Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Five #6: Blog updates I hope you like.

My seminar is over! My life is mine again! Sort of.

Alton Brown was also at Penn State Wednesday night, and it was great.

So recently I've been looking at ways to improve my blog, reach more readers, be generally stellar.

So I've made some changes/additions that hopefully make everybody happer bloggers and readers!

1. Follow the Little Bunny via email!
See those words and a box to the right? Now you can get email notifications of when I update without having to roll on over to Little Bunny Quilts and check every day. Although I appreciate anybody who does check every day.

2. Blogroll, please!
I added a list of the quilting (and other!) blogs I enjoy reading. Hopefully you will enjoy them too! A number of my Hillsdale College classmates have extremely interesting (and often hilarious) blogs.

I wait with bated breath foor the following blogs to update: http://tinystoriesblog.blogspot.com/, http://vinesoflight.blogspot.com/, and http://bessweatherby.com/.

3. You may also like...
At the end of each post will now be three other posts that you might be interested in! So you can just continue to click, click, click and discover posts. This will probably be more helpful/interesting once I have lots more posts.

4. I'm also going to try to post links to whatever contests I enter or find particularly interesting so we all can WIN together. Although I rarely, if ever, win contests. My sister is rather lucky, so I think I'm doing this more for her, so she can win things and that she can give me what she doesn't want. I think its a great plan.

5. I can sew and write more now that my seminar is over! YES!
I started laying out some more strips for my snowflakes and they are looking very nice. I am just going to keep making them until I run out of one of the scrap color families (the strip sets have a dark blue, a white, a light-medium, and a medium-dark fabric). Last night I was able to get the diamonds cut for three more blocks, so I now have 6 sets of diamonds ready to be Y-seamed into gorgeous snowflakes.


And this weekend I'm not sewing, but I am going to Maryland! We're going to see the Navy-Air Force game on Saturday!

Happy Friday everyone!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Geometric Fat Quarter Rail Fence Quilt

First, if you're coming over from Quilters Blogs, welcome to Little Bunny Quilts! If you're coming from anywhere else, welcome! I hope you enjoy my Little Bunny Blog!

This is an exciting post because it is about a quilt project that is completely finished. FINISHED!


I'm uber geeked about this.

A long while back, I bought a roll of 8 fat quarters on sale. The colors were blues and greens with geometric prints. There were four blues, three greens, and one blue-green print (that I didn't end up using.) Later, I bought a few other fat quarters, including the two yellows in this quilt.


So I cut the FQs into strips along the short side so I could get two blocks out per strip set. I ended having to throw in a little extra green from my stash (a leafy batik print in the perfect green) but this was an easy, easy project to put together.

The dark blue plaid border and the yellow tonal stripe are both from Joann (this yellow would have been great to include in the quilt top too!) and I had a few extra blocks, so I cut them into quarter square triangles and used four of them for accents at the corners.


I cannot, however, lay claim to the ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL machine quilting. That was done by my sister's boyfriend's mom Kay out in Colorado. I love the spirals! I also love the yellow. It looks so neat on the dark blue border.


My mom took care of sending it out to Colorado to get quilted and then when she got it back she sewed on the binding for me, sent it to me, and I did the hand stitching of the binding over the last week and a half.

I also sewed on some loops to the back so I can hang it up. But I made the loops small and flat on the back of the quilt so that it can still be easily used as a blanket.

The feeling of a project being completed is SUCH a great feeling! It really makes me want to finish some other projects!

In other news, the top of the baby quilt is DONE. The plan is to get the backing this week some time (likely flannel, so its very cuddly) and then tie it next week, and bind it the following weekend!

How are your works in progress (sewing and otherwise) going?

P.S. Check out the giveaway at Lavender Quilts!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

There's ten million things to do!

So today has been wildly productive and it is only 3:30!

Instead of going to tailgate today, I slept in and went up to campus and practiced my presentation a few times when no one was around in the chemistry building (I saw a grand total of 1 person the whole time I was there!)

I came home, got cleaned up, ate some lunch (microwave nachos--win!), and went out to run some errands. Coupons to use at JCP and Bed Bath and Beyond. Done.

