Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Sunday afternoon post

This weekend has turned out to be very enjoyable. Jason and I went to the Plaza Art Fair yesterday. It was pretty spectacular. There were all sorts of different artists there and a lot of them had some sensational pieces. There was one intaglio print artist there who did some amazing old barns. She did aquatint etchings with watercolor accents. They were highly detailed and sadly, fairly expensive. A small 2x2 (+\-) print was almost $80. That's really not an awful price for what you were getting, but where would we hang a picture of an old barn? As much as we really liked it, it didn't suit us.

On Friday night, Jason went to play at Josh's so, I had the evening to myself. I worked on repairing my jean skirt. I had made it on my old machine a few months ago out of a pair of jeans that had split in the thigh, but that poor little Janome just couldn't handle it. The tension wasn't tight enough to hold things together I suppose. But, it is now fixed and I have already worn it. Yay!

I also made a few coasters. They turned out pretty cute and work awesome. I'll post a picture soon.

We still haven't gotten the camera back yet. We stopped in to Best Buy yesterday hoping it was in because the estimated return date was 9/18, but unfortunately it was just being shipped. Hopefully we can get it tomorrow.

This morning we went to Weston State Park and did a nice hike. I'm not sure how long it actually was... the trail we took said 2.5 miles, but I'm not sure if that includes the other trail that takes you back to the car or until you meet that other trail. Either way, it was a good walk. I wish we had the camera because the leaves are just starting to change and we saw some really cool bugs. There was a really large snail (large for a snail on a trail in Missouri) hanging out on a leaf in the trail that would have made an awesome photo.

Not an overly exciting weekend, but productive...

I have officially split the pages out of my sewing machine manual. I've used it enough that the pages have started falling out. Lucille and I experimented with new stitches this weekend.

I have also come up with two prints to do for my screen printing class on Thursday...

I'm not sure what I want to print them onto. I was thinking about picking up a canvas bag and maybe a t-shirt, but I'm not positive.

I didn't notice it until after I had came up with the two ideas, but they are both telephone related.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another week bites the dust

Good morning.

Sadly, it’s been a week since I posted anything. It’s been a bit of a strange week at our house.

Last weekend was nice. Saturday morning, we went to Josh and Mel’s to watch Lucas for a short time. Lucas is our six week old nephew. That was fun. We came home and had some lunch and then Jason headed up to Nebraska for the football game. He slept in until almost 10 on Sunday. I worked on the baby quilt for most of Saturday afternoon. I got it all pieced and put the borders on to discover a bad thing…

Last year on Black Friday I bought a ton of flannel fabrics for super cheap at JoAnn’s. I was hoping to use a plain pastel pink flannel I had a ton of on this quilt, but when I got it all laid out… the flannel was too narrow by several inches. I didn’t realize how big this baby quilt had gotten. It is 43”x53” without the binding. That’s huge!

Sunday we puttered around the apartment. I went grocery shopping and to the fabric stores at some point in search of some quilt backing that will fit. I ended up with a nice spongy looking pink from Wal-Mart. On clearance for $2.97 a yard! And it’s flannel. I was thrilled.

Monday was another average day… Tuesday Jason stayed home sick. Wednesday I was supposed to go to another owner’s class with Lucille, but the teacher cancelled. We had On The Border for dinner that night. We love that place!

A few nights this week I worked on quilting the quilt. I did a variation on the stitch-in-the-ditch technique. I used a squiggly stitch and went right down the columns of the quilt. It turned out pretty cute I think. I ran out of thread when I was almost done and broke my basting gun. It was a sad thing. The needle kept falling out and then something inside sprang loose. We couldn’t figure out how to keep the spring in place and put the cover back on at the same time. So, I got a new one. I love sewing gadgets.

I finished the quilting the other night and put the binding on. Now all that’s left is to sew the other side of the binding by hand. That’s my least favorite part of the whole quilting process.

Last night turned into veg out in front of the t.v. and go through a stack of magazines night. It was enjoyable.

We watched the season finale for Grey’s Anatomy, so we’re refreshed and ready to start up with this season next week. I’m excited because the previews look so good. Last season kind of trailed off, but I think this season will be excellent. I also can’t wait for Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters to start. We love those shows.

