Saturday, August 31, 2013

MSBHQAL headquarters!

My invite finally arrived! Sorry I'm late to RSVP but here I am! hehe. I decided to join in all the fun over at Molli Sparkles. I also decided to use up one of my Jelly Rolls that's been sitting in my stash for far too long. I love the colors in this collection and have some other stash fabrics that will mix well with it. I am brainstorming my sashing fabric but leaning towards white to keep it nice and crisp. This looks like a great jelly roll project if you aren't interested in going the color block direction. I hope some of you join in the fun (starts Monday), if not for anything but to read his hilarious post about life as a glitter loving diva!

Molli Sparkles

9-3-2013 Update: Here are my first 3 blocks! I took six Jelly Roll strips and just made one long set. The tutorial has them at 18 inches. It just barely made three, which I expected only two...so score!! 


 

9-4-2013 Update: Jelly strips didn't quite make three this time but I have extra strips to finish it. I'm going to wait till I've finished all the blocks and then use the scraps and leftovers to finish the poor sad halfies. Hopefully there won't be many. 


9/5/13 Update: my last set made three more blocks this time. I was a bit more conservative this time and started using scraps to finish those tiny corners. I think in the scheme of things it won't matter with color placement. It will all sort of blend together. I think. Here is one of the three blocks. See the left piece? It's from the second set of blocks. 


Oh, and wanted to share my uh-oh pic. There's been many uh ohs but didn't think to take pictures. 


It was time to take a break. I blame it on Downton Abby distracting me with Lavinia's death. I found Downton Abby free on Amazon Prime Instant Video last week and have been watching it non-stop since. I can't get enough and I think grandmother Violet is my favorite Crawley...Her dry whit is hilarious!! 

-----

Keep checking back to see more blocks come together!! 

As Molli would say, Sparkle on...

Melissa

Friday, August 30, 2013

my pretty little GIANT star surround is finished...

Hey everyone! Look! It's all finished! I really enjoyed this QAL and having the weekly assignments. It sure made it go super fast. I started this quilt last month while Mr. Relish was traveling for work, so to keep myself company I started watching Pretty Little Liars on Netflix. I seem to always pick a new series to get hooked on while he's gone 1-2 weeks at a time and then he is forced to watch them with me when he returns...ha! Sorry, Mr. Relish! So all summer while I was working on the quilt here an there, I had PLL going in the background and hence the title of this post.

Pretty Little GIANT Star Surround

Melissa at Happy Quilting hosted this QAL and also designed the quilt. She designed it so you could pick from multiple block and quilt sizes and then gave us all the fabric and cut requirements needed and lined up several fabric stores to provide quilt bundles for the QAL. Can we say, awesome! Well, I was totally lame and went rouge by making not just one big block, which Melissa provides the measurements for, but one GIANT block! I went up two sizes, so to speak, and made a 64 inch square block. I absolutely loved the look with the multiple blocks, but was in the middle of the Swoon 2013 QAL and knew I would get tired of making all those star blocks. Since I had also pinned some of those giant swoon blocks floating around the blogosphere and then saw a recent finish by Amy Smart at Diary of a Quilter, I knew what had to be done...

Pretty Little GIANT Star Surround

I pulled 10 FQ from my awesome Hand Drawn Garden with matching solids bundle that I ordered from Westwood Acres and then went to my LQS to get the charcoal background fabric. I don't recall the name of the background fabric because I suck at writing things down but I think it's a Robert Kaufman print. I only picked it because it was the closest shade of charcoal that I was looking for in the store. I had some perfect charcoals in my stash but not enough and was too impatient to order online. Y'all know the drill!

Pretty Little GIANT Star Surround

I didn't realize the large cuts were for the no waste flying geese (genius by the way!), otherwise I would've used a print along with the solids. Oh well, it turned out to be a happy mistake anyway. If you would like to see exactly how I cut mine, check out my check-in post that gives all those details and also see how the quilt came together.

