Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Speaking of Mail...

Photo courtesy of Westwood Acres Etsy Shoppe
So look what I found in my mailbox yesterday!  Isn't it lovely?  Yes, BD#1 and her husband saved me a FQ bundle all my own from their little shop, Westwood Acres.  It arrived so fast!  I just ordered it  Friday after work, and it was in my mailbox on Monday.  You can't beat that!  And maybe, just maybe, I ordered a little something extra.  My blogiversary is coming up on Sunday you know. There might be something a little special in a day or two.    (Hint.  Hint.)

Meanwhile, BD#1 and DSIL#1 have been busy, busy, busy processing orders, and now, I'm told they have just a tad bit of this left until their next shipment arrives in May.  I'm sure I'll need some more by then.  But they have some other stuff in their shop that I really NEED...  like those cool Riley Blake chevrons that I think I really must get my hands on!

OK, confession time....  Do you ever just sit and pet your stash?  WH thinks I'm crazy, but he usually doesn't say anything.  Sometimes he just smiles.  Sometimes, he says, "Uh, so you know you're petting that fabric, right?"  Of course I do!  It's therapeutic.  It's relaxing.  It keeps me sane sometimes.

And sometimes, fabric can be SOOOOO frustrating.  Like today, for example.  I really need some Kona Snow to finish my Fairy Tale Friends quilt.  I need about a yard and a half for sashing and borders.  I really wanted it today so I could come home and finish piecing the top of my FTF quilt (not to be confused with the FMF above).  I know JoAnn's doesn't carry Kona Snow.  But now my LQS is out of it.  They offered to order it for me, but I bet they're not as quick as BD#1's shoppe above.  I ordered it, but the waiting is killer.

Oh well, it's not like there's nothing else in my To Do pile.

But, while I was surfing around blogland and through all the online fabric shops this evening trying to decide if I'd get the Kona faster if I ordered online, I dropped in at my daughter's blog, A Crafty Fox, just to see what she was up to, you know?  Well, her latest post tells the sweetest story of generosity from our mutual friend Leona.  Leona was my first-ever Flickr Swap partner, so she holds a special place in my heart.  And now, she has been kind to my daughter, and that's a sure way to stay there.  And Leona has reached a true milestone with her blog and is having a fun little giveaway.  Check it out!

Monday, March 26, 2012

In the Mail!

I had a weekend of big finishes and got several projects in the mail today.  It feels so good to get them off the To Do list and into an envelope with postage and everything.

First, Saturday morning I finished my Movie Mini Masterpiece.  Still can't show the whole thing, but let's just say I had a ton of fun with covered buttons and little bows.

Here's a picture of the fabric I used for the back.  Isn't it cute?  Myra at my LQS suggested it.  Someone on Flickr wondered what movie these little kitties are watching.  I'd suggest it had a big dog in it, except that most kitties I have known can hold their own against just about any dog.

Then I worked on my spring mug rug for the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap.  I had the embroidery all done, so it didn't take too long.  Sat down in the early afternoon to add the hand quilting and it didn't take long at all. 

There.  Two major projects off the list!

Then I decided to finish my March bee blocks.  I only had one left to make.  It's called Hexing Around and it's sort of a log cabin Hexie.  It was fun to put the colors together, and I really love the way it turned out.  I hope the QB likes it. 

And I mailed all six of these today also. 

So, I am, at least officially, caught up.

Now it's up to the mailman.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

So - What Have You Been Doing Lately?

So, what have you been doing lately?  I've been getting caught up on bee blocks.  This was an easy-peasy one for Becky in the Sew Fun Bee.

And these Halloween Blocks are for Mary in the Fall Bee.  Making these blocks with 2" squares was a ton easier than making similar blocks with 1" squares.  Guess I'm just not a postage stamp quilt kind of girl.

And then I've been working on a mini quilt for the Mini QT swap.  The theme this time is movies, and I'm really having fun with this one.  Can't show the whole project yet, because in this swap you know who your partner is, so this is just a hint.  Any guesses?  This little guy is going all the way to Sweden!

And if you've been reading this little blog since the first of the year, you know that one of my goals is to make every quilt in this book.  So far, I have made 3 Sugar Rush quilts and 2 Little Man quilts.  

Well, when I was at Sewing Summit last fall, I picked up a Fairy Tale Friends charm pack from  my daughter's little etsy shop, Westwood Acres.   The pattern I had in mind for this called for a charm pack and a honey bun.  Well, it seems that honey buns are scarce as hen's teeth around here lately, but I finally found a Fairy Tale Friends honey bun online, so I've been working on those blocks. I'm ready for the sashing and borders.

Wish JoAnn's carried Kona Snow. 

And I got the borders on my jelly roll race quilt, so I could quilt that and get it out of the WIP pile.  That would be a good feeling.

