CGM Podcast Episode 29: Scale It Back

Listen to the episode HERE

Show Notes 

  • Life Update: Getting ready for some personal and business travel this week, including a visit to see my new niece!
  • Finished Object: Pink and Gray baby quilt (see this post)
  • WIPs: King Spiderweb and I'm planning a few dresses for the girls..simple garment sewing only for now!
  • How CGM Keeps It Together: I am working on scaling things back: home, work, family events, dealing with the clutter...it's all becoming "too much" and I am letting myself "let go" of the craziness for awhile, and just focus on what really matters to me right now.  
  • Magazine Review: Modern Patchwork (special issue)

Thanks for listening!



F.O.- Pink & Gray Baby Quilt

It's finished and ready to gift to my niece this weekend!



Close up

This was a fun and easy quilt to make - all 3.5" center squares with 3.5" and 6.5" strips around them. I am not sure of the fabric lines for the center squares as they were precut fat quarters from my LQS. The solids are Kona Bright Pink and Kona Medium Grey. The backing fabric is Connecting Threads Matsuri line in the Cherry Blossoms print; Tea Rose colorway.

Binding done with Kona Bright Pink.

I've linked up this week with:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Creative Itch

Sew Chatty

Skip To My Lou



BOOK WINNER! And a thank you...

Wow, what a fantastic response to my cranky-pants post last week! I was delighted to read that so many of you also have some "dirty quilting secrets" and that by revealing mine, you came out with them full force here. I didn't reply to them last week so as not to skew the giveaway entry numbers. But be assured I will definitely respond to them this week, they were too good not to read through several times.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Pam (Hip to Be  Square Podcast) said:
when I post close-up photographs of my FMQ work, I ALWAYS pick the best area to show, so most people think my FMQ is way better than it actually is. There are uneven stitches all over the place, and I'm okay with that since when you wash a quilt it all crinkles up and you don't really notice.
 LOL, I do that too Pam!

Rhonda (Quilter in the Gap Podcast) said:
I NEVER EVER EVER rip out stitches. Now I am not talking quilting stitches, I am talking piecing stitches. I just don't have the time for that. I don't get much sewing time and I don't want to spend it "undoing" so instead I will simply "make do". 

And Linda just may be my new hero. Girlfriend is using PAINT on her pieced quilts to hide "flaws" - LOVE IT! Check out what she revealed:
My "dirty little secret"? Well, On my very first piecing "adventure", bright colored half square triangles against a black background, I learned after the fact that my points were supposed to "come to a point". Since mine didn't, I went in with black paint and painted each to a nice point! To this day, nobody notices. I'm not great at piecing! Applique is much more forgiving! 
Thanks again to all who commented. I have reopened the comments in that post so if you have an urge to reveal more secrets, please do so! 

But of course there was also ONE WINNER of the book, Modern Minimal by A. Carlton. I am so happy to reveal that it is #8: "C" of the blog katydidart.net

She said:
OMGoodness. I think we must be sisters in spirit! Especially with #3 - I've told DH for years that I can't decide which quilt should be in my casket when I go. Should it be my very best quilt? In which case, why would I want it buried - it should be handed down through the generations. Or should I use a quick quilt. But then people would view me and my quilt and say, "I thought she was a good quilter. This thing looks like she bought it at WalMart!"

Congratulations!!! I have sent you an email so I can send the book to you.

Thanks to everyone for entering and tweeting about the giveaway!



My 7 Dirty Quilting Secrets. What Are Yours?

Note: this post has a little bit of "off-color" language in it. Sorry if this offends anyone who regularly reads my blog, but this particular post is one where I just sat down, started typing the way I speak when I'm on an unfiltered roll about something, and a personal "dirty secret" is I curse. Mainly the word shit because it's my favorite...a curse word that's a verb, noun, and I think I've even used it as an adjective now and again. I love me a versatile curse word. In adult company only of course. Please ignore that one time you may or may not have heard Sam say "Oh shipwreck!" when she dropped fruit punch on the new carpet. This could be because it was quickly followed by her mother letting loose a stuttering and truncated "HOLY SHI----SHIPWRECK! GET OUT OF THE FAMILY ROOM WITH THAT FU----- FR-FR-FRUIT PUNCH!!" Yes, my kids probably think I need speech therapy for my occasional stuttering problem.

