Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Beach Huts Wall Hanging

Back in June my little sister Kaeli came to town for a visit. She's such a fun sidekick. And she's good at decorating too. Since I had just moved into a new house with no decor to speak of, that's what we decided to do...decorate the kids rooms and their bathroom. We planned projects galore. We shopped a LOT. I seriously think the cashiers at TJMaxx were like, "You're here again???" Anyway...we decided on a beach theme for the kids bathroom and we scored lots of great stuff. We found cute coral and white polka dot towels, darling coral and white geo rugs, and some great stuff for this random shelf on one side of the mirror:

Kaeli and I were so proud of this shelf. (The clock is from Hobby Lobby, glass jars from Michael's and the shells and sign from TJ). But after putting everything in its place, we still had one bare wall. So I looked around online a bunch for a cool beach themed sign -- I was actually thinking beach huts, but I couldn't find anything in the right colors. So, that's about the time when I remembered that I was a quilter, and I could just whip up a cute quilted wall hanging. I know, why didn't it occur to me sooner? So I pulled some fabric from the stash and whipped up this little wall hanging! 

I looked at a lot of beach hut themed fabric and art for ideas and then mocked these up in Inkscape. 

I decided on solids for the huts and random prints for the doors and embellishments. That made it fun to give the huts some texture with thread. I made all the huts first and then attached them to the quilted background. I used lots of zig-zag stitches rather than my usual blanket stitch because I wanted it to feel a tiny bit more shabby. Not sure that I accomplished that. 


This is the second background I made for the quilt. The first had a solid blue for the sky and the same for the sand, but once I quilted it, I was not in love with the quilting I had chosen. So, I scrapped the first one and tried again. The clouds were made from a pantograph, and the grid was drawn on first with a water soluble marker and then quilted using a ruler. Luckily the second attempt was better. 

For the second one, I also decided to add this little sand castle and shells. I kind of love it. I thought about adding a bucket and shovel too, but I didn't want to get too crazy :) I found a picture online that I liked, printed it the right size, and traced it onto the fabric with a water-soluble marker. Quilting it was interesting because those little shells are tiny and I had to go over almost everything twice so it would show up! 

Also added some seagulls. I think I did that lower one like 3 times and I kept messing it up, so finally I just left it. ;)

And here it is in it's place of honor in the girls bathroom! Kinda fun! And the girls like it. :) I may eventually get a cute hanger for it, but I think it's good for now.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Leopard Print Quilt

We left Las Vegas at the end of March. My initial plan was to stay until the end of the school year so my daughter didn't have to switch schools in the middle of the year, but it just didn't make sense financially. So we put our house on the market, packed up our stuff, and as soon as school let out for Spring Break, we left. Of course this messed up my time-table for making a quilt for my daughter's 1st grade teacher. I should have had 2 more months! Her teacher was fabulous --so sweet to the kids. She would hug them every morning in the line and called them "her little love bugs." I loved her. My daughter loved her. She had to have a quilt! So here it is:

Her teacher loves animal prints and the color pink. The original plan was to use lots of animal print fabrics in black and white and pink and put it into some sort of amazing design. So I bought a boat-load of different animal print fabrics. However, on my truncated time-table, I couldn't make them work. I just wasn't loving anything I came up with. This happens to me all the time, but usually I'm not on a crazy deadline so I just let it marinate until the right idea pops up. Unfortunately, I did not have that luxury this time. So I had to scrap it and come up with a new idea, that sadly, did not end up using any of the fabric I bought! But don't worry, those animal prints are now residing comfortably in my stash, waiting for their turn. :)

So somehow, after staring at a gazillion leopard print fabric swatches online, it finally occurred to me to just make a giant leopard print quilt. YES! My daughter had also told me she wanted hearts on it somewhere, so I made one of the spots look like a heart. And then I realized how much some of the spots look like hearts anyway, so I threw in a few more. And I didn't reinvent the wheel on this design...I just found a picture of a leopard print that I liked online, pasted the picture into Inkscape (of course) and used the paint bucket to fill in the shapes so I could edit them and move them around until I liked it.

This quilt is appliqued (using fusible web and a blanket stitch) on a big piece of white fabric- it's 58" x 72" finished. All the spots were cut out on a Silhouette Cameo - this made it so fast and much easier than my usual applique method of printing and tracing and ironing and cutting. And since I design it all on the computer first anyway, it is easy to set up the cuts. I am loving that little machine! The fabrics I ended up using were Crosshatch Sketch in charcoal and lipstick by Timeless Treasures. I almost used solids, but decided a little bit of texture couldn't hurt. 

