Crate and Barrel Hack!

I was browsing through the mall the other day and as I strolled by Crate and Barrel, the window display caught my eye.  There was a very cute throw pillow that was just calling my name.  photo-7

It would have been silly to buy it, right?  Given all the fabric I have piled up at home, I could very well go home and whip one up.  So that’s just what I did!

I changed it up a little, choosing a few different colors of felt, for waves.  photo 1-98

I quilted it too!  I used a teal thread mimicking a wavy stitch on both the front and backside of the pillow.

photo 2-100AND- I included a zipper, so I can use the pillow insert for something different when the season changes! We will have to see what Crate and Barrel has in their windows when Fall comes around! (wink, wink)

You can do this too!

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It’s a pretty cute addition to the foyer of our home!

Have a great day!

The Ellen DeGeneres Quilt……

It’s time to shake things up.  I have been keeping a secret from you.  Well, some of you know, but not many.  🙂  I have made a quilt for Ellen DeGeneres!  No, she didn’t ask me to.  I just went ahead and did it without any prompting from anybody.  I know, crazy right?  I have been known to be a little cray, cray.  Let me tell you how this all came about.

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It all started while I was watching the Ellen Show one afternoon in May of 2013.  I had spent  the earlier part of my day with my good friend Patty, walking and talking.  Patty had been through some rough things, grieving for her dad just to mention one thing, and I just wanted to make her smile and laugh.  Well, the Ellen Show, I thought would be a perfect way to get Patty to smile and laugh,… “she should be watching this” I thought to myself….. and then I thought, NO, it would be even better if we could be there in person!  Right?!  I texted Patty and told her that I was going to get tickets to the show…. Maybe 3 or 4 tickets, so I could also include my cousin Carol and one other also. This would be a great outing for us, Patty and Carol thought so too!  That was before I actually tried though!  😦

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A teaser peek!

If you have ever been on the Ellentv website to get tickets, everything is “fully booked”!  I kept checking back, but it was always the same result.  So I did some investigating on the internet to see what I could do…… One posting from someone stated that “if you send something to Ellen, you might get her attention”.  What could I send that would get Ellen’s attention?  I AM GONNA SEW A QUILT!  Not just any quilt, I am going to make the Tacha Bruecher American Flag Quilt from the book Hexa-Go-Go.

Why the American Flag Quilt?  For many reasons, first of all I like it, secondly, because I can sew it on the go while traveling and thirdly, because in my opinion Ellen is the ultimate American.  She believes in marriage equality, she ends each show with saying, “Be kind to one another”, she supports tons of charities, gives back to so many, she makes me laugh and she dances!  She dances a lot!!! What’s not to like?!

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My Ellen Quilt Project started in late May.  It’s no surprise that this quilt is made up of hundreds of hexagons.  I never counted them, I should have.  As you can see, just this blue portion of the flag has many, many hexies in it.  This was the first portion I worked on.  I would paperpiece these hexies, while watching tv with the kids and during long car trips.  Pretty much any moment I was sitting, I was piecing.

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It all started taking shape after the blue portion was completed.  I could actually see, that yes indeed, this was going to be a flag!

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When I started to assemble and piece the stripes of the flags, I realized that this flag didn’t seem personal enough for Ellen.  It needed something more!  I had my Aha moment.  I am going to design Ellen DeGeneres fabric and have it printed through Spoonflower!!! This would be my first design/printing experience with Spoonflower and I was pretty anxious about it.  I worked on the design for days.  I realized that not all fonts would translate to the Spoonflower design process.  The Spoonflower website changes some fonts to different fonts.  I was unable to find any information out there regarding acceptable fonts, but I am sure there is something that refers to fonts?  I don’t know, maybe somebody out there knows?  Anyway, designing this Ellen Fabric was finally a way for me to dip my toes into the fabric and surface design.  It forced me to use my tablet and illustrator and made me become more familiar with uploading items to Spoonflower.  Ellen was helping me even though she didn’t know it.

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This fabric is mostly a text design, and isn’t anything too impressive, but it made for great hexagons that the “white” stripes are composed of.  I took bits and pieces from her EllenTV website and cut and pasted Ellen’s biography, names of recurring guest stars and special charities that she supports (just to name a few things)!  This fat quarter piece of fabric arrived from Spoonflower while Carol and I were in Sedona, Arizona vacationing! Mr. Swellsewing texted me a photo of it and I was so excited!  I was also, paper piecing blue hexies during that vacation.

So this process continued, Through many vacations.  Sedona with Carol, Asilomar with Patty and a Michigan trip to visit my folks with the husband and kids.