Finally, I traded some Flora charm packs for a whole passel of 2-1/2 inch squares, so I laid out a couple of granny squares for the Granny Square QAL, if I'd ever cut the white setting squares.

And I really should get something done for my sister for her birthday, which is Tuesday, and she lives in California...  Oops, late again!

So, I have a jam packed weekend planned.

And I really should clean my house.

What about you?  What are you working on?  I'd love to hear about it, and if you have a blog, stash a link in the comments.  I'd love to come visit.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fun Mail

It has been an amazingly long time since I've done a Fun Mail post, and the truth is, there has been some amazingly fun mail come my way lately.  First up, and most recent, is one of the coolest PTS7 pillows ever!  Made just for me by the amazingly talented tinkingalong.  (OK, you can read on - I promise I'm done with the word "amazingly" - at least for awhile.)  The drunkard's path pinwheels are so cool, and I love that she did it in aqua and red to match my Teal We Meet Again quilt.  Some of the fabrics are even the same.  She included some fun little goodies, including nail files, a little notebook, a postcard from her home state of Maryland, and to top it off, a "green" Christmas wrap/sack/bag to help save waste from gift wrap.  Too cool, huh?

Ironically, the day before I actually received this little beauty, I had gone through and "faved" the PTS7 pillows that struck my fancy, and this was one of those.

I have been receiving a lot of fun mail recently, and apparently, WH picked up the mail from his truck one day last week, and left my PTS package in the back seat.  Frankly, I was beginning to worry.  When I got home from work last Monday night, WH was standing in the driveway, and I asked him if he had gotten the mail.  He said he had, so I asked if there was any Fun Mail today, and he got the most sheepish look on his face.  Apparently, he'd been driving around with PTS7 for several days.  And I can't really get angry, since he had rotator cuff surgery last January, he can't carry stuff like he used to.  And besides, I have it in my possession now, so it's OK.

 Then, a month or so ago now (yes, call me a slacker!) I received these wonderful pot holders in the PP10 swap from Cottilello all the way from the UK.  I was so excited to receive them, I put them away without taking any pictures.  I don't really intend to use them - they're too pretty - but I am glad to say that after 3 or 4 rounds of PP, I no longer feel like my pot holder collection is exclusively made up of 20-something year old eyesores.  I now have the most gorgeous collection of pot holders ever.  

Check out the cute selvage centers...

And the cute label.

Too fun!

And then I've been getting bee blocks.  I haven't taken pics of all of them yet, but here is a smattering of what I've gotten this week...

These are from Crafty Liaooo for my GMFG quilt.

And this one is from Saricx - she has already made me a couple of blocks from another bee we were in together.  I'm glad to say, I am now about halfway there with GMFG.  I need to decide soon about the joining fabric, and then start making some hexies to begin to put the blocks together - I'm getting excited.

And speaking of hexies, this is the block megmormel made for me in the 3x6 bee.  Truly unique.  And so fun.  I've gotten a couple of other blocks from this bee so far, so I need to go round those up too and take more pictures - maybe the weather will be better tomorrow.

And I actually won a blog giveaway!  I won this "T is for Thelma" pattern from Thelma at Cupcakes and Daisies Blog.  It's always fun to be a winner.  Looks like fun.  And it is apparently the monthly block for the Schnibbles on Sherri's and Sinta's Year of Schnibbles and monthly quilt parade.  I have never participated before, but maybe, just maybe, this month....

So there it is, round 1 of Fun Mail.  Aren't I a lucky girl?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Charity Quilt

 It has finally stopped raining here along the Gulf Coast and we have had three nice days in a row!  Woo Hoo!  That must mean it is Spring.  This lovely dogwood is in my neighbor's front yard.  I love dogwoods when they are in bloom.

Spring also means it is time for the Opera's annual Ball and silent auction.  For the last several years I have made a quilt and my friend makes a sweater and booties and they are auctioned as a set.    Last year, I made a Whirly Wheels quilt out of Kate Spain Central Park for the event from a pattern I found on Moda Bake Shop.

 The quilt and sweater set made over $100 last year. 

This year, I was looking for an easy pattern, as I didn't have much time.  I had one Hoopla charm pack and a bit of another, along with a bit of yardage.  Luckily, my LQS still has some Hoopla because after I got the quilt made, I didn't have enough fabric to bind it.

Pinwheels are easy.  But apparently not for me.  Thursday night, I must have been more tired than I thought because I sewed the wrong end of every block.  They looked like deformed hourglass blocks.  I actually thought it might be fun to use them, but then the rows didn't go together right and I decided to take it apart - all apart - and go with my original plan.

Once I got the blocks together correctly, the quilt went together very easily.  Even the points match up.

I actually love how bright and cheerful this quilt is.

And I really am a sucker for brights on white.  There's just something so fresh about that combination that gives me chill bumps.  Weird, I know.

Happy spring!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rockin' Around Blogland

Ok, I admit it.  I am a music nerd.  Despite my son's best efforts, his mom is not technologically adept and has never downloaded a song from I-tunes or put music I own in the cloud. And modern music leaves me - well - uninspired.  I like oldies.  And I like country.  Sometimes.

Anyway, for my birthday this year WH bought me an I-phone.  I immediately fell in love with the JoAnn's ap.  I am all about having those coupons HANDY.

But today I was surfing around blogland instead of making the quilt top of the baby quilt I'm making for the Operazzi Ball auction, and I ran across this post and it made me literally laugh out loud!  Scroll all the way down and look at the music Amy discovered in her basement.

What do these two facts have in common you ask?

Well, the other day I headed into the sewing room to do a little fabric therapy, and decided it would be even more relaxing to have a little music.  I had recently downloaded the Pandora ap for my I-phone, but the only stations I had in my Pandora account were Christmas songs.  So, I punched the "new station" button and it said, "Enter artist or song".  Well, I was stumped - what song?  What artist?  Hmmm, do I dare?   My go-to all-time-favorite group was - well - Simon and Garfunkle.  Ah, who cares?  I no longer have children in my home to laugh at me, so what the hey!  I punched it in, and now I'm transported to my childhood.  Literally.

But guess what other artists are on that station?  John Denver, The Beatles, James Taylor, Billy Joel...

Ah, quilting heaven.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Blockin' Around

I finished the blocks for the 3x6 Bee - a month early, if you can believe it.  Well, OK, I have to confess that the only reason it was a month early is because I thought the deadline was March 15.  Still, it's not a bad thing to have them done early, especially since grandbaby #2 is due on April 5, so I know I'll be heading out to help his momma and take care of sweet little Abby.

This block is called "Blockade" - for obvious reasons, I suppose.  I picked it because I just really liked it, and had made the first block before I realized it was a 3-color block and I had 3 members of the bee that asked for rainbow blocks - 2 with black background and 1 with white.  So, I played around with the design a little and came up with something that works with the rainbow theme.  Here's the rainbow block with the white background.

I really like it.  It's fresh and bright.  And I'm a sucker for bright fabrics with white.  I really am.

One of the cool things about this bee is that you make the same block in different color schemes so you get to see how the colors play together.  I really like the blue and lime.

And the orange, yellow and lime is awesome too.  But truth be told, I really like these 4 colors together.  Wouldn't this make an awesome quilt?

I like the way the lime in the middle ties the whole thing together.

And finally, someone is working on a 4th of July quilt.  Or this would be cool for a quilts for the Quilts of Valor project. 

These were totally fun blocks to make, and I hope my Hive-mates like them.

And I'm really glad they're done.  Early.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Going Bananas!

I'm not big on recipes around here - heck, I'm not big on cooking at all any more - but this Banana Bread recipe is one folks keep calling to ask for, so I thought I would post the recipe where everyone can find it.  It is moist and flavorful, but not too sweet.  It was actually my Grandma Wheeler's recipe, so I guess you could say it's an heirloom of sorts.  When my kids were little, I couldn't understand why they would beg to buy bananas and then let them sit there and turn black, until one day my little guy said, "Mom, we're waiting for you to make banana bread!"  Well, duh!

And the truth is, he was right.  The closer the bananas are to spoiling (without being moldy or really spoiled of course) the more flavorful your bread will be.  You can hurry it along sometimes by mashing your bananas and letting them sit open to the air for an hour or two.

Grandma's Banana Bread

3 bananas - mashed
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped nuts (if desired)

Mash bananas and set aside.  Cream shortening and sugar.  Add eggs.  Stir in bananas.  Add dry ingredients and vanilla and mix well.  Add nuts if desired.

Divide batter evenly into 2 well-greased 9x5 inch loaf pans.  Bake at 350* for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let set 10 minutes before cutting.  Good warm or at room temperature.

This recipe works very well when doubled.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Little Man

Photo by Adorn-It
When I was at Sewing Summit, I was going through a fabric craving and ran across this delightful little bundle, perfect for the Little Man quilt I planned to make.

It's been sitting there all this time, begging to be sewn together into a quilt.  I made the blocks two or three weeks ago.

And if you read last Friday's post, you will know I finally got the tops done, and had them sandwiched and quilted, so they were just waiting for binding.

 Not just one quilt  - two quilts.  And I have enough fat quarters for one more.
Luckily, machine binding is a job that doesn't take much thought.  I actually finished them both on Friday night after I came home from work.  I worked 10 hours Friday.  I didn't have much brain power to use.

I really liked the red with the neutral look of the Buckaroo fabric.  It just gave it a little pizzaz.