I backed it in matching pink minky at the request of my daughter and quilted it using a great pantograph called Zebra Stripes. I was worried about mixing the leopard print quilt design with the zebra quilting, but I think it turned out ok. I love the way the quilting looks on the back!

I made a label for this one...nothing too great, but I did get to use some of those animal print fabrics after all! I asked my daughter what she wanted me to put on the label and she told me she thought it should say "you are a gem!" So that was added. I used the pink sketch fabric from the front for the binding. Then I took it downtown to the Smith Center with my cute friend Christine for a little photo shoot! The colored backdrop is a fantastic outdoor sculpture called "Pipe Dream". Love it! It looks so cool at night too! 

Oh, and last but not least, some BIG news...I have finally gotten myself an instagram account! I know, I am so slow on the technological trends! Anyway, feel free to follow along if you like (the name is ahhhquilting). Now you may be able to see some quilts in progress, fabric I'm loving---whatever! I am planning to post there in between posting finished quilts here-- and a bit more frequently than I post here ...which shouldn't be hard! Hope everyone is having a quilty summer! :-)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Rainbow Doodles Quilt

Here's a quilt. A fun quilt. A rainbow quilt. I started making this one to go on my daughter's bed over a year ago. It was supposed to be part of the Rainbow Birthday, but things got away from me and I didn't get it finished in time. So I put it on hold for a while but then pulled it back out and got it done. And wouldn't you know - on the day I finished the top I had a brilliant stroke of genius that made this quilt...unnecessary? Extra? Superfluous? What I am trying to say is that I had a better idea for a very similar quilt that I just had to make for my daughter instead. So although I had finished the top, I knew this quilt would not be living on her bed. And it's totally OK because the other idea is WAY better. You'll see. Eventually...

So bright, fun, random loops seemed like a good idea at the time. And looking at it now, it's sort of a nod to the fact that I can't quilt uniform loops (hehehe). I was really trying to make a different design work...but I just couldn't wait long enough for the right inspiration to strike 'cause I was on a birthday deadline. So I just whipped this design out lickety-split. I got out my bamboo tablet and pen and started doodling! Soooo much fun! Of course I used inkscape to design this. Should I just stop saying that and we'll all assume that every quilt I make is designed in inkscape unless otherwise noted? Hmmm...that would be a good idea...except those new to the blog are going to be so confused. OK. I'll just keep saying it. I love inkscape! :)

What I didn't love were the 50+ pages of loop sections I had to print out and tape together so I could trace each row of loops onto fusible web. Oh, the sacrifices I make for quilting. :) Anyway, once I had all the loops traced on the fusible web, I ironed them to the fabric and cut them out. After all that was done, I laid the loops on the white background fabric, positioned them and ironed them on. At one point while doing this I found a baby bark scorpion (and when I say baby, I mean the size of my pinky fingernail) crawling amongst the loops. Yikes. Luckily, no one was killed. Oh, except for the scorpion. I made my husband catch and dispose of it because those little buggers give me the heebie-jeebies! And once all the scorpion drama was over, I stitched all around the edges of the loops with a blanket stitch in matching thread. :)

For the quilting, I decided to do straight lines in the background. I contemplated stitching right over the top of the loops but I knew it would make the loops pop more if I left them un-quilted, so it would be worth it in the end! I had to keep reminding myself of that fact because of course this took FOR-EV-ER since I had to stop and start every time I hit a loop. Quilting like this is so simple and repetitive though... I can totally watch/listen to tv shows while I do this quilt will forever remind me of Veronica love love that show!

I bound this in white and backed it with bright pink minky as requested by my daughter. This quilt will most likely end up at a raffle. It's rare that I make a quilt with no purpose in mind, or that doesn't somehow get given away shortly after its creation. But when I do...raffles eventually happen to them. I briefly considered selling it, but it is kind of a weird size...I made it specifically to fit on my daughter's captain's bed without covering the drawers so it is not a twin size -  it's more like 55" x 82". 

My cute friend Christine went with me to take some quilt pictures at this sweet building in downtown Las Vegas 2 days before I moved. Nothing like an impromptu quilt picture adventure when you should be packing and cleaning! :) Yeah, the quilt is so small you can hardly see it...but this building is so cool...I couldn't resist! So fun! 

