Saturday, March 31, 2012

So Long March! It's Been A Good Month.

Let's start off with the last OPAM finish of the month....the Aurifil Designers 2012 Block. While I had the embroidery done the first week of the month, my Moda layer cake was missing one of the prints used on the model, so I sent an email to United Notions and those nice folks sent me a half yard of the fabric that was missing. Just one more reason Moda is my favorite fabric.

When the puppy isn't being totally needy (which he was for most of the day), I've been working on the challenge quilt. The top is pieced.....

...but I'm not sure I want to use my attempt at an orange/blossom appplique on it. I almost think I'd rather just have some random flowers scattered here and there (the first things I've cut with my Slice). I'm going to look at it for a bit and decide. I've got three weeks to finish up everything, bind, add hanging sleeves and labels. No worries, mon...(though I think I need to take a break for a day or two to get the taxes done, and the beef wellington dinner out of the way (tomorrow is daughter's time I'll give her a short list for her dinner choice rather than just ask 'what would you like for your birthday dinner')

Well, off to clean up the studio. See you in April!

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's Been a 'Challenge'-ing Day

From this (10:00 a.m.):

To this (4:00 p.m.);

And finally to this (11:00 p.m.):

I've made a start on the Guild challenge quilt. It's one of those 'make it up as you go along quilts'.  And since it can't be more than 160" all around, it's likely going to be 'reversible' (ha ha).  Lots of rotary cutting, lot of stitching, and way more math in my head than I care to think about.

I've been procrastinating on this project for so long that today I finally gave myself a good shaking and told myself to do something fun that I could learn from. Foundation piecing was one of the things on my bucket list, and I've always loved piano keys, and wanted to do something with nine patches, so why not jumble it all together. And somewhere we'll throw in a little applique too...and we'll go crazy and make it fusible applique too (Who are you, and what have you done with Susan?) 

Oh, I'm still can be evidenced by the photo above. These are apples/berries for one of my Baltimore Album blocks. There were so many of them in this one block that I decided to go with something I saw in one of Elly Sienkiewicz's books and use ultrasuede instead of making freaky little gathered around template circles that would take days to do. And, so that I didn't regret this decision, I stitched them all to a scrap of my background fabric and gave it a good bath, with dishwashing liquid, no less, to be sure that the ultrasuede wouldn't bleed.

Once I was assured that they wouldn't I stitched them all to the real block using a little running stitch around the edge in silk thread the same color as the ultrasuede.

I have had my doubts about this block being sort of out of scale to the rest of them, so I thought I'd plant the thing in a huge basket to make it look more like the rest of the blocks. Not sure I'm enamored with that idea either, but I'll leave it there and see what Mimi and my monthly class thinks of the idea. It's easily removed. One of my problems is that I wanted to make two blocks of vases to offset this tree and the squirrel in the tree block, and sticking this tree in a basket kind of confuses the layout. (In other words, the basket is probably coming off, and it's likely the whole tree won't make the final cut in the end).

If you're a Facebook friend, you know about Tucker...the long coat chihuahua puppy that joined our family two weeks ago. Everyone is thrilled with the new addition...well, not everyone....Paco tried to push him through the second floor railings (oh darn....Mom anticipated that and installed netting...curses! foiled again!). 

He likes to hang out in the studio. Here he is picking out some fabric for a lounge pillow as Paco patiently waits for me to catch him chewing on the corners of the stack he pulls out and scold him  (Paco loves it when Tucker gets in trouble).

Mostly Tuck spends his time sleeping in Paco's bed, while I 'm working on the computer or sewing. They look so peaceful and sweet when they sleep, don't they?

Don't let that fool you. Tucker is now 3 lbs 5 oz of Trouble with a capital 'T'. He just learned how to go down the stairs, though he still can't jump off the bed or the couch. We went to the pet store yesterday and bought a second set of teething bones because Paco was jealous and would take them from Tucker takes them from Paco and then whines and cries when Paco takes one back. The little terror chases Paco around the house, and poor Paco gets yelled at constantly for growling at the puppy.  I've begun calling Paco 'Mr. Grumblypants'.

I looked at the hubs yesterday evening, as the ruckus went on around us and remarked that it's like we're raising a couple of 2 year olds now, to which he commented 'well, if that's the case, then it's not going to get any better as they get older, is it?'

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Winner!! Bloggers Blog Hop Party Giveaway

Thanks everyone for all of your comments. chose number 14 (out of 72 comments), which was a comment posted by Linda V. as the winner of the pincushion. (One of these days I'll figure out how to post the graphic from

And as Linda became a follower, she'll also be receiving a Scissor Bling.

Thanks for playing everyone! Stay tuned for another pincushion giveaway this Spring.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Friday March 16th post - Part II

I pulled this from the Blog Hop Giveaway post and created a separate post for it...I think it was overwhelming the giveaway.

