Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ninja Stars at a Wedding

One of my good friends from college, Christina, is getting married in January O.o  I am so blessed by her friendship.  Christina definitely has the gift of hospitality, and, in college when we lived 2 minutes apart, I made sure I did not miss a single opportunity to benefit from this special gift.  I swear she has a special touch when she makes tea.  I’m not addicted to tea like I am to Coca-Cola, but I do enjoy an occasional cup, unless Christina is around.  Then, I almost always have a cup in hand.  Every time I came to her place, she would offer up a warm cup of tea and snacks (usually cheez-its duos or bread and cheese) to help us stay up to write our lit theory papers (woo!!!! No more deconstructionalist papers).  She is an amazing storyteller.  I LOVE listening to her tell about people in her class or the kids she was teaching at Sunday school.  Also, she is just great at salsa dancing (it’s her natural grace kicking in). 

I really do adore her, even though I am not too pleased that she decided to LEAVE ME!!!!! She moved to the other coast, to FL, which is where her fiancĂ© is.  It is also where she will make her home………..*sniff*  I really miss her.  But, on the bright side, she only lives an hour away from DISNEY WORLD!!! I want to go there so badly.  I am a Disney geek, but I have never been to Disney World.  Hopefully, that will one day change.  The fact that Elisabeth (my best friend and fellow Disney/Quilting geek) and I can stay with her for free (if we ever save enough money) has softened the blow of her leaving.

Of course, I wanted to make her a quilt for her wedding.  I thought long and hard about the quilt  for her and Bryce, her fiancĂ©.  I know that I wanted to use purple in the quilt because that is part of her wedding colors (I think it is plum or eggplant).  I didn’t know what other colors were going to be in her wedding, so I just picked her favorite color-green.  Elisabeth helped me pick out these fabrics.  She is great at putting things together.  I partially decided on this quilt pattern b/c I could try to justify to Bryce that this quilt is for both him and Christina because it is manly.  It has ninja stars in the pattern!  Even big boys like destroying things.

For the back, I used this fabric b/c she really likes nature.  I did simple quilting (I’m a little nervous about trying anything too complicated).  I just quilted in the white approximately ¼” from the seam.

This is my favorite quilt I’ve made so far.  I was so excited when I was finished that I had to call Christina and tell her all about it………..oops!  Oh well, I didn’t show her pictures, so I guess I kind of showed self control. 

Christina definitely deserves this quilt.  She has been a great friend (we met while studying abroad in London), and I hope she feels loved every time she sees this quilt.

Wishing you a life free from stay threads,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Welcome to the World, Brian

Babies, brides, diapers, dresses………It seems like every couple of months there is a joyous occasion to celebrate (I still feel too young to have friends getting married….it is weird).

Last week, my cousin had a baby, whom they named Brian J  Thankfully, everyone is healthy and happy.  I have not been able to go see the baby yet, but we already have a HUGE family, so I think I will wait until everything gets settled down. I’m sure the new little guy is overwhelmed to a world with so many people.

Also, it will give me time to trim all of those pesky stray threads from a quilt that I made for him.   Baby quilts are awesome!!! I love making them.  You don’t get bored working with the same fabrics or using the same techniques because it is so fast.  Plus, you get to use adorable fabric. 

**After a long morning in church, my dad offered to be my model.  See, he's still in his suit.  I'm spoiled**

I have a hard time choosing fabric for boys…………personally, it is not that inspiring when compared to the fabric for girls (I have a weakness for girly fairytales….I’m dying for a reason to use the peeps 1001).  I think that this quilt is a little sophisticated for a baby, but I am really happy with how it turned out.  I wanted to incorporate Japanese fabric to honor our Japanese heritage (even though I have red hair and blue eyes, I am a quarter Japanese.  I have all the recessive genes.  I promise I’m not pulling your leg).  The blue fabric was imported from Japan.  I got it from an estate sale, so I’m not sure what line it is from, which is too bad because I think I would like some more.  It is gorgeous.

For the back, I chose a navy polka dot.  I think it adds some more playfulness while still matching the style of the front.

*Please ignore the stray threads.  I promise that these hid when I was trying to snip them, only to pop up during the photo shoot, which is just plain mean* 

Quilting this was a BLAST.  First of all, I used my new walking foot……….It is one of the great loves of my life.  Using the right tools makes a big difference (obviously).

I can’t quite recall what this kind of quilting is called, but it is straight-line, diagonal quilting to form cute little diamonds.  I used my dad’s painter tape to make it as straight as I could, though it is still far from perfect. It is great pattern, and I will be using it again in the near future.

