Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The t-shirt quilt chronicle Part II

This past weekend I started cutting into the t-shirts that were sent to me by my cousin Liz to make her oldest son a t-shirt quilt.  On Saturday I cut the backs and fronts apart, cut off the sleeves and neckline and felt no pang of nervousness while doing so but the next step was another matter.  Thanks to the positive feedback via Facebook and the comments from my Saturday post, I began cutting out the logos on the backs and the fronts but I was sweating the whole time.  The recurring thought running through my head was: What if I cut them too small or crooked?

I persevered and ended up with 33 logos that are 13"x13" and a few random larger and smaller sizes which I may incorporate into the back.   It seems like a lot of blocks but I am making a twin size quilt.
logos cut out...33 in all with a few random sizes

So now readers I need your help...do you see all that purple?  Sally from Fibercrafter's Musings suggested that I use Kona fabric for the sashing in between the blocks which I will be doing to lend a cleaner look to the quilt but I need to chose a color. What color should I use for the sashing/border? (FYI: The purple in the shirts is exactly 1301 Kona Purple.)  Whites/Greys or blacks?  Or something else?  

Today's step will be to stop in at Joann's to purchase fusible interfacing so I can begin ironing.  

I'm linking up with Fabric Tuesday at Quiltstory today and before I wrote this I went on over there to see what had been posted already today (it's 7am here in CA and there are already 21 submissions!) and guess what...there is already a t-shirt quilt listed in progress.  What are the odds?  :)  
Enjoy your Tuesday,

Monday, August 15, 2011

A (tiny) Quilt Finish and a Soccer Surprise

I finished a quilting project!  I used the first four Summer Sampler Series blocks to make myself a 24" square table topper and I just love it.  As I have not attempted free motion quilting yet, I quilted it by following the straight and diagonal lines that appear in each block.  Hand sewing the binding on reminded me how much I love doing it...got to get more of my quilt tops finished up so I can work on the bindings.
Summer Sampler Series Table topper
The majority of the weekend was spent on the soccer field watching my older son play in a tournament and this tournament was notable for two reasons:

They won, which is not unusual but comes after a tough last minute loss in a tournament final two weeks ago but more importantly goalkeeper son played on the field!  For most of his soccer playing life I have been used to seeing at at the end of the field wearing this:
Older son playing goalkeeper - the usual
But due to an usual set of circumstances where the team only had 13 players for their first game on Saturday, my son was on the bench suited up as a field player.  (His team has two goalkeepers and they switch off games.)   I am a cool customer when he is in the goal - I don't worry about him getting hurt or making mistakes which cause goals as I played goalkeeper myself in my younger days.  In the second half I looked over at the bench and saw my son jump up and stand next to the coach - and suddenly a sub was called and he went in as a forward.  

OK, now I was freaking out.  I was now pacing the sidelines and many of my fellow parents were cracking up at me.
Older son playing forward...and doing it well! 
He played great and actually almost scored a goal which caused our entire sideline (our boys are fortunate to have a huge cheering section for every game)  to roar with excitement.  He loved his five minutes of fame on the field and the best part is was that he was smiling the entire time:

I'm linking up to {Sew} Modern Monday with Megan so go check out the other lovely modern quilting projects are listed.   

T-shirt quilt update coming up tomorrow...I cut into the shirts yesterday! 


Saturday, August 13, 2011

The t-shirt quilt chronicle

My "favorite cousin from Annapolis" (Hi Liz!) asked me a few weeks ago if she could commission me to make her oldest son a quilt out of his college t-shirts and I agreed only after making her aware that I've never made a t-shirt quilt before.  Last week a rather large box arrived at my doorstep which upon opening I discovered 22 various college intramural sports shirts:
first look at the t-shirts
Now that I had the shirts I had to start doing some research on how to make the quilt. After about an hour of research I discovered a tutorial by Mandy of Dixie Chicken Quilts that provides clear step by step instructions to making a t-shirt quilt.

