Friday, April 29, 2011

ten things about me.

Lots of confessing going on across the quilting blogland lately, and I thought I'd join in on the fun.  Here are a few things you probably don't know about me.

Finley and me, 9 months old

1.  I never finished my first quilt.  It is a sampler I made 10 years ago, and it is the easily the most advanced quilt that I've ever made.  It is made from cheap fabric and is partially hand quilted.  I would love to finish it up someday.  Hopefully I will share pictures soon.

2.  Garment sewing scares me.  I'm not sure why.  I am good at following directions, but for some reason I am terribly intimidated.  I am hoping to conquer this fear very soon.  I have an adorable little girl that I want to make dresses for.  I have this pattern, and some really cute Farmdale fabric from Joann's that I bought specifically for them.  That is the plan for next week.  Oh, and I really would like to make myself some cute skirts for the summer.  Any suggestions?  I want to try this AMH one.

3.  I love a fresh coat of paint, and I really need to paint my living room.  Now that my Single Girl quilt is done (I finished up the binding yesterday, yay!) I am not allowing myself to do any more quilting until itthe living room is finished.  That is saying a lot, because I really want to get back to my Hope Valley string quilt and my Habitat bowtie quilt.

4.  My relationship with God is the most important part of my life.  I wish I could write about it more on my blog, but I don't think it is the place.  I realize that my readers don't visit for that.  However, I still wish I felt comfortable writing about it in this space.

5.  Despite keeping a blog, I am a very private person.  I hope that I am never perceived as a person who has a picture perfect life.  It is not true in the least.  The truth is that I am happy and blessed, but like everyone else, I have struggles and insecurities.  These are the things that I share with my husband and a handful of my very closest friends.  Just because I choose to not make them public doesn't mean they do not exist.  It would be completely out of character and not like me at all to write about these things.  Combine that with the fact that I am a glass-half-full kinda person makes for a pretty happy blog, I think.  And I think that is okay, right?  Doesn't make me any less "real" than anyone else.  If anything, I think it means that I am being true to myself.

6.  If I could get away with it, I'd hire someone to clean my house.  I really don't like to clean.  I have a very organized house, because I don't like clutter and it stresses me out.  But trust me, it is definitely not the cleanest place you'll see.  Speaking of which, I was cleaning the bathtub yesterday.  I turned on the faucet after scrubbing the tub, and someone left the showerhead on.  Totally got soaked, and I was already dressed for the day.  Not cool.

7.  I am a very competitive person.  I don't mean to be.  It is not really a good thing.  I've been like that for as long as I can remember.  I'm also a bit of a slave driver (my husband's words, but they are true).  Once I get started on something, I work until I can't work on it anymore. Those both can be very good qualities, but also not-so-good qualities.  I'm working on them both.

8.  We are a pretty low-tech household.  We don't have any type of cable/satellite, so if we want to watch something we stick to movies.  We don't have a real cellphone either.  Just an old tracfone (which is so old it is a little embarressing) that we take with us just in case we need it.  I really need to get a newer one, cause man it is ugly. Though I have to admit, I love my Apple products.  I am very addicted to my iPod Touch and can't wait until I can get an iPad.

9.  I barely have any dressy clothes in my closest.  I had a ton when I used to teach, but that was a long time ago, before I had Weston (who is 5).  I rarely wear anything other than jeans.  I love them, American Eagle skinny jeans to be exact, because they fit me the best.  No one dresses up at the church we attend, so my closest is full of jeans, tshirts, cardigans, and a few really nice dresses for special occasions.

10.  I'm thinking about getting another tattoo.  Am I too old?  I already have two.  I'm thinking about getting one on my back, a big one.  A good friend of ours from church is an amazing tattoo artist, and he would do a wonderful job.  I'm a pretty big wimp though.  We'll see.

So there you go, a little bit about me, the real person behind the Fussy Cut blog.  I really appreciate you sharing this place with me.

with love, Angela

Friday, April 22, 2011

Single Girl quilting

I started quilting my Sherbet Pips Single Girl quilt this morning.

It was an interesting morning.  I was up a little after 6, thanks to my oldest son.  He was watching Batman with the volume blasting.  Literally.  I guess I can't blame him, we must've left the it up pretty high last night after we finished watching the King's Speech.  Have you seen that, by the way?  We really liked it.

Anyways, back to the quilt.  I decided to quilt straight (ish) lines 1" apart running vertically down the quilt.  I think it looks nice, I like the contrast against the curves.  I worked on it for a couple hours before the younger two woke up, so I am almost halfway done.  Finishing up the quilting and sewing the binding on the front is on my sewing agenda for the weekend. 

xoxo Angela

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

so far this week.

It has been a good week so far.  A long week, too.

