Monday, October 31, 2011

Out of My Comfort Zone

Yes, it was time.  Time for me to leave the cosiness of my comfort zone and to try something new in the quilting world.  Who says I am not courageous?  I'm going out on a limb and I'm trying something new!   I joined up for the Modern Mondays and Traditional Tuesdays Quilt Along!  Hosted by Jenifer Dicks at Forty-Two Quilts , the quilt along started in late September, with instructions for a new block posted on every Monday and Tuesday.  By the end of the quilt alongs, I should have two completed quilts, the modern with each single block framed, and the traditional, with sashing between the rows.

So, first up was to choose my fabrics.  No problem with the traditional fabrics...I have a great "go to" stash.  But what to do about the modern fabrics?  Online shopping or a trip out of town to a fabric shop?  Not needed when you have a friend who is so very generous that she listens to the excitement in your voice about your upcoming projects and immediately offers you a treasure trove of modern fabrics to take home with you so you can get started now and not later!

This friend made my day.  The fabrics are just what I would call modern...bright colors, bold prints, simply yummy fabrics! Some will match with the stash, other's won't, but I'm brave.  I know at the end of this project, I will choose some neutral fabrics for the frames and it will all come together.  Or at least, that is my goal!  This is what my friend donated to me for my foray into the great unknown.  Aren't they gorgeous!  And isn't she wonderful?

P.S. This same friend is a wonderful quilter and also makes phenomenal hooked rugs.  Here is a tablerunner that my friend finished recently.  It made its way to my home and is now adorning my dining room table...I just love it!
Ok, back to my project.  So, with fabric in hand, it was off to my sewing corner.  In no time at all, the modern block was completed, which certainly looks a little 'crazy' to someone like me, but it may have potential down the road. The traditional block actually took a lot longer to make and might need to be revisited as my 1/4 inch foot seems to be much larger than 1/4 inch!  Now remember, these are only the first blocks. Can you guess which is modern and which is traditional? (Chuckle, chuckle.)


So now on to more Modern Mondays and Traditional Tuesdays.  Thanks so much to Michele at Distracted Quilter 'cause she's the one who brought this to my attention.  I know it's going to be so much fun!

Before I go, I have to tell you about a really wonderful prize giveaway.  Whenever I do this, please know that I really want to be the winner, but I have learned very quickly that blog land is all about sharing, not about being greedy or selfish.  So if I can't win, I will be very happy if you win!   To find out more,  please visit Connie at Quilting by the River. She gives you four chances to win gorgeous fabrics to make a gorgeous quilt. (I know I need more words in my vocabulary, but there just aren't enough words in this language to describe the beauty of so many of these quilts and fabrics!)

Thanks for dropping by! I've got to get to my sewing corner now,
Cheers and Hugs,
Lesley

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I Am A Lucky Lady!

I am a winner! I won a prize on Wednesday!  How?  Why?  I am an avid participant in the Fat Quarter Stars Quiltalong, hosted by Konda.  The block instructions are posted every second Tuesday, so on that day  I raced home from work, inhaled supper, and then raced to the sewing machine.  Within about an hour, I had sewn the "Friendly Winds" block together, designed by Mary Lou Casada, was really pleased with it, and had it posted on the group Flickr page.  Now, Konda is so generous, that she does a prize draw every two weeks and all you have to do to qualify is post a picture of your finished block on her Flickr page. So I did and here it is.

It was so much fun to put together.  The finished size is 12.5 inches.
You know how you read that "winners will be contacted by email" but you really don't expect to ever get an email like that?  Well, sure enough, Konda sent an email to my Flickr account that night to say I was a winner and the next morning she posted pictures of the winning blocks on her blog so please have a peek.  So my block has been "published" for all to see.  How cool is that?  Ok, I know some of you may be saying "get a life", but this quilt blog community is so much fun to be a part of!

So now I am the proud winner of one of Konda's quilt books!  I sure hope I get a signed copy, Konda!  And of course this  means that I will be starting a new "Konda" project as soon as it arrives!  I will start checking the mail immediately. 

Ok, I should probably mention here that it was a random draw.  And I was one of three lucky winners. Thank you, Konda, you made three people very happy that day!

And it continued to be a fun-filled quilting week.  I also take part in the Blogger's BOM. The instructions also arrived Tuesday, so on Wednesday, I raced home from work, inhaled my supper, and raced to my sewing machine.  Do you see a pattern here?  And like the other block, it was posted on Flickr in about an hour.  I definitely left my comfort zone for this block, but I love the bright, bold fabrics and I promise I will coordinate it with the rest of the blocks in this quilt. The background fabric is actually off-white, but I find it  looks slightly pink(?) in the photograph. 


