Cousin Squares: Finished!

So, first things first.  I know I’m behind on responding/commenting/being a good friend.  This week has been a crazy whirlwind, task lists, and late nights to prepare for school to open next week!  While this is always an exciting time, I have to leave a few hours to sleep.  A few.  Also, in case you missed it, this week was also a dream because I highjacked Molli Sparkles blog.  Dreams do come true people.  Then, I also finished Granny Squares Cousin Squares.

Way back in March when I was just into making quilt tops, and I was terrified of actually quilting, I made one of my all time favorite quilts.  (Which is saying something since I’ve only been quilting for like, 8 months, so I’m being slightly melodramatic.)  My Granny Squares Cousin Squares quilt.

My mom’s family is kind of crazy.  She was 13 and 14 when her younger brothers were born.  Consequently, they are 11 and 12 years older than me.  I’m 10 and 9 years older than my sisters.  Did you follow that?  Basically, we’re all kinds of confused when it comes to generation level.  I always wished that my uncles were really my brothers, and they probably found me just as annoying as a little sister.  Now, I’m 28 and my Uncle Phil has a baby girl.  Well, she’s now 2.  She’s literally adorable and has brought so much more fun to all family activities – because let’s be serious, little ones make everything better.  So, when I set out to make this quilt, I wanted to include fabrics that represented family members for her to know how loved she is.  There is a hummingbird for our grandfather, flowers for my grandmother and father, a Navy block for her Uncle who is in the Navy, ladybugs for my mom, a girl reading for her cousins, etc.

I’m literally so excited to mail this off to her – I can’t wait to hear about her reaction!  This is a huge milestone for me as well since it’s the first time I didn’t straight-line quilt.  Movin’ on up, people!

Without further ado, here she is!  I hope you’re ready for photo overload!

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See that, do you spy my quilt label?!

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And finally, my favorite part, the binding!

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I am so proud of this quilt!

Final Quilt Stats:

  • Cousin Squares
  • 48 in. x 60 in.
  • Fabrics:  Everything.  The kitchen sink.
  • Quilted: By me on my Bernina 215
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Granny Squares… I mean, Cousin Squares

*I can’t start today without saying a huge thank you for those of you who have donated to my sister’s fundraising efforts.  Especially those of you who have more quilts and fabrics than you know what to do with!  It’s made me realize even more how much love and support there is in my community of friends.  You all are amazing.*

This week, I put Janice’s wavy tutorial to the test and I LOVE it.  I literally sat my computer on my sewing table and scrolled down as I completed each step.  It was like she was there holding my hand.  The whole time.  Yep, I’m that student in class.

I’m so glad that Michelle over at Factotum-of-Arts encouraged me to give this quilting style a try and shared this tutorial.  Plus, my mom told me to put on my big-girl panties and moveon.com from just straight-line quilting.

Baby steps, friends.

Here’s a preview of the quilting!

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I just love the texture that this brings to the quilt!

I even got to put my label on a quilt for the first time:

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You love it, right?  I got them from Ananemone Labels over on Etsy!  She was amazing to work with, and she quickly had 24 precut labels in my hands.  I know I’ll be using her again!

Now the quilt is sitting here, looking almost ready to be shipped off to my adorable little cousin.

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Off to finish the binding!

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Happy quilting, sweet friends!

WiP Wednesday

This week, there has been very little quilting.  The school year is winding down, and I have to say, this has to be my all-time favorite class.  So even though I’m exhausted, I’m trying to remind myself that a class like this comes along once every decade.  (I hope?!)  Last night our fourth graders performed A Midsummer’s Night Dream and I was speechless.  I hope I never get tired of teaching young souls and celebrating all they have to offer the world.

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(Final rehearsal before the big event.)

Can I just say that I am such a stage mom.  My god, dancing like a fool, waving spirit fingers at my face to brighten theirs, snapping, clapping, etc.  Bless my future child’s heart. I also might have teared up.  (Softy over here!)

