Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011 Christmas Quilt Show

What an exciting week for quilters and those who love quilts!   From November 28-December 2,  Darlene, at  Sew Cal Gal is hosting a Christmas Quilt Show! Anyone can enter a Christmas or Winter-themed quilt. If you're interested, all you have to do is take a picture of your treasure(s) and post on your blog this week. For more specific rules, check out Darlene's blog...the more the merrier!   It's pretty amazing when you can submit a quilt and attend a quilt show while still in your jammies and at any time of the day.  Especially perfect for  women of a certain age who don't sleep much...chuckle, chuckle!

It was a tough decision for me as to decide what to submit.  I do love Christmas and have lots of quilted items that come out of hiding for the month of December.  I eventually narrowed my list down to two of my favorites.

The first is Jolly Days, a Santa wall hanging sewn with a combination of cottons, brushed cottons, homespun checks and plaids, and wool. Many of my blogging friends will appreciate that I used wool in the project and it may be time to use more since it's a very forgiving fabric!   Machine applique and a little hand quilting completes the project.
A little close-up.  I love Santa!
Don't you just love his mittens?
The pattern and kit was created by Kim at Harbour Quilt Company in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.  I really like the fact that it is narrow (11 inches x 36 inches) so fits pretty well anywhere.

My second entry for the show is Christmas Cheer.  

 This was so much fun to make!   The pattern is in the book "Cabin Fever"  by Whimsicals.  The pattern actually called for painting on the letters, but I chose to use fusible applique.  I did some machine applique and hand quilting to put my own slant on it.

So there you have it.  Just a couple of projects to enter this year.  Maybe next year I'll have a full-size quilt to show!  I've already peeked at some of the entries, and there are some beautiful larger quilts that would sure look nice on the bed next Christmas!

The entries are already pouring in to Darlene's site and you'll fine lots of stunning quilts there to admire and be inspired by!  On her site, you'll see a listing of all the entries and all you have to do is click on a name and you'll be taken immediately to that person's blog to see their Christmas or Winter entries.

You can even get a little more involved 'cause there is voting for a Viewer's Choice Award on Saturday and Sunday.  Darlene has more specifics about this, but essentially, you look, you choose your favorite, and you leave a comment.  So you can be a quilt judge!  How neat is that?  So don't delay...hop on over to SewCalGal and start the show! 

Thanks for dropping by.  It's a great day for quilting!
Cheers and Hugs,

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Made it to the Finish Line!

The Courageous Quilt is finished!  If you recall, this was one of four cuddle quilts I made for the "Mom, Me, and Sisters Three" reunion weekend in mid-October.

This quilt was the last of the four to be put together and I just wasn't able to quilt it in time. But my quilting fingers have been busy lately and the quilt is now finished. I had never used batiks before and the needle would slide so easily through the fabrics, it was a joy to quilt.  I found the pattern for the quilt in the Better Homes and Gardens Spring/Summer issue of Quilt Sampler 2011, designed by Rebecca Weber and Anne Hunter.  I reduced the size of the quilt, chose a package of bright and bold batiks from The Fabric Cupboard  and was on my way!  As you can see, I used shades of blue and burgundy with a punch of gold and yellow for the centers. Piecing was pretty easy using log cabin techniques and I chose to hand quilt to emphasize the rectangular shapes.

Actually, The Courageous Quilt  wasn't my only finish this week.  I put together a couple of mug mats. But don't ask me to put a cup of coffee on them, 'cause I doubt if coffee stains would come out.  Maybe I'll use them for a glass of water, or turn them over and use the backs!

I found the free patterns for the embroidery designs at Jennie Baer's freebies link at Homeberries.   She has patterns for every season and every size. I embroidered the designs on linen and sandwiched them with fusible fleece.

I also finished Block 3 in the Blogger's Block of the Month.  Now you have to admit, this is an interesting block!  Designed by Stephanie Dunphy of Loft Creations, it is called the November Split Star. I enjoyed playing with the fabrics for this block and am really happy with the result.  My lime greens and blues aren't going to match a thing, but the colors sure make me smile.  And from what I see in Blog Land, quilts don't have to match your furniture any more.  Oops, that's dating me...enough said...

