Friday, March 29, 2013

Please Help Joey

A 9 year old boy Joey is now battling a very serious form of renal cancer and there is no cure. It has also unfortunately spread to his lymph nodes. He is the very good friend and classmate of my friend Kris's daughter. The diagnoses just came 3 days ago. I'm petrified of something happening to my own kids and I can't imagine what his parents are going through. He is facing surgery and chemo as they attempt to beat the odds and he will be in the hospital at least a month, if not a lot longer.

Last night Kris came up with the idea of having a 100 Good Wishes Quilt made for him and she asked if I'd be willing to make it. I immediately said "Absolutely"! She has posted on her local FCC group (Families with Children From China) asking for contributions of fabric squares and good wishes and I told her that I'd post here too requesting the same from my readers. Hopefully together we can collect enough squares to make him a decent sized quilt to comfort him in the coming days, weeks and months.

Kris has the crazy idea that she is going to pay me to make this quilt and of course that is absurd. I wouldn't take a single dime from her to make this quilt. But I will need to find a long arm quilter who might be willing to donate her services for this one. If not I'll pay for the work out of my own pocket.

So here is what I'm asking of you....please pick out and send to me a 9" square of fabric, something that you think a 9 year old boy would love. He lives in Florida so obviously anything with snow or winter themes is foreign to him but I'm sure there are tons of other possibilities available.

The wish? For those that aren't familiar with this part of the tradition, it is something written to the child. For a baby to be born, it would be some sort of wish for a happy and healthy life, much like what you find written inside a new baby congratulations card. For this it should be something more akin to what a young boy would appreciate but please keep them happy and upbeat. It can be a wish, a funny story, a poem or just a note telling him that he is in your thoughts and prayers.

Please write your wish on card stock paper instead of inside a folding card as Kris wants to put them all in a scrapbook album for Joey to keep with him, so he can go through and read the wishes any time he wants to. You can make it fancy with lively scrapbooking flair or keep it simple, totally up to you.

Obviously time is of the essence here so if you want to help please let me know and I will email you my address. If you can help spread the word I would be eternally grateful. No child should have to face something like this. I don't know how long he has but I'm sure knowing that so many people care and are sending him wishes for recovery will help keep his spirits up and the hope high.

Thank you one and all!

Update: To clarify for those that have asked and everyone else that will read this, I am requesting just a square piece of fabric, not a quilt block. And Joey does not yet know that he has cancer. The parents are waiting until they get more test results back and have more information before they break the news to him so please keep that in mind when you write your wish.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Little Artists Quilt - The Middle

Yesterday I told you how we are creating these quilt blocks and today I'm going to show you were I am at so far. These are the creations from the 1st session of painting.
 
 

 
 
 
 


The 1st thing I did was to press each block well using some Best Press and my trusty Rowenta Pro Master. Make sure the 1st time you iron your blocks, you do it on the reverse side and with a cloth covering your ironing board, just in case. I had no problems with paint coming off but it is better safe than sorry.
Then the blocks all got a trimming to 9 1/2". My rotating cutting mat makes this job so much easier!
The plan is to keep this simple and let the art itself shine. Sashing strips in coordinating colors were cut, in my case at 9 1/2" and 13 1/2" long and 2 1/2" wide each.
Some really quick and easy chain piecing was next.
I pressed the seams towards the sashing strips and here are the results so far. The 1st 10 blocks are all framed. The colors for the sashings are mixed up and coordinated with each block.
The next group of blocks are all dry so hopefully I can get them all ironed, trimmed and the shings added tonight. I should have the last batch by the end of the day tomorrow and then I can finish up the blocks and get them all sewn together into rows.
Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Little Artists Quilt - The Beginning

Many of you have been really curious as to what I've been up to with the preschoolers the past couple for weeks. Well now I'm going to tell you. Here's the story:

My kids attend an independent school (that is a story for another day). In order for the tuition to be kept affordable, the school holds a few big fundraiser events each year. The biggest of them all is the annual Silent Auction dinner. All of the items are donated plus each class creates a class project too which is part of the Live auction that evening. The event is at the end of April. Last summer Jammer's pre-K teacher from last year (who is beyond fabulous btw) emailed me that she wanted me to somehow help her class make an art quilt to be auctioned off. Of course I immediately said Yes!

Because the cost of the class projects are paid for directly by the teacher themselves, the total had to be kept down as much as possible. After rejecting one really cool idea that would have cost way too much, I went on a mission to find an alternative that would come up with the same result for less money. After a ton of hunting around on the web I came across a post by That Artist Woman about her version of kid-friendly batiks. Perfect! Easy enough, totally do-able with 3 and 4 year olds and pretty inexpensive.

We started with some acrylic paint, the little jars from any big box store or craft store will do just fine. The post instructed to water it down but didn't say how much so I squirted enough paint that when it spread out it was approximately a 4" diameter pile and then added one teaspoon of water and mixed thoroughly.
  We also needed this: Elmer's Blue Gel Glue. It has to be this glue and this glue only. Regular glue will soak into the fabric whereas this one does not. It isn't the easiest to find in the stores, I went to a few, but I found that the bigger Joanns here had it in stock. It can also be ordered online. And make sure it is new bottles not old ones....the old glue does not flow well at all.
I did have a old bottle of this at home so before I ordered the fabrics, I tested the method out to make sure it worked. It did (very cool btw) and so we set out to make this project a reality. We started out with white muslin cut into 10" squares. If you want to do this, determine the final size you want your blocks to be and add 1/2" to each side to account for shrinkage/trimming and seam allowances.

Knowing that the preschoolers would likely not be able to "draw" with the bottles of glue, they drew their pictures on paper instead and the teacher traced over them with the glue onto the fabric. We let the glue dry a full 24 hours.
Next step is painting. We let the kids do whatever they wanted but make sure the glue lines are completely painted over. And make sure that there are no huge gobs of paint anywhere. Another complete 24 hours of drying time was required before moving onto the next step.
This is a resist method so in order to see the result, you have to soak the pieces in hot water. Since I was working with a lot of pieces, I used the tub. Get the water as hot as you can stand it and let them sit for at least 20-30 minutes.
The glue will melt away and the drawing itself will be revealed. Don't be afraid to scrunch the blocks a bit to help soften up the painted areas and either hang or lie flat on a towel to dry thoroughly. Tomorrow I'll show you the 1st set of completed blocks and what I'm doing with them.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Consignment sale shopping

Since the weekend with my BFF and her family was cancelled, yesterday I worked on this month's Modern Mini Mystery Round Robin block and then headed to the local giant bi-annual consignment sale to see what sort of great bargains I could find. Other than a few specific clothing items I had on my list for the kidlets for this summer, I wasn't going shopping for anything in particular.

Overall I did really well and was very restrained. My kids don't need much but a few new-to-us things are always fun. This is my non-clothing pile.
Wouldn't you know that Jammer broke the zipper on his backpack just this week and it has so many other rips and holes so I was going to have to buy a new one anyway? I didn't think of shopping for one at the sale but sure was happy when I spotted them. The CARS one of course was a must have and for $2 I couldn't pass it up. The other CARS one was $3 and the Princess one was $3 also so now they are all set for the rest of this school year/summer camp plus next fall. The new movies-$2 each, the games (including my favorite as a kid Mouse Trap) $2 & $3 each, the water shoes new with tags $8, the Tonka flip remote car $6 and the electric drums $8. Since I've always said there will never be a drum set in this house this is a bit of a "give" for me but this sort of drum set I can handle. Plus the kids have jam sessions all the time so I know it will get a ton of use. Not pictured is a practically new baseball glove for Jammer that cost me a whole $2.

Jammer didn't need many clothes for the summer but he could use a few new pair of shorts. I also found a couple of play tshirts I knew he'd love, a couple "decent" shirts for nicer events and a Mickey hoodie that will be perfect for our upcoming vacation. I never care if the tshirts and shorts get ruined during the summer when I only spend $2-$4 each for them.
Here are the new items Sunshine now owns. She needed some swimsuits for the summer plus one had a cover up included. Score. I also picked out a small amount of new outfits that were too cute to pass up and only 4 new dresses, including one for Easter, all $2-$4 each. I refuse to pay $40-$50 for a holiday dress that they will wear so few times. Plus I prefer the nice but not overly frilly ones that actually can be used more often like for summer parties, the upcoming school spring concert or graduation ceremonies.
All told for this entire haul I spent a whopping $132. Not bad, not bad at all. And even better is the fact that the sales for my stuff for the first day exceeded this amount. I sold 46 of the 130 that I delivered there. Pretty good I think for the 1st day, which wasn't even a full day of them being open. Today is the 1st day it is open to the public (yesterday was the pre-sale for volunteers, consignors, pregnant and 1st time moms). Plus they are open all day Monday and 2/3 of the day on Tuesday. Hopefully I will sell lots more of my things and can have another very successful sale.

