Finished Projects

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


The sd card in my phone crashed and I lost all my photos. I had a few pics of the quilts I've been working on, but now it's too late to recover them.

Working on some new stuff now. Perhaps I won't use my phone for pics anymore. :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Blanket for Bella

Baby Bella arrived on Monday and she is the cutest little thing in the world! Fortunately, I finished her quilt in time!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In the works..

I have 3 projects I'm getting ready to post! One's a quilt, one's a craft, and one's a knock off! Too busy for it right now, though!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Baby Bella

The family is eagerly anticipating the arrival of little baby Isabella Elizabeth. My sister-in-law is seriously the cutest little pregnant lady you have ever seen.

I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of the Zig Zag Frenzy quilt from Lella Boutique which you can order here. I knew I wanted to make it but wasn't sure for what occasion. I originally planned on a rail fence quilt like the one shown at You Seriously Made That!? for baby Bella- her room is decorated in the same colors. I was planning on adjusting the design in such a way that when the blocks were sewn together, the whites/pinks/oranges would be sort of background colors to a bolder green. They would be arranged so that the green rails would form capital I's throughout the quilt...for Isabella.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


(I Love You, Man is an awesome movie)

Anyways, the other day I was at Quilter's Corner dropping off pillowcases my students had made for ConKerr Cancer (which, by the way, is a really, really cool organization if you've got some time to spare and some sewing knowledge).

Of course, I couldn't just drop them off without looking around at all the cool fabric and quilts they have. I initially was looking for layer cakes of fabric for a cute quilt pattern I saw on Moda Bake Shop. I didn't realize how much a layer cake costs, so I skipped out on that idea.

As I was walking around the store (several times), I kept stopping to look at a cute tote bag. It was the perfect size for my laptops so I decided to spend a few dollars to buy it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Quilt for Baby LeSchea

One of my coworkers is thisclose to giving birth and she happens to be one of the nicest people in the world. So needless to say, I had to make a baby quilt for her.

Some time ago, I bought a Quick Cuts Skill-Builder Leaflet from Walmart (barf, I know) that had two different baby quilt projects on it. I've searched and searched online, but can't find it anywhere. There were two projects in the leaflet- a basic quilt they called the "Bubblegum Quilt" and another one simple titled "Baby Quilt."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Runner for Jo

Most of the things I sew end up becoming presents when I get done with them, and oftentimes the recipient is my sister.

I saw this tutorial for a table runner at Lella Boutique and desperately wanted to make one for myself. I used scraps of fabric I had leftover from the Boxed In quilt that I made for Grandma. I wanted the background of the runner to have an organic look to it, so I bought some muslin because I liked the little flecks throughout it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Ugh, having no money can seriously suck the motivation out of anyone. I desperately need to work on the quilt Momma picked out for her birthday, but there's just never any spare cash to go to the quilt shop.

Between working two jobs and taking care of my Etsy shop and craft shows, I don't have much time for sewing. I haven't touched Vanishing Squares since March but I think I'll do a little of that over this Memorial Day weekend. I'll post pictures of its progress soon!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

In other news...

I won the Modern Log Cabin Quilting book giveaway from Not Martha! So excited to check out the projects! Yay!

Dropping the Ball

Dear Sewing Machine,

I'm so sorry I haven't given you so much as a glance in a month. It's not that I don't want to sew. It's that I just really don't have the time.

I've recently begun working 7 days a week and picked up a 3rd job. (I just wrote a rambling paragraph about teaching and income, but I decided to delete it.) I'm also working on a certificate program through a local university and I'm trying to stay on top of things with that. So needless to say, I am one tired gal and very looking forward to a day off.

I put off Vanishing Squares for a little bit as it doesn't need to be finished until this summer. I also worked with my mom to pick a quilt design of her choosing for her birthday present. I'd love to have it done soon, but I just haven't had the money to buy fabric or the time to get started!

So, in closing, I'm truly sorry, Little Sewing Machine That Could. I promise we'll play soon.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

So many blocks, so little time...

Last year I grabbed a copy of Quiltmaker Magazine's 100 Blocks issue to see a block submitted by my quilt teacher. They came out with a second volume of 100 Blocks which I grabbed with a Barnes & Noble gift card left over from my birthday. Win.

Finally finished cutting
In this new volume, I've been itching to try block #175 Vanishing Squares by Sandi Irish; however, I don't know how I feel about using different colors. I ordered some hand dyed purples and black from my favorite Etsy shop, Ruby Mountain Dye Works and got to work cutting.

I ended up with more than 400 rectangles and squares. Blargh. I just can't get going on it. I laid out the cut pieces to get an idea of what it's going to look like. I'm pretty happy so far. Let's just hope that once I start sewing, it's all going to piece together nicely and easily.

Laying out a block
The bottom right corner is being washed out a bit too much. It's not really that light, maybe only a hair lighter than the pieces next to it.

Once I have all 16 blocks sewn, I'm going to play a little with the layout to get it just right. The cool thing about these blocks is that you can twist and turn them to get a different effect each time. I like the whole fading in and out concept and think it'll look really cool once it's done.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ina's got nothing on me...

HA! I wish. When it comes to all the talents and skills floating around our family gene pool, baking is not the one I inherited. Well, that and music. Something just doesn't click in my brain. I'll gladly sing along in the car (alone, of course), but put an instrument in front of me and I don't know where to begin.

You'd think being the granddaughter of an Italian baker would've helped my baking skills somehow. Grandma almost always had cake or some other goodie in the house. She also made her own pasta and the World's Greatest Meatballs. So, I think I inherited the cooking side, which is awesome because Grandma was an awesome cook. My sister, however, won out with the trifecta of music, cooking, and baking skillz (yeah that's skillz with a z).

I really didn't do any sewing this past week. I think I poured too much effort into the last two quilts and just haven't had the motivation to start another project. Unfortunately, idle hands are the devil's playthings, and I decided to try out a new recipe.

One of the blogs I subscribe to occasionally posts a nice little library of the goings on at other blogs. It was there that I found a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes. Yes, you heard me. Cupcakes. Stuffed with cookie dough. I have a friend that stuffs peanut butter cookie dough with mini Snickers...but cupcakes stuffed with cookie dough!? Madness!

I made two batches this week. As a warning, in fear of screwing this up, I used boxed mixes. I personally have no problem with box mixes; I think they're quite tasty, and I'm not so pretentious that I need everyone to know I made a cake from scratch.

Batch 1: Pillsbury's new Sugar Free Yellow Cake Mix plus the Sugar Free Vanilla Frosting and half a tube of Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Results: I had a coupon for the products but was quite nervous as these cupcakes would be tested on my high school students on Valentine's Day. Surprisingly, I knocked this one out of the park and the kids had no idea it was sugar free (minus the cookie dough). I've already had requests for another batch. The cake didn't quite bake around the cookie dough as it should have, but you wouldn't have noticed anyways since it was covered in icing.

Batch 2: Valu Time Yellow Cake Mix, Valu Time vanilla frosting, and the rest of the cookie dough
Results: Valu Time is the discount brand available in Giant Eagle grocery stores. Not having a lot of money sometimes means you have to resort to non-brand products, and that's perfectly ok. Sometimes they're just as good as name brand products. Unfortunately, this time wasn't the case. I felt the cake was a little too dry, although it kept it's shape without crumbling after a bite. The cake did bake up and over the dough, but the dough sank to the bottom of the cupcake and settled there. They still got rave reviews from friends.  :)

The sugar free icing was also really good- there's nothing I hate more than gritty icing. In the end, I think I'll be buying Pillsbury's sugar free mix from now on.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Secret Project DONE!

My secret project is complete! I redid it last weekend and sent it to its recipient (my sister Jo!) on Tuesday who received it today!

So what's the secret project you may be wondering?

It's a small wall hanging that I originally saw here and after some tracking and transatlantic emailing with its quilter, found the original designer here. Now, I don't speak Dutch but fortunately these ladies speak English and were very helpful in getting me this pattern.

The whole thing is a rather simple paper pieced design. The cat portion consisted of 3 pieces with the addition of two vertical strips along the sides. The outer border was also paper pieced (woooo pointy triangles!). I appliqued the tail after stabilizing the fabric with a very thin interfacing. It kept unraveling while I was trying to stitch it down, so some interfacing and basting spray solved that problem!

The cats' colors mimic those of Jo's cats. The black cat, Annie, is a little b-word that hates everyone but Jo. The smaller cat is Merle, a little guy that began hanging around her house. As I said before, I tried this with another set of colors (white with scroll work and hand dyed blue) but the blue bled and the seam that was disappointing. Then again, I actually like it better with the beige and red.

Since my quilting skills are still limited, I only stitched in the ditch between the outer border and the inner cat portion. After binding it, I made a label with its title ("Annie & Merle"), attached sleeves for hanging, packaged it with some PSU Silly Bandz (that I found at Dick's Sporting Goods for 25 cents! Score!), and mailed it away.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


The secret project I've been working on is kicking me in the dupa* right now. I had a feeling one of my seams was going to come apart in the wash...and it did. It's my fault, though. I trimmed the seam allowance too short and it started to unravel.

Then, I used some hand dyed fabric leftover from my Penn State quilt, and that bled into the white fabric. ::shakes fists angrily::

I desperately need to take another quilting class. I attempted to free motion quilt again and that didn't go well. Maybe it's just that my machine is a little simpleton not designed to handle such advanced work.

So I've decided to start all over again this evening. I'm going to fight every urge to go to bed at 8 PM regardless of how ridiculously tired I am. There's a Milky Way bar chilling in the fridge, so that ought to give me a little kick. Plus I've had about 6 cups of tea as the day went on. Mmmm...antioxidants.

*Polish for rear end, backside, hiney, patootie, badonkadonk, caboose, tuchus**
**Now I know how to spell tuchus

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Grandma was "tickled" with her new quilt. That's grandma-speak for really ridiculously* excited. She told my mom that she uses it every night when she's sitting in her chair watching TV, and that she can't believe how warm it is. I used a different batting than I usually do so I wonder if that has anything to do with it. I normally buy the queen size Warm and Natural batting when it's on sale. It's regular price $40 but Jo Ann's will mark it down to $20 from time to time.

This time around, I used a fusible batting by Tailor, I believe, which I found to be a little more difficult to work with. I suppose if you were doing something smaller it would be fine, but I had big problems with getting it to actually fuse to the fabric. In the end, I pinned everything down because I didn't trust it to not move. I also think the batting made the whole quilt a bit too tough.

A pretty simple palate
I've also started a new paper piecing project. This one is a small wall hanging that I can't say much about because it's a gift for someone. Here's a sneak peak at the fabric I'm using. I hope to have it done soon so I can bind it while sitting at work Friday night and send it out Saturday.

My other Top Secret Paper Piecing Project has been irritating me. I think I'm just frustrated with the whole piecing-the-pieces-together part of it. I can't handle mirror images. I'm not Da Vinci, you know.

*And that's Zoolander-speak.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Boxed In is complete! Well, except for the tag part of it. I've been doing a little online research this evening trying to figure out the best way to do that.

I tossed it in the wash when I got home from work and it softened up quite nicely. The darker brown fabric was a little rough and I was afraid it would stay like that. I think after another wash it'll be perfect.

I've decided to name this quilt "Betty's Blocks" since it's going to my grandma......and her name is Betty.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thinking outside the box...

"Boxed In" is going pretty well. Considering I started it during winter break, I think it's progressing nicely. Yesterday, I began the tedious task of free motion quilting. Why tedious?

Because I have no idea what the heck I'm doing.

I've read plenty of tutorials and watched many videos, but was still nervous to try it out myself. I stared at this thing for days trying to figure out how to quilt it. I finally decided to try stippling the insides of the boxes. I quickly determined I suck at stippling. I switched over to loops and actually liked the look a lot. Plus, it was pretty simple!

I quilted the blocks with clear thread, but switched over to cotton when I began working on the inside border. I used a tan thread plus a dark brown bobbin to match the backing fabric.

Quilting the border
I don't think I'm going to do anything on the wider outside border, but I will quilt the corner squares. My goal tonight is to get the binding stitched on so I can sit at work tomorrow hand sewing it to the back.

I'd like to make a tag for the back before I give it away, but I don't quite know how to go about that. I don't know if you're supposed to embroider tags and stitch them on, or if you can find some sort of special pen to hand write it?? I don't think I have any readers yet, but if I do, and you know what I'm talking about, what advice do you have for making tags?

You're not leaving until it's done!

(*This post was written following this guideline: Apparently it's not necessary to use two spces after a period anymore. It makes me feel awkward.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My sewing machine sits cold and lonely...

