Welcome to my blog, we're talking about quilting and other good stuff. I'm glad you stopped by ... look around, add a comment, become a follower if you feel inclined, tell your friends about me, and come back soon!

Monday, December 31, 2012

The ultimate stash buster

A great way to end the year - more stash busting ideas!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

I heard the bells on Christmas Day, their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the word repeat of peace on earth, good-will to men!
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Monday, December 24, 2012

Rushing while dragging your feet

THEN He loaded some bags And some old empty sacks On a ramshakle sleigh And he hitched up old Max.  Then the Grinch said, "Giddyap!" And the sleigh started down Toward the homes where the Whos Lay a-snooze in their town...
-"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Dr. Seuss

First, the rush ... and what  is  the rush??  When I was in JoAnn's fabrics one day last week, what did I see on display front and center?  Valentine's Day decorations and doo-dads! 

Oh please, can't we have Christmas first?  And who's going to buy Valentine's Day candy  now??

Christmas decorations were on sale for 70% off... that's okay, though - a sale is always a good deal!

Now the dragging of the feet ... some people are out there now, doing last minute shopping.  When I used to spend Christmas with my sister, we would ALWAYS be out on Christmas Eve running around, and it was never for anything we really needed.  I just enjoyed being with Ruby, she had a way of making shopping fun! 

And where would we be first thing on December 26?  Back in the malls, getting those after-Christmas bargains!  The best deals ever were the half-price sale at the Dollar store... the cup on the right is one such bargain, it's a really good-drinking cup!

I like using Christmas mugs and because I have a pretty good collection, I have to rotate them during the Christmas season.  The green mugs at the top are part of a set of dishes I got at the Cracker Barrel in Hampton in 2008; the set has cups, dinner plates and dessert/salad plates.  I'd have liked to have had bowls too, but there weren't any.

That's my rambling for the day, I probably won't get any sewing done for a few days.  And, I'll be taking a mini-vacation from blogging for a few days.  I made a little Christmas greeting for tomorrow but other than that, I might not post again til the New Year. 

Have a warm and wonderful Christmas everyone, I hope Santa is good to you!  If you're travelling, be safe - sew forth and sew on!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lights and little houses

The sounds of happiness, the bright lights and the faint but delicious smells of Christmas cooking reminded him of past Christmas times when his wife had still been alive and his own children little.
- Leo Tolstoy, "Papa Panov's Special Christmas"

Hello, is anybody there??  Good!

I guess we have to listen to the right news!

I just went outside to get a package from my neighbor's porch and boy is it windy and cold!  Yesterday morning I woke up around 7:30 and wanted to re-snuggle under the quilts and catch some more sleep, then I remembered his lights ... those b-l-i-n-k-i-n-g  lights that I had to get up and turn off.  That boy better come home soon, I tell you what!!

I'm working on a project that I can't show you yet, but I did do some more of those cute little houses from the scraps given to me at guild... 
aren't these cute?  There are 16 of these, they make up really fast!  I had been thinking of parking them in my Parts Department til later, maybe using them for a border.  But now that I see them grouped together, I think they'd make a sweet quilt on their on, with sashing between.   Something to think about!

Well, that's it for today, here's a quilty hug to insert into your day...

take a nibble as often as you like!  Sew forth and sew on til later...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's a wrap!

Isn't this the cutest cartoon?

I just had to share it!

Yesterday I picked up my Christmas quilt from the LA and it's simply gorgeous!  Bernerdett did a super job on the quilting but the irony is I can't show it to you because I couldn't capture it on camera, pooh!   Here's the full quilt on the bed:

I think you can see the quilting in this shot - she quilted holly along the border!
The picture is so fuzzy and the red is all wrong!  I need to learn how to use my camera better  :o(

This is one of my favorite blocks:
this is also the one that aggravated me!  I had taken the quilt to Bern's house and we noticed this block wasn't stitched down!  For some reason I just couldn't use her sewing machine, I'm so used to my Singer; I took the quilt back home, stitched the applique down, and returned it the next day.

My friend Pat found this 108" fabric that I used on the back:
It's pretty fabric, and I went for it because I wasn't in the mood to piece a back after all the work on the front!  It looks nice and Christmassy on the quilt with it's candy canes, Christmas trees, ornaments, gloves, mittens, snowflakes and little houses.

So that's a wrap, I have my custom made, one-of-a-kind Christmas quilt!  If I were to tell you how to make it, I'd probably give you measurements for each section and tell you to fill it with blocks that fit - it's that kind of a quilt!

That's it for now; I didn't get any sewing done at all yesterday, was busy with other stuff.  Take care, have a great Thursday, sew forth and sew on!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Doing the happy dance

"She ran to her mother's bedside. "Look, look!" she cried. "A Christmas gift, a gift from the good Saint Nicholas!" And she danced again in her little bare feet."
- Francis Jenkins Olcott, "Little Piccola"

When you're happy do you dance, or do you just grin a lot? Me too!

