Sunday, November 15, 2009

If You Could Have a Servant in Your Studio/Craftroom...

I've been frantically and furiously sewing and cutting and sewing and cutting for the last few weeks trying to manage an online quilt business and, at the same time, create some handmade gifts for some of my family members. I barely have enough time to come up for air, much less wind more thread on my bobbins.
So, this got me to thinkin': I need help! A servant, perhaps. And, just as many of you would agree, your mind wanders when you sit behind your sewing machine, listen to the hum of the gears and the creative juices are flowin'. What would my servant(s) do?

First of all, I would have a "bobbin bitch." (My sincere apologies to my two feminist mentors from college who would be appalled by this misogynistic term, but it has great alliteration -- yep, English major.) This way, when I run out of a color or don't want to stop my machine, my bobbin bitch would have separate bobbin winder to fill my every need and bobbin.

Second, a bona fide folder. Someone to fold the fabric that I am finished with or decided not to use, so I wouldn't be bothered with the clutter and the annoying task of actually putting things back where they belong!
Third, a MASTER BASTER!! The task a HATE the most when I am quilting is basting a quilt. I know there's all kinds of spray and yadda yadda to make it easier for us these days, but my method of choice is to do the sandwich on the floor with tape and safety pins. I've tried other methods and the results have not been as good for me, so I'll just need a master baster (eh-em) to come help me.

I need to baste this quilt this week. Do you think I could hire a master baster by this Tuesday?

So, what kind of servant would you have in your room????

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Do what you love. Love what you do.

On every "Life is good" t-shirt is a little tag that says, "do what you love. love what you do." I try to live by that motto when I'm sewing. I only create things that make me happy. The fabric I use makes me happy. The things I create make me happy. Giving them to people makes me happy. This month, I've been busy gettin' happy. Check out some of the cheery things I've made:
This quilt top was a collaborative effort from many quilters around the country in a bee called, "Sweet Dreams Quilting Bee." I sent them fabric and they sent back blocks that they made with that fabric. I took the blocks and put them together in this quilt top. I made the pinwheel cornerstones with the same fabrics to bring the whole thing together. I think it came out really nice!

I made these key chains for the women who are on the quilt retreat that I go to each year. Just a little something handmade for them. Using selvidge in projects just makes me happy. It means, "I'm a true fabric lover," when you use selvidge!
The pillows were a custom order for a friend. When I took this photo, I fell in love with the pillows. I love how Joel Dewberry's fabric goes so nicely with nature.
Another one of my rag quilts available on Etsy! I love the colors in this one! It reminds me hydrangeas--which is a nice thing to think about when the leaves are falling and it's getting colder every minute!
Hope these images have brightened your day. Do what you love today too!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is it Summer?

Based on the few things that I sewed this week, I think it's summer!

Two bright rag quilts:
And a very sunny block for a member of my online quilting bee:
But, I think I'm doing ok with my make-believe summer, since it's rainy and 50 degrees out right now, with no sun in sight!

I think I'll keep sewin'!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Wonder Pets Wisdom: What's it gonna take? Team work!

My daughters love the show, "Wonderpets." (It's one of those new cartoons that, unless your a parent or grandparent of young children, you've probably never heard of.) So, the point of every show is to show that the Wonderpets achieve great things through the wonders of TEAMWORK. And, I got to thinkin'...the teams of which I am a member help me achieve some wonderful things that I probably would not have even started were it not for the inspiration of my teams.

Soooooo, this is a (((((((SHOUT OUT))))))))) to my teams!
First, the Old Red Barn Co. Quilt Along has inspired me (and the teacher, John Adams) has tought me how to create a wonky log cabin block. The result is this quilt:

It's a baby quilt that measures 30" x 30" and has lots of fun quilting details. Check out my etsy page for more pics and details.

My second shout out is to my Sweet Dreams Quilting Bee. There are 12 members, including me, and each month one member sends the other 11 members fabric with which to make blocks. We make the blocks and send them back to that member. Each month, the most amazing blocks are made. They are inspirational. And the fabric that is sent to us really gets our creative juices flowing! This is one of the blocks that I've created as a member of this group:

The third group is actually a swap that I am a member of: A Little Fabric, A Little Chocolate Swap. Each month, I send packages to a designated partner and she sends a package off to me. The guidelines call for each person to send 4 fat quarters of fabric and some chocolate, but these swaps are put together with so much care and attention to detail that you end up receiving the MOST amazing things. This is what I received this month from boutiquenutmegdesigns:The bag was made by my talented partner! The fabrics are beautiful and she also sent lots of other goodies, including that awesome trim that you see on the left.

