Sunday, February 14, 2010

{ Happy Valentine's Day } Freestyle Piecing for A Swap Partner & A Mini in the Mail!

Happy Sunday everyone! Did you have any romantic Valentine's plans for today? I know I didn't. My wife and I decided to keep it low key this year and spend time as a family at home. Those plans were foiled though when my DW got called into work for a PH emergency. She's back now and we just finished up an episode of Big Love on HBO. Aww, how romantic! :P

I did sneak away for a few hours today to get some quilting done for a swap. This mini top was made using batik scraps. No paper piecing involved. I started with 1 center strip and then sewed 2 strips on each side at a slant. Sort of like a modified string quilt block. I was very careful to use the same degree tilt for each strip. That way the blades would meet up when the blocks were sewn together. Each of the blocks finished out at around 3.5 inches. I put 4 of them together to make a larger block. There are 16 blocks total in the top. Waddayathink?




I want to try the same block using Denyse Schmidt's Katie Jump rope line. I think it would make a great pillow! Any ideas on how to quilt it would be appreciated. I'm at a loss so far.

I also wanted to share with you a swap quilt I received in the mail recently. This one came from Diane. We were paired up for a Swap-Bot swap. She must have done some investigating in my profile because she made the quilt using some of my favorite fabric, Swell by the Urban Chicks for Moda. Check it out.





Thanks for the awesome quilt Diane!

That's all for now, I've got a February quilting bee update for tomorrow. Stay tuned. Hope everyone has a great President's day on Monday. Get to the quilt shops for some great sales. May your stash always be overflowing!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

{ Spoonflower } Spending Sunday Doodling

I've really become a huge fan of the website Spoonflower. I think it's so neat that you can create original fabric designs just by uploading your artwork. I've ordered from them in the past and have been real pleased with the fabric quality.

I've been toying with the idea of uploading designs from my kids to use in my projects. I tried to make that happen this morning, but it was a challenge to get my son to sit still for a few minutes and draw. I think I need to approach the project a little differently. So, for now, I sat down with his markers and came up with a few designs for Valentine's day. I ordered swatches of the fabric and can't wait to get them.

Here's what I came up with. I call it Very Valentine:







I also came up with some abstract images. I call this set Doodles:






Happy Sunday,

Saturday, February 6, 2010

{ Pillow Talk } The swap has begun! & { Bee } Imaginative - Some February Blocks For Quilt Dad

Well folks, the wait is over! Heather and Kerri just sent me the name of my partner for round 2 of the Pillow Talk { Swap } and I'm not spilling the beans...

It feels like it's been years since the last round. I sure hope they are already planning for a 3rd because I'll want to get started on my next pillow as soon as I mail this one.

This swap is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I spent the late afternoon scouring my partners flickr favs and reading their blog. The ideas are already starting to come together. Check back to see the progress!

Did I ever show you the pillow I received from my round 1 partner? Fellow man quilter John sent me the most amazing pillow. Check out this pile of goodness (and don't touch, cuz it's all mine!):



John was inspired by those great pillows Anthropologie makes. That and the fact that I hinted all over the place that I liked a certain DQS quilt he made recently. Thanks so much John. This pillow rocks!

This morning I was on call for the FH. While I was waiting for the phone to ring I managed to start my version of this quilt by Oh, Fransson! Our quilt guild has signed up to make 20 quilts for the local Pre K and I thought Elizabeth's pattern would make wonderful naptime cot quilts. I'll bring the top and pattern to our next meeting to run it by the group. Crossing my fingers! I chose bright primaries and prints for the 9 patch blocks. The whole thing took only a couple of hours to plan out. Just pick 9 coordinating FQs from your stash, and you will have something that looks like this in no time:



I ordered a FQ bundle that matches the prints Elizabeth used to make a grown up version for me!

I took a few minutes to mull over what John sent us this month for the { Bee } Imaginative Swap too. February was his month to send fabric out and he chose a nice selection of Erin Michael's Lush. I've never seen this fabric "in person" before. Some of the main prints are a paint-by-numbers forest scene. Lots of soft blues and greens, very earthy. I liked it so much that I scoured the internet last night for some to add to my stash, and quickly realized that I was lucky enough to find a few yards. There's not alot left!

I made 3 blocks to send to him. Here's what I came up with:







The one block was a direct pull from his inspiration mosaic. Clean lines, clean breaks between the fabric changes. The other 2 were my interpretation of his theme. In one of the blocks I tried to mirror the color card feel of the one print by using raw edge applique to create a series of circles. I was so happy with the way that block came out that I decided to make another, this time placing a "J" in the center.

