Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cheers to a New Year

It's still a bit strange, to think that tonight is really the end of 2013. This year has contained many blessings, most notably my time studying abroad in France, but it was also my chance to explore sewing and quilting which have I grown to love even more.

I won't give away too much yet, but I'm very excited for several sewing things in the new year. Just a couple of them will be participating in the 2014 A Lovely Year of Finishes and the Fierce Quilter's Bee, created by several friends. I'll pull a few more fabrics, maybe some purples, but the pile below (with the clamshells for inspiration) will be my starting point for my first block in the bee. With any luck, I'll get to spend a wonderful first day of the new year relaxing and sewing.  

Cheers to you all, and may your new year be filled with joy and happiness.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

SMS Winner!

Wow, I checked the comments from the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway post to pick a winner and I was astounded - 102 comments!? And my blog has surpassed 1,500 page views! This definitely put a smile on my face.

And now for the winner! I used Random Number Generator and it chose:

Which means Amanda is the winner!

She wrote: "I love cutout sugar cookies decorated with frosting and lots of sprinkles! :)"

I'll be sending you an email shortly, and putting together your prize package when I'm finally home on the 19th. And thank you, everyone for a sincerely wonderful giveaway.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Giveaway Day by Sew Mama Sew! - CLOSED

Giveaway winner is #57 - Amanda!

This time I'm back with something great to share - a giveaway for the biannual Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! You can find out about me and what I sew by looking around my blog, but I know for now you're here for the giveaway so I'll skip right to the prize.

Today I am offering two Christmas-themed ribbon strands, each measuring one and a half meters (almost 5 feet). I picked them out from a store here in Aix-en-Provence, France, and I hope you love them too. I will also include a couple of recipe cards for baked goods my family loves to make, and hopefully some cute fabric scraps too! Please post a comment, how about your favorite holiday cookie type, for a chance to win.

I am willing to ship internationally, so go ahead and post away! Please though, make sure you're a "replying" blogger or I can contact you if you win. You can click the link: Sew Mama Sew to visit their with more wonderful giveaways. Good luck!

Per SMS, the giveaway will last until December 13th at 5pm PST. I'll post and email the winner on the 15th, and since I arrive back in the United States shortly after, I'll send it out on the 20th of December. Thank you for entering!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Milan, Then What?

Alright, it's about time I showed just a bit of my trip to Milan! This was the second part of my fall break, and I'm happy I got to see Italy again after living in Rome for four months last year.

This was actually in the city we stayed in, Crema, which was unfortunately 40km from Milan's center. It was certainly beautiful and quaint, but quite the voyage to reach the city.

This was a church in Crema too, and this picture is more evidence that I got wonderful luck with the weather!

Of course, I had to take a photo or two of the Duomo! It was magnificent inside too.

This church in a sort of hidden part of Milan actually houses the fresco of the last supper! I was so bummed that I couldn't see it, since we hadn't made reservations.

We visited the Sforza castle too and it was quite magnificent to see.
Of course I had to get gelato! It was fantastic!

We headed to one of the big city parks and just walked around, taking everything in.
The city was great to see and it was fun to be back in Italy, though somewhere new, but it felt similar to Barcelona for me. With lots of tourists and commerce, I felt like I was missing the quaint, historic feeling of a European city. It was wonderful timing though, because my school trip the following week was just the ticket! If you'd still like to guess where I went next, I'll send something secret to the winner once I'm home, in just 20 days!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Can You Guess Where Next?

I often think about how I could begin a new post, but I'm often afraid to start. Especially while I'm here in Europe, I've been posting about trips and sightseeing, and I feel guilty not posting about anything sewing related. Then I feel bad for having not written anything new worth reading. But I remind myself, I began blogging because I wanted to have a record for myself of what I've done, and interested readers and such would only be a happy accident. I hope my good intentions are understood, and I feel so very luck to have people wanting to visit this space of the web. For that I sincerely thank you.
As with every well planned segue, here are some cool photos taken from my fall break trip to Barcelona, Spain. Enjoy. :)  
In a center square, at the top of La Rambla. It was quite a cloudy day, but I like the altered sunlight. 

Unfortunately I didn't get to go to a soccer match, they were extremely expensive, but this outside view of a stadium was very cool, complete with it's own adorning statue. 

I loved the giant market off of La Rambla, where I could go and find wonderful fruit and juices just like Kitty did on her trip here. This might have been my favorite thing on the trip.

The building on the right, the Casa Batllo, was designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi. I saw another of his famous works, the Sagrada Familia, but the renovation work did not make for a nice picture. His style and choice of colors were nice to see amongst others in the area. 

It's just a short post today, but it's just right for today; I've actually got two more trips to post about so I'm certainly not short on material. I mentioned last time that I'd be going to Milan, but the other city might not be so easy to guess. If you'd like to take a stab at it in the comments, I may be able to reward the first person with a correct guess!

Friday, October 25, 2013

"Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost" Part 2

Here's a final wrap of the places I've been to in the past few weeks. This is a look at some more cool stuff from travels with my parents, and I promise next post I've got a few sewing/quilting type pictures ready from my France adventures so far.
This was a beautiful fountain in Nimes, which my blogger friend Kitty happened to take a picture of too, when she visited France earlier this month. I did this funny Vanna White pose for you Kitty. :)

This is a Roman temple in Nimes and one of the most well preserved left standing. It was very beautiful even with the cheesy film playing inside!

This is the front of the temple, with my parents at the top. This building was humongous and awesome.

I also really liked this too, the Roman amphitheater in Nimes. Can anyone believe it was built around 70 AD?!

The last city my parents and I travelled to was Marseille, which is sort of like San Francisco for all of you familiar with California. This arch was on our way to the old port and I couldn't pass up a photo opportunity.
And that, sadly, is a wrap of my mini adventures in France for now. The next post on here might not be for a while, since my fall break just started and tomorrow I leave for two consecutive trips, to Barcelona and Milan! I'll have to take good photos, as I know these cities have many beautiful sights to offer. I'm off to travel a world I know I was destined to see.

Friday, October 18, 2013

"Not all those who wander are lost."

I think I'm getting good at this forget-to-post/become-shocked-by-the-date thing, no? I picked the post title (J.R.R. Tolkien) because it describes what I have been doing, much better than I could say myself.

In order to keep taking a very spotty account of my times in the south of France, I'll do a short recap, with lots of pictures, to prevent the horrors of reading a novel-sized biography for each picture. You're welcome :)

 This was a view of the beach and some boats in Saint Tropez, one of the most tranquil scenes I've witnessed in France yet!

The giant fountain in the center of Aix-en-Provence, where I'm living for the semester.

This was an art show in a limestone quarry cave, where music played and Impressionist paintings were projected onto the walls, like these by Monet. It was so cool!

The city of Les Beaux also showcased a couple-thousand-year-old chateau and other neat things like a trebuchet and a catapult.  


My parents came to visit me and we went on lots of day trips, like this one to the cute and quaint city of Cassis. 
This time my dad (and mom) and I are in Lacoste, a tiny little hillside town. It had beautiful views of the valley.

 My mom actually asked me to capture this photo of a cemetery in Menerbes and I think the photo would be striking in black and white. 

I have some more photos of day trip towns but I'll save those for another day, so I have no excuse about lacking content for another post. Here's hoping I won't forget or procrastinate and actually put them up before the semester's over at this rate!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I'm busy Aix-ploring France!

*Cue giant arm waves*

I'm still here (sort of) I promise! Anna recently blogged about the swapping adventures between us and our friend Kitty so I felt it was high time to show I'm alive, and very appreciative of the shout-out as well. It just might have kept my few followers from jumping ship! ;)

Anyway, I thought I should explain that the reason I've been AWOL is that, like Kitty, I'm studying abroad! My program is through my home university, and I'm living with a host family in the wonderful city of Aix-en-Provence, France until mid December. It's certainly such an adjustment, and my French knowledge is really being tested! So far I am having a wonderful time, and I look forward to more adventures, both here and in other nearby countries. I won't make promises, but I'm entertaining the idea of visiting Spain, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic before the semester is over. :)

So as not to be finish sad and picture-less, here are some from my first two weeks here in France.

The beach in Nice, isn't is beautiful!?
My delicious gelato from a place in Saint-Tropez.
A fun market stall in Marseille.
Now I can't promise that my blog updating will be a regular thing like usual, but for this semester I hope to keep any and all readers update with some fun things once in a while, like a virtual vacation. Sound good? Hope to write again soon.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Funday Giveaway - Closed

Congratulations, Random Number Generator picked #26 Michele T.! I will contact you immediately, so look out for an email from me. And since I did reach 50 comments, my plan is to include a couple extra fat quarters of Robert Kaufman Metro Living. Thank you all again for entering, this was so much fun!

I am so sorry for my late posting; my work-focused brain must have let me forget.

But I digress, on to the giveaway! As part of the Sunday Funday Giveaway series, hosted by 627handworks is a quick picture of what I'm giving away, to any residents of the U.S.

Click here to go to her webpage too.

My giveaway includes four fat quarters: the pink is from my LQS (local quilt store), the green is Simply Style frames, and the orange and blue are dots from Denyse Schmidt lines for Joann.

Just a couple of things to let you know. You don't have to become a follower of my blog to enter (just post a comment) but I would love it if you did! And please, if you are a no-reply blogger, include your email in your comment! If necessary, I will draw another name. Also since this giveaway is beginning on the smaller end, I will include another item or two to the winner, such as thread or some more fabric. I will increase the loot of my giveaway once I receive 50 entries.

Okay! The giveaway will be open until 11:59 pm Pacific Time on Tuesday, and I'll announce the winner sometime on Wednesday. Good luck!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What I'm Up To

Sorry, no real post tonight. I'm quilting! :) Maybe tomorrow...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Most Wonderful Gifts

Today was a magnificent day! :) I received both of my swap items, from Anna and Kitty, and I am so in awe of their creativity and kindness. Words may not convey everything, so I've included pictures of their, and now my, wonderful things.

First, here are the two bundles I sent out to my friends, inspired by their loves of aqua, lime, and orange. For Kitty, I made a 14-slot colored pencil roll with orange fabrics for the outside and limes for the inside; for Anna, I made a 10-slot crotchet hook roll and reversed the color order. The backs both have a fun block from Tula Pink's sampler book, #86. I also included fat quarters of Metro Living, three from Denyse Schmidt lines, Heirloom opal (Joel Dewberry), a fat eighth of Riley Blake Tuxedo, and a couple scraps from the projects. I also found the perfect hounds tooth ribbon last week, so that just had to wrap them up. As you can probably tell, I left wrapping these up until the last minute, and didn't take nearly enough pictures, or even one of the actual gifts! I do hope the girls can post some on their blog for me, that would make my day :)


Below, in all their glory, are the two swap items I received. Anna send an adorable house block pillow cover, with purples and blues which I just love, and a super cool bird, surrounded by Noteworthy (one of my favorites!). Unfortunately I don't have a good picture of the back, but she used the gorgeous blue chevron you can see on the front, and even a beautiful purple floral for the inside. I so wish I could free motion quilt like she does! Anna also included some scraps I will most definitely put to good use, some candy, and even some stinkin cute fabric tape. :)

Kitty sent a mini quilt, which just made me smile like a big idiot. She picked Flea Market Fancy knowing I would love it, and tried out some lone star blocks which turned out wonderful. I wish you could see the quilting on this, I'm so envious and I'll have to discover her secrets! The back (which again I forgot a picture of) is more Flea Market Fancy in reds and greys, which tie it all together; she even included these dotty scraps. 

I may have felt just a little scared when I opened both of these wonderful gifts and thought, these seem so above and beyond my humble pencil/crotchet rolls! :( But then I read an email from Kitty, writing that the pencil roll I sent, is the most perfect thing I could ever dream to have, and I wasn't so scared anymore :) She was amazed by the love and wishes we sent, and really I can't say it better myself. These beauties will always make me smile, and think of the friends I am so fortunate to have.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hi Ho, Hi Ho...

... it's off to sew I go! I've got a bit of time before I should go to sleep, and that means some much-needed attention for my swap items. I wouldn't dare show a picture preview, such is the nature of a secret swap, but I can say for sure that my cutting mat has seen a nice mix of green, orange, and teal today. :)

Happy sewing!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Stitchy Things

I've got a finish and a couple of other cute sew-y things to show today.

First up, a completed trial-run colored pencil roll, to get ready for the fun swap planned with the lovely Anna and Kitty :)

Pretty cute huh? Although there are problem spots that stick out to me, overall I'm happy with it, especially being my guinea pig. I'm most scared of the problems that my swap partners will see when I send theirs!

Below are some blocks that I've been slowly working on, since last summer. Sshhh, don't tell anyone. The orange and green ones might be my favorite of all the ones I've completed so far.

