Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Home Again....

Well, vacation was lots of fun - we got to spend time in the sun with our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter! Here's a picture of Lilli at the aquarium in Tampa....

I was cheerfully surprised to find an IKEA about a mile from where we were staying, and took time to go check out their fabrics! I found some great end-of-bolt specials, and a wonderful piece of green print that will make a fabulous quilt back. I bought four yards of that, so there's lots of options, especially since I've found out the wonders of piecing the back! I can't wait to use some of these fabrics........ If you've never been to IKEA, be sure to visit one if you are in the area (Atlanta is the closest one to where I live). Great furniture, textiles, organizational stuff, and fantastic prices!!! Really one of the neatest stores I've ever been in...

I will admit, though, it's nice to be home. Yesterday afternoon, after picking the dogs up from the puppy spa, I decided I should finally do the taxes since I didn't have a project I was currently working on. Thankfully it went fast so this morning I was able to get back to sewing with a clear conscience!! It was really nice to sit at my sewing machine after a week's absence - it's one hobby that you just can't take on the airplane with you! I finished up a little boy's flannel quilt to go in our ministry stash today, and picked out some fabrics for another ministry quilt. This one is a little difficult for me to choose fabrics on, since it needs to be a little more "country" than I'm comfortable with - not my style. But my friend Cassie helped this morning and I think we've picked out a good combination. I can't wait to start cutting it out tomorrow!

Well, I think that's all for tonight - I want to do some more blog-hopping! I've found such wonderful inspirations out there in the blogosphere!! Later!


Friday, March 26, 2010

Thanks to my lovely daughter...

Hi, all!

Well, thanks to my lovely daughter, I know how to get one of the great backgrounds on my blog! So tell me, how do you like the new look?

PS I'm sorry about those horrible pictures on my last post - that color is so bad I had to put up a new post even though I didn't have any new pics to add - I can't stand to see them on there! I'll have to change them when I get home and can take some new pics. In the meantime, here's one of my favorite pictures of the Bug for your entertainment....

Have a nice evening! Later!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Hello, all!

A very busy day today, but at least it was productive!!

I made a quilt as a baby shower gift that has turned out really cute. I love working with flannel - it always washes up so soft! This quilt is made with layered squares - a 3" square on top of a 6" square on top of a 9" square. They are stitched so that raw edges are left on top of the quilt.

In the wash, the edges of the top squares fray and get nice and soft and fluffy. It's hard to tell from the picture (bad lighting) but this quilt is all in shades of pink, lavender, yellow and white. And it felt good before I put it in the wash, but when I took it out of the dryer, it felt so-o-o-o soft, and thick and cushy. Just the kind of thing you want to cuddle up in!!

I did get a really cute picture of my granddaughter today, when we went to Old Navy to exchange some things. She discovered that the mannequins had open hands hanging down at her level, and she kept slipping her hands into theirs and standing with them. She obligingly posed for a picture, so here it is:

If you don't already know her, my granddaughter is the cute blonde in the middle!

Well, I've run on long enough for one night! Later!!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's All About The Math.....

Hello, all!

Well, that's the name of my newest quilt - "It's All About The Math". This is a sudoku quilt I made for my lovely niece Heather for her birthday. She's a math whiz so I thought this would appeal to her.

And you can see I pieced the back - the first time I've tried that! I just took some random leftover pieces from the front fabrics and put them together in a pleasing pattern, then added to it until I had a piece large enough for the back. I think it worked out pretty good - especially since, when I was reviewing the pictures my husband took, I noticed that the center of the backing looks like a monogram of two "H"s - my niece's initials! Unintended, but neat!

I think, from the tone of her Facebook post, that she likes the quilt - it's always fun to make something for someone who appreciates it!

Well, that's all for now - later!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Good Day...

Hello, all!

