Monday, December 31, 2012

Design Wall Monday 12-31-12

Here we are at the last design wall of the year.  I'm still working on the secret quilt -- Scrap Squad #6.  And, as I type it is up on Ruthie waiting for me to quilt border #2.   I will turn the quilt and quilt borders #3 and 4.  Then I will trim the quilt and make the binding and apply one side of the binding by machine. Tonight I should be able to get the binding done.  It has been a great experience making these quilts for Quiltmaker.  I've got many quilts I really like from the experience. (Hey, and I love my #6!)  

That said, I am looking forward to pulling out some UFO's to finish next year, finishing Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street that I started in November and making some clothes for Sophia.  

Here's what I pinned up on my design wall after I finished it so I could share something with you. 
This is Four Corners Children's Apron.  I made it reversible.  And, I embroidered Sophia's name with a cupcake on the reverse side.  

 She wore it a lot while she was visiting us.  Of course, the side with her name and the cupcake was always showing.
And, here she is modeling her apron on the day we opened our presents.  She is so much fun to be around.  She will even pose with a smile for me.  I'll share new pictures of Natalie and Sophia in the next few weeks. 

Yesterday I was able to spend a little time in the studio with Jenny.  I showed her how to do paper piecing as she has a project in mind. But that has been it for the week as I'm working on the long arm which is in another room. 

Week of Dec. 24
Quilt SS #6 (It's already on Ruthie, yeah!)
Work on Natalie's Christmas present √ didn't get finished but I showed it to them
Make one of Sophia's presents
Do the Christmas festivities with the kids and grands
Work on Easy Street Not one stitch taken on Easy Street I'm behind! 

Week of Dec. 31
Finish SS #6 and do the write up
Work on Easy Street
Do some major cleaning in the studio
Reflect on what I want to work on over the next month or two
Relax and read a book or two

Hope you have a safe, happy New Year Eve and a great 2013! 

Don't forget to visit Design Walls across the internet by visiting Judy's Patchwork Times.  

Happy Quilting All! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Design Wall Monday 12-24-12

It's down to the last week of the year...

I'm still sewing and embroidering and cooking and soon to be cleaning house a bit.  Here's what's been on my sewing machine recently.

Clue 4.  I haven't done Clue 3 and I'm not up to 5 yet.  That's ok.  Things are going to get much calmer around here sometime next week.  I'll catch up then.  And, we all know it isn't a race.
I also embroidered a couple of towels.  I really like how this pattern came out.  Now if I could just find some towels in a color other than Army green.  Below is a different pattern from the same collection.  Hum, it looks like the swirl isn't even it looks fine in person. 
The kids will be coming this weekend so their Christmas presents are still in progress.  Only one is wrapped.  Sigh.  I have a bit of sewing to do and some crocheting that will not be done in time no doubt. Bummer.  

I did spend a bit of time this afternoon wrapping these up.  We can't put them under the tree as we'll be gone for a while tonight and we don't trust those dogs.  Now we have 3 -- Kevin's dog is visiting.  They all get along really well but we just don't trust our friend, Raggs and his buddy, Kona with any paper.  

Week of Dec. 17
Layout and sew blocks into top SS #6
Keep working on Easy Street
Work on Natalie’s Christmas present
Wrap presents√ well at least the ones for tomorrow are wrapped
Do some embroidery on machine

Week of Dec. 24
Quilt SS #6 (It's already on Ruthie, yeah!) 
Work on Natalie's Christmas present
Make one of Sophia's presents
Do the Christmas festivities with the kids and grands
Work on Easy Street 
Not bad.  I should be able to get most of this done this week.

Don't forget to view other's Design Walls at Patchwork Times and Easy Street progress at Quiltvilles Quips and Snips.  
Happy Quilting All!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Design Wall Monday 12-17-12

Progress is being made but not a whole lot that I can show you.  So I'm showing off my baskets of units.

First, SS#6 basket, all leftovers: 

And next Easy Street basket:

Good thing SS #6 is empty because Easy Street is going to be overflowing really soon. What is hard to tell here is this basket is about 2" high and is much smaller than the one above.  I'm still on Clue 2 but I'm almost done with them so will be starting Clue 3 this week hopefully. 

