First Monday

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Happy New Year, dear friends!  It’s the first Monday of 2014 and I’m feeling like it’s time to get in sync with my plans for this year.  One of the things I intend to do this year is get back to regular blogging.  While other forms of social media are fun and much more spontaneous, I love this little blog of mine and it’s an important space in my life.  So keep your eyes open for new posts coming soon.

 

I have tons of things I can’t wait to share with you, and while I definitely want to do a bit of a end of year wrap up and what my plans are for creating in 2014, I’m just going to jump right in and show you a finished project I can now share.

 

2013 seemed to be the year of the mini quilt for me.  You may recall I gifted a couple earlier in the year (here and here)?  It was only fitting that there should be a third one in there too.  Well, you all know my love for Tula Pink, and you know I’ve been working on my Kiss Kiss quilt off and on.  So, what could be more perfect than a mini Kiss Kiss, or well, in this case I guess it’s just one kiss.  ; )
Anyway, I’m going to be visiting Paris for the first time in February with my dear friend, Sylvia.  So what more perfect birthday gift for her than a Parisville quilt?  Just like with the mini Swoon, I chose to just piece one block and then quilt and finish it as a mini quilt.  I absolutely love how it turned out.
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See why it’s called Kiss Kiss?  The x is a kiss, as in xoxo (shout out to all Gossip Girl fans).  Anyway, I loved the idea of Sylvia having a little something to remember our trip by, as well as a little piece of me over in Germany.
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Of course, the star of the show here is the focal fabric with Marie Antoinette at the center.  I wanted the quilting to echo the x shape, but I also wanted to highlight the cameo center so I left the very center unquilted (about 3 inches square).  It turned out just as I had envisioned, and being a mini I was able to quilt it myself on my machine.
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For the back I opted to use two fabrics I had in the Mist colorway – the topiary and the French lace.  I cut them into strips and then alternated them which reminds me of some sort of luxurious wallpaper treatment one might find in Versailles (I’ll scope it out when I’m there and let you know).
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I love how the quilting created a number of different patterns – straight lines, crosshatch, and arrows.  And the very geometric straight line quilting was a perfect couterpoint to the more organic designs in the fabric.
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The quilt made its way safely overseas in November and I was finally able to exhale that breath I’d been holding when it arrived.  I’m so thrilled that Sylvia liked her little birthday surprise and I can’t wait to get back to work on my own Kiss Kiss.
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Thanks so much for stopping by, and I’ll be back soon with some more things I’ve been working on and a few finishes!
I am grateful for time at my sewing machine and giving handmade gifts. 

 