My fourth team is my Quiltsy Team on Etsy. This is a talented group of quilters who sell quilts on Etsy. They are some of the most amazing and prolific quilters, constantly creating masterpieces to be sold on Etsy. Each week there is a forum, where members share information, tips, new items posted and just about anything. I don't often get to participate in this conversation as much as I would like, but when I read through what's been said it is inspiring! Thank you, Team Quiltsy!
My local sewing bee that I am a member of (Renee's Applique Club, as I call it) also deserves some love. This group consists of about 10 women and is led by two great women, Kelly (who was our teacher) and Renee (who hosts a monthly meeting). These women took me under their wings about 2 years ago. Many of them are retired and sew A LOT...then there's me -- a stay-at-home mom and mother with a crazy life, to say the least. I showed up in their hand applique class, not knowing anything about applique and they just took me along gently and tought be so many cool things. I can't believe the hand applique (and other things) that they produce. AMAZING! We are going on retreat in about 3 weeks and I can't wait to spend a weekend just taking in all of their wisdom! I'm a lucky girl!
Thanks to all of my teams! You've made me a better quilter and person! You've also made me very busy, so I better quit typing and get sewing!

In the words of the Wonderpets, "What's it gonna take? TEAMWORK!"

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My New "Favorite Thing"

SO, as a quilter, I have a lot of scrap fabric hanging around. You know what I mean, if you sew as well. What do you do with all of that fabric? Sure, you can make 50 million scrap quilts and drive yourself nuts! Or maybe you can try this idea....

I've been transferring a lot of my stuff (ie, my flickr page and my etsy page) to show my new logo:

And, I got to thinkin' one night: "why not make fabric business cards to go with my fabric labels that I'm putting on my quilts??" So, I fired up the ol' Adobe Illustrator, simplified my logo to black and white, reversed the image, printed these on iron-transfer paper, iron the images on to some of my favorite scraps and taa-daaa:

I plan on putting these in my packages to customers. It's something a little different from the norm and I think it will make me stand out a little from the traditional business card. What do you think?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tits on a bull...

Funny story....
So, my three-year-old daughter, on the right in the photo below, is still figuring out the proper pronunciation for just about everything. The other day she kept saying what sounded like "tits on a bull." "Mom, I unt [want] tits on a bull." I thought about this for a few minutes and said, "Can you show me?"
She brought me over the pantry and point to the bag of SunChips. Ahhhh, "Chips in a bowl?" Yeah, "Tits on a bull. I WUV tits on a bull!"
And, she was right. She does love chips in a bowl!!! So, what kind of funny sayings do you find yourself translating from your kids??? Lets all share!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Heavy Petting in the Sewing Room

If you love fabric like I do, then you know what I'm talking about: the heavy petting that goes on when you add some really nice fabric to your stash. This is what I did today when I went to a quilt store near my house that was going out of business.
I loaded up on these beautiful fabrics by Kaffe Fassett, Brandon Mably, American Jane and Martha Negley. I don't have a specific plan for any of these fabrics, but there's always a plan lingering in the back of my mind.

I've always wanted to do a quilt full of periwinkle blue triangles with Kaffe Fassett fabric, so I think I got a good jump on that. I think for now, I just admire it on the shelf and pet it for a while!

Monday, August 17, 2009

No Tomato Sauce Allowed on These Placemats

Every once in a while, quilters are fortunate to sit down and make something for themselves with all of the beautiful fabric they have amassed. Well, this is my prize to myself:

I've made six unique placemats that feature some of my favorite fabrics and colors. These placemats feature some crazy, freeform quilting...because I've found that I love to do it.
Now my only problem is...I don't know if I want anyone to eat on them...definitely not my kids?!?! But, I guess that's what they are for.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Periwinkle and Pink Rag Quilt--LOVE!

Just finished this rag quilt featuring fabric by Dena Designs (the Monaco line) and some fabric by the all-mighty Amy Butler. It is a custom order, but I just love it! Thought I would share it with you before I have to send it off!

Also made this cute pincushion (pattern is from the book, Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson).

Gave this away too. Looks like I'm gonna have to make something for myself soon!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Blog Carnival: The Great American Hot Dog

Did you know that July is the National Hot Dog Month? Well, it is, and the Fourth of July is a perfect time to celebrate American traditions like hot dogs, cookouts and parades.
My family goes to Bristol, Rhode Island every year to celebrate, "The Fourth," as they call it "up there" and to have some classic American cuisine (hot dogs included) and traditional New England fare as well, like "stuffies" (stuffed quahogs) and chirizo (sausage). My nephew and two nieces above (all cousins to each other) are happy to get to feast, laugh and "chill" with each other.

My daughter Molly ate her first lobster (she ate the whole thing) and appropriately followed it up with a hot dog. It doesn't get much better than that, does it?So, happy National Hot Dog Month, America. And, as they say in Bristol, Rhode Island, "Happy Fourth!"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Featured Etsyblogger: The Creative and Happy Miesmama

Miesmama (aka Becky) is one of those crafters on etsy who stands out. She's a cheerleader for everyone, is very active with her etsyblogger group and has a happy blog, flickr page and etsy shop to follow. Her etsy shop is full of creative felt creations like these clips:Congratulations to Miesmama for being the featured etsyblogger of July! This honor is well deserved.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blog Carnival: Summer with the Kids!

My plan for this summer is to spend lots of time with my kids and my husband, doing lots of fun things. My husband and I have a tendency to always be working on a project and forget to have a little fun, so our goal is to relax a little more.
We've managed to do this a little more already this summer, as you can see by the picture above. This is Molly and Sara in the Severn River last week. We were shocked that both of them got in, but it was great to see that they were brave enough to do it. I was in the boat with the four-month-old. I eventually got in after he fell asleep. It was so much fun!

So, I guess our plan is to plan a little less! Just have fun.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

All People Quilt

OK, so maybe all people don't quilt, but have you been to the website, It's the Better Homes and Garden website for several really good magazines, Quilts and More, American Patchwork and Quilting and Quilt Sampler. The projects in these magazines and on the website are very fresh and happy. I just wanted to share this website with whomever shares that passion that I have for some of those new designer fabrics out there that are bright and happy! There are great projects using designers that we all know and love...Amy, Joel, Heather, Anna Maria, and the list goes on.

This is a project they have on their website, called "Pink Bliss," and is a great use of all of those Amy Butler fabrics you have in your stash.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I sewed through May!

ohmygoodness. May is over, and it's already June 3rd. I feel like I've finished so many projects this month. Isn't that always a great feeling? I thought I would share a few of the things that I did this month....

This cute little marker holder that I made for my daughters (to share, yeah, right!) is the best use of all of those fabric scraps. I have enough scraps to make about 946 more! The pattern is from a great book called Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. She has a series of high-quality books out with great ideas. There are even a few groups on flickr dedicated to showing off works completed from the inspiration of the book.
I've also been lucky enough to become a member of an on-line quilting bee called Sweet Dreams Quilting Bee. Each month a member sends out a variety of fabric and the other 11 members make her blocks for a quilt. We send back the blocks and she makes the quilt. July is my month! I'm so excited to do this each month. There are a lot of quilting bees on flickr. I encourage anyone to check these out. Whatever your craft may be, there are so many opportunities on flickr to "meet" and interact with people who have similar interests. It's really great. Who needs facebook?

Anyway, I made this pillow with some of the leftover fabric from the first month's swap.

And I tried a new quilting technique that I call, "bubble quilting." It might be my new favorite way to quilt. I love to freeform quilt--no lines to trace, just go with the flow.
This month was also the finish line for a quilt that I've been working on for quite some time. I think that the reason it took so long is because I knew it was for me, and those projects always get pushed to the back burner when you are a quilter. Now my super-colorful quilt is hanging in the hallway where I get to see it everyday.

I also finished this quilt for a customer. I was glad to have this project because it really forced me to think outside of my box. I don't normally use these colors, but I enjoyed getting "back to my roots" and using some of the fabrics that I started out using when I first learned how to quilt. It was also neat to see the person's reaction to the quilt when I gave it to her. Very gratifying!
I hope your may was a great one and that you have lots of projects lined up for June. I've already got a list longer than my arm of things that I have to finish this month. I better get back to the sewing machine....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sew Cool! I'm featured on Amy Butler's Softwares CD

Amy Butler has a new gig: softwares! That's a play on words for her new endeavor of providing projects with patterns on CD by Electric Quilt Company (retail is $29.95). And, I'm excited to be one of 31 featured sewers and crafters in her "inspired by amy" gallery on the CD.
I've looked through the CD, and I have to say it meets and exceeds the standards that we have all grown to expect from Amy's products. I can't believe the price either...a steal! You get all of those projects with patterns plus a nice gallery of inspirational photos for just $29.95. Unbelievable!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Awesome Strawberry Avocado Salsa Recipe

I made this strawberry and avocado salsa recipe today for mother's day. Thought I would share it! (It is from Cooking Light Magazine/May 2009)

1 cup finely chopped strawberries
1/4 cup finely chopped peeled avocado
2 tbsps finely chopped red onion
2 tbsps chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tspn grated lime rind
2 tbsps fresh lime juice
2 tspns finely chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
1/4 tspn sugar

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and toss gently. Serve immediately with chips (or on top of a roast chicken entree, fish or grilled pork).

