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Wordless Wednesday {Progress}

Red & Aqua Sampler Quilt Top

One Night Stand

I need to finish…

* My Anna Maria Horner skirt – it only needs hemming!

* The do. Good Stitches Red & Aqua Sampler charity quilt – just received my Kona snow from Sew Fresh Fabrics for the backing.

* My Christmas Tree skirt – I’m done piecing the top (and WOW!).  Now, should I bind it or just sew right sides together and turn right side out?

Christmas Tree Skirt Piecing

Of course, I didn’t work on any of those projects last night. Nope.  I decided to indulge in a quick finish, a one-night stand as it were.

Cross Blocks for do. Good Stitches
These cross blocks are for another do. Good Stitches quilt, this time for the faith circle.  Ahhhh, so easy!  Tutorial here.

What do you need to finish?

Aria's pincushion

P.S.  Speaking of finishes, look what my 5-year-old just finished!  It’s a little froggie pincushion.  She wanted me to share it with you :).

And now, let’s celebrate YOUR birthday, whenever it is, with a fabric giveaway!  Because I know you want fabric for your birthday, right?

My new sponsor, Sew Fresh Fabrics, is gifting a fat quarter set from Nest by Valori Wells and your favorite 4 Kona colors!  Here is the fat quarter set, including from top to bottom:  Paisley in Autumn, Birds in Pink, Birds in Twig and Berries in Tangerine.

Nest by Valori Wells

Don’t you just love the birds?  I can’t seem to get enough of them.  Here’s another view of this fat quarter set:

Fat Quarter Nest + Kona Giveaway

But that’s not all…  The winner will also receive 4 fat quarters of Kona Cotton, because you know that Sew Fresh Fabrics is all about the Kona.

Prints + Solids = You’ll be ready to sew!

Enter to Win!

For your chance to win, comment here telling us which 4 Kona Cotton Solids you’d choose to coordinate with this lovely set of Nest. Just click right over to Kona Cotton at Sew Fresh Fabrics to find your favorites!

For a second entry, blog about this giveaway and make a second comment to record your entry.

Enter now through noon (EST) Thursday, September 16th.  Winner will be announced Thursday afternoon!

Me.

On my birthday weekend, I though I’d share a little about me.  You know, the me that exists beyond sewing, the “in real life” Rachel, so to speak.  And, if you don’t want to humor me, y’all just come back next time, K?

Here we go…

Me, I’m intense.  I do pretty much everything all-the-way and 100% IN.  That started with ballet at age 4.  I was quite the serious ballerina-to-be until I quit my senior year of high school.  I mean like, dancing 6 days a week and planning to forgo having kids because they’d get in the way of my dancing – that kind of serious.  Thank goodness that didn’t come to be!

I graduated high school at age 16, the same year I quit ballet.  Yes, I was a bit young for a valedictorian.  I seem to have been raised under the premise that earlier/younger is better.  Not true.  I’m really not particularly smart, just hard working.  I truly enjoy work.  I’m said to be “productivity oriented” (which may explain my energy for sewing, eh?).  For me school was an approval-winning bonanza, at least with my teachers.  Fortunately, I had the opportunity in later years to pursue an education that really meant something to me when I audited religious studies courses at Westmont, a Christian college in Santa Barbara.

Because, yes, my faith certainly means something to me.  It’s difficult to know how to express that here.  My life is made meaningful, vibrant and hope-filled because of what Jesus is for me.  And God’s had His hands is all my life’s great turning points, from quitting ballet to starting Euphoria, and in the small things too, like inspiring me to begin do. Good Stitches.

I married my husband at 18. Sheesh!  I was waaaaay too young, though my husband (who had just turned 20) still maintains that he was ready.  I was so not grown up.  I’d just been charging forward on the “fast track” of life and since I’d hopped off the ballerina train, I was finding a new direction.  Those first few years were painful for me.  I’m so glad that my faith and my friends sustained me because my marriage and my family are the most precious aspects of my life today.

