Monday, July 30, 2012

Christmas in July - A Blog Hop

Are you ready for a little Christmas inspiration?  Madame Samm and Leslie at the Cuddle Quilter have put together a fun blog hop, and I've decided to play.  There are dozens of bloggers playing along and I know there will be tons of inspiration for everyone who plans to quilt and craft their way to December 25th.  So grab your favorite beverage, pull out the computer, and get ready for a great time.

And don't forget to drop back by prsd4tim2 on Friday, August 3rd.  I've got a little something cooking quilting that I think you'll like.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bee Awesome!

Hello, my name is Wendi and I'm a swap-aholic!  They say that admission is healthy, right?  I just can't seem to resist a good swap.   As I mentioned in my last post, I joined another bee.  But this one is a "finish-it" bee.  The ladies in the group are going to rehab/finish projects that are already started so they can move along to the finishing stage. 

A couple of years ago, I purchased 2 charm packs of Fresh Cottons.  I hadn't quilted in a long time, and these were the first pre-cuts I ever bought.  I got excited about a pattern in a booklet called "Just Desserts", and came home and started sewing.

I hadn't sewn in so long that I forgot that the presser foot on my Pfaff is not 1/4 inch until I had a bunch of them done.  Did I rip them out?  Nope.  I just kept sewing.

And then I stopped. 

I don't remember why, I just stopped.  And those blocks have sat there in the WIP pile all this time.

So the other night, I went and found the half-finished bottoms.  Yesterday, I searched for - and found! - the fabric for the top half. 

I went to JoAnn's and bought some Jumbo ric rac. 

And today I finished Block #1.  Easy peasy, really.  Must have taken all of 10 minutes, including changing the thread on the machine to sew the ric rac. 

Despite it's non-standard seam allowance and general wonkiness, I think this will be a pretty quilt. 

I'm sending the blocks out to the bees tomorrow.  I can't wait to get the blocks back and make the quilt!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bee Block Overload?

I just joined another bee.  Is this an addiction or what?  But this bee is a little different.  This is a "finish -it" bee.  In this bee, the other members are going to help each other finish a project!  Now is that a good idea or what? 

When BD#1 first introduced me to designer fabrics, I bought two charm packs of Fresh Cottons by Fig Tree.  I wanted to make a basket quilt similar to the one in the Just Desserts quilt booklet.  I got the "baskets" finished, but never got around to adding the half of the blocks with the handles.

Since this bee starts August 1st, and since I am the first QB and August is my month, I thought I had better go sort out the WIPs in the sewing room and see if I could find said blocks.

Oh yes, I found them.  And so much more.  There are the citrus blocks from the swap pictured above.

And there are 40 string blocks...

And at least 40 bento blocks...

There are all of my Christmas blocks...

 And 57 of the 80 hexie blocks I need...

There are 83 bow tie blocks...

24 3x6 bee blocks...

And 80 charm squares...

In addition to quilt tops I have started all on my own that are languishing in the WIP basket.

But, perhaps all is not lost.  I have actually finished a couple of bee quilts.

Teal We Meet Again, for example, is all done.

As is A Blockwork Orange.  So I have hope that I will finish the rest as well.  Eventually.

Meanwhile, I'm going to let the ladies in the Bee Awesome bee help me with my Fresh Cottons quilt.  Maybe that'll be one more I can check off my WIP list!


My vacation put me a little behind and I have two or three swaps I  need to finish by the end of the month. I had planned a sewing Saturday, but I forgot that I'll be in meetings all day, so I decided I had better tackle the easiest one first.  This is for a needle book swap in the RATZ swap - "Rapid And Tiny Zakka" swap.  I haven't done much zakka style sewing, so I must have decided it was time.  This is a variation of my hexie needlebook.  I used some Heather Ross FFA III and a little flower sugar.  My partner asked for pink.

I added a scissor pocket in the back with a velcro scissor latch so the scissor won't fall out.  I'm hoping the other two pockets will hold small spools of thread. 

I hadn't done a button closure on the hexie needlebooks before either, but it seemed to make sense with the scissor pocket in the back.  I bought 100 hair elastics at the dollar store right before Christmas.  They come in really handy for the elastic button loops.

So, there's one swap item nearly complete.  I hope she likes it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

{What I Did on} My Summer Vacation!

I know it's been a little bit quiet around the ol' blog lately, but I've been out of town for a week and all I took with me was my phone - very hard to write blog posts from my phone, I'm afraid.  But a very fun week it was! I don't know that I've ever had a vacation where I actually accomplished everything I set out to do before, but it actually happened this time, and I'm very excited.

After a grueling 29 hours in transit (one of the joys of flying standby, I'm afraid) I finally arrived in Seattle, which was my first stop.  My very kind brother in law collected me from the airport and we began our adventure.  You see, when my grandmother passed away, her very cool Singer treadle sewing machine that both my sister and I sewed on in our early years, was left to me.  However, I live some 3000 miles away.  When my cousin decided to purchase and remodel her house, my sister rescued the machine and has been storing it for me in her garage for two or three years.  I had hoped to get it last summer, but we had a wedding instead.

