Friday, April 18, 2014

Thinking Out Loud (Again)

I've been thinking about my machine set up lately. Toying with the idea of trading one of my machines in for a 16" sit-down "longarm" (or is that technically a mid-arm?). Just tweaking a wild hair that I've got. Right now I'm in the research phase. I've joined a knowledge-based yahoo group for the models I'm investigating (just lurking), and have an active thread going on Reddit.

Toying with either the Babylock Tiara or the HQ Sweet Sixteen. Both are basically the same machine. They are tabletop quilter versions of longarm machines. They have a 16" neck and and you work with them facing the front of the machine (leaving the sides open for moving the quilt around). You sit down and use them (versus standing up with a longarm).

What I'm thinking about is trading in Tim Gunn Quattro (my big machine) for this with the hopes I can also qualify for a little credit toward a small classroom machine.

(no decisions yet, just thinking out loud!)

On a side note, Yesterday I went to a local fabric chain's discussion on Modern Quilting. The lecture leader did an awesome job of presenting several wonderful modern projects. She went over some tools and patterns, as well as discussed what makes a quilt "modern." It was a lot of fun!

Here I am with two rows done!

I happened to meet someone working on the very same english paper piecing project I'm working on -- the Diamonds in the Sky project. (Hello!) I'm a bit farther along than she is, but I want to give her hope that this can be done.

Leslie (if I remember correctly?), I take it with me whenever I have to wait somewhere. In fact, right now It's sitting in the back seat of my car. How's that for ready? I need to get back to it, as I had a six row goal by easter. I think I just started my fifth or sixth row -- can't remember which.

I had an order in through a friend for three more bolts of the American Made Brand fabric. I now have an awesome assortment of neutral backgrounds -- White, Cream, Light Cream, Black, Light Gray, and Light Khaki. I need to cut my chunk of light gray for the Aviatrix project, then I'll have that kit ready to go. She also took orders for five-yard and ten-yard cuts of the colors. I have several other colors on order in 5-yard cuts. This way I'll have tons of beautiful solids on hand .

Today I stopped by the local shop, Gathering Fabric in Woodinville, and Susan the owner was telling me about a fabric swap she's hosting for Quiltmania Issue 100's "Steampunk" quilt. I signed up for that. The issue contains the popular steampunk curved block designed by Jen Kingwell. Love the block. Curved piecing scares me and I think this will be a good way to get some practice in. And a fabric swap? That will make the quilt fun and scrappy!

By the way, I looooove Quiltmania magazine. It is pure 100% unadulterated quilt porn! The projects in this magazine are not for the faint at heart, but it are so beautifully presented. I would say that this magazine caters to a more intermediate crowd. This is a very yummy, high-quality publication! I have several issues of this magazine, and yes, Issue 100 did make it home with me. (grin)

I need to spend sometime in my studio tonight cleaning things up, straightening my stash. It's a creative storm (sounds better than a mess) in there.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Schmonday

I'm really trying to make an attempt to work on my projects each day. Today I spent some time in the studio pulling fabric for yet another quilt project. I'm excited about this one as it's an online quilt along. The quilt is the Aviatrix Quilt by Elizabeth over at Oh, Fransson! If you would like to join along, you can purchase the pattern here.

I'm still waiting for some gray fabric to come in, but these are the prints I will be using. I'm loving this pattern as it's VERY fat quarter friendly. Plus, it's an awesome stash-buster (25 FQs!) I decided to go the print route to use up my stash and have some fun with it. And it's Spring. I need an infusion of color!!!!!!

I also spent some time cutting and ironing some scraps I was given for the Civil Unrest project. I got a handful of wrinkly stuff that required some pressing and cutting. While it wasn't sewing, it was constructive activity.

Then I headed off to Target to look around. Bad move. I came home with a wallet, two maxi skirts, a very light cardigan and three tank tees. Great for the spring/summer season! A lipstick (Revlon lip butter in Berry Smoothie -- love it!) and skin stuff (Loreal Miracle Blur skin smoother) also jumped into my cart, along with a foundation brush and brush container. Bad girl.