We had a great day of sewing at Cassie's house yesterday - it is so exciting to see someone go from "I couldn't possibly do that!" to "Wow, I did that!" I got to see that transformation several times as people learned new skills as we sewed. And we have such a great time of fellowship as we sew together! I think that female companionship has become less and less available as women stay so busy these days. I love that we're getting some of that back through all this!

I almost finished a quilt today - I've got a little bit of decorative stitching to do on it and wash it and then it's done. I can't wait to post pictures of it!

Two Nana moments for the day - the first is related to this picture. Bill came home early today, which totally delighted Lilli! He was holding her as they looked at the horses that live in the pasture behind our house, when Lilli asked to be put down. I thought she wanted to sit on the landscape timbers next to them, but lo and behold, she stood there and put her foot up on the timbers, just like her Poppa was doing! Not an easy feat, because the timbers were stacked two high and about 16 inches tall..... The other Nana moment came when she and Poppa were picking up sticks in the yard - I was watching, enjoying seeing them playing together. She looked at me and said, "Nana, pick up sticks!" So, being a good Nana, I started picking up sticks. Next thing I heard was, "I so proud of you, Nana - you're a good helper!" Little monkey!

Have a great evening! Later!


Monday, March 15, 2010

It's Starting To Look Organized In Here!

Hello, all!!

Well, thanks to my wonderful friend Cassie and her husband (who kept the kids while she helped me), the fabric stash is starting to look a little organized! We sorted out the largest pieces of the donated fabric and arranged them by color to make it easier to choose fabrics for quilts. It works so well that we kept getting sidetracked matching different quilts up!! Now I just have to organize the smaller pieces somehow......

I also pieced my first quilt back today - that was an interesting experience! I took a bunch of leftover scraps from the front of the quilt I'm currently working on and created a centerpiece for the back, then added strips of a solid Kona cotton to the sides to make it large enough. The only thing I'm worried about is keeping it centered while I quilt! But it is pretty, and a great way to use scraps. I'll post pics of the finished quilt soon!

Wednesday marks our second morning meeting to sew for our ministry - I've got to get some kits together in case someone runs out of something to do, so I'll put the stash to good use. But we've currently got a woobie and four kid's quilts in the works, all of which we might get finished this Wednesday. The kids love getting together, too - my granddaughter can't wait to go back to Miss Cassie's and "play with her friends"!

I've been blog-surfing this week and found a few really great new patterns for children's quilts that might translate into adult quilts too. One blog I really loved, but I was so disappointed as I read in her first entry of the year that she is no longer going to blog. But fortunately she is leaving her blog up as a resource, so you might want to check out Crazy Mom Quilts while you can. Her quilts are awesome, and she likes to share techniques and lots of details on how to do what she does so well! And since she made forty-four quilts last year alone, there's lots to look at!

Lilli and I went to see baby goats today - I never knew I'd get to have so much fun playing with my granddaughter!



Thursday, March 11, 2010

Isn't It Amazing...... God knows exactly what we need? When we started this quilt ministry, we had a good stash of focus print fabrics, a moderate stash of background prints, and almost no fabrics large enough for backings. But just since Monday, we've had donations of fabric that have filled in the gaps - lots of large pieces of fabric that can be used for quilt backs, wonderful background prints, and even some quilt batting!! And our local fabric store had a great sale on background prints and solids, too - so we are really ready to go! It's so wonderful to be able to go to the fabric stash and know that you will be able to find everything you need to piece a quilt top.

So tomorrow, my mission is to organize all the fabric we have onto shelving, where it will be easily accessible to everyone. All the purse-weight fabric will have to go into storage containers to make space for the quilting fabric, but I bet the quilt fabric's going to look great when it's organized by color on the shelves! I wish I had a friend with a burning desire to help me fold fabric, but most of them have jobs during the day - - so first thing in the morning, I'm going to jump right in. Wish me luck!! I'll post pics of the finished result tomorrow....



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Do You Sudoku?

Hello, all!