This weekend we’re heading to the Plaza Art Fair. I’m totally psyched to go. It looks like a decent fair. There was a section in last Sunday’s paper that spelled out all the different mediums that are going to be there and it looks awesome!

Sunday afternoon we’re headed to Jason’s mom’s house. Some of his aunts are in town this weekend so we’re headed out for dinner. We’ll see how that turns out.

All in all, it’s been an alright week. Hopefully it turns into a fantastic weekend. The weather should be good, so we’re hopeful.

Also, our camera should be ready to be picked up. Hopefully they fixed it this time. If not, we’ll be camera-less for 2 more weeks and then I think we get a replacement after that. It’s annoying now that I’ve started to blog about stuff I’m making, but can’t show any pictures. I’m planning to go back through the last couple of blogs and post any pictures that would better explain things.

At some point throughout the week I came up with a screen print. I’ll post a picture of it later. I think it should turn out kind of fun.

Over and out,

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring.

It’s pouring outside. Whenever it rains, I get the crafty itch. Today, I’m getting it, but sadly, I’m at work and the day is only half over.

Jason is going to the Nebraska football game tomorrow with his dad, so I might be able to work in the laboratory all day. I’m still working on the string baby quilt for our friend Meghan, so maybe I can finish piecing that either tonight or tomorrow. I haven’t completely decided whether or not I will tie it or try to machine quilt it on Lucille.

On Wednesday, Lucille and I went to our owner’s class. (Just a reminder that Lucille is my new sewing machine.) I learned how to sew a button on using the machine! How fun is that? I was introduced to a really cool tool: The Hump Jumper. It’s this little plastic thing that is shaped kind of like a “V” from the side. If you look at it from the top, there are two openings, one on each leg. This thing is used to make that gap between a button and fabric so it lays nicely. It can also be used for when you are sewing something thick and have to go over a seam (on a quilt where several blocks meet or when hemming jeans and you come to the side seam) you can slide this between the foot and the fabric, so the machine doesn’t skip any stitches. It’s wonderful! I bought one for myself because I thought it was so awesome. I wish I could post photos of it to really explain it, but our camera is still in the shop. Sorry. I found this drawing of one on the internet.

I’ve got another class next week where I’ll make a small pillow case. I picked out some pirate fabric. I’ll get to learn how to sew on piping, so I’m kind of excited. I’ve never had a zipper foot before, so this will be new for me. I picked out the pirate stuff, because I couldn’t find anything I love and I really don’t need another pillowcase. Since we don’t need anymore small pillow cases, I’m going to try to sell it on etsy.

Speaking of etsy. I set myself up a store. There’s nothing in it yet, but it’s ready to go! I’m thinking maybe my goal should be to make 10 items to sell before I add anything to the shop. All of the shops I’ve looked through have a lot of items, not just one or two.

There’s a quilt show in Blue Springs this weekend I was considering going to. I’m not sure if I’ll make it here or not. We’ll see.

I’ve also been considering doing some scrapbooking. Jason and I got married in May of 2007 and I still have all of our photos to do something with. Right after we got married, I got a free 20 page picture book from shutterfly. I did a nice bound book of our wedding and it only cost $8 or something like that to ship it. Other than those pictures, we have one photo of us in our signature frame (instead of a guest book, everybody at our wedding signed our picture mat) and there’s a picture of me playing croquet in the woods in my dress in an arrangement. So, I think it’s probably time to get around to it. I also want to do another book of our honeymoon. We did a 3 week road trip for our honeymoon, so we’ve got a ton of pictures. It was such a blast! Sadly, I’m afraid if I don’t get around to doing a book soon, I’ll forget a lot of the stories behind the photos, and it will be lost forever. Jason has no interest in doing a scrapbook, so I’m on my own. Maybe I’ll go shopping for supplies this weekend.
I've been listening to this awesome crafty podcast lately. I listen to it while I draft at work and it makes me want to go home and make stuff. It's one of the better podcasts I've found yet.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A 2009 Resolution?

So, I just found this really cool idea for New Year’s resolution.

I was looking through some old emails from Jason and found a link to The Quilter’s Buzz.
The resolution being discussed is still going strong and it’s September! The writer is doing a quilt block a day. Isn’t that a cool idea?

So, I’m wondering if for 2009, I could tweak this idea to suit me and my projects. Maybe I could vow to work on some sort of project every day. I think completing a different project each day is a little too ambitious; I do have a full-time job. I also think by limiting myself to just one medium, I may lose a lot of my other creative outlets and feel a bit limited. I find when I work on a project I don’t especially love or when I find a new project I want to start, the current project doesn’t turn out as great as it could have. I’m positive that by forcing myself into one medium, I’ll be less likely to make it through the year or less likely to actually get any benefit from it.

My variation could be to try to work on a sketch every day, a quilt, a bracelet, or whatever feels right that day. I think it could be a good thing for me to keep my creative juices flowing. Maybe this would help eliminate the blocks I get sometimes after not working on anything for a while.

I am still having no luck on the screen printing ideas. I think I’ll try to do a little more inspiration gathering tonight. I have been going through a lot of my old emails. A lot of them have ideas I’ve found for projects or things Jason has sent to me that he thinks are interesting. Maybe by cleaning out my email inbox and putting all of the images into an archive folder on my hard drive, I’ll be more likely to find something that catches my attention.

We’ll see what it brings.

Anyway, that’s just my thoughts for the night. We’ll see where it gets me tomorrow.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Thoughts from the girl who should be in bed...

Jason and I have signed up for a screen printing class at our local craft shop, Urban Arts and Crafts. If you live in the area you should check this place out. It’s awesome. They are always having classes. Sadly, this is the first time we’ve signed up. They do artist trading cards, but I’m not sure exactly how that works. Maybe someday I’ll figure it out and join in the fun. They’ve also got a cat who lives in the store (or at least is there everytime I’ve been in). I love when stores have cats. It makes me happy.

So, for this class we’re supposed to come up with images to use for our prints. I’m totally stumped. I keep coming up with ideas, but as soon as I sketch them out, they become a bit of a disaster.

I suppose the only thing to do is keep surfing on the web for ideas from other people and translating them into my own design. I’m definitely not trying to steal any art, but I’m looking for some inspiration. I hate when I get stuck in a rut.

This hasn’t happened since I was in school. I suppose that’s because I haven’t been making a lot of things for myself. I've been making a lot of requests lately. That brings me to another topic…

I’ve decided that since I’ve been sewing so much more since we’ve moved to Kansas City, I’ve been making things for other people. I made myself a bag yesterday and was so thrilled. I’m getting tired of making quilts and other things that I don’t get to fully enjoy. Maybe I need to establish a new rule for myself.

Rule: Make at least one project for one’s self at any time the need arises.

I like it!

Selfish? Maybe a little, but if I enjoy what I do even more... everyone will benefit.

Anyway, I find myself starting to ramble, so I think that’s a good spot to stop tonight. This little lady is headed off to sleepy land.

P.S. I do have my Naughty or Nice Christmas jammies on currently. They do have a jingle bell, so I’m feeling Christmassy. I’ll have to write more about my Christmas spirit in a future post. It will give you something to look forward to.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Another Productive Weekend

So, we in the Toye household have had a productive weekend.

Friday night we went to the first Friday Art Walk in the Crossroads District. It was our first time and we really enjoyed it. Click on the link above to see more about the Crossroads.

We headed down after work and had dinner at Bulldog Restaurant and Bar. It was very tasty. I got some inspiration for a future quilt. Check out the pictures of the lights I took in this place restaurant. Some nice arts & crafts light fixtures.
NOTE: Yes, I realize I’m a nerd.

We saw paintings, prints, mixed media, and whatever else you can think of. It was a lot of fun. We considered buying a print, but decided it might not suit our lifestyle forever.

We ran into someone Jason went to high school with. He and his wife make robots. Check out their website. It’s pretty sweet work. Jason and I are now discussing potentially having them do a robot for sewbot. I’ve got a few old singer sewing machines (the kind that sits in the table with the pedal) laying around at my parents’ house, so we think they could probably make something kind of cool. Maybe that could become the sewbot icon.

They have a studio in this place called this Arts Incubator. It’s an old warehouse building that now rents out small spaces to artists. It’s pretty awesome. If we lived closer, I’d love to downsize our apartment and rent out a space. I think we’d both be more productive if we went somewhere else to work on things. A downfall to this plan would be that Lily would no longer be a major staple in our studio. (Lily is our cat.) She probably wouldn’t really like us working elsewhere. She likes to be in the middle of everything.
(These are kind of old photos of Lily. They were taken in our home studio when we lived in Lincoln.)

Going down to this walk and was very inspiring. It’s too bad we live on the other side of town because by the time we got home, we were tired and the inspiration was gone.

Yesterday we went shopping for various things. We took our camera back to Best Buy. Again. It’s having issues staying on the proper mode; it will switch from still picture to video mode. This is now the second time it is going to the shop for this problem. So, I won’t be able to post any of my own photos for a while. We went to Target where I got a new shirt for myself. I had purchased the same one two weeks prior, but was moving a computer at work and got a big hole in it. The boss bought a replacement for me because it really isn’t my job to be moving computers. We went to the thrift store to shop, but found nothing there. While we were there, Jason overheard some women talking about the fabric store down the street having an awesome deal on fabric. 3 yards for $1. There is a Hancock down the street, so we stopped in search of this fabulous deal, but apparently Hancock wasn’t the right store. Instead of 3 yards for a dollar, we ended up with a bunch of miscellaneous clearance fabric. I think it was a successful trip.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon in the “lab” working on the bag I showed the pattern for in the previous post. Butterick B5006 is the pattern. It’s turning out pretty well. I won’t be able to post any pictures anytime soon because of the lack of camera. Sorry about that. If it doesn’t get fixed this time and we send it back once more, I think we qualify for the lemon replacement. Yay!

We went to Jason’s brother’s house last night to play the wii and drink White Russians. I polished off the night with a good snuggle from Lucas. He’s our month old nephew. After throwing bit of a fit over needing to burp, having a wet diaper, and being hungry, he was very enjoyable. He took the bottle from me very easily and then fell asleep almost immediately after on my shoulder. I love it when he snuggles.

Today, I’m not sure what we’ll end up doing. I’m considering finishing up the bag. Lucille is handling it so nicely. (Lucille = new sewing machine) Lucille and I are headed to the owner’s class this week, so I wanted a bag I could put all of my stuff in. I’m looking forward to it.

This is probably a good spot to stop today.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A nice Labor Day weekend.

Well, today is Labor Day which means I have had a three day weekend to consider what kind of projects to work on. I got a new sewing machine last week (her name is Lucille) and have been trying to wrap up a few projects that have been put on hold until I found a new machine that could do what I needed it to.

­­­Jason and I went to JoAnn’s to look at machines one night last week… (NOTE: I have a very creative and supportive husband. He might not sew or do much of anything with fabric, but in addition to the BS in Design we both have, he also has a BA in Studio Arts, so he understands my artsy behaviors.) I had been shopping for a new machine for a while now. The night before we went to JoAnn’s I had created a spreadsheet with all of the features I wanted and the different models I was considering. (When we shop we like to research things. We feel like we enjoy our purchases more if we fully analyze them and understand what we’re buying.) I have a Janome HF107 that my mom gave me a few years ago. It’s a great little machine, but I have outgrown it. I have decided that the things I have wanted to make have become too much for the little Janome to handle and it would be better for everyone involved if I upgraded.

When we went to the store and I was able to touch and sew on this machine, I fell in love. The machine I chose is the Singer Confidence 7470.

Poor Jason spent about an hour in the patterns department looking at magazines while I chatted with the nice sewing machine sales lady. After I had played with the machine and asked all the questions I wanted, I said to Jason, “I want this one. I don’t want to keep shopping. I’m just going to come back to this one anyway, so let’s do it now.” His response was, “Well, when will I get them?”

We’ve lived in our apartment for a year now. I’ve had a curtain rod hung in our dining room since probably Thanksgiving of last year. We’ve had the fabric picked out and purchased for probably 6 months. What Jason was asking was when we would have curtains hanging in our dining room. Well, honey, faster than you expected. Less than a week! They’re not the highest quality project I’ve ever made, but they are done and Jason is happy to have them. Below is a picture of them. I based them off of the Simplicity pattern No. 3693.

