VQR Catchup

Typical me.  I  got started on the Vintage Quilt Revival Block Along thinking “How easy!  Only 2 blocks a week,” and then life crept in.  Somehow Weeks 2-5 got away from me and so I spent last week while Peanut was home sick from school and I had cabin fever, getting caught up on those darned blocks.  Wanna see them?  Excuse my blurry pictures (I swear there was no very little wine involved!).

Week 2: Mosaic No. 19 & Diamond Panes

Mosaic No. 19 & Diamond Panes

Dove at the Window & Art Square

Dove at the Window & Art Square

Riviera & Dakota Star

Riviera & Dakota Star

Rolling Squares & Red Cross

Rolling Squares & Red Cross

The blocks get more complicated each week and I had no idea how many of them involved paper piecing.  I’m getting pretty good at paper piecing if I do say so myself,  but, as much as I love some of these squares, I’m not sure if I have the patience to make say 20 of the same block to make a non-sampler quilt.  That would be a lot of work!

Oh yeah.  I also re-did the Week 1 Double Z Block that I originally made in the wrong colors (again, no wine involved, I swear).
Double Z Week 1

Here’s what they look like all together thus far:

VQR Weeks 1-5

Of course now that I’m caught up on Weeks 2-5, it is now Monday of Week 6.  Wonder how long I’ll stay caught up…

Valentine Sketch Books

PicMonkey Collage

My three kids are all so different from each other, but they have one thing in common:  they love to draw.  Over the years I have bought countless art pads, notebooks, crayons and pencils, because they just can’t get enough.  Peanut draws elaborately detailed  bunnies planting flags on Iwo Jima, or doing a lapine version of the Birth of Venus (I kid you not); Lamb makes cartoons and designs video game characters with clean lines and small precise sets of ninja gear; Binx sketches fashions with moody looking models and enviable curves.  I am in awe, because this a a talent they did not get from me.  They inherited this from Handsome who can draw anything .

When I was making the art wallets for the school bazaar, Binx and Lamb both wanted me to make “big kid” art wallets for them.  I had planned to make some in time to pop into their Christmas stockings, but, as always, time got away from me.  The day before Valentine’s, while looking at the sketch books and pencils I’d ordered and never used, I decided that Valentine Art Books seemed like a good idea.  In retrospect, making 3 in 24 hours was probably NOT.

First I had to decide how to personalize them for each.  Miss Peanut is easy – anything with a bunny – so I appliquéd the front with a design I found at Wolf and Willow, reducing the rabbit to about 60%.  Since it looked a bit Easter-y I added a heart.  Binx is a Whovian – that’s a Dr. Who fan she informs me – the one geeky chink in her otherwise cool teen armor.  As soon as I saw the Dr. Who Quilt Along, I knew she would want me to sew her a tardis, but there is no way I was going to make her an entire Dr. Who quilt!  So, I reduced the block to 50% and got started.  What was I thinking?  At full size this is a really elaborate paper pieced block – at half sized it’s insanity!  We’re talking teeny tiny pieces and 1/8″ seam allowances. Someday I will actually think a project through…maybe.  At least she claims to love it.

I couldn’t find Lamb’s sketchbook in his mess of a room to take a photo.  Maybe I’ll be able to post one later.   It’s a small version of the block I made for this pillow:

Image 12
His gaming name involves a polar bear.  In order to make it “non-cute” the aqua background was changed to black (no snowflakes) and the bear now has a navy camouflage scarf cut from one of Bill’s old uniforms.  This pattern comes from here.

UPDATE:  Oh look!  He found it amid the squalor!:


I measured the books and added seam allowances and, flaps and a pocket to hold colored pencils on the back.  Really these would be pretty quick to make in plain fabrics without the paper piecing.  Maybe next time I’ll come up with a project idea ahead of time.  I finished the last one of these 15 minutes before I left to go out to Valentine’s dinner!


I have lots of other projects I need to post about from the past week, but before I get around to that, I’ll post some homework from the Color Intensive Class.  This week we’re working on neutrals.  I’m trying to learn to love brown.  It’s slow going.  I was born in the 70’s – The Decade of Brown – and I think I’ve always thought it was old and dated and meant to be paired with Sunshine Yellow,  Avocado, Burnt Orange and bellbottoms….


I think I like this combo better, but then again, not much brown:


Super Scrappy


Whew!  That’s a lot of scraps!  I finally finished all the blocks for my Scrappy Trip around the World quilt.  It really is made mostly of leftover scraps from my stash (and Missie’s – thanks Missie!), although I have to admit that since I started working on it last year I seem to gravitate toward the blue and green fat quarters every time I go to Happy Quilt.  It is all blues, greens and one black and white text print strip per block.  I tried not to use any of the blues & greens more than twice in the quilt, and the text prints are used about 4x each.  I’d love to know how many fabrics there are in here total, but my eyes go buggy if I start to count!  It should finish up at 5′ x 7′ which should make a decent sized twin quilt.

I need to figure out what to use on the back and binding.  Maybe a big text print on the back?  I’m thinking a white binding would look crisp, but would it get dingy really fast?  I wish I had more experience to know.  What do you think?