Pretty Little GIANT Star Surround

The backing is Kona Willow and very similar, but not quite, to the darker greens found in the prints. Because it wasn't exactly what I wanted, I had a hard time committing to it. Then, in usual Mr. Relish fashion, he makes a smart comment about refinishing the pool table (we don't own a pool table) because the shade of green was pool table-esque I suppose. Anyway, since I bought the fabric specifically for this quilt I needed to use it. I took some of the scraps and made a patchy strip down the side and called it a finish...sort of.

Pretty Little GIANT Star Surround

I went with a spiral quilting about 1 1/2-2 inches apart (perfection not necessary). I FMQed the first 10 circles then moved to my walking foot. It took about 2-3 hrs to do and that includes turning my head a bit to watch PLL. Thread of choice was Gutermann in a light gray at 4.0 stitch length.

Pretty Little GIANT Star Surround

As you can see I went with the yellow binding and so happy I did! I suck again and don't remember the details of this fabric because it came from my Pink Castle Stash of the Month. I only remember the names of fabrics if they arrive in a collection. Since my stash prints are pretty generic looking, it's hard to keep up with names and sometimes the name doesn't make the selvage cut. Oh, and I'm lame and never write anything down.

Well, I think that's all I got, but here is a funny story for y'all...

Because I had a specific place in the yard that I wanted to take the pictures for the quilt, I had to wait two days for my timing and lighting to sync. So when it was nap time yesterday and realized there was overcast outside, I grabbed the quilt and camera and hightailed it to the front/side of the house. We live on a corner lot of a busy road and expected to have some awkward, self-conscious moments as cars drove by. Well, while I was hanging up the quilt, I felt like I was being watched, but no one was walking on the sidewalks. I quickly scanned the area and immediately noticed the neighbors across the busy street standing in their doorway just staring, pointing, and talking...Awkward! So, naturally I just waved and yelled "hello" and they quickly retreated back inside and shut the door. They must have thought they were being discrete since they weren't all the way out the door. Ummm, NO! I carried on about my business knowing I'm not longer the weird neighbor because I'm hanging quilts on trees.

Linking up with Melissa at Happy Quilting and Crazy Mom Quilts and all the lovely links to the right!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Two quilts a comin'...

First up is my Giant Star Surround is just about finished and will be completed today! Woot Woot! I finished up the quilting last night and picked out the binding. I was having a hard time deciding if I wanted to go soft with the pink and bring out some of the femininity in the quilt or go with the bright yellow that is so bold. Guess you'll have to wait and see what I decide! How's that for a cliffhanger? Speaking of cliffhangers, I finished all three seasons of Pretty Little Liars on Netflix and boy did season 3 leave me hanging! I even had dreams about it last night. I might need to do some research to find out how I can watch season 4 because I don't know if I can wait for it to come out on Netflix. I might have to call this my Pretty Little Star Surround quilt because it was completely constructed during my summer obsession.
WIPs 8/28/13

On to more exciting news, look who's all pretty and basted? I am almost sure I will have to quilt her on my dining table with my new quilt clips. Just not sure how I am going to quilt the big beast! If you can't tell, this is my Swoon 2013 quilt.
WIPs 8/28/13

Oh, and this is my 100th blog post!! That's a lot of sewing, quilting and typing, oh my. Thanks for reading and keeping me going!

Melissa

Linking up over at Freshly Piece!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Zakka 2.0 - Piece of Cake Shopping Bag

Happy Monday, y'all! I have this weeks Zakka 2.0 to share and all the details for mine. This week's assignment was to make the Piece of Cake shopping tote and as someone that uses reusable totes at the store, I knew this one was a keeper.

Zakka 2.0 - POC Tote

I did mine a tad bit different than the books states. First, I put a pocket on each side because the first pocket I made was crooked so I made a second one. I was happy with the second one, but then decided that I should just put both on there and take pictures of the better side. hahaha!

