Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Man's Best Friend

Tate will be FOUR next month! Of course, we adopted him shortly after we were married, so that means it's been that many years for us, too. Crazy how time flies.

When he was a puppy, his fur was darker and his head was black. Now look at how light his fur is. He is a very loving puppy dog, and I'm glad he's able to road trip and hang out with me when no one else is able to do so. Happy early birthday to my buddy!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Hexagon Designs

I'm I ended up printing out some hexagon design paper, borrowing a box of colored pencils from my classroom for the weekend, and playing around with some designing. Don't mind the colors- I just just trying to get my eyes to look past the illusion of the hexagons and see different designs. 

While all of these are interesting, and Hubby gave his input by insisting on the second one pictured, I might still just like the traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden the best:


Again, don't mind the colors- I was just playing around. Maybe I should just get to work on fabric making flowers! Until I can get my hands on a hexagon die cut, I'm off to work with my sewing machine!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Handfuls of Scraps- by Edyta Sitar

This. Book. 

So, with all the goodies in the mail the other day, I also received this wonderfully inspirational book. Inside are photographs - much like the cover photo - of antique quilts made from what their creators had on hand at the time, aka scraps. Me? I LOVE scrappy quilts. When I first started quilting a few years ago (has it really been that long?!) I imagined the day when I would have had made enough projects to where I would have lots of scraps. Let me tell you, between being given 'scraps' for the PSQ I've been working on for over a year (again, what?!) that were actually pretty big pieces and buying small amounts of fabric here and there, I've accumulated more scraps than I thought was possible. 

I use the Americana fabric for my Farmer's Wife blocks, everything cotton that I can remember not cutting into yet for my PSQ (trying to cut over 4,000 2" squares and not really have any duplicates, phew!), flannel for baby quilts for friends, water themed and blues are being saved for this year's row by row as the theme is H2O, reds and browns for the 12" house blocks I'm supposedly swapping next month, more scraps for the bookshelf quilt, panels to practice quilting, and others I am sure to be forgetting. 

Of course, what does this book make me want to do? Begin a whole new project, that's what! It's right there in the cover- those beautiful, English paper pieced hexagons. I could totally do those while I'm sitting on the couch in the evenings watching tv rather than being here online.  Speaking of paper piecing and hand stitched projects, I was forgetting some things. I am also working on a scrappy pineapple quilt (paper pieced, but I've never tried English paper piecing) and red work embroidery for a snowman quilt. Did I mention I also crochet and just recently bought my first pair of needles to teach myself to knit? I. Don't. Need. Another. Project. 

And yet, there the book sits, cover staring up at me, wanting me to dig out more of my scraps and cut them into tiny hexagons. I did just learn how to reverse appliquĆ© by hand and did recently hand quilt a twin sized flannel quilt (oh, no! Just remembered I still need to bind that one, ugh, my least favorite part), so I know I enjoy stitching by hand. Plus, it's highly portable- even more so than my redwork embroidery that's in a medium sized hoop. It would be another long term project, and I have PLENTY of those going on. 

Well, if you are like me and love scrappy quilts, you should check out "Handfuls of Scraps- Pieced into Amazing Quilts" by Edyta Sitar. Not only does it start out with a different quilt on each page, but it goes on to give you step by step instructions on your own scrappy quilt- including the one on the cover. I'm off to go work more on my current projects, so maybe-just maybe- I can someday make an English paper pieced Flower Garden of my own. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sew All the Stitches! Run All the Miles!

Perhaps this should be part of my motto in life. I sure have taken a liking to both sewing and running as of late. Plus, being a teacher on Spring Break at home after cleaning the house sure has its perks! 

I am currently working on paper piecing 10" blocks for a bookshelf quilt. It may or may not turn into a present for a friend, so I won't share any pictures. Although I am tempted because they are turning out so well, so maybe some teasers will come into play some time. Until then, here is what I came up with for Summer decorations for my burlap wreath I conquered last month:

Half a yard of shimmery tulle and a real starfish from France I somehow managed to bring back in one piece quite a few years ago for my (then) boyfriend (who is now my hubby!). Simple, yet elegant- just the way I like it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Look what came! My package came a couple days ago, and I ripped open the box. See the previous post to find out where all these goodies came from! I'm off to get back to using them. šŸ˜ƒšŸ‘

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I Won?!

