Thursday, May 26, 2011

Utter Charm

I've been lucky enough to thrift a couple of lovely vintage quilt tops this spring.  I got the two on the left for an absolute song!  $4.99 and $3.99 respectively.  They both have lots of feedsack fabrics in them, though the center one has considerably fewer.  It's so very nice to know that UFOs span the decades and are not a recent affliction!
I picked this one up today and it made up for the woman in the aisle ahead of me that snagged a printed tablecloth from the fifties in amazing shape.  It's sashed in a pale yellow that lets those gorgeous feedsacks shine!
The blocks are simple but striking. This is probably my favorite block of the bunch! I don't think I'll quilt this, but back it with muslin to use as a table covering.
I picked this up a couple of months ago, and I really wish that I had some history on it.  Each of the star's centers has names embroidered on them and each time I look at it I have to smile!  There are lots of women's names and a few men's as well.  Makes me wonder if the maker identified herself by who she was married to or not.
Two of the blocks say "Mother," though only one has her age!  Thinking about how we identify ourselves, it made me wonder just how often these women were called by their given names.  I don't think I ever heard my grandfather call my Grandma her name.  It was always "Mother."  I'd like to think that these women wore beautifully handcrafted aprons, every single day.
The third quilt is a simple bow-tie that must be the newest of the three, judging by the fabric choices.  It was gifted to me by the oh so sweet and generous Elaine of Soggy Bottom Quilts.  The maker of this quilt used some seriously odd combinations of fabric, but that does just add to it's appeal.

I don't know if I'll ever quilt these as I have quite a few UFOs of my own, but they are my treasures!   I love anything vintage and am so glad that there's still a market for 30s reproductions and that many of the designers use vintage fabrics as their inspiration. 

Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day weekend.  Many thanks to our troops and their families for the sacrifices they make on our behalf.  It's a time to send up many prayers and to count our blessings.  I'm off to spend the weekend with my two biggest blessings, my husband Drew and son Tade.  May you do the same!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Running on empty

pretty little pillow to add some color to my dreary day--I'm loving some half square triangles lately!
Do you ever have those times in your life where you feel like you're carrying the weight of at least an elephant if not the world on your shoulders?   This is one of those times for me.  And I am realizing that something's gotta give!  I tend to load my plate so full that I am not even enjoying the process.  I'm a yes girl and need to learn the value of the word, "no."

I'm struggling to balance my creative outlets with family life, work, and other obligations.  The lack of balance here really has me questioning the why of many thing that I do.

Why do I feel the need to do everything?  I'm feeling overwhelmed by my current hobbies of sewing, quilting, cooking, baking and yet I dream of weaving and stained glass.  I try not to even think about the hobbies that I neglect, like knitting and soap making!  Our garden this year is going to be huge, which means time away from what I want to be doing.  Before we even have our little seedlings in the ground, I find myself resenting this intrusion on my time.

I'm constantly raising the decades old question of whether we, as modern women can indeed have it all.  While I've never been able to fully discern what having your cake and eating it too really means, I know that I want that cake!!

I was telling a friend recently that I write hundreds of blog posts in my head that never see the light of day.  I want to blog more, and yet it seems to be the one thing that I can let slide.  I do feel like my creative endeavors have value and merit and should be shared with my online community.  I'm sure my incredibly supportive husband would appreciate a break from me constantly showing him what I'm working on. 

Thanks for "listening,"  I needed to get that off my chest!  Here's to answering no to someone that wants me to hem their pants.  May they understand that just because I have a sewing machine and am lucky enough to have a room dedicated to my crap, that doesn't make me a tailor!

I'm hearing the timer beep on the oven, so I really must go.  Once I have the 3 tier cake for 150 people off of my plate maybe I can practice what I preach and not say yes anymore.  Once I eat a piece, that is!

