Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More than one finish?

Stop the presses!!!

Granted, one finish is not a quilt, but hey...I take them where I can get them!

Button's Bluebonnet Romper


I won't go on and on about it in this post.  Just want to say...not to shabby for 14 years of not sewing much apparel?
If you really are interested it is all HERE!

Hartley's quilt

This quilt is so special to me!  My friend, the one who is also an amazing photographer, commissioned me to make a quilt for her cousin.  Her cousin lost her daughter after a fight in the NICU for prematurity.  She wanted a small infant quilt and also to see if I could do something with her name and prints (like I do for Butterfly Kisses HERE.   She is a darling little thing (both mom and daughter!). 

My first instructions....think girly girl!

Of course, when you are given that kind of request, it is wonderful....until you start feeling overwhelmed with ideas!  So I gave momma a few instructions.
-Check out my quilts, any speak to you?
-Any specific colors?
-Did you have a nursery set in mind for her? 
-Any specific object/nickname that you associate with her (i.e Butterfly for my Jamie)

She responded that she liked my diamond quilt HERE.  And that she was looking at this website Addison's Wonderland here for her the nursery. 

Images via Addison's Wonderland Website
Gorgeous, right?

So I checked out her nursery and asked some online friends if they recognized any of the fabric/fabric lines.  It turns out most were Amy Butler's Modern Midwest, with a few Kumari Garden.

Then, I knew I wanted a diamond design, and I remembered that Tracey had a really unique diamond quilt HERE that I wanted to base it off...

A Birdie in Bliss


 The diamonds and the shape are so unique and special!!


I love her bird and the scalloped circle!!

And her applique seemed like a perfect spot for the embroidery.

My interpretation...

 
Much smaller in size, so I had to adjust my diamond size. Mine turned out a bit boxier than I liked.  If ever I did it again, I would had more rows at the top and bottom.


Jack the seam "ripper" and I became good friends so I could get my points to meet.  I feel pretty good about them.  
My skill needs some work, but I am much further along than before!


I decided to go with an interesting shape I found on my Photoshop software.  I printed it out and appliqued the circle on top of it.  I used a blanket stitch, because I just love a blanket stitch!  I also chose a really soft yellow-cream thread for the prints and font because I wanted it to be soft like the yellow-cream of the Kumari Garden print.


I struggled to decide on a backing, but the Kumari Garden was so cut up in the diamonds, that I really wanted it to shine.  Good choice?  The binding is the same Amy Butler I used for the applique shape.


I decided on free motion loops with hearts hidden here and there.  I wanted the loops to be small and dainty, like the wee one she was!  

Overall, I am very happy with this quilt and can't wait to send it off so her mom can have it!

As for everything else...it will have to wait until next week to share.  I am leaving for my Spring Scrapbook retreat. This one is always important because only two months have gone by since the last, so there is little to update in my family album.  It allows me to  work on a "specialty" album this trip.  

Which one?  

I HAVE NO IDEA!  EEK! 
 Time to get ready!!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced!



I probably won't have much done for next week...but we shall see!


Monday, March 26, 2012

"On A Pillow of Blue Bonnets...

...and a blanket made of stars.....oh, it sounds good to me, yes it sounds so good to me.....
Cowboy, take me away....."
~Dixie Chicks

Taken with my iPhone

Living here in the Houston, Texas are you realize that there are a few traditions that must be partaken in. 
 NASA Space Station.  Houston Astros baseball game.  

 Blue Bonnets.

IMAGE FROM: Field of Texas bluebonnets © bombay2austin on Flickr -
noncommercial use permitted with attribution / no derivative works

Blue Bonnets?  Yes!  Apparently (remember Chicago raised girl here) every year, moms and photographers gather up for a yearly trek from the Houston area up to the Chapel Hill area to torture their children and take photos amongst the state flower the Texas Blue Bonnet that blossom in the spring.  And typical for feisty Texas, according to sources, there was a "furious battle" on choosing it as the state flower!

 It gets better!  
 There is even a myth that it is illegal to pick them!  You know there is something special about them if you look up the legend and SNOPES has the myth revealed HERE(and if you don't feel like reading, it is NOT true).

When we moved here eight years ago, I didn't know about it.   When I was free-lancing writing for a local magazine for a short stint a few years back, I discovered this unique tradition to Texas.

When I realized last week I hadn't taken what I call "the year old baby" portrait of Button yet, I immediately emailed my photographer friend who has shot our family photos the past few years if it was the right time to do bluebonnets.

 She was ALL in!
 "Monday, after we drop off the kids in carpool, we will head north".

Got it!  But...what to have him wear?

I decided it was time to dust off my seamstress side of my soul.  I admit to making the occasional skirt or costume, but I had not delved into a complete outfit for the boys since 1997.  
Yes, 1997.  Did I just date myself?

I am so excited!  I did it!!  
Thanks to Simplicity!
 
An old schoolhouse at the park we were visiting

I "sorta" stuck to the pattern.  I loved the light blue seersucker fabric I found. But, I decided to use white knit for the sleeves.  I even did a zipper at the back without too much strain. 


