a little one that i love, and a tip

I know, two posts in one day... the thing is that my computer is at the office, and I'm mostly here on Tuesdays, so things tend to pile up a bit.  I finished this one up a bit ago.  It was just a quick rebellion as I've been trying to finish up all UFO's, and then one day I just wanted to do something different.

It's just one of those that accidently came together rather quickly, and I love it!  I love the colors and shapes and everything all together.  I think I can say this without being braggy, because there are quite a few quilts I make that I don't love.  Usually they're ok, I don't often dislike them, but it's only once in a while that I LOVE one.  I never really know when it will happen either!

This photo shows off the fun of adding a bit of texture through different fabric types.  A bit of flannel, or linen, just makes a quilt more special and interesting.  It helps give it that added dimension that gives it life!

And here's one quick little photo tip:  Use PicMonkey to lighten up your photo!  Now nothing's gonna fix it if it's totally blurry, but providing it has decent sharpness to it, but it's just too dark, here what you do.

Here's my original photo.  Too dark, but totally fixable.

1. Go to PicMonkey
2. Click on Edit a Photo, and upload the photo you want.
3.Now choose Exposure from the left hand menu.
4.Slide the little 'Brightness' and 'Highlights' buttons to the right till you get your desired lightness.
5.Be careful not to take it too far or your photo will be washed out.
6.Then go to 'Colors' - it's just under 'Exposure'.  Up the 'Saturation' just a teeny bit, and also warm the photo up a bit too by sliding the 'Temperature' button to the right.

Now save your photo and you're off!

You can play around with SO many things on PicMonkey, (including cropping your photo, which I also did here, it's a very important step!) there's piles more stuff you can do to make your pictures pop abit more.  Go try it out, it's a very simple program!

Chicopee and a winner!

my fabric splurge arrived!!  i know my mom and grandma will gasp with horror, (sorry Denyse!) but i think it's gonna be great fun.  not sure yet if i'm gonna like it as much as Hope Valley, but i think it'll grow on me.

right now i'm dreaming of using it in a medallion quilt.  with some solids and other stuff thrown in of course.

and on another note - remember this book from my last post?  well, i think some of you got the hint, but when i found that book in the sale section? there was actually two of them there and i bought them both.  i got the extra one for exactly the purpose of giving one away to one of my loyal readers!

so this morning i used mr. random to pick a winner.  I contacted the winner already, so once i hear back from her, i'll be sending it her way.

i love doing giveaways this way, it's just a lot of fun and I like rewarding the people who actually visit me regularly, read my posts, and comment.  you all deserve to win, and i really do find it hard to pick just one!  if it wasn't for the crazy cost of shipping, i seriously would send you each a little bundle!

but i will keep having these giveaways now and then! !  i love being a bit tricky!


One day I walked into the quilt shop in my little town.  I do this once in a while, just because I love the atmosphere.  It's a happy place, a place where I feel completely at home.  One day while browsing the sale table, I spied this book.  That was probably a year ago, but I still remember that feeling of excitement.  As though this world of modern quilting that before that had only been what I could see on a flat computer screen, had come alive and was reaching a friendly hand towards me in real, touchable, booky paper.

I don't remember if I made a sound, there may have been a tiny squeal.  I grabbed it and hugged it close to me.  It came home with me.  It was such a good feeling, this book that I'd been eyeing online, pondering, and then to find it in real life right there in my little local town...  yes, you can laugh, but that was a thrill for me!!

So this book is small but mighty.  It shows you how to free piece every letter of the alphabet in the easiest way.  But more than that, (since I still just tend to wing it, rather than read the diagram or instructions)  I love the inspiration quilts in here.  There are a LOT of cool wordy quilts packed into this book.  So many that I could spend next year just making quilts with quotes and words on them.

So as my current 'slow' project, I am making a word quilt.  It's all about words that make me happy, words I love.  I think I'll do my kid's names, and some of my hobbies, and just whatever randomness I happen to think of.  Each word will have different fabrics and backgrounds and there won't be any cohesion between them, (as you can see already!)  I'll just put together what inspires me at the moment.

