Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Addendum to "First Finish"

I just wanted to post a photo of the comfort quilt since it's now been quilted. Sheila did a wonderful job on the quilting and it's now being bound by another fabulous woman, Miss Janice!! Sue, the recipient, was presented with the quilt last Saturday and I think it was well received. Phew!

Here are a couple of the photos, all taken by Sheila the quilter:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

First Finish in Ages!!

A lady in my online group, Sue, was in a car accident in December and broke one of her legs BAD - as in "broken in 3 places" bad! So, the group quickly decided we needed to do a "comfort quilt" for her, because that's just how we roll. I truly love this lady, and quickly offered to do the block collecting and design/piece the quilt. I didn't really realize what I was getting myself into - we all piece differently, measure differently, etc.. But the scrappy blocks I received were gorgeous & I LOVE the way it turned out! It's way larger than I expected it to be at just under 80"x80". I guess this is more than a "lap" quilt, huh?

I think this one took the life out of me a few times. I have been so tired that I mis-cut every piece of fabric I took the rotary cutter to before today (I'm writing this on Sunday, January 29th, 2012). I had to go back to the quilt shop, FiddleSticks, TWICE to replace improperly cut fabric. Of course, I could never cut the fabric too BIG - it was always (really - ALWAYS) 1/4" too small! Talk about disheartening...

Speaking of Fiddlesticks - I truly appreciate all of their help & encouragement regarding my design and choosing the fabrics for the background and "frames!"

Since the quilt is a surprise and Sue can't know about the quilt until the annual luncheon in mid-February, I'm going to make it so that this doesn't actually post until that date.

I hope Sue loves the quilt, and that the rest of our group members like it, too! I don't want to be the only one that loves it! LOL


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Change of Blog Name

Well, I finally took the plunge! I was SO bored with my old blog name, "When Life Hands You Fabric... Make A Quilt!" I mean seriously - how totally cliche' and corny is THAT?!

My new name has much more meaning to me... Bella is the life of our household... She's a peppy Pomeranian. She's full of spunk & full of punk! I always loved the name, even before I chose it for our dog! Bea is a special nickname... I've wanted to create a new blog name for ages, but I couldn't come up with anything. I have been writing down names & titles for weeks, and nothing seemed right until I thought of Bella Bea.

I'll try this out for awhile & see how it goes. If it "feels" good, it'll stay! If not, I'm all about making the changes to create balance and flow in my life. If it doesn't flow, it'll go! Change is happening in my life and it's a good thing! :)

Please ~ Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Showcase Featured Blogger - Mug Rug Tutorial

I'm SEW excited to have earned my first "Featured Blogger" title!!! I've been wanting to make a "mug rug" ever since I first saw one a few months ago. My friend, Melissa, has offered the perfect opportunity by inviting me to take part in her Valentine's Day Showcase. It is a 2-week show of fabulous tutorials on her blog, Sew Bitter Sweet Designs. Thank you, Melissa!!!

For this project, I will tell you what I purchased, which is actually much more than I actually used. From the directions, you can tell that you need MUCH LESS fabric than what the supply list calls for. If you have smaller scraps, that would work perfectly!


~ 2 fat quarters, or large scraps, in coordinating reds
~ 2 fat quarters, or large scraps, in coordinating pinks
~ Backing fabric - 9x11 piece (half of a fq works perfectly)
~ Binding fabric - width of fabric (WOF) x 2" (mine equaled 44"x2")
~ Batting of your choice - size to match backing
~ Red thread - I used Guterman 100% polyester as it is the perfect color for both matching the reds and contrasting on the pinks
~ GO! Cutter - (not a necessity)
~ King of Hearts Go! cutter die (not a necessity)
~ Scraps of Pellon 805 Wonder-Under transfer web - or your fusible of choice
~ Scraps of tear-away stabilizer for appliquéing the hearts onto the background fabric (I believe the type I used is Sulky "Tear Easy," but I buy it by the yard and there is no label)


~ Back pink fabrics with fusible so that the fusible is cut with your fabric when run through the Go! cutter.

~ Run those 2 layers through your cutter.
OR, cut out 2 larger hearts and 2 smaller hearts from backed fabric if you do not have a die cutter.

~ Cut a 8.75" x 8" strip from your 2 red fabrics, then cut the 8" side in half to make 2 rectangles that are 8.75" x 4".

~ Sew the rectangles together, pressing seams open in the back, to look like the following:
NOTE: seams look gorgeous on the back when pressed open (!!), but you can press to your liking.

