Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge - March

I'm alive! Work has been killing me again, we've celebrated our first game, PonyIsland's 8th birthday on the 13th of March and I couldn't be more excited! It was a ton of work and fun, we had contests and lots of updates and releases replaced the last pieces of the game that was actually 8 years old =)

We're also starting to settle in our new apartment and better late then never - I've unpacked my sewing room! Naturally I celebrated with some free motion quilting! =)

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Regarding the challenge, I skipped February for now, the month I was most excited about so far, those beautiful feathers are still haunting me!  I really hope I'll be able to come back to it soon and do it as I so badly want to learn how to do them.

This months tutorial was by the talented Ann Fahl, and it was a shout out to us to encourage more creative filler designs then the common stippling and meandering =)

She gave us a number of designs to try and I have to say I felt very comfortable with all of them from the beginning, and again I skipped the sketching part and went straight to the machine (naughty me!), and especially now after my long forced break from my beloved Horizon it felt like being back where I belong. I was so happy to be quilting again!

My first attempt at the designs she suggested:


Since I hadn't quilted in a while I at first forgot to use my "home made teflon slider" sheet and in this image you can really see what a huge difference it makes! The first little section in the rectangle was quilted before I realized why my technique was so poor all of a sudden! You can clearly see how much better and even my quilting became after I got my sheet in place and my little sandwich  didn't drag and snag =)


I really liked the swirls a lot and the extension design of them, the flowers where really fun too, can totally see myself using these in the future. 



I will practice it a more, I just really wanted to get my post up before  the month was over this time =)

EDIT: So I had to play some more with this months challenge and ended up breaking out my drunkards path templates for the very first time and whipped up what's going to become two pillow's with some of my Ruby, so I'd have something "real" to try it on. Drunkards path was sooo much easier to make then I'd feared, it's so much fun to sew curves! =D
This is my first one, still contemplating what to do for borders. I got a lot of inspiration from Judi over at Green Fairy Quilts for this with her intricate and wonderfully free quilting style:


Unfortunately the light was disappearing so the photos are not the best, will quilt some more and try to upload more soon. I was really good and didn't unpick a single stitch, despite my fingers itching when it went a little of track =)



If you haven't taken the pledge yet, it's not to late, you can join up now to become a better free motion quilter and have the chance to win fabulous prizes!!  


Monday, February 27, 2012

My first Spoonflower order has arrived!


I've been really curious about Spoonflower for a long, long time and now I had a project I really couldn't do any other way then designing the fabric myself so it was time to take the step and finally make an order. After a weeks of fiddling with Adobe Illustrator in my spare moments I finally had vector graphics of what I wanted and could make my first order. It arrived today and way, way above all my expectations! The quality of the print is just amazing, the colors very close to what they appeared on screen in nearly all cases and gradients looked great! I'm super happy!

Here's a part of what I ordered, since you can only order full yards when you order more then 1 yard I had some space left over and added some of this and some of that to the edges. I'm making an OviPets Pillow from this I think ^^ The main design is a secret still and not ready to be revealed.


I also got an adorable little fabric swatch booklet:



I also have to show you my beautiful Grape Hyacinths that's been flowering so prettily!


Well, now I have to unpack my sewing room! =)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Joining the Pinterest Craze

I admit it, my name is Maria and I've gone Pinterest crazy.
When you can't create yourself, you can always collect inspiration from others. One of my most recent pins is this awesome makeup pouch which I just have to make my own version of when I get the chance =)


I'm pinning like crazy from all over the net (all the stuff that used to clog up my bookmarks and get lost in every reformatting, now on Pinterest, neatly sorted and easily over-viewed) and this site is just the best!

Follow Me on Pinterest 

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Now I want you all to help me by wishing really hard that I'm able to unpack my sewing room in time for this months February FMQ Challenge

It looks like so much fun as I've always wanted to learn how to quilt feathers so I really hope I'll have some time to spend on learning how to do this:

Picture borrowed from SewCalGal's blog

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Move complete!

We've moved into our new apartment which we just love, it's just the perfect little size for us and Diana loves it just as much as we do, the windows go to the floor in the living room so she can watch people and cars below. Her old climbing tree was very used up after 5 years and either way much to big for this apartment so we got her a new little one that we could place in front of the window next to our  "desk" (kitchen table with computers) so she could lie next to us and still enjoy the view. However, our Norwegian Forest Cat is not much of a climber so we had to add a little stepping stool for her so she could get up ^^
I also just love the bowls I found for her when I bought the tree, they look like hollowed out rocks but are very durable plastic and can be seen at the bottom right of the pic, below the refrigerator and freezer.