Monday, April 4, 2011

101 Patchwork Projects and Quilts!!

It's here!  I'm so excited to have a little project in this big magazine!  I made nametags for Amanda's retreat last fall that turned out pretty darn cute.  I had a tutorial on my blog for about 5 minutes when Penny suggested that I submit the project for this issue.  She has an awesome vase in this issue as well! 

So glad she suggested it as I would never have thought to, and I must say it is very cool seeing a project of mine in  a magazine!!!  And my husband's words were, "Look at that, I'm in a magazine!"  I love that Drew, my mom and mother-in-law were the featured tags!  And ready for gifting too!
Here's a few of the tags that did not make the cut, but are nonetheless ready to be tied to a gift too!

And the newest batch with a ticker tape twist ready for the retreat with Penny in less than two weeks!!  I am so lucky in my crafty friends--blogging and otherwise.  This group is going to be so much fun!
Here are a couple of the little projects for the gifts bags!  Aren't those dresden pin cushions so cute?   It was Amanda's idea--her choice of colors is just perfect! And I love the key chains!  So quick and easy!
And a few oilcloth covered grid paper sketch pads.  I love these too!  Can't wait to start coloring in mine!

Have a happy week!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Purses, Bags and More Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Welcome!  We're starting off the week of a great new book's tour here at tinkerfrog.  I was asked by Clotilde to join in and review a pattern from Pearl Louise Krush's book Purses, Bags and More.
My pattern to review is the Posy Patchwork.  It is so sweet.  This book is full of great tips and techniques for personalizing bags for any occasion.
Here is my scrappy version of the bag!  My friend Caitlyn is moving to San Diego for a music therapy internship and I whipped this up for her as a knitting bag.  All of those pockets on the outside will be perfect for this!  I loved the use of binding on the top edge.  It really took the pain out of trying to turn the bag inside out.  I machine stitched the binding down, rather than hand sewing it, which was painless!
The only fabrics that I repeated were all of the linings.  She has great cutting instructions that made figuring out how to cut the sizes needed very simple.

You can find the book here.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!  If you'd like a chance to win a copy, just leave a comment making sure I can contact you if you win!  I'll pick a winner on Friday, March 25 at the end of the tour.

Be sure to check out more projects from the book on the blog tour!

Tuesday, March 22--Cindy of Sew Blessed
Wednesday, March 23--Stephanie of Unfinished Project Party
Thursday, March 24--Ruth of Sew Chic
Friday, March 25-- Julie of From These Hands

Have a happy Monday!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Compromising your values

Lots of fun and frustration was had at my house playing with bleach, vinegar and fabric recently.  I got some plexiglass circles and triangles to try some of the techniques from Malka Dubrawsky's Color Your Cloth.  I got the book when it first came out in 2009 and have wanted to try this since, but just got the "tools" for Christmas.  It isn't as easy as it looks, but I loved her results!  So, in an effort to get a similar effect without wasting any more fabric, I discharged some squares and sewed them into half square triangles with their original counterparts to great effect.  I LOVE this!!!
The half square triangles, which I have quite an obsession with anyway, became these pillows.  This technique naturally lent itself to a layout highlighting the values.  Simple outline quilting left these so stinking soft!  And by stinking I don't mean that they reek of bleach.  The technique of bleaching, counteracting the bleach with vinegar and rinsing, left them smelling pretty good from the get go!

Did I mention how naughty it feels to deliberately bleach Flea Market Fancy?  Good naughty.  But maybe that's just because it worked!

I'll be teaching these pillows at Mama Said Sew as a two part class on Mondays April 4th and 11th.  The class schedule should be announced soon! 

And we have a few spots left at our spring retreat with sewtakeahike!  Just so you know, I host awesome retreats--so if you're on the fence, let my culinary degree help entice you!  Good, good food.  Great workshops.  Incredible laughter(I'm pretty funny , too!).  And in short, an experience you'll want to make an annual event!  Hope to see you there!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wickedly belated, but better late than never

Last summer, I bought yards and yards of fabric to make Tade a quilt for his birthday in August.  A week before his birthday, I frantically spent a couple of hours throwing together some huge rectangles of fabric into something approximating a quilt top.  Two days before his birthday, I had it basted and planned on some straight-ish line quilting about an inch apart.  I got about 8 inches of it quilted before his birthday.