The other thing I love about this book is that it's written by a nice, down-to-earth, fellow quilt blogger.  She's even commented on my blog!  Which for some reason just makes it seem a little more special.

And I just wanted to insert in here that if you don't have this book and wish you did, then you would be wise to comment on this post :)

So this isn't quite a book review, but maybe just a friendly little nudge.  Because pieced words in a quilt can take it from wow, to KaPow!

just another quilt

Last fall I won a bundle of Joel Dewberry's Heirloom during Rachel's Festival of Color.  Now this collection would likely not have been a must-purchase for me, so it was neat to receive these fabrics that are slightly different from the usual 'me'.  I decided to make a quilt top from one of the colorways as a little challenge to work with these 'not me' colors and prints.  Of course I added quite a few other prints and solids to the mix, because I find it hard to work with just one collection in a quilt.

This top sat unfinished for awhile, but in my big cleanup (which I'm a bit stalled on, I'll admit) I finished this one up.

And yes, I know there is a tear in the corner of the sheet...

I think my favorite element in this quilt is the backing.  I was saving this whimsical flannel for something special, but the colors were just right so I had to use it!

And of course the flannel makes this one extra snuggly which is great since it's the perfect lap quilt size (57x70)

And here's the whole thing.  These kind of blocks are a lot of fun to make, so that was a good thing about this quilt.  Looking at it now, I think I should have added even more solids...  Live and learn though!


this one took a long time to finish, because I had the urge to hand quilt it.  i like always having a small quilt like this in the midst of hand quilting.  i keep it in my bag by the back door, and if we're heading out somewhere i'll take it along a quilt while we drive.  

i was inspired by Denyse Schmidt's "Any Way You Slice It" quilt in her first quilt book.  Of course I didn't follow her instructions since I would never use templates unless it was the absolute only way to make the quilt!

so here's how i did it.

- cut a bunch of 9" squares out of crazy random fabrics.
- stack 5 (or 4) of these squares.
- make 4 cuts diagonally, making them a bit wonky
- rearrange this stack so that each fabric appears once in each block
- sew them together and square them up to your desired size (probably will be around 8"-8.5")

does that make any sense?  it's very simple once you just do it.  it's a common technique that's often called "Stack n Whack" or some thing like that.

you can see my hand quilting here.  just free hand circles going around the center of each diamond.  i used bright pink perle cotton, which made me choose this pink gingham binding.  which ends up being my favorite part of this quilt.

do you need to buy more fabric?

i'm on a self imposed fabric buying diet.  amazingly i have bought almost nothing in the last six months.  my one exception will be Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt, which i will be purchasing a bundle of!

and i'm also destashing a few bundles in my Etsy shop.  (still code BLUE15 for 15% off!)

this is all very. very. hard. for me.  because i love all my fabric, and i love very much of the fabric that i see in the stores that i want.  but i've been ruthless with my stash.  not exactly sure why, because i know i'd use it all eventually, but just kind of a feeling of 'too much'!

so although i'm not being all spendy online these days, that doesn't mean that i don't LOVE tempting all the rest of you to spend money!  here's a short list of a few items i think you all should buy!

*i've been eyeing these funky house wallhangings for a long time.  now there's finally a pattern!  and yes, i did buy this one...ooops!!

*one thing i'm on a mission to do is to create quilts that have the modern look and texture that i love, but that are truly so soft and snuggly that they don't end up being just a pile on the shelf.  for me, this is what quilts are about - being used every day, snuggled under, and truly loved, not stored away and protected.  so all that to say, i'm really loving this double gauze that you can find in yummy solid colors over here.  i haven't tested it yet for longevity in a well-used quilt, but i will say that the quality seems to be quite good!

*one problem when buying fabric from Japanese fabric shops on Etsy, is that you're not always sure of the quality, or the type of fabric you're going to get.  the fabrics seem expensive, so it's a bit risky.  i ordered a piece of this sweet pink roses, and it was worth every penny!  i had seen these fabrics described as 'washing cotton' or washing linen' and had no idea what that meant.  well, i think it has to do with the fact that they've been prewashed.  whatever the case,  this fabric is a slightly heavier cotton, but very soft.  i want to make a dress for my daughter with it, but can also think of twenty other things i want to use it for!