Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's Giveaway Time - Heather Bostic's Blogger's Choice!

First off, I just wanted to thank everyone for the thought provoking comments left on the last post! It was really great to read your own thoughts on the subject and I was right - some agreed, some didn't, and some half-did! I've spent the past two days responding to comments via email, so unless you were a no-reply blogger or didn't leave your email, you should have received an email response back from me!

Now onto the giveaway!! Once again, the lovely folks at Fat Quarter Shop and I have teamed up to bring you a super-awesome giveaway! This time around we're giving away Heather Bostic's Blogger's Choice Fat Quarter Bundle - woot!

This particular bundle was put together by none other than the incomparable and super-awesome (and also sailor-mouthed) Heather Bostic of {House} of A La Mode fame! This bundle features six prints from Tula Pink's Nightshade, six prints from Northcott's Saville Row (Northcott is Canadian by the way in case you were wondering - woot!), and three Kona solids.

Seriously guys, I love Heather's bundle and I want it bad (to be completely truthful, I want all of the Nightshade collection too to make a really fun quilt just for myself)! I think the colour palette that Heather has gone for here is very sophisticated, but also unexpected and fun with Tula's hidden imagery.

Okay, so I guess you want to know how to enter, right? You have two chances but please be sure to leave separate comments for each entry. Here's what you've got to do:

1. Leave a comment letting my know which item (fabric, pattern, bundle, etc)
is your favourite from FQS' Coming Soon page.

2. Leave another comment if you are a follower of my blog.

That's it! Two easy-peasy ways to enter! I will close the comments in a week (on June 7th) and announce the winner here on the blog. International entries are, as always, welcome! Also, please remember that I have comment moderation enabled so if you don't see your comment right away it just means that I haven't had the chance to approve it yet (duplicate comments will be deleted).

*the giveaway is now closed*

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Little Less Pretty and a Little More Real

On Sunday, after guild, Sheila and I went out for coffee and got to talking about the seemingly high level of "pretty" and "perfect" we've been seeing in the crafty world on blogs and social media. There has always been some level of perfectionism but it seems to have hit an all-time high and I've noticed (especially on Instagram) a proliferation of perfectly placed and filtered photos. I have definitely been guilty of this myself on a few occasions, and I can't help but think that by portraying our lives as shiny and pretty all of the time that we may be doing a disservice to our community.

I know, from talking to numerous bloggers and crafty peeps, that these not-quite-true glimpses into our lives lead to feelings of inferiority and to people feeling that they don't quite measure up to what they see online - this is not a good thing. Of course, every person's blog and social media space is, just that, their own space and nobody should feel that they can't show their lives the way they want to - heck, I'm not going to start photographing the dust that accumulates on the TV for y'all. But it's not really about not showing the bad, it's about over-gilding the rest to make it prettier than it actually is. My life is incredibly un-pretty most of the time.

To honour that, I am going to share some of the not-so-pretty, but very real, in my own life.

This is my kitchen and this is where I sew. I don't have a studio or even a corner - the sewing machine and ironing board get packed away as I finish each project. There is food on the counter from Alex's mum, a mop in the corner, a phone book under the cabinet, and I use an extension cord in order to plug my machine and iron into the one outlet our kitchen has. This is just the way it is.

I cut fabric on the living room floor. I'm sure this is very bad for my back, but it's a good space. Usually I watch TV shows or movies on the TV or laptop while cutting - yesterday, while prepping a new tutorial, it was Supernatural. That there is my scrap box and it lives under the couch along with many of my tools. The giant cutting board slides in behind the couch when not being used.

The stash...yep, it ain't pretty! And yes, this is it. There's some fabric in the little wire shelf unit and in the purple canvas boxes on the floor (solids and packaging materials in one and voile, lawn, and some other miscellaneous bits in the other). And yes, that's my "design wall" curling over in the picture - I haven't used it in an age because it obviously doesn't work and should really just take that batting down (oh, and can I just mention that that's not actually batting either - it's Insul-Bright. Yep. Oy).

Yarn stash. All stashed in the den on the back of the door in an organizer designed for hanging shoes. Well, hey now, I thought this was pretty ingenious when I came up with it. There's got to be other people out there who thought of this before me though, right?

My poor ugly, ugly feet! This is why there has only been one time (that I can think of) that my feet have shown up on this blog without socks on... everybody is always taking pictures of blocks and things that have little peeks of their feet in them and I always think "cute!" but then I look at my own feet and I think "ugh". I even have a half tan across each foot right now from wearing moccasins... oh ya, that's a good look. My nail polish is kinda fun but that's about it - actually, to be utterly truthful, I still can't decide if I like that polish or not and I've been wearing it for close to a week.

