December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

I hope everyone has had a great Christmas!!

Since I hate posting without pics, I thought I would share a finished-just-in-time project... 4 new stocking for everyone in the family. The two above are the smaller doggy stockings. Below are the ones I made for my husband and me.
We did have other stockings that I made a few years ago but no names were ever put on them... still not sure why I did that. So since this was our first married Christmas I thought it would be fun to make new ones to last us the rest of our live.
If you are interested in creating your own it was super simple. I followed the pattern on Purl Bee except I quilted the outside fabric with batting. Then I hand embroidered the names with the thicker DMC thread.

I hope you have enjoyed all fun family time. Don't forget to take advantage of the sales tomorrow... great time to restock up that stash!

take care mucho,

December 15, 2009

Christmas Bingo...

The Quilt Shoppe is hosting a great giveaway game. It is a blog Bingo game. There is a fantastic grand prize for the BINGO winner and every day smaller giveaways. This is just such a brilliant idea! I haven't had too much luck, only two out of 14 words so far, but I get so excited as I check first thing in the morning.

OH.... and they have some discounts on some days, so quickly head over to their blog In Stitches so that you can shop with out too much guilt... um... I mean as a Christmas present to yourself :)

Take care mucho,

December 12, 2009

A new quilt in the works

Here are some circles I cut out of a new pack of fabrics that arrived from the Fat Quarter Shop. You can see my inspiration quilt here. I have so many projects started that I really need to finish some of them up, haha.

Take care mucho,

November Swaps

I participated in a few swaps in November before leaving on my trip. The first is from Sandy for STUD (Swap Till yoU Drop).

Isn't this one just SO adorable. She tried a very cool technique. She painted on the cute little elf and added embroidery and quilting. It is so unique! The little goodies she added in the package were a great bonus.
Janet sent me this great package. This was part of the Little Fabric, Little Chocolate Swap. Ok... so I ate the chocolate as soon as I opened the package, so it was a little hard to get it in the picture, haha. The fabrics are great!! Not sure what I am going to use them for but when the project comes I'll be sure to share.

If you haven't browsed through the Flickr groups I strongly recommend it. I get inspired with every picture that I see. They also host the best swaps so check it out :)

-Take care mucho,

December 9, 2009

Yay... the holidays have come!!

I LOVE Christmas!! It is my favorite holiday and puts a smile to my face every time I see lights and decorations up. It took us a little longer to feel like we were a part of the holiday season this year since we were gone for most of November.

This past weekend was exactly what I needed. All day Saturday was spent getting our boxes down from the attic and getting everything out. My husband was a little scared at the mess I had made by noon. No fear though.. I get so excited and motivated that by nightfall I had everything put up and empty boxes back in the attic. I swear I am never as productive as I am as when I get to put up Christmas decorations (it also helps that I only live in an apartment... I am sure once we move into a house it will take me at least three days. I like to decorate EVERYTHING!)

We put up our tree, decorations, and of course have been working on some holiday crafts (to be posted later this week).

I got so wrapped up in the Christmas season that I made my boys join in on the fun. Above you can see Arnie in his cute little Santa suit. You can tell how excited he was, hehe. He just looked too darn cute to pass up the photo opp.

Hope the Holiday season has hit your home and brought lots of cheer!
Take care mucho,

December 2, 2009

I have come back with a husband :O

So I finally got married!! It has been quite an adventure. I was married in Florence, Italy and afterwards we traveled to Switzerland and France. It was awesome but very tiring. I returned on midnight on Sunday and just have gotten around to feeling settled in.

I can't believe it has been a month since my last posting?! As you can imagine there has been little to no sewing/ crafting going around in my neck of the woods. I did have great intentions on finishing up a sweater I have been knitting while I was away, but I think in total I worked on it for maybe half an hour.

I haven't even been able to sit down at my sewing machine yet or even open up some packages of fabric I ordered before I left (it is an obsession I try to keep under wraps from my new husband, haha). After today's final laundry day I can safely say I will have to get in my studio no later than Thursday. I hope to have some fun things to post this month since it is my favorite of the whole year!

Hope holiday cheer is spreading to all :O)
Take care mucho!

