A bath, a quilt, and some fabric

This weekend my sweetie and I are heading back upstate to see our families for a quick visit. We haven't been home since the holidays and we're both looking forward to a much needed escape from the city. Not to mention a trip to Wegmans and a hair appointment for me. :)

Louie got a bath and a haircut yesterday and I'm amazed how how shaggy he looked before (and how smelly he was - ugh). He's all set to go home and play with Winston!I'm working on a few crafty things today in addition to a bunch of other random (non-fun) items on the to-do list. I don't have my solid fabric for my Supernova quilt but I'm thinking a trip to Joann's this weekend will remedy that (I'm a sucker for coupons and cheap prices for Kona Cotton solids). I've started a new baby quilt for a friend (see picture below - using a simple pattern by Elizabeth) and I'm aiming to make more progress on my quilt for Modern Relief.

Also, I treated myself to a few quarter yards (purchased from the lovely, custom-order accommodating ladies of quiltsandwich) of Jay McCarroll's* "Habitat" which I've been coveting since I first saw it (since I'm so obsessed with it, it falls within the allowances of my Stashpact11). I have a few ideas for how to use this (and what it surprisingly goes with) but you'll have to wait and see...

*I've seen him in person, as he came into the store where I work a few weeks ago!

(Another random geek-out sighting was Brett, seen yesterday. I think I freaked her out a bit when I told her I knew who she was but because I'm a regular reader of her blog and Design*Sponge, where she's often featured, I recognized her. Pretty cool!)


Fabric love

My bank account prevents me from getting any new fabric at the moment (as does my StashPact11 contract - nothing new unless I have funds/space/REALLY love it) but that doesn't mean I can't look! Here are some of my latest crushes:

Some fun transportation themed fabric (my sweetie loves everything transportation and I promised him that someday I'd make him a quilt with all things for getting places!)

Tula Pink Parisville - I already used this print in another color way in my big quilt and now I want to get this one too!

Alexander Henry's Rainforest Honeycomb - I love the colors and texture!

Quilter's Linen in gray by Robert Kaufman - cotton fabric that looks like linen = genius!

Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2 - I love these colors!

All fabrics are available from various sellers on Etsy.


A new project

Yep, I've started something new. Still waiting to hear about DC and so therefore needed another distraction, a productive one at that. Lee is hosting a great quilt-along on her blog so I figured I'd join in.

After originally planning to use my Katie Jump Rope fabric for a different quilt, I decided that I wanted to use it for the quilt-along instead. I've spend the last few nights ironing and cutting up my carefully hoarded...*cough*...I mean preserved stash of the hard-to-find fabric - and it felt great! Not to mention, I still have a whole bunch left which will now get dispersed for use in other projects.

I've finished the main cuts and am now playing around with block arrangement. The mosaic below isn't the final order of the blocks but I wanted to prove to you all that I did in fact slice up the fabric. Yay! (And more points for me on my StashPact11.)The blocks start with 3" strips of fabric. I'm now moving on to more specific cutting. Her design uses 9 blocks but I'm going to make (another) big quilt and use 12 instead, especially since I STILL have fabric left. I'm going to use either white or neutral Kona cotton for the solid. If you're interested in joining the tutorial, check it out here and follow all the participants' progress in the Flickr group.



I couldn't think of a clever title for today's post. It's soooo dreary outside. It's been snowing/raining/sleeting/spitting since early this morning and the temperature is hovering around 40 degrees. All this makes it a perfect day to hide inside (fortunately, I didn't have to work today).

It's been sort of a blah day. It always amazes me how much the weather really gets to you! I spent a little while this morning working on my quilt for Modern Relief. I used another pattern from this book (I made this quilt from a different pattern) and have the blocks already assembled - they just need to be sewn together. I didn't actually have a Jelly Roll but I do have my AccuQuilt Go Cutter and a 2.5" die so I was able to make my own strips. The patterns are really well written and all the quilts look much more complicated than they actually. The authors also give you tips on pressing which is IMMENSELY helpful when nesting the pieces/strips together. I ended up finding a handful of Japanese fabrics in my stash (they're actually for sashiko but look lovely on their own) and paired them with some fun, bright prints.