Second Note: I thought of renaming this post "You Didn't Know I Was Really a Cranky Bitch Did You?" but thought "Dirty Secrets" sounded more intriguing. But the shoe fits either way.

The actual post, My 7 Dirty Quilting Secrets:

I've been reading more comments on quilting blogs lately that seem to have a "oh I wish my seams could be that straight" or "oh if only I had the time to make that many quilts" or "oh, that will be my next WIP once I finish the 20 others I need to finish." There's also a slight undercurrent of one-upmanship going on between the quilt blogosphere that maybe I'm the only one feeling it, but my sixth sense for these things hasn't failed me before, so I'm pretty sure it's there. If you think about it, it's pretty natural to have happen. People are generally competitive, even amongst friendly people. That's why even the nicest quilters enter contests, shows where their work is judged, etc...and want to win. Even in the modern quilting movement where woefully few of those gorgeous quilts are entered into juried shows, people are stepping up their game to create the next quilt that becomes the "it" topic of the month, or next quilt a-long followed by hundreds.

In any case, those of you who read my blog or listen to my podcast may know I have my own little hang-ups about my quilting and knitting and other stuff I make, but am generally a pretty "yes my shit's all over the place but that's just the way it is in my life right now" kind of quilter/crafter. I make it. I like it. I post it here. I leave it at that.

But here are a few of the things I often leave unsaid about a lot of things to do with quilting:

1. I don't rip out my bad machine quilting. Ever. I read plenty of blogs or see tweets where the quilter talks about spending the last x number of hours ripping out all the bad quilting to start over. I'm here to say that unless there's a bird's nest on the back of my quilt, I'm not ripping ANY of that shit out. So does this mean (gasp!) I have quilts out there where my tension was visibly off in some (read: large) sections? Yep. Does the person I may have gifted a few of those quilts to care? Well, it's been 12 years on several of them, and they haven't been sent back with a nasty note yet. Admittedly since I've been machine quilting for over 15 years, my tension issues have decreased substantially, but I recall even in the last quilt I made I did the "double-back-and-quilt-over-it" method in several spots. No shame in my game here.

2. I've never read a quilting book cover-to-cover. Not one. I am a master at skimming the whole book to get the general idea of the contents, then I look at the patterns more closely, then I go back to the front and pass over all the general quilting information, reading snippets of the author's thoughts on his/her process. I mark the patterns I like and might make one day, then it usually goes on my shelf to sit. If it's an art quilt book, I do the opposite and mark the process sections I want to try vs. the quilts or patterns.

3. I know I will never use up all the fabric in my studio. Ever. But I still buy more. And more. And as long as they produce it, I will continue to buy more. Because you never know....time may stop one day and I will be able to use it all. Every scrap. If time doesn't stop for me, I've told my husband if I die first to line my coffin with the really good stuff. And since he wouldn't know what the "good stuff" is from the old crappy stuff I also keep for God-only-knows what reason, I have labeled a cubby to help him out. Don't believe me?

4. Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn about prewashing fabric. This is mainly because I really hate to iron clothes and large pieces of fabric. The only time I've ever prewashed fabric is when I made my first baby quilt about 15 years ago. It had about 25 different fabrics in it. Lucky for me this was long before I had kids, so the air was blue by the time I finished ironing that 25th fabric. Today, I throw 2 boxes of Color Catchers in with my finished quilt and hope for the best.

5. I've deemed family and friends "unworthy" of making them a quilt when asked. Unworthy is actually a stronger word than I would like to use here, but it's the only one that comes to mind right now. Let me explain. I am often asked by people I know if I would make them a quilt. Usually it's an art quilt because really "I can always get a "regular" quilt at Macy's." Yeah. You go do that. Please. But my quilting time is my "me time", and I have very little of it. I have 2 little kids who both like to join me in every activity I do around the house, including going to the bathroom..."Mommy, are you pooping or peeing?" so I have to be very picky how I spend my "me time." I also have a lot of quilts in my "to make" queue, and to bump one of mine down the list and move someone else's up takes a lot of considering. Most times the answer is a simple, "Oh, I'm swamped with things now, so I'm just making personal stuff now." Sometimes I let a few unselfish quilts through. For example, a baby quilt is a no brainer. These are generally quick and simple to make, and the recipient is a brand new, innocent little person who hasn't pissed me off at one time or another. Their parents on the other hand...well, I usually overlook that and think of the greater good because I want my share of the free fabric in Heaven.

