Monday, June 25, 2012


I don't know if y'all have heard of a little weather system known as Tropical Storm Debby...but it is sitting directly on us.  It has literally rained most of the last 36 hours.  Yes, Emma played an entire game yesterday in a monsoon.  Yes, Chris coached an entire game in a monsoon, and yes, Oren and I and the other families sat huddled under umbrellas, raincoats and towels to cheer our little girls on in a monsoon.

BUT....our girls played hard and won the tournament!  Yep, they played in HOT and MUGGY weather on Friday and Saturday to make it to the championship game and then defeated our neighboring town in mudbath of a game on Sunday.  The State Tournament is next week and our little girls were so excited to get that trophy and get to go.  There was quite a bit of squealing.

I love these 3!  Oren has been the best mascot this summer, attending every practice and game without complaint and staying out of the way.  So proud of these 3!
 And, it is still raining here, so I am alternating my time today between keeping the kids from driving me and each other crazy and getting a little sewing done.  Please excuse the less-than-stellar pictures that follow...

I finished up my last two Summer Sampler blocks (from last summer...) and decided on a layout.

Here is block 1:

I promise that middle section is not at all bumpy and uneven like in this photo...even I would rip that out and try again!  ;)
And here is block 2.  One thing I liked about making 2 of each block was the ability to learn the design and how to get the most out of it.  Block one is incredibly scrappy because I just cut and sewed.  But Block 2 is made with the same fabric scraps (I cut everything and bagged it up last summer so I could just grab a bag and get sewing), but by knowing the block and thinking, I made everything line up in this one.

And here is the proposed layout:

I am going to add a thin sashing in a bright red solid I think.  That's what Chris suggested and I think he's right.  I've got 4 extra blocks, but they are the blocks with a solid background and I pulled them for the back.  One set came out WAY SMALLER than the rest of the blocks and one set used the red from the Make Life Layer Cake that I started out with and I didn't want the reds to compete.

So, since I actually have some red solid in my stash, I'm ready to get started...right after I take these kiddos for a rainy swim...they've gotta get some outside time or I think there might be some yelling going on around here pretty quick.  Wish me luck with Debby...I thank God for the rain we were in desperate need of, but I am ready for her to move on!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WIP Wednesday

**First a little shout out that GroopDealz is giving away for an amazing Nikon D3100 DSLR camera!  Head to their page  or enter here to check it out!!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, on to my regularly scheduled WIPs...I've always got them, but I'm working on trimming them down.  In all honesty, I'm really ready to just say forget it and start something new, but I know I'm so close to finishing with one of them and not too far off with another, so I'm going to get those 2 finished up before I jump into anything else too heavy.

So what am I working on today?  This baby right here, my Summer Sampler Quilt from LAST SUMMER.  Doh!  I've got one block to finish (well 2, because I made 2 of all of them) and then I can piece the top.  So, here I go...I've got to rip all of the piecing off on this one and stitch it together, then just the last one to do...  Wish me luck!

Emma's district tournament starts Friday morning, but I'm going to try to have quite a few finishes to show off by then, and by finishes I mean block finishes not big finishes, but whatever.  A finish is a finish, right?  Help me out and say yes!

Suki's over at Lee's guest-hosting WIP Wednesday today, so head over and check it out.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Finishes are great any day...

So I had this whole post written out in my head yesterday about everything I'd gotten finished this week and then somehow it was this morning and I realized I hadn't actually written the post yet.  So, consider this a Finished on Friday post just on a Saturday...  ;)  This summer stuff is murder on my time management!

For starting off summer and still having something scheduled every day including ball practices and scrimmage games, birthday parties, dance classes and recitals, we managed to get quite a bit done around here too.

First up, I made this little onesie for my brother-in-law for Father's Day.  My sister called and asked me if I could put this quote on a onesie to give to him.  He's a big Star Wars fan like the rest of the geeks guys in my family.  I think he'll like it.  I always forget how quick and easy heat-transfer vinyl crafts are...I should really do them more often.  This literally took maybe 20 minutes start-to-finish...

Next up, I got all of my bee blocks done for my Nubees swap.  I've still got my Modern Blocks and do. Good Stitches blocks to make, but progress has to start somewhere.  I chose to make simple star blocks this month, but used this cool tutorial I found on pinterest.

This week we also picked a bucket full of blackberries that the kids and I turned into a pint of seedless blackberry jam.  I forgot to take a picture of it, but imagine a pint-sized jar full of blackberry jam and you're getting a real good idea.  ;)  It was fun to teach the kids what goes into canning and how food is made.  I see more canning in Emma's future...for Oren, I see eating what we've canned in his.  haha

And, last night and tonight, we're finishing up a great year of ballet for Emma.  Her recital is this weekend.  She did SOOOOO GREAT last night.  She is a little bit of a Nervous Nelly a lot of the time, but when she's on stage, she just does her thing.  She got worried yesterday afternoon that she couldn't remember the routine, but I told her that every single person in that audience, whether they knew her or not, was rooting for her and was proud to see her get up there and to just have fun and go for it and she and her class did.  They were absolutely beautiful and I was so proud of her.

