Sunday, March 27, 2011

By golly, I think she's got it!

All of the vertical lines are quilted on Pinka Ballerina. I'm following the seams by 1/4 inch. Half of the horizontal lines are marked and ready to go. I'll have a few hours tonight.

It's by far a show stopper, but this is only my second machine quilted project. I can already tell the lines are getting better. Part of the problem is I didn't match up the seams on the top. Grrr...

I think the machine quilting will be done this week. Next week I will close it up. Ahhh...success!

We stopped by the park tonight after dinner. We went to Stuebens. They have great comfort food.
Evan and Mad Madd ohhing & ahhing at the geese and ducks.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rinse, lather, repeat & repeat & repeat

Progress has been made on Pinka Ballerina. I have the vertical machine quilting done on half of the inside area. I was telling Mad Madd that if I didn't have to set up and tear down the work area every day things could move much more quickly. This is my wish list if we ever have a house...

  • Master suite with garden tub (we have one now and I will never look back!)
  • Evan's room with a bathroom nearby
  • Some kind of secret kid space(loft, hidden door/room etc)
  • Guest/Computer room
  • Guest bathroom
  • Sewing/craft room
  • Painting shed somewhere on the property
  • Large kitchen with a breakfast nook
  • Play area
  • Fenced backyard for Ella the dog
  • Pool and hot tub
  • Yoga room
  • Garage for all of Mad Madd's tools and stuff
  • Garage for my car (red Honda is parked outside as of right now)
  • French front doors made of antique or barn wood
  • Over sized fire place with a huge mantel for photos
  • Walls big enough for my paintings and quilts
I'm sure this list could go on forever. These are the things we dream about while in our 2 bd/2 bth apartment.

Tahhh Dahhh...sewing area!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sammi's Pinka Ballerina

I started cutting this quilt out during the Winter of 2010. It took me a while because I only had a few moments here and there.
Original pattern. I may use this for another project.
 I created the pattern above. Then I saw a beautiful pattern in the Jan/Feb 2011 McCall's Quilting magazine designed by Amanda Murphy. It's called Flower Beds.
I laid out all the blocks and realized that I wanted it to be longer. I added a finished 1 inch white strip between each row. 
 Then I wanted to add a border so I sketched this diagram for the sides and top/bottom. I thought a graduated color pattern would be really fun.
 Here is the pieced together top.
This is the back side of the back of the quilt. I used the periwinkle marble fabric for one side, added a strip of the Angelina Ballerina fabric and finished it with the dark pink marble fabric on the other side.

I basted this quilt and had to re-baste it yesterday. I tried to do it in sections and that was awful. The material pulled and got bunched up in the machine quilting. I spent 2 hours Sunday night ripping seams and then another 2 hours with my friend on Monday ripping seams. We finally taped it down and put in the pins at almost 4PM that day. I'm so thankful she helped. And, her kitchen floor is the perfect size to baste a quilt! Problem solved!

I will be quilting Pinka Ballerina this week.'s coming down to the wire. Sammi's 2nd birthday party is 18 days away. Please pray for me!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I am not high maintenance, but...

my machine sure is!

I started to quilt the newest project that has to be done by Saturday, April 9, 2011. I'll post more of the process behind this later. I was going along happy as a clam with my machine. Then I turned it over and oh my goodness! The bottom thread was just laying on the fabric and the loops from the top were sticking out. I was tense... har har! I decided it was a good time to clean and oil my machine. Mad Madd (my husband) got me the machine a few weeks before my birthday last year. I sewed the binding on Kira's quilt; pieced, quilted and bound the Sunny Flower wall hanging and finally pieced the Pinka Ballerina that is in the current works.

I have a confession. I have NEVER oiled or cleaned a sewing machine in my entire sewing career. You can give me a slap on the wrist. It's probably deserved. Now that my machine is pretty much brand new I wanted to keep it in working order.
Scalpel please!
Lots of furry friends to evict!
Test strip. I ran it through until the stitches were oil free.
Oiled, cleaned, new needle and tension adjusted...all is well!
Now I can really get busy. If Pinka Ballerina is going to be wrapped up with a bow I have to get busy.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Sunny Flowers wall hanging

Drum roll, please! My very first moda project. Yes, it's true. I graduated from big box store fabric to soft, quality, modern fabric.

My SIL(sunny spot quilts blog) invited me to do a sew along. It was the lucky charm by Pat Sloan. Wow, she's a talented bird! She does great tutorials. Here is the link. It's really easy and she even provides a bonus project for your scraps.

