Friday, October 21, 2011

Long overdue

Ok, I know it's been well over a month since my last post. I know I keep saying but seriously, where does the time go!
Thank you all so much for your votes and wonderful compliments on my quilt. I'm saddened to say I didn't make the top 3, I guess I just don't know enough people! It's all good though because in the end I have really fun quilt that I totally would have procrastinated quilting for years if I hadn't had a deadline.
I have been really, really busy this fall. Here's a smidgeon of what I've been up to.
I put together the scraps left over from this quilt:
Rouenneries Stone Soup
to make this:

I was going to make another wall hanging, but Pattie suggested making a pillow, which is a fantastic idea. I like the longer pillows on a couch. Now I have to quilt it and make a pillow out of it!

I got these fantastic Chicago watercolor prints from old United Airlines travel books from the Megan Morrison store closing sale. One is from 1948, the other from 1952 (I think it's a 2).
They cost me $1 each! Don't ask how much the framing cost. I completely love them. The inner matting is a really dark navy blue. I tried all manner of greys and blacks, but nothing was working for me. The girl at the Michael's framing counter suggested navy, and by jove, that was it! The people in the Buckingham Fountain print all have hats and 40's clothes. It's fabulous. And the one of the river is not a view of Chicago that you find very often, so I really like it as well.
I got a cute make-your-own white board kit at JoAnn's in the clearance aisle for $3. I added the gorgeous Tanya Whelan paisley fabric to the frame. It took me an hour and 35 mins because of the amount of time I agonized over which fabric to commit to. It took an hour and half do decide, and then 5 minutes to make. Pathetic, huh?
 So now I have a place to list the projects with due dates. And the list is LARGE. 13 to be exact. Most are commissions though, which is good since I just recently discovered that coming in January is Rouenneries Deux!!
I know, be still my heart right?.

I lost my camera for a month, but found it last night in a pile of quilts of all places, go figure. Some more of what I've been up to that I haven't photographed yet:
A ginourmous t-shirt quilt.
Designing and making a yoga bag
Emily's baby quilt (there's a glimpse of it below)
and several other things that are totally escaping me at the moment!
Posts w/pretty pictures to follow. I promise.

Oh, and I have to totally do a shout out the White Wizard! I got my sewing machine oiled and it got on a couple of bags I made, and the only thing that got the stains out was the White Wizard. It seriously was magical in it's stain removal! It didn't harm or discolor the fabric in any way either.
I got it on a whim when it was on clearance at Restoration Hardware last summer, so I have no clue who else carries it. I'm sure the wonder of the internet can find it though!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Votes Needed!

I'm totally thrilled to share that my Riley Blake Upsy Daisy quilt was chosen to be one of the top 10 finalists in the Riley Blake contest!
Upsy Daisy whole
Now the contest is opened up to public voting to choose the winner, so I need to ask all of you to vote for me and then ask everyone you know to also vote for me!
You can see all the finalists and vote here: or here:

Click the 'vote now' and scroll to the Upsy Daisy quilt and click the 'vote' button.
If I win, this is the fabulous prize:
Photo courtesy of the Riley Blake blog.  You can see more photos there.
Here are more photos of my quilt:
upsy daisy 4 block
Quilting angle:
upsy daisy turquoise block
Border quilting. Even the ric rac is Riley Blake!
upsy daisy outer border
I got the small floral for the backing from Lorrie and Paige and filled it in w/scraps from the front.
upsy daisy back

Lorrie let me photograph it on her lovely Robin's Egg blue wall in her studio. I love it on that wall. I have a Tiffany Blue bathroom that it would also look great in, but it's way too large for that room.upsy daisy whole 3
That's all I have time for right now, I'm off to the dentist this morning! Too much fun, I know.
Thank you for everyone for your support and votes, it's greatly appreciated!
Happy Quilting,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tools, tips and tricks - Working with Minky

I use Minky (or Minkee, depending on the manufacturer) quite often in my quilt projects and get a lot of questions about how difficult it is to sew with.

