Sunday, March 29, 2015

March Stitch Tease Blocks

For the past year I've had the pleasure of being a member of an international quilting bee called Stitch Tease. The bee is comprised of 12 women from four countries, and we all get a month to be Queen. When it's our turn, we decide what type of quilt block we want everyone to make for us, so we each end up with a quilt made by 12 different gals from around the world. This is the first and only bee to which I've ever belonged, and I was very honored to be invited. It's been so much fun, but I can't believe I haven't posted the blocks I've been making!

Stitch Tease Bee Blocks for Susan (March)

March was Susan's month to be Queen. She chose an improv block that starts out with a fussy cut and incorporates white and colored strips around it in a log cabin-ish style. The block is based on a quilt by Plum and June. These blocks were really fun to make. Susan wanted different sized blocks in multiples of 6. I made one 12" block, one 12" x 6" block, and two 6" blocks. I left them oversized (untrimmed) so that Susan could trim them down exactly how she wants. She mentioned that wonky was good, so I did my best to make some wonky strips, but I'm still trying to get better at that.

Stitch Tease Bee March Blocks

The birdie block is my favorite. It's hard to part with that one, but luckily I still have a nice big piece of that fabric! :)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Party Favors

Tomorrow is my baby shower: hosted by my friend, Wendy. Without doubt, she throws the best parties I've ever attended, so I'm pretty stoked.

She has turned down all of my offers to help in any way, but I demanded to do something. So I decided to make some party favors to thank the guests.

I came across these cute chocolate covered pretzel rods on Pinterest and decided that they were a must. Salty pretzels and chocolate all in one little adorable package? "Yes, please" says the pregnant lady.

It's a Boy Pretzels

While making these sticks of deliciousness, I discovered that professional chocolatier is probably not a career I should pursue. Working with chocolate is kind of hard!! I burned/seized 2 batches of chocolate. Ouch. Eventually I figured out enough to complete the project, though, and the result is pretty good. I used white chocolate chips to dip the white pretzels, and then I used Wilton Candy Melts for the blue drizzle. After using the candy melts and discovering how much easier they are to work with than chocolate chips, I bought them in cocoa flavor for the regular chocolate pretzels. They taste great and are truly much easier to melt and dip.

I also used Wilton's Disposable Candy Decorating Bags. They make drizzling so easy. You just put the melts inside, twist the end (I secured it with elastic), pop them in the microwave, and clip the tip. When you're done, there is no messy cleanup; you just toss them in the trash.

Wilton even makes special bags for pretzel rods!! Am I starting to sound like an infomercial? These are super cool, and they even come with the silver twist ties. I found all of these Wilton products at Joann Fabrics.

I also made candles, because I remembered the Blue Ball Jars that came out recently, and I knew I had to use those for something. This was my first attempt at candle making, and alas - it was also a bit of a struggle. 

I used this tutorial, but failed at first with the scenting process. The first two kinds of oil I tried did not work very well. Those candles hardly smell at all. Then I discovered Candle Scents by CandleScience on Amazon. I ordered a sampler pack of these, and they worked great. I also ordered my wicks and soy wax through Amazon.

Party Favors

This is what every guest will receive at the shower. I feel very lucky to have friends and family who are willing to celebrate and support me during this life changing event. I hope they like their thank you party favors!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Two Baby Quilts

Hello Friends!

It's been a while, but this blog has not been permanently abandoned. I'm back to show you a couple of recently finished baby quilts.

I was the lucky winner of the Modern Baby: Easy, Fresh and Fun Quilt Designs book at Sewing Summit in 2013. I was extra excited to win this book, because my friend, Dana, from Old Red Barn Co. has a quilt on the cover that I had been wanting to make. It took a while for me to actually make the quilt, however, because there weren't any new babies around. This year there are two pretty important ones.

My cousin had her first baby in January. I shipped this quilt to her in Maine and had it hand-delivered the night before her son was born.

Taylor's Quilt

Mr. Sexy Pants and I are expecting our first baby in May - also a boy (Hooray!). Sexy Pants is an avid fisherman, and when he saw my cousin's quilt, he asked (rather jealously) if I would be making one for our son as well. Of course I already had one in the works. I've never made two of the same quilt before, but I just couldn't help myself. I love this pattern. The one I made for us has a different background color, and I used different scraps for the bubbles, so the quilts are not identical.

Our Quilt

I used one of my favorite IKEA fabrics for the backing on both quilts. It's a fun print, especially for kids. I will admit to using it on at least one of my own quilts as well. I also used the same binding for both quilts, because I liked it so much.

Backing Fabric

The fish and bubbles are done with raw-edge appliqué, so when the quilts are washed the edges of those pieces will fray. Hopefully the babies will enjoy playing with those.

I quilted both quilts on my Grace Frame and Juki combo with the same motif: wavy lines that circle around and outline the appliquéd pieces.

Free-Motion Quilting

The quilts finished at about 33" x 43".

There are a lot of other great patterns in the Modern Baby Book, including a beautiful paper-pieced pattern by Carolyn Friedlander that I hope to make at some point for a wall quilt, and also a fun and very modern pattern that I love by Lindsay Rhodes.

Happy quilting :)