Friday, June 28, 2013

Swap 'til you Drop [Part 1]:

Welcome to part 1 of my swapping primer.  After starting to write everything out, I decided that it would be best not to present you with a wall 'o text and split this into two parts :) Today I'm going to tell you a little bit about an awesome swapping site --  In part 2 I'll talk about Flickr swaps. 
Around the time I discovered quilting, I also discovered online swapping... and let me tell you, it's addicting!  Swapping is great for several reasons
  1. Meet new people and possibly make new friends who have similar interests
  2. Tying new patterns and tutorials you may not have discovered on your own
  3. Building collections (there are tons of swaps out there for non-related things if you have other artistic interests -- like Artist Trading Cards)
  4. It's fun and you get pretty things!
So, how do you get into swapping?  The first site I discovered was  Swap-bot is a site dedicated to swapping pretty much anything and everything you can think of, including fabric and sewing swaps!  You can read more details at their About page.  Not only is it a great and easy way to swap items, it's also very easy to host swaps for things you are interested in.

Swap-bot is very ratings driven, meaning you have to build up your swapping "cred" with good ratings.  New users have to complete and be rated for 5 swaps before they get their swapping limit increased.  Setting limits on the amount of swaps that someone can participate in protects the user from getting overwhelmed, and it also protects everyone using the site from getting taken advantage of by people who just want free stuff (with no intention of sending something in return).  Hosts generally use ratings as a guide to judge whether or not they want to allow someone in their swap or group; it is very important that you send on time!  If you repeatedly send late or "flake" (meaning you don't send at all) it will hurt your ratings and you most likely won't be allowed to participate in swaps.  After participating for a while you'll get to learn the etiquette of the site.  They have a very helpful FAQ and New User Guide that I would recommend you read through thoroughly before you join :)

Finding your way around swap-bot can be a little tricky.  When a host posts a swap, they have the option to choose 3 categories for their swap, and luckily you can use the categories they have chosen to find swaps that interest you.  The three categories that I usually search for are Fabric, Quilting, and Sewing.  New users can also search for "Newbie" to find swaps geared toward new swap-bot members.

There are also a large number of interest-related groups you can join, some fabric and sewing groups that I really enjoy are (you may not be able to view these links without first creating an account): Fabric Fanatics, Nuts for Sewing, and Sew Random.  These are just some of the groups where I tend to participate in most of the swaps because they interest me, there are a lot of groups for other interests and many other sewing related groups that you may want to check out also.

My one disclaimer is:  you may not receive something that is completely to your taste, especially if you are a "modern" quilter, but if you receive something that you don't necessarily like, you can always swap it away the next round.

If you decide to give Swap-bot a try, please feel free to join the scrap swap I am hosting, I'd love to see you there!  Once you get some more swapping experience, I also host a monthly stash builder FQ swap that is a lot of fun :)

Sorry lots of text and not a lot of pictures!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

WIP Wednesday

I mentioned a few posts back that Pat Bravo's Indie was on my cutting mat.  Well Indie is all chopped up and ready for my #xplusalong quilt.  I am still in the process of cutting up my neutrals (I got really sick of cutting!  So I'm just cutting the background and plus ends as I go.)

I chose 16 fabrics from the line, I left out most of the "low volume" ones since I'm going for a look similar to Holly's finished quilt.  My Low volumes, and blacks consist of a wide variety of prints that I just chose willy nilly.  Some are from my stash, some I purchased.  I wanted a pretty good variety to add more texture to the background.

The cut fabric looks so pretty on the table doesn't it?  :)

And here are my finished blocks -- 10 down, 46 more to go for a queen sized quilt, I'm sure you'll be seeing my blocks in future WIP Wednesday posts!


WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedI've also been working on my Swap Primer Post -- maybe by the end of the week?  I know people are looking forward to it, but things with this house are pretty complicated at the moment so we have been spending a lot of time dealing with that... why can't Real Estate just be easy????

Linking up with WIP Wednesday!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Blog Hoppin'

Plum and June Greetings new friends!  Welcome to my stop on Beth of Plum and June's 2013 New Bloggers Blog Hop.  Please go check out all the other awesome blogs on the hop.  You can see the schedule by clicking on the button over to the left, or this link I will also post the full schedule at the bottom of this entry.  I am so excited to be participating and have already found a ton of new blogs to follow and some really inspiring new-to-me blogs.  I apologize now for the wordiness... and the lack of quilty goodness... in this post, it's been a very busy week.

