Monday, May 28, 2012

yippee !!

Just stopping in to say that I just won this week's zakka style contest ... the big prize of a $75 gift certificate at the Fat Quarter Shop !!! Yay!

I've been wanting to tackle a large quilt project for a really long time ... so I think that this is the opportunity I needed, to help me stock up on some fabrics for a quilt for my bed (a queen-sized quilt ... am I crazy?).

Here's what I'm thinking ... I'm going to go for a modern style quilt, most likely something that has a lot of solids with a white background.

I might go in the direction of a wonky log cabin -- no surprise as I just made two of them (here and here).  I like this one with flea market fancy, this one or that one),

Or, I might go for a design like Denyse Schmidt's Bunch of Squares (this one has been haunting me recently).

Here are some fabric choices, all at the Fat Quarter Shop, that I could get in bundles to work into the quilt:

I'm just about sold on the Crab Shack ... it's the bicycles that really do me in (we're big into biking in our family!).   

Yay!  Isn't it so much fun to be dreaming of new projects?  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

{zakka style sew along} week 8 : the zakka block quilt, a.k.a. the Parisville Quilt

I've been going crazy with the zakka style sew along ... it's been so much fun, and this week's project was no exception!  I will say, however, that this week just about did me in, with the school year ending and all of the insanity that comes along with that.  Or, should I say, that this week *saved* me from the end of the school year insanity?  Because though I had to find time to work this week in, it was a peaceful retreat at the end of each day!

And so I present you with this week's project : the zakka block quilt, a.k.a. the Parisville Quilt.   After coming across the walked quilted flickr group, I've decided that I'm going to have to start targeting picturesque spots that I can drag my husband to, so he can hold up my quilts, in the flickr group headless fashion.

I used Tula Pink's Parisville collection for this quilt, mainly because I succumbed to buying the entire set of fabric in 6" charms some time ago, and they ended up being perfect for this project!  (French teacher = anything with the word "Paris" in the title must be purchased!).

The solid sashing is Kona cotton in Champagne, a rather nice color.  It's darker than the usual Kona cottons I use but it definitely grew on me during the making of this quilt.  I used the same Kona on the binding, which I usually don't do (I love a good polka dot binding!), but inspired by the original in the book, I thought I'd try it.  I like it! It gives the entire quilt the look of a seamless canvas.

For the quilting, I mimicked the "fans" print of the collection and quilted some large scallops over the whole quilt.  Don't judge me based on the close-up ... I keep telling myself practice makes perfect with free motion quilting! :)

For the backing, I used the "cameo sprout" print, and I do think it's just about perfect.  Not quite wide enough, I added a strip of my remaining charm squares and a tad more Kona.  I love the back!

In all, I made this quilt in under a week -- and an insane week at that! -- so I'm *definitely* keeping this pattern in mind for any quick quilts that I need to make in the future.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

{zakka style sew along} week 7 : a French weather primer a.k.a. rainy day mug rug

I've been dying to make this project for weeks ... 1) because I know by my calculations of when each week would happen that the school year would be almost done; and 2) because as soon as I saw the project in the book, I knew exactly how I would make it.  I saw the super cute little rainy day mug rug and knew that it needed something ... a face.  A cute face, with French knot eyes. 

So, I made a whole set of them.  There's a reason for the faces, and the phrases : as a French/Spanish teacher, whenever I teach the weather, I have this strange need to draw cute little faces on the clouds, the sun, etc, along with the phrases that they represent.  My "wind" face has a little circle mouth with swirls of wind coming out, but he didn't make it onto these mug rugs.  Instead, I have the question in French, "Quel temps fait-il?", or What's the weather like

His friends are "il fait beau", or it's beautiful;

another happy little guy is "il neige", or it's snowing;

and "il pleut" (it's raining) always has that little smirky face.  Why?  I bet you can guess which weather I like the least!

I backed the fabric with a random Eiffel Tower print I picked up, which I think reflects the gray wording on the front side.

One fits in perfectly with the sunny afternoon we've had here in Colorado today. 

