Hey there 2015!

Let’s take a look back at 2014, shall we?

2014 Leaves

At the beginning of 2014, I started a little weekly photo challenge for myself. I wanted to practice using my camera, and take lots of photos every week. I went strong for 22 weeks, then just…stopped. I got a little burned out, and needed a break from the camera. In 2015 I’m aiming to take lots of photos again, but not on such a strict schedule. Less stress, ya know?!

Probably the biggest moment of 2014 was buying a house in March! I hope to do an updated house tour soon, now that we are all settled in. All you’ve seen are the empty rooms! Seems crazy that we’ve already made it our own style and gotten so attached to our little house.

Our First Home

In March, I my first traveling of the year to Kentucky to see my sister and her family for her birthday.

having fun outside

I love this little boy so much.

Then in May we went to NYC! John and I spent our one year anniversary here, and we had the best time. I’d like to go back…tomorrow. Ok? Thanks!

wk 22 insp 02

Central Park amazingness

We also took a quick trip to Oklahoma to celebrate my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary. I tear up just thinking about how much love they have for each other and for their family. It was a super special evening celebrating these two. Aren’t they cute?

Granny and Grandpa 60 Years

Celebrating 60 Years

P.S. I can’t take credit for this amazing photo! Aunties, do you know who I can credit?

Halfway through 2014, I decided to enter a quilt in my very first quilt show! The Capital of Texas Quilt Fest. Seeing my quilt hanging up there with the rest of the amazing works of art was the best feeling. In 2015 I’m going to try and finish my latest quilt and enter it in another show. Details soon, I promise.

Liberty Geese Number 3, front

My first quilt show entry.

Oh and I joined a quilt bee! And I didn’t even tell you! How rude of me. I’m part of the “Sew Together” bee here in Austin, and we meet once a month to talk about art quilts and modern quilting. I’ve met some lovely ladies and am excited to learn and get inspiration from the group.

Not only did a join a quilt bee, but I also became a member of the Austin Modern Quilt Guild. I joined in October, and am slowly getting to know everyone. I love being a part of this group of like-minded quilters! I get to geek out about sewing and quilting, and I’m excited to attend more meetings in 2015.

More quilty things: Halloween was awesome because I went to the International Quilt Fest in Houston. My brain melted.

Ruby Jubilee quilt display

The next night John and I got all dressed up and went to our friend’s awesome Halloween party. Bonus points if you know who/what cartoon we are from.

Finn and the Ice King

I also opened my Etsy shop in 2014! I have just a few things listed so far, and I have been aiming to get even more items up in the next month or so. I’m really enjoying working on my shop, and I’m learning a lot.

Hey, I'm for sale!

Hey, I’m for sale!

The holidays were nuts around here. It seems like the last few months flew by, and I don’t even have ANY pictures except this one of cranberries. We hosted my parents for Thanksgiving, and I did a really bad job at making turkey. But the sides were DANG GOOD!

Cranberries

We spent Christmas day in Austin, then traveled to Wichita Falls to spend time with John’s side of the family. Lots of fun and food and family time.

Christmas lights in typical Austin fashion.

Christmas lights in typical Austin fashion.

 

Finally, we toasted to 2015, and said goodbye to 2014. We hosted a New Year’s party at our house, and it was a lot of work, but it was even more fun. I made a glitter CHEERS sign and everything.

Cheers to 2015

Looking good, lady friends!

 

And that’s a wrap. If you made it to the end of this post, I owe you a cookie.

I liked you, 2014. I liked you a LOT. But I’m ready for more adventures and crafts and sewing and reading and writing and eating. I think 2015 will be just right.

 

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2014 International Quilt Festival

On Halloween, I took the day off work, and drove myself down to Houston so I could check out the International Quilt Festival!

Ruby Jubilee quilt display

I spent about 6 hours at the festival, and quickly learned that only one day spent there is not nearly enough time to see everything!

I spent most of my time just walking around and seeing the beautiful quilts, and checking out the many, many (as in, over 1,000) vendors selling all sorts of quilty things.

I couldn’t resist buying some fabric:
Fat Quarters from the International Quilt Festival
Fat quarters from Web Fabrics.

Half Yards from the International Quilt Festival
Half yard cuts from Heartway International.

owl stamp
And this cute owl stamp from Country Keepsakes.

I had also heard some great things on Molli Sparkle’s blog about Bloc Loc rulers, so I was excited to come across their booth…but unfortunately they were all sold out of the two sizes I was considering! I think I may have to order one online. I often find myself needing to square up blocks, and this seems like the perfect tool!

Now, let’s move on to the amazing quilts! I’ll just jump right into it with the photos. I picked a few of my favorites, and listed them under their specific categories.

Ruby Jubilee: A 40-Year Celebration

This is a special exhibit to celebrate the festival’s 40th year. The photo at the top of this post shows how they were beautifully displayed. I couldn’t see the quilt labels for these, so I’m not able to credit the artists.

Ruby Jubilee Quilt 5Ruby Jubilee Quilt 2

Continue reading

Cherrywood Chevron Pillows: Quilted Top and Envelope Back

Happy holidays! It’s been a wonderful week. We visited family last weekend, and then John and I had a quiet Christmas day at home.

Now I’ve just been catching up on cleaning and doing things around the house. I know that sounds boring, but it’s been nice! I love not having to rush around, so these last couple days off of work have been fantastic to get things done. I also got to take some photos of my finished Cherrywood chevron pillows!

cherrywood chevron pillows

I talked about the beginning of this project here.

