Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A new look, a new day, and a new sewing machine cover... kind of

I started and mostly finished the process of simplifying my blog. I still have a bit of work to do on the sidebars, but I'm really enjoying the solid white background and the header my sister Marisa (the real computer whiz in this family) made - thank you, Ris!

Today is also a new day because I joined the gym. I'm kind of kicking myself for committing to something so expensive ((okay it's not really that expensive but I don't have a full time job)) but I'm hoping that my newfound perseverance to get and stay in shape will continue.

In addition, I'm getting a little upset about job prospects for the fall, but every time that happens, I try to go to my sewing room. And fill out more applications later. So, I'm going to go and sew right now =P

That means I've been getting a lot done... here's just one peek:

Hand sewn hexagons after several months (Lark line) :)

...JUST a little short. Looks like it's going to need some sashing...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Please vote - Blogger's Quilt Festival!

Thank you so much for all the feedback on my "Bubble Trail" quilt! That was my entry to the Blogger's Quilt Festival. It's up against 5 other quilts for "Favorite Baby Quilt" (the first category) - if you think it deserves the award, please go and vote HERE! I would very much appreciate it! :)

All of the quilts are beautiful, and I had a tough time making decisions. I'm sure all the quilters would be grateful if you went and voted, and thanked Amy for all of her hard work!

And Happy Memorial Day! Let us remember all those who died for our country today and every day.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Sunset over Prague" - A Finished Mini Quilt

-Blog format and header under construction - will be fixed soon!-

Sooooo, I had this idea in my mind since pretty much last June, when I got back from my 2.5 week study abroad trip to Central Europe... and saw that I had taken this picture in Prague, on the Charles Bridge (by the way, literally the most beautiful place I've ever been):

And this picture, also taken from the Charles Bridge (you can see Prague Castle again - the biggest castle in the world!):

These pictures had the making of a good quilt (or mini quilt). I just felt it. Look at those colors! In addition, I knew there was only one way I could thank my professor for all she had done for me throughout my college career (we geek out about crafting all the time and I'm currently finishing a quilt she started).
Mission: Make a mini quilt of Prague for professor
Time Frame until graduation (as of June 2011): 11 months (plenty of time right?!?)

Life got in the way, and I finished other projects (including some commission t-shirt quilts last summer, which always take much more time than I originally map out) (one of the quilts was actually for said professor's daughter). The very last thing I needed was another project (I try to tell myself that these days and it doesn't work :) )
September: School starts. I live at school. Machine quilting is out.
December: I move back home to start student teaching, and finish up all my Christmas sewing (which lasted until after Christmas).
January: Student teaching starts and life as I know it ends. I'm lucky if I have an hour in the week to sew.
Time frame: 4 months left (still plenty of time, right?)

May 4: All student teaching and college work is finished!

May 11: Graduation (whoops). Couldn't bring a present even if I wanted to, so that bought me some extra time.
And now we get to May 26 - our planned party to watch Eurovision (if you don't know what Eurovision is, it's like American Idol for European countries and it is fantastic). I knew this baby had to get done.

The night before, on May 25: Here's what was done so far (pieced sky and water, and some applique, and my first try at pebble quilting - forgive the bad cell phone photo quality):

I watched The Help (so good!) with my mom and sister, while simultaneously cutting out small pieces of fabric for applique...
May 26: Spend day at quilt store with friend, trying to finish.
3 hours later: finish hand sewing binding and label two minutes before shop closed.

I wanted to take some pictures in sunlight (or in least in better natural light) before I wrapped it up, but the weather was really dreary.

30 minutes later... arrive at former professor's house! WHEW!

Here's the main inspiration picture again (now you can compare to the picture of the mini quilt):

This was supposed to look like you were walking down the bridge, toward the other side. I'm not very good with perspective but after some careful measurement/ruler work, I'm happy with the way this turned out! In addition, you can see that the real Charles Bridge is lined with many statues, but I went for the more abstract feel and made those two brown "blobs" (as my sister called them). It would be too much work to actually make those things out of fabric, and I really like the more abstract feel for elements such as those.

I used green buttons abstractly as trees. The hill on the left side of the picture is called Petrin Hill (which we climbed on the trip) and there is a tower that resembles the Eiffel Tower at the top). I also stitched some little fish into the sea and free motion quilted the waves. (Here are a couple of pictures from our perspective on top of Petrin Hill):

In the picture of the castle (near the top of this post) you can see that there was a small cafe, so I fussy cut some umbrellas from a (Timeless Treasures?) NYC fabric I had a fat quarter of. I also fussy cut the boat because I kept seeing boats on either side of the bridge...

I used lots of scraps (including from fabric she had given me herself)! In addition, the hand embroidery at the bottom says "Praha," which is the Czech name for the city.

I'm very proud of this quilt - I tried some new things (pebbling [if that's a word], hand embroidery with embroidery floss), and made something for my favorite (ex)professor!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival 2012

I have always enjoyed the Blogger's Quilt Festival - thank you Amy, for hosting!