The block is 8,5 inches and was designed by  the very talented Vicki Welsh who probably wouldn't have chosen colors like I did!

So, the whole weekend looms ahead.  Time for sewing, quilting, embroidery, and attending a couple of  annual craft shows only five minutes away.  Life is good.  Thanks for dropping by!

Cheers and Hugs,

Lesley

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Welcome Wagon for New Bloggers

I discovered a neat place for new bloggers like me.  Lynne has created a unique opportunity for bloggers who are new to the blogging world with less than 50 followers.  She calls it the Small Blog Meet

You can link to her post through the button on the far right. The Small Blog Meet is a great way for newbies to network with each other, support each other, and visit each other's blogs. It's like a welcome wagon when you move into a new neighbourhood!
And of course, any "oldies" out there are encouraged to peek at the list of new bloggers and visit us too. You might be pleasantly surprised! 

 
Lynn's number one rule for the Small Blog Meet is for the newbies to tell you about ourselves and quilting.  OK, this may show my age ( but so does the grey hair in my profile), but I started quilting in the early 80's when a few friends got together, purchased Eleanor Burn's "Log Cabin Quilt in a Day" book, and started ripping strips. Remember this?  Even back then, I chose to make the lap size quilt!

Fast forward to 2011.  I have quilted since then, some years more, some years less, sometimes large projects, and sometimes small.  Through all this time, I have had two wonderful children, am in my 33rd year of marriage to a great guy, am a teacher by trade, having taught children and adults, and now work at a library. I love to read and I love quilts.  Fabrics and books hold the same fascination for me!  Here are a few of the books I've used over the last couple of decades (that sounds so long!)  Do you recognise any titles?

I have made bed quilts, crib quilts, lap or as I call them, "cuddle quilts", wall hangings, tablerunners, and lots of Christmas projects.  I have purchased a multitude of patterns and books over the years and have also found lots of free patterns while visiting quilting sites and blogs.  In blog world, I quickly joined a few quiltalongs, sew alongs, some block of the month projects and I just love it all!  On the weekends and some evenings, I sit at my sewing machine table with my laptop on the table behind me and go back and forth from sewing machine to laptop!

I get tremendous satisfaction out of giving away my quilts to someone I care about.  It may sound crazy, but  it almost seems selfish, because when I give someone a quilt, I feel so good!  It's all about me! And luckily for me, my family and friends seem to appreciate my quilts, so I like to keep on giving!   Sometimes I have a reason to make a quilt, but very often I make a quilt just because of the fabric, a new technique, pattern, or a designer.  I usually hand quilt but sometimes have a project machine quilted by someone if it's too large or I'm afraid I'll run out of time.

These days my projects are small, like cuddle quilts and of course, my newfound fascination with Schnibble quilts by Carrie Nelson. I love saying "Schnibbles!"  I just finished putting this Hot Cross Schnibbles quilt top together this week, using the Christmas charm packs called  Jovial by Moda.  The pattern is in Carrie's first book, "Schnibbles Times Two".


Why did I decide to start a blog?  Because I liked what I saw and I liked what I read.  For a few months, I read a few blogs, returned to a few favorites, then decided to take the next step.  I created a profile and followed  privately.  And then after awhile, it just wasn't enough.  I wanted to jump right in and start sharing projects and commaraderie with the wonderful folks in the quilt blogging community. 

I like to write, I like to quilt, I like to share, and through this blog, I can do just that.  It provides me with a pictorial history of my projects and a link to others just like me!  As someone who works Monday - Friday, I don't always have the energy to meet with friends to spend the night quilting, but even in my jammies, at 9 o'clock at night, I can participate in a quilt along, or read a blog, or make a comment, or just get inspired!

Thanks Lynne, for a chance to meet some new quilting friends, and thanks to my followers and new friends who have been so generous with your assistance in answering my silly questions! Thanks to you for visiting me, and I'll try to keep the posts shorter in the future so you'll be back!

Cheers and Hugs,

Lesley

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mom, Me, and Sisters Three Reunion!

And what a time we had!  Remember on the last post I mentioned there would be family, food, and fond times?  Well, there was...loads of it...we also had laughter, tears, walks, talks, hugs, kisses, movie nights and everything you would want in between when a mother and her four daughters come together for a special weekend at a cottage in New Brunswick overlooking the Northumberland Strait.   This was the first time we were all together for over four years, and did we ever go full speed ahead and make the most of a few short days!

