Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mailbox Goodies!

Every weekday I check my mailbox and gather up the usual suspects; the local advertising paper, sales flyers, bills, mail for people who no longer live at this address, and insurance and credit card applications. Sometimes, however, the trip to the box at the end of the driveway ends in excitement as I tear open an envelope that I just know is filled with something good and quilty. I have to admit though that I've been remiss in posting about all the fantastic things that have come my way. 

The first fun quilt mail that I received was from the fantastic Lori Landenburger who blogs over at SewPsyched. Way way back in April she hosted a fun little give away featuring a gift of April Showers by Bonnie and Camille in both a set of fat 1/8th and a mini charm pack. I, myself, was new to blogging and just getting to know the wonderful community that abounds, and nominated Lorna McMahon at Sew Fresh Quilts to play along with me. I was selected as a winner and soon there was a chilly little package from Lori's frozen Alaska in my steamy Florida mail box. I split the goods and sent half of it to my new friend Lorna in a pay it forward fashion. (I do hope it made it to you Lorna. I never know about the crossing of borders business!) I almost forgot, I'm linking up with Lorna and her Let's Bee Social Linky Party too!

I have a little left after sending some to Lorna. I still have to make something sweet with this charming little gift!
The second surprise came from the fabulous folks at GenerationQ Magazine. I played in a little activity that they feature called "Block Builder." I had been contacted to provide some more information about the block that I designed. (I wrote about it here and here with regards to my art class.) I was so excited to even be in communique with someone from this magazine, I might have even been ecstatic just to talk to a subscription representative, why not!? Anyway, I was blown away that one of my designs was going to be published! Then I forgot about it, the end of a school year, the start of summer. . .until one day that magic mailbox spit out a giant envelope.

A copy of the magazine with me in it! (Can I say I'm published?), and a signed copy of Stitch 'n Swap!





Here I am on page 13! Directly following a stellar article about Libs Elliott! Someday I may design great things like her!

I've had to think about getting a bigger mailbox! Just last week I entered a swell giveaway hosted by Alison Glass on Instagram and won again!!! She sent over four of her newest quilt patterns, which are gorgeous and will be have been added to the quilty bucket list. In fact, I was so infatuated by the Timber pattern that I went right out and purchased some fabrics get it started. (And I had a stash problem!?) 
I can't wait to make them all!


I already had the beautiful mossy striped batik fabric, a complementary muted batik, and the wrinkly grey picked out and put together for an unforeseen project in my future. I added some more neutrals and fun pops of color.
These are a mix of New Aged Muslin by Marcus and Peppered Cottons from Studio E.
I am in love with the texture of the New Aged Muslins. They feel as if they have already been starched heavily but have a lovely wrinkly texture. I think it will create a great visual contrast with the smooth nature of the other fabrics. The Peppered Cottons are also very beautiful. They are yarn dyed shot cottons. So the warp threads and the weft threads are different colors. This makes them almost seem to shine and from different angles you see different colors. These will help pick up the many color variations of the stripe batik fabric that I already had in my stash.


I supplemented the neutrals I already had on hand with a few more of the New Aged Muslin colors!

I am looking forward to cutting the pattern and getting started on the piecing this weekend when I have a bit more time. Eeek! Thanks for reading along. I am linking to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story. I hope you are having fun with fabric and that perhaps we may exchange some fun quilty mail soon. :-)

-Jan-Michael

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Stash: Fabric Shop Tour 2

My summer travels to Michigan allowed me an opportunity to explore several fabric shops. While I am quite excited about the new additions to my collection of fabric, my greatest joy came from spending time with my mom. One day was devoted completely to sharing time with my mom and my aunt. After a late breakfast we headed to JoAnn's. While this is not my favorite choice to purchase quilting fabric, I had a gift card that was burning a hole in my pocket. My mom was looking forward to making some apple coasters that she had bookmarked in one of her many quilting magazines. We loaded up on fat quarters to represent a variety of apples; granny smith, cinnamon apple, candy apple, red delicious. . . additionally we found some fun sale fabrics.  
Will there be pillows in my future? 
 The stripey orange and grey fabrics reminded me of Libs Elliot, whom I follow on Instagram. I imagine those crazy lines chopped up and mixed with solids to create some very busy and possibly dizzying designs. The yellow and white print was also on sale. It is a heavier weight out door fabric that Seark liked for some pillows. At this point mom was already questioning if there was going to be enough room to haul all of my goodies back to Florida. I kept the rest of my hoarding shopping experiences hush hush, I didn't want mom to freak out! 