I also did a bit of fabric shopping this week.  These two are from AAA Quilter Supply.  I was really amazed at how fast it came all the way across the country. Shipping is quoted at around $10 and I was saving enough money on the fabric that it didn't bother me.  However, when the fabric arrived about 3 days later it was jammed into a small Priority Mail envelope so the shipping was about half of what was shown on the web page.  Was I happy with this purchase?  You bet I am! Would I order from them again.  Absolutely! I'm sure you can guess that the white and black is for Easy Street. It's already been cut and used for the little wings on the flying geese.  The green is a wide back for SS #6. I so didn't want to piece a queen size back! Here's the web page for the black and white one althought you will have to scroll down to find it.

Everything got done on the goals list: 

Week of Dec. 10
Prepare High Tea for my neighborhood groupYou can read about it here
Clean the kitchen, wash kitchen floor
Work on SS #6  
Work on Easy Street
Finish decorating the house
Week of Dec. 17
Layout and sew blocks into top SS #6
Keep working on Easy Street
Work on Natalie’s Christmas present
Wrap presents
Do some embroidery on machine

I'm linking up with Quiltville's Quips and Snips for the Easy Street display and Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday. 

It's time for me to get going today.  If I want to get a quilt top put together I have to get off the computer!  Happy Quilting All!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Scrap Squad 5 Revealed

My #5 scrap squad quilt was revealed Thursday on Quiltmaker's Quilty Pleasures blog.   It seems like a long time since I finished it.  There have been all sorts of things happening at Quilty Pleasures including a treasure hunt.  

When we received Bella Amore (aka #5)  I started browsing my stash right away.  I wanted to use as much from my stash as I could.  It is so easy to see what I have in yardage as it is stored on open book shelves in the studio.  I picked a piece I had purchased in a local quilt store when I lived in Pa.  I liked the whole look of the fabric:  the color, the design, even the background color.  With that fabric in hand I started grabbing "go withs."  I looked at the yardage area of the studio and in the boxes of fat quarters and odd pieces I have on top of the book cases.  Heck, I even looked in the old plastic containers where I used to keep my fabric. Really, only the dregs are in them.  In the end I didn't need to buy all that much.  I did add the luscious dark gold used for the inner border and some greens because I ran out of them.  That brighter turquoise got thrown out and a darker one took its place and was used for the backing. 

Although this looks complicated it really is only 3 blocks: a square, a half square triangle and a quarter square triangle.  That's it.  Amazing once you figure that out.  I really love Deb Tucker's Tucker Trimmer especially for doing quarter square triangle. You can find her videos for her various rulers here. Here are some of the units. 
I didn't like the large, light setting triangles in the original quilt that was in the November/December Quiltmaker magazine.  I tried to use some of the extra units and, gee whiz!  They all fit. Notice the turquoise half square triangle. Those are some of the extra units I used in place of setting triangles.  I played around with coloration and placement on the design wall and then started putting the quilt together.  I tried to have all seams abut however that was difficult.  In some places there are 8 seams coming together.  It was not a pretty scene when I got to the long arming.  

One thing I try hard to do is use long pieces for my borders.  Yes, I'll piece my borders if I have to but if I can I'll use a length.  To make sure I have all the length I need I often refold and then cut strips off the length of fabric to use in piecing my blocks.  See the main fabric up above?  Yep, I'd already taken off a strip to use in the center of the top.  

Because I was trying to finish this in a hurry, I decided to do an open stipple on it.  It worked well except where I tried to go "over" the bumps rather than around the bumps.  Oh well, live and learn. And, honestly, you can't really tell unless you look up close.  

 The quilt traveled with me during Thanksgiving so I could do a photo shoot someplace other than my own house and yard.  My son lives next to Bristoe Station Battlefield so we took the dogs, the quilts and cameras for a walk. It was fun to stage quilt pictures in a different location. In the photo above you can hardly tell there is a big road just beyond the fence. Hum, a quilt on a cannon?  It was hard to keep the quilt on the cannon and out of the bird residue! 

Just for fun I tried to get a picture of the 4 dogs, the quilt and the cannon. If you think it is hard to get a bunch of people to all look at you, keep their eyes open and snap a picture -- try dogs and a breeze!  Three out of four isn't bad. 
Kona, Homer and Raggs watching me take the picture, Cassie staring off in a different direction. 
This quilt now resides on the wall in my dining room.  I really love the colors in this one. And, it definitely is a scrappy quilt. 

Happy Quilting All!  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

High Tea - A Total Success

Wednesday the alarm went off early.  It was High Tea day.  I had a list.  In order.  Lots of things still to do.  And, amazingly I got all of them done and then sat down for about 35 minutes to relax before my friends came to High Tea. 
The table was set and decorated in festive Christmas style. 

