Monday, May 21, 2012

I am in love...

with Sarah Jane's new line Out to Sea. Living on a sailboat means I'm always noticing when new nautical prints come out but they are always in blues and sometimes greens but never pinks. And I have to say I LOVE pink. So I'm pretty excited and will be anxiously awaiting its release.

morning coral collection webdeep sea jewel collection web

You can read more about the line on her blog SarahJane Studios.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bloggers Quilt Festival

This is one of five quilts I did for Christmas gifts last year. I wish I photographed it better because I love this quilt! It was made for a 4 year old little boy who loves anything that moves. I started with the fabric with the vehicles and new that I wanted to fussy cut them. That was all I knew I wanted to do when I started. The quilt evolved from there. I also wanted the quilt to not feel like a baby quilt since he is quickly growing up and has a big boy bed now. I decided to use the design of the bed as the layout for the quilt and use overlapping squares. 

Initially I was going to do red, blue, and yellow with secondary colors as the small squares where they overlapped but when I started looking through my stash blue, orange, and green complemented the vehicles better. This left me to choose a color for the small overlapping squares and decided I'd use purple with deep chocolate brown (the color of his bed) for the actual squares. When I fussy cut the vehicles they were slightly askew since they weren't printed straight on the fabric. To compensated for this I bordered and squared them up. This is why they float inside the larger squares. It took me awhile to get the balance right. I kept moving the squares around on my design board until I felt I had it just right. I'm really happy with how this quilt came out because I think that it is something he will enjoy for a long time.

I'm linking up to the Bloggers Quilt Festival. Stop by if you get a chance so you too can see some other awesome quilts!

Amy's Creative Side

Friday, May 18, 2012

May Bee Blocks

I'm finally back to sewing my Bee blocks - actually back to sewing at all and not my Bee blocks. My mom has been covering my blocks for the last few months till I got back to the boat and my machine (thanks Mom!) I was ready to go at the beginning of the month and then realized I didn't have the Kona Coal that I needed and have no idea where to get it in Australia so my mom and I swapped Hives this month. She's doing my Hive #2 block and I did her Hive #4 blocks.

Funny story about the blocks is that my husband looked at me last night and said "So you have to get some sewing done right?" I answered "Yes." Then he proceeded to ask "How many days do we need to set aside for this?" He really didn't believe when I said I'd only need an hour (which really meant three hours). He expected me to be at my machine for days and days well into the night to get these two blocks done. I was up until 1:30 or so working on them and boy did it feel good! Nothing better than a cup of tea and sewing into the night...except maybe my baby boy's smile in the morning when I wake up exhausted and don't want to get out of bed :)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Some things just make me smile....

and this is definitely one of those things!

Before coming back to the boat I made a big decision to buy half yard cuts of every Kona color that the Old Country Store had to offer since they have really good prices (they were $5.67/yd but I think they've gone up a little). In total I got 113 different colors. It was a hard decision because I spent about $300.00 but in the end I'm so glad that I did. I cry and complain about the cost of fabric in the US all the time and lately they just seems to keep rising but then I shop overseas and realize that we really do have it good. Here in Australia (and last year in NZ) fabrics are over $20/yd - usually between $22-25/meter. Can you believe it. I understand why so many people here order online from the US and pay the international shipping charges - it's still cheaper. Because of this I decided that I want to have a decent stash on the boat (I'm not really sure my husband is so keen on the idea but he says as long as I use it I can have it.) I decided that solids where the way to go because I can still have my fun shopping overseas and I can purchase small cuts of stuff I love and fill my quilts in with solids. I hope it all works out. I think I'll also be purchasing online so that I have stuff waiting for me at home to bring back on my next trip. I try to support local quilt shops when I can but I also have to watch the pocketbook and $22/m just doesn't calculate. So I'm glad I found the Old Country Store because I can shop online, get good prices, and still support a local shop.

