Monday, February 24, 2014

Yellow and Purple and Gray - Oh my!

I know I shouldn't complain because I'm sure there are folks in really cold places this February morning that are much worse off than I, but even though it's 60 degrees outside, I'm freezing.  I wasn't really aware of it though until the sun broke through the clouds and warmed me up, and once it went behind the clouds again, I decided I was really cold.   Nothing to do then but grab a sweater and a quilt (heaven knows there is no shortage of quilts around here) and sit down and tell you about my latest project before I manage to get up and start my day.

I decided to try another Newtown Auction pillow this weekend from the tutorial by Let's Eat Grandpa.  This particular one was inspired by a photo on Flickr by This Crafty Fox ~ Tiffany. 

I've tried this technique a couple of times before, and this is my best effort so far.  The first one I threw away....  The second one became a journal cover.

This one didn't turn out too badly.  And they're getting easier.  The technique isn't difficult, but it is deceptively time consuming.  Of course, the trick is to cover all the raw edges, which sometimes isn't as easy as one might think.  Some pieces end up almost entirely covered, so while it looks like you can use teeny scraps, the truth is - not so much.

And for me, at least, it's a fairly messy process as I dig through my scraps.

{The good news is that the pillow was made entirely from scraps, and we all know that makes me feel amazingly THRIFTY = something-for-nothing!}

The palette is so totally NOT me that it was a real challenge.  While there are a lot of yellows in my scraps, not so much with the purple and gray.  And I really had to dig through the stash to find the Sleeping Beauty print from Far Far Away II that I knew was buried there somewhere.  {Note to self:  I really need to do some rearranging in there to make things more accessible.}

And while I was at it, I decided to make a matching mug rug.  This went a lot faster, probably due to its size.

So that was some of my weekend sewing.

Now I'm off to finish a couple of things before my daughter comes to visit tomorrow.  So excited!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Pictures. Finally!

We finally had a non-stormy day when I felt halfway decent after spending a week in the house with a headcold, so I finally got around to taking "real" photos of my bookshelf quilt.  It is not too bad from the front.  It isn't really one of my finer efforts, although it turned out OK.  It should still keep someone warm, and that's important, right?

I'm not really sure if it is saggy, or if it is just the way it is hanging over the fence, but I do know that the durn thing shifted while I was quilting.  A lot.

You can see on the back that the white border on the bottom is anything but straight.  Oops.

The other end isn't so bad.  This was only the second of my basting spray attempts, so I don't know if I just didn't check it carefully enough before I started quilting, or if I didn't use enough spray.   Either way, I'm kind of bummed by the results.

This one is obviously a humility quilt.  But, it's done, and it is a 14 in 2014 finish, so I'll have to be content with that. 

While I was out there, I managed to nab a couple of photos of the Honey Honey baby quilt too.  Here's the tutorial for this one:

1.  Start with a 9-patch of leftover charm squares.
2.  Dig in your stash to find coordinating colors.  Add borders until it measures the correct dimensions for
3.  An outer border of charm squares.

4.  Back with a fun hearts-and-flowers (literally) print you find in your stash and didn't know you had.

5.  Bind with cool coordinating stripes you find in your stash and didn't know you had either.  Shopping the stash is kinda fun.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me!

My birthday is in January.  A fact I have always kind of hated.  It always seemed when I was growing up that it was kind of an afterthought; it's just a really awkward time to have a birthday.  All the Christmas festivities are kind of over and well, the doldrums have already started.  But last fall, in one of my swapping sign-up crazes, I signed up for the Handmade Birthday Club, hosted by SusannahKate_Sews!  Each month, you make a gift for the birthday girl (or girls) and in the month of your birthday, eleven other people send you presents.  Wheeeee!!

Since we started in January, I was one of the first to receive a bunch of handmade goodies!  This gorgeous mini quilt/table runner above was sent by Shanna.  Isn't it beautiful?!

And this delightful table runner was made by Melissa!  I'm not usually a huge fan of gray, but matched with all those pretty fabrics, it is awesome!  I love it!

I may have shown this one before, but this awesome little package is from my good friend Krista.  It's the perfect gift - floss for the new embroidery I'm {going to} start, a frixion pen I've been coveting, a handmade needle minder,

and oh, yeah - a bag of peanut butter M&M's which are obviously missing from this picture.  They disappeared in a hurry.

These two sweet little pouches were from Nicole.  Aren't they cute?

Who could resist these sweet little handmade towels Rebekah sent?  The crochet borders are divine!  And the appliques are so fresh and fun.  I love them!

 This fun little package came from Jessica.  See that sweet little owl pouch?  I've put it to good use already.  It has already journeyed to St. Maarten and back with me.  And the fun URHERE mug for Florida?  Even though I live in Florida and have bought a few of these for others, it never occurred to buy one for myself.