This morning I took an accounting of the fronts and backs of all 22 shirts and came up with:
22  12 1/2 x 12 1/2 logos
9   12 1/2 x 7 1/2 logos
a few smaller 4 1/2 x 3 1/2 logos
three 16 x 16 logos

My next step is to cut the shirts up to remove the fronts from the backs.  Once I have those larger pieces laid out then I'll actually start cutting out the blocks for the quilt and I guarantee I'll be nervous at that point.  My cousin told me she trusted my creativity....oh boy I've got to dig down deep to find that creativity! LOL

By the way this photo is the inspiration photo for me that my cousin sent me.  The quilt below is for a female so I am aiming for a quilt similar this this style but obviously for a male.
inspiration photo of t-shirt quilt
I'll be posting every step of this t-shirt quilt process so come back to cheer me on.  If you have made a t-shirt quilt and have any advice, please feel free to share it.  My goal is to be standing in line at the post office on Monday, August 29th to send this quilt off to Annapolis.  Wish me luck!    

Enjoy your Saturday, 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Reading History or Hand Sewing?

I listen to the Stuff You Missed in Class podcast on a regular basis and was riveted recently by two podcasts both with author David McCullough profiled.  If you are not familiar with David McCullough he wrote 1776, John Adams and the most recently published The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris which I just picked up this morning to begin reading and am now hooked.  It tells the story of Americans who traveled to Paris during the nineteenth century (1830 -1900 to be exact) and how what they learned in Paris and brought back to America helped change our country.

He writes the story chronologically and I'm up to where the various Americans profiled are arriving in Paris and viewing their new surroundings with fresh and almost virginal eyes as cathedrals and buildings are so much larger than what they are used to in their home cities.  But now I have a dilemma:  Once dinner is done and people are in their usual places around this house I have to choose between reading more of The Greater Journey or hand sew the binding on this:
Summer Sampler Series Table Topper
I was motivated to sew this afternoon so I picked up the Summer Sampler Series Table Topper and basted, quilted and sewed on the binding...with a little help from Debbie.  Thanks Debbie!  

So do I finish a project or learn more about where the various Americans in my story are going in Paris and what they are learning?  

If you know me at all, I'll do both.   

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Food and Quilts at the Orange County Fair

My boys and I went to the O.C. Fair yesterday here in Southern California with my best bud Julie, her children and her mother Joan.  We've gone before and usually we have the unfortunate luck to go on the hottest day of the summer but thankfully yesterday was a perfect 79 degrees.  The O.C. Fair is truly a suburban fair with the fairgrounds sandwiched in between a major freeway, a community college, suburban tract housing and a stones throw from John Wayne Airport.

Entertainment at the fair is all over the map with several venues sprinkled throughout the fairgrounds.  Tribute bands play every night (I missed out on Strangelove - the preeminent Depeche Mode tribute band - bummer), local unknowns play all over the fairgrounds during the day (actually heard a few really good ones), local dancing groups hit the stage where we were eating - the tango was my favorite, and bigger headliners rock the Pacific Amphitheater throughout the month long festival.

County fairs are a fun way to bring a relatively local community together to eat, to be entertained and to participate in livestock and agricultural events.  At the O.C. Fair this year, eating was the main attraction with seemingly hundreds of food vendors all over the fairgrounds.  If you've watched the Food Network or especially the Travel Channel in the last six months or so you've heard about the fried butter craze, well that was so 2010 because this year it was fried Kool Aid.
Fried Kool Aid
Disgusting. Seriously.

I hated Kool Aid as a kid and these little balls of fried dough sweetened with Kool Aid were not my cup of tea, but hey, I had to try it.  I never turn down something new.  

Julie and I had baked potatoes for lunch which were pretty darn yummy.  The spud shack (forgot a pic) hooked us up with a huge potato filled with any topping we wanted.  Julie went in for Sour Cream and Cheese (Julie - what kind of combo is that?) and I went with Sour Cream and Salsa (yummy).  

We're both almost vegetarians so the mammoth sized Turkey Legs or the colossal brick of french fries (I know a vegetable) which looked like it contained a gallon of oil did not turn our heads but we had to go all in for dessert just to say we tried them. 

I present to you the fried dessert smorgasbord:
Fried Brownie, Apple Crisp, Frosting Shots, Fried Snicker Bar and Fried Kool Aid
Between the seven of us we all had a little taste of everything.  The fried food was pretty awful because it was just too greasy.  When I fry food at home I try and cook it at a hot enough temperature to where you don't get the greasy taste/feeling.  My baked potato was the best food I had all day but it was fun to try all the strange foods.  Some other strange combinations we did not partake in:  Chocolate Covered Corn Dogs,  Fried Zucchini Nachos and the ubiquitous fried butter.  