But you know this is a quilting blog, so how will I tie in a family weekend with my quilting blog?  Mmmmm, guess I'll have to show you pics of the quilts I gave to each special person!  It was a great secret to keep from everyone.  I started the quilts when the idea of a "Mom, Me, and Sisters Three" reunion weekend in the Fall was being planned. As the date got closer and closer, the quilting fingers got busier and busier! 

On Friday night, we had a wonderful gift exchange with Mom, Me, and Sisters Three!  Christmas came early to the cottage!  There was lots of fun, belly laughs, and a parade of camera flashes - the perfect time to  present the quilts.  It was so much fun! And here is the picture taken the next day with the wind blowing, the sun shining, and the Northumberland Strait in the background.


From left to right, the first quilt is "The Love Quilt"  made for my mom.  Created from the Charm Square Quilt pattern posted on Wendy's Snippets of a Quilter blog in 2007, I chose the 4-block centres to represent the four daughters.

I chose a fabric for the borders that has hearts throughout, so the 4-block "daughters" are surrounded by the love of our mother, hence the name, "The Love Quilt".

The second quilt on the line is "The Mountain Quilt", made from flannel fabrics for the big sister who lives on the West Coast in the mountains of BC, a perfect quilt to cuddle up in after a day of skiing or sharing stories with grandkids! I told her I would ship it out, but she insists on taking it with her!

Quilt number three on the clothesline is "The Courageous Quilt", made for another sister, a sister who encourages creativity and thinking outside the box!  I left my comfort zone of flannels and earthtones to "courageously" go where I hadn't gone before...I used bright batik fabrics knowing that the end result might not match a thing, but how beautiful it turned out!  If truth be told, it's not quite finished yet. I actually brought it back home with me after the reunion weekend and have about a quarter of the quilting still to do.  It is back on my quilting frame and I'll get right to it!

Quilt number four is "The Cottage Quilt", made for my little sister who so generously shares her and her hubby's cottage(s) with our family.  This quilt was made to perfectly match her leather couch in the "little" cottage.  The couch is just waiting for this quilt and my sister to cuddle up!

So as you can see, every quilt has a story.  I attached a label to each quilt with the name of the quilt, the occasion, and date.  And since we all love the book and the movie, "The Help", I also framed the label with the phrases, "You are kind", "You are smart", and "You are important".


And all weekend, we added a fourth phrase, "You are family".  Of course, all the quilts are "cuddle"  quilts, just the right size for family members to cuddle up in.  And cuddle they did...it was a joy to see Mom and Sisters Three trail around the cottage wrapped in their new cuddle quilts!

What a wonderful weekend.  Life is good!
Cheers and Hugs,
Lesley

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Don't You Just Love Giveaways?

Well, so do I.  I'm too new to blogland to offer one, but I want to share one with you.  My blogger friend, Sandie, a most talented artist/quilter with a really great blog, is so proud of her accomplishment of reaching 75 followers that she is sharing with all of us the opportunity to win a scrumptious, yummy Christmas quilt that she has made.  I want to win, but I did tell her I would share with others, and my word is good, so I'm sharing the info about her giveaway, but remember, I still want to win!  Go to her blog here to enter and find out more info.  She's drawing a winner on November 1, so hurry!

I'm a flipper.  Bet you didn't know that about me!  You know I have a passion for quilts, quilting, and fabrics, but you probably didn't  know I also have a passion for quilting magazines!  When I'm not working with fabric, I'm looking at it, either in blogland or by flipping through the glossies.  Have a peek at my latest purchases...can't seem to go to a supermarket without buying a new one.  And as we approach Christmas, there are even more to choose from.  I guess I am a professed magazineaholic!  Do you think there's a support group out there for someone like me?  Just imagine if I made a quilt from each magazine!  Am I flippin' crazy?

And the best thing about flipping, is that every once in awhile, you come across a quilt made by someone you've met in blogland!  For example, McCall's Quilting Magazine (November/December 201)  has a great quilt in it designed by Konda Luckau, the wonderful host of the Fat Quarter Stars Quilt Along which I joined.  Every second Tuesday is like Christmas when a new block design is posted!  Konda's  Snow-Kissed Star  quilt in the magazine is amazing and graces the cover of the magazine.  Kudos to Konda!

