Monday, June 28, 2010

awake before the birds

It's AMAZING what you can accomplish during a thunderstorm when everyone else in the house is sleeping! Saturday at 3:30am multiple lightning strikes woke me up, and after laying there for 30 minutes getting more and more mad about not being able to sleep, I decided to just get up already. What a great kick-start to an incredible productivity streak!!

First up at 4:00am: I am starting a new pillow-making club at my LQS called "Pillow Panache". Each month we'll be making a decorative pillow with increasingly challenging piecing and decorative options. The first month of August will feature this jelly-roll strip pillow ...

Of course my sample is made from all Kaffe Collective fabrics :) It measures 16" square, and I quilted it with random, irregular straight lines. I love, love, love the way it turned out, and consequently I had a very difficult time turning it over to the shop for display! This is the back featuring a centered zipper...

A close-up shot of the quilting...

After finishing the pillow I thought that perhaps potential students might not be as excited as I am about Kaffe's wild colors and prints, so I made this more traditional version as well...

Got all the finishing touches done on those babies and delivered them to the shop today with this super-cute and super-easy makeup bag...

Terry Atkinson makes her patterns so simple to understand, that you can't help but succeed!

Great news for Jennifer at That Girl, That Quilt - her Fresh Modern Bee blocks are finished and will be making their way to her home after a trip to the post office tomorrow morning. And just in time because I received the fabrics for July from Karrie Lynn at Freckled Whimsy in my mailbox this afternoon!

But the project that was eating up most of my time lately is this Christmas quilt...

The fabrics and pattern are from Clothworks called "Birds and Berries". My LQS had their Christmas fabric unveiling this past weekend, and I was stitching my little fingers to the bone to get it finished on time. Whew!!

Now it's time to get really serious about finishing my Kaffe Crayon Box. I finally decided on a plan for the backing and ordered the fabrics over the weekend. I'm hoping to finish it before the July 15 ending of the SSSQ Kaffe Fassett Quilt-Along on Facebook, so I'll sign off for now and head back up to the sweatshop!!

We are having spectacular weather here in northern Illinois this week... hopefully I can squeeze in some pool time :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

we've been having fun... time flew

Wow - it seems I've been a slacker. A blogging slacker, a Fresh Modern Bee slacker, a SewMod slacker, and a flickr slacker. Oh well, my kiddos are home for the summer and we've been having fun!

I have finally managed to get my practice asterisk block done for Jennifer at That Girl, That Quilt for the Fresh Modern Bee group. The block was waaayyy easier than I had anticipated, so now I'm off to beat the end of June deadline with two blocks for her in these beautiful fabrics...

The two large pieces are the ones Jennifer sent (and I think I get to keep the leftovers - yay for me) and I added the dots from my stash.

This photo is of my two lovely girls, one of my SILs, and my parents between dance recital shows earlier this month. Yes, that is stage makeup you see, my girls don't wear false eyelashes on a daily basis :) Both girls dance ballet (C is on pointe, next year for N) and lyrical (a ballet/jazz combo). Their recital dances were just spectacular, with C having a solo during her pointe piece. When they were little I always stayed at the studio and watched their rehearsals on the closed-circuit TV, and therefore I knew the entire dance by heart. But now that they are older, the routine is drop-off, say "have fun, love you" and drive off to the next errand. So the dances are a complete surprise at the recital, and yes, it makes me very teary-eyed to see them on stage so graceful and poised.

We had great weather on Father's Day this year, so we headed into Chicago for an architectural boat tour on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Very touristy, but also very fun. And hey, sunshine with a cool breeze, your family together, and a great lunch... what's not to love about all that??

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Kaffe Crayon Box

My paintbox quilt-along top is finished, and I couldn't be happier with it! I'm going to call it my "Kaffe Crayon Box" from now on because I just love crayons and coloring books, and I never was much of a painting kind of girl. When I was a child, one of my favorite Christmas gifts was a box of 64 Crayola crayons with the built-in sharpener. Do you remember when that was the biggest box you could get? With the crayons all lined up neatly in four "stadium" style inserts? And when my daughters were little I would drop anything and everything for the chance to color with them.

These photos in front of my patio door with the bright June sunshine behind are so saturated with vibrant color!

I'm doing some scheming for a backing right now. Originally I was thinking of using one of Kaffe's circular or curvy prints for the entire backing. But in keeping with the theme of crayons, I've now decided to piece a backing... can you guess what it might be?

I need to give a big "THANK YOU" shout-out to Jennie and Paige for their suggestions on an alternate method to add the sashing. The results are so precise! I wanted my blocks to line up as perfectly as possible on this quilt, so the sashing pieces were added to the left and bottom sides of each block before sewing all the blocks together. You can see in the photo below that all the Kona Charcoal sashing is pieced around the blocks, which is a slightly different method than the instructions from Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson!...

This is the first online quilt-along that I have participated in, and it was so well organized, documented, and planned out by Oh, Fransson! Thanks to Elizabeth for all the time and effort she put into this project, and Thanks to Andrea for telling me about it!

Have a lovely June afternoon and Happy Quilting!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New York Beauty

I've been busy this week getting ready to teach a New York Beauty class on Saturday. I paper-pieced my quilt using needle-punched Golden Threads paper patterns (makes everything SOOO accurate) and someday maybe I'll put together a post illustrating the process. The class participants are going to complete four 8" blocks that can be finished as a 16" pillow or bag front or used as the start of a whole quilt. They'll be using kits with all the fabrics pre-cut (am I a great teacher or what??) in similar colors to this quilt top that I finished in 2009 - many Mary Engelbreit fabrics, accented by lots of black and white, red, yellow, royal blue, and (my personal favorite in this quilt) lime green! I particularly love the green flange on this...

I'll not kid you here - this quilt was pretty tedious to make, but I love how it turned out! It has been hanging in the LQS where I work for almost one year, and you'd think with all that time passing I'd have a plan ready for how to quilt it - but NO, I've got no idea. Gotta do a little research on that topic...

More exciting news on the Kaffe Quilt-Along front: Last week the photo of my Kaffe Paintbox Quilt was featured in an online newsletter at! Thanks to Lynne for the heads up! Another amazing quilt named "Chintzd Up Haze Kilim" made by Cathy at CabbageQuilts was also featured. The article contains a link that you can use to click over to Facebook and view all the lovely Kaffe quilts-in-progress posted by other Kaffe junkies :)

I guess that summer is officially here now that both my kiddos are done with school, so I'll be dusting off my "Julie, your Cruise Director" uniform and having tons of fun with them for several weeks to come. But mama's still got to have her sewing time to stay sane!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


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