Saturday, July 31, 2010

Christmas Gifts

Hey, everybody.  I know it's just July, but it's almost August.  And I need to start thinking pretty seriously about Christmas time.

I like to make stuff for the people in my life.  I have a lot of family.  Mom, step-dad, Dad, step mom, mother-in-law, father-in-law, 2 sisters and their spouses, my husband's brother and his wife, 2 nephews, 4 nieces, an aunt, uncle, cousin and her hubby that I (usually) make gifts for, along with my sweet husband (he's harder to make stuff for because there's nothing he needs) and my two sugar booger sons, Wyatt and Owen.

Usually, I have something in mind and have started by now.

This year:  Not so much.  I do like some ornaments I saw on Flickr (not going to link to them because my people may read this and it'd spoil the surprise)...  And I got vintage sheet FQ's to make quilts out of, but that's not going so quickly...  Might need to step up efforts...

But I don't really know quite what I want to make just yet.

What will I make?

Potholders?  Probably so.
Ornaments?  Mmhmm.

What would the guys want/need???

Fabric covered moleskins?  I think my hubby would prefer his plain.

Iphone cases?  I think everyone just keeps em in their pockets or in holsters...

Scarves?  Most of my family lives in the south.  The rest of them either know how to knit their own scarves or they have a bunch already or they are usually hot, even in the dead of winter.  Same goes for hats...

So...  I'm stumped.  Any ideas???

Friday, July 30, 2010

I Need a Quilting Retreat

Ever wanna just get away?

Me too.

Only I don't want to leave my house.  I want everyone else to leave my house. :)

You see, my attic is my sanctuary and all of my sewing stuff is up there.  All of it (that's a lot).

And if I went away, I'd want to take it with me so that I could get some quilting therapy time in.

And if I had to take it with me, I'd have to lug it down 2 flights of stairs.

No thanks.

Just give me room service, occasional potty breaks and some bottles of wine.

With just one weekend, I could crank out some SERIOUS quilts...


A girl can dream, right?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Top Secret No More

I suck at surprises.  Cannot contain myself.  Must share.

Here's what I've been working on....

For my quilting bee, the KC Scrappy Bee, this month Andrea asked for blocks to be made into pluses and minuses.  Here's a link to a quilt similar to what she was asking for.  I saw on this quilt that they threw in some equals signs here and there and that got me to thinking...

So I very carefully cut into the fabric she gave me.  I pulled aside enough to make seven 1 inch hexagons out of her focus fabric (the polka dotted fabric).  Then I made two blocks for her.  One is a plus sign.  I used some pieces of polka dotted fabric from my charm pack stash to go with it.  I added a border to make it 12 1/2 inches, too.  Here's a picture of that one:

And since I was planning on making a division sign, I thought I'd better make a multiplication sign, too...  I used this asterisk tutorial to get an x... I just didn't keep chopping and re-sewing...  And I added a border to give it a little more color.  Here's that one:

Technically, we're only required to make one block, but several people made me two blocks and I was so excited to get extras so I thought I'd pass on the love.  This fabric was really fun and I'm anxious to see what everybody else comes up with.  So glad to be part of such a great and talented group!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Not That You Asked, But...

I know what you're thinking.

"Nikki's not blogged lately!  What could she be up to?!?"

I am doing something top secret.  For Andrea, my bee buddy.  Tonight, I thought I was almost finished, but I did some quick measurements and I decided I needed to do a little more to make it just right.  Stay tuned...  I promise I'll show pictures, but not until after I give it to Andrea.

Can't even give you any clues.  Sorry!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

KC Scrappy Bee's June's Quilt Of Valor

I still need to piece these blocks together, but this is what it will look like. I'll add a border & use the red for the backing. Will keep you all posted on this one & we can be sure to get a picture of the recipient when it's finished.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Quilt of Valor for Clyde

I wanted to share an experience I recently had in awarding a Quilt of Valor to a local Korean War Veteran.  It was Clyde's 80th birthday, so I surprised him at his party and presented a Quilt of Valor to him in front of all of his family and friends.  Clyde has helped us in raising funds locally for our Quilts of Valor efforts.  This quilt was pieced by Marcella McNeil and was quilted by Peggy Skaith.

