Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thank You!

Yesterday I got home to find an unexpected package at the post office. When I opened it up I found the cutest little house ornament from Stephanie...thank you Stephanie! The colors and the fabrics are delightful...I just love it! It will hang year round in my sewing room!

A little bit later in the afternoon my younger daughter found a UPS delivery at the front door. She announced that it was the Moda box I had been looking for! In December I entered a contest at the Moda FabricMatcher website...and earlier this month I found out that I won the random drawing for December's contest! As I began opening the box, younger daughter started taking pictures!

There were lots of fun things inside the Moda Bake Shop tote that I pulled from the box...


First there was fabric...a Dessert Roll of "Glace'," a Jelly Cake of "Northern Solitude," a Jelly Roll of "Oh Cherry Oh," a Layer Cake of Mary Englebreit's "Baskets of Flowers," and a Charm Pack of "Ruby's Flower Garden!"


There were also lots of other great surprises... including the book Designer Quilts: Great Projects from Moda's Best Fabric Artists which includes biographies and quilt patterns...looking through the book I noticed that it was autographed by many of the artists including Alma Allen, Barb Adams, Joanna Figueroa, Sandy Gervais, Sandy Klop, Deb Strain, and Terry Clothier Thompson!


I also received a lovely Moda sewing tote which has zippered compartments galore!


Rounding out the package were a quilt ruler, a notions zipper case, 3 spools of Mettler thread, Schmetz Sharp machine needles, and a Clover Sewing needle set!
So, thank you to Stephanie, and thank you to Moda...and thank you to all of the creative bloggers who inspire me every day! The best way I can think of to say "thank you" is to have a give-away....so I'll have to put on my thinking cap and think of somethin!

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Time for Tea

Yesterday I decided to play with a couple of teapot patterns. First I made the great new pattern from Ayumi at the Pink Penguin blog. I decided to do as Nanette did and use a button for the handle on the lid (I haven't found the perfect button yet). I love this little teapot. I enlarged the pattern 125% which produced a block 6" wide and 7 1/4" tall. Rather than using the freezer paper method in the pattern, I copied the pattern onto vellum and paper-pieced the teapot.

Next, I decided to try another teapot pattern that I found from Stephanie's list. I also used vellum to paper piece this teapot; it took a lot longer as it had many more pieces than the Pink Penguin teapot. This pattern finishes up at 8 3/4" by 8 3/4"--the perfect size for a potholder!
I really don't love to paper-piece, but I do have a couple of paper-piecing tools I can't live without...my Clover presser and my "add-an-eighth" ruler." I press with the Clover presser until my block is complete, and only then do I use my iron...this prevents unnecessary stretching of the fabrics. I use the "add-an-eighth" ruler to trim seams between steps.
I'm not sure what will become of these two little teapots...they might make their way into my tea swap package, but then again, they might not!

Monday, January 26, 2009

More Blog Inspiration

I recently won a great give-away from Terri over at Purple and Paisley. For her birthday give-away she had many give-aways...and the prizes came from the Etsy shops of fellow bloggers! I was able to win the greatest little "Quilting Queen" sign which now officially gives me the title I've always wanted--lol! I also won one of Nanette's patterns...her Mixed Bag to Quilt pattern along with the delightful fabrics, ric-rac and covered button to make it! Nanette's fabrics are WONDERFUL! I'm torn between making the bag right away OR framing the fabrics she sent...making the bag out of some others. What am I going to do? The fabrics are art in and of themselves!
More blog inspiration came this past week from Camille...I had to make her simple table runner that she shared on the new Moda Bakeshop blog! I had a charm pack of "Oh Cherry-Oh!" and added just a few squares from my stash to piece this little runner.