She's also very much enjoying the armrest on the couch and went monorail cat on us =D


I have however not had time for anything craftier then wrapping this Christening gift, however, I did enjoy that, I got to play with some buttons and ribbon for a while, yep that's how bad my crafting withdrawals are.



Other then that the craftiest thing I've done is trying to unpack our place from the bags and boxes. Not much fun to see there... Work is still just killing us so not much hope for the near future either. :(

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Luckily there are other people out there being crafty and I get to live through them a little right now, I have received an email from Mary Deckert who made her own, gorgeous version of Summer Squares, she made hers Twin size too by adding more squares, isn't it just lovely?

She added two rows to the bottom and to the side to get it this size. Thank you so very much Mary for sharing your beautiful creation with me! <3

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 I also noticed that in my absence, I've gotten over 100 followers! That's just amazing and will be celebrated with a giveaway as soon as I have unpacked my sewing room! =D

Most welcome all new followers! You have no idea how happy I am to have you <3
I hope you will enjoy my rambling and crafting. I'm really longing to be able to get back in the saddle and sew soon, my creative side threatens to claw it's way out if kept boxed up for much longer. ^^

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Panic does not make for productive

I realize some of you will think me totally insane after reading the below but I'm trying to share all my quilting/crafting stuff combined with some personal tidbits here on the blog and right now, it's a major lack of spare time and stress over an unfinished project.

So, I hit what I felt as something of a low water mark the other day as a quilter. I had to let the lovely people at Moda know that my life right now doesn't permit as much quilting time as I would want (basically I would be happy for any, as I have none) and that I wouldn't be able to finish my latest project - which is a massive one - in any sort of reasonable time frame. I've been feeling so bad about this project and being unable to finish it in a timely manner that I've been unable to go to sleep from time to time lately. I hate letting people down more then anything else (apart from maybe flying). As I'd sent off the email I felt a giant weight off my shoulders and for the first time in quite some time I was able to go to sleep without panicking over a quilt. Which I realize sounds ridiculous as I technically have much bigger things to occupy my mind constantly that are work related - but this is my hobby and it means so much to me and I've felt so bad about committing to do something and then not being able to do it as I've said. I've been trying to slowly nibble away at it while waiting for stuff to upload and things like that but the stress I've been feeling has had me so on edge that every other block ended up all wonky and had to be re-sewn. And let's face it, a 10 minutes of sewing here and there won't get you very far when working on an advanced king size quilt pattern! Not enjoyable sewing in other words...

My life right now is upside down. We're in the middle of a move ourselves while we at the same time are moving both of our web games, PonyIsland and OviPets onto brand new servers and server setups (read work around the clock to get everything to run smoothly and make the transitions as seamless as possible). Which is such exciting work but there's so much stress involved. Our own move is also a happy one - we've found an absolutely adorable  little apartment that we just LOVE! It's perfect for us, it has a lovely view over a park and it has a high glass railing for the balcony so Diana will be able to join us for a glass of wine out there in the summer. =)

Our new apartment has a small room apart from our bedroom which will be used for storage and as a sewing room! I will get to have an actual room for sewing which will be great! While I loved having a sewing area in the living room for social reasons, you can't exactly leave the mess you want to be able to leave mid project when you can't close a door around it =)
Can't wait to have time to start setting it up! And I really can't wait for some spare time to actually start using it!

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I also got an email today which made me really happy, it was from Jan who had made her granddaughter a beautiful Sunkissed Summer Squares quilt:





The label was just to lovely to leave out (last names I however blurred out for privacy), I got all teary eyed when I read it, so much love in this quilt!


Thank you for sharing your quilt with me Jan! <3

Saturday, January 21, 2012

2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge - January



I've decided to try to learn how to FMQ for real this year. 2012 - my year of FMQ! Since I tried Free Motion Quilting for the first time ever in February last year, having one years "base practice" with it feels good now when I embark on learning it for real.

An important step in the right direction was that I decided to participate in the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge over at SewCalGal's.  Januarys challenge has been posted and this months teacher is Frances Moore  I like her no marking approach, since I have no patience whatsoever - it suits me well =) 


This month we are learning an all over leaf design, I really quite like it, it's easy (what girl don't have how to draw a heart shape worked into her bones from school?) and it's multi directional and quite easy to get the hang of and most importantly - quite forgiving. I did attempt sketching it on a paper first, however, my patience being zero and like I said, I'd been doodling hearts for years in my school books growing up I went pretty much directly to my machine. 




