Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

Happy Halloween!

I am very happy with my progress this week as I finished my Love's Road Quilt for Sophia.

Love's Road Quilt for Sophia

I shared the quilt and the story just a couple days ago for the Blogger's Quilt Festival. If you haven't got a chance yet to read the story of the quilt and have a bit of time follow the link to go check it out. Oh and go to Amy's Creative Side to see the rest of the entries in the festival it is almost 600 entries now (2 away from 600 as I write this)

I also wrote participated in the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop put together by Plum and June . I wrote a tutorial for my Ups and Downs block. I have 4 more to make for my hive in the 4 x 5 bee and then I will be sending the blocks off to their new homes.

Pictures for the ups and down block tutorial - swedish fishies 4x5 block

Basically, I am so happy with my progress this week because I not only created a couple things, I also wrote two very long posts. Which by the way this is post number 296. I think in about 4 post I am going to have to have a celebration... which means it might be time to have a giveaway for my followers, new and old. I am going to have to think very hard to figure something out and very quickly too because 4 posts isn't that far away.

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Linking up to:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, October 29, 2012

Love's Road Quilt

This quilt is technical the second quilt I ever made or at least the second quilt I ever intended to make. The name for this quilt is Love's Road and it the perfect name for this quilt, as its story is a long and bumpy one that took dedication, time, patience, and work to make it all come together. That being said lets start at the beginning. 

Love's Road Quilt for Sophia

Long long ago, I picked up the yellow brick road pattern at the Road to California Quilt Show. When I say long ago, I really mean way back in 2000. I like the pattern because it was so different and bold (at the time at least). Right then and there I knew that I wanted to do something different with it. The yellow and blue on the cover was so blah... I think it would be called traditional now, but remember back then I was 12 years younger (a teenager) and there wasn't anything like modern quilting around.

Love's Road Quilt for Sophia

So I bought the pattern (fine my mom bought the pattern, remember broke college student) and started searching for fabric. I really wanted to use white for the pop, but there weren't solids around like there are now, so my mom suggested white on whites and I went for it. I also love batiks at the time. Batiks had bold colors and graphic statements, but being the rebel that I am I mixed cotton prints with batiks and with white on white...At this point it might become slightly obvious that I wasn't following any of the "rules". However, I only had my moms support to tell me it was OK, and she is quite a rebel herself, plus there was no one to tell me it was wrong. 

Love's Road Quilt for Sophia

I worked on collecting fabric for a bit... OK about 3 years. I was in college, there was this strange thing called studying and all the other things that are college life entails, that took precedence over quilting. Once I graduated college, I spent my two week summer break, before starting my teacher credential program, cutting the fabric for the quilt and started sewing it together. All the while being teased by my at that time boyfriend (also know as the now a days husband) for being an "old lady" because they are the "only old ladies quilt" (which by the way is still what I am teased about). That didn't stop me and I was able to piece all the blocks before I started my program. However, that program made me set quilting  aside again; not all the way, seeing as my cumulative project was a multicultural unit of study on quilting and story cloth and how both can be used to pass down traditions and stories. And then came teaching.... and the love's road quilt got pushed to the side and I became a great teacher who did nothing but teaching. 

Love's Road Quilt for Sophia

That was until a couple years ago when I met someone who asked me "what do you do to deal with stress? and I said "nothing". The same person asked, "Any hobbies?" and I couldn't think of anything other than teaching that defined me. I knew I used to like to do things for me... but what. And then it came to me. I used to quilt! It didn't really define me, but it made happy. Even when I was just looking at quilting magazines or touching pretty fabric and imagining what it could be.

Love's Road Quilt for Sophia

So 10 almost 11 years later I decided to try quilting again. I started searching for it online and found a whole community of quilters. I also realized how incredible bad some of my seams were on my blocks, but with the help of my mom and the mighty seam ripper we work through that. I sewed all the blocks together, it a 1/4 inch seam, and then I came back to my technical road block in the first place. My current machine would not stitch threw all the layers of fabric. I mean I did get the machine for about $125 when I was 18. It was the first machine I bought by myself and although I was very proud of that, it just wasn't going to help me quilt.

Frist Sewing Machine

So I convinced my husband that I really would quilt again. That it was something really what I wanted to do and we got me a new machine (he may tease me, but he is incredibly supportive and really wants me to be happy). Shortly after getting my new machine I was able to finish the quilt top. I also went to my first Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild meeting, where I some how became the leader for the guild since the gal who started it was moving out of state. I met two lovely ladies who were opening up a quilt shop and who offered to host our meetings. The great thing about this shop is they have a long arm. I of course took the course to use the long arm quilting machine and brought love's road with me, but I forgot the thread, the beautiful multicolored red pink and purple thread. I put the quilt away in a storage container and then the worst happened.

