Thursday, September 29, 2011

No Reply Blogger???

Is there anyone high tech reading here?

And by "high tech" I mean do you know how to do more than hit the "publish" button?  Because if so, you have surpassed me.

I have had a few people tell me that they have tried to email me, but that my email is set to "no reply".  I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out how to solve this problem and I'm stumped.

Can anyone offer a quick and simple explanation?  Because I sure would love to get email!  :-)


(I would learn something about my mac, but it might cut into my valuable sewing time.  Ha!!!!)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

3-D Fabric!

Have you seen it?  Crazy stuff!  

This certainly ramps up the cool factor, from the perspective of a 12 year old boy, of being dragged to two quilt shops in one day.

He was in favor of adding some to my stash.
I took a pass.

But these newbies from Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Company?
Another story.
They came home with me.
In all their 2 dimensional glory.  :-)

I thought I'd have them on hand for this blogger's block of the month quilt along.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Do you know of Sarah Jane?  She is amazingly talented.  Her artwork has a gentle sweetness to it that I find irresistible.  I love her fabric designs.  I love her prints.  I basically love everything about her.

When Emmie moved into her new big girl bedroom I decided to let Sarah Jane be my inspiration.  This lovely goodie arrived in the mail from Sarah Jane a few weeks ago, and I had it professionally matted and framed.  I picked it up this afternoon and gave it a little smooch when I saw it.  (Then I took a crooked photo of it!)

This is just the kind of thing that every little girl should gaze at while daydreaming of picnics and tea parties and frolicking with friends in fancy frocks.  I want Emma to have sweet dreams under this sweet scene.  The colors look a little harsh in this photo, but in real life it is a very gentle shade of pink.

I currently have a store bought quilt on her bed.  OH THE HORROR.  It hardly seems right, I know.  We need just the right covers for all these sweet dreams to take place under, so it's time to start planning. I'm thinking pinks and reds and aqua, and a tiny hint of green, to match the pretty walls.  Maybe some of Sarah Jane's lovely prints?  With a little Bliss and Ruby thrown in?  We may just need to add a splash of gray to compliment Ellie the elephant.  She is a very important fixture in the nighttime routine these days.

I found some cute little wall decals that look amazingly like hand painted murals.  They are from Pottery Barn Kids, the mother ship of cuteness.  :-)

She has a cute little forest of birds in her reading nook.  Did you catch the homemade quilt in the chair?  Thankfully the fourth child isn't totally deprived.

I'm thinking we may need to add some fabric bunting.  And some throw pillows.  This new artwork has set a plan in motion.  A long term plan, for sure, but those sweet dreams are already starting! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hannah's Graduation Quilt

My daughter sent me photos of her graduation quilt to share with you.  These were taken in her dorm room.  The pattern is a chain design, and the rainbow colored fabrics are all reproductions.  Hannah has admired these fabrics for a long time and has always wanted a "vintage" quilt made from them.  I really love how this design turned out, although I must say it was a challenging lay out that required lots of crawling around on the floor!

My girlfriends helped me cut this pieces out on a lazy Saturday afternoon while we were at a used book sale.  The sale wasn't very well attended, so I ran home to get cutting mats and rulers and set my fellow quilting cohorts to task.  They were such good (and hard working!) sports, and it added a fun memory to the sentiment of this project.  (Not to mention the fact that it enabled me to actually get it done by graduation!)

I had some sweet little stitcheries on hand that I had made to use for mug rugs.  I knew as I was piecing the back for this quilt that this would be a better use for them. The colors blend well, and the old fashioned sweetness of the scenes is a compliment to the flour sack inspired fabrics.

This is a strip of the pieced back incorporating all the embroidery.  It is hard to see from this picture, but they are flower, sunshine, and bird designs.

This quilt now lives in Tennessee, where fall is officially settling in across campus.  I know it will do its job of keeping my precious daughter warm, and reminding her how much I love her and how very proud I am of her.