P.S. I get to shop for my Christmas tree this weekend!! Pics to come for sure!

November 3, 2009

A few swaps...

I have participated in a few swaps in September and October. I found them all on Flickr (my favorite site recently). The two that I have already recieved are from Swap Till You Drop (STUD) and Placemat swap.

This first package came from Kristin as part of the Swap Till You Drop (STUD). You are allowed to join every month and there is a different theme each time. September was the 1 year anniversary of STUD so the theme was anniversary.

Kristin made a great little quilt. It is very festive and remenisent of a wedding reception. I absolutely LOVED the pasta backing fabric (bottom picture).

For the Placemat Quilt Swap in October I recieved two of these cute spiderweb placemats from Anita!
I had asked for a halloween inspired design and I LOVE it! They have been sitting on my breakfast counter ever since I recieved them. I might even leave them during Thanksgiving, haha.

Now I know you are thinking this is supposed to be a swap, so what did you make? I promise I did make these wonderful people something to swap with but I haven't recieved confirmation that they have recieved them. So ,I am going to wait and post about that when I do.

Take care mucho,

November 2, 2009

Happy Halloween!!

Ok so I know I am a little late, but better late than never, right? :)

I am a school teacher and well, we like to have fun with the kids for Halloween. This year I teamed up the PE teachers at my school for our "paper, rock & scissors" trio costume. I can't take credit for coming up with the idea, but I can say I had a blast as the kids took a few seconds to get what their teachers were dressed up as.
Poor "Rock" was mistaken for a potato by a few children but once we lined up in the correct order they were able to "fix" their mistake. I am the one in the middle, a.k.a "Paper". I have "I will not play paper, rock,scissors in class..." on the paper just to make it a little more fun. "Rock" has two bits of graffiti on her that say "I Rock!" and "I (heart) scissors". Sometimes I think adults have way more fun than the kids do :)

I hope everyone out there had a great Halloween!!

Now on to November...can you believe it? Before we know it Christmas will be here, crazy!

Take care mucho,

October 26, 2009

Wedding Preperations...

Not sure if I have mentioned it to all of you but I am getting married next month! Three weeks to be a bit more exact.

Luckily we have decided to have a planned elopement (I know sounds funny to me too) so it has been pretty enjoyable to plan all the wedding and honeymoon details. It has been practically stress free and the best part is that it is in Italy!! It makes planning hard for only one reason, I would like to be there NOW!!

As I was thinking about the minute by minute events of the day I realized that it would be nice to have a ring pillow instead of a just a box. Since David will be carrying the rings in his pocket (it is an elopement after all and no one else will be there) I made a miniature ring pillow to hold our rings. I love the color red so my shoes, my flowers, and small details on my dress are all red. So the color choice for my little pillow was obvious.

I was inspired by the designs of 5eizen. Her etsy shop has the cutest accessories. It is totally worth "window shopping".

The last detail I will be making is my bouquet of red roses and a wrap for the stems made from the same material as the pillow. If you have any bit of advice for me i'd love to hear it.

Take care mucho,

October 22, 2009

Cake anyone?

So one of my best friends birthdays was this week. We happened to work together as well even though we have known each other since we were in middle school, so I was going to be able to see her on her actual birthday. She knew I was going to make her a cake, but I was keeping the design a secret.

We share an interest (some would say an obsession) with Hello Kitty. We have Hello Kitty mouse pads, pencils, pens and whatever other cute little do dads we can get our hands on all over our desks.

On her big day this is what she saw waiting on her desk...

She really liked her cute little cake. I had a great time making it and everyone in her classroom enjoyed the special treat.


Take care mucho,

October 15, 2009

waiting.... waiting.... FINISHED!

I had this quilt hanging out in my work room for the longest time. Waiting only for it's binding. I remember many month ago when I was so motivated for this quilt. I cut all the fabric and pieced the whole quilt top in a day. Then the next day I got the backing done and quilted it. The day after wasn't so productive...The poor quilt got folded and forgotten :(

In my defense I didn't have the binding at the time...though I should probably not share that I bought some a week later, haha. Regardless, the quilt sat there folded just pleading to be put out of its misery and get some binding sewed on.