Feeling guilty I decided to take the rest of the sunny day and clean out the garage. Got one side done.  I feel accomplished, but still guilty about the Target thing.

And then I have this huge craving for a chocolate marshamallow Easter Bunny. What's a girl to do?

I guess will do some work tonight to counteract my craving... LOL. Busy hands don't have time to eat. Plus I have a jar of spiced jelly beans in the studio (brain food?). That's my story and I'm sticking to it. LOL!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fabric Friday

Let's face it. We all love fabric. If there's one thing I learned, is that when you see a print fabric you like, buy it. Things sell out quickly and fabric lines usually don't get re-released. 

Things are humming along behind the scenes here. I am up to fifteen of those flying geese units completed. That means I have nine more to go. I'm so glad I chose to paper-piece those.

Last night I had a guild committee meeting and I picked up the backing for Civil Unrest (Traditional) for $1. That's the perk for being on the committee that handles the guild's flea market bin! I just picked two random one-yard cuts and will decide from there which one I'll use. It's a backing, after all. I could honestly care less about the back (I know... bad girl!). Both are red traditional prints, so it'll be a toss-up.

I also scored these cute country french prints from the guild flea market bin. These prints will be perfect for some hot pads. Dontcha think? Love the paisleys and the roosters! This was 50 cents. Love that!

And we won't say what I bought at Gathering Fabric in Woodinville today when I paid them a visit. I went a little crazy with some one one-yard cuts. Love thsoe bias plaids! These prints are soooo stashable! Aren't they yummy? I know, I know... That resolution is down the drain! I also bought two Quiltmania magazines to read drool over this weekend. This part of the purchase will be our secret, okay?

Oh, and the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild is participating in the Michael Miller Modern Challenge. Time to put on my modern hat and design a project using these beauties (thanks to the folks at Michael Miller!). I know that my friend Lisa over at My Modern Quilt Shop some of this line in her shop. So if you are doing the challenge and need more, check with her!

I ran into a friend/guildmate at the Gathering Fabric. She and I both happened to stop in at the same time. (Great minds think alike) She's getting ready to head out on a life adventure. She's had a rough couple of years. She has an opportunity to get away for a while on the other side of the US and stay with family. I'm excited for her and proud that she's taking this step. It's a huge leap of faith. Please keep her in your thoughts next week as she prepares to leave. I'm sad that I'll miss a new friend, but doubly excited about her new adventure. It's like I told her today, "Just plug your nose, dive on in, and enjoy the waters..."

I also may have signed up for two shop hops trips coming up. I'm a shop hop virgin. I'll be going for the camaraderie... I won't buy anything... (please step aside in case I get struck by lightning! LOL!) We know that's a lie...

Next week is meeting free (I think). So that means a lot of catching up on my audio book, podcast list, and sewing.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

More Makeup/Color Play

My box from E.L.F. (Eyes Lips Face) came in early. So this means more color play. I purchased some multiples of certain items (brushes, mascaras, BB creams) so I could have backstock and stretch the 50% discount. I figure it doesn't hurt! This should last me until the end of the year.

All you see above I got for about $50!  -- four mascaras, two BBcreams (everyday wear -- like a tinted moisturizer SPF20), four lipcolors, three eye pencils, two highlighting powders, one shadow palette, two pressed mattifying powders, one loose powder, one eye makeup remover pen, four lip brushes and three specialty face brushes, one concealer, and one liquid blush (I confess -- I bought this blush for fun).

And of course I had to swatch my colors. I haven't swatched the eyeshadow palette yet. It's called Seattle. Love the cool colors. It's the perfect counterpoint to the warm colors of the California palette I already have.

Colors L to R: (top) HD Blush in Superstar. Second row: Waterproof Eye Crayon in Pitch black, brown, navy. Mineral lipstick in Runway Pink, Cool Coral, and Rosy Tan (I didn't swatch the other lipcolor. It was a duplicate fro one I already had). Baked Highlighter in Pink Diamonds.