Now that I finished a whole handful of quilts, I'm itching for another project (even though I definitely have some other WIPs I could work on...). I'm thinking that it might be time to cut into my Katie Jump Rope. I love the pattern using this line in the Material Obsession Two book and while I'm not one who usually considers using the pattern fabrics to make my own quilt, I'm tempted to use them here because it just looks so cute in the book! We'll see...

Well, time to go lock Louie in the bedroom while I vacuum (he tries to attack it). My sister is coming to visit for a few days as she has a job interview (yay!) so I probably won't be back here (or back sewing) until the weekend.

Hope everyone is having a good week!

(P.S. I'm back on Twitter after a long hiatus. I think I got overwhelmed by it but now I'm ready to jump back in. You can follow me at "lilolivebranch.")



I have gotten such nice feedback after posting my latest quilts on Flickr. Thanks everyone! You're all so sweet. :) And all of those listed in yesterday's post are for sale in my shop so check it out if you've found one you're in love with.

Worked for most of the day. Now I'm home and enjoyed the lovely sunshine with Louie. Spring is definitely on its way - birds chirping, flowers popping up, not much bite left in the wind... If only we could fast forward to sandals/dresses weather.

I'm off to work on my quilt for Modern Relief Japan. Looks like there are going to be some gorgeous ones up to bid on - and for such a worthy cause.


More quilts!

More updates in my shop - quilts and scrap bundles!!!


Helping those in need

Coming soon...(More info on Heather's blog. Stay tuned to find out how you can help, thanks to your crafty community...)

More goodies

Just wanted to pop in here and let you all know that I added a whole bunch more stuff to the shop this morning. I'll be adding more throughout the day and through the weekend (and will try to post after I do some big additions) so keep checking back.

It's gorgeous here - almost 70 degrees today - so Louie and I are heading to the dog park later for some much needed sunshine. Have a great weekend all!


Destash and shop update!

Over the next few days, I'll be updating and adding to my Etsy shop. This will include new fabrics, bundles, quilts, and bags. Keep checking back through the weekend for some goodies.


A little help

In these difficult times, asking for help can be tough. There are many crises that require attention, aid, money, etc. All those who give - in any way - should always be commended.

On that note, if you're looking to help the people of Japan, please consider a donation to the Red Cross, as that is one of the most transparent and ways to help.

On another note, of smaller scheme, my friend Brooke has a pretty sick kitty. For those of you who have pets, then you'll understand how scary the prospect of losing these members of our family can be. If you're able to help at all, please visit Brooke's blog post here.

She knows (as we all do) that times are tough for everyone but the kindness of those who can and do help, will be much appreciated. Karma can be a wonderful thing, folks!


Projects, colors, etc.

It's hard to believe that I only have one month in one quilting bee left after this month. It's my month now for Quilting newBEES and I had everyone make blocks like the following scrapbuster square:
(Don't mind the poor quality photo - just wanted to get a quick shot!)

Originally, I planned to start working on a baby quilt for a friend this afternoon but after working on the block above, I think I'm "sewed out" for the day! (To all my bee ladies - I love you guys for making these blocks for me, as I know they're no small task!!!) I'm sooo psyched that I'll eventually have a big quilt filled with blocks like the one above, including so many little snippets from everyone's stashes. The block is about 15" square so the quilt will be BIG - I'm thinking that I'll actually be able to have a bed quilt from these ones. Yay!

In light of the randomness of the block above, I wanted to talk a little bit about choosing fabrics and picking projects. Both Brooke and Jeni have blogged about these steps in the creative process, and it was something that Brooke and I discussed yesterday too during our chat. I love that there are so many different ways to approach quilting. Some people use patterns, some go from their own design. There's a widely used software for quilt design out there while many people use graph paper. I think the best thing that I've discovered about quilting that while there certainly are a few basic aspects of the craft used by most, there's no right or wrong way to make a quilt! My love for knitting will never go away but when you mess up in knitting, it's pretty obvious and that can be a big frustration.