Gus Damage to loves Road

Gus the fabric eating dog got it. He ate the quilt. Pulled out the folded corner and nom nom nomed it. So here I am 11 years later with 4 holes, one in each corner. I didn't know what to do. The following ideas came to mind: do I put heart patches on top of it, do I take the whole thing apart and hope that in my scraps I might have big enough pieces to fix it, do I just give up? My solution shove it back in the storage container and leave it as a UFO.

Gus Damage to loves Road

That was until this last month. This last month I gave a baby quilt to my friend Anna and I got this facebook post.

The more I thought about it the sadder it made me. I had made a baby blanket for her sister and now her brother, but nothing for her. I didn't know my friend before Sophia was born, plus I hadn't been quilting at that time. However, this little girl who yells "JENN!" and jumps up like a little pixie when I see her was loving on a quilt that I had made. I really didn't think I could make a new quilt any time so and then as I was driving home from work, completely blanking out, when it came to me.

Love's Road is nearly done. I bet if I take the eaten blocks out I could make it a little girl size and it is little girl colors. There was no way to repair it, but a way to make it something new. Something a little different but just as good if not better.

WIP Loves Road

So I got to work and in just a couple weeks I finished a quilt for sweet Sophia. It only took 12 years to make, much longer than she has even been around, but still a great gift for her. I can't wait to give it to her and to see her smile. 

Love's Road Quilt for Sophia

Quilt Stats:
Name: Love's Road Quilt for Sophia
Size: approx. 44" x 56"
Fabrics:  Batiks in pink and purple, 3 white on white prints and lots of cotton purple and pink prints. 
Binding: Moda - dark purple batik 
Pattern:  Yellow Brick Road by Atkinson Designs 
Quilting: by me an all over large loop-dee-loos 
Started : 2000 
Completed: October 2012 

Now although I don't think this quilt will win I am linking up to: 

Amy's Creative Side

Best Category : Favorite Throw Quilt, Favorite Home Machine Quilted Quilt 

Mostly because I just really wanted to share this story. Love's Road has been a process for me and I am really glad for it to have a home to go to. Finishing this quilt seems like a weight has been lifted off my creative shoulders. I hope that that means I will stop having my creative blocks and start accomplishing more, seeing as it really does make me so very happy. Thank you to anyone who is stopping by for the quilt festival and I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the story. Come back and visit at any time. 
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Also Linking up to:
At the end of the hallway as my favorite October project at from the blue chair

Thursday, October 25, 2012


This week is

Handmade by Heidi

and I am so participating. The hubby has hockey tomorrow night and I have 4 more ups and downs blocks to complete.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Turn for the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop

Hi all! And welcome!

Plum and June

I am so excited to participate in this hop and I even made a "little" tutorial for you all to go along with the hop. My tutorial is going to be on my newest happy mistake. Something to know about me, whether  you are new around here or not, is that I often make happy mistakes when I am creating. In this case I was trying to make very cool block from a tutorial, but using parallelograms instead of half square triangles and instead created my own block, I am sure someone else has done this before, but it was my happy mistake so I am going to share it with you. I am going to call this the ups and downs block.

Pictures for the ups and down block tutorial - swedish fishies 4x5 block
*if you really just want the tutorial scroll down to the bottom until you see this picture again

However, before we get started on the tutorial, let me take a moment to introduce myself.  My name is Jenn. I am the Jenniffier behind Jenniffier's Sometimes Creative Life. My blog is more or less a journal of me being creative - sometimes. Most the time, the blog posts center around quilting. Sometimes, the posts are about sewing, cooking, teaching, technology  photography, creating in general and other random life type things that are interesting me at the moment. But as I said before mostly quilting or my lack of progress on quilting if I want completely honest. Just like most everyone else out there I have periods of creativeness and periods where can't seem to accomplish anything.

However, if you want to see all that I have created you can check out my sewing page, my completed quilts page, and my tutorial page. But just in case you don't have time to jump around here is a mosaic of  some of my favorite items that I have share with everyone on this blog.

Some of my favorite projects

There is lots more projects hiding around here and lots more to come. So if you have time and you haven't taken a look around, please do.

Q and A Time!

Lets just take a moment to learn just a little more about the actual me behind the blog. If you want to learn a lot more about me and how I started quilting check out my about me page. I personally think that always hard to start writing about yourself, luckily there were some questions, but first I think most importantly to know is that I live with my two German Shepherd dogs, Suzie and Gus (Suzie is the little one) and my loving husband Randall.

Gus and Suzie on place

Ok back to Q and A

- How long have you been quilting?

