Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaBloPoMo is a Bust

Well, November was National Blog Posting Month and the goal was to blog every day.  I thought it sounded like a great idea.  I thought it sounded fun.  I thought I could do it. 

But could I?  Did I?   Nope.  I discovered that I just don't have that much to say, and I don't seem to have that much time to say it in either.  Maybe it's better for anyone who reads this blog that I only blog when I really have something to say.  Maybe it's really a kindness.  Yes, that is going to be my new philosophy.  What is that saying?  "Better to not say anything and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

The other problem with NaBloPoMo is that it is in November.  November, as you may well know, is the month before December.  December is the month that Christmas is in.  Therefore, if you are like I am and are crafting one or more gifts, which might otherwise be the subject of blog posts, you realize that you can't blog about these items because the recipient of said gift might actually be a reader of said blog, and therefore said surprise would be ruined.

So, good bye NaBloPoMo.  Maybe I will celebrate you in July.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Giving Thanks!

Thanksgiving weekend is over and the countdown to Christmas begins.  I don't know why I always feel it is a race during the 4 weeks or so between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but somehow it is always bittersweet - sad to see the year go, and anticipation of the most blessed and exciting day of the year.  I truly don't know where this year went, but it flew by.

Handsome Son was home for Thanksgiving week and I can honestly say I watched more football and basketball in the last week than I have in the last year.  Wonderful Husband is an Oregon Duck, so their success this year has been very exciting - prior to this year no one ever knew they had a football team!!  BYU's game was disappointing (but as HS said, BYU was playing not to lose, rather than playing to win), as was Boise State's game (I would sure hate to be in that kicker's shoes), but there were other games I barely remember.  Still, it was great to hang out with HS and do something he really enjoys.

Being in front of the television restricts my sewing productivity, however.   With Christmas just a few short weeks away, that is not a good thing.  Thankfully, I had a few projects that required hand sewing and were perfect for TV time.  Some of them are Christmas gifts, and so can't be recorded here for a few weeks yet, but the little birdies above were one of the projects that got done while we were cheering on the teams.  They are intended for a Flickr swap.  What do you think?

Meanwhile, as this Thanksgiving weekend comes to a close, I am reflecting on this year and the many God-given gifts I have to be thankful for - a wonderful husband, three terrific children, a great son-in-law, a happy, healthy granddaughter, our health, a comfortable roof, plenty - or maybe too much! - to eat, a good job, and many opportunities this past year to enjoy being with those I love.  It really doesn't get much better than that.  Thank you, Heavenly Father!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Almost Thanksgiving!

Wonderful Husband and I were talking today and I commented that it is almost Thanksgiving.  WH responded, "Wasn't New Year's just last week?"  That's sure the way it seems.  Not sure where 2010 has gone, but certainly Christmas and New Year's will be here before I know it.  The groceries are sitting in the fridge and Handsome Son (with a scruffy new beard) is home for the holiday, so I guess it really is this week.  Sure puts the pressure on for those Christmas projects I have going....  But I am going to take the time to enjoy HS's visit and eat a little turkey and pumpkin pie - oh, and watch White Christmas to get in the mood.  HS promised to watch it with me.

WH and HS are going to be tiling the bathroom during his visit, too which will be nice.  We've had ugly vinyl in there that has truly outlived its usefulness.  It was laid in 1993 and was supposed to last 5 years.  See what I mean?  Can't wait to see the new tile in there.  It is so pretty.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Red Letter Day

Look what came in my mail yesterday!  What fun!  Actually, I didn't find all this until this morning, but it was a nice surprise.

I received my first ornament in the Flickr Handmade Ornament Swap.  This cute little snowman is my new friend.  I have been coveting him since my swap partner first posted him and his snowman friends.  Too cute!  She made him this cute little bag for him to rest in and sent along the sweetest card.   Beautiful Daughter #1 is coveting him too, so I'll have to make sure he is well protected.

Beautiful Daughter #1 and I were comparing notes a few weeks ago and we were commenting about how much we love Moda's new Dream On line.  So, when Alamode Fabrics offered these 2 charm packs at a great price, I snatched them.  They were among the cool things that came yesterday also.  And Heather included another charm pack of beautiful fabrics as a treat!  Soooooo nice of her.  If Beautiful Daughter is especially nice, I might share with her.

Then, when I was poking around the net the other day, I wandered into Hawthorne Threads - just to window shop, mind you - well, maybe I was looking for this piece of the Weekends line I didn't have.  It must have been sold out when I bought the other pieces that I have. These bikes are just so cute.  I have a vision of what I want to do with them, but I may have to get through the Christmas sewing first.
While I was there, these great fat quarters caught my eye.  I have been wanting these for weeks, so I just couldn't pass them up again.  So I bought...

An Urban Circus (by Laurie Wisbrun) fat quarter bundle...  I just love the giraffes and elephants - and such fun colors...
And a Freebird (by MoMo) fat quarter bundle in grass...  Again, great colors, and now I notice that it is sold out.
And, while I was there, this Innocent Crush by Anna Maria Horner jumped into my shopping cart, so I just had to take it home.  Isn't it yummy?  If you read AMH's blog, you've probably been wanting a little Innocent Crush of your own, perhaps?  Anyway, I just bought a sprinkling.  So pretty.

So, it was a great mail day at my house yesterday.  Good mail is so much more fun than bills.

Thank you, Mr. Postman!

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's Purple Day!

I have been a team captain for the March of Dimes at work for oh - maybe 10 years.  I'm really not sure, to be honest.  I have been on the Walk Committee for about 6 years.  It has been a fun and rewarding experience.  Wednesday was Prematurity Awareness Day.  The March of Dimes released their Preterm Report Card, and frankly, the results were dismal.  Florida, where I live, scored an "F", as did most of the Southern and Eastern States.  Some of the Western and Midwestern States, including Washington, my home state, scored a "C", which is a little better, but still not great.  Preterm babies cost society more than $26 billion a year.  And the toll on families can't be measured.

Today is PURPLE DAY!  The point is to raise awareness of the issue.  Much can be done through educating moms about prenatal care and warning signs.

We are having a PURPLE DAY contest at work.  When we sent the announcement, I was worried because I didn't hear anything from our team.  Then, the first things I heard were pretty negative.  But then I began to hear "purple" in conversations here and there.  And yesterday, when I left, a whole bunch of folks were staying to decorate their workspaces for the contest.  I can't wait to get to work this morning and see what they have cooked up.  It's going to be a fun day!

Will you please wear PURPLE today?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Trouble with Christmas

It is the week before Thanksgiving, and I have come to a realization - yes, another one.  The trouble with having a craft/quilting blog at Christmastime is that many of the things you create can't be blogged.  I think they should put NaBloPoMo in January or something.  What happens if your giftee reads your blog and knows that the gift is for them.  Spoils the whole surprise.  THAT's no fun at all

So anyway, it may be that posts to this blog will be a little sketchy until after Christmas.  Maybe I'll post all my creations on December 26.  Or maybe it'll take me on into January.  In any event, many things are going on in my sewing room that cannot be posted here - at least not now.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reorganization and Realization

This poor quilt is languishing in my work basket.  Just can't seem to get back to it.

The other night, Beautiful Daughter #1 and I were talking about my blog and our various plans for the future, she mentioned that perhaps I needed to update my blog - in more fundamental ways.  So I spent some time this weekend changing the background and reorganizing things, creating some tabbed pages to make things easier to navigate and just cleaning house.  What do you think?

But as I was roaming around the net today looking at all the beautiful quilting and pillow tops and scrappy hoops and general creativity of bloggers and flickr'rs, and thinking about all the UFOs I have started (such as the one above) I had a terrible realization....  even if I quit my job and devoted all my time to quilting and making beautiful things, there is just no way I could ever complete all the projects I want to or use all the beautiful fabric I would like to have.

So, I'll just have to get busy!!!  Unfortunately, eating and sleeping get in the way too.  And cooking and cleaning, but who cares about those?

So, I decided to create a list of projects I would like to have a go at.  A sort of quilting "bucket list" if you will.  Here are a few to start:

A string quilt
A whack and stack quilt
A grandmother's flower garden quilt (when I was little, our family had one that my dad's grandmother had made - but sadly, no one knows what happened to it.)
A pickle dish quilt (I actually have this one started from a quilt along on another blog, but alas, not too much progress so far)
A spider web quilt

I will add to the list as I think of them.  For now, some of those more immediate things are pressing.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Awesome Foursome Part 4: Turkey Table Runner Tutorial

Awesome Foursome Part 4:  Turkey Table Runner Tutorial

 One Awesome Jelly Roll by Sandy Gervais
3/4 yard Awesome yardage for backing and binding
15" x 45" piece of batting

Note:  Each recipe makes one table runner.  You will have enough fabric strips to make 4 table runners from a single jelly roll, plus matching pot holders from the "leftovers"  Directions are given here for the turkey table runner.  Yesterday's post included the pumpkin table runnerSaturday's post included both the single leaf and triple-leaf design.


Separate the jelly roll into its colorways.

Since I had already made the two leaf designs and the pumpkin design, I chose from the remaining jelly roll strips for my turkey.  I chose 1 red, 2 ivory, 2 green and 2 brown.  The single color will be your center strip, and all the other strips will be attached to it.

I also used the scraps from the leaf and pumpkin table runners to create my turkey.  You will need scraps of brown, orange, ivory and green.

Assemble your panel by joining an ivory strip to each side of the red.  Add a green strip to each ivory, and a brown to each green.  Press seams toward the OUTSIDE.

Use the wedge pattern to cut 13 turkey feathers. I cut 1 red, 2 ivory, 2 green and 2 brown.

You should be able to get 2 feathers side by side on a jelly roll strip, however, they do not fit side by side if they are straight on the grain. 

Fold each feather in half RST and sew together at the wide end with a 1/4 inch seam.

Fold the sewn end of the wedge back so it runs down the center of the feather, creating a point.  Press.

Sew feathers together down the long sides using a 1/4 inch seam. 

You will have an array of feathers that fan out from the center.

Press the seams away from the center.

Now turn over and press again.

Press a 1/4 inch seam allowance into the outside feathers.

Trace the turkey body pattern onto card stock.

Cut loosely out of a brown scrap so that there is approximately a 1/4 inch seam allowance all the way around.   Fold the fabric around the card stock and use your iron to press the seam allowance flat.   Remove the card stock and press again.

Cut 2  1-1/4 inch squares from a scrap of orange.  Fold in half diagonally, then in half diagonally again to form a triangle.  Press.

Place the raw edge of these triangles along the straight edge of the turkey body and pin.  These are the turkey's feet

Pin the turkey body onto the feather array with the turkey's head along the center feather.  Pin and stitch.

Embroider a face on your turkey.  I used decorative stitches on my machine.

Find the center of your table runner panel and position your turkey as desired.  Stitch the turkey onto the runner as desired.  I machine stitched the turkey onto the panel since table runners tend to get food spilled on them and may be laundered frequently. 

Layer your top over your backing and batting into a quilt sandwich and quilt and bind as desired.  Your table runner is complete.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Awesome Foursome Part 3: Pumpkin Table Runner Tutorial

Awesome Foursome Part 3:  Pumpkin Table Runner Tutorial

One Awesome Jelly Roll by Sandy Gervais
3/4 yard Awesome yardage for backing and binding
15" x 45" piece of batting

Note:  Each recipe makes one table runner.  You will have enough fabric strips to make 4 table runners from a single jelly roll, plus matching pot holders from the "leftovers"  Directions are included here for the pumpkin table runner.  Yesterday's post included both the single leaf and triple-leaf designs.  Tomorrow's post will include the turkey design.


Separate your jelly roll into its colorways.

Since I had already made both the single-leaf and the triple-leaf table runners  - and I wanted to save some colors for my turkey, I choose from the fabrics I had left in my jelly roll.  I chose 2 gold, 2 ivory, 2 orange and 1 brown.  The single color will be your center strip and all the other strips will be stitched to it.

I also used scraps from the leaf table runners to create the pumpkin.  You will need scraps of orange and brown.

Sew one gold strip to each side of the brown strip.  Then sew an ivory strip to each gold strip and an orange strip to each ivory strip.  Press seams toward the outside.

 Square up ends.

 For the pumpkin, I downloaded this cute pumpkin pattern from Wee Folk Art here (note:  pattern used with permission).  I printed the pattern on card stock, then enlarged it by tracing around it about 1/2 inch all the way around, except for the pumpkin stem, which I only enlarged by about 1/4 inch.  Note that the orange does not cover the whole pattern - it only covers the edges, one on each side.

For the pumpkin background, I took 2 scraps of orange and folded them around the sides of the pumpkin labeled Layer 1.  With the card stock still inside, I took my iron and pressed in the seam allowance flat. 

 Next, take 2 scraps of brown about 4 inches long and sew them together so you have a piece about 4 inches square.  Place the card stock pattern of the pumpkin layer 2 and use the iron to press the seam allowance flat.

Place Layer 2 on Layer 1, using the Layer 1 cardstock pattern as a guide.  I stitched it down at this point, but I think pinning would work as well.  I machine stitched at each step, but you could use a blanket stitch if you prefer.

Next, I placed a scrap of orange around the Layer 3 pattern and pressed the seam allowance flat.  Pin it, and stitch it down.  You can round out any points as you stitch.

Finally, I wrapped a piece of brown around the stem piece and pressed in the seam allowance, then pinned it at the top of my pumpkin.

Find the center of the 7-strip panel you created above.  Center the pumpkin on the panel in a way that pleases you.  I liked having the stem of the pumpkin hang over the seam a little as shown below.  Stitch it down.  Press.

 Layer your top over your backing and batting into a quilt sandwich.  Pin or baste as desired.

Embroider the details as shown in the pattern.  I embroidered the stem and tendrils, then quilted around the pumpkin and along the seam lines using perle cotton.

Now, all you have to do is bind your edges using your favorite method, and your table runner is complete.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Awesome Foursome Parts 1 and 2: Falling Leaves Table Runner Tutorial

Awesome Foursome Parts 1 and 2:  Falling Leaves Table Runner Tutorial

 One Awesome Jelly Roll by Sandy Gervais
3/4 yard Awesome yardage for backing and binding for each table runner
15" x 45" piece of batting

Note:  Each recipe makes one table runner.  You will have enough fabric strips to make 4 table runners from a single jelly roll, plus matching pot holders from the "leftovers".  Directions are included here for both the single leaf and the triple-leaf designs.  Tomorrow's tutorial will include directions for a pumpkin and a turkey design.

Make all four and decorate several areas of your home, or make one for yourself and give the other three as gifts!

Single Leaf Motif Table Runner:
(Scroll down for instructions to make the Three-Leaf Table Runner.)


Separate the jelly roll into its colorways.

Choose 1 red, 1 green, 2 gold, 2 ivory, 2 orange and 2 brown.

Cut 7 2-1/2 inch squares from red
Cut 6 2-1/2 inch squares from one of the golds
Cut 1 2-1/2 inch square from green

With water or air soluble marker, mark a diagonal line from corner to corner on the green square and 5 of the gold squares.

On the green square only, mark two more diagonal lines 3/8 inch on both sides of the center diagonal line.


Cut 1 gold square in half along the diagonal line.

Place the diagonal cut on the green square at the 3/8 inch line.

Sew 1/4" from the 3/8" line.  Repeat for the other gold triangle at the 3/8" mark.  Be careful not to catch the point of your gold triangle in your seam when you sew the second side.

Trim seams to 1/4 inch.  Press toward gold.

This forms the stem of your leaf.

Place a red square and a gold square RST and stitch on the diagonal line.  Trim seam to 1/4 inch.  Repeat for 3 more gold squares.  Discard the trimmed corners.  Press seams toward the red side.

Press the squares.  Place in the configuration below and sew together in rows:
1st row:  Solid gold, red/gold diagonal, red gold diagonal (points toward bottom LEFT).
2nd row:  Red/gold diagonal (point toward upper RIGHT), solid red, solid red
3rd row:  Red/gold diagonal (point toward upper RIGHT), sold red, leaf stem

Press seams:
Row 1:  Press toward solid gold square.
Row 2:  Press toward furthest red square.
Row 3:  Press toward red/gold diagonal.
All seams in each row go the same direction.

Join the rows together.  Press seams toward the outside.

Turn over and press from the top, making sure all the seams are fully open.

Runner Construction:

Sew an ivory strip to each side of the other gold strip.

Press seams toward center.  Turn it over and press from the top, making sure seams are completely open.

Square up ends.

Cut 6-1/2 inches off of one end.

Note:  This piece is just big enough for a pot holder.  Use Insul Bright heat resistant fabric as batting and applique an oak leaf or small maple leaf on it.   The leaf is a scrap of Pumpkin and Spice I had in my scrap bag.  I think it coordinates perfectly!

Cut the remainder of the ivory/gold/ivory strip in half.

Stitch one side of the leaf motif to the cut ends of the ivory/gold/ivory stip, making sure that the same ivory fabric follows the entire length.

Press seams toward the ivory/gold/ivory strip.

Stitch an orange strip to each ivory strip, making sure tha tthe stems of the leaf are stitched down in the direction they were pressed.  This will be easier if the orange strip is on the bottom and the leaf is on the top.

Sew a brown strip to each orange strip.

Press seams toward OUTSIDE.  (Note, center strip seam allowance remains pressed toward the center.

Turn over and press from the top, making sure all seams are completely flat.

Square up ends as necessary.

Lay out backing fabric, batting, and completed runner top on a flat surface into a quilt sandwich.  Make sure all layers are smooth and flat.  Pin or baste together.  Quilt and bind as desired.

Some quilting suggestions:
Hand quilt with perle cotton in matching or contrasting color.
Machine quilt with a decorative stitch on your sewing machine and stitch in the ditch.
Use free motion quilting, using the fabric strips as guides, then quilt around the leaf separately.

VOILA!  Your Awesome table runner is complete.

Three-Leaf Motif Table Runner


Separate the jelly roll into its colorways.  

Choose 2 red, 1 green, 3 gold, 2 ivory, 2 orange, and 2 brown.

Cut 7 2-1/2 inch squares from red fabric 1 and 14 2-1/2 inch squares from red fabric 2.
Cut 6 2-1/2 inch squares from gold fabric 1 and 12 2-1/2 inch squares from gold fabric 2.
(Note:  Gold fabric 3 will be the center strip of your runner.)
Cut 3 2-1/2 inch squares from green.

Complete 3 leaves following the method for the single leaf runner above.

Runner Construction:

Sew and press an ivory/gold/ivory strip as described for single leaf runner above.

Square up ends as needed.

Cut 18-1/2 inches from one end of the ivory/gold/ivory strip.  (Note:  This piece is big enough to make 2 pot holders as described above.)

Cut 2 5-1/2 inch pieces off one end.  Cut the remaining ivory/gold/ivory piece in half.

Stitch a 5-1/2 inch piece to each end of the leaf made from red fabric 1.

Sew the other two leaves to each end of the section made above.  You may want to make sure the stems of all 3 leaves face the same direction, as I did, or create a "tumbling leaves" motif and have them go all different directions.  Do be sure to have the same ivory fabric continue the length of the runner, though.

Sew the remaining ivory/gold/ivory pieces to the ends.
Continue construction of the runner as described above.