Well, here it is - my first sudoku-inspired quilt. I can guarantee you I will be doing many more of these - because I don't have to sweat out which colors look best next to each other! That's always my least favorite part of putting a quilt top together....... But I love the way these colors mesh and blend in this quilt.

This is a great scrap quilt, too - the center squares take 9 fat quarters, or about 5 inches of leftover fabric yardage (selvage to selvage) from a prior project in each color you use. Which is why it may become my new favorite - I can use up lots of leftover fabric this way!!

On a more serious note, this particular quilt will be going to a young woman who was diagnosed with a brain tumor fourteen months ago. This is part of a new ministry at my church, and I'm very excited to see it taking off in such a neat way. We forget sometimes how much love is contained in the making of a quilt - but it's a wonderful way to pass on that love to someone who needs it.

I'll be seeing a lot of my sewing peeps tonight at church - it will be fun to see what they have been working on this week! Having finished one project, I'm now at loose ends until I decide on what to work on next - although something tells me it had better involve sweeping, dusting and vacuuming, at least today!



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Something a Little Different Tonight!

Hello, all!

I just thought I'd share something different than quilting tonight - I've been making some clothes for an adorable little girl and today I finished two shirts for her to wear around Easter time.

In the past, I've done a few appliques, usually using a simple technique - Heat-n-Bond on the back, then zigzag around the edges after ironing it on the fabric. But I've done a lot of appliques lately, and I've been experimenting with different ways to attach and embellish them.

The bunny above is done using the simple zigzag technique, with an added bow to embellish it. (I am so grateful that I went to that scrapbooking class recently - I finally learned how to easily tie a really cute flat bow!) The chick, though, is a multi-layered and blanket stitched applique, with stitched embellishment for his topknot and painted eyes and beak. I like the way the egg turned out - I wanted it to look like this little chick popped out of an Easter egg!

I've even done a few appliques where I used a backstitch, done by hand, inside the edge of the fabric so that it will fray in the wash and look softer. There are so many things you can do lately with children's clothes - I love trying out all the new techniques!!

So anyway, that's one of the things I've been working on this week. I'll have pictures of the sudoku quilt to post tomorrow - it's almost finished, just needing a few final touches, a good washing, and photos!

Cute Lilli moment this week - yesterday I was standing next to her at the kitchen island while she watched a movie, and she leaned over towards me, put her arms around me and said, "I love you, Nana!" That's the first time she's ever said that spontaneously - so sweet!!

Have a great evening!! Later!


How to miter the corner of your quilt binding!

Hello, all!

This is just a quick post, to pass on a video showing how to miter the corner of quilt binding. It's hard to explain this process over the phone, so here's a video showing how to do it!

Hopefully this will clear up any questions that remain!



Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hello, all!

Well, Saturday was great fun - eleven of us got together for our monthly sewing group meeting! Fortunately, the coffee was good, because my monkey bread, while okay, was not the breathtaking version that my friend Cassie made last Wednesday...... Everyone was supposed to bring a project they were working currently working on - several people worked on quilts, either for our church ministry, Quilts For Kids, or themselves. Two ladies made remote control holders to put over the arm of their chair, and they looked great and really professional! A couple of girls made clothing for their children, too. It's wonderful to see how much progress everyone has made since we started this group last August!

Today was the start of a big sale at our local fabric store, and I hit it early - we needed bright solids and small prints desperately for our quilt stash! I looked like a shopper on one of those thirty-minute shopping sprees - grabbing my colors of choice and sprinting for the cutting table! (Actually I was in a hurry to get home and spend some time with my husband before he had to get back to church..... ;-) ) I also picked up some more quilt batts, which I had unfortunately run out of - Saturday I had three quilt tops finished and ready to quilt, and no batts!!! I couldn't go get any more before Sunday because I was out of coupons and I refuse to pay full price, so I had to wait until today.