Nightshade and Nightmare

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If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you probably already know of my love affair with Tula Pink‘s fabric.  When Miss Tula released her Nightshade line a couple of years ago, matching her amazing design talent with an utterly gothic take on Halloween, I was instantly sunk.  This line is probably one of my all time favorites of hers and I have some carefully hoarded cuts in my stash.  I don’t share my Tula stash lightly, but when my niece’s birthday rolled around, I knew I had to make an exception.  
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My niece and I are surprisingly like-minded and she loves anything dark and creepy and cool, so I decided that a pillowcase made from some Nightshade would be the perfect thing for her to bring to sleepovers and such.  
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I made each side different so that I could use two different pieces from the focal Coven print.  I pulled some fabric out of my stash for the sashing around the focal prints, and then a different tone on tone for the edging of the pillowcase.  
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And I absolutely had to use the Spider Blossom fabric for the background.  It’s full of little hidden “Tula treasures” like skulls, lightning bolts, moons, and spiderwebs.  Plus, it matches the case on my phone, so I thought a little nod to us matching was a good thing.  
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If you’ve ever heard a twelve-year-old girl squeal with delight, you can imagine the reception this gift got when we celebrated her birthday.  It holds a place of honor on her bed, along with her One Direction blanket.  lol
And just when I thought I’d have a little break and get back to doing some stitching and quilting for me, I got a call from my niece asking for help with her Halloween costume.  You may recall last year she went as the Mad Hatter?  So, this year she wanted to go as Sally from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas.  I swear this kid and I are sharing brainwaves.  So, in case you haven’t seen the movie, here’s Sally…
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Being a Tim Burton movie, it’s thoroughly dark and creepy.  But, here was my dilemma.  When you do a search online, what comes up is a plethora of horridly garish and brightly colored versions of Sally’s dress.  Well, no thank you.  So, a few weekends ago, my gothic twin came to spend the night and we went over to a resale shop.  I started pulling shirts off the racks that fit in with the color scheme I had in my head.  I wanted the overall feel to be dingy, muted, while still keeping with the patterned patchwork look.  We found a dress that could be used as the base, and then I began cutting up the shirts we got and sewing them on.  And here’s what I ended up with.  Trust me when I tell you that she looks super adorable (in a very cool gothic way) in the dress. 
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I sewed all the scraps onto the base dress, and then I went back in and added some big decorative stitches for effect. 
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Here’s the back.  We lucked out to find a dress that only fastened by a button at the top, so I wasn’t having to work around zippers or anything of that nature.  
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I can’t even begin to tell you how much work went into this dress.  Probably 90% of it was done by hand.  I did attach some of the larger pieces by machine, but I was trying to work between the lining and the dress itself, which made that a bit difficult. 
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I’m really please with how it turned out and so is she.  I brought it to her yesterday and she immediately went to try it on.  She paired it with some black and grey striped knee-high socks, black ankle boots, and grey wool wristwarmers.  Love that kid!  
But now that I have birthday and Halloween done, I’ll be getting back to my stitching and quilting.  I can’t wait to see pics of her on Halloween though.  
Thanks for stopping by, and you may have noticed that I’ve changed the template I’m using for the blog.  Hopefully this fixes the issue with commenting since I’ve switched it over to a template that isn’t dynamic.  Let me know if you’re still having problems though.  I absolutely love reading your comments and they are important to me!  
Happy Halloween!
I am grateful for matching macabre sensibilities. 

