Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blogger's Choice Bundle-My Picks

A couple of days ago I saw over at Quokka Quilts a fun little giveaway linky thing for choosing your own Blogger's Bundle from all the luscious goodies at the Fat Quarter Shop. I'm always up for a giveaway. While I don't have a ton of free time to do much today, I thought I could accomplish this without too much work. Thought being the optimum word! I was so wrong. It took me a lot longer to do than I thought it would. First I had to choose a main fabric to start with and then choose 11 other coordinates and 3 solids.

I hunted all over the shop and eventually settled on the ones below. Then I needed to make a collage of the pictures to add to the link up. Well that turned out to be the hardest part of all. The collage/mosaic sites wouldn't work right for me and I wasted tons of minutes uploading all the info and then hit "Create" and nothing happened. Many times I tried to no avail. Somehow I needed to figure this out before I wasted my entire day. Of course I would love to win half yards of all these gorgeous fabrics but I can't afford to spend multiple hours wrestling with the process to get entered in the first place.

Finally just now the mosaic thing worked for me so here it is. My picks are:

1. Terrain Mist Forest Floor by Kate Spain for Moda #27090-15
2. Primrose Tonga Batiks Peony Star Flower by Timeless Treasures #B8542-Peony
3. Terrain Mist Lichen by Kate Spain for Moda #27098-27
4. Terrain Stream Fern by Kate Spain for Moda #27099-17
5. Desired Things Olive Tonal Oblong Dots by Robyn Pandolph for RJR Fabrics #0082-4
6. Amelia Cotton Playful Purple Basket Weave by Me and My Sister Designs for Moda #22166-24
7. Always & Forever Passion Pink Swirls of Love by Deb Strain for Moda #19522-11
8. Essentials Medium Denim Petite Dots by Wilmington Prints #39065-404
9. Family Forever Green Swirl Texture by Benartex Fabrics #4556-44
10. Essentials Sparkle Purple Sparkles by Wilmington Prints #39055-666
11. Terrain Berry Fern by Kate Spain for Moda #27099-12
12. Essentials Purple Petite Dots by Wilmington Prints #39065-666
13. Bella Solids Bleached White by Moda #9900-97
14. Bella Solids Lavender by Moda #9900-33
15. Bella Solids Terrain Iris by Moda #9900-168

I would be really fun to win this bundle and see what all of these would actually look like in a quilt. If I am so lucky, I would just have to quickly find a pattern to use. Any suggestions you may have are always appreciated. Wish me luck!

Friday, December 30, 2011

The decision I can't seem to make

Since I'm a newer quilter, I have yet to figure out my typical plan of action when buying fabric that doesn't already have a specific project in mind. Over the past months I've seen a bunch of fabric lines that I would just love to have, but since I couldn't decide exactly what to buy, I didn't and now some of them are nearly impossible to get or gone all together.

So here is my question for you today. When you see something you absolutely love and just have to own, what do you buy? Charm pack (s)? Fat quarters? Layer cake? Jelly roll? Yardage and if so, how much? There are some fabrics that I want to get before they disappear totally like Dogwood Trail, Sunkissed, Amelia, Summer Breeze II, Terrain, Ruby, Good Fortune, and Twill just to name a few plus there are a bunch coming out soon that I would like to have to make something from also.

But the other huge consideration is of course the nasty B word. The Budget. I can't afford to buy everything my heart desires. I really wish I could. But with hubs changing employers in the coming weeks and our finances changing accordingly, we won't know how it will all play out and I have to be very careful and not go overboard. So I'm looking for guidance from you. What is just the right amount to buy without spending all of my fabric budget for the year in one shopping binge and that I won't have regrets for not buying more later on?

Help a girl out here please and let me know what you would do if you were in my shoes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I won!

Look what I have won in the Quilters Gallery Blog Hop Party!
It is a "Jelly Girl" pattern from Fig Tree & Company and a jelly roll of Moda's Fruitcake line by Basic Grey. While I do like holiday theme fabrics, what I like a lot more about this line is the fact that it isn't the typical Christmas colors or prints. And I'm really interested in getting the pattern. Those that know me know that I don't like anything curved at all when it comes to blocks (we just fight non-stop) so I'm very into patterns that look like curves but actually aren't curves at all. But I will tell you that when it comes to fabrics or the quilting itself, swirls and twirls are my very favorite of all. Thank you so very much Kristen!

