Finished: The Atomic Apps Quilt

I just can’t begin to tell you all how excited I am to share with you my finished Atomic Apps quilt. This is the one where I served as a pattern tester for Kati at from the blue chair, with its design based on a drawing made by her six-year-old daughter.

atomic_appsKati did a great job with the pattern. In fact, I’d say it was one of the fastest tops I’ve ever finished. The straight-line quilting, however, not so much, but that’s OK, because I’m in love with how it turned out and was the perfect thing for my 1950s-inspired look.

front-detailA serendipitous element occurred when I had to buy more Kona medium gray. At the time, I didn’t know how much variation there is with Kona dye lots and wasn’t sure I wanted to proceed until I had enough to make the top from the same lot.

But I decided to go with it, and I’m so glad because I think the variation makes the top even more interesting.

Here’s a look at the back, which I kept pretty simple and with a focus on the inspiration fabric:

finished backBelieve me, the middle isn’t that wonky, it’s just my bad camera angle. Although if it were, it would go with the front.The batting was some Warm and Natural that I had on hand. Not my first choice, but it was actually pretty easy to quilt on, and the price was right. I made the scrappy binding with some of the leftover scraps.

I can’t resist adding one more detail shot, just for fun and a little self-promotion:

finished back2If you’d like to make your own Apps quilt, you can purchase the pattern at the following links:

http://www.craftsy.com/user/1036910/pattern-store

https://www.etsy.com/shop/fromthebluechair

I’m linking up with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday — my first time ever! Have a great weekend, everyone.

XOXO,
Sandra

 

A very inspiring award

Just when you least expect it, the nicest thing can happen to you. I was minding my own business last night, watching “The Bachelorette” (try not to judge, even if you really want to) in between bursts of finishing the quilting on my Atomic Apps quilt.

I decide to take a quick look at my mail and saw a message from Erin at Crosstitchery telling me that she’s nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

very-inspiring-bloggerTo say I’m gobsmacked by this doesn’t begin to do my feelings justice. Erin, thank you so much. I am truly humbled by this honor.

There are a few requirements that go along with this nomination:

  1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know that they are nominated.
  5. Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger that nominated you.

Having had to come up with 25 things for Stephanie and our Supernova Friendship Block Swap, finding seven is easy:

  1. My favorite place on earth is the beach.
  2. On a rainy afternoon, there’s nothing I like better than stretching out on my couch under a blanket with a cuppa and a good book.
  3. My three favorite animals are cats, elephants and whales. Unfortunately, I can only keep one of them.
  4. I love all kinds of music and have sung semi-professionally.
  5. I love old movies. One of my favorites is “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” with Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney.
  6. I am seriously addicted to oatmeal and eat it for breakfast every morning. Sometimes even for a late night snack as well.
  7. I love the adventure of going to new places. I hope to cross Australia off my bucket list one day.

Here are my blogging nominations (in no particular order):

  1. Tallgrass Prairie Studio
  2. Late Night Quilter
  3. House on Hill Road
  4. Buzy Day
  5. Christa Quilts
  6. From the Blue Chair
  7. Wasn’t Quilt in a Day
  8. Wombat Quilts
  9. Cross Stitch Bobobitch Mononitch
  10. Simplify
  11. Lollyquiltz
  12. CraftyPod
  13. Don’t Call Me Betsy
  14. Freshly Pieced
  15. Film in the Fridge

I hope you’ll check out these other great blogs. They are definitely where I get daily inspiration!

XOXO,
Sandra

Random things …

I’m working on a few random projects this holiday weekend, which hopefully will lead to some finishes soon. I’ll let the photos tell the story this week.

First up, I made the top to my Michael Miller Challenge quilt. It’s my first design, and I’m really happy with how it’s turned out. (Though I’m befuddled as to why the center square looks a little skewed in this photo since I straightened it with a level on my design wall and set the camera on a flat surface before I took the shot.)

DSC_0008Here’s a close-up of the center:

DSC_0004To get ready to quilt, I’m making these practice sandwiches from old, cheap quilt fabric.

DSC_0006Last, but not least, I’m also almost done with my Atomic Apps quilt. Only two more block rows left! (Why didn’t anyone warn me how time consuming straight-line quilting is?)

DSC_0005And, if I recall correctly, I think there’s something called a Supernova Friendship Block Swap that I’d better get cracking on before the July 15 deadline!

Happy belated July 4 and July 1 (to my Canadian friends)!

XOXO,
Sandra

 

Supernova Friendship Block Swap: month two

Supernova-June-blocksIn addition to the beautiful block on the left, it was great fun to get Stephanie‘s list of 25 things from our Supernova Friendship Block Swap. Here are a few things I learned about her:

  1. In addition to her husband and four children, she’s got quite a menagerie: a bulldog-beagle mix, two bunnies, two birds and a fish named Bluebonnet. Wow. That’s a lot of poop to clean up.
  2. For her doctoral dissertation in psychology, she researched the quality of life of pediatric brain tumor patients. Stephanie developed a new method of measurement for this during the patients’ weekly visits. Very impressive!
  3. Her go-to snack is Cheerios (without milk). Love that.

It was so great to finally get the list, because it was pretty tough for both of us not to ask each other questions that first month as we emailed, texted and talked multiple times.

I’d also love to learn more about our other partners. I hope you’ll share one or two things from your own list in the comments section below. If you haven’t checked out the great blocks made by our swap partners or posted pictures of your blocks to share with everyone participating, you can do so at any of the following links:

FlickR: https://www.flickr.com/groups/2665289@N23/
Instagram: #supernovaswap

You can also post to the Facebook page Stephanie and a couple of her quilty friends started, the Late Night Quilters’ Club.

The next block is due July 15, along with the next mystery question:

Barring any physical or mental limitations, or personal obligations such as jobs and/or children, if you could hold any occupation, have any talent or live any lifestyle, what would you choose and why?

Would you be a great artist, an Olympic athlete or a neurosurgeon? The winner of “American Idol” or a Tibetan monk living in a remote region of the Himalayas? The possibilities are limitless. Share with your partner what is is about that talent, profession or way of life that inspires you. Are there any elements within your choice that you could bring into your life
right now?

I’m so looking forward to seeing the next set of blocks and learning more about everyone, but first, I’ve got to stop procrastinating and get to work on mine!

XOXO,
Sandra

Supernova block swap: the first block

After way too much procrastination, I finally finished my first block for my new friend Stephanie and our Supernova Friendship Block Swap. While there were a few bumps and twists and mutterings of not very nice words, I’m actually pretty pleased with how it turned out.

I only gave Steph a few sneak peaks via my Instagram page, starting with this:

block1But here’s the full view: (we’re using Splendor 1920 by Bari J, along with items from our own stash. The background is Art Gallery solids in ivory.)

DSC_0002And another:

DSC_0001Thanks to reading Jeni Baker’s blog, I learned that it’s important to spoil your swap partner a little, so I made Steph a little table runner out of leftovers from my plus sign quilt.

One of these days I really have to finish that thing …

DSC_0004Here’s the block that Stephanie sent me — isn’t it wonderful?

Steph1In addition to her list of 25 things I didn’t know about her, Steph also sent me these really cute notepads with owls on them:

DSC_0011I’ll reveal some of her 25 things soon (with her permission, of course), but I want to get to the thing I know at least a few of you are waiting for — who won the free Apps pattern?

Jessica Daniele, it’s you! I’ll send you your pdf pattern in just a bit. I hope you’ll send me a photo of your finished Apps quilt.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 5.59.21 PMThanks again to all of you for entering and for those of you who’ve joined Stephanie and I on our block swap.

XOXO,
Sandra

 

 

 

 

WIP Wednesday, a finish and a giveaway: my Atomic Apps quilt top

You may recall I agreed to serve as a pattern tester for Kati at from the blue chair, making blocks for her new pattern, the App quilt. She just released the final version of the pattern, so be sure to head on over to her blog where she’s offering the pattern at a sale price along with a giveaway on her Instagram page!

(You can buy the pattern on her Craftsy page here, and on Kati’s Etsy store here.)

Here’s my version — the Atomic Apps Quilt! 05-27-14a

This pattern was quick and easy, and Kati’s instructions were very clear. I made this top from eight-inch blocks to show off the Michael Miller Fifties Kitchen fabric to its full advantage.

05-27-14bThe basting was pretty easy on this one, using Sharon Schamber’s method. I decided to do straight-line quilting with vertical lines spaced a half-inch apart, which is taking me awhile. Line after line, I sometimes wish I didn’t love the look so much.

quilting1Airhead me forgot to take a photo of the back, but I’ll be sure to show it to you once I get the quilt finished and bound.

OK, now for the best news. Kati has authorized her testers to give away a copy of the final pattern, so now you’ll have more chances to win – woo hoo! Just leave me a comment saying what kinds of fabric you’d like to use to make your Apps quilt. I’ll pick a winner from a random drawing Monday, June 16.

Since this quilt technically isn’t finished, I’m going to link up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

WIP_Wednesday

WIP Wednesday: an hourglass quilt

My story today takes on a somewhat somber tone, beginning with some forgotten Civil War fabric in my stash. It’s not the kind of thing I would purchase now, but some of the fabrics had a distinctly modern feel to them, albeit in muted colors.

It wasn’t long before I thought an hourglass block would be the perfect fit. What gave me the idea was all the ways that war — or any military conflict — is about waiting, from the call to arms, to the beginning of the battle, to the families’ hopes for a joyous reunion with their loved one or their grief at a hero’s burial.

layout1 I took this photo from a distance and cropped in so you could focus on the overall color values rather than the fabric themselves. You can see off center to the right the concentration of the red, symbolizing the bloodshed. (The center block in that section is a solid piece of the brightest red, to symbolize the point of the weapon’s impact.)

Around that area I used as many of the darker red/brown blocks in random placement to symbolize war’s many battles. The gold/cream blocks near the top are the families in waiting; the red/cream ones for the families whose soldier will never return.

This quilt will finish at 81″ x 81,” made up of 324 five-inch blocks, and I plan to call it “Waiting.” As it stands right now, it doesn’t quite match the idea in my head, but I hope when I do get it right with a future project, both quilts will become a small tribute to the brave men and women who serve our country.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

WIP_WednesdayXOXO,
Sandra

Testing the App block

So much to say this week! Who knew I could get my act together like this?

One of the first blogs I started following a few years ago was from the blue chair. I love Kati’s contemporary spin on modern quilting, particularly with one of her newest works, the App quilt, inspired by a drawing from her six-year-old daughter.

A few weeks ago, she put out a call for pattern testers for this quilt before she releases it, and I quickly jumped at the chance. I couldn’t believe it when I got the email asking if I was still interested in the project. Was I still interested? Woo hoo!

And then reality struck. I said yes without giving a thought to what I’d make from it. I didn’t want to buy more fabric when lo and behold, I was sitting on a goldmine of perfection.

DSC_0004

This inspiration print is a retro Fifties kitchen from Michael Miller that I kind of had plans for, but nothing definite. The rest are some blenders I bought to go with it.

DSC_0005The challenge came with the background. I tried the creamy kitchen print against some Kona Snow, but it didn’t really work. They were just too similar, but still different, to be jarring rather than pleasing.

And then, the unthinkable happened. One of those moments where I get the perfect idea and think to myself, “Sandra Louise, you are a genius.” Just a few stacked pieces down from the Snow was some Kona Medium Gray, and when paired with all my selected fabrics it looked absolutely fabulous, darling!

DSC_0015It was like it was screaming, “Pick me! Pick me!” as if it knew that by pairing it with my fabrics and the wonky look of Kati’s block, I’d not only have me an App quilt when I was done — I’d have me an Atomic App quilt! I mean, how cool is that?

It’s all very “Mad Men” meets “Man in the Gray Flannel Suit” cool. When it’s finished, I’ll have to save it to cuddle under while watching Don Draper sandwiched in between a Gregory Peck movie marathon.

Should I wear the pearls or the lamé for this?

Thankfully, Kati only required that we make two blocks, one in each size. I wasn’t sure if I wanted the small or large size for this, but after making them both it was abundantly clear.

DSC_0014The blenders would have been fine in the small size, but not the thing that got us here in the first place. I want to show you the only other block I’ve done, this really cool jacquard print of wonky lines, which I hope you can see. It will definitely be the inspiration from the quilting when I get to that point.

DSC_0021Kati asked if we were able to make a finished quilt in two weeks, but I know I can’t make that happen. However, I do hope to have it finished before I go visit a friend next month who lives in a very 50s-style ranch house. It will be the perfect gift.

Wish me luck!

XOXO,
Sandra

A last-minute rush to link up with Lee for WIP Wednesday.

WIP_Wednesday

Supernova swap update

It’s amazing to think that it was only a couple of weeks ago that Stephanie from Late Night Quilter was just one of the many bloggers I follow. Today, not only are we becoming fast friends, we’ve got 86 participants in our block swap!

friendship-button-largeThank you all so much. It has been such a treat to connect with you via email and this blog. I think this swap is really going to be a blast.

