Sunday, June 26, 2011

Before & After



Quilt Stats:
Finished Size: ~ 59" x 71"
Fabrics: Jelly Roll & Yardage of Urban Coture by Basic Grey for Moday
Pattern: Key to My Heart by Sweet Jane's Quilting and Design

Started: January 2011
Finished: June 2011

A gift for my best friend for her birthday and her graduation from nursing school!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Well, after announcing my Nerves last month to the entire world, I finally built up the guts to try quilting the baby quilt!  And, I can say that I'm fairly happy with the results...hopefully mom- and dad-to-be will be too!  We'll find out soon, as the baby shower is this Wednesday morning!

Here's a shot of the overall quilt...I did a general stipple stitch across the nine-patch and borders.

I started first though by quilting the owl, branch and leaves.  I figured he needed a bit more attention and just stippling over him didn't seem right, so I tried a bunch of different techniques...all with somewhat matching thread to try to hide any major mistakes...

Here's a close up of the leaves - I tried to give them a stem running through the center and then just echoed the leaf shape on the inside.  The branches have just some lines running through to try and give the impression of wood grain. 
The owl...well, I tried to give him feathers.  For his eyes, I did some co-centric circles just to give them some definition and echoed again in the wings.  I can point out all the problems/mistakes, but hopefully it'll be loved all the same...

Quilt Stats:
Started: February 2011
Finished: June 2011

Finished Size: Approximately 40" x 52"
Fabrics Used: Summer's Basket of Flowers and Deb Strain's Saltbox Harvest
along with some random scraps for the applique

Time to get it wrapped up and put into the gift bag with the rest of the loot for mom, dad and baby!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Patriotic Birthday

Mom Gnomemade's birthday is towards the end of May, and I thought I might make her a birthday gift this year.  Enter Sandy Gervais' Zippity Doo Dah fabric and a cute little pattern from Art to Heart's Easy Does It Patriotic Book and I had a cute little table runner in the works.

I'm pretty pleased with the way this table runner came out and it made it in time for Memorial Day.  Mom Gnomemade likes patriotic decorations, so I figured this was just the thing for her.  So happy I could find those fabrics.

Plus, it gave me a chance to try out my machine appliqueing skills prior to tackling the owl.  (Sorry mom, you were a test case - but thankfully a successful one.)

Most difficult part?  Attaching those stars to each other so they would lay flat and not show all my hand tacking!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


My next project has been basted and is just sitting on the guest bed staring me down...just daring me to start it. And, I...well, I am a bundle of nerves about it! 
Now, I've quilted every single one of my projects thus far...but for some reason this one scares the heck out of me. I recognize that my skills aren't great, and I'm not going for perfection, but there's something about this most recent project that makes me anxious. 
Perhaps, because it's my first baby quilt from a pattern? Or from designer fabrics? 
Or maybe it's because I finally figured out how to make my little Kenmore sewing machine complete some machine applique! 
I mean...I really think this owl is adorable and I'm worried my wonky free-motion quilting skills are just going to mess him up. But, the baby is due in August (fairly far off still, I know), but we've got a baby shower planned for mom in mid-June - so it needs to get done! I just need to work up some courage, and to stop stalling by posting about the quilt. 
Anyways...I took a photo of it just in case it doesn't make it through this process gracefully. Ok...maybe I should go take a stab at it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another Finish

Well, after about five years, I finally finished what should be considered a relatively quick and easy project.

I saw the pattern for these pillows in a McCall's Quilting - August 2006 issue. It was a pattern by Jean and Valori Wells - who as a new quilter I didn't really know. Now, I'm a bit more in the know and hold these two women in high admiration for their patterns and fabric.

Anyway, in 2006, I was living in a new furnished apartment that came with a very "interesting" black leather couch. It was possibly the most uncomfortable piece of furniture I've ever sat on. But, I thought the room could use a bit more color, so I went ahead and ordered the kit (the first one I ever ordered) and started working on these pillows.

