Friday, February 24, 2012

My 1st QAL

I need another project on my "To Do" list like I need a hole in my head but guess what, I'm doing this one anyway. I've been sorely tempted many times to join in other QALs but have resisted because I really want to get done some of the projects that I already have in the works. So what is different about this one that made me decide to jump on board?

Well, here's the story. I have a box full of fabrics that were my grandmother's. My mom gave them to me when they cleaned out her apartment after she passed away. Unbeknownst to me, my gram used to make Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. Knowing that I'm a true crafter at heart and would probably find something to do with the fabrics, mom gave them to me.

Since I was working on the plans for the kiddos' 100 Good Wishes Quilts and was sad that my gram wouldn't be able to contribute, these came to me at just the perfect time. Gram may not have been able to pick out a fabric to contribute herself but at least she was able to be included in the finished quilts. This is what I have.
Don't they look so right for Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls? I even have her pattern and trims so if I want to try this myself one day, I could. It feels a bit strange to touch pattern pieces that she touched herself, sort of like she is right here beside me. The patchwork looking piece was actually one of her aprons. I found it very cool that there was a Square in a Square area since that is the block I used for Jammer's quilt (and will use for Sunshine's too). Of course that is the section I fussy cut as her contribution.

For the past few weeks, I remembered that I had that box of fabrics in my studio closet. I've been wondering what I should do with them. I don't want to leave them just sitting in that box forever. Then while browsing around the web one evening I came across a Granny Square block picture and saved it to my inspiration folder. It seemed like the most appropriate block to symbolize her.The idea of doing something with that block pattern continued to swirl around in my head. Within a couple of days I came across the Granny Square QAL flickr group link on someone's blog (I wish I could remember whos) and clicked on over to check it out.

After a little chat with the leader of the blog and much thinking, I decided to jump on board this one. It is just the perfect idea for these fabrics that I've been looking for. I decided to make wall hangings instead of a quilt. And I won't be making 1 wall hanging, I will be making for my mom, my aunt, my uncle and one for myself of course. The fact that there is no time table for this QAL definitely helped me decide to join in. Since I have other projects that have deadlines, I needed to not be stressed about having these done "on time".

So now I need to make a final decision about the background/sashing/border fabric, get it in house and get cutting my squares. I don't want to use white and since there is already so much white in these fabrics, I am thinking about using this natural instead. I don't want the finished quilts to look modern. I want them to feel very vintage, like the fabrics themselves. What do you think?
I am very excited to see how this will come together and then see the surprised faces when each one gets delivered to the future owners. The fact that I will be making treasured heirlooms to honor my gram warms my heart more than words can say.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A recent finish

I know that this isn't a quilt but it is still a blanket.
This is one of the No Sew Fleece kits available at Joanns. Santa brought it to Sunshine for Christmas. She sew needed one of her own.

Jammer actually has 2 of these, in the CARS theme of course. My BFF made him the 1st one a number of years ago and I made him the 2nd one about 8 months later so that he'd have one for home and one for school. They make great nap blankets.

These things are very soft, uber warm and toasty and they hold up well to the rigors of kids and frequent washing so I highly recommend them. There is no way I'd want to send my kids to school with an actual quilt. It would get trashed quickly so I am much happier to send one of these. They are easily replaced and not too expensive if you use a coupon.

So if you haven't tried one of these yet you might want to check them out. Sunshine is beyond thrilled with hers. Just about anything Princess or Minnie Mouse is a treasure for her at the moment.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I need a design wall!

I came to this realization over the weekend.
Up until now it hasn't been that BIG of an issue. I've only done quilts that need to be layed out and arranged after the blocks themselves are completed. I use the floor and with the exception of Jammer's mega huge 100 Good Wishes Quilt, for which I had to practically clear the entire room of furniture (in our old house), this has been fine. It has even been fine in this new house, especially since we have a much larger great room here and I need to move the furniture out of the way a lot less.

