Thursday, April 28, 2011


Well, meet my Mother's Day, Christmas, birthday, and anniversary present for the next 7 years or so. I actually got an incredible deal on this machine. To make a VERY long story short: I got this virtually brand new (20 hrs. of sewing on it) Janome Horizon 7700 for almost $1000 less than the price I was quoted for a new machine by my local Janome dealer. I know what you're thinking: "But, but, but what about the free lessons? What about the service? What about the warranty? Why would someone sell a machine with only 20 hours of sewing on it - must be a lemon!"

Here's the long and short of it: this was an "impulse buy" of sorts by the original owner. She bought the machine to put on a quilting frame to make art quilts. After the purchase, she talked with the lady she's buying the frame from who told her that this machine was absolutely not the right one to put on a frame - she needed a non-computerized, straight-stitch only machine. She was going to trade it in for said straight-stitch machine, but the dealer she bought the Horizon from didn't carry machines like that. SO - she decided to find a buyer for it. ME! 

I did my homework before buying this machine. I called the company and the dealer she bought the machine from. I scoured the internet for reviews and red flags. I ran numbers. I found out that, although the company warranty doesn't technically transfer to me as the second owner, the dealer she used would, in fact, teach me how to use the machine (for free) and perform any needed service and repairs (just like they would have for a first owner). Fantastic news!

So that's the somewhat short version of how I ended up with this AWESOME sewing machine. I can't wait to see what this baby can do :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fabric Tuesday

I'm sharing my latest little project here and linking to Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday link party (thus, the new button on my sidebar)! 

I made this little guy to practice once with Heather Bailey's adorable Ellie and Olphie pattern before I sew up those big brother and big sister gifts I talked about here. I'm pleased with how he turned out - this pattern is truly darling! I didn't add any embelishments to him since he is going to live on my husband's desk at work - I wanted him to be rather low-key. As low-key as you can be when you're a cutie little argyle elephant!!

Here he is inspecting some drawing mark-ups

 And double-checking that project log

My husband is so sweet for appreciating my creations enough to house one on his work desk! What a guy.

Happy Fabric Tuesday!

"Modern" vs. "Traditional"... Hm.

For those readers who are primarily interested in seeing pictures and descriptions of what I've recently made, I must apologize in advance for this post. It will (probably) not include any of that.

I'd like to thank Rachel (who's blog is Stitched in Color) for inspiring this spin-off post from her brilliant (and dare I say brave) post about things we all normally wouldn't say. It can be found here. It is very worth the read as are the comments, if you are so inclined. Rachel shared some real honesty about sewing/quilting trends, fabric lines, patterns, and the like - and then invited her readers to do the same in their comments... AND THE FLOOD GATES WERE OPENED! Okay, a little exaggeration there, but truly - these sewists and quilters have had a ton of real, meaningful thoughts they've been tight-lipped about and Rachel's post seems like it's been just the nudge we all needed to spill our guts!

I my comment, I shared 2 thoughts. One was about my desire for the quilting bloggers out there to share info. about their sewing machines... I mentioned this because it's not something I would probably ever ask in a comment on one of the blogs I follow, but you better believe I'm scouring all the photos of their studios for glimpses of the machine(s) they use!!!

The other issue I mentioned in my comment on Rachel's post was the discouragement I feel as  new quilter when I read posts about the "fresh, modern" style of quilting vs. the traditional (read: "unoriginal", "boring", "lame") style of quilting. On more than one occasion, I've read a post in a blog or photo comments on Flickr that have left me feeling none too hopeful about my own emerging quilting style and abilities. When folks out there write that using quilt kits and fabric collections rather than designing original patterns and selecting your own fabric is, well... "uncool", I have to admit it's discouraging. Perhaps they're not talking about beginning quilters... perhaps they're calling for established quilters out there to stretch their artistic selves... that's all fine and good, but for those of us who are not exactly savvy or experienced in this art form yet, it does little more than discourage.