6. I am not consistent with my 1/4" seams in piecing an entire quilt together. And I'm a little too lazy to work out what a scant 1/4" seam is when I have a perfectly good 1/4" foot.... how come there isn't a scant 1/4" foot out there? Anyways, I just do my best to stay relatively consistent most of the way through and if a few blocks are a little "off" that's what squaring up and putting those blocks in a corner are for. If they're all "off" I put them on point and call it a wonky block quilt and keep it moving sister.

7. I don't always enjoy the online quilting experience. I sometimes get cranky when I visit other blogs and they're churning out quilt after quilt after quilt and writing a "secret" book they can't tell you about, and guest posting on 6 different other blogs that week, each with a different project, and they're hosting a new quilt along, and they're getting happy mail from yet another fabric company, and and and.......I haven't done shit in 3 weeks. And I try not to but can't help feeling bad about where I am (or am not) in my own quilting process that week. And I wonder if any of these people do anything other than sew all day long, 24/7 because it sure doesn't seem like it.

Then I read between the lines on a few of their posts back, and I see that they too have actual "life" happening to them and around them, and they too go through slumps, but who wants to read about the "real" shit that goes on in people's lives everyday? We come online to get inspired, see and learn new things, not hear about a family member's cancer or being up all night with a colicky kid, or dealing with severe depression, or not being able to pay the bills, or the myriad of things everyone deals with but chooses not to include with every single post because why make something as fun as quilting a big fat downer every time..."hey look at this new quilt I made, and oh yeah my son got suspended from school again, and the baby has poop explosions up her back what seems like every 20 minutes! It's sunshine and good times around here folks!"

Besides, that's what Twitter is for right?

So there are my "dirty quilting secrets" all laid out to bare. What are yours? Post one in the comments below and I'll enter you in a drawing for this book just for making it all the way through my Cranky-Pants post:

Modern Minimal by Alissa Haight Carlton

1 entry per person unless you want to Tweet this post, then you get a second entry (leave a 2nd comment saying you tweeted..you're excused.) Giveaway will close at 11 pm EST Sunday, April 22, 2012. You must have a valid email address in either your username link or in your comment so I can reach you if you win. If you are a no-reply blogger, I will draw another winner.

Thanks for sharing!



Pink and Gray Baby Quilt

My niece was born last week. She is simply precious, and I cannot wait to meet her in person in a few weeks when I go visit my brother and SIL. I've mentioned before that they decorated her nursery in "non-traditional" colors, gray and deep pink.

I found some pretty fabrics in these colors and pieced together a simple quilt top:

 The resident Princess of Pink helped me take pics outside.

This pic shows the colors better without full sunlight shining on it.

SIL loves cherry blossom trees, and my brother requested adding some in "somewhere" on the quilt. Sigh. Oh how we love the input from clueless non-quilters who don't understand you can't just "whip up" cherry blossoms that fit a quilt you already have in your mind and add them in "somewhere." 

Lucky for them, Connecting Threads just released their new line, Matsuri, and it has an all over cherry blossom print I think is perfect for a backing. 

 I plan to baste and quilt it this week, to have done in plenty of time for my trip to see them!



Ultimate Blog Party 2012 Welcome

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

Hi there! If you're reading this, I assume you found me through the Ultimate Blog Party 2012 over at 5 Minutes for Mom. Thanks so much for stopping by!

First, a little about me. I am a 38 yr old long-time craft-and-book-aholic, living in the Metro DC area. I also happen to be a happily married wife and mother to 2 little girls. I have what many would say is the job of their dreams as a book buyer for a major retailer, which basically means I get all the free books I want for me, my kids, friends, family, and strangers on the street corner. I only wish I had the time to read them all!

I started blogging as the Crafty Garden Mom about 2 years ago. Short story is my oldest daughter and I had been crafting all morning, went outside to do a little gardening, and she said, "Mommy, you're not just a mommy, you're a crafty garden mommy!" It was so cute the way she said it, and it was all I could think of when picking a blog name later that night.

