Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Blogger's Choice Bundle

Okay, you knew I couldn't just let Julie have all the fun with this contest over at Quokka Quilts, right?

Despite the fact that Julie's bundle is sheer genius - unexpected colors in a brilliant combination I've never really seen before - well, I don't stack up, but I'm giving it a go anyway!

And can I tell you? This wasn't easy! I spent a whole bunch of time today working on this, ran through three different color schemes, and finally settled on one that reminds me of home. Home, of course, being Maine.

But probably not the Maine you think of. Not the fall colors - not the coastal colors - not the winter scheme.

This field by my childhood house. This field of golden wheat that swayed in the brief summer sunshine. The golden yellows, the deep earth beneath, and the endless blue sky. It never lasted too long, but the summers back home were just perfect.

My take on the summer field in fabric, unsurprisingly, involves a whole lot of Riley Blake prints!

I really do love this bundle. It just makes me smile. Evokes a bit of sunflower/country kitchen feeling, too, I suppose.

I'm linking it up, and even if I don't win (seriously, stiff competition!), I might just have to move my birthday up and tell the husband I need this bundle!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Blogger's Choice Bundle Competition

Ok, so you've probably heard that Laura over at Quokka Quilts is having this awesome contest centered around Fat Quarter Shop's Blogger's Choice bundles. If you haven't heard then you MUST go check it out!

Well, I couldn't NOT join in on the fun, now could I? 

Not too long ago I was browsing Design Seeds, looking for inspiration for new colors for my living room. This one particular palette just totally jumped out at me. 

I've always been a sucker for blues, pinks and greens so it was no surprise that it kept calling my name.  

When deciding on a palette for my personal bundle it called out to me again. 

Here's my take on this fun, bright palette.

Winner of the competition will win their selected bundle, in 1/2 yard cuts!! How awesome would it be to win the fabric I would need to redecorate my living room!? 

Wish me luck!

A whole month! (And a block tutorial!)

Oh. My. Gosh. You. Guys.

It's been a month since I posted. Shame on me!! I cannot even describe how much sewing I've done in the past month. I literally made my fingers bleed! (Caught my fingernail with the up motion of my needle bar. That was a new experience!)

But the nice thing is that I have tons and tons to show you.

Since I owe you a tutorial for that block I posted back in November, I figured now would be a good time to do it. Plus, it's Candi's challenge of the month, and I'm running out of time!
Remember this block?


It still doesn't have a name. Feel free to shout out some suggestions.
Despite its lack of name, it is very easy to construct.

We're going to start with FOUR 7.5" squares of prints, and FOUR 6.5" squares of white
(pretend there is some white there, eh?)

Pairing up the prints so you have two sets, stitch according to Julie's HST tutorial.

Cut apart:

Press, and trim down to 6.5" even:

Once you have your individual half-square triangles assembled, you're going to want to take your FOUR 6.5" white squares, and press them in half diagonally, so you're looking at a folded triangle, as shown on top of the HST blocks here:

Using a 1/8" seam, baste one of the folded squares to the top of each HST, again, as shown above. Make sure that the line of your white square is perpendicular to your center seam on your HST! Baste the OUTSIDE ONLY. Do not stitch the center line yet!
When you've basted, you'll be looking at these:

Now, set those puppies up in a four-patch, with the points meeting in the center. Much like a pinwheel, but since we're dealing with four separate fabrics, it won't much resemble an actual pinwheel.
Once you have your block fully assembled, it's time to peel back the corners of the pie pieces to reveal the curve. Since the fold of your white fabric is on the bias, it creates a natural curve. Don't believe me? Just pull it back a bit - it'll curve! Stitch them down into place like so:

and make sure you've got all four stitched! Once you've finished these curves, your block is complete!

Linking up to Candi's monthly challenge!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pay It Forwards and a Few Forgotten Blocks....

Numbers #5 and #6 of my Pay it Forward projects are done and you know what that means? I have them all done, before the end of the year, goal accomplished. Whoo Hoo!!

Number 5 went to my sister, the one who recently got married.

When Spoonflower had their free swatch day a few months back I happened upon a print with pixelated ninjas all over it. There is a private joke about her new husband and him being a ninja so as soon as I saw it I knew I had to get it and make something for one of them. 

I settled on a small pouch and just so happened to have everything in my stash to complete it, which made me very happy.

I did some embroidery on the back. My satin stitching is still a bit rough, but it's legible!