McCalls E-book review-Modern Quilt Patterns

A month ago I was again contacted by Fons & Porter's Media Coordinator and asked if I'd like to review another E-Book, this time from their sister publication, McCall's Quilting. You had to know that I'd say yes immediately but I am ashamed to write that is as far as it went. Life happened and the email got buried amongst a ton of other things going on around here.
Since I did promise to review the e-book and write about it plus the fact that it is likely that some of you may not be aware of this e-book yet, I'm here now to give you my 2 cents about this publication.
This is honestly a great little e-book. There are only 3 quilts showcased but each of them interested me a great deal.

First up is Baubles and Beads. Such a simple design and because it was done in bright colors, you know that I love it. I love it in fact so much that I actually already have this pattern saved in my pattern binders from when it was first published in McCalls Quilting.
This pattern would look terrific in any variety of prints or even just solids. How about one done in Christmas fabrics? The pieces between the blocks might look like ribbons connecting the packages. If you made this quilt, what fabrics would you choose?

Next up is the Rainbow Rhythm quilt. Again this quilt caught my attention. Why? Because it is a rainbow hued project of course. I'm always attracted to those. This one is done with Half Square Triangles so the piecing is easy but it is the block/color placement that is critical for this quilt's design.  
 I can see me making one of these quilts but to be totally honest, I would likely use white instead of the black. That would be more Me.

The last quilt featured in this e-book is Lemon Squeezy, a really fun and colorful quilt. They discuss it made in two ways, the first with all the strips cut to the same width and the second, as the quilt maker did, with strips of varying widths. Though I do like both versions, I prefer the varying width one more. The unexpected look of it is more appealing to me.
This design is a terrific way to use up long strips of leftover fabric or you could make a "planned" version with specific fabrics or color way. No matter which you would choose I hope that this one is now on your "To Make" list like it is now on mine.

You can get your own free copy of this e-book here. Again I have to thank the folks at Fons & Porter for requesting that I to review this e-book. I am honored to be asked and hope that this is just a small step to bigger and better things ahead.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Denise Schmidt Charm Swap

Crafty Tammie is hosting a Denise Schmidt Charm Swap. If you want in, you'd better hurry on over before it fills up. These are the 2 fabrics that I'll be swapping (1 yard of each). They are from her DQ Quilts line Sugar Creek.
I recently practically stole bought these lovely fabrics from blogging friend Rachel who was doing a bit of destashing. I had no plans yet for all the goodies she sent my way but I have almost 15 yard of fabric from this line so cutting up just 2 won't put a huge dent in the pile. I'll still have plenty left to do something fabulous with.

I've never participated in a charm swap before so it will be interesting. I'm already thinking about what I might do with them once they arrive.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Not a single project in sight!

This is what my studio looks like today. There isn't one single project I'm currently working on in sight anywhere. (Yes the sun coming in that window is terrific. That is just one reason why I love having this room for my studio).
What's up, you wonder? Well my BFF and here family are/were coming to visit for the weekend and this room is/was going to be their little place to sleep, once of course we set up the blow-up mattresses. 
So everything possible had to be put away to clear as much space as could be gained. The cutting table was folded down (love that it does that), the design wall was cleared and almost everything...current projects, baskets full of future projects, the newly purchased packages of batting, the scrap quilt bins and all the other things that I could fit in went into the closet. The room looks pretty lonely now and I feel a bit blue that I can't just go in there, turn Lucy on and have me some good ole me time happily sewing away.
Well as luck would have it, my BFF is sick. I don't know yet just how bad but I do know they aren't coming up tonight. If she is better in the morning they may drive up then so my studio will have to stay this way at least for the moment. I do have one quilt's binding that I can start the hand sewing on so I'll probably get that out tonight while I sit in front of the tv.

If BFF doesn't make it up this weekend, you KNOW that I'll be pulling lots of stuff back out of that closet in the morning. I'll have 3 whole days to sew! And we'd reschedule her visit for a couple of weeks from now so I'll have to keep the mess to a minimum. I certainly don't want to have to do as much cleaning and clearing out as I had to do this time.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pretty!

There is no doubt that the snow on the trees is a beautiful sight.
 But it is definitely not the sight I want to be seeing the 3rd week of March!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Minutia About Me: How I follow

This in all truth has nothing to do with my Quilter's Public Service Announcement post from yesterday. This post has actually been sitting in Draft format for a long time but now it seems like this is an appropriate time to finish it up and post it live.

Like everyone else, I find new blogs to check out through Blog Hops, by seeing what blogs other quilters follow, through links in posts and through features by publications and online shops. Some of the blogs that I have been following the longest I discovered during the Wantobe Quilter Campaign that was at Sew We Quilt.

When I come across a new blog that looks interesting and that I want to learn more about, or if it is a blog that requires me to be a follower to enter their giveaway, I click on the "Join This Site" button and complete the process to become a follower. I'm sure this is pretty much how everyone else does this too.

What I want to talk about next is what I do after this. This certainly isn't rocket science but I use a method that has become my norm. Not withstanding the problems I have had in the past with Google Reader (and actually in spite of them), I continue to follow new blogs for at least 3-4 months if not longer, to learn about the blogger and his/her style, what they like to write about, if they offer any good information or tutorials that I'm interested in or if they are just fun to stalk follow. Hopefully it is an active blog that continues to hold my interest.

A couple of time a year I go through and unsubscribe from the blogs that just aren't my cup of tea. I'm not saying that they aren't great blogs but likely they don't have content that holds my attention. I remember one in particular that I believe is pretty popular and while she does quilt, she was actually posting more about recipes than her sewing projects and I really don't need more recipes. I know and am confident that I give each and every one of them a fair testing. From being on the other side of the pen I know that my blog isn't going to be for everyone and so I don't feel bad for unsubscribing from blogs that aren't for me.

This method may not be what everyone else does but it is what I do and what works for me. Every blogger works hard to provide content that her/his readers will enjoy and those that offer giveaways to celebrate something or just because they want to truly hope that each new reader to her/his blog gives them a fair chance to earn their continued following. More and more lately when I come across a new-to-me blog on a blog hop that is hosting a giveaway and becoming a follower is a requirement to enter, I do a quick scan of the most recent posts to get a feel for the blogger and their style before I even consider joining and then entering the giveaway. I already have a lot of blogs that I follow and I'm trying to be a bit more selective in the ones that I add to my list. Being a follower makes no sense to me if I don't have enough time to keep up with them all.

"Meeting" new online quilty friends is great. This community has given to me more than I could ever give back to others. I learn something from each and every one of them and I'm continued to be amazed and inspired by what I see online. But I know that if I continued to grow my reading list without any way to just keep the ones most interesting to me, I'd spend more time on the computer reading than actually sewing and that my friends just would not do!

However you choose to follow blogs is totally up to you but I do hope that you give each and every new-to-you blog a long enough testing time period before you elect to unsubscribe. You never know what great things you'd be missing out on.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Quilter's Public Service Announcement: Following the rules

This is Quilter's Public Service Announcement
My most recent giveaway for reaching 300 followers highlighted a sad trend that I've seen a few times on my other giveaways and got me thinking about the giveaways that I enter and most likely what other giveaway hosts experience. For that particular giveaway, I had 51 comments posted...2 were from my sister Tina who didn't want to be entered into the drawing especially since she was part of the reason for the post in the 1st place, 1 comment was from an adoption friend who found this blog and who doesn't sew and a whopping 6 commenters weren't followers of my blog. Yes I most certainly do check!

Although they posted nice comments, since the giveaway was to celebrate my reaching the 300 followers milestone, it was open to only those that actually follow. Sadly all 6 of those commenters weren't eligible to be entered into the drawing.

That bring me to the reason for this post.
If you are going to take the time to enter a giveaway, please Follow the Rules!
Anyone that hosts a giveaway is doing so out of the goodness of their heart, they pay for the item(s) and the postage to send the prize to you. They certainly should be respected by all those who enter for a chance to win by following the rules they put in place for the giveaway.

Perhaps you don't care for the rules they have set. So don't enter! It is their choice after all what rules they pick when they offer up something for free. There is nothing that says you have to enter just because someone is hosting a giveaway. There are many giveaway opportunities that I pass up because the prize isn't something that I'm interested in, they require you to enter via a post on Facebook or Twitter (I don't do either).

Checking every single entry takes time and I'm sure all the other giveaway hosts are busy just as I am so if you are going to enter a giveaway, do as the hosts asks in her rules.  
So please in the future, make sure you do as the giveaway host requests. You'll be doing all of us a favor and you might actually win since you did the right thing and Followed the Rules.

This post has been brought to you by the Quilter's Public Service Announcement Network.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

More preschool painting fun

Yesterday, after locking myself out of the house right before I was due to leave and had to have hubs come home to let me back in (the spare key was not were it was supposed to be), I spent a couple more hours with 3 & 4 year olds and paint. This is the 1st batch that were painted on Tuesday hanging out to dry.
A few more Picasso's got to work turning their drawings into colorful masterpieces.
The sashing and backing fabrics arrived on Wednesday and we all are so excited at seeing how this is all coming together. It is going to be a really cool project when it is finished. More pictures on the progress to come. I promise.