Thursday, October 03, 2013

Sand Castles

So, my friends know that although I've been making quilts for over 30 years, I don't do the quilting part. Here's my quilting history. The first quilt I ever made, I hand-pieced and hand-quilted because I believed that I should understand how it was done before machines took over. I hand-quilted one other wall hanging, and then I was done.
I made a few quilts for my kids back in the day and machine quilted them...stitch in the ditch, simple straight lines, nothing more.

Then I discovered long-arm quilters. What a relief! Now I could do what I love the most...piece quilt tops. Well, I got to a certain point where I was cranking out more tops than I could afford to send out to be quilted, so I was in a bind. At the coaxing of a friend, about a year ago I started quilting my own very small pieces...small wall hangings. I've wrestled with wanting to learn free motion quilting, even took a class, but have never practiced enough to feel comfortable with it.
In July, I decided to make the Toes in the Sand quilt designed by Jaybird Quilts. I thought to myself...Ok, this is it. You're going to quilt this one. I figured that I could handle one strip at a time. I searched YouTube for "quilt as you go without sashing" and found lots of videos to show me the way and off I went.

A month later, I was finished and it's currently hanging in 
which now has an online shop. 
Check it out HERE
I made so many mistakes, but I love it anyway. I was initially fascinated with the idea of a pieced triangular block. I went with pastel-ish batiks on a sand colored background and named the quilt, "Sand Castles."

No free motion here. I sat and did a ton of needle down, presser foot up, and nauseam.
Will I ever do this again? Who knows. I'm closer to my goal of quilting my own work than I was several months I'll take it and be happy!

By the way, this was a very fun quilt to construct. You should try it!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Summer Recap - One

September is almost over, 
and I realized that I have not posted in three months. I hardly remember what I did this summer. 
It feels like a crazy vapor.
I will try over the next few posts to recap these last few months, because I was not idle.

On the 4th of July, my niece's husband, a chef, threw a surprise baby shower for her at the restaurant. When I say surprise, I seriously mean it was a surprise for everyone. We all found out one week before. My sister and I spent a whole day making a diaper cake, washcloth lollipops, sock flowers, and little paper diapers filled with candy.
I had a week to throw together a baby quilt. I dove into my stash and found a pile of Moda's Kashmir IV collection. Who knows how long I've had that. I tried to dress it up a bit will a little "Bluebird of Happiness" in the center. I think I finished the binding the night before the shower. Whew!

While browsing through some blogs I follow, I came across Bijou Lovely's post on the X Plus quilt. I absolutely fell in love with her version of this design. Although she includes a link to a tutorial for this quilt, the original design is, I believe, is from Zen Chic.

The quilt is quite simple to construct and a lot of fun!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer, at last!

It has been exactly one month since I have posted here. 
For those of us who have children still at home, we all know that May/June can be crazy months. The school year is ending, final projects need to be finished, the kids want to get together with their friends before the summer begins, there are parties to attend, final exams, and the list goes on and on.
As a home-school parent, I have the added responsibility of making sure that the children's portfolios are ready for the school district. Evaluations were on Monday, so we are all letting out a huge sigh of relief.
Yes, summer, at last!!!

It's not that I haven't found time for sewing, it's just that putting thoughts coherently in a blog post was simply not going to happen. My mind was in way too many places at once.Getting to sit at my machine at all was my daily Zen moment.
I had fun making another pillow cover for an Intro to Paper-piecing class and managed to get another gift done for my
Two done...three to go!

When Masha was the first to add her name to my Pay-It-Forward list, she commented that she would like to receive something with white daisies. I went to the internet and searched for fabric and was excited to find this. How perfect!

I made a mini wall hanging and quilted a big daisy on it. It made its way to Russia, and I think 
she was happy. 
I had a lot of solid and tone-on-tone fabrics left over from my Tumbling Block quilt and a drawer full of Kaffe fabric, so I pulled out a Judy Niemeyer pattern called "Waterfalls." I threw in a Happiness is...Peanuts zig zag fabric and went to work.

This was the result.

Well, it's hard for me to believe that June is already coming to an end. I don't even want to think that I have two months of summer before the school year begins again. I know how months fly by these days. It almost feels like a blink, and they're gone.
For now, I will simply try to breathe, be in the moment, and enjoy each day!

