FONTastic: font audition call-backs

Since my husband now audibly groans when I ask his opinion of my font auditions, I’m counting on you, Internet, to help me with the final selection.  I’ve narrowed down the field to my personal favorites in several categories, and you were all so helpful with the first couple rounds, I know you can give me some great things to think about here as well!  I know I’m obsessing over this; I do.  But I’m rationalizing that if I pick “the perfect font,” I will love it every time I look at it and I won’t have to go through this whole process again.

Here they are all together:

Serif Category:
1. serif 72 beta
2. serif 72 beta italic
(yes, they are 2 different versions of the very same font.  I love this one best of the bazillion serif fonts I looked at.)

San Serif Category:
3. legendum
4. linux biolinium italic

Handwriting Category:
5. bearer fond
6. jenna sue

Script Category
7. dancing script
(I considered a second in this category for the sake of uniformity, but this one is the best.)

Here’s what I’ve learned with all this font looking and trying and playing:  there is no right answer.  There are many, many opinions about the “right” way to pair fonts.  Some feel that similar fonts should be matched together and others feel that “opposites attract.”  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, right?  Ultimately, I just need to find something that *I* love, but I’m also of the opinion “knowledge is power” and thus, I am soaking in all the information that I can from you and considering all opinions before I finalize this logo of mine.  The end result will be just right and totally worth the wait and the hassle!

Do you know how many fonts I auditioned?  Thirty-two!  32!  And that’s just counting those that I actually bothered to save a copy of my logo with that font.  There were many others that I liked and downloaded and tried and didn’t even bother saving.  Sheesh.  I will be so thrilled when I make my final decision and order some damn business cards already!!

So … GO!  Click on that photo above and tell me which one jumps out at you.  Which is your favorite pairing?  Why?

{If you’d like to see all the fonts individually auditioned with my header tagline, “fabric and thread when the kids are in bed,” and my business card/product tagline, “handcrafted at nightfall, unique and delightful,” you can check out this Flickr set.}

Happy mail

I cannot tell you how happy I was when I went to the post office yesterday and found this package in the mail.  I knew it instantly because *I* had addressed it way back in March when I packed up my 5 yards of neatly cut red-orange charm squares and sent them off to Utah with that self-addressed stamped envelope tucked in next to them.

I didn’t even make it home before I ripped open the package just to take a peek.  And, oh! They are beautiful, these 280 little 5-inch squares of fabric in every color of the rainbow and more!

I cannot imagine all the work that went into the sorting and stuffing of 280 charm squares multiplied by 56!!  I am eternally grateful to Kati of from the blue chair, who organized the 5 yard color wheel charm swap, assigned the colors to the participants and then took care of collecting and sorting 280 yards of fabric and putting 56 packages of rainbows back in the mail to their new happy owners.  WOW!

My head is already spinning with all the lovely things I could make with these treasures.  I think I would really like to make a whole quilt out of my double staircase block.  It would be awesome in rainbow colors.  I wonder if I should radiate from the center outward in the rainbow colors, or start in one corner and have the rainbow sweep across the quilt from corner to corner??

This is a project for some undermined time in the future.  But!  Since I cannot possibly wait that long to play with these pretties, I’ve already pulled 16 for a dresden plate wall hanging.  It’s about time I actually have some fabric art in my sewing room!

4×5 Bee Blocks, Q1: Double staircase

I am making myself dizzy fretting over fonts.  My husband says I’m OCD.  I disagree.  Slightly obsessive, perhaps, but OCD is a strong word choice.  I think perhaps, I’m just driving him a little mad with all my font talk over the last couple days.  I’ve parsed out the ones that just don’t seem to work and the remainder are all “good.”  “Em!” poor husband exclaimed in exasperation, after I asked his opinion of my header displayed with 8 different tag line fonts, “Just pick one!”  And I think I have …

I’ve looked at so many fonts, though, that I just need to stop for a bit.  So let’s talk about sewing.  Because … um … that’s what this blog is called anyway, right?

I wanted to show you the blocks that I finished for this round of the 4×5 Modern Bee.

