembrance.

If there's anything else you would like to know, comment or send me an email and I'd be happy to explain more! I'll leave you with a few more pictures (and see my last post for more highlights):

The East Side Gallery in Berlin. Parts of the Berlin Wall were left up - this is one very long stretch - and it was repainted in honor of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall in 2009. It was stunning.

Wawel Castle in Krakow. An original castle.

And toy trains brought us our drinks in a restaurant in Prague!


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