We have a couple of people still out there who expressed interest but haven’t gotten back to us about getting a partner. If you’re still want to play along, please email me immediately so I can help you find a match.

Stephanie and I both feel like we’re becoming the Quilting Loooooove Doctors.

If you’ve already started on your blocks, how is it going? Don’t forget to join our group on Flickr so you can post photos. There are 32 members so far, with a few gorgeous blocks already. Stephanie tells me there are more coming soon.

Here are Lee’s original instructions for each step of the entire process to make the Supernova block, including fabric selection, planning the blocks, cutting and final construction.

Jo from Riddle and Whimsy has posted her own version of cutting instructions. She and Sara from Smiles Too Loudly are giving their Supernova a rainbow look with different background fabrics in each block. Jo found a way to tailor the cutting instructions to her needs, and has posted it for anyone who might find it helpful.

Check out Stephanie’s latest post to learn more about a new Facebook group she’s started called “Late Night Quilters,” with some of her blogging friends. It’s for anyone who does most of their quilting late at night or anyone who just loves to gab about all things quilt-related.

Be sure also to stop back later this week when I’ll have an announcement about a great giveaway!

XOXO,
Sandra

Finished: striped four-patch pillow cover

OK, I have to admit, as much as love sewing and crafting, there are just some days that I feel like calling this blog “One million mistakes …”

On those days, I could take every last scrap of fabric, yarn and floss in my stash, not to mention my extensive collection of patterns, books, needles, scissors, thread, a sewing machine, a serger, a brand new fabric cutter, and my $15 iron and throw them all in the muddy, polluted river that’s about two miles down the hill from my house.

So imagine my surprise when yesterday afternoon I was able to finish a pillow cover with fairly minimal effort and only a few mistakes, none of which were irreparable.

This does not happen in my universe. Ever.

The story begins with a pillow I wanted to recover so I could get rid of the awful, 20-year old fabric on it that hasn’t been my taste for probably 19.9 of the years I’ve owned it.

DSC_0004I mean, seriously, what was I thinking back then?

So, I took some of the leftover fabrics from the plus-sign quilt I’m making for my bed (that is if I ever finish piecing enough leftovers to make the ginormous back) and threw them into the fancy new cutting machine I paid way too much money for to see how well it worked.

Even without using the correct size mat this baby cut perfect 2.5-inch strips. Hmmm. Guess that’s why they charge so much for the darn thing.

Then I sewed a bunch of strips together, decided it looked boring, so I cut them in half, turned one set and wound up with a pretty cool striped four-patch block.

DSC_0002I knew I wanted to do some straight-line quilting on this puppy, so I got out a few scraps of leftover crappy batting and zigzagged them together because I was too cheap to cut a single piece of the good stuff.

Why use the good stuff if you think you’re only going to ruin it by ripping out 9,000,000 stitches?

I was also lazy and basted the layers with a few straight pins. Didn’t get stuck. Not once, though next time I’ll probably do things the right way just to be safe. Easier to cheat on a small piece.

Here’s a photo of the front and shock of all shocks, for my second time quilting with this method it turned out pretty well.

DSC_0009If my photography skills were better you might actually see the quilting. At least I rememberd to take a photo of the back:

DSC_0010Not too shabby. Definitely not perfect, but good enough to make me quite happy. For a recovering perfectionist, this is saying something.

I won’t bore you with all details on how I made the envelope back and finished things, other than I was able to use some more of the black toile I recycled from an old comforter. I did serge around the edges for a little extra protection when I wash this. A quick press and voila!

DSC_0015And the back:

DSC_0016A couple more photos, because the natural light was great this afternoon.

DSC_0024DSC_0025Before I go, I want to say thank you to everyone who signed up for Stephanie‘s and my Supernova Friendship Block Swap, as well as to my new followers. You guys are so great to follow my shenanigans here.

We’ve got a few more singles to pair up, and then we’ll be set. If anyone still wants to join the fun, we’d love to have you, but we’ll ask you to find your own partner.

Do what I did. Make some comments on someone’s blog you admire and when they email you to thank you, take a chance and see if they’d be willing to participate. With four kids at home, I totally expected Stephanie to say no and was thrilled when she agreed. She is also the one who thought it would be a great idea to open our swap up to others and has gathered the terrific prizes we have so far.

Thanks, Steph, for being my new quilting friend. I can’t wait to get to know you better.

I hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day. I’ll be thinking of my sweet mommy who got me started on this crafting journey many years ago. Thanks, Mom.

XOXO,
Sandra