Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Odds and Ends + Groundhog Day

No, it’s not Groundhog Day yet, but it soon will be.
Feb 2nd is right around the corner, so remember to watch to see if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow – do we really need 6 more weeks of winter?

To cheer you up, here are  the two finished tote bags that I have mailed to Sadie’s Dream for a Cure.  I posted about this group (see the older post here) when I started making the first tote.  The one on the left is the material they sent and the one on the right is my fabric.  I like them both.
And continuing with the jungle theme that I seem to be on – this is a small quilt that I am working on now.
I do seem to gravitate towards either frogs or jungle animals – I just can’t help myself when they are as cute as these!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quilt Show Time

I snuck out last Friday afternoon and went to a local quilt show.  This particular guild is very active and usually puts on a really good show.  I certainly wasn’t disappointed this year.

There was a display of Americana quilts that I could use for inspiration for my Quilts of Valor.  These were my two favorites:
Quilt by Sue Walworth; Quilted by Melissa Krushwitz
Quilt by Nancy Morrison; Quilted by Quilting Ladies
of N. Halifax Fire Dpt  Aux, Nathalie, VA -
this was 8 wall hanging designs that the quilter
 used together to make a full size quilt - very clever!
The guild must have had a class on the Hunter’s Star design because there were lots.  These were my favorites because of their fabric choices:
By Jean Ancher
By Barbara Campbell
I fell for this quilt that used oriental fabrics immediately because it was just so beautiful:
By Jin Cavanaugh - Jin used a Margie Engel
 technique of using pre-printed panels with strip pieced
 block designs; also includes trapunto!
And this small Lil Twister in Oriental fabrics was darling:
By Margo Lurz
And those Twisters were tiny!  The pinned on fabric
"hand" was indicating that it was hand quilted/
What quilt show in Florida could be without its manatee?!  Meet Natalie:
By Rosaria Colosi
Natalie was trapped in the intake canal of a power plant -
 she was perfectly happy since she was warm and fed
lettuce, but she was eventually captured and released
This machine embroidered quilt was just exquisite:
By Ann Blazer
Embroidery Designs by Sarah Vedeler

And last,  I won the bid in the silent auction for this mini quilt in Civil Was repro fabrics.  I loved everything about it, from the fabric choices, to the blocks, to the beautiful workmanship. 
By Dorothy Day
On Sunday I got to sew a little and used up the odds and ends of some Bug Jar fabric to make this little top for Wrap-Them-in-Love.  It looks a little boring next to the Quilt Show quilts, but some little kid will probably love it!

I plan to do some major quilting in February since the tops are stacking up!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 24th is Special

Today is:
This international event encourages you to drop in on and show your support for your local independent quilt shop.  These shops contribute to our local economies and are critical to keeping our quilting communities thriving.  Need a reason to shop?  Go on over to Nancy Zieman’s Blog and whip up her modern and stylish column quilt.
Her tutorial is for a queen-size quilt, but can be easily modified for smaller donation quilts:

This site has a shop locator if you are looking for a shop to your part of the world to pick up those perfect fabrics:

AND, January 24, 2013 is also special because it is:

National Peanut Butter Day!

Still my favorite brand!
According to Punchbowl (and Wikipedia), a doctor in St. Louis created peanut butter in 1890 as a remedy for bad teeth. It became very popular with the doctor's patients, but the oil often separated from the grainy solids. In 1933, a California packer was able to homogenize the peanuts into a spreadable butter.

Peanuts are cholesterol free and an excellent source of protein. In fact, it’s the high protein content that causes peanut butter to stick to the roof of your mouth.

So before or after your busy day of shopping at your LQS, check out last year’s post from Months of Edible Celebrations for the perfect chocolate cake with peanut butter icing:
You deserve a peanut butter break today!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Peacefully Piecing Tops

I am having a great time with my new Bernina machine.  I went to the second class last night and learned all about the decorative and specialty stitches.  I also had one of those incredibly valuable learning experiences before I went and was able to talk with the instructor about it.

I had reluctantly agreed to repair some lingerie (I hate do not like working with that slinky fabric at all!).  Well, sure enough, the machine ate the fabric.  My fix, after I took the machine apart and retrieved the fabric that had been stuffed down into the needle plate (that was learning experience #1 – taking the machine apart for the first time outside of the classroom), was to change the presser foot pressure.  Well, it turns out that I didn’t actually do that - I had inadvertently changed the tension instead.  Then I forgot to change it back when I returned to piecing on cotton (learning experience #2 – put a post-it note or something by the tension wheel so you’ll remember to change it back).  Of course, I only noticed this after making 6 or 7 blocks.  The bobbin stitching on the cotton was acceptable – I didn’t have to rip it out – but it needed to be returned to the proper setting to be perfect.

So to make this long story short, I was telling the instructor about my adventure and she reminded me that not only didn’t I need to change the presser foot pressure, that I didn’t even have the ability to change it on this machine.  That’s when I found out it was the tension I had changed.  Live and learn.  So now it’s back to the piecing I love (on COTTON – the Fabric of Life – I’m very susceptible to advertising …LOL).

Here’s what else I finished up on Tuesday:
This top used Judy Martin’s Post and Rails pattern.  She occasionally puts up a free BOM or quilt pattern on her website.  They seem to be only out there until the next one is put up, so this one isn’t out there anymore.  This one went together very quickly and I liked the soft blues and greens.  Thanks, Judy, for posting this pattern way back when!

I also added the last row of my Quilt of Valor (maybe I should have ironed it!) and will take it to next month’s meeting for someone else to quilt on a longarm:
And this is the fabric for my next tote bag for Sadie’s Dream for a Cure (see this post for more info).

