Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Machine Applique

One of my QuiltCon workshops was Machine Applique by Debbie Grifka from Esch House Quilts. I chose fabrics and threads from my stash and bought the stabilizer and double stick fusible web. Debbie had us make a pillow top or small wall hanging size quilt top using her cute bird pattern.

Janome provided the sewing machines for QuiltCon. This Janome 3160 QDC is the machine I've always thought would be my next machine. It was a great experience to test drive it for a full day. Janome offered deep discounts on the machines being used. I've decided it's not the machine for me, but I really did love the automatic thread cutter. Poor old Red was at the spa while I was away and needed a little work. Apparently, I've sewn a lot and worn a few things down.

My classmates had fun fabrics. Some had bought their fabrics from the vendors at the quilt show. I absolutely loved all the variations and creative combos. I think everyone had a good time making this project.

Here's my finished top. The stabilizer really helped with puckering while using a satin stitch around the appliqué edges; and it was easy to pull off. I wonder if you can paper piece on that stuff?

I had a delicious cafe au lait at a nearby cafe. Love the barista's shorthand.

The QuiltCon raffle quilt was so fun. That armadillo in the bottom right corner was my favorite. I really enjoyed seeing all the quilts created by blocks sent in by Modern Quilt Guild members. I even found the block I sent. The quilt above was raffled, but approximately 25 quilts were made for a local children's charity in Austin, Texas. I'll say it again, quilters are givers.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Color Your Cloth

A fun day at QuiltCon today. I trekked offsite to a church where our batik dying class was being held. Our instructor, the talented Malka Dubrawsky, offered instruction on wax resist (batik) fabric printing.

Using common fruits and veggies dipped in hot wax, we decorated our fabrics and placed them in vats of dye. We also learned about dye discharging, which was fascinating. Toward the end of the class we used traditional batiking tools used for centuries.

Off to a Modern Quilt Guild leaders meet and greet. I've logged a lot of miles today.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Look Out Austin

We're here! QuiltCon has begun. After a somewhat bumpy plane ride, we checked into our hotel and set out to find lunch. Manuels was delicious. Gooey queso, guacamole, and grilled shrimp and veggies. Someone wheel me outta here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

QuiltCon Countdown

I enjoyed our guild's Sew Day on Saturday and made big progress on my Easy Street Mystery. I finished two last big blocks and 11 setting triangles Sunday and Monday. Woo hoo! All I need to do is press everything, lay out the blocks on my design floor, and sew it all together. This sucker is going to be huge. Way beyond my attention span, but all the little mystery pieces kept me going. I'm pretty thrilled to have all the blocks done.

There was some Shrinky Dink action in the house last night. I forgot how amazing they turn out and how fun it is to watch them curl up and shrink. The color on them is amazing. I found a kit at Michael's for 90% off, so it was well worth 29 cents to occupy a little one and see the amazement on his face while they baked. I have a few sheets of the plastic, so we'll have to make more some day.

I've been collecting my supplies for my QuiltCon workshops for a few weeks. Today I assembled them all together and made sure I had everything. I'm missing a palette knife, but I think I can make-do with something similar. I'm taking three workshops: Color Your Cloth, which involves batik/wax resist, and is taught by Malka Dubrawsky; Machine Applique with Debbie Grifka of Esch House Quilts; and Blockprinting on Textiles by Lizzy House.

I'm bringing my gigantic suitcase my parents gave me for high school graduation. I hope it hasn't dry rotted. ;) I'm also hoping it doesn't weigh over 50 lbs. when I fill it, because I'm sure I'll find a few things to buy while in Austin. I may have to leave all my clothes in the hotel room trash when I leave. Well, at least the dirty ones.

Inspector Gadget bought groceries yesterday, so I guess he'll play chef while I'm gone. I bet I'll miss some good eats, but I won't worry about everyone starving to death. I really thought they would eat pizza, tacos, burgers, fried chicken, sushi, and Chinese takeout while I was gone. I'm a little proud! Of course last time I went out of town they set off the smoke alarm and the fire department came. I'm sure that was just a fluke.

I noticed a few blog announcements about pattern theft. Sew Hooked and Artisania have blogged about it. It appears a creepy company calling themselves Los Angeles Needleworks is stealing free tutorials from popular blogs and selling them for their profit. Whaaa?! This is outrageous and illegal. I cut my sewing teeth on free tutorials and am in debt to the giving nature of those bloggers. I hope the thieves are shut down quickly and have to pay everyone back. And that their bobbin runs out at the worst moment. :P Spread the word if you can.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pincushion City

I was pleasantly distracted by making another pincushion after seeing Rene's cute pincushion she made for QuiltCon. A group of us are swapping pincushions at the conference. I hopped straight over to the tutorial by Bari J. I already have a pincushion ready for QuiltCon, but I'm sure this one will find a good home. It's huge and would hold tons of pins.