I guess I should start off with a little bit about me.  My name is Liz, I'm 29, live in Western Maryland, and I'm a librarian.  I have worked as a reference librarian at the Central branch of our County's library system since August 2008.  I love my job!  Every day there is something new: new questions, new things to learn, new books!  In addition to reference services, I maintain part of our website, teach computer classes, and have become the de facto e-library guru.

The most exciting thing about my job is that we are currently undergoing a renovation of our Central library due to be completed in the middle of July.  It has been two and a half years and I am so excited to get moved back in.  I actually got to visit the new building yesterday and it was AMAZING.  This is a picture of the front entrance.... almost finished :)

Awesome view during our recent trip to Cali
As far as my personal life.  I've been dating my boyfriend, Ryan for a little over five years, and we have known each other for about nine.  We met while working at Home Depot during college.  After I moved to Philly for graduate school, we lost touch, then randomly reconnected when I moved back to Maryland, we've been dating ever since.

Right now we are hoping to buy our first house.  Our "dream home" came on the market last weekend and our bid went in TODAY!  Between showings and paperwork, I have had 0 time to sew this week.

Doesn't this room look like it will be the perfect sewing room?  I'm so excited and anxious right now!  So keep your fingers crossed for us :)

ETA (6/22/13): Our bid was accepted!  We just have to sign the contract and have a good home inspection and it's ours :) 
ETA (6/26/13):  Looks like this might fall through :(  Foreclosures are so frustrating!

Boyfriend says I have hobby ADD... which is pretty much true.  I have always been into crafting, I don't consider myself artistic in any way, but I've always been drawn to color and texture.  For the longest time, I was an avid beader, and some of my creations were even sold at a cute little handmade boutique in Downtown Frederick, MD.

Please ignore the weeds!
I am also a gardener, actually I am a certified Master Gardener here in Washington County.  I have a roughly 18'x30' vegetable garden right now where we grow most of our summer vegetables.  This year we even have strawberries and they are so delicious.

I discovered modern quilting in a pretty circuitous fashion.  I actually bought my sewing machine last summer off Craigslist for $30 (it's a Singer probably from the '80s, but I don't know much else about it) to make cloth menstrual pads and maybe make a couple bags, but with no intention of quilting. One day I was trolling around the internet looking for ideas of something to get my sister for her birthday and discovered Smash books.  While doing some Googling for Smash books, I found Holly's blog Bijou Lovely (where she has a post about her Smash book) and after reading her quilting posts, I fell in love on the spot.  I bought the full line of Chicopee a few days later and my fabric stash has only grown since then.

I haven't finished a full quit yet -- lame, I know -- but I'm working on it.  I prefer to work on small projects because between full time work, my garden, and volunteering, it will probably take me forever to finish an actual quilt.  I also sew in our dining room, which also acts as our pantry, and has to be used as a functional dining room whenever we have company over... so large projects often get put away and don't make it back out very quickly.

I had plans to finish up my FMF table runner (using the Random Reflections tutorial from the Moda Bake shop)  this week and have a giveaway with some scraps.  I was able to finish and square up the top, but the giveaway will have to wait until next week when I can finish it up.

This sucker is HUGE. I made it so it will go the length of the table, then hang over by 4 rows on each side.  I think it's taller than my boyfriend and he's 6'1".  There is a good 10 inches hanging over the other side of the fence in this picture.  I still haven't decided how I want to back it.  Originally I was thinking of making a disappearing 9 patch back with my DS charms, but I started to make the blocks and liked them so much I might reserve them for a lap quilt instead... Any thoughts on backing?  I am definitely going to use the Metro Living Circles in Red for binding, because it needs more red!

Like I mentioned before, I like to work on small projects.  I especially love swapping because it gives me a deadline so I can't slack off.  All of the items in the mosaic up there are from swaps I've done in the past couple months.  Around the time that I discovered sewing, I also discovered  Basically you can swap anything and everything there.  I've also recently gotten more involved in swaps over on Flickr (if you don't have a Flickr account yet, go make one stat!)  I'm planning to do a swapping primer next week, so keep and eye out for that :)

Well, thanks for stopping by!

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Here's the full blog hop schedule, you should definitely check out all the amazing blogs :)

New Blogger Blog Hop Participant Schedule

June 7th
Nancy @ Owen's Olivia
Amy @ 13 Spools
Casey @ The Studiolo 
Nanette @ Yeah, I Made That

June 14
Julie @ Jolie Maxtin
Melissa @ Melia Mae Quilting
Adrianne @ On The Windy Side
Molli @ Molli Sparkles
Laura @ Little And Lots
Valerie @ Between Quilts

June 21
Leigh Anne @ Ella's Cottage
Stacey @ The Tilted Quilt
Sarah @ Quilt Candy
Jackie @ NW Patchwork
Erica @ Happy Fabric
Stephanie @ Simple Sewendipity
Lauren @ Seraphym

June 28
Green @ So Sew Green
Gwendellyn @ The Rainbow Revolts
Jessica @ Stitched In Thyme
Kathy @ Kayak Quilting
Michelle @ Factotum Of Arts
Kris @ Sew Sunshine
Camilla @ Faffling

July 5
Christa @ Christa Quilts!
Stephanie @ Quarter Incher

July 12
Anne @ PlayCrafts
Cath @ Wombat Quilts
Sarah @ {no} hats in the house
Christen @ Love by Hand
Julie @ 627handworks

July 19
Alison @ Making Happyness
Ella and Nesta @ Ella & Nesta's Little Room
Nicole @ Modern Handcraft
Aylin @ AyliN-Nilya
Kelsey and Amanda @ Everyday Fray

July 26
RobinSue @ RobinSue Quilts
Elisa Lea @ Lovelea Designs
Elizabeth @ In The Boon Docks

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday Stash #1

I hope everyone had a great Father's day spending time with all the Father's in their lives.  Unfortunately my dad lives about 3 hours away and I had to work this weekend, so I will see him next weekend.  And my step-dad is in CA visiting my sister... so no Father's day in person for me this year.  It's been super stormy today so, I've been busy sewing up my #xplusalong blocks, so better late than never with this :)

About a week and a half ago, I had the good fortune to purchase a destash FQ set from Jaceycraft and I had this lovely package sitting in my mailbox when I got back from our getaway last weekend :)

I really couldn't resist those adorable hedgehogs!  And I've been looking for that floral print on the far right for a really long time too, I just didn't know what it was called.

Top (L-R): Birch Fabrics Birdie Spokes, Michael Miller Hedgehogs, Joel Dewberry Aviary 2
Bottom (L-R): 
Julia Rothman Miscellany, Michael Miller Lovebirds, Anna Maria Horner Loulouthi, Amy Butler Midwest Modern
I definitely can use more oranges, tans and browns in my stash so I hope I can find good use for these lovely fabrics.

Jacey has a really lovely selection of destash fabric, scrap packs and handmade items in her etsy shop.  I think they are really reasonably priced.  the fabric I received was clean and well cared for.  She even included some cute scraps and strings that I can definitely put to good use.

Linking up to Sunday Stash, hosted over at Dreaming in Patchwork this week!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

FMF table runner progress

WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedWe're back from a lovely long weekend in Williamsburg, VA.  Other than the torrential rain Monday early afternoon it was such a nice trip.

Now that we're back, it's time to get back to sewing.  I've decided to start participating in some link-ups, so here's what I've been working on lately (linking up for WIP Wednesday)

Before we left I broke out my neglected Flea Market Fancy table runner that I unceremoniously shoved in a drawer a month or so ago and decided to finish it up.  FMF is the fabric that made me want to start quilting.  I knew I needed to do something with it but I wasn't sure what, and I wasn't confident enough in my sewing abilities to cut into such a beautiful stack.

I was inspired by this quilt on Flickr and decided to turn my stack into a table runner and place mats.  I'm hoping that I can at least finish the top by this weekend, then I'll get started piecing the "back."  I think I'm going to make it reversible and use my DS charms I got in the DS charm swap for the back :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

New Blogger Blog Hop

Plum and JuneI am so super excited to be participating in the New Blogger Blog Hop hosted by Beth at Plum and June.  There is already a great conversation going on via email about all of our blogging philosophies.  It's wonderful getting to know new people and learning about new blogs.  It's especially nice to know more about what makes blogs appealing and getting tips for how I can make mine better.

A lot of the ladies who are participating have fabulous blogs that you should definitely check out (by clicking the icon to the left).  A lot of the blogs are much much older than mine and have a lot more posts, it really inspires me to get more posts going (if only there were more hours in the day, right?).

I'm off to brainstorm what I want to post about for my turn in the hop.  I have some ideas :)