Monday, September 16, 2013

sew sweet!

A while ago, I saw a picture of a sewing-themed cake that was really impressive. That inspired me to start a pinterest board dedicated to them. As cake decorating has become more sophisticated by leaps and bounds recently, hobbies have become a popular theme for birthday cakes, and of course quilting is no exception. Feast your peepers on some delicious eye candy!

After a few slices of this, I know my butt wouldn't be a featherweight!

talk about sweet dreams!

These Hawaiian applique cookies look good enough to eat...

amazing sewing basket.....yes this is a CAKE!

To see lots more like these, visit my Sew Sweet Pinterest board!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Needle de los Muertos

A while back I found some great Dia de los Muertos fabric online, and HAD to get some even though I didn't have any immediate plans for it. (I'm sure that's never happened to any of you....right??)
Recently I've been doing more embroidery and hand sewing projects, and got sick of digging around for the right size needle. Then it hit me: these Muertos loteria "cards" are a good size to fit on the cover of a needle book!
I whipped out a few by using the escape hatch technique (similar to how I made the band patch xmas ornaments), using some batting scraps and sacred heart fabric for the lining. Then I fused the loteria cards over the turning slit, and sewed the felt pages in down the center. Voila! I think they turned out pretty cool :)
There are a few in my etsy if you need one.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Now that my class is over, I'm finally able to get back to making some of my own projects I have been itching to do for a while- like these most grim and frostbitten of pincushions!
Using this tutorial, I made them with mason jars and skull and skeleton fabric, and filled them with an assortment of black buttons. Then I added a few skull and bones decorations and a white guitar pick to each jar.
I was lucky to find the black pleather eyelet trim in just the right width, by the yard at Joann fabrics.
The skull pins were made by snipping off the bead ends of stickpins, and gluing on a tiny skull bead.
I have a couple listed in my Etsy  \m/  >_<  \m/

photos by Ronnie Williford

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I got class! Also: cat beds

Whew! I haven't posted here in a while because I was busy last month organizing to teach my first class, which I volunteered to have at my guild's workshop weekend. It was about basic design and color principles, and while there wasn't time to do any actual sewing, we did do some sketchbook exercises in addition to my lecture and slide show. I had 5 students, and they all seemed to enjoy the class quite a bit. I hope to be able to refine it and teach more in the future!

Once things calmed down afterwards, I finished up a project I've been working on sporadically for a while: sewing kitty beds to donate to local shelters! This is another great way to use up tiny scraps that aren't good for anything else. I picked up the outer fleece wherever I could find it cheap: the guild free table, the  remnants bin at Jo-anne, etc. Pro tip: you can get a cheap blanket at IKEA with almost 2 yards of fleece for $3! Then I followed this tutorial and made a few beds here and there when I had time. Now I have close to 20! Here's Buddy, my quality control department, putting the latest batch through his rigorous testing standards.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Deviantart user GrungeIndiani has made this excellent set of poseable Dethklok soft sculptures! Aside from being hilarious, the animated Metalocalypse show is partly responsible for my love of metal and I have always wished Cartoon Network would have put out more merchandise from it. More photos reenacting scenes from the show are in her gallery. Well done!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

don't throw that away!

I never get rid of any fabric scraps, as it's in my nature to be  cheap  cost-efficient. Odd cutting leftovers can be used to piece a back on smaller quilts. Even tiny bits of an inch or two can be put to good use: ones with nice patterns can be fused to make quilted postcards or mug rugs, like the Asian ones I made below. (fused bindings too!) Less-attractive or damaged scraps, including batting, become stuffing for pet beds I make for charity- more on that later!

This post is linked to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

yep, that about sums it up.....

Two of my favorite things in the whole world are 1) music, especially the heavy metal kind; and 2) cuteness, especially the Japanese kind. As unlikely as it seems, someone has seen fit to combine them with this Hello Kitty/ KISS fabric line. Now this is a mashup I can get behind! This panel and several other coordinating fabrics can be found on equilter.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

what's the password?

I always like to keep a hand embroidery project around, for when I fly somewhere or have a bit of time in the waiting room (don't ask how many times I've been there in the last couple of years).
This is a piece I finished over the holidays; it's a tea towel embroidered with a drawing I did based on "the narwhal bacons at midnight", an internet meme made popular on reddit.

