How did I miss October?!?

Well, I didn’t miss it completely, just blogging during October — but this Autumn just got too crazy, and something had to give. I did sew though, a few costumes… this adorable penguin costume for my niece (you might recall I made her very first Halloween costume in 2011):

103013_Zoe3

The hat was actually purchased, because her Mommy found it under $10. And it’s hard to see, but I made a pillowy fleece & flannel body with black “wing” flaps that attached around her wrist with thin black elastic. She was specific about being a girl penguin (Girl has two big brothers, y’know) so Mom lent her a string of pearls and added a pink flower pin to her hat. Crazy adorable.

Handmade Penguin halloween Costume

And you can almost see it in that photo (she was too excited to stand still!) the Trick-or-Treat bags that I made for her and her brothers:

Trick or Treat Bags Panel

They were a panel I bought a few years ago, and I liked the retro images so much, I almost made myself a table runner out of them instead! 😉 We spent a fun evening with the Lioness granddaughter at Living History Farms Family Halloween (Lion costume from Pottery Barn Kids):

Lion Halloween GemmaIf you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I love Halloween and I love creative costumes. Have to share one last pic that shows the great robot costumes my sister created for her boys (the penguin’s big brothers):

Kids Trick 0r Treating

until next October…

In from the Cold

It was ONE degree Fahrenheit when I left the house for work this morning. That is COLD. Des Moines, Iowa got 8.5 inches of snow yesterday–welcome to living in a house with a sloped driveway and a single car garage (that currently doesn’t fit a vehicle!). Not that I am complaining–we love our home and we are extremely grateful to be out of the condo! But the snow does present and extra challenge or two! 😉

I’ve been so busy this Autumn; apparently too busy to blog — though I had plenty of material I could’ve blogged about! I took a class at the University where I work, in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications; called Social Media Strategies.  I learned so much, but I am so glad to have given my final presentation last week and to be done with the class.

The Thursday before Thanksgiving the Des Moines MQG met for our holiday social. We had freezing rain (icy conditions) that evening, so many didn’t make it.  However, we had a decent sized crowd, good food and great company.  We do a holiday swap (everyone is asked to bring a grab bag item for any holiday our season of our choosing).  I made this mug rug/mini quilt from Kate Spain’s In From the Cold pattern (I downsized it to make the block smaller):

Kate Spain In from  the cold Teacup Mini by Doris

Those little sawtooth squares (half-square triangles) are like 1/2″ finished on my version!

Teacup Mini by Doris 2

On the back, I used up some orphan Flying Geese that I made while testing methods and sizes for our Fox in a Box pattern.

Teacup Mini Back

Teacup Mini back 2

The item I brought home from the swap was this wonderful organizer that Jill made using one of my favorite Christmas fabric collections from recent years:

Organizer by Jill

Organizer by Jill Inside

There were some other great handmade items, check out our post to see more of them!

Row House Creations is keeping me busy as well; working on Building Foundations Sampler blocks each week, our weekly business workday, quilts for magazine submissions, and a new pattern that we hope to introduce before too long.

I’ll be back soon with a catch-up post or two!

a Blessed Advent Season,

Doris

It’s late September and I really should be…

Name that tune! (Sorry, for some reason I have all kinds of song lyrics going through my head this week) It all started with seeing an Earth, Wind & Fire feature on CBS Sunday Morning (my favorite show!) and seeing footage of this tune. Watching that video just totally cheered me up. Anyway, back on track:

September is National sewing Month (yep–has been since 1982!). A proclamation in 1982 from President Ronald Reagan declaring September as National Sewing Month read “In recognition of the importance of home sewing to our Nation.” Hooray for the home-sewist! In 1982, my Mom was raising five kids, her oldest was headed off to his first year of college that Autumn, the second was a Junior in high school, the middle (ME!) was an 8th grader, my little brother in 7th grade, and my baby sis was a 1st grader. My mom sewed ALL of my Dad’s shirts (button down with collar and set-in sleeves, thank you very much), many clothes for my brothers, and nearly all of my and my sister’s clothing, including our lovely box-pleated plaid school uniform skirts (ick). She also did in-home daycare. How she found time to sew, I have no idea. But, I know some of she did to save pennies. I’m not sure that one could sew clothing cheaper than buying it anymore, but in the 70s and 80s, she could.  I really need to dig us some photos from my childhood to show you some of my mom’s mad sewing skills.

So, what have I been sewing this September?  I’m working on a quilt for the grandbaby:

Gemma PiecingI have 18 blocks made (thanks to our MQG sew-in time this past Saturday!) but I’m torn on the layout. Updates to follow.

I’m working on some wonky log-cabins using hoarded Heather Ross, Amy Butler and Sandi Henderson prints (a gift for someone):

ToteSwap1

I have grand plans to do some garment sewing for myself (I have since January 2012, but not much is happening on that front). Maybe next month. sigh.  You’ll notice these two are both sleeveless dresses, I could have them ready to wear by the time Summer comes around again…

Clothing Sewing Vintage Pattern1

ClothingSewing2

Trina and I have been sewing blocks for the recent launch of our Building Foundations Sampler QAL, here are my blocks (Moda Bella white with all Kaffe Fassett prints):

Building Foundations QAL Collage

Building Foundations Sampler QAL

Join us over on the Row House Creations blog, and follow along or join us and share your pics with us via the Facebook page or the Flickr group!

