Sunday, September 29, 2013

UR Here...Orange County

My friend Sukie had a brilliant idea. She started a swap for the You Are Here coffee mugs from Starbucks. I don't like Starbucks coffee and I rarely ever go there, but these mugs are really cute and a  nice momento to grab whenever you are visiting a new city.

UR Here Swap

I wasn't going to join because I thought a California mug was too boring and I don't live in Los Angeles, but then I saw our local Starbucks has an Orange County mug. That's where I live so I decided to join the swap.

I made two little pumpkin coasters and added a few F8 of Acacia and some chocolate. I hope my partner likes this. I wonder where my gift will come could be close by or as far away as Europe or Asia. What a fun swap! Thanks, Sukie!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Leather Accent Tote

I have been home from Sewing Summit for a few days now but I still do not have the energy to blog about it. All I can say is that I laughed like crazy and had so much fun with my friends.

One of my favorite classes was the Leather Accent Tote class with Lindsey Rhodes. Lindsey also had a Sewing with Leather lecture class which really helped with the basics of the tricks and tools necessary for sewing with leather.

I did not finish my tote in class because the sewing machines were not cooperating, but it was at the top of my list to finish when I got home. I love the way it turned out.

leather tote 1

Check out that matching job on the seam line. I am pretty impressed, myself. Thanks to Lindsey for a great tutorial and a special note on directional prints. She really is a master at writing patterns.

Lined with Pearl Bracelets makes the inside almost as pretty as the outside.

An attached key fob and a magnetic snap make this bag perfect for toting anything, it's a great size, too.

leather tote collage

When my son saw the bag he said something like "Adding leather makes this look not so 'mom-ish'". I guess that's a good thing.

Lindsey has a leather shop. You can check out what she has for sale here.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Favorite Quilt...or 2 or 3

Picking a favorite quilt I have made is like picking a favorite child or grandchild...not easy and it changes every day.
Mary is having a linky party to show your favorite quilt. Today this is my favorite quilt that I have made.
I love the bright 70's vibe this Retro Flowers quilt displays and it was my first time to sew curves, so I am quite proud of it. It was gifted to my friend for her 60th birthday, last year.
Retro Flower QAL

My all-time favorite quilt that I did not make by myself has got to be my Stitch Tease bee quilt. I made the Bloom row and the Friends row and the rest was made by my bee mates. It was pieced together by Susan and quilted by me. It makes me diliriously happy everytime I look at it. It's just so personal to me.

Wordy Friends Quilt

One more quilt that lives in our home is my scrappy trip along made for Mr. Romance. He likes to snuggle on the sofa with it when he's watching TV and likes seeing all the fabrics in the quilt that have been used in all my other projects.
Scrappy Trip-ALong Gone Fishing

I'm linking to Mary's blog and love seeing everyone's favorite quilts. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sew Sew Modern 3 Swap...Mine!


There is so much anticipation each time I am in a swap. Firstly, I worry will my partner like what I have made for them and then I get more and more excited to receive my gift. The Sew Sew Modern 3 swap held even more anticipation for me because there were so many beautiful creations in the Flickr pool and any one of them could have been for me. I loved them all, but Liz  hit the nail on the head by making me a stunning sewing machine cover.

I can't stop looking at it and each time I do I see a new element or fabric. The tiny piecing in the feather; the little crosses; all the low volume fabrics;the flying geese;the beautiful backing fabric and linen binding all put together to make one incredibly beautiful custom sized sewing machine cover. Each little bit was thought out with so much love and creativity. And to think when I met Liz at Fat Quarterly Retreat in London in July, she was stalking me. Kind of creepy, in a good way.

Liz also added the cutest flower head pins and fabric buttons to my gift, one is a pin, one a magnet and one a key fob. She also made a very cute card, too.

I am a lucky girl and I am so glad to finally have such a gorgeous sewing machine cover.

Thank you Liz!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

and then there were two...

Last year I jumped on the swoon quilt bandwagon, like so many others. And like those others I have a lot of HST hanging about. I used some and made a pillow several months ago,

But I had more HST leftover so I made another pillow. This one is evident of my flying geese fixation right now.
I have enough HST leftover to probably make a smaller, rectangular pillow.
This one was quilted with straight lines using Auriful 50 wt. in white.

I'm off to the Sewing Summit today where I will reunite with my Sew South buddies and other friends I have met through Sewing Summit, Instagram and blogging.

I'll be sure to post lots of Instagram photos, where you can follow me @ylmommyx4.

I'll be back next week with a full report.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sew Sew Modern 3 Swap

I joined the Sew Sew Modern 3 Swap  on Flickr at the beginning of summer and quickly got to work stalking my secret partner and making her gifts.
She said she really loved Heather Ross and would love a Travel Duffle Bag.
The timing could not have been any better. Briar Rose had just been released and I had already made two Travel Duffle bags, so I felt confident making one for this swap.