I miss the community that was actually a community where people talked and became friends, where it wasn't about outdoing your neighbour, and where sharing was more than just pretty pictures. And maybe that loss of community has been what has made the "perfect" stand out even more to me now, and maybe the "perfect" is a product of our fast paced lives where we aren't necessarily reading blogs so much anymore, but are rather just looking at the pictures (and of course, this is the whole premise that Instagram is based on).

I know that there are many people who won't necessarily agree with me, people who do, and people who half-agree (I think I covered you all, haha!) but even now, having only just finished writing, I feel better for having said what was on my mind. I would really like to hear what you think whether you agree, whether your sorta-kinda-agree, or whether you think I am flat out crazy.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Little Not-At-Market Crafty Party!

Hey y'all! How's everybody doing? As you can probably tell from the title of this post, I am not at Quilt Market this year - pretty darn sad I must say, but I have been following my peeps and all their exploits online so at least I get to live vicariously though them. It's okay though, hopefully I will be back in the Fall (or next Spring at the very least).

Remember back in this post when I shared the Go Anywhere Bag I made and said that it was the second one that I had made? Well now I can finally share the first one that I made as a gift!! Hurrah!

This little bag was a birthday present for my bestie Jennifer - it was quite late in arriving since I didn't get it sent out quite as speedily as I would have liked and that was compounded by the fact that it ended up coming back to me with Jennifer's address (which I had written in permanent marker) completely rubbed off the outside of the package! So of course then it had to go out again, but it arrived this week (unscathed, thank goodness).

I used the Go Anywhere Bag pattern by Anna Graham of Noodlehead which I think is just fabulous! The two exterior fabrics are a blue chambray and a print from Patty Young's Flora & Fauna line (it just occurred to me that I bought this fabric at Crafty Planet in Minneapolis with Jennifer during my first Quilt Market). The main interior fabric is from Tula Pink's Parisville and, just like the other version, I did two pockets on the inside.

And again, just like the other one, I bound the two exterior pockets rather than using piping or simply folding over the layers and top stitching. This particular fabric is from Oliver + S' City Weekend. And yes, for anyone who might be wondering, in the first picture that is a little model of Green Gables holding up the bag *wink*!

Just this past week I was asked to join the Joy Circle for do. Good Stitches - fun! Tonight I made my very first blocks for May...

For this months blocks we followed the tutorial for Boxed Strings that Becca posted to her blog. We're not cutting them up and re-sewing them at this point though - Becca will do that once she receives them all. The idea here was to go for fun, girly fabrics that would be appropriate for a teenage girl or young woman.

I am super-excited to be participating in this bee and doing a little good for charity; I also can't wait to get to know the ladies in my circle (hey girls!), many of whom are fellow Canadians.

I also started knitting a new pair of socks! These are the Diagonal Lace Socks from Wendy D. Johnson's Socks from the Toe Up. I'm using the magic loop method and the yarn is a Harvest Gold fingering weight (superwash merino/nylon) from Aspen Moon Arts on Etsy (shop is on vacation right now while the owner moves). I've had this book sitting on my shelf for quite awhile now (quite possibly about two years) and I finally just said to myself "okay, let's do it". I've never knit socks from the toe up before but I knew even before trying it that it would be my preferred method.

Now, I must get back to my sock knitting and crying not-crying over missing quilt market! Let me know what you're up to this crafty weekend - did I mention it's also a holiday weekend in Canada? Happy (193rd) birthday Queen Victoria!

(Please ignore the giant gaps between my toes...)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Geese Have Landed!

So you remember those snaps I shared a couple of weeks ago of a new quilt I was working on? You know, before my machine decided to conk out on me? Well, now that I have my machine back, the quilt is done - woot! Wanna see?

"The Geese Have Landed" features a variety of prints from Tula Pink's Prince Charming and one from Plume, a variety of prints from Joel Dewberry including Modern Meadow and Aviary, two Patty Young prints (one from Flora & Fauna and one from Sanctuary), and four solids. Actually technically six solids if you count the background and binding fabric which is Kona Coal and the backing (which I'll get to in a sec).

This quilt was relatively simple as it features alternating lines of geese blocks (made using the no-waste method I outlined in my Geesey-McNinePatch tutorial but on a larger scale) but I think the colours and placement of the geese blocks really adds visual interest and keeps the eye moving.

Y'all know how much I adore my Tula Pink-girl and her Prince Charming collection was really the jumping off point for the selection of the fabrics for this quilt; I also love pairing her fabrics with greys (especially Coal as you've seen in Get Stacked!) as it seems to make the colours pop even more and creates a dramatic and modern effect.

The backing solid is Kona Medium Grey and I used the Champion Ribbon print from Lizzy House's Red Letter Day (which is out-of-print - so sad) to break it up and add some colour! My little label is down there too surrounded by a scrap from Prince Charming. The quilts finishes at approximately 40x40" and the batting is 100% unbleached cotton.