Having kids changes everything.  At 22 I became a mother, at home.  Our natural home birth was the beginning for us of a very “crunchy”  journey.  And, now, we’re bonafide “weird” – especially since we moved from our native California to South Carolina.  Yes, I shop local and organic, wash my face with oil and even drink raw milk.  I suppose you could say we’re free thinkers. But, for all the renouncing we’ve done, we’re also embracing the good old ways:  gardening, homeschooling, and establishing simple family traditions.

So, who am I today?  Confident.  Sometimes I feel like I could do anything (anything but machine quilting, that is).  Busy. Mom, entrepreneur, teacher, artist, friend.  Fulfilled.  Life is sweeter than I could have ever imagined.  Creative.  Which is a new one for me to claim.  Restless.  I dance once a week, but it’s not enough.  Energized.  By each chance to create.  Thankful.  For you, for God, for all the dear souls in my life.

I really like sewing.  And, I really like blogging.  So, I think I’ll be here for awhile.  Thanks for having me.

It’s My Birthday!

Or maybe it’s just time to receive Urban Home Goods swaps?  When I got home last night and read “Pink Punk Boutique” on the return label of a fairly large package at my doorstep, I let out a shout!  I’ve been stalking the swap group page a bit and had already seen what Shelley of Pink Punk Boutique made for her partner.  It was LOVE at first sight.  Just look what I got in the mail!!!

Urban Home Goods Swap - RECEIVED!

Can you believe it? This is so not fair. I don’t deserve this, not-uh, not-uh.

Well, you can see there that Shelley made a gorgeous “rug mug” and sent along a shiney new yellow mug to keep it company. My kitchen is yellow, orange, pink and red, so she nailed it. That little rug mug is actually keeping me company by my laptop right now. I drink water all day long.

My machine feels so loved!

I was really, really hoping for a sewing machine cover, and here it is! Could it be any more fab? Linen with wavy quilting! Be still my beating heart! And all that color too. Sigh, it’s perfect. My machine feels so loved (and my dining room table looks much nicer!) Do you see what else she sent?

the Ultimate pin cushion

It’s just the ultimate pincushion!!!! This pincushion caddy is from Anna Maria Horner’s first book Seams to Me.  I’ve been wanting to make it because my current and only pincushion is rather embarrassing.  But, I’ve heard it’s kind of tricky to make, so I’m guiltily relieved that I don’t have to make it for myself (I know, that’s low, http://stitchedincolor.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpisn’t it).  I would have been thrilled to receive just the sewing machine cover.  That Shelley sent this too cool pincushion made in Anna’s fabrics (swoon) is so beyond amazing!

Cute as a pie, backsides

But that’s not all.  I know!  I know!  She also made me THREE hot pads. Above are pics I took of the backs. I adore those little selvedge tags. Here is Shelley’s pic of the fronts:

Hot Pads

So, what can I say?  I love it!  Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you to Shelley of Pink Punk Boutique!

P.S.  Actually, it is my birthday weekend.  Tonight I’m starting the celebrations by going out to the Indie Craft Parade in Greenville, SC with some girlfriends.  Hopefully, I’ll have some pics for you later.

And, I have a gift for you too… check back on Monday!

Stashing Geometrics

As of late, I’ve been craving single tone geometrics.  Don’t you just love how they mix and match with other lines so well?  Here’s my stash-building splurge.

Freebird Ovals & Buttoned Up

Freebird Ovals by Moda in grass, nest, ice and melon, plus Buttoned Up in plum by Anna Maria Horner (not a tonal geometric, I know, but one of the few Good Folks I’ve never owned).

Modern Meadow Herringbone

Herringbone from Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry in pond, timber and maple.

Modern Meadow Nap Sack

Nap Sack from Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry in sunglow, sunset, berry and lake.

All of these treats were purchased through Etsy, with Buttoned Up arriving from my sponsor Sew Love Fabrics and all the rest found at Down Shadow Lane.

