Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Friends Together Forever - Little Artists' quilt finished

Here it is!
The quilt that so you all have been so anxious to see completed. It turned out really wonderful, better than I ever thought it would. The teachers let the kids choose the name for the quilt so I very proudly present

Friends Together Forever
My long arm quilter used a primary rainbow variegated thread and stitched straight lines in the sashings. She didn't do any quilting in the artwork blocks themselves.
The teachers chose this fun Schoolies Alphabet print for the backing and I did a scrappy binding with the leftover strips from the sashings.
My shop hopping partner drove on Friday and while we traveled I hand stitched the binding down on the back, getting 3 sides done before we got back home. I stayed up to finish the last side and clipped the final thread at 11:30 pm. The quilt finished at 65" x 65".
On the way out of town on our shop hop, I ran by the school to show the teachers and the kids the quilt. They were beyond excited and each kid wanted to see just where his/her block was placed in the quilt. It was fun to hear each of them yell "There's mine!"
The head teacher, on the right, received last year the Guiding Young Discoveries quilt and she brought it to school when we started this project so the kids could see what we were working towards creating. You can see it on the chair next to her.

The label was sewn on right before I had to leave to deliver the quilt to the silent auction venue.
The response was beyond overwhelming. Everyone wanted to know how we made the art blocks and I received tons of compliments. Even the event coordinator, a quilter herself, was amazed. The other teachers were jealous of this cool project....there is quite a bit of competition between them to see who's class project will sell for the most money during the live auction part of the event. Although the class projects were really great, as you can guess, this one was the highest seller.

The 1st grade teacher who Jammer will have next year said to me "we have to talk"! I'm not sure how we can top this project but I'm sure that if we put our heads together, we'll come up with something equally spectacular.

If you want to see how we did the art blocks, you can read all about it here. I know that I'll be using this method again sometime. Handmade gifts for the grandmas will be a perfect project for me to do with my kidlets during the warm days of summer.

Crimson Diamonds - Finally Finished

I've never done bindings as fast and I've done them this past week. Here is the totally completed quilt.
It measures 48" x 50". Saturday morning, right before I took them to the silent auction event location, was perfect for taking the pictures. I do love the way the red pops but still blends well with the other fabrics in this quilt. The charms were Moda's Love Letters.

My quilter chose a Rust colored thread for the front and it looks perfect. We did audition a number of other Red threads and they just weren't right.
The pattern she used is the open swirly flower and it suits the design so well.
For the backing I used Bella Bliss Tiny Flowers Cream by Andover.
This was a perfect smaller project to make for the school's silent auction fundraiser. During the evening I got a lot of compliments on it and I was proud that it was well received.
I do like this pattern a lot and will definitely use it again in the future.

Monday, April 29, 2013

300 Posts!

Wow! I just logged in to draft a new post and saw that my NY Shop Hop post was my 300th. Not bad, not bad at all considering the fact that this blog yet 18 months old.
I'd typically host a giveaway to celebrate but since I'll be joining in on Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day next Monday May 6th, I'll hold off and make that giveaway a bit more wonderful instead. 
Thank you to all my readers, those that have been with me since the early days and those of you that are newer readers. I do honestly appreciate each of you, the things we learn from each other, the inspiration we share and the fun events that I have had the honor to host.
More fun is to come, you can bet on that.

New York Shop Hopping

I have lots to share this week so look for all the upcoming posts in the next couple of days.
First up is the NY Shop Hop that my friend Alana and I did on Friday. We didn't get to all the shops (we weren't planning to) but we did find a bunch of ones that we hadn't been to before.

Flying Geese was our 1st stop. I've only been to this store a couple of times in the past and I have to say that we were both very disappointed, both in what she had to offer and the overall condition of the shop.
At each shop on this hop, you received a free fat quarter and this is the one that I chose from the pile she had on the table. 
 I did learn later that of the 3 original owners of this shop, only 1 is left and she is trying to do it all by herself. From what I understand it is only a matter of time before she closes for good. In some ways, that is a shame, but in others I personally won't miss it. My 1st visit there back in 2007 was pleasant but the couple after were not. Their attitude certainly was less than friendly and from what I've heard many other shoppers feel the same way.

