Sunday, December 30, 2012

Announcing the Modern Mini Mystery Round Robin 2013!

The time has come! A new year is almost upon us, you are working on your upcoming projects plan and this one definitely needs to be on your list. So many of you have been patiently waiting for the big announcement and finally that day is here. The Modern Mini Mystery Round Robin 2013 sign ups are now open!

The 1st Modern Mini Mystery Round Robin was very popular and a total blast. There were 32 wonderful mini quilts created and this year's round robin promises to be even bigger and better.

Based on feedback I have received there are a few changes to the rules/guidelines so please read them carefully and thoroughly before you submit your name.

*As with the 1st Modern Mini Mystery Round Robin, there is no theme to this Round Robin. You are free to work with whatever colors and style center block that you like but obviously the word "modern" (whatever that means to you) should be a hint as to the overall goal of this event.

*Each group will have 6 quilters and therefore the Round Robin will run for 6 months.

*You do not need to be an expert to participate; novice quilters can join too though you need to be confident that you can do quality sewing.

*Quilt shop quality fabrics must be used.

*There will be a limit of 36 participants / 6 groups of 6 each.

*International players welcome however due to the ever rising cost of postage, there will be a limit of 6 non-US players, one per group.

*Sign ups will remain open through Midnight EST, January 15th.

*Your center starter block needs to be in the mail by January 31st.

*You will have until the end of each month to complete the addition to the block you are to work on and get it sent on its way to the next person on your list.

*The reveal/linky party day will be in July. You do not need to have a blog to play. You will be able to post on the reveal day on a special blog I'm setting up just for you.

*Your center block should be 8 1/2" unfinished. You can choose any sort of center block to make you wish whether it be wonky, paper pieced, applique, a pieced block...whatever suits your fancy.

So those are the basics. Here are a few more of the details.

1) You will add only 1 border to each quilt (see #3 below for more info).

2) You will have a maximum of 12" finished allowed for the 1 border that you add. It can be in the form of:

*A 3" finished border added to each of the 4 sides (can be a pieced border or a simple border)
or
*A 6" finished border added to each of 2 sides only (does not have to be opposite sides; should definitely be a pieced border)

3) Pieced borders are highly recommended and strongly encouraged however if the quilt you are currently working on really needs a simple border added next, than that is ok but perhaps instead of just adding one larger simple border, you could add a slim simple border (1/2" to 1" finished) and then add a max 2" finished pieced border. The idea here is to stretch your creativity but still add what you feel would look the best. Try to do something different and you'll find out just how much fun it is.

4) Your overall fabric and color choices should enhance and coordinate with what has already been added to each quilt that you work on. While you are in no way required to keep with a quilt owner's theme/color scheme request, you should try your best to maintain the overall look and feel of a quilt in progress.  

Now with any quilting event there are rules and this is no exception.

1) You must complete your addition and mail it to the next person by the End of each Month. Illnesses and emergencies are certainly understandable but if you have a ton on your plate already, you have a giant list of other projects to be completed in the coming months or you aren't good at sticking to deadlines, this isn't for you.

2) If you do happen to find yourself a little delayed during the Round Robin, you must email me and the person next on your list and let us know immediately along with a reasonable estimate as to when you will get caught up. Communication is of the utmost importance here!

3) You must email me a picture of your center block before you mail it out. Pictures of the other blocks you work on aren't necessary.

4) Again, good communication is the best way to ensure another successful event so you must a) email me and the person you are sending to when you've put the package in the mail and b) email me when you have received the next one to work on.

What is the Mystery part in all of this you wonder? I'm glad you asked.

Mystery #1 - Unlike in a typical Round Robin where the owner sends all the fabric to be used for the rows being added to her center block, the owner here will have no say in what colors or fabrics get added. Each participant will make that decision and add from your own stash. The owner can send along a note requesting preferences (overall vision, future use, etc) to give everyone in the group a little direction, but the ultimate choice of fabrics/color/style will be up to each person in the round. If you choose to join in, you agree to accept the fact that you will have absolutely no control over the rest of the parts and how it turns out. Thems the rules!

Mystery #2 - Once the owner sends the center to the 1st person on her list, she (or he of course) will not know who has the piece at any point during the 6 months. So until the owner gets her top back in July, there is to be no emailing behind the scenes with suggestions by the owner to the other group members. The main goal is for you to be surprised when you receive that quilt back. I don't like spoilers.

Every participant must Double Pinkie Swear to abide by all the guidelines and rules in order to be accepted into this party.

Sound fun to you? Did you miss out on the last round robin and don't want to miss out again? Can you keep the secret from now until the reveal day? I hope so. In the end you will receive back a mini wall hanging/table topper/lap quilt that you can finish any way your little heart desires.