I've found that I really like having Minky on the back of the quilt because it glides so nicely across your machine bed when quilting on your home machine. The only catch is that you must be sure that it's totally wrinkle free when making your quilt sandwich and you need to make sure you pin the layers together with less space between the pins than normal. This is not a problem for me, since I pin the bejeezes out of all of my quilt sandwiches. The quilt is rather heavey though, between the Minky and the plethora of pins.

When cutting Minky, I find it to be more accurate if you put it plush side together. Fair warning, have the vacuum ready, it gets fuzz everywhere
I use a 1/2" seam and walking foot for Minky to Minky sewing. I can usually get away with a 1/4" seam and using my 1/4" foot for Minky / cotton piecing. I usually use less presser foot tension than I would normally for cotton/cotton sewing.

Piecing with Minky is a totally different animal. Due to it's stretchiness and loft, it tends to move and shift a lot. When piecing, Minky to Minky or Minky to cotton or flannel, I've found the following tips have helped me to keep things the correct size, shape and keep shifting to a minimum.

1) Fold your Minky piece in half and mark the center with a pin. Do the same with the other fabric you are sewing the Minky to.
2) Match the two center pins from each fabric and pin together at midpoint. Then pin the ends the pieces together on the right and left corners.
3) Fill in between the center pin and corner pins, spacing pins an inch or less apart. I find it best to put the points toward the edge to be sewn for this project.
4) If using a 1/2" seam and walking foot, mark your 1/2" line on the machine with something that has a raised edge. (see photo below)
I use a self-stick, removable sewing edge tool, but it's lost it's stickiness due to Minky fuzz, so I tape it down. A post-it note pad would work as well. I've also used multiple layers of Duct Tape in a pinch. It really helps to have a nice ridge to line the pieces up on to keep it all moving together evenly. When using Minky / cotton, my 1/4" foot has that ridge attached to it already.
That's really it to making Minky easier to work with.  I hope you give it a whirl if you haven't already. It's so soft and fuzzy and makes a great baby quilt, or for that matter, any age quilt! Everyone who's petted the Minky requests it for their quilt.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


How did that happen? Why is it that time goes by so much faster the older you get?
In July I turned 40, had my 10 year wedding anniversary and celebrated my darling nephew's 2nd birthday.
I gardened and watered all of my plants a lot. Other than a few measly days in July, it was disgustingly hot. As I've mentioned, 82 to is my limit, and since 85 was considered 'cooling down' by the local weather guy, there was a lot of whining coming from me the entire month. Ok, it was more than whining, it was really bitching, to be honest. And as bad as we've had it in Chicagoland, I am thankful everyday that I don't live in Texas. One of my coworkers who is based down there said the other day it was 110. Yuck, with a ginormous capital Y! And the poor things have had over a month of that kind of weather.

At the beginning of July I started what I thought would be a quick quilt. I figured it would take a week at most. Riiiiiggghhhttt.  I'm starting to think PittiPat is right. She always says that she thinks we all have delusions of grandeur because we bring 10 projects to work on to our weekend quilting retreats. I tell her it's really because we are optimistic, glass half full kind of girls.
I've been eyeing the daisy quilt on the cover of Quilting for Joy since I bought the Barbara Brandeburg / Teri Christopherson book over 2 years ago and thought it would be fun for the Riley Blake contest. I've also wanted to do a turquoise and red quilt for some time, so I went with that combo.
The pattern called for 12" blocks but I only had quarter yard cuts, so I had to resize it down to 8" blocks, which meant that instead of 16 blocks, I had 36.
Each of the 36 blocks has 5 appliqued daisy pieces and 5 centers for said daisies. It took me 14 hours just to cut out the daisy pieces and another 12 to applique them down. Luckily I have a Sizzix circle die that worked perfectly for cutting the center circles or you could have added a few more hours devoted to cutting circles out.