We also tried Chocolate Covered Bacon.  Tasted like chocolate covered pretzels to me.  
Chocolate Covered Bacon
My older son had a hot dog the size of Tennessee: 
Add caption
While the kids ran around going on the rides and playing games, Julie, Joan and I walked the Exhibition Halls, checked out the Livestock and people watched.  In the Crafts and Woodworking Hall we observed quilts that had been entered into different show categories.  My two favorites were:
Best of Show
My new quilting friend Eileen Wintemute had quilt in the show and won Judges Choice and Second Prize.  Yea for Eileen!
Eileen Wintemute
I also love seeing animals at the fair:
tiny little chicks

sheep giving me the stink eye
piglets about three weeks old

llama in need of some serious orthodontic work

"Duke" A Budweiser Clydesdale
All of us had a great day.  One last gem  - as Julie, Joan and I were walking around we heard a loud noise from above and we looked up and spied some of our own animals:

hers, a friend and mine
Do you go to your local county fair or do you travel to your hometown fair as a part of tradition?  Leave me a comment and tell me about it and I'll talk about it on my next podcast.  

Wherever you are...at the beach or at the fair ~ have a great Saturday,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Little Story about Gifts in the Mail

Last week I received a large envelope in the mail and upon first glance assumed it was my boss sending my my monthly bookkeeping data.  Later I returned and discovered it was a padded envelope from Debbie of A Quilter's Table  which is infinitely more fun than receiving work. Two thoughts simultaneously jumped into my head:

How in the world did this package get to me so quickly?
This package is way too big for one little fat quarter of fabric!

My interest was piqued and I carefully opened the envelope and pulled out a wonder of goodies...a little quilt and the all of the instructions/history for the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle Journey #1.  Debbie had participated in the Fat Quarter Shop six month kit club and had received the fabric and instructions/history for each quilt and finished them all up last month.  Please check out her post here where she talks about the finish.

Debbie so graciously sent me "At Mama's Knee", a simply delightful 17" x 17"  table topper which I proceeded to clear off my kitchen table for:
At Mama's Knee  17" x 17"
Not only do I love the little quilt (it's perfect!) I am enjoying reading about the historical aspects of prairie women in the 1840's - 1900's here in America.  Pam Burda of Homespun Quilts is the brains behind the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle and I am most impressed with her historical writing as each month she tells a story which helps to illuminate the quilt kit for that month.  The historical nerd in me loves that she references her sources which is so helpful when one wants to know more.

Thank you to Debbie for your very thoughtful gift of the quilt and all of the instructions/history for the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle Journey #1.  I can't wait to use this when I teach U.S. History someday to future high school students.

Enjoy your Tuesday,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Checking In

On the soccer field, checking in is a move that offensive players should make when the ball has the possibility of being thrown in to them.  Those strikers/forwards/midfielders should be moving around the field near when the thrower is, in order to field the ball and ultimately score a goal.  A static player is of no use to a thrower as they are unlikely to receive control of the ball.  So what's my point?

I'm checking in by moving around the internet quilting world: sewing/quilting, tweeting, reading blogs, commenting and now posting a blog post.  I'm ready to field the ball and move it down the field to score.  I have not defined what the equivalent of scoring a goal in soccer is to the quilting world, I just know that I want too.

After almost a week of minimal sewing I was able to get back into the swing of things this morning to work on some projects.  My super cute nephew Nick just turned five and so I made him a pillowcase out of San Francisco Giant colors.  My siblings and I were all born in the Bay area and although we were all raised and live in Southern California, they remain die hard SF Giant and SF 49er fans.