Zakka 2.0 - POC Tote

Second, I used a drop cloth from Home Depot for the bag part. The drop cloth was in the painting section and I inadvertently got the one with the plastic lining on the underside. Oops! Well, it worked out better for this project because it provides the same waterproof layer inside and I didn't have to use expensive oilcloth or any of my good fabrics. It was also pre-hemmed...score! I just cut my pieces to make sure the hems were where I needed them and it sewed just fine on my machine. I did switch to a denim needle just in case.

Zakka 2.0 - POC Tote

Lastly, I used my serger to finish the insides so it didn't fray or unravel. My drawstring fabric is from Ikea and was only $5 a yard. I also serged that so it was quick to sew into the bag and hem for the drawstrings.

Zakka 2.0 - POC Tote
Zakka 2.0 - POC Tote

And as usual big relish style, she did a stellar photo bomb of the photo shoot!
Zakka 2.0 - POC Tote

Oh, and Mr. Relish has approved this bag and agreed to carry it for me at Quilt Market in Houston when he takes me in November. So, if you are there and see a man carrying this bag, please say hello to Mr. Relish! hehe ;)

Thanks for visiting!
Melissa

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Zakka 2.0 Market Tote

Ok, I am being a bit of a nerd and turning this Zakka 2.0 assignment, that isn't due for a few weeks, in early. I never had this oh, I cant wait to make this cute bag moment with this bag until I got some new beautiful Japanese fabrics. In reality, I was okay with waiting to make it until that week for the project, because I need another bag like a need a hole in my head....BUT I needed to cut into my new Japanese fabrics! I'll tell you why in a bit, but please take a moment to swoon over these fabrics...

fabrics from BHQ

Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts sells a monthly bundle of Japanese fabrics that she selects (because she's awesome and lives in Japan). She sells them here in her Etsy store. August's theme was cool colors and boy was I happy to see what Alyce picked! I am still tempted to buy September's bundle which is Fall. They go fast so don't hesitate (like I am doing)!

So back to why I needed to cut into these asap...

Zakka 2.0 Market Tote

Zakka 2.0 Market Tote

...because I needed the scraps from this bag so I can make all the other matching goodies from Patchwork, Please. I need everything to coordinate and decided to make the largest item then all that was left was fair game. I know y'all know what I'm preaching! Left in the book is a travel sewing kit, ipad pouch, and a couple of zipper pouches.

Zakka 2.0 Market Tote

I thought about just holding onto this bag and then share it the week it was due, but what's the fun in that?!

Zakka 2.0 Market Tote

I used two of the FQs from my bundle, then some Simply Color (teal leaf) and linen (forgot the color but it's the black-ish one). The handles are from my "Stash of the Month" stash through Pink Castle Fabrics (can't remember the name but check out my button on the right) and the inside is a black polka-dot print that I bought several yards from Hobby Lobby. It just about goes with everything and there is no guilt using it because it's cheap and plentiful. I used Pellon 71F for the shell for shape and then just a lighter fusible interfacing for the pockets.

Zakka 2.0 Market Tote
Zakka 2.0 Market Tote

I really don't have any words of advice for this project. To be honest, I didn't read any of the instructions. I just took the measurements and figured it out myself. It's a pretty straight forward tote bag. I left the turn about hole in the lining part. I also added a magnetic snap on the inside to keep it closed a bit. It's very wide open otherwise. I plan to use this as my sewing on-the-go bag, hence the need for coordination!

Zakka 2.0 Market Tote

Thanks for visiting!
Melissa

Linking up with all my favs at the right, A Quilter's Table (Zakka 2.0 check-in) and Crazy Mom Quilts!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Star Surround top complete...NOT!

I am just sick about this....

Star Surround Pieced Oops

Can you see my mistake?

Here was the layout and the picture I used to piece and somehow I goofed.
Star Surround Pieced Oops

I even did a photo shoot of the top and didn't notice it. I think that's the most disappointing part! I sneaked outside to take a picture while the relishes ate breakfast, uploaded the pictures, edited them AND then noticed it. I am deciding if I should waste my sewing time today dealing with this or just call it a week and work on it next week. Such a bummer! I am going to link up today anyway and keep it real. I did just get a new seam ripper.....
Star Surround Pieced Oops

It sure is pretty, though!