There are some ninjas hiding inside too

Well, then I felt like the pouch wasn't enough. I mean, she IS my sister. So I set out to find something else to make for her. I bought some fabric right off the bat. Amy Butler's Love collection is totally right up her alley. 

But what to make? I finally decided that she needed another bag. She's all about bags and shoes so I knew she would love another one. I set out to find the perfect one and happened upon an Amy Butler pattern, the Blossom Bag (offered for free at Sew Mama Sew!) But did I have it in me to make another Amy Butler bag? The last one almost killed me! I kept looking for another one I could make, but just kept coming back to the Blossom bag every time, I knew I had to make that one for her. 

So I went for it. 

I will say that this one was easier than the Sweet Harmony bag I had made. I did have a total Dur! moment when I got the entire bag together and then realized I put the straps on wrong. I was not a very happy camper, there was NO way to fix it and then machine sew them back down. 

So instead of having them sewn on like the pattern calls for, I had to remove the little tab that covers where the strap and loop come together, attach some d-rings and then attach another piece of fabric to loop through the d-ring and attach to the strap.

My sister didn't even notice. I'm just really glad I had some d-rings on hand!

Making the bar tacks on the sides was not as difficult as people said it would be. The only thing I did to set my machine up for it was put in a jeans needle. It handled it just fine.

The instructions for the zipper weren't very clear, so I just kind of winged that part. 

And of course, being left handed, I put the zipper in wrong. I was trying to be so careful to make sure I put it in right too! She said she hadn't even noticed that either. I really should stop pointing out all of my mistakes to people!

It closes with a magnetic snap, which was a breeze to install after having done it on the other bag.

I will say, even with my mistakes, that I kind of enjoyed this bag. It was tedious, and the amount of interfacing in this sucker is just crazy, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The hardest part was probably attaching the curved sides. With all of the stiff interfacing on the pieces it was just difficult to maneuver. Doing the same thing with the lining pieces was a breeze.

I am very happy to say that my sister loves both gifts, and that definitely makes it all worthwhile.

Now on to #6!! 

This one went to my sister-in-law. She was harder to figure out what to make. She lives in Texas and I don't get to see her often, so we don't know each other well. 

I happened upon an embroidery on Pinterest one day that was a hand print of each family member, one on top of the other. My sister said that my sister-in-law really likes things that remind her of her family, so I went for it. It was really easy to do considering I already had everybody's hand prints!

I didn't stack the hands though, and I made one of them going the opposite direction. My nephew is a lefty like me :)

My sister is in town visiting and will be taking this back to Texas with her, so I'll know in the next few days if my sister-in-law likes it. Fingers crossed!!

And now for the poor forgotten blocks....

These blocks were for the 12 Month Bee for November. Emily asked for Disappearing 9 Patch blocks, and that's what she got!

The next blocks were for a special cause. 

Val of PinkPlease! sent out a call for help for some string blocks to make a quilt for the Heroes Foundation. This quilt will be auctioned off to raise money for the foundation. I was one of the many who offered to send her some blocks.

Check out her most recent post about it to see what she has received so far. It's coming together quite nicely!

I think that wraps up everything I have going on right now. My WIP pile hasn't had any change to it in recent weeks, nor have I started anything new so there isn't really much to report. Well, I say nothing new but I did teach myself to knit and am now obsessed with that. More on that later!

Bree has been uber busy with Christmas orders and getting her own gifts made so she's been spending all of her free time at the sewing machine.

So, unless something totally awesome happens that I just can't wait to share with you, I'm going to sign off until after the holiday. Lots to do and just 5 days left to get it done! Plus, the kids are home and the hubby will be too, so I'm going to have my hands full.

Whatever it is that you are celebrating this holiday season, I wish you and yours the very best!

Friday, December 16, 2011

And We Have a Winner!!


Our winner is Meghan!!

Congrats Meghan! I'll be sending you an email for your mailing info shortly!

Thanks everyone for all of the wonderful gift suggestions (and cookie recipes)! You've definitely given me some great ideas, I've been building my shopping list while reading them all week long, LOL! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Giveaway Day! (Giveaway Closed)

Giveaway is now closed...I just realized when I re-designed the blog I lost our numbered comments, oops! I'll announce the winner as soon as I figure out how to put them back!

Did you guys think we forgot about giveaway day? I almost did! I told Bree I would handle it since she is totally swamped with Christmas orders and I kept putting it off. Then I remembered late yesterday afternoon that I needed to put something together and instead of being a good girl and getting it done I chose to play Xbox with my husband, oops! 

I sent Bree an email first thing this morning and said I still don't know what to do for the giveaway! We brainstormed a bit and I put together something that I hope you all like!

I broke into my beloved Castle Peeps stash that I won from Lee during the Supernova Quilt Along giveaway for this one. It was so hard cutting this fabric up but I sure do love the final results! 

So up for grabs today is a Castle Peeps notebook and a drawstring bag 

Would you like to win these? 

All you have to do is leave us a comment. No need to become a follower or like us on Facebook or anything. If this is your first time visiting, feel free to look around while you're here, you're more than welcome to stay! And if you'd like to check us out on Facebook we have a link right over there in the sidebar, come on over!

Anyway, leave us a comment and give us some gift ideas for kids. I need good stuff, stuff that they'll play with, stuff that won't fall apart within a week. I'm so tired of our money going to waste on crap each year. And if you can't think of anything for kids, how about the husbands? Men can be so hard to shop for! An awesome cookie recipe would also be a good comment to leave :)

Giveaway is open until this Friday, the 16th, at 8:00 pm EST. I'll announce the winner by Sunday night. Please make sure if you are a no-reply blogger that you leave an email address so I can notify you if you win. International entries are welcome.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December Quilt Challenge of the Month-A Tutorial

So Candi's challenge for December is to take that block we designed last month and do a tutorial on it. So here goes!

First off I want to say, that while I completely came up with the idea for this block, I did happen upon a block online that is very similar to it. As a matter of fact, the corner pieces are the only difference between the two. I have absolutely no idea if this block has already been done, I hadn't seen it before making it and posting about it. I simply sat down on my computer and trusy ol' Microsoft Paint and started coloring in triangles and squares. So my apologies if someone else has already created this block. As for the one I saw online, it was on Flickr and posted in someone's photo as a group of blocks she received back from a bee. I couldn't even tell you who made the one that I saw online the other day!

Ok, now that I got that out of the way! To create my block you will need:

(I think I'm going to do this tutorial in pictures, I just realized it's hard to explain things with so many different prints in one block!)

half square triangle tutorial

Lay your pieces out as pictured. Be careful with the layout, this can be a little like putting together a puzzle. Or change it up if you want! It's your block, do what you want :)

Now sew it together! I like to sew them into 4 patches first.

That's it, you're done!

Hey, did you know Distant Pickles has a Flickr Group? No? Well, we do! If you make one of these blocks, or anything else from our tutorials, we'd love to see it!

Distant Pickles Flickr Group

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

T-Shirt Quilt, Done and Done!

It's done! Yay! And just in time for Christmas, whew!

It was too big to hang, I had to fold it over the line!

I totally felt like I finished this one twice. Not because it was time consuming, but because it was given to me twice to work on!

The story behind this one is that a friend of mine from my local stitch and bitch, and also an employee of the quilt shop where I attend said stitch and bitch, was given this commissioned job from a friend of her family's. She just didn't have the time to work on it though so it sat in the store for a couple of months. She approached me and asked if I would be interested in doing the job for the commission. Well, with Christmas right around the corner, who can't use the extra cash? 

Oh look, the sun tried to come out to play!

Having never done a t-shirt quilt before though I was a bit nervous. One of the other ladies there was a pro though and she gave me all the tips and tricks I needed. It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be! Ironing on all of the interfacing wasn't that fun, but I popped in a movie and it was a breeze.

The customer designed every bit of this quilt, down to the order of the t-shirts. I was basically just the labor, lol.

I pieced the breast piece from the front of each shirt into the backing

Once I had the top and backing pieced I sent it back to my friend at the LQS and she quilted it on the longarm machine per the customer's request. 

Then back to me for the binding and the rest is history!

Sorority shirts
It's made up completely of the daughter's sorority shirts, what a great memento of her college years! I really hope she loves it.

In other news, Bree and I finally got our little blog up on Facebook! You can find us here:

Or by clicking on the link over there in the right column ----->

Oh, and one more thing!! I changed the blog around a little bit again. I was worried that having three columns made it a little difficult to read. I removed one of the columns and added some tabs to making browsing cleaner and easier. SO, if you're reading this in your reader, click on through and take a look. We'd love to hear what you think!