Travel Duffle

We were also supposed to either make or purchase a smaller item for our partner. I chose to make her a matching cosmetics case using Lindsey's fabulous tutorial on the Pellon Projects website.

Cosmetics Pouch

I added a few extra items, including some of my homemade fig jam, thread, and a small notepad and sent these gifts off to Jackie in Colorado, where they were warmly received last week. 

Fig Jam

Sew Sew Modern 3 Swap

I made a few adjustments to these patterns. 
I made the duffle a little larger than the large sized pattern and it turned out humongous. You could literally put a 7 year old child in this duffle bag! I also decided I wanted the inside to have a finished look, not the serger finished seams or the binding finish the pattern calls for, so I made a separate lining and then attached it at the zipper and in all the corners so it would not be loose inside. I also added the elastic pocket that Lindsey taught us at Sew South Retreat.

On the Cosmetics Case I used a laminated fabric from Kate Spain's Central Park line of fabrics on the inside.  It coordinates with Briar Rose beautifully. This was in place of using the fusible vinyl...just because I didn't have enough and was too lazy to go to Joann's to get some more.

This matching travel set really turned out pretty and Jackie said it arrived just in time for their road trip next week. I like it when a plan comes together.

Now I will be watching out for my swap gift to arrive.  I have my fingers crossed for a sewing machine cover. Whatever it is, I know it will be lovely. There is some serious talent in this swap group. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

100 Quilts for Kids

I met Katie Blakesly at the first Sewing Summit, in 2011. Since then I have come to know her as a very generous and busy mom of two. Her giving spirit and creativity always inspire me. I enjoy reading her blog and seeing her photos of her active life in the Washington, DC area.

For the last few years, Katie has carried on a campaign to get 100 Quilts for Kids donated to whatever charity you choose. Last year I donated this quilt to the Project Linus Project.

This year I made this quilt out of all the leftover Marmalde fabrics from the matching Flower Girl quilts I made for my granddaughters. The pieces were pretty big, so I was able to cut some 5" squares and 2-1/2" x 9.5" strips. I added 5" squares of Kona Snow and came up with this simple block.
marmalade Baby quilt

I also had enough fabric to make a 3" border around the quilt, making it a nice snuggle lap quilt for a little girl.
I found this Flea Market Fancy fabric on sale at my LQS and decided it would make a nice coordinating backing.  I bound it with Kona Snow.
100 quilts for kids

I am happy to say I free motion quilted this with a few squiggles and even some flowers. Can you hear my joy? I managed to get through the entire quilt without breaking the thread. It really does go to show you that the thread is important and each machine is very particular.  It's not always good to use the popular thread that everyone is raving about, but to experiment and find the one that works for your machine.

100 quilts for kids

Since joining the LA Modern Quilt Guild I have become aware of the Alexandria House. It is a place where battered women and their children can seek refuge. This quilt will be donated to that organization and hopefully make a child very happy.

Quilt Stats:

Name: Marmalade Squares
Fabrics used: Marmalade by Bonnie and Camille and Kona Snow 
Backing: Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy Seedpod Stripe
Binding: Kona Snow
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil 50 wt.
Quilted: by me. Free Motion squiggles and flowers using Perma Core thread color Dyed Natural
Size: 46" x 58"

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Baby Quilt for Adrian

About 18 months ago I accidentally found some of my cousins through a search on the internet. I sent a snail mail letter to several people with my paternal grandmother's maiden name in her birth town of Orkucany, Slovakia. I was so surprised when I received an email from my cousin, Eva! She is the daughter of my dad's first cousin, who is my age, and Eva is my kid's age. Eva and her brother, Jozef, have helped me to find out some of my family history.

We visited them last summer. You can read all about it here and here. I never got to meet Eva because she was working and living in Ireland at the time. She and her husband have returned to Slovakia and they had a baby boy in July.  I wanted to send them a gift, so of course I made a quilt.

Baby Quilt for Adrian

I bought the fat quarter collection of Seaside by October Afternoon for Riley Blake fabrics last year and have been wanting to make a quilt with it since then. I love all the prints and the colors in this collection. It is perfect for a little boy's quilt. I added a few extra prints from my stash to mix it up a bit.

Baby Quilt for Adrian

I finally found a thread that my Bernina loves for quilting. It's Perma Core and was given to me by my long arm quilter to try. Now I just need to work on my FMQ skills. No more blaming it on the thread breaking!

Baby Quilt for Adrian

This quilt will be flying off to keep Adrian warm and snuggly. It gets mighty cold in Slovakia, so he'll probably need more than just this little quilt.