After prepping the fabric, I used my rotary cutter to cut triangle and parallelogram shapes based on my pattern, and sewed them together to make the top. Then, I made a mini quilt sandwich with flannel and a plain white scrap of fabric. Quilting with the flannel instead of batting turned out nicely, but I would definitely recommend using your sewing machine! I started out by hand-quilting, and while it looks nice, it was very difficult to do  because the needle doesn’t slide through the flannel easily.

Here’s what the two methods look like next to each other. I do love the hand stitched look, so this finished pillow will be extra special.

hand vs machine quilted

Once the tops were quilted, I needed to make the backs. I sewed little triangles of the Cherrywood fabric onto paper so I could bring it into the Quilt Store and browse for the perfect complementary fabric.

Fabric samples

This pretty Robert Kaufman fabric matched perfectly.

I used this tutorial as a guideline to make an envelope closure back. It was so easy!

chevron pillow envelope back

All that was left was purchasing a few 16×16 pillow forms to insert in the covers. I enjoyed making these pillow covers because I can switch them out for different ones whenever I want! And making the pillows was similar to making a quilt, but on a much smaller scale. It was fun to be able to have a finished product in such a short amount of time.

stacked chevron pillows

I’m calling my first quilted pillows a success!

Broken Dishes Quilt – Binding and the Finished Quilt

Let me just start this post with an excited squeal of joy. I finished the Broken Dishes quilt after a year of slow, slow, progress. But hey, I planned a wedding this year! So it’s a little less embarrassing that it took this long.

Here's the finished quilt!

Here’s the finished quilt!

In case you missed the earlier posts on my first hand quilted project, here they are in order:

Part One – Deciding on a design and buying fabric

Part Two – Cutting the triangles

Part Three – Piecing the Top

Part Four – Basting the Quilt Layers

Part Five – Hand-Quilting

Today I wanted to share some quick photos and instructions on adding the binding to finish the quilt. There are so many fantastic binding tutorials online – like here, here, and here – but I wanted to show the method I used for the first few steps.

I finished quilting. Now what?

After the entire top is quilted, trim the extra batting and backing fabric off the edges with a cutting mat, rotary cutter, and quilting ruler.

cut the excess off the outside of the quilt

Now it’s ready to add binding.

How much binding do I need?

  1. Measure the length and width of the quilt and do some math to determine how much fabric you’ll need for the binding.
    Here’s the formula to use:  length + length + width + width + 10 inches extra.
    For example, mine was 59 + 59 + 43 + 43 + 10 = 216.
  2. Then, divide this number by the width of the fabric you are using (standard fabric widths are 36, 45, and 60).
    My fabric was 45 inches wide, so I divided 216 (the number we just calculated) by 45 = 4.8
  3. Round this number up.
    4.8 is now 5.
  4. Now I know I need 5 strips of binding to make it all the way around the quilt.

Get the binding strips ready to sew onto the quilt.

I cut my binding strips 2 ½ inches wide in order to make a ¼ inch border around the quilt when finished.

cut binding strips

Cut off the selvage edges.

cut off the selvage

Place two strips of binding, right sides together, at a 90 degree angle. (You can’t tell which side is which in these photos because my fabric was a solid, and thus looks the same on both sides.)

fold and pin binding strips

Take the piece on top and fold the corner down. Finger press, unfold, and pin the two pieces together.

sew and cut off extra

Sew right across the line you made, and cut off the extra flap.

quilt binding

Unfold, and voila!

Continue attaching all the strips you cut until you have one long piece of binding. Take it over to the ironing board, and iron in half, wrong sides together.

Now you’re ready to sew the binding onto your quilt!

Here is “The Ultimate Quilt Binding Tutorial” video from Missouri Star Quilt Company that shows the binding being sewn onto the front of the quilt,  how to get those perfect mitered corners, and how to hand stitch the binding down to the back. I think this video shows this process really well – I found it to be a little too difficult to try and take photos during this part! (Start at 5:10 to pick up where I left off after sewing the strips together.)

The last step of hand-sewing the back of the binding on was really relaxing, and I was almost disappointed when i was finished. But not TOO disappointed, because I’m done, I’m done, I’m done! And I’m so happy. I hope you enjoyed following along with me on my first hand-quilted adventure.

quilt front and back

Onward to the next project!

Around the house

 

 

Wanted to share a few photos of things I’ve been loving around the house.

Here’s my quilt setup on weekends. All I need is some good coffee, a comfy chair, and a little cat for company, and I’m happy quilting for hours.
weekend quilt setup
My favorite outside spot on the porch.
favorite place to sit
My plants are growing like crazy. The planter my dad and I made is my favorite part of the backyard. You can hardly see the concrete blocks anymore!
crazy overgrown plants
John’s parents gifted us this lovely family quilt for our wedding. It’s got a new home in the guest bedroom.
cozy guest bed quilt
Here’s a detail shot. I love all the bright colors and crazy scraps that went into this quilt.guest bed quilt detail
Speaking of quilts, I’ve got ideas brewing for my next project. More details coming soon.
my next quilt design
Making good use of this chalkboard I used in our wedding. Breakfast taco love + flowers to add color in the kitchen.
chalkboard love and flowers
Currently reading Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card. Just finished several books from his Ender’s Game series and I needed more. So good.
currently reading
Watched this tutorial video and worked on my origami skills. Little elephant is keeping my hair products company. (p.s. the woman’s voice in that video is so soothing!)
origami elephant

Just a few things I wanted to share…now I need to get to work on the broken dishes quilt. I’m SO close to being done and I can’t wait to share the finished product here!