Pillowcase for Nick
Yesterday I listened to Episode #14 of the Crafty Garden Mom podcast and when I was about 10 minutes into the episode, convinced that I needed to let go of the Summer Sampler Series and be happily content with what I had accomplished.  Tanesha of CGM is an excellent speaker (she belongs on NPR) and her pep talk about how we should not be intimated by quilt bloggers whom are very prolific or have skills above and beyond our own and that we should give ourselves a pat on the back for what we ourselves, accomplish.   Her pep talk was just what I needed to move forward.  This morning I sewed the four blocks of the Summer Sampler Series together to make myself the perfect table topper.
Yet to be named table topper with backing fabric on the side.
After my WIP Wednesday post last week where I had taken a photographic inventory of my quilts in progress, I went fabric shopping to find quilt backs.  I found fabric for the back of Italian Sorbetto and Sliced Coins and I also picked out a darling dot fabric for the Dots Swap hosted by Debbie of A Quilter's Table and Rachel of Snippets of Sweetness.  

I just this minute ran to the front of my house to get the mail and I had another envelope with a dot fat quarter!   So much fun reading the return address (the traveler in me craves far away places), carefully opening up the envelope and gently pulling out the contents inside.  This is my first swap and I'm already hooked.   My envelopes are ready and will be mailed out tomorrow.

~Posts coming soon:  A wonderful gift sent to me by Debbie of A Quilter's Table and my visit to the Long Beach International Quilt Festival.~

Enjoy the remainder of your Monday,

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WIP Wednesday: An Inventory

My creative juices have been running very low lately with most of my brain power going toward bookkeeping audit work (which is most thankfully, almost done) so I thought I would take a photographic inventory of my quilting works in progress to jump start my plan to finish these up before the summer ends.  

Fat Quarter Shop 2010 Designer Mystery BOM - seven blocks completed, five to go.
FQS 2010 Designer Mystery BOM
Sliced Coins Quilt Along with Elizabeth from Don't Call Me Betsy.  Needs backing, binding and quilting.

Sliced Coins
School Yard made from Square One pattern in Camille Roskelly's Simplify  Have backing and binding, needs to be basted, quilted and bound.
School Yard
Italian Sorbetto made with the Block -a- palooza Quilt Along.  Needs backing, binding and to be basted, quilted and bound.
Italian Sorbetto
Supernova Quilt Along from Lee From Freshly Pieced.  Five blocks completed, one in progress with three more to go.  My favorite of the whole lot...got to get this one done.  

Summer Sampler Series hosted by Faith, Katie and Lee.  Finished Block 4 yesterday morning and am so happy with the results.  Katie had suggested that we cut our fabric into 3 inch blocks and then once we pieced the HST's, cut them down to 2.5 inch blocks.  That method worked well for me as this block came out almost perfect - a first for me!  

Summer Sampler Series Block 4
Off to do some obvious quilt back/binding shopping, a wonderful lunch date and an evening spent sewing away while my people are off playing soccer and sailing.  

Go see what other's have on their WIP's list for this week with Lee at Freshly Pieced.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bonfires and Supernovas

After an intense but highly rewarding Accounting/Audit meeting yesterday morning and then a wonderful lunch, I was motivated to get back to the Supernova Quilt.  I allowed myself an afternoon of sewing as I knew I would be on the computer most of the day today.
Supernova  - five down, three to go
Last night my younger son and I attended a bonfire at Bolsa Chica State Beach  with a wonderful group of friends. We are connected by our boys, most of them friends since Kindergarten or slowly collected during their elementary years and are now enjoying the summer before eighth grade begins. All throughout the four hours we were at the beach these thirteen year old boys acted like supernovas - stellar explosions that light up our lives.   It was windy and relatively cold but these crazy boys raced around playing Frisbee, getting wet and playing hide n seek.  We even had to order them to come in for S'mores.  
Of course they act goofy...

Pelicans flying home for the evening.
At one point while in conversation with my girlfriends, I turned and spied a quilt...of course I had to ask about it.  I had an amusing moment when I first arrived at the bonfire as most of my girlfriends asked me about what kind of quilt I was currently working.  This really surprised me as I did not realized how much quilting was becoming attached to how those in my daily life think of me.

My son and I had a great time and arrived home exhausted and ready for sleep.  Wonder if he dreamed of supernovas last night.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

History Quilter Podcast Episode 11 Dowry Quilts, Trousseaus and Hope Chests

I joined Twitter!  Come by and follow me at HQSuz so I can follow you back.  

