Monday, February 28, 2011

       I did some sewing this weekend.  Wanna know why?  Last week I finally gave up on the sewing 'studio' arrangement.  It was not working and I just couldn't get anything done.  So I took an hour one day and broke it down.  Guess what?  Less is more.  I promise some pics soon, hopefully before and after.  The new space is much more motivating and I got busy.
     I got this put together this weekend.  It's a pretty good size.  It's 66 by 80 without any borders yet.  I think it would have looked beautiful set on point but since I already had the sashings and corner blocks cut, I went with this.  I love the green sashing, I think it's called cactus or asparagus.  Still waiting for my color card to get here.  And isn't that red block jarring?  It's not as bad in person but I wish I'd picked it out as one of the blocks for the back.                                                  

Then I played with some applique.  I got this Don't Look Now pattern called Peak Hour and wanted to play with a few of the designs.  These are on cloth diapers for 'spit rags', aka burp cloths.  I haven't sewed them down yet but they really make me smile.  And I have enough pregnant friends at work to find homes for these.                                                                                                                    

I saw a tutorial recently that took a 9 patch block and cut it diagonally twice.  So I thought I'd try it.  I made two 9 patches using charms squares. (I cut some charms into four 2 1/2 inch squares).  This is a good example of the impact of seam allowances.  It took four and a half 5 inch squares to end up with 2 five and 3/4 inch blocks!  I didn't look up the tutorial, I thought I would remember it.  However, I don't think this is how they were supposed to go together.  Too bad, I like them anyway.

But wait!  There's more.  Last night I had a little playtime and made some wonky churndash.  These were fun and easy.  I am not crazy about the 'thick' sides so next time I will avoid that. 
PS - my fabric diet is OVER!!  Hot diggity dog.  Over the weekend I pre-ordered a mess of Sherbet Pips. I love that line and I think it's going to sell out right and left.  I also went to the local JoAnn's yesterday and picked out some fabric for a backing for my red and yellow quilt.  It is SO cute.  I'll show you tomorrow.  And I'll show you the kona solids that I got for my birthday too.   Buh bye!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Great weekend!

Watching the Oscars!  They already ate all of the popcorn.  I had a very productive weekend.  I'll show you tomorrow.  Right now I gotta hit the hay.                                                               

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Indecision is a plagueing my sewing room.

Do you remember these blocks?  I made them with some of the fabrics that I bought in NYC on my anniversary weekend in October.                                    

I finished the quilt top last weekend at a sewing marathon with some friends.  We auditioned a bunch of different fabrics for the inner and outer borders and came up with this.  The inner border is a dark gray kona cotton.  I don't know the name of this shade but I will when my kona color card comes.  It's on backorder, waaah!                                                                                         

I put together the middle border using all my scraps.  I am undecided on the backing.  Maybe a solid kona.  Maybe something else.  I sure do like the red and yellow!!!

When I am stumped on a decision, I just start fiddling and goofing around.  Check out this little painted wooden sofa and cat my mom gave me for my birthday.  Completely silly and I love it. This little kitty is wondering when the movie will start and she wishes she had a date, lol.

Oh goody!  A handsome tomcat.

Whaaat!?  Competition?  What a flirt.

Hmmmm?  Look at this foxy dude.

Boo!  Mind if I join you guys?   

Boy this elephant takes up a lot of room.                         

Uh oh, they all moved over and one fell out!!

Oh thank goodness, the movie is starting!

See the pinwheels?  They are the other source of supreme indecision.  I have 45 of them and they are 9 inches finished.  I plan on using a purty green kona (cactus) for sashing with some assorted cornerstones.  The problem is,  should I put the blocks 5 across and 9 down?  I worry that this will make it too long compared to the width, but I could put on wide side borders.   Or 6 across and 7 down with a few left for the back?  Or some other combo?   I could use some opinions, if you don't usually comment please consider weighing in on this.  I'd like to quit playing with painted cats and start sewing.
Thank you!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How long does it take to make a quilt?