And this fun divided basket and goodies are from Mary.  See that sachet in the pouch with the shoe on it?  It smells heavenly.  I've been enjoying it for a couple of weeks now.  And another URHERE mug, this time from Virginia.

I'm really excited!  Now I have a collection!

This lovely pile of yummy fabrics was from my good friend, Leona, along with a raincheck for a couple of her lovely fabric baskets, since she is in the process of moving.  This was such a fun package to open - each of these little goodies was individually wrapped.  AND we got to meet for dinner, so we were together when I opened them.  SO much fun!

This cute little pouch and other goodies is from Mai.  So fun!

This fun clutch is from the other January birthday girl, Kari.  It's so bright and cheerful!  I love it!

And if you were one of the lovely ladies who sent me one of these beautiful gifts, and notice something missing...  well, I have to admit that some time has elapsed since the receipt of these packages, and I've been confined to the house with an ice storm, traveled to the island of St. Maarten and back, and had a head cold for over a week....  I am not responsible for any consumables that might have been - well - consumed!

 And, as if that wasn't enough to make a girl feel super special,  ECMQG has started a fun new birthday tradition - birthday lollipops!  Fat quarter lollipops, of course.  Our president, Marcy, is sew creative, isn't she?

This is certainly one of the best birthdays ever!  Thanks, ladies!  (And WH too, of course!  He was responsible for the cake and a few other goodies.  His contribution should not go unnoticed - even if he does reveal my secrets.)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Did you ever play 20 questions? A Liebster Award

 Did you ever play 20 questions?  You know, the game where you have to ask obscure amazing yes or no questions to figure out what your opponent is thinking of.  Questions like, "Is it bigger than a breadbox?"  or "Is it animal, vegetable or mineral?"  My sister and I used to play this game in the car when we traveled as a family.  Yours truly always lost.  That might have something to do with the fact that I'm nine years younger and my 7 year old self was certainly no match for her 16 year old self.  But I digress....

My sweet Arielle, author of the cute new blog arielle {like the mermaid} has nominated me - her very own mother - for a Liebster Award.  Liebster apparently means cute or darling, but in Blogland is really just a way of connecting and getting to know each other better. 

To accept the "Award", the recipient answers 11 questions (why 11?  No idea, but at least it's not 20!) and then awards 11 other bloggers a Liebster Award and poses 11 questions of their own.  If they accept, they answer the 11 questions  and nominate 11 other bloggers...  You get the drift.

Well, who am I to refuse my dear girl?

So here goes:
1. Why did you start blogging? Originally I started blogging so that I could comment on my oldest daughter's blog where she posted pictures of my adorable granddaughter.  Pictures like this...

I NEVER, e-v-e-r imagined I would actually, really blog, let alone keep one up for almost 4 years.  But I have found it a fun way to connect with other people who have similar interests (see question 11 below), and a great way to chronicle my creative "adventures".  I never thought I would enjoy blogging so much.

2. What is something this year that you are really looking forward to?  My husband and I are planning an Alaska inland passage cruise this summer.  I can't wait! 

3. What is your favorite thing to do to unwind?  I love to read.  A really good book can transport me to places I have never seen and experiences I probably will never have.  My mother used to say I was totally oblivious when I had my "nose in a book" and it is still true.  When my children were little, I had to severely limit my reading so they wouldn't starve or die of neglect.  I don't have to worry about that any more, as you can see from this post.

And when I'm not reading...  I quilt!

4. Photos say a thousand words so share a photo that means the most to you. Why is that picture important to you?

 This photo includes all the things I hold most dear - my faith and my family.  (You can't see baby Britton in this picture, but he is there, I promise!  He was born about 7 months after this photo was taken.)  

 Here he is....  just so he doesn't feel left out.  (Funny how my grands think every quilt is their quilt!)

4. What quote inspires you the most? There are several, but this one really stands out:

“Get on your knees and pray, then roll up your sleeves and go to work.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley

 5. Name a beauty product you can’t live without & why?  Quite honestly, since I  "retired", beauty products are hit or miss with me, but a good moisturizer is essential.  Avon recently stopped making the one I have used for 30 years, so I'm trying new ones, and it's a struggle.  It has to be deeply moisturizing and be fragrance free, or at least have a fragrance that doesn't make me want to gag, and preferably that I don't keep smelling until the next time I wash my face.  I'm open to suggestions here.  Please!

6. Where is your favorite vacation spot?  WH and I honeymooned in Banff, Alberta, and we've only been back a few times in these thirty-something years, but whenever I think of Banff it brings back such fond memories, I would have to say it's my favorite.

