Christmas Table Topper

Last January when all the Christmas fabric was on sale I bought yardage to make two table toppers. My sister loves to bake and also enjoys sweets, so I used this Timeless Treasures fabric called Christmas Treats from their Holiday collection.
fabric in the center of her table topper and surrounded it with a Moda marble in red and a green polka dot fabric.
I used leftover red and green fabric to make a scrappy back.

Polka dot bindings always look so cute, so I used the green polka dot on this project.

I gave this to my sister for her birthday in May so that she could display it this holiday season.

Now it's time to start on the second table topper, which I am planning to make for myself. Although right now, I can't even think of what that fabric looks like.


WiP Wednesday...It's been a while

Lately I have been working on a wedding quilt for my cousin. Her wedding was about three weeks ago, and I am still not finished. I would love to show pictures of it, but Robin is nosy and would read this and see photos and then she would start hounding me more than she already has been. "Where is my quilt? When are you going to finish it? What's going on with that quilt you were supposed to give me at my bridal shower?" It just doesn't stop. ;)

This week I have been doing some sewing in the evenings and hand sewing at work, but my allergies are starting to do their thing, and I haven't been as productive as I would like to be.
I am happy to say that Sunday I will home and sewing all day. I don't have a single thing scheduled, I don't even plan to get out of my pajamas. So I will put most of my focus that day on working on Robin's wedding quilt (and getting caught up on ironing my laundry) and hopefully finishing a few other projects too.

The Austin Modern Quilt Guild is participating in a pincushion swap with some other guilds. In my closet the other day I found two blocks that were pieced using this tutorial from Completely Cauchy. I sewed the blocks together to make a pincushion and I like it. I'm not sure it will be my final pincushion to turn in for the swap, we'll see. This just needs pressing, stuffing and the bottom sewn shut.

Last Christmas my sister gave this hook rug project to my brother. She had the hook rug about half way done and told him that she would finish it and return it to him. He had the choice of having her (by which I mean me, the sibling that owns a sewing machine and knows how to sew) finish it into a wall hanging or a pillow. He chose pillow and so I helped her sew some fabric on to it this weekend while we were visiting family in Fort Worth.

hook rug skull pillow
When I reorganized my studio a few months ago, I bought this basket and decided that I can keep as many scraps that can fit in this basket but not more than that. It is starting to overflow, so I plan to make more blocks like the scrappy pincushion blocks shown above. I really like the scrappy style of those blocks, I'm planning to try to make a few monochromatic blocks to see if I like that more than the "close your eyes and grab some fabric from the basket" method I used before.

basket of scraps
When Robin and I made this quilt for our grandma, I ended up with three string pieced blocks left over. I'll decide this weekend whether to make a fourth block and sew them together into a wall hanging, table topper or pillow, or if I should make these into three potholders. I may just keep this project for myself. I hardly even finish anything that I plan to keep for me and I love these colors.

extra blocks from Grandma's quilt
I am selling at a holiday show at the end of this month, so yesterday I pulled this mess out of my closet. Some of these need binding and a partner to be pinned to, and some of them may need to be photographed for my Etsy shop. I'd like to get binding on them this weekend so that I'll have plenty of hand sewing to keep me busy at work next week.

pot holder pile
And because a person can never have enough pot holder sets to sell, I have this great vegetable fabric basted and ready to be quilted for new pot holder sets. I'll be selling these in a three piece set with a decorative kitchen towel. I bought some fruit fabric too and will get it basted after this one is quilted and cut.

new pot holder fabric ready for quilting
There are so many more projects in my studio that are half way done or almost done or waiting to be started, but these are my main focus for now.

I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced today, you can visit her site to see what other people are working on this week.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


Quilted Pillow Class, my teaching debut!

Over the last several weeks I have been preparing to teach a sewing class at the awesome north Austin fabric store, Remnants:fiber[culture]. I will be teaching a Quilted Pillow Class on October 6, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.
You can contact Jessica Sloan at Remnants for information on signing up for this class and also ask about the other classes on her schedule. The quilted pillow class costs $35 plus the cost of the supplies you'll need.

This class will help those that have a basic knowledge of sewing who are ready to delve into the quilting world. The fourteen inch pillow top is essentially a four-patch quilt block with two borders on it. Students will piece the pillow top, layer batting behind it, and then quilt it on their own machine. Then we will finish the process by sewing an envelope back on to the pillow top and the project is finished!

After completing this class, students will have the confidence and knowledge to move on to sewing a hundred more quilted pillows, or to begin a larger project like a baby quilt or quilted wall hanging.