So....I got home from work today and browsed Facebook as my usual daily down-time routine. In my newsfeed, Kim over at Persimon Dreams had posted with a link inviting everyone to read her new blog post, which just so happens to be the revealing of the grand prize winner for PQ6. I clicked on the link and thought please pick me, please be my name as I quickly scrolled down until I saw a picture of one of her daughters with a piece of paper in her hand. My heart fluttered as I realized that it was, in fact, my name!! I couldn't believe it- I even did a little dance and probably hollered out loud! I hadn't even made it inside at this point, so I must have been a sight to my neighbors.. I then promptly went through and read the entire post. She linked to me, so if you are from her blog, welcome! If not, please click on the above link to go straight to the post so you can see all of the wonderful sponsors and the master mind from this year's PQ6. If you have never participated, I definitely recommend it for next year. Whether you win or not, it is really all about the community and the wonderful challenge of completing a quilt every week. I love the feeling of accomplishment I have felt these past two years I have participated in Project Quilting! Thank you, Kim, and thank you to all the sponsors for the amazing prizes I have won! Thank you, thank you!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Pig in a Polk

Edit: this animal themed quilt has been entered into Lily Pad's Animals on Quilts Contest in August, 2015. Thank you for visiting!

I enjoy making simple all flannel baby blankets since they're so cozy to wrap up in. This one is super bright. I wasn't sure I liked it at first, but now I have a strange fondness for it. I call it "Pig in a Polk" - a twist on the food since there are piggies on the backing fabric and the front has Polk a Dots!

I brought the farm fabric from behind to make the binding. It's pretty small - 36" by 27" - but is flexible to tuck around a baby. Can be used as a receiving blanket to swaddle! Horrah for another one getting done!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Disappearing Four Patch Hot Pad

Sooooo I originally made this thinking I could use it for PQ6. But then I read all he requirements again. Whoops. Guess I'll be making something with more charms!

My name got pulled for a prize last week! Yay!! Looking forward to receiving it in the mail. Until then, tomorrow is the deadline for the last challenge of the year, and it's a bit sad. Fortunately, I've been able to participate in all six challenges this year! This week's theme was to use 5" charms. This week was super busy for me, so I decided to go with something small. I took four charms and created a disappearing four patch hot pad. The quilting part was fun since it slid easily on the machine. 

Thank you , Kim, for PQ!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Pillow Cases for Homeless Children

The quilt guild I'm a part of was helping a Girl Scout meet her goal of 50 pillow cases for children in homeless shelters. Why pillow cases? She explained that the children can't take much of their personal belongings, but they are given their own pillow cases with hygiene necessities. Therefore, it's a special personal property that needs to be more comforting for those children. Took my machine thinking I'd be sewing them with other women. Instead I got to teach two scout girls: a Jr. and a Brownie how to make them. We completed two with each taking turns at the wheel, but with me steering both in the right direction. It meets the criteria of three or more layers. Here's the second one I call "Froggie's my Friend" on top a pile from the others who were there, too!

Isn't the fabric adorable? I really like the froggies and can think of a ton of other projects to sew them into. Three fabric lines donated boxes of fabric for this project, and it was fun to play with the different fabrics. I let the girls choose the coordinating fabrics as these would ultimately go to children their own ages. It's sad to think that children that age could be homeless, but it happens. Makes me thankful for organizations like the Girl Scouts who teach girls skills that will be applicable later in life and also challenge them to complete projects that help others less fortunate, such as this project this particular Girl Scout decided to do. She had to decide on a project, write a speech, address about a hundred of us during a quilt guild meeting, and organize companies and quilters who have the materials plus younger scouts to assist. I couldn't take any more pictures, due to privacy, but there were about fifteen adults helping over thirty girls with ages ranging from I'm guessing six to twelve plus their parents. The two girls working with me were sisters, and their mom took plenty of photos of us in action. You will just have to imagine it. Just know that many children in homeless shelters will at least have fun and cuddly pillow cases to call their own!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Favorite Fabric- PQ Challenge #5

