Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fabric withdrawal - sort of

So I have been in a fabric withdrawal for months now (more on this in my next post). Suffice it to say that my hubby and I don't always agree on how much fabric should be at our house at any one time.

I decided that rather than going to buy loads of fabric for a new quilt, I would participate in a fabric swap (charms to be exact) and feel like I was getting lots of fabric for only 1 actual purchase on my part. So I searched around blog-land a bit and kept finding myself a week, or day, or even an hour too late! (2) things came out of this debacle:

1) I decided to host my own swap. Now I was a swap host newbie - but I did some research (great post by ELQ about hosting) and have participated in my fair share. I designed a straight forward - rainbow swap (each of 28 participants are assigned a color - I assigned one of the following to each member: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white/cream, grey/black, brown. If you do the math you will see that left me with 1 participant - I gave her swappers choice - any fabric she wanted!) Participants were to purchase (2) one yard cuts from their assigned color. We are getting some great fabrics! I ended up with red (although red is a fav color 'o mine, it was purely random - promise!). I told participants that hues in the range of the color family assigned were just fine. I chose a red with pink flowers and a deep red hatch fabric.

2) Sign-ups were a bit slow for about the first 4 days of the Charm-tastic Color Swap - then we filled up quick (only did a 28 participant swap). It was slow at first (I think) because you mostly have to just search out blog-land to find swaps. I thought - there must be an easier way to find a swap than having to go directly to 500 blogs before I find one. Then a Charm-tastic swap participant posted the swap in the comment section of her flickr groups and before you know it we have a full swap.

Light bulb moment.....

I want a place I can go to on flickr that shows all the swaps available but again, without having to check 500 flickr groups. THE FABRIC SWAP FINDER it is! So I created a group. Feel free to join even if you are not thinking about participation right this moment. It is intended to be a place to post about swaps you are hosting or find out about - AND a place to peruse so entice you to participate in a swap. We are getting more members each day - if you get a healthy following finding swaps and filling swaps will be a breeze (and maybe I can stop missing out on all these fabulous swaps!) **feel free to grab the button too - on the right column here - to add you your blog or posts.

Well the swap finder is working great - at least for me - I already found another swap to participate in. It is a 3-yard Ispy, polka dot, and stripe swap (1 yard of each) that I just couldn't resist. Don't tell my hubby that this means I had to buy 5 yards (just over) of fabric for the swaps - I always sell swaps to him as a great way to get lots of cool fabric without me having to buy much at all! Here were my fabric choices for that swap:

This was obviously my polka-dot print. Sweetwater for Moda - part of their Reunion collection (I LOVE Sweetwater fabrics!! I think I have loved every line they have produced so far!!)

This is my novelty print - Put a lid on in green by Michael Miller. The picture doesn't do it justice - it is a CUTE fabric!!!!

My stripes - Moda - Modern Workshop line (pattern: 11171; color: 21)

I wanted a set of three the coordinated, but didn't necessarily match (Not sure that was required or even suggested of the swap, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.) Thanks to some help and suggestions from my fav LQS lady, I purchased these 3.

Sign up for the swap finder if you think you may be interested in participating or hosting a swap at some point in your potential future!!

Are you still waiting for my fun news? Coming soon!!!! (I can't believe I have held out this long!)
Sew Sane Jane
(Posted using BlogPress from my iPad)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Yummy Leftovers

So I am NOT a fan of dinner leftovers. I eat them for lunch now and again - but out of convenience - not taste. However, fabric leftovers are a different story!

When I ordered fabric for my Mom's quilt, I over-ordered. I generally over purchase fabric (I always believe I would rather have too much than not enough) - but I WAYYYYYYYYY over ordered fabric for her quilt. I ordered the fabric about a year ago- and it sat in my stash until last month. Thus, I don't know why I ordered so much fabric (as in, I'm not sure if I had a logical reason why - or if it was just a mistake). None the less, too much fabric. So once I was done creating a front and back for her quilt, I made myself one too. Finally - a quilt that matches my Living room.

This ended up working out perfectly as this fabric line had a black base for some fabrics and a brown base for others. Somehow I ended up with some of each (This is why I suspect I MIGHT have had a rationale for buying so much fabric - (2) of the fabrics were dominantly brown based and would not have fit with the other quilt).

I didn't want to use the same pattern (I generally only like to use a pattern once - there are soooo many patterns out there - why limit myself!) So I had to figure something else out. I went with a simple pattern of strips. I alternated between horizontal and vertical and to change it up a bit more I added frames around some of the sets.

I then used still MORE leftover fabric to piece a back. I used to be Very scared of just throwing fabric together to make a back. I generally like symmetry - but lately I have been better about realizing that it is a quilt back and you can't really go wrong with it!

Clearly I still need to sew the binding on - but thought I would share my progress for now.

Quilting itself was done by my contact, Clora (from Coal City, IL). I still cannot get over how fast she is. This was one of three quilts that I took to her one morning and picked all 3 up later in the afternoon. Couldn't believe how fast it was. I end up taking all my quilts over 50" or so to her as my machine and I just fight when a quilt is larger than that. (I SO need to get myself a QUILTING machine!!!)

