April 23, 2011

April Update

Another flower was finished!
I'm done with three blocks from the Flower Garden so far (3 of 24).  They go pretty quickly.

I'm also continuing to work on my Roseville Album block for April's UFO that I showed here on my last post.  I am really struggling with the reverse applique on it.  The little pointy areas are just too small for me and don't look good no matter how careful I am--either that or I'm sure they will wash out on the first washing.  I'm trying to come up with a good alternative.  (Any pointers or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!)

A lovely treat came in the mail!

I won these pretty batik squares from Marjorie who blogs at Applique Addict , and found out we live in the same area--it is a small world!  Thanks so much Marjorie!  They were a real treat, and just what I needed to brighten my day with all the gloomy rainy weather we've been having.  (I think I'll be sneaking them into a few Roseville blocks where I can.)

And we played at making Easter cake pops! 
Sad Little Chicks (our first try)

A first try at cake pops with my dd. 

We (roughly) followed instructions in Cake Pops by Bakerella--

Here's her link showing what the bunnies were supposed to look like.  

Some perplexed looking rabbits!

We had fun, but I'm not sure I would do them again unless I was highly motivated. Ours just don't taste worth the effort and I'd rather have a nice piece of cake. They would be fun for children though, or for cheery decorations.

Hope you have a Happy Easter! 

April 09, 2011

Spring Flowers Growing in the Roseville

I've begun work on my April UFO, #4, which is another Roseville block.  Here's the beginning--choosing the fabrics to use--quite a messy process for me.  My sewing room floor, work table and ironing board are covered in heaps of brightly colored fabrics (I was too embarrassed to take a photo to show you, so just imagine.)

I thought the fabric selection process was going pretty smoothly, but then some strange flowers began growing on my design wall, right in the middle of the Roseville blocks.  I had promised myself that if I finished March's UFO on time, I could play a little on something of my choice. These are from my playtime.
They are blocks from another quilt pattern designed by Kim McLean called Flower Garden.

I made the center of the one on the left larger than in the pattern.  (A stray circle from the Roseville wandered onto it and decided to stay.)  I liked the way it looked at the time, although in the photo here it looks a bit odd/unbalanced and a tad too big.  But after seeing the large circle on the flower, the smaller ones just didn't look right to me.  I let the flower choose.

I have to admit it is a relief to choose the colors and fabrics for these large flowers after the Roseville--fewer fabrics to choose and fewer colors to balance.   The stitching is easier too (although I miss all the color changes, so there's no making me happy.)

Working on these gives me something to stitch on at night since my Roseville block isn't ready for stitching--mainly because I've been dithering over which fabrics to use for the bowl on the Roseville block.   Here are the blocks which will go around it:  (X marks it's spot)

I'm planning to use the periwinkle aboriginal for the vase, but am debating the fabric to use for the cut out portions.  Here are some of the choices--which do you prefer?  (Sorry for the rotten photos--between losing my battery power and having Blogger stubbornly refuse to cooperate, these are a bit of a mess--I'd hoped the photos would make it clearer to me which to use.  Sometimes seeing a photo clarifies things a bit.)
Mably Red Scales

Jacobs Turquoise Variegated Ivy
Liberty Red Meadow
Jacobs Magenta Begonia
And that's all I've been working on this month.  I've been surprisingly good at staying away from my other projects (thus far--the month is young).  The mess in my sewing room isn't conducive to new projects (how could you even find them?!)  And the hardworking college student currently studying at my dining room table is slowing down the cutting of my large strips for the Stripping Vine quilt I started last month (I need the space to cut), so I haven't made a bit of progress on it.

I'm not really complaining--it's been absolutely wonderful to have the dd home for a bit (too short of time).  I may actually learn to stay on task, for awhile anyway... Happy Stitching!

April 03, 2011

C'est merveilleux!-- French General!

In my haste to post about my finished block for the UFO Challenge, I spaced out (do people still say that?) something I wanted to show! Look at what I won!