This week's PQ Challenge is to use our favorite fabric. Well, if you are at all involved with fabric then you know that this is a really hard thing to decide especially if you only buy fabric if you just can't leave the store without it. I love Moda's Winter Wonderland fabric, but I have that reserved for a red work project and I just about already finished a flannel quilt in which I used a birdie fabric I absolutely loved, so of course that's out. There are also those fabrics that you may have favored for reasons besides being pretty or lovely. I have this fabric that is my favorite in the way of being whimsical and I bought it just for that reason without having any idea what I could use it for. I may possibly figure that out this week as I think I will try to come up with a design using it in this week's challenge. 

Like I said- whimsical, huh? Any ideas?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

50 Shades of Pink

This week's challenge had everything to do with hearts! I had bought a few quarter yards of Valentine fabric last year, so I finally got the inspiration to use it. 

Last Monday I got the chance to check out a quilt guild that meets about four miles from my house. I had been meaning to attend for months now, but every month the second Monday would come and go and I would remember the meeting after the fact. This time I kept reminding myself and had my husband remind me all day, too. Unfortunately, I woke up with a sore throat that day, but I took some cold medicine and took a nap when I got home from work and was still able to make the meeting that evening! All this to say..one of the members was making a presentation all about the Kuna people of Panama making Molas, and this is what gave me the inspiration on how to start this week's challenge. After the demonstration of how to reverse appliquĆ© (maybe I'll explain more about what I learned about Molas another time, if you're interested- it's quite intricate!), I took a small kit home and practiced on the pig outline that came in it. It was my first time doing hand appliquĆ©, let alone reverse hand appliquĆ©, and strangely enough I enjoyed it! Soooo when the hearts theme was announced, I knew I wanted to use this technique to create some hearts. 
I machine basted by following the heart outline I had drawn on the back using a paper template I had drawn and cut out. This way, when I pulled out the white machine thread, the material would fold nicely under where the needle holes were made and I could hand sew it easily with the black thread. This was fun to do while I watched television shows during a couple of the snow days we had (teachers get snow days, too!). It also gave me a chance to think about what design to use to create the rest of the quilt. Since each fabric was 1/4 yard, I decided on simple 9" squares. I added the hearts, but I wanted more than just rearranging the squares and sewing them together with a diagonal pattern.  I had some black flannel fabric with white hearts, so I tried out the sashing technique. 
I had lots of flannel left over, so I added a border and included it with the purple and white hearts flannel fabric on the back. Binding is my LEAST favorite part of quilting, so I skipped it all together- I sandwiched it together right sides together..
..cut out the batting exactly and placed it on top, sewed it almost all the way around like a pillow, and pulled it right sides out. Here is the messy process of getting all the fabric through the small hole I left after triple sewing each side. 
It was so worth it, though. I chose a decorative stitch on my machine and stitched all the way around the edges. 
Quilting got to come last instead of the tedious binding! I did a simple zig zag, and probably should never throw it in the washing machine since I didn't quilt it very much. I will show you the back first, and with close looking you can see the three zig zags.

With all the sparkly Valentine fabric I found last year and got to use in this quilt, I think it turned out so pretty. These kind of sparkles are the best kind- you can touch it to anything and glitter does not get everywhere! Plus, all that pink goes well wih breast cancer awareness. Win win. I'm sure you were wondering about the name of my quilt- well, with all this movie talk going around, I felt led to twist it into the color pink, instead, because there is actually a website that goes by that name who take donations for cancer research. I feel it's better to promote this kind of love rather than the "gray" kind. 
The finished quilt is 67" by 50" and ended up being kind of heavy. 