I did enjoy the blog hop though I didn't get to visit every single blog. With all the craziness here the last week or so, I'm lucky I got any time at all to hop. Hopefully the next hop will be at a time that isn't so hectic for me. And next year, when Michele does this again (I hope she does and thank you Michele for putting it all together) I'll be prepared because I have resolved to make one really huge New Year's resolution for 2012, to have all my gifts bought and wrapped before Halloween. Having both kids with birthdays right before Christmas and all the school events we now have to participate in, it is impossible to shop this time of year. I want to enjoy the holidays with my kids instead of running around the stores like a crazy lunatic trying to get it all done. Will I be successful? Well I am one determined woman but you'll just have to make sure you keep checking back here to see how I do.

Hot Fudge Sauce winner!

I hope you all can understand my reason for not picking and announcing the winner of my giveaway yesterday. You see my baby girl was sick all Saturday night and I literally got no sleep at all. I sat up with her in a chair the entire night. She had a fever and slept only about 20 minutes and then woke coughing and crying. This went on for hours and hours, until the sun finally came up. So after an emergency trip to the doctors office Sunday morning, a diagnoses of a sinus infection and a prescription, I came home and crashed. She is doing a little better but is still a real grouch monster but at least I can get a little done today.
So without further ado, the winner is:

#10 Debra said... I think I would eat this with a spoon!

Congratulations! I REALLY do that all the time Debra! I actually sneak into the fridge when my kids aren't looking and indulge, especially when they are driving me up the wall. Right now I can't get Mr Random to let me copy the result gizmo here and I've got too much to do to get caught up to spend trying to mess with that so you'll just have to trust me.

I've sent her an email and I'm curious as to see which flavors she chooses. For everyone else that entered and wasn't luckily enough to win, you can still get your own fudge sauce to enjoy this holiday. Katie is still taking orders but you'd better hurry if you want to get it in time.

Since I have easy access to this wonder of the world, you can bet this won't be the only hot fudge sauce giveaway I will do so watch for some more sweet fun in the coming year.

***Update: Debra decided to trying the Original, the new Almond and the new Caramel. I know that she will have a hard time picking a favorite. I sure do.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gathering Dust!

My poor girl is gathering dust, or I should more correctly say is that her cover is gathering dust. Lots of it. (And yes I believe she is a girl but I have yet to come up with an appropriate name for her. Any suggestions?
I WANT to give her some attention. I honest and truly do. But I don't know when I will be able to. While showering a little while ago I thought perhaps tomorrow afternoon I could carve out some time. But No, that won't work. I still have too much Christmas shopping to do (I am so far behind this year). And then I considered the possibility that Sunday afternoon, after Sunshine's family birthday party, there might be an opportunity. But that won't do either. Said Christmas gifts, those I have actually purchased and those I hope to buy tomorrow, need to be wrapped.Don't even ask me about all the events on my calendar next week!

The most perfect Christmas gift I could get right now would be some "me" time to hold up in my studio and spend loads of time with fabric and thread but there is no way that is going to happen probably until after New Year's Day (my mom/sibling/sibling spouse/and all the kids holiday celebration is that day). So my poor girl will have to wait for me a bit longer.

I feel very upended by not having any crafting time but what is a girl to do when the big day is inching ever closer and I'm no where near ready plus both kiddos having birthdays right before that? Next year I have to make a better plan for sure. No one ever said that having Christmas shopping done by Labor Day is a bad thing, did they?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

No time, no time

I just want to quickly post here that I am reading all your fun comments on my giveaway but I just don't have any time at the moment to reply to your emails. I would like to though.

You see, we were on vacation last week (not a great thing during the holiday season that is so busy anyway), Sunshine's birthday happened during our trip but I still have her daycare class party today and her family party on Sunday. Today Jammer has a Polar Express party at school, swim lessons and his winter concert tonight. I'm not sure where we will fit in feeding them some dinner. Tomorrow night is the firehouse Christmas party. Add in the normal work and household stuff and I'm running crazy.

Next week is even worse...Sunshine's Polar Express school party, Jammer's school birthday party (yes both my kids have December birthdays), his actual birthday right before Christmas, Christmas itself, my extended family holiday celebration and fitting in his family birthday party somewhere too.

And I am no where near done shopping nor have I done one ounce of wrapping. I sure hope I get a chance to hop around the blog party myself before it all ends but who knows. At least I hope all of you are enjoying it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Block Hop Party Giveaway!