My trip to Joann's was a GENERAL FAIL. Joann's is having coupon commotion right now so I wasn't sure if there was going to be anything not on sale. And there really wasn't. Ugh. What I really wanted to do was pick up some backings for some of the quilts I have the tops finished of, but that didn't happen. Boo.

So I got a few spools of thread, and a couple jelly rolls on sale.


Here is one of them all unrolled. Why are jelly rolls so beautifully rolled until you try to re-roll them?

 And I finally got my apple peeler-corer-slicer. So I have apple crisp (a lot of it) in my oven at the moment.

I also am working on some barbeque pork. Its a lot less "barbeque" and a lot more "whatever I had in my fridge". We'll see how successful this turns out.


Hopefully your Saturdays are also as productive as mine right now! I still have lots to do, including
Continuing to practice my presentation (about 20 more times today)
Working on that baby quilt (hopefully getting blocks sewn into rows today and sewing the rows together tomorrow!
Cleaning up my DISASTER of an apartment (you do NOT want pictures.)
Cooking whatever is around so I can survive the first few days of next week.
And hopefully relaxing just a wee bit. : )

Also. You can now follow my blog via email! There should be a box over to the right for you to enter your email so you'll always know when I've posted something GRAND.

Happy stitching!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Five #5: Future projects calling my name...

I haven't gotten to sew at all this week and I am miserable. 5 more days until my presentation is OVER. I turned in the paper to my graders on Wednesday and that was a HUGE relief. Right now I am done for the evening.

Things on the agenda tonight: FINALLY putting together the baby quilt, Alias from Netflix (or Quickster, whatever), and perhaps making some banana muffins, maybe even finishing the binding on my wall hanging (post coming soon!)

Due to being deprived of my creative outlet, and instead having to stare at Word documents and Powerpoint slides all day long, I am just itching to get going on a project. So these are the 5 projects next up on the docket to start (or continue, in the case of #1)

1. Blue and White Snowflakes
This quilt I mentioned ages and ages ago. These are the snowflake blocks that I have done at the moment.



These are the snowflake pieces that I need to get cracking on (once I finish the baby quilt!)



 
And these are my fabrics (at least, the ones that I haven't used up yet.


I think I am not going to follow the pattern and just make a whole quilt of snowflakes. So this is a project that is already started, but just barely. I have a LOT of blues and whites that will be turned into snowflakes.

And so what if they are 8 point snowflakes.

2. Argyle
I LOVE ARGYLE.

So when I found this pattern, I was overjoyed. My color scheme is very similar to the one shown in the pattern. This is mainly from the City Girl Collection, with a few others thrown in.

I'm planning to use the very large floral print as a border. 

It has taken all the strength of my being not to start on this project. And until I finish some of my previous projects (like the baby quilt, the railroad quilt, the X marks the spot, the stairsteps to paradise, and the list continues) I am refusing to let myself start on any of these new projects. If I get bored with one of my unfinished projects, I can always work on my snowflakes or hand quilt (which I am thinking I am going to start doing now the weather is cooling down.)

3. Lime, Black, and White = ?
I bought one piece of green and black fabric on clearance and was not sure what to do with it.

So obviously, my mom and I have continued to collect other lime green fabrics.


I am really liking this one that has the tan in the print as well.
So I have no idea what kind of pattern to use with this. Something traditional-gone-funky? Something geometric? Something wild? Something....completely different? Ideas gladly accepted.

4. The Birthday Stack
Because I'm 23 and honestly want for very little in life, buying "practical" birthday presents for me doesn't happen. So my mom and sister went to the quilt store and picked out a stack of coordinating fabrics for me, bought a batting, and put it in a box. BIRTHDAY WIN.

These are the fabrics:

The prints are very classic but the colors are just so fun. I'm thinking that what I want to do is get a sampler quilt pattern and use these fabrics for a fancy sampler. Or a quilt with a crap-ton of applique.

Are quilters supposed to say crap-ton? Probably not, but I'm a "youngin" so forgive me this once.

5. Quiltmaker Magazine's 2011 Mystery Quilt.
Ok. So this three part mystery quilt series started months ago, but I wasn't super impressed with the way the blocks looked in the first two parts. Maybe it was that the color choices they used didn't speak to me.

But then I saw the finished project.

And I fell in love.

I had bought part of these fabrics on sale at Joann, from the same line, and thought that they would be a good place to start to build this quilt.

I then found  a few more, especially the green and the brown and pink print with little birds (also at Joann, probably also on clearance).


Isn't the peacock TO DIE FOR? I took a picture of it and its the background on my phone. Also starring in this picture is my big toe and my pajamas.

This is another one I am ITCHING to start. I'm not going to follow the directions exactly as in the magazine when it comes to the number of fabrics, because I just don't feel like it. SO THERE.

So these are the projects at the forefront of my mind these days. Hopefully I can get the top of this baby quilt done this weekend (between practicing my presentation and sleeping) and then get it backed and sent off before the baby is actually born. That'd be cool. Any other Friday night sewers out there?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stairsteps to Paradise: A Tutorial--Sort Of.

So being that I haven't done any real sewing in over a week, I figured I would at least share about one of my works in progress.

Disclaimer: this quilt is rather complicated with lots of seam matching, just to warn you.

I tried to take pictures along the way so that this post would end up sort of like a tutorial for this quilt. There may or may not be enough pictures to really show what is going on in every step, but if you're feeling brave and want to try this, just post any questions you might have.

This quilt was made from 2 batik jelly rolls. Not 2 entire jelly rolls, because in these jelly rolls, there was about 4 times as much green and dragonfly print as the pink and the purple, so I designed my block and then figured out how many blocks I was actually going to be able to make.


This is the strips laid out for one strip set. The jelly roll had 3 or 4 different green batiks of the same color, 3 pinks, and 2 purples. The tie-dyed looking strips actually has a print of butterflies and dragonflies on it. I have actually seen yardage of this fabric at Joann but I looked online and they don't have it available online for a picture. And here is a strip set all sewn together:


So then the strips were cut into squares (with a it being 6 strips wide, I was able to get 3 blocks out of each, with a little extra that will eventually be used for the borders.) From the squares, I cut them in half into triangles. Now. This is the part where you have to be paying attention. You need to cut half on one diagonoal and half on the other diagonal. I always cut mine by aligning the block so that the points were N-S-E-W (ie, like a diamond, not a square) on my cutting mat and always had the green strip on one of the top edges. I cut half with the green pointing from N to E and half pointing N to W. Here is two blocks cut opposite ways to show the difference.


The next step is to make the "step" blocks. Taking two pieces with green as the long piece (basically two pieces that are mirror images of one another, match to make a V (or rather, a whole bunch of them) like so:



This picture shows one with a green "step" and one with the dragonfly "step." Then the very fun task of remaking squares out of triangles and matching all your strips to make lovely 90 degree corners up the middle of the block. This, for my project, was actually really easy. Especially in comparison to the rest of it.

This is all the blcoks laid out before it was sewn, so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about when it comes to sewing the blocks together.



One problem I had is that the corner of the block that ends up as a square ended up a LOT smaller than the other strips in the block. I'm not sure why this happened, but I am guessing it has something to do with math and triangles and bias stretch. Regardless, this was the most difficult quilt to put together to date.

So worrying about trying to ease and fit with this oddly small squares, I went ahead and just sewed pairs of blocks together along the flat of the step (or the step rise, if that's how you want to look at it). The main point is that I only sewed blocks together if they were in the same column (or row in this picture). Here's one sewn together.


See how tiny the corner squares are? I don't get it either.

So rather than just sewing rows together, I went and made it harder than it has to be and sewed the places where the strips connect to one another between rows and sewed it all together in a stairstep fashion (how appropriate!) Don't do this unless you're crazy like me. You end up with perfectly matched stairs but then you have to worry about not sewing all the way down this seam, and then making sure to go back and sew this seam, and its a lot of work. So if you're a normal person, if you can, just sew in rows and sew your rows together.

And here's the final product!


So now I need to decide if it needs a border (or two). And find a backing for it. But it looks pretty awesome.

This was my first foray into batiks. Normally I am not into batiks, but this ended up as a really great final prooduct. What's something you never thought you would try and ended up really liking it?

Happy quilting!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Five #4: Falling for Fall

Well, it's been another busy week in the lab and that means I got zero sewing done. I also had a short visit during the week from the BF. And this weekend is going to be dedicated to finishing up my seminar paper and practicing my presentation for Monday. Sewing gets put on the backburner again. Boo.

But its Friday, so let's focus on that. Which means its my Friday Five post, which means that I have to have something to write about. Dang.

According to my sister, I should write every day. No one wants that. My everyday life is pretty dull. Lab. Lab. Lab. Sleep. But I digress.

The past week, the highs have gone from upwards of 80 to barely 60. Fall is in the air. I'm a summer kind of person, but I do enjoy fall. But these are the things I am looking forward to this fall:

1. Getting my seminar presentation over and done with.
Have I mentioned how this has taken over my life? Have I also mentioned that I am the first person giving their presentation out of my class? Yeah. So less than two weeks and its over! Can't wait. The day that it is over I am going to see Alton Brown speak on campus at PSU! Yes!

2. Sweaters
I LOVE SWEATERS. Cardigans. Turtlenecks. V-necks. Cable. Argyle. It makes my life. I can't help but indulge. And I'm nearly always cold so I start wearing sweaters (and leggings under my jeans) sooner than anyone else that I know. I've never met a sweater sale that I didn't like. Ever.

3. Fall Leaves
Who doesn't love watching the leaves change colors? Nobody. Unless you're heartless or a robot. But then you've likely got a whole host of other issues to deal with.


Fall at PSU

4. Apples, Apple Cider, and other apple related products
This is Dan's fault. There is always apple cider at his house in the fall. And it always hits the spot. Last Friday when I went to the Farmer's Market downtown, I bought a whole gigantic bag of apples to make apple crisp. I haven't made it yet (on the list to do on Sunday). But they had apple cider at the farmer's market and I was really tempted to buy some. Next week. It will be mine.

5. Anticipation of the holidays
Ok. Its mid-September I know. But I get home a grand total of 3-4 times a year. And two of them are Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I get really excited about eating meals that I didn't hack together myself, sleeping in my room, and not spending every evening alone in my apartment.

How are you planning to enjoy your fall?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Woe is me!

At least 4 times this weekend, I have sat down to lay out the blocks from my disappearing 9-patch baby quilt and have gotten so frustrated with trying to lay the colors out, I have given up. I'm trying too keep from having too many of the same color large blocks together and from having any of the same color touch each other, except if they are kitty corner from one another. Maybe I'm just too particular for this?

When I laid out the pieces originally, just to see what things would look like it looked like this:

 Now. See how the second row down has 4 blues in a row? And see that the top right corner has three yellows touching? And there's other areas that are equally sad, especially the bottom right corner.

I think that I have created for myself some sort of impossible puzzle. Any normal person would totally just go with it and say "whatever!" if two of the same color big squares were next to each other. I am, in fact, not a normal person.

So on my table sits the pile of blocks. Haphazardly stacked together out of anger.

What do you think is the best way to go about setting up these blocks? I'm going to try to put together one long row (6 blocks) and then keep working on adding more long rows so I will only have to worry about the colors of the block above (or below) and the block to the side of the block I am trying to place. Which seems like it would be a lot simpler than working out from the center and occasionally ending up with a hole where a block should go.

Patience is a virtue, right?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Five #3: Hey! I'm pretty good at this "life" thing.

At noon today, my sister was already impatient for this post. And then I had no idea what to write.

Now it's after 7 pm, I'm at home eating dinner and watching Alias Season 3. And I still have no idea what to write about today. I don't know how real writers do it.

And now I am restarting my DVD because my DVD player is possesed.

So I guess the best thing to talk about would be that this last week has been 10 kinds of crazy busy and I SURVIVED. Of course, I didn't get all the things done that I would REALLY like to get done, but I'm satisfied with my life at the moment.

1. Being a productive (and successful!) graduate student
So with my research working, my boss wanted to present some of my research at the conference she is currently at. Because she didn't know what day she was presenting (she's actually presenting tomorrow), I've been working like a madwoman to get more data and process it and get it to the boss. It is a pretty good feeling to finally get to a point where what you are doing is significant. Maybe I'll be writing my OWN literature paper soon!

2. Awards!
I was nominated for and got an honorable mention for a teaching award for being a TA last year! What, what!!!!! Also, it means I am going to get 250 big ones in my checking account courtesy of  Penn State!

3. Sleep?
I have actually gotten a semi-adequate amount of sleep lately, thanks to going to bed an hour early a couple nights this week and refusing to get out of bed until a half hour until I need to leave in the morning. I've also realized that if I didn't have as much hair, it wouldn't take me as long to blow-dry it, and thus I could sleep in an extra five minutes. Tailgating last week and this week really cuts into my Saturday morning sleeping time, but I guess that's ok.

Oh man, gotta restart the DVD again. Twice.

4. Quilting
I got all the pieces cut for my disappearing 9-patch and now I just have to get all the colors "randomized" enough to sew the rows together. And because there's very little seam matching, I'm anticipating this will get done before the weekend is up! And then I'll just have to back and tie it. Yes.

5. Communication
In the last two weeks, I have talked to SO MANY of my favorites. This is a huge deal because most of the time all I can manage is talking to my parents and boyfriend. But I've talked to a pile of friends from college and it has really brought me so much joy. I really need to keep in better touch with people and don't because I'm tired and busy. But that little bit of effort is worth it ten thousand times over. So if you're reading this, and we haven't talked in a few months, you should call me.

Man. Alias is SO GOOD. In a rather cheesy way, but it is so delightful. So back to spy games and baking cupcakes for this girl, what are you doing tonight?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back to business...finally.

I can't believe that it's WEDNESDAY. Or that it's September!

So the list of things I needed to get done this weekend was nearly completed.

1. Baking: Check.

2. Tailgating: Check
3. Working on Paper/Presentation: First draft of paper is DONE, presentation is in a little rougher shape.
4. Collecting Data: Check.
5. Uber cleaning the living room: not so check, but I managed to get the "regular cleaning" done.

But I got zero sewing done. Boo!

And I didn't even make it to JoAnn to use my coupon. Double boo!

But I am finally getting back to working on my disappearing 9-patch baby quilt.

Tonight I finished all of the 9 patches....


And then I got everything all cut....


And then I HAD to stare at it all laid out for a while...



This, of course, will be taken apart and put together so that there is enough "randomness" and the colors don't touch each other as much as they do in this one. All in all, I am very happy with the progress of this and am getting excited to see it put all together.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Five #2: What I am doing other than quilting this weekend

Based on what my schedule looks like, there may not be a whole lot of time for stitching this weekend. Boo!

1. Tonight: Baking
I have a whole pile of baking to do tonight for tomorrow (see below). The to-do list includes: 2 peanut butter pies and banana and/or zucchini muffins. And maybe cooking real food for me to eat too.

2. Tomorrow morning: Tailgating
Not just any tailgating. Chemistry department grad students tailgating. The older students in my lab make up the heart and soul of this tailgating menagerie. I never went last year, and I can only imagine how crazy things might get...

3. Rest of weekend: Working on my seminar paper and presentation
Less than 4 weeks to go! The paper is almost done, just need to put references in it. Presentation is in a lot rougher shape, but it'll come together quickly now that the paper is (almost) done.

4. Rest of weekend: Collect MORE data.
Remember how I said my research was working here? Well, my boss is VERY excited about it and wants a whole bunch of runs completed, nanoparticles sized, and zeta potentials measured. Which is really great that everything is going well, but all I really want to do is sleep this weekend (and sew, but mostly sleep).

Also, if you didn't see the link on Facebook, my group's research is being featured in Chemical and Engineering News. We make chemistry look GOOD.

5. Rest of weekend: Cleaning
Fall cleaning time, everybody! Time to take the living room apart and dust everything, vacuum places that have been covered by furniture, and rearrange. Well, probably not the rearranging, but definitely the dusting and vacuuming.

But, I am going to do my best and fit some quilting in. Particularly the primary and brown quilt, but maybe a little bit on the snowflake quilt as well. Going to do my best to fit in a run to Joann this weekend (extra labor day weekend % off coupon--winning!)

What are you doing this weekend? What do you wish you were doing?
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