Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bye-Bye 2013 ~ Hello 2014!

I know.  I think we all say the same thing every year about this time ~ 'where did the time go?'  It flies by at super sonic speed, faster every year it seems to me.  Especially the older I get!!!  

I have long since ended 'Ringing in the New Year'.  Partially because I can't stay up that late and my party days are far behind me!

Let's celebrate what we want to see more of.  What the New Year brings to you will partially depend on what you bring to the New Year!   

It was a pretty big year for me!  I opened a second Etsy shop, quit my job, found my quilting 'style', learned new techniqes and started a blog!  I hope to make 2014 a new beginning.  Take a few risks.  Push myself.  Get out of my comfort zone.  Easier said than done!

2013 in Review   

1. Proud Mama!, 2. 'Outside the Paint Box', 3. A Happy Finish., 4. Feedsack Quilt Finished!, 5. Last of the Leftovers!, 6. Color Series #3...'Red Sky At Night', 7. Caribbean Breeze!, 8. Three Sets., 9. Both., 10. Color Block Back, 11. Taylor's Quilt, 12. Ocean Waves Wall Hanging., 13. Green With a Dash of Envy!, 14. All Finished., 15. Color Series #2, 16. Close Up

"Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book.  Write a good one." ~ Brad Paisley

And my story (and yours) continues...


Linking to:

Year In ReviewLily's Quilts

Monday, December 30, 2013

Holiday Haul

Now that the holidays (for the most part) are behind us, I thought I would share a few goodies I received under the tree!

Some were complete surprises, while a couple were...well you know, sent with links to a certain person who didn't know what to get me!!  Some people are so hard to shop for. This year it was me (so I hear)!  

First on my list was Modern Bee.  There are some pretty awesome quilts in this book! Lindsay Conner (Lindsay Sews) put together an inspiring collection of beautiful quilts. There  are so many talented ladies who participated...a must have!  Plus, there is a Mosaic Tiles Quilt Along with lots of great prizes at Craft Buds!  I hope to get something together for that!

The other books were a complete surprise!  My daughter knows me well!  'Color Harmony' is something that I need to read!  Stat!  I have been trying to get a better understanding of color. Color everything!  So far, I am loving it and hope some of what I read/learn will connect and stick! 

'We Love Color' is all about Kona Solids.  I'm all about solids!  There are some spectacular quilts in this one, not to mention the ladies - what a line up!

I did get a few tools of the trade.  Have a few templates?!  You can never too many!  My sister (who also quilts)  sent me all the Fons & Porter templates.  I'm like a kid in a candy shop!  She also sent me a 'wooden iron'.  I have never seen let alone used one.  Its used to open seams or press seams to the side.  This should come in handy for so many things!  I love my sister!

Sometimes kids have a hard time shopping for Moms.  My son, he got a link sent to him. Now I am the proud owner of a 1/4" seam foot (and plate) for my Janome!  I have heard good things about this foot and hope to make good use of it!

The most exciting gift (for me), Bloc Loc templates!!!  Woo-Who!  I have only messed around with a couple half square triangles since having these, but I can tell that these will be invaluable!  Usually my daughter Britt, knows all the latest and greatest gadgets out in the quilting world.  Perhaps this was the first time for me to introduce her to something new!   

What was your favorite gift?  

Its funny how we sometimes wait for special occasions to get something we really, really need want.  I'm a very happy girl who received some very useful gifts!  

Monday, December 23, 2013

No More Sloppy Seconds!

The quilt was a HUGE hit!  As you can see, Taylor has become 'one' with his quilt!  It hasn't left his side, bed, floor or chair since he received it!  I was thrilled and yes...I even got a few hugs afterwards! 

We all know I love to make quilts.  I love to put my twist on each of them in one way or another.  It hasn't always been that way.  After years of quilting, I finally found my style - my way to express myself. 

When I started quilting I made some pretty 'ho-hum' quilts.  I had the bug and just had to quilt, quilt, quilt!  I always made twice as many blocks as I needed!  (I still do, just not as many)  Of course, I couldn't just let the blocks go to waste, now could I?!  Nope!  I used all the sloppy seconds to make two different quilts for my son Taylor.  He loved them, was fine with it, he still uses them both.  The last time I made him a quilt was 4 years ago.  I've come a long way since then and it was time to share that with Taylor.

In two previous posts:
A Little Less Imagination Required and Caution: Imagination Required

I showed the progress I was making on his quilt and hoped it would all come together in the end.  Here it is, in all its glory!


The back is a fabric from Ikea that my daughter gave me and it became the inspiration for the quilt design.

Little House

Little Dog
Quilting Detail

I ended up quilting organic horizontal and vertical waves over almost the entire quilt.  It was my intention to create 'windows' with the curves.  The little house on the front is a combination of machine quilting and free-motion quilting.  Some cobblestones, foliage, shingles and a cute little doggie!  

Taylor has been a huge fan of my quilts.  He doesn't have a lot to say most of the time. So, when he throws out a compliment, I know he is sincere!

I'm excited for him to open his special present from me.  I've tried to keep this one top secret from him.  I think he will be surprised, big smile and perhaps I will even get a hug!

Taylor my wonderfully awesome son.....
No more sloppy seconds for you!

Linking up at WHOOP WHOOP Friday!
and  TGIFF Sew Fresh Quilts

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Selfish Sewing.

After the final quilting of the 'Imagine Quilt' (aka Imagination Required), I had an overwhelming urge to make something for myself.  All Christmas presents are safe, sound and ready to hand stitch, Etsy Shops are stocked until after the New Year and the dog has had her Holiday bath.  

I cannot remember when or what the last thing is that I made for me!  Do you remember the last time you made something just for you?  Maybe I think that I can make myself something any time I want...so I'll do it later.  Later was today.  

I pulled out a bunch of hand dyed fabrics and proceeded to cut a batch of 6 1/2" squares.  I'll just make a simple, quick and fun little half-square triangle table runner!

And there you have it!  (I haven't stitched the binding yet)  Simplistic beauty and it was made just for me!

I quilted simple straight lines a 1/4" from the seams.  Effective.  Easy.  Done.

And...modeling this latest Avant Garde elegant hand dyed runner is none other than the vivacious super dog model...Mary!

Take some time and do something nice for yourself today!  Or tomorrow!  

Friday, December 20, 2013

Today's Eye Candy

We all get inspiration from looking at others quilts.  There are so many beautiful creations to look at, admire and get a creative spark from.

Here are a few of my favorites.  All from ladies who constantly give my mind a run for its money!

1. Molly's quilt, 2. A Making Rows Quilt, 3. Boro Blues - Stitched Patched and Quilted Wall Hanging, 4. Unsettled quilt, 5. Christy's Quilt Back, 6. Star Bright Quilt from Vintage Quilt Revival


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Little Less Imagination Required!

Last week I posted my current WIP.  The 'caution' quilt as I like to call it!  (You can catch up here, if you'd like)  I'm pleased to say that I have made progress!  Today it started to come together and that pesky little vision I had is becoming a reality.  

I was hoping to have it finished by now, but Mr. Flu-Bug had other plans for me.  Three days of misery under a pile of quilts!  My daughter was a very attentive nurse...for one day. Then she fled north and deserted me!  Boyfriends always come first or maybe I was a difficult patient!  I'm all better now!

So, back to the quilt.  I had all the individual blocks made prior to getting sick.  This is the inspiration fabric and will be the backing.

Ikea Fabric

My design wall full of lots of fun blocks!  I was getting excited to put this puzzle together after unexpected time away from it.

This morning I had an idea.  I needed to make a house block.  It was so fun putting this house together.  Of couse, I'm not a builder so its a little 'wonky'... in a good way.  It should be  a great focal point, I do believe!

Little House on the Design Wall
With that out of the way, it was time to put this idea to the test and connect the dots.  I arranged all the blocks basically where I wanted them and figured out which blocks would be in the same sections.  This is the fun part!  The puzzle part.  

Each section had 2, 3 or 4 blocks that needed to be assembled using a dark blue fabric. My little drawings were very helpful in a cryptic sort of way.  I could roughly figure out where my blue pieces would be, which ones I should attach first and rough sizes.    

Sections Pieced
The entire bottom third is complete.  Then I ran out of steam for the day.  You can pretty much see where I'm going, right?

One more day and the top will be finished.  The fun part will be over and I get to agonize on how I should quilt it!  Any suggestions?  I certainly could use them!

WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced

Monday, December 16, 2013

Secret Santa Swap

Oh what fun it is!  This time of the year is always magical!  The hustle and bustle of shopping, decorating or baking - parties to attend and yearly traditions dusted off!  Making handmade gifts for friends and family is always exciting.  And receiving a special handmade gift is even better!

Last Saturday our Quilt Guild (Music City Modern Quilt Guild) had a holiday party meeting. There was a vast variety of food...yummy sweets!  I met several members I hadn't had the opportunity to meet before, I brought my daughter along (and have her talked into joining I think) and it was Secret Santa Swap time!  

This was my gift!  Isn't it cool?  Royce is a mixed media artist (among other talents) and her work is amazing!  I am totally in love with the industrial feel...see the watch piece on the left?!  I was so happy to receive this and will find a special place to display it in all it's glory!

Here is a little close up detail.  Royce does all the metal work herself...she is a very multi-talented lady!  If you want to check out more of her work, here is a link to her blog!

Another fun event was the Dirty Santa Swap!  Sounds awful right?  Not so much!  Each member brought a wrapped package of fabric equalling one yard.  You draw numbers and in numerical order, pick a package to open.  However...if you like any fabric that has already been opened, you can take it.  Hence the 'dirty' part!  

I was lucky enough to procure this delicious Tula Pink fabric!  It changed hands a few times before it landed in my tight grip...I wasn't going to let it go!!

I had a great time.  I think everyone did.  Officially for me, the holidays have started.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Winners!

Thank you for making my first ever giveaway a huge success!  I had a blast reading all the comments on what your favorite tools was.  The top three tools:  seam ripper, rotary cutter and scissors!  All three equally important!

Back to business!  

The winner of the Hand Dyed fat quarter set goes to:


*My computer is my favorite tool :) Beautiful hand dyes!

And the second prize Make-Up Bag and Handmade Soap goes to:


*I love my sewing machine. She just hums for me!

The winners will be notified by email!  Thanks again, and I hope you all come back for a visit!  I plan on having more giveaways in the very near future!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Washed, Stuffed and Shipped!

Its a wonderful feeling to finish a project.  Even more so when its a Christmas gift!  I am pretty sure they will make a couple people pretty happy!

You can read more about these lovelies here:  Pillows For Christmas

 Whiskers Paper Piece On Craftsy

I love Shoo-Fly blocks and without sashing, the geometric pattern looks great! 

Both pillows have been sent off and are now safely under the Christmas tree...unopened and waiting for the big day!

Linking up at WHOOP WHOOP Friday!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

CAUTION: Imagination Required!

This may be a stretch...but bear with me!  I have this idea in my mind - its fighting to get out!  The end goal is to have a lap size quilt ready by Christmas for my son.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

I was 'awarded' custody of this awesome Ikea fabric from my daughter. (see the family theme)  When I saw it, I fell in love with it.  That feeling quickly turned into an idea or two and here I am!  

Plan:  The Ikea fabric will be the backing.  On the front I would like to mimic...in an artsy way...the windows.  Instead of the dark gray background, I plan on using a deep, dark blue. 

This is the beginning of the window interpretation.  Only two blocks so far.  I'm using hand dyed fabric for the most part.  Same colors as the Ikea fabric.  I know, a few more blocks would certainly help.  

The dark blue looks black in these pictures.  Trust me.  It really is blue!  I sometimes look at my creative ideas and wonder:  'Are You Mad Woman?'

This is going to be continued...I hope to have many other blocks tomorrow.  Maybe then it will come together for me!  (and you!)

WIP Wednesday....@ Freshly Pieced!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway WEEK!

Welcome to the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Extravaganza!

This Giveaway has officially ended!

I look forward to the Sew Mama Giveaway every year.  This time I get to be the giver...and I have to say, I'm thrilled to be participating!

Being a new blogger (very new), I'm still finding my way, my voice and my own blogging style.  This giveaway is a great way to introduce ourselves, build readership and find some fantastic new blogs!

This is going to be fun...are you ready?  Set?  Let's go!!!

I have two prizes up for grabs!  Yippie!

A beautiful collection of Hand Dyed Fat Quarters (1 1/4 yard total).  Hand dying fabric is a new passion for me.  I love creating unique colors and textures.  I have many other fat quarter sets available in my Etsy shop, Twiggy & Opal.  

This set is bright and bold.  Perfect for so many projects.  The variation in the fabric is what I love the most!

A great combination of goodies!  A lovely, fragrant and beautiful bar of soap!  This soap is made by my lovely daughter Britt.  She is just getting ready to open her own Etsy shop 'Hello Soap'.  Also,  make-up bag with a vintage button heart on the front!

A great little 'pick me up' for anyone!

How about the rules?!  I bet you would like to know what you have to do to win, well....
a couple of back flips, do a happy dance?  NAH!  Let's keep it simple!

You have two chances to win:

#1.  Leave one comment and answer this question.  What is your favorite tool?  Quilting, sewing, power tool...anything!

#2.  Follow my blog and leave another comment saying you have done so.  If you already follow my blog leave a comment saying so.

• This giveaway is open to EVERYONE. 

• If you’re a “no reply” or an anonymous commenter, include your email address in your 

• Giveaway ends December 13 at 7pm CST

• I will pick two winners using Random generator and then announce the winner on my blog
  and notify via email.
Good luck!

Thank you for stopping by!  


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pillows for Christmas

Yesterday was an impromptu pillow sewing day!  I love having a day where I had nothing in mind to sew (or even if I was going to sew), and then an idea takes hold and you go with it!

Case in point:  Pillows for Christmas gifts!

One of my sisters recently lost one of her 'babies'.  Her cat Angus - he was 20+ years old and   as you can imagine, very much a part of her world.  If you have ever had a pet that has passed you can understand how difficult it is.  My son Taylor actually was the one who named this cat for her.  I believe it was a name of one of his boy toys - a mutant troll or some such thing!  He was 2 years old at the time. (time does fly)

I remembered seeing a cute cat quilt via Flickr and I quickly hunted down the pattern.  Six White Horses Blog has an adorable baby quilt and the pattern is a free Craftsy download.  

Whiskers Paper Pieced Quilt Block
Isn't it cute?!  Paper piecing is something that is pretty new to me.  Its one of the 'skills' I'm working on and going to master next year.
FMQ 'Angus'
I decided some free motion quilting could work...another skill to master next year!  Maybe it was the 'magic gloves' I used for the first time ever or the small project, but this FMQ seemed to flow better than ever for me.  I'm not saying its great, just felt better!  I FMQ her kitty's name...it may make her cry...

The other pillow I made was for my brother. My daughter started a Churn Dash quilt years ago.  She gifted the blocks to me and I ended up making a quilt for my brother.  He and I were just talking about this quilt too!  He loves it still! 
2008 Churn Dash

His pillow is not as impactful as the quilt!  I still had (and still have) left over blocks.  I hope he likes green!
Bold Geometric 
Another couple Christmas Gifts done.  And hopefully a couple of happy siblings too!

Do you ever have an impromptu sewing day?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Giveaway + Sew, Mama, Sew = 3 days

Only three two ONE days until the infamous Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway!  

Are you excited?  Are you looking forward to checking out new blogs?  Maybe following, entering and winning?

I am!  This will be my first Giveaway!  While I have looked forward to the biannual giveaway since it started...this time I am finally able to be the 'giver'!  

I'm on pins & needles.  For me, I'm looking forward to meeting new people and checking out new blogs! (and giving prizes)  

I will have 2 prizes up for grabs!  I hope you will join me.    
See you soon!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Crochet Roll 'Shards' Update

I think these pictures are much better than the previous post pictures...mostly because I finished the Crochet Roll!

I think it turned out great.  More importantly,  my customer was thrilled!

Sigh of relief!

Linking up at Whoop Whoop and Crazy Mom Quilts!


My WIP of the day!  I have a custom Crochet Roll request.  I love being able to 'do my thing' on these kind of projects.  
Once we figured out the color direction...the rest is up to me!

In this case, teal + coral + gray = possibilities!  Not that that is out of the way, where to start?

Cut, sew, cut...think!  The predominate color is going to be teal.  I pieced a 'loose' version of a chevron.  

Chevron Detail


And the final placement, piecing of the front panel.  

Off to finish the lining and pocket!  I hope to share the finished piece very soon!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Needle Books

I have a couple people who I adore - who I try and send a little handmade goodness to every Christmas. This year I was trying to come up with an idea, something different than the usual. I had initially decided on coin purses.  I made some cute little 'thread spools' for the focal point, but alas...it didn't sit well with me!

In the end I decided on Needle Books!  Cute little, fun little, pretty little needle books!

A rainbow of delight!

Thread Spool
I used some wool felt that my daughter has stored at my home.  Plus...I did dip into her fabric scraps for the inside detail!  I'm pretty sure she is okay with it, then again what can she do now?!
The design is simple.  The construction is basic.  All raw edges.  Rotary cutter with a wave blade.   A decorative stitch and zig-zag.    
Back with a little pocket!
Approx. 3 1/2" x 4"
As you can see, I put a snap on the blue one.  I decided it wasn't really necessary.  They are just fine without it!  Hope these special ladies like this little gift!

I was thinking this should be my first ever tutorial!  What do you think?  Anyone interested?