Quiltbug in Esperance was next up on our list. It is a really cute shop in an older town in an older building. I just love these sorts of places. They have so much more character than a strip mall or modern building. And to make this particular stop even more fun, I finally got to meet in person Sharon of Vroomans Quilts. She lives nearby and haunts this shop frequently. We are both looking forward to our next get together.
The shop was busy, there was lots to see and some great goodies. I spotted these Michael Miller blender and I want some! But I couldn't decide which colors.
Since we are definitely planning a return trip soon and since we had a lot more stops to make that day, I held off getting some of these. I need to check my stash to figure out which ones that I will buy.
I did grab this fun Halloween panel and a yard of the bolder pink fabric. I'm not sure why it called my name but it did. The pink fat quarter was my selection from this shop.
Next up was The Yardstick in Cobleskill. It was a pretty non descript building but the offerings inside didn't disappoint.
I grabbed a 1/2 yard of the Boo print and a yard of the green blue/green fabric. I couldn't find any of the coordinates for that one so I'll have to hunt online to find it. Again I chose a tan/brown fat quarter as my freebie (yes there are plans for all this woodsy bits) and they gave everyone a Sulky color card which will surely come in handy.
The bonanza at this shop was finding the bags offered up for a bargain price of $9 and each bag was chock full of various size bits, some pretty large. All in all there was 2 1/2 pounds of fabric in this sack. Alana bought one too and we are going to get together and do some swapping soon.

Our next visit was to Log Cabin Fabrics which recently moved to this new location. It was much easier to get to and I'm sure the better location will help with sales. I ran into a friend there whom I hadn't seen in a while so there was a bunch of catching up that happened before I took a look around.
As you can imagine from their name, they specialize in Colonial and Civil War type prints plus wool projects. There was a bit of other items but not a ton. Since I didn't find anything there that screamed to be taken home with me, I walked out with just my free fat quarter.
Our 5th shop of the day was Foofsique in Chatham. It is another small shop but it did have a bunch of fun goodies inside. This is the shop where I spent the most money though I still kept my acquisitions to a minimum.
Here is another free fat quarter, of course in the came brown/tan color way, the crayon quilt pattern that I could not, would not resist and a bundle marked 60% off.
In that bundle that cost me all of $12 was these 2 Halloween panels and the coordinates to make 2 wall hangings. I forgot to take a picture of their samples but no matter...they will be fun additions to my Halloween decor.
The absolute best find was this panel and coordinate from Loralie Designs. I found out about these fun ladies a couple of months ago and have wanted to get some. They are hilarious! You know they will end up a great wall hanging for my studio in time. I also got one for my sister Tina since I got her hooked on these ladies too.
I forgot to take a picture of the last shop of our day, Pumpkin Patch in Lee, Ma but it was again a small shop in an old house in a great little historic town. I was pretty tired and starving at this point and only decided to purchase this adorable Pixywood Holiday panel from Michael Miller with a couple of the coordinates.
Isn't she just great?
They were sold out of the other prints in this line so again there will need to be some online hunting to find the rest. This is the shops wall hanging from the line.
I'm not going to do mine exactly the same as this one but at least their version gives me ideas.

Dinner was definitely our next need before the hour drive home and on the way to the restaurant we stopped to snap a picture of the fantastic firehouse for hubby and Jammer. It is new but it was built to look old.
And then down the driveway behind the firehouse we saw this cool truck.

We texted the picture to hubby and inquired as to whether our fire company should get one like this ourselves to use as our next brush truck.

All in all we had a great time. We saw a bunch of shops that we are most definitely going to visit again. I was happy that I kept my spending low and since I wasn't looking for anything in particular, other than thread on large cones and long arm rulers and such (I struck out on those btw), I had no preconceived notions of what purchases would strike my fancy.

As usual though finding the time soon to make all all my new little projects won't happen for a bit. My projects in ready baskets are beyond overflowing so after the teacher quilts are done I need to get some of them done so that I have space to buy more new ones.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mad Binding Rush

No time, no time.
No time to chat, no time to read blogs let alone write comments, no time for pretty much anything else.

I'm in a mad binding rush this week, to finish the 2 quilts for the school's annual silent auction fundraiser dinner this Saturday. They need to be completed and handed off to the event's coordinator by Saturday morning.
I just received them back from my long arm quilter Sunday afternoon. Five days to completely bind and label 2 quilts is a daunting task.

The 1st one is done. I sewed the binding onto the front Monday night and then did the hand sewing on the back during a marathon 4+ hour session Tuesday while watching the Harry Potter movies. I have yet to actually watch the entire series and I'm determined to do just that while doing the bindings on all the quilts I have to get finished this spring season. Thankfully I don't work on Tuesdays so it was perfect timing to get this task done.
I prepared the label last night so now all I have left to do is to sew it on and take the pictures.

I got about 1/2 way done with sewing the binding on the 2nd quilts' front side before I called it quits last night. 
As soon as I pick up the kidlets from school this afternoon, I'll be back at it and I'll keep working tonight until I can't keep my eyes open any longer. Keep your fingers crossed for me and hope that last night's crappy sleep (thanks to Miss Sunshine) won't have me nodding off early.

Tomorrow is NY Shop Hop day so if my quilting cohort will agree to drive, I can work on the hand sewing part while we travel. I have yet to do my local shop hop and while I'll probably not get to all the shops, I'm not missing out on the chance to see some of them that I haven't been to before.

Wish me luck and other than my work day, pray that time flies by for me SLOWLY! I'll need all the help I can get to pull this off.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Before and After

Many of you might remember what my studio looked like before the major overhaul and rearranging that has finally been completed. My sewing desk overlooked the big, bright window where I could watch the world go by, the bookshelf and my design wall were on the right side, my cutting table and the dresser where I store my stash were on the left. 
To my back was the doorway, the closet and my ironing board. Of course I wasn't at all thrilled with the flat white builder's paint still on the walls. Blech! This was probably going to be the last room to get painted in this house since I wasn't looking forward to having to empty it to get it painted so purchasing my long arm machine turned out to be the perfect motivation to get it done now.
This room isn't huge, only 11' x 12.5', but it was big enough for my new toy.

Tuesday morning I emptied the entire room, wrestled the bookshelf and the dresser into the closet and completed the painting. I'm thrilled with how it turned out. It is exactly how I pictured it in my head. It is a pale, pale buttery Yellow (Behr's Vanilla Custard) and though it is most definitely Yellow, when the sun streams in the room in the afternoon, it looks more like Cream. I wanted to keep the color very light and bright and this certainly accomplished that goal.
Then Thursday afternoon once I picked up the kidlets from school, I brought up all the frame pieces from the basement and set to work putting it all together. Luckily for me, the previous owner marked all the pieces so it was much easier for me, along with the manual, to figure out what went where. 
It only took a few hours and with a break for dinner in between, this is how I left things that night. Leveling the frame and then pushing her back along the walls was the only thing left to do. The former owner put casters on it so when I want to do pantographs from the back, it will be easy to roll it out to do that.
This is how my studio looks now. It is tighter in there but it works. I may not have as much floor space to spread things out but since I have a huge great room floor to use when needed, it isn't that big of a deal. 
I love that there is so much space under the frame to store all the bins...the one the former owner gave me filled with all sorts of goodies, the basket with quilts waiting to be quilted, my scrap bins, the tub with the parts for Sunshine's 100 Good Wishes quilt and the ladybug hamper that has the bigger leftover pieces of batting in it. The ironing board will just fit to the left of the frame, back in front of the closet doors, just as before. I was even able to get my mom's old Singer table back where it was before to the left of the closet doors. Now I can put the fabrics for the current projects there for quick access.
My design wall isn't quite as convenient but that is a small sacrifice to make in my book. I originally thought that when I wanted to quilt, I'd have to put down one side of my cutting table to be able to walk on that side of the frame, but now that everything is in there, I don't have to do that. There is plenty of space between for me to stand. I'll only have to put the one side down if I want to pull the frame out for doing pantos.
This is how the closet looks now. I took all the things out that I don't need in there, like my Ukrainian Easter Egg making supplies and the photo albums and pictures that seriously need my attention, and I still have plenty of space to cram in more stuff if I need to. Though I can't open the right door all the way, I can still get in there, move around and get what I need just fine.
Here is a close up of my new gal. No I haven't chosen a name for her yet. Nothing that I've come up with or that has been suggested so far sounds just right but rest assured, the perfect name for her will come to me. I just can't have a machine that doesn't have a name! 
Next up will be loading some practice fabric and testing out my 1st stitches. I can't wait!