Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Zip Pouches

At the Seattle MQG retreat a few months ago I had the chance to watch several people making zip pouches using the wide open zippered pouch tutorial by Noodle-Head. 

I decided to give it a try myself after I returned home and really like how my pouch turned out.  I made two simple improv panels and quickly had a cute zip pouch. 

The tutorial is easy to follow and adapt for various sizes pouches. I made a second one with some scrappy herringbone panels for our annual holiday party swap. I'll be making lots more of these pouches in the future since they are great little gifts. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Baby quilts

I enjoy making baby quilts. The small size means they are fast finishes and everyone is always so happy to welcome a new baby. 

A very dear friend of mine (I've known her since middle school) is expecting her first child any day now. I thought a half square triangle quilt would be perfect for her baby boy. This was the fastest quilt to make. It took me about some six hours start to finish. I love the way it turned out and can't wait to meet her new little boy.

I also recently completed a quilt for my niece. I started this before she was born and loved making the scrappy log cabin blocks. It was really a lot of fun to dig through my scraps and fussy cut pieces for it. I had a hard time giving it up because it has fabric from almost every quilt I've made in it. 

I think she likes it. 

Monday, October 13, 2014


It is finally official: we are homeschooling!  This has been in the works for several years but not official until this fall since my eldest would have started kindergarten if he was attending public school.  Although, based on our homeschool, this is his first grade year.

It is a huge amount of work but I really enjoy it and fully believe that this is the best decision for our boys.  Teaching one student one on one really allows for the curriculum to be tailored to their learning speed and learning style.  

And, it allows for a huge amount of hands on learning activities.  For example, in our science unit we've been learning about the states of matter and how the application of heat energy can transform something from a solid to a liquid, liquid to a gas, etc.  We first did this with ice which became water, then we boiled the water to make gas.  Well, after that we made plasma in our microwave! (Plasma is the fourth state of mater, an ionized/super heated form of gas, our sun is mostly plasma).

That huge glowing thing in the microwave is a ball of plasma - it only lasted a few seconds but it was amazing. 

We started homeschooling last year in full force last year.  Our eldest was really ready for school but not old enough for public school.  (There is a list of other reasons why we choose to homeschool but that is a topic for another post.) 

This is the curriculum we completed last year for Kindergarten:

Language Arts:
Explode the Code books 1, 2, 3, 3.5, and 4
Beyond the Code book 1
ZB Spelling Connections level 1
First Language Lessons level 1 (we only made it to lesson 60)
several lapbooks for favorite books

Singapore 1A and 1B
Lollipop Logic books 1,2, and 3

homemade curriculum with lots of note-booking pages and hands on experiments (planting a garden, 
hatching butterflies, tracking weather, etc)

soccer class
swim lessons

This year our plan is to continue with a lot of the same curriculum, add in a few new things, and we joined a homeschool co-op where D takes Lego engineering, Science Experiments, and Animal Encounters.

Language Arts:
Explode the Code books 5, 6, 7
ZB Spelling Connections level 2 
complete level 1 of First Language Lessons then move on to level 2
reading a chapter books a month

Singapore 2A and 2B
a ton of logic and analogy books from the Critical Thinking Co.

Social Studies:
lapbooks for monthly theme (Johnny Appleseed, Columbus, Pilgrims) 


soccer class
swim lessons

Based on our list, it seems as if we are doing work all day long but in reality we have seat work four days a week that lasts about 1.5 hours (we take 5-10 minute breaks between subjects to clear the mind and get the wiggles out).  And the we have science experiments or art projects that we work on for 1-2 hours twice a week and go to co-op classes on the fifth "school" day of the week.  (Although, with homeschooling everything can be turned into a lesson!)  We do school about 12 hours a week (including swim and soccer class) which is much less than would be spend in a classroom AND we are doing a lot more learning.  Homeschooling also does not mean we are home all day.  We have a weekly playgroup, swim lessons, soccer lessons, co-op, story time at the library, and regular playdates with friends in addition to the kids going on all the normal family outings (weekend family trips, weekly grocery shopping, etc). It's been an eventful and educational journey for all of us.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bainbridge Island

A few weekends ago, we headed over to Bainbridge Island for their second annual outdoor quilt show.  It was a lovely and beautiful day for the trip.  The sun was shining and the weather was just perfect.  I had submitted my quilt, 1+1=10, that I had made for the Seattle MQG Binary quilt show.  

Even though the quilt had been missing from his bed for two weeks and he had helped me wash it and deliver it, my son was very surprised to see it and said, "Hey!  How did my quilt get here?"  

And, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my quilt was on the cover of the local newspaper to advertise the show.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Seattle MQG Secret Sewing Swap

The Seattle Modern Quilt Guild held a secret sewing swap for September. It was a lot of fun to make something for someone else and it was a good challenge.  My partner has slightly different color tastes than I do so I had to stretch myself and I decided that now was the time to attempt some curves.  I was inspired by one of my partners Instagram pictures to create this:

It was a lot of fun and hard work to get the free form curves right.  I'm very please with it and so happy that I finally tried it out.  I also used this challenge as an opportunity to jump in and try some free motion quilting.  I did a lot of practice before working on the quilt and I feel like I've really got it down well now.  I'm super happy with how the pebbles turned out.