It's been a busy week and most of my evenings were tied up.  But I did manage to finish block 4 of the Christmas Sew Happy Sew Along hosted by Lesley Boost.  Isn't he a cutie! Only 3 more blocks to go and a week to finish up, so definitely ready by Christmas.

I'm off on vacation for the next few days!  A wonderful time planned with "Mom, Me, and Sisters Three! "  We're a 4-girl family, spread across the country, so when we get together, it's wonderful!    Hubby will man the fort and keep the home fires burning, while I will wander across into another province and enjoy food, family, and fond times!  Life is good!
Cheers and Hugs 'till next time!

Lesley

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday!

What a great day!  I have far exceeded my expectations in the quilt world this week!  I met 3 of my quilting goals and it's only Wednesday!

First, I finished my 3 quilties for the trade and will ship them off tomorrow to the quiltie trade lady, aka Sandie.  I'm not going to show you the front of the quilties, because maybe you're in the trade and I don't want to ruin the surprise!   But I will show you the back! See the thimble at the top?  It gives you an idea of the size...tiny quilties!


Suffice to say that these three 4x6 inch quilties that I made are small in size but took a "large" amount of determination!  Check out Sandie's blog to see some of the quilties she's been making.  They are outstanding  and creative in every way.  Anyone who knows me knows I need to follow a pattern, so my little quilties were a little out of my element but were an awful lot of fun. Thanks Sandie...I'm definitely in for the next quiltie trade...I think you mentioned a Christmas theme for the next one? And I love Christmas!

Second biggie was finishing the second block of the Fat Quarter Star Quilt Along.  Last night I downloaded the instructions and started choosing fabrics and cutting. A new block is posted every second Tuesday so I love Tuesdays!  Tonight I finished the block.  This block is called Friendship Twist and I really appreciated how easy and quickly it came together.   Carrie did a great job in her instructions.  Here is my rendition of the block.  I seem to be having trouble showing true colors on the blog...in "real life" the block is more colorful, burgundy, green, and tan.  Here it is:


And my third accomplishment was finishing block 3 of the Sew Happy Sewalong.  "Dear Santa" was so much fun to do. And now only two more days till block 4!



Thanks to all of you who have found my blog and are now visiting on a regular basis and/or following.  You are awesome folks!  I'm still discovering new things in the blog land and I promise I'll share with you!  For example, if you aren't set up with your own blog or social networking accounts, you can enter your email right on on my blog page and anytime I do a new post, it will be emailed directly to you by the elves in computerland.  How cool is that?

Well, the rest of the week will be schnibbles, schnibbles, and more schnibbles! And did I mention the quilt on the frame?  Gotta love the life of a quilter!

Cheers and Hugs,

Lesley

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quilting Blogland is Awesome!

Yesterday I had the bestest time! I participated in the Christmas Quiltalong, hosted by Cathi at Shakerwood Quilts and Quilt Sue.  It was a "large" day for me of sewing, cutting, quilting, and even doing some embroidery on Christmas projects.  I had my laptop on one table to keep in touch with my blogging friends, the sewing machine whirring on the other, and whenever I wanted a change, I sat in the big armchair in front of the picture window and did some stitchery.

Today I couldn't resist signing up for the Fat Quarter Stars Quiltalong!  I'm a little late to the gate, but  it was well worth playing catch-up.  I had so much fun putting it together this afternoon while the Thanksgiving turkey was cooking! (Yes, I'm a Canadian!)  The BOM started on September 27 and every 2 weeks until March 27, 2012, another block will be posted.   Thanks so much to Konda at Moose on the Porch Quilts for bringing us all together for this one. I decided to use fabrics from my stash and had a lot of fun playing with my color choices.  The instructions were excellent and the block came together in no time.  Here is the first block:

 

I have tomorrow off due to the Thanksgiving holiday and what am I going to do?  I am going to try my best to make 3 quilties...what's a quiltie you ask?  Sandie knows! She's sponsoring a Quiltie Trade! Visit her blog or link with the button and get all the details for exchanging 3 quilties.  Yes, the deadline to get things in the mail is October 15, but hey, the quilties are only 4x6 inches each and that's a whole 6 days away!   So again, I'm late to the gate, but I'm going to fast forward and make that my priority for tomorrow.  Are you going to join me!

Cheers and Hugs!
Lesley

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It's My Birthday and I'll Quilt If I Want To!

