Friday, February 27, 2015

paper pieced heart - february appreciation gift

this is the post that was actually supposed to happen last week, but instead i got everything mixed up, posted the beauty & the beast pillow set and then straight up forgot to post this.  so anyways, a week later, here it is!
since february has valentine's day in it, i went with a simple heart paper pieced patter that i found on craftsy.  using the scraps from the pillow set you saw last week, it all came together with essentially not having to buy a single thing for it!  i only state that, because it was intended by our program director to not spend any money, but if we had to, aim for $5 or less.  i alternated the reds to be light and dark to make it look a little more dimensional.
originally i intended to just use something from my stash for the back as well, but when i saw this crayon fabric, i thought it would be perfect.  i stitched in the ditch for the quilting, and i super like how it looks on the back as well :)
this is more than likely the easiest paper pieced pattern i have done yet.  i would absolutely recommend it to anyone who is thinking about trying paper piecing, or just wants a really cool looking heart block :)  even better, it was free!
heart pattern on craftsy: click here

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

tale as old as time - beauty and the beast themed pillow set

when lisa started to jump in to the instagram swap game, it wasn't until too late in the game that the disney mini quilt swap was discovered.  such a shame.  i've joined and even organized a few disney swaps on craftster, and they're always a favorite topic to craft for.  so instead, i sat on the outside, checking the hashtag every so often, and oogling at all the disney quilt goodness.  on a random day, i cruised over to craftster and looked at the swap angel board just to see if anything looked fun.  and there it was, disney swap round 12 needed someone!  after a day-ish of thinking on it, i committed to the job and awaited to hear from the gal i'd be sewing for.  then, i found out she had been waiting since AUGUST... yikes!  they wanted a project sent out within two weeks, with a "large" item being one of the items (large = 3 hours or so to make).  my vision was born, and the ball was rolling.  she wanted something for her new house that wasn't cheesy disney.  i hit up fandom in stitches, found the perfect paper pieced patterns, and had kinkos blow them up 240%.  the next day, i bought my fabric, and two days later, i was spending my entire day paper piecing.
one of her favorite movies listed was "beauty and the beast" so i selected chip as well as the enchanted rose to turn in to pillow slip covers.  originally i was set on them being 12", but the smallest square pillow form i could find was 14" so i added a slight border to it.  on sunday i did BOTH of the entire blocks, start to finish, and prepared myself to get ready to do the quilting/sandwiching on monday.  i found that i didn't have any blue thread so i had to run to joann's that night (bummer) and then knocked out the remains of the quilting on both as well as the "envelope" portion of it.
i found a few tutorials on pinterest that described how to make these types of pillow covers.  my grandma had made them for years for my mom & aunt for christmas, so it was a good visual to take a peek at an actual one as well.  the ink used by kinko's was something awful, and left black marks all over the lightest pieces of each block.  so frustrating.  but after a date with a specific stain fighter for ink and a spin in the wash, they were good to go.  packed them up, and then they were shipped out on saturday.  less than a week start to finish, not too shabby!
she initially mentioned that she liked the enchanted rose as a good representation for beauty and the beast, and i have to agree!  i really love this block, whether for beauty and the beast or just to simply be a paper pieced rose.  i cannot imagine this at the 5ish inch size it initially was before i blew it up.
i thought this chip was a good "subtle" match to the rose pillow, as it wasn't a giant princess face.  he was a simple little block (i made him second after the rose) and it just powered right through.  i think he's a pretty cute little guy in movie form anyways, and would absolutely make this block again.  shoot, it has made me want to go through and make so many more disney blocks from their site!
after creating this pillow set, i've also started to envision what the types of friend gifts there might be for christmas 2015. i guess we'll have to wait and see if this stays as the inspiration, or something else happens, right?  either way, i am totally going to keep peeking in on the swap angel board.  as much as i love receiving things from other people, i just don't have anywhere to put anything right now!  but seriously, i'm sure i'll keep doing regular swaps as well.  and drooling over the awesome up! mini quilt from the disney swap that i missed out on.
it's pretty much fantastic.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