Our Jeep was in the shop for a few days, leaving the kids and I vehicle-less.  That is a little hard when you live in the middle of nowhere.  Not like you can walk to the library, you know?  But it has been good.  I've gotten quite a few things checked off my to-do list.

I finished up my Habitat quilt top the other day.  I love it.  The fabrics are so unique, and I love them in the traditional bowtie pattern.  I am shopping for some quilt backing now.  I would like to buy some yardage for it, which I generally don't do.  But I think it would look wonderful.  I'm not sure what I want, but I'm learning towards the dots that are to the left of my feet in the top photo.  If you've noticed any good Habitat sales, let me know!

I got this big ole box in the mail today from Walmart.  It contains 600+ family photos that I finally had printed out.  I used to be in the habit of printing pictures once a month, but I got completely behind since we had Finley 9 months ago.  I ordered some pictures from her first two weeks, and that is all since last July!  So now I have 8.5 months worth of pictures to go through.  I don't scrapbook, but I do dillegently sort and store pictures in albums.  We have four albums going at all times: a family one, and then one for each kids.  All the pictures go in the family one, and then I print out duplicates of the special ones for the kids' albums.  I always buy the photo albums that have journalling lines so that I can keep track of dates and ages.

And the last little bit from this week.  I just have to share with you this picture above.  This is our family and my husband's two employees, and we had it taken for our local newspaper.  Steve won the "Best Chiropractor in Town" for the 6th year in a row, and I am so so proud of him.  He loves what he does, and is really good at it.  He is blessed with a profession that he loves.  Hope it is okay to brag for a minute. :)  This picture cracks me up though.  Notice, none of the kids are smiling at all.  Oh well, I think they look cute.

Hope you all are having a good week so far!

xo A

Saturday, April 16, 2011

a rainy saturday

It is a rainy Saturday afternoon over here.  If you need me, I'll be snuggled up on the couch with this quilt I've been baking sewing the past couple weeks.  Binding + Harry Potter 7 = the perfect afternoon.

xoxo A

Sunday, April 10, 2011

a little Habitat...

I cut up my Habitat this week.

I am pairing it with the beautiful Moda crossweave in natural. 

Isn't that crossweave amazing?  Looks like linen, but plays a little nicer.  Love it.

I made 48 bowtie blocks that are 12" finished.  I love these blocks.  Simple and easy to make, but very effective.  I needed some simple sewing, it was nice.  After my Sherbet Pips Single Girl, and quite a bit of pattern writing (which has been keeping me very preoccupied), the simplicity was so wonderful.  It was kinda nice to not have to think.  Just sew.  I need that every now and then. 

I am almost finished with the quilt top.  It will be a new throw for the living room, so I am excited for that.  However, it'll have to go on the back burner this week.  I have some projects to finish, and some yardwork to do as well.  We have a few days of warm weather coming our way before another cool down, so I better take advantage of that.

Hope you all had a great weekend!
xo A

Saturday, April 9, 2011

tutorial - basic pillow

As you know, I love making pillows.  They are a fun way to display your favorite fabrics, add a splash of color to a room, or try out a new pattern/technique.  They also make a really nice gift.  Today I have a fun tutorial for you!   It is actually a two-for-one kinda thing.  I have two things to share with you:

1 - the basics on how to make a quilted patchwork pillow with an envelope enclosure (18" pillow).
2 - a quick and easy way to repurpose old fabrics for your pillow (think curtains, sheets, etc).

- Cut (36) 3.5" squares.  I used leftover fabrics from an old quilt.
- After finding a pleasing arrangement, sew them into 6 rows of 6 squares.  Press the seams in opposite directions (row 1 to the right, row 2 to the left, row 3 to the right, etc). 
- Sew the six rows into one big, 18.5" square, and press seams (I pressed open at this point in order to reduce bulk when quilting).

- Baste (I used spray here) your patchwork square onto a slightly larger piece of batting.
- Quilt in your desired design.
- Trim batting down so that your patchwork square is 18.5".  Your pillow top is done!

Now comes the fun, repurposing part.  When I was shopping for my daughter's nursery, I found these beautiful pink and white curtains.  They only had one size available, and they were huge!  I cut and hemmed the four panels, then tucked away the rest for later use (each panel had almost a yard of fabric leftover).

The great thing about repurposing these kind of fabrics- the work is already done for you!  The edges are already hemmed so nicely.  You can see them in the next picture.  These edges are what I used for the envelope backing.  Rather than hemming myself (which I don't really enjoy), I used these finished pieces.  You can do this with sheets also, they work great (both new and vintage).  If I notice a pretty flat sheet on sale, I love to grab them.  They make a lovely pillow or quilt backing.

- Grab your backing fabric (I'm using hemmed curtains).
- Layer and/or fold fabric so that the TWO hemmed pieces are stack and the finished hems are aligned at the bottom of your work area.  You will cut through both layers at once.
- Lay your patwork square on top.  You will be using this as guideline when cutting the backing fabrics.   As you can see in the pictures, I lined the backing up with the fourth seam down on the pillow top.