Bottom line, here's how I see it - I look to quilting blogs for inspiration. Period. I'm not here just  for tutorials (though I appreciate them ever so much) or free fabric (not that I don't enter giveaways) - I follow blogs and peruse Flickr to see quilts and sewn items that are beautiful, that capture my interest, and that get my own creative juices flowing. I think the reason that I get discouraged by the types of postings I mentioned above is because the quilts that inspire me the most are what I would call "modern". The style is something I aspire to. When I read that using a collection of fabric or someone else's pattern to make a quilt is not REALLY "modern", it is discouraging because it removes me that much further from the style I aspire to. For example, at this point, I would never dream of joining a "modern quilt guild" even though I would love to... I feel that my quilting isn't "modern enough" due to the fact that I use "unoriginal" ideas to create my quilts. Another facet of this issue that puts me off greatly is that it reminds me a lot of 6th grade. I was almost a cool kid in 6th grade. I liked the cool kids' style. I talked to them. I asked my mom to buy the same jeans, black t-shirts, and button-up flannels that they wore (give me a break - it was the early 90's). If you put us all side-by-side you might mistake me for one of them. BUT - I wasn't.

REALLY??!?! Do we as adults need to recreate the adolescent angst we went through in childhood? In our creative community of all places? "Well, you call your style modern, but I don't think what you think is modern is really modern" That's clique talk... and it puts me off.
Here is a quote from the comments on Rachel's post that illustrates perfectly some of the thoughts and feelings out there which make me feel... well... bad, less-than, non-original, and totally unmotivated to create things which I would like to call 'modern':

"It's probably because I'm in art school and studying graphic design so I see what "modern design" looks like right now. There are quilt designs out there claiming to be modern but obviously, it's not. It's either too complicated, too messy, the fabric choices are incorrect...whatever. Before you call yourself a modern designer, you need to know what that even means!!!"

Here are a couple more quotes from the comments on Rachel's post that show me that I'm not alone in my feelings about this "Modern?" issue:

"Hey, sistas, put your big girl panties on and stop trying to 'prove' if modern quilts or traditional quilts are better. Who cares?"

"I hate that even though quilters are supposed to be open and welcoming to all, everything seems so clique-ish. I would love to participate in swaps, but you have to have participated in swaps before you can join a swap...really? "

Interesting quotes, huh?

I'd love to hear feedback from you! Do I just need an attitude adjustment?!?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Well, this is my first stab at a WIP (work(s)-in-progess) Wednesday post (see new button on my sidebar)! Fun!

Here is my newest WIP:

You may recognize a pinwheel in this layout from this post - IT'S A BOY :)

The layout has turned into this...

 I scattered the pinwheels (Lily and Will by Bunny Hill Designs for Moda) in with some Kona solids and backed the quilt with a yummy snuggle flannel in a sweet baby blue

 These technically aren't a WIP yet (because I haven't started them), but these adorable elephants (Effie &Ollie pattern by Heather Bailey) will be going to the new big brother and big sister of the new baby - I've found from experience that gifts REALLY help ease the blow of the new addition to the family for the new siblings :)

Other current WIPs include: a Kate Spain 12 Days of Christmas quilt from a kit (for a client) and a scrappy quilt I am finishing to send to Quilts for Japan (just have to bind and ship).

Projects on the horizon: a quilt for my little guy's 1ST BIRTHDAY next month!! Where has the year gone?! I'm planning to use this adorable Hooty Hoot collection by Riley Blake:

Happy Wednesday!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Someday (in September) Quilt

I don't have a whole lot in the way of finished projects to share right now... I'm feeling a bit of the familiar frustration caused by wanting to work on things and just not having those stretches of time I need to do so. That happens with a big family. I'll have to settle for sharing something with you which will hopefully become a great quilt for my in-laws for their wedding anniversary. The anniversary is not until September, so I have hope that I'll be able to carve out the time to finish it by then! It will be a Pinwheel/Windmill Quilt (does anyone know the "real" name for this block??), using the Twiggy collection by Sanae for Moda and will be queen sized. I had it in my head at one point to hand quilt this with perle 8, but I think I'll see how long the piecing takes before I get my heart set on that :)

Here's the first block... and my prim rose - I just REALLY love her! :) 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Heather Ross Giveaway @ Leigh's Blog

If you're a Heather Ross FANATIC (like me), you should definitely head over to Leedle Deedle Quilts, because Leigh is having a fabulous giveaway for some Heather Ross fat quarters! Mendocino mermaids, Anyone???