I spent a bit of time this weekend gathering fabrics for yet another baby quilt. I seem to be making a lot of those lately. Our friend is having a baby girl soon, so I’m going to make her a baby quilt. I need 9 fabrics and am one shy. It’s all pinks and purples with butterflies. My focus fabric is shown below. I’m not including all 8 I have so far because my camera battery died. All of the other fabrics are colors found in this print. It should turn out pretty cute.

The pattern I’m planning on using is one of the free JoAnn’s project ideas. You can get the pattern for free at:

It’s called the contemporary string quilt. I chose it because I thought it was fun and cute. This girl is pretty young and I don’t really know her all that well. When it’s a quilt for a fun and young couple, I like to do something a little more spunky and untraditional.

Here are a few other quilts I’ve made in the past:

I did this one for my best friend’s little brother’s daughter. He and his girlfriend are 18 or 19, so I wanted something fun and spunky. This is the first quilt I didn’t tie. I machine quilted it on the small Janome. If you look at the full quilt image, you can see how it doesn’t quite lay flat and was a bit bunchy. That was a major problem I had with the Janome. The pattern for this quilt is from the Creative Scraps: Quilting with Bits & Pieces book. Available on amazon at I love this book. I’ve made 3 or 4 quilts from it and it’s great. This one is a paper pieced quilt called “Crazy Logs Kid’s Quilt”.

This next set of images is the quilt I did for my nephew, Lucas. I also machine quilted this one. It came out a little better, but still has a few bunching issues. It’s from a book I got from the library called Learn to Be a Wacky-Pinwheel Quilting Wizard by Linda Causee. It was super easy and turned out pretty fun. The blue fabric in this one is of different colored zebras flying. The third image below is not the exact fabric used. It’s a quilt panel that I found on a later trip to the Hancock store, but the small square in the bottom right is the fabric I used. Hancock just didn’t have a good image of the exact fabric and I don’t have any more of it left in my stash, but I’m including it because I think it gives you a pretty good idea of what I started with.

The next pair of quilts I made for my good friend who got married last summer. Jason’s grandma did this for our wedding and I thought it was a pretty cool idea, so I borrowed it. I made them a pair of lap quilts. They are different patterns and different colors, but each reflects its intended recipient. The pink one is out of the Creative Scraps: Quilting with Bits and Pieces book again. It’s the “Eight-Pointed Star” pattern. The green one came out of a book from the library by Rita Weiss called 24-Hour Quilts. The pattern is called “Oriental Garden”. It went together nice and easy and so fast.

So, on one of my many trips to JoAnn’s this past week, I found a two patterns. I’m trying to come up with items I could make and sell on Etsy.

The first pattern shown below is McCall’s 5604. I think almost all of these items are useful and something I could make and sell pretty easily. I was at dinner at my in-laws house tonight and was thinking how nice it would have been if my niece’s parents had brought something like item D. My mother-in-law uses an old towel to put down under her chair, but I’m not sure how effective that really is. If Ella really wanted to throw some food around, I don’t think that old towel is really going to save your carpet. I also really liked the napping mat (item E). We’ll have to see what I come up with and how exactly I tweak these things to suit my needs.

The next pattern I found was McCall’s 5642. I’ve been looking on Etsy lately at things I’m interested in making. I’m really disappointed in the baby quilt selection. It seems to me like people make things that aren’t really of that high of a quality and then sell them for outrageous prices. I am well aware that quilts take forever to finish. I went to college for architecture, I know making things takes a whole lot longer to finish than people anticipate. It doesn’t matter if it’s a skirt, a building model, or a quilt… they take time. I thought the quilts in this pattern looked like something that would produce a nice product in a minimal amount of time.

I have had a pattern in my stash for a while that I’m thinking I’ll do as my next project for myself. It is Butterick 5006. I want to do item D for when I go to my mom’s house to sew and have to take my machine, patterns, fabrics, and whatever else I need. I think it looks like a nice sized bag and I could fit my machine pedal inside along with my scissors, needles, patterns, and whatever. So, as soon as I find some fabric, I’ll get started on it.