Sunday, May 31, 2009

Congrats to the winners!

Here are my lucky winners!

55. ircabbit (from the blog Miscellany) said...

:o I've never found such a thing at a garage sale. I think I need to go more often...

36. kikiverde (from the blog Kiki(verde)) said...

The best thing I've ever found at a thrift store is a bench that I saw at Target the very same day for 3 times as much! When I opened the box, I saw that one of the pieces was cracked, but it was a piece that was hidden and could easily be fixed with some wood glue. I was so excited!

Thanks for offering up such a great giveaway- I always look for linens at the stores I go to but never find anything good.

Congrats to you both! I look forward to seeing what you two make with these fabrics! (No rush!)

Thanks to everyone who entered - I loved reading all the comments, and hearing so many great anecdotes about cool garage sale / thrift store finds! Some things I learned from this crazy giveaway experience...
  • There are so many cool blogs out there! I tried to look at as many as I could for the folks with blogs who left a comment. I still have a lot left to look at! I will slowly but surely make my way through them all.
  • I tried to reply to as many comments as I could, but I was really amazed at how many people don't give you a way to contact them. Even people who have their own blogs!
  • How to number comments in blogger! I did exactly as the instructions suggested, and only ran into one tiny problem. I copied and pasted the text, and the single quotes were pasted as the wrong type (`) and I had to change them to the other type ('). Other than that, it worked like a charm.
  • I tried to delete some duplicate comments (though I didn't have too many), but they still showed up as "deleted by the administrator" and were still numbered. That annoys the perfectionist in me.
  • I didn't have much time to check out the other giveaways. Bummer!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Okay, I'm in

Looking for the giveaway? Click here! Only one more day!

So, I'm officially in for the Old Red Barn quilt along... I haven't posted my fabric pics in Flickr yet - I'm probably the only one left on the planet without an account there!! But hopefully soon.

I was having a hard time picking out fabric from my stash, but then I had a brilliant idea. It's a long story (I'll post all the details some day, I'm sure), but I happen to have a bunch of pre-cut strips from someone else's abandoned quilt project. There are 20 different fabrics (a mix of batiks and tonal prints), each with 2 5.5" strips, plus waste strips of about 3". Many of the strips were already paired up with strips of the light background fabric, and marked for sewing triangles (and a few were already sewn). The bin it came in was labeled "Jewel Box", so I'm pretty sure it was intended to be this quilt.

It's not anything I'd pick out for myself, but my MIL loves colors like this, so I think this might become her xmas gift. It's also not the exact amounts specified for the quilt along (12 fabrics, 6 or 7 strips each), since I've got 5 strips of 20 fabrics. But the total number is about the same, and the pattern seems pretty flexible, so I'm hoping it will all work out in the end. And I really LOVE that this project will finally get done, even if it's in a different form.

After a couple hours of trimming, I ended up with this...

and this! :-) For the record, it's not much fun to re-cut strips!!

loot report - more fabric!

Yay, more fabric! I only went to two sales this weekend, and they were both great. The first sale had fabric for $1 a yard, and I spent about 8 bucks on some cute novelty prints...

Some FQs with "bling" (metallics) for a friend of mine...

And some other bits, including a green FQ for my friend Robin for her Dear Jane quilt (and yay, she didn't already have this one!).

Finally, I got this last bit at Value Village. It is so bright, it hurts! I think it will make a great dress for my daughter, or it might show up in her red/pink/orange quilt (someday!), or both!

The second sale I went to was amazing, just because it had stuff I had been actively shopping for. I got a new (still in the box) wooden/metal bench kind of like this one, for $25. Even more incredible, I found 4 IKEA "Strippa" shelves for $1 each. I had tried to buy some at IKEA last weekend, only to be so disappointed to discover that they have been discontinued. I could not believe my luck to find some at a garage sale! They are really narrow little shelves, maybe 4" across (this is the best picture I could find out there). My plan is to put them up in my sewing room to hold thread. Hopefully I'll have pictures of that soon...

And last, but not least, check out this new toy! No, I wasn't shopping for this particular thing (heck, I'd never even seen one before!), but I do enjoy bringing home fun "prizes" for the kid when I can. I just did a little research to find its official name (the Little Tikes Whirly Rocket) and was amazed to see the prices for it on eBay. Holy cow! My cost? $3! Sweet!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy giveaway day!

If you're here from Sew Mama Sew, welcome!! Here is my contribution to the Giveaway Day - a set of 9 fat quarters from thrifted linens. Eight are from IKEA duvet covers in the Rosali line, and the last one (the mostly blue plaid) is from an Eddie Bauer sheet that just happens to match well. All are 100% cotton. If you want to see more pictures of the fabrics, and a little doll quilt made with them, check out one of my earlier posts.

I am giving away TWO sets, so we'll have TWO lucky winners! Sorry, I can't ship internationally (my neighborhood post office doesn't do international, darn them).

To enter, just leave a comment here. I'll draw a number randomly at around 8pm Pacific time on May 31. Any old comment will do. But if you have time, tell me a story about your favorite garage sale or thrift store find - I love to hear them!

I'll start: my most memorable garage sale find was a Timbuk2 messenger bag for my husband (then boyfriend). He had always wanted one, so when I spied one under a table at a garage sale, I was so excited! And it was only $2! The guy selling it said that it had belonged to an ex-roommate, so I assumed that's why he was selling it so cheap. I brought it home, and was proudly showing it off to my husband while I opened it up and looked through all the various pockets. I got to the front pocket, and pulled out a brown paper lunch bag. I stuck my hand in, and pulled out... some rubber tubing... a little plastic baggie with some brownish residue... and a syringe... oh sh*****!! It was drug paraphernalia!!

I have to say, that was definitely the most interesting thing I've ever come across at a garage sale. And yes, we kept the messenger bag. After washing it several times of course! Years later, he's still using it. And I still love garage saling! But I am much more likely to LOOK before I stick my hand in a bag now. :-)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2.5" squares are cute

I've been cutting squares for the "vintage baby quilt". Aren't they so wee and adorable?

I can't wait to get started on it, but I'm still trying to decide if I should add other fabrics... The plaid in the upper right corner is one that I found at Goodwill a couple weeks ago - it's from Eddie Bauer, and is 100% cotton like the IKEA ones. The sheet underneath is what I'm planning to use for the backing. I'm thinking about taking whatever is left, and fussy-cutting 2.5" squares around the flowers, and adding those to the mix. Yeah, I'll definitely do that. It will be a pain in the rear, but I think it needs another big floral. Any other suggestions? Should I add some solids?

If you like these fabrics, check back tomorrow - I'm jumping on the Sew Mama Sew bandwagon, and will be giving some away for the May Giveaway Day. Fun!

zigzag, quilted

Whew, all done!! It's more square than it looks in the photo. :-)

Now, about the binding... Any brilliant suggestions?

Monday, May 25, 2009

4.5 hours

That's how long the quilting will take me. 4.5 hours!

I started on the zigzag quilting yesterday, and after the first line, I thought - damn, that seemed to take FOREVER! So, let's time the next one. 7 minutes. Next one, 7 minutes. Four lines per colored stripe (28 minutes), with 9 colored stripes = about 4.5 hours. And now I can see the appeal of those knee-press thingies to lift the foot... The lifting and turning is so tedious (and backache-inducing).

For the next one (which uses some lighter linens), I'm going to just do straight line quilting along the seams instead. I'm looking forward to seeing how it changes the look. But I am loving this one, and can't wait to see how it turns out! Only 5 more colored stripes to go! Um, 2.5 hours - ug.

When I told my husband about my calculations (he loves math talk), he laughed and said it was so unlike me to work out the numbers like that. He said I'm much more likely to just happily continue doing some really tedious task, and then do it again, and again, and again. Like the 6 (yes, 6!) flannel rag quilts I made for Christmas last year. I'll never live that one down. Snip, snip, snip, snip...
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

loot report #2, Goodwill

I made a quick stop at Goodwill yesterday. Actually, it wasn't all that quick, but most of my time seemed to be spent waiting in line to check out (grrr...).

First up, two yards of an adorable Red Rooster fabric for $2. I love the little kid under the pear tree, and the doggies, and the rooster...

This sweet sheet, for $3. Not vintage, but it's 100% cotton, and I think it might make for some pretty quilt bindings. I love the colors, and the combination of stripes and polka dots.

And this sheet and pillowcase, for $4. Also not vintage, but brand new and 100% cotton. I just LOVE those colors. It looks so much nicer in person. I think I might have to make a skirt out of it. And maybe I'll make a dress for the munchkin too! If we didn't wear them at the same time, maybe that wouldn't count as breaking my vow to never wear matching mother-daughter outfits... :-)

loot report #1, finally some fabric!

I only had time for one sale this weekend, but it was a church rummage sale (always my favorite!). It was pretty good, but the pricing was totally crazy! For example, the adult clothing was marked 50 cents each, but the baby clothing was marked $1 each (huh??). And there were cards of buttons (not vintage) with the manufacturer's price of $1.49 printed right there on them, and they were priced at $2. Seriously nuts! I bought a stack of kid's books ($6 for 15), and a bag of clothes ($4.50), and then I held up this bag of fabric that hadn't been priced at all, and the lady said $13 for everything. And I said, great! So, for $2.50, I got:

3 yards each of a nice solid lavender and matching floral.

3 1-yard cuts of some seriously bright florals (2 the same). Ouch, my eyes!

Ah, this is better. One yard of a nice lightweight 60" denim, and 4 yards of a very grandmotherly floral print (lilacs, I think?).

I saved the best for last! I was so excited when I found this sweater. My husband's company had a contest last year for who could wear the most garish Christmas sweater, and I vowed to keep an eye out this summer. For 50 cents, I brought home one of the tackiest holiday sweaters I have ever seen. I think we may have a winner here!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

more PL progress

My current work task is annoying the heck out of me, but it's making me very productive around the house! I'm all caught up on laundry, and I've got the top done for Project Linus #5, and the binding (red!) all ready to go. With any luck, I'll get this one done over the weekend and be all caught up! Whoop!

I'm thinking about joining the Old Red Barn sew-along... At first I thought I'd use more vintage sheets, but then I remembered this big set of somewhat coordinating fabrics that I bought a while back (for some other project I never got around to starting, of course). I'm embarrassed to say that I have more than 30 prints, so choosing a nice set of 12 from that should be easy, right? Ha. After staring at the stack for a long while this morning, I picked out these 12 pink-ish ones. And then I got totally overwhelmed and stacked them all back up again. (Robin, I need your help!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

IKEA rosali = my next fun project

Let me first say, I am NOT into "shabby chic". Frankly, I'm not into anything "chic" - like I said before, I totally suck at decorating. But somehow I have stumbled into collecting these IKEA Rosali fabrics....

At first, it was just one duvet cover (the blue floral/check one, I think), which I thought would be really cute made into reusable shopping bags. Then a couple weeks later, I found a coordinating one (the blue paisley/polka dot one). I started looking online to see if IKEA still sold them (nope) or if there were other coordinating fabrics out there (yep). I was amused to see them going for pretty steep prices on eBay, as "shabby chic" fabrics. Ever since, I've been keeping my eye out for more. A few months ago, I was pretty excited to rescue a large scrap of the stone (gray) paisley and polka dot from a bin at one of the Project Linus meetings (used fabrics can't be used for PL quilts). At that point, I was wanting to practice my free-motion quilting, so I added in some red, pink and white solids, and made this little doll quilt for my daughter.

And then a few weeks ago, I found yet another one - the pink paisley and polka dots. All three were from the same thrift store! So, now I've got 8 coordinating fabrics, and I'm thinking maybe it's time for another quilt. I can't use these for Project Linus, so I'm planning to make this quilt for my family reunion in October. Every year the highlight of the reunion is an auction of handmade items, and the proceeds help to pay for the next year's reunion (cool idea, huh?). Last year I donated a flannel rag quilt that went for $125!

The "shabby chic" thing made me remember a cool sort of raggedy quilt I'd seen on the Quilt Taffy blog, so I ordered the pattern last week (great service, by the way!). I pulled out some solids to see how they'd look together, but I'm not sure about them (especially the blue and green). I haven't yet looked through the stash to see if I have anything better to use, so that's a possibility. I'm not even sure just how many different fabrics I'd need... Using a charm pack would be so much easier!

I also have this other IKEA duvet which has the same colors, but I'm not sure about combining a big graphic pattern with those others...

And for anyone who stumbles on my blog months or years from now, because you're googling for "IKEA rosali fabric" (hey, I did!) - I probably will still have a crapload of this fabric left. So if you're looking for a trade, let me know. I'm also thinking I might take the plunge and join Sew Mama Sew's big giveaway day next week. Anyone want a set of fat quarters? :-)

Project Linus #4 completed

It's so satisfying to finish up a quilt! I changed my mind on the quilting - I did top stitching along each horizontal seam, and then decided to so some free-motion loops up the middle of each stripe. I still suck at the free-motion quilting, and it's really bugging me! I've always been really good at any crafty thing I've tried, but I'm just not getting anywhere with this. I hate to blame my tools, but I think maybe I really do need one of those extended beds for my sewing machine. I've been sort of stubbornly putting off looking for one, but I guess I should quit trying to do things the hard way, huh?

Anyway, here's the front. Held up by my sweet hubby, with a little help from the munchkin. I went ahead and added an extra row on it, because I really didn't like the squareness of it. So it's about 55"x45".

And here's the back. It's a little crazy, but I like it!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A tiny weekend project

My husband hosted a BBQ for his work buddies at our place this past Saturday. It was good motivation for me to finally clean up the built-in sideboard in the dining room. Usually it's just filled with all sorts of junk - art supplies for the kid, magazines, you name it. After I got it all cleared out, I took the glass top off for a really good double-sided cleaning. And then the brilliant idea struck me - I could put some fabric under that glass to brighten things up!