What's waiting for me in my sewing corner?  Bows and Boughs, the Christmas wall hanging I started last week.  I've finished all my trees and three of the ten presents.  The quilt is paper pieced...please tell me I'm not the only one who has finished a block and turned it over only to find the fabric doesn't reach all the corners?  So after some trial and error, I have figured out my problem.  I was missing a pretty important step. Now I'm on track and they should go together smoothly. It was really helpful of the kit people to put in extra fabric!

It's a great day for quilting!
Cheers and Hugs,

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just wanted to wish all my friends across the border a wonderful holiday weekend, filled with family, friends, and fabric.  Oops, you might not have time for the fabric part of it 'cause you'll be so busy entertaining or being entertained, so I'll do my part to play with fabric while you're celebrating!

In order to help you out, I played with  lots of fabric tonight and finished the fifth block in the Fat Quarter Star Quilt Along.  The guest host, Machelle, named her block Strawberry Star, but I think mine is a little more like a Plum Star!  The colors are much brighter than they appear here.

I've read that one of the the best ways to take a photograph of a quilt is outside.  Well, we had our first snow storm of the season today and there has to be almost two  feet of snow in the backyard.

At least three feet of snow now has to be shovelled off the back deck, so all photographs of quilts will have to be inside shots for now.   Just use your imagination and make the quilt any color you want!

I have a little blogger problem. Some of you may have my link on your sidebar but it may not be changing with the new posts.  Not sure how to correct this, but if you click on the old post, it should bring you to the newest one.

For those without a blog, just submit your email on this page and you'll receive new postings through email whenever they become available. To do this, scroll all the way to the bottom of this page and you'll see the email box. That seems to be working very well!

Thanks for visiting today, and a special welcome to my new followers. It's so much fun to share our excitement and passion  about quilting. And you know, "It's a great day for quilting!"

Cheers and Hugs,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Christmas Elf Arrived Early

I had a visit from a Christmas elf today!  Although the elf wasn't actually in my home, this little elf was hidden away in a little corner in front of a computer screen far away and worked diligently on improving the look of my blog, and helped answer a few of my blogger questions.  The elf tidied up a few things to make it much prettier for my visitors and much more efficient. Thank you so much, Christmas elf--- you know who you are!.

A lot of good things happen in my life (ie Christmas elf).  This past week another good thing happened.  I received a huge package of  fat quarters, some patterns, threads, and a new ruler. Just like Christmas!  The fat quarters are so yummy, lots of colors and lots of variety, perfect to use in some upcoming projects.  I have a terrible habit of starting a quilted project and using only fabrics from my stash rather than using the new fabrics sitting in my cupboard.   I think the new ones are just too pretty to use!   Now, I am going to break my habit and find a really fun and exciting  project to make with some of these perfectly pink, gorgeous green, and sky-blue  fabrics!

But I might have to wait for a sunshiny day!  So on a cold dreary Fall day, what did I do?  I started a Christmas project called  "Boughs and Bows", a wall hanging pattern that's in the November-December issue of  McCall's Quilting magazine. The pattern of Christmas trees and Christmas presents called my name last month and said, "Come get me!".

And here are the fabrics I'll use. Aren't they just perfect?

The pattern calls for nine Christmas tree blocks and my goal is to finish them today. The first four are finished, five left to do.  Don't you love points that really are points?  All thanks to doing the blocks by paper piecing.  Haven't done this technique in awhile, but it's like riding a bike and comes back pretty easily.

By the way, I'm making lots of progress on the "Courageous Quilt".  Remember that "Mom, Me, and Sisters Three Reunion" ?  This was the quilt that I hadn't quite finished.  Well, I'm almost done...just putting on the binding tonight!

It's a great day for quilting.  Thanks for dropping by!
Cheers and Hugs,

I Have My Very Own Quiltie!

You might remember that I decided to participate in the October Quiltie Trade hosted by Sandie.  It was a perfect project: make 3 quilties, each one 4 x 6 inches, with a theme of buttons and send to Sandie by October 15. 

I had a lot of fun "creating" my little quilties and sent them off.  Unfortunately, almost four weeks later, my quilties arrived back to me...thank goodness for my return address!  I had not included the house number in the address (sad face), and they were returned to me.  So I missed the opportunity to take part in the trade.  But being one who believes "better late than never", I repackaged and sent again to Sandie with the correct address this time and instructions for her to enjoy the "late" quilties or share them with her friends.

