Goodbye 2012, Hello New Year!

When I posted last in May(?), I had no intention of not posting again for 7 months.  This is, after all, my own journal of stitchiness.  I’ve sewn a bit, but mostly I’ve been busy with my life.  I lived it, but didn’t chronicle it.  I hope to do better in the new year.  

That’s pretty much it for my new year’s resolutions.  Well, that and returning my library books on time.  The latter is a constant goal for me.

Here’s to a happy, bloggy new year!


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I’m wearing my party dress, so where’s the party?

SO!  Just when I was about to join the fun, Amanda Jean decided to stop hosting the “Finish it up Friday” party.

Was it something I said?

Well, just because she isn’t asking people to post their finishes on her blog doesn’t mean that I can’t post MY finishes on my blog, right?  Right.  And if anyone is so inclined they can post THEIR finishes today too.  I’m going to call this TGIF, or Thank Goodness it’s Finished.  Feel free to have yours with or without the cocktail hour.  Let’s go!

My finishes for the week include this little number:

Little zippered pouch*

It’s my first zippered bag (first time making anything with a zipper) and I made it using this tutorial.  It seemed so complicated while I was reading it through (and reading and reading) but now that it’s done I realize it wasn’t so bad really.  It certainly isn’t something I would give away, but it’s perfectly serviceable as a little makeup bag for my purse.  I need a lot of practice because we’re having a zippered pouch swap for the Faith Circle of do. Good Stitches.  Although the deadline has been extended, I don’t want to put it off until the last minute.

A couple of notes on construction:  I think the fabric I used was thinner than what’s in my usual stash.  I also used very thin interfacing for both the lining and the outer fabric.  I think the next bag will have thin interfacing for the lining but thicker interfacing for the outer fabric.  I want it to have a good cushy feel.  Although Ms. Teacakes said the interfacing is optional, she strongly encouraged using it and I’m really glad I did.  It wouldn’t have had any substance at all without it.  She said the bag would wobble like blancmange without interfacing, and I had to look up that word in the dictionary.  I have to say I totally agree.  And I’m looking forward to making more.

I forgot to post on WIP Wednesday that I also finished 4 pillow cases that were donated to our local Ronald McDonald house through the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild.  I do like making pillowcases.  Pardon the crummy cell phone pic.  The fourth pillowcase (not pictured) is the reverse of the pillow case on the far left.

Of course, I stippled my first quilt this week too.  That felt like a really big accomplishment.  It was nice to receive supportive comments from my friends.  I love Nellie’s idea of listening to peppy music while quilting.  Usually I listen to books on my iPod (listening now to Casino Royale – oh, how anachronistic it sounds!), but I might just have to put something really fun on the iHome and crank it up.

So, what did you finish?

*it wasn’t my idea to put “aviary” on the picture.  Aviary is the online photo editing software I used.  Why would I want their name on my photo?  If there’s no way to remove it, that’s the last time I’ll use it.


Filed under Charity, Milwaukee_Modern Quilt Guild

WIP Wednesday

Well, hello there!

I didn’t mean to miss another whole month of blogging but, you know, I’m a busy gal.  I know you get it.

I have been doing some sewing, but generally, if I’m not blogging I’m not usually sewing much either.

On the completed pile:

I finished proofreading the latest issue of Fat Quarterly:  Kids.  Some of my favorite projects from this issue are Springtime Hues by Elizabeth Dackson, Scrappy Squares by Amber Carrillo, and Who’s Peeking by Brioni Greenberg.  The team also did a great job of highlighting many of the great kid prints on the market.  There’s so much goodness in this issue, you just have to check it out!

I also completed a FOURTH quilt in 4 months.  Big yay!  I didn’t do this one start to finish in 2012, but I did finish it (in April), so it counts!  This is actually one of the first quilt tops I ever made, so it’s been completed for a few years now.  I created the layout, such as it is: a bunch of 5″ squares from a charm pack plus a couple of extra prints thrown in.  Of course, they’re sashed in white because I love quilts sashed in white.  I read in Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison that quilts aren’t considered “modern” when they have a border.  Huh.  Who knew?  So it’s not very modern, but it IS very completed!  I even sewed a label on it. 🙂  I am donating this to Quilts For Kids.

Quilts for Kids

And of course, I also free-motion quilted it.  See?

Q4K closeup

I have never, ever done that on a quilt.  Boy were my shoulders sore after I was done!  The quilt is just 36″ square, but I quilted it in one sitting and when I was done I just sat there with my shoulders hugging my ears and tried to will away the pain.  Oy!  Let’s hope that gets better with practice.  And maybe wine.  Definitely wine.