~ Peel off paper backing from your 2 smaller heart pieces (You will need a total of 2 large and 2 small hearts in one of each pink fabric). Test out how you'd like the inside hearts to look - do you want them straight on like the top 2 hearts, or do you want them "wonky" like the bottom two?

~ Iron the smaller hearts on top of the larger hearts with the opposite fabrics.

~ After the smaller hearts are in place, remove the paper backing from the larger hearts and lay them down on your background in a way that is pleasing to your eyes. I try a few looks and photograph them so I can see a different perspective. When it is to your liking, iron the large hearts down.

~ Back your mug rug top with the Tear Easy stabilizer making sure to cover the area where the hearts are located.

~ Test your appliqué stitch to make sure it is to your liking (I like to use a small/narrow button hole stitch for smaller appliqué pieces - on my Janome, it is a 3.0 length) and appliqué all 4 hearts using your preferred appliqué method. When I start each new heart, I like to start with both threads coming to the top. Then when the appliqué is complete, I take all 4 threads with a hand sewing needle and bring them to the back. This just prevents a mini bird's nest of thread on the back, which is just my preference.
NOTE: make sure NOT to iron the Tear Easy - it will melt on your project!!

~ Now that you've finished the appliqué, your "top" is done! (This is the point where I have to put myself on restriction to my sewing room so that I don't set the top aside for the next 6 years...)

~ Sandwich the top, backing and batting and free-motion quilt (fmq) the the mug rug. I'm working on getting more fmq practice! Otherwise, you really do not need a lot of "quilting" to stabilize your layers in this small of a project. You could simply outline your hearts 1/4" away and then stitch in the ditch of your background rectangles, and that would probably suffice.

~ After quilting, I trim the batting and background to the edges of the mug-rug, then check to make sure the dimensions look nice.

On this project, I felt there was too much "empty space" above and below my hearts, so I trimmed 3/8" off both the top and bottom edges. The mug rug top is now 9" x 6.75". When bound, I think this will look perfect!

~ Bind quilt using your favorite/preferred method.

~ Wa-LA! You're done! Congratulations and Happy Valentine's Day!


Melissa asked her bloggers to answer a few questions for her post. I liked the questions, so I'm going to include them here:

1. What got you hooked on your craft of choice?

I was originally "introduced" to quilting by my Aunt Jean. I never realized that "people" make quilts, that it isn't just some big manufacturing thing to make "blankets" that are sold in stores. I was in love with the idea and made a super-hilarious first quilt that we still use today. In 2000, I was introduced to Carol (who would later introduce me to her brother and would become my sister-in-law - fairly quickly!), and took some classes from her. At that point, I was truly hooked!! And in love...

2. What lights your crafting fire (i.e.: what keeps you crafting, why do you do it?)?

I love love LOVE bright colors. They keep me happy and keep my mood fairly upbeat. I also love to create something that I will use in daily life. I love it when someone says "oh, that's really nice," and I can say "Thanks so much - I made that!" It makes me feel really good.

3. What is your favorite Valentine’s themed junk food?

Oh my! I've never really thought about this holiday for junk food. I'd have to say that I LOVE See's Candy "creams," and milk chocolate.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Stash Report ~ Week 7 ~ February 13, 2012

Oh Dang!!

Is it normal that many of my Stash Report blogs start with that phrase? Does anyone else have the same problem? ha!

I went to my Longarm group's monthly meeting on Saturday, thinking my husband and I were going to go tour the new & local Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel after I got home. When I called to tell him I was on my way home, we concluded we'd had a miscommunication. He planned to work on school work all day, so I thought "ok, I'll sew all day instead" - I also high-tailed it to a quilt store near our meeting location, which is one I don't visit often (in fact, this is just my 2nd visit there)! What happy quilter needs a better excuse? The shop, River Quilts in Camas, Washington, had one of the most beautiful prints I've ever seen and I just HAD to buy a couple yards!! It's a stunning bird print by Laura Gunn (who also happens to be the daughter of the fabulously eclectic Elinor Peace Bailey), called Wing Song-multi. River Quilts also had fq's on sale for CHEAP, so I bought 7...

Question: How do you count for "used" when you're using it for appliqué pieces? I used a total of about 1 fat quarter for the appliqué pieces, even though not that much fabric was actually "sewn down." I have a Go! cutter, so some of that was covered with fusible and is now in my scrap bin... Grrr... Since the project was a "mug rug," I think I'll just call it "used" at a quarter-yard. I also make, I think, four more blocks for the bed quilt. I'll have to count that another time since I didn't add up that fabric yet.