7. What is your favorite blog? Oh, this is a tough one.  There are so many (too many, probably) that I love to read...  I'm going to pass on this one - you know who you are.

8. What is your favorite way to work out?  Ha!  This one is easy...  I don't.  At least not in the go-to-the-gym-and-sweat-your-eyeballs-out kind of way.  I enjoy going for walks in the neighborhood.  Otherwise, I guess I just work out the sewing machine.

9. Where do you like to shop?  AMAZON!!!  I can purchase almost anything and never have to leave my house!  With a few exceptions, Amazon has become my go-to shopping experience.  Second, Target.  When I need instant gratification - or even groceries - Target is my first stop.  When I need REAL groceries - more than Target carries, then I shop at the Commissary or Publix.  

10. What's the best advice you've ever been given?  From my dad:  "Everyone is just trying to do the best they can.  Be kind."  My dad was one of the kindest people I've ever known, and I've always tried to put these words into practice, although sometimes I fail miserably. 

 11. What is your favorite blog post you've written?  This is a tough one after almost 4 years and more than 450 posts, but I think this one:  So Interconnected - A Story.  It's the story of my daughter's Lark quilt, the interconnectedness of the quilting/blogging community, and how the Emerald Coast Modern Quilt Guild found me.  Of course, that one wouldn't have been written unless I had also written this one, which I think is my second favorite.

OK, so that's it for the questions.  Now it's my turn to nominate a few blogs.  These are some of my favorites - you may want to check them out too.  

My 11 nominees are:

{drum roll please!}

And now for your questions:

1. Why did you start blogging?

2. What is something this year that you are really looking forward to?

3. What is your favorite thing to do to unwind?

4. Photo's say a thousand words so share a photo that means the most to you. Why is that picture important to you?

4. What quote inspires you the most?

5. Name a quilting tool you can’t live without & why?

6. Where is your favorite vacation spot?

7. What is your favorite blog?

8. What is your favorite way to work out?

9. Where do you like to shop?

10. What's the best advice you've ever been given?

11. What is your favorite blog post you've written?

Be sure to let me know when you post - I can't wait to read your answers!

 Oh!  Be sure to check out arielle {like the mermaid}!  It is her tale of her adventures in the exotic island of St. Maarten.  Tell her that her mom sent you!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Little Progress Report (and some Confessions)

Thanks to Cindy Marvel for snapping these photos for me!
I've been working away in my little sewing room, despite the fact that there hasn't been much activity on the blog.  First is the finished Riley Blake Challenge quilt.  I presented it at the ECMQG meeting a couple of Saturdays ago and everyone wanted to know if it was a Drunkard's Path or a Dresden.  The general consensus was that it was a Drunk Dresden, so even though I don't drink anything much stronger than the occasional Diet Coke - ok, I admit that I have a slight Diet Coke addiction - the name seems fitting, so Drunk Dresden it is.

Here's a close up of the quilting.  I outlined the Dresdens in 7 rows of echo quilting, then used a double clamshell as the filler.  It gave it a lovely texture.

I used every little bit of the six Fat Eighth challenge fabrics.  I don't think I have so much as a scrap left.  In fact, I had to piece some of the blades to get the design to go the direction I wanted it to.  It was a fun little project, and I'm especially excited that I didn't buy anything to create this quilt.  I have a bolt of the yellow since it's the background/fence fabric for my Grandmother's Flower Garden WIP that I've been working on for - oh - a couple of years now....  The backing was a white sheet I bought on sale at Target for $4.00 way back in 2010 I think for just such a purpose....  I had the black Kona left over from something - I don't remember what, just now....  And of course, the MQG sent the Riley Blake Fabrics to the guild for distribution.

I managed to get the bookshelf quilt quilted last week, but sadly the backing shifted during the quilting (maybe I didn't use enough basting spray?  Or maybe it wasn't straight to begin with ?)  In any case, I had to make some strange adjustments to the back to make it work.  Oh well, maybe I'll just count this as a humility quilt.  It will still keep someone warm, right?

I'm now in the process of binding.  (BTW, I chose the green - thanks Krista!)

After 4 years (yes, 4!) I'm finally making progress on the Avignon quilt.  These were the very first charm packs I ever bought!  They are from the Moda line Breath of Avignon by American Jane.  I decided on a pattern from Moda Bake Shop called Avignon Picnic, and got all the blocks made...  And then it sat...  And sat...  And I moved it around some...  And it sat some more...  So I'm pretty excited to have a bona fide quilt top now.  Finally!  This baby has some quirks.  Not many of the seams match, probably due to the fact that it was constructed on at least 4 sewing machines - one of which was the serger.  The seam allowance is all over the place.  Nevertheless, it is going to be a quilt.  Soon.