Quel temps fait-il chez vous?  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

{zakka style sew along} week 6 : itty bitty quilted magnets

I have to admit that there are two things I'm really enjoying about the zakka style sew along :  1) that I've been challenged to do something I wouldn't normally spend my few crafty hours doing each week; and 2) that seeing all of the creative wealth of the other people who are working on the same projects has really pushed me into looking at my projects in a more creative way, as well.  This week's project, the itty bitty magnet project, was no exception!  With that, here are my little guys :

I generally don't care to make itty bitty things, though they are super cute.  This week's project definitely falls into that category : really cute, but not something I would generally make.  With that in mind, I finished three of the magnets, rather than all six ... and perhaps when I have more time this summer I'll revisit this project and make the rest of them. 

I used some Amy Butler Midwest Modern scraps that I have from another (unfinished) project.  After painfully finishing the open seam on the first magnet by slip stitching it closed, I opted to go for the cheater method on my other two magnets : I simply sewed it close to the edge with my machine.  The magnets are now happily residing on my fridge, next to some fabric covered magnets I made a while back.  They're happy together! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

{zakka style sew along} week 1 : Eiffel Tower Tote

I'm back with another finished object from the zakka style sew along ... my zig zag tote!  I know that I'm just a tad late on posting about this, as it's the project from week 1 and we're now on week 5 ... but, I'm in good company, as well as using the excuse that my book arrived during week 2.

As usual, I used poor woman's linen (denim salvaged from my local thrift store).  I found two contrasting cotton prints that would coordinate with the lining fabric I used, and I managed to stick a pocket onto the back of the tote.  (I really love to use original denim pockets on projects!)

For the lining, I broke out an old 1/2 yard of Japanese linen printed with an Eiffel tower scene from my stash that I'd been hoarding for no reason whatsoever ... it's definitely a good thing to be using up my stash in this sew along.  Now, instead of sitting on my fabric shelves, I have a fashionable Eiffel Tower Tote ... just the thing for a French teacher, n'est-ce pas?

If only I could figure out a way to take the tote with me to Paris one day soon ... we'll see if I can work on that!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

{zakka style sew along} week 5 : roy g biv pencil cases

I made an entire set of Roy G Biv pencil cases this week for the zakka style sew along ... unfortunately, "orange" had to sacrificed to the greater good of wrapping my head around how this case is constructed!  I assure you that I am generally good at spatial thinking, but for some reason* my brain wasn't functioning properly. 

Luckily I still had five other colors worth of pencil cases to construct, once I figured out how to make the pencil case -- and even better, I have a new and clever construction method under my belt, one that will come in handy in the future.

Here are my little cases ...

They are perfect for more than just pencils, namely crochet hooks and circular needles.  Surprisingly, they are NOT perfect for double pointed needles, as I imagined they might be ... [note to self : make another roy g biv set of these, only longer, to use for DPNs].   See the blue case on the left, how the case just doesn't quite close.

My pesky calico kitten (Trixie) had to jump into the photo session.  Of course she'll be forgiven ... I don't call myself the calico lover for nothing!  

*most likely the insanity of the end of the school year, which uses all my good brain cells up during the school week ;)

Friday, May 4, 2012

finished quilt :: "turtle love"

A pregnant colleague/friend of mine saw an image on pinterest and asked me if I could sew it for her, as I'd previously made her first child a baby quilt, and she knew I was "crafty".  (Some people would be annoyed at that -- I love the opportuntity go make something for someone that they actually want -- it makes it that much more special!)  It turned out that it wasn't sewn at all -- it was a crocheted "turtle cape" used for photo props, and my friend has a deep love of all things turtle. 

At the last minute -- like, literally 11:30pm last night -- I finished it up, just in time to present it to her at her baby shower at work today.  {raveled here.} I have to admit, despite the fact that I'm not the best at following crochet directions, this did turn out super duper cute :

I also managed to finish quilting and binding the baby quilt I'd started during spring break.  [Note to self : don't quilt at the last minute, at night -- save that for when you're fresh!]  [The quilting leaves a little to be desired.] 

I used the same label technique I used on my previous quilt : I embroidered my name and year on one side, and "made with love" on the other, and added it as a tab.  Because I finished binding the quilt last night, too [procrastinator!], I totally forgot to insert it to the binding, and simply sewed it on this morning. 

 I'd be more distressed at these minor little imperfections if the whole gift hadn't turned out so darn cute.  The fact that I *did* manage to finish up the set at the last minute is okay, because it was really fun to see my friend open these gifts today at the shower!.

I really do love giving thing that are just cute!