Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Few More Finishes and a Give-Away!

Last week I made a "Crossroads table runner" from the book Charmed and Dangerous by Heather Mulder Peterson. It went together like a dream, so this morning I made another one using some fall charm squares. I think I will be making a couple more of these as well!
My Christmas cottages for the exchange hosted by Nanette and Terri are done...all 12 of them. Well, they're almost done--I just need to add rick rack along the rooflines. Some will have red rick rack while others will have green or white ric rack! It's going to be fun getting the exchange blocks and picking sashings and borders. And there are so many creative cottages out there...I'm really enjoying looking at them on the other blogs!

A couple of people mentioned doing Halloween cottages...so of course I had to rummage through my Halloween fabrics and make a few of those. I'm going to make a small wallhanging out of these...and of course they will get some rick rack as well!

And, it's time to announce my first give-away! I think it's going to be a lot of fun. You can click on the scarecrow on my sidebar to go to the Fall Into Fall Give-away blog that lists all the other blogs participating, or you can click here. A couple have already posted their give-aways (wow--there are some really amazing give-aways out there!), and the rest should be posting by October 1st. I will accept comments until October 14th, and I will announce the winner on October 15th. Oh...and what am I giving away? I'm giving away the cute little turkey pillow, the fabric basket and the five fat quarters of "Pumpkin Spice" by the Buggy Barn pictured above! Oh, and one more thing, in your comment please tell me your favorite gift to make for others...I'm always looking for fun ideas to make for gifts!
That's all for now...hoping to get a lot of sewing done today! Happy sewing!
UPDATE: Rhonda is the winner! Thanks to younger daughter for her random number drawing from 1 to 193! (I never thought I'd get that many entries)!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The "To-Do" List is Getting Shorter (Maybe)

I spent a little time yesterday working on my blocks for the Christmas Cottage block exchange. (Thank you Nanette and Terri)! I have eight completed now in three different styles...just four more to go. They actually work up very quickly as I mentioned before, and they really are a lot of fun. It's also been fun looking over the blogs of the others participating in the exchange. I still need to pick up some ric rac to embellish mine a bit.
I've been wanting to make this bag for quite some time now...actually since I picked up my Fall 2008 copy of Quilts and More. I used three different pieces of "Cotton Blossoms" fabric by Bonnie & Camille. I love this line--its traditional, yet trendy! This bag went together easily and is a great size; I'm going to use it on Sundays for my church bag. I've only been making bags/baskets for a couple months now, and I'm just amazed at how easy it is. I was always afraid to make bags before seeing so many beautiful projects on so many blogs...so thank you bloggers!

Here is another stitcher's angel project called Blue Wren's Nest by Natalie of Cinderberry Stitches. I had fun stitching this up using the various variegated threads. I used Moda's Portabello Market to put this little bag together...soon it will be heading off across the ocean to my stitcher's angel!


And this little guy has been in my "stash" for about eight years...I'm finally going to finish him into a cute little pillow. He ought to be looking cute with a little machine applique, some hand quilting, and maybe a couple of buttons too!
I titled this post "The To do List is Getting Shorter" since I have been crossing things off; however, I'm not so sure the list is much shorter (thus, I added the "maybe"). I really need to get going on all of my Christmas projects, and I keep adding things to my list because I'm so inspired by all of the wonderful creative people who share their work through their blogs. Thanks to all of you! Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More Progress...

Last week I finally spent a couple of hours cleaning and organizing my sewing room...it's amazing how much that motivated me to get some things done! First, I finished the above table runner out of a "Harvest Home" charm pack by Moda. The pattern is Heather Mulder Peterson's "Crossroads Table Runner" from her book Charmed and Dangerous. I've now made three projects from that book, and they all went together like a dream.
I just couldn't wait any longer to try out the cottage block tutorial from Nanette over at Freda's Hive. This block was so easy and fun...seriously, I spent only 15 minutes pressing my fabric, cutting the pieces, and sewing the block to completion! I'm participating in her cottage block exchange using this pattern...it's going to be so much fun! I think this cottage needs some cute ric rac along the roofline, though, and I think I need to pick up some of that new Mary Englebreit Christmas fabric--it would make some cute cottages!

