Saturday, October 13, 2012

Go-al!!! (She shoots, she scores)

Rather, GOAL MET!!!! (woo hoo!)

The Vintage Rouge center has been completed and blocks and rows stitched (pretty darn exactingly, if I say so myself).

The center plate 10.5 inches, the same size of all the other blocks.

I like the center cornerstones (though this one isn't looking as perfectly round in this photo as I expect it to be. Hopefully that will press out.

And the other night I was obsessing over these outside blocks. The pattern called for words to be embroidered in the centers (Love, Joy, Peace, Hope). I wasn't a fan of that so I did a little freehand applique of two styles of flowers. That served to teach me that freehand applique is not all that it's cracked up to be, or possibly I'm not as good as I like to think I am because they were a 'tad' (ha ha-that's an understatement)  uneven. So, I ripped them off earlier this week and made mini-Dresden templates to create Pointsettia petals, used rulers for centering and measuring, and a McDonald's coffee cup to draw a circle to align them within (whatever happened to be on my desk at lunch on Wednesday in the office became a quilting tool). Now I've got 4 blocks that look pretty uniform and I'm a happy camper (or at least I'm telling myself I am.)

I wanted this done so I could go to the last block pick up tomorrow and be this week's overachiever (stitching the blocks together is part of the upcoming packet). And if that doesn't do it for me, I've already sewn together the plates that will be flowers on the borders, made 56 little berries, and cut out 30 something leaves (all of these are part of the last part of the BOM). If that doesn't cinch the overachiever crown for me, I don't know what will.

It's only midnight so I think I'm going to go pour myself a glass of wine and sew the borders on two of the Aurifil Designer's Blocks.

Enjoy your weekend! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hello October!

Alrighty then, one last finish for September squeezed in under the wire. It's the Aurifil Designers block for (prepare yourself) July--with added design elements (sun and waves). I think this one took so long because while I was finishing it up the August block came out, and I really do not like the August block, so it just put me off the project. Not sure what I'm going to do about August, either suck it up and make it work (channeling Tim Gunn) or skip to September and revisit or redesign the block in the end.

I pretty much finished up Fall decorating. This is my mantle. It needs one more thing...a candlestick lamp which will be placed where the banner on the right is and the banner will then move to the left to either replace or join the clock.

Love the crow. Wondering how long it will take Tucker to figure out it's up there, bring the ladder up from the basement and turn him into lunch. (It probably didn't help that when I brought it home from Michaels I played 'let's peck at Tucker' with it. Tucker is now crated whenever we leave the house, even if it's only to walk down to the mailbox .)

After looking at the mantle for a few days I decided it needed some sort of floral thing. Not a fan of flowers (unless they are fresh and in a vase), I picked up just a couple stems and tucked them in with the leaves.

I'm happy with the colors. Now if only I could do that well coordinating fabric colors on my quilts.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Miss Sassypants Vents

It started when I opened my email this morning to see an announcement about a Halloween Mystery Quilt from a big quilt shop far away. I just finished my first mystery quilt, and it was fun, so I thought, let's check this out.

So I went to their website to find that the mystery quilt is part of an event they are throwing on Halloween. You can come in and work on the mystery quilt (clues given throughout the day). Halloween themed kits for this quilt will be available shortly ($$$). Okay, I can understand they want you to pay for the pattern, not a big deal, to be expected. But there's no mention of fabric requirements, so that you can bring in fabric from your stash, which makes me think you're expected to buy the kit or the fabric from them, on the day of the event ($$$).

Wear a costume for a chance to win a prize...a cauldron of quilting goodies. Sweet! Who doesn't love a drawing. Mentions that there will be fun and games throughout the day (no mention of prizes for these...just fun activities). And, there's a pot luck lunch, everyone brings a dish. Cool!

All for the mere cost of $25 participation fee.

Whoa! Back it up! You can work on a mystery quilt, but you'll likely have to buy their kit. You can have a free lunch, but you have to bring your own food. So, what is that $25 for? Could they be expecting you (their loyal customer who probably drops a bundle in this place throughout the year), to pay them to entertain you, and to obviously cover the cost of the gift basket they filled and are raffling off (which at $25 per person ought be one sweet $500 gift basket)?