It then became a "Christmas" quilt.  I got about 7 more inches done and hung it in the closet for when I got better at straight line quilting.

Fast forward to last Saturday, when I talked to Amanda (she was making foccacia and had some questions).  I keep talking about all of these projects that I want to make but am stifled by my WIPs.  I cannot justify starting something new until I get some of this done.  I need the space; I need them out of my head and weighing me down.

So, she "assigned" me 15 rows of stitches to get done this week and recommended lengthening my stitch length to fix my struggles with my walking foot(this was suggested months ago--I obviously hadn't tried it yet).  Wow.  I spent about 16 of the next 24 hours finishing the quilting, and had the binding sewn down by 10:30 pm on Sunday.

What an awesome feeling!  Tade told me that it's lovely and beautiful.  And I love it.  It's not much to look at from a piecing stand point, but I love it's simplicity.

And it's twin sized and he sleeps in a full size bed.  Always has.  I must have hoped that he'll still be using this quilt when he goes off to college as it would fit a dorm bed perfectly.  (photo taken at the Inn at City Park, because the full sized bed just wasn't doing it for me!)

All of the fabrics are American Jane--I love the vintage aesthetic and the bright colors! I bound it in the black Punctuation and love how scrappy that made it look.

Of course i have no pictures of that, so you'll have to take my word for it!  It's backed with a sheet.  That worked pretty well for me, I'll be doing that again!

Thanks, Amanda!  What should I work on this week?

Monday, February 28, 2011

I love a good moleskine!

 For my mom's birthday I embellished a moleskine journal for her using some of my echino and Ruby Star Rising scraps.  I love these scraps and could happily use them for years!!

I don't know what it is about a moleskine(it could simply be the seemingly random e on the end), but I'm happy if I've got one in every drawer, pocket, bag and car.  Ever so handy, and light years cooler than a post-it!
A little finishing touch of a tinkerfrog label, just because I can.  Thanks to my sweet Drew for following my instructions on what to order for Christmas to the letter!  Good job, honey!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Really Rather Random

 Here's my current knit-in-progress, the lovely Wispy Cardi(Ravelry link), in the oh, so soft Malabrigo lace.  I'm teaching this class at My Sister Knits in April, so am making this as the class sample.  It's not moving as fast as I would have hoped.  In fact, I need to stop sewing for a while, which isn't cool at all.

I need to find my knitting mojo, because I'm missing it!  I used to be able to knit for hours and hours.  Now I can sew for hours and hours without a break, but can't find that zen space that knitting used to take me to.  Any suggestions?
 Here's a little shot cotton pojagi that I've been playing with.  If I get the urge, it will gain a few more feet and get hemmed to be a lightweight scarf.  If not, I like it hanging in the window!
 Amanda Jean and I hit the jackpot when I was visiting her at the beginning of the month!  We were at her local yarn shop and were directed to a table of free fabric in the back room!  With quilting on the brain, we weren't expecting much, but found loads of vintage silks that are so, so luscious.  I really wish you could all feel these.  They are the reason people crazy quilted. 
That little green, red and white bit up there?  Amanda Jean hated it, so it all came home with me. Lucky me!

In other news, we will be having another quilting retreat in April!  Penny of sewtakeahike will be teaching block design and construction--if you've never checked out her blog, you're in for some serious eye candy!  I'm very excited for this one, as I always am!   I cannot emphasize just how much fun they are!

The price includes 5 meals, and all the workshops for only $250.00!  It really is such a good deal.  Rooms at the inn are available on a first come first serve basis as well. For more information, go here!  We really hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cogsmo Explorer

 Many thanks to Cluck, Cluck, Sew for giving me the impetus to make this much needed bag!  Santa brought Tade a Leapster Explorer for Christmas and I've looked for the carrying case each and every time I'm at a store that supposedly carries them.  Why hadn't I made this before I'll never know.

I got to use some of the Cogsmo by Cosmo Cricket that is one of my all time favorite prints for little boys!
He had very specific instructions on how deep the pockets should be for the games.  This means that they fall out of said pockets each and every time he zips it shut and carries it around.  He then places them back in said pockets with a measured patience.

Now if only he would take that patience and do the learning parts of the games instead of handing them to us to "find the letters" so he can get back to the "good" part--killing the bad guys.  Oh, and I'm wondering too, why did Santa get him that Dora game?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I might have a small problem....

 I just got home from visiting the oh so wonderful Amanda Jean.  I feel so blessed to call her a friend and so lucky to get to spend some quality time being crafty.  The downside is that I came home with about 25 new projects and ideas.  I dove right in on a project I'm calling the "Minis."  I think I'm going to start making everything small.  These 9-patches and lone wonky star finish at 1 1/2 "!!!!!  (the wonky star is about an inch thick with all of those seams, but it had to be done!)
 They are achingly cute.  In fact they might be making my teeth hurt.  Or that might be the large number of kolaches I've eaten since Dana at the Old Red Barn posted her recipe yesterday and I all but ran to the kitchen to get the dough rising.  So good. 
How can you not just smile when you see this?  I think there will be many more minis in my future!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ba dunk ba dunk--OR--Where to put your trash

So, the Boy--4 years old now!-- asks why I never clean my car.  I look around.  Front seat, clean.  Floors, clean enough.  Back seat, tornado of 4-year-old-ness.  And, yet, it is "my mess"

The birth of the back seat hanging trash/toy bin was imminent.  Version 1 and 4 can be viewed together in the above picture of this tutorial.  Versions 2 and 3 are in my sister and mother's cars.  My 5 year old niece informed me that I had one hour before they left in order to make them for her and  Grandma, so I stepped on it!  Nothing like a deadline!  So, if you take the time to read this and have the materials on hand, you, too, can be on the path to a clean(er) car!!

Materials:  2- 12" squares oilcloth or laminated fabric.  2- 12" squares cotton or home dec weight fabric.  2- 18" x 2" strips of fabric.

Press the 18" x 2" strips in half lengthwise, fold open and turn the raw edges to the center crease and press.  Edge-stitch around both straps. (I left the ends of the straps raw in versions 1, 2 and 3, but for the purposes of this tutorial that I'm sharing with the public, I didn't want anyone thinking me lazy, so made nice neat pointed ends on these straps!)
With  the right sides together and a 1/4" seam, stitch the sides of the outer fabric together on three sides.  Repeat with oil-cloth or laminated fabric.

To make gussets, nest the seams of the outer fabric and oil-cloth at both bottom corners, and pin in place.  Measure 2" along the seam line.  Use disappearing ink to mark the stitch line where the seam line measures 2" from the corner and the width measures 4."  Stitch along these lines on all four corners, outer and oil-cloth.
Turn outer fabric right side out and keep inner  fabric wrong side out.  I left the fabric in place after sewing the gussets to add some more stability to the bag.

On outer fabric, measure 2 1/2" toward the center from each seam and pin raw edges of straps in place.   Baste 1/8" from fabric edge
Place the outer fabric--inside-- right sides together with the bag interior.  Match seams and pin well.

Sew around top of bag interior and outer fabric with a 1/4" seam, leaving a 4" opening for turning.
Pull fabric through opening, turning right sides out.  Make sure to have some legos on hand in case you're bored by this project.

Edge stitch around top of the bag, closing opening as you go.

Lift the headrest in your car and tie around posts.  Lower the headrest to hide the ends.  Let your children play basketball with their trash and enjoy a cleaner car!