Quilt Stats:
Name: A Quilt for Adrian
Fabric: Seaside and additional fabrics from stash
Backing: Dottie Extra wide
Binding: Grey Michael Miller Cute Plaid
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil 50 wt.
Quilted: by me with a random stipple using Perma Core 40wt. thread
Finished size: 39" x 50"

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September Bee Blocks

It's only the 11th day of the month and I have completed my bee blocks for September. {Can you tell I usually don't finish this early in the month?}

This month's Stitch Tease queen is Hadley. She asked for low-volume scrap vomit blocks with "NO VOMIT". These soft colors have sparked me to make a low-volume quilt of my own.

Low Volume blocks for Hadley

For the cross block for this quilt, Hadley asked that we use grey, pink and aqua.
I think she is going to have a beautiful quilt when she receives all her blocks from our bee.

Low Volume blocks for Hadley

Next up is the Modern Stitching Bee. The September queen is our fearless Finish-a-Long leader, Leanne.
Leanne asked for Economy Blocks using acid green, yellow, orange, aqua, purple, magenta and orange. She wanted a black and white stripe or text that appears as a stripe for the thrift portion of the blocks.

It took me two tries and a little unpicking, but I finally got the stripes going in the right direction.

September Blocks for Leanne

September Blocks for Leanne

I have to admit that both queens were very specific in their requests this month and that only means that they are going to end up with very beautiful quilts. 
Thanks, girls, for challenging me!

Monday, September 9, 2013

I Be Jammin

We have a fig tree that, when it produces, yields a huge amount of figs in a short couple of weeks. As with all fruit trees it is either feast or famine. Last year, our tree did not produce but this year made up for it. After the initial excitement of eating fresh figs until we had a bellyache, I started putting them in Ziplock freezer bags to collect enough to make fig jam. Last Saturday was my jam making day.

While getting everything set out and ready for my day of stirring and measuring, canning and labeling I discovered that when eaten in it's frozen state, a fig tastes just like fig sorbet. It has the perfect texture and now I want to eat more frozen figs.

My fig photos sparked quite a conversation on Instagram. I am surprised at how many people have never eaten a fig. I guess I am spoiled living in California and growing up with lots of different food influences from friends, both as a child and as an adult.

I bought some new jars this year from this website. They are 9 ounce jars and I think they are so pretty.

I designed these labels years ago, using a photo of a fig leaf from our tree and have continued to use them every year.

The majority of these 30 jars of jam are being donated to our local ladies guild of Children's Hospital for their annual boutique next month. But I think next year it might be fun to have a jam swap.

Here's my recipe.

Fig Jam

12 cups chopped, ripe figs
3 Meyer lemons, seeds removed, chopped fine {I throw mine in the food processor after removing all seeds}
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons calcium water
Mix everything and bring to a boil in a wide pan. Last year I got a copper jamming pan and it has really speeded up the cooking process.

When this fruit mixture comes to a boil add:
5 cups sugar mixed with 3 teaspoons pectin.

Return to boil and continue to boil for 5 minutes, then check on a frozen plate to see if the jam is the consistency you like. If not you can cook it down further, stirring often to prevent scorching.

Fill your jam jars and process in a boiling water canning bath for 10 minutes.

*I use Pomona Pectin. It comes with the calcium packet to make the calcium water.
yield: 12 half-pint jars

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Little Surprise From Down Under

A few months ago Susan and I agreed to have a little swap. I sent here this Noodlehead Open-Wide pouch with a few goodies tucked inside
Open Wide Pouch

and last week I received this beautiful Patchwork Please inspired apron and coaster.

Patchwork please apron and coaster

I love everything about this apron; from the choice of fabrics to Susan's beautiful sewing skills. The backing fabric and the soft linen are just perfect.

Thanks Susan, it's perfect!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Stash Match

This is the fourth month Ali has held her Stash Match. It's a really fun little game she plays each month. First, she picks a focus fabric and then 6 bloggers choose fabrics from their stash to match the fabric. No going out and buying matching fabrics, instead we have to choose between 10 and 20 fabrics from our own stash.This month Ali chose Ebb and Flow in Multi from Rashida Coleman-Hale's upcoming Koi line of fabrics.

I put the fabric into a color picker template and chose 6 colors to help me pick fabrics from my stash. This might give you a hint as to which stack is mine.

So now you need to head over to the September Stash Match on Ali's blog and try to guess which stack is mine. And, yes, there is a prize for the winner so hurry and go play the match game (oh no, did I just give away my age by mentioning the 1960's and 1970's game show, The Match Game?).

Ali is still looking for guests who would like to participate as a featured blogger, so send her an email  or leave a comment on my blog saying you want to be a Stash Match-er, and I'll let her know.