The quilt is made primarily of prints from Santorini by Lila Tueller.  Start date (approximately) 1/2010, completed 4/29/12.

Also completed, blocks for 2 bees:

Pink zigzag HST strip (28 half square triangle/HST blocks) for Alecia in the April do. Good Stitches bee.  Truthfully, I doubt I will ever make this again.  I hate to say it, but I did not enjoy making this block.  I think it will be really pretty when added to the rest of the zigs from the bee, but because I have ongoing issues with my 1/4″ foot, and  because I had to make it the right size to match the rest of the bee’s strips, I had to rip and re-sew the whole thing.  Every.single.block.  AFTER I had already assembled it.  Sigh.  I do love the crispness of the pink and the white though.  Perhaps it will grow on me… 🙂

This little number is from the book 99 Quilt Blocks from your Favorite Designers.  Pardon my crummy mobile phone pic:

Missing Your Kiss

The block is called Missing Your Kiss and boy, it’s scrappy!  Amy was deliberate in wanting us all to step out of our comfort zone.  Everything came from her scrap bin and, although most of the prints were by Amy Butler, none of them “matched.”  Of course, I had to remake mine (again, note the theme here) because I was off by a little more than 1/8″ when I measured the final product.  Amy gave me extra fabric at last weekend’s sew day and she ordered me to NOT measure it (I think she was disappointed that I’d re-sew a block that was off 1/8″, but it mattered to me!!)

Next up:

May do. Good Stitches blocks for Kelsey

May MMQG bee blocks for Cindy

do. Good Stitches zippered pouch swap.  I am SO nervous about this one!  I’ve never made a pouch, never made anything with a zipper.  And the deadline for mailing is 5/12 (update:  5/19).  Gulp.

Linking up to Lee’s WIP Wednesday!


Filed under Charity, do. Good Stitches bee, Quilting, WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday

I am very, very happy to be completely finished with my Scrap Attack quilt.  Although I wasn’t awarded a single prize (and I can’t pretend I didn’t wish Mr. Random Number Generator would have chosen my entry), I sure feel like a winner with my 3rd completion this year.  Yep, I finished it on March 31.  That’s 3 quilts in 3 months.  One might say I’m on a kaiser (I’m on a roll, get it?  Kaiser?)

Scrap Attack Quilt. Done.


I like the back too – you can see the quilting better.  It disappears on the front.

The quilt was made almost entirely from scraps.  I purchased only the solid (Kona Azure) for the random aqua blocks and the binding.  All the other fabric came from my scrap bins.  Each block is 3 1/2″ square and the finished quilt is 60″ x 72″.  The backing was an old Ralph Lauren sheet I had purchased years ago and never used.  It’s twin was used for the back of M’s Christmas quilt.

Start date:  2/24/12; finish date 3/31/12.

I also completed 4 blocks for the Faith Circle of do. Good Stitches bee.  Des asked for 4 butterfly blocks (using this tutorial) in fresh, pretty girl colors.  After I took this picture, I measured and they were just a bit shy of 6 1/2″ so I had to take them apart and re-stitch the middle.  I admit I’m struggling with a 1/4″ seam on my new machine.  I have to move the needle quite far to the right to get the seam allowance more accurate.

March do. Good Stitches blocks

I worked on another block for the MMQG bee where I had seam allowance issues.  That block is “Missing your kiss” from the Modern Blocks book.  I had to completely disassemble it and that’s as far as I got.  One block of the 9 patch is just a bit smaller than 4″ square so I hope I can get more fabric to remake it.  Grrr.

Finally, I took a leap and free motion quilted my first quilt.  This is also one of the earliest quilt tops I made and it’s my own creation.  Nothing fancy about it.  It’s going to Quilts for Kids as soon as I bind it.  The fabric is primarily Santorini by Lila Tueller.

First FMQ quilt

In progress:

MMQG March bee block

MMQG April bee block

Faith Circle – do. Good Stitches April block

Baby blanket for Quilts for Kids

Linking up with WIP Wednesday!


Filed under Charity, do. Good Stitches bee, Milwaukee_Modern Quilt Guild, Quilting, Scrap Attack, WIP Wednesday

Blogger’s Choice Bundle

Katy/Imagingermonkey has teamed up with Pink Castle Fabric for a  contest to create a bundle of fabrics.  The winning bundle will be sold in the shop and the creator also gets the bundle.  Oh, pick me!

Could be Summer

I called my bundle “Could be Summer” because of the unusually warm weather we’re having here in Wisconsin.  Is it Spring?  Or is it Summer?