How often do you get asked this question?  I never know what to say since it all depends on so many factors.  Well, I discovered that I can get one done pretty quick if I want.  Last Sunday at dinner I found out that a friend at work had emergency surgery.  He's been ill for a short while with a lousy diagnosis.  I decided that I really wanted to get going and make him a quilt.  And I also decided that I wanted to be able to get it to him while he was in the hospital.  Since patients don't get to stay in the hospital all that long, I really had to get moving.  But what kind of fabrics do I have for a man?  Hmmm.  Batiks!!  And guess what?  I found a stack of batik charms in my stash.  Yahoo, a time saver.  I started at 9pm on Sunday.

I worked for a couple hours and had these done by the time I went to bed.  I decided to keep it simple with some 4 patches and large squares.                            

This is what I had by the time I had to leave for work Monday at 1pm.  No borders for this quilt, I made it about 55 inches by 74.                                                                    

Tuesday morning I sandwiched the quilt.  Rosie decided she likes batting.  Why is it that I find it so hard to disturb my kitties?   In this house we are ridiculously flattered when any of the cats show us attention.  Silly!

But look at her, who wouldn't want to snuggle up on some batting?

I had to get this quilt basted so I cut her adrift, hee hee.  Poor gal, once I started with the spray baste, she left.                                                                                 

Thursday evening, it's done!  I kept the quilting very simple, just diagonal through the squares.  I wanted to do more but really didn't have enough time.                                           

I found a manly backing from the fabrics my mom gave me recently.  I added a simple label that co-workers could sign  plus my little label (from Etsy which is awesome!). 
So there you have it.  Started late Sunday evening and finished Thursday evening.   And I worked every day too.   I will deliver it tomorrow after I get a few more signatures on the label.  Goodnight!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

We don't go too crazy about Valentine's day around here. I'm pretty low maintenance.   I love my husband and he loves me.  I don't want to get too sappy but he's pretty much my Valentine every day.                  

But I got a little motivated the other day to do a little decorating since I like hearts.  I pulled out some pinks and some scraps that I got in a swap and played around.

This was a no-sew project.  I just used a heavy fusible and made the hearts two sided.  I just folded the fabrics in half and I cut the hearts free hand.  I actually used a scalpel from work (they are disposable and I don't like to throw them away if we haven't used them) to put slits in the hearts, then I strung them on ribbon.  The end.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Goodness gracious, Big news, BIG!!!

Last night I went to dinner at PF Chang's with my husband and daughter (btw - it was my birthday) and you won't believe my fortune.  Check it out.

I'm sorry but you will have to click on the picture to enlarge it so you can read.  I need to work on my photo work.  I couldn't crop it for some reason.  But let's get back to my news....... do you know what this means?   It means that after years of entering to win the HGTV dream house, this is the year.  There's no other way to explain moving and I've been entering faithfully since January 1st.  It's a pretty cool house this year and I think it would make a great place for quilt retreats and workshops. 

Pretty darned exciting huh?  Now, to celebrate my birthday, I thought I share some odd tidbits with you.

1.  When I walk in the dark I close my eyes.  I think it helps me 'see' better.
2.  I try to be polite.  I always thank the bagger at the grocery store and I make sure to wave a 'thank you' if another car lets me ahead of them.
3.  I can also take 'a tone'.  My husband calls it 'getting salty'.  (i.e. "Don't get salty with me.")
4.  Last December when I was xmas shopping one day, I saw a stinkbug crawling across a bathrobe and didn't tell anyone.  He looked kinda happy and I didn't want to cause a stampede.
5.  When I wake up in the morning, there is at least one cat (sometimes as many as three cats) sleeping on top of me.
6.  I've gotten so used to automatic doors that sometimes I just stand there waiting for a door to open when the sign clearly says 'Pull'.
7.  I've been on a diet for almost a year and I've lost about 40 pounds. Yay!
8.  This coming spring or early summer, I'm going to skydive for the first time.  My brother's been doing it for at least 40 years and he's going to take me, 2 of my cousins, and a couple work friends.  We might even just do it right here on the farm.
9.  I've never been on a cruise and I never wanted to either. 
10. In November I'm going on a cruise with Pat Sloan and Bonnie Hunter and about 10 of my quilty pals.  Wheeeee!

