Saturday, December 31, 2011

Eighteenth Finish of 2011: Kitty Kaleidoscope Quilt

Oh. My. Gosh. At one point, I thought I would never finish this quilt and look! I completed it just in time for it to be my final finish of 2011! I can hardly believe it! What a great way to end 2011.

When I first heard about Don’t Call Me Betsy’s Kaleidoscope Quilt Along in June 2011, little did I know that it would be one of my biggest quilting challenges to date. The pattern was stunning and I was super excited about my first Quilt Along. After rummaging in my stash, I decided to make a twin-sized quilt in blues and purples for my daughter’s Big Girl Bed. (Although right now it’s more like mommy’s Unplanned Nap Bed, since my daughter isn’t ready for her Big Girl Bed yet.) Anyways, I had my heart set on making a bed-sized quilt in my daughter’s colors. I procrastinated starting because I had never used templates before. Thankfully, my mom loaned me her templates once she was done with the cutting. It was then that I learned an important lesson: I do not like working with templates. In fact, I loathe it. Nevertheless, I plodded through the cutting and finally made it to the piecing stage. By that point, I had read that people were having trouble getting their blocks to lie flat. Luckily, my quilting motto is “if you can’t do it, fudge it.” I pinned and pressed and sewed and didn’t worry too much about the piecing being perfect. As a result, the quilt top came together pretty well. I started machine quilting it in October, but then set it aside while I focused on Christmas presents. After Christmas, I put every possible moment of leisure time into finishing this quilt. Don't ask me what time I went to bed last night.

I am extremely pleased with how this quilt turned out. It may not have been my favorite quilt to make, but it challenged me and still came out lovely. I especially like the color combination, the unexpected designs the quilting made, and the binding. The fabric for this quilt is a smattering of Paris Cats, some Kona solids, a couple of my favorite Lizzy House prints, and some other random prints.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Flashback Friday #16: Alarm Clock Cover

When I first became addicted to reading quilting blogs, back in July 2010 or so, half-square triangles were all the rage. After seeing so many beautiful specimens online, I just had to make something for myself. At the time, the light from my digital alarm clock wasn’t helping with my pregnancy-induced insomnia, so each night I would cover it with whatever was at hand, which was usually a scarf or something similar that would slide off in the night. I soon tired of this and decided that a half-square triangle mini quilt would make the perfect alarm clock cover. I knew that I wanted to use a solid, and dug around in my stash until I found the leftovers of the flying geese baby quilts that I made. I finished this mini quilt in August 2010 and used it as an alarm clock cover until my alarm clock died, victim of a curious infant that didn’t know her own strength. Now this little quilt hangs on my quilt ladder. My cell phone is a better alarm clock, anyways.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Seventeenth Finish of 2011: Christmas Gift Bags

Last year, I decided to wrap as many Christmas gifts as I could in fabric bags. In addition to minimizing wrapping paper waste, fabric bags are fun, personal and make any gift extra special. This year, I made over a dozen bags, but forgot to take pictures of most of them before I gave them away. For the most part, I used Flurry fabric and my version of Pink Penguin’s drawstring bag tutorial. Sadly, I’ve made so many of these bags that I tired of them early on in the holiday season and as a result, stayed up late Christmas Eve to finish the last few. One of my goals for 2012 is to finish all my Christmas gift bags before Christmas Eve. I started working on these bags in October, so next year I’ll have to start earlier than that!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sixteenth Finish of 2011: Buttermint Flurry Table Runner

If you read A Quilter’s Table, then you have already seen the table runner that I gave my mom for Christmas. From the beginning, I knew I wanted hers to be mostly green. I struggled to fit in other Flurry fabrics that I had left from the jelly roll, but none of them seemed quite right. In the end, I cut up a coordinating fat quarter in solid white. My mom likes modern quilts, so I knew she would appreciate the simplicity of solid white. I started this quilt in December 2011 and finished it on December 23, 2011, just in time for Christmas!

Thanks for your patience while I posted four similar projects in a row. You won’t see this pattern again for awhile. I have fabric set aside to make a blue and green version for myself, but I need to take a break and do something fresh and new first.

For those who are unfamiliar with the word “Buttermint,” it is a yummy mint cookie that is a family favorite for Christmas baking.

Fifteenth Finish of 2011: Candy Cane Flurry Table Runner

When I decided to make coordinating table runners as Christmas gifts (see Evergreen Flurry and Peppermint Flurry for the first two), I wanted to use the same pattern (Box Lunch Table Runner from On a Roll Again) and same fabric line (Flurry by Kate Spain), but still make four unique quilts. As I used up the jelly roll I had bought for this purpose, it became more challenging to decide on a design I liked. Luckily, after much mixing and matching of fabrics, I settled on a red-and-white-ish candy cane theme for my mother-in-law’s table runner. Again, this pattern lends itself better to more scrappiness than this, but I am very happy with the final product. I especially like the diagonal quilting, just like a candy cane!

Candy Cane Flurry was begun and finished in December 2011.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fourteenth Finish of 2011: Peppermint Flurry Table Runner

After finishing the Evergreen Flurry Table Runner, I was anxious to start on the next Christmas present, which was for my grandmother. I knew I wanted to use the poinsettia/bird fabric, as my grandma likes poinsettias and birds remind her of my late grandfather.

With this table runner, I learned that this pattern (Box Lunch Table Runner from On a Roll Again) works best with a variety of fabrics. I spent a lot of time rearranging the blocks because they were too similar for the design I had envisioned. One evening, late at night, I threw up my hands in frustration and went with a different arrangement altogether. The next morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really liked the end result. Luckily, my grandmother did, too.

