Thursday, July 21, 2016

12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop - my Merry Jingle quilt

Happy Thursday and welcome to my stop on the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop hosted by my friend Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict.   It has been a really long time since I've been able to participate in any online events like this one and I'm really happy that this time I did.  Thank you so much Sarah for the invite to participate.
Confessions Of A Fabric Addict
Before I show you my project, I want to remind you to make sure you also visit today the other blogger today, Jan Ochterbeck over at The Colorful Fabriholic to see what she is sharing with us.

Since I hosted the Kate Spain Christmas Charm Swap last fall, I certainly had plenty of Christmas fabrics to work with and knew immediately that I would make a quilt for this blog hop.
What I didn't know initially was that I wouldn't end up making the quilt I originally planned to which was a pattern by someone else. I ended up creating something totally new and I'm 100% thrilled with how it turned out.  I'm excited to introduce:

Merry Jingle

 It is hard to believe that what started out as a bunch of simple 9 Patch blocks ...
... became this beautiful quilt that I just adore.  The tricky and deceiving  thing is that the construction isn't what you'd likely guess it was.  It is truly a little bit of slight of hand magic.
This one came right down to the wire (as some of you probably saw on Instagram) and the final stitch in the binding was completed about 5pm.  But when I got this idea, I just had to run with it.  As soon as I picked up the kids from summer camp, we drove right over to the town park to snap the pictures while there was still daylight.  Of course the wind always proves a challenge.


The sun had started making it's decent and although it proved difficult to showcase the actual quilting some of the lighting I was able to capture was simply beautiful.
The backing and binding fabrics that I chose are from Kate's Jingle line.  They are just perfect.
I can't do a photo session in the park without taking one with the quilt draped over one of the benches.  It does seem odd to be showing off a Christmas quilt among all the green grass.
The blocks for this quilt came about because of a "what if" idea that popped into my head.   Luckily I actually had the time and was able to try out my whim to see what resulted.  Though I might be a bit biased, I think this particular whim idea works. :)
The slightly shadier area in the park provided the opportunity to get some photos that really show the quilting nicely.
I used the Holly Berries pantograph recommended by my online friend Kathy of Tamarack Shack.  It turned out to be just the look I was searching for on this quilt and it stitched out quickly.
Here you can almost see the great texture on the back that the quilting provided.  I used So Fine Snow thread for the top and Glide Cardinal for the back.  I love that combo together and it works really well in my machine though usually I have the Glide on the top and the So Fine in the bobbin.
Here's the part where I get to reveal my exciting news.

I'm going to develop this into my first pattern for sale so although it will take a little while until it is ready to be released, the ball has already started rolling on all the steps that need to happen for that to become a reality.
Honestly this quilt is a surprise to me.  I had no clue when I got my whim of an idea that it would produce such a fantastic pattern.  I know that just 3 or 4 blocks would create a great table runner (of course I need to make one of those too), one block with a border could be a pillow cover (yup a couple of those are needed also) and 9 blocks would be the perfect size for a baby quilt.
So stay tuned and hopefully everything will fall into place relatively fast and I'll have a pattern soon for all of you that want to make one of your own.
Thank you for visiting today and enjoy the rest of the blog hop days to come.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Kitten rescue and on the frame

This morning I'll be finishing up the last of the quilting on this quilt.  I only have 2 more rows to go and it will be done. It has been waiting way too long for its turn to get finished and I'll be happy to cross this one off my UFO list. 
Thursday and yesterday were exciting and just a bit crazy on a good way!  We helped rescue this tiny little thing.  My neighbor's son found this orphan kitten while they were camping at a local lake and while they would have loved to give it a home her hubby is severely allergic so on Thursday morning she texted me asking if I wanted it.
Though really tempting I knew that we aren't ready to add another fur baby to our family at the moment.  But I did feel very confident that I could find her a new home.  I sent out a text to all those in my circle who I knew are cat people and not one but two of them were willing to become her forever family.  I'm happy to report that after she came here for about 24 hours, until her new owners were able to pick her up, she has settled in nicely and is doing fine.
These pictures don't tell the whole tale though.  She is really tiny and definitely not old enough to be truly away from her mom.  She is only about 4-5 weeks old (my guestimate; we'll find out for sure when they get her to the vet on Monday).  She is just about the size of my hands cupped together, if that, and very fragile though also very spunky.  She is super sweet and a real cuddler and I'm sure that before long she will grow healthy and strong.  They've named her Daphne.

