Friday, April 17, 2015

Whew!

What a whirlwind the past few weeks has been!
 But I'm happy to report that all of the tax returns are done and filed.
And Girl Scout cookie season is over.  All I have left to do for that is to print out the reports and turn in my paperwork. I tried to do that last night but I ran out of paper for the printer.  I'll be picking some up in the next few hours and getting that crossed of my To Do list.

MQX East was a blast again!  I loved all but one of my classes and I'm already excited about next year.  I have a ton of quilt pictures to share with you but I need to find time to sort through them and I'll also share some thoughts on the classes that I took.

In the meantime, I'll show you my loot.  I felt I was pretty restrained overall but I did go with a list of things I wanted to buy.

Wednesday night when the show opened for the preview, I got these pantos from Anne Bright Designs. More and more when locals find out that I have a longarm, they ask if I'm taking customer quilts and I've continued to put that off.  Well I think the time to change that is coming soon and so I need some good pantos to have to offer, designs that I'm not comfortable doing freehand yet.
I had no fabric on my shopping list, instead planned on getting whatever struck my fancy and this ended up being the only thing that caught my eye.  I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do with it but it is surely destined to become a wall hanging.
One of the things I want to start trying is ruler work and so rulers were on my list to check out.  I ended up getting this straight ruler from Judy Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts. I found that I really like the overall size of this ruler and for me the handle helps keep my hands from cramping.
Of course I had to stop off at the Fil-Tec booth and get some more Glide thread.  Oh how I wanted it all but I only brought home these colors.  As I get more into quilting for customers, I'm guessing that I'll end up buying many more of the colors that they have available.
These Tahana Caramels are sooooo good.  I'm addicted and for that I directly blame Mary Schilke.  If you haven't tried these to-die-for goodies, you should order some right NOW!
During my class break on Thursday I did a bit more buying, this time at the Willowleaf Studio booth.  I picked up this group of pantos to add to my collection.  Now I feel I have a decent selection to offer to future clients.
Thursday afternoon's class with Karen McTavish was just fantastic and I look forward to taking more classes with her in the future.  Of course I had to get the new edition of her book (my friend Liz Haskell has a quilt in it too).
Karen even autographed it for me. The best part of that evening is that she had dinner with our group.  She truly is hilarious and real pleasure to know.  Sometimes I think that us newer quilters are in awe of the famous folk and Yes I am one of those people but it is wonderful when you get to meet them in person and see that they are real just like you and I. 
On my shopping list were also some notions but I didn't actually buy these at the show.  One philosophy that has always stuck with me from my years in retail is that "I have the right to pay a reasonable price and you have the right to make a reasonable profit". Reasonable being the key word here. I do prefer to support the LQSs and small business owners but when you are charging between 50-100% more than I can get it online, I don't call that reasonable.
I had some Amazon gift cards that I received at Christmas so I just ordered these once I was home.  I also got the Clearly Perfect Angles by New Leaf Stitches that you see below.
The similar but smaller product that I was originally looking for is no longer available but when I found this one, which is bigger and will attach to the bed of my machine better, into my cart it went. It will be great not having to draw the lines on my squares when making HSTs any more.  

MQX 2016 is already on my calendar and I'm already forming ideas on who I'd like to take classes from, if they will be teaching next year that is.  If you haven't been to MQX yet, you really should go.  It is totally worth the trip.





Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Time for me - MQX here I come

Guess where I will be by dinnertime today?

MQX here I come!
I am so looking forward to this bit of Me time and the opportunity to learn lots of new things. Plus I have some serious shopping planned.  I've been a really good girl and have not bought anything other than sewing machine needles in many months so now's the time to indulge.  Some of it is necessary but some of it will be just because I want to. :)

My class schedule time wise ended up being almost identical to last year and I'm looking forward to each and every one of them.  Here is my lineup:

E100 Secondary Quilting Designs - Judy Madsen
!142 Feather Variations for the Timid - Angela Huffman
E160 Custom Quilting - Judy Madsen
E210 Easy Border Designs the Write Way - Angela Huffman
E260 McTavishing - Karen McTavish
E316 The Joys of Free Motion Quilting - Judy Madsen
E338 Easy Textures and Background Fills - Paige Johnson
E352 Modern Quilting Meets Traditional - Judy Madsen
E414 Fabulously Detailed Feathers and Motifs - Judy Madsen

Yes I am going to be a Judy Madsen stalker dedicated student this year.  I so love her work and who knows if she'll be back to MQX or not in the future.  I didn't want to miss my chance to learn all that I can from her. I'm also looking forward to the classed with Angela Huffman.  I enjoy the quilting videos she posts on her blog and expect that I will come away with a bunch of new skills.