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This picture was taken while in Cape Cod, later in the process of The Ellen Quilt.  I have shown this quilt to probably 25 people in total, letting them know that I am making this for Ellen.  Peoples’ response was always why?  Why would you do this?  I would tell them, “because I really, really like her, I think she is an amazing American (if only everyone would be kind to one another), she does so much for others AND I want to get her attention, so I can maybe get tickets to her show!? Mostly though, It’s time for Ellen to get a gift!  Like I said earlier in this post, she does so much for others, gives so much to so many people that she should be given something that shows how much normal folks like me, really appreciate her.  I do!!! I do appreciate her!

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Thanks to all my Instagram friends for commenting and liking so nicely!

I have Instagramed pictures of this quilt, but didn’t divulge who the recipient was to be.  I guess I was worried that maybe someone would steal my idea and get their quilt done quicker, or maybe because there was a huge possibility that I wouldn’t finish at all?

This is the only photo of me and Ellen’s Quilt!  It’s a selfie, and it’s not very good, but here it is.

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Wait….. there is one other, that Mr. Swellsewing took of me.  I was working on Ellen’s quilt while watching the Ellen Show!! I didn’t know he took this picture until later!  🙂

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So… hexie, by hexie, stitch by stitch, seam by seam…. this quilt came together.  I sewed this baby wherever I went.  West Coast to East Coast and back again.

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Both Ruby (in the earlier pug photo) and Peek-A-Boo (in the photo below) had their turns at a SIT or a STAND on Ellen’s quilt.  What can I say, it’s animal friendly.

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This went on for a few months……when finally I had another idea!   A REALLY GOOD ONE!!  I am going to add 11 stars, and Ellen’s name to the blue portion of the flag.  The 11 stars will represent Ellen’s 11 seasons of the Ellen Show!  I also embroidered around them.

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I tried to use an Alabama Chanin approach to the paint stenciling and embroidery, knotting the stitching on the outside of the quilt.

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The longer I held onto this quilt, the more I wanted to add to it. That’s how I ended up embroidering “THE ELLEN SHOW” around the quilt over and over again!  I was worried that if I held onto this quilt any longer, I would have to add another star for her 12th season, or WORSE yet, keep it for myself!

Once I was done adding some bells and whistles, it was time for the big reveal…..

flag5 Ta Da…… here is the finished quilt!

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my over 6′ tall husband is holding this quilt while balancing on a 3 foot tall wall, to give you an idea of how big it is.

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The outer portion border of this quilt was free-motion quilted and the stripes and blue portion were line quilted.

Here are some photos of the back of the quilt.  I kept it pretty and unELLENesque for Portia.

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My self-made SWELLSEWING tag.

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Here are some images of it folded.  It was hard to let this quilt go.

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I just love the way it looks folded!

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I had to let it go though.  I put Ellen’s quilt in a box wrapped in a huge swatch of the “specially made Ellen Fabric”, some pictures of my friends and a nice letter to Ellen.  It was all tied together with a big piece of red ric rac.  Do you think Ellen likes ric rac?

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This was my last view of the Ellen Quilt…. I sure hope it made it to its intended destination and into Ellen’s arms….

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Since I sent this box, on October 21st I have been on needles and pins, (pardon me for the unintended pun)!   Mr. Swellsewing and I have tracked the package and it did make it to Burbank.  It went certified mail, returned receipt but the receipt was never returned to us.   The postman said, that sometimes that happens, the slip gets lost.  UGH.  ( Hopefully just the slip gets lost and not the package)!  So you can imagine how anxious we are!…

I will keep you all posted on the outcome.  In the meantime, to quote Ellen,

“Be kind to one another” and have a Swell Weekend!  Thanks for reading!

The Bi-Coastal Quilt

So…. do you remember that secret surprise that I referred to in this post?  Well, this is it!  The Bi-Coastal Quilt.  Finally finished and sent to its new home.

It’s hard to believe that I sewed my first real quilt only about a year ago, after visiting Jennifer Paganelli’s studio sale.  I picked up a couple bags of her fabric scraps and sewed together this quilt- and learned a hell of a lot along the way.  The “Bi-Coastal” quilt (I am calling it this because I started it in California and finished it in Cape Cod) is now my 4th finished quilt.

This quilt was started in May, (inspired by my friend Susie and her rapidly approaching nuptials to a great guy), but finished in July. Since this was a second marriage for both of them they requested no gifts (who really listens to that, right?), I thought a quilt would be something they would always have and hopefully treasure.  photo-6

I opted for a string quilt, and to my surprise, all these fabrics came from my stash, even the Kona Snow that inhabits the negative space of the quilt!  I think using fabrics that come from a stash, is one of the most gratifying feelings!  If I were to really sit down and study this string quilt, I would be able to identify fabrics that I made headbands out of, fabrics used for dresses and handbags, even fabric from a pair of Munki-Munki pajamas that I disassembled (I had to have the goldfish in the baggie represented in her quilt somewhere!)

