Thursday, October 29, 2015

When A Plan Starts Coming Together

Now that I have the Vacation Time top pieced, I am more than ready to start quilting it.  I even have all of my Aurifil threads together.

But before I tackle a quilt, I like to have some sort of plan together.  Otherwise I'll just sit and stare blankly at it and cry.  So this week I have been using my Plexiglas and dry erase markers to audition different free motion designs in my blocks.

Of course Oliver felt the need to stop by and put his two cents in, as he always does.  Though sometimes he does actually have good advice.  So together this is what we came up with.

The centers of the taupe and red octagon blocks make me think of a sand dollars.  

I tried creating secondary shapes in the background fabric to break up the space.  

I love the illusions of the squares that look like they are going underneath the other designs, like the ribbon candies in the blue fabric.

When I looked at this block all I could see was the taupe X in the center.  What the heck can I do with that?  After staring at if for a while, this magical little star showed itself.

I'm not 100% sold on the filler in the background of this one.  I have never stitched something like this on a quilt, but I think the time has come.  Will the paisleys stay?  Will they be replaced with more swirls?  Not sure, but the fabric and thread will let me know.

So those are my thoughts for now.  I still have two blocks I need to crack and the pieced together boarder.  Sometimes you just have to walk away and clear your head before you can see what comes next.   

Come joint the party!!  Today I'm linking up with Main Crush Monday @ Cooking Up QuiltsCan I Get a Whoop! Whoop! @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Link-A-Party @ Richard and Tanya Quilts.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Vacation Time--A Flimsy Finish

I have to say I'm a little bitter because I should have been crushing over this quilt last Monday, but things just didn't work out that way.  Vacation Time is a mystery BOM hosted by Pat Sloan that I started back in January.  Last year I participated in Pat's Globetrotting BOM and had such a great time, I had to play again.

You can read more about my Globetrotting Quilt here
When choosing fabrics for Vacation Time I decided on Bonnie and Camille's Miss Kate line.  I fell in love with the colors in this line when I made my 2014 Aurifil Mystery BOM last year and knew I wanted to play with them again.

From January through September, Pat gave us instructions for piecing the blocks.

February through June blocks
The finial blocks and layout instructions were released this month.  I was more than ready to see what the final top would look like.

As I started to piece the rows together, I wondered if I was getting a lime green over kill.  My personal color pallet leans more toward the soft pretty blues, but onward I sewed.  Until I got to the boarders, then I had a slight problem.  I ran out of the red fabric I needed for the two smaller boarders.  I was determined to finish this last weekend and tried to use a red fabric and a brighter turquoise fabric for one of the boarders but they just didn't work.  Aggravated I stopped sewing for some internet shopping.  

I was able to locate yardage of the fabric at The Quilt Department so after a click of the purchase button it was on it's way.  The package came very quickly and they even sent a small note pad.

Now I was back in business and boy was I glad I waited on the fabric instead of rushing for a finish.  I love how the top turned out.

Now the only thing left to do is decide on a quilting plan and let the thread start flying.

 I also wanted to show my little shelves I purchased this weekend.  I'm hoping to get my sewing space more organized.  I didn't take a before picture because it was just that bad.

 I have my The Quilter's Planner 2016 on order and want to get myself ready for an even more productive year.

Today I am linking up with Main Crush Monday over at Cooking Up Quilts.  Also don't forget to hop over to Amy's Creative Side to check out the Blogger's Quilt Festival going on right now.  You can see my entries, Jungle Gym in mini quilts and Falling Leaves in small quilts.  Also the Dog Gone Cute Blog Hop is still going on over at Sew Fresh Quilts.  Thursday is the last day of the blog hop and I find myself dog gone sad about it.  Don't for get to check out my two doggie quilts and find links to all the other talented dog gone quilters here.

Come join the party!  The more the merrier!  I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts and WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival--Small Quilts

Today I am excited to be participating in the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy over at Amy's Creative Side.

