ALYOF – March Goal

I can’t believe we are already in March.  Something happened around the same time that I turned 30 and time started moving more quickly and when 40 came it hit warp speed.  Which is why I am pleasantly surprised that I have met both my January and February goals.  In fairness, I’ve probably been a little easy on myself when setting goals.  So this month I’m going to push myself a little more.

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Savannah is my step daughter and she graduates from high school this year.  This may be the oldest box/WIP that I have and it will feel really good to clear this box.  Over the last year or so I have been collecting bits and pieces of Cori Dantini’s various fabric lines.  Most of what I have is from Sweet Life.  I can’t really explain why, it just makes me think of Savannah.  She’s a really sweet girl.  She’s a lot like her dad in that she see’s the good in people before anything else (a trait that is hard to find in the cynical world that we live in), and I’m quite fond of him.  I’ve also thrown in some Noteworthy, Salt Air and other assorted prints and solids that compliment the Cori Dantini panels.

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That’s as far as I’ve gotten on this project over the last year (or more).  I know exactly what my obstacle has been….plain and simply put, creativity.  This will be the first quilt top that I have made without any sort of pattern.  It’s not that I’m a stickler for following patterns or anything.  In fact, most of the time I make changes to the patterns that I use in order to make it a little more “mine”.   This is just the next step for me and up until now I’ve been hesitant to take it.  We are 3 months away from graduation though so it’s time!  My goal this month is to get the quilt top designed and completed.

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My plan is for this panel to be the center of the quilt with the smaller panels and other fabrics surrounding it.  Right now I am thinking some flying geese might be making an appearance.  I plan to sit down with some graph paper and colored pencils tonight and see what comes out.  As usual, suggestions are always VERY welcome.

Thanks for reading along,

Mara

 

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A Valentine Giveaway

So there I was, all sorts of swap projects in various stages of completion and a list that never ends of quilts that I want to make and about 7 quilts that are “almost done”.  So, of course, I thought now would be a good time to make a Valentine quilt.

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I didn’t have a pattern and didn’t really need one.  I used mostly scraps  that I cut at 3.5″ square for the whole squares and 4.5″ for those that I turned into half square triangles.  I had to “make” more low volume scraps from my stash in order to have enough.  I’ve noticed I go through a lot of low volume.  I tend to reach for low volume scraps before I go for my white yardage.  I like the scappy look to it.

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It’s hard to see the pattern on the backing but it’s white with a ton of red hearts in a scribble all over the back.  It was from last years after Valentine’s Day 75% off sale at Joann’s.  It had a nice feel to it so it and I had just enough to use for the backing.

I didn’t really do any calculating prior to making this quilt.  I just cut a “bunch” (that’s somewhere between a few and a lot) of blocks and started piecing.  I ended up with a finished size of 48″ x 38″.  It fits nicely over the back of my couch and it is a perfect little lap quilt. Because I didn’t do any planning, I ended up with several extra blocks.  I cut those blocks into smaller blocks, 1.5″ and made a couple mini heart mug rugs.  Aren’t they cute?

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I have plans for one of these mug rugs, but the other needs a good home.  My goal for the blog was to do one giveaway a month and so far I am right on track.  If you would like to have one of these mug rugs for your very own leave me a comment.  I will pick a random winner on Monday 2/10 and hopefully be able to get it in the mail and delivered by Valentines Day 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Mara

ALYOF February Goal

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Please excuse the poor quality photo.  My design wall is in my basement (along with the rest of my sewing area) and the lighting is not all that great.  Poor lighting or not, this is my February goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes.  These are my blocks from the Virtual Quilting Bee  that Amy Smart hosted last year on her blog Diary of a Quilter.  I had a great time making these blocks every other week.  I really don’t know why I stopped when it came time to add the sashing and put it all together.  It’s been taking up space in a WIP box long enough and it’s time to add the sashing and get this top completed.  It would be awesome if I could also baste and quilt it too, but that might be pushing it for February, especially with all my swap commitments.  So, my goal for February is to finish piecing this top.

My mom also participated in this Virtual Quilting Bee and managed to get her quilt completed months ago.  Hmmmm, I guess my procrastination isn’t hereditary.

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She did a beautiful job!

Thanks for reading!

Mara

ALYOF – January Finish

I can’t believe it’s already the last week of January.  Which means it’s time to post about my January goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes.  My goal was to completely finish my Riley Blake Challenge quilt.

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Done!  It’s been mostly done for the last 2 weeks.  I was just really dragging my feet on sewing the binding down.  I normally do all my binding by machine.  When I first started quilting I didn’t care very much for hand sewing and I found this great tutorial on machine binding.  The more you use this technique the cleaner it looks and I’ve gotten pretty good at it.  For some reason though I wanted to try hand sewing the binding down on this quilt and I guess I was waiting for a “hand sewing mood” to make that happen.  Well, that finally happened and I got her finished last Friday.  I do like the invisible look of the hand sewing, but I feel as though it isn’t nearly as secure as it would be if I had used the machine binding technique.  Maybe that would change if I had more practice and time to improve my hand sewing technique.