Ok, I hope you sang along with me!  Not only is it my birthday (and I love birthdays almost as much as Christmas), it's also Thanksgiving weekend for we Canadians (yay for a long weekend!) and it's also a day that I plan to participate in the Christmas Quilt Along.   QuiltSue hosted last month, and today it is hosted by Cathi at Shakerwood Quilts.  Drop by and join the fun.  I joined a little too late in the game to do the project some of the others are working on;  instead I will share and enjoy the Christmas spirit and goodwill and spend the day sewing on my Christmas Schnibble.  You can never be too early for Christmas!

I am so spoiled...I awoke to a dozen red roses greeting me...I will pamper myself and be pampered for the whole day.  How great is that!

But before I go to my sewing room, just wanted to share my finished block 2 of the Christmas Sew Happy Sew Along.  Want to try it yourself? Click on the button to find out more and join the crew! ( If you have been reading my posts, you have probably noticed that I have been able to add some buttons, but I seem to have a problem with the size of the buttons.  They don't seem to be a standard size.  Any ideas on how to fix this? 

Here is the "Love and Kisses" block:


I downloaded the pattern for block 3 yesterday called "Dear Santa"...it is so cute!  Plan to get that started today as well!

I hope you all have as wonderful a day as I plan to!
Cheers!
Lesley

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Schnibble 2 in the Works!

Yup, I'm cutting, sewing, and making my next Schnibble quilt!  I made the Bennington quilt and am now in the process of quilting it, but I can't just have one project on the go, I need lots of projects on the go!  So, I have started my second schnibble quilt!  It's called Hot Cross and is in Carrie Nelson's book, Schnibbles Times Two. ( I just heard that her second book, Another Bite of Schnibbles, is now available in Canada, so I better get hopping and get that ordered!)

Every night after work I make a few more schnibble blocks...I have 16 done and only 9 more to go.  Of course I chose Christmas  fabrics for quilt number 2...did I mention I love Christmas!   The charm packs are Jovial by Basic Grey, Moda....some really neat combinations of polka dots, floral patterns, and a whole lot of christmas presents!  Have a peek at the blocks I've finished so far...can't wait to start putting them together!


I have the fabric just waiting for the borders, binding, and backing.  Don't you just love those polkadots!  I've avoided polkadots in quilts most of my life, and now I seek them out at fabric stores!  And they say an old dog can't learn new tricks!


Whew, so much excitement, now I have to leave the schnibble world and tackle my second embroideryblock in Christmas Sew Along...tomorrow block 3 will be posted, so I better get cracking!

Hope you're having a great day!
Lesley

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I Really Wasn't Planning to Shop!

OK, I really wasn't planning on shopping this weekend.  I was heading to New Brunswick for a family weekend/birthday celebration. I crossed the causeway from Cape Breton to mainland Nova Scotia, travelled for a few hours, crossed the border into New Brunswick, and then found my way to the reunion cottage on the Northumberland Strait.  I planned on visiting with family, celebrating a few birthdays, (Mom's was yesterday and mine is coming up this week) and just having a grand old time with everyone. 

Who cared that it was supposed to rain for the weekend? Wasn't even planning to go shopping!  And then Saturday morning came, and a spontaneous, "Let's go to Chartlottetown for lunch"  had the 4 of us in the car within 20 minutes and we were off to cross another causeway, this one to Prince Edward Island!  And then the shopping (oops!) began.

We visited the Farmer's Market, a place bustling with activity and wall to wall food, vendors, and artists!  I fell in love with a piece of quilt art created by Kelly Burgess, and with some "birthday" money from family, I am now the proud owner of  "The Clothesline".  It is stunning and now hangs in my sewing corner above my ironing board...total inspiration!  I'm still learning to use my new camera, so the color in the picture is not nearly as beautifuil as it is "in real life", but I had to share anyway! 


The Clothesline is machine quilted and even has Kelly's name emboidered in the corner!


You can see some of Kelly's work at her blog http://www.kellyburgessquilts.blogspot.com/

Then we headed to lunch at a local pub, and what was across the street but a fabric store...honest!  Right across the street!  Quilting B and More in downtown Charlottetown just drew me in.  Found a few treasures in the notion department and then just had to get my hands on some beautiful batik charm packs... I think this is calling out to be a schnibble quilt!

The weekend was wonderful, yes, a little bit of shopping, but a lot of family time and making great memories.  I even found time to finish block 1 of the Christmas Sew Along, sponsored by Lesley Boost at Sew Happy Me. 


I love Christmas!  See you next time!
Lesley