John said it was OK to pull fabrics from our stash to incorporate so I added some Dandelion in Stone from Patty Young's new Flora and Fauna line and made the "J" out of Denyse Schmidt's Canyon Stripe in New Day from her Hope Valley line. There's even some good size scraps left to send back with his blocks. Hope he likes em!

Happy Saturday,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

{ Inspired by Heather } Keeping it Real!

I read the most amazing post yesterday on one of my quilting friend's blogs. Heather was deep in thought and reflecting on her life and the reason she blogs. She came to the conclusion that some of the best blogs out there are the ones you have an emotional connection with. Written by the folks who "put it all out there" and are not afraid to show life at its finest. I was so inspired by her post that I wanted to share about myself and my family as well. So here goes...

I was born and raised for the most part on the outskirts of the Catskill Mountains in upstate NY. I love simple, country life and the "small town" dynamics this area offers. You can walk out your door and shake hands with almost anyone you meet, know their names and exchange happenings about your family. They have fairs in the little town square during the summer and an ice harvest celebration in the winter. You can't go to the grocery store without spending at least an hour there because you run into everyone you know and they all want to chat with you for a few minutes. It's a great place to raise a family. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

I am the oldest of 6 children, my mother was pregnant with me when she graduated high school. My parents divorced shortly after my first brother was born and they both eventually remarried and continued to raise families. That means 4 of my 5 siblings are from different marriages. For the most part, we are all still very close.

I spent my early childhood living with my mother and seeing my dad on weekends. We would spend summer's with my Nana and Papa (my father's parents) camping. I loved every minute of it. During the weekends when I wasn't at my father's I would spend time with my Gramma Lake (my mother's mother) because my mother had to work. I never knew my Grandfather Lake because he died when I was very young. Gramma would spend hours quilting, sewing and cooking. It was during those times that I developed an interest in all things crafty.

My mother was one of 13 children. My mother's family had large reuniouns every year at the family farm in Ellisburg, NY where she grew up and that is the only time I got to see some of my cousins. We lived all over the place and the family was so big. I have some cousins that I've never met because there are so many.

I love most all forms of music and don't feel like I'm getting anything accomplished unless I have some tunes going in the background. I was in the school band and orchestra in high school and lived for it. I miss playing the trumpet and have been itching to get it out and start playing again. Oh the good old jazz band days.

I am terrified of snakes, spiders and heights and even thinking about them makes my stomach do flips. I am an animal lover and we have 2 small dogs and 2 cats (you can probably find a post about them somewhere). Our house wouldn't feel like a home without them. We'd set plates for them at the dinner table if we could.

I'm not married to my high school sweetheart. College and distance took care of that relationship, but I did marry the girl with the braces who sat next to me in band for 4 years. We were casual friends who started dating after college and fell in love and got married 6 years ago. We had a small wedding and said our vows on the beach in North Carolina at sunset. We've returned to the beach where we got married every summer.



My wife and I have 2 boys ages 4 and 11 months. I just signed my oldest son up for Kindergarten in the fall. I can't believe he's growing up so fast. I don't go a day without telling them both that I love them. We both would love to have more children.



I work full time as a funeral director and my schedule changes by the minute. I spend a lot of nights and weekends working, away from my family, caring for those who recently lost a loved one. My wife also works full time as a program coordinator/epidemiologist. Don't ask me what that means, shes a smartie with a master's in public health. We both would love nothing more than to be able to work from home and not have to send our kids to daycare.

Quilting is a hobby of mine that doubles as therapy for the stresses of life in general. I need to spend some part of each day being crafty to keep my sanity. I'm a lefty who learns to do everything "backwards."

I've never been a sports fan and don't follow teams or playoffs. When I do watch TV, I always have something in my hands whether it be crafty or a kid who needs some attention. I'm a big gum chewer too. I always have a piece in my mouth constantly using up all that nervous energy because I can't for the life of me sit still and relax according to my wife. I drink coffee morning noon and night. I guess you could call me a caffeine junky.

My wife and I live a Christian life and try to pass those core values along to our kids. We believe in The Golden Rule and don't force religion on our children. We also believe that you don't have to go to church every Sunday to have a relationship with God. He is everywhere and in everything we do.

I've always been a complete horror movie fan. I have a big collection of "scary" movies and books. My wife and I don't miss a single episode of Big Love, True Blood, House, Fringe, or anything on TLC.

I blog because I have to. I feel a primal need to network with others who share my passion for quilting and crafting. My life wouldn't feel complete with out that portion. I find it truly amazing that you can develop great relationships with folks whom I've never met. And am happy to have found my wonderful online quilting family.

And on a final note, I turn the big 30 in July and am having a hard time dealing with the fact that I'm going to be old and responsible and not in my careless 20's any more. And, I hate having my picture taken so that's why you don't see alot of me on the blog!

Take care everyone,

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