Peppermint Flurry was started and completed in November 2011.

Thirteenth Finish of 2011: Evergreen Flurry Table Runner

When I finished the Two Weeks’ Notice table runner, I knew that I wanted to use the same pattern for Christmas presents for the four other women in my family. It took me awhile to find the right fabric, but find it I did: Flurry by Kate Spain. I bought a jelly roll and some coordinating solids as soon as it was released, but didn’t get started until October.

I had such fun dividing up the jelly roll strips for each table runner. The first one I tackled was for my husband’s grandmother, whose favorite color is green. The piecing went quickly, but I stalled when I realized that I had to get more basting pins in order to baste it. Once it was basted, I machine quilted it in a dense crosshatch pattern and finished it in early November. I am really pleased with the results.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Flashback Friday #15: Batik Table Runner

I am very blessed to be one of several quilters in my family. In addition to my mom, my husband’s grandmother is also a quilter. A couple of years ago, she gave me a kit by Timeless Treasures. The pattern called for offsetting the rows and trimming off a significant portion of some of the blocks. I didn’t want to make a bunch of blocks and then discard part of them, so I decided to tweak the pattern. I made the blocks as instructed, but rotated them instead of offsetting them. As I worked on the blocks, I realized that with the addition of a few leftover fabrics  from other projects, I could stretch the kit and make a table runner in addition to the small quilt. I knew that it would take me awhile to finish the quilt, so I focused on whipping up a table runner for my husband’s grandmother, keeping in mind that her favorite color is green. I especially enjoyed hand quilting it in a cross-hatch pattern. Needless to say, she was happy to receive it. This runner was finished in August of 2010.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Flashback Friday #14: Fourth of July Table Topper

Back in the spring of 2009, I tried my hand at designing my own pattern for the first time. I took a charm pack of Red, White and Bold fabric, set it on point and sewed it together. Alas, I did not take into consideration the appropriate size of setting triangles in relation to their contingent squares. In other words, the points disappeared when I bound it because I forgot the add a seam allowance to the setting triangles. I was so disappointed in myself that I didn’t finish it until August 2010. Still, I like the fabric (especially the binding), so I kept it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday: December 14, 2011

Ack! Christmas is in less than two weeks! This past week I buckled down and focused on the Christmas presents I’m making. I was able to machine quilt two of them. While I had my machine set up for quilting, I also quilted a small project that I started back in March of this year.

New projects: 0
Completed projects: 0
Total projects: 16

Please excuse the short WIP Wednesday post this week. No time for writing. Must sew!

My cat Tux "helping" me sew

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday Sweetness: Red Velvet Cake Balls

It’s no secret that I love cake balls. My favorite flavor is Red Velvet. They can be a fun addition to holiday baking, so I thought I would share my method of making Red Velvet Cake Balls with you. A few years ago, my mom sent me the link to the recipe on Bakerella’s blog. I made them once and was hooked. I don’t know how many times I’ve made cake balls since then, but it has been quite often.

Cake mix + necessary eggs, oil and water
1 can of cream cheese frosting
1-2 bags of dark chocolate Ghirardelli chocolate chips


1.       Make a cake. I usually use Duncan’s Red Velvet cake mix.

2.      Turn the cake into crumbs. My favorite method is using a food processor, but you can do it by hand as well.

3.      Mix in frosting. Do NOT use whipped frosting.

4.      Roll into balls. It helps to have a friend for this step. It also helps to pop them in the freezer before the next step. Overnight is best.

5.     Melt chocolate. I prefer to use a double boiler set up. I always scorch it if I use the microwave.

6.     Dip cake balls. Mine are never pretty, but they are usually eaten too quickly for anyone to notice. Pop them in the freezer again to set the chocolate.

Cake balls are a dish best served cold. You can keep them in the freezer indefinitely. That is, if you don't eat them all first.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November 2011 in Review

November was a very busy, but productive month. I am very pleased with all that I have accomplished in the last thirty days. I got a solid head start on Christmas gifts and bags, and I also had a blast making improv blocks for Call Me Crazy and a pieced back for Blueberry Pie. The improv blocks were the most fun to make, but I love how the Christmas presents turned out. I hope that December brings lots of sewing time!

Check out Fresh Sewing Day at Lily’s Quilts for more stitching inspiration!

1. Call Me Crazy WIP 11.1.11, 2. Christmas Gift Bags WIP 11.1.11, 3. Christmas Runner 1 WIP 11.1.11, 4. Evergreen Flurry Rolled 11.6.11, 5. Blueberry Pie WIP 11.6.11, 6. Call Me Crazy WIP 11.6.11, 7. Christmas Gift Bags WIP 11.6.11, 8. Blueberry Pie WIP 11.15.11, 9. 2011 Memory Quilt WIP, 10. Call Me Crazy WIP 11.15.11, 11. Peppermint Flurry WIP 11.20.11, 12. 2012 Memory Quilt WIP 11.20.11, 13. Blueberry Pie WIP 11.20.11, 14. Color Book WIP 11.29.11, 15. Memory Quilt 2012 WIP 11.29.11, 16. Memory Quilt 2011 WIP 11.29.11

  • Finished two table runners Christmas gifts
  • Finished four Christmas gift bags
  • Finished the top of another table runner Christmas gift
  • Finished blocks for Call Me Crazy

Fresh Sewing Day