Although I have a bad case of self-diagnosed Crafter's ADD, my main crafts today are quilting and knitting. Gardening is a more part-time hobby for me in Spring and Summer. I am a voracious reader all year round (2-3 books a week, yes I read while changing diapers!) I talk about all of these hobbies at various times, depending on what's going on in my life that week.

A little over a year ago I decided to start a podcast as Crafty Garden Mom. There I discuss motherhood, quilting, knitting, and of course books! It's been a lot of fun podcasting and I have met so many wonderful fellow crafty podcasters along the way.

Thanks again for stopping by! I hope you'll leave a comment saying hi, and I will come find you on your blog.



CGM Podcast Episode 28: Weaving a Web

Listen to the episode HERE

Show Notes 

  • Life Update: Mild days but freezing nights are keeping me from planting my garden. But I'm raring to go! I have some upcoming business travel through June, and I'm already looking forward to our first family beach week.
  • WIPs: 
    • Hot pink baby quilt for my niece

    • Spiderweb Quilt for our new king-size bed:
I used the Missouri Star Quilt Co. new wacky web template and papers 
after viewing the video tutorial they posted.
  • What's Making Me Happy in Crafting: The Lapel Stick
  • Book Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio 
Thanks for listening!


Book + Charm Pack Giveaway Winner!!

Wow, thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway celebrating Sandy's 2nd Podcastaversary. I was delighted to see all of the podcasts you listen to, and also added quite a few to my own list!

Without further ado, the winner of Sunday Morning Quilts and the A Walk in the Woods charm pack is:

Entry #59: SEWINGKAREN22!

I listen to all the podcasts. I haven't been sewing for very long and the podcasters have been my quilty instructors!

Congratulations Karen! I have sent you an email, please check it so you can give me the address to send your prize.



Thursday Thoughts

  • I have been quilting every night this week.
  • I know, it's an honest-to-goodness Easter Miracle.
  • Including a big bunny hopping around my sewing room.
  • But that may have just been Sam dressed up in an old princess costume with some bunny ears her Nana gave her last weekend.
  • These things don't faze me anymore.
  • It's probably sacrilegious to say it but my favorite part of Easter is that it means you can buy Reese's Peanut Butter Cup eggs.
  • Forget those circle 2-packs, the egg is where it's at.
  • I may or may not have had 4 (OK five) of them so far.
  • Since Wednesday.
  • I stopped giving up chocolate and wine for Lent years ago.
  • But I don't think the miracle would have happened without the aroma of chocolate and peanut butter lingering in the air and on my lips.
  • That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
  • Anyways now that the religious portion of this post is over, here's a little of what I've been working on:
  • I watched Jenny's video over at Missouri Quilt Co. on using their Wacky Web template to make a spiderweb quilt, and was hooked. 
  • It was very cool.
  • I had several charm packs of Kate Spain's Good Fortune on hand.
  • Added a little Kona Ash for the background, and away I went!
  • I'm still piecing.
  • And piecing.
  • And piecing.
  • This is a simple, but time consuming quilt.
  • Especially since I want to make it King size for my new bed.
  • Oh yeah, did I mention we're (DH and I, not the kids, although Sam seems to think she's included in all bed purchases for some crazy reason) getting a new bed delivered tomorrow?
  • We are.
  • Hooray!
  • Maybe now neither of us will roll out of bed bent in half from back/joint/old-age-sets-in-early-when-you-have-kids pain.
  • I'll let you know.
  • In the meantime, I'll still be strip-piecing away on this quilt. 
  • What's a little annoying with the charm packs and strip-piecing is that you run out of the colors or prints you like most very quickly.
  • I almost wish they'd let you custom-make your precuts using the fabrics you like most, or want the most of.
  • Somebody get to working on that for me, OK?
  • Thanks!
  • Have a great weekend...check for a new podcast episode by Sunday.
  • I know, the Easter miracles just keep coming don't they?


What I'm Reading This Month

Don't forget to enter the book giveaway HERE!

My stack of books runneth over, and I've already started receiving advance's on FALL 2012 titles! I've pulled a few from the stack that interstingly enough have the "weight" theme behind them, and then a few random picks because they just sound interesting.

Heft by Liz Moore

150 Pounds by Kate Rockland

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

How It All Began by Penelope Lively

What are you reading this month?


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