But now that I am actually designing a quilt (make that 3 actually) that don't have a preset pattern, I need to have a better system. Keeping track of the blocks on the floor of my studio, so I don't make too many of the same time for any one quilt, won't work for long as I will quickly run out of free carpet space.

Yes I would love to have some fancy schmancy cool design wall set up. But this room (like too many others in this house) still needs to be painted (white flat wall paint sucks). Until the room is done, hopefully this spring, I don't want anything permanent on the walls.
So I came up with the idea to use these.
The kids and I ran out to Home Depot to pick them up (I use the hook ones for our Christmas stockings and they work great) and then hopped over to Joanns for a pack of inexpensive white batting, at 50% off thank you very much. It isn't batting that I would ever put into a quilt but it was cheap and will serve this purpose just fine.
This is what I have now. MUCH BETTER! I had to fold the batting over one to get it to stay in the clips but otherwise a problem cleverly solved I believe. And all for $10.13.


I am itching to go to this quilt show that is coming up at the Garden State Convention Center.

The Quilt Fest of New Jersey VIII
March 1 - 4, 2012

My BFF says that she isn't into going to quilt shows (thinks she'd get bored quickly, though I know that wouldn't really be the case if she did go) but I really don't want to go alone. I've attend the local guild shows solo and it isn't as much fun as it would be with fellow quilters. I have yet to join any of the local guilds so I don't have a local quilting buddy to do these things with. I have the same problem with my local shop hop, no one to go with. So is anyone out there going to this show? Perhaps we could meet up there? It has been too long since I've ooohhh-ed and aaaah-ed at beautiful quilts.

My other get together desire (and this one is HUGE) is to attend this in the fall.
Sewing Summit
I learned of this last fall just as it was happening and I sew wanted to be there with all the others. I am trying to figure out if and how I can afford to go this year. I'm guessing that with the flights, the hotel (sharing a room with someone) and meals that I need about $1,000. The necessary shopping budget is a whole different aspect too. Who in the world would want to go to something wonderful as this and not be able to shop a bit? Certainly not me.

My mom suggested that I raid our tax refund when we get it and I just might do that. We'll see. Any of you planning on going to SLC in Oct?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Look at what I won!

This is turning out to be a blowout wonderful weekend! I just got an email from Pauline at Quilt n Queen that I won her Valentine's Day giveaway.

I'm going to shout out another Whoo Hoo!

As soon as the postman delivers it, I will be the happy new owner of this adorable tea towel and not 1 but 2 heart pot holders with hand pockets.
 Pot holder, tea towel, embroidered mug rug/ pot holder
photo courtesy of Quilt n Queen
And an Always and Forever by Deb Strain charm pack.
Moda Always & Forever Charm Pack 5" Quilt Squares

Oh the possibilities of what to do with this. I think though that I will make a runner to adorn my dining room table for next Valentine's Day.

Thank you sew much Pauline. You've made my day!

First Teacher Quilt Blocks

I finally got to make the first blocks for the 3 teacher quilts yesterday. After a lot of thinking and reworking the plans, I think I've got the basics figured out.
Each block made with the fabric contributed by each student's family will represent that child in each quilt.

The head teacher's quilt is in her favorite colors of purple and green, with me adding in the Bella Solids Bleached White as the 3rd color. These blocks are 12" finished. First I made a Calico Puzzle block.
Next came a Antique Tiles block.
I think I need to find a different place for the next group of pictures as my patterned berber carpet makes these look out of square.
And for the next block I chose a Double Pinwheel.
For the 2 assistant teachers (remember originally there was only be one) I ended up deciding to split up the pile of fabrics, use 8" finished blocks and make the first one in Blues with Safari Sweet Organic Light Yellow Solid as the other color. The first block is Broken Dishes.
Next up is a simple Sawtooth Star.
And the 3rd is a Railroad Crossing block.
The other assistant teacher quilt will be from the Green fabrics with the addition of Kona Pearl Pink (so pale pink it almost looks white) as the other fabric. The first block is ???. I can't seem to find an accurate name for this one so if you know what it is called, please let me know.
Then I made a Double 4 Patch.
 And the 3rd one is Art Square.
I have a couple of books that are filled with patterns for blocks but since they all aren't in the 2 sizes I need, I'm having to hunt for other ideas. I want to get as many done as possible without having to rework the math. Yes I could most certainly do more complicated blocks but 1) I need to get these 3 quilts done on time before the end of the school year and hence 2) they need to be fairly simple designs and 3) I am sticking with only 2 and 3 color blocks so many possibilities don't fit into this criteria.

So 3 sets done and only 19 to go! If you come across any block patterns that will work for me, please send me an email and a link. I would greatly appreciate it.

I'm designing these quilts in my head as I go and I think I have a complete plan ready for the biggest one. But the possibilities keep cropping up and actually kept me up too late last night contemplating options. Sew if you want to see how these turn out, you'll just have to keep watching.

I'm honored!

I woke up this morning to absolutely beautiful sunlight streaming through the windows and the happy news from Melinda over at Tilda's Twisted Life that she has honored me with a Liebster Award.

Can you hear me shout Whoo Hoo from the roof top! My very first award.

I'm flabbergasted. My little quilting blog is only 3 months old and I've already won an award. Thank you, thank you Melinda so much. You've helped me feel that starting this blog for my crafty pursuits was worthwhile and acknowledged that there are folks out there that are interested in what I am up to.

So what is a Liebster Award?
This award is given by bloggers to their favorite blogs with under 200 followers. The Liebster Rules are:

1. Post about your win on your blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who presented you with the award.
3. Copy and paste the award to your blog.
4. Present the Liebster Award to 5 blogs that have less than 200 followers that you think deserve to be recognized.
5. Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

Oh boy. I can only pick 5? That was really tough. There are SEW many bloggers that inspire me in more ways that I can count. But the rules are the rules. So without further ado.....I hereby bestow a Liebster Blog award to:

1. Lucy @CharmAboutYou (her Fugly Fabric party was a blast)
2. Kristen @TenQuilts (she's always cheering me on)
3. Leann @DaisyandJack (I love her style)
4. Mary-Frances @OutsidetheLines (she does such a variety of different things)
5. Jen @TheQuiltyHome (always full of color, which I love)

Sew there you have it. My picks for fellow bloggers who I feel deserve a Liebster Blog Award too. There are sew many others that I would have liked to bestow this award on but they all had more than 200 followers already sew they didn't qualify. Sew sorry. Make sure you hop on over to everyones' blogs and check them out. I'm sure they will become favorites of yours too.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What is going on with Google Reader?

I'm sure like me, most of you don't have all day long available to read blogs. At best I get to check into what others are up to about every other day. So I try hard not to get too far behind. If I do, I actually have to just glance through the posts in order to not get further behind.

Today I actually got almost caught up. I had about 25 unread posts on just 3 blogs. When I just logged back in it said I had 126 unread posts! What in the world! Some blogs had more than 10 days of posts that never showed up before now. This isn't the 1st time that Google Reader didn't update my list in a timely manner and it is driving me nuts! Anyone else?

Not only am I getting backed up when this happens but I am missing out on some great giveaways. And that pisses me off. Any clue to what they are doing or not doing that is causing this? I really like Google Reader but if this continues I may have to search for another way to keep up with blog reading. 

If anyone has any ideas on what the problem is and how to fix it, I'd be most grateful. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fugly Fabric Winners!

I want to thank everyone that participated in my Fugly Fabric Party Giveaway. It was fun to see which fabric line each person is coveting the most. Since using Mr. Random to pick my winners would have been difficult because all the entries were mixed in the comments, I did it the old fashioned way. I put every one's name on a slip of paper and put it in our heart bowl, appropriate for the day don't ya think.
I had my daughter choose the winner. That part wasn't hard at all, she loved helping.
Getting her to hold the slip of paper still to get a clear picture....well that was another story!
Congratulations Marcia.
You are the winner of my pile of fugly lovely offerings. May they find much happiness in their new home.
Then we were onto picking the winner of the Bonus Giveaway. Again thank you to everyone who is sending a wish for my friend's daughter's 100 Good Wishes Quilt and scrapbook. I greatly appreciate it. Anyone else who wants to help to is welcome to email me and I'll send you the info. I still have a long way to go to collect 100 wishes.
So without further ado....the winner of the Bonus Giveaway is
Congratulations! I'll be interested to see what you create with this stack of inspiration.
Emails have been sent to the winners and the packages will soon be on their way.
Happy Valentine's Day to one and all. I hope your day is filled with snuggles from the ones you love.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Is it Fugly? - the Giveaway x 2

Definition for fugly:

Web definition: (slang) Extremely ugly.
Well maybe not to you. Maybe you love these or they are the perfect little addition to your stash. To be totally honest, I actually like a few of these little bits but I know that the likelihood that I would ever actually use them is slim. Either way I am giving away this bundle of pieces to a lucky winner (plus it will give me more space in my stash dresser for new goodies).
Included is the following 12 pieces of various fabrics ranging in size from 4" x 25" to a FQ or slightly more (the rubber ducky fabric is flannel). In addition there is a stack of 95+ 4" charms perfect for a variety of small projects.
What do you have to do to win you ask?
1. You must be a follower of course.
2. Hop over to Fat Quarter Shop and tell me which of their "Coming Soon" lines you will definitely be buying. I like to see what everyone else is itching to own.
That's it. Simple. Easy. Entries will be accepted through midnight EST Monday Feb 13th. The winner will be announced on Valentine's Day.  So show me some fugly love.
As a bonus I have also having my special 2nd chance Giveaway!
For a while I have wanted to make a special quilt for a very special little girl in our lives. She is the only child  of a friend who is a single mom. She is turning 8 soon and was born in China just like my little Sunshine. Unfortunately with her mom's work schedule and other commitments, she spends a great deal of time with her grandmother and has to play by herself. We have her over for playdates as often as we can and we include her in our adventures when possible but she craves so much more.

 When she was adopted her mom didn't know about the 100 Good Wishes Quilt tradition in northern China. She isn't the crafty type either so this isn't something that appealed to her. I want to make one for her daughter myself.  You can read about the tradition here.
The problem is that while I certainly have enough bits of fabric here to add up to 100 pieces, I don't have the wishes that would go with them. That is what I am hoping you will help me with. Anyone willing to write and send me a wish or special quote for her made pretty scrapbooking style I will include in a giveaway for this 2nd set of fugly fabrics (similar sizes as above except that the blue stars fabric is one yard) .
Those that respond to this request I will email my name and address (I prefer not to have it out there on the net) so please make sure that you are not a no-reply commenter. Here are a couple of examples of wishes that I received for my kids to help you see what I am asking for.

Once the quilt is made I will attach a small piece of each fabric to each wish and place them in a scrapbook for the little girl to read. My son Jammer loves to read the wishes in his own scrapbook and he knows that people all over the US and the world wished him a happy life with his forever family and much love for a bright future. Sunshine can't read yet but she knows that her scrapbook is "mines". This is what I want to give to her.

Anyone who wants to also send me a piece of their own fabric for me to use is certainly welcome and I would greatly appreciate it but please send at least a 10" x 10" square (since I haven't decided what pattern I will use yet) and it must be 100% cotton.
It goes without saying that I would love to spread the word about this request far and wide. I don't have 100 followers yet so getting 100 wishes might not be easy. The more people that hear about this, the better chance I will have of reaching my goal. If you blog about this or mention it on Facebook or Twitter (I'm not on either one) let me know in the comments and I will give you another entry for the 2nd chance giveaway.
Thank you for reading this and considering helping make a very special young lady extremely happy, knowing that so many people simply care.

Many thanks to Lucy over at Charm About You for coming up with this awesome idea. Don't forget to hop on over to her site to find all the other linkys of fellow participants. You never know what sorts of fugly lovely goodies someone else is willing to part with.
Charm About You

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another top finished!

This past week was so productive for me. On Friday I finished the top of the Pretty in Pink baby quilt.
Even though the top looks far from square in this picture (too much wind and uncooperative quilt model again), trust me it is an even 52" x 52". The sashing color of white was an easy choice since I felt that anything else would get lost next to the scrappy blocks.

I'm not sure how I want to have my LAQer friend quilt this one or what color thread to use but since I trust her judgement and she always does a terrific job, I'm not concerned that whatever she chooses will look fantastic.

The neighbor friend mom-to-be-again has absolutely no idea that this will soon be draped over her baby girl's crib but since I am great at keeping secrets, I will continue to do so until she opens the box and sees what is inside. I promise to share those pictures when the happy moment comes.

A 100 Good Wishes Quilt top finish

Last Saturday I finished up Miss M's 100 Good Wishes Quilt top but didn't get the chance to take a picture until yesterday afternoon. When my new quilt model aka the hubby leaves the house early and doesn't get home until dark, it makes it a bit difficult to get the photos done. So sorry about the not perfect picture but he was cranky (out half the night on a fire department call) and he kept telling me that he was cold (the wind was blowing quite a bit). I guess he needs some training on how to me a proper quilt model (No 1 rule: no complaining allowed).
I do love the way this turned out. The border fabric does achieve the look that I was hoping for. Though just the right print/colors was very hard to find, it was well worth the extensive hunt. It makes the pinks and greens (which are the future owner's favorite colors) in the squares pop.

Tomorrow it will be delivered to the trusting hands of my long arm quilter magician to work her wonders. I can't wait to add the final stitch and send it on its way to its forever home.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl or Sewing Bowl?

Which is on your agenda today?

For me it will be piecing this puzzle together. It will be the backing for the pink baby quilt. Unfortunately the pattern listed the wrong amount for the backing fabric so what I purchased to use won't be big enough. So onto Plan B and using the scraps from the top instead. this will just take more time, that's all.
I honestly could care less about the football game. I never watch it on tv. The only time I ever payed attention to a football game was when I lived in Kansas City and was actually there in person. Those games are about more than just football game if you are sitting in the stadium. They are a social event too.

I'm sure the correct channel will be on and the noise will stream up to my studio but I probably won't bother even paying attention to the bits that I will be able to hear. Honestly I don't even know who is playing other than the Giants because they are from New York and lots of folk around me are excited. For those of you that are die hard Super Bowl Partiers, have a great time. As for me, I'm heading upstairs now to partake in my sort of that consists of lots of fabric and thread.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January Crafting by the Numbers result

Today is the 1st of the month so it is time to look back and see how I fared at my goal of crafting more in the new year. You can read my original post about it here.

Out of the 31 days in January I was able to do something 8 of those days. The math works out to 25.8%. A slight bit better than 1/4 of the available days. Not bad I guess considering I had house guests the 1st and 2nd weekends. I know it may seem nerdish to actually keep track but like I wrote in my original post, I am a numbers gal and keeping track of these sorts of things actually interests me. Weird? Probably! But being normal is no fun either.

I actually finished the top for Miss M's One Hundred Good Wishes Quilt on Saturday and it is ready to go to my LAQer (I still need free time during the day to get pictures). I had also hoped to finish the pink baby quilt top too but certain things, like getting Jammer's new twin captains bed put together took precedence (and yes I did it all by myself).

So did you keep track of how many days in January you did something crafty? If so, tell me how you did. If not, no problem but if you want to join in for the rest of the year, feel free. Seeing my progress written down gives me the incentive to try to find the time to do even more.