I can't wait to quilt this and get it on the table!
Happy Sewing!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Creativity

This is a quilt I've been working on since 2004 or 2005. I love this quilt designed by Peggy Waltman titled "Hopeful Sampler;" it contains pieced and applique'd blocks along with embroidered quotations relating to "hope." This quilt contains much of my journey as a quilter. It was while making this quilt that I found my true 1/4" seam. This quilt also exhibits various stages of my work in applique'--it contains some of the worst applique' I've ever done as well as a block that shows some great improvement in needle-turn. I learned to machine applique' while working on this quilt, so a couple of the blocks are machine-applique'd.
This quilt also exhibits some of my own creativity--I substituted one of the quotations with a favorite of mine from Emily Dickinson--"Hope is the thing with feathers." I also substituted some of the blocks that I didn't particularly care for with others that were more meaningful to me; I didn't love the borders in the pattern, and the border I finally used was of my own design.
The reason it took me so long to finish this quilt is that I knew I wanted to make some changes to the pattern, yet I didn't trust my own creativity. I was afraid to "change it up." In fact, it took me over eight months to finally put the borders on...and since I wanted it to be "perfect"...I procrastinated. What I finally discovered while sewing the borders last week was that the ideas came quickly once I began work. I realized that in creating, the creativity often comes only once we begin. I'm also reminded of one of my favorite quotes on creativity--"A bird does not sing because he has an answer. He sings because he has a song."--Joan Walsh Anglund
Happy Sewing!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Finished!

My first finish for 2009...my Amy Butler Daisy Chain quilt is complete...binding and all! I have named this quilt "Sea Glass" since it reminds me of everything "ocean!"

I also got my first "whirlygiggle" quilt top finished (sorry about this photo). The pattern was a lot of fun...I'll definitely be making more quilts from this pattern. I used my left-over Mary Englebreit fabrics for this one and will be looking for some red fabric with white polka dots for the binding!
Also, have you seen the new Moda Bakeshop blog...there are wonderful free patterns from a variety of Moda designers...you'll have to go look! Oh...and I've been working on my Etsy shop...it's not going quickly...but I'm getting there! Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Variety

Sometimes I devote a sewing day to working on one project...and other times I work on a little of this and a little of that. Yesterday was one of those days where I didn't have the attention span to work on just one project. I worked on my Daisy Chain quilt...which I'm quite sure will be my first finish for 2009...these fabrics always make me smile!
And I finished piecing the quilt I made with the four-patches left over from my Merry-Go-Round quilt...this one is now ready to be quilted!

Since the January Fat Quarter Shop Block of the Month just arrived, I got it done as well...and again I made some extra blocks with the scraps.


I love having lots of projects in various stages...variety makes quilting even more fun!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hearts all Around

I remember thinking (and blogging) that I didn't have any Valentine's quilts...but while rearranging some of my quilts the other day I discovered that I do actually have a few "heart" quilts that can definitely count as Valentine's quilts. This is an early quilt of mine...probably mid-1990's (why didn't I keep a quilt journal)? My grandmother taught me to needle-turn applique' these hearts, and she showed me the strip-piecing method for making 9-patch blocks. I put it all together and hand-quilted it.
Another of my heart quilts is also a mid-90's quilt. I wasn't sure I wanted to tackle hand quilting this one, so my Grandmother graciously agreed to quilt it for me. I really treasure this quilt and one other that I made and Grandma quilted because they are my only two "multi-generational" quilts!
I made a Buggy Barn heart quilt about a year ago...I guess it counts as a Valentine's quilt as well!

And, I've been doing a little bit of stitching this week...I love Gail Pan's new free Block-of-the-Month quilt...I'm using my "Peace on Earth" stash in putting this one together!


Since today is a holiday...I plan on treating myself to a sewing day...I've already decided that other than a few loads of laundry and an easy dinner...I'm doing nothing but sewing!



Friday, January 16, 2009

Houses, Fabric, and Whirlygiggles!

Today I went to the post office and there was a package from Nanette! Inside was one of her darling house ornaments and the cutest potholder I've ever seen! This potholder will never touch a casserole dish or a cookie sheet...it's a work of art and is going on the wall!
Nanette also sent a kit I ordered from her. In February I get to travel to Ruby's Inn at Bryce Canyon and take Nanette's "All Dressed Up" class! Nanette sent the most wonderful fabrics--each one is a treasure. It crossed my mind that maybe I should just frame these fabrics and not put them in a quilt...but...I have to make the quilt! Along with the fabrics Nanette sent the cutest ribbons and tiniest buttons to embellish my blocks!
Wednesday I saw this post at Simply This That & The Other. She showed several "whirlygiggle" quilts. Now I love the "whirlygiggle" quilts, but I had never heard the word 'whirlygiggle' before. I remembered I had purchased this pattern from Camille right before Christmas, so I got it out and sure enough, right on the back of the pattern Camille calls the blocks "whirlygiggles." I made a few blocks with Mary Englebreit's "Isn't Christmas Jolly"... and I LOVE this pattern! As soon as I finish this one I'll definitely be making another!

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Another Basket...of Course!

Of course I HAD to make a Pink Penguin basket in Valentine's fabrics...Moda's "Love is in the Air" is perfect for this project! I've never purchased Valentine's fabrics before, so it has been fun playing with them!

I made a few more zipper bags...they are just so fun to make!


And I have to share my give-away win from Vivian at Quilts With Love. I found Vivian's blog several months ago. She is an amazingly talented free-hand machine quilter who shares not only gorgeous quilting and beautiful quilts on her blog but also thoughtful insights on family and home.
The beautiful Christmas pendant is from Home Studio--a delightful Etsy shop with so many beautiful pendants made from Scrabble tiles! And the Scentsy car candle smells wonderful! Thanks Vivian!
Happy Sewing!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Distractions

A few distractions kept me from making much progress on my "Merry-Go-Round" quilt this weekend. Friday night I was checking some blogs when Nanette's tutorial posted. I literally ran for my sewing room and made two blocks. Nanette's "Doll House" potholders are amazing...you'll have to go look at hers! These two blocks will be potholders, but I definitely want to make a wall-hanging with this pattern as well.

I picked up a four-inch zipper and wanted to make a little coin purse...it turned out really cute, but I like the back better than the front!
And I couldn't wait to start putting my "extra" four-patch blocks together that I made from the "Merry-Go-Round" scraps. This is going to be a really cute baby quilt!

So, needless to say...my stack of trianges for the half-hexagons patiently waits...

As does this fun pile of fabric...

Oh, and for another distraction...have you seen this new free block-of-the month from Gail Pan? I've got to get going on it as well!
Happy Sewing!




Thursday, January 8, 2009

Projects

I've been making a few more bags...a girl can never have too many bags, right?! They were great around the holidays for gifts, so I thought I should build up a little supply so that I always have a "thank you" on hand. I love the top one...I used some older Amy Butler fabrics for it. The bottom one is really cute as well...love the reproduction fabrics!

I've also been working on "Merry-Go-Round." Lots and lots of strips...although I'm actually glad I used fat quarters for this project rather than the jelly rolls...since my strips are shorter they're easier to work with.

This strip combination is one of my favorites. I hadn't really looked at the pattern when I started and didn't realize the blocks were all half-hexagons...the hexagons are formed when you set the rows together.


You might have noticed the four-patch block above...there are enough scraps from the strip sets to make 40-4 1/2" four-patch blocks...I'm thinking about a baby quilt with the four-patches when I'm done. It will probably go into my Etsy shop (which I'll be opening soon) when finished...no babies around here!




One strip set, if you're using jelly roll strips (or two strip sets if using fat-quarter strips) yields the pieces above...and enough scraps to make one four patch.


I'm having fun with this...but I'm just working on about ten strip sets a day...I've got some other projects in the works as well!


Happy sewing!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Merry-Go-Round Progress

I untied the ribbon and started to cut the strips for "Merry-Go-Round." The pattern is actually designed for two jelly rolls...but I had done a little math and knew I could make it with my fat quarter bundle...I just needed to cut twice as many strips as were called for.
I cut lots and lots of strips--but the good news is that I have quite a bit of fabric left over (26 pieces 8" x 22" and 10-2 1/2" x 22" strips).
I started playing with different combinations, sewing the strips together in pairs. I sewed these two together...162 more to go! I also decided to play with some Valentine's fabric. Most of you will recognize what I'll be making with the fabrics in the top picture below.

The bottom picture shows the beginning of a Valentine's table topper using Mel's pattern. And if you haven't seen this free pattern yet, then you should go over to Anne's blog and take a look (it's definitely a project to add to your list). Speaking of lists...I've been pondering my quilting goals for the year and have loved reading about all the different goals you've set. I decided to try to keep it simple and have just five goals: first, I'll start and finish one easy, fun quilt per month (Merry-Go-Round for January); second, I'll finish one work-in-progress each month. My third goal is to work on whatever I want to, and my final goals are to work on applique' and machine quilting.
Well, happy sewing...I've got lots of strips to sew!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Neighbor!

Another cottage has joined my neighborhood. This one is from Mel. Isn't it lovely! It is perfect...it really brings my neighborhood together!

Not only did Mel send a cottage...but she sent a beautifully wrapped package with lots of goodies inside!
The little bird ornament is just precious...he is going to hang in my sewing room all year round...as is the lovely door-hanger with my initial on it! Mel included a table topper pattern with some lovely holiday charm squares to get started, and I also received one of her cute sanitary napkin bags with "undie" fabric (if you haven't seen them on another blog...go look...I forgot to put the picture in my collage)!
Somehow, Mel also knew that my quilter's candy jar that I keep on a shelf in the sewing room was empty--she sent lots of Dove chocolates and Werther's to help fill it up!

And here is the cutest little change purse/cell phone holder that I won in a giveaway from Joanna at Applique Today. I kept forgetting to post about it because it went into my purse as soon as I received it! Joanna has a delightful blog and is sewing every day!
I hope there is lots of sewing going on wherever you are!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Fabulous Fabric

Here it is...my first Moda fat-quarter bundle! I've seen them at shops and on blogs, and Friday I bought my very first one with my Christmas money (thanks, Mom)! It's so gorgeous I just want to look at it...but I want to start my Merry-Go-Round quilt--so I'm going to have to untie the ribbon soon!
Not only is this my first fat-quarter bundle, but it is also from a brand new line by Lila Tueller that isn't yet available--the shop owners picked this up at market last fall!
Along with my little "splurge," I did some great bargain-shopping on fabric as well.

I picked up a great piece of fabric for my Christmas cottage quilt at 35% off, two yards of "1974" at 50% off, four yards of Darlene Zimmerman prints at 50% off, and 5 yards of Kona cotton at 30% off.
So now I have no excuses--I have a list of projects and the fabric to get started!

Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Year--More Quilts Ahead!

I've been thinking about projects and goals for the new year, and "Merry Go Round" is at the top of my list! The pattern is by Sandy Klop of American Jane and is found in the October 2008 issue of McCall's Quilting. Actually, I have a few hexagon projects for 2009, and I thought this would be a fun one to start with. I ordered the templates from American Jane...and will be picking up the fabric soon (my Mom gave me some Christmas money that she said I HAD to buy fabric with...no problem there, Mom)!
I've also been doing some "catching up," spending New Year's Eve and New Year's Day finishing up blocks-of-the-month I'd fallen behind on. So now I'm all caught up...and look at the cute pinwheel blocks I made from the left-over triangles from December's Fat Quarter Shop block! Maybe I'll use them to frame a label for the back of the quilt. And speaking of labels...my quilt goals for 2009 include making labels for every project completed. Julia and Nedra have some great ideas on this subject that I enjoyed reading recently.

More blocks...these are for my Golden Memories quilt...I'm never impressed with the blocks individually, but I absolutely love this quilt. One row to go, and this quilt will be ready for the borders! I'm planning on having it ready to be quilted by next week and will share a photo then.

And, you might have noticed the new Christmas button at the top of my sidebar...it's not too early for Christmas 2009. Nanette over at Freda's Hive has a great idea for getting us all organized for next Christmas--be sure to head over and see what's going on!
I just have to say thank you to everyone for all of the great "quilt-inspirations"-- I'm looking forward to a fantastic 2009 and hope to be able to share lots of ideas, quilts and projects!