We started this sew along August 27th. My SIL finished hers right along with everyone else. I on the other hand had other plans. Actually, it's called procrastinating. The quilt along calls for machine applique. I tried it and hated it. Hated is probably a strong word. I wasn't good at it. So, naturally, I folded up the project and forgot about it. Teresa (and surprising enough my husband) kept asking me about it and finally encouraged me to machine the darn thing. So, last week I dove in head first. I mean, this was a big deal. I had never finished a quilt this way. Was I selling my soul to the quilting devil? I have several more quilts to finish by May 2011. After taking the first few passes I decided that it was a great method and didn't have to give up my beloved hand quilting. Case closed!
Auditioning fabrics for binding.
Yellow sang the best.
Looks pretty good above the tube. This is probably where I'll hang seasonal projects. 

The binding was hand finished today. It took me 1.5 hours.

Many thanks to Pat Sloan. I have never followed a sew along or done HST. It was a blast!

Thanks to my SIL. I can't wait to start sharing our quilt emails again. xo 

Next time I'll be sure to use my 1/4 inch foot! I had just received a new machine from my husband and didn't realize the foot that came on it was not 1/4 inch. The seams are a little wonky. Oh well!!!

This completes my quilt history. Now you can look forward to current projects. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm leavin' on a jet October!

I had heard nothing about this conference until my SIL invited me. OMG! How could I resist? It's really hard to choose between my favorite things, but there is a lot for me to learn in the quilting realm. Check out the website and hopefully you can hop on a jet plane! Or maybe be smuggled in my suitcase.

Kira: her flowers

Ripely's believe it or not...the hand quilting on the sucker was done in 30 days. I have no idea how that happened. I was on a deadline. I used bright pink thread for the coins, light purple for the sashing and a dark teal for the border. I alternated the coin fabric for the binding. It turned out really nice.

The quilt was started while I was pregnant in early 2009. I finished it September 30, 2010. As I had posted before, I took a huge hiatis after my son was born. Once I finished my nephew's quilt I started right on finishing this one. I really like this one. The fabric is fun, bright and very girlie! My girlfriend doesn't really like pink so I chose yellow as the sashing. Kira is Katja's little sister. You can see how much my technique has improved.

I put a patch of coins on the back of the quilt.
I used a fabric iron on paper for the label. Galina washed the quilt the other day and all the ink came off. Sew much for that! I picked up a permanent fabric pen and plan to make all labels this way going forward. If you have any suggestions, please leave me a comment.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ben's vintage sport blocks

Onto #6. This one is a full sized quilt made for my nephew. I had always wanted to make him one and I finally got to it when he turned 10. I started this quilt when I was pregnant in late 2008. It was finished April 2010. I had a lot going on once my son was born. There was no way to pick up a needle for almost a year. I remember sitting by the window in my family room and tacking on the binding. This time it was a real binding! I found a tutorial on Heather Bailey's website that was really easy. The print out is kept amongst my quilting things and is pulled out every time. I also watched a video by Marci Baker of Alicia's Attic on utube almost 100 times. I used these same methods on Evan's and Elyse's quilts and forgot to mention them.

I created this pattern from scratch. I only bought a few different fabrics so I had to be creative. I knew I wanted to do something different in the center so I created blocks from strips of fabrics. For the rest of the quilt I made monochromatic 4 patches from 1 sport fabric and three coordinating fabrics and used this great vintage looking baseball and football print for a full size block. Then I bought solid black for the sashing. (this I love, but having a white dog with lots of hair made it painful to keep clean) I didn't have enough of any one of the fabrics for binding so I took what was left over and made it multi-colored. I think it turned out really nice. It is very normal for me to buy a bunch of coordinating fabrics and a main fabric without any design in mind. That's part of the mystery and excitement.
The big block on the left is one piece of fabric. I  hand stitched all the blocks then tied red and yellow floss into the black sashing. The back is all black and you can see the yellow and red thread used for the hand stitching.
My nephew loves this quilt. He plays baseball and football so it's very appropriate for him. My mom said he sleeps with it every night. I love to hear that people enjoy homemade objects.
January 2011: Evan and Ben and my grandparents house in MI.
I don't have a photo of this quilt finished. I'll have to beg my sister to send me one.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Evan's hugs and kisses

This quilt made my fingers and eyes hurt. The squares were so small. And, for some reason I had a hard time keeping all the squares lined up. Sew me! LOL

I can't remember exactly how I came upon the around the world pattern. I believe it was my SIL. I didn't follow a pattern. I did, however, make a grid so I would know how many squares of each color to cut. This is a great pattern to use a lot of different fabric. I believe you could use a different fabric for every diagonal. I started with the main fabric then 3 coordinating, main fabric, 3 different coordinating, main fabric, a repeat of the first 3 fabrics and finally the main fabric in each corner.
March 27, 2009: Finally getting this thing basted! Evan's due date was May 30.

This was hours before we left to be induced. That's our Bordie Collie mix, Ella.
I bound this quilt the day we left for the hospital-May 20, 2009 . I had to be induced due to growth restriction. This was a  huge scare for Marc and I. It was probably the most challenging 2 days of my life. He was okay in the end. Evan William came into this world via emergency c-section on May 22, 2009 and weighed 5 lbs, 14oz. I remember laying on the operating table trying to reach for him. All I could say was, 'bring him to me!'
I hand quilted x's and o's into each square. I wanted my son to be wrapped in my hugs and kisses all the time. The back is three different flannels. The stitches look really nice, you know what I mean? It's when they are all close and feel like your favorite stuffed animal from when you were a kid.

Evan recently started to sleep with this quilt at night and during naps. I love peeking in and seeing him under it in so much peace.
I also made curtains. Well, my mom actually sewed the curtain part. I did the valance part. I plan to use the curtain part for many years to come. They have thermal black out material on the back side. So nice! They are full length(longer than the picture shows). I'll be replacing the polka dot print once his next quilt is made.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Elyse's summer watermelon

This quilt was for my wonderful girlfriend's baby daughter. She was born 2 weeks after Evan. I gave it to her for her shower gift sometime in April 2009(I think). I always wanted to make something in pink and green. My SIL helped me name this creation. By the time this quilt came along I started to document things a little better. Below are all the fabrics (minus the border). Then there is an early sketch that obviously transformed.

I ultimately created this pattern off the basis of the pinwheel pattern that my SIL made for Evan. I took it in a different direction and added my own twist. This one was really fun. Plus, I was still dreaming of having a girl so all the pink just DID it for me.
I closed this quilt with a green fabric. I like to use darker fabrics so it doesn't get dirty. There is a combo of sewing on this one. I hand quilted the blocks and a flower in the center. In the center of the flower I did a tie. I machine sewed both sides of the binding. I didn't have my walking foot so you can see how the fabric shifts as the needle was going.

Elizabeth and I met during yoga teacher training. We are both from Michigan and had an instant connection. I attended the first class she taught. I remember that she asked me to be up front. We have a wonderful journey together as yoga teachers, wives and mamas. The picture below is from her wedding. I was most likely pregnant.

From left to right: me, Elizabeth, Tricia(one of our other friends from yoga teacher training). August 2008

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Katja's purple night sky

Third time is a charm or in this quilts case a strip. I began this quilt when I lived with my best girlfriend for a short few weeks in 2006. It was right around her daughters first birthday. I told her that I would finish it by the time she was two. I knew this one had a lot of hand sewing in it. It was free that an actual term? Well, I didn't use a stencil and just stitched what ever came to mind. Marc and I would drive to the mountains later that winter. During our long drives out I-70 I would bring my hoop. Sometimes I would get a little car sick.

I took wide strips of fabric of different width and sewed them together. It was very simple. I really wanted the hand quilting to be showcased. I used a silver metalic thread so it would twinkle. For the binding I took a wide strip of fabric and folded it in half. I then slid it up the edge of the quilt and used the machine with a zig-zag stitch. I thought this would hold up better than the flip and blanket stitch that I had used on the previous two quilts. Little did I know this technique was taking me closer to the real binding process.

I made curtains from the solid lavendar that is on the quilt top. They were just sewn in a very simple square with a room darkening fabric behind. They turned out good. After they moved into their house Marc and I went over to help paint. Her room is a lemon lime and purple. We also put up some wallpaper shapes of flowers and bugs. Turned out pretty good.

This is my stab at sewing letters. Not the greatest, but again, homemade with love!
I use to go by Becky. And, some people, mostly family, still refer to me as Becky. When I was hired for my "big girl' job at Fox Sports Network Rocky Mountian I decided to grow up and go by Rebecca. It's fun to hear people call me Becky. It reminds me of my younger days.
This is Galina and her oldest daughter, Katja. We were making our annual Christmas cookies. I made the little apron that Katja has on.  December 2008
Here's the story behind Galina and I. We met when I first moved to Colorado from Michigan and worked as a server/bartender at Ruby Tuesdays. She had moved to Colorado from NY after meeting her now husband online. We didn't get a long. After I stopped working at the restaurant she called me and we went out for coffee. The rest is history. We have so many great memories now...New Years Eve 2004/2005 when she was pregnant and we didn't know, eating at Sweet Tomato, buying her flowers when she was in labor, her bottle feeding Evan when he was like 3 weeks old. I could go on and on. Both of our "families" have changed and it's exciting to have someone close geographically that I consider family.

I'll post more photos of the quilt top later. This is the only one I have in my album.

I thought basting was a culinary term!

I was basting the Angelina Ballerina quilt in my very, very, very small kitchen. I had to push some of the fabric on one side and tape the other side. This was proving to be very annoying. I could only baste half of the quilt at one time. Well, I did what any other sane person would do. I ripped up it from that very, very, very small kitchen floor and took it to the carpet in the living room. As I was doing that I thought, "I'd rather be basting a chicken!"
That put a smile on my face and I proceeded to baste the darn quilt on the carpet. Well, that wasn't a good idea either. I'm finding that with machine quilting you have to really have the sandwich taut. We'll try again tomorrow! The whole thing made me feel like my son. He got angry when we took a lemon away from him tonight before bed time. Awe...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Of course it's exercise

I was shopping for fabric yesterday. Boy, my heart was a pumpin'. I was thinking that it could count as a form of exercise. Let's analyse...lift heavy bolts of fabric(weights), walk up and down the aisles(laps), match colors and patterns(brain stretcher), heart pumpin' from excitement(cardio), standing in line(rest). Sounds like a complete work out to me.

I've been increasingly concerned about this since gaining twenty-five pounds over the last year or so. There are a lot of factors but the biggest is a decrease in my dedicated work out time. Previous to pregnancy I looked and most importantly felt great! I practiced yoga about 6-7 days a week. Then I taught on top of that and found time to get the elliptical in my schedule.

Recently I had fallen ill. I lost about 7 pounds during that time. I have started to make time for my yoga practice again and am hoping to keep that initial weight off. That would mean I have about 20 pounds left to make my way back to pre-pregnancy weight. Oh happy day! It's not necessarily important to me to be 'skinny'. I don't have that type of body. I'm a woman and have the curves to prove it. It's more about my confidence and self-esteem that goes along with feeling thin.

Here are some now and then photos...
May 31, 2008 Craftwood Inn, Manitou Springs, CO
July 4th 2008 in Granby, CO
August 2008 in San Diego, CA. I was a bridesmaid in my sister's wedding
Evan and I in February 2011. I can see the difference in my face!
Today in Evan's room. In this picture I can see a difference in my chest and arms. Come on chatarunga...sculpt those muscles!

I have devised a plan. I'm big on plans!

  1. Breakfast-water, naked green machine and protein powder
  2. Lunch-salad with olive oil and lemon juice, fruit
  3. Dinner-sensible protein and veggie
  4. Yoga three times a week
  5. Walk/play with Evan
  6. Work in some weight lifting...not crazy lifting, just enough to break a sweat.
My biggest down fall is snacks. Especially when I'm bored. Well, I don't have a lot of bored time anymore. Now that I'm home all the time I can get busy with projects!

Here's to better health! I hope you join me in this journey.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The lost 4 patch

My second quilt was started when I was still in high school. It was not finished until my sophomore/junior year of college. Guess I was a busy girl! This quilt was originally intended for the boy that I was dating. He was this totally fabulous blond Greek guy that went to Cranbrook. That's a private school in Birmingham, MI. My cousins knew him and I thought that was awesome! He skied, wanted to be a doctor and smoked Marlboro reds! Oh, and he was in college. We broke up my freshman year at Michigan State. Guess there was a better guy out there; hint, hint! From what I know, he is a doctor and has a beautiful family.

Any way...he picked out the fabrics. I spent all day cutting them at a friends house. My grandma Stevens actually helped me and commented that all my seams were uneven. I didn't care. It was homemade with love. Again, the binding was folded up from the backing fabric. This time I was more careful about the corners. The lost 4 patch lives on my bed for the moment. When I have time my husband and I want to pick out fabrics for a KING sized piece of quilted yumminess!

BTW, I have always hand quilted my projects. In the future you will see my canoodling with a walking foot!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

In the beginning...woman created!

I thought to begin my blog it was only appropriate to start from the beginning...duh! The first quilt I ever made was started my senior year in high school. The pastor's wife of the church I grew up in put together a sew along. It was for a log cabin. We were to select and wash our fabric. When we got to the church she had stations set up. Then we worked all day and pieced it together. This is the only formal training that I have had. That was 13 years ago. I've come a long way baby!
You can't see the very top, but it's the same as the bottom. I left a black ink pen on this one with the cap off. Yup...can't get the stain off. So sad!

I never learned how to properly bind a quilt. For this one I folded over the backing fabric and used a blanket stitch. It looked nice at first. Now it's falling apart and needs serious repair. I used this quilt as my blanket at Michigan State University.

This is a photo of Chris Boussie. She is the one who introduced me to quilting. She passed away in 2009. She was a talented, wonderfully gracious and loving woman. I knew her just about my whole life. She knit my husband and I a beautiful afghan that is still on my couch. I think of her often. Thanks Chris for helping me keep my fingers busy!
That's all for now. Stay tuned for quilt #2.