When I saw the info on this upcoming party, I immediately wanted to join in. But what in the world to give away I ask myself? I really don't have an over abundance of stuff and not much time at the moment to shop for something really cool that others would clammer for. Well it didn't take long for the light bulb to go off in my head with the perfect idea and I signed up for the party post haste. I kept chuckling to myself (I tend to do that at times) about how this particular give away might become very popular indeed.

I'm sure that I am going to really perk up your interest with my Block Hop Party Give-Away. Why might you ask? Well...because I'm not giving away something quilty or crafty. I'm giving away something a bit more luscious and decadent!

You see I have this terrific long time friend over at Sundaes Best Hot Fudge Sauce Company and she makes the very best hot fudge sauce on the planet. And I'm not just saying that because she is a friend. I'm saying it because this stuff is THAT good. Seriously yummy! Just ask Madame Samm. She and her hubby have been recently enjoying some of the wonderful flavors and can attest to their incredibleness. They are made with honest to goodness wholesome things such as real butter, half and half, sugar and tons of chocolate. No corn syrup allowed anywhere near here.

So for all my readers, new and not so new (though since this blog is still an infant everyone is basically a new reader), I'm giving away a set of (3) 8 oz jars of these scrumptious sauces. You get to choose which flavor. Original (plain chocolate), Raspberry, Peanut Butter, Hazelnut, Java, Orange, Cherry, Mint, Almond or Caramel.

What do you need to do if you win? I'm sure you are dying to know. Well....here are the details.

1. Become a follower here and tell me which is your favorite Crayola crayon color. Did you know that there are 120 current colors? You can find the list here. Mine has always been Periwinkle.

2. For another chance to win, tell me what you would put this sauce on, besides ice cream of course. I've eaten it on many things and I'm curious what you might try it on.

2. And for yet another chance to win, become a follower on Katie's blog. Yes I will be checking. Make sure you tell me that you did.

So each of you has 3 chances to be the luck recipient of this bounty. You have until midnight on December 17th to enter. One entry per URL (not email address). Duplicate entries will be deleted. I want to spread the hot fudge love to as many people as possible. The winner will be drawn on Sunday the 18th.

Though I would love to have international readers and give them the chance to win too, this stuff is heavy and way expensive to ship overseas (plus the customs nightmare over food items in many countries can be very sticky) so the giveaway is unfortunately only open to folks in the continental US. Sorry.  But I hope you will consider becoming a reader anyway. Who knows what sorts of fun giveaways I might do in the future.

If you are looking for a really wonderful gift for your child's teacher, your mail person, or practically anyone, you might want to consider giving them some of Katie's hot fudge sauce. Or you might just want to keep it all for yourself! Hehehe. I honestly wouldn't blame you but it isn't any fun if you don't tell everybody about this stuff. Good things are well worth sharing.

Good luck to all of you and don't forget to check out all the other wonderful blogs at this virtual party! I know I will. I'm always up for finding new great reads and entering for a chance to win something great.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How would you quilt this?

This is my completed wall hanging from my Quilting 101 class that still sits waiting to be quilted. While I had all my other quilting done by my long arm quilting magician, I think I want to try to do this one myself. But I'm not sure exactly what sort of quilting to do on it. I sure could use your suggestions.

I really thought I had saved a picture of the class sample but I can't find it no matter where I look on this dang computer. Oh well. Let just say that it wasn't my taste at all, very dark and drab. It was all done in batiks but the color palette was dull and nothing popped. But I will say that I did like the way it was quilted. Each block had something different done to it. A little orange peel here, a bit of swirls and loops there. A real hodge podge of designs were used. I sort of thought I might do something similar. Or not, if you have a better idea that is. I actually printed the picture of mine and doodled a bit. What do you think? (please ignore the scribbles in the pink of the bottom 2 log cabin blocks. Just pretend they aren't there). And no critiquing my drawing skills allowed. I can't draw worth beans and thankfully I've always admitted that fact but perhaps you can get an idea of what I was considering.
Too crazy? Just right? I have no clue here. I need ideas and some sort of direction to take this in please. I would like to actually get this done and hung on the wall before another year passes so I beg of you, give a girl a hand here and make some suggestions.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Blog Hop Party

Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways 
I've joined the party! Have you? It is going to be a blast and loaded with give-aways. I can't wait.

My give-away is extra special so make sure you get back here when the party starts. You won't want to miss out on winning something that is absolutley to die for!

