newbee block - my month as queen

It's my month as queen of the Newbee Quilter's group! I'm so very excited! I took loads of time looking up blocks that I might think about making and hemmed and hawed over a few contenders before I made my final decision.

newbee color scheme - june
For my block, I am requesting a bear paw block. It's a traditional block, made up of squares and HSTs (half square triangles), so all techniques that we have done before, but in a new format! I had seen this block made in quite a few different variations and the reason it became a winner is because it doesn't need to "join" up with another block and can really stand alone. I preferred that so I can add sashing or solid blocks (or patchwork!) in between to make the quilt larger without sewing up too many more blocks.

I chose a jeweled tone color palette of golden yellows, deep, rich navys, emerald greens and a very warm reddish-purple plum. It was inspired by a combination of fabrics from my stash that I've been dying to work with -  a few from Field Study, Tsuru and Indie. My bee buddies won't have these specific fabrics of course, but can use these as inspiration (for color especially) to pull fabrics from their own stash. The background can be any light tan/ off white/ white fabric they have in their stash.

I just love how the color palette is modern (in my opinion) and the block is such a traditional one. I really am so excited to begin work on this quilt. I can't wait to see what my bee mates come up with and how it will all come together as I begin receiving blocks.

qayg scrappy strings quilt top!

Woo hoo! I have another finished (and quilted!) top to show you! I'm entering this in Rachel's Festival of Strings, where she imagined us all hanging out quilts out on a line in a meadow. I did as best I could here in the southwest and took my quilt out to the closest thing I have to a meadow - the open desert.

string quilt

I finished up my scrappy strings QAYG top this weekend. As I've mentioned, I really love the technique. I love the quilting on it and just can't wait to get it finished and crinkly! The hardest part was pressing the seams - they were bulkier with the batting and I didn't want to iron directly on the batting, so I placed fabric in between which further complicated things. But still, this was way less challenging than fitting a quilt through my sewing machine.

30 minutes of ironing seams > hours of quilt shoving.

Each square was 8 inches, so the quilt measures out at about 60" square, perfect to snuggle under while watching a movie or reading a book.

I have some of the Chicopee Voltage Dot fabric for the back - a fun black and white print that I think will compliment the front of this quilt nicely.

scrappy qayg backing choice
I am pleased to say that I also used almost all of my neutral, light pink and yellow strips in this quilt. I really liked the low volume color scheme. When I pulled my strips originally and had them all sorted in piles and decided to jump in and do this thing, these were the strips that called out to me. It was very calming at a point in time when that was what I really needed. I'm going to have to do something else with the other, bright colors at some point, but for now this is a decent dent in the scrap pile. Slow is still progress, right? I also used up almost all of the peachy-pink  Butterscotch and Roses print I had used as a backing fabric for my very first quilt. It was nice to see most of that used. Finally.

Lily's Quilts

I'm also linking up to Lily's Fresh Sewing Day & Small Blog Meet!

last weekend: lost in the desert edition

it started like any other hike
Last weekend, the hubs and I took the dog out for a hike. It started like any other hike, but I guess we should have known something was amiss from the start. No other hikers around on a cool Friday morning, not a very legit parking lot, and certainly not this fallen barbed wire.

looking back, this should have been our first clue
what should have been our first third clue

the trail ends...
But like the push through it people we are, we trudged along, hoping that just around the bend (or up the ridge, down the creek, through the canyon) things would start to make sense. At a certain point, we lost the trail and kept going, thinking it would pick up again. It never did and so we followed game trails in and out of the wash and up and down the ridge.

fleury enjoying the hike
fleury exploring
Fleury, of course, enjoyed the adventure. He gave me multiple heart attacks as he practiced his agility jumps over cactus. Crazy puppy. It started to get more and more dense with cactus and other plants though, so I guess I couldn't really blame him.