To read more about the Star Surround and my progress, check it out here.

Melissa

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

WIP Swoon

Quick WIP post here...

I told myself that I must complete all the laundry before I blog or sew, but wanted to share my Swoon that is about to be pieced ALLLLLL together! I want to check placement with yall....
Swoon 2013
Everything look good to go? Notice my sweet photo bomber? Little relish was making a mad dash to get in the picture, too, but I snapped it and collected them as fast as I could.

I shall have a finished Swoon top and finished Star Surround top by this weekend. It has been declared; therefore, it WILL be done. Ha! Who am I kidding? Oh, and has anyone quilted a 3x3 swoon before? Was it really hard? Should I start drinking now or think about taking it to a quilter? Ive been wanting to take the long-arm quilting class at my LQS so I could start renting time, but haven't had a chance (which will all change soon once BOTH my relishes start pre-k next week...woot woot!).

Happy Hump Day!
Melissa



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Time to Vote!!

pets on quilts


Time to vote for my sweet Dolly! Just leave a comment on this post stating which dog on quilt you vote for.
Dolly is #40!! She appears to be in 2nd place for dogs so she really needs y'all's help!!

Here is the post you vote on.

Also, voting enters you into winning some great prizes...so win win!

In case you are tempted to vote for any of the other dogs, please take a look at my sweet Dolly-olly's face. She'll be so sad.

Dog on a Quilt

Melissa

ps- sorry for the double post...my first one decided to not link my links correctly. Carry on.

Zakka 2.0 - Happy Hexagon Trivet

Boy, was this a fun little project. Except for the Briar Rose center, I used only scraps for this...even the binding. Some of my scraps were very tiny and would have tossed otherwise. Big relish was getting upset that I was pulling from her tiny scrap bag...ooops!
Zakka 2.0
I wanted to make two but mama got a new ipad mini yesterday and played with that instead of sewing! I was the biggest fan of Kindle for the longest time but recently realized that Kindle was not keeping up with the technology/apps (meaning no Bloglovin app yet!) and decided to go big or go home! Since there is a Kindle app I can still access all my books and magazine just the same. I would like to give a shout out to my sponsor, Mr. Relish! lol
Zakka 2.0
I almost thought about making the trivet bigger and make 4 placemats. I even made printed out giant patterns and taped them together. Oh well, another day I suppose. But doesn't it make a cute mug rug? I doubt I will ever use it as a trivet. I don't want it to get slathered in food. That would make me sad.
Zakka 2.0
I used two layers of batting (not sure why but glad I did because it's nice and stiff) and machine binded (I've asked this before but it's binded, right? or is it bounded?).
Zakka 2.0
Thanks to all for leaving me good vibes last week but I still haven't won. This week, I feel it! lol

Melissa

Linking up with Zakka 2.0 at A Quilter's Table, all the fun parties on the right and Crazy Mom Quilts!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sewing time with small kids...

Ellison Lane Quilts just wrapped up her Studio Spotlight Series and now it's time for all us bloggers show off our sewing space. Sorry to most of you that have seen my space, but I cant pass up such a fun and easy linky party!

My Space

My sewing space is in our former guest bedroom (pre-kids) and now is home to our playroom/sewing room. I have this side of the wall and then keep all my paper crafts, printer, and silhouette in the cabinet and then my fabrics are stored in the closet. To the right are three large windows for natural light and a cozy sofa. There is also a TV in there connected to Netflix where I can catch-up on tv series I missed the train on. Right now I'm hooked on Pretty Little Liars. I was so disappointed Netflix discontinued Downton Abbey, though. :(

IMG_9965

Here is my fabric stash in 1/2 the closet that I shared last week...