About 13 years on and off. I started when 18. When to college and took a 4 year break from quilting. I would often visit local quilt stores, I even collected fabric, but I really didn't touch my sewing machine. However, started quilting again right after graduation and then when straight into my teacher credential program. I tried to keep quilting but it rarely happened. Then I became a teacher. I would sometimes try and sew but mostly I would take everything out, fondle it, and put it back. Fast forward about 5 years. I had become one very stressed out teacher who spent all of my time being a teacher. I had let teaching define me. There was one day in particular that this became very apparent. I decided to go see a personal trainer. He had this long questionnaire and he went over them he asked me what I do to help with the stress, which I marked as a five, and I stared at him blankly. He then asked if I had any hobbies and I couldn't think of anything I enjoyed doing other than teaching and that was what was causing my stress. So I thought and I thought and realized I used to like quilting. So I started quilting again and have been ever since. 

- Favorite quilting tip?

I use a spray bottle with 1/3 vodka and 2/3 water as my pressing agent. It works great! Just shake it up and spray. The vodka gives a starchy effect with out being too much. BTW the cheapest vodka works best. 

- Favorite blogging tip ?

Don't wait until 10:00 pm to start your post for the next day. Not that I ever do that.
- Favorite fabric ?

Oh no, don't even get me started on that. There is so much that I want right now. I even have some gift cards, but I just can't make up my mind on what I really want to get. 

- Favorite quilting tool ?

The binding tool. I gave one away a bit back because I enjoy it so much. Basically it allows you to make your binding match up perfectly. 

The binding tool for giveaway hop

- Favorite Children's Book - 

I have four. I do teach elementary school and I was an English major, so needless to say I love books. I have my favorites to read to my classes, but these are my own personal favorites.  Alice and Wonderland at first it was the Disney movie, but then I actually read the book and really enjoyed it. Winnie the Pooh. A.A. Milne was a wonderful author and really made the characters come to life. Mog the Cat - it is about this very forgetful cat who gets in lots of trouble and keeps saying and they haven't even fed me my supper, but in the end he wins an award for protecting the house. My favorite part about the book is the US version says "drat that ca"t but the original UK version says "bother that cat". And finally Peter Rabbit. I had that read to me so many times that my mom can still tell you almost the whole story without even picking up the book. 

Now if this wasn't a long enough post yet, lets get on with that tutorial. 

Ups and Downs quilt block Tutorial 
Pictures for the ups and down block tutorial - swedish fishies 4x5 block

To make one block you will need 4 focus fabrics and one background fabric. 

I made this block using my accuquilt go cutting system. I used the GO! Half Square-3" Finished Triangle  and GO! Parallelogram- 3 3/4" x 3 1/2". If you don't have these don't worry I will tell you how to cut the parallelogram with out the accuquilt die. You will need 16 Half Square-3" Finished Triangle and 8  Parallelogram. 

If you are using the accuquilt the cut your strips to 4 1/2 inches. Then place the strips on die just like you cut them, with wrong sides together. 

Pictures for the ups and down block tutorial

Stack your fabric and send it on through by just turning the little knob. Then be amazed at how quick it cut. 

Pictures for the ups and down block tutorial

Repeat the process for your remaining fabrics. Notice how small the top piece is, it was a scrap from another project, you just have to make sure that it fabric is big enough to cover the shape on the die. 

Pictures for the ups and down block tutorial

Now sometimes when you send your fabric through a couple pieces get stuck on one thread. Cut those with scissors  Don't make my mistake and pull at it or you too will learn the hard way of why you shouldn't do that.

Pictures for the ups and down block tutorial

Now lets take a quick moment to talk about how much fabric the accuquilt wasted since that was a big concern before I purchase, ok fine, asked for it for Christmas.

left over

In this mosaic the pictures on the left are what I threw away and the bottom right picture is what went into my scrap pile. Oh yeah and let me just mention this is so not a sponsored post, I am just sharing what I did and the tool that I used to do it.

Ok so now if you don't have an accuquilt you will have to cut these parts all by hand. It really isn't that hard. For your triangles cut 3 7/8 inch squares and cut them diagonally in half. For the parallelogram cut an 2 5/8 strip then line the long part of the strip up with your 45 degree on your ruler. Take one cut at the end then move it over 3 1/2 and cut again. If that doesn't make since look at the picture and try it once. It really does magically work. Sometimes it helps to use the grid lines on your mat to make sure the strip is straight first.

Pictures for the ups and down block tutorial

The tricky part to sewing is figuring out what side of the parallelogram to line the triangle up with. Once it looks like the picture, and the long parts are together, sew one triangle on to each of the eight pieces.

Pictures for the ups and down block tutorial

The press and sew the other eight triangles to your unit.

Pictures for the ups and down block tutorial

Press again and you have each of your rectangle units.

Pictures for the ups and down block tutorial

Take two of the same print rectangle units and sew them together so that they look like a point. This will be your square unit. Repeat with the other 3 colors to make 4 square units.