I have no idea why it took me five years. But, it did and I finally finished these in April! I love how they came out and while I no longer live with that ugly, awful couch - they do happen to match the duvet cover in our guest bedroom/sewing room. So, now they're cheerily sitting there.

I did do all the quilting by hand - so maybe that's a reason I took so long? No? Not buying it either?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Home Dec Project

Over Spring Break, I happened to stop by our local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. Mr. Gnomemade and I have been using one of our kitchen table chairs as a desk chair, so when I saw this chair sitting there for $5, I couldn't resist!

Now, it was in a little bit of rough shape - some light yellow paint that was chipping, peeling and not very event. But, I figured, we had some time off from work and it was a beautiful weekend, so we'd try a little re-finishing project.

A quick trip to our local hardware box store for some sand paper and spray paint (and then a second trip for some more spray paint) and we got to work!

And here it is in all its finished glory. It went from a light yellow to a pretty ivory color. Now, I'm searching for the perfect seat cushion and we should be all set!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Can Hardly Believe It Myself!

So, when I started my personal UFO challenge a while was one specific quilt that I had in mind that I really needed to finish.

Now, I've only been quilting since 2005/2006, so I don't have a ton of UFOs that have been hanging around for a long time. But, this one...well this one has been almost four years in the making.

After Mr. Gnomemade graduated with his Master's, we accompanied his parents for a 2+ week to Italy. I had never been, and it was a wonderful experience. We had the chance to visit Florence, Sorrento and Rome, along with areas all around those three cities. We had a great trip, and I was greatly appreciative to his family for the opportunity for such a great trip.

Mr. Gnomemade's mother had subtlely asked a couple times about me making her a quilt, and their house is full of photos, so I figured that would be the perfect marriage...hence this quilt was born.

Now, it's been a labor...mainly of love, but I'd be lying if there weren't times I just wanted to throw this out of the window. First, it was about trying to pick out which photos I wanted to use. Now, that shouldn't be too hard - but Mr. Gnomemade is the quintessential tourist, and I think we have about 900 photos from our trip. Then it was onto designing the layout. Then, I had to figure out how to print photos onto fabric...and that was an ordeal for quite a while. Some of the printer photo fabric worked well...another package of it...not so much. Picking the rest of the fabric wasn't too hard - my now Mother-In-Law loves gold and burgundy.

So, it went for about 3 1/2 years. I'd pick it up, then put it back down. Sew some more, get frustrated and then put it away for a while. I really worked on it ine arnest over the past two years, especially once I found the perfect backing fabric.

I mean, isn't it perfect? It's a fabric of major Italian landmarks. We had seen quite a bit on our trip and I thought it was great.

The rest of it eventually came together and I finished up the binding in March. Yup...March of 2011. We went to Italy in June of 2007. Don't judge too harshly.

It was hand delivered to my in-laws in April when we went up to see them for a wedding of a close friend.

They seemed to like it and I'm just happy to cross this one of the list - and that it made it through the washer.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! Hope your day, however you choose to celebrate, is a wonderful one.

Our ham is in the oven and the Macaroni and Cheese is prepped.

We have several of my students coming over for dinner tonight.

And we thought it'd be nice to give them some small Easter baskets.

Who doesn't love some tasty candy?

And the baskets are handmade by me using the Pink Penguin tutorial!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Keeping with the Christmas Theme

In mid-December, I entered a giveaway over at The Happy Zombie. Now, I always am flabbergasted by the generosity of quilters and their willingness to giveaway fabrics, notions, projects, etc. I try to be fair and only enter those giveaways that I actually would want/use.

I've been blog-stalking (in a harmless, oh my goodness, I love what you're doing) Monica at The Happy Zombie for a while, and was so excited when I saw her Christmas fabric line called Holiday Happy come out. As the title of my blog might suggest, I love gnomes. No, really - Mr. Gnomemade and I even had a gnome-themed wedding - which I realized I never admitted to on this blog - I really should post some photos of our gnome related items...put that on the to-do list (you would think I would have gotten around to that, but what's eight months in a lifetime we'll spend together...but I digress).

Anyways, where was I...oh yeah...gnomes. I love gnomes and I immediately fell in love with the little "Gnoma-Claus" on Monica's fabric. I went to a couple of local quilt shops, but couldn't find the gnomes, so I was browsing on the internet instead to see where I could find some of this wonderful fabric...this brings me to the giveaway.

So, I put my name into the ring, never expecting with over 1200 entries, I'd be picked. But I won! Oh my goodness, I won. And shortly after - this beautiful stack of fabrics arrived at the post office for me! Isn't the "Gnoma-Claus" just adorable?

So, here the stack of fabric sits - on my trunk waiting patiently to be cut into and made into our first ever Christmas quilt. It's wonderful! And thankfully, I have a very supportive husband who encourages me (and goes with me to quilt shops/online shopping) to get all the matching fabrics I'll need to turn this fat eighth bundle into a snuggly quilt for us.
Thanks so much, Monica!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

More UFO Progress

When I first started quilting, I was strictly a machine project girl. The only handwork I did was turning over a binding and when push came to shove - sewing on a button.

I did try my hand at hand quilting two different quilts...but seeing as how the first one arrived a month after the wedding it was a gift for, and the second arrived over 2 years after the birthday it was a gift for, I quickly tossed aside the idea of handquilting - except for some small projects.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago, when I arrived at my first small group meeting arranged through my quilt guild. I was instructed to bring some embroidery floss and a hoop, to do embroidery. Now, the floss I had plenty of - what self respecting 80's child didn't make tons of friendship bracelets in her day? But, I had never done any embroidery! Thankfully, I had some great teachers and it seemed like a fun concept.

Then, I found Gail Pan's Free Block of the Month, and figured I'd give it a try. That was 2009. I made the first block back then, bu tthen in the midst of engagement and wedding, it got pushed aside.

Well, I've picked it back up and made some progress, if I do say so myself.

Here are 5 of the 9 blocks.
I've got numbers 6 & 7 complete, and number 8 just needs a couple more french knots. Then one more to go and then I just need to put it into a quilt! The fabric for its been sitting around since '09, and I'm hoping to get this UFO crossed off the list before Christmas 2011.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Better than the dishes...

While Mr. Gnomemade did the dishes last night, I spent some much needed time on this project.

It's one of my many UFOs that have been in the works for way too long. But recently I've plowed ahead and carved out some time (like during the dishes) to finally get some quilting onto it. Can't wait for the final product and hope to have all the quilting done and binding ready to be turned over by the time the SuperBowl rolls around.

We're hosting the annual SuperBowl party for all my co-workers at our place again this year. A series of events have led to my family becoming major Steelers fans, so I know who I'm rooting for, as well as Mr. Gnomemade! Looking forward to some good snacks, great times with friends, a good game and some crafting - all in one!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day

Now, I'm a girl that was raised in the Northeast. For the first 18 years of my life, I had piles of snow every winter and negotiating a snow storm was just another typical winter day. I own more scarves, mittens and hats than I'd like to admit, but they were alowasy put to good use. Now, fast forward a couple of years - living in the Carolinas - and it's a rare occasion when I have to pull my now infamous (more on that in another post) pink boots out.

But, today it's snowing like crazy here. They're predicting we'll have seen over 7 inches fall by the time the storm is over. So, we have a snow day - which in truth is a rather odd experience for me. You see...I live where I work. No, I don't work from home, but rather have an office in the building in which I live. So, in actuality, my commute is maybe 50 feet or so down a hallway. Yet, offices are closed, so I'm tucked away in my apartment enjoying the pretty snow before the wintry mix gets here. (I do have a meeting I have to go to later today at 2 pm, and then again at 9:15 pm, but we'll just ignore that fact right now.)

Anyways, Mr. Gnomemade decided despite being rather well versed in winter driving himself, he'd work from home today - a decision thankfully his work agreed with. So we're both here at home. Now, while he works away, I'm enjoying my snow day and cutting into this...

The majority of the fabrics are from "In the Pink II" and I'm using a pattern I found online through While not a UFO, it does meet my criteria of working on projects I already have the fabric for - didn't buy anything new for it this year (though some of it did come in on New Year's Eve!)

So, that's my snow day. Well, that and trying to unearth our cars. And maybe some hot cocoa.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Two Steps Back...

...from my promise that I would complete my UFOs before starting something new. But sometimes, you just have to break that type of promise.

It started with a book. Camille Roskelley's beautiful, wonderful, inspirational book - Simplify. Then add in a wonderful jelly roll from Fig Tree Quilt's Fig & Plum line and that would be enough to tempt me to stray.

However, I was committed to sticking to my resolution of working on my UFOs. But, this quilt needed to be made, because it was going to a good home. Mr. Gnomemade's of his brother's wife...was diagnosed with lung cancer in the fall. We wanted to do something special for her, and these were the perfect colors for I consider that a good reason to break away from my plan.

We saw Mr. Gnomemade's family for the Christmas holidays, so I finished it up in time (putting the binding on while on the plane there).

Like with all the quilts I make and give away, I really hope that she liked it. This is one of my favorites that I've made. It's a lap quilt size, so perfect for snuggling during the snowy winter.

I really love the pattern from the book, and I look forward to making other quilts from the book...but I guess I should finish up the others that I have pending - or that I've started over the holidays!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

One Step Closer... completing my own personal UFO challenge! This is the final product of the long-ago finished Old Red Barn Co. Quilt-A-Long. When did that happen? 2009? Whoops! I guess I take a while to make quilts. I've been working on it for quite a while now...and even longer than that!

Well, here it is in its finished glory. It's very busy and loud - not quite my style, but the fabric was perfect for its receipient - a wonderful woman who has been very good to Mr. Gnomemade and I since we moved here. This was our way of saying thank you to her.

I apologize for the rather poor photo. It was snapped very quickly at the end of November in a hallway when we hadn't seen the sunlight in a week or so. One of my students took it and I was running out the door to bring it to its receipient.

It's recipient was very gracious and seemed to like the quilt - or at least that's what she told me! I hope it's true!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy 2011

Happy 2011!

Like almost everyone, it seems, 2010 flew by and I'm not quite sure where it went. I had such grand plans for the last quarter of the year, but it just got crazy. Work truly became the main event in mine and Mr. Gnomemade's lives, so there wasn't much else that got done. In fact, we haven't even looked through our professional wedding photos!

With a new year, comes new goals. I like everyone else would like 2011 to be a year where I can accomplish a great many things, but more than anything I'm looking for balance - the opportunity to find some harmony in my life that allows us to be happy. Now 2010 was great - Mr. Gnomemade and I made it official, we spent time with family, had some wonderful vacations/getaways, and more. But, I'd love for 2011 to be even beter.

One thing I wish I had done more in 2010 is craft. I have so many projects that I want to work on - not to mention so much fabric I've stashed away. So, while I didn't do too well with my personal UFO challenge for 2010, I'm going to work on it for the New Year!

So, for 2011, I'm going to try to craft something every day. Now, it may just mean taking a couple of embroidery stitches, or working on a binding, or perhaps like these past four days doing more! 2011 was off to a great start - on New Year's Eve, Mr. Gnomemade took me out fabric shopping to start off the new year right. On Saturday and Sunday, I got several hours to myself where I put together most of a quilt top and finished up the borders on my Parents-in-Law Surprise Quilt! Last night, I put the borders on my new quilt top and today I put together the quilt sandwich on my Parents-in-Law's quilt. Now that's the way I want to kick off 2011 and hopefully keep it going!

I also want to be better about blogging - if I'm going to be crafting more, I love having it all recorded. Not to mention maybe it'll keep me on track for crafting!

Now, there's lots of other stuff I want to accomplish - go to the gym more, eat better, watch less bad TV, etc. But I really want to craft more...

So here's to 2011! Year of the craft!