I also finished block four from the Mystery Block of the Month over at the Fat Quarter Shop. The stitchery project is a little needle keeper for someone...(hint, hint...my stitcher's angel swap partner likes red)!
And, I got some fun mail yesterday! Last week I won two give-aways...an ironing board cover kit from Nadine over at Material Girls (thanks, Nadine...can't wait to make it...my ironing board in my laundry room is a different size, and I haven't been able to find a cover for it!)...and two journals from Kristin at GraceViolet! I love the button closures on the journals!
Just a few more block of the month finishes from the other day. The green block is block 12 from a quilt called Sampler Magic designed by Lori Smith--it's really going to be striking when combined with the other blocks and setting blocks. The other three blocks here are from my Civil War Love Letters Quilt; they bring my total completed to 18...six more to go, and then I will set them together with a muslin sashing.

And here I have five rows completed of my other Civil War fabric quilt--Golden Memories (also designed by Lori Smith). Thirteen blocks to go, and I can put the remaining four rows together!
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Well, I'm off to review my Christmas projects list, finish up my stitcher's angel projects, and make some more of those Christmas cottages! Happy sewing!

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Few Finishes

I love starting new projects--the planning, the creating, even the cutting--but there is nothing that compares to finishing a project! Yesterday was a finishing kind of day. First, I completed two more of those little baskets; I used some of my fall scraps and a few squares out of a charm pack I had purchased a year ago. I love both of these little baskets, but I'm only going to keep one (the other will be part of my fall give-away coming up October 1st)!

Yesterday I also finished this bag designed by May Britt for the Stitcher's Angels. I loved May's pattern. Instead of using cording (as suggested), I made some fabric drawstrings which I really thought helped to emphasize the beautiful pink and red floral I used for the lining. It is pretty nifty how the drawstrings work on this bag. Sadly, I won't be keeping this bag; it will be going off to another country (hint...hint) to my Stitcher's Angel partner...I hope she likes it! I will definitely be making another one for me someday!

And another finish yesterday! This is yet another Stitcher's Angel project, an armchair caddy. Helen designed this beautiful free pattern that goes together like a dream! There is quite a bit of work involved--stitchery, and applique--but her pattern is so clear and concise! Also, this was a first for me, because for the first time I cut binding on the bias. What a difference it makes using bias cut binding around curves--it is the only way to go! I used Heather's instructions to cut the bias strips, and they were very helpful. If you're not familiar with this pattern, the section in the center is a pincushion, and there are pockets on both ends to hold scissors and thread and whatever else. The caddy fits perfectly across the arm of an armchair or sofa. I won't be keeping this one, either--it is a Christmas gift, but I really want to start on one for myself soon!

Did you notice the button on my sidebar about the Christmas cottage block exchange being hosted by Nanette? It looks like a lot of fun. Nanette posted a free pattern for a cute cottage block the other day and is hosting a block exchange using Christmas fabrics and her cute design. Well, today is another sew day for me...hope to start a few more things and perhaps even finish a few. Happy sewing!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Best Laid Plans...