Next weekend is Emma's all-star district tournament, so we've got 3 practices next week, but dance will be over and I don't think we have any birthday parties scheduled, so it looks like our swimming and sewing time may open up a little.  ;)  Sounds like paradise to me!

I hope each of you has a great weekend!  Enjoy your time.  :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One sweet little bag

I was lucky enough to win one of the many Sew Mama Sew Giveaways last month and my prize arrived this past weekend.

I was so happy when Kristina from Black Bird Bags contacted me saying I'd won this small frame purse.  I love the Amy Butler fabrics she used, and honestly, I even love the lining fabric more!

Emma has already tried to claim it as her own...

Kristina, thanks for offering up such a nice prize and for so quickly contacting me and getting it sent out.  And to everyone who might be in search of a new bag in many different sizes, check out Kristina's shop.  She's got some really cute purses in stock...I might just have to buy one for Emma so she'll leave mine alone!    Although I'm pretty in love with that little red and white polka dot one myself...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Primary Days

Where does the time go?  Well, when you're swamped with 3 bouts of the stomach bug, a severe head cold, a special girl turning 8 and having her 8 of her friends spend the night, softball practices and games, the end of school and life in general--time flies right out the door to some deserted island somewhere where you have all of the time in the world!  ;)

So, we've been busy.  Such is life.  Emma caught a nasty stomach bug twice in 2 weeks which is so rampant around here right now that like a quarter of the elementary school missed most/all of the last week of school with it.  Em missed 3 of the 5 days and my baby girl HATES to miss school.  BUT, she was healthy for her birthday and she's better now, so we're all good.  And Oren had it in between Emma's rounds of it.  All the while I had a head cold that left me voiceless and tired.  Lucky Chris is the only one who managed to stay healthy.

BUT, I managed to get my primary quilt done and delivered to Oren's teacher and she loved it.  Wanna see it?

As a quick reminder (I posted about this quilt previously), I have a close relationship with Oren's kindergarten teacher as she was my mentor teacher years ago when I started teaching.  God brought us back together this year and Oren has had the best kindergarten experience I could ask for.  So, I wanted to give her a special gift.  I asked my Nubees girls to make blocks for me in red, blue and yellow and I sashed them up in a medium gray to neutralize all of the different versions of those colors.

Here are 12 of the 15 blocks I received from my Nubees buddies...forgive the inside pic, it rained for 3 days straight!  ;)

Then I just improv pieced the back in strips of said colors and put them together with the leftover 3 blocks I had.  I LOVE the back!  I mean, LOVE it.  I've never done much of this style of piecing because I've always been less that impressed with my results.  But, using these bigger chunks of fabric to fill the space...I am thrilled with the result.  Plus, I used fabrics that tie the front and back together along with special fabrics to me.  There are vintage fabrics from my Grandma in there as well as old favorites from around here.

When it came to quilting I ran into some issues...I THOUGHT I made the back to match the front, but as I started straight-line quilting around the blocks, I saw that they were not lining up.  So, I back tracked--yep, I ripped out 4 rows of stitching, took the whole thing apart and re-basted that baby.  And you know what, the same thing happened again.  So, I ran with it.  Sometimes perfection is found in finishing a gift and giving it that the person might feel loved more than every seam matching up, you know.  I used a matching gray thread to straight-line quilt a quarter-inch from each block both horizontally and vertically.  Then I just went crazy stitching one presser foot-width away in red, yellow and blue threads through the gray sashing.  And yes, there were places were the fabrics moved and bunched because of the hasty second basting.  I decided to just go with it and hope that washing and drying it would hide some of them.

These are the 3 blocks on the back in the middle of all of that improv piecing.

I will admit that while working I had serious doubt that this quilting would look okay.  There was quite a bit of puckering in certain places and I wasn't sure about the colored threads.  But, I decided that in modern art more is often better, so I wouldn't judge until I had ALL of the space filled in and then give it a critical eye.

I love how the color matched up in the intersections!

And by the time I was finished (only a couple of hours with breaks to deal with the sick one--straight-line quilting is awesome!) I decided that I really liked the colored quilting.  I went ahead and bound it in the gray because I already had strips cut and in my goal of staying more organized I'd already put my colored pieces away (yay for me!) and threw this baby in the washer and dryer.

All in all, I am happy with the results.  I, of course, wish that this quilt was pucker-free and that the backing had lined up like I planned.  But...I took chances, went with what life threw at me, and managed to make one of my favorite teachers cry tears of joy when she opened it.  I'd call that a success.

I'm linking this baby up with Megan for Sew Modern Monday and with Jennifer's awesome Summer Sewing Contest.

Ellison Lane Quilts