Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dresdens Galore

I chose to make a Quarter Dresden block for my hive mates in this round of the 3 x 6 mini bee. 
I love them. 
I hope the ladies love them too!

Friday, May 25, 2012

We Have a Winner!

I didn't want to keep anyone waiting so soon after 8:00 p.m. hit here in Toronto I logged in to to find my winner.  First of all, I was shocked but very much overjoyed to receive 329 comments on my giveaway post. Wow! Who would have thunk it? 

I don't know how to show you a screen shot of my winning number was comment number 312.

Congratulations to Sam of Monkey Huggers!!!  Her winning comment:

I have an Elna and I'm pretty happy with it - my overlocker is also an Elna and I bought my 13 year old a basic Elna for Christmas, so I guess I must be happy!

Sam, I've sent you an email requesting your mailing address so I can send you the delicious Tula Pink Nightshade bundle.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WIP Wednesday: The Quilt Wrangling Edition

It's been two week's since my last WIP Wednesday post and so much has gone down on Modern Balabusta.  I entered the Spring Blogger's Quilt Festival AND I'm in the process of hosting my very first giveaway! Have you entered yet? You totally should, because I'm giving away five fat quarters of Nightshade by Tula Pink! I'm in shock at the number of entrants so far. At last count there are 227 people entered. Whoa! I really hope some of the entrants become new followers, even though I didn't make following my blog a requirement to win. Instead, I hope to entice readers with my charm and wit. Is it working yet?

The main WIP I've been working on is my Sew Happy Quilt. I had an appointment in the middle of the day last Thursday and decided to that the entire day off work. I took the opportunity to use The Workroom's amazingly large table to baste the SHQ. It took over two hours to iron and baste this sucker, but having a large waist high surface to use was fantastic!

I'm using a Sulky Blendables cotton thread for the quilting. So far I'm not overly impressed with the quality of the thread. I'm finding it a bit thin. Has anyone else used Sulky Blendables before? What did you think of it?

Quilting a full sized quilt on my basic Kenmore machine is less than awesome. I'm dreaming of a better machine, with dual feed and a stitch regulator. I've been scouring craigslist and kijiji hoping to come across an amazing deal for a used high end Bernina or Juki. No luck yet though. Maybe I should start a special savings fund for my next machine. I'm thinking a mason jar to collect my loose loonies and twoonies. I should have enough for a good machine in 10 years that way. Hmm...perhaps not the best plan I've ever had...

I initially wanted to try free motion quilting this quilt, but I suspected it would be too difficult with such a large quilt. The few times I've tried to FMQ on my Kenmore, I've had tension issues. So instead, I went for some organic, sort-of-straight line quilting in varying widths.  
I'm fairly happy with how it's coming along. I keep reminding myself that it doesn't have to be perfect.

What did you get up to this week?

WIP status report
Flora Charm Quilt - HSTs are in progress
Farmer's Wife QAL - still going strong
We Bee Learning Bee - May block is finished and in the mail
Sew. Happy. Quilt back  - Done, quilt is basted, quilting is in progress!
Give a Day quilt - gathering ideas
3 x 6 blocks for Q2 -all of my dresdens are cut and sewing has begun
Hibernating projects
Levi's Bed Quilt - This should probably come off the list
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - fabric has arrived!

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. Check out what everyone else is up to. There's so much creativity out there!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

If I Knew Then What I Know Now...

Last July, when I purchased my sewing machine, I had no idea that I would become hooked on quilting.  I figured all I needed was a basic, entry level sewing machine so that I could learn to sew bags, hem my own pants and maybe make some cute pajama pants for Levi. I went the easy route; I went to Sears. I didn't buy the least expensive machine. I bought the SECOND cheapest machine instead. It's a Kenmore 17 stitch, one step button-holer and it is... adequate.

Yes, it sews in a straight line, it's easy to thread and it's light. But honestly? It really isn't cutting it for me. I've noticed that it skips stitches every so often. I can't adjust the stitch speed. I can only move the needle position to the right to a set place. The throat is super small. It gets clogged up really quickly with lint and when that happens it gets LOUD! (Yes, I clean it often and oil it too).