Linking up with My Button

Economy Block Addiction And A Giveaway

I had all these great plans to make all this progress on my WIP list.  I was doing pretty good too.  I managed to get several quilts quilted and bound (more on that later).  Before I could get any farther I found myself mesmerized by all these cute little blocks I kept seeing.  Every other blog in my feed was posting about them.  I’ve heard them referred to as Economy blocks, Fussy Square blocks and Square In A Square blocks.

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Aren’t they cute?  I’ve been making the paper pieced blocks, available at What the Bobbin?.  But you can also follow Rita’s instructions for regular piecing at Red Pepper Quilts.  Her quilts are just beautiful.  She has such a great eye for color.  Paper or regular piecing….. these block are a breeze to make.  And it was way fun going through my scrap bins to find fun fabrics to fussy cut.  So far I have made 35 blocks and everything was from my scrap bins, I haven’t touched my stash yet.

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My favorite block is the Siamese cat block (my Simon block).  It’s a little darker than the rest of the blocks, but I will find a place for him in some project.  I’m thinking maybe a zip pouch.

In addition to paper piecing like crazy I have also spent some time cleaning and organizing my sewing space.  I sew in my basement.  It’s an unfinished basement, but I have done what I can to make it more comfortable.  There is a ton of space and it works nicely for me.

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While cleaning and organizing I pulled some fabric that is definitely not my taste anymore.  It’s beautiful and great quality quilting cotton, I just can’t see myself using it.  And since I wanted to start doing regular monthly giveaways on here I figured this would be a great start.

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The panel fabric is Angel and Fairies by Elizabeth Studio.  The blue fairy fabric is unknown, but there is an entire yard of it.  The selvage reads Fashion Fabric, nothing more.  They both have a high quality “feel” to them.  If you are interested in them just leave me a comment.  Next Friday, 1/24, I will pick a winner randomly and notify you by email.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation and Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Goodbye 2013

Before I say hello to 2014 and start talking about resolutions, I feel as though I need to say a proper good-bye to 2013.

2013 Misc Makes

2013 Misc Makes

There were lots of miscellaneous projects in 2013.  I participated in some fun swaps and met some wonderful women in the process.  I became a confident tote, purse and zip pouch maker.  And I became very familiar with Zakka style sewing.  I had a 100% home-made Christmas for the first time.  Every gift that I gave was hand made with love.  I wasn’t able to post about some of them because some of my family reads my blog, but my favorite Christmas project was the Owl You Need Owl.  It was a fun and easy make and it makes me smile every time that I look at mine.

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There were also a bunch of quilt finishes….

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There were a few more than what I have pictured above, but I really need to get better at taking photos and keeping them organized.  The quilt that I am the most proud of is not technically “finished” yet (it still needs to be quilted), but I’m going to count it as a 2013 finish.  In fact….I’m so proud of it that I may just count it again in 2014. My blog…..my rules :-P.  The quilt I am referring to is Starfall, with all of it’s lovely inset seams.

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All in all I would call 2013 a sewing success!  I gained confidence in myself as a quilter and I started seeking out projects that challenged me.   Bring on 2014!

 

Very Productive

The last couple couple weeks have been very productive around here.  I managed to finish, not one, not two, but THREE quilts all in the same weekend (2 weeks ago).

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This was a commissioned quilt that a friend had ordered.  It was fun to do something a little out of my comfort zone style wise.  The theme was wine (as if that’s not obvious) and it’s definitely more traditional than what I normally gravitate towards these days.

 

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I managed to finish Modern Trees from the quilt along at Christa Quilts.  This was the first time I’ve FMQ’d an entire quilt with something other than stippling and I had a really great time doing it.  I was going for a swirly snowy look and I’m very pleased with the results.  This quilt was gifted to my daughter last week at Thanksgiving.  She is away at college and in her first home (away from home) and I figured she could could use some Christmas decorations.  I’m already itching to make another Christmas quilt and I’m thinking about this pattern that Kim at Windsor & Main recently made.  I love everything that she does.

 

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Last, but definitely not least, was a baby quilt that I made “just because”.  I suppose this is my first quilt without a home and ready to be sold.  I kinda feel like I need to have a few things to sell before I go looking into an Etsy or Ebay store.  So this beauty will likely have to wait a little while to find a home.  I really love this quilt.  I almost like the back more than the front.  I like the simplicity of it.

I’ve been super busy sewing lately and have lots to blog about.   I hope to write more soon.

Thanks for stopping by,

Mara