I’ll be finishing this up this week and getting it off in the mail, so I’ve got my work cut out for me (sorry about that pun!).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It’s Still All About the Machine

I went to “Bernie school” last night to learn all about how to use my new Bernina efficiently and effectively.  The instructor was great - I learned a lot of tips and now feel like my new machine is an old friend.   This class was about the feet (lots of feet) and tension and how to oil and clean the machine.  I also had a moment of “machine envy” for the people who had the high-class embroidery machines in the class, but that passed quickly because that’s really not the kind of sewing that I want to do!

I decided to try out some of the decorative stitches today.  These weren’t part of last night’s class since that will be covered next week, but I couldn’t wait.  I made a new placemat to put underneath the machine on my sewing table.  The old one was looking pretty ratty.
It's not really uneven - it's hanging
off the side of the ironing board

A few types of decorative stitches
that I might try when sewing on bindings
I will bind it tomorrow – another adventure on the machine.  I know I told you that she just plain p-u-r-r-r-r-s.  I still love that part.  So this saga will continue …. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Big Doings in My Sewing Room

I finally broke down and bought myself a new sewing machine!  Now that I’ve sewn on it for several days, I could kick myself for not going out and getting one last year.  This machine just plain p-u-r-r-r-r-s!
And since I got that new chair for Christmas, you could say that I’m sitting pretty in the sewing room!  OK – that was a very bad pun … bad girl.

I picked up my new machine on Friday.  There is a Shop Hop going on in this area so I HAD to pick up a teensy-weensy bit of fabric – well, may five yards or so from four different stores (they were on the way home - well, almost).  It was a good deal – I couldn’t not get it!

So I tried out my new Bernina on a big block design for Quilts of Valor.  This uses the Simplified Maryland Beauty block from this site:

The site also gives fabric and cutting instructions for 6, 9 or 12 inch blocks - I chose the big blocks so it could be put together faster - I still have one more row to do.  My QOV meeting is this coming Friday and I want to turn it in then.  There are many ways that you can set these blocks.  Check out Alycia Quilts’s Blog at this link to see how some of the ladies at the Longmont Quilt Bee laid theirs out.

I have a class on how to work with my new machine this Tuesday – I may have to tear myself away from it to attend!  I’m in l-o-v-e …….

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What’s What on Wednesday

Today was a mixed bag.  I had to do laundry (yes, that happens to me sometimes), but I wanted to get some stuff ready for my next Quilts of Valor meeting, also.
It’s not until next week but I wanted to layout some blocks for tops and get them numbered so the ladies could be productive sewing them when we’re together.  We’re lucky that out group is growing, but that means that there’s not as much available space in our meeting room to lay out these bigger tops, so it pays to be prepared.
Picking up the numbered rows
 (this is a second top)
We lay them out and then number the rows – then when one block is carefully placed on top of another, anyone can pick them up and sew them together.  Voila!  Teamwork …

Then after finishing the vacuuming (how did that chore sneak in there – I swear I vacuumed just 6-8 weeks ago…LOL), I did a little more work on my new adventure.

I discovered a site called Sadie’s Dream for a Cure, named after little Sadie S. who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at 6 months old.  Just look at this darling face and tell me that your heart didn’t melt at least a little:
Brochure from Sadie's Dream for a Cure
The mission of this organization is to help young pediatric cancer patients as they go through their treatments by supplying reusable totes filled with supplies to keep a child entertained and by providing emotional and financial support to their families.  The sturdy totes are made by volunteers.  Sadie’s Dream for a Cure is a 501(c)(3) corporation, so your contributions are tax deductible.  Be sure to check out their photo gallery at:
You can learn more about them at the above link or on Facebook at:

This is my tote bag-in-process.  I was sent a kit from this group with all of these supplies (bag and lining material shown and pellon interfacing, plus an extra label).
Lining (L) and Outside of Bag (R)
I am in the process of making up their bag and will make one from my own materials to return to them along with theirs.  These are stronger totes that take a little time, but their instructions are easy to follow and the results are worth it.  These bags are very sturdy and well designed.
Inside out - WIP

Ready to add the top cuff - WIP
I am pleased to now be a part in helping this organization.  You’ll see more totes from me in the future (and this one finished, of course)!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Getting Around Blogger Glitches

I usually use Internet Explorer for my web browser and have had no problems with Blogger.  Until recently, that is.  They apparently have a know problem with some people having the ability to post photos on their blogs.  Well, the photos are my favorite part and I have been seriously disabled by the glitch!

So I decided to try another browser and see if I could get around the problem and I think Google’s Chrome has done the trick for me.  I think that’s exactly what Google wants to happen – do you see a conspiracy to take over the world?!!  Just an idle thought.

So here’s what’s been happening at my place:
Ø                  We played at little golf at the new year while the weather was good

He was a little one by the 1st hole -
I did not hit close to him!

Sandhill cranes right next to the cart path

White Ibis walking across the fairway
 (hasn't seen me play yet, obviously!)

I told the vultures I was just not playing
 well and they would have to wait ...

Beautiful hawk - was he just laughing at my shot?!!
Oh, you haven’t seen any golf shots in these pictures?  That’s because most of the golf holes looked like this:
Water here – sand trap there – trees, trees everywhere.  That’s what my day was like.  I think we took last place – my partner helped us stay down there in the hopper!  But we had more fun than anybody. So there.

Ø                  I started on the second Labrynth quilt for the Quilts of Valor

Ø                  I played with my Lazy Angle ruler and made a little quilt top for Wrap-a-Smile
the little black strip on the right
 shows the color of the binding

Ø                  I made a little racecar quilt top for Wrap-a-Smile

Ø                  I have not been watching what I eat or exercising in the New Year (that has GOT to change soon …!).

Ø                  More tomorrow on my latest new project (just a teaser …).