Lastly, an adorable heart for the start of a flag for the "We're Stitched Together" Project, blogged about by deux petites souris. These will be going to the city of Lac Megantique in Canada, but you can read more about the cause from the blogger herself.

 I realized about half way through it, I seemed to be doing paper piecing without the paper! It was fun to do, so I might experiment some more for the flag's other side. Hopefully I can sew again soon!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A New Record

This is the second post in two days! I'm on a roll :) My reason is to gloat show some recent (and semi-recent) fabric stashings in hopes of creating inspiration for others or just keeping a record to show myself later that I don't need more fabric. Yeah right!

First up is a stack of beauties from Form and Fabric, whom I have purchased from before, and again I am just as excited. From bottom to top they are Flea Market Fancy seeds, Tula Pink fans, Happier garden, floral, birds and more floral, some organic white, and Tula Pink again. :) These fabrics (which are a massive yard each because of clearance!) keep making me smile. Seriously, go check out their clearance (and shipping) prices!

Then about a week ago, I purchased an assortment from Bloomerie fabrics again, since they were offering me 20% off of everything for missing my business. I can't argue with that! Again using my spending money (read: tip money) I chose half yards each of the Posy bunnies, and quarter yards of the Lizzy House jewels, Noteworthy be happy dots, fly a kite, Cuzco woven geo and confetti flower, Tinsel argyle and Ladybug Garden petal. Oh and of course an adorable charm pack of Flurry by Kate Spain, all sitting on 2 1/2 massive yards of an off-white solid.

I'm not trying to make you jealous, honest, and thankfully I have a plan for a lot of these so they don't linger in the stash for months...I do admit that a couple are to help deficient stash colors (can you guess?). Plus two of the bunny prints and the white will be used for the Swoon baby quilt! I also scored some Kona Tarragon in the remnant bin at Joann today, so I'll be using that too. I do have to order a couple more pastel solids (since Joann had a crappy selection of Kona pastels), I'm thinking Fabric Shack this time, but I might find myself cutting before then, I'm just too excited.

I've also made lots of progress on my pink and white quilt, and almost have the whole top together! Oh happy day :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Here's to Better Pictures

I've missed blogging here, that's for sure! Work has kept me very busy but I've still (somehow) managed to squeeze in some sewing time. I'm excited to show you what's been up in my neck of the woods :)

First I've got to give proper thanks for my recent photos to my new camera! It's my super cool, Powershot SX 500 which I bought on sale from Costco with tip money I saved :)

Next, progress with my pink chevron quilt. I've got all of the rows sewn together now, and two pairs of rows are together. I'd be doing more right now, but that's the scariest part, trying to match up all of those nested seams!

Oops! I'll be more careful taking apart my chain piecing...

Just so I don't leave you with (another) picture of my so-so pink quilt, here's a shot of my frog pincushion, the only one I've ever made and kept for myself since I began sewing. It's seen better days, that's for sure. Maybe I should remedy that soon!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Quick Update

I really wish I could stay a while and post a lot of picture updates, but Jeopardy under my quilt and sleep are quite necessary, especially since I was asked tonight to work an 8 hour shift tomorrow...yeah. Just to keep any and all followers somewhat intrigued, here's a quick shot of my newest quilt top, in blocks that is. I still have to add one more row of that dark pink paired with the solid, but then I can finally sew it together! :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Quilty Dilemma

I am still stuck on what to decide, so I thought I would post here in hopes that even just one blogger can comment and help me to decide. One can hope anyway :)

My dilemma concerns the idea of making a quilt for a friend and coworker, who is going to have a baby girl some time this month. I haven't ever given a quilt away, since I've only actually finished one to date, so the idea scares me just a bit, but I'm pressing on. In my mind, I have three choices:

1. Make a baby quilt using a sampling of the quilt blocks found in my new amazing book, Tula Pink's City Sampler book, which I am absolutely in love with

2. Instead, joining in with Fairy Face Designs and the Swoon-along to create a baby quilt with either one or four blocks (which I am also in love with; take a look at Anna's stunning block!)

3. Doing both, while making one a lap quilt size instead (or going in a different direction altogether)

With my busy work schedule, I don't know if option three is realistic, but I know I really want to make something for her to show my congratulations. Below I'll include a picture of my initial fabric pull for the baby quilt, just to show you an idea of where I'm going. Here's my ultimate question: what would you do?