Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Alex's 100 Good Wishes Quilt - A finish

I finally have a finish to share with you and this one has been a really long time in the making.....to the tune of almost 10 years.
This is a very special 100 Good Wishes Quilt for my friend Lisa's daughter Alex.
This quilt took 10 years to become a reality because, like me, Lisa started collecting squares of fabric from friends, family and others waiting to bring their daughters home in the Spring of 2006, after our document files officially arrived in China.

Lisa and Alex finally became a family almost exactly a year after we arrived home with Sunshine and when she asked me just over a year ago if I'd be willing to make this quilt for her daughter, I was truly honored.  Lisa and I were brought together by our adoptions and to be a part of this very meaningful gift for her Alex means the world to me.

I started with this pretty stack of squares, many of which are also in Jammer's 100 Good Wishes Quilt and will be in Sunshine's too (when I eventually get around to making hers) since we were in some of the same swap groups.
Lisa and I looked through a lot of ideas for 100 Good Wishes Quilts and once she chose which one spoke to her, I set to work, first by sorting the pieces into color families to see what I had to work with.
I paired up similar colors diagonally in the 4 patches, coordinating the other pair with complimenting colors.
The blocks went together quickly and the sashing was added to one side. Then it was time to lay out the blocks for final placement.  As you can see, I had some "help".
The top was actually finished last summer and then waited for Lisa to decide what she wanted for the backing.  She originally focused on a bright teal from one of the blocks but after hunting all over and not finding what she envisioned, she went in another direction and found a backing right before Christmas that ended up working really well.
I chose the Flying Paisley Panto for this and I like the way it compliments the overall design.  It is tough to actually see in these photos, but the white sashing and borders is actually a White tone on tone print with small paisleys on it.
Finding a good thread color for such a scrappy quilt wasn't easy but in the end I chose an Off White So Fine.  It clashed less with the darker fabrics than a pure White did and it still looks great against the white fabrics.
The backing Lisa picked was this Tangerine Aboriginal Dot and it looked great with all the bright and fun prints on the front plus the pale Yellow batik Lisa brought me that I used for the cornerstones turned out to coordinate perfectly for the binding.
I used an Orange thread on the black that blends in so all you see is wonderful texture.
Right now the finished quilt is whisking its way to them in the midwest and I can't wait to hear their thoughts when they see it for the first time.
This quilt actually has 144 wishes in it and it finished at 93" x 93".

Each 100 Good Wishes Quilt that I create brings with it so much emotion as I remember the many days, weeks, months and years that we waited to bring our babies home.  There is so much hope and longing wrapped up in those small squares. From now on Alex will be able to look her quilt and match the squares up with the wishes written to her and know that she is truly wrapped up in love.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Another blogging absence

Boy I sure haven't been able to blog much lately and it really bothers me but sometimes that is life.
I do have a finish that I can write about, once I'm able to get pictures of it of course.  Stay tuned for that.

The reason for my current absence?  It's that time of year again.
Yes my life at the moment is all consumed with Girl Scout cookie season.  Not only am I keeping track of the sales for my entire troop of 11 girls but Sunshine and I have been going out every weekend during the day to knock on our neighbors' doors.  She set herself a big goal for this year (the same as she actually sold last year = 650 boxes) so that is a lot of doorbells to ring.

A few of my readers also purchased cookies from Sunshine last year through the Digital Cookie program but this year due to technical difficulties with the actual program, our Girl Scout council is not utilizing it so we have to take the orders and ship them ourselves. No biggie but I've had to do some weighing and figuring of shipping costs for those orders.  

If those same ladies (or anyone else) needs their Girl Scout cookie fix, we'd be happy to send some your way.  Just email me.

I am getting in a tiny bit of sewing too but this is also for my Girl Scout troop. My girls wanted troop t-shirts and after looking at countless options online and the girls not really liking any of them, I'm making them myself.
The tracing and cutting of the letters is taking more time than the actual sewing is but I like the way they are coming out.
The first event that we will wear them at is later this month so I need to get all 13 completed soon. Hopefully after they are done, I'll finally have time to get back to some regular sewing.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Be still my heart!

Oh have you seen her? She is so beautiful and I'm in love.
And I wasn't even looking for a girlfuurrriend.  My mom was on the computer reading about some place called the Three Cats Ranch and there she was on the screen.  My tummy did a flip, my eyes got all googly and I instantly fell, and fell hard, head over heals for this purrfectly stunning gal.
(Mom borrowed her photos from her mom's blog and knows that she won't mind.)