This is a block I designed and am calling “double staircase.”  I hope to do a tutorial to show you how to put it together.  If you split it down the middle, the 2 halves are constructed the same way and it can be put together so the “spacer” beneath the stairs is always facing out or always facing down.  For these blocks, it is always facing out so the block is the same right side up or upside down.  Constructed the other way, you could put together a whole quilt with the staircases climbing all the way across it.  It would be a seamless transition between blocks.

While my colors for the bee are no longer yellow and gray, I am working my way through my own sampler quilt with these colors.  I have the fabrics and I want this project to be mine.

Pam‘s colors were sage, pomegranate and ash on a white background.  Pam was in my group last round and I way, way over thought her color choices, but I had them down this round!  When she chose her colors, she was actually referring to the Kona solids, which you can see in this block (I have acquired both colors since last round).  Sage is the second step from the bottom, and pomegranate is in the upper right corner of the block.

Jess wanted yellow, aqua and gray on a white background, which I think makes for a lovely, fresh block.  Great happy, spring colors!

This is the block I had to contemplate the longest this round.  Sarah wanted raspberry and mustard on a gray background.  It’s a unique color combination and I really love how the block turned out.

I am not usually drawn to pink, and I don’t really have a lot of pink fabric in my stash, but I really like how the green and gray come in to play with the pink on a white background in this block.  Jenn picked a great color scheme for a girlie quilt without going overboard on the pink stereotype.

I saved Julie‘s for last because I was hoping to take pictures for a tutorial for this block as I constructed it.  In the end, I only had time at night to sew (what’s the name of this blog again?) and I wanted to get it finished, but night is bad for photos, so I guess I’ll just have to do another in my bee colors: lemon yellow, tangerine, and lime on gray (sounds delicious, no?).  Anyway, Julie’s colors were turquoise or aqua and cerise on a Kona ash background.

And here they are all together.  You can see how if the blocks were constructed with the spacer always on the bottom of the stairs, they would climb continually across a larger project.  I’m actually thinking about using some of my charms for the 5 yard color wheel charm swap for just such a project!

 

Font Snob call to action

I think I have a serious problem.  Sometimes, I can’t just let it be.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, right?  Confession: right now, I’m totally sweating the small stuff.  I have been obsessing over font choice all day.  Seriously.  And it’s been in my mind longer than that.  Admittedly, I am beginning to annoy MYSELF.  Not good, people, not good.

When I admitted just that on Facebook, my friend Liz offered her opinion.  As an easy way for her to see, I’m just going to throw all my fonts up here, and let anyone chime in.  And I hope many do.  Knowledge is power, right?

Here’s the issue: the woman who designed my header, Nicole, did a fantastic job.  While I loved the nice bold Gotham she chose for the main font, I wasn’t content with the secondary font, the one used for the tagline.  I changed it, but my friend Maddie, who has been helping with some web design, suggested that there is a disconnect, stylistically, between that font and the nice, clean style of the Gotham font.  I trust her opinion, and thus, I’ve been font searching and auditioning, looking for something better/more appropriate.  Here are the contenders (I won’t tell you which I’m leaning toward; don’t want to influence your opinion).

EDIT: My cry for help on Facebook elicited some good responses.  

Here is one from my friend, Katie:
I think that Gabrielle is probably my top choice because it is still modern like your logo but not so modern that it feels like it’s trying too hard on the ‘d’s like with Tangerine. I also like that it is italicized and does not take the attention away from your main logo, allowing it to be the focus. My eyes are able to easily move from one thing to the next without being distracted by text that is too bold and it’s easy to decipher. Take this with a grain of salt.

And my cousin Amy had the best “none of the above” response:
Em, Gabrielle is good, but I don’t think the serif font goes with the san-serif headline. Tangerine is the right weight but too many flourishes steal from the thread image. The bolder fonts (like lobster) steal from your bold ‘moonlight’. The serif fonts or ones with embellishments are not stylistically comparable with the Gotham. To juxtaposition your bold modern typeface with something softer in the tagline, find a modern sans serif font either script or italicized. 

Currently in the header: Chantelli Antiqua
Auditioning {in alphabetical order}:

EDIT: All auditioned fonts from the first round can be found in this set on Flickr.  They included Amperzand, Better Heather, Gabrielle, Kingthings Exeter, Lobster, Sail, and Tangerine.  Based on Amy’s suggestion above, here is the next round.  