Linking up with


Sew Happy Geek

Sew Sane Jane
(Posted using BlogPress from my iPad)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bamboo floors installed!

Whoo-Hoo!!  My father-in-law and brother-in-law came down this weekend to help install the new floors.  We only had to deal with the sub-floor for a week (I had ripped up the carpet on a break from work last week) - but a week was long enough.  You couldn't walk on the sub-floor with bare feet or even socks for fear of splinters.  

But now.....
Bamboo installed over same area

 No shoes needed!!!!
We ended up choosing a color called, Java Patina Fossilized
The variation in the color of each piece was a bit more than I had thought it would be - but I like it BETTER than what I thought I would too!  My 80lb dog shouldn't be able to scratch it, but if he does - I don't think it will be noticeable with the high contrast variations.

We purchased vent covers from the same company.  They didn't have the exact color match (they didn't come in java patina - only java) - the same color minus the black contrasts - and I'm very happy we ended up doing that.  They seemed a bit expensive, but I think our old white ones would have looked hideous.  I had figured I'd just buy cheapish black ones from a home improvement store - but these blend so nicely they just disappear in the overall scheme!

I also ordered t-mould strips for the tile to wood transitions, but they did NOT appear to be the correct color!  They were supposed to be the same color as the vent covers.  They were NOT!!!  The actual floor we installed is on the top right of this pic.  The color that the vent covers and t-mould was supposed to arrive in is on the lower right side.  I had to order like 11 samples from this company before I found the color I liked, so I also had this color called, Kona Fossilized (top left of pic).  The t-moulds match that dark, red color and NOT what I ordered.  I am still fighting with the company over returning these.  At first they said, sure - We'll give you a refund - then I called Friday to find out why they hadn't processed anything - they said I had to take MORE pictures to prove to them it was the wrong color!?!  Really?  This seems like proof enough to me!!

Because we didn't have t-mould transitions by the time we were installing, we decided to just do without. Our tile flooring had this tiny metal transition already - we just butted the wood up to that.  It turned out pretty great.  We have a transition to tile in 3 different areas - to the front entry (picture), to the dining room - no pic, but for it the flooring was laid parallel and that transition turned out even better, and to the bathroom (see below)

 For all the hallway doorways, we did this transition board in the door jam area.  It looks great as the bedroom doorways (going to carpet) have this same style transition piece too.
 Overall, SUPER excited that the floor is down!  We rented a pneumatic nailer and used cleats for installation.  There were 4 of us total - my hubby used the nailer and officially laid the floor, my brother-in-law was on his knees the entire time - tapping the boards into place to be ready to nail, I chose board placements and otherwise hauled around floorboards to get them ready for tapping, and my father-in-law was our cutter - he is a master at the saw and cut the boards as needed (to start and end each row and deal with the hallway).

We started Friday around 7pm.  We were just going to lay a row or two to get things ready for the morning (psi, routine, etc).  We worked until about 10:30 - 10:45ish.  We got up and got started by 7 or 7:30 - and finished the entire project by 7pm!!!  Wow - that went so much faster than I anticipated!

One more DIY project down.  Who knows what's next!

For now...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Home Improvement DIYs - when I'm not sewing

A break from Quilting post - While my favorite hobby is sewing of course, I have also found myself doing DIYs during my free time too.

I am starting to think that my hubby and I are insane! We bought a very nice house 4 years ago (a ranch built in 2006) that was open and airy. One of the reasons that we purchased was because there wasn't anything that we needed to redo - it was move-in ready - unlike some that we looked at. We did know that we would want to finish the unfinished basement at some point, but otherwise we were content. Apparently finishing the basement has led our brains to spin out of control!!

I painted the upstairs last summer (more on this later), and thought I would be done with DIY for a bit. Nope.

Noteworthy: if you shampoo your carpets - reapply the scotch guard stuff OR ELSE!! Can you guess the problem?!? So for my birthday I asked for a spot bot shampooer (a little shampooer for small doggie spots - of all varieties). While this helped some, every stain still seemed to show through. I started thinking I wanted new carpets. I found some I wanted.

Our friends got this Mowhawk Smart Strand stuff that is supposed to be dog-proof!! Supposedly the stain stuff is embedded in each strand of the carpet rather than applied as a top coat after the carpet is woven. They love it. We were at their house and I wanted to sleep on their floor!! They bought the top line stuff with a thick pad - and it might be the softest thing in the world!

One night our Doberman vomited a sock onto the carpet at 3am (yum! - sorry about that). I had to bust out the spot bot shampooer and try to get the stain out before it set. I decided I wanted hardwood floors so I didn't have to deal with it. We are still going to get the fancy carpet for the stairs to the basement and the bedrooms eventually.

After much research and browsing, I selected a strand bamboo. Traditionally, bamboo is a less durable wood. However, there are some companies starting to complete a different process on the bamboo while it is stranded (before compressed into planks) to make it rated harder on the JANKA test scale than even the hardest exotic woods. I scratch tested every sample I brought home, and liked this bamboo stuff the best. We ended up going with a company out of CA (we live in IL) called Cali Bamboo. I mostly liked dealing with them (I spent a bit too much time on the phone with them getting things figured out - and Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hyde - what I named the sales guy - was a bit too moody for my taste.)

