Monday, October 31, 2011

And the Winner is....

Thanks to everyone who entered my Sewing Summit Loot giveaway.  I enjoyed all the comments and suggestions on what to do with fat quarters.  I am going to try several of them as I get ready for this gifting season.

I had hoped to get the bag finished this weekend, but I got trapped in a book, and it didn't happen, but I will do it this evening and get it in the mail tomorrow.  It only takes an hour, after all.  Photos to follow....

Meanwhile, I asked Mr. Random Number Generator to help me choose a winner and he chose #14, Dawn who said...

14 Dawn said...
I am a follower! Thank you, Dawn, and to everyone who played along. I'll be sending you an email shortly. Look for another Sewing Summit Loot giveaway soon.  I just received so many fun things I have to share. Thanks again everyone.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Finally! Talk About Sewing Summit - and a giveaway

A couple of weeks ago now, I promised I would talk more about Sewing Summit.  Erin and Amy did an outstanding of organizing!  I can't even imagine all the work that went into putting this event together.  It was hard enough just organizing myself to get there.  I didn't manage to participate in half the things I wanted to, just because life was so busy in the two or three months leading up to Sewing Summit.  I just wasn't adequately prepared.  I would have liked to do the Fabric Shop Hop, and participate in one of the swaps, and to have made a cute name tag or tote bag before the Summit started, or psyched myself up to meet 5 new people every day and become best friends by dinner, or even brought a project to work on while I was there, as a lot of the women did... but frankly, I just didn't have the energy.  And, as my mom used to say, you get out of it just what you put into it.

That said, I think Sewing Summit was worth it, and I would highly recommend it for next year.  I did meet some fantastically talented new people.  And I did get to spend some "girl time" with my daughter.  And I learned some new things, too, or maybe they were new perspectives on old things.  Either way, it was a great time, and I would do it again.

Friday night, we staked out the FQ swap HQ and watched everyone bring in their FQs to swap.  Wow!  I wish I had taken a photo, because there were literally hundreds of FQs in every color and pattern you could imagine.  That must have been the trigger for the dream I had Friday night, because Saturday morning I awakened with an urgent desire to go buy fabric.  Not wanting to miss anything, I took advantage of one of the vendors at the event and bought some FQs of my own.

some of which made it into my free-sew project Saturday evening.  (I think one of the best things about SS was that I came home ready to sit down at the sewing machine and make something.  I think I had been a little burnt out or something, because I just had no desire to sew after the wedding.)  So this was a good thing.

One hour Fat Quarter Tote

Dana, from Old Red Barn Co.  presented a very thought-provoking discussion of blogging and social media, and its place in the creative world.  Perhaps the most frightening, and at the same time, intriguing tidbit was this You Tube video.

The times, as they say, are a-changin'.

It's mind boggling!

So back to something I understand....

My next class was Free Motion Quilting with Alison from Cluck Cluck Sew.  I was certainly inspired by all the lovely quilts she brought as eye candy!

Alison brought a handout of various FMQ designs, and I tried to attempt them all.  My skills certainly need improving, as you can see from my "sampler".  It was fun to try them, though.  Sorry this pic is so dark, when I lightened it, you couldn't see anything!

After lunch, I attended the Outside the Box color class presented by Jeni B of In Color Order. No tangible take-aways from this one, and she's probably a lot more organized than I will ever be, but her class gave me a new perspective on color.  And I loved that she brought hand-crafted samples of each of her points.  True to form, I apparently I took no photos of any of them.  However, one of the highlights was a brand new

for each member of the class.  I had gotten one at Quilt Market, but this one is the most up-to-date.  Even though I am limited by what our local JoAnn's and LQS sells, it is always a great reference.

Would you just look at all that yummy goodness?

The last class on Saturday was on applique, which I have been doing since - oh - about 1970.  I have updated my method a few times since then, but this method was new to me.  I had never used spray starch to stiffen the fabric so that you don't need fusible interfacing, and I had never used glue stick to attach the applique to the background before sewing.  I think I need to add cheap spray starch and glue stick to my sewing equipment list.

Aside from the fact that my machine ran out of thread in the middle of this block, and that there was no more gray thread anywhere in the room apparently, I'm pretty pleased with this effort.  This was a fun and easy method of holding the block together until the stitching came along to save the day.

There's so much more to say, but that will have to be the subject of another post, I'm afraid, because I'm sure if you've read this far, you're about to doze off.  As you could see from the STUFFED tote bag in the top photo, I came home with lots of loot.  So, how about a giveaway?

Here's what's up for grabs -

  • One of my One Hour FQ Totes - in some of the fabric from the top FQ bundle in the photo above
  • A "Stella" pattern by Izzy and Ivy to help you stitch something wonderful for the little girl in your life
  • A spool of black rayon embroidery thread, and
  • A KONA Color Card from Quilt Market (I don't think this one is too out-of-date)

To enter, just leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite thing to make from Fat Quarters.  I'm looking for Christmas gift ideas, and FQs are easy and fun.  If you are a follower, or become one, just leave me another comment for a second entry.

I'll choose a winner via random number generator next Sunday night (or maybe Monday morning).  Be sure I have your email address to let you know if you win.

BTW:  Speaking of Christmas, you have just a few hours left to visit the 12 Gifts of Christmas Tutorial Blog Hop and enter there to win a $250 shopping spree at fabricworm.  Too fun.  Did you notice that BD#1 a/k/a/ A Crafty Fox was yesterday's tutorial writer?  Isn't she creative?  You can enter on her tute to win a $30 gift certificate at her little fabric shop, Westwood Acres.  Not to mention a cute photo of a certain little Oreo eater...

Photo stolen from A Crafty Fox

Now aren't you glad you came to visit?

Monday, October 24, 2011

{Almost} All Caught Up!

This weekend I finally feel like I am getting things under control.  It only took me - well - too long, I suppose, but it feels really good.  Not only did I finish my Every Which Way pillow...

...And my Mug Rug for the Mug Rug Swap Adventure...

...I got ALL of my bee blocks completed...

...And made another little item for my Santa Sack Swap.

.So, as my British friends would say, I'm pretty "chuffed" with my progress.

Hope you had a productive weekend as well.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mug Rug Swap Adventure 3 - Finished

I am glad to say that I am slowly - ever so slowly - getting caught up on neglected projects, and pretty much on time too!  The theme for this round of the Mug Rug Swap Adventure swap is holidays and everyone could pick their favorite.  My partner wanted something non-traditional in both color and design.  When I was perusing last week, I saw this fabric and thought it might work well for what I had in mind.  The fabric is a border print called "Love" (imagine that!) and is by Clothworks.  On the front, I pieced the border on one side and used the medallion motif on the other.

On the back, I fussy cut the lovebirds from the companion fabric, pieced in the unused borders  from the border print, and bound them in a scrap of green from the pinwheel quilt I made last year from "Moda's "Summer Basket of Flowers".

I wanted to FMQ it with hearts, a subtle reminder of the holiday in question, but after I took out the quilting for the fourth time, I gave up and just did a stipple or meandering FMQ pattern.  My FMQ obviously needs more practice.  

As Valentine themes go, I think this one qualifies as non-traditional.  I hope Ms. Partner likes it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Every Which Way - Finished!

My Pillow Talk Swap pillow is on its way to my partner.  I added a gray border and then another white border and quilted just the white and the borders, since the fabrics are so busy and seem to speak for themselves.  The backing is DS Quilts red tiles.

I hope she likes it!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fabric Therapy

With all the distraction that made up this summer in our household, it's been awhile since I've done any fabric therapy.  But last week, had a sale.  And not just that, but they sent me a coupon.  Lately, I've been able to resist succumbing to such sales, but not this time.  I was specifically looking for fabric for my Mug Rug Swap Adventure partner, who requested a particular holiday theme, but did not want traditional colors or motifs.  A challenge, right?  Well, as I was browsing the sale, I noticed that there were a lot of fabrics on sale that I had wanted to add to my stash for a long time.  I ended up with about 25 fabrics in my cart.  NOT good for my budget.

So, I spent awhile paring down my shopping cart, and trying to make my fabric lust match my budget a little better.  This is what I came up with.

I found the fabric for my swap, some delightful little aqua dots, a fun fabric quarter bundle that seems to be in my favorite colors lately, some sewing related fabrics that I think will be cute additions to some projects, and some tufted tweets.

I have to say, I'm pretty happy with my choices.  Now, I think I'll go pet my fabric.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Every Which Way

Awhile back, BD#1 (also known as A Crafty Fox) created this little gem of a pillow that she called "Pointed in the Right Direction".  I hope you'll agree with me that this guy is just gorgeous. There's a tutorial on her blog for how to create it, if you're interested.  (Isn't she just the most talented girl ever?)

Anyway, one day while I was at work, BD#1 text messaged me and said that the Pillow Talk Swap was starting again and there were only 50 spots and she had signed me up.  You see, she knows that Pillow Talk is one of my most favorite swaps.  (She's thoughtful too!)  I was really excited!

But where much is given, much is required, as they say, and the hardest part of participating in a swap is deciding what kind of pillow to make that your partner will be happy with and that won't disappoint among all the wonderful, gorgeous, exciting, and innovative creations that people create for PTS.  I have to admit that I agonize over that part every time.  Frankly, it's a little intimidating.

So, while lurking on Flickr and stalking my partner, I decided that she seems to like color as much as I do.  And I have literally hundreds of long skinny scraps that are just perfect for a "Pointed in the Right Direction" pillow.  But you know, you have to make it your own...

And so I created the "Every Which Way" pillow.  I guess this is for the girl that can't make up her mind, LOL.  Seriously, though, I sure hope my partner likes it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Super Saturday or How I Played with Cricut

Our Stake Relief Society had a fun craft day on Saturday.  Several of the sisters presented various classes, and I was asked to do a class.  I needed something fun and easy, and DD#1 suggested that I do this plaque.  She has one made by her DMIL and I admit that I had been coveting it.

The plywood boards are available at Michael's and JoAnn's and I bought every one in town for this project.  They were painted with acrylic paint, and then covered with Mod  Podge after the letters were applied.  My friend BB has a Cricut (can you believe there is a crafting tool I don't have???) which I borrowed to make the letters.  It was a little tedious to get the backing off the vinyl, and the placement was a little tricky, but I think the sisters who made them enjoyed it.  And I just may have to put a Cricut on my Christmas list!

The only downside was that I didn't get to do any of the other projects at Super Saturday, although I did bring one home to do, when I get around to it.  I guess that will be the subject of another post.

Monday, October 17, 2011

How Can the Weekend be Gone Already???

I planned for this to be a sewing weekend, but I certainly didn't accomplish all I set out to do!  I have a long list of things I need to get done by the end of the month, and while I did make some progress, I still have a lot left on the list that isn't finished.  But I am determined to have a "glass is half full" attitude, so aside from the wonky cross blocks I shared on Saturday, here is the rest of what I accomplished this weekend.  These are the "From My House to Yours" potholders I made for the PP9 swap.

I wanted to make a castle, but I'm not sure if this doesn't look more like a football goal post.  In any event, the castle "keep" is the theme of this house.

And this one is the cottage out back, I guess.  Much more traditional, and with a totally tidy front lawn.

I hope my partner likes them.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fun Mail

Despite the fact that I have been so distracted by all that has been going on, I managed to sign up for several fall swaps.  The end of October is looming large, and I am still way behind.  But motivation arrived at my house yesterday in the form of this adorable package from Christine, a/k/a owenjulesmommy, from the Mug Rug Swap Adventure 3 swap.  Isn't it a great package?  I asked for something for Thanksgiving, and Mr. Gobbles, so named by my partner's little one, fits the bill.

I love that his "feathers" are all attached like petals on a flower.  He is the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.

And would you look at the great pouch that came along with Mr. Gobbles?  I have been admiring it(, and I was so surprised when it showed up at my door.  I love the dresden motif - that has always been one of my favorites.  Just too cool.  And it is filled with thoughtful goodies.

Thank you Christine, you made my day!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Teal We Meet Again

This was intended to be a sewing weekend and here is what I have to show so far for this weekend's effort.  These are the wonky cross blocks I made for the Teal We Meet Again block swap.  The tutorial for these blocks is here.   I am pretty pleased with these overall, although I think all my crosses pretty much go the same way.  Perhaps that is a good reason for swapping with others, aside from the different fabrics that other swappers provide.

I only have 10 blocks to swap - I made the others too small.  I hate to waste fabric, so I cut the outer blocks smaller than the instructions called for.  So maybe this is really a lesson in following instructions!  Anyway, I think this will be a very fun quilt, once I have all the blocks.

Can't wait!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Off to Sewing Summit - Another Great Adventure!

This white stuff greeted me last Friday morning in Rexburg, Idaho as I got ready to head to Sewing Summit!

Last week I headed off to Sewing Summit and decided to do a little family visiting while I was in the neighborhood - that is if you consider that the neighborhood is within 250 miles!  I landed at SLC at about noon on Wednesday and it was partly sunny and 62*.  By the time I got the rental car and met BD#1 for lunch in Draper, about 25 miles south of the city, it was 46* and raining.  I did remember to take a jacket.  I did NOT take cold-weather clothing!

From there, I drove north to Rexburg, Idaho where BD#2 and new husband are living.  By the time I got to Rexburg, the temperature was in the 30's.  Brrrrr!  The next morning it was 36* and before 10 am the rain turned to snow.  At one point, there was about 2-1/2 inches on the ground.  I was certainly not prepared for that!  Every time I have been up there this time of year it has been gloriously sunny during the day and cool-ish at night.  To say I was surprised was putting it mildly.  We just don't get that kind of weather in Florida!

Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew taught free motion quilting at Sewing Summit

Nevertheless, BD#2, NH and I had a lovely visit, and I headed back to SLC for Sewing Summit.
I wish I'd been better prepared to participate in the fat quarter swap and some of the other after hours events, but that just wasn't happening this year.  The hotel was lovely.  If you ever get a chance to stay at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake, do so.  I highly recommend it.  I haven't enjoyed such large rooms in a hotel in many years.

Sadly, all of my photos of SS are about the same quality as this one. Unfortunately the lighting in the meeting rooms was not conducive to photography.  However, that didn't deter me from having a great time at SS.  Of all the meeting rooms SS used, the one in the above photo was my favorite.  What's not to like about a room with 50+ sewing machines in it???

There were some great classes, including a thought-provoking class on blogging and an interesting discussion about photography, but I have to say that I really enjoyed the hands-on classes the most.  (Tomorrow, when the light is better, perhaps I will take pictures of the samples I made in the classes and the tote bag I made from fabric I bought at one of the vendors at the event.)  I came away feeling like I had learned a lot, and met some amazingly creative ladies!  And, incidentally, I picked up some really cool stuff, some of which I have duplicates of, so look for a giveaway or two when I get back in the blogging groove (which I hope will be soon - I've missed you all!)  All-in-all, a weekend well-spent.

Meanwhile, while I was gone, I got an email from Carrie, the swap mama for the Scrappy BowTie Block Swap wanting to know if I was still playing.  Oops!  Totally missed that deadline.  When I signed up for the swap I was sure I would have plenty of time to get it finished.  But this one slipped under my radar for sure.  Luckily, I had some time mid-week and got these in the mail on Thursday.  Guess I'd better re-examine my schedule.

Bow-tie blocks are really fun to make, and they go pretty quickly.  If you want to try them, I used the tutorial here.  In fact, they were so much fun, I think we're going to do it again.  If you're a swapper, join us on Flickr at the Scrappy BowTie Block Swap!  If you'd like, email or FM me for an invite to the next round, which I think begins in January.  The more the merrier, I say!

Monday, October 3, 2011

I'm a Winner!

You know, I have often said that I never win anything, and for most of my life , that has been true.  But this year, I have actually won a bit of blog candy.  First, I won some Aurifil thread from Leona's blog.  Leona was one of my first swap partners, so I started following her blog, and of course, you can't come across a giveaway without entering, right?

Then, I won this great pillow from my friends Yvonne and Renee, after entering the giveaway on their blog

Then, yesterday, Kathy from Pink Chalk Fabrics emailed me to tell me that I had won a Little Apples Pencil FQ Set.  Can you believe it?  That's pretty amazing to me - the girl who never wins anything.  To be honest, I don't even remember entering, but there seem to be a lot of things I don't remember lately.  But won't this be fun?  Can't wait.

And if you want to touch me so my luck will rub off, just let me know.  {grin}

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Another Block Party Weekend

Finally, after all the wonderful craziness and chaos that was summer here in our family, I think things are finally - kinda - back to some kind of normal.  A new normal, to be sure, since WH decided to go to law school and thus I am home alone.  I am, of course, desperately behind with everything, and so my plan for the weekend was to start getting caught up.

My VQB friends have been very patient as I totally dropped out of everything to make a wedding happen.  I am glad to say that the dress - and the wedding - turned out wonderfully, and BD#2 and DSIL#2 are happily embarking on their new life together.

And, after a wonderful visit, BD#1, DSIL#1 and beautiful little Abby have gone home.

So this weekend, I planned nothing but catching up.  First, my friend had a birthday a month or two ago, and luckily she was understanding about the whole wedding thing.  I'm sure you'll agree that a friend like that deserves a gift, after all.  So here it is, more than a month late.  (Hopefully she will receive the gift before she reads this blog!)

I guess her kitchen colors are the same as mine, because this would go great in my kitchen. I toyed with the idea of keeping it....  But no, that would just be too lame.

Then on to the blocks...  First thing was to finish the Christmas Fabric Bee. This bee should have finished up in August, and here I am dragging it out and preventing everyone from getting their quilts done for Christmas.  These ladies have truly been very understanding.  First, for Kari.  This one was a humdinger. 

These blocks are gorgeous, aren't they?  And they are just about as difficult as they look.  And since I apparently can't READ instructions (I was following the pictures in the tute) my seam ripper and I became even better acquainted.  I was actually afraid there wouldn't be enough fabric left to sew it together.  Should you decide you want to try it, the tutorial is here.

Next, the August blocks for Cassie.  These are drunkard's path blocks, which I had never tried before, but the curves aren't as hard as you might think.  The tutorial for these is here.

There.  All done.  Another bee officially finished.  It's kinda sad, really.  These ladies were great to work with, and lots of fun.  I love a bee that stretches your creativity and skills, and this one certainly did that.

Some of these same ladies are in the Fall Bee, which turns out not to necessarily be fall-themed since it goes into February or March.  It should maybe be a holiday bee.  The first block (August again) was Halloween, so that one qualifies as fall.

This one is a Triple Irish Chain, and it was really easy.  I enjoyed putting this one together.  Easy peasy.  I'm not a particularly Halloween-y girl, but I can't wait to see this quilt finished.  Love the purple in it.  Very fun!

This starburst block is supposed to be fall, but to me this block screams SUMMER!!!  I'm not great at paper piecing yet, and this block has its issues, but Carrie said she wanted wonky, and I think she got it.  I made the mistake of doing one side with the "ink" toward me as I worked, and the other side of the block with the "ink" away from me.  Needless to say, the centers did NOT meet.  So wonky it is. Still, I like the block.  It is so wonderfully colorful.  I'm thinking of this as the inspiration for my next pillow talk swap pillow.  What do you think?

Sarah wanted a Christmas-themed block, and what's more Christmas-y than a present?  Well, lots of things, perhaps, but a present it is, nonetheless.  This block too was great fun to put together.  I'm thinking maybe one day a whole quilt of presents, all different fabrics and shapes and sizes.  Wouldn't that be fun?

And, in my spare time this weekend (mostly while watching General Conference), I made 100 thank you notes for the newlywed couple, so folks don't think they're ungrateful sots. (I find that I'm more successful at watching GC if my hands are busy with some mindless task - it helps me stay awake and lets  me focus on what's being said.)

Now, what do I have left to do?  Well, I'm participating in the Scrappy Bow-tie Block Swap, so I need 20 bow-tie blocks by Saturday.  I also need the next installment of the Santa Sack Swap to magically get in the mail tomorrow (no, I doubt that will happen), and I leave Wednesday to visit family and head off to Sewing Summit, so naturally there's packing to do.  Of course, I had planned to make the CUTEST name tag, a tote bag, and some other stuff.  Nope, don't think that will happen either.  And, I think I can have fun at Sewing Summit without any of that.  I'm excited to meet everyone and learn some fun new stuff.  Hope you're going too.  See ya there!