A very happy Tuesday to you all...to those of you sweltering in the heat I feel for you.  I apologize in advance for telling you that here in Southern California we are enjoying perfect weather - it's about 65 degrees with bluebird skies at  8am.  I have a movie date with my boys this afternoon to see HP 7.2  but am compelled to admit that I've not seen HP 7.1.  Now that my boys are older I rarely see movies with my boys anymore so HP 7.1 just passed me by.  A movie I won't be missing in the theater is Coyboys and Aliens - I never pass up a chance to see Daniel Craig on the big screen.
Who's with me ladies?  
I finally recorded HQ Episode 11 last night at about 7pm while the house was quiet -well my house was quiet but the dog next door would not stop barking!  Hopefully the barking doesn't come through.   In episode 11 talk about Dowry Quilts, Trousseaus and Hope Chests and I added in what I've been cooking and reading and a whole lot of other quilty goodness.

Here are the details:
My Little Glam Bag - pattern by Pink Sand Beach Designs.

My Little Glam Bag
Summer Sampler Series hosted by Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts, Lee of Freshly Pieced and Katie of Swim Bike Quilt.  

My progress so far.  
The winner for my 100th blogpost giveway was Debbie from A Quilter's Table.  Not only is she a very talented quilter but she blogs about food.  Her Tuesdays at the Table feature is a favorite of mine.  Please go check out her blog at aquilterstable.blogspot.com

Gloria from Escondido e-mailed me about the "1800's Club" she belongs to.  They meet at The Crazy 9 Patch Quilt Shop in Ramona, CA.  The club gets together to share and sew about the history of quilts with a focus on the Civil War Era.  Wished I lived closer to Ramona as I would love to be a part of this group. 

The San Diego Quilt Show is coming up - September 8-10, 2011.  I will be going to this show and would love to meet with any listeners on Saturday, September 10th in the morning.  Send me an e-mail or comment if you want to meet up.  

Long Beach Quilt Festival
The Long Beach Quilt Festival is just around the corner!  I'll be meeting up with listener Ann from Santa Barbara on Saturday, July 30th at 12:45pm just before the 1:00pm showing of Stitched - the quilting documentary.  Send me an e-mail or comment if you want to join us.  

I met Eileen Wintermute, a local Southern California quilter during the Southern California Quilt Run a few weeks ago.  She will have a quilt on display in the Bridges exhibit at the Long Beach Quilt Festival.  Please visit her blog at http://eileenwintemute.blogspot.com/ and view her gorgeous mixed media and art quilts.  

Last up for the podcast was food - Tuscan Lemon Chicken and Garlic Ciabatta Bread both recipes from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook by Ina Garten.  

Cooking a whole chicken on the grill intrigued me as we had never tried it before.  I bought a 4 pound chicken, cut down the backbone and flattened it.  After cutting out the breastbone, I placed it in the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, rosemary and S&P marinade for about four hours.  The chicken was very good and I will make it again although it took quite a bit longer on the grill than is explained in the recipe.  Recipe said 12-15 minutes per side but it really took about 45 minutes total.  Lemons on the grill - very tasty!  
It's a well used grill.  
Garlic Ciabatta Bread - to die for. 

Dinner is served.
Saturday night's dinner was a hit with two new recipes that I'll make again.  Tuscan Lemon Chicken, Garlic Ciabatta Bread, grilled lemon halves, assorted grilled veggies and orzo and paired with a glass of Sangiovese, made for a great meal.  

What are you cooking for dinner tonight?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Giveaway Winner & Summer Sampler Series Blocks

First up the giveaway winner:

Debbie who said:

A kindergarten memory I have is of me with a nose in my book on the way to the bus to go home. I ran into a post & pretty much knocked myself out & they had to call my mom! hahaha. Silly but true!
By Debbie on 100th Post and a Giveaway on 7/14/11

Debbie, I'll have that in the mail to you tomorrow.  Thank you all for stopping by and leaving a comment.  

Last night I cut out the fabric for Blocks 2 & 3 for the Summer Sampler Series and sewed them up this morning before heading off to watch the USA-Japan game with some fellow soccer friends.  It was a very exciting game which had all of us groaning at every missed shot on goal.  Wish the USA women could have come home with the Cup this year, but not at all sad to lose it to Japan - a team that plays a very classy game of soccer.  
Greek Cross
All three together:

I'm off to record HQ Episode #11 ~