Aubrey:

Dream Orphans:

Legendum:
 Linux biolinium:

Overlock:

Raspoutine:

Rosario:

After these two rounds and then a little more searching, check out the fonts that made the final call back audition.

 

WIP Wednesday: the list goes on

I’m super late with this post, but I wanted to mail one last pile ‘o things before I wrote it.  But I missed the post office being open by literally 90 seconds.  So I went to another post office: mission accomplished.  By the time I got home, it was time for dinner, then I went to yoga, then this here computer was monopolized by one passionate hockey fan.

So, here we go!

I want to review my list from last week, because I feel like I actually checked a few things off it: hooray!

1. finish last bee block for 4×5 Bee: DONE!

2. Get all 5 4×5 Bee blocks in the mail: this is what I was doing before I could write this post.  So, DONE!

3. Mail other projects to their destinations.  Done, done, and done!  Also, I seriously don’t know why I have such a problem with this last step of “get it in the mail.”

4.  Five mei tais.  Progress has been made.  I started out the week with just one cut out. Now, I have all the pieces for 4/5 cut out.  I went to a sewing/play date Monday with Kim, Amy and Katie, and while I didn’t do any sewing, I did get those all cut out.  (more on that later.)  I also now have straps cut out and sewn up for three of them.

5.  Be Free Bees April quilt.  No progress.  Though, I have thought about it and I’m pretty sure I know what I want to do with it.

6.  Jenn’s (slightly really, really late) Christmas gift.  Done and mailed.

7.  Jenn’s birthday gift.  Done and mailed.  

8.  Curtain tie backs.  No progress. 

9.  Winter HST table runner.  Some progress.  This table runner has four snowflake appliqués.  Last week, only one was finished.  Now, all four are finished.  Still has to be backed, quilted and bound.

10.  Tote bags.  No progress.  

11.  Gathered clutches.  No progress.  

Additionally, my friend Maddie came over for some late night sewing this week, and we got a skirt for her cut out and started putting it together.

So, here’s the works in progress for this week:

1.  Five mei tais.
2.  Be Free Bees April quilt.
3.  Curtain tie backs.  This should actually be a relatively easy project.  I just need to make it a priority in order to get it done.
4.  Winter HST table runner.  I need to decide on and piece the back, then do the quilting. I actually got some good advice on the quilting during the sewing/play date I mentioned earlier so I would love to get this done because I’m so excited to see it finished!!
5.  Tote bags.  I would love to get the top borders on these and the inside linings cut out.
6.  Gathered clutches.  I must finish one.  I must!  I also want to cut out the pieces for a few more.
7.  I pulled the fabric for one more of the “double staircase” blocks I did for the 4×5 Bee.  I’d love to do another tutorial.
8.  While only peripherally related, I am almost finished designing my business cards for my blog/not-yet-in-existence-business.  I need to finish that up and get them ordered.
9.  In a similar vein, I would like to start the process of ordering woven labels for my products.

 

Skill Builder Sampler Catch up: Wonky blocks

When quilting (or making quilt blocks), when the lines and pieces are intentionally not straight and/or symmetrical as a design element, that’s a “wonky” block.  I had so much fun with these!

First up was the wonky log cabin.   I chose to construct a quarter wonky log cabin, building the block outward from one corner.  I used a lot of my scraps in this block, but I think I could have been more intentional with where I placed the strips within the block.  It’s completely random and I think that makes the block seems a little erratic.  I’m going to go with it, though.  I learned something, and that’s the whole point of the Skill Builder Sampler.  Like a couple other blocks that haven’t been my favorite, in this case, I”m just going to let it go an have faith that they will look great with the other block on the “whole quilt” scale.

Next up, the wonky star.  I have seen this type of block quite a bit in the various online communities of which I am a part, and I’ve been wanting to try one for quite some time.  I LOVE how it turned out.  And it came together really easily, which is just a bonus.

The final wonky block was the wonky fan.  This one threw me off a little bit because of the curve of the fan.  I was having trouble estimating how wide I needed to make the top and bottom of the fan blades to end up with a fan that was the correct size for my block with the right amount of arch.  The fan blades are sewn together and then appliquéd to the background before then appliquéing the center piece.

