Wednesday, 18 December 2013

WIP Wednesday

My husband is on vacation.  We had our first major snow storm of the year on Sunday.  There is another storm coming tomorrow.  And next Sunday.  Which means my house is full or will be full.  And although I won't be spending the normal amount of time in my happy space, a full house means I will be sneaking down for some quiet time over the next week!

Here's a few of the things I am currently working on

Rainbow Patchwork
A personalized baby blanket for a brand new baby!

Sorting and trimming these monster sized scraps
Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

FabricFast 2014

Early in 2013 I stumbled across Jodi's blog.  I followed to see how her fabric fast for 2013 would pan out (be warned, you will want to read every post on her blog if you go over there.  She's that good!).  And as I read, my mind started percolating the idea of a personal fabric fast.

I was resistant to it at first.  I came up with all sorts of reasons why it just wouldn't work for my situation.  I have a relatively small stash of fabrics.  Sewing is my job. I don't really buy that much fabric anyway.  But as the year progressed, the idea appealed to me more and more.  After my third Black Friday checkout, I knew it would happen.  And then I had the good fortune to learn that Rebecca Lynn and  Jess were also fasting in 2013.  Plus, they are doing linkies!  I love linkies LOL  Here's my plan and my caveats!

1. Use up my scraps!

I have a ton of scraps.  I'm sure others have lots more than me (ahem, Amanda Jean!) but I still feel a little overwhemed when I look at my piles.  I actually have plans for 2-3 quilts using scraps and I am eager to tackle them.  Of course I have grandiose visions of empty scrap bins by February.  But based on others stories, the bins will probably be just as full come next December.  But at least they won't be twice as full!

2.  Finish up some of my WIPs.

Now I consider WIPs anything I have floating around in my brain that I would like to complete.  The list is long (you can click on my WIP page to see just how long) and I imagine I will continue to add things to it as the year progresses.  But I would like to try and finish the year with less UFOs than I start with.

3. I'm not stocking up.

Well, I'm not stocking up anymore than I already have LOL.  I shopped liberally during Pink Castle's fall sales.  Some with specific projects in mind, some just to round out the stash.  But I didn't buy up a whole lot of fabrics for backings.  I barely have any white left for backgrounds.  And I don't have a roll of batting in my studio.  Which leads me to...

4. My caveats!

a) I can buy notions and batting.

b) I can buy fabric for commissioned quilts if I can't work with my existing stash.

c) I can buy backing (again if I can't work with what I have)

d) I can buy white if needed

e) I may place an order for my shop in the late winter/early spring

f) I can buy fabric for class samples.  I am starting to teach at a LQS this year and class samples have to be made from fabric they sell.

I'm actually quite excited about this adventure.  Every December, I get struck with the urge to go through our house and clean out all of the things we no longer love or use on a regular basis.  I feel like this will give me the same impact in my sewing space.  Is anyone else participating?

Monday, 16 December 2013

Move It Monday and a Winner!

This week was a solid reminder of how I gained 10 pounds last holidays and why I need to be thinking about not gaining this year.  It was easily my busiest week of the holidays and it was also a rest week on P90X.  What does that mean?  It was really easy to skip the stretching workout when you are going non stop all day.  And skipping the workout makes it a lot easier to decide on the drive thru for dinner.

We were both feeling the effects by Saturday afternoon and eager to get back to it.  And even though I was really tired last night we cleaned up the living room and got er done!  I may not lose a bunch of weight over the holidays but I WILL NOT regain!

Now for the good stuff!  There was a whopping 692 posts on my giveaway post last week.  Crazy people!  Mr. Random chose #236 and y'all are going to have to trust me.  No matter how many times I try, I cannot seem to embed the image :(

Anything by Anne Kelle because I sew for ill children.
Unfortunately Dona is a no reply blogger so I had another number chosen which was 635 

Currently lusting after the Charlie Harper fabrics...
Thanks for the giveaway.
Also a no reply blogger :(
I'm a huge fan of Bonnie & Camille. I'm currently lusting over Scrumptious. I also like Aspen Frost.
I have contacted Diana via email.

Friday, 13 December 2013

A Friday Finish for a Finicky Mom

Several months ago, I was browsing through my photos and realized that while my middle sister had two quilts made by me, my Mom and baby sister had none.  So I asked my baby sister if she would like a quilt from me.  "Sure" she replied.  Then I asked my Mom.  "Nope, I already have the one your Dad bought me.  Don't need anymore."  LOL.  My Mom is both practical and sentimental, but practicality obviously won out this time!

However, while helping me with my first craft fair of the season, she decided she wanted to buy one of my quilts.  She went back and forth between String of Luck and a Christmas Quilt the entire afternoon before settling on String of Luck.  Since it's one of my favorites I'm pretty happy I get to snuggle under it whenever I visit her!

It's the one of the far left
Over the next few weeks, she kept asking me if the Christmas Quilt had sold.  It was a pretty easy decision to gift it to her as her birthday gift.  Her birthday isn't until January but I made her open it early so she could enjoy it this season.

During November, she also let me know that she really liked my scrappy table runner and would love it if I made her one as her Christmas gift.  Perhaps in beige, brown and forest green, measuring 20" x 50".  She's subtle, my mom :)

And here is is.

Turns out I have very little beige, brown or forest green in my stash, so these are all purchased for this project from my local quilt shop.  I cut strips between 2.5 and 3.5" wide and arranged them randomly.

It's quilted with straight lines randomly spaced in cream thread and bound in brown scraps.

The reverse is made with Christmas scraps left from the pillows I made for my MIL last year.  I had just enough!  My Mom loves Christmas and this way, she can use the table runner year round.

And now she has three quilts made by me!

Linking up with Amanda Jean. and TGIFF

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

WIP Wednesday

December is turning out to be an extremely busy month for us as a family.  Instead of feeling scattered and rushed in my quilting as well, I decided to pick just a few projects per week and work on them.  Here is what I'm focusing on this week.

Working on the layout for my baby sister's Mustache quilt.  This is meant to be a birthday gift.  Her birthday is December 18th!

A jumbo custom taggie blanket.  Due for delivery on Friday.

Chevron class sample quilt.  The sooner I ca get this to the shop, the sooner people will start signing up (hopefully!)

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

It's that time of year again!  If you are here via Sew Mama Sew, welcome!  If you are a regular reader then here's a treat for you :)

My name is Leigh Anne and I run Ella's Cottage.  Some of y'all might be wondering what I get up to here in my little corner of the universe.  Others might just want me to get on with the giveaway already (you folks can keep on scrolling!).

Ella's Cottage was born when I was pregnant with my second daughter, about 4 years ago.  I was in love with all of the wonderful handmade baby items I saw around the internet and thought I could probably have a go at them myself.  Never mind that I hadn't sewn more than a straight line ever LOL.  From the first time sitting at my machine I was hooked!

Eventually folks started asking me to make things for them and I decided to have a go at selling my products.  Amazingly, people kept buying them :)  The more I made, the more I read about.  The more I read, the more I started seeing amazing modern quilts.  I was pretty anti quilts until this point.  But the modern prints and bright colors pulled me in and I was a goner.

My first custom order

These days, I make a combination of small children's items, pillows and quilts.  But mostly quilts!!  I blog about quilting, fitness, home improvement projects and pretty much anything I am inspired to.  But mostly quilts!!  Along the way I also started carrying a small selection of Moda quilting cottons in my Etsy shop.

And now to the reason you scrolled to the bottom :)  Giveaway time!!  Leave a comment letting me know what fabric line you are currently lusting over and you will be entered to win this fat quarter bundle of Happy Go Lucky by Bonnie and Camille.  International folks are welcome to enter but I will only cover half of the shipping costs outside of North America.  Still a great deal :)  If you are a follower of my blog (new or old) leave a comment for a second entry.  And everyone can get 20% off fabric through the New Year by entering HOLIDAY20 at checkout.

Winner will be chosen Sunday December 15th at 9pm AST.  Be sure to head over to the Sew Mama Sew blog and check out the other giveaways!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Sunday Stash

Notable News:  I was featured on Boutlier Babblings Friday with a giveaway to boot!  There's still time to enter and she has giveaways regularly leading up to Christmas.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been shopping.  It seems to be a regular occurrence that when the cool weather hits I get the shopping itch.  And then sales start popping up on IG and I get sucked in big time.  But in a good way!

