Wednesday, October 31, 2012

to add a border or not to add a border...that is the question...

First of all...Happy Halloween! 

I hope you all have fun plans for this evening! 

Our tradition is to eat chili and cornbread with family and friends and then get serious about trick or treating.  My husband sits in the driveway passing out candy while I walk around with the kids.  It is SO much fun!  My kids are 16, 14 and 8.  And, yep, they all still trick or treat! 

What are your Halloween traditions?

Enough fun stuff.  I have serious business.  I finished piecing my quilt blocks for my Scrappy Stash QAL quilt and I can't decide if I should add a border.  Will you help me, please?

Should I add a border?  The quilt measures 49"x59" as it is. 

I think this is the best straight on shot, though it is a bit dark:

If I should add a border, what kind?  Solid white?  Natural linen?  (I LOVE linen) or? A color?  I don't want to detract from the quilt blocks by adding a busy border.  I definitely want simple if I do add a border.

And, I can't resist throwing in a picture of my shadow.  

She will be my little Mulan tonight!

I would just love your help with this. 

Thank you so much!

Have fun and be safe tonight!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Zipper Won...

I started out making this cute little cosmetics pouch because my daughter wanted to make one.  I thought it would be easier for me to help her make it if I was making one also. 

(How cute is she??)

I have to confess that I am afraid of zippers.  I will almost always avoid any sewing project that involves zippers.  They freak me out.  This cosmetics pouch has a zipper...duh, duh, duh, duh......

It all started out fine.  I loved the look of the linen with the solid blues and purples.  My corners were matching up nicely.  

Surely I could conquer a 7 inch zipper, right?!?

Well, the zipper won.  

It didn't completely defeat me.  I finished the project.  I wish I felt a bit more victorious about that, but I am so bummed that zippers are STILL so difficult for me!  Grrr...

I still have to help my daughter finish her bag and I am SO not looking forward to it!  

Hmmm...maybe she'll just forget about it.  

Not likely.

Sooo...any zipper encouragement for me?  

Pretty please?  

Oh!  Here is a peek at my most recent project:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bottled Rainbows Quilt:: FINISHED!

I'm very excited to show off the first quilt I've made in 8 years:  My Bottled Rainbows Quilt!

And....I may now be hooked on quilting for a while.  

I first came upon the bottled rainbows quilt on Maureen Cracknell's blog.  She followed the pattern, designed by Rachel at Stitched in Color, but added a bit of a twist, sewing her scraps into cool shapes in each block.  

Well, right away I fell in love with the bright and bold colors of this quilt.  I decided I must make a bottled rainbows quilt!  It has been so much fun to make.  

Admittedly, it took me longer than I had expected, but, then, everything takes me longer than I expect!  But, though it took a long time, I just love it!  Who can resist all of those bright colors?  

I purposely left out the light pink that Rachel suggests and used another color.  If I had it to do over, I would have left out the lavender and made more blocks like the tree in the middle.  

One of my favorite things about this quilt is the linen border with the pieced binding. 

 I really felt like the organic linen look would be a nice complement to the bright, bold colors of the quilt blocks.  I don't think any other fabric would have done for the border.  

And, now, I have fallen in love with linen.'s quite a bit more expensive than cotton.  

I took the quilt out into the desert to take pictures.  I love the vibrant colors in the quilt against the subtle browns and greens of the desert.  

Asking my kids to hold up the quilt and NOT show themselves while I took pictures was, as I discovered, too much to ask.  

BUT, it made for a fun 15 minutes.  

 I learned so much making this quilt.   I now have 3 quilts in progress!  And, yes, they will take longer than I expect, but MUST be finished by Christmas!

What projects have you recently finished?  

Do you take photos of your finished projects?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Little Protoge...

My daughter Gianna has caught the sewing bug! Her first project was a pillow and now she has decided to make a little cosmetics pouch. 

I checked out several sewing books from the library and one that I particularly love is I Heart Patchwork:  21 Irresistible Zakka Projects to Sew by Rashida Coleman-Hale. From this book, I learned that Zakka is " aesthetic and design style, mainly folcused on household items that enhance one's environment...A lot of handmade Zakka is created with linen and has an organic look."  (Page 7)

When Gianna came to me a few days ago asking to start a new project, I had her look through the library books to see if anything interested her. She chose the cosmetics pouch out of the I Heart Patchwork book. 

Here are the fabrics she chose:

I had to help her cut the pieces out since she has no experience with a rotary cutter and she was really having trouble with it. I think maybe I'll see if she wants to work on an improv log cabin quilt, like my kitchen mat, to get some experience when precision isn't important. 

I love the colors and fabrics she chose. The pouch in the book uses a natural linen where Gianna chose solid purple. Which means....more linen for me! Yay! 

Yes, the project is beyond her experience, but that certainly hasn't deterred her. That's my girl!

Since we have just enough linen for another one of these little cosmetics pouches, I'm going to make one. 

 I think I will use bright solids - maybe all purples - instead of prints. 

Are your kids interested in your passions?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Scrappy Stash Quilt-Along: My Very First!

Ellison Lane Quilts

I am so excited to be participating in the Scrappy Stash QAL (quilt-along).  This will be the first time I've ever done a QAL and I think it will be a ton of fun.   There are five reasons I know I am going to love this QAL:

1.  It involves lots of color!
2.  It uses the improvisational log cabin block technique!
3.  QAYG, baby!  (quilt as you go)
4.  It's a contest with a deadline - and prizes!
5.  It uses up fabric scraps!

What's not to love about the Scrappy Stash Quilt-Along?

And look, I already have four blocks finished. 

Can you believe I did these four blocks several weeks ago before I even knew about the QAL?  

I'll take better pictures as I go.

It's not too late to join in.  The details are here on Elison Lane Quilts.

Hope you join in!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Kitchen Mat - Quilt As You Go

Ever since I started working on my bottled rainbows quilt, I have been a little obsessed.  

My obsession?  

Quilt as you go (QAYG)! 

Quilt as you go is a quilting technique where you quilt each square to the batting (and sometimes the backing) before piecing the blocks.    

If you have ever thrown a quilt across the room, cursed, stomped and possibly even cried, while trying to quilt a project all at once, you just might want to try QAYG.  
{Yes, I've actually done this.  Ask Doug.}

For a few weeks I've really wanted to try making a kitchen mat using the quilt as you go technique.  I wanted to practice attaching binding on a smaller, less important project before attaching the binding to my bottled rainbows quilt.  

I used a log cabin variation ( I didn't even know what that was two months ago) to make my mat.  

I chose four colors:  purple, orange, green and pink.  

After I added the middle pieces, I thought it would be nice to add a bit of neutral.  But, cream or light beige didn't seem like a good idea since the mat will be gracing my kitchen floor (and I'm VERY messy).  

I remembered a bunch of old denim jeans I'd been saving and decided to add denim!

I love the improvisational aspect of this project.  It is like coloring a picture - hmmm, what color do I want to use next?  I used no exact measurements, just decided what I wanted to do with each new piece of fabric added.  

I even purposely left the selvage on some of the pieces.  

I don't know why, but I love the little colored, numbered circles.

The following picture shows me about half way through the project.  The striped, beige background is actually an old quilt that I cut up and used as batting.  I sewed the new fabric directly onto the old quilt piece. 

I'm very excited about finding this use for my old quilts! 

 For the back of the mat I used one large piece of Jennifer Paganelli fabric.  

 Here is a picture of the finished mat hanging from a palo verde (or palo brea?) tree.  Don't the greens in the mat look great next to the gorgeous green branches?  The little monkey climbing in the tree is pretty cute, too.

 I learned a lot about the quilt as you go process on this little project and now I have a colorful (surprise, surprise) mat in my kitchen!  It may kill someone if I don't get some anti-slip material, but hey, it's cute! 

Today I will be stepping away from the sewing machine to actually engage with the humans in my life.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

And, oh, here is some oatmeal.  My secret to oatmeal my kids cheer for?  A splash of vanilla!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Here's What's in the Mail Today!

 This little doll is on her way to New Zealand!  

It's fun to know that My Gigi Dolls are all over the world.  They are in the UK, France, Canada, Australia and now New Zealand.  We've had one doll travel to China, but she lives in the US.

I can't wait to see where else we end up.

Today I'll be working on finishing up my bottled rainbow quilt.  I've decided that will all of the color in the main part of the quilt, I am going to use a natural linen for the borders.  I can't wait to see how it turns out!

What are you working on?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mom's Window Seat Pillows

Last year, about this time, my mom asked if I would re-cover her kitchen window seat cushion.  

She picked out two great Kaffe Fasset fabrics and I got started figuring it out.  It was not an easy job for me (I'd never covered cushions before) and I was glad when it was over!  

So, when she asked me to also re-cover the pillows that sit in her window seat, I agreed to do it and then promptly shoved the pillows to the back of my closet and the back of my mind, forgetting about them until last week.  

I looked at the pillows I had been ignoring for a year and decided that I wanted them out of my closet.
I wasn't looking forward to working with piping again, but started looking for instructions on how to make pillow covers with piping anyway.  

I stumbled upon this Flip Side Pillow tutorial and thought it would be perfect for Mom's pillows - and NO piping!

It only took me an evening to make them and I love how they turned out!  I used button holes instead of grommets for the tie openings.  

Here they are sitting on the cushion I made last year:

I've always loved to surprise my mom.  I put them in Mom's window seat while she was gone at work, then I waited for the call.  

She was super surprised (she had forgotten about the pillows) and thrilled.  

She LOVED them!  

I also left her a jar of homemade granola.  Here it is sitting on the window sill next to her stained glass window:

This week I have plans to add some special touches to some unfinished dolls and list them in the My Gigi Doll Etsy Shop.  I also plan to work on finishing my bottled rainbows quilt that will be sent to my dad and step-mom for their home in Italy. 

What are you working on this week?