Friday, April 30, 2010

Hurry! Hurry! EQ7 Giveaway

Click here to get the details about an upcoming giveaway (May 3rd) for the chance to win an EQ7 program for yourself AND the chance to be able to one away on your blog.

This is Spring?

It seems that the seasons are a bit mixed up. This is the view from my kitchen window yesterday at lunchtime...

While the seasons sort themselves out, I get to wait a little longer on the yardwork and spent my day in this room instead.

Ta-da. My sewing room is slowly looking more organized. I spent the day working on some piecework sewing for a client. It was a productive day of stitching, with stops for some homemade soup at lunchtime, homemade bread for a snack and then some comfort food for supper. All enjoyed with the company of my family. Ah, the benefits of working from home.

Changing the view... my creative space looks a bit jumbled yet, but I do know where to find everything. Anybody else would need a map. Now I guess it's easier for you to believe that I have a list of 10 projects to finish for the Challenge and won't be worrying about our mixed up, so-called Spring weather. I've certainly got enough to keep me busy. ;o)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bento Box Quilt Finished

My first finish for the Spring to Finish Challenge is this Bento Box quilt. I made the quilt top using a collection of fat quarters and with the small off cuts,

pieced together a scrappy strip for the back. I chose to bind the quilt using a deep chocolate brown (looks like black in the photos) which frames the blocks and compliments the backing fabric.

The back of the quilt shows more clearly the random line quilting I machine stitched. I used painters tape to guide me for the first dozen lines I stitched, after that, it was freehand.

My quilt finished out at 64" square and will be used as a sofa quilt. It's seems that there's a shortage of quilts for movie watching or book reading around here. I aim to change that! ;o)

It feels so good to be able to take this project off my to-do list!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Spring to Finish

Jacquie over at Tallgrass Prairie Studio is underway with the 2010 Spring to Finish Challenge and I'm joining the fun. I have high ambitions for completing a total of 10 unfinished projects before the end of the Challenge. Kinda scary to be admitting that I have a good ten unfinished projects kicking about my sewing room. Gulp.

The project at the top of my list is my Bento Box quilt. Last night, I finished machine quilting it. Here's a glimpse of it...
I tried a random straight line quilting for this quilt. I haven't tried this on anything larger than a tablerunner before and am still adjusting to the look. Funny enough, I really like it from the back (photo below).

Okay, I'm off to toss that binding fabric into the dryer. With any luck I'll get it cut and pieced together tonite. Good luck to all of you and your spring projects! Here's to a productive and creative month for us all.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Got it covered

Sometimes a good thing passes your way without you even expecting it. So be open and be ready to say, "Yes" without worrying or over analyzing. That's my philosophical way of introducing the newest member of my sewing family. I'm still a little giddy over having her to work with.

I have had a serger for nearly 20 years and still can't imagine sewing without one. Amazing as that serger is, well these days, sergers can do more. The most impressive? In one word. Cover stitch. So, I'm in love with my new baby and her abilities. I'm keeping my tried and trusty serger and now with my new "does more" serger - I know there's nothing I can't tackle.
Best part? Although she's secondhand, she's like new, and she's actually paying for herself. I've been doing piecework sewing that uses the cover stitch for 99% of the garment. I'm able to save time and make money. Did I mention how fun she is to work with? Not half as scary as she looks.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I did warn that I'd be showing more of my finds from the thrift sale over the weekend. ;o)
First, a close up of a spool showing the label reading, " made in Great Britain". Can anyone tell me if this is a modern or current brand?
Now on with more of my finds.... here are fabric swatches (10 for a buck). Some are cotton and I found some 100% linen as well. I even scooped a swatch of leather (might work nice on a hat, I'm thinking).
This is my crazy mish mash of fabrics. I was looking for bag making pieces. I was aiming for "bold", but according to my guys, some of these are just plain "BAD". C'est le vie. Good enough for prototypes if nothing else.

Goodies from the notion room. I'm pretty certain that I should never have to pay retail for press snaps again.