Obviously this shop is on a mission to prove that 'there is no such thing as a free lunch'.

This is strikingly similar to the 'pick your own' berry farm--where we go and pay 2 times per pound more than what they sold those same berries to the grocery store for yersterday, after they also paid someone to pick them. (Okay, I get it, it's not supposed to be're paying for the experience of seeing why Cesar Chavez' birthday is a holiday in some states. Just making a point.)

I just think that if you're going to charge your customers $25 to participate in a fun-filled day that you've arranged for them, then don't tell them to bring a dish. Sheesh! At least spend a little of their money to have it catered.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Another September Finish....An OCTOBER Banner!

It's my wool applique banner for October, and it's even got a hanging sleeve sewn on! A totally and officially complete project ready ahead of schedule.  Woo hoo.

My friend and neighbor Ann and I were at Chartreuse last week. She spotted this and said it made her think of me:

I've asked the hubs to make me one.

What should I finish next? Decisions, decisions.........

Monday, September 24, 2012

September Finishes.....not exactly quilts

It only took me three years (I started making these guys the Fall of 2009, but quilting got in the way of crafts so their little faceless bodies sat on my workbench begging for attention. Now they're done. Of course, all that rusty wire, rusty nails, and rusty safety pins are probably why I should go get a tetanus shot tomorrow (include in that equasion the fact that I sliced both my fingers open at our neighborhood picnic taking the foil lid off a pain of ravioli) prior to playing with rusty nails.

While I was in a finishing mood (truth be told, I was more in the mood for something sweet and those unopened packages of Peeps in the workroom were calling my name), I figured it was time to make a marshmallow Peeps wreath. I picked up these ghost and pumpkin Peeps a few weeks ago. It'snow  hanging on the pantry door (and the few that were leftover were tasty).

I even updated last year's Fall wreath and hung it on the front door this morning. All in all, a productive day in the craft department.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hello, It's Me (Again)

Been lazy (it's those dog days of summer), been busy (Labor Day dinner for 20), and now I'm ready to hunker down and stitch.

These would be the 4 blocks (2 of each) for Vintage Rouge. Rather than embroider 'Love', 'Hope', 'Peace', and 'Joy' in the center of them, I futzed around with some free-form applique. This way I'm not limiting this to being a 'Christmas' quilt. Next installment in this quilt begins on Saturday. There's a lot of applique on the borders, so I'll be busy.

On Sunday I'll be in a workshop with Rita Hutchens of 'Totally Tubular' fame. Should be interesting. We don't really make 'something', we learn a technique, but I suppose I'll have to work it into something. (Looks like Suz Zwizzle, Art Quilter will be paying a visit.)

spiral quilt
I just need to decide which set of fabrics I'm using and get my homework cut out. Which colors would you choose?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Starting Early With Some August Finishes

I finished the August wool applique banner. It's on it's little stand on the sofa table. This was Saturday's project, along with picking up the next BOM packet for Vintage Rouge, and selecting my backing and binding.

Moving right along I also knocked out the wool felt mat that I had picked up a pattern for while I was at the Hershey show. In fact, I even --for the first time ever, totally without guidance--hand dyed the wool felt I used for the moons. It was pretty stark and bright on it's own (you can see the before and afters on my Facebook page), so I found some watercolor fabric dye in my workroom that I've had for probably 10 years or so, and it came with a bunch of sponges, and I went to town. It'll do.  That was Sunday's project.

Saturday's mail brought the  next installment in monthly banners:

Look at those great fall colors. These next three banners are going to be so much fun. September will be pumpkins, October will have a Halloween theme, and November will be a cornucopia for Thanksgiving. I was going to save some of these for entertainment on upcoming travels, but I don't think I can wait.

We'll be going to St. Michaels this weekend, so I'm going to need some hand-stitching for the car ride. Somehow I don't think I'll have a problem finding something to work on. :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Blast From the Past

I've been MIA again....not spending a lot of time sewing anything of substance, but that will change this weekend. Vintage Rouge BOM followed by Mimi Dietrich book signing Saturday should have me in the mood to come home and get some real work done instead of piddling along on the Halloween embroidery when I'm a car passenger.