And this is totally not a home decorating blog so this is kind of random, but I just decorated my mantel a couple days ago and I love it so much I had to post some pictures! 

My mother-in-law was in town for a few days and we shopped like know the kind...where you scope it all out the first day and make a big list. Then you go back the next day and buy one or two of everything, bring it all home...arrange it on the mantel...rearrange it...rearrange it again...then take most of it back. Then you buy more stuff, take it home and tweak it all 'til you like it. So so fun! And I'm sure the mantel decorating experts will have a thing or two to say about visual weight and grouping and all that stuff but I so don't is amazing in person and so fun to look at! 

The straight on picture doesn't show the depth very well so here is another shot. I got most of the stuff from Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx and Ross. And let's just say my husband was not on board with this little venture...luckily I had his mom in my corner! He vetoed lots of the stuff we brought home the first time and hated the color of green...but now that it's all done, his protests have ceased...I think he secretly likes it. :) Yay for decorating! Now all I need is a matching throw quilt to drape over the back of the couch... 

Oh...and I almost forgot...this is my Blogger's Quilt Festival entry! :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Marsala Quilt Challenge

Here's my quilt for the Marsala Quilt Challenge! Wasn't sure I would be able to get this done! I've been crazy busy the last couple months selling a house and moving to a new city...but I was motivated...I had already bought the fabric and I knew I would never use it for anything else! I must admit, this quilt was definitely a challenge. Let's have a show of hands, who else thought this color was completely awful? Wow...that many. :) Well I was pretty sure that whatever I made would I really was not expecting much. But I must say, I am pleasantly surprised by the finished quilt. Guess that's what happens when you set the bar so low you can step over it! :)

The first challenge I had when making this quilt was obtaining the proper fabric color. For last year's challenge, I sauntered into Lowes, picked up the Radiant Orchid Pantone paint chip and then had no trouble finding the perfect matching fabric. This year, Lowes totally dropped the ball. By March, they still did not have the Marsala paint chip. Color of the year, people. Color of the year! Maybe they hadn't stocked the chip because they were busy questioning Pantone's color authority after seeing this year's color choice? Who knows...but they didn't have it all five times I checked. And I was not about to drop $10 to buy a swatch online. Yep, I'm cheap. So instead, I bought a few solids I thought looked close and just went with it. But now, being the selective perfectionist that I am, I'm a little bit bothered by the fact that I still don't know exactly what color Marsala really is. It looks a little different on every screen. I guess it's fitting that my camera seems to want to make every picture I take of this quilt look much brighter red than the fabric actually is in person. ((resigned sigh)) Next time, I'll just buy the dang swatch! Anyway, I debated for a while between black and navy as the accent color, and decided on navy at the last minute. At least I'm happy with that decision. :)

The next challenge...the design. Ah, the design. My process for designing quilts is kind of weird sometimes. I rarely just sit down and design a quilt. It usually takes weeks (sometimes months) for my ideas to evolve into a final design. This quilt, for example, started with me deciding that an Aztec style quilt was an acceptable use of the color Marsala. (Seen any authentic Aztec rugs lately? Quite a few of them use this color!) So I perused the internet- screen shotting pictures of Aztec bedding, shower curtains and rugs. I mocked up several strip type quilts in this style, but there was one small problem...I am not particularly drawn to the angularity of Aztec motifs, so I never came up with anything that thrilled me. But I kept hanging on to the idea because I had nothing else. Then, I saw a woman in church wearing what I found out was a Polynesian Tapa print (yes, I chased her down after the meeting and asked her if I could take a picture of her dress-and yes, I know I'm kooky).

Here's the dress...I liked the curves and repeating shapes in this design- so I looked at a bunch more Tapa prints online and tried to come up with something good. But it just wasn't working for me. So I thought about it more and finally decided to try making an Aztec style quilt with the shapes in a radiating circular layout, rather than straight strips. The idea just wasn't coming together because I was still trying to use a lot of triangles and other Aztec-y shapes. Finally, I got smart and just made the design using letters and symbols from different fonts, which I put on circular paths. One thing led to another, and I ended up with the final design. We can all thank Inkscape for this, of course. Oh, the fun there is to be had with Inkscape!! Have I mentioned that it is FREE?