Used this Week: .25 yards
Used year to Date: 5.5 yards
Added this Week: 3.75 yards
Added Year to Date: 62.889 yards
Net Used for 2012: -57.389 yards (I need to get to work!)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sew Bitter Sweet Designs - Valentine's Day Showcase!

I was asked a few weeks ago if I wanted to take part in my friend Melissa's "Valentine's Day Showcase." She's featuring a different blogger on her blog each business day February 1st - Valentine's Day. I'm being featured on the 13th, and am excited about my project! I'll be starting it tomorrow, as the weekend was more busy than I expected it to be (in a good way). I'm glad I waited to start it, though, because I picked up some cute bits of fabric on Saturday specifically for the.... mug rug! Ok, so that is the ONLY hint I'm giving. Yep - I'm making a mug-rug. It's my first mug-rug and my first time as a "featured blogger," so I'm excited!

Here is the line up:

February 1st – Sharon from Craizee Corners
February 2nd – Connie from Quilting by the River
February 3rd – Vicki from Sassy Blog
February 6th – Kris from I don’t have a problem, I have a well-rounded fabric stash!
February 7th – Lisa – future food and craft blogger (and my best friend!)
February 8th – Debbe from Pieces to Love
February 9th – Lyanna from Purple Panda Quilts
February 10th – Jenna from SewHappyGeek
February 13th – Brandy from When Life Hand You Fabric…Make a Quilt (that's ME!!)
February 14th – Michele from Quilting Gallery

Design Wall Monday ~ February 6, 2012

So, with as many blocks as I have to make, I've come to realize that my "Design Wall Monday" posts may come to be a little boring after a couple weeks...

I decided to make this quilt to fit our king bed. Each block is 14" x 14" (unfinished, which means 13.5" finished) and the quilt with be 8 blocks x 8 blocks. The dimensions will 108" x 108". I was going to pay to have it quilted, since it won't fit on my longarm, but my friend said I could quilt it on her longarm. That'll be nice - we can spend some time together while the LA is running. Can't argue with that!

So, back to the design wall. First of all, it's only as wide as the photo you see here - about 56" wide, so I'm going to be laying this quilt out and putting it together in sections. The colors aren't great in this photo - they're vibrant green, orange, and pink. They're all from the same fabric line as the inside square, so they look really nice together. I don't think I've ever made a quilt using mainly 1 fabric line, so this is a new fabric experience for me. I like it so far.

I asked my DH (Dear Husband) today "do you care if we have a totally girly quilt on the bed?" I loved his response: "no. When I'm in bed, I'm sleeping. But I like quilts. They're comfy." He said a few other things I don't remember, but this was the best and most memorable part. I love the way DH responds to my quilts. I think he'd love it if I made more - if I was more productive than I have been in the past. He just genuinely loves being wrapped in a quilt! I LOVE THAT!

I tried using EQ6 to design this quilt and got nowhere. I need an EQ6 book or cheat sheet! It's not that the design was difficult - at all. But I would have liked to make it so that a similar block never touched. In this layout, there will be some same blocks kitty-corner from each other. I may try to figure that out before I go much further so that it looks more random.

That's it for now. I hope to add more blocks later today!

(Update: 1:27pm - it helps when you add the photo... LOL)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Stash Report ~ Week 6 ~ February 5, 2012

Oh DANG! I had to buy fabric yesterday for the bed quilt I'm working on right now. I had finally done the measurements and figured out I wouldn't have even close to what I needed! So, off to Fabric Depot & Fiddlesticks I went!
I bought 1 yard each of the red, orange, and green dots to equal 3 yards, and I bought more of the black floral.
The good news is that I won't have to buy fabric for awhile! Oh dang - did I say that last week? But seriously - I have
NO need for added fabric. I have several projects going and have supplies (aka: fabric) for all of them. I'm putting
myself on restriction!! NO MORE FABRIC! Ok, at least for this week...

I also bought a few small bits for a mug rug tutorial I'll be working on for Valentine's Day. I will be done with that before the 12th, as I'm doing it for a friend's blog and she'll be posting it on 2/13/12. :)

Used this Week: 1 yards
Used year to Date: 5.25 yards
Added this Week: 7.5 yards
Added Year to Date: 59.139 yards
Net Used for 2012: -53.889 yards