Weekend Treat

I’m so excited with the progress I’ve made on the projects I have going on right now.  This whole quilting thing is perfect for my need to be doing 20 things at once.  I love having multiple projects and there is always inspiration to be found.  It makes me so happy.

This Saturday my school made up some time we had missed from Hurricane Sandy.  Now, any teacher who goes into school for a sixth day in a row, deserves either an extra jewel for his or her crown in heaven, or a trip to the fabric store.  I chose a trip to the fabric store.  After working on my granny squares I’ve realized that my stash is seriously lacking in some quality grays, oranges, purples, and navy blues.  While I have a few bundles sitting in my cart on Etsy, I headed over to my favorite local quilt shop, Rock Paper Scissors, to bulk up my stash.

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Don’t be too jealous, but my awesome hubs helped me pick out quite a few fabrics, single-handedly found all of the purples and… OK, and then he did head to the car while they were being cut.  I can’t expect too much from the man.  Admittedly, this was a lonnnnggggg trip.  However, I do have much to show for it!

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Now I have a fresh stack of beautiful fabrics sitting in my craft room ready to be cut.  The only problem is that now I don’t want to cut them.  I just want to stare at them.  Is this feeling ever going to go away?

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How can I cut this?

So, after the trip to the store, the husband was pooped and I was energized.  While he napped, I had a good two hours to baste my first quilt, on his open office floor!  Now, good thing it’s a baby quilt because I don’t know what I’m going to do with my larger quilts.  Where do you guys baste these monsters?!    The baby quilt was hard enough!

I followed all the steps.  Taping my backing fabric to the floor – but not stretching it:

(and, yes, I even ironed it!)

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Carefully laying the batting and the quilt top over the backing and smoothing all the layers:

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Using the curved safety pins, not regular straight one, because that would be crazy:

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Spending too much time on my knees, going round and round:

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Until it looked like this:

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The whole time I was completely paranoid that I hadn’t gotten the bottom layer.  But I did!  Woohoo!

Now it’s rolled up and hanging out in the craft room:

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And I’m busy making color combinations for my Granny Squares.

I hope to work up the courage to quilt this baby soon.  I’ve watched many a video, talked to others, and read books.  And I’m still nervous to actually start. What color thread should I use for the quilting?  Do I need to start an initial line in the center?  Or can I start off of one of the edges?  I’m planning on quilting it in straight lines a 1/4 inch from each seam to create squares inside of the squares.  Or maybe I just need to find a class… help?!

I’ve also made all of my flying geese (after last weekends mishap) and am pushing through with the Love Lives Here quilt.  I think I’m stretching this one out since it was my original project.  The final stretch is proving the be the hardest.  I’ve also made 12 Granny Blocks … F.A.D.D. (fabric.attention.deficit.disorder) strikes again!

Happy Sunday and Happy Quilting, friends!

I’m linking up with Plum and June!

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Quilting with Friends

This weekend the hubs left for a conference.  I tried watching Castle the first night, but neither our DVD player nor my computer would play the disk.  I’m pretty sure there was some divine intervention going on Friday night because today they both work perfectly.  Heaven knows I would have gotten zero sleep on Friday night if I had watched that show.  Instead I settled for the Bachelor which put me right to sleep.  That show is crazy.

It was going to be just me and the sewing machine for 48 hours, but Courtney saved the day and came over to finish our baby quilts.  I’m so proud of her work and I love how they turned out!  I can’t wait until we can send these off to the mommas we love.

Here’s Courtney playing around with the layout on the design wall.

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One thing we both found really helpful was taking photos of the layout on our iPhones and making changes from that.  It sounds crazy, but it looks so different in a picture and you can really get the feel of the quilt design.  Another trick is to turn your photo to a B&W image so you can check the light-to-dark ratio of your fabric selection and layout.  This ensures that the colors and textures are spread out evenly.

Yesterday was the first time Courtney had ever used a sewing machine…

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Even when the bobbin thread ran out, which always gives me a heart attack, she remained calm.  I think she’s hooked and I’m just so thankful to have a friend who gets excited about things like sewing your first row:

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I kept up the tradition of capturing an image of my last seam.ImageThis moment gets me every.single.time.

I hope it never gets old.

Three hours later, we had finished quilt tops!