If you are at MQX and see me, please say Hi!  I really love meeting quilters face to face and making new friends.  If you are in any of the same classes with me, don't be shy.  

As far as seeing all the gorgeous quilts, I'm sure I will be speechless as I was last year.  How can one not with all the fabulous work that will be on display?  I promise to share pictures as much as possible.  You can follow me on Facebook and I'm on Instagram too @crayonboxquiltstudio.  I haven't been posting much lately due to Girl Scout cookie season but that is almost over and I'll be back to sewing up a storm by Sunday.  I have a bunch of projects to get finished in the coming couple of months.

I expect that I'll come home filled to the brim with inspiration and wanting to try out all that I've learned but work will get in the way a little.  But that is life.  One day I won't be working any more and will be able to quilt as I wish but that day is a long way off.  Until then, I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Stunning Stitchin Sunday - on Wednesday

I'm guessing that no one minds having a Stunning Stitchin Sunday post on Wednesday this week.
Thankfully my Girl Scout cookie sale duties are winding down and I'll be able to return to my regularly scheduled programing, including these series posts and some sewing time. I'm really looking forward to that.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy today's showcase of fabulous work by very talented quilters.

As you can imagine, I'm way behind on reading blog posts, to the tune of just over 400, but I should be able to get caught up by this Sunday and with that you can bet I'll have plenty more pretty stitching to share with you.

Monday, March 30, 2015

My recent secret project - my custom Girl Scout Tablecloth

So you may or may not have guessed that my life right now has been consumed by tons of these Girl Scout cookies.  Being the troop Cookie Mom (as well as the troop leader) is a lot of work and takes a ton of time but it is so worth it.
Most of Sunshine's deliveries are done, we only have a couple of people to meet up with, so this pile is down to almost nothing. My troop has also already had 2 cookie booths, at a local business and at a mall, and we have one more to go this Saturday.  They are rocking the sales and we've already far succeeded our troop goal but I'm also ready to be done with it for this year. 

There is one project that has been worked on and finished recently and I wanted to write this post Friday but me coming down with a really nasty cold prevented that.  Now that I'm feeling semi-human it is time to show it off.

Do you remember me showing you this pile of fabrics a couple of weeks ago?  Do you happen to notice that they look very similar to the colors of the boxes above? Might these fabrics have a Girl Scout theme going?
Why Yes they do.  That stack of solid turned into this. What did I hear you saying?  You can't tell what it is?
Well.....that big 9 yard piece of Fern Green got cut and hemmed on all 4 sides.  First a single fold hem.
And then a double fold hem.
Nice and neat. Then the other solids were sliced into strips and attached together (sorry no picture was taken).
After that, I made this with a big paper template (thanks to hubby) and a bit of simple machine applique.

You see...for our cookie booths I wanted a very cool and unique tablecloth for our troop.  This is the one that I could have bought from our local Girl Scout council.
It is just ok but my biggest issue with it is that it wouldn't be usable for any other event we take part in.  We already have a Pancake Breakfast/Food Panty collection/Bake Sale scheduled for the fall plus some other events are in the works. So a custom design was in order.  My table that we are using at the local business cookie booth is 6 foot long but the one at the mall that they provide is 8 foot long so that added a little bit more calculating to the design.
I solved that little problem fairly easily.  Do you see those faint Green stitch lines on the sides?  I didn't think so.  That was the point.
You see....I added velcro to the extra length on the underside of the ends.
When attached to each other, the length is instantly the shorter size needed for the 6 foot table.
This is what it looks like from underneath.
The large 24" high trefoil was attached to the front panel of solid color strips as such.
Ta Da! Here is the finished custom table cloth for my troop. My girls are Daisies now, represented by the Blue at the bottom, but we will continue to use this as they advance through the levels...Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and finally Ambassadors.
The front panel attaches to the top/side piece with velcro.


The back panel attaches the same way.
So now you're probably wondering why I didn't just sew the panels to the top/side piece.
Our troop will also be participating in upcoming local parades such as the one for the 4th of July so we'd also need a parade banner.
The front panel and back panel can be velcro-ed to each other and we'll just add a pole inside and viola...instant parade banner.
To deal with the extra length on the front panel when it is on a 6 foot table I added a clear snap and folded it around to the sides. I didn't need to do that to the back panel since that isn't as visible plus we'd need to access the stock stored underneath.
I also added clear snaps to the corners so that one can't see the cookie stash hiding underneath (plus the council has a strict rule about extra boxes and empty boxes not being visible under the table.
Here is a simulated 8 foot table view.
I'm super proud of how this idea turned out and it has already gotten a lot of praise at our 2 cookie booths held so far.
At the mall cookie booth Friday night the couple of other Girl Scout leaders that saw it wanted to know where I got it.  You should have seen the shocked look I got when I told them that I made it.  It really was an easy project to construct and it will serve my troop well for many years to come.

And so you can see the tablecloth in action, here is a picture from out 1st booth at the local business.
And here is a picture from our mall cookie booth this past Friday.
Who can resist buying cookies from those cute faces?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Boxes galore

This is what I spent my day with yesterday....a whole lot of cases of Girl Scout cookies.
No this is not what Sunshine sold, these are the cookies for my entire troop.
My mud room is now temporarily home to the cookies for our 1st cookie booth that is on Sunday.
Here are the cookies that Sunshine sold.  Tonight we'll start sorting them by order and then the delivery fun begins.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tiny Tote Bags

 This week I did a bit of sewing for a project for my Daisy scout troop.

Instead of earning patches this first year of scouting, my Daisies are earning petals for their Daisy patch, each petal representing one part of the Girl Scout Law. Each petal has a flower and fun story associated with it. This week's lesson was about Mari the Marigold who represents being "Responsible for what I say and do". 

While researching ideas for each of the petals, I came across the Zinkie Project idea. Basically they have a small item that they are responsible for and they have to bring it back to the next meeting.  These are our Zinkies.
 I wanted to make something that the girls could keep their Zinkies in so I hunted around in my stash and found this half yard of adorable fabric that I didn't remember that I had.  Perfect!
 Since the petals all have a flower friend associated with it, this ties in well with the whole garden theme.
I sewed together a basic unlined tote bag. Without the handle, they finished at 3 3/4 inches square.
Here are all 12 done.  I didn't have enough of the 1st rainbow fabric for the handles so I found another one that worked just as well.
The little Zinkie fit inside perfectly.
They are all filled with their charges and were ready for our meeting.
They look so cute peaking out of the totes in this photo.
I held off bringing these out at the meeting until the end. My troop is very curious about what we are doing next and I didn't want to spoil the surprise.  Because I wasn't able to have them all one color and I knew there would be a little drama with those that wanted Pink (practically all of them did), I laid the totes out on the table so they couldn't see inside and they took turns picking a tote.  Yes there were a few girls not quite happy with the color Zinkie that they got but I think it was a also a good lesson on learning to be happy with what you receive. 

The girls also received a small journal notebook where they could write about their adventures with their Zinkies. It will be interesting to see at our next meeting if they all come back and find out just what sort of fun these little Zinkies had.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

1000 Quilt Inspirations - a book review

I recently had the opportunity to review a book being released soon, April 1st according to Amazon.
I didn't know what to expect when I received this book so I had no preconceived notions of what it might contain between its covers other than it would be inspiring.
This book is a compilation of pictures of a vast variety of quilters' works. For those looking for patterns/instructions for making your own version of the quilts featured, this book doesn't provide any of that.  It is simply pictures with the makers names listed.
The pictures are divided up into general sections based on overall theme.  Here are a few examples from the Traditional Designs chapter.
(All pictures are shared with the permission from the publisher, Quarry Books)
 by Mark Markworth, USA
by Robbie Payne, USA

These are a couple of examples from the Modern Designs chapter.
 by Geri deGruy, USA
by B J Adams, USA

The Pictorial Art Quilt Designs chapter has some fun quilts featured including this one.
by Tonya A Brown, USA
by Martha Ressler, USA

And lastly the final chapter is Abstract and Conceptual Art Quilt Designs.
by Marianne R Williamson, USA
by Carolyn McMillan, Canada

In conclusion, if you are looking for a lot of inspiration, both on block or overall quilt layout and creative color groupings, this book certainly has a boatload of that.  There are some color combinations I want to explore myself inspired by the quilts in this book.
This books is available for pre-order so if it is one that you just must have on your bookshelf, you can place your order and it will soon arrive in your hands.
Thank you to Quarry Books for the chance to view and review this book.  It definitely has opened my eyes to some very interesting and out-of-the-box ideas that I look forward to testing out on my own.