I haven't done any sewing this weekend, and that's pretty sad.  Although, when I came home from work today, I found a paper pieced pattern waiting in my inbox.  I'm going to start it right after dinner.  I can't post any other information or pictures because it'll be a surprise for someone, but once she receives it, you can be sure I'll get a picture up!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I figured since the last post was about a quilt in progress, I'd post a picture of one I'd actually finished.

It should be noted that this quilt took me a year and a half to complete!  I'm not sure if the pattern was incorrect or if I made a mistake reading it, but I would get frustrated and toss it into a drawer, not to look at it again for a couple months.

The pattern is called "My Corner of the Universe" and I originally found it on Etsy, but it seems that now you can only find it here.  The spot in the center of Pennsylvania is State College, the home of my alma mater, the superfantastic Penn State University.

The pattern calls for 20 shades of gradated blues.  I was looking for shades of navy, but it was impossible to find that much fabric between Jo Ann's and quilt shops.  Plus, I didn't like having to buy fabrics with different patterns.

My quilt teacher suggested I get hand-dyed fabric.  I found a FABULOUS Etsy store called Ruby Mountain Dye Works.  I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to work with Karen.  She's awesome at messaging you back and helps you figure out just exactly what colors you're looking for.  What we ended up working out were 15 shades of navy/indigo that I was able to edit the pattern to use.  I'm currently discussing black and gold shades with her now.  I plan on editing the pattern to reflect Pittsburgh.

So here it is, the finished product.  It became a Christmas present for my brother-in-law & sister-in-law.  I had originally machine stitched the binding, but it didn't look very nice at all.  I ended up ripping out those stitches and hand sewed it.  The end result was perfect!  I attached tabs at the top as well for hanging.

(By the way, if you didn't know, the response to "WE ARE..." is "...PENN STATE!")

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Boxed in...and going crazy

I have a tendency to download and save quilt patterns that I like.  A lot.  Which in turn means that I have many quilt patterns available, but have not yet tried any of them.  You should also know that I'm a big procrastinator.  I just can't help myself sometimes- I'm lazy and not ashamed.

So before winter break, I was browsing through my quilt patterns folder and spotted "Boxed In" from the Moda Bake Shop.  The "ingredients" for this "recipe" call for border, backing, and binding fabric as well as a layer cake.

::insert blank expression::  Neither cat knew what I was talking about.

Layer cake, eh?  Fortunately, Moda's site has definitions for all these fancy schmancy packs of fabric.  A layer cake, boys and girls, is a package of 42 squares of fabric cut down to 10".  Of course, there are also honey buns, jelly rolls, dessert rolls, and turnovers to complete the sweet theme.

Cutting the fabric down
Sadly, I had no pretty layer cakes within my fabric collection, and it takes me over half an hour to get to my favorite quilt shop.  But what I did have was a fabric bundle from Jo Ann's that I bought at some point last year, plus some coordinating fabric.  Thus began the tedious job of cutting down all that fabric into 10" squares.  I'm sure it wouldn't have been so bad, but again...lazy

So I cut down the fat quarters into 5" blocks and hacked up a few yards of light and dark brown into uneven sashing to go around each one.  Then the sewing marathon began.
Stitched block

I sewed blocks for what seemed like days.  Let's do the math:

25 blocks x 5 pieces of fabric = 125 parts

Maybe that's not a lot.  I don't know.  I'm new to this.

I jumped back and forth between assembling the blocks themselves and stitching together the rows.  I just can't focus on the same task for too long.
Laying out blocks and rows

I used post it's to keep my rows in order.  I sketched out a plan of the blocks before cutting so I could see what colors go where and how many I needed of each.  I wanted to make sure they were evenly scattered throughout the quilt top.

I also adjusted the pattern slightly before beginning my own project.  The original design called for smaller inner and outer borders.  My version resulted in an inner border measuring 2" after sewing and an outer border of 5".  I also added corner blocks to the outer border using leftover fabric from the center of the squares.
Finished quilt top
I'm stuck now.  The backing has been pieced and my sandwich is pinned and ready to be quilted, but I just don't have it in myself to start that process.  I want to free motion quilt the top, but I'm not very good at it and I'm afraid of messing up.

Let's be honest.  I'll probably just chicken out and stitch in the ditch.

(I took these pictures with my phone.  That's why they don't look so perty.)