Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Birthday Cake

Picture it. You've already made this cake for your boy's birthday last month and now your husband's birthday is here. You know hubby is hoping for a cake as special as his son's was. Your husband as a well documented love of all things liquor and bacon, but since you've already made him a bacon cake, you have to find a fresh idea. What's a girl to do?

If you're as lucky as I am, you stumble upon Ann's blog and you find this. And then you make your husband a Chocolate Guiness Cake of his very own.

Happy birthday, my love. I hope you enjoyed your day and your cake.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I *heart* Swapping

I've been busy lately - putting together two swaps though Flickr. The first was the Mini QT swap, which is a swap of a micro-quilt that is between 6" and 12" square. The theme for swap was "Take Flight." I made this quilt for my partner, Amy. She has serious love for her VW Bug, Yoda May, so I wanted to feature her car in her quilt. I do hope she likes it, even if I used the most open interpretation ever of the swap theme.

In return, I received this lovely quilt. I had requested a quilt that I could hang in Sprout's room, which is painted pink. Isn't this darling? So perfect for a little girl's room. Thank you, Amy, for a wonderful addition to my daughter's room.

Secondly, I arranged a private swap with Jacey. She makes the most amazing knit goods that I had been ogling for quite a while. When she suggested doing a swap - some of her knits in exchange for one of my mug rugs and an appliqued tee, I was over the moon. Look at these amazing gloves she made for me. I cannot express how much I love them - the color is gorgeous and they are so cozy.

This is the mug rug I made for her. I love doing "interactive piecing," as it's called; making a picture using fabric and stitching. I wish I had thought to take a picture of the tee I made, but I was so eager to put it in the mail that I forgot. Oops.

The only thing that's better than making goodies is receiving them. These swaps have made a fun start to the new year and I'm looking forward to more swaps this year.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

All Paths Lead Home

Home is where the heart is. And even though a dear friend of mine is moving, she'll always be close by, in my heart. And to make her her new house feel more like a home, I decided to make her a quilt.

Her favorite color is red, so when I saw this pattern in the Connecting Threads catalogue, I knew I had my quilt. It seemed serendipitous that the quilt pattern name is "All Paths Lead Home."

Since I am on a strict fabric diet, I decided to make a scrappy version of it using what I had in my stash. To supplement my stash, I did a few Flickr swaps and also bought a single yard of fabric, which isn't bad, considering that the pattern calls for roughly 10 yards of fabric.

The back, also scrappy, was inspired heavily by this. And my "inspired heavily," I kind of mean "lifted" The solid is Kona Coral, the floral from Alexander Henry's "Camden" line. And the line of scraps are all bits from the fabric featured on the front. The quilt's tag is part of the strip. It reads "You will be missed, but a few hundred miles is nothing between good friends."

Quilt is 48" x 60" and features hand stitched binding. I do hope this quilt keeps my friend warm, both body and soul.

Friday, January 14, 2011

More on Resolutions

I've been thinking hard about StashPact and my crafting resolutions. I run a small business, so it is unreasonable to think that I wouldn't purchase any fabric whatsoever for the whole year. Also, already this year I've spent $57.94 at my local quilt shop. $20 was on a 12.5" square ruler, which I've wanted (and needed) for a very long time and the reminder was on fabric (only half of which was bought for a quilt that I'm currently working on). For shame...

So here's what I've rundown.

1. Purchases for project-completing supplies are allowed when needed without question. These types of supplies include thread, quilt batting, insul-brite for making potholders, snaps for making bibs, and trims for dresses.

2. Solids are allowed when purchased for a specific project. Now that I've sorted my scraps, I have a few quilts in mind, but they'll all require sashing of some sort; I'm going to need some plain yardage to complete them.

3. Prints are also allowed when purchased in small quantities for a specific project. If I have the makings for a whole quilt save for a half-yard of fabric or so, it's okay to purchase that bit of fabric. The goal is to use up my stash, but I am realistic enough to know that I'll have to supplement what I have in some cases. I made this quilt, front and back, from stash fabric. But I simply did not have anything in my stash to bind it. So $3.50 later, I had purchased a half-yard of yellow micro-striped fabric and had a brand new quilt to show for it. It was a worthy investment.

4. Make Bigger Quilts. I love quilting, but most of my quilts are baby quilts - approximately 39"x47". The reason for this is twofold - not only do smaller projects give me quicker gratification when I complete each project, but I started sewing for children and most of my projects are aimed to them. But I'll have many more uses (and recipients) for my quilts if I start sewing them in larger sizes.

5. Stop Hoarding Fabrics. Like many quilters, there are some fabric lines that I just can't get enough of. Swell. Munki. Flea Market Fancy. While my collection of prized fabrics is small, it is dear to me. And while I have cut into those lovely bits here and there, I do want to use them more often in the coming year. There's just no point to having them folded up neatly - the point of fantastic fabric is to use it.

I'm enjoying hearing about your fabric goals for the year - do keep them coming!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cleaning Out the Scraps

It's only natural that the New Year brings one's thoughts to resolutions. I, like most, have tons of them. I know that I will not have the willpower to keep most of them, but to keep my on track with my crafty resolutions, I joined this group on Flickr. They are helping the lot of us become more dedicated to using more of our stashed fabric and buying less (or no!) new fabric this year.

In order to use what I have, I realized that I first need to *know* what I have, so I've been taking inventory of my stash this week. I started with my scrap pile - a gnarly and overwhelming mass of lovely little bits.

I first separated out strip-sized pieces, which can be used for, among other things, spiderwebs, string quilts, and log cabins. I love the way they look in their ROY G. BIV layout.

I cut the rest of the scraps into either 4.5" squares or 3" squares and threw everything else out, save for some teeny tiny cuts of Japanese and OOP/HTF fabric. And what was once a giant heap on my sewing table now looks like this.

This all took a few hours, but it was well worth my time, as I now have the makings of quite a few quilts here, as well as a new pile of found selvages.

In the next few days, you'll see more of my stash and hear more about my crafting and stash goals for the year. Please feel free to share your goals here (I'm always looking for more inspiration!) and do join StashPact11 on Flickr.