Sunday, September 14, 2014

San Antonio Botanical Gardens

This past weekend was family weekend at Texas State. For most folks this meant football (they lost) and campus activities, but Ally had other things in mind! We decided to spend some time in nearby San Antonio. Ally had found a botanical garden that she wanted to check out, so off we went!


I decided to treat this as an inspiration day. I took my camera along and got some interesting up close shots of berries....
 And flowers....

 But the really cool thing was a special exhibit they had going on with legos! All of the following objects were made with legos and incorporated into the beautiful scenery. Like this huge butterfly....

 a gigantic bumble bee....
 Even a lawn mower!
 This rose stood about 5 feet tall....
 Some birds on a bird feeder (filled with, what else? legos!)....
 And even some cattle (this is Texas after all)...
It was an unusually cool weekend for Texas and a perfect day to walk outside and soak up the beautiful scenery. If you're ever in the San Antonio area, I highly recommend the botanical gardens!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Washi dress

I have exciting news to share! After many years of teaching young ladies to sew here in my home, I am able to officially add the title of Teacher to my resume! I have been asked to teach some classes at Stitched with Love, one of our fabulous local quilt stores. I will be teaching garment sewing classes, beginning with an intro to garment sewing class (tomorrow!) and then moving on to some patterns I selected.

After making my first Washi dress in the spring I knew I wanted to make more, and I knew it would be a great garment to teach. I made this Washi as a store sample......


Then I set out to make myself another, to wear when I teach (and to church, etc). I knew I needed to do some fitting adjustments (most notably to the bust! sadly most sewing patterns are geared toward petite little b cup ladies which I will never, ever be!). I found this Full bust adjustment tutorial, referenced on Made By Rae's Washi dress page and I went to work.
 I eliminated the extra little scoop in the neckline on this one and added some extra length (about 3 inches).
 The shirring on the back went so smoothly and guess what? IT FITS PERFECTLY! Yay!
 The fabric is from Sara Lawson's Jungle Avenue line and I think it will be great all through the winter, with a bright colored cardigan and some tights.

Local folks who want to learn to make a Washi should check out the class schedule. It's an awesome pattern and I know you'll want to make more than one.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Modern Quilt Guild charity sewing

I'm blogging on the McKinney Modern Quilt Guild blog today about our charity sew day. Check it out!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bee Blocks

I've never been part of a swap bee before. I've always wanted to do it! I see all of the fun bee blocks posted on Instagram and always think "that would be fun". So I decided to see if anyone in the McKinney Modern Quilt Guild wanted to form a bee, and what do you know? We had enough ladies sign up to form two bee groups! I went ahead and made myself the queen bee for my groups first month. I chose the asterisk block in reds and aquas. Here are the sample blocks I made up using this tutorial:
Look how neat and tidy the backs look if you press them the way the tutorial says....

 I asked the gals to make me a pair of blocks and to begin with an 8 1/2 inch square. These are the fabulous blocks I received on Tuesday night....
Don't they all look terrific together on my design wall floor? I will trim them all up to the same size and play with some layouts. I really do wish I had a good space for a design wall. hmm...


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Happy Birthday Crafty Tuesday!

Today was Crafty Tuesday's second birthday. Any excuse for a party, I always say! Of course there were balloons....
 My crafty friends turned out in full force today, and Melissa took pictures for me. She says I'm never in the pictures and I should be! Grace was crocheting and I was laughing appliquéing.....
Joellen and Raquel were having an intense discussion about english paper piecing. Or working on world peace. Or something....

 Cheryl was drinking soda (to be fair, she did work on her photo albums!) and Trae had a cool art quilt happening (or she was eating a brownie. one or the other)...
 And Melissa was taking pictures, which is why she wasn't in any of these! Then she set the timer on the camera and we got a great group shot. Even Lexi got into the action...
ah I do love our Crafty Tuesdays!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

placemats again

So, you all remember the placemat project, right? And the five, beautiful placemats I received from instagram friends? Well I have always thought it would be nice to have eight placemats, since my table seats eight, and I had every intention of making three more to complete my set. I just didn't intend to do them quickly!


Hubby has some folks in town for work this week and we decided that we would host them at our home for dinner tomorrow night. Perfect opportunity to use my placemats! He informed me there would be six, including us for dinner. No problem! This past weekend I made placemat #6....

 I have a big zipper pouch full of half square triangle units left over from my Pow Wow quilt. I pulled out the ones with red and aqua in them and came up with this layout. And since I loved the idea Trae had of putting Christmas fabric on the back of the two placemats she made me, I decided I would do that too. As luck would have it, the night before (literally, at night. the mailtruck came at 9:30 PM on a Saturday night.... weird!) I received happy mail from Hannah, who had sent me my first placemat. Inside was a moda candy pack of Winter Wonderland, which was perfect for the back of my placemat!

I was pretty darned proud of myself! Now everyone at our dinner party would have a handmade placemat. Except.....

Hubby informed me that he had invited two more guests for dinner. Which is great, but once again, I was short on placemats. Darn.

I set to work, using all fabric from my stash and a few orphan blocks I had hanging around. Soon there was placemat number seven....



with snowmen (from Trae) on the back. And today, placemat number eight....


Which got a very simple pieced backing (Christmas fabrics but simple) because by this time I was pretty burned out on placemats! But I must say, they do look lovely as a set.
I'm quite sure all of hubby's business associates will be mighty impressed! don't you think?

Monday, August 25, 2014

monkeying around with a paint chip challenge

At our August meeting of the McKinney Modern Quilt Guild I issued a paint chip challenge. I had gone to Walmart and helped myself to a large selection of free paint color sample cards. Even though they are free, I kept expecting some pimply faced employee to yell at me! I'm sure I looked so guilty glancing around the hardware department in total fear of getting caught! I took the samples home, cut the colors apart, put them in a paper bag, and shook them up. At the meeting each gal chose 3 random colors from the bag. These ladies love a challenge! Every single one of them played along with very little shaming and coercing. Some of them got lovely color selections. Some, not so much. I was less than thrilled with my colors....
 Not my usual palette for sure! But alas, I had issued the challenge and I would come up with SOMETHING, right? I stewed about if for a while. Came up with a couple of ideas but wasn't thrilled with them. Spent an evening pouring through some of my quilt books and came up with this idea (from the Love to Sew Mug Rugs book).....

kind of silly but I like him! my first go at straight stitch raw applique (done on the machine). Not perfect but ok. kind of sketchy like a kid drew it with a pencil....

I can't wait to see what everyone else does. Some of these gals are so clever, I know there will be some full sized quilts and many ORIGINAL designs (not pathetically copied from a book. sigh). And, undoubtedly, most will be a much larger size than my silly little monkey, but hey, he's done!