The palate covers my favorite flower colors as well as some neutral greys for inevitable summer rainy days.

Left to right, top to bottom:

Ornate Floral in Garnet Heirloom by Joel Dewberry
Moda Bella Solids in Mustard
Opal in Gold Heirloom by Joel Dewberry
Marble Stripe in Gold Heirloom by Joel Dewberry
Empire Weave in Garnet Heirloom by Joel Dewberry
Moda Bella Solids in Fuchsia
Thistle Leaf in Fiesta Hope Valley by Denyse Schmidt
Maritza Dot Queen Street by Jennifer Paganelli
Moda Bella Solids in Graphite
Chevron in Gray – Cotton Chevrons by Riley Blake Designs
Circle Stripes in Cloud Gray Walk in the Woods by Aneela Hoey
Empire Weave in Amethyst Heirloom by Joel Dewberry

Apparently I’m a huge Joel Dewberry fan!


Filed under Giveaways

Stitching scrappiness

I had a moment of panic when I read this post that indicated that my Scrap Attack quilt had to be completed by March 28 in order to be considered for all the goodies.  I truly thought I had until the end of March, literally March 31, to finish it.  Of course, had I read this post, I would have known the deadline so much sooner.  True to form, I skimmed and made assumptions, all of which were wrong.

No matter, it turns out that the quilt can be mostly finished (the top must be finished, ready to quilt and bind).

Mine definitely qualifies – I have yet to hand sew the binding.  Other than that, I’m pretty much as far along as I had hoped to be by now.  True, it’s not “done” but according to the rules, it’s done enough.


Scrap Attack quilt with legs

Gratuitous shot of J, the Ginger, my quilt holder who tries to not complain while his mom fiddles with the camera.



Filed under Quilting, Scrap Attack

Should we or shouldn’t we?

Pros and cons of adopting another dog.



  • Doggy friend for Coal (#1 Pro)
  • Desire to rescue sweet lab after her family gave her away because she was “too much work”
  • New running buddy with a lot of energy
  • Likes to play fetch (Coal, not so much)
  • More dogs = more to love
  • More dog hair to sweep/vacuum (more cleanup in general)
  • More cost
  • Sometimes a struggle to get up early enough to walk one dog, now two?
  • Unknown/unpredictable animal in the house.  The one we have is pretty darn good.
  • Small house for one dog and 2 big boys – how much more room will second dog occupy?
  • Will pet sitter take second dog?  Most likely yes

What would you do?


Filed under Family

Before it becomes a foregone conclusion

I’m posting my picks.

NCAA picks, of course.

Is there any other kind?

I think it was rather bold of me to pick Marquette to go to the Final Four.  Nevermind that my 13 year old’s friend helped me with everything else.  Marquette?  That one was all mine.

Behold a thing of beauty.

Before I get crushed.

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Filed under Miscellaneous

Scrap Attack Quilt Progress

Scrap Attack quilt in 5 strips, enjoying the breeze

It’s amazing, when making a quilt, how quickly things wrap up after hours of measuring, cutting, piecing, stitching, measuring, stitching, and measuring some more.


This is one of those times.

I have so enjoyed making this scrap quilt.  I had some doubts at the beginning (that it might be boring, that I might not like the aqua solid, that some of the scraps didn’t “go”, etc.) but really, really, I like it.  I’m getting together with the MMQG gals this weekend for a sewing day and I hope to begin quilting it.  If I want to be “in” for the Scrap Attack contest, I have to finish by 3/31.  It’s looking pretty good (hope I didn’t just jinx myself).

Linking up to Lee and WIP Wednesday.


Filed under Quilting, Scrap Attack

The post wherein I reveal EVEN MORE embarrassing stuff about myself

Tag – I’m it.

My sister-in-law Elena (A Casarella) tagged me in a game yesterday.  Because she’s my sister-in-law (and pretty fabulous) and I can’t resist her, I agreed to play.

The game goes thusly: I’ve been tagged so I answer Elena’s questions.  I tag 3 more people and they answer my questions farther below or they answer the questions I answered, OK?

Here goes with Elena’s questions:

1.         How did you come up with your blog name?   I am a sister and I stitch.  I wish I had a more original answer but that pretty much sums it up.   I like all things stitchy though I don’t spend as much time with yarn pursuits as I would like.  (Confession:  I actually have been considering renaming my blog and I have a good idea in mind but haven’t pulled the trigger yet.  I’ll be sure to tell my follower if/when I change my name so she can still find me.  See #9 below.)

2.         Name one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.  I was a Domino’s secret shopper in college.  That’s Domino’s, as in pizza.  I wonder how much pizza I had been ordering before they decided that they would pay me to eat their food?  Oh, and for you quilters, I am the Fat Quarterly proofreader.  I like that gig.

3.         What blogs do you read religiously? Religiously?  None.  Frequently? Read on…I’ll give a shout out here to my favorite Wisconsin bloggers whom I also know personally:  Lee from Freshly Pieced, Rebecca from Pieces and Cream, and Erika from Midwest Family Life.  They’re also the ones I’ve tagged.  Heh heh.  They’re also also members of the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild.  Following are people whose blogs I enjoy and who I would also love to meet because they seem like fun and nice people.  Nice is so underrated.  In no particular order:  Blabbermouse (cracks me up); Alissa Haight Carlton (quilter and producer of Project Runway.  She emailed me TWICE!! I think she likes me); Katy Jones from Fat Quarterly (funny and clever and BRITISH!); Tacha Bruecher from Fat Quarterly (another Brit – her stitching and patterns are divine); Carol/mamacjt (a Wisconsinite and practically a neighbor.  Super funny and irreverent and prolific!); Ree Drummond (everyone knows who she is); How About Orange. I could go on and on.

4.         If money were no object, where would you live and why? If money were no object and I could travel to and fro visiting my family (or paying for them to visit me) I would make my base in Europe, probably in England or Ireland.  I think it would make me taller, thinner, and better looking.

5.         What fashion choice do you look back on with regret?  I would have to say big hair. 80s fashions make a comeback now and then, but no one wants to see the hair again.  I’d prove it to you if I could find my college graduation picture.

6.         Post a link to your favorite blog post to date.  You’re looking at it.

7.         What was the first job you ever had?  “Bus girl” at a restaurant a few blocks from my parents’ house.  I shudder to remember.

8.         What song in your music collection would you consider your guiltiest pleasure?  “Baby, it’s cold outside” by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey.  I play it even when it’s warm.  What?  It’s not in your music collection?

9.         Fill in the blank:  I would die a happy woman if I discovered that ____________ read my blog.  Considering that I am literally the most frequent commenter on my own blog, I would be happy to know anyone is reading it*.

10.       What is your favorite “tip” to share with other people?  It can be a product you love, a great place to get a bargain, an easy kitchen tip, your favorite book (anything, really).  Hmmm…this is the one I share with first time expecting moms (though always in hushed tones – I can’t believe I’m revealing this here): stock up on maxi pads before the baby is born.  You don’t want your husband buying them for you, if you know what I mean.  If you don’t know what I mean, you will after that baby comes.  Just take my advice and you can thank me later.

Seriously, my best tip, also for moms (and dads) is to read to your child even before s/he is old enough to sit still in your lap and even if s/he just wants to chew on the book or crawl around at your feet.  And don’t give up.  Reading is a right, not a privilege, and is the cheapest hobby you’ll ever have.  I still read to my 10-year-old every night; it’s my favorite time of the day.  I am proud to say that my boys are good readers, read well above grade level, and they enjoy it.

11.       What don’t you know how to do with your blog that you’d love to learn?  I’d like to be able to change the font style easily and willy nilly.  You know, like Blogspot bloggers can, because who doesn’t want better fonts in her life?  I tried it once and failed big time.  For some reason WordPress simply doesn’t support an easy font change. (See here WordPress:  I couldn’t even change THE COLOR of the text in this little Q&A.  Aargh!)

And that’s it!  Now it’s your turn Lee, Rebecca, and Erika. Care to play along?

Here are the questions:

  • How big is your fabric stash? (i.e., how many boxes, bins or pounds?  You determine the measurement)  [edited for clarity – thank you Elena, whose mind apparently goes to “doobie-ous” thoughts when she sees the word stash]
  • Are you an early bird or night owl?
  • Do you speak any other languages?  If not what other language do you wish you knew?
  • What store do you have a hard time leaving empty-handed (online or bricks and sticks)?
  • What are your favorite blogs to read?
  • What is your favorite book or movie?
  • Where do you sew?
  • When did you make your first quilt?
  • How many hours per week (per day?) do you spend on Pinterest?  What, if anything have you made/acquired/acted on that you pinned?
  • What’s your favorite quilting tip?
  • Did you make a New Years resolution? Have you kept it?

If you were tagged:

  • answer the questions above
  • create 11 new questions  (or use the same ones)
  • tag 2-3 (5-10, whatever) other blogs and link to them in your post
  • let them know you’ve tagged them
  • have fun!


*OK, honestly, if I found out Rachel Maddow was reading my blog I’d just about die.


Filed under Miscellaneous