My neighbor saw that Daphne has a sibling and they couldn't catch that one at the cabin at the lake though they are going back today and will try again.  If they are successful, a new owner is already lined up to take that him/her home.  There is no indication of what happened to these kittens' momma and who knows how long they were there alone but both she and I are glad that at least one so far was rescued and will have a great life.  Keep your fingers crossed that the story for Daphne's sibling ends just as happy.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop starts today

Today's the day. The start of the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop being hosted by my friend Sarah from Confessions of a Fabric Addict.
Confessions Of A Fabric Addict
The first 2 bloggers sharing their projects are:

    Sharon Vrooman @ Vrooman’s Quilts 
Carole Carter @ From My Caroline Home

Make sure you hop on over to their blogs to see what they created.   Plus they are both hosting a giveaway.  You don't want to miss getting in on those chances!
And here is schedule for the rest of the blog hop:

July 15th:    Yanicka Hachez @ Finding Myself As An Artist
                   Chris Dodsley @ made by ChrissieD

July 16th:     Marsha Hodgkins @ Quilter in Motion
                    Leanne Parsons  @ Devoted Quilter

July 17th:     Tonia Conner @ All Thingz Sewn
                    Selina @ Selina Quilts

July 18th:     Lara Buccella @ Buzzin Bumble
                    Soma Acharya @ Whims and Fancies

July 19th:     Joanne Harris@ Quilts by Joanne
                    Suzy Webster @ Adventurous Applique and Quilting

July 20th:     Vicki in MN @ Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting
                    Jennifer Fulton @ The Inquiring Quilter

July 21st:     Michele Kuhns @ Crayon Box Quilt Studio - that's me!
                    Jan Ochterbeck @ The Colorful Fabriholic

July 22nd:     Alla Blanca @ Rainbows. Bunnies. Cupcakes.
                     Zenia Rene @ A Quilted Passion

July 23rd:     Joanne Hubbard @ Everyone Deserves a Quilt
                    Paige Alexander @ Quilted Blooms

July 24th:     Carolyn Jones @ …by CJ
                    Tisha Nagel @ Quilty Therapy

July 25th:     Susan Arnold @ Quilt Fabrication
                    Beth Sellers @ Cooking Up Quilts
                    Linda Pearl @ One Quilting Circle
 
Sarah also has the first set of instructions for the quilt along she is also hosting each day.  It isn't likely that I'll have time every day to sew along but hopefully at some point I can join in on the fun and make my own version of her Christmas quilt too.
 
Enjoy today's blog hop hosts and check back tomorrow to see who's sharing next.
 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Mystic weekend and Sunday Stash


Last weekend we went on a little getaway to Mystic, CT. Hubs and I had been there many years BK (before kids) and we visited the aquarium with Jammer when he was 2 but it was definitely time to go back.  Friday afternoon we spent exploring the Mystic Aquarium together.
Their large toads certainly garnered a lot of attention.  And when I say they are BIG, I'm not kidding!  These were as big as hub's whole hand.
The lily pond blossoms were so beautiful.
Getting a good picture of the jelly fish wasn't an easy feat and I could have watched the ones in this tank for a long while.
I found Dory!
All day Saturday and Sunday morning were spent exploring and enjoying the Mystic Seaport.  Based on his love lately of all things related to that period of time, we knew that Jammer would eat this place up.  Yes we took tons of pictures but I don't want to bore you with all those so I'm just sharing a few.  It was amazing to learn how they went about making everyday items such as barrels.
It's a good thing we were tempted to put the lid on the barrels and ship off these contents to ports in far off lands. :)
I even came across a vintage sewing machine or two. This one was tough to get a good photo of as I was behind the rope and the sun was shining in the window bright.
Until I saw the sewing machine in this Sail Room, it hadn't occurred to me that they would have used machines to make them, once they were invented of course.
Although these spools held strands for being twisting into rope instead of thread (a fascinating process BTW), they still drew my attention.
Sunday after lunch we explored a sweet little shopping village were happened to be the 1 and only fabric store in the town was.  The shop was very tiny and therefore didn't have a ton to offer but they did have a lot for the space they had.  I didn't find anything that I just needed to have but Jammer sure did.  The shark and map fabrics called his name and we found a couple of coordinates to go with them.  Now we are on the hunt for just the right simple pattern for him to use them for.
If you haven't been to Mystic before, you should plan a visit.  It is sweet and quaint and a perfect little New England seaside town just right for a weekend getaway.

Once I got home I was able to finish sewing together the last rows of the quilt for the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop.
Confessions Of A Fabric Addict
Once that was done, it was time to decide what I wanted to use for the backing and the binding. I knew I wanted to use fabrics that are actually in the quilt and I was able to find these perfect ones at Stash Addict Quilts.
While browsing her holiday fabric offerings, I came across these prints and they just magically added themselves to my cart.
My order arrived yesterday (thank you Stash Addict Quilts for the speedy service) and came with a little bonus surprise in the form of this mini charm pack of Miss Scarlet by Minick and Simpson.  I have no idea yet what I'm going to do with it but I'm sure I'll think of something. 
On a side note, because I've been burned a couple of times in the past when ordering online and not receiving the actual yardage that I ordered and paid for, I always unfold and check when my packages arrive.  This order was no different and I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised.  Not only did I get the yardage that I ordered, but she sent me a few inches more on each of the cuts.  That is greatly appreciated.