I made my swap partner two items.  I made this zipper pouch in the same fabrics but just had one strip of wonky curved piecing and the rest was more free motion quilting.  I'm not sure what to call it - it feels and looks like sea weed to me. 

Here is most of the group who participated and all the amazing mini quilts, bags, and pouches that were created.  There were some really amazing things created.

And, my swap partner made me this awesome diamond star mini quilt in my favorite colors!  She got it spot on for me and it's now hanging on my sewing room wall.

This swap was a smashing success and will definitely be repeated in the future.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Flower Garden Pillow

I spent a lovely six hours sewing this past weekend with a group from the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild.  I adore our guild sew-in's and try to go every month.  I always accomplish lots of sewing and enjoy great company.  My wonderful husband takes the three boys out all day so I can attend and have a fun/rest day.  

I finished up my Grandmothers flower garden pillow.  It's all hand pieced 3/4 inch hexagons with simple loopy free motion quilting. I'm very pleased with it and have already sketched out a few more pillow ideas in my notebook. 

I also started working on my mini quilted item for the guilds secret swap.  I'm not sure about it; I found an Instagram picture of my swap partners to use as inspiration but it doesn't feel right.  I can't say too much now since I don't want to ruin the surprise.  I might go another route and save this for something else.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Summer EPP

Sewing time this summer has been rather scarce.  Summer fun and travels (not to mention three crazy wild little boys) seem to get in the way of staying indoors at my machine.  We've also had a summer exchange student from Spain staying with us so we've been doing lots of local travel.
 I started my Modern Quilt guild Michael Miller challenge back in April with plenty of time to get it finished by the July deadline but somehow the deadline just flew right on past me!  I did make some very slow progress over the past month.  And we have another long trip coming up so I think it'll be done soon (or at least some progress will be made!). 
We have accomplished lots in the kitchen this summer though!  We've been picking tons of berries and making all types of jam and preserves.  We even taught our exchange student how to make spiced blueberry jam!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

SMQG Charity blocks

I've been enjoying small bits of sewing time lately working on some fun blocks for the next Seattle Modern Quilt guild charity quilt.  The next project is going to be done in the cream, gray, citron, and aqua blue.  This was perfect for me since I already have a lot of fabrics in the right colors in my stash.  My first set (above) all finished at 6.5 inches square and the second set finished at 12.5 inches square (below).

I chose to stick with the standard guild designated blocks of the month for my contribution.  And, I discovered that I really like making scrappy string blocks; they are a fun way to use up small bits of favorite fabric and still make interesting and beautiful quilt blocks.

I also acquired yardage of this stack of Kona solids to make a quilt for Malcolm (I let him pick the colors).  I have a few ideas I'll be testing out and I hope to have a quilt for him by Christmas.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Travel Bags

Living so far from family necessitates a lot of travel for us. After our last trek to Florida to visit the husband's side I decided we needed new travel bags.  

First off, I made myself a new carry-on.  I had been planning this for a long time and had all my fabric and supplies ready to go.  I used the Cargo duffel pattern by Noodle Head.  It was an easy pattern to follow and it's a great sized bag for air travel.  I added a liner and left off the exterior pockets but otherwise followed the directions. The only thing I would change is to make the handles stiffer.

The boys are now old enough to carry some of their own airplane supplies so I made them both simple drawstring backpacks.  I found at least a half dozen tutorials online for this type of bag.  I added simple zipper pockets for them and they were very happy to have their own special bags for the plane.

I'll be sewing up a few more of these soon since my nephews saw them and asked for their own special backpack.

I also made myself a new travel sewing kit for my newest English paper piecing project since travel always leads to lots of car naps.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Can a sewer have too many pincushions?  I don't think so.  I use three on a regular basis - one by my machine, one on the ironing board, and one by my cutting mat.  So, the Seattle MQG challenge swap for April was perfect.  

I made two pincushions for the swap but I decided that I could not part with the first one I made.  The green herringbone pincushion was inspired by our guilds favorite color: green!  I also just happen to love green and have a huge selection of green scraps.  My second pincushion was also made from scraps.  The squares of the tiny pluses finish at 3/4". It was a challenging project since the pieces were so small but I really like the look of tiny patchwork. 

And, I received an adorable turtle pincushion in the swap which was made by Grace.  I have really enjoyed having such a cute pincushion sitting by my machine.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pillow progress

My hexagon pillow is coming along nicely. I have completed eighteen flowers and sewn them all together. The next step is planning the partial flowers for the edges to square it up for a pillow top. I also have to decide how to quilt it and what color to use (most likely green since it's my favorite).