UFO Time

Right before Owen was born (a little over 2 years ago), Patrick and I went on a little babymoon to Excelsior Springs, MO to get away for a couple of days and relax before baby #2 arrived.  We left Wyatt with his grandparents and had some nice quality time relaxing.

While we were there, we stopped in their local quilt shop and Patrick picked out fabric to make a quilt for the boys.  My original thought would be that we'd put it in our basement in the "media room" but that room doesn't exist yet.  It's there, but it is more of a catch all room at the moment.

So my new thought is that it would look nice in the living room.  I haven't touched it in at least 1 1/2 years. The fabric is REALLY nice and it's crazy how soft it is.  Texture is a big deal to me.  I've been cranking up the air conditioner because it's so hot outside, but when you sit on my couch, you get very cold.  Too many vents in that part of the room.  This quilt will be the solution to my problem!

I got it out yesterday and I worked for about 4 hours total on it.  Here's where I was before I started...

Hopefully tonight I can squeeze some quilting time in and afterwards I'll show you how far I've gotten.

Vintage Sheet Fat Quarters

My friends, my friends!  Look what arrived on my birthday!!!!!!!

Aren't they glorious!?!?!?!?!?

How will I ever be able to chop them up????

I will have to love on them for a while first...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Why Do You Blog?

I've been thinking a bit lately about why people blog.

Particularly, why crafty people blog.

The past few months, I've started following more and more quilty bloggers and I think they fall into 4 overlapping categories.

1.  The Communicators:  The biggest category seems to be those people with a desire to communicate with (and vent to) the outside world.  Most of us want a place where we can let our hair down and just be honest.  We want to have adult interaction with people who have similar passions and interests.

2.  The Tutorialists:  I totally just made that word up.  This category of crafters tends to want to spread their knowledge in detail by telling step-by-step how they made something.  They want to give tips and they want others to learn from their experiences.  Some tutorialists want recognition for their creativity while others seem to want followers and fans.

3.  The Documenters:  These people want to keep a visual record of their creativity.

4.  The Sellers:  These are the ones that want to promote their Etsy shops or themselves so that they can make cash by selling or speaking to support their fabric addictions.

I fit into category 1 and category 3.  Not so much category 2 or 4.  Sometimes people tell me that I should make a tutorial of this or that.  That's nice and all, but I'd imagine it'd take some time to document how I do things step-by-step.  That would take time away from sewing.  For me, another reason I'm not so keen about making tutorials or being specific about how I do things is because part of the fun of making things is to be innovative:  to be inspired and to make something your own.  I don't have enough time to make stuff to sell, much less time to go around giving lectures and stuff.  Time.  There's never enough time.

What category do you fit into, oh, fellow bloggers?  Have I left any categories out?  Talk to me, people... talk to me...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

After Reorganization

Originally uploaded by nkiblueeyes
I still have to add more fabric to this collection. Most of my stash is currently sorted into big bags by color, but this is a start.

Before Reorganization

Before Reorganization
Originally uploaded by nkiblueeyes
What a mess. Trying to be organized is a lifelong battle for me. This is the most tidy part of my attic, but that will soon change.

I'm going to organize my stash by color. Stay tuned...

Reorganizing My Fabric

A few months ago, I got this brilliant idea when making my red quilt shown below to sort my fabric scraps by color and put them into bags.  Not only did I sort the scraps, but I put fat quarters and some yardage in those big bags, too.

My logic was that I would make scrappy quilts like this with all of those sorted scraps.  One for each color. This was flawed logic, my friends.  I'm not going to drop everything to do that...  I'm starting to get burned out on this big red one.  It's not likely that I'll start another one in the near future... Might make a blue one to be the backing for this but I'm not sure yet...

So it's time to re-think the way I display my fabric.  

A friend recently de-stashed and I was the lucky one to get her fabric.  I use a lot of it to make Quilts of Valor, but I also have her permission to use it for quilts for myself.  She is big into color, so all of it was organized by color.  Not just all the reds together, but the shades of red went from lightest to darkest.  I love the look of that.  I didn't have enough shelving in the area where I keep my fabric to make this a permanent thing, so it's all mixed up now.  

I need to move the write on/wipe off board I have mounted in my sewing room and then take a shelf out of the closet to put next to the one shelf that's already in there.  Might not be quite enough shelving, but it's a start.

Someday (maybe this winter), I'd like to make myself (or have my father-in-law help me) an entire wall of shelving and a built in table for cutting, etc.  My vision involves baskets made of fabric with nice and neat embroidered labels for what's inside each one.  Some of those baskets will be overflowing with balls of exotic yarn (because I buy them and never take the time to knit) and others will have neat stacks of charm square collections or fat quarter bundles reserved for particular projects.  In fact, I think every work in progress should have it's own fabric basket, don't you?

A girl can dream.

For now, it's a BIG mess.  I am having company in about a week, so I need to make it (along with the rest of my house) a little more presentable.  I cannot function well in there, either.  Am always stepping over things, searching for things (2 yards of new kona snow fabric is lost in the mix) and I have a hard time putting things away.

Luckily, I'm the only person who ever darkens the doorway, so I don't mind living in it so badly.  I just know that I'd be happier if my space was more functional.

So for now, I'm going to put off working on my fabulous quilt from my KC Scrappy Bee (sad face) and hopefully I'll be able to make some serious progress in moving furniture and sorting my stash.  

Next on the agenda will be making blocks for Andrea.  Pluses and minuses.  I played around with some fun stuff today, exploring my options.  I bought 3 different blue solids, but will likely use those sparingly.  I have some REALLY nice and fun prints that scream her name.  

Maybe I'll do a before and after picture.  It's pretty bad, though.  I must warn you...

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A Block from Jessica

Nikki's Block
Originally uploaded by The Sewbot
Look at this, people. HOW awesome is this?!?

I've never seen anything like it!

And Jessica made it for ME!

Thank you thank you thank you!

So excited. For real.

A Confession

I've recently posted some pictures of my works in progress on my blog here.

However, I must confess that I have MANY more WIPs...  Many.

I really should get pictures of each of them and keep a visual list on my blog so that I am more motivated to finish some things.  Maybe you can be my accountability partner, Internet.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that it's a bad thing to have multiple projects going at once.  It suits me.  I get bored easily, so I need to have many options when I get ready to sew.

At any given time, I could finish a project over the course of a weekend.

I always feel freedom to buy more fabric to increase my stash.

I also buy fabric with future projects in mind.

Lately, I've had this insane compulsion.  This need to get ALL of these ideas in my head out and make them reality.  As a result, I sleep very little and I start new projects very often.  Tonight, for example, I was cutting some of my vintage sheets for one project when it occurred to me that I should cut 12 1/2 inch squares apart so that I could begin sewing them together for a king sized quilt for my bed. So naturally, I got busy starting another project.

Honestly, I don't have a count of how many projects I have going.  I think it'd be a good idea to get a list, though.  My goal in the short term is to take a picture of each of my projects and print it out.  I'll post these pictures on the dry erase board in my sewing room as a visual reminder of what my options are when I go upstairs to sew.  Perhaps if I do that, I'll be able to mark off some projects from my list more quickly.

How many works in progress do you typically have?  Come on, Internet.  If you read my blog, interact with me a bit.  Sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself.  Comment please! :) Thanks in advance!

Vintage Sheet Quilt

This quilt top is FINISHED!  I am so excited, people.  These half square triangles are made in part with vintage sheets and pillowcases.  I'm entering this quilt in my Blue Valley Quilters' Guild's Quilt show because we've been challenged to make an entry by using something recycled and green.  What do you think?  I'll back it with more of the blue fabric and I have some nice bamboo/cotton blend batting to use with it as well.

Starlight Linus Quilts

Here are two quilts that I'm working on for the Starlight Quilt Guild.  Each member is supposed to try to make 3 Linus quilts per year.  I already made one out of part of a 30's jelly roll and turned it in.  I'm planning on quilting these myself for practice.  These were kits that the guild provided.

Denim Sleeping Bag for the Homeless

I have a lot of projects in the works, so I've been trying very hard to finish up some things the past few days.