Since this week has been crazy, and I got distracted last night by starting a pillow, this is all I have to show for my next quilt top: a plan of attack and the outside borders sewn together.

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SimpleChicopee.  Need I say more?

If this fabric was all I got for Christmas over the next 5 years I would be a happy girl.

Up next on my agenda is finish this top and finish this baby quilt – the binding fabric is on its way!  I might be second guessing my quilting plan, but I’m hoping the pins are fine even if I change my mind.

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At the risk of scaring myself even more, how would you quilt it?  Remember, I can’t FMQ, and I really like straight lines.  I was considering straight lines, but only in one direction (top to bottom).  Or even more organic wavy lines?  But, then I don’t want it to get too stiff?  What the world?  Help a sister out?

Happy WiP Wednesday, friends! 

Name of the Game: Baby Quilts

When the quilting bug first bit, I decided to start with this quilt as my starter quilt.  Ha.  While the quilt top is finished, I quickly realized that there was no way I was going to be able to successful quilt a quilt that large without practicing first.  Practicing a lot.  Since then, I’ve made many smaller quilt tops, and finished one – heeeeey!  Now I’ve finally purchased my walking foot and it’s on its way as we speak, so I wanted to make sure I had a few baby quilts to work on when it arrives.  I. am. so. excited.  About the walking foot, and the upcoming babies!

Last night I finally finished the over-sized granny square quilt top that I made a while back.  When I was making this quilt top, I had a recipient in mind, but she hadn’t found out the gender of her baby yet.  Thank God it’s a baby girl!  It’s the perfect quilt for her and she’s my cousin, so I’m ecstatic that one of my first quilts will go to family. 

Here’s a sneak peak at the back:

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Here’s the finished quilt top, covered in basting pins:

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I’m really happy with how this quilt top turned out, and I promise I have a plan for quilting this baby.  There is a rhyme and reason to all of those pins.  

Then I spent the rest of my night ripping out the stitches from my previous failed attempt at quilting.  Let me tell you.  This sucks. 

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I ripped through the entire movie and only ripped out 2.5 lines.  What in the world.  So defeating.  However, this baby quilt is on it’s way to a growing baby boy, so I’m super motivated to finally finish this one.  Hopefully I’ll be adding a few more finished quilts to my list in the coming weeks – as soon as my walking foot arrives to save the day.  I do not want to spend any more time with the seam ripper!

Today I’m linking up with Beth’s Let’s Get Acquainted link up hosted by Melissa.   Be sure to check out the other projects – I always find them so inspiring!

WiP Wednesday!

In between cooking, eating, drinking, and shopping like a fool with my favorite:

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No, really.  Check out our stash:

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(When Nine West is selling $9.00 shoes, a girl does what a girl has to do!)

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Three pairs of Nine West shoes.  Under $30.00. 

Gotta love when a purchase doesn’t interfere with your fabric budget, haha 🙂

I still managed to fit in some quilting.

Really because I wanted Ashley’s help with a layout.

How many Ashleys does it take to layout a quilt top?

Here’s what we came up with:

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I love it.  Completely random, overwhelming, too much color, but I love it.

I can’t wait to finish sewing the sashing together to finish this beauty.

Hopefully by Thursday’s MQG meeting!

While sitting on the couch talking about life,
I managed to turn these beautiful charm squares:

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Into the first step of some awesome half square triangles for my next project!

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So, there ya have it.  My works in progress!

Be sure to check out the other WiP Wednesday projects!

Happy Wednesday and even Happier Quilting!

Quilting with Friends and Friends

Whew, I am loving this weekend.  One of my favorites, practically a sister, is here to visit, and we’ve been doing a lot of eating, sight seeing, and drinking wine.  Sounds about right.

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Which means that the design wall looks the same.

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But, for a good reason.  I love having my people here.

The four final blocks are made, and they finally incorporate my two favorite colors that were seriously lacking so far – red and purple!  These blocks include many of my family members – and me – for my sweet cousin to know how much we love her.

