"...for we put the thought of all that we love into all that we make" ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, August 31, 2009

Busy As A Bee!

Yesterday Hubby and I worked out in the yard, pulling weeds, taking out "sucker" trees and trimming bushes. We now have quite the pile of brush to burn!! I am looking forward to it- there's nothing like a bonfire!

Here's my one, lonely, tiny little baby pumpkin! I'm so proud of it- a little baby grasshopper wanted in on the picture, too :)

Here's a busy little bee!

I worked on some online quilting bee blocks today! L-R: Buzz Cuts for Lucinda, SDQB for Melissa and SDQB for Kathy. I still have a couple more to make yet today.

I also made my first foray into decorated cookies!! I had tons of fun making them- and Hubby had tons of fun eating them :) They turned out really good, and I bought some new cookie cutters and some icing bags and tips today so I can play some more.
I have the house all clean and organized again- thank goodness!! I can't think straight when the house is a mess!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Mail Day-DQS7 Received!!

I received my DQS7 swap today... and boy, did it have a surprise in it!! My secret partner was Jacque... and she made me TWO minis!!! How totally awesome is that?

This is the "official" DQS7 mini... isn't it just absolutely completely fantastically wonderful? I love the brightness- and "Fresh" is one of my favorite fabric lines!!!

And then.... THIS came out of the box!! Another mini- a sunflower mini!! It's so cute!!

the package as a whole!! She sent a fabric necklace (made from a tutorial over at P.S. I Quilt) and some adorable sunflower recipe cards!
Thank you, Jacque!! I just love everything!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

39 Degrees And A Shout Out

Wow, does it feel like autumn around here!! It's been cold and rainy for the last 3 days- I actually pulled out my flannel pajamas last night! We are supposed to have lows in the upper 30's next week. HURRAY!!! I love autumn! It's my favorite season. Give me crunchy leaves underfoot and hayrides and apple pies and I am seriously happy woman!

I wanted to tell you all that one of my local shops, Tammy Tadd Designs, is in the latest Quilt Sampler as one of the Top Ten Shops!!!! It's SO exciting, and they totally deserve it! They are having a party on September 5, and Terry Atkinson is going to be there- if you are anywhere close to Sycamore, IL, come and join in the celebration!!

I have had a lot of traffic on my last blog post! It was very interesting to actually read the Copyright Law- I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there as to what it actually covers. I also want to say...

1. If you are inspired by someone's work, either a pattern or a picture that you see, acknowledge that person! Don't just swipe the idea and tell everyone that you thought it up and made it. That's just wrong. Really, really wrong. I know someone this has happened to, and it's just sick. She's locked up all her stuff and won't even share it anymore, because she's so upset. And that's a loss to the whole quilting and sewing world. Because her stuff is amazing.

2. I personally believe that if someone does a tutorial for free, it's wrong to take it and make stuff for profit. But that's just my personal belief, and there is no legal reason you can't. I just think it's morally wrong.

3. Realize that a lot of quilt block patterns have been around for a long time, and someone selling a nine-patch quilt on Etsy doesn't necessarily mean that they swiped your nine-patch quilt tutorial and is using it for profit.

I'm making more Park Slope log cabin blocks today. Back to work!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pattern Copyrights

I was putting patterns away this afternoon, and I noticed that on almost all of them was a notice. The author of the pattern claims that I cannot make items for sale from their pattern.

Well, I didn't think that was right. So I did some looking into the matter. And the answer? US Copyright Law says they're wrong! Once that pattern has been bought by me, the author of the pattern has no authority to keep me from using it in any way I like! This applies to patterns that people make available for free, too.

The only thing covered under copyright law are the words used by that author to describe his or her process for making something. Copyright law says I cannot make copies of the pattern to sell or give away or modify the pattern and sell it as my own. The author of the pattern has no control over the end product, ie, the item that I personally make using that pattern.

I found this article online and thought it was VERY interesting. And it's a lot more concise than the actual copyright laws (which I waded through for a goodly portion of the afternoon!)


My "New" Space!

I have been working hard since Saturday to get my space into shape- and I'm just about done! It's been a LOT of work, and I have about a ton of fabric scraps (pieces that are less than a fat-quarter) that I still don't know what to do with. I may take advantage of the Accu-Cut at Quilt In Joy to turn my scraps into something I can use.

So, here it is! All clean and organized and functional- and I LOVE IT!! This is such a nice space for sewing in! It's so big and open- now I can have all my fabric where I can see it!!

Half-yards and fat quarters. These bins fit on the shelves underneath the ironing table. They function almost like drawers, and it's so easy for me to see each one!

These are fabrics that are at least a yard. I have some more in the basement to be washed, pressed and put away. It's so nice to be able to see all the pieces! My mind has been overflowing with ideas and designs!