the cactus are blooming
do we go this way?
"Is this a good route? I don't think so."
By a certain point, it had started to get a bit warmer out, the sun started to peek through the clouds and so we made the decision to head back to the car...but since we had lost the trail long ago, we had to figure out the best way back. We hiked out of the wash and back onto the ridge, figuring that the higher vantage point would be more beneficial than staying low in the wash. We looked for a stack of rocks we passed to get our bearings.

let's get a higher view point
in the field medical services
Fleury eventually romped just a bit too close to a cactus and got some prickers in his paw, so we had to stop for some emergency medical attention. The hubs was prepared with pliers and picked them all out and we went on our way (after some cuddling).

we found the trail!
Not long after, we made it back to the stack of rocks and onto the trail when we concluded that we were probably on a ranger trail and not the one we intended to be on. A quick Google search when we got home proved that suspicion right and we were walking in no man's land. It was beautiful, though. And next time, husband says he's the hike master and is using GPS coordinates (I truly wonder why he hadn't checked up on this hike and let me plan, knowing that I am absolutely the worst person to look to for directions...) Maybe if the weather is nice, we'll tackle the hike we intended to be on next weekend....

sewing for puppy: a doggy bone quilt

fleurys mat and bed
Fleury has been loving his new dog bed. I'm surprised by how well it's held up these past couple months, despite being used daily by a now 8 month old puppy. If you all remember, I had originally made a different top for his bed, but after piecing the "back," I decided to use that as the front, leaving me with this patchwork dog bone applique top.

I held onto it for a while, debating what to make it into and also making the time to do it.

close up
fleury's bed and mat
Now that it's finished, I am really starting to like it more and more. I'm using it currently as a mat for under his water bowl since he's a very messy drinker. But I can also see us using it as his travel "place" as well. I love the two coordinating pieces together and really like how they nod toward each other but are still different.

It was my first time machine binding, and although I loved how fast the technique was, I wasn't thrilled with the end result. I'm sure with practice I would get better, but I think for now I'll keep hand sewing those on.

BONUS: The only materials I had to buy for both these projects was the binding fabric for the quilt and the zipper and cording for the bed. The Madrona Road collection fabrics were received from my quilt guild for the challenge. The rest of the fabrics were from my stash and even the batting was scrap from other projects. Score!

he likes it!

And here's a shot of the monster enjoying his bed and his quilt!

newbee blocks - april

april newbee blocks
It's May already. Geez, the time does fly. I finished up these two blocks for April's queen of the Newbee Block Swap. It was quite honestly just as easy to make two and I scorched just a wee bit the edge of the first block with the iron on the last press (ain't it how it always goes?!) so this month I made two blocks instead of one. I have to finish up a very patriotic block for May and then it's MY month to be queen. And I still have no idea what I'm going to do! Ideas? Anybody?

newbee blocks - jan thru april
And in case you missed the first few months, here are the blocks we've made so far!

love, fleury

when puppy meets craft supplies...

Hi there, humans.

Mom brought me into her sewing room the other day so I could hang with her while she sewed. I'm usually not allowed in her room because she says that I would misbehave.

Between me and you, I really think that she doesn't want me in there because that's where she hides the really good balls and she's not good at sharing.


string fever QAYG

scrappy strings quilt in progress

I've been working on my QAYG project for a month or so now. I am a total convert. I realize that not all quilts will be able to be quilted this way, but for the ones that can, it's awesome. It's super easy to do on a little home machine and I don't feel like I've pulled a muscle doing it. I can baste easily, add more quilting than usual and see it come together that much faster.

I had thought that I was going to make the 49 blocks into a 7 x 7 block quilt and then add a border around that to bring up the size to 60" square. I hated it. It looked boring to me but I did need to add something so that it was a reasonable size. I had these two pink strips leftover from making the backing for my very first quilt and they went so nicely. A little color and pattern without being too overwhelming and detracting from the rest of the pattern.

