Golden Shadows

For my next project, I had pulled out a set of charm squares with the intention of making a shadow quilt.  I loved some of the examples I saw online and thought it would be a great way to highlight some pretty fabric.  Here’s a sample of what I chose.  photo-44


I pulled a marbled gold from my stash for the shadows and bought a speckled beige to do the sashing.






Cut, measure, sew and the first two blocks came together easily.  Except, they didn’t look shadowy at all!  In fact, my husband thought they were rather ugly.








So, I decided I would simply frame the squaresphoto-45
in the gold color and wing it from there.  I carefully measured and even more carefully sewed the one inch borders before I realized that I could make my job so much easier by cutting larger and trimming after they are sewn.  That should have been obvious from the get-go, but oh well.  At least I only did two before I picked up on that!


Here are all nine squares framed, but not yet trimmed, along with one of the original shadow blocks that I might use on the back.  If you are comparing my photos, you might notice that the butterfly squares in the first picture didn’t make the final cut.  This was a charm pack of twenty; two each of ten different patterns.  All of the patterns look Spanish or Moroccan to me, except for the butterflies.  The colors match, and the scale of the pattern matches, but the pattern itself just didn’t seem to fit.  So, realizing that I had many more layout options with nine squares as opposed to ten, the butterflies (along with the other leftover squares) went into the scrap box.  photo-42


Still not sure what kind of layout this will wind up in.  Or if it will be a mini-quilt or really big pillow.  I’m kind of leaning towards pillow today.   Any ideas (or tips on where I went wrong with the shadows), please send them my way!



Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea…

photo-28I had started playing around with my SpongeBob fabric when I decided I needed to make some half square triangles laid out like flying geese.  Really what I liked about the SpongeBob fabric was the colors- shades of blue with orange, yellow and salmon pink accents- mostly from SpongeBob and Patrick, but also from some random circles.  I picked some fabrics out of my stash that matched those coordinating colors and went to work on the HSTs.  As they all came together, it became clear that the blue of the SpongeBob fabric was the background and the accent colors were the stars of the show.




I found a light blue fabric that complemented the blues for the border, and then laid it out on the floor to be basted.





image-13As you can see from the picture, my backing would have required a bunch of cutting and piecing to make it fit.  So, I decided to add a little design from some scraps to it.  Funny how the same fabric looks so much brighter in the photo above and washed out in the one on the right!





Once that problem was solved, it was time to do the quilting.  I first outlined the colored triangles, and then realized that they would “pop” a little more if the blue background was more heavily quilted.  I wanted to stick with the nautical theme and quilt bubbles on the blue.  I changed out the foot on my sewing machine to a quilting foot and then discovered that circles are REALLY haimage-10rd. I should have reimage-8membered from the ugly Christmas quilt!  And those had been done with traced lines!  After doing the first row, I realized that this was now becoming another practice quilt.  So, I thought I’d try a whole bunch of quilting patterns: a new one for each row.  Surprisingly enough, it was the stippling that was the easiest.  Funny, since thatimage-12
was the one I was really afraid to try.  Of all the others, only the curved back and forth lines came out even half-way decent!

After finishing up the quilting, I wanted to try the machine binding again.  Quick and easy!  I ignored my own advice to use a larger binding and went with what was already cut and sewn- the plaid I loved from my hearts quilt.  The colors were just right and- it was already rolled up and ready to go!  If I were making this as a gift, there were a few places I would take out and redo, but overall, the few mistakes are an easy trade off for the ease of the machine binding!

image-9image-11Totally bound in less than two hours! And now ready to be donated somewhere!








A Quick Baby Gift

Last month, my daughter’s former cheer coach gave birth to her first child.  We’ve always made blankets for the new babies at the gym, and even though we haven’t seen them for a while, we knew that this little guy needed one too.

photo-36 Lately, my daughter has been in love with Eeyore (yes, she is twelve years old), and I have been holding onto a Winnie the Pooh panel, which I knew would make a super baby blanket.  The time was right to pull it out.


Around each part of the panel were some drawn stitches, and at each corner, a drawn, sewn on button.  We backed the panel with a plain piece of muslin and then stitched over all the hand drawn lines.  image-3


Next we found an almost perfectly matched piece of sky blue and white checked flannel.