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Excuse my hair.  I was hoping the quilt top would distract from its bird’s nest quality, but alas, it did not.  Then, it was on to dinner with another friend to celebrate our hard work with good ol’ NJ pizza and some locally made ice cream.  SO. stinkin. good. 

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I should reward myself like this every time I finish a quilt top. This would probably increase my productivity ten fold.

Finally, this weekend saw some rearranging in the quilt room to make room for a guest bed.  So, not only do I want you to come over and quilt with me, but I have a place for you to stay!  I love displaying my grandmother’s quilt because it inspires me to learn some more complicated blocks.  Plus, you know you want to sleep with the beetle pillow.  You do.

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Happy Sunday, Happy Quilting, and let me know when you want to sleepover!

WiP Wednesday

Before starting my quilting journey I didn’t really like Wednesdays.  Too far from Friday, but too many days past Monday = one exhausted teacher.  Now, I look forward to WiP Wednesday like it’s my job.  I love all of the inspiration I find from the link ups at Freshly Pieced.

This week I actually have some WiPs thanks to Tuesday night’s rain storm.

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This weekend I cut up a baby quilt during a visit from my best friend.

I used Bella by Lotta Jansdotter and cut up 80, 4.5 x 4.5 inch squares.

This quilt will be 32 inches x 40 inches once it’s finished.

Perfect for a sweet baby boy that I can’t wait to meet!

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So, tonight I thought it’d be a great time to sew the quilt top together.

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After what seemed like hours of chain piecing…

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I had a stack of rows.

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That needed to be ironed.

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And we all know how I feel about having to iron.

So, I decided to take a break with this guy:

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… and the hubs.

I love, love, love Castle.

Oh, and up next, I will hopefully have the Love Lives Here quilt finished!

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Everything is finally cut and ready to go.

Happy quilting and an even happier WiP Wednesday!

Garden State Adventures

Living in a new state can be fun and exciting.  After graduating college, I’ve called D.C, Northern Virginia, and now New Jersey home.  I’ve gotten to change, grow, and meet amazing people.  However, sometimes you miss your people.  Those people who knew you before you knew how to properly brush and style your hair.  Those people who loved you when you wore the wrong jeans and had glitter eye shadow.

I always treasure when my people take time to come visit, not only because I love sharing my new home with them, but because it is good for my soul.  This weekend my best friend Maggie came to visit the Garden State for the first time, and I’m pretty sure she loved it.  Basically because we just kept feeding her.  New Jersey knows food.

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The best thing about having your best friend in town is that you can clean your apartment, but not make up your bed. I realized this morning on the way to the airport that I hadn’t made it once.  That is a true friend.

We spent the weekend exploring Princeton, Montclair, and the homestead.  I can’t claim creative genius for the following photos because my hands were snug in my pockets, but Maggie has a clever eye.

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I did risk freezing fingers for this quilting inspiration:

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Another perk of having your best friend visit is that they capture ridiculously cute pictures of you with your husband:

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So much better than our standard, arm-out, self portraits!

Like any true friend, after sushi, wine, the diner, and bagels, I made her go to a quilt meeting at my favorite quilting store: Rock Paper Scissors.  Basically, she is the best.  Ever.  I had been looking forward to the Newbie Quilters meeting and she not only documented our fun with photos, but she cut out the remaining blocks that I have been procrastinating for the Love Lives Here quilt.  Seriously, I love her.

Here I am hard at work cutting out the surprise baby quilt:

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She also got to meet Courtney, my quilt-making-teacher-partner-in-crime who’s working on her first quilt:

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And learned to cut out ridiculously tiny and perfect squares:

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I can’t say how good Maggie’s visit was for my sanity, but there is nothing sweeter than sitting on your couch eating gummy bears and watching shows with your best friend.  My only regret was that I haven’t made her a quilt yet!  One day…

Here is the finished baby quilt top made with Bella by Lotta Jansdotter. I was too exhausted to lay it out on the design wall.  I couldn’t move from the living room carpet.  That’s when you know you’ve had an exciting weekend.

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Now, I just get to sew this baby together and learn to actually quilt and bind the finished product!  I think this will be the first finished product I make!

I hope your weekend was as crafty, loving, and full of good food as mine.  Now, don’t you want to come visit?

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