It seems like a simple thing (and a not so costly one at that) to add an inch or two to an order so that when the customer squares up the fabric, they have at least the total of what was ordered.  Yes I'm aware that the inch or two adds up for the shop but having a happy customer like me who doesn't have to buy an extra 1/4 yard than needed to ensure I have what I need will ensure that I will be a repeat customer.  I wish more stores, both online and brick and mortar did the same.  I learned in retail many years ago, a small cost to the business in the beginning can reap years of additional profits in the future.

My day to post for the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop is on the 21st, so be sure to check back in to see the final reveal.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Recent happenings - a new Christmas quilt

Recently I've found some much appreciated and long awaited sewing time and I'm enjoying it immensely.  What am I working on you ask? 
 
It just might be my contribution to the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop hosted by my good friend Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict.
Confessions Of A Fabric Addict
The blog hop will run from July 14th through July 25th and there will be 2 bloggers each day for you to visit so you can ooh and ahh over their Christmas creations.
 
Sarah will also be hosting a Christmas Quilt Along each day of the hop. With just about an hour of sewing time each day, by the end of the 12 days you would have a completed Christmas quilt top. I think that sounds great.  She's shown what the quilt will look like and has provided a supply list so check it out here.

You may remember that last fall I hosted a Kate Spain Christmas Charm Swap.
 Each participant received a stack of these beautiful charms.  Actually I ended up with a few stacks so I have plenty of yummy Christmas charms to work with.
I had a plan for what I was going to make for this blog hop with some of the charms but last week I got an idea for something new so I immediately started sewing bits together to test out my vision. 
Charms quickly became rows and rows became blocks, 9 patch blocks to be specific.
While this looks like nothing more than a whole lot of 9 Patch blocks, this was just the beginning.
Blocks were sliced and sewn back together. Not just once, but maybe 2, 3 or even 4 times.
Of course Juno attempted to help with the layout a few times and just made a big mess.
As you can guess, I'm going to keep you in suspense and not show how it turned out.  You'll have to check back on the 21st to see for yourself. I love it and can't wait for the big reveal.
 
The blog hop fun starts on the 14th so save the date so you don't miss out on any of the fun.
 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Teacher end of year gifts 2016

The 2015-2016 school year is in the books and the kids are excited to be off for the summer.
Like most other parents I took last day of school photos.  The changes in them over the past 9 1/2 months is mind boggling.

Sunshine's happy to be a 2nd grader now though she has been telling her teacher for the past week that she wished she could stay in her class forever.  I'm glad that she loved her teacher so much (and so do I...Jammer also was in her class in 1st grade). 

Jammer just continues to lose that little boy look and while part of me is sad, I'm also very proud of the young man he is becoming.

Lots of new and exciting opportunities await him in 4th grade including the Drama Club which he has already said he wants to get involved with.  As someone that did that myself all through school, that was great to hear.

Of course the end of the school year meant gifts were needed for their teachers.  My longtime readers know that when they were in preschool I was crazy enough to make full size quilts for all their teachers (3-4 each year) but now I don't drive myself that insane.  Since Jammer moved onto the public school, the gifts have been smaller but no less well received.  Two years ago, they got tote bags and last year I made them each a set of placemats.  So what did I create for the teachers this year?
Table runners!

I had 2 charm packs of Moda's Summersville Spring by Lucie Summers for Moda and knew that the bright colors would be perfect for both of them.  Wanting projects that would be quick and easy while still being pretty, I went with HST layouts.  

This is the runner that Jammer's teacher received. 
The quilting was kept simple with just diagonally sewn straight lines. 
Although I've had the charm packs for a while, I was still able to find some yardage to use for the backing and the binding.
To report that his teacher Mrs. A was thrilled is an understatement.  She hadn't received a handmade gift before and she is so happy that she will have this forever.  And as for the colors...I nailed it!  Those are so her.  Score!
The 2nd table runner, this one for Sunshine's teacher.
I saw an image online when searching for ideas and liked the result so I recreated it for this project.  I really like the way the 3 lines of quilting turned out.  I'll definitely use that plan again in the future.
The backing and binding for this one is the opposite of the other one and the print shows the quilting a little more. 
Though I had pieced them a number of weeks back, with all the craziness of the end of year Girl Scout events and a work trade show out of town last weekend, I didn't get the time until a couple of days ago to get these quilted and completed.  I literally finished the last stitches on the binding just minutes before the bus came.
Both teachers were thrilled with their gifts and I'm glad that they will continue to remind them of this school year for a long time to come.  Farewell 1st and 3rd grade and please Summer don't fly by too fast.