Monday, September 29, 2014

Stunning Stitchin Sunday

This week I'm posting another Monday version of Stunning Stitchin Sunday. Why? Because I ran around like a lunatic for the past 2 days, unable to get back to the computer to post this yesterday, and more importantly I don't want my readers to miss out seeing all the fabulous work I came across recently.
In fun news, there are a trio of new contributors being showcased this week that you need to see, if you aren't aware of their work already, Amy of 13 Spools, Nicole of The Girl Who Quilts (and whom I didn't realize when I emailed her for permission to showcase her work in my series lives close to me) and Just Quilted by Gina Boone.  Welcome ladies to the party!
I'm going to try really hard to get back to these posts going live on Sunday morning but the next few weeks are going to be as insane as the past few have been so I'm not making any promises. No matter when I post though I do hope that you enjoy all the eye candy.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Stunning Stitchin Sunday

This week you get another Monday edition of Stunning Stitchin Sunday.
It is kids consignment sale season again and I spent all weekend sorting through Jammer's clothes figuring out what from last year still fits (my kids don't grow fast) and what we have in the hand-me-down bins that will fit for this year. With having to have him try on most of it, it took 2 days to get done. Sunshine and I did her wardrobe last weekend. Now at least it is all sorted, the piles for the consignment sale are ready to be entered into their system and I have the list of what they still need to get through the fall and winter.

Anywho...whatever kept you busy this weekend, I hope it was more fun than I had.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

I'm late, I'm late for a very important date!

 My good friend Kathy of Kwilty Pleasures tagged me last week for this blog hop but in all honesty, I almost forgot about it due to some unexpected craziness around here last week, in the form of a trio of unscheduled medical professional visits plus 2 scheduled ones. Thankfully I got a quick reminder when reading others' blog posts and so I'm scrambling to get this written.

Kathy and I have been good bloggy friends over the past couple of years and I can always count on her for her honest opinions when I need it, a few great laughs now and then and lots of fabulous Halloween and Ghastlie eye candy as she shares my love of both. 
I'm sure you've seen this going around the blog-o-sphere a ton so far but it is still fun to participate and learn a little more about other quilters. So here goes:

1. What am I working on?

Truth be told...quite a number of projects at the moment are in the works including another 100 Good Wishes Quilt for a friend's daughter. All that I have to add to this are the borders and the top will be done and then it will be time to get it loaded on my frame and quilted. It will be gifted to her at Christmas.
Many of my recent evenings have been spent un-quilting the EMS quilt because during the initial stitching I got horrible tension results and a massive amount of eyelashes on the back. The industry trade show were this will be raffled off will be at the end of next month but I want it done and off my To Do list now. I have a small amount of unsewing to finish and then this one will be on the frame later this week.
I've pulled the next fabrics needed for The Primary Bee blocks to be made by the kidlets. The September Bee Prince requested Red and Blue and Yes these are Red even though they look a bit more Orange in this photo (blame the dang early morning pic with loads of fog outside instead of nice sunshine).
Along with the scheduled projects, I've also had an unscheduled one in the works in the form of a leader/ender quilt.  These charms have been sewn into rows and the rows are in the process of being stitched together into Nine Patch blocks.
And finally on the "Current" WIP list is my secret project using Kate Spain's newest line Horizon. I'm super excited about this project and can't wait until its big reveal which will happen later in the Fall but in the meantime I just might tease you some more with a few sneak peaks of the progress.

2. How does my work differ from others?

Lets see....I don't think my work differ from others all that much. Yet. I'm still a newish quilter, having only discovered this craft and my total obsession with it a mere 5 years ago. Since then I have made a quite a number of quilts and have started designing a few of my own which I hope to get published or distributed to local quilt shops and online for sale in the coming months.
With my patterns I'm both working with existing block patterns in new layouts and also creating totally new blocks which I will result in stunning new designs that I hope you will love.

3. Why do I create what I do?

Like so many others, I have an inborn need to create via whatever form I'm currently working in. I have learned that if I don't do something creative in 2-3 weeks I really start to get cranky and on edge.  That isn't pretty.It is my outlet and my escape from the daily life of work and kids, errands and household chores.  For the past 23 years I've also been a cake decorator (amongst other crafts I do) and although I don't do nearly as much of that as I have in prior years due to problems with my hands and, let's be totally honest here, much less time available for that since I've become quilting obsessed, I still enjoy the happiness my cakes bring to others.

Here are just a tiny sampling of the sugary confections I have made in the past.  This is just one of many, many wedding cakes I've made. This couple wanted simple elegance and this cake definitely showed that.
This cake was for my Grandmother's 90th birthday party.
And Yes this all was a wedding cake. The "Groom" was a Chocolate cake with Chocolate Mousse filling, the "Bride" was a White cake with my White Chocolate Raspberry Mousse filling and the "happy couple's" wedding cake was Italian Rum Cake with Bavarian Crème filling.
  It was all very yummy and disappeared in about 30 minutes. Nineteen hours of work was gone in a flash that is just one more reason why I prefer quilting now since my projects get much more love when they are created and don't end up as just a pile of leftover crumbs.

4. How does my creative process work?

This all depends on who I'm making the project for. Sometimes I want to make something for a specific person and I rack my brain and hunt for just the right idea to get me started.  Sometimes I have fabric that I just have to cut up into pieces and sew something together instead of just letting it age gracefully in my stash drawer.  Many times lately, my brain goes off on a totally new tangent and then I have that light bulb moment and a new project is born. 

More so now than ever, I'm continuously seeing project ideas in the world around me.  I'm forever snapping pictures with my camera or cell phone, printing out the photo and then start drafting yet another new idea from the inspiration.  Now I just need to find more time so that I can get those new ideas completed and the samples made.

I still enjoy looking through magazines and books for more inspiration and as usual typically find myself brewing up thoughts of changing this or that up just a tad and seeing a totally new look. As in my cake decorating days, sometimes all it takes is combining elements from a few different areas to create something fresh and alive.

So now, enough about me. As part of this hop, I'm supposed to tag other people to continue the party so I'm sending tags to:

Heather of A reformed heath'n - I "met" Heather when she joined my Quilt U Be Mine mini round robin 2 years ago. Ever since we've been keeping in touch over the interweb and she continues to join my newest parties.  I hope you enjoy "meeting" her and getting to know her better.

My good bloggy friend Bea of Beaquilter, another fun person that I "met" when she joined my first ever hosted event, the Modern Mini Mystery Round Robin (which she is also begging me to do again). She was instrumental and so helpful when I was researching longarm brands and I think she was beyond tickled Pink when I ended up buying a Voyager 17 like she has.  Now that my Penelope has received her fancy schmancy upgrade, I'm trying to convince Bea that she needs to upgrade her Voyager too.

Check in with Heather and Bea next Monday the 22nd to see their posts. This hop certainly has been fun, learning about so many others quilters and what inspires them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Our Own Art - the kids' art quilt

Whew! I finally have a chance to write the post about the kids' art quilt that I recently finished for Sunshine's school. I'm happy to tell you that I delivered it a week and a half ago, a few hours before they had their back to school bash, and they were beyond thrilled.  The art teacher who requested this quilt actually cried when she saw it so I believe that counts a "Mission Accomplished".  Therefore I'm happy to reveal to all of you....

Our Own Art
I am totally thrilled with the way this one turned out and I love it even more than the kids art quilt that I made last year. It is just so bright and colorful and fun.
The school's name was appliqued using their actual letterhead font in the school's colors.
Although it is really hard to see in this picture, I straight stitched around the edge of each letter in matching thread.
The school's letterhead has a daisy as the dot for the i so that is what I did too.
As I was trying to quilt this I shared with you my struggles to come up with the right quilting design in the right color. In the end and as a total surprise to me, after testing out all of your thread color suggestions, I ended up liking the most the Glide 10GC3 Cool Gray. If you look at the color on their website, it looks a lot darker than it is in reality and I think it works perfectly on this quilt. It shows up just enough without competing with any of the sashing colors too much.
The right quilting design was my other angst besides the thread color choice and while drawing out many of your suggestions on a photo printout of the top, I had an epiphany that totally changed my complete way of thinking about the quilting design for this one.

I think that one of the biggest problems with what I had been trying, besides the fact that this was only 1 inch wide sashing and I'm not an expert at this yet, is that I was trying to quilt it as an adult would quilt it, all neat and perfectly spaced. Then during the doodling session, I remembered that when the art teacher and I were talking during the planning stages we talked about wanting to make this quilt look like the kids did it, or at least as much of it as possible. So that was my epiphany! I needed to quilt it as if my kids were doing it instead of me. Once I tried that and completed the 1st row, I knew I was on the right track.  I quilted it with ribbons as if the kids were trying really hard to make it look good but also knowing that it would be a little wonky.  To me this approach totally worked. It truly mimicked the "all over the place" look and feel of the kids' blocks and does look like kids work.
The art teacher provided the border fabric and this helped to reinforce the quilting design since the print is of kids' drawings. I did simple loopy quilting in that area.
The binding is a mix of one half WOF strips from all the solid colors used in the sashing.
As usual, I sewed the first side of the binding as normal but when it came time to sew down the back side, I kept the same epiphany in mind.  The kids would not have sewn it down by hand as I had been planning to do, so instead I did a decorative elongated serpentine line, just a little unevenly spaced in areas, that again I think blends well with the rest of the stitching.
The school's director and all the teachers were so happy with the final result.  I was a bit worried that they wouldn't understand my quilting design idea but they totally "got" it and agreed with my take on it. To do anything else for the quilting wouldn't have made it look like the kids themselves did it, which is what they wanted.
The quilt is now hanging in the school's front lobby for all to see as they enter and I keep hearing back every day how the kids from last year continue to look for their own blocks and the new kids at the school this year love checking out all of them too. And the new kids are asking if they get to make a quilt block too.
Overall this quilt was a joy to make and I'm so happy that they love it so. It definitely taught me a lesson about how sometimes I need to think outside the box to find the perfect solution.
Today I'm going to join up with a few linky parties.

Fresh Poppy Design
Fort Worth Fabric Studio

Saturday, September 6, 2014

It's A Sister Thing Swap Linky Party

It's now time for the It's A Sister Thing Swap Linky Party where you can see all the great goodies that were sent and received by all the secret sisters.
But 1st I get to show you what came in the overly stuffed box from my not-so-secret sister (someone had to get me, right?)  The luck person that got to stalk me was the same Katie of Karma Willow Designs that I was a secret sister to. No I really didn't plan it that way originally but as I emailed out all the matches I realized that just the two of us were left so that is how it was to be. It was really fun making things for her knowing that she had no idea we were stalking each other.

 Inside the weighty package we 1st found envelopes for both Jammer and Sunshine. It was super sweet of her to send something for each of my kidlets and they were beyond thrilled.
Next I discovered this adorable little Crayola box.  Love it! It so cute, about the size of a sandwich box.
What might you ask was in that adorable little box? overload of goodies.
Katie sent me these yummy chocolates. I had never tried them before but let me tell you....they are divine.
The pink and blue fabric pieces were actually in the kidlets' envelopes and the scissors and crayon lip balm were in my box.
Also inside was a roll of cute Washi tape, a spool of embroidery thread, a strip of Kate Spain fabric and the bird magnet which is now a great little addition to my studio.
Even more goodies were received...the whole yard of Lavender Asian fabric and the large Symphony bar, but the piece of blue floral fabric was not in the box at all. In actuality it was wrapping for....
...this draw dropping gorgeous quilt. I still cannot believe that she made me a quilt.  It isn't what I would call a small item but I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!
I love the string blocks and of course anything rainbow themed is so me plus the quilting is really awesome.
I hadn't realized until in an email Katie mentioned that I should look for some bubble words stitched into it. It didn't take long to find them.
Do you see it? Very, very cool and Yes Jammer was thrilled to see his nickname in stitches.
She included Sunshine too. Can you see it?
And the word Love was the 3rd bit of lettering incorporated into the quilting. This was a fabulous idea and one I'm definitely going to use myself in the future.  Katie backed the quilt with a Kate Spain fabric. I know how hard that must have been to use it for me and I'm extremely touched.
I've already told Katie that she is a crazy lady for doing way too much for me but I am also thrilled beyond words and very grateful.  She exceeded any expectation I might have had about what she was going to send to me.
The kidlets have already tried to claim this quilt but this one is mine, mine, all mine. Though I might let them snuggle with me under it.
Thank you isn't enough to Katie for your generosity and I will truly treasure all of my goodies. You rock!

And now it is time to see what else the "sisters" sent to each other. 
Each It's A Sister Thing Swap participant can link up any post about what they made and sent and what they received.
Have fun checking out all the posts and sharing of "sisterly" love.

BTW...I have no clue why the linky titles won't show. I've tried to fix it twice with no success. Oh well, it's the pictures that grab your attention anyway.