The first thing I do when Pink Castle Fabrics has 25% off the entire store, is check out the sale section for potential quilt backs.  These flannel birds jumped out at me right away so I bought two yards.  And the majority of the fabrics I pulled to coordinate were purchased during that same order.  There's some Waterfront Park, Pearl Bracelets, Sketch, Spot On, and Simply Color.  Just off the top of my head :)

Linking up with Molli for Sunday Stash!  Ooops jumped the gun a bit.  Linking up with Finding Fifth!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Love from Margaritaville: A Friday Finish

I have to admit that this was not a quilt I ever thought I would be making.  A memory quilt to begin with.  A memory quilt  made of Hawaiin shirts, pajama pants and fish prints using a proper quilt pattern most of all LOL.  But it has grown on me and at the end of the day I love it.  Which makes sense given that I end up falling in love with every quilt I finish!

I used the Crooked Cabins pattern by Kati at From The Blue Chair.  The pattern was wonderful to follow and the only issues I faced occurred when I added squares without doing proper math!

Jenny's Dad was a huge tie dye fan so there is lots of that in this quilt.  Including his initials in one of the lower corners.  Sadly, her dog passed away while I was making the quilt.  The heart is from her sweater.

I used a medium weight woven fusible interfacing on all of the fabric.  Doing that definitely added a large chunk of time to the process but I had zero issues sewing with all of the different fabrics.  There is everything from t-shirts, to hawaiian shirts to rugby shirts and pj pants in this quilt.  The interfacing also added a bit of weight to the quilt which I think makes it super cozy.  I also pressed all of my block seams open to cut down on bulk and pressed toward the sashing whenever possible.

As soon as I heard there were lots of Hawaiian shirts involved, I started thinking of the floral print from Glimma for the backing.  When we couldn't find any tie dye this was the clear winner.  It's bound in the coordinating stripe.  I'm pretty sure this is my first striped binding but I guarantee it won't be my last!

For the quilting I knew I didn't want to interfere with the fabrics so I stitched in the ditch around all of the squares.  Then I quilted organic lines (AKA not even or straight!) in all of the sashing.  Areas to the left and right have vertical lines.  Areas to the top and bottom have horizontal lines.  And setting triangles have diagonal lines. 

Not gonna lie, the quilting was a bear.  I used my walking foot which meant I had to manipulate a 72" square quilt through the throat of my machine many, many times.  My shoulders ached a lot but it was totally worth it.  The texture is amazing and as a bonus side effect, the Kona Snow I used for sashing became really soft after 5 hours of quilting.  I'm not sure if it was from the softener on the clothes of being handled frequently but it's awesome nonetheless.

Linking up with Amanda Jean.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

WIP Wednesday

Bit of a scattered week around here.  I am working hard to try and finish all of my required projects before Friday the 13th.  My husband goes on vacation for 3 weeks and it would be nice for us to have some relaxed days before the girls go off for Christmas vacation :)

I offered to make my baby sister a quilt and she chose a larger version of my mustache blanket in quilt form.  So cutting has begun.  I would love to mail this out in time to reach her for her birthday on the 18th.  

This is destined to be a table runner for my Mom's Christmas gift.  Made to her specifications for the front and I used Christmas fabrics on the back so it's reversible.

And strip piecing Riley Blake for another chevron quilt.  This one will be a class sample for the very first quilting class I will be teaching in January at my LQS.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Move It Monday

It was a rough week and the scale mirrored it with a 3 pound gain.  I'm not pleased with that but I'm not overly surprised.  I had soda and sweets every single day.  It was Thursday when I realized I was PMSing which at least explains it somewhat.  Thursday evening I had a birthday dinner out for a good friend.  And then we went to my inlaws for the weekend.  They show love through food.  I actually showed a lot more restraint than I have on previous visits and am ready to get back at it this week.  Started my Monday without buying a Diet Pepsi with the groceries.

On the plus side, I worked out everyday except our scheduled rest day on Saturday.  We even got up earlier on Friday to fit in our workout before leaving.  And I really feel like my body is responding to the strength training.  Even more than the scale, I am looking forward to retaking measurements at the end of the first month!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Thursday Mash Up

I haven't found the time this week to get on the computer so here is a week's worth of posts in one day :)

Tuesday Tidy

 Or not!  I took this picture last Wednesday with full intentions to pick away at it a little at a time over the week.  That obviously didn't happen.  It looks a little better than this but I will hold off posting photos until it's done.   I have big plans for that scrap pile though!

WIP Wednesday

Most of my time has been spent working on this custom memory lap quilt.  I had hoped to ship it tomorrow but the quilting is taking significantly longer to complete than I estimated.

I am outlining all of the squares in each block and then doing organic lines in the sashing.  This means lots of turning and lots of pushing the quilt through the throat of my machine.   Thankfully the more pins I remove the easier it is getting but still...

Friday Finish

My sister requested a purple butterfly bib for her baby as a Christmas gift.  And my mother requested a minky blanket bound in satin for Rayanna to keep at Grandma's house.  I don't often use the word never (I've been proved wrong too many times LOL) but I feel I can confidently say that I will never use sating binding again.  There was a LOT of cursing, screaming and pouting in the binding of this.  Worst part:  I'm not even happy with the end result.  The spot where the ends overlap is U.G.L.Y.  But I'm hopeful that to a 6 month old it will just feel soft and warm and made from love.

What have you been up to this week?  If you are in the US do you have a long weekend?  Will you spend it sewing?

Monday, 25 November 2013

Move It Monday

One week in.  Overall it was a good week.  There were some struggles and some slip ups but I got in every workout but one and stuck to the meal plan around 90% .  And it paid off.  Down 3.8 pounds!!

My overall thoughts for the week are really positive.  Monday through Wednesday we were unbelievably sore.  But then it practically disappeared!  During our previous attempts at this workout my least favorite were Plyometrics and Legs.  Surprisingly, this time around, those are my favorite.  It helps that I'm kicking my husbands butt during those workouts LOL.  Guess all that running is paying off :)

The one major downfall to P90X is definitely how time consuming it is.  Over an hour a day for workouts plus food prep time.  My running suffered this week.  I only managed to get in one run on Sunday.  Thank goodness for my running buddies!  If they weren't waiting for me, there was no way I would have made it out the door.  It was cooooold!  But I went and we did 9.5kms without any loss of digits to frostbite :)

If you blog about fitness I would love to read about it.  Leave your address in the comments and I will stop by!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Friday Finishes

I spent a good chunk of this week working on stock for my second and last Christmas Craft Fair this weekend.  Also, if you are in a shopping mode I am offering 20% off all my fabrics.  Just enter HOLIDAY20 at checkout!!

Linking up with Amanda Jean!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Tuesday Tidy

The shelving unit is done!  Well, as done as I am going right now :)  I am sure things will change and adjust as I get used to it.  It didn't take nearly as long as I expected.  I did a little bit each day.  Lots was tossed/donated and I fell like everything currently living in it will be used and in the near future.  I kept nothing for "someday" or "maybe".  It feels really freeing to look at it now.

Here is the before, completely unedited. (I am really resisting posting this LOL)

And the after


Details for those interested going from top left clockwise: 1) Books  2)Half of my thread and drawers where I keep home decor magazine clippings 3) medium cuts of minky 4) "girly blues" on top, reds on bottom 5) purples on top, greens on bottom 6) yellows on top, oranges on bottom

1) Medium cuts of minky (same as prev pic) 2) Large and small cuts of minky 3) Ribbon! 4) Neutral scraps on top (for my Tula City Sampler), Neutrals on bottom and my missing pincushion :) 5) Special fabric on top, blues on bottom 6) as in prev pic

1) Magazines and books (I plan to scatter these throughout my fabric cubes as I get more holders) 2)Baby quilt backings on top, holiday on bottom 3) crayons in the basket, solid scraps below 4) vintage scarves to make pillows form 5) WIPs 6) Supplies and patterns for American Girl clothes

1) As in prev pic 2) Multicolor on top, pink on bottom 3) Kindle covers and zipper pouches waiting to be assembled 4) a bit of a mess but this is templates and rulers 5) finished quilt tops with their bindings in the basket 6) as in prev pic

And this one shows the bottom row.  I have empty shelves!!!  The far left holds archived tax years and photo albums, the striped box is empty and the far right holds my paint deck and some office supplies.  I have a few more things in mind to deal with the WIPs and the templates but that may have to wait for a bit as my scrap situation is a little out of control!

Anyone else tidy this week?

Monday, 18 November 2013

Move it Monday

Disclaimer: This post will be wordy, pictureless and completely unrelated to quilting.  Please feel free to ignore this post if it doesn't interest you :)

I think, as bloggers, our goal is to create a blog that we, ourselves, would follow.  When I sit and think about the blogs I refuse to cut from my reader, the main common denominator is that I feel a connection to the authors.  And that connection generally comes from the post where they share something about their lives beyond the topic of their blog.

I have attempted numerous times to maintain a separate blog for my weight loss.  And failed to be consistent. Which, I guess, falls right in line with all of the times in my life I have tried and failed to be consistent in my weight loss efforts.  However, over the last few years, I have found some progress.  I have lost 30 pounds and although there have been long periods of maintenance and a few short periods of regaining, overall the trend has been one of loss.

Last year, over the holiday season, I regained 10 pounds.  Not good.  I was (and still am) determined to not have that happen again this year.  My husband has also decided it's time to regain some of the fitness he's lost since our baby was born (three years ago).  Together we are doing P90X.  We have done it (in part) before so we know the challenges ahead but we are both strongly motivated right now.  Yesterday was our first workout and I can feel it today.  But in that "I did something awesome" kind of way :)

I have no intentions of turning this into a weight loss/fitness blog but I am hoping to hijack Monday's post to keep track of how my workouts went, obstacles I've overcome and progress that was made.  I know that there are probably a few others out there working at this same goal (HI oneenglishteacher!) and I would love to have the comments be a place of discussions about it.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Clementine Cross Top: A Friday Finish

I've been working on this quilt for a while!  When October finally skidded to a finish, I knew it needed to get moved to the top of the pile.  It's getting cold!!  I spent a little extra time yesterday working on it to have ready for a Friday Finish post.

When I started this quilt, the plan was to make it 100" square.  As I stitched, the size started to freak me out.  I mostly do baby quilts, maybe a lap quilt!  So I measured my bed and decided that 80" square would be fine.  On Monday I arrived at 80" and brought it up to try out.

It wasn't good.  It only overlapped one block on each side.  Once it was quilted and washed I knew there would be problems for two blanket hogs like us :)  Back down to the studio it went.  I added two columns and one row to bring it to 100" x 90"

I'm excited to get this quilted up and in use.  But I'm also terrified.  This is a lot bigger than my previous largest quilt.  And I've decided to double the batting to make it super heavy and warm.  Thank goodness I've decided on straight line quilting!!

The best part?  This quilt kicks off a plan to redo our bedroom.  We have been married for 7 years, lived together for 2 years before that and never had a proper bed.   Our Christmas gift to each other is a solid maple bed!!  And just wait until you see the throw for the foot of the bed ;)

Linking up with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

WIP Wednesday

There are three projects dominating my time this week.

Love from Margaritaville
I am very close to being able to put this top together.  I'm both excited and nervous for the quilting.  There is interfacing on every piece in every block and some of the fabrics are a much heavier weight than quilting cotton.

Clementine Cross
 I thought I was finished with this quilt top and then I thought I should toss it on the bed to make sure.  It really needed two more columns and one more row to work well.  So I am finishing up those blocks.

Christmas Cross Stitch
This is last years winter sampler from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.  It's been many many years since I've done cross stitch but I am really enjoying this.  Definitely want to get it finished before Christmas and I would love to have time to do one of this years holiday designs as well.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Tuesday Tidy

My "studio" has fallen apart.  Not literally, as I still have walls and a ceiling :)  But my crazy October means nothing was put away properly and there are piles everywhere, things shoved wherever there was room.  It's time for a good tidy.  But I still have work to do and I want to do it right.  I want to put thought into where I store things.  I want to make decisions about what supplies will get used and what supplies need to be passed along to someone who will use them.  So it won't happen overnight.  And for me, that means it could easily fall into the tomorrow category and never get done.  That's where you come in!

I'm planning on documenting the process along the way.  Sometimes it will just be before and afters, but other weeks I may talk about how I decided what to keep and where to keep it.  If there is enough interest, maybe a linkup?  Anyway here is what I accomplished over the last week.

 OMG, I'm a little embarrassed to even post this but I figure others might have something similar? 

I was brutal when sorting through my fabric this week.  Anything I bought that was cheap and poor quality in the beginning of my sewing days went.  Most of the non quilting fabrics went (I kept a small bin suitable for doll clothes).  Where did it go, you ask?  I certainly didn't throw it out!!  My daycare was the very happy recipient of 8 busting grocery bags of fabric.  And the very next day they were building forts with some of the larger pieces :)

These shelves will probably feature again next week as I have three more rows of shelves to sort and organize.  But I could just look at those pretty shelves all day long.  If anyone would like to know what is in all of the bins, just leave a comment and I will do some labeling for next week's post.