So, now I have 14 more QAYG blocks to cut and quilt, but they should go rather quickly. Hopefully by this weekend I can get this guy assembled and be well on my way to a finish!

in progress

I have an overwhelming number of works in progress at the moment. I really do want to have some finishes here in the near future because I have quite a few works not started too...

works in progress
ticker tape placemats, retro flowers quilt, dog bone quilt,  modern medallion quilt, embroidery, scrappy strings quilt blocks

In my works in progress list, I have my ticker tape placemats, my Retro Flowers quilt (in Chicopee), my Dog Bone quilt, my Modern Medallion quilt, a surprise embroidery, my scrappy strings QAYG quilt and the coordinating sewing kit made from the scraps and yikes...a super surprise quilt that I can't show pictures of yet and last but probably not least (as I have a bad memory and there's probably something else somewhere) a shirt for my husband.

They are all in various stages of finish (links are to the latest project blog post):
  • Ticker Tape Placemats - I have all the ticker tape placed onto the mats, but have yet to quilt them.
  • Retro Flowers Quilt - I have all the pieces ready to cut (there's a lot of folding and pressing in this pattern) but I still have a bit of cutting to do before I can start piecing.
  • Dog Bone Quilt - This oops project just needs a bit of quilting and bound, making it a quick finish when I get back to it! DONE!
  • Modern Medallion - Stalled. I have spent so much time on this one already that I really want to like it, but am having some issues on what to do for the next rounds of this quilt.
  • Surprise Embroidery - I would have knocked this out so fast, but I decided to use the shimmery, glitter embroidery thread for the effect, but I didn't realize what a pain it was to work with. Hopefully soon I'll finish it up. I'm hoping it will be a pillow soon! Ready to ship to it's surprise recipient.
  • Scrappy Strings Quilt - As part of Rachel's scrappy stitch along, I'm hoping to get this finished by the end of May....right...
  • Scrappy String Scrap Sewing Kit - Just needs bound! Almost! Almost! DONE!
  • Super Surprise Quilt - Just needs a bit more quilting and then bound! Hoping that I can get this one wrapped up and sent off to it's new owner by the end of May!
  • Shirt for Husband - Still working on the muslin version. Did I mention making clothing is NOTHING like making quilts...

works not started...
And, because my brain creates faster than my hands do, I have fabric piles waiting their turn to become quilts. I just love Sarah Jane's collections. After buying these two mermaid prints, I bought some other coordinates from the Out to Sea collection to make a quilt for myself. I was gifted the Cherry Christmas collection from my mom for Christmas and am hoping to make a holiday quilt before it becomes holiday season.

I also bought a few pieces from Anna Maria's Field Study collection, Tsuru by Cloud 9, and Pat Bravo's Indie. I think between the three, I have some awesome quilts in the making.

And last, but certainly not least, I have a baby boy quilt and a Houndstooth quilt, both commissions.

I also have a *thing* for scrappy quilts, and just can't stop making stuff with scraps. Almost more than with pretty stacks of fabric. So there's that. Hopefully I will have made a bit of progress on some of these by the end of the month and have cleared some space on my work table for some of these other beauties.

How many WIPs do you have? Do you suffer from shiny new project syndrome? Any tips on finishing up WIPs and keeping them under control?

a dog's life

dog's life
The pup and I have been enjoying some nice outdoor time lately, which hasn't left much time for sewing, but which has required ample nap time. We'll get back to the sewing bit once the weather becomes unbearable, but for now, to the outdoors! (or the couch, tough decisions...)

Also, if you haven't noticed, Fleury's got his own button now there on the sidebar. So if you could care less about all that sewing business and just want to scroll through pages of cute puppy pictures, that's for you, right there. 

a ::little:: stashing

I must stop going over to ponder at Maureen's blog. She has an excellent eye for fabric combinations and I love her improv style, but each time I wander over she has some new fabric featured that I. must. have. 

I'm trying not to be all consumer-ish and go off straight away to the fabric store/ online easy button, but once I saw Tsuru, I knew I had to have it. I think it can easily become an accessory, a quilt or home decor. It's very modern and crisp. I have yet to wash it to put it up on the shelf with my other lovelies, but for now, it's enjoying it's time as fabric porn.