I pulled out my grandmother's Spode and my silver flatware. We even used tea cups with saucers.  Normally we just use mugs at our teas.  
I don't use my grandmother's china very often and I can't recall ever using these square luncheon plates.  This was the perfect time.  I bought new red place mats to set them off.  I made the hurricane glass decoration with red and silver balls.  Heck I even pulled out one of my other grandmother's Belleek tea pots and some other pieces. (See the heart shape dish the nuts are in?) I never use those pieces.  

At dessert I changed to my snowman plates. 
These plates are so cute.  I only have 8 in 4 different designs.  And, guess what.  They were from JoAnns several years ago.  (yep, that means inexpensive or downright cheap.)
These are mini chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting sprinkled with peppermint candy canes.  
The Menu: 

Cucumber Sandwiches
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Black Forest Ham Pinwheels
Cream Cheese Loaf with Clotted Cream
Fresh Fruit Salad
Assorted Nuts
Assorted Finger Desserts Including:
Chocolate Mini Cup Cakes 
White Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Cookies
Almond Tea Spritz Cookies 

We ate and talked for several hours.  We started at 2, a bit early for a tea with savories being served.  It was dark before we got up from the table.  I sent the gals home with husband plates of desserts.

This was so much fun to do.  But, I won't be doing another one anytime soon.  It is also a lot of work.  I hand wash all the Spode because I don't want the decorations to bleach out with the modern dishwashing detergent.  I'll be pulling it out again for Christmas.  

I was tickled with how well my tea cozy kept the tea pot warm.  I will definitely be making a few more of these to go with my other tea pots.  And, I am planning on using the Belleek tea pot more. (Belleek is Irish china that generally has little green shamrocks on it. I have some pieces with the shamrocks and some without such as the one above on the left.)  I have 3 tea pots that I use regularly depending on how much tea I want.  I'm adding the two Irish china pots to the rotation.  Why have pretties if you don't use them? 

Today is a scheduled shopping day. No not food, other miscellaneous stuff.  So, it's time for me to get going on that.  I hope to get a little sewing time in during the afternoon.  

Happy Quilting!  



Monday, December 10, 2012

Design Wall Monday 12-10-12

Another week and we're closer to the end of the year.  Here's what I've got going: 
My Easy Street units are growing.  Unfortunately I haven't finished Clue 2 yet.  I'm about half way there but as you know it isn't my primary project.  And, honestly, the rest of life is getting in my way. 

And here's a sneak peak of Scrap Squad #6.  Finally, all the units are done and I've begun piecing the blocks together.  In fact nearly 20 of the 64 blocks are done.  I'm trying for 10 blocks a day amongst all the other stuff I am doing this week. 

One of the "other" things I am doing this week is preparing High Tea for my neighborhood tea group.  Usually we meet in the morning for tea and a bit of food.  We've been doing some alternative things recently including a Halloween party with hubbies, going to the symphony's Decorator House and a lunch out.  I decided to do a High Tea so every one will be at my house on Wednesday for an early high tea (2pm rather than later in the afternoon).  So, I'm making cucumber sandwiches (and I don't even like cucumber) little cookies, fruit salad, chicken salad sandwiches and tea.  That's been the focus the last few days.  

Do you remember this post about attending a High Tea at Sweet Simplici Tea?  Scroll down to the tea pots in their cozies.  Yep, I finally made one.  It turned out very much like the one in the picture although it seems a bit bigger around the middle which could just be based on the size of my tea pot.  I'll be doing a tutorial to make your own tea cozy sometime in January.  
Now, how did I do on my weekly goals? 

Week of December 3
Get SS #6 into top form √ but not a top yet
Keep up with Easy Street √ help! I’m falling behind
Finish Fcq Equilter blocks and get in the mail blocks done and will be mailed today
Work on Natalie's Christmas present I don’t think I worked on this at all.

Week of Dec. 10

Work on SS #6
Work on Easy Street 
Finish decorating the house
Clean the kitchen, wash kitchen floor
Prepare High Tea for my neighborhood group

That's it for me.  I'm linking up with Judy's Patchwork Times and Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville's Quips and Snips.  I'm off to visit a few blogs and then I must get going on all the things I need to get done this week!  