Amy's Creative Side

This year, I'm sharing my Bubble Trail baby quilt. It is still (somewhat embarassingly) my only 2012 finish. My readers know that I have been student teaching and just graduated undergrad - unfortunately, as much as I tried to make time, there wasn't much to be had the first half of this year. That is changing, however (and this blog will be too!)

On to the quilt. This idea started festering in my brain when I found out about my soon-to-be sil's pregnancy. Actually, originally, I intended to use a FQ bundle of Valorie Wells's Wrenly for that quilt, but somehow, the bubble idea popped into my head. I wish I could tell you how - I honestly have no idea. But when I thought of it I LOVED the idea as a baby quilt.

I have always enjoyed machine applique (raw edge) and its look. Plus, what better than to practice techniques on a baby quilt? Also, I've always loved sewing in rainbow. Thus, a quilt was born (hallelujah!)

What I learned: I love using a neutral solid (in this case, the Kona white) as a dominant part of the quilt. Very modern, haha! When I thought of the bubble wand, I knew I couldn't ignore it; trust my instincts and it works! I also controlled my stippling better, and greatly enjoyed the effect of rainbow stippling on white (it's difficult to see but here's a picture of green and blue together):

I didn't want to give it away but I can think of no one better than my baby niece. I also FMQed her name into the bottom (Audriana):

If you would like to read my original posting about this quilt, you can see it here.
Enjoy the other (beautifulamazinggorgeous) quilts and thank you for stopping by! :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

New sewing machine recommendations?

I'm hoping my readers can help me... I'm in the market to buy a new sewing machine! Wahoo! For those who don't know, I currently sew on a very basic Brother machine, which I picked up two years ago when I started sewing. With some of my graduation money (most of it is going in savings for my loans), I want to make this one purchase. Those four years of hard work are starting to pay off ;)

Dream machines: Bernina 440 but really 820 (this is just from initial research)

My main requirements: 1. Quilting table/extension
2. Included feet, including free motion and walking foot
3. Use mainly for quilting and piecing (not embroidery)
4. Probably won't use TONS of decorative stitches, but who knows.
5. Large area right of the needle
(not too many requirements really!)

Does anyone have a machine they would recommend, or a brand? Even if it's more than I want to spend, I'll take any suggestions right now, because I've never bought a really legit sewing machine! Please and thank you!

Update: Initial gut feeling for this machine (Brother PQ1500S). Thoughts?

A graduation photo. It was a beautiful day and I couldn't have asked for more support from my family, friends, and professors! I will be giving the blog a new look soon, too.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My decorated grad cap!

It's finally here! I'm graduating from undergrad tomorrow and I. can't. wait.
It's going to be a great day - with my family and Mike, and then with all of my friends. I *may* (hopefully) hear back from the job I'm hoping for tomorrow (let's hope, on a day like tomorrow, it's good news!)

Here's my grad cap! I ended up using some of the ideas given to me in the contest, but the button thing was a sudden idea.

I got to use some of my great aunt's old buttons, some of my mom's, and some of my own that I had been hoarding (see Incomparable Buttons' owls? I love them! I used owls because they are associated with smarts :)).

TCNJ is my college, and HBMS stands for the school I student taught in - I wanted to give a shout out to my kids :) There are also crayon stickers on the two corners you can't see.

I bought the crayon stickers and the words/letters from Michael's, and cut the apple out of sparkly paper (as well as the leaf and stem). I hot glued those on (carefully). The 4 sparkly rhinestones, I had stashed away in the craft room - they are also from Michael's.

More grad pictures to come! I hope this helps anyone who was thinking of making their own grad cap. It's super easy and it was so much fun. It really didn't take long at all! You could do this without spending money at all. Cheers!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Show and Tell Monday

A lot has been going on!

-Got a beautiful swap package from my friend Sara (go visit her - she's wonderful :) ). We told each other some of our favorite fabric lines. It was so much fun to shop for someone else and wait in suspense to see what she picked for me!! 

Good Fortune, pearl bracelets, and Half Moon Modern. I am so stoked.

She also included a very thoughtful card, which I am saving, and a tin of dark chocolates, as well as a huge pile of purple scraps. I'm in heaven! Thank you SO much, Sara!!!

-View of the living room - piecing the back of my purple star quilt (it's going to change today)

-View of the sewing dining room... as I work on a secret mini quilt...

A mess as usual

-Finished a ribbed cowl for the fall - my first time knitting this way. It was fun and pretty relaxing once I got the hang of it!

Worn two ways:


I can't wait to wear it in the fall!

-Graduation cap under construction! No pictures yet, but later this week for sure.

-This week is huuuuge - I have a final interview for a teaching job (!!!!!) and graduation on Friday, as well as much substitute teaching and babysitting in between. Stay tuned for my graduation post and other quilty things coming up!

And just for giggles... "Marisa, give me the camera"

(P.S. Sorry for soooo many exclamation points this post - I guess I'm pretty excited about things :))


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