Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Simple Vintage Sheet 9 Patch and a Bee Vintage Round Up

Although I haven't been in Bee Vintage since the beginning, I've had a lot of fun with it.  I've learned some new blocks . . . some more challenging than others.  It was kind of sweet to discover that my last month (July - woohoo!  I'm done early) was going to be a simple 9 patch variation.  Tammie is looking to make the Sweet Menagerie Quilt that was posted up on Moda Bake Shop back in 2009.  I think this is going to be a lovely quilt done in vintage sheets, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished product.

I made up 2 blocks for her:

9 Patch - For Tammie
9 Patch #2 - for Tammie

Since this is the last block I'll be making for this group (sniff!), I thought I'd do a little round-up mosaic of all of the blocks I've done for this bee:
1. Starburst Block #2, 2. Starburst Block #1, 3. Mod Mosaic Vintage Sheet Block, 4. Quilter's Grid Block, 5. Let Them Eat Cake - for Jenny, 6. Not available, 7. 9 Patch #1 - For Tammie, 8. 9 Patch #2 - for Tammie

Thanks ladies, for letting me join up with you mid-bee.  I've had lots of fun piecing with you.  :)

And now . . . I'm just waiting on a few more blocks from my month, and I'll get to quiltin'!


Monday, June 27, 2011

I've Been Featured? Awesome!

On such a lovely Monday (are Mondays lovely?), I'd like to take a moment to thank some awesome bloggers who have been giving me virtual high-fives lately.  :)

One of my most favorite bloggers and patternmakers - - seriously, she's the bomb - - Larissa from mmmcrafts, actually put one of my projects up on her blog!  She's on my MUST READ list so there's no way I was going to miss this, but many thanks to Erika over at PinkSuedeShoe for alerting me to the feature right quick.  :)  Remember these guysShe loved em! 

Mikey and Molly Monkey

For those of you who have been around for A LONG TIME here at ye ole Playground, Larissa was also the creative mind behind the pattern I used to make this little bunny for my niece:
Baby Bunny Binky
Photo Quality = Terrible.  Bunny = Cute!
Then the other day, I got an email from Krista over at Poppyprint that she was going to be sharing about my table runner project on her blog.  Thanks, Krista!  I see that our exclusive Flickr club seems to be growing.  ;)
Runner Front - Detail

If that just wasn't enough to get me grinning from ear to ear, today my sewing room is being featured over on the Crafty Storage blog!  Having gotten so much inspiration for my room directly from the awesome spaces featured on that blog, I have to say I'm quite honored to now be among them.  :)  Thanks so much, Paula!
How's everyone doing today?


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake!

Well, I put it off until the*last weekend* possible, but I finished up June's block for Bee VintageJenny asked for stacks: "stacked coins, stacks of books, stacks of anything!"

I didn't know what to do so I asked Pedro.

And you know what he said, right?  "Build her a cake or something."

Let Them Eat Cake - for Jenny

It may not be her birthday, but who doesn't like cake?


Monday, June 20, 2011

Operation: Sewing Room (Re)Organization

*****FYI:  This post is very pic heavy.  I am including so many pictures and explaining my process and products used because it has helped me tremendously while organizing my own sewing space to see and read about other sewers' spaces.  I've included links to some of the storage solutions used for your information, not because I have in any way been paid or perked to mention them.  Hope you enjoy the tour of my sewing room!*****

For the last month I've really been going to town working on cleaning up my sewing room. It all started with the fabric rolling, then I jumped on the ribbons, and from there it just snowballed. It was driving me crazy working in there because though it seemed to be organized to the untrained eye, there were still supplies unpacked from our move lurking in boxes, drawers shoved with bits and bobs, and frankly . . . I just wasn't able to put my hands on my stuff when I needed it.

Honestly, cleaning and reorganizing this room has felt like a part time job. Most of the time, I enjoyed the process . . . discovering stuff I thought I lost and finding more lovely and efficient ways of storing my supplies was fun

For the most part.

But some things were just annoying and a bit frustrating. There is no closet in the room, which may be a blessing in disguise because if there were it would be tempting to just shove stuff in there. But without a closet, everything has to function and foster creativity at the same time . . . too much clutter *out* in the open doesn't make me a happy crafter.  I realize that some creative people thrive in that kind of environment, but it just doesn't work for me.

Here's where we left off:
The Newly Reorganized Fabric Hutch

Here's what I ended up doing:

First, I shoved a bunch more fabric in that hutch.  I loved that bit of breathing room I had in there before, but I realized that I could be *mostly* aesthetically pleased with this arrangement and still have ALL my fabric in a visible place to maximize the possibility of it all being used.  Before when all the fabric was separated into different drawers I felt a bit stuck in the ways I was combining fabric.  Now that it's all together I see things that could go together that I never considered before.  That makes the shoving a bit more worthwhile.  Plus I guess this means that I need to get busy using what I've got to make room for new stuff.  ;)
Hutch Mess

Those lovely organized ribbon cards got relocated into a larger storage container (or rather, 2 larger containers) when I discovered a bunch of ribbon later in the process of cleaning.  Oh well . . . it was cute while it lasted.  A new Salvation Army thrift store opened up really close to my house and they had skads of lovely sheets just waiting to be adopted.  I brought home a bunch and they ended up getting shoved underneath the wire bin that's holding all the vintage sheet fat quarters.  Then there were the regular fat quarters and the Kona fat quarters and the somewhat impressive stash of charm squares that I've acquired through various trades over the years.  Anyway . . . it all got shoved in here.

Fabric Fairy
Did you catch my little fairy hiding on the top shelf?  My Aunt Penny was quite a collector who especially loved angels and fairies.  When she died, her collection was brought to the funeral and everyone took one home with them to remember her.  This one stole my heart and now presides over the fabric situation in the hutch.  :)

Fabric Hutch and Supply Cabinet
A picture I took of things before I got all shove-y with the fabrics.

Here's a corner I've never shared before with you.  This cabinet is located right behind the door.  The hat rack hanging above it came from Ikea (LOGGA for anyone interested).  This was my partial solution to not having a closet in the room.  I knew I wanted at least one rack in the room so that I could hang larger pattern pieces grouped together.  It's also housing magazine files of different types of patterns.  I still have to make some labels so that I know what kinds are in which boxes without having to pull out every single one every time I need to find a pattern.

Baby steps, people.

Top of the Cabinet

On top of that cabinet I've got my stack of sewing/crafting books.  Towards the bottom are a lot more knitting books, and as you get closer to the top the sewing stuff dominates.  I'm not much of a paper crafter, but I do have one of those kinds of books as well.  To the right of the book stack I've got my sewing sweets . . . I repurposed a cupcake stand that we used for Little Miss' birthday party to hold pincushions and other random small items.

Cabinet Goodies
Here's what's going on inside that cabinet.  (I didn't take a picture of the inside of the drawer, but it holds scrapbook paper and the like.)  I used to have these file trays in the hutch holding all the felt sheets, but the more I rolled the fabric the more room I needed so these got moved here.  Next to that I've got a couple rolls of paper that I use for pattern pieces, some freezer paper, some leftover magnetic sheeting from my paper doll project and some clothespins waiting to be made over and used wherever they are needed (in the playroom to hold artwork, to clip papers together, whatever).

On the opposite wall, we have this mecca of organizational wonder:
Supply Wall
Here you can see the heavy duty shelf I had Mr. Skooks move for me (BILLY from Ikea).  I so very much wanted to sew in front of the window and on a whim moved the entire sewing table over there, which necessitated the shelf moving as well.  (I explained all that malarky back here when I talked about the design wall.)  So, yes . . . there is A LOT going on here, but it all makes sense.  The tissue paper poms up above are left over from Valentine's Day and Little Miss' birthday.  I left them up for a LONG time over the dining room table because they are so fun and cheery, but eventually they needed to be taken down.  Rather than put them in a bag in storage til the next fiesta, I decided to hang them up in here.  The toy sewing machines and my beloved ET lunch box got moved to the top of the shelving unit.
The Owl

As I was going through stuff I also found my mom's owl.  I'm pretty sure at one time it was a plant holder, but all my life I knew it as THE OWL and it lived on my mom's desk in the kitchen . . . providing some desktop storage of all the pens, pencils, and scissors we used on a regular basis.  At some point my mom decided she was over it (maybe 20 years into its use), and I pounced on it.  It's not even like I was "into" owls or something, it was just THE OWL.  How could it just be thrown away?!  This thing was an institution in our kitchen my whole life.  (Yes, I said it.  The owl was AN INSTITUTION.)   I can't explain what the thing is . . . but it must live on.

Sorry - - sidetracked. 

Let me break down the cubbies.
Paint Glue Thread Cubby
In cubby #1 we have an assortment of glues, adhesives, paints, and a few spools of serger thread that I couldn't fit on my thread rack.  That thing you see slipped underneath the step rack?  My Kona Color Card (oh how I love it!)

Sewing Box and Notion Cabinet

In Cubby #2 we've got my mom's old sewing box.  That little stack on top are some super sweet vintage sewing patterns I found while thrifting the other day.  I'll show you those some other time . . . I've got a project in mind for them.  :)  Underneath Mr. Skooks hung this dandy little supply cabinet (an ArtBin Store-In-Drawer Cabinet) .  I sorted all my embroidery floss by color and also was able to compartmentalize elastics, needles, pins, beads, velcro, and purse findings.  What is it about tiny drawers?  I love them.  Especially because this thing has been sitting around empty for ages, and now it's full-on in the function department.  Yes, "full-on" like a Double Rainbow.
Zippers Tapes Vintage Notions

Cubby #3 is holding my zipper stash as well as rolls of tape (regular and floral).  That adorable lamb was crocheted by my sweet friend, Kelly, as a gift for Kee-ku before he was born.  It's a bit delicate though and Kee-ku is . . . well . . . NOT delicate with anything, so for now it's living in here.  Underneath I put together this little display:

Vintage Notions
Let me 'splain.  As I was sorting through my mom's old sewing basket and getting all the stuffs housed in the tiny drawers, I came across a small stash of vintage sewing stuffs . . . some of which were never even opened.  I decided to "frame" them using this corkboard I found at the thrift store (Mr. Skooks spray painted it for me).  I also threw in there my paper flower gift bow (the product of my first and most viral tutorial), a funny little notecard I got from Jo back when I ordered some fabric from her, and a little card one of my Vintage Sheet Freedom Bee members made for me (can't remember off the top of my head . . . should check!)  That pack of bra back extenders kind of kills me every time I look at it.  Awesome.

Here's a different view to give you a better idea of the relationship this shelf has to the sewing table:
Side View
There's Connie chilling in the foreground.  I splurged a bit (when it was on sale) and got the HUGE cutting mat that comes in 3 sections for the cutting table.  Since the cutting table isn't actually large enough to house all 3 sections at once (yet!) one of them lives on the end of the sewing table.  You can kind of see on the floor in the back there a basket I put together of coloring books and crayons and such . . . it's Little Miss' special spot in the room.  She loves to hang out with me while I sew.  :)  As you can see, I hung up some plastic grid and stencils on the side of the shelf, and I've got my rulers stored down at the end up on the wall:
Ruler Storage
This thing used to be natural wood (it's a hanging ruler holder in oak), but that wood wasn't really my style so it went into the spray painting pile as well.  Now it's SUPER GREEN, but I'm ok with that.  Mostly.  It's pretty dern bright.  ;)

My longer ruler and tape measures are housed on some hooks next to the design wall (one of them I found for 29 cents at the Hob-Lob and the other one I scored on Ebay for a couple bucks - - and yes - - nothing escapes the spray paint):

Underneath the sewing table, we've got this working:
Works In Progress

Another formerly black file organizer sprayed to be less dull is now housing my work binders and notes on my projects.  Under each leg of the sewing table I have 2 boxes (LINGO from Ikea) holding projects in process.  I try very hard not to start projects I don't have an empty box for so that the UFOs don't get out of control in here.  On top of the boxes I've got these little baskets (Target dollar spot) which are holding fabric scraps.

To the left of the sewing machine is this bit of stuff:
Scissors and Stuff

I found that rack at the Hob-Lob in the Home Accent Clearance section for $2 and decided to use it to hold my somewhat ridiculously large scissor collection.  And yes, it has been spray painted (it used to be this fakey kind of antiqued rust color - blech).  The wire rack on the left used to be in my kitchen in the old house organizing plates and things in the cupboard.  We don't need to use it that way in this house, so I decided to throw it in here.  Not my favorite look, but it created a 2 tier storage situation which allows me to have my little spinny rack of stuff (I think I got that thing from the dollar spot at Target awhile back) on top and a few bins (recognize those?) underneath.  That bin closest to the front has all of my bobbins and the one in the back has empty thread spools which I will somehow find a use for (currently they make an appearance on the rare times I dare to sew with Kee-ku underfoot.  He likes to use them to make tall stacks and then KNOCKS 'EM DOWN).  I found a drawer organizer that wasn't being used, and it's behind the yellow cup holding my Needle Grabbit and some extra needles still in packages.  The yellow cup has all my different fabric marking pens and chalks and I stole the alarm clock from our bedroom because I'm constantly losing track of time in here.  Also because its alarm could WAKE THE DEAD so we are using something else in the bedroom.  :)  I've got plans to put a wall clock in here, but this works for now.

Here's another shot of that corner taken a little further back:
Ironing Corner
More of the leftover tissue poms.  :)

I had Mr. Skooks take the ironing board holder off the back of the door and screw it into the wall.  This corner is where I use the board the most, and I like to be able to hang up my iron (at least) at the end of the night so it doesn't settle a groove onto my ironing board.  I need to recover it sometime (it doesn't look as bad from far away as it does up close), but you can see that the ironing board itself didn't escape some spray paint action.  That deep turquoise shade was used to perk up the wire basket on the wall too (it used to be black) . . .
Ironing Stuffs

This used to be an over-the-cubicle-wall wire rack that I inherited from a friend who was dejunking her house.  Mr. Skooks sawed the over-the-wall part off of it and screwed it into the wall for me so that I would have all my iron-y stuffs at the ready when my board is unfolded.  It's dandy.  I use it to hold my spray starch, lint roller, water cup for the iron, some iron cleaning cloths, and my pressing cloth.

Here is a view of the room from the hallway looking in:
Cutting Table (Dresser side) and Design Wall
When I changed the layout of the sewing table, I had to turn this beast around as well.  It's actually a dresser and a desk pushed back to back.  In order to accommodate the fantastically huge cutting mat which was too fantastically huge to fit on the makeshift cutting table, I bought a $12 piece of wood at Home Depot and had them cut it down to size.  It's not screwed down but rather just laid across the top to give the mat(s) the uniform surface they need to have the rotary cutter work properly.  Mr. Skooks was nice enough to sand it all down smooth for me before I laid it on top of the cutting table.  He even rounded the corners for me . . . no extra charge.  ;)

I hung the paper dollies on the side of the table (after somewhat lame-ly taping that strip of fabric to the hole left between the 2 pieces in order to accommodate the cutting mat) with some Command hooks.  From the paper doll magnet board over to the wall is Little Miss' domain.  :)  As you can see, my next project is working on finishing up that Glow Happy quilt for Christmas.

Here is the other side of the cutting table:
Cutting Table Desk Side

I used a basket underneath the desk to house my small yarn stash (Allamala from Ikea), and converted that top drawer into some button storage (those tins were an AMAZING Goodwill score . . . I've got loads more of them waiting to house more little things):
Button Drawer
I've also stored in there some extra clips for when I want to expand my inspiration wall which currently looks like this:
Inspiration Wall - Take 2
Here's one more shot . . . a view from the desk side to the hutch side:
Fabric Hutch Design Wall and Cutting Table

WHEW!  I hope you enjoyed my little sewing room tour.

I mean, my ridiculously lengthy sewing room tour.  :)

Now that it's so clean, I'm inspired to go mess it up.  What are you making today?

*****Need some more organizational inspiration?  Check out this post I did awhile back on lots more sweet ways to get your crafty space under control.*****


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Who Wants to Quilt A-Long?

Just thought I'd toss this info out there for anyone that might be interested. I've been seeing a bunch of fun activities popping up all over the place, and it occurs to me that some of my more quilt-inclined readers might be interested.

The Farmer's Wife Quilt Along:  This is a biggie . . . last I checked this one had 400 people signed up!

Swim, Bike, Quilt
This one is not a quilt along, but more of an invite to finish up some WIPs (UFOs, whatever) or stash bust some quilts for kids in need.  This is a great idea . . . and I'm sure we all have fabric and a bit of time we can devote to the cause.

Kaleidoscope Quilt A-long at Don't Call me Betsy
BWS tips button
Don't forget about the Skill Builder Sampler!

The Supernova Quilt Along at Freshly Pieced.  (This one already happened, but all the instructions are there at the ready and the finished quilts look so awesome!)

Any others I should know about?!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

1, 2, 3 Sew!

One of my favorite bloggers, Ellen from The Long Thread has a book coming out!  It's called 1, 2, 3 Sew.

You've got to check out this "trailer" for the book. Genius and adorable. :)


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vintage Sheet Freedom Bee Quilt Top - Getting There

Well . . . it's been a long road to get to this point, but here you go.  I boogied my butt this weekend to hook the sashing up with these blocks and for now, I'm here with my Vintage Sheet Freedom Bee Quilt:

Vintage Sheet Freedom Bee Quilt Top

I monkeyed with that layout for the better part of a week.  Just about every time I'd walk by the sewing room I would peek my head in and change something on the wall.  In the end, I'm happy with the layout I chose.  I tried to balance the heavier blocks with the ones with a bit more background and blocks with triangles with the ones that were more square.

With this quilt top I wasn't seeking perfection . . . a good idea since some of the blocks were really off in size.  I had to bulk out 4 or 5 of the blocks which really slowed my progress and jacked just a wee bit with the aesthetic of the thing.  I'm hoping that with quilting some of that won't be so noticeable.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not terribly hung up on the "mistakes" and it will not detract from my enjoyment/use of it, it's just a wee bit more wonky than I was first envisioning.

The other thing I wasn't counting on back when I started receiving my first blocks in the mail was how LILAC it would end up being.  Purple hasn't really been my color since I was about 11, but it worked the best (to my eye - as well as to the eyes of the ladies at my LQS) so I went with it.  It's like they say when framing a picture, you're supposed to frame it and mat it to the artwork and not the room it's going in.  That is, if you're trying to enhance the artwork and make it look its best.

And yes, I did learn all that stuff about framing art from chatting with the frame shop guys back when I used to work at the Hob-Lob.

So there it you have it.  The Vintage Sheet Freedom Bee quilt of lilac loveliness.  I'm thinking I'm going to beef the borders up some more (with a different color . . . blue . . . green?) to make it a bit bigger.  I'm thinking this would make a lovely picnic/beach blanket.

What do you think?


Friday, June 10, 2011

Double Pinwheel Block

In order to round out my Vintage Sheet Freedom Bee blocks, I just needed one more.  Remember that design wall I showed you the other day? 

Design Wall

Remember that hole?

I wasn't sure what to make to fill in the space . . . I'm really not a quilting maven and I have no books on quilting, so to the internets I went.  (Yes, I said "internets".)  I started a pin board on Pinterest for cool quilt blocks and quilt designs I run across . . . it came in handy with this dilemma.

Pretty quickly I settled on the Double Pinwheel Block via Kerry of Lovely Little Handmades.  I discovered this one back when I discovered the You Are Here block by Happy Zombie.  Both of these ladies were part of Block-A-Palooza which is definitely worth checking out if you're at all intrigued with quilting.


So I scanned over the directions, perused what was left of my sheet pieces, and scraped together enough squares to make this guy:

It was a little trying to get the block finished as I started dreaming it up a bit after Kee-ku went down for his nap, and he woke up before I was able to get 'er done.  Oh well.  Through the power of Veggie Tales CDs and Little Miss' Tag Reader, I was able to distract him for just long enough to add it to the rest of the pieces on the design wall:
We've got a seriously overcast day today so this picture is kind of awful . . . but you get the idea.

I switched the layout a bit . . . still playing with that.  We'll see how it feels when I look at it tomorrow.  (Oh how I love the design wall for just this very reason.)

Here's my question to you: how would you finish the top?  I have very little left in the way of coordinating sheets so I can't really make more blocks to make it bigger.  As it is, I'm going to have to monkey with a few of the blocks because they were made too small.

The unfinished blocks are 12.5" square so if I join them as is it's not going to be a terribly large quilt (not that this was necessarily the goal, just sayin').  The other option is to sash it between the blocks.  With what, I don't know . . . ideas?

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