It's perfect for those cold February snow days for snuggling up under on the couch and watching my favorite shows! If you enjoy it, please vote for "50 Shades of Pink" at http://www.persimondreams.blogspot.com/2015/02/have-heart-challenge-4-of-project.html and check out the other quilts others were inspired to create!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

UFO PQ3 Challenge- Tied Strings

Edit: this quilt has been entered into Lily Pad's Pets on Quilts Show Contest in August, 2015. Thanks for visiting! Isn't Tate the cutest Morkie ever?

This week's Project Quilting Challenge was to finish a UFO (Unfinished Finished Object)! Being a person who likes to try many different patterns and techniques, I had quite a few UFOs. Hehe  One of them consisted of a few of these squares-I had made them by cutting squares from the yellow pages of a phone book and sewing scrap strips diagonally to them. I was leaving them in a drawer until I had more scraps to make a bigger quilt, but I its this challenge I had to go for it. Here are the squares right out of the drawer:
So, away I went sewing them all together. What took the longest in this entire process was ripping that darn paper off after I had the top sewn together! I didn't sandwich the quilt until late last night, then barely sewed the binding on with enough time to link up. I submitted my finished "String Quilt" with four minutes to spare. Phew! I didn't even have enough time to take a decent picture! Here's the picture I got in time to link up:
Thankfully, it's in the 60s and a beautiful day outside, so I took my Morkie outside (even if he's scruffy and needs a bath), and got a couple of pictures to edit this post:
The back is also scrappy- isn't it fun? It's 40" by 40" and I tied it rather than FMQ because I felt like it would take away from the design. 
I hope you like scrappy quilts as much as I do!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sunset(rise) Challenge for PQ6

In January of last year I discovered a blog (persimondreams.blogspot.com) that hosted a challenge called "Project Quilting." It's based on the tv show, "Project Runway," except instead of only a few hours to create wardrobes, you have a week to finish a quilt based upon that week's theme. Beginning on Sunday at 1:00pm EST, she announces the theme for that week. The project you create can be any size, and it doesn't really even have to be a quilt as long as you follow at least one of the three rules she sets out and it's finished and linked to her blog by the same time a week later. The popular vote then begins. Everyone has until the following Friday to vote for their six favorites. The creation with the most votes wins the popular vote, and everyone's name is thrown in a hat to be drawn for other prizes. The next challenge begins again that Sunday-two weeks after the first one was announced. This continues for six challenges. 

Inspiration, challenges, prizes and competition with others while getting to "work together" with them? Of course I participated! Now I'm in my second season of participation, and we are in the second challenge of the year. The theme was Sunrise/Sunset. The first thought that came to my mind was the silhouette painting I had done with a friend of an African scene featuring an elephant and a tree. The background was a gigantic yellow sun setting amongst a red sky. I started with that by rummaging in my scrap pile for yellows, oranges, pinks and reds and began piecing them together. What emerged was a round yellow piece for the sun and the negative area in orange. Last summer I learned how to sew in a curve, so I attached the two together using that technique. I did the same after piecing blacks together, although this was with a much less extreme curve. In the mist of all this piecing, I took a break to take a run in the dusk of the day and saw my shadow. This made me decide to draw a picture of myself and use the outline to create a sort of self portrait on my quilt. Needless to say, I am quite proud of the result!
I had to take this picture in the gloomy outside light since it poured all day, but don't you just love it? That's my outline and it all pieced together so nicely. It ended up being 32" by 27" and I think it may turn into my first wall hanging. Here are some close ups:
..and the back of the quilt where the appliquƩ outine is..
..all pieces from what the colors of the sunset or sunrise would consist of. For now, I'm calling her "A New Dawn." Here she is laid down flat with Tate showing you the size.
What is your interpretation of a sunrise/sunset?

**Edit** My quilt is #53 of the link ups at http://www.persimondreams.blogspot.ca/2015/01/sunrisesunset-challenge-2project.html so please take a minute to go vote for "A New Dawn!" Thank you!