Morning Madness and Time Wasted

Ok, it is Friday and I should feel so much better about today. Unfortunately, I don’t. It is Friday and I will be at work late, let alone I have some major quilting to be doing this evening!

I am very excited though to show off the label that my husband made for me. We have gone through a few mock-ups, and this ended up being the result. I have the empty space for a specific reason and will have others that don’t (those are in the process of being produced). The only thing different with these ones will be my name will be made larger by one point because the letters run into one another too much for my last name. All in all, I am quite pleased and my husband has done a great job! Thanks babes!

This is what my ironing board looked like this morning as I got up early to try to get some sewing/ironing in so that I could be more prepared when I got home from work. 

 

Aaaahh! I have added the borders and what not; however when I went to work on the back last night so that I can begin basting and quilting this… I ended up spending ONE HOUR (YES, ONE HOUR) on designing the back. I was trying to be creative and trying to give a little something extra to the quilt. In the end, I ended up doing a much simpler plan (you will see once all completed) and I was mad at myself for allowing such good honest time to be wasted on something I wasn’t and didn’t even end up doing to begin with!
I ended up finding my balance once I reminded myself that I can use this for another back… or even the front of a quilt top! Sometimes I stress myself out more than I should, just because you want it to be loved and perfect, the exact way you see it. 
Well, that was and is my Friday as of now. This is all sitting at home waiting for me to finish it up. I’m hoping to not be stuck too late today this Friday. Wish me luck! I wish you all luck in your weekend activities and/or sewing projects… did anything this week frustrate you?
Sew Stitching Cute

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A Pop at What is Coming Up

It’s is Wednesday! I swear it feels like Friday to me though! I wish I had more to post for a WIP; however my actual full-time job has not allowed me good picture taken times… and sometimes the photos aren’t even worth posting up if they are horrible in themselves and nobody can get the feel for what you’re trying to put in.

I did have the chance to work a bit last night on something I have coming up. I am pretty excited about it – so here is a picture of the layout I did (on excel). Simple squares (a.k.a. blocks) to create a layout. I worked on my measurements last night and filled it in to make it look more appealing for visual effect while picking fabric. It will all be scraps (the squares).

This one is going to be pretty special, and what is going to make it so special for me is that it will be the very first quilt I make that is all for myself. I will finally be having something to snuggle with all on my own, and this will have a very special touch to it as well. I intend to post a lot about this quilt as I get going on it… so just a heads up you will see this around quite a lot!

If all goes well, I hope to do a Sew-A-Long with another layout I have that is similar in nature! I have no doubt either will be Sew Stitching Cute!

Make a Decision Monday #2 + Free Motion Quilting

Welcome back!!! I apologize that I have not been present in about two weeks. I had to step away as there were some family emergencies that came about and I believe we can call agree that, “family comes first”. I am back now though, and ready to start it off with the 2nd Make a Decision Monday!

I have done very little sewing or quilting, only continued with the baby quilt crib set, which that will be finished this week. My goal for this week for Make a Decision Monday is to complete the set and mail it off to the new family so they may welcome their newest addition! Along with that, I have my “Black and Yellow” fabric blanket that I need to finish the top to as well… I don’t have much left on it but I need to finish it. That is my goal for this week, what is your goal?

What I DID do this past week though, last Thursday to be exact was finally have my Long Arm quilting class. I had the opportunity to work with a Tin Lizzie… I AM IN LOVE! If I didn’t love quilting enough already, this through me into over drive, especially after speaking with the owner/instructor of the store Beth as she was impressed with how new I was to the long arm; she got me all pumped up again and I told her she will be seeing me quite often! (until I can afford my own long arm machine… hint hint husband)

This is all its glory! I intend to trim, bind and hang this on my wall. I am going to forever have a reminder of where I exactly FIRST began… I even added in some cute little thing in it that I thought would make it that more special. Can you see them?

Sew Stitching Cute – Megan – 2014

I absolutely had SO much fun… I even got daring and tried to make a sun with some cool glasses. I am excited for what will keep coming my way!

As you can tell, my curves need more practice, but I did get better as I got comfortable with the machine, it definitely can be intimidating at times. That Tin Lizzie is a BEAST! I will be majorly working on my feathers as well, they are such an old fashioned yet very popular quilt design. Off to more sewing and quilting!

Thanks for sticking around… I’m back and in action! What are you working on this week? I’m excited to hear about it! Also… for any of you long arm quilters out there, any advice would be great! I found that I was better as free-hand than trying out any design pattern; although it is great for starting up to get the feel for design, the machine, flow of curves, etc.

Sew Stitching Cute
                                     

Make a Decision Monday #1

Who is ready for another successful week? I know I am! I have been up since 3:19 a.m. and I have been going ever since. I am ready to definitely get going on this week.

I wanted to pop in and discuss Make a Decision Monday… the first of many many weeks to come of it! This week, I have chosen two projects to work on, simply because one I can only get so far until I quilt it (which will not happen until June 29th) and the other will be to complete the 2 sheets and baby bumpers which will complete the base set for the crib quilt set. I will be using the pretty pink (Kona Solids – Peony; it can be found here).

I just need to make the back for this quilt and then it will be ready for the Long Arm! The fabric I’ll be using for the back is Sunshine Rose – Hanky Rose Pink, I’ll be adding in a few additional pieces just to link to the front… possibly.

I have already found that I am making more progress and I just introduced Make a Decision Monday last week. I have found that I am forcing myself to complete a little each day, and with that… I am COMPLETING “something”. It may not be 100% a quilt top, but the goal I make on Monday is what needs to be completed, which only continues to grow with progress.

What does everyone else have going on? A project to finish… progress to make… time to make for sewing…? Make sure to keep yourself up-to-date with Make a Decision Monday!

Vintage Pink Rose Progress

It is finally Friday… it seems to have been a long week. Yet once again, my husband prevails! I am telling you, I sometimes can’t brag enough about him.

So on my very first Make a Decision Monday, I chose to really make some leeway with my Vintage Pink Rose commission quilt. All of the fabric aside from the solids were selected by the friend/mom who requested this blanket, we also went over the layout, etc. Last week I was gone in New Orleans for 3 days which put a cramp in my style for completing anything and it also through me off sleep wise, house work, cleaning, laundry, blah. blah. blah.

I was talking to my husband on the phone last night and he asked me where I was at with my Make a Decision Monday project… I told him and his response was, “Well how are you going to Finish it Friday!?!?” (Crazy Mom Quilts) My response was simply, “Well, I’m not”. He didn’t have much to say after that other than how much he just tries to help me continue to be motivated (I’m horrible at doubting myself). Don’t get me wrong, I had been making progress, but I could have been a lot farther along.

Natural Lighting – Indoors

When we got off of the phone, I sat there and thought for a few minutes and realized how much of that small push my husband gave me was one of the biggest pushes I needed. Thanks, babes! I immediately got going and set out to complete the first part of the quilt top. I did it smiling the whole time, knowing that my husband really loves me and loves to see me excel or he just wants to get rid of me that much more because I am in my own space when I sew… hhhmmm… LoL 

One thing you may notice that I do a lot of in my sewing, is chain piecing. I can NOT get enough. I am so frugal that I try and save as much thread as I can! After all HST were trimmed to 6” squares, I matched two sets up with RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, following the pattern I originally created through the App Quiltogrophy which I discussed here. I then placed a pin along side the edge that needed to be sewn together so that I may chain piece away, plus with the pin it makes me not loose which ones need to go together. 

  

Once all of them were chain pieced together, I ended up with a stack of two HST together, that looked like this. 

I should have used a different one for the top, as my point was not great on this one. How embarrassing.
What do you know?!?! I did it! I completed the first part of this quilt top. While it may not be finished enough for Finish it Friday, it sure is so close! I have to add two borders to the top, then it will be sandwich, quilting and binding!!! I was very pleased with myself and fell in love with my husband just a little more for his good motivation… always knowing what to say (and not say) to make me think and get going. 

Scrap Pillow

So, as usual – this weekend had the list of the standard cleaning, laundry, dusting and so on. It never ends, does it? I woke up at 7:15 a.m. on Sunday morning (which is way too early, especially if you don’t have children) and I swear it is because my mind wants to see creation and my hands want to make it… out of bed I was. I did my normal morning routine and by 8 a.m. I was in front of the sewing machine. I found myself sitting there and thinking more of what I was going to do than actually doing it.

18 x 18

I looked around the house and I knew what I needed to be doing, but that is an entirely different story in itself. I finally decided that I was going to begin cleaning, and that I would reward myself with being able to do some sewing whenever I finished any house work – I almost gave myself my own chore list. First I needed to know what I was going to make. Within a few minutes, I remembered I had a pillow I had yet to make a cover for and I was finally going to do just that.

Once I switched laundry and loaded the dishwasher, then I could select the fabric; in which I ended up going with these colorful beauties. Then I did some more house work, I allowed myself to cut some of my pieces… this continues so on throughout the day. The pictures are in order as to what I did in each step… and some I forgot to take pictures (hence why a few blocks were missing out of the layout… I had just begun to sew them all together).

(Left) Front – (Back) Right

In the process of making it, I wasn’t too sure I was going in the direction I had originally intended or even wanted to… I was really even skeptical of the color choices I had selected to go with it. Even now with it sitting side-by-side with the front and back next to one another makes me scared. The colors are so vibrant and the picture scares me more than looking at it… as those little squares are pretty vibrant themselves. I wish I had more teal to tie into it, that seems to be what it needs. Does anyone else have suggestions of what they would have done or would try to any in the future?

I was determined to have it finished by the end of the night, which did end up resulting in not hand sewing the final side closed… I ended up doing an edge blanket stitch – which also would have worked around all edges because of the vintage fabric used. Once I did have it completely done… I actually tossed it on the couch, went across the room and stared at it, and quite honestly – I found myself smiling from ear-to-ear. I felt accomplished and I felt like I had achieved a big challenge within myself on my comfort zones. I almost had decided not to finish this and try something different another day. I am very happy I didn’t and stuck with it, because while it probably is not my first pick of normal ‘taste’.. I can’t help but feel happy when I look at all the bright colors and design starring back at you, and makes spring and the coming into summer almost feel like it is (I live in crazy Kansas weather…).

Front

Back

Here is the end result – please tell me what you think! I am trying to step outside of my box and comfort zone more!

Quilted Sewing Mat

This past weekend I had a lot of laundry and cleaning to do. I have a few fur things that run around the house and I am always finding their hair within 5 minutes of sweeping or vacuuming while they are shedding their winter coats. It looked like I hadn’t cleaned in weeks.

I reasoned with myself and decided what I had to achieve in order to allow myself any free time for sewing. I also needed to make sure what I wanted to make I could complete in that day as I have too many unfinished projects that I am currently working on. It finally hit me after thinking about it for a few… I had been wanting/meaning to make myself a sewing mat. I needed something handy to go anywhere with me and my sewing machine, whether room to room or somewhere adventurous with electrical outlets. And yes, I had to decide all of this before cleaning.

After the success of cleaning and having laundry done to the point that I could take myself off of time-out from sewing, I decided it was time to cut my fabric. I selected the fabric below because it is bright and cheery, I also had the teal with sewn-in lined dots that fit perfectly with it also. The teal dots is also much more durable which I thought would be perfect for underneath as well as where the sewing machine would sit, it would wear and tear with more grace than cotton.

For the size I made, it was approximately 18 1/2” x 20”. I measured the width of my sewing machine and added 2 inches so that it gave extra space as well as allowed for any little ”oops” in sewing that perfect quarter inch. 
I decided on doing the full back in the teal and half and half for the front (teal being the part where the sewing machine would sit on). After I cut the fabric and sewed the front halves together, I then sandwiched it and cut the basting to size. 
I then cut a piece of fabric (flowers) to the height I wanted and the length of the sandwiched fabric, as this will become my pockets. I honestly wanted this as painless as possible, there are a few ways to do this but this was simple enough for me. To make a simple edge for the top of the pockets, I simply finger pressed a 1/2” seam along the top of the pocket fabric just cut and sewed it down. 
I then sewed all 4 pieces along the right side to lock it in place. Now remember earlier when I spoke about allowing for some ”oops” on that perfect quarter inch seam? This is where I ”oops-ed”. I had forgotten to change my sewing foot when I did the first sew down the right side and ended up sewing a 1/2” seam instead of 1/4”. No biggie… I just trimmed it down. 

I decided to draw the lines with a washable fabric pen, for the width sizes of the pockets.

 I also created a mini pocket for my seam ripper that I am always loosing (hence why it is also not featured in this picture, I could not find it once again).

I continued sewing down the lines I had drawn, going over the original hem stitch on the top of the pockets by about 1/8”, but that is completely a personal decision.

I ended up using my new Simplicity Rotary Cutter Machine to cut the binding strips into 2 1/2” strips. By the way, I am absolutely satisfied and happy I ordered the Rotary Cutter Machine, it is a dream and much quicker for creating strips of fabric. I have not written about the success of it yet as this was my first shot at it… but that shall be another blog.  