In the meantime, at Monday's Guild meeting one of the members left a bunch of old quilt mags on the table out in the lobby. Being a relatively recent quilter, I was curious as to what was going on 10+ years ago, so I picked up a few to take home to read.

First up, I fell in love with this quilt. I couldn't get the greatest photo off a glossy magazine page, but you can click on it to enlarge to truly appreciate the color of this quilt. This was made in 2000. Reminds me a lot of Fat Cat Patterns' Fiesta BOM I started but have not finished (okay, okay, I did one block....but it's all boxed up and ready to go when I've got some free time)

I was totally a'giggle when I came across this ad for a Fons and Porter book in a magazine from 1994. Love the haircuts, ladies!

And fair is's a pretty formal looking Alex Anderson from 2000. This is most definitely a woman who has improved with age.

And if you've been to any large quilt show, you've surely had a chance to sit down and talk to John Flynn. Here he is in 1997. Give this one a click to enlarge.

While they didn't find new hairdressers, those are most certainly some stylin' specs on Marianne Fons in 2000.

And this was a real treat...this is a mini quilt made by Caryl. Bryer Fallert that was displayed at the 1994 International Quilt Festival in Houston. If I recall, it's 14" square. All I can say is Wowsers!

I've also had to do a little organization in the studio, which is another excuse for not sewing. The little devil dog has invaded the studio, having destroyed most of the cool crafty things I stored under the workbench in my workroom. One day it was my Microns and Sharpies from the basket on the sewing table shelf. Another day he pulled out more than one container (one was Vera Bradley) of note paper and shredded that all over the house, chewing the containers into non-recognition. The last straw was when he took my plastic flag dispenser from under the table. Poor Paco was walking around with little PostIt flags I use to mark patterns in the quilt mags stuck to his paws. It took me two days to find them all throughout the house.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I replaced my old wastebasket with one that closed (Tucker likes to role play as a garbage collector...fabric scraps, freezer paper....he takes it all, and I can't toss needles or pins out or he will eat them).

And all my pretty baskets of pens and papers and staplers and flags have now been stashed in two decorative boxes with magnetic closures. Pain in the ass for me, no more flags for Tucker.

I'll be back this weekend to share my August wool applique project. It just needs a hanging sleeve and then I'm done. And I think we need another giveaway. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

OPAM (One Project a Month) - LITERALLY!

I finished one project this month. I changed the name on my daughter's classroom wallhanging. Is that lame, or what?

Of course, I set a new land speed record for starting projects I didn't finish:

Pineapple Scrap Quilt

Glorified Indigo Nine Patch Quilt

Merry Mayhem Mystery Quilt

August Wool Applique Banner (don't get excited, it's only fused on)

Aurifil Designer July Block

Vintage Rouge Christmas Quilt (I actually finished the July blocks, but BOM's don't count for an OPAM finish)

Halloween Panel Wallhanging for Jen's classroom (front, back and batting have been trimmed to right size - wow!)

Block 11 of my 12-block Baltimore Album (I did take it to court last week until Uncle Fester the Bailiff had to make a point of saying there will be no reading of newspapers, no listening to iPods...NO SEWING (evil stare directed at me).

Wool felt pumpkin table runner (I ironed all the wool felt I bought at Hershey for this and got sidetracked)

The Halloween embroideries project I started.

The Christmas wool applique/embroidery project that I swear I will finish before this Christmas.

I know, I know, you've all been there, done that, have the t-shirt. But as a self-diagnosed borderline obsessive-compulsive, this drives me absolutely crazy. Mind you, it doesn't stop me from starting something else, but the fact that I've got all of these projects in baskets, on design walls, in plastic ZipLoc bags drives me C-R-A-Z-Y.

And it doesn't help that I surround myself with cute little hiding places for all these projects. It actually enables me. Oooh...look at that cute little suitcase, it's perfect for the Vintage Rouge...or wow, these great magnetic close boxes are on sale at Michaels this week...what can I put in them and stack on the studio floor?

And what really doesn't help is that I get sidetracked and spend more time organizing than working sometimes.

(Case in point, the 'wool drawer', folded and arranged by color this weekend).

Sigh.  Hope your finishes are coming along a lot better than mine these days. Tomorrow's a new month. Hopefully I'll finish some of these projects before I start on something new.