Finally, this past weekend I got tierd of seeing this poor quilt unfinished and decided to end the suffering. I picked it up worked some magic and TA DA!!!

A perfectly finished quilt!!
All in all it took only about an hour, which leads me to wonder why in the world I waited as long as I did to finish this one up.

I love the simplicity to this one and love it even more because the squares are japanese blue printed fabric. I hope I never take this long to complete a quilt again.

Take care mucho,

October 13, 2009

Bee Inspired- October

So I have to say this month was a little bit challenging. Natasha had all of us work with mini hexagons. I was a hexagon virgin, like most of my bee inspired friends, but was excited to take a stab at it. I LOVED making this block! It was a little time consuming since you have to piece all the hexagons by hand. I didn't mind too much. Luckily I was able to just sit in front of the tv during a must watch line up on thursday night :)

I do need to practice a little bit more because, although the picture doesn't show this- conveniently (haha), I have lots of visible stitches on my hexagons. It was only until the last three that I decided to test out a different stitch than Natasha had suggested. She had sent us a great tutorial on how to make the block and said to whip stitch the hexagons together. I decided to try out a ladder stitch. It hid my stitches much better. I hope Natasha likes what is coming her way.

Have you finally tried something that intimidated you lately?

Take care mucho,

October 5, 2009

Another Quilt Cut and Planned...

So I had yet another fat quarter pack from the Fat Quarter Shop to play with. I have been floating around in blogland and Flickr land and have seen that many people have been working on cool looking half hexagon quilts. I decided that I must join in on the fun. I went shopping for a coordinating solid color and fell in love with this beautiful pink. As soon as I got home I got out my rotary cutter and set to work. This is what I had an hour and a half later.

I was pretty pooped after cutting so much, so it wasn't until the next day that I started thinking about the layout. I don't have a design wall so I turned my living room into a huge design floor :) This is what I had come up with.

Now all I have to do is start sewing all this together. Off to work!

Take care mucho,
- Natalie

September 30, 2009

Pleasant Surprises....

I entered a contest a little while ago to design Amy Butler's name tag for one of her quilting shows. It was hosted by Kelly of I Have a Notion. Unfortunately I didn't win :( .....
but I received an AWESOME surprise in my email after reading about the winner. One of Amy Butler's assistants asked for all contest participants addresses. I immediately sent my information gitty in anticipation of a small gift from Amy herself. I thought if I was really lucky they might send a pattern, but figured I would get something smaller. A few days later I got the package in the mail and this is what I got!!!

Can you believe it!! THREE patterns and a fat quarter of fabric. The patterns are for the Nappy Bag, Weekender Travel Bag, and the Mini Dress, Tunic & Tops. I was blown away to say the least. What a fabulous prize for not even winning the contest! I am so excited to dive into these patterns. I am a huge fan of Amy Butler's and after this incredibly nice gift I am even a bigger fan.

Thank you to everyone at Amy Butler!!! You made a fellow crafter one happy camper :)

Hope you have had some pleasant surprises recently!

Take care mucho,

September 22, 2009

I snuck this last one in....

So before the summer ended, or more accurately before I started to work again, I snuck in one last project. I had gotten another fat quarter pack sent to me from the Fat Quarter Shop (I am part of the Michael Miller club, so I get one monthly- it's awesome!) around the same time the Old Red Barn Co. blog was having a sew along. I didn't have my act together to participate with the sew along, but did take the idea of the quilt and used it up with my fat quarters. It was super easy and quick! Two very good and instantly rewarding factors that I always welcome.
I took the 12 fat quarters and cut all of them into 2.5 inch strips (lengthwise). I then sewed 5 of the strips together and cut out 2 squares out of each 5 strip set. I made 30 squares (making a 5 block x 6 block quilt). The extra 2.5 inch strips were used in the binding adding a little solid blue (which I also used for the entire back) to the binding to make it reach all the way around the quilt.
I LOVE the way this one has turned out and my friend has already claimed it for her birthday present. It will look great on her couch!

Have you come up with any fun quilt or craft ideas to use up your fat quarters? I could use some ideas because I have 2 packs waiting patiently to be cut into and made into something. Any and all ideas are welcome :)

take care mucho,

September 17, 2009

Look What I Got!

Today I received a nice surprise in my mail box. Cheryl created the cutest quilt for me. I love the color scheme and the ric rac border accent.

She also included some goodies in with the quilt. How great is Cheryl?
Totally made my day. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Hope everyone one had a pleasant surprise today :)

Take care mucho,

September 15, 2009

Back to School

So I have been completely MIA due to the fact that it is back to school which means back to work for me :( The past two and a half weeks have been without a lick of sewing which makes me very sad. I was used to my days full of sewing all the projects I have piled up. I just haven't had the time or energy. This summer really put me in a bad routine, which of course I didn't realize until I had to wake up early on a regular basis.

The good news is I do have a project that I completed right before school started which I finally took pictures of.....
This is a little backpack that I made for my cousins little girl who has started pre-school this year. Quite a big milestone for the little one. I thought it would be pretty easy to come up with a pattern on my own and for once my predictions were right! I am working on putting together a pattern for this project because it really did come together quickly and without a glitch (first time ever!) So as I am getting used to working again it has been coming together little by little. I hope to have it up by the end of the month. So look back if you are interested in making one for a special someone in your life.

Take care mucho,

August 29, 2009

Doll Quilt Swap #7

I was lucky enough to enter the 7th Doll Quilt Swap before it filled up. Our swaps are supposed to secret so I can't say who this is going to but this little quilt will be heading out on Monday to its owner.
My partner stated that she really liked japanese prints so I thought of a little coin quilt to highlight some that I had in my stash. This is what the front of the quilt looks like.

I decided to make a simple back with some more japanese prints.
I wanted to do a little different quilting so I thought it would look nice to use decorative stitching. I hope the recipients enjoys this along with some other fun sewing goodies I will be putting in the package.

Check out the Doll Quilt Swap Flickr group to see what everyone else is swapping.

Take care mucho,

August 26, 2009

Vintage revamped

A few weeks ago along 14th street in DC (yeah it's cleaned up quite a bit) there was a "Dog Days of Summer" sidewalk sale. So as we walked along we noticed that the local theater was having a HUGE garage sale of items from their shows. I got a very cute, small vintage suitcase. It wasn't looking so hot inside but I knew that it would be a nice fixer uper. I totally forgot to take a before picture but here is what it has turned into....

I had this guitar fabric (I think it is Alexander Henry) sitting in my stash for the longest time waiting for its perfect project. I used timex for the inside so that it was nice and sturdy. I glued it all in with some incredibly tacky glue I have had sitting in a box. I ended up keeping the outside trim the same, but spray painted the middle. I didn't change the color drastically because I liked the khaki color to start with. I did however want to cover up some of the scratches that it had. It has been years since I used spray paint and I have forgotten how much fun it can be.... and not to mention super easy!

I also ended up picking up a little tea cup. I had seen teacup pincushions popping up all over the place on Flickr so I wanted to try to make one of my own. Simple and easy project. Plus it was only $1.50.
I used some mini dress form japanese fabric and added the mini pom pom edging left over from another project. I really like the way it turned out and it already is in a good home next to my mom's sewing machine. She always gets little goodies from me :)

Have you tried to revamp anything vintage? I feel as though I have to raid my local thrift shop a bit more frequnetly to see what else I can spice up.

Take care mucho,

August 24, 2009

Swimming fish....

I had a previous post about my Heather Ross fish fabric quilt. I came up with the circle pattern and really liked the way it turned out... and now I have finally decided on how I was going to quilt it and it's all done!

I have seen the "pebble" quilting out on many blogs and thought this one would be the best quilt to try it out on. I liked the circles and thought it might look kinda like bubbles to go with the blue water.
If you haven't tried "pebble" quilting I highly recommend it. It is really easy and it's impossible to mess up. It did take up a lot more thread than stippling would but I thought it was well worth it.

Do you have any favorite quilting designs? I am really enjoying exploring new and non-traditional techniques.

Take care mucho,
- Natalie

August 23, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

I was introduced to Spud & Chloe by The Purl Bee with there cute, easy, and fast blankie project. So I ran off to my new favorite yarn shop Fiber Space, just opened, and I went a little crazy. I loved all of the colors. So... I bought enough to to finish this blankie

Then I couldn't stop there. I allowed myself to get two skeins of the mustard yellow for a little sweater for my little guy. I was looking up lots of different pattern in cyberspace but nothing seamed to be the right size or wasn't exactly the style I was looking for... so what is a gal to do... I just made one up. This is what it ended up being

Reminds me of Charlie Brown so naturally that led me to name it the Charlie Brown Sweater. I had never completely made up a knitted pattern before, I have altered patterns but never created one out of thin air. So I am very proud of the way this one came out. I hope to write out a pattern, but I want to make another sweater before posting it so that I can make sure that the pattern actually works.

I am now excited for a little cold weather just to see him in his sweater.

Take Care Mucho,

August 10, 2009

Doll Quilt Swap #7

So I have forgotten to let everyone know that I actually got into the next Doll Quilt Swap!! I am very excited to have made the cut off. It is quite popular and filled up really quickly. I have never participated before but have seen many participants in cyber land and LOVE them. I am really excited to get started on planning the design. I will let you know how it comes out but I can't tell you who my partner is ... it's a surprise :) If you want to follow along as other swapers are finishing up their doll quilts click here.

Take care mucho,

August 3, 2009

Bee Inspired- July and August

I finally got my butt in gear and whipped up John and Barb's blocks for July.  

These are John's.  He asked us to create a block who's name I can't remember (though did have pineapple in it's name-hence the triangles on the diagonal).  They were fun and easy to make.  He sent us plenty of fabric so I made two for him.... plus they are only 9 inch blocks so the more the merrier.  

Barb wanted a more wonky look.  She was inspired by a wonky bento box style quilt found on Flickr.  So we each made a quarter box.  I loved working wonky.  No rules and no seams to line up.  Such freedom.  I just might have to take a stab at an all wonky quilt soon.

Krista sent her fabric out early, for her month August, because she is in the middle of a big move.  Since I was already working on John's and Barb's I got her fabric out and got to work.  Working on this block was quite liberating.  Krista only sent two colors and gave us some pictures for ideas.  I went the geometrical route.   I like the way it ended up.  I am interested in seeing what the other Bee Inspired members did for their blocks.  

If you want to follow the Bee Inspired group or see other blocks, check out our group on Flickr here.  

Hope everyone can find some inspiration today!
take care mucho,

July 20, 2009

Assembly line...

I feel as thought I have been quite an efficient assembly line in the past few days.  I have been able to create enough squares for three tops!  I finished all my stripe quilt and fish circle squares to even complete the tops.   I am also half way through with my Christmas whirrly giggles.  I am so proud of my productivity.  I always feel way more accomplished when I have products to show for it.  

stripe quilt
fish circles

This week marked the beginning of my summer vacation!  I was teaching summer school for the past three weeks so even though technically it was summer I was still working :(  But now I have 5 whole weeks off and I feel as thought I have started off in the right direction.  

So I have been very busy piecing away getting quilt tops finished but I did not stop there.  I was VERY motivated, haha.   I ended up making a simple back for the stripe quilt and quilting it.  I also quilting my japanese blue and white quilt (which was pieced for a while now) with simple lines.  
back of stripe quilt
Japanese Blue and White- quilted

If I continue in this manner I just might make a decent dent into my fabric pile... which is always good news... I would get to go shopping for more ;) haha.

Hope you are feeling motivated and productive!!!
Take care mucho!

July 9, 2009

I am a HUGE fan.....

Last week I had the opportunity to go to a huge Education Technology conference, NECC, that was luckily held in DC (literally 5 blocks away from me) this year.  I was a bit overwhelmed with the amount of stuff going on at first but quickly got my bearings and learned about some great programs out there, many of them FREE!!!  

The best day was by far, the last day.  I was walking around the massive expo and saw that Peter Reynolds (author of The Dot & Ish) had a really great animation program, Animation-ish, for people to test out.  I jumped at the opportunity to try it out which got me talking to some of "his people" and they told me that he was actually walking around the convention center.  Now I know I am a bit on the old side to be acting like a teeny bopper but I have to confess that it was difficult suppressing the teeny bopper inside me that wanted scream out loud "OMG Peter Reynolds is HERE! 
You mean THE Peter Reynolds!".  I quickly got on my cell phone to call my librarian friend, Amy, who shares a healthy admiration of Mr. Reynolds work with me.   Now here is the part where I have to preface this with the fact that both Amy and I, months before hand, had already been talking about joining forces in getting Mr. Reynolds to come and visit our school.   She met up with me at the Fable Vision booth and we started to work our "magic".  It ended up being quite a small world.   Amy happened to have gone to the same school Mr. Reynolds manager, Bill, had taught at.  Needless to say Amy and I were ecstatic that we had an "in".   We had a great conversation with Bill, but despite the fact that it was a bit lengthy, Mr. Reynolds didn't show up.  We distracted ourselves walking around the rest of the expo, trying with failed attempts to win any type of prizes.  We decided to go back and see if the famous Peter Reynolds would finally be at his post.  SUCCESS!! We got to see him do a demonstration of his Animation-ish product AND chat with him a little AND took a picture with him (the one above- I know I look like I might kill him... don't know why, I was super excited!!).  He was even kind enough to create some cute drawings on our convention badges.  

The bestest (I know this isn't a word but thought it should be) part of the whole encounter was at the end when Peter Reynolds himself saw how star struck I was and signed his book The Dot and gave it to me for my library!!! 

I was totally beside myself.  No one else got a book signed just ME!  I walked around the rest of the day with the biggest smile on my face,  literally ear to ear.  

Ok now I have feel the need to promote everything Peter Reynolds.  Not only do I think he is such a down to earth, nice person, I totally LOVE his work.  Everything he does I think it so brilliant and what makes it even better is that I can use it in my art room with my little guys.  If you haven't already clicked on the links throughout this blog I highly recommend seeing his website and his company's, Fable Vision, site.  His books are great with the best morals and his animation program lets everyone, young (and I mean really young) and old be able to animate.   Check out his stuff! I promise you won't regret it :)

Hope everyone at one point has had a good teeny bopper moment like mine, hehe.

take care mucho,
- Natalie 

July 6, 2009

The Cake...

I wrote before about the cute little baptism cake that I made for my nephew.  I finally got the pictures and thought I would share with you all.  I got the idea from a search on Flickr and changed the details a little bit.  My mom has kept the fondant figurines in the freezer because she can't bring herself to throw it out.  She is so funny. 

The entire cake is frosted with a good layer of buttercream before covering it with fondant.  I personally don't like the taste of fondant so I feel like the generous layer of buttercream fixes that problem.  All the decorations on the cake are fondant.  

Hope everyone is having a great start to the week.

Take care mucho,

July 2, 2009

Not 1 but 2 quilts....

So as I told you I have been making good use of my summer fun.  I have started two quilts that I have been meaning to start for a few months now and am LOVING the way the squares are coming out.

 I had ordered Heather Ross' fishes fabric that I fell in love with and payed probably way too much for since it is out of fabrication now.  It has been sitting on my shelf for months and I wanted the perfect quilt idea to pop into my head before I started cutting into it.  Then as I was surfing blogland I came across this blog.  I fell in love with the third quilt on her title bar, the one with the circles.  Then I searched some more for a possible tutorial since I think circles are pretty intimidating.  I was lucky because I found this.    If you scroll down a little the pictures are great and it is SUPER easy!! The circles actually come out like circles :) Here are some of my squares.  I am hoping to arrange these squares with plain brown squares so it kinda looks like you are looking out a ship window and see fishes swimming by.  I hope that it turns out as good as I think it is in my head.  I will keep you posted.

 I started a strip quilt, which I know is quite trendy right now.  I really liked Film in the Fringe's strip quilt so great first strip quilt and paper piecing project, no? I decided to substitute my favorite color, red, mixed in with the black and white.   I used the same widths for the strips.  I am glad I did this for my first strip quilt, though when I do this again I think I am going to vary the widths, I think it spices things up a bit.  

So far I have about 1/3 of the squares needed finished.  Hopefully I can whip out the rest just as quickly as I did these so I can show you a completed top soon. 

Next posting is going to be a little different but definitely FUN!! so please stop by to see.

Wishing everyone a happy 4th of July weekend!!

Take care mucho!