At the beginning of September a group of my friends and family met me at Remnants to be my students in a practice class so that I could run through my curriculum and see how many hours we'll need to finish the project. I'll start by saying that this group was a chatty bunch! The class took (two hours!) longer than expected, but I know that was because most of them already knew each other and had things to discuss other than the pillows that I was teaching them to sew together.

Despite that, they were an incredible group of students and really helped me to prepare my curriculum and lecture for the class.

Jill quilted her pillow using a chevron pattern
Jenn's pillow being quilted (by me), Jenn was getting tired!
Sarah squaring up her pillow top after quilting
David with his finished pillow, he mastered the straight-line quilting
Robin's Christmas pillow
So join us at Remnants on October 6 for a fun-filled afternoon of sewing and learning new techniques!


Vacation update

My grandpa's birthday party yesterday was lots of fun, I will write more about it in my blog post about his quilt.

This morning I bought a coffee from Starbucks and then got to work cleaning my kitchen. It would be more fun to be sewing all week, but I really do need to do some Spring cleaning...and by Spring, I mean mid-July. :)

Today I got my new table for my studio. The saw horse legs are from Ikea and Robin's fiance, Pete, put those together and made the table top for me. He put laminate on the top, rounded the corners and edges, and it looks great! I had to rearrange some canvases on the walls because the table is taller than the one I had there before. I wish that I had taken some before pictures of my studio before these changes took place, but I didn't think about it until I started moving lots of things around.

new table for my fabric cutting mat
easel and painting table
mini bolts of fabric
my new table, all moved in!
I have to go get ready for my cousin's wedding now, it should be a fun night, but I am running late! I hope to post more vacation news tomorrow after I get back from the gym. We'll see how much I can Deadlift these days, wish me luck!


Let the vacation begin!

Today is the first day of my week long vacation. I originally had plans to tell no one about my vacation and stay inside my house for nine days and do nothing but sew and listen to podcasts. But that is unrealistic, isn't it?

Last night I spent some time doing some cleaning that has been on my list for months. I organized my pantry.

I can see everything that is in my pantry and get to it without knocking other things over!

I cleared off my patio and threw away the old, dried out firewood that has been sitting out there for way too long. I still need to clean my chairs and pillows and hang my bird feeders. I may get a rug to put out there, and I also thought about hanging a large screen to block some of the afternoon sunlight. I feel like the big sliding glass doors let so much heat in to the apartment, and a screen could cut back on that somewhat.

boring, empty patio

I squared up the big, heavy T-shirt quilt that I am working on for a client and cut binding strips, but have not sewn them together yet.

This morning I planned to go to the gym for their bootcamp class, but my wrist is hurting a lot. I have an old sprain that bothers me sometimes and on the Fourth of July my cousins and I played tetherball. Sometimes I get so involved in something that is a lot of fun, and I forget to be careful not to aggravate these kinds of injuries. So I have decided to wrap my wrist, skip the class, make some tea and sit down to write a short post.

I do have some fun things planned for this week:
Saturday - I am getting a manicure, then going to my grandpa's 90th birthday party in Rockne. My family is expecting over 400 people to be there for his celebration and Robin and I made a quilt to give him, we each pieced one side, similar to my grandma's birthday quilt.

sneak peak of Grandpa's quilt, blog post coming soon

Sunday - I have the morning and afternoon to sew and to work on Robin's wedding paper system (it is almost time to mail invitations out!), I need to get a few things from Ikea, and then I am headed to Texas Old Town for my cousin Judith's wedding. I am making these place mats for the wedding gift and will have them ready by the time they get back from their honeymoon.

Judith's citrus place mats

Monday - first personal training session at the nearby powerlifting and bodybuilding gym, Big Tex Gym. (did you know that I was a powerlifter in high school?) Then bootcamp at Austin Self Defense if the morning workout hasn't taken me out completely.

Tuesday - physical and donation at the plasma bank, lunch with friends, and an afternoon with my stepson Xavier. I am planning to go visit fellow local art vendors, Ian and Megan of Plaid Pigeon. They sell adorable potted plants, and they are going to put some succulents in to some pots that I have on my fireplace hearth. I also have a handyman coming over to hang some shelves in my sewing studio and try to fix my washing machine.

image by Plaid Pigeon

Wednesday - sewing! Lots of sewing planned for today, including sewing some pillow cover samples for a class that I will be teaching in August at the amazing fabric store, Remnants:fiber[culture], and then bootcamp in the evening.