I used Gutermann cotton thread in a variegated green that shifts from emerald to turquoise to a mint green/white for the quilting - very pretty! I don't usually use variegated threads but I fell in love with this one at the shop and could not stop staring at it so I got it! I believe the colour is called Bahama Ocean. I did somewhat straight lines for the quilting - sort of let my walking foot do it's own thing without going crazy.

I've decided to put this little quilt up for sale in my Etsy shop! You can find the listing here: The Geese Have Landed!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

This Past Week + the Giveaway Winner!

Hello all! Well, what a week! First off I'd like to take a minute to welcome my newest sponsor Southern Fabric (you can see their button over there on the right)! Even if you're not in the market to buy any fabric right now, you should definitely check out their site - they carry some excellent fabric, the site is well planned out, and I think the design is very pretty and fun!

So this week has been quite interesting - first, there was being in Stitch Craft Create (which I talked about in my last post) and then I got my sewing machine back! Hurray!

Welcome home Genevieve - I missed you! Some of you may know Genevieve's story, but if not and if you're interested, you can read about it here. Yep, this is the little girlie that I do all my sewing and quilting on; she's not very big or fancy but she gets the job done. I would love to have a sewing machine with a bigger throat space and maybe some more bells and whistles, but I do love my Genevieve. Is it weird that I named my sewing machine? Have any of you done the same?

In honour of Genevieve's return and as a means of testing her out to make sure she was good to go, I made this little Patchwork Pencil Case from Rashida's book Zakka Style. This particular project was designed by Shannon Dreval of Petits Details. I changed the dimensions slightly to make it longer so that it could hold some DPNs - the original finished measurement is 6 3/4" long, but these DPNs are about 7 1/2" long so I elongated both the lining and longer linen piece by one inch. Aside from the natural linen, all of the fabrics are bits and pieces from Tula Pink's Parisville line - these little scraps are leftovers from a quilt I finished almost a year ago and still haven't show. Procrastinate much?

I also made Alex some cuff links using a blue gingham fabric that is one of his favourites (the same I used to make him this tie) - I believe this particular gingham is by Cranston. The tops are 1/2" wide and are the perfect size for french cuffs. I was thinking about making some of these for my shop (maybe in Liberty, more gingham, etc); what do you guys think?

So I guess you want to know who won the giveaway, right? Well, without further ado, the winner is...

Jenelle of Echinops & Aster

Congratulations Jenelle! Please send me an email with your address and FQS will get your bundle sent out. And seriously guys, you should totally go and check out Jenelle's blog - so pretty and she makes beautiful things!

Also, one last thing before I gotta go, this is the last week for Fat Quarter Idol over at Sew Mama Sew! This round will end tomorrow and the theme is My Style: Fabric - go on over and enter if you haven`t had the chance yet!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mini Quilted Trio

I've been keeping this under wraps for a little bit of the many little secret things I've mentioned... and I'm so happy that I get to share it with you now!

I have a pattern in the Summer 2012 issue of Stitch Craft Create magazine!! You may remember that I shared this little sneak peak a couple of months ago...

My pattern in the Mini Quilted Trio, a series of three mini quilts that each use the same number of pieces and techniques to form three different traditional quilt blocks framed with a log-cabin style border.

These three mini quilts include instructions for making the traditional Snowball, Shoo Fly, and Friendship Star blocks. I made these minis using Kate Spain's Terrain and white Kona, and each mini finishes at 12" square. But wait (!!!) maybe they don't have to be displayed in a mini quilt gallery... maybe there are other options...

The awesome crew over at SCC (and trust me, they're a pretty rad bunch) decided to showcase the minis in a few different ways - placemats anyone? Pretty chair covers? The minis are actually featured throughout the magazine in a variety of different settings and uses.

But enough about me, because the magazine itself and the projects in it are all pretty and oh so delightful! And yes, I would say that even if I wasn't in it! When the magazines arrived at my house I was on the phone with my mum and just kept exclaiming how pretty the whole magazine was. I don't think my photographs do it justice at all. There are some really fun projects that I will definitely be trying out - yarn dying? I can do that! - and I wish that I had the time to complete them all because I really think they all look awesome. See that pillow up there? It's designed by none other than the super-talented Corey of Little Miss Shabby - if you haven't visited her blog, which I'm sure a lot of you have, I'm sure you've seen her beautiful quilts and amazing Ringo Pie blocks all over the interwebs.

The magazine will be hitting the newsstands on May 8th, but I just couldn't wait to share it with y'all (dudes, I've already been sitting on this for a few days). I hope that you take the chance to peruse the magazine and find it as pretty and delightful as I do. And if by chance you decide to make some minis using my pattern, I hope that you'll share them with me either via email or in my Flickr group.

Now, let's see, do I have any neutral yarn hanging around that I could try dying? Hmmmm...