weekend wips

after last weekend being a super busy one, and this one being extra long, it is safe to say it is time to play some catch up.  not only was this weekend valentines day (which i spent with my main man watching the dark knight for the first time, and he cooked dinner.  yeah, he's pretty great) but it was also president's day which meant an extra day off of work to catch up on craftiness.  basically, this is all a recap of everything that has happened so far since the february "to do" post.
kitten mini quilt swap
alas, i did nothing with this project.  i had high hopes that i would start piecing things together, but so far... nothing.  but i think now that i have a few other things out of the way, this can come together next.
disney swap round 12
these were actually busted out the day that post went live, and then sent on their way that following saturday.  i really hope they arrive to their destination soon, because i'm quite pleased with how it all turned out.  but since they have to go all the way from here to england, i just have to sit here and wait patiently.
ruffle apron
another "nothing yet" project, but i think once i get everything converted from centimeters to inches and cut out, it will go together quite quickly.  cutting is so not fun though.  at least we're looking at rectangles for the most part.
pudge catvent
yesterday i finally pulled this back out and took a look at it to get things going again.  i took the yardage i had for the back and sewed it together to be the right size.  my mom had an already opened batting from a t-shirt quilt she ended up pulling apart and revising so i got it all laid out and ready for pinning.  safety pinned the kitties in to place, and now they're just waiting to be quilted.  i have all the thread, i just now need to debate the importance of a walking foot.  i'm sure it will happen.  i just need to take the time to get to meissner's and pick one up.  then, it is onward to chalking and quilting!  for now, the pudge kitties just remain on the living room floor, enticing some gray cats to attack them...
"appreciation" gift
this was a little something suggested by our program director for the pre-k to do a little something for us aides to do for our classroom teachers as a token of our appreciation.  since our meeting is this upcoming friday, i decided to craft a little something for my lead teacher.  she's been pretty great helping me get situated in the steps toward being a teacher myself, and i couldn't ask for any more.  i busted this out on sunday from start to finish, and can't wait to gift it to her.

Friday, February 13, 2015

things that fuel the crafty fire

with being crafty comes the need for some crafty comfort. here's a little list of things that help me keep the crafty motivation going when i get in the zone for a long stretch of time.  really, it does sound ridiculous to some extent, but these things really seal the deal in to keeping doing what i love.
a cold beverage
9 times out of 10, late night crafting is supplied with a large cup of water, ice and all.  most often, with a lid and straw, since the general crafting area is prone to cats walking through or elbows being bumped (the less spillage the better).  i'm not a fan of hot drinks at all, or even coffee, so a cup of icy cold h20 (or dr. pepper for mid day crafting) really hits the spot
right now, my guilty pleasure is these dark chocolate covered pretzel crips.  usually you'll find a bowl of cheddar blasted goldfish or cheese its by my sewing machine.  so deliciously unhealthy, right?  but oh so good.
a noise distraction
much like blogging in silence, sewing and crafting in silence is no good.  if i'm in the living room, i primarily set the tv to something i've seen at least once.  reruns are great, especially if they're episodes of friends, big bang theory or how i met your mother.  another top contender is anything on hgtv.  they're basically all the same on each show, am i right?  occasionally on sunday afternoons i'll throw on a classic disney movie or two or three.  if i'm out of tv range, i plug my ipod in to my old computer speakers and either jam to my fall out boy music, or let it create its own shuffle playlist.  with 3,500+ songs on it right now, the variety could be quite interesting.
comfy pants
last but certainly not least, comfy pants are a must have.
so many times i have tried to comfortably sit on the floor pinning a quilt sandwich together to be quilted, and i just couldn't do it because of not being appropriately dressed.  in the summer, it's usually a pair of high school p.e. shorts, but right now its been my starry yoga sweats.  they're quite cozy and allow me to crawl around the floor without any grumbling.  the only thing they lack though... pockets :)