Sunday, May 26, 2013


I subscribe to a magazine called  Art in America. 
Sometimes, I will see a work that grabs me. Something about it...
this was about the color, space, and contrast.
I wanted to recreate it in fabric.

The artist is Rico Gatson. I decided to look him up and was surprised at what I discovered about this picture. It appears to be a photograph taken in a gallery. 

This is a sculpture called Magic Stick #15. Behind this is a series of painted wood panels called 
Untitled (Collective Power).

The oddest thing is that no matter how hard I looked, I couldn't find the section in the magazine anywhere in this photograph. Even if I tried to imagine the camera at different angles, I still couldn't find it.
Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed making this wall hanging. I used only Fossil Fern fabric from Benartex which I felt lent itself nicely to the design..

I found more pictures of Rico's entire exhibition and am inspired to explore this more deeply.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Phoenix

So here I was with three circles ready to assemble. Although I could have chosen to inset the circles, I decided to applique each one, starting with the center and working my way out.
I knew I would have more control over the 18 points if I did it this way.
When the cartwheels were finished, I started thinking about background fabric. 
This one was a possibility but...

you know how it is....I just couldn't live with it. I ended up with a fabric that I had initially
thought I wanted, and I was happy.

Then, I set out to choose a border. I designed a paper-pieced border, sixteen pieces, and sewed them all.
When I put the pieces next to the quilt, I was horrified. What was I thinking???? 
It was terrible!
I couldn't waste the time I had spent putting the border pieces together, so I arranged them, 
appliqued several circles onto it, quilted it, and.......
there you go!
I'm calling it "Throwing Stones."

When that relative fiasco was over, I decided that this quilt truly needed something very simple to surround it. 
I choose fabric that would pull out the three central colors and finished it.
The Phoenix is done!

Now, off to Barbara Persing for quilting. Yay!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April's Winner....

Rebeckah Austin!!!

Winner of the 28 bright batiks jellyroll.

Thank you everyone for joining in the April Giveaway. 
I enjoyed reading about what everyone is working on.
May is only days away, and another giveaway 
is on its way.
Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pillows and Cartwheels

I am lovin' this weather. Very hard to stay inside these days. The earth is waking up, 
however, I need to decide on some summer class ideas. 
Time for another round of intro to paper-piecing, so I put together a simple pillow
using the "card trick" block showcasing Robert Kaufman's
fabric, "Effervescence."

These pillows were just the result of play time....

and, as you can see, the weather has been nice enough for me to bring out the hammock.

For a more intermediate paper-piecing class, I began working on a piece from Judy Mathieson's book, Mariner's Compass Quilts. I chose an 18 point Cartwheel....

with middle and center stars. I'm using a variety of batiks from my stash.

Please don't forget that tomorrow I will announce the

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April Giveaway !!

I have been busy, busy, busy lately. Lots of projects in the works, lots of plans, and so little time.
I made four paper-pieced sunflowers. Not sure whether they will become a wall hanging or maybe a table runner. Who knows...

Then I decided to make an elongated tumbling block quilt.

Loved working with all the bright colors.

Using the technique I wrote about HERE, I ended up with a bonus of 200 half-square 
triangles to play with.

Here is the finished quilt top :)

And finally, here is the 
Twenty-eight beautiful and bright 2 1/2" batik strips.

If you want to get your hands on these and get those creative juices flowing, 
leave me a comment and tell me what you've been up to.

I'm going to give all of you plenty of time.
The winner will be chosen at random on
APRIL 28th.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring break

So far, I've had a wonderful spring break. This is one of the few weeks out of the year when I don't have to drive children all over the place. I have been able to spend time with them...catching up on some school work, going to the movies, going out to eat, or simply hanging around the house together. When they have found things to occupy their time, I have been finishing up some projects that have been on my to-do list.

This is my first piece completed for the Creative-Pay-It-Forward project. The recipient simply told me that pink was her favorite color, so here's what I came up with.
For those of you who don't know me, I love piecing but I don't quilt. I have been hesitant to learn free motion quilting and have attempted very few pieces on my machine. Since this is a small piece, I decided that I ought to do it, so I did. I simply drew freehand with a disappearing pen and went to work,
and I'm ok with the result.

After I finished a pillow for my bed out of these fabrics, I decided to make a wall hanging as well.
I think I'll tuck this away until I learn to free motion quilt with a bit of confidence and then do this one myself. I'll never learn if I don't try.

I hear that Monday will be 59 degrees. Spring is clearly here. I am enjoying my early blooms that the rabbits have not eaten already. I guess they get hungry, too, but I wish they would find breakfast somewhere else.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sorbetto Spring

I've been very preoccupied with the coming of spring. After several days of unseasonably warm weather, today, we had snow and hail. It is like spring to be this way...undecided and a bit wacky, but I like it. Spring is full of teases as the crocuses appears in the snow. I love these days.
So, it is no wonder that I chose to spend this week working in colors that remind me of this season. 

I think of the colors of cotton candy and the chocolate malted eggs I remember as a child in my Easter basket, those first spring flowers and the wet earth, listening to the birds chirping in the early morning telling me that it is time to wake up....and fresh fruit sorbetto.

It made sense to name this quilt "Sorbetto Spring."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Happy Sunday to all!

I wanted to quickly share my finished "peace" stitched in Japanese characters.
And the winner of the March Giveaway...


Congratulations, Iris.
You should all go and check out her blog. She  works serious magic with needles and yarn and is a beautiful writer and tender spirit.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

March Giveaway and Spring Fever

I really should be thinking about getting my taxes done, but I'd much rather think about the fact that the first day of spring is 2 1/2 weeks away. So, in order to get my mind off of the inevitable day when I must submit my tax returns, I decided to give away this lovely 
Hoffman Spring Medley.

Not only will you receive 6 fat quaters of fabric that will bring thoughts of spring to your stash, but I'm also throwing in a sweet packet of Teavanna's Youthberry & Wild Orange Blossom Blend with German Rock Sugar.
So, sit back with a hot cup of tea and ponder what you will create with these beautiful fabrics.

Now, for a moment, step back two seasons. It's fall. The autumn is noted for its blaze of rich, fiery colors. This quilt, made for a dear friend, was made with fat quarters of Kaffe Fassett's autumn prints in a chevron pattern.

For the back, I chose one of my very favorite Kaffe patterns (if there is such a thing).
I call this quilt "Goodnight, Earth."

So the seasons go...round and round. Now it's time to wake up again.
If you want to wake up to this lovely Hoffman medley, simply leave a comment. 
Tell me what you like most about the seasons. Do you have a favorite?

Mr. Random will choose a winner on
Sunday, March 10th.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Busy, busy, busy...

Although I haven't been in the blog scene for a few weeks, I have certainly not been idle. 
I had the extreme pleasure of spending time with my grandson while my
daughter and her husband were on the east coast for 2 weeks.
This little one was my constant companion for 2 days.
I miss him and wish they would all move back to the area.

I also spent time completing my second Marcia Derse quilt.

Just finished putting the borders on yesterday and delivered it to the store in the afternoon.

I also got to spend an afternoon with a my friend, Anne, of Orange Crumpled Napkin.
We were both working on our CQ blocks. 
This block of mine will be in the center of a 9 block wall hanging that I am
working on for the CQJP 2013. This is my first experience with the satin stitch. I was actually surprised at how tedious it is to get every entry and exit of the thread just right. When I was finished this part, I noticed one place where I could have added another stitch, but I'm not going to worry about it now.

These are the Japanese symbols for peace.
For most of my life, I have had one word that I cling to. A word that, when needed, brings me back to center when I am tottering. Balance was my word for almost 30 years. Now, it is

When I was going through all my batiks and cutting a 2 1/2" strip from each for my giveaways,  I made a pile of scraps and fat quarters. I had fun making these two 16" pillows. Other than the scraps, I only needed one FQ for the front and one for the back. They were pretty quick and easy.

Now that things have calmed down a bit with my schedule, I made a list of all the things I need to get done. Wow! The list is way too long.
Better get started...Happy sewing!

Stay tuned! Another giveaway coming up......

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What are the odds?

So, here's a story.
Last week, a blogger friend and I both had a giveaway. 
Yesterday, I found out that I had won hers.
Today, she finds out that she won mine.
Seriously, what are the odds?
....and I don't think I've ever won anything in my life!

Anne, of Orange Crumpled Napkin, you are the winner of the
28  2 1/2" batiks strips.

Onto playtime with  new Marcia Derse fabric: nouveau chic and necessities...

plus some of the Line 5 collection...

and I'm excited!

Off to teach and then home to play!
Have a wonderful Sunday...