Still Trippin’

To quote one of my fellow American Trip Around the World Challenge bloggers, “I’m totally obsessed with this project”.  That’s why it’s been so quiet here — I’ve had my head down hand stitching these little blocks.  It’s really starting to get time-consuming now — it takes me at least an hour to do one side of one round.  Our challenge this month was to complete rounds 10 – 18 by today.  July 15th.  I put the last stitch in round 18 with 45 minutes to spare.  I know I didn’t really have to get it done by today, but I really want to try to stay on track.  It’s been my experience that a little slip in schedule can quickly become a big slip.

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

I did have a little burp in this month’s task.  I had cut out rounds 13 and 14 and then I had to clean up the fabric that was on every flat surface in my house because people were coming over for the 4th of July.  When it came time to stitch those rounds, I couldn’t find the little cut squares anywhere.  That’s what happens when I clean stuff up and cram it all into my sewing room.  I ended up re-cutting the fabrics in order to continue on.  And then, somewhere around round 17, I found the little devils (pictured below) neatly tucked away in the new train case sewing box.  Doh — didn’t think to look in the obvious place!

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

I’ve long since stopped finger-pressing the seams on the back, but I wish I was still pressing them.  They’re flopping all over the place and shedding threads.  I feel like I spend half of my stitching time plucking little threads off of the back and it’s driving. me. crazy!  The back does have a sort of pretty texture to it though.

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

Jan eloquently wrote about viewing your colors out-of-focus, so I thought it would be fun to look at my block that way.  It’s so funny to me how this block is taking shape — I don’t feel like these colors are “me” at all.  I’m not sure what “me” colors are,  and I like these colors, but they don’t quite feel right.  I’d love to make another version in different colors.  Or maybe ten more versions — then maybe I’d find “me”!

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

A little closer look and you can see some of the prints a little better.  I love the Alison Glass text print so I had to try to use it here.  I threw in three blue rows in a row in an attempt to “blue up” this block, but it doesn’t seem to be working.  I still see predominately yellow and brown.

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

I might have to get more aggressive with the blue this next month. We have a fun new twist to the challenge. A partner will send us each a quarter yard of fabric and we have to use it in a round. I’m afraid to do any more rounds until I see my exchange fabric so I hope it will arrive soon!

We’re having the most beautiful summer this year. This week we’re experiencing another polar vortex and let me tell you, a polar vortex in July is a whole lot more fun than a polar vortex in January! I’d gladly suffer through the brutal winter that we had this year in order to have a beautiful, cool summer. As a snow lover, I feel like we hit the weather jackpot this year. I wish I could share our cool summer with those of you who are burning up here in the northern hemisphere– come for a visit!

XOXO,
Anna

Five Things

Otherwise known as Friday Five but I just couldn’t get around to it on Friday — or Saturday!

1.  First and Foremost — I hope all of you in the U.S. had a great 4th of July.  We had a fun mix of people here for a cookout — our little family was scattered and we were missing one CrazyBIL (who is being Crazy in Brazil at the moment) and three of the five kids.  We were joined by family friends though, and they made it extra festive by providing party hats.  Lots of fun and laughs.

Thimbleanna: July 4th

2.  Winston (sporting his new summer haircut) was here for a visit too.  Some of you have asked how Winston gets along with the resident cats.  It’s a Love/Hate relationship — Winston loves the cats, they hate him LOL.  Poor little Winston — since he’s still a puppy, he’s all over the place and he wants to play with anything that moves.  Paulkitty is mostly terrified and runs to hide.  The Scruffster is a different story though.  He has a mean hiss and he’s discovered that he can scare Winston.  So, he’s in charge and poor Winston does whatever he wants.  I think Scruff is like a grumpy old many though — he has to be mean but really wants to be nice.  Here he is, cautiously checking out that bouncing puppy who finally fell asleep.  He didn’t dare go any closer — for fear he’d have to rear up on his hind legs and let out a ferocious growl to maintain control of the house if that puppy woke up.

Thimbleanna: Winston and Scruff

3.  I started crocheting a pink Happy Birthday pillowcase using this fabulous tutorial and this fabric.  Love, Love, Love!

Thimbleanna: Pillowcase Crochet

4.  My Zinnias are looking beautiful this year.  Last year I hardly had any because of a hail storm and this year …  I’m a little disappointed again!  I’ve ended up with some dwarfy version of a zinnia.  They need spinach or something to be real zinnias!!!  Apparently third time is a charm, so I’m hopeful for next year — I’ll be more careful when picking my seeds.  They’re pretty and healthy this year though — even if they are microscopic LOL!

Thimbleanna: Zinnias

5.  We’ve had the most beautiful weather the last few days — unseasonably cool.  So, if you’ll excuse me, my bike is out and I’m off for a bike ride to visit MeMum and BigDaddy!

Thimbleanna: Happy Bike

XOXO,
Anna

Her Name Was Nancy Wolfe

I took MeMum to an antique store for a few minutes yesterday.  I was worried about our trip — MeMum was grumpy and didn’t want to play.  Isn’t it funny how shopping is a lot more fun if you find something that interests you?  Just when I was giving up hope that she would enjoy our little outing, we saw a few things that caught our eye.  One of them was this train case that used to belong to Nancy Wolfe.

Thimbleanna: Train Case Sewing Box

It looks a little bunged up in this next picture, but it’s really in great shape.  I knew immediately how I could use this cute little train case.

Thimbleanna: Train Case Sewing Box

The makeup tray is perfect for sewing tools and little squares of fabric.

Thimbleanna: Train Case Sewing Box

And the section below the makeup tray is perfect for my growing quilt.  My little buddy case is tucked under there too, for times when I don’t want to take the whole case with me — I’ll grab the buddy case, quilt top, and go.

Thimbleanna: Train Case Sewing Box

I think it was $15 well spent.  I tried to get The Scruffster to show a little interest but he wasn’t having it.  He’s not an outdoor cat, so actually being outside was more than he could take.  He’s too rotund to run away from me, so I don’t worry about having him out there for a minute or two.

Thimbleanna: Train Case Sewing Box

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  We’re having a pretty downpour as we speak.  A perfect day to sew!

Thimbleanna: Rain

XOXO,
Anna

C’mon Get Happy

I’ve had that goofy song by Pharrell Williams running through my head all week. The Happy Song — it’s so, … um … happy haha. (Did you know they call that an earworm when a song gets stuck in your head like that?)  Google the Happy Song if you need an earworm too — it’s fun!

Anyway, the reason for all this Happy is the arrival of Surprise!, the fun line of fabric from Riley Blake.  I ordered it way back in February and I was really excited to see it at spring quilt market. And now it’s here and I’ve been having fun playing and making some gifts — because a fabric that says Happy Birthday on it is perfect for gifts.

Thimbleanna: Happy Birthday Pillowcase

I started with pillow cases. Sooo easy! And I included a little Happy Birthday Tag-It in the seamline. Next up, I want to make You Go Girl’s cute crochet-edged pillowcases with the pink Happy Birthday print. 

Thimbleanna: Happy Birthday Pillowcase

Then, I decided I wanted to make some little giftbags.  (I might be a little obsessed.  Like many of you, I love fabrics with words on them and the colors in these prints sent me over the edge LOL.)

Thimbleanna: Happy Birthday Giftbag

Each gift bag took a basically a fat quarter (split between a cute print and the Happy Birthday print) for the bag and a fat quarter for the lining, with a scrap for the binding.

Thimbleanna: Happy Birthday Giftbag

I threw in a little Happy Birthday Tag-it on the gift bag too (’cause they’re like Lay’s potato chips — you can’t stop!).

Thimbleanna: Happy Birthday Giftbag

Anyway, it’s been fun playing and I have a ton of other ideas for this fabric too.  Wouldn’t a pincushion or sewing accessories for your sewing buddies be cute on their birthday?  You’ve probably already guessed that I have fat quarter packs and some yardage in my little shop.  You can make a LOT of those gift bags with a fat quarter pack (free pdf pattern comes with the fat quarter pack). 

Thimbleanna: Surprise by Bo Bunny

(And speaking of the shop, if you missed the first order of the little Better Buddy Sewing Cases, they’re restocked and lime green is even an option now too.)

Ok, off to fondle happy fabric.  Have a great weekend — it’s almost here!
XOXO,
Anna

A Trip Around the World

How do you like that post title?  Are you thinking travel?  Or Quilt?  While I’d love to be on a real trip around the world, this trip is quilt related only.

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

I’ve been a huge fan of Jan at Be*mused for many years.  She was one of the first blogs I ever read and she has a quiet sophistication that I love.  Years ago, I was pinning so many of her projects on my pinterest boards, I even joked that I should have a board dedicated to all things Be*mused!  So, when she posted about an online Trip Around the World Challenge a few weeks ago, the pictures of her beautiful start made me sit up and take notice.

After reading about this challenge, there were several red flags for me.  First of all, I really didn’t need another start.  I just started Phebe and I’m going to start the Aunt’s Quilt in the fall.  I don’t usually join challenges for fear of not being able to keep up (still a very real danger, but, oh well.)  I’ve never really liked mystery type challenges either — I like to be a little more in control of my project.  And the biggest red flag — this quilt is all hand-pieced.  I’ve never really understood the point of hand-piecing in this sewing machine world — except, maybe for intricate or curved little pieces.  Why on earth would you ever hand piece a quilt that would be so easy to machine piece???  You’d be crazy to do something like that, right?

But.  If Jan was doing it, maybe there’s something to it?  So, I timidly requested to join the group, and after a bit of wavering, I jumped in.  And, oh.my.gosh, I’ve been having so much fun!

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

The hardest part has been choosing the fabrics.  I love most all fabric and color combinations, and I really have no idea how these fell out of the mix.  I’m really trying to get more of a blue/green vibe going on, but, as Jan pointed out in her post, this quilt sort of has a mind of it’s own.  I’m sure I’ll try to work harder on the blue/green — I hope I don’t ruin it by fighting with the quilt.

There are guidelines for this quilt, and it’s interesting to me how they can be interpreted differently.  I’ve read and re-read several parts, wondering how to proceed.  And in reading over Jan’s post again this morning, I’ve realized that she and I interpreted the instruction to “eyeball the seamline” differently.  For, some reason, that didn’t jump out at me as a “rule” but rather a suggestion.  Jan had mentioned to me that if you cut your fabrics on the grainline, you can follow a thread as you stitch.  I painstakingly cut out my first six rounds on the grain — by pulling a thread through the fat quarter (how time-consuming!), but when it came time to stitch and have my eyes follow the thread — not happening!  My eyesight just isn’t that good.  So, I’ve been drawing 1/4″ seams on every other round.  Ooops!  What should I do now?  Try and eyeball?  Might not be pretty!  It’s funny that I didn’t connect the dots between the instructions and Jan’s comment about following the grain (even having read Jan’s post) before now.

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

And there was mention of not pressing the seams as you go.  That’s driving me crazy!  Is that a “rule”?  I need to read over the guidelines LOL.  I’ve been finger pressing like crazy, just to get my big square to behave.  Like Jan pointed out, I love how you can pinwheel the seams — revealing a little 4-patch of sorts at each intersection.

For the next month, we’ll be working on rounds 10 through 18.  The rounds are really starting to take some time now, so I’m a little worried that I might not make the deadline.  I’ll try my best though, and enjoy every minute of the stitching.  It helps that I’ve found a fun little sewing buddy.  Do you like my new little Better Buddy sewing case?  I’ve been wanting one of these for a long time and I finally got one.  It’s perfect for this little project.  I throw the quilt and my better buddy in my bag and it’s a great take-along project!  (The sides are magnetized, so they hold pins and needles — even that whole box of pins.  I love that I can just toss my needle in there and not worry about finding it the next time.)

Thimbleanna: Better Buddy Case

Ok. Back to stitching. There’s a new round to be discovered!

XOXO,
Anna