Hand embroidery is very relaxing to me; despite (or maybe because) it takes so long.
As for machine embroidery, I am on the fence between thinking it looks good, and thinking it looks TOO good and may even be "cheating". I would like to see some of my own designs done by machine before I sign off on it one way or the other. If you have an embroidery machine, what are your thoughts about it?

Friday, February 15, 2013

The first ever modern Quiltcon is coming up next week here in Austin, and they are having a link party for those attending to get to know each other a little better! Those with blogs were asked to post five things our readers may not know about us, so here goes:

1) I have been in the animation industry for almost 20 years. I've worked on TV shows, commercials, movies, games, websites, you name it.

2) I have also done tattooing, wood carving, and stained glass.

3) I played the upright bass in a psychobilly band for 10 years. I also played the bagpipes (poorly) in a Scottish marching pipe and drum band.

4) I'm left-handed (but I play the bass right-handed).

5) I was vegetarian for 15 years and vegan for 6....but am now making up for lost time.

and bonus track fun fact:

6) I learned Japanese before I visited Japan in 2002 (but have since forgotten much of it).

hope to see you at Quiltcon!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

update: DONE!

....well the top, at least. 14 months of literal blood, sweat and tears later, I finished my block-of-the-month quilt!
I think it was a bit above my skill level, but I powered through it anyway. I learned a few things along the way: paper piecing, set-in circles and curved piecing, Y-seams.

 I also learned I will never spend this long doing someone else's pattern again! It was frustrating to not work on my own designs for so long, but I'm glad I did this because I improved my sewing skills and I have an amazing, show-worthy piece at the end of it.

I think working in animation for so many years has given me some good training for this type of activity: attention to detail, tolerance for repetitive work, patience for long-term projects, the ability to do as many revisions as necessary to make work turn out right.

This behemoth finished out at 88" square with the pieced borders. I may add another small border to the outside so I can do a wider binding with piping. I still need to piece a back together too.

For the first time, I'm going to send something out to be professionally quilted. After investing this much time and money, I don't want to risk messing it eventually I will be shopping for a good longarmer. If there's someone you recommend, I'm taking suggestions!

Back when I started this project last January, I pictured myself finishing it a year later and being recovered from cancer, divorce and all the other horrible things happening in my life at the time. And while I have made some progress, unfortunately the quilt is farther along.....I guess you can't set deadlines for some things :(

above photo by Claire Jain

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book review: Quilting With Manhole Covers

When I went to Japan 10 years ago, one of the many artistic details that caught my eye was how ornate the sewer covers were. Each city has its own designs reflecting nature, local history and Japanese traditions.
Imagine my delight when I found this book, which holds the distinction of being the only quilting book I bought before I started quilting! Even though it has been out for a while (1999), it offers some unique, untraditional design ideas.
Author Shirley MacGregor presents photos of the covers with the history behind each design, as well as a line art version and photos of quilts inspired by it. There are no complete patterns included, but any quilter with a little experience and imagination should have no shortage of ideas after reading this book. The designs would even look good as digitized embroidery.
This is an unusual, older quilting book that is worth tracking down, even if just for the "eye candy" factor! It's still available on Amazon.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Be a man!

This is a lap-sized quilt I did a while back for a guy friend of mine. He has health issues and lives in another state, so I don't get to see him very often. I found some great fabrics with beer and camo guitars on, and couldn't resist making something! Especially since he restores guitars and amplifiers. 
For some reason the repeating print made all photos of the whole quilt appear blurry, even though they weren't, but the close-ups came out ok.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

needle artistry

Here's a roundup of quilting and sewing-related tattoos from across the interwebs. I have several tattoos, but none of this nature. I don't have any more planned, but I wouldn't be opposed to it if I could find or come up with a design I had to have. Enjoy!

(above: courtesy of Miss Sews-it-all)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Japanese Oni pillow

I have always liked the look of redwork embroidery, but I would never spend time doing a traditional Sunbonnet Sue or any other overdone country kitsch design. 
I am also a fan of Japanese artwork and mythology, and figured this Oni (demon) mask from Kabuki theater would look good in red! 
When it was done, I added red borders and finished it into a square pillow. The back side is Japanese tattoo print fabric I found on equilter a while ago. Super fun!