This is going to become a great mini quilt wall hanging to remind me of my trip!

Next stop was Kean's Store. If you ever find yourself in Mason, Michigan, please stop at Kean's. This store is amazing! It's been around for ages. I used to go with my grandmother on special occasions, and my mom talks about going when she was a child too. The aroma of freshly popped and buttery popcorn greets you at the door, mixed with the sweet fragrances of the candy counter. The store is difficult to describe, as they carry a little bit of everything; fabric, candles, greeting cards, home decor, toys, school supplies, and seasonal items. Here I could not help dipping my toes into the Row by Row experience. (If you've not heard of this, you can read about it here.) The folks at Kean's designed a row that was the perfect quilty souvenir for my trip to Michigan. They chose great traditional blocks that remind me of summers in the mitten state and complemented them with spectacular fabric in an outdoorsy camping forest nature theme. I can't wait to create this row, but first I have to get the instructions which I accidentally left as a bookmark in one of the many quilting magazines that I found myself reading at my parents house!  

Mom is cutting fabric for apple coasters.
 I really enjoyed working on a project with my mom. While we didn't finish the coasters, we made a really great start, and now my mom has another project to add to her stash of works in progress. Somewhere during this vacation I came to the realization that my life is full of memories and more recently (read since I moved to Florida) those memories haven't included my family as much as I would like. I will cherish half made apple coasters and add that memory to a file that is growing at a much slower pace than it once did.

The magazine said we could make them in one day. A two week vacation and they are still a WIP.

You can read more about the beginning of my Fabric Shop Tour adventures here. I'm linking up with Molli Sparkles and his Sunday Stash. If you haven't already, check out his No Value Does Not Equal Free post! Wowza! Gorgeous quilt, and thought provoking read.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sunday Stash: Fabric Shop Tour 1

I recently returned from an end of summer vacation to the mitten state Michigan. It's a go to place for people who live in vacation destinations like central Florida. Seark and I packed up our Smart car and zoomed through five states, some mountains, several large cities and miles of corn fields to reach my hometown! Now I know that my last Sunday Stash questioned the ethics of stashing fabric, but I could not find restraint on this trip. Hence piles of fabric that look like they are going to topple over and smash someone. 

The spoils of a two week vacation/road trip!
Of course the two week vacation was not all about fabric shopping, though one might think otherwise if they only looked at the first photo in this post. Rest assured there were further adventures. We went to the county fair and feasted on fried goodies, meandered the midway and examined the exhibits.

The Ferris Wheel reminded me of the groves with the orange and green color scheme. 

We stopped in Kalamazoo to visit my alma mater, Western Michigan University, which has changed and grown to become even more beautiful than I remember. 

Miller Fountain Plaza (I may or may not have gone for a late night swim in that fountain.)
 We drove to Saugatuck and the west coast of Michigan to see the 'beach' and take in the sights and sound of the Great Lake Michigan. The water was really cold and I did not go swimming here, though we did get our feet wet.
The water has a gentler sound, lapping against the shore rather than the crashing waves of Florida beaches.

Not only did I bring home fabric, but also zesty homemade pickles, tart strawberry and rhubarb jam, childhood quilts, and the gem pictured below. This is the sewing cabinet that sat at the end of the hallway in front of a closet door at my grandmother's house. I remember rolling it aside every December to retrieve the Christmas decorations stored in the closet behind it. It contains some treasures that I may write about in a future post, the fondest of which is scent that brings memories flooding back of my childhood.


Now since this is Sunday Stash and you may have noticed that I've subtitled this Fabric Shop Tour, I will share a little more specific information about the fabrics I purchased on this trip and where I stopped along the way. The first quilting stop on this adventure was in Kentucky. Just north of Barea, KY in Richmond we stopped at Heirlooms Quilt Shoppe. Don't let the name fool you, this store was full of bright, modern prints. The staff was energetic and knowledgeable.  I picked up Citrus Slices, a Michael Miller fabric, and this other great metallic print that I bought in a fat quarter and did not get the selvage with the information about the maker. :( Sorry.  

Beautiful fabrics found at Heirlooms Quilt Shoppe.
There you have it, the first stop of many on a grand quilty adventure. Check back to find out where I went next. I also plan to share some quilt stories that found along the way. If you have any suggestions of information that might be helpful to you to share, please leave a comment. I'm linking up, once again with the fabulous Molli Sparkles and his Sunday Stash and the fantastic Lorna McMahon with Let's Bee Social.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Stash: Mystery Quilt Pull

I'm playing at the Sunday Stash party with the fantastic and fanciful Molli Sparkles for a second week in a row! When I started writing about my quilting adventures I didn't have a stash to speak of. I cringed at the sound of the word. 'Stash' gave me chills. When I heard someone say it, I couldn't help but think that if I did have a 'stash' then I would have to admit to my hidden, crafty, quilt-making obsession. I would have to 'come-out' of the quilting closet!

 I have accepted myself as a quilter. I find that I am drawn to places that other quilters frequent, like fabric shoppes and sewing expos. I now know where like-minded people hang out on the internet and learn from those who have accepted and embraced their quilty habits. I look up to those who generously share their insight and impeccable work. I choose to be an out and proud quilter! There I said it.  

 One might think that as a proud young quilter I would become accustom to my growing collection of quilting fabric, but honestly, I still have reservations about my stash. First let me show you the good stuff, then if you would like to stick around, I'll tell you about the skepticism surrounding the stash.

What is that paper all about?

The selection above is what I've chosen for a fun Mystery Quilt hosted by Cheryl over at Meadow Mist Designs. The fun is just about to begin, so you should check it out if you want to play along. All I know so far is that we need three groups of fabric: A, B, and C, and the suggested amounts for each which are detailed at her blog. 


For Group A, the main fabrics of the quilt, I have a selection of magenta inspired fabrics. From left to right there is: 
  •  Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton in Magenta that has been in my stash since last summer and used in the Summer Sampler Series. (you can read more about my experience with that here.)
  • Carolyn Friedlander Architextures crosshatch in ???
  • Nellie's Garden 415C also a magenta with hints of orange.
  • Phillip Jacobs for Rowan. Westminster. 


Group B is the background fabric. I am choosing to use only one fabric for the background. It is this fantastic feeling grey cotton. I cannot remember who makes it, or what the exact color is, but I do remember that the kind person at the fabric shop saying that this brand has quickly become the staff favorite because of it's soft feel and slight sheen. It's actually a bit darker, but there is some reflective light bouncing back from it.


For Group C, the accent colors, I have some bright citrus colors that I think play well with Group A. Clockwise from upper right there is:
  • A random chartreuse quilters solid left over from my WERQ Bee block (JoAnn's Fabric)
  • Timeless Treasures Screen Texture in Tangerine
  • Carolyn Friedlander Architextures Crosshatch in Tangerine


Well you're here at the bottom of the page with me, so now the "SKEPTICISM SURROUNDING STASHES" 
1.  The perfect stash is an unobtainable goal. I sometimes feel that an underlying message in online media is to buy, buy, buy (And I don't mean the 'N Sync version). I see images of beautiful work rooms with shelves of lovely fabrics and well organized notions. I know that these images represent only a handful of quilters, but equate them to unrealistic images of models in magazines. That image takes, hard work, sacrifice, time and money.

2.Too much fabric may stifle creativity. I have been known to buy fabric because it's gorgeous and I just want it. Then comes along a brilliant pattern that the gorgeous fabric would work perfectly for, but I have in my mind decided that the fabric is too dear to me to use. What if it doesn't look right? What if there is something better for this fabric to come along? I have a couple of fabrics that I'm going to bite the bullet and make use of here, so that they are not just a part of the stash. 

3.. Finally and most importantly, I feel that having a stash of fabric goes against the traditional nature of patchwork. A hobby, craft, and art that appears founded in frugality has taken on a lavish tone. I think it is important to 'start where you're at and use what you have.' I'm fortunate to have the ability to supplement my projects with new fabrics, but would like to ensure that none of my purchases go on wasted. 

Now don't get me wrong, I love fabric. I love the colors, the patterns, the textures and even the smell. I probably would have a fantastically plentiful stash, but then I would wonder how I would find the time to use it all up.

Do you have trepidation about a stash? Are you stash busting or stash growing? I would love to know your point of view on the topic!  


Molli Sparkles

What?!

Do you ever have an idea for a blog post but while you're prepping for it, the content changes as if it has a mind of it's own? I intended to share with you the finished quilt block that I wrote about earlier this week. I was so excited to share the finished block by posting a picture here. That was the initial reason for the post, just a quick update, and to ask if anyone had any insight about curved seams and slightly wavy fabric. (I think the inset circle is slightly too large because of mishaps with the millions of seams making it so the whole thing is doing a great impression of gentle gulf waves.)



Before I could take a picture though, I wanted to give the block one last press to see if it could be just a little more flat. That's when my iron decided to leak some ghastly brownish orange liquid on my quilt block!  What do you do when your iron pees on your fabric!? What is wrong with my iron?! I decided to take a picture to show the damage. The lighting last night did not show the extent of the damage, so I knew I would take additional photos in the daylight before I could finish up my post.



Here is a close up of the damaged area. I'm not sure if you can see it, a slight rust stain around those precious points. Now the purpose of the post is a plea for help! 

But wait there is more! I was fidgeting with the functions of my phone's camera trying to get a more clear shot of the destruction when this popped up: 




Google Goggles is an app that I had heard about and downloaded a couple of days ago to play with. My understanding is that you could use it to take pictures of QR codes, UPC symbols and major logos and then search the internet based on the image. This is probably no big deal to the 'tech-ier' people of the world, but advances in technology are always surprising to me. Google Goggles scanned the image and was able to decipher what the main fabric was and then located it on sale on the internet! I should clarify, that while I did not intentionally use the app to search for the fabric, the app was running in the background of my phone from playing with it a couple of days ago. Now this post has more of a "I need to share about this 'What?!' strange/intriguing thing that just happened and ask if anyone else has been using the app?" kind of tone. 

Have you ever had a blog post go in a completely different direction than what you intended? Do you use Google Goggles? What other apps do you use in your quilt making?

I'm linking up with Diana at Red Delicious Life, who is guest hosting Anything Goes Monday!






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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Let's Be Social: Socialize

Do you have a shelf full of quilty books and magazines with oodles of projects that you would love to try? I know I do. I also bounce from one idea to another recklessly. This is why I have abandoned my list of projects for the Finish Along over at The Littlest Thistle and have set my quilty bucket list on the back burner! 

The project was featured on the cover of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine July/August 2007. The magazine provides templates to paper piece the compass blocks of a much more complex pieced and appliqued quilt called Sunshine Rose Garden by Kathy Nakajima. 

I feel that I am on a path of quilting discovery. I enjoy paper piecing, I enjoy improvisational piecing, I like both modern and traditional designs. I guess I'm trying to find out how to best utilize these methods, practices and concepts to make what is my own. Adrianne at On The Windy Side posted a great interview fiber artist Chawne at completely cauchy. I'm not sure how to explain this, but I think I needed Chawne in my life. I happened upon her first today while perusing instagram and then as I opened up my blog dashboard, there she was again, the subject of Adrianne's interview! While all of this may be coincidental, I find most surprising that Chawne has perfectly created the quilt that I have been mentally designing for over a year and bravely started setting to paper earlier this morning, but she finished her's in 2012! Why today?

Have you ever had a moment where it feels like the universe is conspiring to lead you down a specific path?

Linking up with Let's Be Social at Sew Fresh Quilts and the lovely Lorna McMahon.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday Stash

I often feel guilty when I shop for fabric, especially when I make a purchase without a plan for what it is to become. Yesterday, however, Shark suggested that the fabric store be a part of our Saturday adventure. While I was hesitant about going into the store because I knew how dangerous it could be, he was encouraging.. He picked out this clock fabric, it was in the 50% off bin.


Also in the 50% off bin was this fantastic illustrative fabric from Alexander Henry. I was eyeing this fabric the last time we were in the store, but didn't get any. This time, at half off, I bought the end of the bolt.


The chartreuse and grey caught my eye.The dotted chartreuse pattern is a Ty Pennington design. The grey is from Andover. 

Shark also found this great line. While not in the half off bin, I had a hard time passing up on the colors and kitsch. 

Finally, there was this batik. The lighter batik (below), from Robert Kaufman seemed like the perfect match for the mossy striped batik (also from Robert Kaufman) I purchased last weekend on my second trip to Heartfelt Quilting and Sewing of the week! Herein lies my initial hesitation to going to a fabric store. . .I had already purchased 2 other times less than a week ago! If you don't know me, I have a thing for striped fabrics and have been working on a couple of projects involving stripes, you can see more about those, here (also a rather compulsive stripey purchase!) and here


Alas, I'm not sure I like how the light fabric plays with the stripes. I think it makes mossy colors look too heavy. I may compliment them with a medium grey to lighten and brighten the colors. 

I am linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash. I would say that he has served as a catalyst for me write about my quilting adventures, and to pursue quilting more heavily. Thanks Molli!


Molli Sparkles