When I put the blocks on my design wall, I realized that my lay out would not work w/the different block background and alternating centers. Since I'm symmetry girl, I really struggled with the layout. The lesson there is to slap the blocks on the wall pre applique to decide what you need! Who knows if I'll remember that next time.

Like any quilter with an issue, I took it to my quilting friend Michelle's house, where, after laying in the pool and drinking margaritas,  we decided it didn't have to be square and taking off a row would make it work. I think the margaritas really helped the decision making process.
Phew. I finished the top Thursday night, and hope to have the quilting finished this weekend since it's due by the 17th. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Busy Bee

I've been AWOL lately because we've finally had good enough weather to get the garden in. It was either torrential rain or disgustingly hot weather over my 82 degree limit which makes me stay in the basement and sew my little heart out.
Here's some of what I've been up to:
I made a batch of strawberry rhubarb and a batch of strawberry w/strawberry coriander tea. They have less sugar, so they are a wee bit tart, but still tasty. The recipe called for 2.5 cups for 8 cups of strawberries. I think I'll up it to 3 next time. I don't like it overly sweet.
I finished the top and back of the More Serengeti quilt. Now I just need to suck it up this weekend and layer and pin it. It's 88x88, so I don't relish the pinning. It was so large, I couldn't get a place to photograph the entire top at one time.
I'm doing a really simple quilt with this fab Chicago fabric. I was going to make a bag or two with it, but I had a request for a throw, so that's what it's going to be now. I added the red ric rac a last minute though. I really like it though. It pops. This is another project I hope to finish this weekend. (chuckling to myself right now at my  ambition)
 I repotted all of my indoor plants. I did these 3, plus split whatever this crazy growing plant is into 2 additional pots. I also got a new indoor basil plant from Trader Joes and replaced my dead one. It's completely beyond awesome to have an indoor basil plant at your culinary beck and call in the winter.
 I also replaced my rosemary because my 6 year old one had two trunks on it and one died off, leaving it all lopsided, so I decided it was time for a new one. It lives outside in the summer. I used to plant it in the herb garden and dig it up every fall, but last year never got around to replanting it. It seemed to like the pot outside just fine, so I decided to see happens with this little guy.
 My blackberry thicket is thriving. I'm so excited. I see batches of blackberry/Darjeeling tea jam in my future. And pies.
 The red raspberry I planted last year is also looking good. Now if my year old blueberries produce, I'm going to have various mixed berry items to make come end of summer.
This is a gratuitous Fairy Rose shot. I just think it's really pretty.
 I also finally got my vegetable garden in. I downsized it a tad, only two beds this year instead of three. And only five tomato plants, down from my usual 8-10.
 I have plenty of squash planted. 8 Ball Zucchini, Yellow Crook Neck and my all time favorite, Patti Pan (or Flying Saucer) squash. I planted seeds of that, so I'm not sure what color I'm going to get. The packet contained yellow, white and green.
The trellises have English and Pickle cucumbers. I always struggle with cukes, so we'll see how they grow this year. I'm determined to make totally garlicky pickles one day. If anyone has a good recipe for them, let me know. I want the super garlic kind like you get in a good Jewish deli.
 I know it's silly, but I totally love my little moss garden. I had to replace some Irish moss this year, it died off for some reason. Irish moss is the darker green, Scottish moss is the bright green.
 I finally tacked down the binding and washed my Fruitcake quilt from last December. I absolutely love how it gets all wrinkly and quilty when you wash it. It really made the ornaments and sprigs pop out too. And funnily enough, the metallic thread is more noticeable since washing it.
 I tried to show how the motifs popped out, but I don't know if it translated in the photo.
 And my MacTavishing and lines really look cool now too. I love how this quilt goes with the chair I bought from my friend Kelly. I think I need to make one out of the Fruitcake with little bitty squares, so you can't tell it's a Christmas fabric, and keep it on the chair the rest of the year.
 And my little bicycle embroidery is also coming along nicely. I'm so proud, These are my first Lazy Daisies! They are totally fun.
 Here's my wee little bee. I'm debating on filling in the black body parts and the white wings with sparkly embroidery floss. What do you think? Fill him in more, or leave it as is?
Here's a reminder of the whole panel. I just love that bike!
And this week I found this panel, also by Pearl Louise Krush for Troy. It's called 'Bliss on Blossom Street' I'm not sure if it's new or not, but I think it will be adorable hanging with the bicycle. Apparently there's more embroidery in my future.
 Love the flowers around the windows!
 And that bistro set and flower cart! Too freaking cute! I want to live in this building!
 And last but certainly not least, we have a foster dog, Koda. He's a sweetheart when he's one on one, but he doesn't care for other dogs which is a problem, since we have other dogs. Unfortunately he really, really doesn't like my old Abbey girl, so he's going to have to go back to the shelter and sit in his pen until he's adopted. He's been at the shelter for a really long time.
So if anyone out there in the Chicagoland area knows of an all adult, no other pet home who would like a Husky Malamute mix, please let me know!
Have a happy and safe 4th of July everyone!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Two Bags and a Book