Sure, my walking foot allows me to quilt okay, but FMQ? Not so much. It's possible...but man do I want a stitch regulator! Tension issues abound.  And I keep reading about dual feed. WANT x1000! I do have a number of cool presser feet, like my open toe quarter foot (LOVE!), but can I find an open toe quilting foot? No, I can not.

So you see, there was a good reason for my asking entrants for my giveaway to tell me what machine they sew on and why they love their sewing machine (psst - it's an awesome prize so be sure to enter). It's research! With over 155 comments so far, I'm getting a ton of opinions.

Now if only I could find a way to rationalize needing a new machine when my current one is less than a year old....

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's Giveaway Day!

A BIG welcome to everyone visiting Modern Balabusta for the first time today! I know why you're here... Today's the big day: GIVEAWAY DAY!

Okay, so it's actually an entire week. Read up on all the details on Sew Mama Sew here and take a few minutes (hours?) to enter all the fabulous giveaways being hosted across the sewing blogosphere.

My giveaway is in the sewing craft supplies category. Last week I teased y'all with this photo:

That's right folks! I'm giving away a fat quarter bundle of Tula Pink's Nightshade in the excellent Eveningshade colour way.

You guys, this stuff is H-O-T! Tula has some fabulous quilt patterns using this fabric line. Check out Sara's blog post at Sew Sweetness about Tula's Quilt Market booth to get inspired. I'm certain Nightshade is going to sell out fast so get it while you can.

The details:

YES, I will ship internationally!
YES, I'll use to select a winner from all comments on this post (the first number in the random sequence generator will be my winner)
YES, I will leave this giveaway open until May 25 at 8 p.m. EST.
YES, I will contact you by the 27th and ship by June 1st.

NO, you can't win if you are a no-reply blogger, unless you leave me your email address in your comment. If the winner is a no-reply blogger, I'll select the next number on the list. Not sure if you are a no-reply blogger? Read Lee's post on Freshly Pieced for details.

TO ENTER, leave me a comment and tell me what sewing machine you use and one thing that you love about it.

Thank you so much for visiting. I hope you'll come back again soon!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival is Here!

I'll admit that picking which quilt to showcase for the Spring Bloggers' Quilt Festival wasn't difficult. Why's that? Well, I've really only finished one quilt to date (two if you count Levi's growth chart, but technically it isn't done because I'm stalled on the embroidery)!

Amy's Creative SideIf this quilt festival is new to you, I highly recommend you check it out. Pretty much every quilt blogger online participates. Seriously. As of today there are 372 entries. Last fall there were 617 entries. This thing is BIG! The rules are that you pick one quilt to show and tell it's story. The quilt doesn't have to be new, in fact, you can have already blogged about it - but you do need to write a new post.

Welcome to any new readers visiting Modern Balabusta for the first time! I'm so happy that you've stopped by. Please say hello so that I can make sure you check out your festival entry. I can't wait to see what you've made!

Okay. Enough preamble!  Behold...The Frog Prince Quilt! (The original post about this quilt can be found here).

The Frog Prince Quilt will always be special to me because it's the first quilt I completed. I took a Sampler Quilt class at The Workroom with Johanna Masko.  I'd been dabbling in quilting already, but felt that proper instruction would give me a good foundation to quilting and I wasn't disappointed. Johanna is an amazing teacher.
Testing out options for my Churn Dash block. Which would you have selected?
(Spoiler alert: I used #1)
The class covered fabric selection, basic piecing, curves and applique, sashing, borders, basting, straight line quilting and binding (machine and hand). We learned it all!
I thought I would hate hand sewing. Boy was I wrong!
I used many prints from Tula Pink's Prince Charming collection, as well as Kona solids, Jewels from Outfoxed (which regular readers will recall is my very favorite blender), Cultivated Flower from Modern Workshop, Sundae in Sherbet from Ruby, Hernshead  from Central Park and two prints from Origins by Basic Grey. I'm probably missing some stuff but you get the idea.

I also experimented with improv piecing when making my scrappy back.
Getting started on the scrappy back

The scrappy back allowed me to use up a bunch of scraps and also to include the 16 HSTs I made from the leftovers of my flying geese block.

Not perfect piecing, but still loveable!
Finished back
I like using painters tape as guidelines.

I used a pop of pink in my binding, something I've seen others do.
I love it and think this will likely be included in future quilts.
The finished quilt
Please take time to check out the other entries in the Spring Bloggers' Quilt Festival. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Giveaway Day is May 21!

Have you heard about Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day?  If you haven't, I highly recommend you check it out so that you can get in on the fun! From Sew Mama Sew's blog:
Giveaway Day is a biannual, HUGE event we coordinate where everyone with a shop or blog can give something away.

And guess what everyone? I'm going to host my very first giveaway here on Modern Balabusta! Yep, it's true. You, my loyal readers (all ten of you :P), will have a chance to win some fabulous stuff. My giveaway will be in the Sewing + Craft Supplies category. I was at The Workroom today and picked up this highly coveted prize.

Here's a sneak peak!

Don't forget to check back here on May 21st to enter!

For the Men in Your Life

I'm not sure how I let this happen (ha ha) but I have joined yet another swap. Monica blogs at Button Counter and she is hosting her first swap. Instead of five inch charms, we're swapping ten inch squares.

The theme is Manly Man Man. Okay, I just made that up. But what we're going for with this swap is muddy earth tones. Masculine vs feminine.

I'm swapping this print from Curious Nature by Parson Gray

There are 32 spots in this swap and as of today I think there are about ten left so come on over and join us. The details are on Monica's blog and also in our Flickr group.  The send by date is June 15. Monica is requesting no international swappers because it's her first go around, BUT, she what okay with my participating and as y'all know, I'm in Canada. So if you want to join in and you're also a Canuck, give her a shout.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bits and Bobs, and Princess Lego

I don't have anything much to share today, but it's been almost a week since my last post and that just feels wrong somehow. So here's a bunch of random stuff that went down in the last week.
  1. Levi is once again terrified of the bath. We can't figure it out. It's like a switch flips and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the bath is his nemesis. Last time this happened buying new bath toys was all it took to entice him back into the tub. Alas, I bought some new toys yesterday to no avail. Levi is decidedly anti-bath. I'm praying the flip switches again soon because trying to bathe a screeching baby is the opposite of fun.
  2. The daycare ladies told us that when Levi finished his bottle today he said "all done." This is both terribly exciting and slightly devastating.  Did I really just miss my child's first words? Seriously?! NO FAIR! He won't utter a word for us at home, just a whole lot of "ya ya ya" and "leeder leeder leeder" at random times. But for his beloved ladies he'll say "all done?"  I'm sure he'll walk for them soon too! These are the times when being a working mom sucks.
  3. Are you a volunteer? Have you ever noticed that people who do volunteer work end up doing a LOT of volunteer work? It's like word gets out that you are a do-er and the requests just start rolling in. I spent Sunday night at a board meeting and last night at a committee meeting which went until 11:00 p.m. which is ridiculous. I'm committed to the work I'm doing and I adore the individuals working alongside with me, but it can be exhausting. Did I mention that I'm contemplating joining an additional board of directors? I'm trying to talk myself out of it, but at the same time, I know the contribution I could make is desperately needed. My grandparents and parents were all community leaders (in our synagogue) so I come by it honestly. Perhaps you can talk me out of taking on yet another commitment? Please?
  4. I remain camera-less. Remember how I dropped it and the lens bent all crooked? Yeah. It turns out that the extended warranty doesn't cover damage due to being a total klutz. What good is that?! I've sent it away to be assessed and we'll see what they quote me to get it fixed. The camera was only about $150 so it might end up making sense just to replace the damn thing which is irritating because again, KLUTZ!
  5. I bought princess Lego. Have I mentioned that I have a women's studies degree, am a card carrying feminist, and am very much against the princess culture permeating our young girls' lives these days? Here's the thing though: our very good friends have a five year old son and a couple weeks ago over lunch I was talking about how I'd tried to buy Levi some of the big Lego (the kind for the younger kids) but they only had the princess themed stuff. So E asks if I'd gotten it and I said I hadn't. Then he told me that he would like to play with princess Lego and could I get it so that when he came to our house he could play with it? I told him I'd think about it and assumed he'd forget about it.  Nope. This weekend at shul (the yiddish word for a Jewish place of worship - think church, but Jewy) E asked me if I'd gotten the princess Lego yet. I said not yet and he said "maybe you'll get it tomorrow and then I can come over and play with it?" Come on you guys, who can resist that?! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WIP Wednesday: The Nothing to See Edition

When I sat down to write this post I realized that I had NOTHING to show you this week! Nothing! It isn't that I didn't get anything done, although with all three of us being sick, my sewing time was limited. I just don't have any pictures that I haven't already posted. I thought I'd just go snap a few shots until I remembered... I dropped my camera on Sunday. With the lens extended? Yeah, it's not in good shape. I need to bring it in and see if it can be fixed. I'll attempt a photo now, but I don't have high hopes for it's quality.

Nope, my camera is shot. But I took some pictures with my iPhone so all is not lost.

Here is the next block for my Farmer's Wife Quilt, which I'm hand-piecing. I picked up Jinny Beyers Quiltmaking by Hand from the library and it has some great tips. I still would like to take a hand piecing class. Karyn told me The Workroom will likely run one over the summer.

I decided to do a quarter dresden block for my 3 by 6 hivemates. I pulled fabric a few days ago.  This is one delicious looking stack.

Here's the cut fabric for my first block. My hive mate chose aqua, dark blue and lime. I check with her to see if she was cool with my using the vintage print on the right. Her dresden block has a bit of a kitchen theme happening.

My biggest two accomplishments this week were finishing a mother's day gift for my mom (I can't share it yet) and finishing the May block for the We Bee Learning bee.  I also finished a few more HSTs for my Flora Charm Quilt.

I've moved a few projects to the hibernating list.

WIP status report
Flora Charm Quilt - HSTs are in progress
Farmer's Wife QAL - still going strong
We Bee Learning Bee - May block is finished and in the mail
Sew. Happy. Quilt back  - very close to finished
Give a Day quilt - gathering ideas
3 x 6 blocks for Q2 - block has been chose, fabrics have been pulled, cutting has begun
Hibernating projects
Levi's Bed Quilt - This should probably come off the list
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - fabric has arrived!

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. Check out what everyone else is up to. There's so much creativity out there!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Snort, Sniff, Snuffle, etc.

The pox upon our house continues. Levi is no longer feverish (hooray!) but still has a wet cough, drippy nose, and oh yeah, he's teething his bottom molars (and therefore miserable and no asleep at 10:30 p.m. on a Sunday night). My husband's bronchitis is improving slowing. My nasty cold remains nasty. And tomorrow is Monday. Having been home with a sick baby on Thursday and being sick myself on Friday, my plate will be full when I get to the office tomorrow. I'd hoped I'd be feeling well and ready to tackle the week. I am not well, but to work I must go.

I managed to get a little sewing done this weekend between kleenex blows. The May host for my We Bee Learning bee picked a block called Antique Tile in red, white and black. The tutorial she pointed us to was amazing!  The blog is called Modify Tradition and has a number of tutorials for traditional quilt blocks. It is definitely worth checking out. This tutorial made putting this block together fast and easy. Here's my finished block:

I thought I'd also share with you the blocks I collected during my first quarter of the 3 x 6 mini bee I participated in. My colours were chartreuse and plum on a grey background.  This is the inspiration mosaic I put together:

I learned that my chartreuse is another person's lime. Fair enough. For the second round of this bee I specified that I was looking for a yellowish-green chartreuse. I also learned that plum to some is pinkish versus purpleish so for round two I asked for plum or eggplant purple.  This isn't to say I don't like the blocks I received though. They are great! Part of participating in bees and swaps is being open to receiving blocks that are different than you'd make yourself. I love sharing work with other quilters. It's a blast!

I received six but I only have five to show for it. One of the blocks disappeared into the black hole that is our apartment. I have no idea where it is. It's a hazard of living with a baby in motion. Anyway, enough preamble: here are my blocks (the one on the bottom left is the one I made myself):


And now, to bed with my sick self. I apologize for typos. I'm too bagged to proofread tonight. 

P.S. I'm going to link up with Jenna's linky party this week, just for fun. Go say hi to her and the others participating in Manic Monday.
Sew Happy Geek

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What to Get a Quilter for Her Birthday

Is there any question really?

Some people don't like to give or receive gift certificates because statistics show that they often go unused. Alternatively, they do get used, but the person using them ends up spending much more than the amount of the gift certificate and some gift givers (and receivers) find this problematic. 

Personally, I LOVE getting gift certificates to my favourite stores. My family knows this well. My husband has twice come home with a gift card to Sephora to lift my spirits (well played, my love, well played).

My 34th birthday was last week. Surprised to see me state my age so blatantly? I had a friend ask me if I was turning 29 again like she does every year, to which I replied, "no way!" I love getting older. I have found that with every year that passes, I become happier, healthier and more comfortable in my skin.

But back to the topic at hand. My sister is pretty much the only adult I exchange birthday gifts with, except my husband. I broached the idea of giving up the gift exchange with her now that we have children but, since I'm also the only other birthday gift she gets besides one from her husband, she wanted to keep it going which was fine by me. I should mention that our parents get us birthday presents too. You know, just in case Mom reads this and thinks I don't appreciate it (I do, Mom! I loved this years gift! Thanks so much!).

Anyway, last year my sister got me a g/c to the iTunes store which was PERFECT because my husband had just bought me an iPad (yes, I do realize that he spoils me and yes, I am extremely appreciative). This year, my sister got me a gift certificate to The Workroom which is my favourite place in Toronto.  One of the best things about spending this g/c is that I only overspent it by $3.52. That's probably a record for me!  Here is my bounty of awesomeness:

I got two yards of Essex linen/cotton blend in PDF Bleach White that's destined for a table cloth (using the yummy vintage print I shared last weekend). Those are two fat quarters from the Cocoon line by Free Spirit. Aren't they phenomenal? I picked up Johanna Masko's houses mini quilt pattern.  And finally, a refill of Mary Ellen's Best Press because I'm running low.

That my friends, is what to get *this* quilter for her birthday. Thanks sis!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

WIP Wednesday: The Hand Pieced Edition

Last Wednesday, I shared the beginnings of my first hand pieced quilt block ever. People, hand piecing is addictive! Before I took up quilting, I'd spend my evenings watching television and either surfing the internet or knitting, but since I bit the sewing bug, I've really cut down on my TV watching. That's not a bad thing, but there are some shows I still want to catch and I hated having to choose between watching or sewing. Hand piecing means I can do both. Yay!

I finished two hand pieced blocks this week. First up is the one I previewed last Wednesday, Broken Dishes, block 11 of the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt. I was pleasantly surprised when I measured the block and found that it exactly the size it was supposed to be. Sweet! This block uses one of the fabrics  from The Workroom's Scrap Bags I picked up at City of Craft. I know I'm going to get a little thrill each time I use of the scraps.

I also impressed myself with how tidy the back of this block looks. Not bad for a first timer!

My second hand pieced block is only 3.5 inches square and is part of my secret project. It's a Wonky Star block and uses two of my scrap bag fabrics. I'll give you a sneak peak:

The other project that saw some progress this week is my Sew Happy Quilt back. It's almost fully pieced. I'm starting to think about how I want to quilt it and would love suggestions. Here's a link to the quilt top. Should I keep it simple with straight line quilting (maybe a tad wonky)? Should I do an all over meandering pattern? Actually, I think that would be too difficult for me as my FMQ skills aren't well honed and it's a BIG quilt for my little machine.  I could do echo quilting in each block and then something different for the borders. 
Finally, I'm adding another project to my list. Well, not really a project. I signed up for another quarter of the 3 x 6 mini bee on Flickr. Next step is to pick my block.
And now I should go to bed because Levi is sick, my husband is sick and I can feel my body shutting down I type.

WIP status report
Flora Charm Quilt - HSTs are in progress
Farmer's Wife QAL - another block is done, yay!
We Bee Learning Bee - waiting for the May block to get posted
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - fabric has arrived!
Sew. Happy. Quilt back  - very close to finished
Give a Day quilt - gathering ideas
Hibernating projects
Levi's Bed Quilt - This should probably come off the list

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. Check out what everyone else is up to. There's so much creativity out there.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced