December 31, 2010

UFO Challenge Goals!

Since I seem to be starting more new projects than finishing them, I've decided to participate in the Patchwork Times UFO Challenge as my form of New Year's resolution making.  (If I only finish one UFO as a result, it'll be a good thing--and it certainly is easier to sew or quilt than it is to diet and exercise!) 

Though I decided to participate earlier, my UFO list remained among the UFO's--until tonight.  Facing tonight's deadline,  I finally sorted through a few of the more accessible UFO's.  It was difficult to select which projects I think I can discipline/force myself to work on!   But, here's my list....

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 - Roseville Album quilt blocks.  I've numbered the ones I plan to do in green (which is hard to see--sorry)  for the first 6 UFO's.  (There are 2 blocks in number 6 because I've started on them both, but they aren't done.)  For the others I hope to at least prep the block, and partially stitch it.  I'm incredibly slow, so we'll see how this goes.


7.  Teal quilt -This is huge (king or so) and needs borders and a back, and to be trimmed and readied to send for quilting when I can afford to pay for it!


8.  Patchwork pillows - These need to be pieced, quilted and stitched together.  They were started several years ago for my daughter's apartment, and though I may keep them now, the pillow forms are taking up valuable space and need to make themselves useful!


9.  Capriccio - Most of the pieces are cut, and some piecing has been done.  Realistically I'd like to sew the next step (the triangle blocks together into the squares).  In my dreams, I'd like to make the blocks themselves--maybe even sew it all together, but let's not get carried away!


10.  Cookbook cover - I started thinking about this and moving the fabrics around, but got interrupted and never went back despite the fabrics sitting in a bin for a year waiting for me.


11.  New Wave  and Watermelon quilts - Both need to be finished either with borders or without (I need to decide),  backs chosen, and readied (trimmed on the back) for quilting.  Then taken for quilting IF I decide they'll be too much for me to quilt.





















12.  Sunshine and Shadow - This is an ancient quilt from the 1980's (I think the third quilt I've started or maybe the 4th--it's hard to remember)  It needs quite a bit of work on the borders (IF I remember correctly).  It may need to be changed in size to actually work on a bed too--might be more than can be finished, but I hope to at least progress it in the right direction, and formulate a plan of action for it.


There are at least a million other projects buried in my sewing room, which is kind of depressing to think about.  Hopefully after this next year, and FINISHING all of the UFO's above, I'll have a lot more space to work in! ;)

Hope you have a fabulously Happy (and very productive) New Year!

December 06, 2010

Sunshine in a Box!

Blah! It's another dreary wet day here! Even Tessa (our golden) seems glum with the weather we're having.

So it was perfect that a package came Saturday bringing much needed cheer! 
Talk about sunshine in a box--not only are the fabrics fantastic and bright, but they came wrapped in sunshiny yellow tissue paper! A perfect antidote to our foggy, grey weather.

Amy at Mrs. Schmenkman Quilts had a giveaway a while back, and I won a fat quarter set of Color Theory by Sandra Banava.  And Amy was so sweet--she added an extra packet of Kaffe's fabrics for me to use on my Roseville.  Swoon Swoon!  I love it all!  Thanks Thanks Amy!  I guarantee it has all found a good home! 

In fact, just Friday I picked up some Kim McLean patterns I had ordered at my local quilt shop, The Quilt Crossing, so there will be plenty of opportunities for these new fabrics to play an important role. Although first I may just gaze at them and adore them for a while soaking in their sunshine--they supply Vitamin D, don't they?  And no calories! 

             
I am trying not to get too excited about any of these new patterns since I'm still working on the Roseville, and will be for some time.  But I have to admit that last night when I went to bed, visions of bright colored quilts danced in my head....

Two of the Roseville's center blocks are all but completed (I left one circle off the one on the right by mistake), and I'm working on two more of the blocks, but don't expect much progress with the holidays.  Here are the two completed so far.

Happy Stitching!  (or Christmas shopping?!)


November 19, 2010

Full of Thanksgiving!

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, I've been busily trying to make my house presentable for my family. But, I want to take a moment's pause to send a very special BIG THANKS to Nan, who blogs at Pots and Pins

I am the very excited winner of Nan's recent 3rd Blog-a-versary Give-Away!   It is especially exciting to me because I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my family this year and have NO d├ęcor. Winning Nan's basket was perfect!

On Monday I had a horrible migraine, and was absolutely perplexed when a huge box suddenly appeared on my doorstep. It was even more perplexing when I looked at it because I couldn't imagine why I had addressed a huge box to myself-------Nan's handwriting looked just like mine!

Okay, so I was impaired already (duh), but it was quite funny when I remembered what it was--it shipped so quickly!  And I had a good laugh--laughter is the best medicine!  Someone else here thought the box was pretty interesting too!


And inside was a lovely basket filled with Thanksgiving goodies!! 

Have I opened the basket?? No, I am using it as motivation...IF...ok, WHEN I get my clean-up chores done, I get to open the package (or maybe sooner if I am weak--I have peeked a bit). So far it's working great as a motivator!                THANKS SO MUCH NAN!

AND,  if you are looking for recipe ideas for Thanksgiving, please visit Nan's blog.  She's got several dishes that look delicious--I've printed out several recipes. IF you have kids coming to dinner, her T Day party will give you some absolutely wonderful ideas--it looks like it was such fun!  Nan's kids table will beat most adult tables!

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!  And thank you Nan!

November 16, 2010

Santas and Trees -- SewCalGal's Christmas Quilt Show 2010

This is my entry to the virtual quilt show of Christmas quilts that SewCalGal is hosting. 

It's from a commercial pattern I made about 20 years ago, and I'm sorry but I cannot remember the name of the designer...the pattern is apparently lost in my sewing room. 

Each of the blocks has several small pieces which made it quite time consuming to piece--not a good last minute Christmas decoration, but fun to make!  The Santa blocks have 24 pieces each.  To speed up the process, I cut actual size templates from freezer paper, then stacked 5 reds, whites, backgrounds, etc. and ironed the freezer paper pieces on the top of the stack allowing space around them.  Then I cut through all the layers with the ruler and rotary cutter, adding the seam allowance, which worked because each of the pieces has straight sides.  It wasn't super accurate, but was quicker with all the little pieces.  I did the same thing with the tree blocks (18 pieces each) and the tree border pieces.

In answer to some questions I've had, yes, the Santa hat is three dimensional, with a jingle bell at the end--here's a closer view of it:


If you'd like to enter one of your Christmas quilts in the show, you can read the rules (or visit the other quilts in the show) at SewCalGal's page.  You'll find many lovely quilts full of inspiration certain to get you in the mood for Christmas!
Happy Stitching!

October 28, 2010

Roseville Album Update

I finally finished my Roseville Album panel (more or less).  When I last showed it, I was struggling to find a fabric for the two birds near the top.  (They're the pink & blue ones.)

While I am happy with them now, there are a couple other birds, a leaf or two, and a few berries that I wish were different colors. (the light lavender/green spot bird at the top for one)  

But I've decided not to change them for now. Maybe they'll fit in better as I finish more blocks, or maybe with the other blocks done, I'll want to change them to something different than I would now.  (Then again, with my memory lately, I may even forget I don't like them.)   I also worry that the panel seems too busy, but I guess that will resolve itself (one way or the other) when I finish a few more blocks. 

One lesson learned is not to jump around on the panel--better to start in one place and work from there otherwise you paint yourself into a corner where no color works because there's a similar one right next to it.  Here's the rest of the panel:

 

I  also started working on a couple of the smaller center blocks, so I'd have something to take with me when we traveled.    Maybe next time I'll have something to show.  (I must be the slowest worker though for the little progress I've made--you'd think I had to weave the fabric!)  

I've also started using up my leftover Bordered Diamond pieces--will post more about them soon, but here's a sneak peek. 


Happy Quilting!  

October 25, 2010

2nd Finish!

The second binding is done, and the quilt is wrapped and on its way to my dad for his birthday!  


This one feels like it's been quite the process. It actually began as quilt BACK for a quilt top that I made to give my dad years ago. 
   
That quilt was Star SA-lute, a design from Country Thread Designs, which I made in rust, periwinkle, a print, and cream--only four fabrics. (I don't think the book. Star Gazing, is still available for sale.)

These are the fabrics and pattern--someday I'll pull the quilt top out again, but right now I'm not sure where it is!  It was a bit conservative for me--usually I make scrap quilts, so sticking with the same four fabrics was hard.   It was quick to piece, but has remained just a top.
  
This past spring (ten or fifteen? years later), in "Spring Cleaning Mode", I pulled it out to finish it, and decided to use fabrics from my stash to piece together a back in those colors.  (These are some of the fabrics I planned to use on the back.) 

I began cutting away, but when I put them on the design board, ICK!


Of course, by then I had cut quite a few squares.  I scoured my quilt books, looking for something else I could use them for, that wouldn't be too time consuming, and found the Yellow Potpourri quilt by Kaffe.  It used 9" blocks, and would work with the size pieces I'd already cut.  I then planned to make that quilt to use as the back of the quilt for dad. 

But, as I worked on that quilt,  the lighter fabrics seemed to stick out and disrupt the flow.  
 So the quilt evolved into a rather dark one shown on the left.   It is much spottier than the Kaffe one since my fabrics weren't as homogeneous in color.

While finishing it, it occurred to me that it would be much more practical for my dad than the quilt I originally planned for dad which had a cream background.  (My dad has a black lab who is known to have been on the bed at least once or twice.)


 So Dad will now get this "quilt back" for his birthday next week.
 

The backing is Brandon Mably's Jazz in purple. A little wild, but I was able to get it for a ridiculously low price, and it coordinates so well with the other fabrics, I couldn't pass it up.  I think (hope) it'll be fun for Dad.

If you'd like to make your own quilt from this pattern, the pattern and directions are online for free at:  http://www.abramsbooks.com/stc_craft_news/sssq/images/YellowPotpourri.pdf
I followed the instructions as written, EXCEPT  I added an additional column to widen the quilt.  AND, be sure to pay attention to the diagram, as you need to have two of the outside border blocks larger than the others, to allow for the inner border addition. 

Happy Stitching--and Happy Birthday, Dad!

October 15, 2010

One Down, One to go...

Since it's been at least a zillion years since I last posted, it's about time to let you see what I've been up to.  I finally (!) finished one of the two quilts.  Though I'm in the process of binding the second one, it's time for the first one to leave to meet its new owner, so I had to take photos of it today--despite the horrible light outside on our glum, dreary day.  The finished quilt is quite cheery even under the grey sky.


The binding is Paper Fans in red by Kaffe, and the borders are Primula in black by Philip Jacobs.

Yvette did a lovely job quilting it!  She stitched feathers down the borders, and outlined the individual flowers in many of the diamonds.  When there wasn't a good flower to outline, she stitched a feather in the diamond.  


The backing is Bekah by Kaffe in magenta, which looks lovely enough to be a great quilt even on its own.  Since I cut double the number of diamonds I needed, you'll probably see another one of these sooner or later, possibly in a larger size with a few additional diamonds cut from the many new pieces of fabric I haven't been able to resist lately. 




These are just a couple of them-- aren't they fabulous?

As far as the Roseville goes, I'm still stitching away.  The panel is mostly finished although there are a couple of berries that may end up being swapped, and a little bird that I may change.  I'll post a photo of it when it's done, but first I need to finish that second binding...

Happy stitching!

September 20, 2010

Christmas in September?? Thanks Barb & Mary!



Sadly, our summer is coming to an end--at least on the calendar. Since we had a wet spring and cool weather in June and July, it seems early, but the first day of fall is on Wednesday.   One good thing that resulted from our odd summer was that my potted flowers grew enormous.



I kept meaning to take a photo of them, but didn't, and since the nights are getting colder, it's now or never.


Please try to pretend they are covered with blooms like they were just a couple weeks ago.




And while you were busy looking at the pretend blooms, did you notice the boxes by the front door? 

I knew what two of them were:  Last fall I had some problems with my knee, then topped that by falling down some stairs and spraining my ankle.

Despite therapy, I developed a frozen ankle and bottom foot pain this summer. So more therapy. Two of the boxes are supplies to help me rehab my ankle (and whole body--it needs it!). Cheaper to buy the equipment than to pay for the therapy appointments.  

The blue cushion is supposed to help with balance--hmmm--even my good ankle has trouble standing on it--it will likely become a chair cushion! The half roller is for balance also. The full roller is primarily for my husband (if you're ordering, you might as well make it count!)  

I'm sure in a couple of weeks I will be slim, trim and flexible--right?  Now if you know where I can order energy and motivation, please let me know.... 















The third box is definitely more exciting!  It's from Barb and Mary who write the blog, Fun with Barb and Mary.  Visit their page for lots of lovely quilts and inspiration, and recently some delicious looking whoopie pies.  And, I was the winner of their wonderful fall basket!!!! Whoopie for me!!! (with almost no calories!) 
 
So surprising, as I never win anything, and this was the second time I've won something in the past couple of weeks. (My luck's been so good, I guess I should have bought a lottery ticket!) As I moved the boxes inside, I was surprised by how heavy this box was, but no wonder with all the goodies inside...
 
Two books full of tempting quilts to make (I've already spotted one I will make soon as my self-discipline wains), tons of lovely fabrics, a wonderful basket, a cute bookmark kit, notepads, and some other fun treats!  My oh my!


   


And after seeing my blog and realizing I was working on the bright colored Roseville, these wonderful girls added some bright fabric to their original Fall basket  (so nice, but not necessary!)  These will definitely find a role in that project (and/or another one I've got going on too!)





And, I think maybe they've been reading my mind--how did they know my latest addiction is for Linder Orange chocolate bars??  (They are wonderful!)






 
 
I kept thinking it was Christmas, but then I opened the crayons and smelled that new crayon smell.  I guess it's Fall after all.....and it looks like it's going to be a wonderful one!   Thanks Barb and Mary--you made my day!


PS.  FINALLY finished both quilt tops (and their backs), and they'll go to be quilted this week.  I figured out the fabric for the birds and am continuing to stitch on my first Roseville panel--I'm awfully slow, and it's maybe a third completed.  Will post a photo in the next few days...

September 15, 2010

Goodies in the Mail

Monday when I went out to get my mail, the mailbox was jammed.  That's when I remembered that I'd been lucky enough to be the 2nd place winner of the Star Struck Quilts book blog tour on Quilternity's Place.  I wasn't lucky enough to win the book (which looks like it has all kind of lovely quilts in it), but I did get some fun, fun goodies.  (I was especially excited to win a Chaco pen--I have debated purchasing one for awhile, so great timing!)



I'm sure they'll all be put to good use!    Thanks so much to Barbara Cline at Delightful Piecing and Teri Cohen at From Here to Quilteternity for hosting the tour!

September 09, 2010

Surprise in the Mail

I was wishing for more fabric today to help solve my bird dilemmas, and what did the mail bring???  Goodies...aren't they lovely?

It's pretty exciting when you are able to forget what you ordered and have a nice surprise when it finally comes! 

Roseville Confession...Obsession?

Are my quilt tops finished?  No, you know they're not.  And YES, I started the Roseville--you knew I would.  I did finish one top--the Bordered Diamonds.  It is all wrapped up and ready to be taken for quilting along with its lovely Kaffe Bekah backing--I'll show you when I get it back.

The other one remains on my living room floor with only one border attached.  It's my goal to work on it soon (today??)--no photo of that mess!

So I started on the Roseville Album by Kim McLean.  It has been so much fun!  This photo is early in the process.  I decided to start with one of the side panels--I guess because I like the bird's nest.  If I had it to do over, I'd start with a regular (smaller) block to get my feet wet.

If you look at this photo and compare it to some of the next photos, you'll see some fabric changes.  (the squirrel's body and the larger bird's front wing for starters) .  It still is very much a work in process.

The pieces are only glued (with the exception of the eggs and nest, which I stitched).  I am doing this a different way than I've normally appliqued--using freezer paper on the front, then finger pressing the seam allowance and gluing it to the back, then using a bit of Roxanne's glue to "baste" the piece to the background loosely.   There are two birds in the photo (below right) that aren't finished yet--I can't decide which wings, head pieces, and tail feathers they need. 


I've been moving the leaves and berries around, trying to figure out where they look best--some of the leaves aren't in their proper spots, but I took the photo any way. I haven't marked the background at all as it is so light it is easy to see through to place the pieces.
 
Also, there are two birds at the top of the panel that have me stumped (see left).  I just can't figure out which fabric I want to use for them.  All I can "see" is the fabric that was used originally in the pattern. 
 
I guess bad quilt karma may be holding back the inspiration needed to finish--hopefully it'll be easier once I finish my other top. ;)  Happy Quilting!