Of course this little gem is completely appliqued using fusible web. I cut most of the shapes out using a Silhouette Cameo (I'm in love with that machine)! I cut this whole quilt out in a little over an hour -this is awesome because there are like 100 little pieces. Oh, and did I mention that this quilt is 30 x 39"? Yeah. So in order to place these shapes perfectly, I printed the quilt out in its actual size (it took 16 pages) and taped it all together. I laid the background fabric over the printed quilt so I had a guide for where to put the shapes. Then I ironed them on. Worked like a charm! Anyway, I finished with my usual method - blanket stitch around the shapes in matching thread.

I quilted stitch in the ditch around all the shapes and filled in the white space with different designs. When I was done I showed it to my husband and he said he thought it needed more (SNL fans? Anyone?) :) So I threw it back on the frame and added a bit more. No picture, but I backed it in all the leftover reddish-brownish fabrics pieced together (because seriously, I will never use them for anything else) and bound it in the matching navy.

When it was all done, I took this little quilt out and photographed it in my new surroundings (which I totally LOVE, by the way). Now that it's done, the real question is, what the heck am I going to do with it? :) If it was in different colors it would be on my wall in two seconds flat because it really is fun to look at...hmmm...maybe I'll have to make another one. :) 

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

Monday, February 9, 2015

Horizon Charm Quilt

Here's a quilt. If I tell you how it came to be, promise you won't judge me. Promise? Ok. I'll tell you. Last year there was an unfortunate series of events that led to one of my favorite people in the family being removed from said family. It's a long story, but here, I'll spell out the short version for you:  D-I-V-O-R-C-E. It was the first one I had witnessed up close. It was not pretty...the scandal...the he said-she said...the rumors...the was hard to watch. It was hard not to be drawn into it. The whole thing made me really angry and resentful. I'll admit, I did my share of schmack-talking. Ok, probably more than my share. I discussed it with most of my friends...all of my family...some random strangers...I couldn't stop talking about it. Enter: the other woman. This was the awkward part where everybody tried to pretend it wasn't weird. Lots of fake smiles...lots of Oscar worthy acting. Welcome to the family...

I swore I would not be going to the wedding. But I couldn't not go. I am the most passive aggressive person on the's one of my many flaws. :) So when they told us the wedding would be in California, I decided I needed a reason to be happy about going to California. And then it hit me. Yes. I would make a quilt and find a pretty spot on a beach to take its picture. Paradigm shift! I probably shouldn't have brought quilting into it, but quilting had gotten me out of a rough situation before...why not this time too? I secretly wish my motives for making this quilt were more pure, but truth be told I made it so I could take a picture of it on a beach in California. I made this quilt so I could look forward to the trip rather than dread it. So there you have it. Remember you promised you wouldn't judge? Ok, good. On to the quilt!

Oooh, ahhh...I'm loving this scrappy but organized style of quilts. I seem to be making a lot of them lately. This one uses 5" charm packs cut in half or a jelly roll--quite similar to the PB&J quilt and the Scrappy Hearts quilt. For this type of quilt I like to use a design wall to lay out all the fabrics to make sure the prints are evenly distributed. This makes it a tiny bit more time consuming, but it's worth it!

The fun beachy fabric I used for this quilt is Horizon by Kate Spain for Moda fabrics. I absolutely love it. Blues and greens are always my favorites, and these prints are just fun! There was a nasty rumor going around that these are "old-lady" prints, but if they are, I'm thinkin' she must be a really cool old lady! ;)

For the quilting on this I used a swirly and fast pantograph called Harbor Wave. It reminds me of rolling waves...totally perfect for this quilt.

For the backing...I finally got to use this beautiful blue Nature's Palette leaves fabric that I had in my stash...oh yes...this is stuff I got in a clearance score years ago. And this, friends, is the reason we must all have a stash. You think you will never use a fabric, but then lo and behold, right when you need it...a perfect little gem peeks out from your massive fabric pile and says, "here I am and I match perfectly!" :) And of course, matching blue binding. This has to be my favorite color of blue EVER.

And of course, on the rare occasion that I must add a quilt label, I can't help myself-I have to make it cute. I used the same method as always: Made the layout of the whole thing in Inkscape, printed it out on paper and traced it onto fabric backed with fusible web using a fine point Sharpie marker. And then yes, I cut all those tiny little pieces of fabric, ironed and sewed them on. And why did this quilt need a label you ask? Well...

...because it is featured in the Winter 2015 edition of Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine! (And they make you put a label on it!) That's right! So if you were thinking you might like to make this quilt, you don't even have to wait the 2 years it usually takes me to make a pattern! There's one in the magazine! ;)
So shortly after I returned from California-and the day before I was planning on posting this quilt here on the blog, I got an email from MQU's editor asking if I had any quilts I wanted to submit for publication. Since I had this one already done I submitted it and they took it. I have been waiting patiently ever since then (August) to finally post on it!