But Sandie, being the doll that she is, sensed my disappointment of missing the first trade and guess what arrived in the mail this week ?  A quiltie just for me created by friend Sandie.  I am a lucky girl!  And I love anything to do with the artwork of Mary Englebreit, so the greeting card was a bonus.  Thank you, Sandie!

Sandie is having another quiltie trade with a Christmas theme.  The deadline to get your quilties in the mail is December 15, so don't be late!  Find out more about the trade at Sandie's blog.   And guess what?  My Christmas quilties are in the mail as I write this.   I am not going to be late for the December trade!

And I continue to be a lucky girl!  I was notified by Pam Buda at Heartspun Quilts  that I was the winner of the Frontier Foundations Kit.   The kit is in the mail to me and I can't wait!  You can tell by my banner that many of my quilts use this color scheme and are more traditional. So this will be a great fit...maybe a new banner down the road?

Thanks so much, Pam.  The generosity of the quilt blogging community continues to amaze me!

Thanks to you all for coming by today.  It's a great day for quilting!
Cheers and Hugs!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Christmas Quiltalong a Good Thing!

Quilt Sue hosts a great gathering of like-minded ladies who love quilting and love Christmas!  When I discovered the Christmas Quilt Along, I knew it was for me!  I joined up only a few months ago, and on the second Saturday of each month, would work on my Christmas-related projects in my sewing corner, with my laptop beside me so I could follow along  with the QAL hosts and be inspired with their Christmas projects, Christmas music, and their Christmas baking...I could swear the house smelled like cinnamon on those days!

Most of the QAL folks are working on a specific quilt, Scatty Christmas Stars, but since I was a little late to start that project, I was welcomed into the fold to work on anything with a Christmas theme.

Today my time with the QAL was a little shorter than normal, but I love what I made!

Mr. Ho Ho Ho ( my pet name for this pattern) was created for the Sew Happy Christmas Sew Along hosted by Lesley Boost at Sew Happy Me.  I'm also participating in that project, having a wonderful time embroidering the seven Christmas-themed blocks.   I'm actually in the midst of doing the seventh and last block, but ran out of embroidery thread. So while I wait for the right color thread to arrive,  I decided to do this project with one of the blocks designed by Lesley.

I substituted Mr. Ho Ho Ho in a pattern from This and That (Snow Much Fun) and this was the result.  I embroidered Mr. Ho Ho Ho on taupe linen, though you can't really tell from the picture.  I'll sandwich it another day, do a little quilting, bind it, and then Mr. Ho Ho Ho will be ready for Christmas.  Can you tell I love Santa?

It's a great day for quilting,
Cheers and Hugs,

PS  Another year of the Christmas Quiltalong will start in the New Year.  And I'm going to be a guest host for one of the QAL Saturdays.  How exciting is that?   Christmas all year long! Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's Another Day of Good Things!

Good thing # 1.
The good things actually started a few days ago.  When I arrived home from my weekend in the city, hubby met me with chocolates, a red rose, and this:

My very own, hand-crafted, custom-made light box!  

My frustration was growing every week, trying to find a sunny day to trace embroidery designs using the picture window, so my new light box will now solve those problems.  I am so spoiled!

Good thing # 2.
Today I received my giveaway prize that I won in the Fat Quarter Stars Quilt Along sponsored by Konda Luckau of Moose on the Porch Quilts. It's  a signed copy of  Konda's Simply Charming Seasonal, a book filled with charm pack quilts for every month of the year. Thank you, Konda!  And what a perfect prize to win!  There are so many projects I want to make,  and all of them are just the right size! 

What will I make first?  Maybe these cute snowmen, or the brilliant blue snowflake!

Thanks, Konda, for also letting me use your pics of the cover and projects from your Moose on the Porch Quilts web page.  Your pics are much better than mine!

Good thing # 3.
I try to shop at local quilt shops when I can.  There are two quilt shops about forty-five minutes away, in opposite directions, and both have been visited by me and my pocketbook on many occasions.    But sometimes, when I know I won't get out of town for awhile, I shop online for fabrics, patterns, and notions.  I have tried a variety of online fabric shops and have always been fortunate with good and timely service.  But todays' arrival was like receiving a gift! 

Inside the package was a custom order for the Ruby Stitch Along Kit  that I ordered from  Sew Lux Fabric and Gifts. Have you ever seen anything so pretty?  And inside was a bundle of fabric and a package of colorful embroidery floss tied with a bow and a signed thank you card.  Now that was special!   It was almost fun to spend money when my purchase made me feel like it was my birthday again!