Sewing for the Gold: Olympic Craftiness

As long as it’s not curling, I love the winter Olympics.  Two weeks of watching people get to live their dream and do their best.  It’s inspiring and it’s almost worth Bob Costas’ nightly “this is the most epic moment in the history of sport” commentary :).  However, I can’t stand to sit in front of the TV and just watch.  I have to be doing something else at the same time or I get twitchy.  I have even been known to knit in a darkened movie theater.  Enter my Olympic English Paper Piecing Project (OEPPP for short).

Inspired by this pretty project, I am hand-sewing lots of little paper pieced diamonds in the hopes of having a finished quilt top sometime soon.


For now I’m just making diamonds. Lots and lots and lots of diamonds.  I’ll work the final quilt layout out eventually, but I’m still mulling it over.  Not sure if I will go with the Sprocket design or something else, but here’s what the Sprocket layout looks like (I like how it pops on the dark background):


These fun colorful fabrics are all by Kaffe Fasset and were a gift from my friend Missie.  Last week she let me come over and raid her beautiful fabric stash.  It was like Christmas and I came home loaded down with pretty fabric.  She’s coming over this week to shop my fabric cupboards.  I hope she won’t be disappointed – it’s pretty hard to compete with her fabric collection!

I’m having lots of fun making all these little rainbow diamonds and Peanut is having fun arranging them into stars and flowers and telling me which fabric she wants me to use next.  She’s also asking loads of important difficult questions like “Where’s Lichtenstein?” and “Why does Vladimir Putin make you gag like that, Mommy?”.  Ahhh, family time.

Oh, and I must be clairvoyant in my project and fabric choice:

This is the Olympic staff uniform.  Get a look at those diamond rainbow patchwork sleeves.  Here’s hoping the quilt comes out a wee bit less crazy!

Update:  Just joined the In Hand EPP Link Party!

splish splash stash

A Bit of Spring

I’ve just started the Color Intensive workshop at Stitched In Color  and it’s already blowing my mind a bit.  I really struggle with choosing and combining colors.  Perhaps that’s why I love a rainbow palette so much – just throw them all in a you can’t go wrong, right?

Hopefully this class will help me get a bit more sophisticated with my choices.  It’s an uphill battle.

Our “homework” was to create a color mosaic that feels like Spring to us using fabrics from Fabricworm.  When I think of Spring the first color I identify with it is that intense yellow-green that new shoots have.  When you look at it outside of nature, it almost feels too intense to be real.  Beyond that shade, Spring makes me think of fresh blue sky, damp turned earth, and a sunny warm peachy-pink, though I can’t identify how exactly it appears in my perception of Spring.  Flowers?  Cheeks in a Spring breeze?    I tried to put some of those emotions into my two palettes:

Sprouts and Sky

Sprouts and Sky


New Growth

New Growth

Like I said – I’m struggling a bit.  We’ll see how I am at the end of the class!

Speaking of things Spring-y (since I am getting sick of chilly gray Seoul winter) how about some Spring Cleaning?

Look!  I found my sewing machine!

Look! I found my sewing machine!

After my last post, I thought I owed it to myself to record the untrashed version of the craft porch, in the hopes of restoring a smidge of dignity.  🙂


Organizing My Paperclips

I’m a list-maker.  I’m a procrastinator.  I’m a project starter.  (Sing with me now : “I’m a thief, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother…”)  My mother says I’m really good at organizing my paper clips.  She also says I’m good at decorating dirt.  She really does love me – she’s just VERY honest.

This morning I think she might be right.  I’ve been trying to reorganize my tiny craft space this week because it is constantly spilling out into the rest of the tiny house.  We’re moving in a few months and I know it can’t get packed the way it currently is:


Avert your eyes, Mom.

Avert your eyes, Mom.

While I’m glad to have a designated space for being creative, the craft porch has a lot of drawbacks.  It’s uninsulated and I’m sewing on fairly huge plastic patio table (yep, it’s there on the left under the pile of crap).  The cutting surface is small and when I want to iron something I have to put a mini ironing board on top of the cutting mat.   Once I jam my beloved fabric and yarn stashes into that space along with a couple of chairs it’s pretty much inevitable that chaos will ensue.  When I find a little time to work on something, I often knit or do something else because this mess is keeping me from the machine and the cutting table.

So I’ve been organizing myself to get organized… I’ve been reading a book called Organizing Solutions for Every Quilter (It’s official – a book has now been written on EVERY conceivable topic).  No I didn’t go looking for it, but it popped up in my Kindle recommendations at a weak timely moment.  It does have some good suggestions for getting organized, but most of it is common sense.  Sometimes you just need someone else to remind you of what you already know, and well,  my mother is 12,000 miles away.

The book suggests making project management list to keep track of what you’re working on and possibly even stay focused instead of always starting more projects.  What!  I never do that!  Or do I:


And this is just the quilting.  I’ll need other spreadsheets for knitting, and other sewing.  I’m sad to admit I have so many projects in the works, but it also forced me to figure out why they weren’t finished and what needed to be done to get there.    Most of them are easy to fix stumbling blocks and don’t even require me to spend any more $ to finish them.  I like the idea that I can check the list now and get back on track when I have some sewing time instead of looking at the UFO’s in despair.

I’m off to finish tackling the mess on the porch because the paperclips are now neat and tidy and calling my name.  Somewhere under that pile my machine is waiting for me!