Happy Quilting All!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Gifts in the Mail

How nice to get the mail and find something unexpected.
A special thanks to Alycia at Alycia Quilts who sent these fabrics to me.  Wow.  I did enter a couple of her drawings but I know I wasn't the winner. So do me a favor, go visit Alycia's website.  She has a contest running now for a $5 Starbucks gift card or some scraps.  You have until Friday at noon.  You'll have to scroll back to her December 3 blog to leave a comment.  I don't like coffee and heaven knows I don't need more scraps right now.  She also mentions an upcoming contest with a tie in to Sew Cal Gal. I'm sure there will be some more Quilts of Valor in my future.  

I'm still in the midst of two big projects.  My current Scrap Squad quilt has all of its units done, time to sew into blocks.  As lots of you are doing I'm also working on Easy Street mystery by Bonnie Hunter.  I haven't been able to sew all of the flying geese units but I've got a start on them.  You can find Easy Street at Quiltville Snips and Quips. This takes you right to Step 3.  Look at her heading to find the rest of the info on Easy Street.  I will be farther behind next week as I've got a full week already. 

One thing I'm working on is decorating my house for Christmas.  We finally succumbed to buying an artificial tree this year, a good one that should last many years.  And, it is pre-lit.  Yeah makes it that much easier.  Saturday I decorated it and some of the areas of the living room. We can't have a lot of excess stuff around as the dogs (or more probably one smaller black dog) will take a liking to it.  I've been hunting glass ornaments to put in a glass container so have hit several different stores.  I was blown away by this: an orange Christmas tree. 
Hum, I wonder who would want an orange Christmas tree.  The only ones I could think of would be Virginia Tech fans.  And, blue too?  Yikes. I will definitely stick with my green fake tree instead of these. 

I finish this blog with a picture that may help clarify the statement above about where I can leave things in the house... I'm pretty darn sure a smaller black dog decided to see what was in my tote bag.  Luckily he didn't rip out any stitches.... hum, I wonder if a black dog was setting up the yellow dog to be the guilty party? Just sayin'.

On to the studio, well after breakfast and cleaning things up a bit and answering mail.

Happy Quilting All! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Design Wall Monday

Another Design Wall and I'm really happy with what I've gotten done over the week.

First up, Easy Street.  I finished my four patches.

 I've started my flying geese. Unfortunately Easy Street is really my leaders/enders project so it took me the whole week to finish the 4 patches. I'm hoping I can get the flying geese done this week so I don't get too far behind. I need to "refine" my geese units as they aren't coming out the right size.  So, I viewed Bonnie's video and will make a few adjustments.  I'll probably make 20 extra so that I can get enough of the exact right size. 

Another project I'm doing a little at a time is this pinwheel. Last night I realized I could arrange the blocks I streak of lightening design. Hum, can't decide if I like it. What do you think?  Should I spread around the colors?  I have several more blocks in the works so I may actually get two quilts from these blocks. BTW, I took these pictures at night so the colors are off. 

I'm still making units for Scrap Squad #6. I'm really hoping I get all the units done early this week so I can start putting it together.

And the Goals report:
Work on SS#6
Keep up with Easy Street
Work on Natalie's Christmas present
Sing Lessons and Carols on Sunday√ wow, it was lovely. 
Finish Fcq Equilter blocks and get in the mail Did more but have a few more to finish
Clean off cutting table Am I nuts?  I don't have time to do this now.  I've shoved the offending stuff back and I have a good size area to cut in.  It will do for the time being! 

Week of December 3
Get SS #6 into top form
Keep up with Easy Street
Finish Fcq Equilter blocks and get in the mail
Work on Natalie's Christmas present

That's it this week.

Don't forget to visit Patchwork Times to visit design walls across the Internet. And you can also visit Quiltville Quips and Snips to see how far people are on Easy Street.

Happy quilting all!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

November's Stash Busting

Good news, I used more fabric than I bought this month! YEAH. 
Fabric In Nov.          7.625yards            Fabric In 2012       101.045
Fabric Out Nov.      12.875                   Fabric Out 2012       96.345
Used In Nov:           5.25                     Used 2012              -4.7

A great month!  Now if I could just end the year using more than acquiring.  But I'm not going to hold my breath.  I'm working on Scrap Squad #6 and Easy Street.  I think I've got the fabric for #6 but I'll need a backing.  I will probably have to get more fabric for Easy Street.  If I can finish #6 by the end of the year I might be able to break even.  

Not much else to report now.  Happy sewing all!