Thoughts While Pinning

I was writing imaginary blog posts in my head while basting this quilt this afternoon.  Nothing like a little mindless pinning to get the thoughts whirling.  I often find myself thinking in the form of writing, and I can write some quite interesting, informative, well-thought out and even witty stuff in my head... but you'll just have to take my word for it, cause it rarely gets any farther than that.

I've struggled with this alot, and often wonder how other bloggers get past this little problem.  I'd like to be my real self here and just write as thought no one else will read these words.  But the fact is, someone will read them!  And I tend to get myself all tied up in a little wad about how weird my words will sound, or that I'm not explaining myself clearly, so people will take it all wrong.  (Ok, I think I've written about this before:)

I'm honestly not sure how to get past this little problem... anyone have some advice for me?  Meanwhile, all the interesting dialogue I was having with myself while basting has disappeared.  I  can't even remember what I was thinking about!  Oh well, I guess it wasn't that important.

I'm hoping to get this baby quilted soon and finish up a few more quilts as well.  My Etsy shop has been sadly neglected the last while.  The fabrics in this quilt were an impulse buy.  I saw them as a new arrival at Hawthorne Threads (Griffith Park by Alexander Henry)  I fell in love with the fun shapes and unusual color combo.  I have a healthy respect for the speed at which Hawthorne Threads sells out of popular fabric lines, and so I quickly loaded up on enough to make a little quilt.  I'm especially fond of that pink hilly print in the top photo.  I'll have some "finished" photos soon!

Beach Tote

Ok, I'm not going to the beach, but I will be going away for a few days and I had the urge to make myself a bag.  I wanted something casual but fun.  I started out with this log cabin block for a pocket on the front.

I used some thick muslin that had been sitting on the shelf for a long time.  My first version I interfaced with heavy interfacing, but decided that was too stiff.  I wasn't actually wanting this thing to walk on it's own!  I ended up using a single layer of this muslin, and my favorite Nicey Jane print for the lining.

I made myself use my favorite fabrics.  I'm always wanting to save them for the 'perfect' project, but really, what's more perfect than right now?  And who knows, next year I'll be in love with something else!

I put two pockets on the inside and attatched those little clasp thingies.  I'm hoping it will be handy to clip my cellphone case to, rather than having it disappear at the bottom of the bag.

On the back side of the bag I did an outside pocket and lined it with a fun stripe.  I didn't use a pattern for this bag, but mentally went by this tutorial (just for assembly and cutting)  I cut my bag body 18" x 20", and the handles 4.5" x 20".   If you have any other questions, I'd love to answer, just make sure your blog setting are set so that I can reply:)

Happy Mail

Yes, this yummy stuff is mine!  It arrived in the mail today from Rachel.  The Spicing Up the Kitchen Swap is the first swap I've taken part in, and I'll have to say it was very enjoyable.

I sent my package away awhile ago, and found myself snooping around the swap's photostream, trying to guess which one was mine.  Of course, I saw Rachel working on this awhile back and LOVED it, but somehow never thought it was for me!

I knew that my secret partner had sent my package a while ago, and when it was taking longer than usual to arrive, I'll admit I was getting a little worried.  The other day as I was showering (I always get ideas in the shower)  I suddenly had the thought, "I bet Rachel has my name!"  I checked up and sure enough, no one else had seemed to receive her package yet.  I tried not to get too attached  to the idea, but I will say I was very happy to see this package in the mail!

Here's a close up of the table runner.  I'll show you some better pics once I've gotten the traveling wrinkles out.  But you can see more photos of it here and here.  It's full of whimsy and linen and all my favorite colors.  And I've never seen any of those Heather Ross Fishes in real life, so I'm very happy to own a few of them now.

Ok, I'll stop gushing now!  Thanks so much Rachel, I love it all!!  And another thanks to Darci and Erin for putting together a great swap!

Blocks and a Tip

My list of things to be done this week has not included any sewing.  But I finally got to the one item I've been looking forward to: sew blocks for charity quilt bee.  I must say these spring-themed blocks were enjoyable to put together.

On another note, I've been inspired by Jeni's series of posts on fabric.  Organizing, choosing, buying, selecting, and I'll admit I'm a sucker for all her lovely fabric photos.  Anyway, I thought I'd share a small tip that I use for buying fabric online.

I know this only works for fabric companies that sell precuts, but it's something to consider if you're eyeing a line of fabric by Moda.

When I saw previews of the Sunkissed line by Sweetwater, I had a feeling I might want a few of these prints in my stash.  Since the grays were what I was looking at, and finding shades that I like can be a bit tricky, I ordered a charm pack as soon as they were available.  Now I had actual fabric to touch and see and hold up to other fabrics and see how I liked it.  (Plus I have a charm pack to use for some fun little project)

Now I could buy some yardage with confidence, knowing that I would use and love what I ordered.  Yes, the grays in this line are perfect (in my opinion).  Not so much the oranges...  And of course I had to get some of the newsprint since I'm a sucker for words on fabric, just like most everyone else!  And the green is also a lovely shade that I've already put to use.

Basket Love

Some days, when the to-do list is extra long, then I just take a few minutes to sew something frivolous... and then , like today, I'm so enthused that I can go about cleaning the house with the goal of sitting down to sew again in a little while.

Ever since I got Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking ll for Christmas, I've been wanting to make her basket quilt.  I don't have a photo of the quilt in her book, but here are a few fun ones I found on Flickr.

 Go here to see who made these lovelies.

I'm planning on making this a generous lap size, and thinking it just miiiight stay at our house.  I'm using some of all my favorite fabrics.

I think this quilt block is a win-win situation for me.  The entire process of choosing the fabrics to go together in each block, cutting each basket in a slightly different shape, etc., just keeps it fun for me.  I have this problem that after making a couple blocks for a quilt, I just get a bit bored.  I'm thinking this one might be different.  The way Gwen shows you how to make these blocks is so super fun and easy, I highly recommend it!

A Quilt is a Hug

January was my month to design and put together the quilt for the charity quilting bee, do. Good Stitches.  I asked each person to make two 12.5" blocks with the same color placement.  Red in one corner, then orange , yellow, green across the middle, blue, purple, and finishing the other corner with black.

Here was my sample block.  Each square is cut at 3.5"square, making a 12.5" unfinished block.

This was the layout I had in mind when I requested these blocks, but I had no idea how the finished quilt would look.  I can say now that I'm very happy with it.  It has a fun pattern from a distance, but close up looks more like a bunch of brightly colored squares.

I had so much fun receiving these blocks.  Every time a little package would arrive, it felt almost like Christmas.  Although I had seen the blocks in our Flickr group, it was so exciting to see them in person.  I love every single block that was made, and was able to work with many fabrics that I've never seen before.

Sadly, one set of blocks got lost in the mail, but I made a few extra to fill in.

I couldn't choose which photos to include because this quilt is so full of fun and happy blocks!

Thanks again to the Joy circle quilters for the great blocks you sent!

I continued the rainbow theme on the back with some big strips of fabric.  This quilt will be heading out for MyVeryOwnBlanket, a group that makes quilts to give to foster children.  Anyone can donate a quilt to them, just check out their website.