Friday, February 6, 2015

what i love about being creative (and a birthday wish)

i had to think about this for a little while, and really decide what i enjoy most about being creative.  it has been such a huge part of my life, whether through visual arts such as sewing & photography, or performing arts such a dance & my color guard years.  i'm sure the longer i sat, the more of a list i could come up with, so i decided to focus on three target areas that are primary reasons i love to create things.
it is relaxing.
considering that my two day jobs are spent with a vast amount of young children, establishing their needs and helping them grow as individuals whether through dance or pre-k programs, some days can be quite draining.  it is easy to just come home and veg on the couch, but there are only so many episodes of property brothers i can watch each day.  creative outlets have let me be able to use that energy i need to release in a creative fashion and have an actual result to show for the day.  on days that i really don't feel in the mood, but need to relax, i go and wander the fabric store.  no kidding.  whether i buy something or not, it is relaxing just to walk around by myself through bolts and bolts of fabric just looking.  weird or not, it works!
i love creating something personal for friends
there is nothing that is more satisfying than finding a perfect present for friends, whether it is for their birthday, wedding or the christmas season, i love taking the time to plan, execute and deliver something that i feel is unique and personally made for that person.  this past christmas season, i selected pillowcase fabrics based off individual interests, hobbies or their work place.  jenny worked for the giants, so she got a baseball themed pillowcase.  kenny's proclaimed favorite food is sandwiches, so when i stumbled across fabric with sandwich shops on it, it had to happen.  granted, some things seem weird & random to others, but if it makes sense to that person, then that's all that matters to me.  besides, when i get something right, the reaction is all worth it :)
i love having something that connects me to others in cyberspace
with photography, i feel that i have been able to connect with some fantastic individuals in the area, as well as near and far.  with quilting and crafting, i feel that it expands beyond that so much more.  with the most recent grow your blog party, i have been able to see some fantastic individuals throughout the country and around the world to inspire me and keep me inspired and learning about new tips and tricks. through GYB and instagram, as well as my time entering and sewing along with the quilting edition of sew-vivor, i find myself following a lot of quilt creators now.  i feel like there is a magical hoard of quilty people in australia though. perhaps i need to visit there sometime and drink some of their quilty koolaid.  for now, i'm lucky enough to oogle from afar, thanks to technology.
and while we're talking about some creative lovin'....
it's time to wish this little goober a happy birthday!
while it is such a bummer that these people live far away now, it has been so much fun to see her embrace the carroll cousin craftiness and begin to make her own little projects as well.  she's got some exciting birthday presents coming her way from california to colorado which may help with her creative juices, and i can't wait to see what projects she comes up with next.
happy birthday, lorelai!
this piece of art was something i woke up to one of my mornings in colorado.  it hangs on my bulletin board over my computer desk and reminds me to try and have something be "speshl" about each day.
happy friday, everyone!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

project plans for february

i cannot believe i am even writing this post right now... didn't january JUST happen?  wow.  last weekend i participated in the grow your blog party with vicki from two bags full, so i just wanted to give a shout out to all followers, new and old.  thanks everyone!  i'm so excited to share more projects and posts with you :)  i thought i would kick things off and share some of my projects i intend to work on this month, and hope that it means that these piles of fabric (plus one quilt top) will turn in to finished items!  i'll start from the top left, and work my way across.
kitten mini quilt swap
this again is my first instagram swap and after much fabric debate i finally got everything ordered and the final pieces arrived yesterday!  i have a super cute (in my opinion) paper pieced patter picked out, and hope my partner loves it too.  not quite sure how i'll quilt it, but that's down the line a little ways :)
disney swap round 12
i pop in to craftster every now and again to update my post recent projects as well as occasionally cruise the open swaps boards.  this time, i checked out the swap angel board and found they were looking for someone for a disney swap.  the poor girl has been waiting since the fall!  i sent a pm, and confirmed everything up and started planning before i even got approved.  once i was officially set to go, i went fabric shopping and had some other paper pieced patterns enlarged.  i'm super excited to work on these, even with their two week desired send out.  yikes!  guess it is really a good thing i only have one class this semester, and it is online :)
ruffle apron
this will be the fourth of these ruffle aprons i've made, and i suppose it is about time that i made one for the person who keeps having to model them.  my sister got hired at joann fabrics for seasonal, and they kept her on as a part time employee.  she was desiring an apron, but hasn't sewn more than a pair of pajama pants (to my knowledge).  my mom saw this fabric there, so we hunted it down and found a coordinate to go with it. this should be fairly easy to bust out, though i will probably have to go through and convert all the metric units in to inches yet again.  i keep losing my original copy!
catvent 2014
we're still at the same place on this one.  the top is done, the back is prewashed, and now it just needs to become one before i can move forwards.  i think i will keep with my original plan of a 1" cross hatch like the last one, since free motion quilting is still on my eventual skill list.