I've discovered that sewing while teaching Dominic math is wonderful. Our math time this past week was enjoyable instead of frustrating for me.  I find it difficult to be patient while he works through problems on his own because he is terribly slow (which is perfectly fine for his age - I struggle with being patient) but sewing gives me something to focus on as he works.  He's young and fluency will come with practice and time but until then I will need lots of EPP!

Linked to the Monday Morning Star Count.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Granny square blocks

I've been working on a granny square block set for almost two years now.  The blocks have come together slowly as I've been piecing them in between other projects or when I had only had a few minutes to spend in my sewing room working. Sewing the blocks together is relatively quick - what took me so long was laying out each block and finding color combos that I really liked.  At the last two SMQG sew-ins I was able to finish up the last few blocks and I have the twenty blocks I wanted for a whole quilt.

Now, the dilemma I face is deciding on a layout. Do you like option one:

Or option two:

I can't decide because there are elements of each layout that I really enjoy. I plan on using scrappy white tone-on-tone fabrics as the sashing/extra squares in between the quilt blocks.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Current works in progress

This past week I've made little progress on my flower garden EPP - as of this morning I have 10 flowers completed.  I am now trying to decide if I should sew them altogether directly or have some sort of border in between the flowers. I did decide that it will be a pillow for the couch - our living room is in sore need some more color. 

In addition to my current EPP project, I've been working on a wonky log cabin and a scrappy Granny Square block. The log cabin will be for one of my nieces so I'm making it in pastel colors and I'm trying to incorporate lots of little surprises by fussy cutting the center squares. So far, it's a huge pile of scraps with a few completed blocks sitting on top of the pile. My Granny square project is stored in a shoebox with the completed blocks sitting on top of it. This feels rather sloppy to me, but I've yet to come up with a better way to manage current works in progress when I'm working on so many different things at one time.

How do you organize your current works in progress? 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

First finish of 2014

I finished my first quilt of 2014 in February.  It was a simple machine applique design that I had started back in November for my newest neice, Annabella.  I was just in time too - I finished it three days before she was born and it arrived at her home the day after she did!  The design was inspired by a duvet cover in Baby Stuff by Aranzi Aronzo.  I drew the animals onto the fabric freehand and then used a zigzag stich to applique them.  It was super fast and easy.  I choose this pattern because I wanted a simple and fun baby quilt that would allow me a large space to practice some free motion quilting.  Some frustrations with the quilting on this quilt led me to putting it away twice.  I was trying to free motion quilt a fairly simple loopy design but I was having a lot of tension issues and had to unpick most of my work on both occasions.  Eventually, it all worked out and I am really please with how it turned out.

I also finished my Riley Blake challenge project that was sponsored by the Modern Quilt Guild.  It was a fun little group of fabrics that I used to make a giant tote bag.  The bag is large enough for my big cutting mat and rulers and still have room left over for several projects - the perfect bag for future Seattle Modern Quilt Guild sew-ins!

Monday, March 10, 2014

New epp travel project

I started a new paper piecing project recently and I'm loving it. I am making 3/4 inch hexagon flowers in blues and greens.  I have so many small scraps that I needed a tiny paper piecing project and this fits the bill perfectly!  And, there is something comforting about using up such small scraps.

I am still making progress on my penrose tile quilt but the pattern is not one that makes it easy to travel with - the aperiodic tiling means I have to put each piece in its specific place.  I finally reached the point where I had to lay it out and plan where each diamond was going to make sure it would turn out correctly. The hexagon grandmothers flower pattern on the other hand is perfect for traveling because all I need to plan is each individual flower.  So far, I've competed seven flowers but I'm not sure how many I have to go until it's finished. I'm still trying to decide if I want it as a pillow for the couch or as a spring table runner. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

EPP Progress

Above is my current progress on my English paper pieced penrose tile quilt.  Currently I have 109 diamonds in two patches.  The progress on this quilt is very slow.  I keep it in the van so that I can work on it when I am out and about with the boys or have a long wait somewhere.  Chasing after three boys at the park doesn't give me as much calm sewing time as chasing after two! 

I'm also contemplating what to do with my leftover stars.  I have a stack of blue, green, and purple diamonds already cut and about six completed stars that did not make it into my final star quilt.  I'm thinking either a quilted tote bag for hauling my epp projects around in or a pillow.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


The Seattle Modern Quilt guild is currently hosting a show at Island Quilter: Binary.

Isaac and I rode the ferry over last week for the Friday night art walk and show opening. As usual, it was a lovely evening. 

I had one quilt in the show, 1+1=10:

The space is perfect for showcasing the quilts - bright and open.

Above are quilts by Carrie, Sandie, and Allison

My favorite quilt in the show was done by Anna:

She really thinks outside the box with her quilts and has lovely hand quilting.

Above quilts by Sue, LouiseChandra, me, and Katie.

I really enjoyed this challenge. The parameters were so simple and open and really allowed our group to showcase their artistic abilities.