We taped it to the floor to baste it, did some quick stitching to hold it together, and then made a scrappy binding out of actual scraps of matching fabric.image-7

The binding was sewn down by hand and the baby blanket was shipped up to Connecticut in less than two weeks!  Definitely a new record for me, though I realize it is totally cheating to use an entire panel and nothing else as the quilt top!

Either way, DONE!


Look Ma: No Hands!

Machine Binding a Quilt

Because I have such a fondness for quilting shortcuts, I just learned to machine bind a quilt!  I used this great tutorial from Cluck, Cluck, Sew, and for my first time, it came out pretty well!  It was definitely quick and easy, and definitely came out as nice, if not better, than my hand-sewn versions.


Here is what I learned to pay attention to for next time:

  • Use a larger binding.  She recommends 2.5 inches (before you fold it in half).  I had already cut my binding at 2 inches, and I could have used that extra 1/2 inch (ophoto-34r more) to work with!
  • Use a binding that is a different color than either the front or back fabrics you are sewing it to.  My binding is orange and white which was easy to pick out on the front green and gold fabric.  The backing fabric though is red and white, and whenever the whites were on top of each other, I couldn’t really be sure what was directly under the machine.
  • Finphoto-32ally, until I get better at this, I should consider doing it backwards: sewing on to the back first and then the front.   I have trouble keeping the second set of stitches out of the binding that has already been sewn on one side, so it would probably look better having that side on the back.  photo-35

Either way, the M&Ms Christmas quilt is now finished!  Can’t say I love it (or even really like it) but it was so great to have a “practice quilt” to try out some new things.    After finishing some of the other projects that I’m in the middle of, I think I’m going to do another practice quilt!

In the meantime, I’m looking for someplace to donate this one and/or an ugly Christmas quilt contest to enter it into (they have those, right?).




Staring at the Ceiling

photo-30Today I was home all morning watching a special project take shape.  I have been decorating my house in a “Spanish Revival” style, and we found some beautiful dark patterned wood for the trays in the ceilings (along with some cool Moroccan style lanterns).  Since the wood needed some very precise cutting and matching, as well as special adhesive, I hired my tile guy to do the job.


All day, it has been measure, mark, cut, and put exactly in place with 1/8 inch seams. I was watching from my sewing room, where the pattern was also measure, mark, cut and put in place with 1/4 inch seams.  All morning, the tile guy and I were leading parallel lives.   Made me start to wonder if there were other “crafts” (both skilled labor and hobby) that require the same skill set.  Would I be any good at tiling?  Would my tile guy be good at quilting?  So curious to think what else I might be capable of…

In the meantime, my M&M Christmas quilt is half-way bound!





My own sewing plans got a little derailed this week, as I had promised to help with costumes for the Middle School play, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  The first call came in from my good friend, Monica, asking me to sew buttons on something.  I had to laugh and confess that I bring all my buttons to the dry cleaners!  She was stuck doing that one herself.  Instead, she asked me to sew the straps for the Oompa-Loompa costumes.

Measure, mark, fold, press, sew line.  Sew another line. (so each is double stitched).  Repeat.  I did two straps, then called to ask how precise this needed to be.  Luckily, the answer was “done”, meaning I could skip the measure and mark!  88 lines later, I’m finished, and actually out of white thread (these were very long straps!)  And in case you didn’t already know, sewing straight white lines on (almost) straight white fabric is BORING!


Even though I have real things to do, I’m going to go play with my fabric stash, because I need some color and patterns!



A Very Long Oil Change

Yesterday, my morning was spent at the car dealership getting the oil changed and the tires rotated.  This is usually accomplished in less than an hour, but for some reason, things were running particularly slow there.  Luckily, I had brought the Second Tier quilt along to be hand stitched.  Two and a half hours later (were they drilling for new oil first?) the quilt was done!  (The car followed shortly thereafter!)  One thing to check off the list!


Yes, I realize my picture is upside down, but I can’t remember how to fix that!

What I should really be working on next are the straps for the Oompa-Loompa outfits for the Middle School play (which my daughter isn’t even in), but they are white- BORING!



So, instead I find myself trimming squares for the Sponge Bob quilt and playing with Nico, our newest foster He’s 13 weeks old, part shih tzu and part terrier, and very, very barky.  But, oh so cute!  If anyone in South Florida is looking to adopt a fuzzy baby, drop me a line and I can tell you all about Nico.


linked up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts