Monday, July 21, 2014

Karen Nyberg's Quilt Challenge

Have you heard of Karen Nyberg? She's that astronaut who was quilting in space about a year ago. When she was interviewed about it, she mentioned some of the challenges she faced (apparently gravity helps us quilt, who knew!) and how neat it is for her to have something to remember her stay on the International Space Station. And quilters everywhere rejoiced and thought she was the coolest thing ever because -- hello, quilting in space! You can watch the video and read the interview HERE.

At the end of the article, it mentions that Karen Nyberg and NASA and the International Quilt Festival are challenging THE ENTIRE WORLD to make star blocks and send them in to become part of a quilt that will include Karen's star block. Of course, I immediately planned to do it -- sometime before the deadline. And promptly forgot about it, because about that time I decided to talk to Emily Herrick about designing quilt patterns. :) And two quilt markets later, I'm starting to get a feel for the rhythm of pattern design for Quilt Market -- and I just can't get enough!

And then, sometime around June 29th I saw THIS POST by Fat Quarter Shop's Jolly Jabber, and knew the time was now! I would have regretted not including a block, but they saved my bacon just in time -- thank you Kimberly and the crew! :) And if you want to be a part of it all, and send in your 9 1/2" quilt block, all the information you need is in that post. :)

So, this is my quilt block, which will be on display at the International Quilt Festival.

This block was inspired by a mini quilt made by Amanda Castor at Material Girl -- as soon as I saw it I fell in love! You can see her mini quilt here.

I really hope someone takes a picture of the quilt with this block in it. I can't go to Houston this fall, so I won't be attending the festival, but you can bet I'll be stalking the bloggers who are there -- just hoping someone gets that photo for me!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sewvivor- Natalie Ever After

I'm totally entering the "SEW-VIVOR" contest!  I've always wanted to do one, but I had a little baby the first season, and then I forgot about it.  But when I saw it was a quilting edition -- oh, baby, I'm so there!

This is a quilt I made for Quilt Market this year.  It's called Flower Tile, and it's my own pattern!  It's a perfect lap-sized quilt, measuring 50" x 66" (after washing!)  I love love love the color combination -- it really makes me so happy!  It's fun and girly, and for a flower quilt you really need that.  Plus, it's a little bit elegant, with the gold thrown in there.  A piece of art I pinned inspired the color palette, and I think it's the first time the actual quilt was BETTER THAN I PLANNED.  When does that ever happen?! It was really so, so much fun to work on!

My favorite block has to be this one:

My favorite block, with friend:

But Joel's favorite is this one (I know -- it's so soft and girly!):

And this is my favorite star:

I really hope I get in!

Okay, so here's the scoop on Survivor (the actual TV show).  I used to be an avid fan in the "Rob" years -- I saw him on the first season, and then I saw him and his fiancĂ©e on the heroes vs. villains season. But over time, I realized I was waaaay too invested in the lives of people who were not really real.  I know they call it reality television, but in reality they're fairly well scripted a lot of the time.  I'm pretty practical about stuff like that.  And while I really like the challenges, and the game, I really don't like all the contention -- especially when I think it might be just a little forced.  Anyway, it was fun and I'll watch it again, I'm just not as into it as I once was.  BUT... one night (a few months after the decision to not watch for a while) I WAS CHOSEN TO BE ON SURVIVOR. 

I remember it so vividly -- I was pulling into my driveway one evening after doing some errands, and my cell phone rang.  I answered, and heard, "Hello, Mrs. Smith. This is Andrea from Survivor, and we'd like you to be a contestant on the show."

My first reaction: I was so surprised and excited! And then I had to decline.  "I'm so sorry, I'd really love to compete, but I have a four-month-old baby that is still nursing.  I really wish I could, though, because this has been a dream of mine since the show aired."

The lady on the phone was so nice. "Oh, that's all right, Ms. Smith.  We can hold your spot for you for the next season."

Of course I accepted -- and then I woke up.  Yep, that was seriously one of the best dreams I've ever had.  And, lest you think I'm a reckless thrill-seeker, let me clarify -- I've never wanted to be on Survivor -- they eat waaaay too many gross critters for this picky eater.  As far as I know, they would never, ever hold your place for you -- they have so many applicants, I really think they'd just say good luck in the nicest way and let you go on with your life.  And, at the time, I didn't even have a cell phone.  But since that dream, I've had a secret desire to just see what would happen if I applied!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hello Again!

Wow -- I didn't mean to take a three-month break from blogging.  That being said, it's been a pretty good break.  I went to Quilt Market, we finished up school, and summer vacation is in FULL SWING!  I'm really enjoying my kids being home this summer -- they only drive me crazy when they're fighting, and that's been mostly prevented by strategically-planned playdates. :)  Aaah, playdates -- a Mom's best friend!

I've also been working on some projects, and I still need to show-and-tell all about Quilt Market, but for today (since I have just a few minutes), I'll just show some pictures of a recent project I did.  Many thanks to two ladies -- Lori Holt from A Bee in my Bonnet and Angela Walters from Quilting is My Therapy.

Isn't it cute?! I thought I'd make a wintry table runner, and this was originally going to be the back side -- but in the end I just couldn't help but make a second table runner. The block I made is a Great-Granny Square, a super popular tutorial made by Lori Holt. It's like magic how this comes together! And a great leader/ender block -- although I generally notice that my leaders and enders are so much fun to work on that I scrap the first project so I can work on them. :)

^^I had bookmarked a tutorial, but I think it's no longer available, because she made a whole book about it.  The book looks so cute!

^^As my friend Marion says -- the back side is the best side!  See how I learned from my mistakes? A more plain (although still pieced) back is totally okay not to show all the time.

^^And the quilting was made possible by Angela Walters' book "Free-Motion Quilting", which I got from Amazon. It's really a great reference on how to make all sorts of motifs, including pebbles, flowers, and leaves -- all of which are in my little project!

I have always been pretty naturally good at a lot of crafty things -- knitting, crochet, scrapbooking, sewing clothing -- as long as I have a pattern or an idea of what I want to do, I'm good to go.  But free-motion quilting really stole a little bit of that confidence for a while.  My mother picked it up really easily, and I've had a bunch of friends that just do it, so I took a class at my local quilt shop, and I was just so naturally BAD at it that I didn't even want to try! Now that I'm trying my hand at pattern design, though, I'm really cranking out a bunch of new projects, and I really wanted to get good at it.  As you can see, I need a little more practice -- but for a first attempt at three different techniques, it's not too bad, if I say so myself!