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Blog Carnival: My Dream Craft Room

As a member of EtsyBloggers, each month we have some common topics to write about on our blog. This month is exciting because it really gets ya thinkin' about your creative space and what would be included in your "dream" craft room/studio. I'm six years into being "a quilter," but I've been creative my whole life, so I've been working on a list for this "dream room" pretty much my whole life.
(this collage is from Nianau's photostream on flickr)
So, here goes:

1.) A vast expanse! My dream craft room would be large! I have a lot of "dream equipment" to fit into it (see the rest of the list) and "dream supplies," so everyone needs a room of one's own, right? Yeah, well, mine is a big room . . . with bright green walls.
2.) Sewing machines! An upgraded Bernina (one that is whisper quiet, with lots of alphabets and lots of bells and whistles), a separate space for my serger, a large long-arm quilting machine (brand TBD) and a cheaper sewing machine for sewing paper and other cool stuff (without ruining my Bernina).
3.) Tables! A separate table for my sewing machine, a cutting table, a gi-normous craft table with nothing on it except the thing I'm working on at that moment, a nice table for my computer, and a few more tables for other things that I'm sure I'll need a table for!
4.) Shelves! Think old-time pharmacy meets modern craft room. I'm thinkin' a cool piece of furniture for storing all kinds of cool things to display but also wall storage for my fabric.
5.) Fabric! I want bolts of fabric separated by collection, color, purpose...every which way one can organize fabric! (This oughtta be enough fabric: Can you believe that stash?)
6.) Walls! Bright, happy ones! With space to display some of my quilts (on the rare occasion that I keep one for myself).
7.) Windows! Overlooking some mountains (like the Blue Ridge Mountains or the Adirondacks -- since this is my dream craft room, it must be in my dream house in the mountains of the East Coast, right?)
8.) Hardwood floors! I want to be able to roll around in my extremely comfortable chair to each of the stations that I have!
9.) Music and TV! A girl's gotta have some good tunes and watch Survivor, Grey's Anatomy and Lost!
10.) A Play Area! Note the word "area." And by area, I mean something with a picket fense around it that I can keep closed and keep the kids in. It would contain their "dream toys" so that they would be occupied and require little supervision. Boy, this is a dream!
11.) Stuff! Since my list is quickly expanding like the walls of this dream craft room, I will end it with just "stuff." I want creative stuff at my fingertips. This includes all of the stuff one would need to create masterpieces on a daily basis: fabric, thread, glue, glitter, a comfortable chair, a sitting area to brainstorm with friends, scrapbook paper, printers, ribbons, pins, a fridge full of nothing but Coke, needles, chocolate, scissors, batting, stamps, ink, markers, colored pencils, notebooks, books, magazines, inspirational websites, an unlimited supply of petty cash to shop with ... oh, and maybe even a #2 pencil or two!

So, what would you have?

Monsters are Hot! Just Ask Etsian TwoZanyZebras

Monsters are hot! Just look at the latest star-studded, animated movie: Monsters vs Aliens. Kids love monsters -- the friendly, kid versions! So, check out the collection of kid-friendly monsters on onesies, t-shirts and all at kinds of cuddly things at the etsy shop TwoZanyZebras!

The creator behind and this adorable onesie is a stay-at-home mom from Southern California who loves to create things that are as zany as her two little ones! Her zany-ness carries over to her blog: Two Zany Zebras: Notes from my Zany Life!

If you're a mom looking for a laugh after a rough day, you have to check this site out! It is full of stories from her (Mama Zany's) everyday life that every mom (and dad) can relate to! She updates her site frequently, so there is always something new to read and relate to ... and laugh about! It is good stuff!!

Congratulations to TwoZanyZebras for being selected the featured EtsyBlogger of April!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Featured Etsy Blogger: DesignbyNora

Nora of DesignbyNora is what some people may call a "jack of all trades!" She loves making cards, jewelry, playing around with polymer clay, reading and geeking around on the computer. Her shop on etsy features some really cute polymer earrings and some purses that would look smashing together. As orange is one of my favorite colors, I was immediately attracted to this cute orange purse and earrings that she has listed separately:

Don't wait to check out Nora's etsy page! She is having a kickin' sale!
Nora's blog has some great information, like her post on March being National Craft Month and her delish recipe for a puff pastry called Napoleon!
Congrats to Nora on being the featured Etsyblogger for March!!