Anyway, after requesting about 11 samples of their colors, I finally settled on one.

I'm ready for installation! A couple of days ago I ripped out the old carpet and padding - and soon my dad-in-law, brother-in-law, and hubby are going to install our new gorgeous floors!

Doesn't the sub-floor look pretty in the mean time?

-Sew Sane Jane
(Posted using BlogPress from my iPad)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rainbow Charm Swap - Charm-Tastic Color Swap

UPDATE: Swap is Full 

Alternate Swaps that I know about can be found at 

I participated in a fabulous Rainbow Charm Swap about a year ago and LOVED it!  I have been trying to catch ones to sign up for since, but have been too late on every one of them!  I decided to create my own. I hope the rest of the people who missed out on other's swaps will sign up (or even those whom are participating in one of the others are welcome too!).

Sign-ups begin Immediately and will continue until all 27 spots are full (or until 3/25, whichever occurs first - I will fill in colors if needed).  Please complete the open fields below (name, flickr ID, e-mail) to sign up for the swap - (thank you - swap is full) once you choose submit for that section that information will be sent to me but others will not be able to see it.

I have decided to keep it simple for my first swap.  We will do 2 yard rainbow swap - colors assigned to you (this will mean each person will receive (2) charms from each fabric selection).  You will need to be on flickr to participate (so sign-up for an account if you do not have one).  Please only sign up if you are in a smoke-free home as smoke clings to fabric like you would not believe.  US participants only please (remember, trying to keep it simple for this first one).

The Deal:

  • Once sign-ups are closed, you will be assigned a color. 
  • You will buy (1) yard of fabric of (2) different prints in your color assigned
    • fabric should be 100% high quality quilters cotton (from LQS or reputable online quilt fabric store - NO JoAnn or Hobby Lobby fabric allowed - it really isn't as good of quality!)
    • Your fabric should "read" the color assigned you, but it can have small flecks of other colors if you choose.  You should steer clear of large print fabrics as once they are cut into 5"x5" charms you loose the print.
    • do NOT wash your fabric.  
  • You will cut your selected fabric into 5" charms (see this great tutorial by Elizabeth Hartman for making your cuts).  Each yard of fabric should = (56) 5"x5" charms.  Which means that total you will be sending me (112) charms.
  • You will put your stacks of fabric into a Ziploc baggie and include the details of you and your fabrics on an index card
    • your name, e-mail address, physical address, fabric name and company, ...
  • You will send me your fabric, index card, and a self addressed stamped envelope (see below) to me no later than 4/1 if we can pull that off with sign-ups.  
    • you can figure that you will be getting about the same weight of material back, so once you know how much it costs to send your fabric to me, you can include the same amount of postage on the self addressed envelope you include 
    • OR you can include a self-addressed flat rate priority mail envelope for me to send your charms back to you in
  • You will post on our flicker group which prints you have selected to ensure there are no doubles.  When you do, this is where you should also include info about the print for others to see - fabric name, line, company.
  • Enjoy your charms once they are sent back to you!
Thank you for your participation!


Fun News Ahead - and Social Networking

I know, I know, mean title since I'm not telling you yet....but I just got some exciting sewing news that I can tell you about in a month or so!!  Okay, I can't wait that long - and I think I can tell you early......
We'll see how long I can hold out :)

On another front, I've been quilting my heart out lately.  First up, a quilt I have been making for my Mom (for her birthday that has since passed - go figure!).  I showed her my progress on her b-day - I was done piecing the front and back, I just hadn't quilted it yet.  It is now quilted (see below about quilting) and I finished up the binding this morning.
The quilt is from a pattern called, "Social Networking" from Quilt Soup.  I saw it in a local fabric shop about a year ago, bought the fabric and pattern, and let it sit until January or so.  Then decided I should make quilts using fabric sitting around my house instead of buying new fabric (although I LOVE new fabric!!!)  My hubby was getting a bit annoyed with the stacks and stacks of fabric sets.  One down - a few more to go.

It took me most of the morning to do the binding.  I've gotten faster at hand-stitching the binding, but sometimes wish I had a better ability to machine sew it down instead.  (I've tried and it is fairly ugly when I get done).

The front was from a pattern and I just threw together a pieced backing with leftover fabric. Not sure what happened, but somehow I ended up with quite a bit of "extra fabric. While I generally a, annoyed with myself when I do this, it did make piecing a back much easier than normal!

I love this cabinet - it is in my entry way. I finally made a quilt that matched it perfectly and could use it as a background.

I had my acquaintance, Clora, quilt this for me - my machine and I just fight when I try to quilt a quilt over about 50". This one is more like 70x65 or so and thought she would be able to make it cuter and complete it faster than I. I took (3) rather large quilts to her house and she quilted all 3 in about 4 hours!!!!

More completed quilts to post soon! (I need to go back to binding one more and quilt and bind one other sitting around.

Linking up with

Sew Happy Geek

For now.....
Sew Sane Jane
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