Ironically, I ended up one block short.  Whether it got lost, or I was short of fabric and just never made it, or  I miscounted, I have no idea.  I knew I had some yardage set aside for the back...  somewhere.  Naturally, I had to dig through the stash.  And I never really finished the stash organizing project last summer, so I am proud to report that it is now done.  What you see is what I have, with the exception of bundles, which are in boxes, like the one on the top shelf.  Naturally, now that I've worked in my room awhile, I'm thinking it's time to reorganize because I need more {accessible} storage.  (I'm sure the hubs will be glad to hear that!)

I needed a baby quilt for a baby shower I was supposed to attend on Saturday, so while I was digging through the stash I came upon some leftover Honey Honey charm squares from the Charm Madness Blog Hop last year and decided they would be perfect.  Looks sweet and girly and fresh, doesn't it?  I started without much of an idea in mind, but I'm pleased with the way it turned out.  The center is just a 9-patch with a hot pink border, and then a gray (yes, gray!) border.  then I used some coral Kona, and then another strip of pink to bring it to the size it needed to be to do the charm border all the way around.  A fun, quick little project.  Best of all, everything was in my stash, so no shopping.  The backing was a sweet little heart print someone donated to me awhile back.  Although I finished it in time (which was in itself amazing) I ended up not attending the shower because of a head cold, since the baby was going to be there.  Maybe I'll actually get out and take real photos before I gift it.

And since I still had a few leftover charms, I decided to use them to make the siggy blocks I almost forgot to make.  I made siggy blocks for a swap last fall, but they disappeared into thin air (what would someone do with more than 1000 signed blocks, anyway?) so my friend Mary organized a new swap promising we would actually get our blocks this time.

Naturally, I had to mess up one...

In any event, that's what's been going on around here.

Thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Goals? Really? - 14 in 2014 Planning

I've been whittling down the massive basket of UFOs and working on my 14 in 2014 project.  Looking at this picture that I took around the first of November, I see a few quilts that are actually finished!  Woo Hoo!  But here it is the 10th of the month, so I suppose I should figure out what I plan to work on in February.  And it's a short month too, so I'd really better get on it.

The bookshelf quilt is all sandwiched and ready to quilt, so I think I can finish this one this month.

I even made a pieced back for it from a layer cake my friend gave me.  In fact, it was one of the quilts I practiced spray basting with at the January ECMQG meeting, so it's sitting there all ready and waiting.  It will be good to get it done.

I'm feeling the need to do some piecing, so rather than start a new project, I think I will try to finish this one.  This Breath of Avignon quilt has been sitting in this exact state for more than 2 years, so I think it's time to get it out and play with it.  Hopefully it will be an easy finish and the remaining piecing will satisfy that need I have to start something new.  I really don't need to start something new just now, although it would be a blast.

So, if I can finish 2 more quilts in February, that would leave 10 to finish in the final 10 months of the year, which should be pretty doable.  I hope.

So, I'm off to get creative.

TTFN (as Tigger says).

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Much Needed Respite

It's been a bit quiet on the blog so far this month, but I have a good excuse.  Honest!!  I made a quick trip to visit my youngest daughter who is now living on the island of St. Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles, otherwise known as the Dutch West Indies.  It was so beautiful there.  And the weather was certainly a nice change from the ice storm we had the last week of January!!  And, of course, it was wonderful to visit with my girl! 

Arielle and her husband are living on St. Maarten for the next couple of years while he goes to medical school.  As always, there are advantages and drawbacks to such an adventure.  On the plus side, it is just so lovely.  Waking up to this view every morning would be pretty awesome. 

In addition to the three (yes three!) pools, their condo has its own private beach, and of course the gorgeous view.  And check out the circular stairs down to the beach!  I have to admit to a bit of vertigo as I headed down the stairs.  It seemed as though they were suspended in mid air.  (It kind of reminded me of that scene in Indiana Jones where he steps off the ledge onto the invisible walkway...  Whew!) 

On the down side, it is, after all, an island, which can leave one feeling quite isolated.  And, since they don't know very many people there, it can be a bit lonely, especially since Mitch is constantly studying.  Of course, that gave me the perfect opportunity to visit and see the sights.  This is a view of "downtown" Marigot, and yes, the traffic is kind of a free-for-all throughout the island.  I believe there is only one stop light on the whole island.  Arielle manages it pretty well, but I have to admit that the first day, I was a bit freaked out by the cars going every which way!  I was so glad I wasn't driving.

 It was a lovely - and much needed - short vacation.  Guess it's time to go see if I can get back in the groove. 

Au revoir!