Sunday, January 27, 2013

There's No Place Like Home!

A little something different here today. My hostess with the mostest status has been seriously in question lately.   This weekend was my birthday and I decided it was time to step it up!

I always get homesick for Key Largo this time of year so when my new BFF Joe at Twin Seafood's told me he could get me fresh stone crabs, my most favorite food in the whole world, I knew exactly what I was going to do...  It may have been in the single digits here in New England but I cranked up the heat for a Lilly loving, Keys style party.

We had all my Keys favorites: Shrimp Cocktail, Chimichurri Steak Bites, Jerk Chicken Skewers, Fried Plantains, and a Slider Bar with Harvey's Fish Sandwiches, Media Noches, and of course, the Cheeseburger in Paradise:-)  I even used this fabulous tute to make my own Guava Pastelitos.

Of course you can't do the Keys without Key Lime Pie!!!  I made these tarts using my new favorite recipe from Recipes and Tall Tales from Legendary Restaurants of the Florida Keys.  I went to high school with Bobby and Scotty and constantly eat at the Stoky's restaurants when I'm home so this was perfect!!!

The highlight was this amazing Lilly Pulitzer inspired cake from Concord Teacakes.  If it's possible it tasted even better than it looks... Chocolate Raspberry Mousse cake.  Yum!!!

What made it really special was celebrating with my favorite people... especially the ones who bring fabric;-)  How much do I love this fabulous Coco Cabana collection!!!

Super special thanks to my incredible husband who not only wore Lilly, manned the grill (in 10 degree weather), and bartended, but also stepped in to help with the food prep.  I hope everyone had as much fun as I did!  Here's to a great year...  Cheers!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

W.i.P. Wednesday: I ♥ Quilter's Way!!!

It seems rather appropriate to join the Visit Your Local Quilt Shop blog tour today since I started the day with another "emergency" thread run to Quilter's Way.  I am so lucky to have a fabulous quilt shop 7 minutes from my house since I am physically incapable of finishing a project without running out of thread.  Just what this Aurifil junkie needs;-)

Of course there is new fabric coming in every day but they also have this fabulous wall of solids.  Forget trying to figure out what goes with what or if this is going to match off a tiny little swatch on my Kona card...  I can just pull the whole bolt to decide if I really want Cactus or Chartreuse.

I also love the huge selection of modern quilting books for when I need a little inspiration!

And the longarm...

and all the other cute stuff they know I need:-)

But the absolute best thing is the fabulous staff who willing obsess over the right shade of Kona with me, gush over my latest project, and fulfill all my quilting needs... and show my work off in the shop;-)

So now I can get back to doing what I really want to be doing... quilting!!!

Tomorrow is Visit Your Local Quilt Shop day so be sure to visit whoever is keeping you in stitches!!!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
And check out what everyone else is up to at Lee's wonderful W.i.P. Wednesday:-)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Membership has its privileges...

I love being a member of the Boston Modern Quilt Guild!!!  Sure it's awesome to have 24/7 access to the quilt blogging community but it's just not the same as actually hanging out with like-minded (obsessive) quilters.  This weekend's meeting was another fabulous example:

We started the meeting handing out pincushions from the MQG swap.  I received this adorable little pincushion made by Lisa Parker of the Indy Modern Quilt Guild.  Lisa and I are kindred quilting klutzes, both having managed to sew a finger to fabric;-)   Kudos to Rebecca for organizing on our end and to the KCMQG for hosting this fun swap!!!

For programming, there was an amazing demonstration by Free Motion Quilter extraordinaire Hema of My Quilting Journey.  I have to confess I spent a little more time socializing than quilting but I did pick up some excellent pointers.  One of the people I got to chat with was super sweetie Natalie of Greenleaf Goods.  I've been friends with Natalie for a while but just realized this week that she created this fabulous Nicey Jane Baby Quilt which inspired my Nicey Jane Gingham quilt.  We also share a fondness for Fair Isle Sweaters;-)

Best of all, my quilty peeps helped me baste my Victory Garden quilt...  I didn't even have to beg.  My least favorite part of the process was almost fun having friends to talk to and it went sooo fast with help.  I'm totally psyched to have this ready to quilt!!!