I wore the runway pink lipstick this evening. It's a good neutral pink nudish color (on my lips). I have darker lips to begin with, so this showed up less intense on my lips than it does on my hand. My hands/inner wrist are pale compared to my face.

I'm totally crushing on the superstar liquid blush on the top portion of my hand swatches. I'm iffy about that on my face, but I can see it as an awesome fabric color to play with! It's the perfect shade of coral -- not too orange, but not too pink. The color is really really strong, but I love it. If out of all I bought, that would be the only goof. But I like it and will try to work in some way. I kinda figured it would be going into it. I was just curious to see how the product worked and I loved the color.

I need to find some fabric in that color...

You can tell the lip colors are about the same intensity... but if you biggify the photo above you can see minute differences in the tones. The one on the far left (Runway Pink) is less orange than the one in the center (Cool Coral). And the one on the far right (Rosy Tan) is a slightly tan version of the color on the far left (Runway Pink) but has the most similar value to the center one (Cool Coral). But... if you put all three together and see them from a distance, they would honestly all read the same basic shade. It's the subtleties of color that is so interesting.

It's like playing with color... be it paint... fabric... or makeup!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Civil Unrest --Traditional Version Progress Report

I've been busy paper-piecing the square in a square blocks. Got those completed. Now I'm on the flying geese units. I am so glad I decided on this piecing method for the flying geese. I've got a little factory going on. Love it when I find my rhythm! I'm almost halfway through.

I have to admit, this pattern looks like a lot of work, but it goes by quickly once you get into it. I will soon have a top ready to show... So excited!

I also made progress on the Emma quilt. I have the top done, but need to piece the back. I bought the backing yesterday. And just my luck I had a $15 store loyalty credit to use. Yay for that! I found a cool quilting idea on Pinterest. Going to straight line quilt the blocks as if they were set "on point". I think it will make this quilt sing. Then I will ship this off to my friend. It's a surprise. :)

I did not edit the above photo so you know I'm a real person. My studio isn't always neat and tidy. This is what my creative storm looks like. Lol!

Off to lunch with a friend. She's been home bound with a long arm, furiously quilting a fellow guild member's quilt for the show in two weeks.  She's finally on the home stretch and can relax.

So it's been a productive, yet busy couple of weeks here in my studio.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Playing With Color/Color Inspirations

Huby thinks I have a new  boyfriend. I've been wearing makeup lately. No worries, there is no boyfriend here, other than my sweet hubby. LOL!

After a long no/minimal makeup kick, color has come back in my life. I'm excited. I found a wonderful inexpensive line (E.L.F. -- Eyes Lips Face) that allows me to experiment and play. If I buy something that isn't right, into the trash it goes. No guilt. Their typical price points are $1, $3, and $6. And when their online store has a 50% off sale, that means quite a haul for the price of department store makeup. I priced an eyeshadow palette and it was $50! The stuff I bought above came to $39. Out of that one item got thrown away. And only because my sink top space is vvaluable real estate. Otherwise I would have kept it and found a different use. It was a mositruising stick-shaped foundation. It was a bit too much for my somewhat oily skin. No biggie.

That little black square palette by the nail polish? It has eye shadow, blush/bronzer, lipcolor. I love it's compact size. It's no bigger than my iPhone 5c. Perfect for the purse. 22 colors for $10 regular price. $5 at 50% off. Can't beat that!

The surprise was that California baked eyeshadow palette (the one with the round eyeshadows). Becuase I'm in my 50s I try to avoid shimmery makeup. But I gotta admit, those shadows were pretty tame. I love the ability to build color and shine. $10/$5 on sale. Woo hoo! I bought the Seattle one in my next order.

And I adore their ELF Studio SPF 20 BB cream. Good for everyday use. Use the mineral primer underneath, and it works like a sheer foundation. Now I was skeptical about primers. Why would I need to put on primer. Boom. Sold! It works well.