I'm someone who doesn't really have a set way for quilting. I have built up a collection of fabrics I like, not really paying attention to pattern size or color balance. While I certainly understand the color wheel and the need for harmony when quilting, a lot of times I find that rules don't really matter and if you like it, then go for it! That's pretty much how I approached my most recently finished quilt. I definitely paid attention to color coordination, but I wasn't too concerned with exact color matching, print size, etc. That being said, I have great respect for people who have a much more thoughtful, planned process. I wish I had the patience sometimes to approach a project like that! I think we all just grow into our own style of quilting that works for us. Along the way, we may pick up new tips here and there but once you get in your own groove, stick with it. Sometimes I like to use patterns, sometimes I don't. I've said before that I don't have too much patience with the math part of quilting so I try to keep things simple. When pulling fabrics, sometimes I'll use a whole collection (or just a few from one) or sometimes I'll mix it up. I'm pretty new to this whole quilting thing (just under 2 years!) so I'm definitely learning as I go. And I'm having a blast! :)

My best one yet

I'm now convinced that this quilt is definitely my favorite. It's HUGE, snuggly, crinkly, bright, and dog-approved (of course). On Friday I figured I'd tackle just the basting but I got so excited that I quilted AND bound it. We washed it yesterday and now it's officially usable.

I ended up just doing some parallel line quilting along the seams. I originally had plans to also do some free-motion quilting on the border but ultimately decided against it. I love that this quilt is all about the fabric (as most of my quilts are!) so I wanted to keep it really simple. I love the fun binding and am really getting better at putting it on in general.

This past weekend was nice. The weather here felt spring-like and my sweetie and I spent a lot of quality time together. We saw "The Adjustment Bureau" (awesome - go check it out), took Louie to the dog park (where we haven't been in months), spent a leisurely Sunday with bagels and the newspaper (my sweetie only had a little bit of paperwork to do), went to dinner with friends at our favorite neighborhood place, and I Skyped with Brooke - for an hour and half!! It was awesome - we chatted about our pets, quilting, life in our respective cities, and everything else. It was like a virtual coffee date with a friend. :) I'm so thankful that she and I keep finding things to connect about and that we're able to build a friendship, even though we live over 300 miles apart! I'm sure there'll be many more chatting sessions in our future.

I'm not working today so I plan on doing some more sewing, as I have a few ideas bouncing around in my head. Trying to keep myself busy while waiting for more info about DC (should hear something in a couple of weeks...). I'm going to keep working on other job stuff and probably squeeze in some reading and cooking later today.

I'll be back later with some more updates about fabric selection, project ideas, etc.

Hope everyone has a good week!


Music for a rainy day

Some favorites...


Florence + The Machine

Ben Harper

Jason Mraz


Ta da!

Here's the whole quilt top! I had to get creative in order to take picture. It's almost 80" x 80". I'm IN LOVE with it.
Be sure to visit my flickr photostream for more pics.

Here are just some of the fabrics included, all from my stash:
- Innocent Crush (Anna Maria Horner)
- Tufted Tweets (Laurie Wisbrun)
- Greenfield Hill (Denyse Schmidt)
- Flea Market Fancy (Denyse Schmidt)
- Parisville (Tula Pink)
- Impressions (Ty Pennington)
- It's A Hoot (Momo, for Moda)
and many more...

The border is Kona Cotton in my favorite shade of gray. The back will be pieced from some big cuts of Alexander Henry's "Boule" and Dena Designs "Monaco," plus some bright blue cotton. Some major furniture moving will have to be in order to baste this monster. Should be able to get to that later in the week. I have this awesome varigated gray/black/white cotton thread from YLI that I plan to use for some simple parallel line quilting. I just can't *wait* to snuggle under this one with Louie and my sweetie!

(Off to DC for round 2! Send me good vibes!.....)



In light of all the ups and downs lately, I decided last week to pull a whole stack of favorite fabrics and make a largish lap quilt (bigger than some of the ones we already have but slightly smaller than twin size). I think this was because I find that quilts are very comforting. During tough times, it makes me feel better to knit/read/watch TV/snuggle with Louie and my sweetie/etc. with a quilt. Why not make one that had a whole bunch of fabrics that I really loved?

I looked through my quilting books and ended up choosing a Kaffe Fassett pattern, adapted with my own picks.
I have been taking my time with this quilt. I've really enjoyed playing with all the fabrics and it's come together in a lovely way. It's going to be a big quilt so that even my sweetie's feet won't stick out if he's covered up. Here's a sneak peek...

I think I'm going to use solid gray for the border and make a pieced back (yay for keeping with StashPact11). I might even have enough batting. If not, I'll wait for a Michael's coupon to pick some up super cheap.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!