I'd love it if you spread the word on your blog. There are a limited number of spots available so sign up quickly. Remember, as with all the previous mystery min round robins, during this Modern Mini Mystery Round Robin 2013 if you want to blog about your contributions to each quilt, sneak peaks are ok however you must be elusive and never,ever reveal a picture the whole thing or enough that the owner will recognize it. This is to be a secret to the owner until it is received back home in July.

If you want to play in this new Modern Mine Mini Mystery Round Robin 2013, leave me a comment and let me know, and at the same time email me your full name and address, blog address and phone number (in case I ever need to get in touch with you). Deadline for sign ups will be Midnight Monday, January 15th. Once you sign up and receive your acceptance email from me, you can get started making your center block. No need to wait. I will email everyone the name and addresses of your group members by the end of that week.

Make sure you grab the button for this round robin (it's on my sidebar) and post it on your blog.

P.S. I have 2 great "border" books that I have found very helpful in aiding my pieced border additions for the current/previous round robins. One is "60 Pieced Borders: Mix and Match" by Judy Laqquidara and the other is "Borders: The Basics and Beyond" by Jill Reber. There are other great resources, books and websites such as Quilters Cache, just to name one, that can give you even more terrific ideas for great looking pieced borders. Like me, you just may want to get a book or two to add to your library and/or bookmark a few of the great websites for future reference.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My greatest gifts

Sure I love Christmas and getting presents but every year, after all the excitement has died down and my kidlets are snuggled up warm in their jammies ready for bed, I enjoy my absolute greatest gift of all.....

My 2 precious babies!

This time of year brings back some very strong memories and feelings for me. The year my nephew Danny was killed in the car accident the week before Christmas was the same time we were starting IVF treatments in the hopes of bringing home a baby. Of course it is obvious that didn't work out, but it was the start of us finally realizing the dream of becoming parents.

Today is a very special day for us. Not only is it the 3 year anniversary of receiving our referral for our daughter but it is also the 6 year anniversary of the day we sent our application to Vietnam to adopt our son. The date December 29th will forever be one of the highlights of our year.
Two and a half years after starting on our road to parenthood, our tiny 5 month old baby boy was placed in my arms for the first time. Today he is this adorable 6 year old boy who just lights up our world.

The 10 month old baby girl who's black and white picture we first saw on our computer screen that cold December night in 2009 is now a beautiful 4 year old little girl.

That year, Christmas was very stressful beyond your imagination. We knew on Christmas Eve that the referral packets had been signed by the official in China and were on their way to the US. But the holiday fell that year on a Friday so even if the envelopes had arrived at our agency, no one would be at the office for many days to even open them, let alone make the phone call that we had waited so many years for. There was no sleep to be had that Sunday night as we waited for the business day to start on Monday.

Unfortunately we didn't get the call that Monday and we actually didn't get the good news until dinnertime on Tuesday but in the end, we finally saw the little face that we had wished for and dreamed about for so many years. Three years ago today the final chapter of our long awaited journey to finally bring our baby girl home commenced.

When a child is homegrown, as we call it, the happiest day is the day of your child's birth. In adoption, there are many special days that are celebrated and dear to our hearts.....the Referral Day, the Adoption Day (some people call it Gotcha Day) and their Birthday. No mater how long I live or what other terrific presents I receive, my 2 children and my family are and will always be the greatest gift of all.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas!

At this glorious time of the year, my family wishes all of you the very Merriest Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Yeah I know this is a few days late. I did have all the best of intentions of posting it Monday night before I went to bed. But by the time Santa got things completed and the evidence hid back away, it was almost Midnight and I was just bushed.

We weren't awaken until 6am, which is the typical time around here. The kidlets had a glorious time opening all their presents. The rest of the day was so busy that I never got a chance to even get near the computer.

On Wednesday I worked, even later than normal and then yesterday was almost equally as jam packed. I spent part of the morning researching a new point and shoot camera. Santa didn't bring me one but it isn't his fault since I never told him exactly which one I want. Since Jammer dropped my old one on a concrete floor at culture camp last summer, I've been using the really old one and I desperately need a replacement. Then the rest of the day was spent clearing all the piles of gifts from my great room, breaking down all the packaging (my recycle bin is filled to the brim) and clearing away the 7+ inches of snow that fell during the day.
My studio hasn't seen much of me lately but I plan to rectify that over the weekend. I can't think of a better way of finishing off this year than to spend some Me time doing something that I love so very much.

I hope you have a terrific day too!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A cute Christmas story

Each year as I set out my beloved nativity set, I chuckle as I remember the "other" little story that goes along with the familiar players that has been in our family for many years.
You see, when my niece was about 4 (she's 30 now) she and my mom (aka Nanny) were helping Aunt Janet move into her new house right around Christmas time. On the way over to her house to help assist with the first bit of unpacking they picked up lunch. The movers hadn't arrived yet with the furniture so they spread a blanket on the floor and ate their meal. Little niece added the perfect little quip when she declared

"We are having a picnic just like Baby Jesus".

She had been looking at Nanny's nativity set up and obviously figured out that was what they were doing. From that moment on, anytime someone is enjoying a picnic, we always say "just like Baby Jesus."

Do you have any cute little holiday time family tidbits like this that have remained for years and years?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book Review

Just over a week ago I was contacted by Fons & Porter and asked if I'd like to review their new ebook Build Your Best Log Cabin. It is available for free download on their website. My first thought was "I have absolutely no time for this at the moment" but after looking at my To Do list and seeing that it wasn't too bad, I emailed back that I'd love to review their book as long as I didn't have a deadline to work with. Thankfully they obliged and since I'm home again today with a feverish little girl (those nasty infection filled tonsils can't come out soon enough), I have plenty of time today to thoroughly lookd this over and get this review completed.
I truly love the Log Cabin block and was very interested to see what this ebook has to offer. Upon first glance, I saw that it details all the steps in making Log Cabin blocks but the best part is that is has a handy chart for all the lengths and quantities of strips you'll need to make a variety of different sized blocks. They have this wealth of information listed for a Traditional block, a Courthouse Steps block and a Chevron block. Love that and I'll definitely be referring to it in the future!
There are also a number of interesting projects made using these blocks. By far my favorite is the Linked Chevrons quilt. I can just imagine this quilt in a totally different colorway making itself onto my Must Make list. And since I've been hunting for just the prefect pattern for some special quilts for family members, I'm thinking that I just found one that will work very well indeed.

The ebook showcases a bunch of different layout options.

Plus there are a number of complete patterns for you.

I really like this Woven Log Cabin one and it is another that will be added to my To Make list. Can't you just imagine it done in either pastels or brights with a white background? 
All in all I think this a great little addition to every quilter's library, especially if you are a lover of the Log Cabin block. Thank you to Fons & Porter for giving me the opportunity to review this ebook. Now head right on over and download a copy of it for yourself.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Silence & Support

Tuesday, December 18th, there will be a blogger day of silence. If possible, please try to not post anything other than the above button (feel free to right click and save the above image if you want to upload it to your own blog).
  
Money is also being raised that will go to an organization in the memory of this tragedy. The organization is called The Newtown Family Youth and Family Services. Here is the official description of the support service being donated to:
"Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.
ANY DONATIONS MADE TO NEWTOWN YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES WILL BE DONATED DIRECTLY TO THOSE EFFECTED BY THE SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SHOOTING."

Please visit THIS PAGE to make your donation.
And please feel free to copy and share.

Friday, December 14, 2012

I got nuttin!

Or to say it correctly "Nothing".

I have nothing pretty to show you today. No works in progress, no finished projects. Zilch!

The reason? Since the rush job quilt top was completed and speed delivered to my quilter, I've not stepped into my studio, except to iron a few bits of clothing here and there (I hate wrinkled clothes).

December is way beyond busy in this house and I'll be lucky to make it through until New Year's with my sanity intact. Besides work and gift shopping, we:

*Celebrated my daughter Sunshine's birthday last weekend (she is all about being a big 4 now)
*Had her in school birthday party on Monday
*A visit to our wonderful ENT on Wednesday to discuss and schedule her tonsil removal next month (not fun but very necessary)
*The school winter concert last night and the rush to get them there on time (why they did it on a school night is beyond me)
*Tonight is the adult holiday party at the firehouse
*Tomorrow is the kid's firehouse party plus Hub's work party
*Jammer's birthday happens during the school break so his class party will be next Tuesday. We'll be decorating cookies in class. Yippee! 22 five year olds, icing and sprinkles. Should be interesting to say the least.
*Both kidlets have their class Christmas parties next Thursday and then
*they are off from school for 12 days! Juggling work schedules are a must.
*My company's Christmas dinner party is next Friday
*The road trip and extended family (my side) Christmas is next Saturday
*We'll celebrate Jammer's birthday on his actual birthday
*His big party will be the weekend after Christmas
*The anniversary of receiving Sunshine's referral is at the end of the month
*And my bestest friend and her family are coming for a visit too

So as you can see, I'm beyond crazy busy. I really want to get some sewing done but I don't know at the moment when I'll be able to. I'd really love to give my sisters a special paper pieced project this year but I'm not sure if I'll get the time to make that happen.

I did manage to pick up the 4 quilts my long armer finished speedy quick. Two are my sister's quilts. I rushed them back out the door to send to her without taking pictures as one is a gift that she needs to get bound and sent off. I've asked her to share some pictures once the package arrives today.

The other 2 are my quilts, the Dots in the Wind baby quilt and the rush job quilt, which has to get the binding completed and out in the mail to it's future owner fast. I promise to share pictures of the completed quilts as soon as I can.

For now I'll leave you with many happy wishes for a stress-free-as-much-as-possible rest of your holiday prep time. Because of the fact that both of my kids were born right before Christmas I don't think my Decembers will ever be stress free!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rush job

An email arrived in my In box recently from a fellow adoptive mom asking if I'd be able to whip up her daughter's 100 Good Wishes Quilt in time for it to be a Christmas gift. Sure! Why not add a little more craziness to my holiday season. A couple of back and forths and before I knew it, the box of fabrics had arrived on my door step.

There was no time to waste so I sorted all the fabrics into color piles. Let me tell you there is definitely a huge variety of colors and prints in this stack. My eye just couldn't find a layout that worked for me so I called my new-quilter-graphic-artist friend and hollared "Help". She came over and assisted me in coming up with something that worked. Here is a tiny portion of the plan.

She didn't want any sashing between the squares, just joining them together and then a couple of borders. There are 100 squares plus the mom sent along another 45+ to add in if necessary. She wants a double quilt so only 10 more were needed to get to the requested size. Here they are all stacked up and ready to start.

The blocks came to me rough cut to 8" and needed to be trimmed up and squared.

Now all nicely trimmed to 7 1/2" each.

Lots of chain piecing commenced.

Fifty five pairs stitched together.

More chain piecing.

Eleven rows of ten each.

After 14 hours of prep and sewing, in between work and normal family stuff over recent days, it was done. I'm not going to show you the completed top at this point. The mom also sent 4 different fabrics as options for the 2 borders requested and here you can see the watermelon paisley and back background floral that I chose.

The completed top and pieced backing was literally sped over to my LQS on Tuesday where I met up with my quilter for the hand off. Thankfully she is able to squeeze this project into her schedule and I should have it back by next Tuesday at the latest. I am very lucky to have a quilter who is able to do these fast turn arounds for me when I need them.

As soon as I have it in hand and stitch on the binding, I will reveal the completed quilt. I will just say here that it is definitely a busy one and very ecletic. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I love my mailman

Because he brought me these!

My excitement upon having these on my doorstep when I got home yesterday was over the top! This rather large-ish box from Fat Quarter Shop was pretty heavy because it contained all of the backing fabrics that I purchased on Black Friday. Take a gander at this pile of lovelies.

All told there is 24.25 years of fabric that I paid a whopping $96.30 for. Now that is my kind of shopping! With the exception of the Veranda yardage (that quilt isn't even started yet), all of the others are backings for the UFOs that I'm going to actually quilt myself (a first for me). I really am anxious to get working on it but they will likely have to wait until after the holidays are over. There is way too much going on during the coming weeks.

While that 1st box was fun to open, the 2nd box was the one I was holding my breath for. This one is from Julie at The Intrepid Thread. Inside were two beautifully wrapped bundles (sorry forgot to take a picture in all my excitement). Just look at these to-die-for gorgeous fabrics!

My cherished Bella by Amanda Murphy! Seeing the images of this line online was exciting; seeing this fabric in person is so much better. It is nothing short of spectacular. I love each and every print equally. There are a few designers that I do love...Kate Spain, Deb Strain, Sandy Gervais to name just a few, but typically I don't love every single fabric in every one of their lines. But with Amanda's lines that isn't the case. I always want all of it. Her designs are absolutely terrific and the colors are so perfect. There isn't one fabric in her lines that I wouldn't buy.

This massive stack of lovelies will become a quilt for our king size bed. Yes I am rather petite but hubs is 6'6" so a king bed is a requirement in this family, not a luxury. And with 2 kidlets typically crawling in the middle sometime during the night, it does tend to get pretty crowded quick.

Now I totally understand when other quilters say they pet  caress their beloved fabrics. I find myself doing that now with this fabric. The feel is so luxurious and wonderful.

All you fabric hoarders out there will be shocked to learn that I actually can't wait to cut into this stack. Yes it is so beautiful to look at but it will be even more beautiful made into a quilt for our bed. The shame is that I don't have the time at the moment to actually get started on it. I have way too many other projects that are much higher on the priority list. So until then I will spend more time enjoying its gorgeousness but hopefully before long, they will be cut and pieced together into something even more gorgeous to snuggle under.