 The pattern is, of course, from Camille Roskelly's book, Simplify. 

These should make nice baby gifts.  They're a little small for grown ups.

Another project checked off my list.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Totally Distracted by a Jelly Roll Race

You know how in Friday's post I listed all the things I wanted to accomplish sewing-wise this weekend?  Well, that's all well and good, but as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men (and quilters...)

I don't know if you're a Pinterest fan, or if you've been surfing quilting blogs around the net lately,  I spend too much time doing both lately, and still feel like I don't have enough time to really know what's going on out there.  Anyway, I was at church last night for a special event and my friend Lisa, who is an accomplished seamstress and aspiring quilter told me she had purchased her first jelly roll and asked me if I had seen the Jelly Roll Race quilts flittering around Pinterest.  Well, I hadn't, but since she mentioned it, I came right home and checked it out.

Here's the You Tube video.  One of these women made her quilt top in 35 minutes (not including sewing the strips together). 

Well, this video grabbed my imagination.  I just happened to have a Boutique (by Chez Moi) jelly roll sitting on the shelf feeling all lonely, just waiting for the right project, and I thought, "What a cool concept.  I just have to try it."

Mine took a bit longer than 35 minutes, but I was still finished in less than 2 hours.  Not bad, I think.  That lady must have a machine that goes a lot faster than mine.   Or maybe I took too long getting the strips organized.  I might have been able to do it that quickly on the serger.  I used to do a lot of quilt tops on the serger, but lately, I haven't been doing them that way because the seams are a bit lumpier than I really like.

If you read the tutorial, you notice that you "randomize" your jelly roll strips, sew them into one long string, fold the two ends to the top, and sew the entire length of the 1600 inches, or whatever it is.  When you come to the bottom, you cut the strip apart, finish the seam, and then fold the bottom to the top and do it again.  The first couple of seams take for-e-ver,  but the last ones are done in a jiffy. 

It's interesting how the fabrics kind of clump together.  I didn't have any two of the same colors or fabrics together, but the bottom center in the photo above show all the really bold fabrics in the line all in the same area.  And there were a couple of places where there were several strips of blue or green right next to each other.  Weird.  But overall, I like it.

Quirky Granola Girl had a different take on the concept.  She sliced hers in quarters put a square in the center and it turned out really cute.  I actually thought of doing it that way too.  It would break up the long strips of one fabric.

My LQS still has some Boutique yardage, and I have a hunk in the stash, so I'm thinking about adding borders  - maybe similar to  Sugar Rush (probably without the scallops) so that it's not so - well - square.  The finished quilt is kind of an awkward size for me.  I'm not really fond of square quilts, and I like them to be long enough to cover my feet and shoulders at the same time, so I think borders might just do the trick.  I have some extra strips I got from BD#1, and I'm thinking of doing a scrappy binding.  I think that will go with the overall feel of the quilt.

I'm sure we'll be seeing this little guy again.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

PTS 7 - Finally Finished!

I finally finished my PTS 7 pillow for my partner.  She asked for aqua and red with gray and a touch of of pink, so at least this complies with those requests.  She also asked for a pillow at least 20 inches, and this pillow is huge - 24" square.

I did a little hand quilting in the borders, mostly because I'm not a big fan of gray and I thought it was boring.

I had a tough time quilting this baby.  I didn't want to quilt the fussy cut squares, so the quilting is really choppy, but I think it serves its purpose.

So, partner, I really hope you like it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Everybody's Workin' Toward the Weekend...

So, I was supposed to go see adorable little Abby this weekend, but she and her mommy and daddy are sick =(    (BTW:  Isn't this photo-sketch cool?  I found this ap for the Iphone that does this automatically.  So fun.)

And I want to be healthy when Abby's brother makes his appearance.  So, I have developed a self-awarded consolation prize.

A S*E*W*I*N*G Weekend!!!

(Abby hugs would be better but I'm trying to make the best of it, see?)

First, I finish the PTS Pillow.   It's coming right along.  It's almost ready to be quilted.

Then I do the blocks for my 3x6 bee.  Picking the block is the hardest part, no?

Then I bind the 2 Little Man Quilts.

Then, WH's B-day is coming up, and I've got a plan for that.  Hint:  it involves fabric and....

Then my Movie Mini quilt.  I have SUCH a fun idea.  It involves the most classic movie of all time.  Well, one of them.

Then blocks:  Craftsy BOM blocks. Sew and Bee Happy blocks.  Sew Fun Bee blocks.  MSBBS blocks (wish I knew what that stands for.)

And I have to make a quilt for the auction at the Operazzi Ball.

Then I want to start a Granny Squares quilt and play along with the QAL on Flickr.

That might possibly be enough to keep me busy.  But if not, I've got a longer list around here somewhere.

Hope you have a fun weekend too.