- Using the pillow top as the guideline, cut out your 2 pillow backing pieces with a ruler and rotary cutter.
- You will now have two pieces of backing that are equally sized and already hemmed! 

- Cut an 18.5" square out of muslin or repurposed fabric for your pillow lining.

Note: I like to put a liner on the inside of my pillows.  When you look inside the finished pillow, this covers the quilted batting.  The liner makes it easier to slide the cover over the pillow form.  I generally use muslin, but for this pillow, I had so much curtain left, I just used that!

- Time to layer your pillow! Starting at the bottom:

1- pillow liner right side DOWN
2- quilted pillow top right side UP
3- backing piece 1 right side DOWN (align raw edges with those of pillow top)
4- backing piece 2 right side DOWN (align raw edges with those of pillow top)

When making an envelope enclosure, the two backing pieces should always overlap in the center by at least  4" inches.

- Pin your layers together.

- Sew pillow together.  I use my walking foot here, so it is close to a 3/8" seam allowance.  Be sure to backstitch a couple times over the ends of the backing pieces.  They need to be extra durable since they will be pulled on quite a bit when the pillow form is taken in and out.
- Clip corners.

- Use a zigzag stitch to finish your inside edges. This holds the threads in and creates a nice clean finish. 

That is it!  Turn your pillow right side out, and poke out the corners.  Above is a look inside the finished pillow cover, and below is a shot of the hemmed envelope backing.

There you go!  Quick and easy.

I don't always have fabrics to repurpose for backing, and I often make my own. 
To make the backing out of regular fabric, cut two backing pieces at 15" x 18.5". 
Do the following steps on each piece:
- Fold down one of the 18.5" sides down half inch and press.
- Fold down another half inch and press.  Raw edges are now enclosed.
- Topstitch along the edge of both folds.

One of my most frequently asked questions is how to make a pillow, so I hope that this tutorial helps.  As always, feel free to email me if you have any specific questions.

xoxo Angela

Saturday, April 2, 2011

stashing fabric

Hi there.  I hope that you all have had a nice week.  Mine was very productive.  I did lots and lots of sewing, which felt great.  Some of it I will be able to show you within the next couple months.  The other stuff will have to wait much much longer.  Kind of weird (but fun) to be secretive.  I am pretty blessed to be able to contribute to some pretty cool projects.   

Anyways, I very regulary get comments and questions on what my fabric stash is like, so I thought I'd finally get around to addressing that.  I have come to realize three things about myself: 

1.  I love fabric.
2.  I don't like stashing fabric. 
3. I love NEW fabric.

Really, I don't own very much fabric, and I destashed quite a bit of what I did have this past week.  That is what those envelopes that are sitting on my sewing cabinet are full of.  Alot of it I've had for awhile now.  These were fabrics that were left over from quilts, miscellaneous projects, and some were impulsive buys that barely were touched.  They were all wonderful, I just knew I wasn't going to use them.  So they were sold and sent to new, loving homes.  That makes me feel really good.

Now my stash is pretty small.  I have a crate of staple fabrics that I can pull and mix and match, and I have several lines that are set aside for specific quilts.  These are lines that I love and will use.  I also held onto some of my favorite prints from Flea Market Fancy and Heather Ross.  I also have a pretty nice supply of scraps and selvedges.


Now I feel so much better.  You see, I'm the kind of person that doesn't keep or collect things.  I am pretty much the opposite of a packrat.  If I don't love and treasure that object, or use it on a regular basis, I don't keep it around.  I don't like clutter and desire a minimalist lifestyle.  Of course it only makes sense that my fabric stash be the same way.

The last thing I realized is that I absolutely adore new fabric lines.  I love them.  If I had to choose between picking and pulling from my stash or buying something new, whether it is for myself or a gift, I'll always choose the second.  I like the novelty and freshness of fabric that I haven't already seen in twenty different quilts.  It allows me to be creative without being influenced by what I've already seen.  It doesn't always work out that way, but when it does, it is nice.

Speaking of new fabric, my latest fabric crush is Habitat by Jay McCarroll.  I adore it.  It is unique.  I think I'm going to pair it with some natural crossweave and sew up a bowtie quilt.  I've been wanting to make one of those for a long time.  I think these are my three favorite prints from the line (but if you ask me again tomorrow, I'll probably say something different):

There are definitely downfalls to my way of non-stashing.  Please don't think that I am saying that it is the right way to do things, because I'm not saying that at all.  I'm simply stating that it is what I like.  It makes me happy, and it works for me. 

 Are any of you non-fabric-stashers like me?  I'm curious.  I am pretty sure I am the minority here.  :)

xoxo A