It was a productive week here at the Bugglet Quilts sewing cave. I managed to crank out 2 bags and a book for my sister to take with her on vacation to France. Remember this combo?
Soon to be Smarty girl
I made it into a modified Smarty Girl bag by Heather Bailey for my sister. I made it the same way I made DiscoJen's bag since she loves it so much and said it was fantastic for her worldly travels as well as every day use.
I made a flange instead of the 3 ruffles because I didn't think the material lent itself to ruffles and because my sister isn't a ruffley kind of girl. I made the handle long enough to wear it across you, which is better for safety and keeps your hands free to attempt to keep your two year old child under control.
There are pockets on the front and back for tickets, passports and other items that need to be kept safe, yet readily accessible. Too bad I didn't watch the pattern better when I cut the pocket out, I should have lined it up. It looks like you are seeing double on the back now!
I also installed a magnetic snap closure on this bag, just as a precaution.
This is hard to photograph, and my editing software seems to have disappeared during my last 'upgrade', but this is the quilted divider that I made inside so she can put her e-reader in there and have it protected from harm.
The other side of the divider is lined with pockets and features a key clip. I figured it would be good for hotel and rental apt keys while traveling. Or for your own keys so that you don't lose them in the bowels of the purse, the way we all do. I wasn't sure about the way the divider snaps itself against the back wall of the purse, but DiscoJen assures me that it's better that way because when she's not carrying her e-reader, it's out of the way and she can use the whole inside as her purse.
I also interfaced this one more than DiscoJen's, so it's less slouchy. I may have used different interfacing in DiscoJen's too. I'll have to check out her bag again and see if I can tell what I did differently. I should have taken better notes if I was going to alter a pattern so much. Ah well, lesson learned.
The book I made is from the Alfabeto Italiano Collezione by Micheal Miller Fabrics.  My sister is fluent in Italian, so I thought I should make it for her little guy so she can teach him Italian. I thought it would be good to travel with as well since it's soft and can be squished into a small bag. He's almost two years old now and we spent some time during our Father's Day dinner trying to get him to say 'Bonjour!' He just laughed at us.
 I put some batting in between, and sewed around the outside colored border and a quarter inch in from that to help hold the batting in place. Then I used a star/circley stitch on my sewing machine for the hole to put the ring through.
I only screwed up one, which was the very last one of course! I put the hole on the upper right side instead of the upper left, so now there's a superfluous hole in the 'Z'.
I made yet another 'Sweet Simple' bag by Late Bloomer. I really love this pattern. I can get them done quickly and it really showcases the fabric. This one is a chocolate bag for my sister's French friend, Natalie. She loves chocolate, and is really neutral in her clothing taste, so I was thrilled to find this 'Confections' chocolates fabric by Robert Kaufman.
I like the Moda dots for the gathered part, I think it looks like cream filling with chocolate on top!
Of course I lined it with pockets too. You can't have too many pockets. Ever.
That's all the projects from last week!
Happy Quilting,