Show me your stash...
--Note the swoon blog on the door...well it's not there anymore BECAUSE I finished all 9 blocks and they are in line to get sashed!!! Whooohoooo!--

I get asked all the time by friends who have small aged kids like me when I find the time to sew. I always say when you love to do something, you make the time. I love having my sewing space in the playroom. It allows me to be there and still interact with them (or break up fights) while still getting to do something I enjoy. Before naptime the girls are allowed to play for about 30 mins in here and once they are down for nap I get my serious sew on. We also spend about 2 hours every evening in here right after dinner. They love to watch tv and play with their dad since he is at work all day earning more fabric money...lol.

Speaking of Mr. Relish...he sent me flowers last week for no particular reason....and that is the best reason of all! Here is a picture of them that that I took because I wanted to try out a new Action from Coffee Shop Blog called Coffee Shop Web Round-It and then added a Vintage Matte overlay.

IMG_1245_edited-1

That is all I have for you today, I think. I am working on my Zakka 2.0 project today and then some Swoon and Star Surround this week. I did make the girls some dresses for school and will share those when they get to wear them next week. :)

Happy Monday!
Melissa


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Quilt Photogrpahy Workshop - August

Plum and June is hosting a Quilt Photography Workshop and each month there is a new assignment and link-up. This month's assignment is to photograph fabrics.

Plum and June

Before I even started quilting or blogging or even really sewing as much as I do now, I started getting really interested in photography. I always loved taking pictures, but never enough to invest in a good camera or the time. When I was pregnant with big relish, I asked Mr. Relish for a DSLR so we could take the best pictures possible for my sweet little girl. Little did I know that there was so much to learn just to take the picture. Then came the editing. In over my head for sure!

Here is one of my first pictures I took of my sweet Boo-Boo Bear (aka Bailey). Not so bad, huh?
Photography Skills
And here is one of big relish when she was just a few days old. At first, I thought this picture was terrible. Then I cropped it and turned it into b&w and now it's one of my favorites.
Photography Skills
AND here is one of my most recent with little relish. This was taken with my newer camera and editing in photoshop elements.
Photography Skills


When I first started, I just used Picasa by Google to edit my pictures. There are also several other free photo editing services out there, but this was the one I found easier for me. Once I started to really understand and improve, I asked Mr. Relish for a better camera and started using Photoshop Elements. At this time, I realized the importance of getting out of auto and shooting in RAW format. I am still learning everyday. My favorite blogs for tutorials and actions are Pioneer Women and Coffee Shop Blog. These women are so generous to share their knowledge and actions for free. Be sure to follow them to keep up with new tutorials or actions.

A little about actions. Actions are a great tool to edit quickly and get professional look pictures. The pictures I took for this assignment, I only adjusted colors and didn't use any actions. That is the benefit of shooting in RAW. When I take pictures of my girls, I usually use some skin smoothing actions and soften the colors. Another great tool is simply cropping (as I showed you in the b&w photo of big relish). Cropping your photo at a certain point in your photo can change the perspective greatly. Don't always center your subject in the frame. And try cropping it a square. You would be surprised at how different the picture becomes.

I hope to share more info along the way, but without further adieu, here are my pictures for this month...

Photograph Workshop with Plum and June
Photograph Workshop with Plum and June
--I just wanted to give a shout-out for the shop I purchased my bundle from--
Photograph Workshop with Plum and June
Photograph Workshop with Plum and June
Photograph Workshop with Plum and June
Photograph Workshop with Plum and June

Photograph Workshop with Plum and June
Photograph Workshop with Plum and June
Photograph Workshop with Plum and June
Photograph Workshop with Plum and June
Photograph Workshop with Plum and June

These were all taken outside in the shade in natural light on my patio. Natural light is always best. If you are inside, pick a location with lots of windows and open them up and turn off all lights as well even if the room goes a bit darker. These lights will create unwanted shadows.

Photos taken with Canon Rebel T3i.
F-stop: f/3.5
Exposure: 1/125-160 sec
ISO 100

Happy Photographing and Quilting!
Melissa



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