The fate of this quilt has now been is going to be raffled off at my cute friend Teresa's annual charity Fish soon as I am done using it to stage my house to sell...

...yes we are moving again! :) And because I know someone will ask, yes I made the wall hanging too. I copied this SUPER cute quilted wall hanging I saw on etsy a while ago (it sold, but you can still see the pictures-click on the close-ups because the quilting is awesome too!) Anyway, to make my wall hanging, I used a Silhouette Cameo to cut out all the circles in solid fabric and then I liquid starched them onto a white canvas (just like this alphabet wall hanging I made a couple years ago). It took me about 4 hours plus drying time. 

And...the aforementioned beachy quilt picture taken at beautiful Carmel beach. Thank you, quilting, for once again making my life a little easier. :) 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Gold + White Baby Quilt

The first time I tried sushi I hated it. I hated the smell, the taste, and don't even get me started on the textures. Ick. The second time I tried it, I hated it too. There are lots of people who LOVE sushi. And a few of those people, upon discovering that I am not a fan, have told me that it is an "acquired taste." Every time I hear that phrase, I can't help asking--Why on earth would you keep eating something you don't like to the point that you finally acquire a taste for it? I totally don't get it. Needless to say, I probably won't be acquiring the taste for one has been able to talk me into a third time. ;) 
So what does this have to do with quilting, you ask? Maybe nothing. It's just that, lately I've realized that my taste in colors has changed in a way I never thought it would. Apparently if you eat something enough times, even if it is revolting, eventually you can come to love it.  I guess appreciation of a color can be similarly "acquired." Who knew? Not by eating it of course, but by trying it giving it a chance (or two or twenty). Gold has never been my favorite color. I have always thought of it as kind of gaudy...I don't wear gold jewelry and I never, ever thought I would use it in a quilt. But here we are...

Last month, my cute friend Abbey had a sweet baby girl. I wanted to make her a quilt, but I knew it had to be one I could finish fast (sound familiar?). I decided to use the same concept as this easy as pie zigzag baby quilt - but with a different design. I was going to surprise Abbey, but I wanted her to love the quilt, so I asked what colors she was doing for the nursery to get an idea of what she liked. Gold and white, she said. Gold and white? Gold? Eh, I thought. Gold must be trendy right now. I was slightly resistant to the idea at first--remember--gold has never been my fave. But then Abbey started texting me pictures of some of the stuff she liked, including this darling white and gold polka dot quilt from Pottery Barn...

(image from Pottery Barn Kids)

Once I saw Abbey's vision for the room, I knew I could easily make a gold quilt. After all, I wanted to make something she would love, right? And gold is what she would love. So I spilled the beans and told Abbey I was going to make her a quilt (so she wouldn't buy one). I used the PB quilt and crib bumper as inspiration and got to work. I mocked up 6 or 7 different designs and we both liked this one the best.

The applique on the front was designed in Inkscape. I've got loops on the brain right now, so this design fit right in with my current personal quilting trend. The gold metallic fabric is from the collection "Hope and Love" by Whistler studios for Windham fabrics. I found it at Hawthorne Threads and it was exactly what I had hoped-it's metallic, but not so much that it's tacky. I used fusible web to attach the shape to the background and then stitched around it in metallic gold thread. It really sparkles, sadly you can't really see that in the pictures. 

For the quilting, I was trying to echo the applique design and the feel of the inspiration crib bumpers. I thought this lovely panto fit nicely- it is called Chantilly Lace. I added the small circles in as well using a groovy board. I was pleased with how it turned out, but as as usual, there was a lesson to be learned. When I planned to use the panto, I neglected to take into account that I would run into the applique design, and it doesn't line up perfectly. Thus, it looks a little goofy in a few places, but overall it works.

Of course the backing had to be gold polka dots! The fabric is Spot On Metallic in Blanc by Robert Kaufman. It matches the gold on the front perfectly. The tiny dot binding is from the same line and is also metallic. I love it!

I really love the way this quilt turned out. I think the gold makes it look dainty and perfect for a new baby girl. Abbey loves it too! So I guess the moral of this story is...just because you dislike something right now, doesn't mean you always will. Under the right circumstances, your tastes may change! Maybe I'll give sushi another try...maybe. :) Happy New Year!