For my uncle and Pappaw, two proud Navy men:

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For my mom, who loves Ladybugs.  I call every one I love “Ladybug” because it reminds me of my mother.  Love:

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This block has “me” in the center:

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And, for this one, I just liked the colors!

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Whew, I cannot wait to finish this baby!

Annnnnnnd, hold the press.  But I took a quilting class!  Melanie taught a wonderful class on free motion quilting, and I’m definitely not a master… or even good, but it was addicting and I can tell this is going to be something I want to practice.  It probably won’t show up on a quilt for a while, though.

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As  a teacher, I really appreciated how hands on Melanie was!  She was so encouraging and basically the whole class allowed us to just practice and find our rhythm.

Which Emma found instantly.

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No, seriously, instantly.

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She wrote her name.  I wanted to hit her (in a totally encouraging way!)

Meanwhile, I was over here doing this:

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So, like I tell my own students:

Practice.

Today I’m linking up with Plum and June’s Let’s Get Acquainted Link Up over at Simply Miss Luella!

WiP Wednesday

Just yesterday my little sister said, “Oh, you’re doing that on WIP Wednesday?”  I love that she knows that Wednesday is no longer just Wednesday.  It’s WiP Wednesday!

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So, welcome little sister (who just ran her first 5k!), and all other WiP Wednesday friends.

This week has been a little crazy.  Your calendar might say it’s March, but New Jersey did not get the memo.  Does this look like the week before Spring Break to you? I think not!

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Speaking of things that aren’t as they seem…

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I just can’t get over how much I love my job.

While I might not hurt a fly, I almost broke my ironing board this week.

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Who knew they were so hard to open?

And, finally, something that is what it seems!

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Do you see that the seams line up?

HALLELUJAH!

This week, I’ve made quite a bit of progress of the Granny Squares quilt (for me!).  Hopefully enough to get the top pieced together this weekend.  In the beginning I know I called this quilt Girly Explosion, and then Estrogen, but now I’m leaning towards: Everything but the Kitchen Sink.  Surely little bitty cousin will like some of the fabrics I’ve chosen, right?

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Now that 16/20 blocks are done, I can’t decide if I should make it 24 blocks total… Also, I need some purple.  I need a lot of purple.  And some red.  How did I leave out my two favorite colors?

This isn’t the final layout, but it sure does make me happy when I walk into the craft room!

Here are a few of my favorites from this week:

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Hey, little sister, do you see all that Carolina blue I used for you?

Thanks for stopping by, and Happy WiP Wednesday to ya!

Sunday Sneak Peek

Well, I’m still alive.  I might not be breathing well through my nose, and my hair might not be brushed, but by golly, I got some quilting done today!  Yesterday was National Quilting Day so of course I had to make a stop at my favorite LQS, Rock Paper Scissors.  I treated myself to some Nicey Jane fabric because it just screams Picnic Blanket – which of course I need.  I can’t wait to start cutting it over spring break.

Thank God for Spring Break.

So, this week my cousin and his girlfriend came to visit NYC and they stayed with us in the great state of New Jersey.  Basically this picture sums up the time they spent with us.

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You know you want to come visit.

So, instead of sewing I was eating and hanging out.  Which was so worth it.  This means that the design board looks the same:

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However, I have cut and sewed all the rows of the next 8 blocks, so by Wednesday I hope to have 16/20 blocks done.  This quilt is coming together more quickly than I thought.  Here is my favorite block of the newest set:

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And I love the center block of this one – makes me think of little lovebirds.

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Here is a sneak peek into the other 8 blocks.
As soon as I get these babies ironed, I’ll share the final blocks!

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I cannot wait to see this finished!

Happy Sunday and Happy Quilting, friends!

Be sure to check out the other projects over at Busy Bee Quilts, for Monday’s let’s get acquainted post!

Let’s Get Acquainted Link Up!

How is the weekend over already?  Thank, God, for a linky party.  This weekend flew by.  Basically because I slept it away.  I slept until 1:30 on Saturday AND Sunday.  I guess shaking my students’ hands every morning has finally caught up to me!

Even though I slept away the weekend, I was able to make some progress on the granny quilt.  I’m making this quilt for my baby cousin who will be turning two this summer.  As I’m making the quilt, I’m trying to put in little pieces that will remind her of her family members as she uses it.  I know that growing up my mom had a simple 9-patch quilt that she had made with her mother.  I used to love looking at all of the squares and hearing where they had come from.  I’m hoping that she gets the same joy from this quilt as well!

I’ve made 8 of 20 blocks so far:

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I’ve also planned the next four blocks.  I have got to cut into the orange and purple fabrics I’ve bought.  But there is something so final about cutting into beautiful, whole, pieces of fabric.  Of course, I know this will really add to the quilt.  A sweet friend said, “I love your colors.”  This makes me smile, because it’s not hard to pick pretty colors when you just use all of them!  This is my kind of quilt.  Girly. Color. Explosion.

This block is to remind her of our Pappaw.

He’s obsessed with hummingbirds and I almost died when I saw this fabric:

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I think this one is still my favorite…

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Basically any of the flowers, in all of the blocks, are in honor of our Mammaw.  You should see her garden.  I’ve found ladybugs for her aunt, an anchor for her uncle, and a little girl reading for her cousins.  I hope she’ll have fun finding all of the little squares!

I hope to get more done this week, but if it doesn’t happen it’s because I’m having too much fun hosting these people:

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This week is looking up already!

Linking up with Plum and June’s linky party, hosted by Owen’s Olivia!

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and with Anything Goes by Stitch by Stitch!

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Great Granny! Weekend

I wanted to have more of an update, but then I slept the day away.  Literally.  The hubs woke me up at 1:30 and I was no where near done sleeping.

It wouldn’t be March if I wasn’t sick.  Since I started teaching, the March illness has struck every. single. year.  Because, you know, this isn’t the busiest time of the year for teachers or anything…

However, I have managed to get started on quilt (top) #4.  My husband thinks I should be clear that I’ve yet to quilt one.  I can’t help that I have a phobia of starting the quilting part.  But, I did buy lime green thread for the baby quilt, so that, my friends, is progress.

After laying out most of my granny blocks, I realized that I was missing reds.  So, I’ve added to my stash, because no NCSU girl should be without red.

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I’ve also joined Pink Castle Fabrics Stash Club, which is why my blues are on overload. 

While I was making my granny squares, there was a lot of ironing going on.  I haven’t made a secret out of how I feel about ironing – hate – but, I needed a strategy.  I want each row ironed in the opposite direction so that the seams will nest like this:

ImageBut, I kept getting confused when I was ironing.  SO, I put the rows up on the design wall in front of my iron so that I could see the previous row, and its direction, as I was ironing the next row.  This kept the confusion down and it kept me from re-ironing, because let’s be honest, that wasn’t going to happen.

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Look at those seams.

Since I’m dishing out all of my secrets here’s another tip.  When you are piecing lots of little blocks, chain piece away.  Just keep putting them through the machine so you don’t have to stop BUT make sure you take a picture of the original block to keep beside you while you work:

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That way, I don’t get confused and I can just reference the image as I go.  This saves me tons of time, and helps me since I mostly sew when I need to decompress at the end of the day.  There are very few brain cells left by then…

Here’s another tip while we’re at it.  See that pill bottle – it’s not for my illness.  That’s for the old needles from my machine.  As you change them out, put them in an empty pill bottle.  You can’t just throw them away, because you aren’t supposed to dispose of them in your personal trash in case someone gets pricked.  But, if you put them in pill bottles, you can take them to a local hospital and they will properly dispose of them.  Just so you know why I have a medicine bottle on my sewing table.

Finally, here’s the progress I’ve made on the granny quilt.  These are only the blocks that are 100% finished and set with the white background.

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I absolutely love this quilt, and I can’t wait to see it finished.

Which block is your favorite so far?