April showers bring May flowers

I recently helped host a baby sprinkle (like a baby shower, but smaller in scale) for my friend Laura.  We didn’t go all out with a theme, per se, but my co-hostess and I tossed around the idea of “April showers bring May flowers.”  The shower was in April; Laura is expecting a little girl in May … makes sense, right?

Anyway, I put together a couple of do it yourself decorations to represent the theme.  The first was a raindrop garland, following the tutorial at Made.

It was beyond easy to make, and came together pretty quickly.  I took the various shades of blue out of a couple multi packs of felt sheets and stacked two together at a time.  I drew raindrops of various sizes on the top felt sheet and then cut them out.  After that, I just made a pile of mixed raindrops next to my sewing machine and grabbed them in a mostly random manner as I stuck them through my machine.

It is a little delicate since the thread between each raindrop is just polyester sewing machine thread.  This garland would have been stronger if I had sewn the raindrops together top to bottom, so felt was always touching felt without any open space between.  But, I wanted the raindrops to hang down in the same direction and not end up with upside down raindrops.  Or, I could have attached each hanging down raindrop to a stronger piece of ribbon or string that extended along the length of the garland.  Next time, perhaps, but you can keep that in mind if you make one.

So that covers the “showers” part of the theme.  You can see the “flowers” part of theme in  the raindrop garland pictures.  This was also a pretty simple project, and my 3-year-old even helped with part of it!

I think I saw this idea in Disney Family Fun magazine (could have been Martha Stewart), but for the life of me, I can’t find it now to confirm that, nor could I locate this project online.  Anyway.  I bought the flower shaped paper punch specifically for this project, and I could definitely see myself making this project again.  It was easy, fun, and turned out really great!

You’ll need:
A styrofoam wreath form
3 yards (depending on the size of your wreath) of wide ribbon
a length of ribbon for hanging
flower shaped paper punch
various colors of scrapbook paper or lightweight cardstock
pins (I used the jewel head kind with the pretty colors!)
scissors (to cut ribbon)

I started out by punching out a pile of paper flower shapes because I wanted all my materials ready to go.  If you prefer you could probably punch them out as you go to avoid having any extra flowers lying about.

I had … (ahem) … “help” with this step.

Next, prepare your wreath form by wrapping it in ribbon.  I started out by securing one end  of ribbon to the back of the wreath with 3 pins and then wrapping around them to hold it in place.  I wrapped it pretty snuggly, and just let the ribbon form little gathers as I went around.  When I had covered the entire wreath with ribbon, I simply secured the loose end to the back of the wreath with a few more pins.

Now, start pinning on your flowers.  Just stick a pin through the center of the paper flower and into the styrofoam wreath.  I started out using single flowers and then I realized that my flower punch was designed so that if I staggered two paper flower on top of one another, I had a perfect double flower.  So I took them all out and started again.  You could cover the entire wreath if you were so inclined, but I “artfully” (ha ha) left some of the ribbon exposed.

Then I made another one (but somehow failed to take a picture of it).  One adorned the door to greet guests as they entered the party.  The other decorated the mantle with the raindrop garland.  They were a great backdrop for Laura opening her surprises for her baby girl!

 

The giant shower cap, I mean, shopping cart cover

My friend Sarah appreciates handcrafted items.  She shops on etsy (I do, too!).  Recently she was looking for a particular handmade item and she asked me if she could give me the business rather than someone she didn’t know.

While I had never made a shopping cart cover before, it seemed like something that I could put together.  I purchased a pattern, but then didn’t like it, so I ended up reading about 4 different shopping cart cover tutorials online and then just going for it.

Here it is before I put the elastic in it.  It’s basically a giant square with rounded corners and leg holes.  With a shopping cart cover you can keep it simple with just two layers of fabric (or even one, I suppose) and it will pack up pretty small.  However, Sarah requested a little bit of cushioning for her little guy.  I used two layers of quilting cotton with a layer of fleece sandwiched in the middle.  You sacrifice a little “packability” in exchange for a softer ride for baby.

This Valori Wells Karavan print is just stunning.  The pictures don’t do it justice.  The elephants and the color scheme make it appropriate for a little boy, but the subtle flower pattern in the elephants mean you could also use it for a girl.

I added a little pocket with an elastic top that should be big enough for a sippy cup.  I measured a shopping cart, so I think the placement should be right, but you just never know until you put it in the cart, and I never did.  I hope it works!

I also added a little loop that can be used to clip on a toy or pacifier.  And you can also see the edge of the leg holes in this next pictures.  This is the part of this project that gave me the most trouble.  I originally tried to close them with bias trim, but the curves made that really difficult and it wasn’t up to my standards.  I ended up ripping all that off and then just tucking the edges under and topstitching them closed close to the edge.

I made a little cinch sac to match so Sarah can roll it up and stuff it in and it will be easy to grab next time.

Here it is after I put the elastic in: you see why I think it looks like a giant shower cap (does anyone other than mother actually use a shower cap?)?

All ready to pack up and go!

WIP Wednesday: The List is Long

Lee at Freshly Piece hold a works in progress (WIP) link up party most Wednesday.  I don’t usually play.  But this week, I really wanted to get all these projects out there for the world to see.  I’m hoping it will inspire me to get cracking and finish them up.

1.  I have one more block to finish up for the 1st Quarter of the 4×5 Bee.  This is due to be mailed by April 15th, and I’m nearly there, so I’m not worried about finishing this in time.

2.  I need to mail that finished block and the other 4, which I should have mailed as I finished them, but now I will just wait and mail them all together.  I also need to write a post about these blocks since they are done.

3.  Mailing things counts as a work in progress, right?  In my house, yes, yes, it does.  Because I can be totally finished and then not mail the damn thing.  Seriously, I really need to work on my follow through.

In fact, Alisha, I am so, so sorry that your mei tai is still in Virginia and NOT in Japan, where it should be.  I went to package it up and found that I had forgotten some securing stitches.  While not essential, they will ensure that the carrier lasts longer, and then I just didn’t finish them.  That carrier just sat and sat on my pile.  Do you know how long it took me to finish it up?  Twelve minutes.  I suck.  Anyway, it is now, finished, packaged, and ready to go!

4.  Mei tais!  Five of them!   I spent March trying to clear a few things from my “to do” list so that I could tackle this list of mei tais.  Indira is first up, followed by Hilary, then 3 others, and maybe two more that have been mentioned to me but I don’t have confirmation or fabric for those.  Phew!

5.  This is my quilt for April in the Be Free Bees free form quilt bee.  I just received it the day before yesterday and I have until the end of April to complete and mail to the next person.  I must admit, this is one is giving me a bit of trouble out of the gate.  The other two I worked on, I had an idea of what I wanted to do as soon as I saw them.  This one is going to require a little more thought.

6.  This is my sister Jenn’s Christmas present.  No, not this coming Christmas.  Last Christmas.  The one that was three and a half month ago.  I don’t feel that badly because we didn’t really exchange gifts, but I still want to give this to her.

7.  Jenn’s birthday is coming up this week, so now it will be a Christmas/birthday present. And since I’m so late with the Christmas giving, I did something extra hard for the birthday portion.  The little squares in this patchwork (soon to be) pouch are just 1 inch on each side.

8.  This should be a quick project that I’m doing for a friend.  Curtain tie backs for new curtains using the old tie back as a template.

9.  This is my winter table runner.  I planned to finish it last fall so I could use it, you know, in the winter.  Clearly, that did not happy.  However, it is composed of half square triangles (HSTs).  And there is a Festival of HSTs going around the quilting/blogging community right now, so I’m inspired to pull it out.  I can finish it up and then it will be done ahead of schedule for next winter!  (maybe)

10.  Remember when I started this blog to go along with that little sewing business I’m hoping to get off the ground?  Yeah.  Well, I’ve had other projects and haven’t really done any sewing for the business.  However, these fabrics are destined to be 6 Luna Bags (that’s what I”m calling them): the essential tote.

11.  Another project for the business: a gathered clutch, like the one I carry.  One to sell, and one for my friend Lorae, which I promised her back in January.  They’ve both been cut out since then and it’s time they stop languishing in my “to do” list.

I’ll be back next week to tell you what kind of progress I made.  Speaking of progress, the progress I publicly declared I would make for Amy’s One Thing One Week Challenge was to finish that last 4×5 Bee Block and finish 1 mei tai.  If those things happen, this week will be a success!