Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WIP Wednesday #55

Howdy, Wednesday. Things were busy at the end of last week, so I'm easing back into the sewing this week.

Last week's craziness was all about finishing the Bluebird Park Baby Quilt, which I did!
The quilt was for two friends for whom we threw a baby shower on Saturday, so it was nice to be able to finish the quilt and pass it on so quickly. I'm hoping their new little guy will love all of the fun colors and prints in the quilt. You can read all about this quilt details in this post.

In progress:
After the shower was over, I got right to work on my MQG Riley Blake Challenge quilt. I'd already pulled all of the fabrics for it, deciding to focus on gray, navy, and orange.
I decided on one of the patterns in Modern Patchwork (so  many great ones it was hard to choose!) and got to work cutting everything up. I'm getting pretty excited about seeing this one come together. Now, back to the cutting mat!

On the "to do" list:
Five more pillows for the STLMQG Pillow Bomb Project
Get back to the T-shirt quilt and Kitchen Window quilt
New tie for B (with a tutorial, finally!)
Superhero cape for B
Re-covering the downstairs chair
New pillows for the downstairs chairs
A mug rug for me
Ironing board cover
Another divided basket from the Noodlehead pattern 
Reusable snack bags
Living room quilt
Washi dress

This week, I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


In addition to all of the small organizational projects we've been doing the past few weeks, we had two big projects we also wanted to tackle before Matt's semester started and we hosted a baby shower last weekend. Up first, finally painting our dining room.
The color in this room has bothered me since we moved in over a year and a half ago. I'd learned to live with it, but I never liked it, and back in December, I finally managed to convince Matt it was time for a change. We settled on a light tealy gray color (Behr Swan Sea, in case you're wondering), which I thought would be more soothing and tie in well with the colors in the adjoining living room.
After we put B to bed on the Saturday before the baby shower, we got to work.
As with every paint job we do, we underestimated the amount of paint we'd need (our plaster walls absorb paint like crazy, and the dark mustard yellow was not easy to cover), so after we went through 3/4 of a can with just one coat, we had to stop for the evening and wait to go get a second can in the morning. Meanwhile, the chaos in the living room remained.
We finished the second coat during B's nap on Sunday, and voila! the calm, serene, beautiful dining room I'd dreamed of. I'm so pleased with how the color came out (though the lighting in this room makes it difficult to get a very accurate pic).
The big before and after (so much better!)

The other big project was converting these faux cabinets in our basement into useful shelving. These pictures don't give you a great sense, but the cabinets were pretty darn ugly. The sliding doors (which did not slide well) were covered in this cheap-o textured wood, and they opened to reveal nothing but exposed studs and the tile that runs under our basement carpet. The previous owners had used the space to store leftover carpet, which is about all it was good for.
Not very pretty, huh? Not to mention totally useless. We knew knocking out the cabinet completely (as we really wanted to do) was going to be a bigger project than we could really handle because it would have involved re-paneling the entire wall, leveling the floor, etc. Instead, our original plan (which we've been talking about for months) was to install a backing onto the studs, install floating shelves, and then paint the entire thing white.
But after a series of late-night brainstorming sessions, lots of discussion, and the discovery of these shelves at Target (which just happened to fit the existing openings perfectly and were on big sale at the time, bonus!), we had a new plan. First, Matt removed the ugly and annoying doors. We wanted open shelving because it was more functional and attractive, not to mention it makes the room look bigger.
Then, he removed all of the trim that had originally created the structure for the sliding doors. Next, he installed 2x4s along the bottom of the cabinet to create a floating floor above the tile. The actual basement floor was very uneven, and we didn't want to place the cabinets directly on top of the tile, so the boards created a new, level surface on which to build. He also installed spacer boards on the front of the studs to keep the shelves from sliding backwards (the shelving units aren't as deep as the original cabinet).
After that, all that was left was to assemble the Target shelves, fit them into the openings, shim the floor boards to make sure everything was level, and fill the shelves with toys!
I am so happy with the result! We have so much more storage in the basement now, and it freed up a lot of floor space. We still plan to create a false front to trim out the shelves and make them look more like custom built-ins, but that job's going to have to wait until my dad's next visit. :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Bluebird Park Baby Quilt finished!

We've got our first finish of 2014, folks. The Bluebird Park Baby Quilt is finished!
After a bit of panicking early last week, I was actually able to finish it up pretty quickly and in plenty of time for my deadline, the baby shower I helped to host this past Saturday. The quilt was a gift for the little one our lovely friends Buddy and Bridget are expecting next month, and they loved it (success!).
The quilt design is the Cub Crawl Baby Quilt from the Fat Quarterly book Shape Workshop for Quilters. The book is a great collection of individual blocks, along with several projects, including this quilt. I love the simplicity of it, especially for a baby quilt. The pieced back was made of leftover cuts from the front, combined with a few pieces from my stash.
Unfortunately, the weather didn't want to cooperate with me in the days leading up to the shower, and these cloudy-weather pics don't do the colors in the quilt justice. The teal and green solids (both Moda Bella) are both bright and soothing, and the colors throughout the prints are perfect for a baby room (without being dull).
The Bluebird Park collection is such a fun set of cheery, whimsical prints, and the quilt design was a great way to show them off, especially in the boxes surrounded by the solids.
I kept the quilting super simple so as not to distract from the prints, which are really the stars here. I used a teal thread (just a bit darker than the teal solid used in the quilt) and stitched along both sides of the horizontal seams. I bound the quilt with more of the teal solid after deciding a new print would be too chaotic with everything else going on in the quilt. I love the way the teal binding acts as a subtle but perfect frame.
I can't wait to meet the little guy who will hopefully be snuggling up in this one very soon!

P.S. I'm linking up to Kelly's Craft Book Sew-Along over at Live.Love.Create. It always feels good to finish up a project from one of the books on my shelf.
Craft Book Sew Along at Live. Love. Create.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Between Christmas presents and project stashing, there's been a lot of new fabric crossing the threshold of this house lately. I am so ready to start breaking into some of this loveliness. I've been crushing on Jay-Cyn's Just for Fun and Commute lines since they came out ages ago, and my sweet mother was kind enough to pick up several bits of the (quickly disappearing) lines for me: Dottie, Ellie Fam, Ride, Stashes, and Dandi Flight.
She also got me some Mosaic Path in gray from Anthology Fabric's Sweet Tea collection, a great stashbuilder (or future quilt binding), and a fabulous sampler of Carolyn Friedlander's cross shading fabrics.
My sweet mother-in-law was sneaky enough to get me a gift card to Pink Chalk Fabrics, which I quickly started to use on some fun new pieces: Alison Glass's Clover Sunshine Snow Globe in cream, Emily Herrick's Technicolor Hexo in turquoise, Lily Ashbury's High Street Floral Lacey in lemonade, and Kate Spain's Sunnyside Cloud Burst in twilight (all currently on sale).
I also picked up some great basics, including some Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in black and several pieces from the wonderful Half Moon Modern collection: Big Dots and Medium Zig Zag, both in steel and ruby, and Small Zig Zag in steel. Oh, and a Washi Dress pattern. Finally. I will make that dress this year. I know, I'm only like two years behind. Making clothes scares me.
We also did a FQ swap at our St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild meeting last Saturday. We were supposed to give our partner an idea of general colors or patterns we wanted to add to our stash. I said I wanted dots, and my partner did a great job. (Sorry, the only one I can identify is the green one: Flower & Dot in green from Flea Market Fancy.)
Finally, I wandered into my LQS last night to get the binding for the Bluebird Park baby quilt, and sure enough, I came out with a lot more. I'm so weak.
First, it was impossible to resist picking up some Botanics prints. I largely missed out on the Architextures line, and I won't make that mistake again. I particularly love the leaf prints.
And then I grabbed several of the Stitch Circle prints from Michael Miller. This picture (a cloudy day here today) doesn't do the colors justice. The navy is bright and rich, the gray is a dark charcoal, and the green is a vibrant lime. Fabulous.
And I finished up with a few chevrons to add to my Riley Blake challenge quilt. At least I have a specific project in mind for these. That's progress, right?