Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November OPAM Finish (And Last Call for November Follower Appreciation Giveaway)

Pumpkins Gone Wild on the Windmill Farm has been finished. (Okay, it still needs a label, so sue me).

It's a big one. I got a little carried away with those windmills. I wasn't sure I was going to like the beige background, but I really couldn't see using anything else. As it turns out, I really like it a lot, even if it will need to be washed more often.

The back has the Moda Pumpkins Gone Wild panel in the center of it. I bought all of the fabric on a trip to Lancaster the first year I started quilting (2008). The price was great, I was in love with Moda, so I just picked up bits and pieces of prints that went together and a lot of the wavy stripe for the back. Then last fall I saw the panel at the LQS and figured that maybe I could use it somehow, so I bought it. Good thing. I was a little short on borders (see cornerstones) and backing. But as quilty things are wont to do, it all worked out.

Next up on the agenda was slashing apart (and consequently piecing back together...meticulously, and perfectly matched), the Ginny Beyer border fabric to border the braided table runner.

All we have to do is work out all those points in attaching the border around them. The colors are pretty rich. This one is going to have to be a dining room table or buffet runner.

This is your last chance to comment for the Red Velvet Cupcake Pincushion. Comments on the previous post and this post, made by followers, will be tossed into the old random number generator tomorrow night and this sweet treat will be winging it's way to it's new home in time for Christmas.

Good luck, and enjoy your Wednesday! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

November Follower Appreciation Giveaway

A little late, but as promised, all followers who leave a comment on this post or the final post of the month will be entered into a drawing for my red velvet cupcake pincushion pictured above. I truly appreciate all of you who take the time to follow me, read me, and leave comments related to the posts. I so enjoy our 'conversations'. And I hope you will enjoy my prizes. Who doesn't love a pincushion? If you're feeling the spirit of giving this season, feel free to spread the word. If a commenter mentions you sent them, I'll give you an extra entry.

Okay, so I've been busy this weekend. In addition to having a hundred or so good cries over the sappy Christmas movies that have been playing exclusively here in the studio (3 channels worth....Ion, Lifetime and Hallmark....not to mention network tv tonight....a 2 boxer on the tissue scale---even the commercials were tear fests), I picked up supplies for gingerbread houses, a case of art kits for this year's charitible donation, and some stocking stuffers...for me....saving the hubs a coupon fumbling trip to JoAnn (Gingher scissors and rag quilt snips).

On the productive side, I finished my fall quilt (Pumpkins Gone Wild on the Windmill Farm), which will now pretend that it's this years' Christmas quilt....which we shall get started on sometime in the coming year. I also began work on the Jinny Beyer holiday table runner at 11 p.m. this evening.

Center square created from border print.

I've got one side of the braid completed. Tomorrow night I'll run down the next, trim and put some borders on it.

For some strange reason I wandered into my craft room this morning and pulled out a project I picked up the pieces for a long, long time ago. Dollar store frames, some refrigerator magnets, a couple Christmas ornaments and wah la...

The live, love, laugh are currently hanging on the studio door, at least until the daughter sees them. The faith and hope stuffed wool hearts are sitting on shelves in the studio for inspiration. Crafting was an enjoyable distraction this weekend....and I also spent a little time papercrafting this year's gift tags.

I'm back to being behind on the tree schedule--no time or inclination for tree decorating this weekend, but here's the photos of the Tuscan tree in the master bath. When I pull pretty wine corks, I like to make ornaments out of them for this tree.

I've packed up the really cute gift I made which you can't see a photo of until the recipient receives it. It was a tricky pack (you'll see why soon), but it will be winging it's way to warmer weather tomorrow on a big brown truck (hint to recipient).

We also went to the Festival of Trees on Friday, and there were some really fun trees, and some amazing gingerbread on display. Those photos are on the cell phone, so later in the week check for a post on those.

I've caught you up on what's been happening with me. Tomorrow I need to play catch up on all of your blogs. I'm sure you all had a lovely long weekend with family and friends, and had a chance to tick off either some shopping or some holiday decorating. Tomorrow, it's off to the gym with all of you (grin), and after that, try to exercise your creative heart with an hour at the sewing machine. Enjoy your week, and rest up....the holiday madness is just beginning.!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Don't Give Up On Me Yet

It's been a little hectic since I got back from FL. Lots of merchandising work and trying to get ready for Thanksgiving. I've got some great projects to share and some fantastic fabric to show you, I've just been way too tired these past couple nights to do anything more than curl up in bed with a quilt mag and drift off to sleep.

The Follower Appreciation Giveaway this month will happen, and I'm going to give away one of the cupcake pincushions. Photo and details to post by the weekend, so please check back.

In the meantime (and I'm not up in the studio, I'm down in the office). Let me entertain you with an amusing little discovery I made today during lunch with my daughter....

I had to run up to her school at lunchtime to pick up the turkey fryer for Thursday (we're roasting and frying). As reward for picking this up from her Aunt's house and hauling it down my way, I brought her lunch. And I also brought her a few quilts to share with her class, which she has assigned a paper 'applique' project to. She wanted them to see some examples of traditional quilt blocks and applique to give them some ideas.

Anyway...hopefully we'll be able to see how that went.

While I'm sitting there, I'm noticing that she has set up an historical timeline on the wall, and within the years denoted, there are drawings the kids have made depicting the event in that timeframe. I have to say, 1882 caught my eye:

 Yes, those would be the immigrants deplaning from the American Airlines jumbo jet. Note the luggage train. Also note the planes lined up on tthe tarmac off to the right.

Further down the timeline they recognize the Wright  Brothers first flight. Sadly, Wilbur and Orville must have missed the 1882 American Airlines flight....or maybe they didn't.....hmmm....

We move on to something that most of us probably don't think about, and that's the fact that most kids have no idea what 9/11 is. My daughters students were babies, and it's not like it's something your mom and dad sit you down and talk to you about. It's not something  you'd be anxious to tell your children about, so many of her students have no clue.

But a few of them do, and this is what comes to their mind for 9/11:

Note the four people who have jumped head first out of the buildings. It's not like you would tell your kids that this is what happened, and it's not like that's something the kids would read in 4th grade history books. But to a 4th grader, this is the fascination, this is what comes to their mind for 9/11. I find  this to be somewhat disturbing. Is this something that keeps a child awake at night? While we may have never told our kids about 9/11, is it enough to step over any references? I would think that if your child is drawing pictures of people jumping to their deaths, there should be some kind of parent/child reassuring discussion.

Behave yourselves tomorrow. Be safe wherever you go for the holiday. Stuff yourself (but don't cry to me about it later). I'll try to update tomorrow with contest rules and the pincushion you're playing for.

Enjoy your evening...McCalls Quilting is calling me.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Need I Say More?

The view from the kitchen/dining area. Not to shabby to look at while washing dishes.

The hubs walks down to the beach to check out the late afternoon water tempertures (a little cold for swimming)

At any rate...HI EVERYONE!!  Been in sunny F-L-A since Thursday and this is the first halfway decent internet connection we've been able to lasso in since we've been here. It's been a fast few days of softball/quilt shops/karaoke bars, and I am a very tired camper right now having been out late last night, and sitting in a car driving across state all afternoon. We've been out to dinner with the inlaws and tomorrow is a whirlwind first day of the one and a half we'll be spending here in beautiful Melboune Beach.

A couple of shops to hop tomorrow, some sun to soak up, hanging out with the family. I've seen a dolphin (Ft. Myers Beach), but have yet to see a gator. This may require a trip to Brevard Zoo. We shall see.

But hell with the gator.....while enjoying a lovely breakfast yesterday morning at the Heavenly Biscuit, who should walk in but none other than Captain Jack Sparrow. Now you tell me....you get up at 7:30, go for a nice relaxing beach walk, and you stop at a little shop on your way back that makes homemade biscuits, layers on the bacon, egg, cheese and a thick slice of juicy fresh-picked tomato (we are in Florida), while waiting for your biscuit, you're nibbling on a homemade cinnamon bun, and the icing on that cinnamon roll is suddenly usurped by a surprise appearance of a pretty decent Johnny Depp lookalike hanging around waiting for his breakfast on his way to his daily grind job of performing on a pirate ship cruise. Now this is the life!

 Enjoy you weather, whatever it be, and take it easy. Tomorrow's Monday....only 4 to go until the weekend :) I'll be thinking of you while I'm walking on the beach tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

They Call Me MRS. Crabbypants

Well, okay, that's what they'll be calling me tomorrow.

I have to check in for our Southwest flight at 6:30 a.m., which means I need to roll out of bed at 6:15. Why me? The hubs goes up to bed at 9:00 (that's correct, that is not a typo), with a book. In the meantime, I've got laundry to finish, cleaning to touch up, packing lists to create, soakers in the sink. Men! I want to be one, and I want to be married to me.

Took the sewing machine in for it's one year old check up on Saturday, so there hasn't been any sewing going on here. There could be, I do have another machine, but with everything else going on, it was best to just set it aside for what will amount to two weeks. (I'll be a raving lunatic by next Wednesday....oh, perfect....that's when I was called for jury duty.)

In case you're wondering how I've managed to survive without my quilting creative outlet.....

I took this

 and with about 5 hours free time on my hands on Sunday
assembled the copper and turquoise Christmas tree in our bedroom. Sorry I don't have a great full view shot yet. No time, and bad lighting. But I'll send one along when I can get the picture.

For now, I really need to spend a few minutes tidying up, check my to-do list, and hit the sheets--6:15 comes early when you aren't really expecting it.

I'll likely post from the road. This month's Follower Appreciation winner is going to receive a fabulous prize picked up somewhere in the lovely, warm state of Florida. (And no, I will not send an alligator). We will begin that giveaway on my return next week.

In the meantime, stay warm, keep your nose to the grindstone on those quilty Christmas gifts, and enjoy your week.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween.....Not Just for the Kiddies

(Note: Not technically my second post of the day. The first one was my Quilt Festival Entry I forgot to post over the weekend.)

I'm adorable, yes?

Seriously, is this not one of the cutest dogs you've ever seen? (And I'm not saying that just because he's my grandpup.)

Ahoy Matey!
 How many dogs would wear dreadlocks? How many dogs would wear that hat?

Watching a little TV with my dad.

The dog is oblivious to the fact that he's wearing a hot dog costume. He has absolutely no shame. 

What are you looking at?

This costume originally belonged to Paco, who would chew his paws off before being caught dead in the little cuffs. (Not to mention he'd repeatedly bash his little chihuahua head against the cabinets trying to get the headpiece off).

Rick is clearly a dog that enjoys playing dress up. One who's doghood is not threatened by donning a hat or two (even a goofy dino cap).

Hope you enjoyed your Halloween as much as Ricky enjoyed his!

Stay tuned later this week for word on the November Follower's Appreciation Giveaway. Check out my entry in the Bloggers Quilt Festival (the post before this). I've got a Guild meeting tonight, but should be back in the studio tomorrow night to burn even more thread on The Pumpkins Gone Wild Project. I'm into my second 250M spool of thread that's just used in the bobbin. Keeping fingers and toes crossed the Aurafil I'm using in the top holds out until I get to a point where it would be okay to switch colors.

Enjoy your week.....finish up (or put away) your fall projects and get a head start on quilts and table runners for the Holidays....they will be here before you know it. Enjoy!

Fall 2010 Bloggers Quilt Festival

A late entry into the current Blogger's Quilt Festival. Thanks so much to Amy (Amy's Creative Side) for hosting this fabulous display of creativity once again. Right now I'm working on what is going to be my next entry in the Festival, but for now, completed quilts, Neptune (pictured above) is my favorite quilt.

I love all things beach/ocean. I also love Moda fabric. I've only been quilting a few years now and I found this fabric at one of the first shows I attended--Quilters Unlimited in June 2009. The pattern was relatively simple (a design by Cottonseed Glory, an Annapolis, MD quilt shop), and I just knew I had to make it, the minute I saw it.

I whipped the quilt top out right away,sandwiched and ready to go by the end of June 2009, but I was so in love with that project that I did not want to attempt to quilt this baby until I had a few classes in freemotion, and after that, procrastinator that I am, I decided it needed to wait until I had a new sewing machine as well (a Bernina with a BSR).

Of course, I got that machine last October, but I wasn't confident enough to start the quilting on Neptune until this past June, where I was careful, a little daring, and quilted the heck out of it (which is a look I just love).

In the beginning of my quilt experience I made meticulous little signature blocks to put on the backs of each quilt I made (that got old pretty quick).
I'm very pleased with how it all turned out, so was Paco

The most important things I learned from making this quilt are:
  1. Have confidence in your ability to freemotion. You won't be sorry. While you can study designs, chalk them on fabric, sew through paper, the best thing (and the one that won't result in looking forced) you can do is to let your mind guide the fabric through your needle. You'll be far less disappointed (and rip out far fewer stitches) if you aren't trying to copy what someone else was feeling while they stitched. Freemotion is not about rigidity and coloring inside the lines. Think about it....free motion.
  2. Heavy quilting uses lots of thread :) It also results in an interesting look which has a non-comforter feel to it. I like it. The more it's washed, the more it looks like a comfortable, been around for a long time quilt.
  3. Never feel bad about setting something aside until you're feeling the need to work on it. This sandwich hung on my studio door for a year. Had I rushed into quilting it, it most definitely would not have become my favorite quilt, or a project I was proud of in the end. Don't look at something as a UFO that needs to be rushed through. Look at it as a project you're savoring, something deserving of your full, unrushed attention, a quilt top that is waiting for you to decide you're ready to turn it into your current masterpiece. We've all heard 'the best things in life are worth waiting for'. 
Thanks for checking out my 'masterpiece'. I hope you're inspired to create your own.