One of the things that was on the TOP of my list was to put together these denim squares.  Starlight Quilt Guild is doing a charity project for local homeless people.  We're planning on making denim sleeping bags.  At our last meeting, I got a bag of 48 squares.  They're about 9 inches.  From what I understand, they'll sandwich these with some warm fabric and tie them.  They'll also make ties along the sides to cinch it up like a sleeping bag.  I was told to not make this fancy or pretty because that would increase the likelihood of the sleeping bag being stolen.  I have to say that this is one of the most rewarding projects I've ever done.  It gets CRAZY cold here in the winter.  I am delighted to make something that will be such a comfort to someone in the bitter winter.  I hope they are touched by this gift and I hope it is a reminder to them that they are valued and that people truly do care.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Nikki's KC Scrappy Bee Quilt for July

Kc scrappy bee July
Originally uploaded by nkiblueeyes
Carla suggested a gray fabric in between these blocks might make the color pop. This picture isn't a very good one. The gray is nice with them, but I'm thinking I might get Paula to teach me how to make those circles... Then I could put a circle of my green/blue gingham fabric in the center of each gray square to jazz it up a bit. Could use different sized circles even. Must think on this. Opinions?

Asian Fans

Asian Fans
Originally uploaded by nkiblueeyes
I'm anxious to get back to this Asian fan quilt. I need to buy fabric to do the next step, so I haven't worked on it in a long while. I want to buy black for the outside part of the fan and I'm not sure exactly what color I want to use for the inside part of the fan. I have some great fabric for the backing and charm squares to make a fun border. Just needing to make some decisions on colors, shop and get serious.

Wyatt's Yellow Brick Road B & W

This will be a queen sized yellow brick road for Wyatt. It's made of a gazillion black and white fabrics and it needs one more outer border (next to the fat white border on the right of the screen.

I was thinking I would piece his name into the border whimsically, but I'm not sure if I want to go to that much trouble.

I also will have to buy some backing. Cha-Ching... And pay someone to quilt it. Cha-Ching.

That's why it's unfinished.

Charm Squares for an Upcoming Exchange

I'm ready for the Starlight Quilt Guild's Batik charm square exchange

Friday, July 02, 2010

Cutting Charm Squares

I'm working on cutting four sets of 82 charm squares (5 inch) for an upcoming exchange.  That's a lot of cutting.

Batiks. :)  LOVE em...

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Garden Quilt

Nikki's quilt
Originally uploaded by emptybobbin
This is the last quilt that I finished for myself. I paid a quilter (Marthe Cox) to quilt for me and she did an amazing job. It's made of 2 jelly rolls and some extra for borders/backing. The fabric is made by Moda.

Linus Quilt

Nikki's quilt
Originally uploaded by emptybobbin
Here's a nice picture of a quilt I made for the Linus Project. Just used part of a jelly roll. :)

Vintage Sheet Grocery Bag

Vintage sheet grocery bag
Originally uploaded by nkiblueeyes
Just threw this together tonight. Lined it with a pillowcase that I wasn't very fond of and it's nice and lightweight, but strong because I reinforced the handles. I plan on making a dozen or so because I can never find my reusable grocery totes. These are bigger and more substantial, yet still lightweight and completely washable, plus they'll all be a uniform size.

Downy Charity Top

Downy charity top
Originally uploaded by nkiblueeyes
Got this top together tonight. It's for the Quilts for Kids program that Downy sponsors. I'll need to get some batting together and quilt it. This will be a quilting experiment, as I have a new darning foot for my machine to learn to use. I used it once to try to quilt a very small wall hanging and was so disappointed in the tension of the bobbin. I'll have to really work with it on some scraps (sandwiched) to get it right before I can dive in.

I'd like to quilt 3 or 4 baby quilts & small throws in a row. I'm trying to finish up some tops that I've been piecing so that I can get serious about quilting. Admittedly, quilting is not something I particularly enjoy. This is probably because I haven't done it much and I'm not very good about it. Someday I'll probably get a longarm quilting machine, but the funds aren't available right now. I have room in my attic if I get rid of the daybed that is up there. But for now, I will be quilting on my Singer. At least I bought the model that says, "Confidence Quilter". Ha!