I had a collar, but it was declared "too girly" by all the male species in the house.  My seam ripper and I became chums again...it wasn't that long ago we met for Hartley's quilt, but he and I are always happy to work together for the common good.  I even have now named him "Jack" for "Jack the Ripper".


There was still in issue with the pleating on the front bodice. Mr. Boss kept calling it "ruffles" so I knew that was a key concern for him.



I decided to add a large applique on his chest to draw the eye away from it! It is the same design I used to make his bedroom window treatments..just with an added swirl out of the tail end (hard to see in these photos).
Instead of just hemming the bottom, I decided to do a cuff...make it more "boy-ish". 

Excuse the bulge down low....we unsnapped due to and overabundance of apple juice consumption
 
I am really happy with the results!
I am even going to make another for Easter...just don't tell Mr. Boss.  He doesn't understand why I can't just run to Carter's like I usually do!

 I think I also want to make some modified pants and shorts with the seersucker fabric for him this summer and spring.  I love the fabric and how it really will keep things light for the humid, hot weather we have here.

And I am dying to make the pockets more interesting.  
Am I going to become a clothing sewing enthusiast? 
I am not sure....



What I DO know is that I want to say a big THANK YOU to Kristi and her darling baby girl for traipsing up to Chapel Hill for us!  

I think he looks like he is proposing or something.  Kristi is in the right lower corner with her amazing camera and amazing self!


We aren't sure if we got THE SHOT, but I know her well enough that her photos have to be better than the quick ones I took!!!


Friday, March 23, 2012

My First QAL

QAL is quilt-a-long for my non-quilting followers!

Click image to find out details

I have avoided one of these for a long time and the reason I chose this one is because it was based on fabric that I have.

Remember when I bought more fabric than I needed for Hartley's quilt?   Not to mention the fact that I had not a single plan in sight?



Well...I have decided that since I purchased this fabric from the internet...it deserved an internet pattern.
 
I adore Christina's pattern, at Sometimes Crafter, called the Retro Flower.  You can purchase it HERE.
 
Photo from her pattern shop
 
 I have been adoring Rachel's mini-quilt on her blog, Stitched in Color for a while...so what better way than to join a QAL!

I have always been on Flickr but have never mastered it quite yet, and I think this QAL will broaden my computer horizons!  I finally figured out that Flickr is where all of the bees, swaps, and QAL people hang out!
 

I have already found a few new blogs!  Some new to me and some just plain new!  I also realize that I might have motif problems with the fabrics above, so there might have to be a change eventually.  But now I have my QAL Flickr group to give me some advice!

And for my non-blogging followers and close friends that wonder:
  
Why in the world does Heidi find joy in other people's blogs that she doesn't actually know.

The answer?

I finally have some friends that I can email, chit-chat, and commiserate, and bounce ideas off of! 
 I love all of you, my in real life friends and family, but my online friends "get" the crazy crafty/quilting girl!!
 
P.S.  Please don't compare my blog to the ones I have mentioned today...I know I am not at all close to their level of amazing-ness!!!


 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring break is over?

It is amazing how much I was able to get done this week during Spring Break! I even had my laundry done on time?
 I have decided that carpool time really eats into creative time! Do you think I could justify paying after school care just so I can sew, quilt and craft to Mr. Boss? 
No? 
 Shoot! 

 Finished projects

 Cream throw quilt 


 I decided to finish the quilt I now call madness. It absolutely drove me crazy. And because I finished binding it while watching my Alma Mater advance to the Sweet Sixteen during March Madness!

via Marquette University website

 I am actually still rolling my eyes at myself about my ambitions last week. That is possible, right? I can't even describe the humor I find when I read last week's post? Scalloped border? Stitch in the ditch? 


 Feel free to find out what happened on Monday's post HERE if you are in need of a laugh.  I find it crucial to always laugh at myself!  I really never take myself too seriously!

 In Progress Projects

Hartley's quilt

 I am excited! 



 I finished piecing the top. 



 I had to change tactics because I fell in love with the EQ7 design...but realized the motifs were so large that the colors didn't mesh like I had hoped! 



 I ended up making rows of the same colors to draw the eye to each special fabric instead of random bits here and there.  I hope to have the embroidery design finished today! I am getting anxious to quilt and bind her quilt and get it to her momma! 


One sent out last week, another blanket going on the hoop, and another still to edit and digitize. 



 I was in a bad place a few weeks ago. Feeling overwhelmed and unsure if my heart was in it all. But the back and forth I have had with a few of the moms this past week has bolstered my resolve. I can and will continue to do it! I am still working on some pre-made quilt ideas...any quick patterns you recommend to make small keepsake quilts?  Quick, easy, and affordable for the parents that don't already have a blanket or quilt?

 Non quilting projects 

 I am getting close to finishing up a project for our oldest son.


A sneak peek?