Thanks for sending me the pictures, Hannah.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

An Elfish Impulse

Here's the thing about quilting.  The ideas multiply faster than the free time does.  And those clever quilt shops.  They are never short on tempting treats.  Here's the scenario....

I wander (innocently) in to the shop on Friday to buy that mere 2.5 inch strip of binding fabric that I so desperately need.  It truly is a need.  A legitimate purchase for a nearly completed project that had an immediate use.  It was all very on the up and up.

I'm not two feet in the door and I spy this elfin piece of goodness.  Right inside the door!  Like a booby trap, I tell you.

Who was I to think I was getting out of a quilt shop for under $10??  It wasn't like I had a choice to leave this fabric behind.  Who could possibly resist?

My precious Grandparents were from Germany, and they had German garden gnomes in their yard.  For some reason, this fabric reminded me of those childhood memories.  I think the coordinating fat quarters that I found to go with this fabric have a bit of a Scandinavian flair to them too.  It's my European Christmas look.

Elf fabric by Beth Logan for Henry Glass & Co
In any event, this cute stack now sits happily upon the shelf in my sewing nook.  It will have to wait until some other projects get completed first, but it's something to look forward to.

One last thing, last weekend was a tad overwhelming for me, so my sweet Mom surprised me with a little pick-me-up.  She brought me this fabulous turkey to live on my new runner.  How cute.  I just love him, and he makes my coffee table look like a happy place.  :-)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Halloween Runner

This silly runner has become an exercise in what can possibly go wrong with a project.  I started it even though I had a dozen other things I needed to be working on, so I intentionally tried to keep it simple because I needed it to go quick.  You know how that goes!!!  It's like begging for troubles.  I laid out the binding and found I was eight inches short.  Eight inches!!  So, I drove thirty minutes to the only store in town that carries that candy corn fabric, and the sweet shop owner let me buy one 2.5 inch strip off the bolt.  Very sweet.  Then, I was machine quilting and ran out of orange thread with about a five inch corner left to quilt.  So, I drove to Joann's in a driving rain storm to buy another spool.  I was bound and determined to get this thing on the table for supper club last night.  Well, determined at least.  It did make it on the table....but unbound!  Ha!  When I got home from the quilt shop with that 2.5 inch strip, I discovered that my 3 year old had twisted and stretched the rest of the binding that I had made to use it as a leash for her stuffed bear.  Good grief.  I have yet to see if it can be rescued.  

This was my attempt at being cute.  I swear that is lint from the batting and not a nasty hair ball from my house.  I also solemnly promise that it isn't visible to the naked eye, given that this was on my dining room table in front of guests.  My zoom lens is showing me NO mercy.  :-)

Just keeping it real.

No, last night wasn't as bad as the last supper club I hosted.  The one where my dog climbed ONTO THE TABLE and licked the butter.

Table runner hairballs are nothing.  :-)

Anyway, it looked cute and festive and I completely squelched the urge to point out to all of my guests how it was completely unfinished around the edges.  I kept it all very classy.

I had the boys drag my fall decorations down from the attic.  There may be sweat on my pumpkins instead of frost, buy by golly, I'm bound and determined for fall to get to the south.

This afternoon my friend came over and kept me company while I cut out my next quilting project.  The boys were all at church, so we had a few quiet hours and work and visit.  It's so much fun to have quilty friends!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Scrap Lab and Mellow or Yellow

I finished my other Buttercup table runner last night.  I love working with these soft colors.  I am bound to love any and every fabric by Fig Tree.

I found this project in this magazine.

They have started a fun feature called "Scrap Lab" with creative projects using small amounts of fabric.
One more reason to buy another quilt magazine.  :-)

I made my runner according to the directions, except I chose to put a traditional binding on mine.

I went with a light floral binding rather than the pink polka dot that I originally bought, and I like the softer look.

