31 January 2011

Holy Cow! or Stash Reports 4&5

I feel more and more like a busy busy bee as time goes on, but that's kind of the way of things. I missed my stash report last week as I was in Belgium on a trip to go to various sites from the Battle of the Bulge. It was a fun trip, but absolutely NO sewing or fabric purchasing happened. This week, however, is a different story.

I went thrifting with my husband on Saturday and found a vintage Singer sewing machine for about $90. She was in really good condition, considering her age - the machine was still black, and had a lot of the gold still on it, although it was cracked. I'm working on de-gunking the metal latticework on the stand - it's going to take me a couple more hours, at least a hundred more Q-tips, and vinegar. The one part I've finished looks AMAZING, though, as most of the paint is still intact. I will share Sasha the Singer as soon as she's cleaned up and ready for pictures!

I also bought an old set of sheets at one of the stores...about $5 and I got (based off of the measurements of each of the pieces) 6.33 yards of fabric! It's a nice print - white background with orange flowers on it. They aren't cartoon flowers either - they're much more realistic. I lucked out too - the set consisted of two 29x30" pillowcases and two duvet cover-type "flat sheets." So in essence, I got four pieces of fabric 29x30 AND four flat sheets! The sheets will be saved for backings, and the pillowcases will be cut up and used in quilts. I'm a happy girl!

Saturday night I pulled out the fabric for my Brown Bag Quilt. I've currently cut half of it, so I'm counting my usage for now as 1 yard of fabric (as it was 2 yards of fabric to begin with). I'm adding some fabrics too but I think I might use some of the chunks of the rest of the fabric to piece the back. I've kind of planned out what this quilt will look like, but there are still some bits up in the air!

So, without further ado, here's the damage done:

Used this week: 1 yard
Used year to date: 1.09645 yards
Added this week: 6.33 yards
Added year to date: 8.83 yards
Net used for 2011: (7.7355)

I still have some time to make up the difference - there are 11 more months to quilt like a fiend! Now if only I could find the time...

20 January 2011


Prague was amazing. We had perfect weather too - it was in the 40s and 50s the whole time, and sunny. It was good to just...put everything down and just enjoy it. We had a few mishaps getting there (the map we had for Prague was just for the walking district/downtown area, not for driving into the city, plus no GPS because we use our phones for that and didn't want to use international data) but we made it safe. We walked around that first night without a camera because it was already dark and we just wanted to enjoy. We wandered from about 6 pm until 9, when we realized that we needed to get some dinner and went to a Kobe Sushi and Grill. Not very Czech food, but then again we live in Germany and the foods are about the same. The Kobe was AWESOME - I had Sushi Menu 1 (8 California , 6 salmon, and 6 octopus rolls) and my husband had the Filet Mignon. He said it was just about the best steak he's ever had. The sushi was fantastic - I had a bad sushi experience a while back and this was my first time eating it since then and it truly was wonderful. I loved everything about it. We also had the Chocolate Cream Cake and the white cream cake (don't remember what it was called) but they were also amazing.

Saturday morning I woke up to this view out of the hotel room window:

Pretty amazing, huh? The camera went with us on Saturday, and it was a beautiful day to have it. We walked around for (we estimate) 18 miles on Saturday - 9 hours straight of walking, with only breaks at mealtimes.

This is only a selection of the pictures we took (after all, I can't really show you all 105 pictures that we took between Saturday and Sunday!), but I love them all.

These are the prettiest bars over a window I've ever seen, and they look rather quilty to me:

Streetcar Cafe:

Even the manhole covers were pretty!

This poor guy couldn't catch a break - I found him in a dumpster. Poor knight!

Astronomical clock:

My husband wants to live here someday:

This is what happens when the astronomical clock tower strikes the hour - these guys come out to say hi, and then the trumpeter sticks his head out of the top on all sides and plays a little tune:

The entrance to the Charles Bridge:

I felt bad for this statue lady, to suffer the indignity of having a gull standing on her head:

I'm not sure why I love this picture so much...the only way I can describe it is that I feel the picture. Does that sound weird? Maybe the repetition of the windows is appealing, or...I don't know...but I love it.

View from the palace on top of the hill at night:

LOVE the color combination, the detail on the building, and how it just glows:

Evil nesting doll:

Creepy marionette stores were everywhere. I could just imagine those little guys grabbing you as you try to leave...ugh.

View of the square, with my future house (haha):

Death by nesting dolls:

A dementor escaped from Azkaban!

And finally, proof that I got over my biggest food aversion: food that looks back at you. Meet Carlos the Crawfish and Karlov the trout.

All in all, the trip to Prague was awesome. It's a beautiful city, we had beautiful weather, and walked well over 20 miles in one weekend. We were both sore and tired by the end, but made it out alive. We had fun, only spent money on food, lodging, admission to the Jewish Synagogues, and tickets to a show at one of the several Black Light Theaters (we saw Faust, and it was bizarre and mind-bending knowing that there were multiple people on stage that we legitimately could not see, even if we wanted to). No knick-knacks, just a lot of window shopping. We got to go into a Cartier, Gucci, Prada, etc. in the fashionable shopping district. And my hubby and I both agreed that while the stuff was nice, it really was no different than cheaper but still good quality stuff you can get at the less expensive places. So in the end, Prague was awesome. And I hope you enjoyed my pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them!

16 January 2011

Stash Report Week 3

I finally used some fabric this week! I know, it isn't much, but I made a block (12.5" square) for Quilt Dad to expand a quilt top made from the results of a bee he had been in. I'll upload pictures tomorrow when I get all of the Prague pictures off of the the way, Prague is AMAZING, although almost running out of gas on the way back and then getting a flat tire in one of my BRAND NEW snow tires makes me not happy. Did I mention it was a brand new tire? As in, put on the car just a week before Christmas? Brand spankin' new? Oh well, I had my wonderful husband there with me to keep me safe, and I got to see my first flat tire get changed. I knew how to do it, but he did it so much faster, and we got home safely. :) Thank you, honey. You're the best!

Used this week: 0.09645 yards
Used year to date: 0.09645 yards
Added this week: 2.5 yards
Added year to date: 2.5 yards
Net used for 2011: (2.40355 yards)

Pictures tomorrow...and bed for now. I'm a sleepy girl! And while you're at it, check in over at Judy's!

12 January 2011

Stress, and a (hopefully) fun weekend coming up

Life has been stressful this week. I'm doing inventories, which takes a lot of time. Yesterday and today I had 8 hours of classes. I'm also helping a new couple get settled in (they've been here in Germany since this past Friday). My husband's on a business trip - he left at 3:40 am this morning and won't get back until a little after noon tomorrow. I miss him. :( This is the first time we've been apart since his long business trip that ended in November. At least it's only one day!

I found out today that I'm going to be changing jobs on Tuesday. I'll be going from my current staff job, where I'm only responsible for me, to a leadership position. I've trained for this job, and I knew I was going to have it at some point, but this is really sudden. I got the job ahead of a co-worker who technically had seniority over me too, which is confusing. I just don't feel ready in the least. I feel woefully inadequate, and not in a way I can fix between now and Tuesday. The problem with this job is it's going to potentially take even more of my time. Now, I'm lucky and have an understanding husband who also works full time and has no problem with helping out. After all, our hours are almost the same at work. He's usually the one that does the laundry because I hate it and don't think about it as often as I should. He's also a fantastic cook (and yes, ladies, he's taken, so stop drooling!) and is good at making me smile and feel loved. But we're going to have even less time for that now, let alone for me to get some quality time with Jenny the Janome. I'm really stressed over taking this new position, so when I got home from work tonight (alone, boo...) I treated myself to some fabric therapy. Just a bit of playing with fabric. Just being around fabric is calming. Does anybody else feel like that? That when you're stressed fabric can just soothe the frazzled nerves?

I know that this won't be anything that I can't handle in the long run. I know that I let myself get too comfortable where I was, and that I need to let myself stretch outside of my comfort zone. I know that no matter what happens I'll always have God, my husband, and my parents to love me. I could totally fail and fall flat on my face and they'd still love me. And knowing that is helping right now.

On the bright side, my husband and I are going to Prague this weekend. We're going to see the sights, especially the Charles Bridge, which was on a list of the top things you need to see in Europe while you're there. So we'll play around the city (and I'll hopefully get some pictures for ya'll to take a virtual European vacation!) for a few days and then come home and I change jobs. *sigh*

Thanks for letting me vent, and your prayers would definitely be appreciated for the next few weeks!

10 January 2011


The weather this week has been absolutely amazing. It's been so warm that almost all of the snow has melted! Needless to say, my husband and I have been loving life. We spent almost two hours wandering around the pedestrian district of the city, and then had dinner with friends at their house. I got to play with the baby and the new puppy, both of whom were really cute and really fun. :)

Then, this morning at church I met a woman (through my real-life quilting friend) who's another quilter! She's a "hardcore" quilter, apparently - has a big sewing room, belongs to two guilds, including the one that Bonnie Hunter is coming to visit next month! She's going to get me in touch with that guild so that real-life quilting friend and I can go watch the trunk show! RLQF (it's easier to type instead of real-life quilting friend) said that her husband owes her a night without kids, so our husbands will hang out and watch the boys while she and I go to meet Bonnie Hunter! I'm excited. :)

This week's stash report:

Used this week: 0 yards
Used year to date: 0 yards
Added this week: 2.5 yards
Added year to date: 2.5 yards
Net used for 2011: (2.5 yards)

I've added more than I've used so far, but in my defense, it was bought for a specific project - it's going to be a backing for a quilt. So it's not that bad. Check in at Judy's to see how everyone else did this week!

Oh, and even this picture doesn't show a quilt, I couldn't not post this:

I hope you're having a great day!

07 January 2011

Vote for me!

Hey all, just a quick note to say that I entered my Mom's Falling Leaves quilt into the Quilting Gallery Contest this week and I'd appreciate your vote! Go here to vote.

Thanks, and happy Friday!

06 January 2011

2011 Predictions/Hopes

Sew Mama Sew is having a giveaway in exchange for offering your predictions/hopes for the quilting world in 2011. So here goes!

Looking back on the sewing scene of 2010, what trends stand out in your mind?
The trends that stand out in my mind include any and all of the following:
  • hedgehogs/owls/gnomes/mushrooms/birds/cartoony characters
  • Oh, Frannson's New Wave pattern
  • bright colors that may or may not have been paired with a neutral solid
  • AccuQuilt Go! Cutters
  • hexagons
  • Mug Rugs
All right, seriously - what's up with Mug Rugs? How are they useful? In my limited experience, Mug Rugs are the iPad of quilts - they're too big to be a coaster, but too small to be a placemat. I have seen one actually useful-looking Mug Rug, and that was this one that was posted as a tutorial on Stash Manicure. It had a pocket for a spoon and a teabag. If you have ever made a Mug Rug, do you actually use it? Please, leave a comment and tell me how often you actually use it, because I am truly mystified by this obsession that has overtaken the quilting community.

What were some of your favorite things? (Trends, fabric collections, patterns, blogs? Whatever you really loved.)
Trends: I love that bright colors are 'in' right now. Too many people unfamiliar with quilting associate quilts with boring, old, dull colored blankets that are only useful to keep you warm at night. Ask my husband - he knows that I love bright colors (links are to two different gender-neutral bright baby quilts). I love seeing people making quilts that are bright, that take risks with colors, and that just beg you to wrap yourself up in them. That's my thing. 
Fabric Collections: I don't pay attention to fabric collections. Really. If I were to get, say, a fat quarter bundle of any one fabric collection, it would be immediately sorted by color into my stash. That being said, I LOVE the Connecting Threads Sampler packs. I got fat eighths of those a good while back and am finally using some of them up. I've used all of my browns, most of my oranges and other brights, and truly do love them. The colors are nice and saturated (like I love), the prints are small-scale enough (of the ones I have anyways) that they show through as a color, not a large-scale print, and they are just fun. I love getting little bits of a lot of fabrics.
Patterns: I can't say that I really like all that many patterns that were popular this year. I'm more of a design-it-myself person (see this post and this one) personally. Dresden plates, hexagons, and wonky blocks of every shape and size abounded. I do like the free-pieced words that sprang into popularity this year - quilts like Six by Nine, The Quick Brown Fox, and the three "Rules" quilts that Lynne of Patchery Menagerie made - the Rules for Juliethe Rules for Helen, and the Rules for Tonya. I like these quilts because they're not made like anyone else's. Everyone's free-pieced letter quilts are different, even if you try to make it the same as someone else's. I love originality in quilts, and these letters will always be original.
Blogs: I have expanded my blog reading by quite a bit this year. It includes everything from big name bloggers (Quilt DadJudy of Patchwork Times, and Handmade by Heidi) to people with only a few followers but whose work I adore (Ypsilanti DilettanteThe Quilt Engineer, and Swim Bike Quilt to name a few). I'm trying to keep my blog reading down to doable levels for my schedule. I don't have unlimited time, so I have unsubscribed from a few lately. 
What was your very favorite fabric collection or print? (If not listed above.)

The only fabric collections that I remember purchasing fabric from this year were Moda Marble Swirls (I bought the grass green colorway of it and use it all the time when I need greens because it's such a nice shade) and Pumpkins Gone umpkins Gone Wild by Sandy Gervais for Moda. I bought them for backings and got enough scraps from them that they have shown up in several quilts even recently - see my last three quilts. The Marble Swirls were in all three quilts and the Pumpkins Gone Wild was in both my Mom's and my Mother-in-law's quilts.
What was the best thing you made in 2010? (Be sure to share a photo!)

The best thing I made this year? That's a hard one, since I do love all of the baby quilts I made, but I think that my favorite was my Mom's quilt, seen here:

What is one of the best things you saw that was made by someone else?

My favorite quilt that I saw was The Quick Brown Fox by Lynne of Patchery Menagerie. Part of the reason I love it so much is because I have loved foxes since I was a toddler - my Mom read me a story about a baby bunny learning how to survive the big bad fox and I've loved foxes ever since. So seeing the fox on that quilt was an amazing thing for me to see. 
What do you think 2011 has in store? (Again, trends, fabric, patterns, etc.)

I don't really think that quilting trends are going to change that much this coming year. I'm not trying to be mean, but that's my opinion. The way I see it, online quilters today are divided into two groups with very little overlap: traditional quilters and contemporary quilters. That's not a bad thing, but very few traditional quilters would purposely make a wonky (or free-pieced) anything. And most contemporary quilters would never deign to make a purely traditional quilt. It's mostly a matter of personal taste. I see myself as one of the oddballs - I tend towards traditional quilting in my block choice but use non-traditional fabrics and settings. After all, my Mom's quilt featured a traditional quilt block (the Maple Leaf Block) in a non-typical setting - randomly placed in a bigger picture. If I was purely traditional the leaves would be sashed with cornerstones, there would be a border around the quilt, and I would have used much less bright colors. If I was purely contemporary, I probably would have free-pieced the leaves and not used 2.5" squares for the whole background - I would have used chunks of colored fabrics pieced together. Or at least pieces of the same fabric.

My hope for fabrics in 2011 is that the emphasis gets taken off of using a line of fabric, or off of who designed it. I couldn't care less if two fabrics are supposed to go together because someone else said so - do YOU think they go together? As ironic as this sounds, I think that quilts made with a single line of fabric can end up being really busy. That's partly because a lot of fabric lines end up being very large-scale print heavy and when you cut pieces out of those fabrics they look busy. I hope that people stop using single lines of fabric and stop buying a fabric because of who designed it as opposed to the merits of the fabric itself.

With patterns, I really HOPE that people try making their own designs. If I had my way in the quilting world, you would learn techniques but would not have any access to anyone else's designs. You might be able to get stitchery/embroidery patterns, but the most you'd be able to see on how to make a quilt is the picture of the finished product. Because figuring out how YOU want to do something is half the fun of designing and executing your own quilt. 
Anything you’re ready for the sewing world to get over?

I think I'm ready for the end of Mug Rugs (either that or I'm ready to understand them) and mini quilts. Both seem really pointless to me - what am I going to do with a quilt the size of a placemat? They're quite the obsession in the quilting world right now, but I don't get them. I understand mini quilts if you have a little girl with dolls to keep warm, but that's about it. Then again, I'm the type who doesn't want a quilt made by anyone else in my house, or a block made by someone else in my quilt. Quilting to me is like art, and I wouldn't have someone else paint part of my painting, or help me shade my drawing - I want to be able to say that the whole thing was my idea, my execution.

I'm also ready for the end of hedgehogs, gnomes, mushroom houses, etc. I have nothing against cute characters since quilts for children do kind of need a little bit of fun, but characters created to get adults going...well, I don't really get that.
What’s on your sewing agenda for 2011? What are you excited about? What would you like to learn more about?

My sewing agenda for 2011...that's a bit of a toughie. For one, I'm going to finish several of my WIPs during the year. I have a log cabin baby quilt that I'm working on (3/4 done with the hand-quilting) and a machine-quilted Quilts for Kids quilt to finish. I also have a big quilt for my bed, although at this point I'm starting to feel like it doesn't represent where I am with my quilting anymore. But I really hope I do end up finishing it...I'm also planning on starting work on my sister's quilt. It's a wholecloth quilt top (yay!) but has an allover underwater (dolphins, fish, corals) design on it that I'm going to be hand outlining in bright quilting thread. The top is 2 yards of fabric, so it isn't huge, but still...there are going to be some densely quilted areas on it. I have a friend who's pregnant with her 2nd little boy (the oldest one is only about 9 months old, and she's due in June) to make a top for before she moves in April. I'm vaguely considering about doing one Quilt Along (the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Quilt Along over at Civil War Quilts) but while I'll ooh and ahh over it, I doubt whether I'll actually do it. It might be fun to do in miniature or something, but that would require WAY more time than I actually have in my life. Oh well - such is life.

So there you have it, folks - Emma's take on both 2010 and 2011. I'm a little late, but that's how it goes. 

03 January 2011

Stash Report 1

Judy over at Patchwork Times is doing Stash Reports again this year and it doesn't even require me to count up how much fabric I have already! We're just doing a net balance for the year. I think I can do that, although I'm afraid my reports might be a little boring since I work full-time. But here goes! Hopefully I do a good job keeping up with these - I guess we'll see!

Used this week: 0 yards
Used year to date: 0 yards
Added this week: 0 yards
Added year to date: 0 yards
Net used for 2011: 0 yards

Pretty boring, right? But at least I'm almost 3/4 done with hand-quilting the baby quilt I'm trying to finish. Once I get that done I'm allowed to get to sewing new things. But only once I get that done, since the baby is 3 months old already...

Go see how everyone else is doing over at Judy's!