Now I'm off to start cutting into that pile of goodness...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Brighton Beach

During our travels over the last few weeks we stopped by Brighton Beach in Melbourne and as I was looking at my photos I couldn't help to think that these little beach huts could really turn into a cool quilt. How could you not love all the colors and originality of them.  I guess I'll have to start sketching out some ideas. Just for kicks I thought that I'd throw in a little fun fact about these. The last one to sell went for $171,000 AUD and have been known to go for over $200,000 AUD. Crazy huh!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sewing Summit 2012

We have returned to the boat, well sort of, we stopped by it and are traveling around Australia right now. I'm constantly looking for quilt inspiration and I think I have a few ideas??? Anyhow, a few weeks before we left I talked to my husband about the possibility of returning to the States for the Sewing Summit again this year. I had such a great time last year that I just couldn't stand the idea of missing it. Surprisingly enough he said that if I really wanted to, and I had considered what other things I might prefer to do, I can return to the states if everything is in line....God I hope the timing works out and we don't have some big crossing we need to do or are to far from an airport.

In the meantime I got my ticket and am gearing up to go. I actually stayed up until 1:00am Australian time to do mine and my mom's registration and even got the FIRST50 discount for both. I was amazed to read today that within 1 minuted of registration opening 100 people had registered and the conference was sold out within 10 hours...WOW. But seriously it was that much fun last year. I'm so glad I didn't hesitate and wait until I know more about where we'll be in October because it would definitely be too late by then and with demand like this I'm sure someone out there will be happy to take my ticket if I get caught up with the boat. For now I'll be checking out all the blogs of everyone going and getting more excited every day!

Friday, March 2, 2012

I Finished it Friday #2 - Tangerine Tango Quilt Challenge

I have already failed at a few of my goals on my new blog...I haven't posted weekly and I didn't finish a quilt in February but in my defense I did have a baby six weeks ago and I did finish a quilt today which is pretty close to finishing one for February. 

I decided to enter the Tangerine Tango Quilt Challenge at the beginning of February which may not have been the best idea two weeks after my baby boy was born but since I've been home a lot at least it gave me something to do when I couldn't get back to sleep after those 2am feedings. Anyhow, here is my quilt for the challenge. It does accomplish one goal though - designing quilts that are based on places we have traveled. This quilt is based on some photos from our time in New Zealand - hence the name New Zealand Tango.

The front of the quilt is based on Maori piece I saw in a museum. The back of the quilt is based on a brick pattern that I saw all over New Zealand and have many pictures of. The photo I've included here is of the University in Dunedin.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I Finished it Friday #1

Okay, I know it's Saturday but Friday sounds better and I really did finish the last of the "Christmas" quilts yesterday. I can't wait to give them to the kids. I clearly need to work on my quilt photography skills but you can see the quilts below. Do you have a favorite? I do - can you guess which one?

Zela: 48x63 - This quilt is for a 5 year old little girl. I started with a panel of owls and didn't really know where I was going to go with it. The panel could have just been backed and quilted but I actually cut the owls out and machine appliqued them onto the pink squares. I love pinwheels and feel they are so perfect for a little girl quilt so I knew I had to make up a few. After that it was just filling in the rest to give it a little flare so that they weren't just squares sewn together with some sashing.

Rudy: 43x58 - I'm not sure why but when I saw this pirate fabric I just thought of Rudy. One thing you must understand is that my husband and I despise pirates! Since we live on a boat and there is a big piracy zone between where the boat is in Australia and us getting to the Mediterranean we are definitely not fans. That being said...this fabric was just to cute to pass up. I was inspired by a quilt I saw online that was done much like this but I altered it and here is my version. I wish I could find the site again so that I could link it up.

Elle: 44x56  - I love this fabric!!! If I had a girl in my belly I probably would have made something to keep instead of give-away with it but I've got a little man coming so it'll go to my niece instead. When I started the only thing I knew was that I wanted to make sure you could really see what was happening in the print. I saw this fabric used in a quilt in shop I was in and they hacked it to pieces so that it totally lost the integrity of the print. I started by cutting up the print into strips then took the fabrics that I had collected for it and started matching stuff up for four-patches and some of my oh-so-favorite pinwheels. After that I just it was just a matter of laying things out and putting in some sashing.