I'm excited. I have another order coming this week. Took advanatge of a surprise 50% off code. This allowed me to stock up on favorites (the BB Cream, baked eyeshadow palette, lip gloss pencil, waterproof mascara, mattifying powder, and assorted brushes) and buy some new items (highlighter, HD powder, HD blush, and lipsticks). I

By the way, I love thier brushes -- $3 each. All of my old (20+ year old) brushes got pitched. I dashed to Target to get me some more of the brushes. (yes, this line sells in Target stores, but depending on your location you get more selection online).

My favorite lip color so far? The pink umbrellas ELF jumbo lip gloss pencil. For me, it's the perfect nude with just a hint of pink. Just enough color.

Speaking of color... It's Spring. So I decided to play with some fabric stacks. I pulled these from my stash.

The first stash stack reminds me of the Japanese plum trees in bloom. The gorgeous purples pinks and hints of yellow orange (leaves, petals, stamens) accented by the light green leaves of other surrounding trees.

The other stack reminds me of daffodils. The yellow-oranges of the flowers with the green stems and leaves. It could also be tulips without the reds.

What inspirations can you pull from your stash?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Liberated Log Cabins -- Gwen Marston, Part II

Here are a few more of Gwen's colorful and playful quilts. I love the artistry and precision she imparts in her designs. They are very deliberate. She just doesn't go about this willy-nilly, but you can tell it's very thoughtful and careful (like the placement of the black in this quilt).

I love the fact that she works in a series, taking certain themes or shapes and doing them over and over. Some quilters would probably nod and say, "Well, I can do that..." I'll challenge them. It's quite difficult to do what she does.

Then came the moment of truth. My turn to liberate log cabin blocks. Let the games begin!

First off, I brought my giant blue IKEA bag of scraps. I keep this bag under my cutting table. Usable scraps go in there. I also had a bin full of solids and near-solids that I dumped into the bag. Most of them were  Bolt end cut scraps and odd Kona solid FQs.

My first block was from some leftover scraps of Connecting Threads fabric I bought at their gigantic warehouse sale years ago. These were generous 6-9" cuts of full-width fabric. I liked the dusty, muted tones. And I decided to make that block a single sketch. And what better fabric to frame my sketch in than Timeless Treasure's Sketch fabric.*

This piece will be hand quilted and bound using an Amish binding method that Gwen Marston Taught us. I liked the simple flat look of the binding, and want it mesh well with the simplicity of the quilt sample sketch.
* Side note: I am now hoarding the TT Sketch fabric as it is now out of print. I found some online -- buying 5 yards-- and I will be hoarding this stuff forever! It's one of my all-time favorite fabrics! It's up there with the ledger print fabric I hoard from another designer. This is just such a versatile print. It plays well with others. 

Anyway, I digress. I had some big chunks of the TT Sketch leftover from my camera quilt in the scrap bag, so I played with that, some bright solids and itty bitty chunks of Kaffe Fasset Collective fabrics. It took me the rest of the afternoon to make these four blocks. In fact, I was furiously finishing the last one when the class was over. I plan to put these four blocks into another small wall-hanging and possibly hand quilt this as well. Small projects like this will help me learn the hand quilting process. I chose the Sketch print fabric, the red, and the purple fabrics to be my constant unifier of the four blocks. I wanted to play with shape in the center areas, while also exploring angles and thick/thin lines.

I also was lucky enough to get my previously purchased copy of Liberated Quiltmaking II autographed! Now it's a treasure!

My biggest takeaway was the quilted sketch idea. How clever! It's a great way to preview techniques and fabrics. That totally appeals to my "orderly, risk-adverse" brain. Plus, it allows freedom in a smaller space. I love it when I get ideas like that. The sketch idea and seeing it in person was definitely worth the class fee alone.

Again, huge thanks to Quilted Strait for offering this class (and for those yummy FQs!), and big huge thanks to Gwen Marston for the ass kicking! I needed that! :)