Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sewing Desk Chair Makeover

When John-Todd and I got married we "inherited" tons of stuff! But like I've said before, not everything was shiny and new. For my sewing desk, I had semi-permanently borrowed a metal folding chair from my parents and used a thick blanket as a cushion. Needless to say I wasn't living in comfort.

It's been on my list to get a new desk chair for a while but it just never happened. I finally decided to just find a cheap one at a thrift store and re-cover it. Well apparently all you have to do is ask...JT's Nana had an extra one out in the shop that she gave me for FREE!!! YAY FREE!!!!!

It was looking a little rough but I knew I could give it a second chance ;) Here it is before the makeover...

And here it is AFTER!!! The entire project cost me $1

I cut the patchwork squares out of upholstery fabric straps that I got for $1 at a thrift store. The back was a quick solution and I might end up replacing it with something more permanent. I failed an attempt at making a tote bag for the Original Quilt Expo two years I cut it up, sewed it back together, and tied it on! The fabric was an upholstery sample given to me by a friend that worked for a custom baby bedding boutique. So once again...FREE!!!


I also removed the rubber sleeves (not sure if that's what they're called) from the metal posts to make it look cleaner and simpler. The seat wasn't as "cushy" as I preferred, so I cut out a piece of egg crate foam to add to it. I used a plain scrap of fabric and hot glue to secure the foam to the seat. Then I carefully and neatly attached the cover with hot glue, then finished it off with a staple gun.

Since the back is made of plastic, and not a wood frame, I knew I couldn't attach anything to it. This cover works for now, but I may make something with elastic that will be more secure. 

AND here's a view of my little work can see the strips for the wedding quilt I'm working on to the left, as well as a tote bag WIP (the bright floral print in the top left corner). So much to do and so little time!!!

I hope you have all had a good start to the week...finish well!!!!! :)

Bye for now,

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Here's a preview...

I've gone back and forth about whether or not I should do this. I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up or jump the gun. For your sake and mine. But I think that it's a good that you can see exactly what we're working towards. Go ahead and live vicariously through our future - I know I am.

So here's a little taste of what we'll be driving 11+ hours for.

It's a real beauty...

I know you can't wait to see it...

I'm making you wait on purpose ;)

Just keep scrolling.

TADA!!!!! THE BUS!!!

I'm sure you want many more pictures and I have them. But I'm going to make you wait until things are more certain. Once we take the trip and come up with an agreement to buy the bus (and hopefully seal the deal!!!) I will share many pictures of the interior, and some of our ideas for "making it ours".

Thank you all for joining us on this journey!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

My New Favorite Toy, A Product Review, and Accessory Trouble.


A couple of weeks ago I purchased a Kindle Fire from a friend. My thinking was: why take up precious bus space with books when I can have them all in one place? Don't get me wrong, I love having tons and tons of books. But for our new lifestyle it just isn't practical.

Of course, we aren't living in the bus yet, but I'm already seeing the benefits of having my Kindle. I was a little skeptical at first. Would I like reading from a screen? Would I prefer holding a book and turning pages? And so many people I know rarely use theirs.

Yet again, technology proved to be more useful. I know I'm behind the times - mine is not the latest version. But it works so well! JT and I have one laptop, which is fine for us to share. It does get tricky though when we both want to use it. The Kindle has a web browser, which basically makes it an extra computer. It's perfect for my quilting - I can get on Facebook, Blogger, Pinterest, etc. It's so much easier that lugging around the laptop.

Not to mention the fact that I can read any book I want at any time. It's super easy to switch back and forth from personal reading to small business research. I'm currently reading Grow Your Handmade Business by Kari Chapin. She has some great insights into owning your own business, and selling your created goods. If you are interested in beginning the journey to small business ownership, or just want to make a little extra cash with your creations, this is a great resource. You can also read it for free with kindle unlimited.

On a different note, I had some trouble trying to make a protective sleeve for my new Kindle. I started with some leftover fabric from my last tote bag and a piece of giant roc arc that I bought at the quilt show. It was SO CUTE but it turns out that the internet lied about the size of a Kindle Fire. Of course, I should have waited until I actually had my new toy before making an accessory for it. That's what I get for being too excited.

Too big!!! :(

So I bought some different fabric and made another attempt - this time actually measuring the Kindle itself. Well I forgot to factor in seam allowances. DUH!!! 

Too small!!! :(

So, after a third attempt, and multiple seams to make it smaller, I finally ended up with an appropriately sized case!!! Yay!!!

Just right!!! :)

I'm so excited about my toy and I can't wait to see how it helps HBQ grow!!! Thank you all for your comments - keep them coming!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Rough Patches

Well this week has been crazy. Started out the week with a flooded laundry room and mom falling on a barbed wire fence. Ended it with a rained out yard sale and a quick trip to Georgia. It has been one thing after another, and work has been beyond stressful. I feel like I haven't slept all week and emotions have been pretty high. I'm just ready to get back in the sewing studio.

I'm in the middle of two queen sized quilts, with another one to shop for, all to be finished by the end of September. I'm also hoping to have time for a few projects...quilts and tote bags that aren't already spoken for. But with my full-time job and our school bus plans, those projects might go to the back burner.

To be honest, I'm so discouraged. I feel like I have no time to quilt. When I do have a day off, I'm too exhausted to be of much use. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for my job. It provides for JT and I in ways that we never would have guessed. I have made friendships with wonderful people who invest in my life and encourage all of my crazy endeavors. However, it leaves me with no time or energy to do what I really love.

I can rest in knowing that JT and I are working so hard for the specific purpose of getting out of this rut and doing what we love. The closer we get, the more hope I have that this too will pass.

We have been in contact with a couple who is trying to sell a converted bus. They've had a lot of interest but say that they feel the best about us taking it. We can't afford it right now but they seem to be very willing to work something out. It really is a beautiful bus. Because it already has the basics (wood floors, sink, toilet, shower, heat, air, stove, oven, fridge, etc), we will save a lot of time and frustration. Not to mention the exterior is already painted my favorite color...something which would not have even a priority for us to do ourselves. We both really love this bus and are so excited to make the long trek to Lake Park, Florida to look at it. 

Even though this week was exhausting and stressful, we feel exponentially closer to accomplishing our goals. If this deal works out, then we could potentially have our bus ready for move-in by March. Our goals are becoming more and more tangible each day and I couldn't be more excited. 

But in the meantime, it's hard not to be discouraged. I'm just trying to focus on the goal and enjoy every part of the process. I'm counting on my quilting to be a relief from the stress of it all. Hopefully the product of that will be good.

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A summer tote

During my last "stash building" trip to Joann's, I selected quite a few fabrics with bags in mind. I just love using bright, bold prints and pairing them with more subtle, smaller prints or textured solids. This particular birds print just screamed "take me home!" 

I paired it with a thrift store doily, some giant ric rac that I purchased at the last Quilt Show in Atlanta, and a few cute buttons. I was worried that using two prints, both with light backgrounds, would appear too busy. I wanted there to be enough contrast - I think the embellishments really accomplished that.

One major perk of moving in with my parents is that I have so many new places to photograph my quilts and other creations! I love experimenting with product photography, and the farm is full of fun furniture, antiques, flowers, etc.

This bag is available in my Etsy shop, along with my kid's aprons and baby quilts. 

Happy Thursday!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Box at the Opera Quilt

Last week a coworker, Sarah, asked me to make a queen-sized quilt for her new house. I couldn't have been more thrilled! We discussed patterns and fabric over lunch, finally deciding on a patchwork pattern using fall colors. With only a picture on Pinterest to work with, I searched and searched for a pattern, to no avail. All I ever found was the picture - no pattern, info, etc. I eventually gave up and decided to create a pattern myself, which would be very close to the pattern of the quilt she'd picked out.

The quilt was made up of about 50 pieces, all squares and rectangles of different sizes. I'm not so great at "random", so I decided to copy the general layout of the quilt pictured, and then add some extra pieces to get the desired length.

Although the math was frustrating, and the cutting process ridiculously long, the top actually came together very quickly. It took only about two hours to complete the piecing.

Sarah loves fall colors, which worked out perfectly because I already had a gorgeous collection of fabrics from Tipsy Star Quilts in Asheville that I've just been dying to cut into. I supplemented those with some purple (Sarah's favorite), tan, and orange from Joann's. The colors all worked together harmoniously!

This quilt is named box at the opera because Sarah is a musician and sings opera. I can't wait to finish this one up and get it to her. I hope she loves it as much as I do!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Roses and Gems

I am so excited to be almost finished with this quilt top! It was such a good challenge in so many ways and I couldn't be more pleased with the result.

It all started when this cheery diamond fabric caught my eye. I didn't buy anything to go with it, but decided to hold onto it until the perfect idea came along.

Between two different trips to the fabric store spread weeks apart, I somehow ended up with a beautiful pallet of reds, blues, and greys. I questioned some of the fabrics that didn't seem to match, but decided to go out on a limb and commit.

I chose the Boho Diamonds pattern by Katy Jones (from Love Patchwork & Quilting Issue 2, pg 50) because the quilt pictured used many bright jewel tones, and I felt that the pattern would really display each fabric individually, as well as how all of the fabrics related to each other. Even though it's busy, I think it's perfectly acceptable!

I think this quilt would be wonderful in a nursery, or just as a light summery throw. I can't wait to quilt it and see it finished! 

I just can't get enough of these colors together. They just work so well. I also feel, while each print is very bold, that they all have similar themes that tie them together - birds, flowers, feathers, etc.

Even though I didn't make this quilt for myself, or anyone in particular, I totally adore it and I hope that it finds a home with someone who will love it as much as I do!

Check back soon for another quilt top that's in progress. 

Ta-ta for now!