I have a big collection of pincushions. Most were gifts from fellow quilters, but I made a few of them. The red magnetic version is my favorite, but I like to keep a pincushion on my cutting table and the ironing board. I also use them to store threaded needles. Plus, they're fun to make. If you're hankering to make a pincushion or seven, I just found this Pinterest board for free pincushion patterns. I'm toast.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

This paper pieced heart block turned into a coaster for Inspector Gadget. He asked me a while ago to make him a fabric coaster for his desk and I made him a pirate one which he uses daily. Now he can switch out with this polka dot heart. Or maybe he'll get brave and take it to work.

Hollywood mentioned needing a sewing kit, so I made her one. It's more of a needle book, but I put some pockets in it too. I had to add a strip of red elastic to hold the tiny scissors. I need to find a way to include thread. I guess an almost-gone spool of my Connecting Threads thread might work.

It's so fun to buy baby toys again. I bought this little boat for my cousin's new baby. She'll turn one this month. That was a quick year. My cousin and his wife live on a nearby lake and they love to boat. Like my kids, baby Mia was out boating before she was a month old. We're raising (or have raised, in my case) Lake Rats as I like to call them.

This pencil/pen case almost got the best of me. I've wanted the book Zakka Style for a while because I've seen so many cute projects made from it. I finally needed a little something to get free shipping on the boat above and treated myself to it. Please tell me I'm not the only one who buys extra stuff to get free shipping. Anyway, I had so much trouble figuring out how this baby went together. It was real fun un-sewing red linen four, count them, four times. I finally got it though! Whew! My studio looks like a red thread crime scene.

My quilts came back from Eagle Mountain Quilting. I let Wendy pick out some of the quilting designs. She had some new ones that I hadn't seen before. They all sure turned out cute. Now I need to hang these in my laundry room for two years. That's how I season my quilts before I bind them. What, you don't dust your quilts before you bind them?

Hope your Valentine's Day is dreamy. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

More Cupid

I never really loved pesto until I started making it with cashews or pistachios. I guess I'd only eaten the jarred stuff. I don't mind pine nuts, but they're not usually in my pantry. Making it fresh is such a taste difference. I used basil, cashews, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. Just whir everything together in a food processor. It's okay on pasta, but I prefer it on toast. With a gooey egg on top. It only keeps a day or so in the fridge, but it freezes nicely.

My dollar store candy dish is filled with caramel filled kisses. They might last until Valentine's Day. I've been busy crafting for my loves.

Monday, I made these Funeral Sandwiches. Awful name, no? I wonder if they're called that because you make and marinate them beforehand and then pop them in the oven when you're close to serving. I used some rolls I made (and burned the top of). Someone cranked my oven when I wasn't looking. I used turkey, swiss, and cheddar, but I kept the sauce the same. I halved the sauce for this amount.

To go with the sammies, I made tomato soup in the crock pot using leftover Great Northern beans, canned tomatoes, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, bay leaf, and smoked paprika. To finish, you puree everything and add some milk for creaminess. It was pretty good and made a ton.

I went through my orphan blocks and thought about making a Valentine quilt. Have you ever seen V's Kitchen Sink quilt? She's a master at them. Me, not so much. I would need a lot more blocks. And that trio of hearts on the left was supposed to be a table runner.

A little lava lamp action. The kids had to have these years ago, and now I enjoy them. They remind me of my grandmother. She had one in the 1970s and I was mesmerized by it.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Part of my Valentine's Day crafting involved this heart pot holder. I fell in love with the old time-y Valentine fabric. I made this for my great aunt who I visited with over the weekend. I was able to show her a crazy quilt her mother made. And it turns out she has quilted too. I had no idea.

Inspector Gadget surprised me with new herbs and pretty pink impatiens(?). I'm the queen of killing plants, so I'll try my best to keep these going for a while.

Bones and a lizard are enjoying sunning themselves poolside. The weather was glorious here this weekend. I'm surprised everyone up north didn't move down after all that snow.

This Sweetheart quilt block required curved piecing, but it is my current obsession. I may have to bust out my Drunkard's Path templates.

A little monster making with Crayola air-dry clay. Hollywood and her charge come for family dinner every Sunday. We're teaching him about gravy.

And when you get done with monsters and gravy, you can always build with wine corks. We host a lot of wine parties. *cough* It was the little's idea to play with my corks, I don't have too many toys around here. At least he didn't ask to play in the knife drawer.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Stash #67

I lunched with the ladies this week. They're a talented and fun group I tell ya. Julie of La Todera gifted us with fat quarters from her very first fabric collection. It's called Photochrome Petals and is distributed through Clothworks. She has another collection in the works too.

My guild buddy Judy brought me this adorable dachshund fabric. I love the polka dot ears. Bones loved it too. My collection of doxie fabric is growing. Stubborn little things must be a popular breed. You don't see pit bull fabric.

Another guild buddy organized her studio and brought all kinds of fabrics to share at our monthly guild meeting. We all had fun picking pieces we loved. Kathryn has such great taste in fabric. The pinks are going to be used for Valentine's Day crafting. They called to me. Ha!

I even scored some beautiful selvages. Free fabric from fun friends. Who could ask for anything more?

I did support my local quilt shop with a yard of this pebble print and two zippers. I may be searching my Pinterest boards for a little pouch to make. How's your weekend going?
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