Yesterday was Monday...and I had some plans...there was nothing on the calendar...DH had work and younger daughter and younger son had school. My plans were to do a LITTLE housework and then get some sewing done. I didn't just want to sew--I wanted to FINISH something! The day started out lovely...during the early morning hours it actually feels like fall could be here soon. So...I decided to get a little exercise by mowing and fertilizing the front and back yards (beats walking/jogging for aerobic exercise). I got the outside work done before it got too hot, but I couldn't feel good about sewing without catching up on some housework and laundry first. Needless to say...several hours later (and with a much cleaner house) I was finally able to shower just in time to take younger son his football gear. Then it was back home with just enough time to make dinner before younger daughter went to work (still no sewing). Younger son got home from football practice just as I was cleaning up dinner...he mentioned two friends were coming over to do Algebra homework. So...I decided to just try to cut things out on the kitchen counter so I could keep the young men actually doing their homework (I did need to do some cutting). Homework done, younger son reminds me that I promised to make banana bread with some quickly ripening bananas on our counter. Just as the banana bread is about out of the oven, younger son realizes his bag with his new school shoes and clothes is still on the football field (16 miles round trip). So, after a quick phone call to younger daughter to make sure she will be home in time to take the bread out of the oven, we head down to the school. I am absolutely sure the bag has been stolen, but....it is there! We head home to banana bread (by now it is 9:30 p.m.), and I decide no matter what I will finish cutting out my projects! So the children go off to bed, and I stay up until nearly midnight...and I accomplished a few things!
I cut out two fall baskets from here, and the fabrics to make this bag, and my block 4 of my mystery quilt from here. Then I cut out three blocks from my "Golden Memories" quilt and one block from my "Sampler Magic" quilt. Exhausted, I fell into bed!
Today was busy as well...I had a doctor's appointment, but did find time to stop by a quilt shop where I had a $25 credit. I bought a yard of "Farmer's Market," a yard of "Cotton Blossoms," and a half-yard of "Bijoux" and with my gift card I got some Cherry Blossom scented "Best Press" starch, a spool of my favorite "Aurifil" thread, a Christmas magazine, and a "Farmer's Market" fat quarter.
So, I'll try again soon to get some actual sewing done...I miss my machine...a girl's gotta sew, you know!
Oh, and Leanne Beasley showed us her sewing chair and what was in her hoop...here is what's in mine...I'm getting closer to having the stitching done so that I can make the armchair caddy from Helen! Thanks so much for stopping by and putting up with my long story! Next time I'll have some "finishes" to share!
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Happy sewing everyone!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Some stitchery...and Sunbonnet Sue!

I've caught up with my Noah's Ark stitcheries...here are the seven of them (I already showed you my first four about a month ago...but they look so cute all together)! Thanks for the free patterns, Lynette!


Today I also wanted to chat a little bit about Sunbonnet Sue. My grandmother loves Sunbonnet Sue; in fact, she has made lots of them for herself and for gifts for her sisters, daughters, grand-daughters, and friends. Here is a little quilt she made for me about 15 years ago...hand applique'd and quilted. This quilt greets me each time I enter my laundry room. I always smile when I see it because although I really like it, I haven't always understood the appeal of the Sunbonnet girls! In fact, I recall having several conversations with Grandma in which I good-naturedly teased her about her many Sunbonnet Sues...in the days before I was a quilter!
And here are two Sunbonnet quilts she made for my daughters. Grandma isn't quilting very much anymore (she's 87 now), and these are very special to us since they are the last quilts she has made for our family. Her redwork is beautiful, and she hand quilted them as well.

Each quilt has four Sunbonnet Sue blocks set together with the loveliest red fabrics (Grandma also loves red). I'm not sure that my girls yet understand the appeal of these gals...but I don't worry...I think they'll come to love them in time.
And as for me...well, these gals are kind of growing on me as I get older...I might even find myself making a Sunbonnet Sue quilt one of these days.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Blog Goodness

Three months ago I would never have known the term "blog goodness," but it is a phrase I love now! I also like the phrase "I heart..." Anyway, today was a "blog goodness" kind of day! Today I went to the post office, and this is what was waiting for me...I won a give-away from Anna last week. Anna has a great blog that I just found not too long ago; she is a very talented quilter and has a really fun blog! My package was so cute...inside some of the gifts were wrapped...I felt like I was having a birthday! There were two Dove chocolate bars (one I've already eaten), Bath & Body Works lotion (one of my favorites), a new issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, and if that weren't enough already, seven Christmas fat quarters and a beautiful handmade bag. There was also a gorgeous (I think it was handmade as well) card. It was so much fun. I absolutely cannot wait to do a giveaway of my own (hint hint...check back around the first of October)! Also along the lines of blogging...my wonderful friend Dawn has just started her blog--she is a very creative, talented quilter who like me is new to the blogging world.
This quilt is a departure from my regular style...and it is very dear to me. It is the only quilt in my collection made with batiks (I like batiks, but I don't often buy them...there are always so many other fabrics that I gravitate towards). Two great friends were taking a class about two years ago and invited me to join them--it was the first time I had ever taken a class (my grandmother was my first quilt teacher). I learned so many things from the class including paper piecing and getting an accurate 1/4" seam. It changed my quilting...I have been more accurate in the last two years than ever before!

And I've been doing a lot of stitching this week. The above sampler I did in 4 days...I love this sampler, but I don't recommend stitching it in 4 days! It is a design by Leanne of Leanne's House.

I'm also trying to get all of my Stitcher's Angel projects done. This one was designed by May Britt; I'm hoping to get some flower buttons soon and get this made into a bag. My other Stitcher's Angel projects are started; hopefully in a couple of days I'll have some more stitching and some finished projects to share! Thanks for stopping by...Have a terrific day!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things

Fall quilts are some of my favorites--perhaps because I can use the beautiful ranges of oranges, greens, browns, and golds found in the beauty of nature (or maybe just because when I get them out each year I know cooler weather is coming). I had fun making this pumpkin quilt last fall but didn't get it finished until after Christmas. I can't wait to display it this year!

This quilt is one of my favorites; I made it during the fall of 2006 and got to hang it last year for the first time. I was particularly pleased because I didn't purchase any fabric for it...I used only scraps from my stash! Below are a few close ups of the blocks; hopefully you can see the beautiful machine quilting by my favorite long-arm quilter.


And here is a fun table topper I made one evening while at the Utah Quilt Guild Festival in September 2007--it also didn't get finished in time to display last year. The top is made from a charm pack. I showed the back as well since it is such a fun print.

Finally, a collage of some of my older fall quilts. The top left is a little pillow; the top right is a table topper my grandmother made for me about 12 years ago. On the bottom left is my first fall quilt; I made it 11 years ago from a Debbie Mumm pattern and hand-quilted it. The quilt on the bottom right is also a Debbie Mumm pattern that I made about 10 years ago--it is also hand quilted...just don't look too closely as my hand quilting leaves much to be desired.

Fall...it's just around the corner!

I've Been Thinking...

I've been thinking about what a wonderful sight it is on holidays when the flags are flying in our neighborhood. Today is Labor Day, a day that reminds us fall is right around the corner here in southern Nevada. As a child, I always started school the day after Labor Day--and starting school was second only to Christmas morning! I love our cool temperatures today--it is only 90 degrees right now, and it should get down to about 75 tonight! Of course we're not out of the triple digit highs yet, but they are so much easier to handle when the evenings cool down.
I've been thinking about how much I love peaches; we've been enjoying our yearly box from Utah. We order these peaches each year from a friend whose family has an orchard..they are always the best...I don't even buy them at the store anymore, there is that much of a difference. We picked them up last Tuesday and have all been eating several each day. I've made three cobblers this week and will make another tonight. Tomorrow I'll have to peel and cut and freeze the rest of the peaches for cobblers in the coming weeks.

I've also been thinking about blogging. I saw this publication on quite a few blogs and was curious as to what it was all about. I picked one up and finally got a chance to look it over the other night. Not only did I find some really interesting blogs to look up, but also I was pleasantly inspired. This issue contains beautiful photos and awe-inspiring passages from truly artful bloggers who work in many different mediums. I've always loved to read and write (hence, the bachelor of arts in English); however, I always thought of my creative hobbies as completely separate from my love of literature and language. Artful blogging combines these two mediums of personal expression in such a positive and uplifting way. Of course, perusing this magazine left me feeling a little overwhelmed--there is always so much to do!
Don't go away, I've got my fall quilts post coming right up!