No Progress Projects
Twin quilt for nursery
Christmas quilt 
Auction t-shirt quilt 
Baby girl quilt kit 
Thank you quilt 
Bunny's sharpie roll project

 New projects  
None...thank goodness! 


 As always, linking up! 



Keeps me on my toes!


Monday, March 19, 2012

March Madness

Remember the Cream squares that I had cut up from the daybed coverlet here?  I have finished it and am calling the quilt 

Madness



Madness that I thought the color would work with Button's nursery...
It is not white and crisp enough.

Madness that I thought I would be able to piece it easily...


It was 1/4 inch thick and had more ravels than I could stand.  My studio is still covered with random bits of it!

Madness that I thought I would just use a home deco fabric as the backing...


I didn't realize how heavy it was going to make it!  I am not even sure if it is truly washable.  It was a remnant from another project!

Madness that I thought I would just stitch in the ditch....


the seams were so thick that I had to make due with 1/4 inch quilting on the inside of each square!  

Madness that I thought Ole Betsy would make it easy......


She and I really struggled making the stretchy fabric stay still and boy...crossing some of those seams so I didn't have to stop/start for each square made it tricky!  I also didn't use the rulers.  It was just too difficult to even try to add another layer near the needle.  I ended up just FMQ and guiding it against the thick seams.  It is very wonky in places!!!

Madness that I thought using some pre-cut binding fabric I had and that I will probably never use would make it easier...


It was a bear going through all the thick layers of the top and the backing!

Madness that I thought it wasn't that big and would be done binding it lickety split.... 


It took me three movies and two March Madness NCAA basketball  Tournament games.  I will remember it always as the quilt that kept my hands busy while stressing out during my alma mater Marquette University played the feisty Murray State Team!


 The only good thing is that I relegated this quilt to my studio chair and a half!  


The fur-babies like to hang out in here with me and I am tired of dog hair all over me when I am doing any of my handwork in my sanctuary watching my movies.


They love it...even when I take pictures outside.



But, really?
 I named it Madness because Mr. Boss thinks that I am a bit mad for spending so much time on a quilt for the dogs...



Saturday, March 17, 2012

Woaaah! Chuck Wagons!

You've seen it in pictures, but you have never seen Button's live and in action... 

"Wooah"! 

He was in the middle of eating, so excuse the bib and food on his mouth.  He was so excited about the Chuck Wagon races!

video


I cannot get enough of my little guy!

Note: I meant to have it on yesterday's post but I couldn't upload the video from my phone.  I tried three different times, with no luck.  Who knew I just had to email it to myself and save it?


Friday, March 16, 2012

Are We Texans Yet?


"Boots, chaps and cowboy hats…. nothing else matters."
~Unknown

We have been in Houston for 8 years now and have attended the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show every single year. 

This year, we put our gear on.


Jeans and a newly designed applique onesie for Button!
  I designed from a picture of an over priced boutique outfit online.  It was done at late night so I want to work on the stitching before offering it in the Etsy Store!  I now have four or five designs that I need to get working on! 

 He also had his special rodeo quilt from last year.
Do you like?

 First thing when we arrived at Reliant Stadium?


Making a decision on what to do first!


 Livestock show it was!


Button was fascinated by the cattle, chicks hatching, goats, and sheep!  For some reason, we had bad timing and it was extremely crowded, so we made the decision to do the petting zoo next year.  He was happy enough to watch from a distance!


The older boys pretending to be annoyed for a photo shoot..
the Carnival was waiting!


As always, impossible carnival games....love these bottles though!


 Usually we are successful at the Roll-a-ball game, but no luck there.

 Thank goodness for big brothers that can play basketball.



WOW!



 WOAH! 

The older boys weren't interested in rides this year. The lines were extremely long and they were anxious to get in to see the rodeo.


But Bunny fit in a little sliding fun.


Wait! What's that?


Crazy stuff mom!!
 
Okay..time for the best entertainment ever!



The RODEO!!!!

We just adore it.  
It always begins with a rousing Star Spangled Banner.


It always amazes me what is a football stadium in the fall/winter is completely transformed into a place for Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Bronco Riding, Barrel Racing, Bullfighting, Calf Scrambling, and Mutton Bustin'.
Update:  A video of Button cheering for the Chuck Wagons here.


 We are vastly becoming fans of certain competitors.  We were excited when a rodeo record is broken, we cheer for our favorite riders, and we groan if someone gets a penalty for "breaking the barrier" or getting "bucked off" before their allotted time!



We also eat some great food!


Before you know it, a stage is brought out to the middle of the stadium.


 And we enjoyed the show.  This year?  The Band Perry!  
Considering they have only a few songs that are popular, they did a fabulous job of entertaining over 70,000 people! They had a lot of energy and have made us very interested in watching their career in the music business grow!

Oh...and to all my good friends and followers?

 I remembered to wear better shoes this year....especially after last year.  


I even received a text message from my friend who was at the rodeo herself the other day.  

 "At the Rodeo thinking of your broken shoe from last year!"

Yes, everyone, I am just here for my friends' entertainment!


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