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It really was a labor of love.  In fact, I feel like a part of me is sewn into each quilt I make.  I spend a lot of time planning, gathering, cutting and sewing each part together.  So the photo with me in front of the pond is me loving on the quilt and saying goodbye to it.

As for some things I would love to improve on?  All the points on this quilt don’t match up, but I had to let that go, otherwise they wouldn’t being seeing this quilt until their 1 year anniversary.photo-13

And this was my first real try at Free Motion Quilting, my own rendition.  I think with more practice, I might like it?  Maybe my hands, back and neck won’t cramp as much with more practice also?photo-11

 This rendition could be called the confused circle pattern, they don’t know if they are coming or going!  Just like the maker!!!!  🙂

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Here’s the front after being washed.

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The back after being washed.  I love how the different stitching seems to make the color of the quilt change.

One last thing that I need improvement on is the binding of the quilt.  I didn’t do pointed corners on this quilt.  I wanted to, believe me, but it just wasn’t the way it worked out.

My next post is going to be my give-away and it is going to be a good one!  Does the name  Aneela Hoey mean anything to you?  Well if you don’t know her you should! Check this out.

Have a great week!

Sew Done!

I should really keep better track of how much time I really put into a quilt.  I think one of the best things about quilting is the fact that you can share them.  Even with the smallest of family members.

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Now that I have officially completed my third quilt, I wanted to do a little review.  I really think with each quilt I have improved and learned so much!

Here is my first quilt:

(notice my crinkled edges) I also didn’t use the highest quality batting.

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My second quilt:

(This quilt was given as a gift to my folks for Christmas)

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And now my completed third quilt:

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This is how it all started:

I was inspired by Tacha Bruecher’s Book, Hexa go-go.

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I sliced up many “strings” of oranges, reds, pinks and yellows. Amazingly, these fabrics were all found in my sewing room.

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I “string pieced” 8.5″ x 8″ squares: (80 of those)

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……sewed those together to create blocks. (20 of those)

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I crafted a bunch of “fussy cut” hexagons, mostly using Heather Ross prints.

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Those were then sewn into rosettes and sewn onto the white “negative” spaces on the quilt.

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The quilt top was finished.

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The quilt “sandwich” came together, and the binding was added.

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She came together and I finished her!

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(My 6’3″ husband is holding the quilt from behind to give you an idea of how big it is)

The back is pretty also.  I did some “free-motion quilting”, which is going to be an ongoing learning process.

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A couple more things before I say bye for today…. This made me happy beyond belief….. I spotted a photo on the Creativebug instagram feed of Heather Ross at Quiltcon donning the blouse I gave her at the Asilomar workshop!!!! You will also see, my friend, Ava Herceg hanging with Heather at one of her Quiltcon workshops.

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Yes, I saw this blouse in Anthropologie, and it said “Heather Ross” to me!  So I bought it and gave it to Heather, because she has given me sooooooo much!

Let me just say one more thing about Creativebug, if you haven’t joined yet do so!  It is a wonderful community of creative people, famous crafters that teach you their craft, through tutorials, you can watch over and over!  It’s really awesome!

My last thought for today is to remind you to enter my Give-Away!  There is still time!

Have a great day!

Patience and Progress…..

I often find myself to be a person that wants instant results.  All that “Patience is a virtue” crap is something our mothers said to us and it is something that we continue to tell our kids.  When I start a sewing project, I want it done NOW and this would mean skipping the muslin sewing!  definitely not a possibility, because the sewing police will bust into my house and demand to see my muslin for my ill-fitting garment (Muslins help you avoid ill-fitting garments)- which I wouldn’t be able to produce and this would lead to the seamSTRESS pokey and… well you get the picture!  My latest project that I am working on is a quilt.  It is not just any quilt, it is a cathedral quilt.  And it happens to be my first quilt, real quilt that is.  I chose this style, because it reminds me of the quilts I grew up with, handed down from my great-grandmother that my sister now has possession of.  
The colored fabric for the quilt was purchased off of Etsy from a shop called Swell Goods.  Fitting don’t you think?  Each vintage fat quarter came neatly pressed, folded, bundled and at one time was a bed sheet.  I just love it when you order something off of Etsy and when it arrives it’s packaged in a very special way!
Well, this is a sewing project that is going to take a lot of patience, which I intend to be pushing to the limit and at this point with nearly a week behind me I have enough done to use for a table runner.  My intent is to have enough rows done by June to blanket an actual human.  
 So as I continue to sew this massive undertaking, I will pick up other projects along the way to alleviate the boredom associated with sewing square, after square, after….. You get it…
Stay tuned for further developments!