I was VERY lucky to win this wonderful French General kit--pattern, hexie template, and lots of gorgeous French General fabrics!   It was one of three great prizes in a giveaway celebrating Thelma's 250th post at her blog, Cupcakes 'n' Daisies.
Thelma always posts lots of photos of lovely quilts and her steps in the process of making them. I enjoy seeing the steps and learning about her decision making process, and it's fun to follow along, but I have to admit that Thelma makes me feel highly inefficient. She actually finishes her projects--they look great too!  And she has an organized sewing room! All right, I admit I read her blog hoping to learn her secrets!
Right now Thelma's leading a Quiltalong of the quilt Eventide, and it's worth reading about just to see the different fabrics variations people have chosen and how each changes the look of the quilt.  Here's her last Tuesday's Eventide posting.  Next Tuesday, April 5, is the Eventide parade, so you should visit and check all the different versions out!

I've never worked with (or even owned) any French General, and I'm excited to start on the kit, but admit the hexagons intimidate me a bit. They are quite large (5+ inches), and while that should be reassuring compared to the little ones, somehow the size is intimidating too. This is the pattern, Reine des Abeilles.  (I believe it means queen bee)
And somewhere lost in my sewing closet is a bin of little hexies and a bunch of vintage fabric and flowers garden circles I purchased already in process that I'd like to finish.  My fear of hexies needs to be conquered!  Each time someone posts photos of their hexie projects and English piecing, I'm intrigued--almost enough to give it a try.  I think winning this kit, is my nudge to get on with it.
So I'm going to save up courage for a couple months (and try to finish a few UFO's), but will likely give these scary hexies a try this summer or fall. So if you don't see some progress on them by fall, please remind me, and help get me past my Hexie Anxiety.  And Thank you so much Thelma--the fabrics are beautiful!  Merci beaucoup!

April 01, 2011

March UFO block--Finished!

I am happy to report that my March UFO in the Patchwork Times UFO Challenge is finished!

This month's UFO was #1, which was a block from the Roseville Album quilt by Kim McLean. I finally finished it last night--Hooray! Hooray!  And I've even started work on a couple more of the blocks too--too bad neither ended up being chosen as the April UFO block which is #4! 

I really enjoying working on the applique, but I'm very slow-- particularly slow at choosing fabrics for each piece, and then I agonize about the choices I've made.   Oh well...I am trying to just go on, promising that I will consider changing pieces only when ALL the blocks are finished and I can see them together.  It doesn't always work, but it helps stop me from changing everything.

Although I met my UFO goal for the month, I feel like it wasn't real progress because I actually started on THREE more new projects. (I just don't seem to be able to help myself--surprise surprise.) Here's a peek at one of my new unfinished projects:

This isn't how the blocks will be put together--just how they were up on my design wall.  I'll post more about these blocks as soon as I make a bit more progress, but they are destined for a quilt I saw in Material Obsession called Stripping Vine made by Kathy Doughty.

While I was cutting the pieces for those, I liked the colors together so well, I saved the scraps and cut some extra strips for another quilt (Single Girl by Denyse Schmidt) that I hope/plan to make soon.

I told myself I was just being efficient!  And while I had the cutting area clear, I cut out the background squares for the pattern, Flower Garden by Kim McLean.  I am using Kona Snow for the flower backgrounds, bright florals for the flowers, and am thinking about using a periwinkle polka dot for the border background.  I don't have any photos of that to share--there isn't much real progress.  I'll post again as soon as there's something more to see.  My dd is home from college for two more weeks and I plan to enjoy every moment, so it might be awhile.

Scorecard for 2011: Three UFO's completed (two Roseville Album blocks and one Cookbook cover) and SIX (yes SIX) new UFO's started!  Yikes!  I am beginning to understand how it is that I have so many unfinished projects!

Oh, and, everyone still reading this, please repeat after me...Happy, Happy Birthday Joanne!  Even if you don't know Joanne, I am sure she will feel the happy mental energy and positive thoughts from your birthday wishes.  Joanne H. is the nicest April Fool--well just the nicest person who happens to be born today. Hope you have a wonderful birthday, Joanne!