I decided to use the teal to wrap it up. The flower pattern was busy enough.

Once it was binded… I ended up with a result that was Sew Stitching Cute such as this!

Tell me what you think or what your ideas were/are for something you made or would like to make? I’m always up for more perfection tips! 

Fabric – A kind gesture by a quilting stranger

I met a lady a few weeks ago; it was what I would consider my first ‘quilter’ meeting. I have yet to meet anyone else who also loves to sew or make quilts; I have only admired from a distance through the Internet or spoken through a few e-mails with others. I have bought fabric for particular projects, but I have never just bought fabric. I want to, but because I can  not validate and reason with buying it for no need at the moment, I put it down each time. I know, huge sad face as my husband would say!

I found a lady who was selling tote loads of fabric for $2/yd!!! Tell me that is not a deal!! I could not pass it up. I called and we eventually met in which I was able to then meet her and her little studio that her and her husband had built in their back yard, her husband had a matching studio for the lawn mower and his tools – I am determined to one day have this in my own back yard. hehehe (Lucky for me, the husband did not oppose)

Before even digging into the fabric, we spoke for a while and shared ideas, she showed me quilts she had made or was currently working on. She shared her ideas of sewing machines, types of fabric, thread, etc. We eventually swapped e-mail addresses and vowed to continue to stay in contact.


*Sidetrack: I have misplaced her e-mail address and am saddened I did not protect it more. I do feel it is around somewhere in the mess of all my quilt notes and fabric, but I have been intending to e-mail her and show her what I have made with the use of her fabric. Aside from the grey background, the hexagons were made with the fabric stash I gained from her. I will update if I end up locating her e-mail.

In the end, I ended up spending about 1.5-2 hours with her at her house and went home with so much fabric that I almost could not contain myself with the overwhelming ideas that were going through my mind and what could be created with what was in front of me. She ended up giving me so much as she said she would like to pass down some of her stash that has been passed down onto her. I couldn’t be more grateful for someone who had never met me. It restores human kindness. I know I should have taken a before shot of all of the fabric before folding it, but I am not one to also share hugely on the disorderly mess that artists may have. We all know what it looked like.

It was dark by the time I got home, so this is an indoor picture and indoor lighting. It does not represent the colors well enough at all in some of these fabrics. I have a few I absolutely love:
I love this one so much that I took the entire bolt of fabric from her!
The pink is so subtle and gorgeous in the print. I almost don’t want to ruin it by cutting into it.
The other fun one that I can’t wait to really do something with, but unfortunately don’t have a lot of – is this fun children’s 1+1 count, etc. Absolutely adorable and if I ever find it I will definitely buy. It is Sew Stitching Cute!
Now it is time to find out how to display and organize all of my fabric. Until then…

Rotary Cutting Machine

As I am doing more and more quilts, designs and have my mind full of more things than I know what to do with, I am some who likes a clean, organized mess. It is an oxy moron, I know; however it is kind of like what my husband calls my “Megan Lingo”… I consistently use words that don’t describe the meaning of what I am trying to say, yet somehow when I say it, it makes sense. In either case, I am used to being qwerky. I like it.

Another small OCD thing about me is that I love odd numbers/placement and I look to always find the more sufficient way to do something without cutting corners. I found that I love yards of fabric but I love the use of Jelly Rolls because of their pre-cut form of 2 1/2” with all of the uses that it provides for almost any design of quilt. Cutting away strips and strips of fabric is timely and quite honestly, the other part of me dislikes the lines I put in my cutting mat, all over strips of fabric I need. I knew that there had to be something or some other way that was more efficient. I almost refused to cut any further fabric manually until I resolved this issue of mine.

Yes, I shop at Wal-Mart. Whenever I am there for any reason, I must stop by the sewing/fabric section even though I know everything that is there… you just never know. I had seen the Simplicity Rotary Cutting Machine for $60 in Wal-Mart. Every time I am in the sewing/fabric section, I always pick the box up with the intent to go ahead and make the buy and give it a shot, at the worst I can return it, right? Each time, I put it back. I could not reason with myself the money when I had two viable hands to do it myself, yet I knew I wanted to produce more rather than spend most of my time cutting just the simple strips, I will cut everything else but the strips.

 

I needed help, and I needed back up… so I spoke to my husband about my issue and what I thought could be a possible resolution. I gave him all of my reasoning that I was giving myself on how I can justify spending the money. I have such a hard time reasoning to spend money on myself or for anything that I may want/need as I hate taking from others or other things. He did not hesitate once. He found some way to make it to where he was getting it for me, even if ‘just because’. He was going to be sure I got it. He is so patient and never once denies me of anything I may need on any hobby or dream I have. I explained to him my reasoning of why I felt it would help cut back time and I found that I still was trying to justify everything. He finally had to just tell me to quit rambosque (rambling) and get it. That was that. 
I still hadn’t gotten it about a week after that conversation and he never asked either, probably assuming I had already gotten it or ordered it. For some reason, I could not justify the $60 and would not allow myself. I decided to really search deep on the internet and to my beholding, I found it online with Wal-Mart but it was only $40!!! The bummer was now, all the reviews I read were horrible. The more and more I read, I was saddened. Yet I didn’t find another machine out there at a decent price for this nature. I saw other comments on other sites and everything was so up and down. I went to Simplicity’s site and saw them stating that many times it is not adjusted correctly and/or all the way even when some believe it is. I watched and searched for videos everywhere and decided… well – at the worst I will return it and no big deal. I am the ultimate optimist and hope that if anything, I can get it to work! :o) I did not waste another moment, ok that is half a lie – right before I submitted my order I made sure I was justifying myself. I ordered it and now it is on its way. I should get it some time next week and I intend to update on the status, maybe a short video of how it worked for me if I get a good one or get it to work. I’m going to for optimism and hopefully you’re cheering me on! Until then…

I Miss You Ashlee… Photo Memory Quilt

Have you ever missed someone so much, that sometimes you find yourself trying to not think about them because you miss them so much… but then you realize how much you are thinking of them by trying to NOT think of them? This would be the case for how I miss my niece Ashlee.

See, my parents were older than the average parent when they had me, and also included one more after me (but I do have older siblings) and so with that, it brought me to be an Aunt at a very young age. I was 8 or 9 when Ashlee was born, the first born granddaughter. She is the daughter of my older sister Brandy. She was adored pretty highly and me, being a child myself, even grew up to continue loving children (anyone who really knows me, knows me for my love of kids and their smiling faces); Ashlee and I ended up creating a bond between one another that is different from any of my other nieces and nephews (whom I do not love any less). I bonded with Ashlee because I was so young and grew up with her, we are only 8-9 years apart and we came up as friends it seems more than anything. Even when we didn’t live close and they lived in Nebraska or Arizona… no matter when I saw her next, I swear it was as if I had been with her every day since the day she was born. I cherished and valued the relationship I had with her as I grew up and throughout the years others had expressed how much they admired how close we were. We really did do a lot together.

Then, time passes and people grow older, lives begin to change and priorities begin to take a different shape. I moved to KS from CA back in the end of 2010. I spent one last great weekend with my sister and her family in Las Vegas at my other niece Brittni’s softball tournament; then the very next day from our return, I was on the road to KS to begin my life with my husband.

I have missed a lot of Ashlee’s big events… I have been a part of her life and have been in it, but I have only been able to be a part of one significant life event in her life, which was her 16th Birthday. I missed her 10th Birthday, her 13th, her 18th, her graduation and I have yet to still meet the boyfriend she is currently dating. I have ached that I have not been able to follow through with being there due to the distance, cost, time off, etc. She turned 21 this year… and after I finished my mother-in-law’s t-shirt blanket I had already been thinking of the next project. Before anything, I looked into tickets, gifts, etc. and what I could afford – I even ended  up going to a local Hobby Lobby to try and give my creative side a boost because I seemed to become more and more depressed that I couldn’t ACTUALLY be there with her. As soon as I entered the fabric section in the store, they had the most PERFECT fabric that was part of their Valentines collection. Ashlee loves France/Paris and it had the Eiffel Tower, hearts, love, and it was very old age/antique/new age all together. I instantly knew that was the fabric… the rest just followed after.

Pre-Layout of pictures

I decided that because I could not be there for my nieces 21st Birthday, I had to make something memorable and give her a piece of me and my love so that I would feel closer to her because I knew she would always hold the blanket dear. We are both very sentimental in that manner. The design of how I wanted to do it took me longer than actually making it.

Layout of all fabric before sewing

I miss Ashlee, and I will always miss her. I am grateful and thankful for being a part of her life and seeing her become the young woman that she is today. I am excited for the next 30 years with my niece and even more excited for when she has children of her own and the Aunt spoiling may begin all over again. She is a great niece, friend, sister, girlfriend and so much more.

P.S. She absolutely loved it!!!