Sewing Supplies

It seems I have lots of friends who are just now dipping their toes into the stitching pool.  We’ve been talking supplies lately, so here’s my list to get you started.

  • Sewing Machine.  Unless your mother-in-law’s machine can live with you for weeks at a time, don’t plan on borrowing.  It just makes everything so much harder.  Here’s a link to the affordable-with-extra’s sewing machine I purchased a year ago.  It’s working out nicely!
  • Sewing Machine Needles.  Clearly you need needles (need needles, need needles!… sorry).  All the options can be confusing.  Buy a multi-pack with several sizes so you’ll be ready to work with different weight fabrics and a pack of size 12/80, which is a the size I use most.  It doesn’t hurt to get extra so that you’re not stuck if a needle breaks.
  • Thread. I recommend cotton thread because I love natural fibers.  Coats & Clark Cotton is a fine start in black, white and natural.  Wait to buy colors for a specific project.  Higher quality threads like Gutermann are wise choices when you’re working on heirloom items like quilts.  You do not want “hand quilting” thread for your sewing machine.
  • Bobbins. These clear plastic disks fit in your sewing machine to feed the bobbin thread.  Your machine likely came with a few, but you’ll want more.  They’re cheap so buy a pack.
  • Straight Pins. Have some fun picking out a cute set.  Cheap and necessary.  Woohoo!
  • Tiny Scissors.  You’ll be snipping threads all the time at the machine.  A small pair of 4″ embroidery scissors stay out of the way and are easy to manage in tight places.  Also a must for applique work.
  • Big Scissors. Treat yourself to a new pair of quality 8″ fabric shears.  These babies will be for fabric only and as such will remain quite sharp.  Using your everyday scissors to cut out pattern pieces can backfire, allowing the fabric to bend and cut wrong.  Your hands might also start to hate you.
  • Marking Tools. Grab yourself a plain old pencil.  Skip the disappearing fabric markers, as they don’t last long or go on easily.  My favorite marking tool is the Clover Chaco Liner (last item on right in above picture).  It smoothly dispenses chalk in a neat line.  And, if I’m careful, the chalk is there as long as I need it, then brushes away.
  • Seam Ripper.  To undo those pesky mistakes that are totally not your fault (and the ones that are).
  • Soft Measuring Tape.  After accidentally melting my cheapo measuring tape with the iron, I invested in a retractable one.  So far, it’s managed to dodge both iron and scissors.

Rotary Cutter Set up

Rotary Cutting Extras

A rotary cutter works like a pizza wheel to cut straight lines SO easily with a special mat and ruler.  No one is going to tell you that you MUST start with a rotary cutter set up.  But, you’ll never regret the day you get one!  Cutting can be the most time-consuming part of sewing.  So, if you have the cash, gear up with these babies from the beginning.  P. S.  If you are making a quilt, run-don’t-walk to get your rotary cutter setup!

  • 45mm Rotary Cutter.  Look for a cutter that seams comfortable, is self-retracting and has a locking mechanism for storage.  My cutter is often on sale at big box stores like Joanns and Hancocks.  No need to get extra blades just yet.
  • 6 x 24″ Quilters Ruler.  These clear, gridded rulers are designed to be used in conjunction with a rotary cutting mat to make getting cuts square a cinch.  Start with a ruler that’s 6 x 24″.  This is a key size!  Once you start using it, you’ll see why.
  • Rotary Cutting Mat.  Be sure to buy a “self healing” rotary cutting mat.  These are usually dark green and are definitely covered with inch grids and angles.  Bigger is better, but these get quite expensive.  Also, it should be stored flat so keep that in mind.  I started with a 12 x 18″ mat, which works very well for most projects.  I can cut everything on it, but I now use a larger mat for long cuts.

If you buy all these items on sale (which you should wait for – they come up pretty often) this rotary cutting setup would be about $40.

~Reference the whole series at Stitch Your Life.

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