Are you wondering what I'm going to make with this bundle?  A tote with an embroidered pocket!  Yes, I am stretching  my skills and challenging myself again to participate in the Ruby Market Embroidery and Quilt Along hosted by Clover and Violet. 

So, another day is dawning  I'm sure it will be another day of good things!

Thanks for visiting!
Cheers and Hugs,

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hotel Room Becomes Sewing Mecca!

Guess you know by now I like to play with words, and that books and fabrics are my passions.  This weekend is a perfect combination of the two worlds! I travelled to the city yesterday to do some shopping for work.  Isn't that great?  I get  such enjoyment out of shopping whether it's for me or someone else!  And I also attended a book launch for my cousin's sixth book.
Cousin Anne is an award-winning mystery author. The launch took place in an "authentic" Irish pub, apparently a pretty good rendition of the pubs mentioned in the book.  The  launch was a great celebration of books, literacy, and good company, followed by some great entertainment afterwards.  So how does this relate to my quilting blog?

Well, I'm here for another day (meeting tomorrow) so today was a free day! I brought everything with me to transform the hotel room into a sewing  mecca! Yes, I could have spent hours in shopping malls, but lately I just want to make sure I have enough fabric and notions so that I can sew some exciting projects.  There's nothing better than cutting into new fabric, sewing it together, and pressing the finished project!

The hotel's white bedspread became my impromptu design wall.  I finished a few more blocks of Terry Atkinson's Lucky Stars quilt, but unfortunately, I didn't bring enough background fabric, so these are all the blocks I can work on  'till I get back home.

The desk in the room became my sewing table and my cutting board.

I made good use of the ironing board!  I refused to throw anything away so sewed together some fabric leftovers and have a new stash of mini HSTs that I'll put to good use down the road.  The thimble puts it all in perspective...I'm sure you can see how tiny the squares are!

The couch in the room became my quilting corner.  This is "The Courageous Quilt" that I'm finishing for my sister from our Mom, Me, and Sisters Three Reunion  a few weeks ago. I managed to get a fair bit done this weekend by jumping from one project to another.  That way, I never get bored!

Have a peek at the quilting...it's really been a fun project to quilt.  The colors just draw me in and I tend to quilt longer than I have planned to just because of the fabrics.  They make me happy!

And last but not least, I decorated my hotel room for Christmas.  Ok, not really, but my sewing/cutting
table became my "Christmas Project" table.  I'm working on a couple of the mini-quilts from "Sew Scrappy Volume Two". Again, note the travelling thimble to show you some perspective.

So  it continues to be a great day for quilting!

And before I go, I just want to remind you about the start of an exciting November Block Party brought to you by Madame Samm and a bevy of busy block quilters.  It starts  tomorrow so be sure to check it out !

Cheers and Hugs,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival For One More Day!

There's always something to share in the quilt blog community.  Today I want to share one of my own favorite quilts, my entry into the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Hosted by Amy, it's a festival that celebrates quilts ands quilting.  It started on October 28 and finishes tomorrow, November 4.  No judging at all, just lots of inspiration and sharing among this community.

How do I choose a favorite?  I really can't choose just one.  With over thirty years of quilting, all I can say is "I Love Them All!"  I think every quilt tells a story, and the most joy comes from making a quilt for a special person and thinking of that person with each and every stitch.  So those "special" quilts, the favorite quilts, are in special homes...homes of family members, friends, colleagues, and even people I haven't met who may be a recipient of a small project I made to support a charitable cause.

So...what do I share as my entry into the Blogger's Quilt Festival?  I share a quilt that is a favorite in my own home, a quilt that I just had to do because I loved the colors, I loved the size, I loved the pattern, and I loved the fact that it came in a kit from a local quilt shop so I didn't have to think too much!

The quilt is called "Golden Rule" and was made in 2004.  It is projects like this quilt that keep me motivated and inspired...it's just so yummy, I could almost eat it!  I have always gravitated towards "scrappy" quilts, or "multi-fabric" quilts (a phrase coined a few years back, but now we're back to "scrappy"!) and this is a perfect example.

To see more entries, make sure you visit the Bloggers Quilt Festibval here to see the hundreds of gorgeous quilts.  And you don't even have to leave the house or pay an admission fee!

It's a great day for quilting!
Cheers and Hugs,