The cabinet is a little worn, but the machine looks to be in wonderful shape.  Of course, I'll need to buy a new belt, and probably take it in for a little tune up, but preliminary indications are that it is in great condition.  And would you believe it has all of its original parts, including the manual?  Sadly, my photos were geared much more toward how to put it back together, than how cool it is, but I promise to do a better job of chronicling the restoration process than I did the disassembly.

Just love these old cast iron parts - they are truly works of art!

So, the first two (non-traveling) days of my vacation were spent dismantling and packaging the sewing machine to ship home.  Despite all of my nightmares about rusted bolts and impossible screws, it came apart fairly easily, particularly after said BIL ran to the hardware store for some penetrating oil and patiently tap-tap-tapped on the reluctant bolt that wouldn't come out.

My sister is a very organized kind of girl, and she had thoroughly researched various methods of dismantling and packaging treadle machines to encourage their safe arrival at their destination.  Accordingly, we spent all of the second day packaging the machine (thank goodness for take-out meals!)  While there were several promising methods described online, we finally decided on a plan that used copious quantities of 1-1/2 inch foam insulation and lots and lots of plastic film.  We'll know by the end of the week if we chose the right method.

Tuesday morning early we were at the post office, which agreed to ship my new treasure home for only $122.00 insured.  I was actually amazed, since early estimates from FedEx and UPS were right around $1000.

 I can't wait until it arrives!

And Tuesday afternoon, my friend Krista and her 3 adorable little boys came and got me and we did some fabric shop hopping and had lunch!  It was so, so fun to meet her.  We've been conversing online and texting for weeks, so it was great fun to get together in person.  She's making me some hexie blocks for our Sew Fun Bee!!!  I'm so close to having enough for a quilt.  Time to think about the connecting rows.  But I digress...

Wednesday morning, I headed off to Salt Lake City to visit the grands.  In fact, I got lots of baby love, as their mommy and daddy left mid-day Thursday to attend a wedding in Colorado.

Abby and I went out to run some errands (and give mommy some peace to pack) early Thursday.  Of course, McDonald's PlayPlace was the first stop.  In something of a major miracle, said granddaughter ate 2-1/2 pancakes.  I was shock-ed and amaz-ed, as she doesn't ever eat much.

Then we ran some errands and came home to take care of her brother so mom and dad could head out.  Little brother wasn't too sure that the stuff Grandma was trying to feed him was edible, but after a little bit of reluctance, his appetite overcame his taste-buds, and we got along just fine.

Friday, we started out with a haircut, and then had a great play day, with pony rides on the carousel...

and a visit to the splash pad (that's Abby in the middle in orange)...

And lunch with Uncle Sean

Saturday, Uncle Sean joined us again, and we went to the Spanish Fork Fiesta Days carnival.  While brother took a nap in the stroller...

Big Sister went on all the "little kid" rides (except the motorcycles - no interest at all in the motorcycles, for some reason), including the Ferris Wheel

Intrepid little soul, isn't she?  There were adults freaking out about the Ferris Wheel, and she just sat there calmly and took it all in.

Unfortunately, Grandma had to leave before mommy and daddy got back, so Uncle Sean (make that bachelor Uncle Sean) got to babysit for about 10 hours on Sunday.  I think it might have been a bit more than he bargained for, but I hope he hasn't sworn off having kids forever!

But for me, it was a great vacation.  Who wouldn't love spending 4 days with these cuties?

And just in case you are in need of a little baby love, here's a video that always makes me smile.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

{Inspired by} Purse Palooza

I've been struggling for months about what to make for my sister for her birthday.  You might think this was good planning, except that her birthday was in March.  Yup, I'm more than 3 months late for that event.  What a lame sister I am!

The problem is that I have already gifted my sis with at least one of most of the things I generally create.  She has placemats and table runners and tote bags and pot holders...

So what to make the girl who has everything?

Luckily, Purse Palooza was circulating around blogland about the time we went to South Carolina for WH's surgery (and yes, that is a long, long tale for another day!)  WH actually suggested that while I was there, I should check out the quilt stores in the area.  Can you believe it?  Is he a champ, or what?

So in the pouring rain, we tooled around Columbia and visited the two quilt stores my friend found for me.  One was huge, with tons of beautiful fabric, lots of patterns and tools, and a very helpful staff, but for some reason, I didn't buy a thing.

The other was {literally} a hole in the wall.  It was on the back side of a strip center, and the GPS said I was in the right place, and I still couldn't find it.  I finally called from the car, and the owner directed me around to the back.  I was a little disturbed by the smell of cigarette smoke in the air.  It was a real turn off, in fact.  And the selection was OK.  But I did find a couple of things I liked.  And thankfully, the fabric didn't smell like smoke.

I found this butterfly fabric which I think Dear Sister will like.  It's got kind of a Japanese vibe to it.

The pattern is the Pixie Handbag by Keyka Lou (now Michelle's Patterns).  It was one of the semi-discontinued patterns, and was only $3.00 or something like that.