Photo courtesy of FreeSpirit

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Special Surprise

Today is an exciting day. A good friend of mine is having a baby today! My thoughts have been with her and her family for most of the day as I await the happy call. She and her husband are dear friends of ours and their other two children are some of our kids' best buddies.

Of course, I am working on a quilt for the little one. I would have had it done by now, except we don't know if the baby is a boy or a girl yet... so I've been mainly working on the gender neutral blocks and waiting for the arrival to add some special, more gender specific colors to the quilt. I couldn't resist sewing up a couple today, though... we're so close to finding out :)

Which will it be??

A little Mister??

Or a little Miss?

Fabric is "Lilly and Will" by Bunny Hill Designs for Moda

In other (not nearly as exciting) news, my pinwheels are getting a little bit cleaner with practice!

Another fun project I'm currently finishing up is a couple of Easter Egg Bags for the two daughters of another friend of mine. She did a lot of the work for me by picking out fabric ahead of time, so all I'm doing is sewing them up :)

Here's the first one (for Little M):

Enjoy your afternoon!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Material Monday

Look what arrived today!!!!

As I'm sure is evident from the photos, I am very much into the yellow/grey combination that is sweeping the quilting world! The top photos are of Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2 collection, Khristian A. Howell's High Society, and Kona Ash... and I had to include my little prim rose - I love her :)

30's feedsack reproduction fabrics are also one of my recent favorites - I love the cheerful colors in these vintage inspired prints. I picked up the fat 8th bundles from this  Etsy shop. I plan on using the 30's repro. fabric to one day make the quilt featured in this tutorial shared by the amazingly talented Rita of Red Pepper Quilts. Her work is a great source of inspiration for me - if you haven't yet, you should definitely look her up!

I'm not exactly sure what the yellow/grey fabrics will turn into yet... so for now I'll just gaze at them lovingly :)

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The First Web!

I'm so excited about this quilt! It's going to have to be put on the back burner for a little while now (I've got time-sensitive projects that need attention), but I needed to work up at least a 2x2 to see how the webs would look :)

A Bit of Backstory...

Hi Everyone (which is actually no one... yet)!

I'm Rebecca, and this is my brand new, shiny blog. I am very awkward doing new things at first (probably why I haven't done all that many "new" things in my nearly 30 years), so if there are ever any readers of this blog - you will have to bear with me and my "newness" at this!

I'm keeping this blog to chronicle my sewing endeavors, which is also a new activity of mine. My husband bought me a sewing machine in August 2010 (wonderful man that he is)

... and I had never sewn a stitch in my life before then. I originally wanted the machine to make a quilt for my oldest daughter for her 5th birthday. It was my first quilt and I completed it just in time for her to wake up with it on her special day.

Here is the beautiful fabric we selected together (Bliss by Bonnie and Camille for Moda) bought from The Sproutz Store (WONDERFUL shop)

Here's the finished product

After this first quilt, I was officially addicted! I loved the entire process. Needless to say, my little Brother cs600i has been virtually smokin' since then with tons of projects (small and not-so-small). I've sewn up bags, wall hangings, simple blankets, and quilts for my mom (the Oz quilt from my first post), my twin daughters (for their 3rd birthday last month), and my mother-in-law (for her 60th back in January)! But those will be for another time, another post :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Quilt in Progress!

I started working on a new quilt today and I'm really excited about it...

 I've been fondling my Arcadia honey bun and bits of yardage and trying to dream up the perfect quilt for them to become. I've decided on a double-sided quilt with one side being made up of spiderweb blocks (using the honey bun and RK Kona Solid in Ash) and the other being a window-panes-type (using the yardage and probably another Kona Solid... perhaps another shade of grey?? Suggestions?)

On another note --- I'm researching sewing machines! I love my little Brother CS6000i, but let's face it - I need a workhorse :) I'm looking a lot at Berninas (OUCH - the pricetags) and Elnas. I have a lot of info. to gather before I make my next very expensive decision... as if this new sewing habit of mine hasn't brought with it enough spending *ahem... bought too much fabric online yesterday...*