My neighbor Mike is traveling to the Dominican Republic today for 5 days and he left me -- ME -- in charge of his Christmas lights!!  See that little remote in my hand?  Well, I can turn his lights on and I can turn them back off... from inside my house if I want to!  I was grinning!

He has icicles that sort of cascade on and off, kind of a pretty effect.  But then he added some big ole candy canes that blink and colored lights that wink, partly draped over the railing as if he stopped decorating right in the middle. ??

Whatever.  Anyway, for 5 days I have the POWER to control all of that... AND he's bringing me a rum cake back from the Dominican Republic, how scrumptious is that!  Oh man, I hope they don't "import" them from someplace here in the States!

I was grinning  and doing the happy dance Saturday at guild meeting... I was gifted this ginormous bag of scraps by a friend.  Take a look at this pile!
You can't even see them all but there are strings and strips and chunks and hunks... just the way I like em!  And she also included a few scraps sewn together, crumb style!
The perfect beginning for something scrappy!

And at guild I won this prize in the Christmas Song Quiz!
There was a package of quilt clips, a roll of 8 fat eighths and a package of 6 fat quarters.  That green is perfect for Bonnie's Easy Street mystery!

The Christmas song quiz was a lot of fun, you had to read the sentence and name the song.  Here are a few: "The apartment of 2 psychiatrists" (Nutcracker Suite).  "Frozen precipitation commence" (Let it Snow).  "Our fervent hope is that you thoroughly enjoy your yuletide season" (We Wish You a Merry Christmas).  And last but not least: "Leave and do an elevated broadcast" (Go Tell It On the Mountain). 

It was fun, the ladies who put the games together did an excellent job!  In case you want to see the song list,  here's the link:  http://www.santalady.com/xmasgame/quiz2.html 

Well that's all for now, have a great Wednesday.  Got a bit of running around to do today, maybe moving fast will help me stay warm!  Sew forth and sew on...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

On a wild goose chase!

"December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats."
- Dylan Thomas, "A Child's Christmas in Wales"

When Bonnie at Quiltville showed us her latest antique quilt, I was goosed by inspiration! Sometimes she'd show us an antique quilt and I'd think "wow, look at that piecing!" or "oh man, how'd she have the patience to do all that" or "how pretty!"  But the one with the scrappy-stringy pieced geese?  It  talked to me - it called out and said "MAKE ME!!"

My first thought was to replicate the quilt as it was made by the quilter, but I'm changing the colors a bit so it won't look exactly  like the original - I think it's only fair that Bonnie gets dibs on replicating it exactly, after all it was her find!  I have a sort of mottled brown that I'll substitute for the alternating solid green strips, and I'm using a sort of off-pink-cantaloupe-y solid for the goose wings.

I went to my stash of unused (and under-appreciated!) homespuns and started cutting strips for the goose body. I didn't have any already cut because I haven't been using the homespuns, just hoarding - uh stashing - em! I'm also using recycled shirts, but I have just a handful of those.

Because I'm a creature of get-er-done and instant gratification, I'll be paper piecing my geese from start to finish! 

I found a flying geese pattern in EQ called "Flying Geese V" and printed it at 6 x 12, this gave me 4 geese stacked in a row; it'll cut down on the number of seams.

All my strings have been pieced on 5" squares of phone book paper - each square will give me the body for two geese.

So here's the first group I did, not bad!

Homespuns by their very nature are loosely woven, so I hit each block with a little spray starch before I cut them apart.  Some will be cut crosswise, just for variety!

I think this is a very pretty quilt, and I thank Bonnie for her generosity in sharing it with us!  It also seems to be a very quick quilt to make, owing to the paper foundation piecing ... I wonder if the original quilter did hers on foundations?? 

Well, it's the podiatrist today, my last medical appointment of 2012 .. sew forth and sew on, have a great Tuesday!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Scraps, glorious scraps!

"Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds."
- O. Henry, "The Gift of the Magi"

There are two basic rules about scraps: (1) The more you use, the more you have, and (2) Other people's scraps are more interesting than your own!

At guild meeting Saturday Rosa gave me a humongous bag of scraps - I was scrap happy!  I couldn't wait to dig into the bag, there's some wonderful stuff in there! Isn't that the cutest little toady-frog? 

I had some paper foundations that I keep in a folder, I can always use those shapes.  Actually this is a modified flying goose (geese?) that I manipulated in EQ by moving the peak over to the left and right, to make the top flat.  This makes the perfect roof top for a tiny house!