A quick trip to up the stash, and I found this beautiful large-scale Valori Wells print. It's just perfect for spring. It's hard to tell from my crappy photo, but it looks awesome under the glass, almost like a painting. Now I'll be keeping my eye out for other seasonal fabrics to use throughout the year...

I'm just thrilled to have actually done SOMETHING to the house. We moved in more than a year ago, and have barely made any changes (aside from just throwing up some pictures that first week). I suck at decorating and am paralyzed by indecision, while my husband would be happy with completely blank white walls everywhere. So really, this is a big deal. :-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

project linus #4

I am on a roll now! Hopefully I can get this one finished soon, so I can feel like I'm caught up. For a few days anyway. :-) I was inspired by this quilt on the Craft Nectar blog, and thought I'd try to whip up something similar using my over-abundant supply of 6" novelty squares. It doesn't look nearly as hip as theirs, but I like it anyway. I think next time I'll add at least one more row, to make it more rectangular than square-ish. I was also too scared to do a 3/4" stripe (so tiny!), so I did mine 1.5". I'm planning to do just straight lines for the quilting, parallel to the stripes, maybe 1" apart or so.

And here's the back... I read somewhere a while back about using 10.5" squares to piece together backs, and the idea has been percolating in my brain ever since. [I wish I could give credit to the person who blogged about this, but I just searched for 30 minutes and can't find it! If anyone knows - please let me know!] I love the mathematical simplicity - you just measure your top, round up to the nearest 10 on each side, and divide by 10 to know how many squares you need. I love that I can continue to use my supply of novelty fabrics (of which I have a ton!), especially the ones that have extra large or extra small motifs. And I love that I don't have to worry about finding a backing that matches the front, or having enough backing on hand, or having to think about how to piece the back to make it wide enough. And I think it's kinda cool that it becomes a sort of two-for-one quilt, with a back that's almost as fun as the front.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

loot report - thread bonanza!

The loot was scarce this weekend! I went to several sales, and left emptyhanded at almost every one of them. But I did find one estate sale that made the outing worthwhile. For $12, I scored a bunch of thread, plus a bit of fabric and some other notions...

Here's all the newer threads (on plastic spools). There was also one spool of elastic thread, and a few spools of upholstery/button thread.

There were also a lot of older threads on wooden spools. There was even one spool of silk (the pink near the top), and one I think is silk (the orange).

And there were these weird wooden things, which I've never seen before. Does anyone know if they have an official name? For now, I'm calling them "leftover thread keepers".

And a bunch of spools of Star Mercerized cotton thread. Most of them are quite well used, but that's still quite a bit left, considering they are the 1200 yd size. Oh, and one lonely little spool of Gutermann...

Finally, some huge cones of red, and one ginormous spool of gray. I left one spool of the cotton for comparison. I've never seen spools of thread that big before! The basket in the back is what held half of the thread; the rest was in a shoebox.

And here's the fabric. Nothing too noteworthy, but I do like the polka dot one! I think I might be able to pass the two pinks on to someone who makes "Quilt for a Cure" quilts.

I also picked up this piece because it has an interesting slubby texture. I wish it had a content label, as I'm not one of those people who can tell by the feel. But I love that the tag is still attached - 2 1/8 yards (on sale, 1/2 off!) for $1.69!

And just a few notions. I wanted to brag that I actually exercised some restraint - there was a LOT of loose ricrac and lace and trim all wadded up in drawers and boxes, and I passed it up. Good for me!

And lastly, I got this cool basket (also still with its original tag from JCPenney). I have a thing for ticking! I should have thrown something inside for scale - it's about 1' high and 1.5' across. I have no idea what I'll do with it, though I think it might look sweet filled with quilts. :-)

Not a bad haul for $12!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Project Linus #3!

Yay, I'm done with my third Project Linus quilt! So now I'm back to being only one month behind. :-) Here's the front - it's sort of a coin quilt, but with full 6" blocks. So, um, not a coin quilt at all...

And the back - a colorful kitty print.

As I described in an earlier post, I used a sort of baste-as-you-go technique that Des of Quilt Taffy described, and I shamelessly copied her quilting ideas too (random lines plus stippling).

The biggest problem I had was with some puckers underneath, on the top section (quilting from the bottom up). Probably using a nicer batting would have prevented this, but I've got a monster 50 yard bolt of polyester batting to work my way through!! So, I think I should have taken the time to pin around the edges. But still, it's not so bad - just 3 little pleats, and they are pretty hard to spot in that busy fabric. Can you see a couple here?

I made my binding a little bit wider this time (2.75", double-fold), because I wanted to make sure that none of the top-stitching accidentally showed on the underside of the binding. That was hard to describe - I'm sure you other quilters know what I mean! I like how that worked - I think I'll try to remember to do that for all the ones I do by machine.