On Wednesday I attended AQS Lancaster. I took a lot of photos, which are currently on my iPhone, so as soon as I have a chance to transfer them to my PC, I'll start posting photos of the beautiful quilts on display. Those who know me know that my main reason for attending the big shows is to shop the vendors. One of the first vendors inside the door had beautiful wool applique projects and I couldn't resist. She offered a BOM program which I signed up for, and above is the March BOM. Obviously, I couldn't wait to start it and did so as soon as I got home Wednesday night and it was finished by Thursday night. Looking forward to April's shipment.

I was also very pleased to find a Creative Memories booth where they were demonstrating the Slice Fabrique (which I received for Christmas), and a new product that is coming out to now make it easy for you to cut fabric WITHOUT having fusible interfacing backing it. YIPPEEE!!!!!!! It's a low-tac, sticky back plastic that you place on top of your fabric, run the brayer over it, and cut away. Then you can easily remove the plastic and you've got everything you need for those needle turn applique or wool applique projects.

While their website says the product is available Summer 2012, I did order some and was told that it would ship in April. I also ordered the magnetic hands free cutting system, and for making a purchase at their booth I received the lovely Slice carrying tote pictured above. Sweet! I love it as it keeps everything neatly stored away in one place (and as my neighbor, who attended the show with me pointed out "it makes it easier for her to borrow my Slice").

Once I receive my InvisiCut, I'll be sure to post a tutorial and share what I learned at their AQS booth so you can decide whether or not this is a product for you.

My major purchase at this show was thread. I'm filling in my Superior Kimono Silk collection (I only need about 37 more spools to have the full set--4 more quilt shows).

And I also picked up some more Aurifil 12 wt cotton. (Which is a set I could only dream of would take a lottery win for that to happen.) I went with a list of 10 thread colors that I thought I could use on my wool applique and redwork projects and was disappointed that half of those colors on my list weren't carried by the vendor at the show--and we're talking normal colors....gray, tan, red, green. I made two substitutions with what they did have, but at $10 a spool, I wasn't happy not getting what I really wanted. It seems to be a universal problem with the heavier Aurifil threads...the dealers don't sell a lot of it so they don't carry all the colors. It certainly makes for a challenge. Good thing I love this thread, and good thing I love a good challenge.

Gotta run. Lots to do this weekend. Good luck in the contest and check back to see what else I'm working on and how the new puppy's doing.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quilters Blog Hop Party Giveaway

This weekend kicks off the Quilters Blog Hop Party Giveaway (you can link to this on my sidebar or by clicking on the title for this post). A bunch of quilting blogs are giving away fab prizes to their readers, just for stopping by. If you'd like to win one of my Button Patch Pincushions, leave a comment on this post between now and March 23rd. In fact, if you leave a comment on any post made during that time period you'll get an extra chance for each comment, and if you're a follower, you'll not only get one more chance, but I'll also include a Scissor Bling when I ship your prize.

The pincushion above is filled with sand (from a beach in St. Thomas, Virgin it's an exotic prize). But if you're an international winner, you'll receive a cushion that is filled with polystyrene beads so there aren't any problems getting past International Customs.

Be sure to visit the other blogs that are giving away prizes, and good luck.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

One Thing, One Week Challenge

Amy's Creative Side is offering a little motivation for finishes (click the icon in my sidebar to sign up).

Here's what I finished for last week's challenge:

The 9th block for my Baltimore Album quilt. I also managed to get a great start on the 10th block which is going to be this week's goal.

And while it's not sashed---no fault of my own--my Moda Layer Cake was missing a fabric and I'm waiting for United Notions to send it, I finished the embroidery on the 3rd block in the Aurifil 2012 Designer's Block a Month.

Tomorrow I'm off to the AQS show in Lancaster, PA. Check back tomorrow for details and a little showing of what's hanging in Lancaster.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Is It Friday Yet?

Oh Jeez, tomorrow is only Wednesday. Talk about a slow week. Though, with all I have to get done, I should be loving a slow week.

So, what's been happening?

Sunday I went to Mimi's class and found myself in the majority--more than half the class had no show and tell for the past month. Phew! Glad that it wasn't only me that slacked on applique in February.

I did get something done (that I worked on until 4:00 a.m. the night before class--can you say pro-cras-tin-a-tion?)

Of course, I also like to support the quilt shop that hosts Mimi's class, especially since they always have some sort of coupon offer going on. They had a half wall of red and white fabrics that I just couldn't pass by. I've always wanted to make a red and white quilt (well, I've always wanted to make one since seeing the quilts in the Infinite Variety exhibit (which, is a very nice iPhone app if you've got an iPhone). I figured what better time than to snag a stack of half yard cuts to start me on the path to a red and white masterpiece.

Five yards is a pretty good start for something scrappy. I've uploaded the photo to my Fabric Stash app (on my iPhone), so whenever I happen upon some tantalizing red and whites I can open this photo and see what might play nice with these.

I wasn't a total slacker this weekend. I did finish my block for our Guild Raffle Quilt for 2013.  It's going to be a large Edyta Sitar Farmhouse quilt.

And, thanks to Aurifil thread, my new favorite thing is hand embroidery. I got a start on the March Aurifil 2012 Designer's block. I'm not chain-stitching it, as the sample was done. I'm liking the whole backstitch look, so that's what I'm currently hung up on.  Speaking of Aurifil, I was totally honored after doing my first block in this series when I got a shout out and a link to my post on Alex Veronelli's Facebook page. (He's that hunky Italian guy from Aurifil Threads). I felt as if I'd won the Academy Award (just like my ex-brother in law did for feature documentary-Undefeated this year).  I linked you to an interview posted today on Fat Quarterly.

Last night was our monthly Guild meeting. The speaker was Gyleen Fitzgerald aka the Pineapple Quilt lady. I was going to leave early until I looked up and noticed that the place was filling up more so than usual. And I could hear a couple of ladies discussing how entertaining Gyleen was, so I sucked it up and decided to hang around. I was so glad I did.

Gyleen was extremely entertaining. She was engaging, totally at ease, not to mention she makes fabulous quilts with even more fabulous backs, and most of them are made from scraps. Not a fan of pineapple quilts, having seen the photo for the workshop she held on Sunday (same time as my Mimi class), once I saw her quilt in person, I was gobsmacked. What a great looking quilt. And then a whole bunch of people from the workshop stepped up all smiles and grins and showed off the pineapple blocks they made in her workshop, and they all looked super.

I wished Gyleen would have spoken for another hour and brought a few dozen more quilts to show us. I want to be one of her quilting friends, I want to swap blocks and charms with her, I want to join her guild, as from the stories she tells they sound like a fun group. But since that's not going to happen, I did the next best thing. I purchased a pattern and her Polygon tool....


And I purchased her pineapple tool and a copy of her Trash to Treasures Pineapple Quilt book (which should arrive in the mail soon---she sold out at our meeting).

And today I went to Gyleen's website and signed up for her newsletter and checked her schedule to find that she will be teaching 3 full day workshops at MAQ (Mid Appalachian Quilters) in Emmitsburg, MD in July, one of which is the Pineapple Quilt. Guess where I'll be? :)  

Bonus....the MAQ site gets you psyched for their event by running a Merry Mayhem Mystery Quilt on their site. A new instruction is posted every 2 weeks. The first one posted last week, so if you like mysteries, you might want to check that out--especially if you're a fan of Merry May.

I see that the clock has struck midnight, so that means I should thread a needle and get to work on one of those blocks. (Or lose all control and order another dozen spools of 12 wt. Aurifil thread.)

Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Friday Night Ramblings

After my eye doctor appointment on Wednesday I decided to take a run through the Dollar Tree. In addition to fairy floss (cotton candy), Zapp's chips (New Orleans delicacy), and other items I didn't really need but couldn't pass up because they only cost a buck, I found some cute little storage baskets and plastic ramekins (for cupcake pincushions). The dollar stores are my favorite place to find neat storage items. Like the little totes below that I use to hold materials for a single project. Sometimes my short attention span gets the best of me and I tire of what I'm working on and want to start something else. Just toss it all in a basket and set it aside.

Do they have dollar stores in other countries?  We've certainly got dollar stores to spare here in the US.

The little green crates came 4 to a pack. Perfect to keep my 12pt. Aurifil threads sorted in my embroidery thread drawer.

And, speaking of Aurifil threads, I spent last night making the Aurifil Designer's block from January. I figured it was best to get it out of the way so it didn't take time away from prepping some Baltimore applique for Sunday's class. And I can't seem to get myself to bed before 3:30 a.m. the past couple of nights, so it gave me something to do.

Remember these cool vintage needle sets I got on eBay a month or so ago? Well, I finally did something with them.

One more item for the studio wall. Of course, that required rearranging some things to make room. My first applique project moved out to the upstairs hall.

Not to shabby for my first applique, and my first machine quilting, with a little embroidery and crystal embellishment. Every black on white fabric used has an exact white on black counterpart. Clever, eh?

Well, I've got to go check on the hubs. He was feeling a little lightheaded earlier. (Maybe someone put a roofie in his Cosmo at the restaurant :) ), and we've got the Grandpup here for a sleepover tonight...Paco misses Bailey, so we've been arranging playdates and sleepovers for him while we continue to look for a new pup. I don't want him to think he can become the Alpha dog around here (that's my position), so Mr. Rick works to keep him humbled.

I've got a busy day in the studio planned for tomorrow. Hopefully you'll see some progress on Baltimore and a binding on Broken Records (the Drunkards).

Whatever you've planned for yourself, enjoy!

Are we keeping you awake, Mr. Rick?