We’ve also been busy marketing our patterns to wholesale distributors. Last week we were picked up by United Notions/Moda and Quilt Craft Distributors (in Canada)! A major accomplishment for our business.

What have you been sewing lately?

Do you join in Quilt Alongs? Will you join in on our’s?

Far-Flung Friends, Reunited

July was a busy month, and August is doing its best to keep up! The highlight of July, as usual, was my annual retreat in St. Cloud, MN with…

CindyCollage

Cindy

MaryCollage

Mary

MichelleCollage

Michelle

ReneCollage

Rene

StephanieCollage

Stephanie

ToniCollage

Toni

AmandaCollage

Amanda

DorisCollage

and myself.

This year, we sadly missed our friends from Missouri and Wisconsin–hopefully they can both make next year.  It’s hard to put this friendship into words; I treasure each and every one of these ladies and I’m so glad I took a leap of faith four summers ago and drove to St. Cloud to spend three days with a group of complete strangers (a very scary and anxious prospect for an introvert like me!)

From the pics above, you get a little taste of what everyone worked on over the weekend, but there was also plenty of laughing, sharing, eating, brain-picking, debating, Instagramming (is that a word?), even a little sleeping.  No one was ever far from their technology (typical, in a room full of bloggers)…

IPhoneCollage

(In the center photo shows evidence of what happens when a group of bloggers go out.) A few years ago, someone started the tradition of exchanging “happies”… I forgot to take a single photo of the happy that Toni and I collaborated on, but these are the goodies I received:

Happies

a Minnesota trivet and drawstring bag from Cindy

a “pencil” pencil case and luggage tag from Mary

a mini pincushion from Michelle

a wool needle case from Stephanie

A thread catcher and FQ from Amanda

and Montana Cowboy Chocolate from Rene

Grubers2013Group2

Love these ladies — everyone needs a group of friends like this!

Home Sewing

I learned to sew around age ten, and I started with clothing. My mom sewed all of my Dad’s shirts, most of my sister and my clothes, and many of my three brother’s shirts. She also re-upholstered furniture, made curtains, made doll clothing, did mending and alterations for friends and neighbors, made I-don’t-know-how-many plaid uniform skirts for girls from our grade school and our high school… and I picked up her love of all things textile early on.  I begged to go along to the fabric shop with her, and picked out patterns and fabric before I ever learned to make things myself.

Funny, though, my sister never had any interest; still doesn’t. As my sister says, “why do I need to know how to sew, if I need something done, I can just ask you or Mom.” She has a good point. It’s not like we’ve ever said no to her.

This week I made a valance for her youngest, my sweetie pie niece, Zoe Grace. She’s the doll I made the owl pillow for, and there is a quilt in the works to match the valance and pillow.

Valance Detail on Instagram

Click on the photo above to see a clearer larger version on Instagram, I added the hugs and kisses fussy cut detail to set it off!  The walls are a very pretty turquoise color, and I had a tough time getting a good pic with my iPhone, but you sort of get the idea…

Valance on Wall ruffled girly valance

She has a butterfly garland on order for the walls, and other butterfly decor plans.  And these curtain rod finials are just too cute!

Valance Detail Hugs and Kisses

 I can’t talk her momma into it, but maybe I’ll get lucky and Zoe Grace will want to learn how to sew one day!

June has been a bust month for our chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild… my house was one of the drop off points for entries to go into our first local Modern Quilt show!  On the 15th, my husband and I drove to Ames with the entries and met up with Jill of Modern Quilt Relish, and Greta, the curator at the gallery.  Two hours later, we had the show hung!

Quilt Show installation

Quilt Show Installation 2

This last Sunday evening we had an artist’s reception, and several of us collaborated to give an impromptu Gallery Talk with Q&A.  We were incredibly pleased to have such a good turn out to our gallery opening!

MQG Quilt Show Reception

One of my two entries is the blue and yellow Row House Creations Fox in a Box quilt shown here, next to a “clothesline” display of mug rugs and my friend Emma’s fun “piece, love, quilt” quilt:

MQG Show and mug rug display

The show is on display through July 25th.  For more pics, check out our guild’s Flickr pool.   Our guild has also been busy making a charity quilt to benefit a local hospice center; the fundraiser is sponsored by our local Harley Davidson dealer, and so our colors for the quilt are “Harley” colors (orange, grey, black)…  here’s my block:

HarleyBlock

It’s looking really good so far, a friend of mine is quilting it for us on her long arm.  I’ll be sure to show you the finished quilt!

Happy Sewing!

Doris

a little more LOVE

Following up on yesterday’s post regarding my Love in a Mist Bee quilt, I thought I’d share Trina’s three block runner/wallhanging she made after being inspired by my blocks last year…

Trina Love In a Mist

She did an all-over echoed swirl quilting… the blocks just pop!

Trina Quilting Closeup

Trina Quilting Detail

And the back is fabulous, too, just uses little leftover triangles for added interest…

Trina Love in a Mist Back

This one hangs (vertically) in her quilt studio.  She made two of these at a retreat one weekend.

Trina’s wallhanging is a great reminder that even if you don’t have time to finish an entire quilt, you can still make something fun and creative!