I mean, how could I resist I tell ya.  Just looks at her...that sweet face just drew me in and I love her little folded ear tip. Plus she's got lots of orange furs like me, though mine are a bit more subtle.
She looks very fit, like she's been getting lots of exercise and I'm betting she'd be fun to race around the house with.  I'm good at that.
And she's curious, just like me.  Oh what a grand time we'd have together snooping into all the cool places there are at our houses to check out and inspect.
Miss Maggie, I hope you would consider becoming my long distance love.  I'm a handsome dude fur sure.  I've got stripedy stripes in all the right places.
See my orange fur bits.  We match. Kinda.
I love to find comfy places to take a nap too.  This one is in my mom's sewing room, though fur some reason I can't furigure out, she calls it her studio.  The afurternoon sun that shines in the windows in this room is wonderfurly warm.
My mom seems to have some sort of purblem when I lay on her sewing chair when she is in here. I just don't get it. I mean, just look how purfectly shaped it is for my body.
I haven't seen any pictures of the smaller type of purreople in your house so I'm guessing that you don't have any there but I do and these are them.  The bigger one, the boy, is in constant motion and sometimes makes me nervous but the smaller girl one loves me to no end, to the puroint that many times she over does it.  I mean, a fella needs some peace and quiet sometimes, ya know.  Mom and Dad try to keep her in line but let me tell ya, it ain't easy (as I hear it).  She hunts me down all day. 
Don't get me wrong.  She is sweet and gives me lots of cuddles but sometimes too much and she has a Restraining Order thrown at her. And I get lots of breaks from her when she is at school or is sleeping at night but I know when I hear the door open, that my kid break is over.

Here's my Mom and Dad.  He's big.  Really big.  I get a crook in my neck just looking up at him.  But he's purfectly ok and lets me sleep on his side of the bed sometimes.  I even crawl up in his lap some evenings while he watches tv.  He has long legs and that, my furiend, means a big lap.  That is a good thing.
Mom is great too. She feeds me in the morning (very impurtant task, I mean the most impurtant task of all) though sometimes she tries to sleep later and I have to wake her up.  A purring and nudging usually does the trick though once or twice I've given her a little bite when the 1st method isn't working.  She doesn't like that. 

In the 9 months since I've been in my new home, I've learned a lot.  Like this quilt inspectpur job thing.  It's serious.  I mean, REALLY SERIOUS and IMPURTANT.  You have to be on the constant watch to make sure mom is doing it purfectly correctly.
Plus the sewing machine a thingy has all these bright lights on it.  I like bright lights.  They bedazzle me, just like you do dear Maggie.
As fur as that guy Smitty, don't mind him none.  I guess he is just someone you're going to have to puurt up with.  But he is your new brother after all and in time you might find that you actually like him.  Just don't tell him I said that. And he'd better not get in the way of our romance like he's gunna try to be some sort of sibling purtector or he's gunna have trouble.  Big trouble. No cat is going to stand in the way of me and my true love.
Maggie please say you will be mine now and furever and I promise that I will be true to you. How many other furrlows out there would be brave enough to profess their love on the interwebs fur all to see.

Love, Juno


Stunning Stitchin Sunday

It has been a really long time since I've done a Stunning Stitchin Sunday post, almost 2 months. I don't believe I've ever gone that long before.  Some of you might have been wondering if I was just stopping this series without telling you (I honestly wouldn't do that) but truth be told, the holiday season just got away from me and I had no time to read blogs and therefore find gorgeous work to showcase.  Having to do all the shopping, the wrapping and the decorating plus having not one but both of my kiddos birthdays right before Christmas pretty much ensures that my December quilting time is nil.

When I finally got back to my Feedly list, it had grown to over 1,000 unread posts and I'm happy to report that I'm all caught up.  Since I'm sure that it would be pointless to showcase stunning work that the creators did months ago, I just picked projects that have been post about in the past week or so.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New goodies received


Last year didn't turn out quite as I had thought it would once I looked back on what I thought I was going to accomplish quilty wise, even though I never wrote a post about it. For the most part, Girl Scouts ate up most of my otherwise free time and I wouldn't trade that for the world.  Now though I'm a more "seasoned" leader, having one year of Cookie Season sales under my belt and the rest of my meetings for this year already planned out so 2016 isn't going to be as intense Girl Scout wise and I'll definitely have more time to sew.

So onto recent happenings here. My Christmas gifts didn't include a lot of quilt related things as there weren't really a lot on my Wish List but I did find a couple under the tree this year with my name on them.

Santa brought me Amanda Murphy's Free-motion Quilting Idea Book.
 This will come in handy later this year as I work my way through actually quilting some of my UFOs, something I really want to accomplish this year.

I also received the coloring Book of Quilt Blocks & Designs.
I know that adult coloring books are the biggest rage right now but I wanted a quilty related one and I can already tell that it has refired my designers brain.  New quilt pattern ideas are a-forming.

Though constantly getting up to go to the ironing board is healthier for me, sometimes it takes too long when I'm working on blocks with a lot of steps so last year I bought a pair of tv trays off someone from Craigslist with the plans to turn one of them into a portable ironing station.  Because I wanted to leave my big iron on the board I researched the mini iron options and asked Santa to bring me this 
which he so kindly did. The portable ironing station will have to wait though for now as one of the tv trays is housing my herbs indoors for the winter and the other one is otherwise occupied temporarily (details below).

I received this adorable figurine from my sister Tina this year (she also bought one for herself) and it now resides on my bookshelf close where I can see it. I love it!
And my last quilty gift isn't really a quilty gift at all per say but they are just as precious to me.  BIL's girlfriend crocheted everyone in the house wonderful wool socks and they are absolutely perfect for keeping my forever cold feet warm and toasty while still allowing me to use the foot pedal for my machine.  I just can't wear my hard soled slippers when I sew.
The most exciting quilty gift of all wasn't actually for me.  It was a gift for Sunshine and No I didn't buy it for her.  Aunt Tina called me about a month ago asking if it was OK if she bought Sunshine her first sewing machine or was I planning on doing that.  I decided that I was fine with her buying it though when I researched the one she was looking at and read the reviews, I wasn't thrilled with it.  Tina was perfectly acceptable with me making another suggestion so after a bunch more research and looking at included features, I suggested this one.
 It is a Brother LX2763. The fact that it is made by Brother is pure coincidence, it is the one I liked the most based on the included features, reviews and price, but it is a bonus that it all my presser feet will work on it.

The look on Sunshine's face when she opened it was priceless and she absolutely loves it! She couldn't wait for me to get it set up so she could try it out. I had to finagle a table for it (one of my other tv trays) and since she is really petite and couldn't reach the pedal, pulled out one of her step stools to put that on.  
She has been getting used to it every day, digging into my basket of scraps to play with, practicing making straight-ish lines and trying the other stitches it has built in.  It didn't come with a 1/4 inch foot with the guide bar like I have so I will be getting her one of those very soon.
A more permanent set up is in the works in her room which is right down the hall from my studio so she'll still be close as we work together.  It is just too crowded in my studio for her to be there long term.
 
She did immediately as for scissors and pins all her own so after we shopped for a birthday gift for her BFF a couple of days ago, we went to Joanns where we picked out a pretty sewing box for her to put everything into.
 She also picked out her own pin cushion (yippee that it now comes in colors and of course she picked Pink), a seam ripper and some pins. I already had a brand new tape measure and small scissors that were extras to give her.

I'm sure this year will be an adventurous one with her sewing wise as she is eager to learn and if this is anything like her other pursuits, she is an extremely motivated child and will be itching to make quilts all on her own before I know it.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

May your new year be filled with all the sewing time you want and tons of great finishes.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in review

It's that time of year, when everyone (or almost everyone) posts a summary of their completed projects for the year so I'm doing it too.  I don't feel at all that I accomplished much this year and I'm not happy about that but the time commitment for Girl Scouts really made a major dent in my sewing time.  All in all, 11 projects is better than 1.
I completed only a couple of quilts and this is really unusual for me but I have 3 more that are in the final stages and will be completed early in January so the new year will be off to a good start.  My plan for 2016, in part, is to get a lot more of my UFOs quilted and bound and I'm working on my list of goals for the year.  

So it is goodbye to my 2015 quilting year.  I sincerely hope 2016 is much better.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Another finish - Cherries & Chocolate

Whoo hoo! I have another recent finish to show you.

This is Cherries & Chocolate and it is a baby quilt for my niece's new little girl Emalee.
It started with this pile of fabrics from my stash that I got who knows where quite a while ago.
It's a new experience for me to have an inspector present while I work.
Juno even checked to make sure the thread was pulling of the cone nicely. Thanks buddy!
The pattern was Nap Time by Caroline Reardon and was published in Quiltmaker's Favorites Winter 2008. It is a fast and easy pattern and whipped up quick.  It is a one block pattern made from strip sets.
Once the strip sets were sewn together, they were cut into the proper length and then some fast chain piecing was next.
Here are the blocks all laid out.  The white strip was just added to the top or bottom of each block, with every other block row the strip set flipped around so that the right most print in the first row was the first print in the next row.  And so on and so on. Such a simple design but great results.
Then with the addition of a couple of borders, the top was complete.  This is another great pattern that I will definitely use again when I need a quick finish.
This is the final result after quilting and binding.  It finished at 50" x 72", a bit bigger than a typical baby quilt but I wanted it to be something she'd be able to use for quite a bit longer.
When I quilted this one, I decided not to use a panto but instead took my cue from the loops surrounding the round motif in the Brown print and free handed simple loops and added in lots of hearts too.  The thread was a very pale Cocoa.
The backing was pieced from the last print I had that coordinated and some of the leftovers from the front.  I'm really happy that 100% of this quilt came from my stash so no cash outlay for this and it turned out adorable.
I just need to add the label and it will be ready to deliver to my new great niece.
Because of the fact that they live a distance from me, I have yet to actually meet the cute little one in person but I can't wait to hold her and to enjoy some snuggle time together.  I'll get to do that at our extended family Christmas celebration in a few weeks. From the pictures I've seen she sure is a cutie pie.
So another satisfying finish has been recorded.  Now onto the next one!