Beck: 43.5x59 - I may just have to make a repeat of this quilt. The center pictures were fussy-cut before I even knew what I was going to do with them. They were a little skewed on the fabric so I knew that I'd need to straighten them out somehow so each of them is actually bordered and then cut to be square. The pattern actually comes from the headboard on his bed which is interlocking squares just like the quilt. Once I realized that is what I wanted to do the rest started to come together. Originally I was going to use primary colors but when I started going through my stash my blues, greens, and oranges worked and the nothing else did so that's what I went with. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Alex: 37x43.5 - This quilt was totally inspired by Amy Smart's Chain Linked quilt at Diary of a Quilter. I loved her quilt but knew I didn't need a pattern to do something similar so I went for it. I fussy cut all the whales and then picked my blues to go with it. Fun fun and pretty simple.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

W.i.P Wednesday #1

I have a whole list of projects that are in some form or fashion underway. I've decided to link up with W.i.P Wednesdays over at freshlypieced to help myself to keep moving forward on them. To help clarify my list and where each quilt is at I thought I'd give you a little insight into my quilting process and stages.

Step 1: Fabric - I'm usually inspired by the fabric and not by a pattern. I rarely use a pattern for my quilts. I usually fall in love with a print(s) and then work from there. I never have all my fabric when I start a quilt, it's usually just a few main pieces.

Step 2: Design - This is where I usually sit with the fabric and just start drawing. Sometimes I search the net for inspiration but most of the time the fabric gives me the idea. I've always worked with graph paper and colored pencils but recently got EQ7 so I'm kinda in transition. I'm still sketching while I learn the program and when I need to really work something out I still go to paper but I do love some of the EQ features and how easy it is to make a few changes to a pattern without having to redraw it.

Step 3: Cutting - I say cutting but this is also my buying phase. I look for fabrics to fill in my design and get to cutting. Sometimes I get hung up here since I can't find exactly what I want so a quilt can get partially cut and sit for awhile. I'm trying to keep a good enough stash of stuff around that I love so that I can find something that will work right at home. This has been working lately and hopefully will continue. Since I don't always have access to a shop when I'm on the boat I really do want to build up some more fabric. Plus it's almost always more expensive out of the US so it'd be good if I could take some back with me in April.

Step 4: Piecing - This is where the majority of the sewing is done. Usually it goes with the cutting phase since we all know that there are some shortcuts out there if you cut and sew and then cut again but sometimes I cut everything first and then sew. This is the step in which the front of my quilt gets completed. I have to say that the design, cutting, and piecing steps end up blending a lot of the time since I tend to start reworking stuff as I go.

Step 5: Backing - I usually try to buy a yard or so of backing material at the time I buy whatever fabric has inspired me to make a new quilt but sometimes I use one of the other fabrics I pick up later. I use the whatever I have left over from the front to figure out what my back is going to be. Sometimes it's just a solid or print and other times it's a simpler pieced pattern.

Step 6: Quilting - I'm not really the best machine quilter and I tend to like just straight lines so that is what I do most. Sometimes I create a pattern with my lines but this again depends on the design of the quilt and what I think is appropriate. I like heavier quilted quilts but they take so much time to do that sometimes I'm lazy and just quilt what I think the minimum amount is to reinforce the seems.

Step 7: Binding - I'm not a fan of the binding process because by this point I just want my creation to be done so I can show it off but it is necessary in order to finish so I get it done.

So here is my list of projects and the basic phase that they are currently in...

I have 5 quilts that were supposed to be done for Christmas - ooops: My husband sorta made me stop sewing the week of Christmas because I had a total breakdown about not being ready for the baby to come (he's due today - tick tock) so I switched gears for a few weeks but am back at it. Unfortunately there are five little kids wondering why their aunt and uncle don't love them enough to get them a Christmas present. Guess it's good we didn't see them on Christmas? Hopefully I can get these done before I go into labor or see them...which ever comes first. I've named them after the kids and have actually finished 3 of the 5 but I kinda see them as a package deal since they were all supposed to be done together.
*Alex: Done
*Zela: Done
*Beck: Done
*Rudy: I was in the quilting stage this morning but now I'm done - only one to go...
*Elle: Backing
I'll try to post some pictures of these finished projects on Friday.

I'm working on a quilt for my sister. I found fabric that just reminded me of her. I had the squares finished when I returned to the states in August and got the front done once I was home but got stuck on the back which is where the quilt stands. I think I have it figured out now but I have to get it done.
*Stephanie: Backing

My BF from college had a baby boy last year and I'm horrible because I didn't even start a quilt for him until October (a year after he was born) but I'm working on it. Most of the front squares are done but I'm not entirely sure how I want to lay it out.
*Evan: Piecing

I had this awesome idea for a pinwheel quilt that I started before I got on the boat 2.5 years ago. It is one of the projects that ended up in a cabinet on the boat and tucked away for two years. I pulled it out last year when we were in New Zealand and living on land. I was actually sewing the last three blocks when the earthquake in Christchurch hit and we had to abandon our apartment. Long story short, I'm just lucky to have gotten it back and want to get it done asap. I'd actually like to rework this pattern and do another of it.
*Pinwheels: Piecing

After the Earthquake happened my husband and I left Christchurch and stayed in a hostel for awhile. Luckily there was a quilt shop across the street and I bought fabric to keep my mind off of things. I started hand sewing a quilt but have taken out my hand stitching to do it on the machine now that I am back in business. I keep changing my mind on exactly how I want to do this one.
*Golf: Design, Cutting, Piecing

I've found myself buying a bunch of panels in the last year. One of them being an alphabet for kids. I wanted to sew it up in an unusual way so I've made it into a maze. I've got about half of the front done.
*Animal Alphabet: Piecing

I started the Tokyo Quilt Along by Elizabeth Hartman. I just fell in love with this quilt and shopped all over NZ to find fabrics for it. I've got all the colored squares cut but am reworking the squares so that I don't have to cut so many of the white squares. I may do this in the end but I'll probably piece it differently.
*Tokyo: Cutting

I'd like to make a growth chart that I can store easily on the boat for the little man to come. I've got some ideas and fabric.
*Growth Chart: Design

I have some fabric that made me think of my dad. I've got an idea in my head but nothing on paper yet.
*Boats: Fabric

I have this fabric that I think would be perfect for a little boy who lives on a boat :) but I haven't really started working on the design yet. Some ideas are floating around in my head but I have so many other projects going I'm not really there yet.
*World People: Fabric

I bought fabric that I think will make a fun table runner and possibly placemats.
*Sweets: Fabric

I have a box of fabric that I know has at least a few other projects in it but these are my priority at the moment. I'll dig through it this week and see what others I'd like to get started soon. As you can see I like to be working on a bunch of things all at once and keeping stuff in different stages makes it so that I can work on my quilting anywhere at any time.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Stash Bee - Hive #2

I'm really excited! I've been wanting to join one of the virtual quilting bees for awhile but the confusion of packages going back and forth overseas - especially when we are on the move - just didn't seem like it would work well for me. I finally found a Bee that I can use my own stash to make the blocks so I don't have to be hanging around a port waiting for a package to arrive each month - customs can really slow things down. I don't mind shipping my packages out internationally but didn't think many people would want to ship to me that way fortunately this Bee is international so it shouldn't be a problem. I'll ship to wherever they are in the world and when my month rolls around I'll have them ship to my mail forwarding service in the US who can forward one big package onto me. My only concern is that the participants can pick specific solids that I will have to get my hands on but I'm sure I can make it work. There is still room in our Hive so if you want to join or follow along just click the Stash Bee button on the side to check it out.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Some goals...

So I figured I better set a few goals for this blog to hopefully get it rolling...

1. To post once a week. It may seem like that would be easy but my husband and I have another blog totally focused on our sailing and sometimes it doesn't get posted to as frequently as it should. I'd like to post more than this but I want to make my goals easily attainable so that they can grow and I don't get discouraged. Plus my little man is due in one week so he'll be taking up a lot of time and will obviously be my priority.

2. To have a quilt completed every other month. When I'm inspired I do them faster than this but I'd like to have some time to work on other things as well - like creating patterns out of the good one's.

3. To come up with a quilt along. I love some of the one's I've seen and would love to have people working on something I've created with me.

4. To use my travels as inspiration. I mean that is the whole point of this blog. I'll be home in the states for a few more months with the little man but in the meantime I'd like to take a look at some of my old photos and see where I might be able to take them. And in the future be looking for inspiration in the places I'm at. I may also try to give you travelers a few good quilt shops to hit in New Zealand. That was the last major country I was in and found a few really good one's.

5. To inspire anyone reading this blog. I'd love to see/hear what you are working on or would like to see from this blog or quilting in general. I know it'll take awhile for this blog to get rolling, especially because I haven't put up a single quilt or picture, but when it does please comment. I do get a little giddy when people lease comments on my other blog.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Who am I and Why am I here?

Who Am I: I’m a 30-something, married, very soon-to-be mom. Not much different than most except that I live at Sea. My husband and I moved onto a sailboat 2.5 years ago and sailed from Florida, through the Caribbean and Panama Canal, across the Pacific Ocean and are currently docked in Australia while we have returned home to the US awaiting the arrival of our son in just a few weeks.

Why Blog: Living on a boat means constantly moving. I’ve found it difficult to find the right balance (literally and figuratively) for me at sea. When you leave land for a life at sea it’s hard to understand what you will be giving up. For me it meant a career, volunteer activities, sports, relationships…and the list goes on. Slowly I’ve been trying to fill the holes that have formed. It’s hard to maintain friendships when you are half way around the world and never in the same place. I miss being able to meet up with girlfriends for a night out and playing on sports teams but there isn’t a whole lot I can do about those things. One of the big things I’ve missed is having a real creative outlet. My undergraduate emphasis was Design (Graphic and Interior) but I got very discouraged coming out into the design world post 9-11 so I quickly turned to the business world and left my creativity to be done at home. One of my requirements moving onto the boat was that my craft supplies came with. I can tell you my husband was not so thrilled about me taking up 6+ cabinets - had we already been married I’m not sure he would have agreed. I brought all my scrapbooking, cross-stitching, quilting…supplies with me but found that I rarely used them. One thing that has always been key in my design process is space. I spread everything out everywhere and then leave it to look at and think about. On a boat this just isn’t possible. Space is limited and the boat moves at least every couple of days, which means that everything needs to be stowed. So rather than pull anything out for even a short time I just didn’t do anything. Which in turn has left me a little empty. I’ve missed having a career where I feel like I’m accomplishing something (yes, I realize that crossing an ocean is an accomplishment – but for me it just isn’t the same.) I’ve gone around in circles trying to figure out what to do with myself on the boat. I’ve tried a few things that I just couldn’t really get into and think that maybe I’m finally on the right track. I love quilting. I love designing. I love touching and shopping for fabric. So why not share my experiences of what I find around the world and design some quilts to go with it. I’m not really sure where this blog will go. It may be mostly my designs, it may be quilt shops I’ve explored, or quilts I’ve seen. But I figure that this will help me fill the void that has been created at sea and force me to pull all that stuff out and use it which will actually make me a happier more fulfilled person. If people actually read this it’ll keep me accountable and not let the days slip by without spending some time working on something I love.

Why SeaSew: When I was thinking up names I was obviously thinking about being on the boat and quilting but also the balance that I feel I have lost and am trying to regain. I brainstormed a list of words for both and came up with sea and sew. My first thought when I put these words together was a seesaw, which for me is the perfect fit. The rocking of the boat and finding balance between sea life and the life I feel I’ve left behind on land.