     So, you wanna know what I got for my birthday besides great news from a fortune cookie? 
     Duh!  Fabric!  Kona solids.  This is the year of solid colors.  (it's no longer the year of the studio, the new arrangement is NOT working, more on that another time)   I promise to post some pictures this week.
Have a great day, and tonight when it's dark,  try navigating with your eyes closed.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Vote for Pedro!!

The voting has begun over at Gen X for the Love Nest Modern Quilt Contest.  There are 41 awesome quilts entered so it's a fun online quilt show.  Pop on over and vote for your favorite.  Voting continues through Feb 15 and the top six then go to some very cool judges who pick three winners.  I had a lot of fun checking out the quilts and I have to be honest, it's tough to pick just one.  Anyway, I'll be thrilled just to get some votes.  Enjoy the show!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Love Nest Quilt Contest. Check out my entry!

I stumbled across a contest the other day.  The Gen  X Quilters are sponsoring  the Love Nest Quilt Contest.  It's for bed-sized modern quilts.  The deadline is Feb. 9th.  I first thought of the mod blocks I've been working with but I just can't meet the deadline with that quilt.  Then I remembered this sassy bright quilt!
This is one of my favorite quilts.  I started it a couple years ago on retreat with my guild.  When I packed up for retreat, I didn't have any specific projects in mind to work on.  That can be a very bad way to go.  I had a couple of new quilt books and a new passion for brights and pink and white.  So I started packing.....and packing.....and packing.  One thing about retreat is that you don't want to get there and then remember the perfect fabric that you left at home.  Well lemme tell you, I surely did not let that happen.  I had the Mt. Everest of fabrics on my work table!!!
This Heather Ross fabric is possibly my faborite fabric EVER!  If there was a fire and I could only save one fabric, it would be this one.  I got it on ebay several years ago (yup, ebay again!  just so you know, I no longer allow myself to search for Heather Ross on ebay.)  I got a whole yard of this and a yard of the same in blue, both for a very good price.  If you can even find it anymore, it goes for a bazillion dollars.  I sure wish I had known about HR years ago when I started my stash.  Anyway, back to the quilt.  It started with the pink VW buses, I started making bright scrappy stars.
  I made 25 of the stars and put them up on my design wall (on retreat I take a flannel backed tablecloth to use), and pondered setting ideas.  Then I remembered the books I had brought.  One of them was Kim Schaefer's  Flower Festival.  I poked through it and decided to alternate my stars with some applique blocks.  I made lots of flowers and could not resist adding some critters too.  Hi Ladybug!

I love love love this caterpiller!  And can you see my other Heather Ross fabric with the doggies?

I figured with all those flowers, there would certainly be a butterfly.  I had some fun with prairie points too.  My first experience with prairie points.  I wanted to dress up the border a little so I just took fabric squares, folded them twice on the diagonal and tucked them in the seam when I added the outer border.  I put little clusters of them at random around the quilt.  I didn't tack or quilt them down, I like the sort of 3-d effect from them.                                                          

The pink batik that I used for the inner border is so darn sweet that you practically need some insulin to just look at it.                                                                 

I wish I could have gotten better pictures of my quilting.  If you click on this photo and enlarge it, maybe you can see the butterfly.  I went through a stack of books of quilt designs and picked out lots of different flowers and this butterfly.  I traced the designs on paper (I have a roll of 'examining table' paper like they have in doctor's offices), then I stacked some paper and sewed along my traced lines.  This way I duplicated multiples of the designs.  Pin the papers around the border, sew right through the paper, tear it off, and voila!!  I think this is much easier than marking.

I used light pink thread for the quilting.  I am an insecure quilter and my big fear is always that crappy quilting will show up too much. 

Hopefully I'll get over that soon.                                 

I guess it's sort of silly to put all that effort into something that will be barely noticeable.  Let that be a lesson to me the next time I go to quilt something.

So there you have it!  I wanted to use some bright fabrics and I had a new book for inspiration.  I started playing and the next thing I knew, I had this fabulous quilt that I just love.  If you love it too, head on over here to the Love Nest contest and vote for it.  Thank you in advance, lol. 
Now I am off to make some tasty treats to eat while watching the Super Bowl. 
oh!  ps -  this quilt won a 3rd place ribbon at the Maryland State Fair!

What makes a collector?

If you remember a couple of posts ago, I showed you this little vintage nativity scene I have.....and love!

Well,  I pondered the idea of checking ebay to see if there was anything like it out there.  I guess I must have been bored, who knows.  Anyway I did a quick search on ebay and, guess what!  I found one.  So I popped a quick bid up there.  Someone quickly outbid me.  Good grief, I thought, this is a 4 inch plastic nativity.  AND it's at least 50 years old and made in Hong Kong.  So I bid again and put a max bid of about $30.00.  Sentimental value you see.  I closed down my computer and that was that.  A couple days later I received an email that I DID NOT win it!!  Whaaaaat?  Someone else ended up paying $41.50 for it.  I was pissed (and intrigued).  So I went back and checked out the bidding on the item.  There were two other bidders and ebay will show you what other items people have bid on.  Both of them had zillions of bids on Christmas items.  Yeesh, collectors!  I'm not a collector, I just wanted to get another little plastic nativity like the one that I love so much.  The nerve of those........those......'collectors'.......... bidding against my sentimental little quest. 
Whoa!  Wait a minute!  At the bottom of the screen ebay shows other items you might be interested in.  And there was another nativity.  Oh yeah I thought,  I'll show you, you collectors.  There goes another bid.  And I did a little more searching and discovered that there were plenty more of my precious little nativity scenes.  Sooooo,  I really don't want to bore you.  I just really really wanted to get one.  I don't know why the first went for so much but I was nervous so I bid on a few. 
Fast forward a couple weeks and guess what?  

I think I'm a little bit of a collector.  Check this out.  I ended up with a few little scenes.  (No I did not spend $41 on any of them!)  See the three up front?  They are 1 and a half to 2 inches tall.

And look at this one!  Several different heights in the front for the sheep to stand on.   It's about 7 inches tall. 

Wowzer!!  This is the big daddy of them all.  About 8 by 6 inches I think.

That's right people,  I bought 8 in all.  It appears to be a collection.  I lost a few auctions so at one point I got mad and laid down quite a few bids.  These things are popular.  If you were thinking of making fun of me, then you'd better consider that you just don't know what's cool, lol.  I'm looking forward to next Christmas when I can have a little display.   And while I wait for next December,  I'm staying AWAY from ebay.  It doesn't seem to be a good environment for me.  I seem to get a little competitive.

Enought of that ok.  Here is my sassy and bright mod quilt.  I have the basic top done but I'm contemplating an interesting outer border.  I decided to give up on my deadline.  I really like this quilt and I want to do it justice, with a decent border and nice quilting.  That means I need to slow down and not be in a hurry.
When I am in a hurry, I get impatient when it comes to the quilting and that doesn't end well.  I get too excited when it gets close to the end and I pick the easiest route.  But , fyi, I can actually do a purty decent job when I put the time into it.                                                      
So I'll keep you posted as this moves along 
Today I played around making some hearts for a Valentine idea.  It it turns into something I'll be sure to show you.  Enjoy the Super Bowl!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One step closer.

As you can see, I picked a background fabric.  I really wanted to try a gray check but I'm proud that I used my stash instead.                                                                            

Man it's time consuming to be random.  It might have been easier to be wonky.  I don't have a lot of this yellow so I'm adding strip by strip and trying not to waste any.  I still have more work to do, I just wanted to give you a little peek.                                                  

Sadly, I now have to go to work.  Bleh.  It's cold and icy outside and the weather man says there is some snow coming.  Why can't I stay in my jammies?  Why why why?