I don’t know my cousin’s decorating taste, but I hope that she loves it as much as I loved making it.

Btw, does anyone know the relation between me and my cousin’s baby?  Is that my second cousin?  My cousin once removed?  Oh, well, I will soon be claiming my rights as family to steal some time with the new little cutie J

On a completely different note, I’m trying to take up cooking.  Cooking is something that I want to be good at, but it is hard to put in the time and money it takes to be good.  When I was in London, I cooked all the time with my flatmates and loved it.  At home, it is just so much easier to warm up leftovers, go meet with friends to grab a meal, or rely on my mom’s cooking.  I don’t know how faithful I am going to be to my cooking practice, but I started again this weekend.  I made a sweet and sour pork stir-fry for our Sunday family dinners.  Everyone ate it without complaints or bogus compliments, so I’m going to call it a success.

*My brother and I share an intense and undying love for coke.  The cans you see on the left is the end of a long line of empty cans.*

Wishing you a life free from stay threads,

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Present for me!

Woohoo!!!! I got a present J  Well…………………confession……………………I gave myself a present: a new quilt for my bed.  I finished my second quilt.  I think I’m going to call it the Super Nova.  It went so much faster than my first.  Got to love free-time during the summer. 

Please excuse the bad lighting....The morning sun does not bode well for pretty pictures

I really do not know of a great way to design a quilt, so I just did it on excel.

Above is the beginning of my design.  Using excel made the math rather easy and accurate, but I felt limited with color selection.  I think I'm going to do something different next time.

I was originally intending to add an intricate border including diamonds to make it a standard twin size quilt, but it just looked ugly!!! Fortunately, I was able to use some of the border on the back.  I think it adds a little interest to such a dark backing.

I don't know if this picture does it justice, but I quilted using red thread.  I LOVE it.  I am definitely going to experiment with thread color in the future. 

Because I axed the border, it is not a standard size, but it is perfect for a short person, like me :)  I know that I am going to have nothing but sweet dreams when I am sleeping under my own quilt.  *sigh*  I think I am in love with quilting.......

Now, it is time to work on some presents for other people.

Wishing you a life free from stray threads,

Friday, July 8, 2011

These past couple of days, my dog and I have been waiting by the front door for our mail carrier, but for very different reasons.

She wants an opportunity to remind the mail carrier that this is HER house, and she does not appreciate it when he walks on her front lawn to leave something in her mailbox without giving her the opportunity to inspect the packages to make sure it is safe for her family.  Of course, being an important of my over-dramatic family, she must express her displeasure and frustration.  Every morning, my dog, who is afraid of bubbles, cameras, and earrings, waits for the chance to intimidate the mail carrier by lunging at the door and barking furiously at the poor man.  Secretly, I know she loves him because this is one of the few moments during the day when she actually acts like a dog instead of one of my siblings.

I am waiting for a very different reason……………………….to receive my first online fabric order!

I’m not a big online shopper, unless you count buying books off of amazon.  I like touching my fabric, running my (clean) fingers across all the lined-up bolts.  When I get it from the store, I know exactly what I am getting.  Honestly, I’m a little nervous about buying fabric and thread online.  I hope the colors are just as beautiful as they are on the website.  Below are links of what I ordered.

This sampler includes some of my favorite colors.  I’m seriously in LOVE with this color palate. I thought that I would never buy fabric on the internet, but this collection (and awesome price) converted me.

A good purple is hard to find, and it was on clearance………………..resistance was impossible

This was such a great price for 1200 yards that I had to take a chance.
I also bought the book Farmer's Wife Quilts.

The cherry on top was that shipping was free for orders over $50.00.  I feel like I’m going on a first date.  I’m so incredibly excited yet nervous and worried about being disappointed.  The fabric perfectly reflects my color preference, the book is going to be amazing, and the thread is an unbelievable deal.  Still, with all of this excitement, nerves and questions like, “What if the fabric isn’t so pretty?” and “What if my sewing machine refuses to use this super cheap thread?” makes the butterflies zoom around my stomach.

What are your favorite, affordable online fabric stores?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Challenge Accepted

This past year, I began my first “grown up” job, started grad school, transferred to another school, continued tutoring, and taught my first class as an adjunct professor.  Although I am dedicated to my students and my education, I need to find a balance in my life before my stress affects my work.  Uncharacteristically, I made a New Year resolution in 2011, which was to go to one family event, spend at least one evening with my friends, and pursue a new hobby (which was sewing but turned to quilting when my best friend asked me to learn it with her) for a minimum of one hour each week. I hope that this blog will not only help me overcome this self-imposed challenge by keeping me accountable but also be a place to contribute to and learn from the quilting community.