I'm enjoying straight line quilting these days, especially on smaller projects that feed easily through the machine.

Now, for my dilemma.  I'm thinking about using this yellow as a background fabric for a quilt with these bright floral fabrics.  I'm a white background kind of girl.  Safe.  Expected.  Cautious.

This yellow idea is a wild hare.  I'm deliberating.  This whole color wheel thing, it's a risky business.  :-)  Do I go mellow?  Play it safe and stick with white?  Or say hello to yellow??

Tonight I'm hoping to finish my Halloween runner.  We are hosting supper club this weekend, and I plan to use it on the dinner table.  I'm always in the mood to play with bright orange, and as an added bonus, it puts off my yellow decision for one more day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Quilt for Sport

Last night I took my son and his friend to the ballpark.

We met some friends there and had a ball.  (No pun intended.)

One of our friends is a HUGE sports fan.  Epic understatement.  These are her cute kids.

When I pulled out my little project and happily set to work my son gave in to panic.  "MOM!!!  Put that away!!  Mrs. Young is going to see you the BALLGAME!!!!"

What??  I'm a quilting nerd.  There's no big secret here.  He had his form of entertainment, I had mine, Mrs. Young had hers, and we all got to share cotton candy.

Is that so wrong??  :-)

(For the record, the old men behind us sided with my son.  It must be a boy thing.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Latest Show and Tell

I learned something new this week.  Turns out, you need to clean steam irons. 


My iron is working much better now.  (Thanks Mom.)

I ordered a charm pack of Buttercup fabrics from Fig Tree with the intention of making a table runner, which I did.  I'm finishing up the binding now and will post a picture when I'm done.  I used the leftover scraps to make this second table runner rather impromptu, and it turns out, I think I like it even better than the original one!  Funny how that sometimes works.

It is simple pieced squares and floral border from the Fresh Cotton Fig Tree line.  I jazzed up the back just a smidge.

I bought the pink polka dot to bind the original runner, but decided to use it here instead.  I liked the way it framed the pretty floral border.  I did a quick machine quilting with a tight stiple.

For now, it has found a home on this little cabinet.

At least for another few days until I finally get around to packing up these Easter decorations (ha!) and replacing them with the fall decor.  (I got a little behind this summer!!)

I guess I'm in the mood for runners, because I also started this fun little quickie.  This, from the girl who positively hates Halloween.  I know.  That adorable candy corn fabric totally won me over.

The halloween runner will have to stay quick and easy because I just got these little yummies in the mail and I need to get hopping.  They are for a project with a quickly approaching deadline.  Good thing I have a little time on my hands this week, although I probably should be careful about mentioning that. The other night when I bragged to my husband about having a few "free" hours to sew, our three year old flooded the bathroom.  Things have a way of robbing sewing time around here.  :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Pressing Matter

My husband bought me a very nice Rowenta iron for Christmas, and I have been a little surprised by the performance.  It certainly hasn't wowed me like I thought it would given Rowenta's legendary reputation.  It is leaky, and unless I have the steam setting on, it doesn't seem hot enough to press my cotton fabrics well.  The directions specified to use tap water in this model, not distilled water, which is what I have always done.

A few times in the past I have gotten brown marks on my fabrics, always at a seam when I am ironing over a slight "ridge".  The marks have been fairly minor, but I've always been nervous that something big would happen unexpectedly.

Well....Tonight it did.  I was ironing binding fabric, and when I set my hot iron down it SPUTTERED a brown, gooey liquid all over my fabric.  I'm so thankful it did not happen to the table runner top I had just finished pressing!  The stuff that came out of the iron was almost the consistency of maple syrup.  It's the strangest thing.  Once it cooled completely, I studied the plate well, and a few of the holes do seem to be clogged.

I rinsed my fabric really well in warm water and it is in the dryer now.  I couldn't tell completely when it was wet, but I think it's going to be okay.

I'm not great about sending in my warranty cards (boo) so I need to check and see if I kept the paper work for this iron.  I'm sure hoping I did because I know it was a big expense for an appliance and it should certainly last more than nine months!

Anyway......inquiring minds want to know.  How do you iron out your wrinkles?  :-)  What kind of iron do you use and what do you like about it?  I noticed a Panasonic at Target that is cordless and sits in a base.  Anyone tried anything like that before??

I'm all ears.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Playful Pinwheels

I learned to quilt back in the early 90's, shortly after the birth of my first daughter.  A lady at my church offered lessons, then started an old fashioned quilting bee group.  We would gather weekly and sit around a big wooden frame, hand stitching quilts to be donated to the church or school and swapping stories.  I was the youngest member, probably by a few decades.  But those were the days.

I practiced making my hand stitches tiny and uniform, all the while keeping my ears and heart open to the wisdom, encouragement, and advice of those older women.  There was much to learn.

The group eventually disbanded when various members moved away or were called to new churches.  After the birth of my boys, I "retired" from the quilting biz.  My hands were full with three young children, and we moved into a house that didn't have a space for my machine.

Several years, a new house, and one more baby later, the quilting bug revisited, and he bit me hard.  I realized how much I missed having a creative outlet, and felt I was in a season of life where I could ease my way back into the fabric game.  You know, it doesn't take much to be lured back onto the wagon.  :-)  

The very first quilt I made was this sweet pinwheel pattern from Moda Bake Shop.  I forgot a lot.  This quilt was a testament to many re-learning mistakes.  I struggled.  It was at times frustrating to stretch some muscles that hadn't been stretched in a while.

But the process was rewarding, and the outcome was as expected....I was hooked.  Again.  Back in the quilting saddle, and it felt so good.  The fabrics are "Snippets" by American Jane.  It is backed in a fabulous bright orange polka dot.  The little prairie points were fantastically fun.  It is bound in a red floral from the Snippets line.

I gave the quilt to my daughter, who paid absolutely no attention to it whatsoever.  She still doesn't.  It has been draped over the back of her little reading chair for two years now and it never gets the love or snuggles a crinkly quilt deserves.  That's okay by me.  It just means there's plenty of opportunity for me to reclaim it in the future, because I happen to love this quilt.  

My first quilt.

The second time around.  :-)

Thanks for taking a peek at my playful pinwheels.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Purple Koala

When your toddler asks for a purple koala, you pretty much know right off the bat you're going to have to go homemade.  Not too many other resources to tap for such a request.

This was a pattern by Melly and Me.  I would make this again.  The pattern was clear and concise and went together well.  But what was a thinking with green arms and feet?  I was worried he was going to look "too purple".  The lime green was a tragic choice.  But the toddler who loves koala doesn't seem to mind.

His name is "Purple Koala".  Of course.  Because we are very original.  And because it's less condescending than "Green Foot".  :-)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Orange Block Quilt

Last year at this time I was busily working on something in one of my very favorite colors...bright orange!  Orange hasn't always made my heart flip.  It's a rather recent crush.

My nephew turned 16 in October and I wanted to commemorate the big event with an "updated" quilt.  He was close to 6 feet tall and still sleeping with the sailboat quilt I made him when he was born.  :)

The front of the quilt was scraps of orange and Kona pure white.  A simple, graphic design seemed a good choice for a teenaged boy.  He plays football, and his school's colors are orange and white.  It was such a fun excuse to work with ORANGE.

Kona Ash seemed like a wise choice for the back.  I wanted masculine and functional, and I loved how it played nice with bright orange.

I did a small amount of embroidery on the back, as I like to do on all my quilts.

Fall is my favorite time of year.  Orange is one of my favorite colors.  That makes this one of my favorite quilties.  :-)  Ever.

The recipient, my nephew.  It's just a happy coincidence that the quilt matched his hair.  I didn't even plan that.  Ha!