Small Blog Meet

Small Blog Meet
Welcome! So this is my new blog, my place to write about my adventures in quilting. My spot to document the projects without the future gift receipents finding out. And my home for exploring all that I love about color and all that I continue to learn each and every day about the shades and the patterns and the fabrics that have opened my eyes to more possibilities than I ever would have imagined before.

While I am not new to blogging, I am new to blogging about my projects so have patience with me as I navigate this quickly expoding online world. I hope you enjoy your stay and check back often. This blog meet idea is really cool and I'm heading over to your blogs to check them out too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Luving Sunshine

I finally finished the binding on this cuddle quilt for Sunshine last night.
I used the Flowers in the Sunshine pattern by Sweet Jane and the Luv U fabrics by Deb Strain for Moda. This is another example of my thinking 'I have no idea of what I will do with this' when I got the fabrics. A few years ago, long before I started shopping for fabrics online, my BFF called and said she was going to get a charm pack, the alphabet book and the panel from this line and do I want some too. Sure. Why not. It's cute, bright and cheery.
The pile sat in a box for a long while and eventually while hunting all over the web I came across the pattern, actually done in the same fabrics. Decision made as to what the fabrics would become. It was really easy and came together in a couple of weeks, which for me is fast because I typically only get an hour or so at my machine at any one time. I bet that it could be done in one day if that much time was actually available.
My long arm master Dianna didn't get any direction from me as to what to do and she ended up choosing a swirly butterfly pattern with a variegated yellow and green thread. She knows how I love all things swirly and it was a great choice. It looks wonderful.
Now I have a lot more appreciation for precuts and how they make projects come together quickly. A neighbor friend is expecting a baby girl in the spring (after having 2 very rambunctious boys) and the leftover charms from this line and adding a few coordinating pieces from my stash will create a similar cuddle quilt to welcome her little miss to the world.  I'm guessing that this simple adorable pattern will be a go-to for quickie cuddle quilts again and again.

Improvising

In trying to find the best way for me to get the hand stitching on the bindings actually done, I've had to try a few different things. With the first binding, I just held it in place while I stitched. Not very comfortable or conducive to working fast. The 2nd binding I actually pinned in place but hated getting stick by the pins constantly. That method would actually make me not want to do the bindings at all and that would not be a good thing. I want to finish my quilts, not have them pile up as UFOs.

So after the last pin pricking session, I looked up other options and found the Clover Wonder Clips. Great! Perfect for my needs! Except.....I am trying really hard to no go overboard with my quilting spending. This hobby is expensive enough and while many tools available are very necessary and worth their weight in gold, others I need to try to find an less expensive alternative. Then I found these online and and thought hmmmm......they look a lot like the barrettes I use for Sunshine's hair. I ventured on over to my local dollar store and found the exact same thing for half the price. And they work great. They hold the binding in place as I stitch, are easy to remove with the other hand as I get to them, and make the whole process go a lot smoother and faster.

Less cost, faster completion and not feeling like a human pin cushion....all great things in my book!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thistles and Vines

This is the very first quilt I ever made. It is from the pattern my BFF learned at her Beginning Quilting class. With the help of her instructions and a number of books, I self taught myself the blocks and put it together.

The top was completed in January 2010 but since we traveled to China and brought our daughter home soon after, started the process of building our new house last summer and moved this past spring, the long arm work wasn't completed until July of this year.
To be honest, I was thrilled of how well it turned out. When I began it, I had no clue as to whether I could do this or not but as they say "the proof is in the pudding", or more appropriately "the proof is in the stitching".

I really love the way the green binding makes the green in the prints really come to the forefront. The colors in this were tough for me at first since at that point in time I normally didn't veer towards gold, rust and sage but I noticed the main prints immediately in the store and no matter what else I looked at, kept coming back to this combination.

Choosing which one would be the top focus fabric and which would become the backing was challenging (I am a Libra after all) but you can obviously see what I chose then. With all that I have seen and learned plus the new shades, colors and patterns that I have come to really like in the past 2 years, if I were to do this one over again I'd use the backing fabric for the top and I'd put the one with the red lattice as the backing.

This first quilt will always hold special meaning for me since it is what led me on this wonderful quilting journey that is now a passion for me. Daily as it graces the back of my favorite chair, it reminds me just what I can accomplish when I am determined.

Friday, November 11, 2011

This week's arrivals

The mailman was very kind to me this week. Loads of new goodies arrived to dazzle me with creating desire. Thanks to a friend's need to destash, my stash got a huge infusion and has grown by leaps and bounds. Most of these are fat quarters but some are actually fat halves. All told probably about 9-10 yards of beautiful cotton fabric candy.
I also received multiple yardages of these Amanda Murphy fabrics. Gorgeous don't you agree? My mind is swirling with ideas of what to do with all this bounty.
Along with the above wonder, I received some patterns, a new book on Japanese quilts, a spool of great (so I have read) thread that I can't wait to try and a Cover 6 1/2 x 24 ruler, the brand that everyone raves about. I feel like I hit the quilting jackpot.

In addition to all of this, my Ghastlie fabric also arrived! I want to shout it from the roof I am so excited. I don't want to do anything else but get started on the projects that I have planned for this. I have 5 on my list so far.
This fabric line is beyond fun and those that know me and my love for Halloween will attest that they knew I'd own it at some point once I learned it existed. I even picked up a few other little bundles online at a great sale that will coordinate with the Ghastlies well. I especially love the damask wallpaper print. I felt bad about spending the money on this set but since I worked a craft show last weekend for a friend, I more than made up for it.

I have never had so much new fabric come home at once and it will be interesting finding a place to put it all. At the moment all of my stash shares space with a few drawers full of scrapbooking tools and supplies but I be thinking that those items are going to get smushed together so that I can get my new fabric lovlies all cozy and safe in a drawer of their own.

Teacher Quilt Project

A couple of weeks ago the light bulb in my head went off when I came up with the idea to make Jammer's teachers lap quilts for their end of year gifts. Why in the world am I thinking about this now you ask? Because I want all the classmates families to be part of it and for that, it takes time and want them complete before the end of the school year in June.

I came up with the plan to design the quilts 100 Good Wishes style. Originally my plan was to sew one block to represent each student but since there are 21 kids in the class, that didn't work out well in a quilt design. So instead of 1 for each child, there will be 2. Forty two 6" blocks in all.

I asked the teachers their favorite colors (they have no clue why I wanted to know) and the head teacher chose purple and green. The assistant chose royal blue and green. So I asked each family to purchase 1/2 yard of 4 different fabrics, one each light and dark green, one blue and one purple. This is what I have received so far.

I chose blocks that used only 2-3 fabrics (I'm adding a coordinate to what I receive from the families) and laid them out sampler style to give everyone a view of the proposed end result, though I may switch up some of the blocks for other ones I find later. (If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears as long as they don't contain curves or applique.)
One each pair of blocks are done, I'll get a picture of them with the child represented by those fabrics and in the spring each child will write something to the teachers about their school year.  The letters will be put into a scrapbook along with the pictures of each child with their blocks. Plus of course a picture of all the kids with both completed quilts.

The parents loved this idea, especially since it is more memorable than a gift certificate to a bookstore or a restaurant and it is something they will keep and remember our children through for years to come. I can't wait to see how it all turns out and their reaction when they receive them. Stay tuned for more updates as this project progresses.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Overhang

Just outside the door of my studio is a half wall that overlooks our great room which has turned out to be a terrific place for managing rows in progress. With the limited space in my studio, this works out well for keeping the pieces neat and wrinkle free.
The view from below. Kinda cool to look up and see them as I'm doing other things. The bad part? When I glance that way all I want to do it to hurry upstairs and get back to work, forgetting about everyone else and everything that needs my attention. 
This is the 100 Good Wishes Quilt that I am putting together for Miss M. I hope to have the time soon to sew the rows together and then I get to head out to the LQSs to find the perfect border and backing fabrics. I'm sure that when I do that I will come home with more than just those though. Sometimes when I'm in a store fabrics just call out to me to buy them and who am I to try to resist!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My new quilting hangout

Welcome! Glad you are along for the ride. My life in the quilting world, both online and offline, is getting bigger and bigger by the day and so after much thought, I decided to separate some of that from my personal blog. Plus I have a lot of projects in the works that are gifts or secrets and I want to write about the processes hence the need to create a place to do just that without the secrets getting out to the future receipents.

In this newly create space in the blogisphere I hope to share with you my inspiration, my cravings (of the fabric kind of course) and my creations both big and small. Hopefully it will be fun for all and you will return often. Keep your fingers crossed that I will find loads of time to sew so that I will have something to share.