I set up my machine as always using my home made "Teflon slider sheet" and just played away. It's a fun pattern and it was quite pain free to make and I quite quickly got a fairly comfortable flow to it. 
I however quickly decided that I preferred to not add the stem in the end but instead start with the stem, and then go back up and do the heart shape as that way I prevented as much as possible getting that "bump" or "knot" of thread at the top of the leaf. 

Here's my second attempt, the first one was white thread on white fabric, not ideal for photography XD



Here I rocked loose a little and went a little crazy with the leaf shapes, wasn't very happy with the result through...


I've had such precious little time to sew again lately as work is taking up all my days (and nights and whatever is in between) but I hope I'll have time to practice this pattern for real a bit more later, I just really wanted to get this post up before January has past - as months tend to do that to me lately.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Baby Crawling Mat

My dear friends had a baby this summer, adorable baby Alessandra! 
She's now big enough to start rolling around and they apparently had been searching high and low for a big, square rolling/crawling mat, something soft enough to make sure she doesn't hurt her head when she drops it on the tiles and with a little edge so she doesn't roll off ^^ 

So they asked me if I could make one and of course I could! So I went out with her father and he got to choose the fabrics, isn't it adorable, one fluffy brown side and one with bright pink fleece. The fleece is quilted together with the batting in lines. Bought some polyester batting at the same store and please kill me if I ever do that again, it was absolutely TERRIBLE to work with! It stretched and pulled and as you can see on the lines, horrible to work with despite the most serious pin basting I've ever done. And on another note, we bought and paid for 2 meters of each fabric and got home with less then 160 of one and 180 of the other...



Got this photo in a text the other day from a happy father with a satisfied little lady on her mat. =)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Gift for my landlady


We have a lovely landlady, if there's anything wrong she fixes it the same or next day, if we need anything at all, she get's it for the apartment, she doesn't even let us change or pay for the light bulbs ourselves, she's the best! So I really wanted to give her a Christmas gift this year, a small one to not make her feel weird but still something made especially for her =)

So I ended up making her a Fancy Folded Star pot holder inspired by Barb's version of them and an oven mitt, using this tutorial from Prudent Baby. I ended up using some of my Ruby by Bonnie & Camille FQ's with a touch of Bliss thrown in. The M appliqué I just traced from an alphabet on my screen. =)



She really loved them and I'm so happy! I'm however not happy with the binding on either but I was under a lot of time press, otherwise I would totally have redone it.

On a personal side note, I finally have a hard drive again! Yay!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quilting for sanity

I'm still without a working computer (don't get me started on OCZ's customer treatment, service level or quality of hardware for that matter or I'll go on for three pages) I'm quilting for my sanity from time to time when the work I need to do can't be done without say PS or access to a hard drive.

So I had time to whip up some quick Christmas gifts for my amazing landlady whom I haven't seen since before the holidays so it's ok (will try to sneak some time to share those photos in a day or so as I can't exactly use my precious "real computer time" for anything but work right now as Andreas too is super busy). But I can however share  a photo I took this fall of some fabric which still hasn't been turned into the super yummy baked goods it was supposed to be due to my insanely busy work schedule. I'm super embarrassed by this situation but luckily the lovely Moda peeps are so understanding <3

I have however started it now and I'm hoping to have it turned into something amazing in a month and a half or so =)



It's Twirl by My & My Sister Designs, such happy and completely insane colors, you can't help but smile when working with them =)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Seam ripping

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas! =)
Myself I pretty much slept for 2 days straight when Christmas was over and all releases on our games had been done and all had gone well. Can't tell you the relief I feel each year when the 25h is finally over. Not much Christmas spirit I know, but we did celebrate Christmas with our dear friends and had a lovely day with very good food and good fun. 

I got a package from Quilt Direct with some much needed supplies a day or so before Christmas, such as a brand new cutting mat (mine turned all bubbly from the heat this summer and I've been meaning to get a new one for 4 or so months...), some batting, new needles etc and the must urgent thing,  a brand new seam ripper.

So while others are thinking about the holidays, I've been thinking about the happiness that I feel when I rip the first seams with a brand new seam ripper. You know,  before it goes all dull from use?

While it's my most trusty tool (I'm embarrassed to admit it but I go through a couple in a year...), there are few things I generally  hate to do more then unpick seams. So when I learned a handier way of doing it last summer, my life became much easier! Maybe I'm the only one who didn't know this but before, I'd try and separate the fabric and rip the seams between the two layers, a really bad method which often resulted in holes in the fabric and much frustration.

Now I simply cut up every 4th or so stitch on one side of the seam like so, it's a bit hard to tell in the photo but you just cut up every forth seam.


And then you can just pull on the thread on the other side like so and you have a reasonably quickly and neatly ripped seam with minimal risk for fabric damage.=)