Twice a year Amy hosts the festival as a chance for us quilt bloggers to share and be inspired by each other's work.  Bloggers can enter up to two quilts and there is a total of eleven categories to chose from.  I decided to enter my Falling Leaves quilt into the small quilt category.

The pattern for Falling Leaves can be found in the book 101 Fabulous Small Quilts.  I had some yardage and charm packs of Moda's October line of fabric from many moons ago that need to find just the right project to land in.  Falling Leaves could not have been more perfect.

I wish I could take 100% credit for the quilting design in this project, but I cannot.  I was stumped for months on how I wanted to quilt this small quilt.  I submitted it to Kathleen at Kathleen Quilts and she featured it on her Free Motion Friday post here.  You can read more about how I used Kathleen's suggestions to decided on my quilting plan here.  I choose to quilt this piece in threads that would match the fabrics used on the quilt top.

You can also check out my other entry Jungle Gym in the mini quilt category.  Thanks for taking time to stop by and check our my entry to the small quilt category.  I hope you will also pop over to Amy's and check out all of the other talented artists as well.

Blogger's Quilt Festival--Mini Quilt

Today I am excited to be participating in the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy over at Amy's Creative Side.

Twice a year Amy hosts the festival as a chance for us quilt bloggers to share and be inspired by each other's work.  Bloggers can enter up to two quilts and there is a total of eleven categories to chose from.  I decided to enter my Jungle Gym quilt in the Mini quilt category.

The Jungle Gym pattern was designed by Ebony Love for the 2015 Aurifil Mystery BOM.  You can read more about my construction of this quilt here.  It measures 19.5" square.  Because of all of the fun colors and shapes in this quilt, I wanted to the quilting to be fun and over the top as well.

My plan was to quilt each small section with it's own fun filler in a matching Aurifil thread.  I believe my quilting plan gave me the desired affect I was trying to achieve.

You can also check out my other entry Falling Leaves in the small quilt category.  Thanks for taking time to stop by and check our my entry to the mini quilt category.  I hope you will also pop over to Amy's and check out all of the other talented artists as well.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Stitch Fix--#1

I mentioned in an earlier post that I gave a new service a try.  A service that I hope will change my attitude about the way I look and how I feel.  This service is called Stitch Fix (sounds like a quilters dream website, but it's not what you think).

So what is Stitch Fix?  The quick answer would be an online personal styling service for women, but lets break down how it works.  (And if you already know how it works, feel free to skip this part)

First, you sign up for an account and fill out your style profile.  It will include things like your measurements (honest measurements), body shape, price range and rating outfits based on color and style so that your stylist can get to know a bit more about you.  You can also link your profile to your Pinterest account so that your stylist can view outfits and jewelry that you like.  Then based on your profile you will be paired with a stylist who will then pick out five items to send to you.  You can even request specific items, like, "Hey, it's getting colder, I am in need of a new coat."  Or, "I do not wear jewelry, please send 0."  And your stylist will do their best to fulfill those needs.  

Next, you can schedule a "fix."  When scheduling your fixes, you are in complete control.  You can set them up to come on a regular frequency, like once a month, or only schedule them when you want one; absolutely no commitment.  When you receive your package, you have three days to try on your clothes (in the privacy of your own home) and decided what you would like to keep or send back.  If you want to send something back, all you have to do is place those items in the prepaid envelope and pop them back into the mail.  

Once you have decided, you log into your account and finish the check out process.  Everything that was included in your fix will be listed and you will check if you are keeping or sending the item back.  Then answer some questions about the product, like how it fit or did you think the price was too high.  You can even leave comments about why you kept it or sent it back.  This feed back is helpful to the stylist the next time they are putting together a fix for you.

Now lets talk a bit about the price.  When you schedule a fix, you are automatically charged a $20 styling fee (things to remember, they have to make a living too and they did the shopping for me so I didn't have to).  However, if you keep just one item from your fix, they credit the $20 back to you, so that all you pay is the price of the item.  So, if for some reason you hated your fix or nothing fit, and you send everything back, you would be out the styling fee.  But even by just keeping one item, they deduct the $20 off of the price giving the styling fee back to you.  If you LOVE, everything about your fix and decided to keep everything, they give not only the styling fee back but will give you a 25% discount also.  

I'll be honest, normally if someone told me they were participating in a program like this one, I would laugh my butt off (silently in my head of course).  Really, you paid someone to shop for you??  I guess I find myself having a change of heart after doing a mass purging of my closet this past spring.  I got rid of so many clothes that did not wear because:

    1) It did not fit correctly anymore
    2) Probably didn't fit to begin with
    3) Outdated
    4)  Thought it looked great on me, then changed my mind
    5)  This list could go on forever

So the moral of the story is, maybe I'm not that great at dressing myself.  After getting rid of so much stuff, I find myself in need of a few classic pieces that fit my body and my personality.  Stitch Fix might give me the opportunity to have someone who understands clothes and fit, send me items to try on in my environment and build my wardrobe with classic well-made pieces.  

For a point of reference, below are examples of what I would normally wear, I keep things pretty simple and for the most part stick to something easy.  

After I scheduled my first fix, I have to admit I was quite curious as to what my stylist might send me.  After about three weeks of waiting I could put any fears to rest.

Contained within the box along with my clothing was a note from my stylist Nat.

Unfortunately, life happens and I was not able to get pictures with the items I sent back.  But I can show them to you anyway because of the nifty little styling cards they send that show examples of how to dress them up and down.

Just Black Dean Skinny Jean

I have to admit when I read the words "skinny jean" in the title of these babies I had to laugh.  If I were to go to a store I would skip over these babies without giving them a thought.  What you can't see from the picture is at the ankles they sport the detail of a zipper, which I thought was a nice touch.  Speaking of touch I have never had a softer denim on in my life.  In length they fit like a charm, but unfortunately they were a too small in the waist and had to send them back.  I admit, I was sad.

Market & Spruce Colibri Plaid Printed Tab-Sleeve Shirt
This plaid shirt was probably my favorite item in the fix from the moment I saw the colors and felt the fabric.  Unfortunately, it was too small around the chest area and I could not keep it.  I did, leave a comment to my stylist that I would not cry if they sent it next time in the next size up.

Market & Spruce Denver Cable Knit Elbow Patch Cardigan
Style wise I loved this sweater from the buttons to the little brown patches sewn onto the elbows.  On me, the sweater was a flop.  Because it was longer and the knit was heavier, it made me look even shorter and quite boxy.   If it had been made of a lighter knit that was more form fitting it would have been a complete winner.  

So what about the two items I did keep?

Mavi Mauli Stitch Detail Knit Top
 I was in awe of this shirt the second I touched it.  For my quilter friends, it was like the difference between touching fabric that is $12.99 a yard and fabric that is $3.99 a yard.  I was beginning to question my past clothing choices, because everything they sent felt like pajamas.  And who doesn't like wearing pajamas??  The shirt is a great deep red/maroon color and has a curvy piping detail running across the front and back of it.  

The best part, it fit just right and looks good with a scarf. 

Loveappella Tif Contrast Sleeve Knit Top
I wasn't completely impressed with the gray on gray of this shirt, but it does look like something I would wear.  Actually, it pretty much screams me.  Plus it is something I can wear to work or just out shopping. 

 I hate to sound like a crazy person because I seem to be yelling, "Hey, touch my shirt."  (and I have made a few people touch the shirts...but not strangers)  These clothes are so soft that's exactly what I want to do.  I want everyone's clothes to be this soft becauseI think we would all be happier.  

So out of five items, I chose to keep two.  I consider this a pretty successful shopping trip.  Especially, since the only place I had to go was to the post office to drop of the pre-paid envelope.  Next time, I promise I will take the time to photograph what they sent and might even get brave enough to show me wearing more of it (I need baby steps).  

Interested in a fix of your own?  If you follow my link to Stitch Fix, you can read even more about it and set up your own style profile.  Plus, anyone you refer earns you $25 credit toward your next fix.

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