Monday, June 29, 2009

The Learning Curve

So, I was excited to try my first quilt. I decided to try a small coin quilt. Honestly, I should have tried a DOLL quilt - but I went with a lap-sized one. Lesson number one...start with pre-cut squares. I should be able to cut 4" squares right? I thought I did. And I should be able to sew 1/4" seams. I thought I did. Long story short, my "coins" and sashing didn't exactly match up. Okay. I can live with that. They weren't that far off. Lesson number can't stitch in the ditch if your ditches aren't matched up. My plan was to quilt 1/4" from each seam. Well, my seams weren't lined up, which made that experience, well, an experience. I'm not too good at stitching a straight line without a guide (a straight seam would have been nice). Let's just say that the quilting on this is beyond horrible. Thank goodness for gorgeous fabrics - because to the untrained eye (i.e. my husband), it looks great. Lesson number 3 - don't skimp on the basting process. I didn't make my backing and batting big enough and I didn't tape the backing to the floor. So, I have some nice puckers in my quilting as a result. Hopefully washing the quilt will hide some of the imperfections. And Lesson #4 - When the quilting experts say to start quilting in the middle, listen to them! In my defense, I really did forget about this rule. I should have remembered it when I saw some of my squares going wonky on me. sigh. Still have to bind this one too. Finished size will be 32" x 39 - which isn't a standard sized anything but my girls won't care!

Quilt number #2 has been started. I used (4) pre-cut charm squares in Wonderland (which I adore!) to make a block and then put a strip of natural colored cotton in between each and the same fabric for the sashing. I finished piecing the top yesterday and am almost done with the back. I had some extra blocks left over that I'm going to piece on the back. Finished size on this one will be about 45"x52" and it will be going in my family room.

I haven't decided how to quilt this one. I was going to do the 1/4" from each seam again, but once again, my blocks aren't completely lined up. I might outline each block 1/4" from the seams. But then I don't know what to do with the sashing. Or, I may try straight line stitches evenly spaced. I'm just worried about my inability to stitch straight! I'm open for suggestions!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


In the past two days I've completed (80) 8x8 page layouts, printed, trimmed and in the books. I am quite pleased with myself. I decided to complete albums for both the girls from beginning of 2009 to current. However, I think I'm going to end up doing different albums for various categories (vacations, holidays, summer, birthdays, etc). I personally think it's so much fun to see how everyone changes from year to year. The nice thing about that is it will be easy to take pages out of one album and put them into another should I decide to. I can also print out duplicate layouts if I do more than one album.

Anyway, with the categories in mind, I decided to start with the smallest category...Halloween. Mostly because Shabby Princess has the cutest halloween album put together called "Smell my Feet" (the photo above)! So, I finished Halloween layouts from 2003 through 2008 and put them in its own album. Emma got such a kick out of looking through that and seeing her and her friends over the years (all of whom still live on our street).

My sister-in-law looked at some of them and commented about how much ink I must be using printing them all at home. I have outsourced printing before from Scrapbooks to Share and they do a wonderful job. Definitely check them out if you don't want to mess with printing and trimming your own pages. They charge $1 per page for 8 1/2 x 11 or smaller. I would definitely use them if I decided to do any 12x12 pages since I wouldn't be able to print those on my own printer. As far as cost effectiveness - so far I've spent about $80 on ink and photo paper. The ink is still going pretty strong too. So, I'll save a little bit doing it at home, but I'm definitely not losing money. I'll be looking for less expensive photo paper (I'm buying it at Staples right now) - which will save me some $$ too.

Hope this will encourage some of you to give digital a try!


What is it about me? I am so easily sidetracked. We just returned from vacation and vacation means lots of pictures. And lots of pictures reminds me of how behind I am on putting photo albums together. I'm not a poor kids. I mean, I think I only have one page completed for Emma's baby book and she's NINE! Anyway, back to the photo album thing. I go through these phases where I work on photos for several days straight - trying to put a dent in my stash. I discovered digital scrapbooking a few years back and while I tinkered with it (for hours and hours), I realized that I'm not very good at creating my own pages. This is why I love, love, love the digital layouts you can purchase (download). Check out Shabby Princess - I adore their piece-of-cake albums. I bought 3 last night and guess what I've been doing? It is so addicting! I use photoshop elements and print the layouts at 8x8 (so I can print them at home). Then trim and slip them into an album.

I've decided to start current - 2009 - and am doing 8x8 albums for the girls this way. I figure once I get caught up on this year, I can go back to last year. and the year before. and the year before. That sounds daunting. What do you all do with your photos? My mom was so good about sticking everything in an album as soon as she got them printed. Nothing fancy, but at least we have pictures to look at! Maybe that's the key. Another reason I like the simplicity of these album page layouts. I see a few late nights ahead of me...

