Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year in Review

My black eyed peas are soaking in the fridge, and there are already events on our 2012 calendar. It's been a particularly eventful year, and I look forward to what's to come!

As I was going through my pictures, I was stunned at how much I actually created this year! The following collages are not exhaustive (omitting, for example, bee blocks) but provide a sense of all I've stitched in 2011.

Clothing and Accessories


Quilts and Mug Rugs

My plans for 2012 are as follows:

  1. OYG Bee Quilt (my month is July!)
  2. OYG Sampler Quilt (made from practice blocks)
  3. Late Christmas present (basted)
  4. Wild Thing Quilt (ready for basting)
  5. True Lover's Knot (for me)
  6. True Lover's Knot (for friend)
  7. Marlowe Quilt
  8. Jelly Roll Race II
  9. Circa 1934 Quilt
  10. Baby Trees (basted)
  11. Lillian's Hexagons (ready for basting)
  12. Antique Pinwheels (ready for basting)
  13. Hand-Tied Solomon's Puzzle (awaiting binding)
  14. Botany Baby Quilt
  15. Psychology Quilt
  16. Rooftop Garden Baby Quilt
  17. The Hobbit Movie cloak (to wear to the midnight showing next December)
Since college I've been in the habit of making to-do lists that are impossible to complete. It doesn't discourage me, though. I shoot for the moon and always land among the stars.

Happy New Year, y'all! No matter how amazing 2011 was, the best is yet to come!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Drinking the Fat Quarter Shop Kool-Aid

Y'all heard about the fantasy fat quarter bundle thing they've got going on with Quokka Quilts and the Fat Quarter Shop? And is it any coincidence that the contest runs parallel to holiday sales? Further, is it possible for me *not* to spend some of that Christmas money on fabric? (Thanks again, Mom and Dad! You always know *just* what to get me!)

Well, let's just say in the course of choosing my 12 prints and 3 solids, some of my "fantasy" shall become reality, whether I win or not. It all started with--actually, it's a long story, truly not worth getting into, but rest assured my logic is sound, my sense of stewardship in tact, my budget safe.

Now onto the goods! My strategy involved narrowing down approximately 53 "ooooooh!" fabrics down to 12, then choosing accordingly.

Starting with the left column and working down (not across):

1) Blue Roscoe from Impressions
2) Grey Medallion from Taza
3) Moss Paisley from Secret Garden
4) Fresh Grass Floralism from Modernology
5) Black and White Trellis from Fleur Noir
6) Pearl Lace from Bohemian Soul
7) Slate le Linge d' Epoque from Paris Apartment
8) Midnight Garden Damask from Secret Garden
9) Gray Tiny Florals from Flower Sugar
10) Black Rosie Toss from Annie's Farm Stand
11) Gray Medallion Dots from Lost and Found
12) Midnight Mehndi Stripe from Grand Bazaar
13) Bella Solids Silver
14) Clementine Cotton Couture from Michael Miller
15) Jet Black from Michael Miller

Apparently three winners will be chosen on January 15th. While I'm hopeful, of course, it's been fun to peruse the virtual shelves and see what draws my eye. Now I'm curious to see what others have put together!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Handmade Gifts Revealed (Part 3)

Last few gifts to be revealed as they were given yesterday/today!

A dear friend gave me a purse she loved to death. The straps were threadbare and the lining was unsalvageable. I chopped, I re-lined, I zippered (pouch tutorial here), I repurposed, and she was surprised and pleased! (Sorry, no "before" picture--I zealously attacked and didn't think about it until after I'd already hacked it to pieces.)

These haven't actually been opened yet, but I don't think the recipient follows my blog. My brother's boyfriend has a culinary background, and I've been known to consult him when I have garden-to-table quandaries. My log cabin blocks were just right as pot holders for him!

And I gotta admit, I love the reference of the grey to my brother's gift. That and these were some of my favorite makes of the season!

Now just one more to finish up... interspersed with projects for myself, of course, because after all that sewing for others, it's more than justified to treat oneself ;-)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Handmade Gifts Revealed (Part 2)

Merry Christmas! Time to reveal a few more handmade gifts given yesterday.

My brother received a Market Tote made from Modern Log Cabin Quilting. It's made from grey denim jeans with busted zippers given to me by a friend who married a lighting engineer. I'm not sure the project instructions were accurate, but it didn't affect how the bag turned out.

I love it. And, more importantly, my brother loves it, too!

Three years ago I made a couple of Spool birds that unintentionally match one another. They must have been prophetic, as the recipients of those birds married a few months later. Those same friends received new birdies this year! I whipped these together when I realized that their real gift (not yet finished) would not be ready in time for Christmas. I have a two-week deadline, but in the meantime...

Another friend requested pot holders. That gave me opportunity to play with charm squares! She loved these, as well as the print by Erin Leigh I gave her (unfortunately, I don't think she sells that particular print anymore!)

Finally, I joined some of my OYG bee ladies in making a secret something for our bee mama Staci. This was a great opportunity to play with the cams on my machine and use some Christmassy fabrics! I hope she likes her mug rug and had a merry Christmas!

There are still a few more gifts to reveal and a few more Christmas things to attend to, but it's been a very rich holiday for me, and I hope it has for you, too!

Friday, December 23, 2011

I Win!

I won several giveaways on Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day! A few have already arrived.

First, a sweet ornament from Kim at Geek Stitching:

Second, nine faaaabulous fat quarters from Shelley at Little Meanderings:

I look forward to using these in my OYG bee when my turn comes!

And just for fun, something I didn't win...

Homemade chocolate covered cherries! My brother and I worked together. It was a break with tradition and a first attempt for both of us. And oh... so... good...

Hope your holidays are shaping up as sweetly as mine!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Handmade Gifts Revealed (Part 1)

Remember those sneak peeks of holiday gifts a few weeks ago? Well, at least one has been given and a few more are made. Here's what I can reveal thus far:

For my friend who received the Spliceosome Quilt, in honor of his love of cooking with CSA produce and his frequent texts of "Hey, I got you something from the farmer's market and left it by your back door"... Pot holders! Yay! Backed in that fabulous turquoise batik (not pictured), and super-sized for his loooooong, articulate fingers.

For my girl D., the lovely impetus behind the vintage dress-cum-apron, a PINK journal and cover based on a starburst block and using V & Co's tutorial. After seeing me with a similar journal from a MCMQG door prize drawing, D. requested one for herself, but in pink. I happily dispensed my stock of pink and brown remnants, adding scraps from the project to my Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway box. Even before I'd sewn a stitch, I knew the front deserved a funky vintage button.

For my own personal journey (that is, a gift to myself!), a mug rug repurposing some raw-edge appliqued blocks made by former students. On one side is my block, and on the other are blocks that (a) bring back pleasant memories and (b) were the best examples of third-grade stitching out of 18 attempts. A year ago, I couldn't have imagined I'd be where I am today. This little mug rug honors and celebrates my years of teaching, reminding me of the joys without need to wish I were still in that career.

I'm looking forward to finishing up my few remaining gifts and posting about them soon!

Chag Sameach and Happy Chanukah, y'all!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Personality Type Giveaway Results

Congratulations, Anne! selected her comment as my winner.

And now for the fun part... the results of my little "study"! Here are my rough counts, and by rough I mean I looked over it all once and made tally marks on a grid.

This first chart shows how many commenters told me their Myers-Briggs personality type in four letters. "Valid Data" refers to those four-letter commenters. "Partial Data" refers to those who gave me less than four letters or told me a moniker (I didn't care to match informal names like "the avenger" or "the madwoman" with the types they referred to). "No Data" are comments that opted not to participate in the test.

This next chart shows percentages of each personality type.

Finally, we have the breakdown of each dichotomous variable.

So what can we conclude?

It seems that we are a select population! Several people pointed out that they were surprised by the frequency of certain types that they believed to be rare. I'm not in a place to assert the validity of the statistics to which those commenters refer, but personally I was surprised to find as many fellow INTJs as I did! And the high frequency of introverts over all makes sense, considering that crafting is generally an individual process, a means of escaping and recharging, bound by planning and creativity.

I can't say my data represents our community as a whole. I had nearly 900 page views, and less than 300 comments. I'm no market researcher, but I'm sure the appeal of my giveaway, plus the time cost of taking the test or dredging up the memory of some college class, affected who my participants were. But these are questions for a future study.

Thanks to everyone who participated! I had a lot of fun collecting data and playing with spreadsheets, and I hope you enjoyed my "study," too!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day

Giveaway is now closed. Find results here.

Hooray for Giveaway Day! To first time visitors, hello! My name is Mary, and that's my great-grandmother Lillian in the header. This blog serves as documentation for all the bits of stitching I do. When not engaged thus, I'm a research analyst with a neuroscience lab!

I'm using Giveaway Day as an excuse to simplify my artistic tendencies and make room on my fabric shelves. Up for grabs are some fat quarters, charm squares, scraps, dye experiments, yoyos... and some other bits and bobs that didn't make it into the pictures.


All commenters who (a) comment as specified (see below) and (b) provide a means of contact (either leave your email address in the comment or have a way to link back to it) are eligible to win. International visitors are welcome as I will ship internationally! Enter by 5 p.m. Central on December 16th. After this, will choose a winner. Failure to respond within 3 days to a winning email will result in forfeiture of the prize, and another winner will be selected. All will be shipped before December 24.

To enter:

Please leave a comment on this post telling me your Myers-Briggs personality type. If you do not know it, click here for a (short) 40-question test, or have a glance here and choose one you think fits. (If you're really interested, there are several places to take a 72-question test for free, and I've found those reliable.)

Why a personality test? Well, first of all, people are fascinating to me! Second, as I've become involved in several groups of sewing women, I've been intrigued by the differences among us as well as what holds us together. It's made me curious about what the blogging/sewing/crafty community looks like in general, so I'm doing a kind of mini-study to find out! Descriptive data collection, if you will.

If you'd rather not participate in my "study" but want to enter, please say so in your comment. I am trying to avoid kamikaze entrants and will only be selecting from those that have taken the time to read this post, but I don't want to make anyone jump extra hurdles unless they're willing.

Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the adventure! Click the button on the right to return to the giveaway madness!

P.S. I'm an INTJ, if you're curious :-)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Little Bits

My roommate had never done a "Secret Santa", so I suggested we do one between the two of us! We came up with lists of things we like and set a $20 limit. (That's a single $20 bill, no cheating!) We'll drop off little gifts for one another throughout the season. Ah, but where?

Stockings, of course! They were SUPER easy to make, just a seam to hold the sides together, a seam on the top, and a seam for the loop to hang 'em.

We stuck with our nontraditional holiday theme. Can you guess which one is mine?

Another mini-project was inspired by a trail run in a sweatshirt with a kangaroo pocket and a phone that would not stop bouncing. Then this tutorial popped up, and I took off with the idea!

My favorite pair of socks from high school had long since been converted into ankle warmers--BEFORE they were popular, mind you! I simply stitched on a little pocket in the one color lacking from the rainbow.

A simple turned-down casing for elastic and a few side seams later, and I'm set to run.

I didn't flex for the photo as I didn't want to intimidate y'all with my mighty biceps. Hopefully bright! cheery! colours! will dampen that effect...

Now all I have left to do is figure out who my Secret Santa is...