I'm spending the day at the sewing machine. It's cold, windy, rainy and icky outside. Sewing with bright happy fabric is necessary for my happiness today :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Little Bit Of Sewing

Hi! I was actually able to sit down and sew today!! Only 5 days after tearing my sewing room to pieces :) I almost have it all organized. It's working out very, very well- I can't believe I waited so long to make this change!

I made a few more blocks for my Park Slope log cabin quilt. I am really loving how this is coming together! It's going to be completely fabulous! I have enough fabric to make it big- really big. I plan for it to be 98" square. I will need 196 log cabin blocks to accomplish this, since I don't plan to use a border. So don't expect to see this quilt finished anytime soon! I think it will make a really nice summer quilt for our bed.

I made this pincushion with attached thread catcher on Saturday, at a lock-in down at Tammy Tadd Designs. This was designed by Nan, a woman who works at Tammy Tadd Designs. It's super cute, and really easy to make! You can order the pattern from their website- I link to it on my sidebar.

On Monday I was so happy to be able to spend the afternoon with Kris! She is in Chicago visiting friends, and took the train all the way out to the 'burbs to go shop hopping with me! We had so much fun!

I am almost done cleaning and organizing most of the house. Then, it's time to start on the yard and garden! My garden did not do well at all this year. It was too cold most of the summer. I hardly got anything from it- very disappointing! But, there's always next year, and I am going to make some changes that will help give me more space to plant, and will be easier to cultivate.
Ryan has a fun giveaway over at his blog. Go sign up!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

After browsing through all the sewing rooms that were posted as a result of Crazy Mom Quilts' request to see people's crafting spaces, I decided to make a change. So, after lengthy discussions with Hubby, and diagrams and measurements (gotta love being married to someone who designs electronic boards!) and mulling it over, we decided there was nothing wrong with me taking over the whole room next to the kitchen. It's a pretty awkward room, but it's working well for this!!

I removed many (many many) piles of stuff, and took the curtains down to be washed. Then I moved furniture! Did I mention that Hubby's not home today? I think next time I want to move big heavy tables I will do when he's here to help.

I moved my actual sewing out of the little cramped room! The cutting table and storage took the place of my sewing machine. No more hitting my head on the shelves getting out of my chair- YAY!! The little cramped room is now mostly storage, with my cutting area and ironing table thrown in.

This makes me happy! There's fabric downstairs waiting to be washed- those empty bins won't be that way long!! I folded my yardage in quarters widthwise and wrapped the pieces around my 6" wide ruler to get them this neat. This is the "Good" :)

Here's my happy, big, not cramped new sewing area!! I have a little mat, ironing surface and iron for doing little jobs right by my machine. For the other stuff I'll hoof it into the other area. This is the "Bad"... still working on this area!

And here's the "Ugly"! A lot of this stuff doesn't actually belong in my sewing room... it was just stuffed in there! So I will take most of next week to go through all this and see what it is. I suspect a rather large amount of it will be chucked, donated or gifted :)

My plan to gradually take over the whole house for my crafting is succeeding... MUAHAHAHA!!! Do you see my stamping and scrapbooking desk in the corner of the dining room? And my knitting stuff now has it's own special place in the living room!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

That Was Fun! Now What?

I have a problem. I don't like quilting the quilt!! I love picking out fabrics, and playing with the design, and sewing the top... and that's where I stop.

My biggest problem? I am a perfectionist. If even one stitch is too long, too short, not on the line, etc, I'm done. Throw the quilt in a box and never let it see the light of day again. Or throw it in the fireplace- with a fire burning. But that only happened once. I swear. And it was a top, not a quilted quilt.

Plus, there's the whole "quilt wrestling" thing that happens when you try to quilt with that little tiny machine. I'm pretty sure it would take less effort to run the Chicago Marathon than it does to quilt a quilt with my home machine.

I bought a Pfaff GrandQuilter a few years ago to try to alleviate this problem. And it has, to some extent. I have many quilts that look GREAT with an all over pantograph pattern. I can handle that! Give me a line to follow and a laser pointer to follow it with, and I can quilt for days on end!

Here's my problem: I have this quilt...

And this quilt...

And this quilt...

They all need to be quilted. All over quilting just isn't going to cut it for these quilts. WHAT DO I DO? Even if I did feel like I had the skill to free-motion quilt them myself, I still have no CLUE HOW to quilt them!

Am I the only one that puts out multitudes of un-quilted tops? Anyone have a good method they use for pin basting a quilt so it doesn't end up wonky when it's done? Do you have a way to deal with the OCD perfectionism that is holding me back from just doing it? Anyone want to come to my house and hold my hand while I free motion? Emotionally, I mean. I don't think I could quilt if you were literally holding my hand!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Iraqi Bundles Of Love

Here's a FABULOUS stash busting idea for you!!