I pieced a 4" rooftop, scrap, then I cut another piece roughly 4 x 6 to make the body of the house.  Does the measurement have to be exactly exact?  Nope, we're only doodling!

To make a door for my little masterpiece, I cut off a 1-1/2 x 6" slice, then cut the bottom part just slightly off center to insert a door.

It can be left or right of center, or even IN the center, doesn't matter - here a doodle, there a doodle!

To make the door, cut a 1-1/2 x 3" or so piece of contrasting fabric.  Insert it between the two bottom pieces, reattach that 1-1/2 x 6" strip you sliced off.  Before attaching the body to the roof  I trimmed only the bottom of the roof unit, NOT the sides. 

Then attach the roof to the house, trim around all sides, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.

Voila, houses!

These little houses can be used as a border treatment... or I can add a piece of background at the TOP, and/or make the house part taller to make them different heights.  Who knows where we'll go from here... I just know I love playing with scraps!

That's it for now, I plan to stay in today and sew sew sew!  I have a challenge I'm working on for my guild and Christmas gifts for my bee.  Have a great Monday - sew forth and sew on!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Friends, food and fun!

2012 raffle quilt!
 And at yesterday's guild meeting there was lots of it!  December's meeting always has two staples:  the Christmas party and drawing the raffle quilt winner.  This year's winner was Cynthia Fellows-White of Wichita, Kansas - congratulations Cynthia! 

Everybody in the guild sells tickets and we BUY our tickets (I bought all of mine this year!), but I'm always glad when someone outside the guild wins the quilt.  When we called her she was over-the-roof happy!  She said she never wins anything, so that makes it even more special with this being Christmas time.  It starts me wondering though... since she's from Kansas, where did she buy the ticket?  Was it at a quilt show? directly from a guild member? at the Chantilly Sewing Expo a couple months ago??  Something to ponder!

There was lots of show n tell!

I can't possibly show everything, this is probably 1/4 of the lovely pieces our ladies had to show!  The last piece is by a visitor who is a new quilter - pretty!

Lots and LOTS of food!

Talk about a groaning board!!!  Did you notice my food shots are larger than the quilt shots?  hmmm.....

We also had door prizes, winners of the table centerpieces (didn't get a picture, darn!) games (of which
I was a winner) and just a really good time!

Thanks for letting me share my day with you, I hope you enjoyed the pictures!  Sew forth and sew on til later.


Friday, December 14, 2012

My Festivus list!

Three things to be happy about:
(1) straight teeth
(2) overalls
(3) a foosball match

In a nutshell, the "Festivus" celebration was born on the Jerry Seinfeld show, where George Costanza's father wanted a celebration "for the rest of us."  He'd get a Festivus pole and gather the family around and berate them for their failures during the year.  The poorest performer would have to carry the festivus pole of shame.

Well, I love Christmas and I don't celebrate Festivus, but I thought it would be a fun name for this post.  Throughout the year I started things that for one reason or another I didn't finish; I don't mean UFO's, that's a whole different category!

So, this is my Festivus list, or "things that I dropped like a hot tater."

First up - Inspired by Toefeather, I wanted to make a 4-inch block every day for a year, then I'd have 365 blocks to make into a quilt.  Clever girl!

Seemed easy to do and it really is, but that daily block became a group of weekly blocks, then there were no blocks at all, doh!   After I made 35 blocks I discovered I wasn't sure I liked how they all looked together and I dropped that idea!  I'll make one more then set them in a quilt with sashing in between.

Another one - a slashed 9-patch block using African fabrics. 

Sounded like a good idea and the single blocks looked great... but when I placed several of them together on my design wall - yuck!  Not my idea of an attractive quilt.  If you stared at it too long it'd probably knock you down!

I could take the ones I did and set them with some kind of sashing (w-i-d-e sashing!) I suppose, but I'll not be making any more of these rascals!

Here's a good one - South of Baltimore!  I was using scrap yardage to make the flowers and leaves.

This actually should be considered a UFO because I can finish it by simply making two more blocks and setting them in a gigantic four-patch.  The blocks are 16" square so they'd make a nice wall hanging.  At this point I can't remember why I dropped this one - UFO!

And last but not least - my stash report!  Where did that go? Well, I found it tedious to try and figure out how much fabric I was using every week.  I stopped my wild fabric buying several months ago, I don't even look at the emails from Hancocks of Paducah or Thousands of Bolts or eQuilter (why haven't I dropped off those mailing lists??) and I think I've bought less than two dozen yards this year, so maybe the list did have some effect!  How much fabric did I use this year?  I have no idea but I know I used some, so that's a good thing!  So that's my story and I'm sticking with it!

If you had a quilting Festivus list, what would be on it??  I'd love to hear your hidden secrets!  Have a great Friday - sew forth and sew on til later!