Summer to Fall

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Thank you so much for all the comments on my John Reed finish.  And apologies to those of you who wanted to leave comments, but couldn’t.  It seems to be some sort of hit or miss thing with either blogger or this template I’m using since some people could leave comments and some couldn’t.  So strange.  Hopefully it’s fixed now though.
I finally got around to taking some photos of some amazing birthday gifts from friends that I hadn’t had a chance to share yet.  This pincushion is a freebie design from The Sampler Girl that my friend Lori stitched and finished for me.  She actually had several friends who had August birthdays, so she made several of these and personalized them with each birthdate and initials.  Absolutely adorable – and what a perfect gift for an August birthday girl, like me!
And she backed it with this lovely blue fabric.  So fun!
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 And if that wasn’t enough, she also spoiled me with this amazing gift.  Although, when she gave it to me she said, “let me know if you figure out what it is”.  She found this at a local quilt shop and said that even the ladies at the quilt shop weren’t sure what it was.  But, since she knows my love for all things Tula, she felt like it would have a good home with me.
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It’s difficult to get the whole thing in the photo, but it does say Tula Pink for Moda (so you know this is from way back) and then it has four little pockets, which she filled with fat quarters of some Tula fabric for me, two Birds & the Bees, one Saltwater, and one Nightshade.
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So, since we were all stumped as to what this was I reached out to Miss Tula Pink herself and asked.  And she very kindly responded that this was a promotional banner Moda did for shops and the intent was for them to be able to change out the fat quarters in the pockets as new lines from the designer were released.  But the best part…
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It’s made to look like a fabric selvedge!  How fun is that???  It has a little sleeve at the top for hanging and then you can change out your focus fabrics at will.  The most awesome addition to my sewing room, for sure!  Thank you so much, Lori, for spoiling me!
Another friend of mine, Laurie, also spoiled me with a pincushion.  This is one of Jeannette Douglas’s Quaker Pincushions.  I love that it looks like a little pumpkin.  And the Halloween pins she added are absolutely adorable.
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And look at the back!  Gorgeous houndstooth patterned wool and a beautiful button. So sweet.  It’s perfect to put out for the season too.   I totally should finish up the Quaker pincushion I stitched for myself forever ago, shouldn’t I?
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She also gifted me with this blinged out skull needleminder.  I, of course, immediately put it on my sugar skull stitching wallet so it can keep me company.  So freaking awesome.
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So thank you both for my thoughtful gifts, they are much appreciated and will be treasured.
I also thought I’d show you all what I’ve been stitching on lately, now that John Reed is finished.  On October 1 I decided to start a new project.  This is only my third new start of the year, if you can believe it, and one of those was finished in January.  But, I was feeling the need for a fall project and this one has been calling to me from my stitching bag.  Please overlook the fact that the majority of this is out of focus, my 50mm lens was obviously punishing me for never using it anymore.
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Such a fun stitch, and just brimming with fall color.  This is a design by the same friend Lori I mentioned above.  She is so talented!  You may recall she also designed this little pincushion I stitched last fall.  I’ve been working on this still and hope to have it finished this fall.
The other piece I’ve been working on is the Sunday Mystery Sampler Paulette is offering as a free chart on her blog.  I look forward to each new installment on Sundays, and it’s the perfect thing to stitch on Sunday evenings.  And bonus, by Thanksgiving I will have a finished Christmas piece!
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I’m using 40ct Vintage Light Examplar and for the most part I am stitching with the called for threads, although I had to switch from Shaker White to Oatmeal because the Shaker wouldn’t show up on my fabric (which really is not as pink leaning as this photo shows).  I also changed the Espresso Bean to Pecan because I wanted it to be a warmer, lighter brown than my skein of Espresso was.  And I stitched Mary in blue, because I wanted that little pop of color.  The blue I used is actually a limited edition GAST I’ve had forever called Aquamarine.  I can’t wait to see what the next installment will be.  Oh, and I’m stitching Mary’s Sampler II, which is the more densely stitched version that Paulette is doing on black.
Oh, and speaking of The Sampler Girl (the pincushion from Lori reminded me of it), in case you haven’t seen, many of her patterns are going to be OOP at the end of October, and until the 31st, they are all on sale.  So scoop up the ones you want, while you can!!  (no affiliation, just a fan) I picked up Good Tidings with Jane Austen, which is the companion piece to the other two that I’ve already stitched.  I am excited about the new direction she’s taking though.

I am grateful for vacation and working on new things.

**Edited to add: Still appear to be having issues with comments.  Some people are able to comment, so do try refreshing if you’re not seeing the comment option.  I’ll keep researching to see if I can determine the problem. 

Summertime Flyby

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I hardly know what to make of the fact that it’s almost the end of August and of summer.  The past few months have been a blur of late late nights and 60-70 hour workweeks.  I have been stitching, although very slowly, and hope to have some progress to share soon.  I’ve been spending a little bit of time on quilting when I have a free Saturday afternoon.  You saw in my last post, the little mini Swoon quilt I made as a gift.  Well, I also made another mini quilt as a gift and since it’s reached its destination I can finally share.  
Many years ago I made this pinwheel quilt for my soon-to-be Goddaughter.  I wanted it to be bright and cheery and gender neutral, since we’d yet to find out whether the baby was a boy or girl.  So, I gathered up a variety of yellow fabrics and combined them with muslin to make the alternating blocks. I pieced and quilted it on my machine and it was one of the first quilts I ever made.
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I recently found out that the quilt, along with her other special things, had been lost during a recent move and she was heartbroken about it.  I decided that a new quilt was definitely in order, but I would make it larger so that she had something she could actually use as she grew older and I would make it in a variety of more modern fabrics.  But, seeing as my time lately has been very limited, I wanted to make her a mini quilt that would serve as a reminder of her baby quilt. 
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 I still actually had the same yellow fabrics I used in the original quilt, so I pulled those out of my stash along with some muslin and went to work.  I’m very happy with how it turned out and hopefully it will make the loss of the original quilt a little easier to bear.  
I was also determined to use the embroidery function on my sewing machine for what it was intended, and after reteaching myself how to use it I made this little quilt label for the back.  
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I hope she loves it, and until I can get her new quilt made, I hope it mends her heart a bit.  It was fun to make and a fun reminder of where I started with my quilting.  
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And in case you’re wondering what I’m up to now with my quilting, I made a little start on my Hex on the Beach quilt.  I’ve got one row sewn together completely and I’m almost done basting row 2.
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I even got my kit organized so that everything’s together by color.  I’m really enjoying working on this when I have a few spare minutes. 

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Anyway, that’s all for me today. Like I said, I’ve been stitching along on my John Reed sampler and hope to have a good progress photo (or maybe even a finish to share) soon. Thanks for checking in even with my sporadic posting over the past few months. I intend to be more on top of posting going forward. Of course, you can always check in on my other blog, or follow me on Instagram – links for both are on my new homepage Cozyegg Designs.

I am grateful for a much-needed vacation from work.

Measure Twice

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Ever since I went to the quilt show, I’ve been jonesing to sew.  Plus, I was so excited to finally get my Christmas quilt top finished, that I wanted to prolong the excitement by working on another WIP.  Well, a couple of weeks ago, I decided that the time had come.  Last year on my birthday, one of the ways I celebrated was by starting my Tula Pink Kiss Kiss quilt.  Of course, by starting, I mean cutting a butt ton (technical term) of fabric strips.  It took me a couple more cutting sessions to get everything cut for the quilt top – including fussy cutting the cameos. 

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When I was finally able to carve out some sewing time for myself, I proceeded to assemble all the pieced blocks.  Tula’s instructions call for “random” placement of the fabrics.  So, I very carefully and methodically sorted all of my fabric strips into random configurations.  It probably would have been easier to throw them on the floor and let Thutmose arrange them for me (although the downside to that plan is teethmarks).
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I can’t begin to tell you what a joy it was to finally be sewing again.  The bright colors bring a smile to my face and knowing that this quilt was finally starting to take shape was a huge bonus.  I got all 36 blocks pieced and pressed and ready for my next sewing date.  

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The next time I sat down at my sewing machine, I started off by laying out the entire quilt (oh what joy it would be to have a design wall) and arranging the blocks randomly.  Happy with my layout, I started to assemble the first row.  That’s when I noticed a problem.  My pieced blocks were supposed to be 8 1/2 by 8 1/2.  Mine were most assuredly not.  After much swearing, I resigned myself to having to redo every block.  I briefly thought about cutting the other blocks down to match, but since the entire quilt is set on point, that was a whole lot of triangles that I wasn’t willing to do the math to figure out what size they needed to be.  
So out came the seam ripper.  What I discovered is that my 1/4-inch seam allowance was really more like a 3/8 seam allowance.  Every.  Single.  Time.  At least I’m consistent.  
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I decided that in order to feel like I was at least making some progress, I would rip and resew a block at a time, as I needed them.  And my sewing machine now sports a piece of tape so that any dummy can figure out where 1/4 inch is (let’s hope).  I briefly recall having a 1/4 foot on my old sewing machine, but I don’t think I have one for this machine.  Note to self: buy one.  
So, after all the hubbub I finally got down to business.  And thankfully I had more help than I knew what to do with.  They decided that clearly I was in need of supervision so that no more shenanigans went on in here. 
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I was able to get almost one block completely assembled, with the correct size blocks.  Of course, I’ll be picking black fur off that cream background fabric till I’m blue in the face.  I can barely stand how pretty this is though.  
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 I’m hoping for some more sewing time soon, so that I can see more of this beauty come together.  And in case you’re wondering, yes I have been stitching too.  I hope to have some good progress to share soon!
I am grateful for Parisville fabric and washi tape.