Pictures for the ups and down block tutorial

Take your 4 square units and arrange them so two points are going up and two points are going down.

Pictures for the ups and down block tutorial

Sew one up to one down, and then repeat. Then sew the two large rectangles together to make the ups and downs block. One quick tip for making this block starch a lot. there are lots of bias angles in play and if you aren't careful it can get very wonky very quickly.

Pictures for the ups and down block tutorial - swedish fishies 4x5 block

I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a bit better and my tutorial. If you want to get to know some more bloggers go visit:  Kerstin from Sunset Sewing she is also posting today.

Here is the most recent schedule for the:
Oct 23
         Tracey from The Peony Teacup
         Megan from City Stitches

Oct 25
        Kerstin from Sunset Sewing
        Jenniffier from Jenniffier's Sometimes Creative Life

Oct 30
        Shena from Apple Pie Patchwork
        Janice from better off thread

Or follow the link to see the schedule of all the bloggers, which are lots because this hop started in may: 

Plum and June
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Work in Progress Wednesday

For not having much free time, I have actually made some pretty good progress on my over 12 year old UFO.

Love's Road, started back in 2000, has been a pain in my you know what from the beginning. The pain continued with the free motion quilting of it. I had threads snap, stitches skip and a few moments where I felt that some choice word were very necessary.But I was able to get the quilting done in time to share with at the Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild meeting. Then I tried to get the binding finished last night. was going to machine stitch it down, but that turned out to look incredibly tacky. So instead I spend 30 minutes picking out the stitching only to have to redo the work by hand. Now, I am about 1/2 way done. I will persevere through the binding and finish my oldest UFO and technically my "second quilt". Yes these was the second quilt top I ever finished. 24 quilted projects later and I am so close to finishing this second project. I am not will to give up now.

On a side note, even though I have been telling myself I can't buy projects until I finish some projects, I completely and utterly caved when I saw Halloween Pop quilt from fig tree quilts.

via fig tree quilts
Which means I impatiently waited to get this lovely stack of fabric.

Which came in last night. My husband's first statement was, "you know you aren't going to finish that by Halloween right?" HA! Of course I know that! However, hopefully, it doesn't take me 12 years like the quilt featured above :)

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Linking up to:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A happy mistake, advice to give and a question to ask.

I made a very happy mistake when cutting my parallelograms with my accuquilt cutter tonight.

See if just take your fabric and fold it in half (meaning wrong sides together) and send it on through your accuquilt machine, you get to two mirror image parallelograms. Now this isn't a problem if you want to make zig zags, but it is when you were intending to make this block, but with parallelograms instead of half square triangles. 

Summer Sampler Series: Mosaic block

So my advice to you is when cutting parallelograms make sure your fabric is all facing the same direction (right side up or right side down it doesn't matter as long as it is the same). That is unless you want a zig zag type block, in that case layer away. 

Now the good thing is that this is a happy mistake because I actually love the way that it looks as zig zag type shape. Now the only question is which block version is better? Ok maybe not better but most appealing to you?


Opinions please. The husband thinks block choice 1. I am leaning towards block choice 2... Acckk to many choices. I am going to be now before any other mistakes are made.

BTW sorry for the bad lighting. That is what happens when you sew at night and use your iPad to take pictures in a room that only has over head lighting and a really bad florescent table lamp. 

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One Busy Weekend = one unproductive week

It has been a bit quiet around here. All with good reason. Let me give you a quick look at my weekend. Let's just start by saying it was Randall's sister's wedding weekend.

So the weekend started with my dear husband, Randall, and I showing his New York family a different side of California.

We started at Bodega Bay.

Bodega Bay

They drove 45 minutes up to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve.

Armstrong Redwoods

Where I found this awesome log.

Tree at Armstrong Redwoods

Attended a Rehearsal Dinner.

Pizza from the rehersal dinner

Watched his sister get married. It was a very lovely wedding.

Noelle's Wedding

Went on a wine tour.

Wine Tasting

After all of this and a couple days to recover I was able to finish putting the last border on my geese in the park quilt.

Geese in the Park finished top

I also started cutting the fabric for a new quilt.

Starting a new project

And ordered the most amazing quilt kit from fig tree quilts called Halloween Pops (that counts as progress right? - ignore that question). I so can't wait for this to come in the mail. 

Picture via fig tree quilts

I do have a question though. Which do you think is better?

I have just enough goose zag blocks to make one row across the backing of the quilt. (Take a moment to notice the dog that photo bombed the picture).

Geese in the Park finished top and goose zag blocks

Or make a couple pillows to go with the geese in the park quilt.

goose-zag blocks into a pillow?

Hmm hard choice there... I really do need some input which to do. I keep going back and forth.
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Linking up to:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced