Thursday, September 20, 2012

Less Words Thursday...

...because sometimes you just can't get it together for Less Words Wednesday.
little, teeny, tiny dress for smallest niece!
slightly longer, little, teeny, tiny dress for oldest niece!
big girl dress for me!!
I used this tutorial and it was awesome!  If you need more tips for sewing with elastic thread on a brother sewing machine, check here...it saved my sanity!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

What I did on my summer vacation: Sewing Edition, part 1

As you may remember from previous posts, I'm part of the Empower Circle of do. Good Stitches.  Well, our group decided to take August off to get caught up on our dGS quilting projects (and to get caught up on life).  I have to admit, I was feeling all proud of myself for finishing my quilt in a timely fashion...until I realized that it's almost my turn again...which means I was just as slow as I was the first time around!  Oh well...a finish is a finish! 

I asked everyone to make string blocks with warm colors on one side of the string, and cool colors on the other.  Our color palette was rainbow.  Burn your eyes out, unicorns and care bears, magically delicious rainbow.  I pieced it all together in a jiffy and it's everything I dreamed it would be!...
The size would have been perfect with the blocks made by the group, but it was eating away at me to only have 2.5 warm diamonds on each side...so I made a few extra blocks and sprinkled them in to bring it to an even 3 and appease my OCD side.  I exercised a LOT of self control by not using it for a nap or keeping it for myself.  I really, really, really love this one!

I asked everyone to keep the seams parallel, but to vary the width of the strips for the color pieces.  The varied strip widths serve two purposes:
1. You don't have to worry about all of the seams matching up when you sew the blocks together.  (I'm lazy.)
2. It looks cool.

Here's a close-up of one of the diamonds...
Since the front was a tad busy, I kept the back muted and simple. The whole back is made of this soft taupey-gray...it's one of my all-time faves.
You can also see the quilting there.  I wanted to do some sort of free motion, and since I did stippling on the last one, I gave it the old loopity-loop this time.  It went really quickly!  (Side note: I tend to make small elongated loops so my exercise with this quilt was to keep them big and round...is anyone else singing Baby Got Back right now?)  For the binding, I used one of my other favorites, Pure Organic in Aqua.  It worked really well with the bright piecing and I LOVE the way it looks with the backing fabric!

It ended up being a generous lap size - I think it might work as a twin coverlet - it will definitely work for napping. (I promise, I didn't use it...I just measured it against my usual nap quilt....pinky swear!)  So now it's off to fulfill its quilt destiny at Alternatives for Girls!!  Happy travels, quilt!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

What I did on my summer vacation: the London edition

(Disclaimer:  this is going to be one long-ass post.  Skip ahead and take breaks as needed.)

So it’s been approximately 1 million years since my last post.  I’ve been busy like a bee this summer so let’s just jump back in with a mishmash of vacation slide shows and stitchy fun.

First up, we visited friends in London.  They're awesome!  Case in point, they own this:
They’re the kind of friends you wish you could live next door to.  I sobbed when it was time to leave.  (I considered throwing myself on the ground in a full toddler tantrum and declaring that I wasn’t leaving but I settled on crying in an upright position. The floor of the tube station was filthy.  I couldn't bring myself to touch it.)  Anyway, here are the highlights:

W finally got to meet our friends’ daughter.  She’s almost 2 and she’s pretty darn amazing!  She gave me the tiniest little daisy within the first 5 minutes of meeting her.  She picked it just for me.  I really could have spent the whole visit just watching her interact with the world.  (Although I would have needed an intravenous coffee line to help me keep up with her...that kid has energy!)
We got to tag along to the Young British Foodies Awards.  
It was a night of fun and interesting eats.  Everything from fancy-pants to food trucks!  Our friend (and his friend) were nominated in the coffee category.  They opened a cafe in a gallery about a year ago (I think).  It's called Coming Soon (but really, it's already there...).    They're very scientific about their coffee making and it totally pays off - these guys make some AMAZING coffee!  I know I'm biased and all, which means you might not believe me.  So the only way to settle this is for you to go check it out and report back to the group...  (If you tell them I sent you, they'll probably let you pull the shot yourself.  Actually, even if you don't tell them I sent you, they'll probably let you pull the shot yourself!  They're nice like that.)
We did a lot of walking while we were there.  Sometimes is hard for an American girl to remember how to cross the street on the other side of the pond (especially an east coast jaywalker, like myself).  Luckily, my English peeps had me covered:
During one of our walks, we came across this gem:
Awesome!  I wanted to steal it.
We had our phones at the ready just waiting to turn someone in to the Dog Squad, but alas, we found no droppers...maybe next time.  Now, I don't want you to miss out on the best part of this photo, so I've taken the liberty of zooming in for you.
You stay classy, London.
Yep.  Steam.  Just in case you thought the dog dropped its ice cream.  Or a bulb of garlic. 
 
The city was preparing for Jubilee Weekend and the streets were festive!  I can't decide which of these is more British:
8 million Union Jacks under one roof...
or a mere 1,000 Union Jacks with a red phone booth and a man in an argyle sweater vest...
I'm leaning towards the latter...  

The young whippersnappers were feeling festive too
Is that ok?  I mean, she's the queen for cryin' out loud!
Anyway, I caught the fever and became British for the week.  As evidence, I present to you, my souvenirs:

1. Liberty booty.  This is exciting in the quilting world, but probably my most boring souvenir.  (Although I did stock up on my most favorite print (Strawberry Thief) in two colorways, some burn-your-eyes-out pink, and a super-special Olympics print.) 
2. Union Jack welly socks.  Because of these socks and salted caramel mochas, I'm looking forward to fall this year.
3. QE2 Rubber Ducky! 
Are you a little bit jealous?  It's okay...I would be too...

4. QE2 postcard.  I hope you know that this is going to be glued to a popsicle stick any day now so she can watch over my sewing and make appearances in photos...I'm not kidding.  
5. And finally, the piece de resistance...the thing that will make any food better (including an electric blue castle cake)....
That's right, QE2, her beau, and the royal dogs in the form of cake toppers!  Just seeing this picture makes me want to go spruce up a sandwich!

Well, there you have it...my London vacation.  I need to start planning my return trip ASAP!