I have plenty of sewing projects to keep me busy

Thursday - another plasma donation. Plasma saves lives and I am using the money that I make donating to save for a new car. More sewing, I also have things to do around the house like cleaning, organizing, sanding and staining my antique chair, updating my Etsy sites and editing photos for this blog. And there is an Austin Modern Quilt Guild meeting in the evening, we will be voting on new officers and announcing committee members.
Friday - I'd like to spend some time painting, I have so many blank canvases on the walls of my studio and it would be great to take some new work to First Thursday next month. More sewing and cleaning up around the house, in the evening I will drive up to Fort Worth to spend the weekend with my dad's side of the family.
Saturday - My aunt says we are going to the Peach Festival in Weatherford. I don't know anything more about that. Hopefully I will feel like getting some sewing done when we get back to the house.
Sunday - Sewing and visiting with the family, then driving back home in the evening to get ready for the work week.

I already know that I probably won't accomplish as much as I hope to, but I'm going to do my best. I work such long hours during the week and my commute to work is about an hour each way, so I have gotten behind in sewing projects, household tasks and my online commitments like blogging and keeping my Etsy shop updated. I'm using this vacation time to work on all of this and try to get back to a place where I feel like I am no longer drowning in my to do list.

Have a great week at work!


W.i.P. Wednesday, real progress for once

Well, I am disappointed that I haven't posted anything here in over a month. But there are tons of projects going on right now, and I will try to update you on what is happening. Today I am piecing this T-shirt quilt together. I am hoping to get it pieced and ready for quilting by this Saturday, which may mean an all-nighter Friday night.

T-shirt quilt, commission piece
I bought some Thangles and tried out my 1.25 inch template. I have a few good half square triangles, and a few that weren't lined up so well. I like the template, I just need more practice using them.

I finally cut the pieces for the two picnic blankets that I will be making for two sets of twins that I need birthday gifts for. I am using this adorable Michael Miller Backyard Baby collection. I cut out squares for the top of the blanket, and folded and put away all of my extra fabric.
I am happy to report that I finally finished ironing, folding and organizing my entire fabric stash! The only thing I have left to do is fold my larger amounts of yardage around some mini cardboard bolts that I ordered from Amazon.

I have an Etsy custom order for a pair of these pot holders. They need binding and then they will be ready to ship.

I participated in a color wheel swap with the Austin Modern Quilt Guild. I received 56 five inch squares (I think) and I decided to quarter them in to two and a half inch squares. I have four stacks of 108 squares and I will be piecing them together in to a postage stamp quilt.
There were four fabrics in the swap that I decided to remove from the layout, I replaced them with similar color fabrics from my stash.

squares for a postage stamp quilt
four fabrics removed from the color wheel swap
Over the long weekend I spent a lot of time organizing my fabric stash and my works in progress. I got this T-shirt from the Austin Modern Quilt Guild and decided to piece it in to a wall hanging for my studio. I added a border of scrappy orange fabrics that I won as part of a giveaway on Jen Carlton Bailey's blog, BettyCrockerAss.
I took a little break from cleaning and organizing to piece this top together, I added a teal border outside of the orange border, I sandwiched it with batting and an orange backing fabric. It is waiting to be quilted now.

This fabric comes from a sample quilt that I was going to make for Remnants: Fiber [Culture]. I made a mistake in the piecing and just bought the fabric from the store instead. I don't know exactly how this will turn out but I have some fabric pieced together and I will just continue in that direction.

Parson Gray, Curious Nature collection
Here is the drawstring bag that I have had sitting on my table for months and months. I am making four of them, the outside section is finally pieced for one of the bags. I found the tutorial on the amazing blog, Freshly Pieced.

drawstring Lego bag
In April I spent an afternoon visiting and sewing with two girls that I used to take care of full time. Grace decided to make a scottie dog pillow (very frustrating, I will post pictures later) and Faith decided to make this purse. We didn't finish either project in April, their attention spans don't allow them to sew for five hours and I lost my helpers to a video of Tangled. I finished Faith's purse strap over the weekend.

Buttercup Purse
inside of the bag
I am making a set of place mats to give my cousin as a wedding gift in July. I found the pattern in the Spring 2012 issue of Stitch. They are going to be round and look like slices of lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit. I have everything cut out except for half of the tear drop shapes.
citrus place mats
I am making this hounds tooth quilt as a gift for my sister's birthday. I bought the pattern from V and Co. I took a break from this quilt because I ran out of fabric and had order more of the Kona Robin's Egg online. However, this weekend, I uncovered a yard of each of these blues under a stack of stuff in my studio. I am glad to find the fabric that I originally bought so that the colors will match but I am frustrated that I bought another four yards of fabric that I don't really need. I'll use it eventually, but it also is annoying that I have so many projects going on right now that I can't keep track of where all of my supplies are.
hounds tooth quilt
Yesterday, I also made these blocks for the Austin Modern Quilt Guild block swap that is going on right now. I got behind in turning in my blocks, I am almost caught up now so that I can turn in blocks at the June meeting.

Thanks for visiting, I am linking up with the blog, Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced