Friday, August 30, 2013

On it's way

A box is on it's way, whisking through the postal system to its recipient.
Just who will that be? I'm not telling. YET!
As soon as I hear that it arrived, I'll share what I put in that box.
I did something totally different and I'm really happy with the way it turned out.
I hope she loves it too.

Many other It's A Sister Thing Swap boxes are on their way to their Secret Pals.
Some have already arrived and it is fun to see what the Secret Pals made for their "Sister". 
They are posting about their goodies when their box arrives but I'll also have a linky party here next week so that you can easily find all the Sister Swap post fun.

Have a great labor Day weekend! 
I know we will.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I EQ!

Or much more accurately...
I will be EQ'ing very soon!
I asked Santa for this last Christmas and he didn't leave it for me under the tree. I even think I asked for it as my single birthday present last year too. But up until now the gift fairy hasn't bestowed it upon me.
Until yesterday.
Actually I bestowed it upon myself. My early birthday present.
I never see it go on sale anywhere.
Eleanor Burns' Quilt In A Day has it for 25% off (you have to put it in your cart to see the special price). I jumped on it.
Hubby will be very happy that he again doesn't have to shop for a birthday gift for me next month.

Up until now I've been using a pad of graph paper to draft out my design ideas. It isn't the most convenient nor the most efficient method.
There are no less than 6 quilt pattern ideas in the works and now I will be able to get them done a whole lot faster.
The 1st one might become my first Quilt Along.
The others will likely be offered on Craftsy and/or Etsy eventually.
 And every time I turn around I see another idea that sparks another pattern design plan. Some I may submit to some magazines for consideration.
 
I'm excited about the possibilities that this will bring. I'll have to go back and work my way through Bea's EQ tutorials. Somehow I'll have to keep it from taking all my free time away from actually sewing.
 
Do you EQ?

Monday, August 26, 2013

100 Good Wishes Quilts research presention

Marin Hanson, Curator of Exhibitions at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum at the University of Nebraska's presentation at the Textile Society of America's Symposium in Sept 2012 is now published in their proceedings. This is the paper that she wrote prior to my  interview and prior to her research trip to China recently. You can go to University of Nebraska's Digital Commons to read it if you are interested.

Marin is the person who interviewed me this past spring for her 100 Good Wishes Quilt history and origins research and who I've been following ever since to see what she has learned. I posted about her proof that indeed 100 Good Wishes Quilts are a true Chinese tradition here.http://quiltsfrommycrayonbox.blogspot.com/2013/05/proof-exists.html

Of course, I find this information very interesting especially since OHGWQs mean so much to me. At some point her final research paper will be published, the one that I was interviewed for along with many other adoptive parents, and I promise to share the link with you when it comes out.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Words from Joey's Mom

Joey's Mom Kathy posted this on their blog and I wanted to share it with all of you.

100-wishes quilt

In the mist of worries, anxieties and fear after Joey's recent scan, we received the most precious gift from friends and people we never met. One hundred family and friends donate a piece of fabric each along with a written wish for Joey. The quilter, a lady from New York, put all the squares (there are actually 120) into a gorgeous quilt. My friend, who came up with this idea, put the fabric samples and wishes into an album. There are quote, joke, Bible verse, poem, a saying or a wish from the heart.
 Album
When we opened up the quilt, everyone was amazed by the beauty and workmanship. Joey saw violin, gator, Chinese characters, panda, Chinese food, soccer...all things he loves. The back of the quilt is dragon, which is symbol of strength, good luck and wisdom. Joey can't wait to check out the fabric and wishes in the album by his friends. He read the album the whole night.
No words can express my thanks for people who made great efforts in this quilt. It lifted up the spirit of the whole family. When I feel down, I read the album. When I am worried, this quilt becomes my cozy comfort. May the luck, energy and good wishes from all the families and friends who contributed to the quilt surround Joey.

Life is bitter sweet. 

I normally don't copy and post so much from someone else's blog but I DO know that Kathy wants me to get her words of thanks and appreciation out to everyone that helped to make this quilt a reality and this is the best way to do that. Again I thank you for being kind, being generous and being wonderful quilty friends and helping to make this quilt of love for him.

About Stunning Stichin Sunday

I've been enjoying finding great stitchin to showcase and I hope that you have enjoyed seeing all the great inspiration highlighted so far.
I want to explain a bit more about this regular series to help answer questions that have come up.

*Stunning Stichin Sunday is not exclusive to quilting that is done on a long arm machine. It includes any great stichin done on a domestic machine or by hand that I find to share with you. I might also choose to showcase some cross stitching or embroidery though the majority of the theme is definitely quilting.

*In that same respect, it also isn't exclusive to professional quilters. Yes I am including some professionals (I can only dream of being that good one day) but I am also including the non-professionals and hobbyists alike. I think we all have something valuable to share and can all learn from each other.

*This series is focused on showing just what can be accomplished, highlighting great ideas for quilting specific areas of a quilt or quilting a specific style/tone of a quilt whether it be more traditional, modern, abstract or an art quilt.

*Although I would love to have enough for a post every single week, it will depend on how many posts on quilting blogs that I find to showcase and my ability to keep up with blog reading in the 1st place. Another factor is whether or not the quilter actually shows close up photos of the quilting. Detailed, close photos make it so much easier for everyone to see the fantastic work. One additional factor is the speed at which I receive the bloggers approval email to use her/his photos in this series. All of these factor into the frequency of this series' posts. 

*If you know of or find a quilter that has wonderful stitchin that I need to highlight, please let me know. I'm always on the lookout for new quilter blogs to follow that will help me learn and gain valuable tips and tricks to make my own quilting better.

More terrific stichin is to come and you are invited to join me to admire all of the beautiful work created by talented quilters everywhere.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Season of Small Projects

What's next?
Which project do I want to start on now that the deadline quilts are done?
The possibilities are endless.
I have a few large baskets packed with projects all ready to go and a LONG list.
Yes I keep a list.
I can't live without my lists! My sisters call me the List Queen.

There are a bunch of full sized quilts on my list for sure but there are also a bunch of smaller projects that wouldn't take as much time to complete. Hmmmm. The possibility to complete 2-3 smaller items in the same amount of time that a bigger one would take.
I like that idea at the moment.

So I sorted out all of my smaller projects and from now until the end of September I'm calling this

The Season of Small Projects.

It will be all about getting some of these actually crossed of my list.
Here is the line up of choices that I have.

This is the set of panels and coordinates that I picked up during the local shop hop in the spring. They will be small wall hangings and will be quick to finish. Deciding how to quilt them will likely take longer than actually piecing the tops.
Besides I LOVE Halloween and don't have nearly enough decorations for that holiday.
This will be another Halloween wall hanging but this is a kit I bought from Michele at Quilt Kit Market when she had her going out of business sale. If you didn't already know, I'm happy to report that she recently reopened her shop and I know that there will be plenty of goodies to tempt me and eventually make their way into my home. She has some great items in her Clearance section. You should go and take a look.
The Sausalito bag pattern and the gorgeous fabrics were purchased during the NJ Shop hop last year from Olde City Quilts and I'm dying to see how this will look all done. I absolutely love the fabrics on both ends of the pile.
My Posh Pumpkins by Sandy Gervais panels and yardage arrived recently and these will become place mats. Another project that will finish quickly for sure and since the fall season is coming, I'd certainly like to have them on my table this year.
This is another panel and a little yardage I got during the local shop hop, found at Pumpkin Patch Quilts in Lee, Mass. It is from the line of Heavenly Pixies by Michael Miller. The shop had made it into a wall hanging and I'm going to do the same but in a different format. I'm still working on that plan and I need to get the rest of the yardage that I'll need before it disappears.
This one is another kit I bought from Quilt Kit Market during her blow out sale. I love its simplicity and I know exactly where it will hang this holiday season.
The 1st time I saw the insanely crazy designs by Loralie Designs, I was totally smitten. They are beyond fun! My sister Tina is smitten too. I found this Sew Creative panel and coordinating yardage also during the spring shop hop at Foofisque Quilting Emporium in Chatham, NY. I bought Tina a set too. It has take me this long to decide what to do with this panel but it is another project with a plan in the works and additional yardage purchases needed to make this one a reality.
As you can tell by now, I tend to buy smaller projects during shop hops. This table runner one is from The Village Quilter in Mount Holly, NJ acquired during last year's hop. It came as a complete kit including the batting and the backing. It was a real bargain so I snatched it up fast.
I saw a sample of this "Just Right" bag at the local-ish shop where I took that Free Motion Quilting class in the spring but they were all out of the pattern. I did find it at another LQS soon after and I did buy fabrics specifically for it but since then I've confiscated those fabrics for a different project and I will be substituting these Terrain fabrics instead. I think I like these fabrics for this better anyway.
Of course there is the recently won from Bea and Connecting Threads Holiday Elegance strips project that is now added to the list.
And last but certainly not least is the Regal Medallion wall hanging that I fell in love with at the shop in PA (sorry I don't remember the name at the moment) where I finally met in person my friend Ann during my road trip to pick up my new-to-me long arm machine Penelope. This is the shop's sample.
I couldn't take my eyes off of it and although I am not a fan of curves I just had to have it. I took a long time picking out the right fabrics for my version. Once it is complete it will look absolutely perfect in my main floor bathroom.
Of course since this one is likely the hardest of the entire group, it certainly won't be the 1st one that I tackle but hopefully it will get completed eventually. The empty wall in that room is waiting.

Yes this is a bit of a list of smaller projects but I know if I concentrate on them, I can actually get them out of the baskets and done. Some of them that is but probably not all of them. That will feel really good. You know that there are definitely a few big quilts in the "soon to be made" pile but I'm going to resist starting one of those until at least the end of Sept. One will be a Christmas gift and depending on how I do with this goal, I'll end up starting that one once Oct comes around.

What are your plans for the next month or so?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Holiday Elegance - A Surprise Win

My friend Bea was a little sneaky recently and purposely didn't tell me that I had one her recent giveaway sponsored by Connecting Thread. She waited until I got caught up on blog reading and saw the announcement myself on her blog. That sound like something I would have done. Nicely played Bea.

It has been a while since I have won a giveaway so this one was a great surprise and brightened my day. The package with my prize arrived last night and here is what was inside.
I am now the lucky owner of 2-16 piece strip sets of Holiday Elegance. 

Look at all of these lovelies. Beautiful prints in beautiful colors. What is to become of these you ask? I did some Google-ing last night, saw something that sparked my interest and I'm formulating a plan. You'll have to wait a bit to see what they become though. Perhaps the project idea will be for my home or it will be a gift, I haven't decided yet.

Thank you so much Bea! And thank you Connecting Threads. I love so much of what they have, especially their thread, and always wish that I didn't have a budget to try to stick to so that I could buy lots and lots more.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Recently

Coming back from our recent China Travel Group reunion trip to Pittsburgh, I was faced with a giant mountain of laundry to deal with but I'm happy now to say that it is all done and put away! (that last part typically doesn't happen right away).

So what did I accomplish last week besides the laundry? 

How about this?
What?
You don't think that I'm secretly a skilled concrete mason and that I did this ALL BY MYSELF? I'm crushed!
Ok, so I'll fess up. I did have a little help. About 6 guys and the owner of the company. But I supervised. That is something, right?
We've been waiting our turn in line for this patio to be installed all summer. The torrential rain in June and a lot of July really screwed up the schedule and we it finally came our turn.
They started the sod cutting Monday afternoon with the plan to have the crushed stone all leveled and the area framed Tuesday morning. But as luck has it, the hydraulic line on their power buggy blew Monday dinnertime and the torrential rain Tuesday morning really deterred any more progress those days.
By the time they arrived Wednesday morning, the ground was a soggy, muddy mess but they persevered on, the concrete was poured and they had started the stamping when I came home at lunch time to check on things.
The expansion joints were cut, the antiquing was applied and it was sealed Thursday. We were able to walk on it by Friday afternoon.
You say that it kinda looks like a quilt pattern? You don't think that perhaps that was done on purpose, now do ya?
It really turned out great and although we won't have much time to use it this season, we'll be ready to go as soon as the snow disappears next year. I'll get some planting done around the perimeter next month, depending on what will be available at the nurseries, but the majority of the landscaping will have to wait until spring.

I did cut into these Fandango by Kate Spain prints over the weekend but what I'm doing with them will have to remain a secret for the moment. At least it was great to get in a little sewing time finally.
On tap for this afternoon is actually braving the mall with both kidlets without hubs to attempt to get the school shopping finished. Wish me luck. Jammer is so darned skinny, both his body and his feet, that finding things that fit isn't easy. Sunshine's feet are tiny too so that is no easy task either.
No sewing time will be found today but hopefully some will magically appear tomorrow or Thursday.
Have a great day yourself!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hugs From Team Joey - A 100 Good Wishes Quilt

Never before have I been so anxious to finish a quilt and have it delivered to its new owner as I have this one. From the very beginnings of this 100 Good Wishes Quilt I have felt that every single day counts and each day that it can comfort Joey and help him through his treatments, the more I hope that it helps to bring a miracle for him.
Although I rushed like a mad woman to get the binding finished before I left on our trip to Pittsburgh last Monday afternoon, it just wasn't possible so I took it with me and completed the binding and sewing on the label while on the road. Before delivering it to the Fed Ex office, I found a local park so that I could take a few pictures of it. A huge heart felt thank you goes out to each and every quilter friend that sent fabric squares for this quilt and it is a fact that without your help, this quilt wouldn't have become a reality. Together we made it happen so we can all rejoice in its completion. I proudly present to you
Hugs From Team Joey
My hubby was wonderful about helping with the photos and he stood on the top of the bleachers so that I could get a full-on shot of the entire quilt.
The fabric that I selected for the sashing, border and binding is a Burgundy tone on tone Crackle by Moda. I was nervous about whether it was the right red fabric for this quilt but once the top was completed I was thrilled with the result. The quilting pattern mimics the spikes of the dragon's tail and the flames on the backing fabric. 
Kris wanted the design to be simple so the 6" finished squares were framed with 1" finished sashing. The completed quilt size is 78" x 91".
Here you can see the backing fabric that I selected. In China dragons are symbols of friendship and protection and so very appropriate to use in this quilt. The Burgundy border pulled from the darker Red on the edge of the flames and the Gold thread used for the quilting on the back complemented it perfectly. 
This quilt was a labor of love of not just me but of over 100 other people, many who have never met Joey, but who have generous hearts and were willing to lend a hand. Quilters are some of the most giving and kind people that I have ever had the pleasure to know. Again thank you one and all.
Once the box with the quilt inside left my hands, I staked the Fed Ex tracking site until it reached its destination. It finally arrived Saturday afternoon and Kris rushed it over to Joey's house. Here is what Kris wrote on her Facebook page and the pictures she included of Joey and his family with the quilt.

"Thank you is entirely inadequate for such a huge effort on the part of EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU who sent in wishes with quilt squares for our dear friend Joey and his family- Kathy, Luke, little brother David, and their precious NĒŽinai who left China many months ago for a visit, and stayed when Joey was diagnosed and has not left their sides since. THEY are the heart of Team Joey, how blessed we are by their friendship. A very, very special thank you to Michele for her incredible ability to turn mere swatches of fabric into a masterpiece - this quilt is as beautiful as the lives that now hold it in their hands. (On a side note, Joey went NUTS over it- he truly loves it!). From my heart and from theirs, thank you, thank you, thank you." 

This is what Joey's Mom Kathy replied on Kris's Facebook page.

Kathy Liu My amazing friends and people we never meet, thank you for the quilt and wishes!!! The quilt, album, card, wishes, everything is just so beautiful! Joey is now sleeping with 100 wishes and Luke is with him. Everyone in the house want to sleep with it! Thank you, Michele! My mom loves it so much and she marvels at your sewing technique. I feel so lifted up! Thank you, everyone!!
We are truly a part of Team Joey and as a group we will always surround him with love and hugs and he continues to fight the battle against his cancer. If you want to keep up with how Joey's treatment is going, you can follow the Team Joey blog and Kathy's Facebook page is here.

Road Trip Stitchin

Unfortunately it wasn't possible to have a Stunning Stitchin Sunday post yesterday. I've been out of town since last Monday afternoon (we were in Pittsburgh at our China travel group annual reunion) and although I tried to read blog posts so that I could find some great quilting to share, the internet connection in the hotel was really poor and I lost the signal a lot.
Oh well, these things happen but rest assured that Stunning Stichin Sunday will return this weekend and there will be lots of great quilting inspiration to see.

I was able to actually get something accomplished while I was away. I had picked up Joey's 100 Good Wishes Quilt from my long arm quilter the Thursday afternoon before our trip and although I tried my darnedest to get the binding finished and the quilt shipped out before we left, it just didn't happen so I took it with me on the road, finished it on our way west and shipped it from a local Office Max on Wednesday. I'm happy to report that it arrived on Saturday and Kris immediately took it to him. That quilt deserves its own post and that is coming up next.

I was also able to complete the binding on the Dots In The Wind quilt that has been a UFO for way too long. The label will be added this week and this beauty will be gifted to its new owner.
On the trip back home yesterday I was also able to get a lot accomplished on a small counted cross stitch project. I haven't done any counted cross stitching in a very long time so it felt good to get back to it. I have a bunch of these projects that I finally want to get done.
This week my new desk is arriving at work so I'll be rearranging everything there while trying to get the work itself caught up, our stamped concrete patio is finally going in and the school shopping has to get started. The new school year will be here before I know it. I'm looking forward to Friday when I'll be able to get back into my studio and start a new project.

What is on tap for you this week?