Blog Carnival: What I've Accomplished in '09

So, it's 3 months in to 2009 (twenty-o-nine if you're Charles Osgood). It's 51 days into Barrack Obama's presidency. It's 3 weeks and 6 days into my son's life! So, what have I accomplished?!?!
As you may have guessed, I had a son! That was a big accomplishment, but one that I worked on mostly in 2008! Well, I guess the real work starts now, huh?

I've managed to fold every piece of fabric in my craft room and get a little more organized in the craft room (Evidence: see photo).

I actually figured out how to thread and use my serger that I got for Christmas! That is a huge accomplishment. If you have serger, you know what I mean! It's a daunting piece of equipment that just stares back at you saying, "Go ahead. Make my day."

And, I sold some quilts on etsy! I also have three custom orders that I'm working on right now, so I'm on a roll! AND, I designed a new logo/avatar that I still have to "go live" with. Let me know what you think:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

SALE on Etsy -- The Joey Sale!

That's right, folks, it's the Joey Sale! My son was born on the 12th of this month, so I'm having a 12% off sale on my etsy page! Check it out. I have some great quilts for sale. If you order a custom order while this promotion is going on, I will honor the 12% discount.
How can you resist that face? Order something today!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blog Carnival: What I like best about being an Etsy Artisan

I started my etsy adventure almost a year ago and there are so many things that I love about etsy, but there is one thing that stands out most for me: being able to sell my creative stuff and be home with my kids at the same time. I would NEVER be able to work in a shop and sell my stuff as a stay at home mom. Etsy really enables me to feel like I have an outlet for my creativity while not being held down by fulfilling hour requirements at a shop. I don't make a ton of money on etsy, but it's enough to keep my projects going and have a little extra to spend on all of my craft stuff -- i.e. FABRIC!!!!
My five-year-old has also learned that you can make and sell stuff, which is an interesting concept to introduce to a little person. She is intrigued already by that idea. I can't wait to see what she will be when she grows up, maybe a quilt designer, fabric designer or something of the like because of what she sees going on in "the craft room."

Featured Etsyblogger: Donna Pool Designs

The great thing about etsy is that there is something for everyone! Donna Pool's etsy shop features several items that can be customized to meet your needs and lots of stuff that is ready to ship -- like custom buttons, magnets, fabric creations, photography and items Donna calls "vintage fun." In other words, there's LOADS of good stuff.

These fun buttons are covered with vintage images from old magazines! The listing is called, "Two girls for every guy," which I thought was appropriate for me this month, since I just gave birth five days ago to a little boy and have two little girls already. Kind of a homage to the new member of the family!

Donna also has a great blog that's packed full of great articles, links and ideas. So, here's my shout out to Donna! Congrats on being the featured etsyblogger of the month! And, hope to see you in Arnold sometime, as we share the same home town!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Scrappy Valentine Project

Love is in the air! Valentine's Day is coming up, and here is a great project to use up some of those fabric scraps you have in your sewing room (and if you're like me, you have a lot of PINK scraps that are perfect for V-day).

I bought a foam wreath shape from JoAnn's and used lots of strips of my fabric scraps to cover the wreath -- just tie knots at random around the whole wreath until you have the density you want.

I'm pretty pleased with it! Hope this inspires you to make something lovely for Valentine's day too!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sugar Snap Launch On Ebay!

Tomorrow is an exciting day! There will be a launch of Melissa Averino's fabric (sugar snap) on eBay!! I'm very excited to be one of the participants. Some of my goods (along with some amazing other things by other fabriholics including some unbelievable children's items and crazy-good purses, bags and totes) will be on sale on ebay from January 27th to February 14th. We've been working with the amazing Melissa Averino's on the launch. You don't want to miss this unveiling of items made with her fabric.

Check back here for more details or go to ebay and search for "Sugar Snap Fabric Launch."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sugar Snap Fabric by Melissa Averinos is HOT!

This new line of fabric called Sugar Snap is by the fantastically creative Melissa Averino's (whose blog is yummygoods and worth checking out if you haven't already). This shaggy quilt (aka rag quilt, but I hate the connotation) features her fabric exclusively and is available on my etsy page right now. I was just invited to participate in a launching of her fabric on ebay, so watch out for this item and lots of other great items featuring her fabric (made by other artists) from January 27th to February 14th on ebay!
I also have another shaggy quilt in the works. It features fabrics by some of those favorite designers we all love, including Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, Kaffe Fassett, Pamela Mostek and more. It's all in shades of green -- something we are all missing and hoping for as springs starts to creep up on us!