Monday, December 31, 2012

Swooning... The Big Reveal

 Well, Christmas is over and after more hours in airports and cars than I wish to count, we are home again.  I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, surrounded by family and friends.  Our whole family was together this year, which seems to be more rare as time passes, and we had a wonderful time.  What a blessing to be able to enjoy the holidays with those we love.

Now that the presents have been opened, I can show you the project that pretty much consumed all of December. 

Twelve more swoon blocks to make a king size quilt/bedspread/comforter.

Have you made these blocks?  Do you find they are really time-consuming?  They seem to take me forever and I just can't seem to make them go any faster.  They take me about an hour and a half to two hours each.

BD #1 and I have been waffling for 6 months because Lark is beautiful, but it's just so BUSY!  I finally took all of my Lark blocks into my FQS one Friday night, pulled about 40 bolts of fabric, and made the workers help me choose combinations.

But I really like the quilt top, now that it's together. Even the blocks I didn't really like look great once they're all together.

Once the blocks were made, putting the top together was a piece of cake.

So now she's off to the fabulous Sarah to be quilted, back to my house to be bound, and then on to BD#1's bed, to take the place of the quilt I made her 5 or 6 years ago. 

AND, I made HSTs from all the flying geese in these blocks, so I'm pretty sure there's another Lark quilt in my future.  (And that may explain why these blocks took me so long,,,)

And now it's nearly midnight on New Year's Eve - I wish everyone a healthy, happy and quilty 2013!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Hey there!  Have y'all been as busy as I have lately?  When December began, I was determined to blog more this month than I did in November.  And I was off to a great start with the Sew Mama Sew giveaway and the receipt of some super awesome swappy gifts!  And then I got into the Frantic Holiday Mode and all that went out the window.

But now I have the suitcases packed ready to leave tomorrow (and it's not even midnight!!!) and I thought I would stop by the blog and say "Merry Christmas" to everyone.  I'll have some fun stuff coming in 2013.  I'm planning a couple of tutorials....

One for the casserole carrier I made for Round 2 of the Modernista swap. And I've got a couple of other ideas for tutorials that I hope you will like.  I also have received some new swappy gifts that I haven't shared because I just haven't had time to take photos of yet.  And some WIP projects that I AM GOING TO FINISH come h*e*double*hockey*sticks or high water. 

So I hope you will have a lovely Christmas with family and friends, and drop back by around New Year's for whatever the New Year brings.

God bless!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

SMS Giveaway Day Winner!

First of all, I want to thank everyone who visited my little blog during the SMS giveaway!  I am amazed at the response.  I had so many wonderful comments.  And so many of you said such kind things about my projects.  It really made my day.  It took me awhile to choose a winner because I wanted to respond to everyone who commented.  If I missed you, I'm sorry.  I really tried, but yahoo has been giving me fits lately.  Know that I really appreciate you.  And those of you who decided to follow my quilting and crafting adventures, I hope that you find something fun or useful here as time goes on.

Several of you commented on my 1-hour tote tutorial.  It really is my go-to bag pattern.  I use it all the time.  In fact, I've made 3 of them in the past week.  It doesn't always take an hour, but never yet has it taken 2 hours, and that's a good thing.  It's very versatile.  The most recent ones I've made are the market bag version (without batting or quilting, and with a little velcro string so you can roll it up and tie it and put it in your purse.)  Sometimes, I make them just a little smaller, so they are more like book bags.  I still use the very first one I made almost every day.  If you make one, please be sure and share a picture with me.  I'd love to see it.

And now, without further ado, we'll let Mr. RNG choose a winner.

True Random Number Generator
  Min:  1
  Max:  464


38.  Elena, December 3, 2012 11:38 am
 Great! I really like this other giveaway:

Congratulations, Elena.  I'm off to send you an email and package up your goodies.

Sadly, it appears that Elena is a no-reply blogger...  I'm so sorry, but as per the original post, I will immediately choose a new winner.  I'm heading back to see Mr. RNG... 

Who chose

True Random Number Generator
  Min:  1
  Max:  464

111.  Katy  December 3, 2012  4:23 PM
I've not seen that many giveaways yet. So i went to have a look at your 2012 finishes. I really liked your Wizard of Oz quilt, but the biggest smile came when I saw the photo of what had to be one of your smallest projects - the Prince Charming needlebook. I love that fussy cutting!

Again, many thanks to everyone who entered.  I wish I had a prize for each of you!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fun Mail - Modern Style

If you're looking for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway, go here...

Check out the cute bag I received from Yvette, a/k/a craftyozgirl.  Yvette was my partner in the Modern She Made swap.  I had mentioned several things I would really like to have, including a little bag that was big enough to stash my 7" embroidery hoop in.  I am so excited by this bag.  It is perfect.

I really love the raw edge applique triangle detail on the front of the bag, not to mention the hand embroidery.  Embroidery makes me happy! =)

She put a nifty little pocket on the inside...

And made me a nifty little needlebook to go with it.

She decorated every page - so fun!

Thanks, Stephanie for the cute bag and all the goodies.  They will be put to good use!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Little Pillow Talk... Fun Mail

 If you're looking for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway, go here...

You may already know that one of my favorite swaps is the Pillow Talk Swap.  The swappers in it are crazy talented.  I am always a little intimidated when it's my turn to create.  The other side of that coin is that I've received the most A-MA-ZING pillows in this swap.  This one is no different.  This beauty came to me from the very talented Stephanie a/k/a SeaSteph from Tennessee.  It is lying flat because I don't have an extra pillow form - a fact that will have to be rectified very soon.

I love the star with the fussy cut flower in the center.  And the way she used the colors for the flower for the points.  So cool.

I love the borders within borders look.  Fun!

And the back is so pretty.  I never mess with the back very much, so this is a real treat.

I really love the pretty handmade card too (and I love how the colors coordinate!)  Being a "retired" Stampin' Up! demonstrator, I can appreciate a lovely handmade card when I see one!

Thanks, Stephanie, for a wonderful swap!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day

Today is the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day again!  I'm so excited.  This is always one of the most fun times of the year.  I love visiting other blogs and seeing what's going on.  I have been introduced to some of my favorites through Giveaway Day.  Thanks for visiting.  I hope you will come back often.

Photo courtesy of Google images

To celebrate Giveaway Day, I'm giving away a Mama Said Sew jelly roll by the incredible Sweetwater.  I love their designs.  They always have such fun texty prints, among others, and Mama Said Sew is a fabulous collection.  I have some other fun things to add to the package...  a few zippers and a selection of buttons...

And even one of my One Hour FQ Totes - this one is market style, and made with DS Quilts FQs.

I will be glad to ship this little package to you, wherever you are.

What do you need to do to enter?  Well, I'm really glad you asked.  Just leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite SMS giveaway on another blog so I can go visit.  Or, check out some of the other posts on this blog and tell me which post or project you like best.

If you're a long-time follower or become one today, you are eligible to enter a second time - just leave a second comment letting me know you follow me.

Per the SMS rules, the giveaway is open until 5 pm on Friday, December 7th. The winner will be chosen by Mr. Random Number Generator sometime Friday evening or Saturday morning.

Be sure you leave an email address so I can notify you if you win!  No email address = invalid entry.  If I don't have a way to contact you, the entry will be disqualified and I will choose another winner immediately.

Thanks for stopping by!  Good luck!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Fun Mail

I can't believe it's been so long since I posted anything.  Where does the time go?  I mailed a bunch of swappy stuff on November 15, just in time to get the house ready for a welcome visit from HS for Thanksgiving.  He was the only one of the clan who could come home this year, and it was wonderful to have him.  Between the cleaning beforehand, enjoying his visit, cooking more food than a family our size could ever eat, watching football, our traditional Thanksgiving night viewing of White Christmas, Black Friday, a shopping outing Saturday, and a date with HS on Monday, there didn't seem to be much time for much else. 

Not to mention the fact that it is D*A*R*K by the time I get home from work now.  It makes it frustrating to take pictures.  (And although I went out today about 3:30, these seem a little dark to me even then.  Oh well, it is December, I guess...)

Meanwhile, the postman (actually we have a lady postman at our house now) kept dropping off wonderful little packages.  This adorable little guy was from Whitney (the Peacock Tree) in the FLiPS swap.  Isn't he cute?  I really love his little heart lips!  And look at all the other fun goodies she included.  Whitney and I have swapped several times now, and she says she's coming to within 30 miles of Pensacola next summer.  I'm hoping for a meet-up.

He has such a fun little fishy face.  I really love him.  He will be perfect for a little spot on my sewing machine where none of my other pinnies fit.  I know I'll put him to good use.

Thanks, Whitney, for such a fun addition to my sewing space!

There are a lot more fun little packages to share, so stay tuned...  Since most of what I'm working on now is for Christmas, I'm going to share them one at a time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Northwest Florida Snowman {Mug Rug}

I belong to a Flickr swap group called Rugs With Friends.  We are paired up and make each other a seasonal mug rug every couple of months or so, with different partners for each season.

Awhile back, I received this fun mug rug from Mary.  He's a Texas snowman - you can tell by his hat.

Receiving him convinced me that I wanted to go with the idea that had been rolling around in my brain for a couple of months, just waiting for a chance to get out.  A Northwest Florida snowman.

To be honest, it's not an original idea - Stampin Up! had a stamp similar to this several years ago in a cute little set called "Thanks Snow Much!"  But the idea was too fun to pass up.  When my kids were little - I think they may have been 10, 8, and 2 - we woke up one Valentine's Day morning to *SNOW*ON*THE*GROUND!!!!!  I actually broke a cardinal rule in our family - never wake a sleeping child - and woke the kids up, got them dressed in the few warm items we could find, and hurried them outside to enjoy the moment.

And a moment was about all there was.  We went for a walk and then hurried to build a snowman in the front yard.  This is what he looked like by about noon.  But we had a blast anyway and it made a wonderful memory. 

My partner said she laughed when she opened the package and saw him for the first time.

I think that's a success!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Stella Part Two - Together Again

Stella is now all in one piece again and established in her new home!  Doesn't she look beautiful?

With HS coming home for Thanksgiving, I finally decided it was time to remove Stella from her boxes and get her established in her new surroundings (yes, it took me awhile - nothing like procrastination, is there?)

The finish on Stella's cabinet shows a little wear over the 85 years of her life, and I've been toying with the idea of sprucing her up a bit, but I finally decided I like her just the way she is.  You can see here that she was well packaged.  We used a ton of this foam insulation, and wrapped it in plastic wrap, then shaped her box to fit the enclosure we made.

The iron pieces are the most fragile, I'm told, so Dear Sister came up with the idea of doing a cut-out in the foam to protect these fragile parts.  We stacked them together, layered foam on top and bottom, and wrapped the whole stack in plastic wrap and then built a box to fit.  Thank goodness for box cutters and packing tape.

The treadle and the flywheel were packaged in a similar manner in their own separate box.

You have to watch out for the pointy parts.

I asked Bob, the nice man at my local sewing machine store, to put her together for me.  He took her metal parts to his shop, cleaned them up, greased the parts that needed to be greased, oiled the parts that needed to be oiled (apparently they are different - who knew?) and brought them back to me, then proceeded to put her together.  Once he had the legs on the cabinet, he put Stella in, then attached the belt.  I'm glad I asked him to do this.  His price was quite reasonable, and the greasing, oiling, and belt would have taken me hours.  I watched him do the belt - it was a little tricky and required a drill.  I didn't know you could drill through leather.

So here she is.  Now all I have to do is get my rhythm back.  I haven't used her for at least 40 years - and I'm not sure anyone has.  My sister commented in an email yesterday that she made all her doll clothes on this baby.  I remember embellishing dish towels and making a dress one summer.  And lots of mending.

And Stella will be a lovely reminder of my grandmother and all the summers I spent with her.

Thanks, Gram.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pillow Talk

I just finished another round of the Pillow Talk Swap.  My package - along with the 8 others that needed to be mailed yesterday - is winging its way to my partner.  It has a long ways to go, so I hope it gets there safely, and doesn't take toooooo long.

Pillow Talk is very rewarding, but also really intimidating.  There are some a-maz-ing swappers who participate in this swap, and the things they create are just over the top - gorgeous pillows that I never would have even thought of and techniques I wouldn't dream of trying, although I do like to stretch myself a bit.

I dithered and dallied and changed my mind a million times in trying to decide what to make my partner.  She is a very talented quilter and has made me things before, but this is the first time I have sent something to her.  I kinda thought I wanted to do something with circles and finally settled on the drunkards path block.  Above is a preliminary layout.  After seeing the photo, I realized that I should track the orange all the way to the corner, so I exchanged out a couple of blocks.

In constructing the drunkards path blocks I've made before, I've always pinned the centers and stretched the curves to fit.  But this time I ran across a post on a bee block I was admiring that linked to a blog with a totally cool method of sewing curves.  If you're working on curves, take a minute (that's how long the video is) and check out this method.  It took a couple of tries to get the "rhythm" but it was fantastic.  I thought it would take hours to get these blocks made, but it took less than 30 minutes to make all 25 blocks, plus some extras.  That's a minute a block!  It.  Is.  Awesome.

Here is the pillow top put together.  Yup, I dug out my seam ripper and changed out the block in the upper left corner.  It looks totally out of place, huh?  Funny how you don't see it until you see it in a picture.  That's one of the things I'm trying to do now that I have a phone that takes decent pictures - take a photo of my creation before I reach the point of no return to see if it really works.  This practice has saved me a couple of blunders.

Here was another occasion to bring out my seam ripper.  I totally didn't see that this fabric was right side IN until I was sewing the rows together.  Glad I saw it before I got the whole thing together. 

I read a blog the other day where a non-English speaker couldn't remember what the seam ripper was called - she called it an "unseaming tool".  I think that sounds a lot more elegant that "seam ripper".  I may call it that from now on!

Here it is layered on the batting and backing, ready for quilting.  You can see here where I changed out that orange block in the corner.  This time it is in the upper right. 

I start getting really excited about this point in the construction, when I know that it's right and I know that its starting to look the way I want it to.  I really love the way the curves flow in this design.

I stitched in the ditch around the curves and along the seam, then hand quilted in the color of the blocks about 1/4 inch from the curves.  I really like hand quilting (I never thought I would say that!)  It adds so much to the design.

I was going to do my usual binding but my friend suggested piping.  I really love the elegant finish it gives to my little pillow.  I think I will try to use this technique more.  If you haven't tried piping, give it a whirl.  All you need is a zipper foot - unless you're doing a LOT of it, don't let anyone convince  you that you need a bunch of fancy tools.  Cut your fabric strip wide enough to cover the piping comfortably and have enough fabric to hang on to - you can trim it later if you need to.  I've found that it's much easier to trim it than to fight with it while you're trying to sew close to the piping.  If your needle is adjustable, move it as close to the piping edge as you can without sewing through the piping.  This piping adventure worked so well I don't know why I don't do more of it.

So there it is - my PTS pillow finished in an evening.  That fact alone had me pleased as punch.

This is one pillow I could have cheerfully kept for myself.  I may have to make another.