The sudoku quilt is coming along great - I will be quilting it tomorrow and will post pictures of it in my next blog post. It's amazing to me how well the colors did together - I guess there's something to that mathematics stuff! That's what my niece tells me, anyway -she's smart that way!

Well, the Oscars are starting and I'm totally distracted, so I'll post this now - I'll try to be a little more organized the next time I get one here! Later!!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Love Me Some Sudoku...

Hello, all!

I have found the coolest quilt pattern (actually a friend called it to my attention - I should give credit where credit is due, Katy!) and I spent today pulling out fabrics to use to make it up. It is based on the popular Sudoku puzzles - if you've never done one, it's totally addictive and can be very frustrating. Basically, a 9x9 grid is divided into nine 3x3 sections. Using the numbers 1 through 9, you place them in such a way that no number is repeated in any row, column, or 3x3 section. It sounds easy but it's not! The puzzles always have some numbers already placed as clues, making some easier than others based on what numbers are shown. Anyway, the pattern uses different prints/colors of fabrics instead of numbers - nine different fabrics that are arranged in a completed sudoku combination! Once you have the nine 3x3 panels done, you join it all together with windowpane sashing. I can't wait to do a little sewing tomorrow and see how it comes out.....

Cute Nana moment for the week - today Lilli and I were in the local fabric store, and she saw a sample quilt with a teddy bear appliqued in the center. She took one look at it, said, "oooh, pretty!" and proceeded to tell me, "Upstairs, my chair, Lilli-size pillow, my teddy bear, and that quilt!" I guess she figured that one out pretty quick! So it looks like sometime there's an appliqued quilt in my future!!

Our monthly sewing meeting is this coming Saturday morning, and I'm excited to see what everyone is bringing as their project. I know some of the ladies are planning to work on quilts for our ministry, but others have ongoing projects they are bringing. It's always interesting to see what each one likes to work on! Now I just have to come up with something yummy to eat... because we're Baptist! If you feed us, we will show up!!!



Monday, March 1, 2010

Organizing the Stash - Finally!!

Hello, all!

I spent today sorting out my fabric stash so that it will be easier to match up fabrics for quilts - we have a meeting on Wednesday morning to start working on more quilts to give out at the hospitals, so it was time! It's really frightening how much fabric I have on hand - and here's an example. Saturday afternoon, I saw an e-mail from our prayer ministry asking for prayer for an eight-year old boy in the hospital. I decided I'd get a jump on getting a quilt ready, just in case we needed one, so I pulled out some of the fabric that was recently donated and found a really cute focus fabric, border and backing. Next step? Find three solids or near-solids to make the four-patch squares and the inner border. Well I dug through the stash and found some fabric to use. Sunday night, after I finished the quilt and was folding it up, my husband looked at it and said, "How in the world did you find fabric that matched the print so perfectly for the patched squares?" I told him it was in my stash. He looked at me funny - I don't think he realized I had quite that variety of fabric stashed away!

Lilli and I went to Joann's today (don't ask me why, I just felt the need to look at fabric!!) and it seems that we were meant to be there, because just as we were getting ready to leave, I was hailed by my friend Cindy, who had been trying to reach me to get me to meet her at Joann's! She thought she needed help to pick out border and backing fabric for a quilt she put together years ago - she really didn't need any help, but we had a great time looking at the fabrics until she found just the perfect ones. I'm afraid my philosophy of picking out just the right fabrics is to throw a bunch of things I think might work together on the dining room table and mix them up until I like what I see! It's extremely technical.......... lol!! And by the way, I managed to get out of Joann's with only one remnant of hot pink Kona cotton - which was not only remnant priced, but then 30% off that! So I think I did pretty good, since we need the solids for quilting!

I worked for a man once who told me that he felt blessed by being able to do what he did well and loved to do and also do good for other people at the same time. I feel like that's where I am right now - I love to sew and to teach other people how to do it, and I can do it as a part of ministry at my church. How totally cool!!

Have a great evening!!!