Monday, June 22, 2009


I wish we could have stayed another week! We spent the week at Isle of Palms in Charleston, SC with hubby's family (all 20 of us!) and had a fabulous time. My girls had a blast with all of their cousins - and the girls definitely rule in that bunch (8 girls and 3 boys). So, now it's back to reality...which, even though it's not the beach, is pretty darn good.

Monday, June 8, 2009

And the winners are...

Terry from Maine (Quilternity's Place) , Melissa from Ontario (My Shabby Heart) and CJ from Idaho (A Stitch and A Prayer).

I'll email you all this evening so you can pick you're wristlet! We'll pick in the order listed above to be fair ( decided). Congratulations and thanks for playing!

Thank you to everyone who participated. It was so much fun to hear where everyone likes to vacation! As for me, we love the mountains (NC, TN & GA since that's where we're closest to) and SC beaches (Hilton Head, Charleston, Fripp Island, etc.). There are lots of Maine lovers out there and that is one place I really want to visit. Last time I was there I was only 6!

Thanks Melissa for the link on how to add my signature!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Favorite Tutorials

Just thought I'd post a few links of some of my favorite tutorials from some of my favorite creative peeps.

Oil Cloth lunch bag at Skip to my Lou. Her blog is so much fun so be sure to stick around and browse.

Cork board Wall Pocket at Craft Apple. Another fabulous blog with great info. Love her patterns too!

Crochet Flower Square at Rose Hip. Check out this post for the finished product. I love her blog...Beata creates the most beautiful things in such bright and fun colors.

Other links that I love are:

Sarah and Abraham's making notepads tutorial and her FAQs section. Very informative! Her papers and canvas prints are darling! Check them out.

Any of Lisa's tutorials on U-Handbag blog are fabulous. She is so talented and I've learned so much from her! Check out her shop too for fun purse kits and hardware.

Okay, the kids are to run some errands and then to the pool. Looks like another nice day! Have a good one!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer, Family and Etsy

I think I might be just as excited as my kiddos about the start of summer. Lazy mornings, lazy afternoons, lazy evenings...I think I see a pattern here! I always start the summer with such great intentions of having somewhat of a schedule, designated craft times, chore times, etc., but then summer just sort of takes over and well...things just sort of happen at will. I guess that's what summer is all about though - throwing all those schedules out the window for a few short weeks and just enjoying the time with the kids. I remind myself (daily) that these years go by so quickly and by the time our kids are teens, really, our job is almost done. A couple of our neighbors just graduated from high school this seemed like yesterday when they were selling lemonade on the curb and ringing our doorbell to sell girl scout cookies. Where did the time go? E. turned 9 this year and as quickly as those years have passed by, I know the next 9 years will go even quicker.

So, time with family is of utmost importance to us. We took the girls camping over the weekend and lucked out with gorgeous weather. K. woke up the first morning and as she was stretching says "ahhhhhhhhhh, I love camping". And E. told me her favorite thing about it is waking up in the tent in the morning - cool air, sun peeking in. I'm just so glad we are giving our kids these experiences because it's those times I remember most with my parents and brothers.

Looking at my sparse Etsy store and feeling somewhat like a failure, I remind myself that my family does come first. And so does the laundry, dishes, cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, bills, etc. I bring this up because while I truly enjoy sewing handbags and giving them to family and friends, I would still like to sell some of them (I have to find some way to support my fabric addiction!). I opened my Etsy store sometime last year and it took me forever to get anything into it. So, after several months and no sales, I decided to give Ebay a try. I put 3 of my bags on Ebay and they sold within 4 days. Those same bags had been on Etsy for 3 months (same pricing). Go figure. Maybe having to fill a "store" is too stressful right now and I should just list items as I make them on Ebay or focus on stocking up for the holiday craft shows in the fall. I know Etsy is all about marketing, but honestly, I don't have the time and it's not doing wonders for my confidence. I'm curious how you all have handled this. I'm thinking I should just put my store on vacation for the summer...that would take some pressure off, don't ya think?

Don't forget the giveaway in the previous post! Be sure to comment there to be eligible.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another Chance to Win!

All Sewn Up is launching their new blog on June 1st (hey...that's today!) and has enlisted the help of some of us bloggers to participate in their LAUNCH PARTY! And who doesn't like a good party?!? Check out the link on my sidebar to get a little more info about their new blog. Also, look for a list of participating blogs as well.

That said, I've decided to join the party! I'll be giving away one of my zippered wristlets (pictured is one of Anna Maria's Good Folks fabrics). Oh what the heck, I'll give away THREE of them to three different people. I have them in several different fabrics (not all Anna's). The winners can choose which one they'd like. They are so practical - perfect for holding keys, sun glasses, etc. Since we are full-swing into summer, tell me your favorite vacation spot in the comment section of this post and you'll be eligible to win. I'll use a random number generator to select the winners on June 8th.