The pattern was really easy to follow and went together like a dream.  Honestly, the whole thing only took me about two hours.

I put on my first magnetic snap, and even that was easy peasy.  I used a hair tie for the elastic loop for the button on the pocket.  I got 100 hair ties for $1.00 at the dollar store last Christmas, so that was a bargain.

I bought this beige print for the inside.  I only bought 1/4 yard , and I wished I had bought more.  The more I see it, the better I like it.  The black polka dot was off the remnant table at JoAnn's, but I really liked it with the butterfly print.  The button was actually of the clearance table at JoAnn's so it was pretty inexpensive also.

My only real concern with this purse is that even though I made the large version it is fairly small.  I don't this Dear Sister is into big handbags, but if she carries much more than wallet, keys and phone.  I hope that's enough.

So Dear Sister, Happy Birthday (three-and-a-half months late!)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

You're a Grand Old Flag! {A Celebration in Fabric}

A few weeks ago, one of the swaps that I sporadically participate in - the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap - held a 4th of July Mug Rug swap.  With only about 3 weeks to create a little mini quilt and send it off to your partner, it was a bit rushed, but sometimes those are the best ones.  Here is the mug Rug I received from my partner, Raesha.

Sorry for the mediocre iphone picture, but I had already taken it to work when I realized that I hadn't taken or posted pictures.

Can you see that she quilted USA in the corner?  I thought that was a fun touch.

And my partner included some fun extras, too, which was fun!

With WH having his foot in a cast and not feeling too well this year, our celebration of Independence Day was pretty quiet - actually, he didn't feel well at all and slept a lot, so I sewed all day (which was pretty much a perfect day for me).  We did eat hamburgers and corn on the cob, so that was something to celebrate right there. 

So, I'm glad to have created (and received) this little bit of 4th of July fun.  It gave me an opportunity to reflect on the great blessing of living in the USA.

So, in the famous words of Irving Berlin, "God Bless America!"

Friday, July 13, 2012

To Die For...

I received my PTS8 pillow from Cottilello the other day.  Isn't it gorgeous?  I am so excited!  Somehow I never saw the finished pillow in the photo pool, so it came as a complete surprise.

I've been ga-ga over hexies lately, so the hexagonal shape is spot on.  And the fabrics!  A little FMF, a little Reunion, and linen!  And is the binding Summersville?  I'm not sure, but I love the cross-hatch. 

But maybe the part that's the most fun is the focal fabric in the center hexie.  I just love this map of London.  Did I tell you that my pillow came from across the pond?

The back is more of the London map fabric, with the tidiest zipper I've seen in ages down the center.

L*O*V*E it!

Thanks, Cottilello, for a great swap and a lovely addition to my pillow collection.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"QUILT" Block

I worked on bee blocks this weekend.  I'm trying to get a head start because I'll be out of town next week, and won't have access to a sewing machine.  I wonder if I will go through withdrawal.  Lately, I've been feeling that it is kind of an addiction.

This block is for Nicky in the Sew & Bee Happy bee.  She is doing a quilt using quilting words.  My word was "QUILT".  It was funny, I was looking at my list the other night and I had written "Quilt Block" and I wondered what quilt block I was thinking about.  When I looked and saw that my word was Quilt, it made me laugh at myself.

Anyway, Nicky has a mini-tutorial on her blog, but I didn't really follow it.  She did say that it was like putting together a log cabin block, so I just kind of ran with that idea.  I have to say, my seam ripper and I are much better acquainted now.  Since I didn't know what I was doing, it was hard to do it right the first time.

"L" was naturally the easiest letter.  I cut each strip 1-1/2 inches and sewed an orange on each side of the aqua.  This was also the basis for "I" and "T".

For "I", I just inserted a narrow piece of orange in between the two sections.  The orange piece was about an inch wide, so it finished 1/2".

For "T", I sliced it apart and inserted a piece about 1" for the cross-piece.  I tried a 1-1/2" piece, but it was just too wide and didn't look right, so my seam ripper and I went at it again.

"U" wasn't difficult, but again, it was trial and error to get the look I wanted.  I finally sliced off the corner and added a piece of orange at the bottom before I added the right side so it would have a pegged look.  Here is where the log cabin idea came in - and no seam ripper this time.  Yay!

"Q" was the trickiest of the letters, and I made several attempts at it before I was satisfied.  As it is, it's still a little wonky, but none of the other letters are too precise either, so I think it works.  In fact I kind of like it this way.  Getting the tab at the bottom gave me fits, but I finally worked it out.

I finished up by adding a 1-1/2" border all the way around.  The finished block measures 21-1/2" by about 6" wide.  Nicky suggested the blocks be 6" x 12" but that just wasn't in proportion for such a linear block - to get it 12" long the letters would have only been about 2" wide.

I can see a lot of uses for this block.  Wouldn't it be a cute banner for your sewing room?  How about a mini quilt, maybe decorated up a little?

Oh, I think I'll be doing this again.