See more of the fun on the BMQG blog and if you've ever even thought about joining you should definitely come check us out!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Back at it...

I'm finally getting back to sewing this week and working on my to do list... my studio is cleaned up and I mustered up the courage to piece the back for my Victory Garden quilt.  I absolutely adore this Flower Sugar print I found at Gather Here.  From past experience I knew that it would forever make me crazy if I didn't match up the print when I seamed the pieces together.  Easier said then done, or so I thought!

The always amazing Aimee directed me to Oh, Fransson's fabulous tutorial.  I stole a glue stick from my kids and in no time at all had my back perfectly pieced together.  How awesome is that!!!

I'm going to baste it at this month's BMQG on Saturday (hopefully with a little help from my friends;-)  I was on a roll so as a bonus I basted this leftover block to practice quilting.  Hopefully next week it will be a pillow;-)

Joining the fun at Finish it Up Friday by Crazy Mom Quilts.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Achoo: Tissue Cozy Tutorial

Flu season is here and the gloom and doomers are predicting a bad one.  Boston has already declared a public health emergency but so far we're all still healthy.  Even without the flu, sniffles are a fact of life this time of year.  I love having these cute little cozies to keep my tissues from getting scrunched up and gross in my purse.  It's been a while since I did a tutorial so I thought I'd share my process.  These are super quick and easy to whip up and a great stash buster.

Cut the following:
(1) 6" x 8" for inside (chevron)
(1)  6" x 6" for outside (argyle)

Seam allowance 1/4"

 With right sides together, sew the short sides along the top and bottom.  There will be a bubble of fabric in the middle since one piece is longer than the other.

 Turn right side out.  Press seam allowances toward the outside fabric.  Center the tube so the inside fabric is evenly distributed.

Fold in half lengthwise to find the center.  Bring the left side over so the folded edge is on the center line. 

 Bring the right side over so that the seam is on the center line. The two sides will overlap by about 1/4".

 Sew along both ends.  Finish the raw edges with a zigzag to make it neat if you like.

Turn your new tissue cozy right side out and smile:-)  Gesundheit!

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: 2013 UFOs

My totally arbitrary definition for a UFO was something that had I'd lost interest in and banished to the pile on my chair (not to be confused with WIPs that are just lingering and small things that really are just quilting practice).   I actually made pretty good progress shrinking the stack in 2012 rescuing both my Rural Jardin Twister table runner and Rouenneries table runner plus my Flower Child quilt and this Pure Boy quilt.  Most spectacular was finishing my Elly Still Life Applique that I started in 2001.  Here's what's left:

Nancy's Friendship Stars 

Big Swoon 

Prairie Pinwheels

Oops a Daisy!

Eiffel Tower

Beatrix Potter ABCs
Aqua Stars

It's 5 o'clock Somewhere

Galaxy of Stars

Most of these are pretty old and looking at them I know why they are unfinished...  they just aren't projects that appeal to me anymore.  The sad thing is none of them would actually take very long to finish.  No promises that I'll finish any of these but I might be able to knock out a few as FMQ practice.  The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem;-)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Let's Kick It Off: Just 3 January

Thanks traceyjay!!!  Just 3 has done a great job keeping me on track so it can only get better for 2013.  It's so easy to get overwhelmed and swallowed up by endless to do lists.  Limiting it to 3 keeps me focused!

For December's Just 3 I planned to:
Make handmade gifts for the kids' teachers.  Check.  Coffee cup cozies for Dex's teachers, Infinity scarves for Audrey's.
Make a Kindle Cozy (with tutorial) for my Mom.  Check.

Finally finish quilting this Figgy Pudding Bento Box table runner.  Ooops, guess that one will be waiting until next Christmas;-)

So here goes for January...

1.  Finish this Victory Garden quilt.  The Baby Brit QAL at dream quilt create is long done.  I'm making this for a friend and was hoping to deliver it for Christmas.  She's too sweet to harass me for it but I know she's anxiously awaiting it.

2.  Make something out of these for the BMQG Madrona Road Challenge.

3.  Quilt my Hexie Blog.  It's basted and ready to go!

I've been on vacation the last 3 weeks so I'm brimming with ideas and can't wait to get this year's sewing started!!!

traceyjay quilts