Give it away!! Go to http://ibol.wordpress.com/ for all the details of the Iraqi Bundles Of Love!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Zippered Bags And Blimps

I obtained some zippers (like 30 of them) at Joann's last night and decided to play! I found a cute little tutorial on the Internet for making a lined zippered pouch. Can I just say, I LOVE the Internet? There are SO many free patterns and tutorials out there! There is almost no need to actually buy a pattern anymore!!

Here is my new little pouch- these things are addicting!! I want to just keep making and making them! I have been eyeing my fabric stash all day, looking for fabric combinations that would work for pouches. I could probably turn all my fabric into pouches right now, I'm so enthused about this little pouch :)

I also did some housecleaning today (boring, I know!). While I was outside shaking the rugs the Goodyear Blimp flew over! I looked at the pictures of the three different blimps on the Goodyear website and determined that it was the "Spirit Of Goodyear" blimp. I have no idea where it was coming from or where it was going. But it was nice to have the Blimp there for coverage of my housecleaning event :)

Not too much else. We had 2 thunderstorms overnight last night, and of course I woke up for both of them. So I'm really tired tonight- it might be another 8pm bedtime night! I'm going to make bee blocks tomorrow- I have three of them to do, and I don't want to get behind like I did last month. I also want to quilt my DQS7 top, but I'll see how the bee blocks go first!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thomas And Totally Random Stuff

Thomas The Tank Engine is visiting the Illinois Railway Museum! This is such a busy time for us- Hubby is in charge of all the cash registers and computers. My mother-in-law is in charge of all the money. And I help them both, and also help my friend Julie with her Stampin'Up! cardmaking station at the event! I'm tired :)
I picked this from the garden a couple days ago. Isn't it lovely? So happy and cheerful!
"Be Merry" fabrics by Riley Blake. I am going to send these out for one of my online bees. I mail my fabrics in October.
The movie was awful. But the poster of Professor Snape makes up for it! I LOVE the bad-boy-who's-not-really-bad of Hogwarts- I think he's the best written and most complex of all the Harry Potter characters!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thank You, Eunice

I was very, very sad to learn that Eunice Kennedy Shriver passed away this morning.

When I was 14 and 15, I volunteered for Special Olympics, as an assistant swim coach. I LOVED it! The athletes I worked with were always so happy to just compete- the person who got 5th place was just as happy as the one who got 1st.

After we moved to New York, I volunteered for several years, working with the EMS team for New York Special Olympics as an Emergency Services Coordinator. I was constantly amazed by the absolute joy of competition that was shown by the athletes. I look back on my days with Special Olympics as the best in my life :)

Thank you, Eunice Kennedy Shriver! Special Olympics does not only impact and change the lives of the athletes who compete, but also the lives of those who volunteer to work with the athletes. Special Olympics athletes are the true athletic heroes, and we have you to thank for bringing them out of institutions, and giving them a place to shine.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Paper Piecing

I love paper piecing. I love the precision that come from having lines to guide me, I love the shapes you can make that are nearly impossible to get otherwise- I just love it!

My New York Beauty- the "spikes" are paper-pieced.

What I do NOT love about it is all the @#$% paper you have to sit and pick out at the end! So I sat down one day and figured out how to do it with freezer paper. I knew there had to be a way to use the stickiness of the freezer paper to keep the fabric in place. Then you could fold the paper back and sew beside it. I worked for HOURS, and I did figure it out... and the very next day, I found this tutorial from twiddletails!! Go look at it- it's really great! I wish I'd found it BEFORE I did hours of work figuring out something that someone else already did- and posted free to the Internet :)

In the tutorial she uses a regular ruler, lining it up at the 1/4" mark. I HIGHLY recommend the use of an "Add-a-1/4" ruler- they are available at most quilt shops. It has a little "lip" that you can put against the paper. It makes paper-piecing so much easier!!

Here are some paper-pieced items:

My "Nor'Easter" Storm at Sea quilt. It's started. It's not much past this point, to be honest! I have 2 quilt retreats coming up this fall, and this is the project I am planning to bring to both of them.

A block I recieved in the Sweet Dreams Quilting Bee. Lovely example of the interesting patterns you can get when you paper-piece! This block would be extremely difficult to piece any other way.

The start of my "Park Slope" curvy log cabin. I am paper-piecing the log cabins using the method in the tutorial. Loving it so far!

We have bad, bad, really bad storms headed towards us. Have I ever mentioned that I HATE thunderstorms and bad weather? There have been too many close calls with tornadoes this summer... and by the looks of it, I can only hope we dodge any that may come today, too!