Unlike last year, I could only find a wee supply of ric rac. I guess I'm not the only one gathering this stuff to use.
This has to be THE FIND. The bag full of commercial grade denim snaps, studs and rivets had to weigh at least 2 pounds. It also included the hand tools to apply them. Guess I better get designing projects to use these up!
Not the greatest photo of this. It's a bag chocked full of fake fur. You wouldn't believe the selection of this stuff crammed into this one bag. A toymakers dream. I see some more teddy bear making in my future. Spying the neon orange and cookie monster blue fur, my oldest son was teasing me that I had some genuine "Muppet fur" in this lot.
I walked away with some sample books again this year. More than what I bought last year actually. I was looking for natural fibre as much as possible. The thought of doing some piecework projects with them had me hunting them out.

Beyond adding to my thrifted stash of zippers, I was also on the look for fasteners and findings. I managed to amass a good assortment of buckles and slides for future bags and hat projects. Among the unique finds was a buckle/slide made of etched glass with silver on the reverse to make it sparkly.

I have managed to sort and group all my finds into a organized system. It did mean that I had to employ a few new containers to manage this. Yes. I now have towers of storage containers in my creative space. The sewing room may soon require me to wear a hard hat for protection while in there. LOL

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Once a year

a local charity hosts an "Unused Fabric and Crafts Sale". It's a one day event - well, actually not a whole day even, a few hours actually. I can not begin to describe how much I enjoy this annual bonanza of sewing/crafting/thrifting bounty. I do remember repeatedly saying, "Wow" in a breathless, filled with wonder kinda way... just because I couldn't believe all the treasures. The volunteers would chuckle and ask if I needed help. "Um, no..." I kept answering, "I'm just taking it all in and savouring it. I've been looking forward to this sale since last year's ended. It's so amazing that I might start happy dancing!"

This year I spent more than three times what I spent last year. Here's a glimpse at what $35 bought me. Can I say that I couldn't fit everything into one shot? Instead of one huge post on what I scooped up, I'll give you a peek today and more to come.

Part of the fun at this sale is that you never know what you might discover. Oh, the stories that are behind many of these items. Inside a bag of tapestry wool I bought, I found this receipt. Back in 1972 these 83 skeins were worth $15.77, I picked them up as a part of grab bag of crafty stuff for $3.

In the notions room, I dove into the myriad of boxes searching for treasure and found these gorgeous buttons. Ziploc bags full of buttons were selling for 4 bags for a buck. These are my favourites, although I'm not complaining about the others I found - some still on the button cards.

Another fun find was the vintage spools of thread. Many were full and some still had the plastic wrap indicating they had never been used. Going through them later, I discovered silk thread amongst spools of all cotton and cotton/poly. Stranger yet was reading some unfamiliar (to me) company names on the spools, including one brand which was manufactured in Great Britain.

As soon as I returned home, I had to take a closer look at what I stuffed into my shopping bags and I immediately began spreading my finds out on the living room floor. It gave my family a good laugh to watch me sorting through it all and saying, "Oh, look at this! I didn't even see this tucked into the baggie with this other stuff...." and so on.

Apparently, my gleeful behaviour of treasure sifting also reminded my sons of their earlier years when they were happily sorting through piles of Lego. They made a point of teasing me a bit about the similarity. I suppose that's a valid comparison. Can I say that in my defense, I did pick up all my pieces and put them neatly away before going to bed? I haven't forgotten the feel of stepping on little bitty Lego parts. ;o)

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Goldilocks philosophy?

Ages and ages ago, I completed the top for my bento box quilt. Then I had two false starts on making a backing for the quilt. A little like the Goldilocks story in trying to find the one that was "just right". The quilt has been set aside for such a long time as I searched and searched. I finally found something that makes the wait worthwhile...

pretty white dots on a spring-green background! Feeling inspired to get this quilt finished I pulled out the scraps left from making the quilt top and started stitching.

I had enough bits and pieces to make a scrappy strip for the quilt back as you can see in the picture above. Here's a close up of one section....

Happily, I have begun basting the quilt (hooray!). It may seem ridiculous to take so long on one quilt, but for me, it really was about finding a backing fabric that was "just right".
Perhaps, that's the Goldilocks philosophy : keep looking until what you find is "just right" (whether it's oatmeal cooked the way you like or a fabric that makes you smile). ;o)
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