Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gifts For The Family!

Busy time of the year, right?!  It happens every holiday.  Same time every year.  Sneaky, sneaky holidays ready to bite you in the butt!  I usually don't make many gifts for the holidays, just enough to put me in a slight panic!

Yesterday while sitting around wondering what I should do, I decided I wanted to make a Mini Quilt for my Mom.  Something sweet and pretty.  She lives in Minnesota and can't get around very well.  Damn age (that sneaks up on you too)!  I thought a 'little pretty' with color for those cold winter days was in order.  Plus, she would think of me and how much I love her every time she sees it!!  Win, Win! 

Last year I received a gift from my daughter Britt's best friend since kindergarten, Anne.  I blogged about it here:  A Sweet Surprise.  What better than a heart full of color and love?!

16" x 16"
I used all hand dyed fabrics, including the gray linen border.  I love the variations of color. Love the straight line quilting.  This is a quick project to make.  I think it may have taken me a couple hours.

The formula is simple.  Decide on fabric for the heart, and fabric for the background.  

20 ~ 2 1/2" squares for the heart
10 ~ HST's half background, half heart fabric
6 ~ 2 1/2" squares background fabric        

2 1/2" border strips

I'm pretty sure she will love it.  If nothing else it will make a wonderful LARGE mug rug!

This is the one Anne made for me!
Last minute gift ideas and gift giving runs in our family.  My husband is the same way. Last year a couple of weeks before Christmas he blurts out that he wished he had thought about it earlier to have me make place mats for his Mom & Step Dad.  It just was not going to happen at that time!  This year I surprised him and made a set!  Yep!  I'm thinking ahead this time!

12" x 18"
Paper pieced Hummingbird blocks (AKA Periwinkle Star).  I used this tutorial from Rita at Red Pepper Quilts.  I was so happy to have found this tutorial!  

I enlarged the pattern so the blocks would be large enough to make place mats and not have to add a border.  

I love how these seams meet!  So very cool to me!  I'm pretty easily amused, I suppose! 

It's time to get back to quilting!  I have a twin size HST quilt and my Vice Versa BOM waiting in line.  

I have another project that needs to be quilted, but I can't share it yet!  It's a Secret Santa gift for a Music City Modern Quilt Guild member.  I would hate to ruin the surprise if she should see a blog post before!  But I cannot wait to share it!  And make another something, something like it!

How is your holiday gift making coming along?  Are you ahead of the game, behind the eight ball or right on target?


Saturday, November 22, 2014

BOM ~ Vice Versa Quilt

Nothing like taking my time on putting this one together!  I cannot believe that it has been nearly a year since I started my first Block-of-the-Month.   Anne Marie Chany of Gen X Quilter put together an exciting and beautiful BOM Club and I hate to see it end!  

Every month there were 2 blocks to make.  Vice Versa ~ opposites.  When I started this project I knew I wanted to use hand dyed fabric.  The beautiful aqua blue background is a Bella Cotton.  Picking the fabrics was the hardest part and I certain was on the fence about the colors at first.  After a few blocks it grew on me!

Last week I decided it was high time to assemble the quilt top.  Nearly ever fiber in me was screaming to finish this differently from the pattern.  You know ~ just to be different. Not just that though.  I have never ever made a square quilt.  For some reason they make me uncomfortable.  I've come to the conclusion it's because in my mind I am not 'square'...I'm 'rectangle'!  I know!!!  How crazy is that?!  

In the end I decided since this was my year of firsts, I was going square!  Follow the directions.  Play along!

As I was sitting sewing last night, I looked over at this quilt draped over the rail.  I was struck by the crispness of the rich, dark hand dyed fabrics against the background.  I think that was the point (finally) that I knew I picked the right combination of colors.  How about that?  It only took a year! 

I still have to baste and quilt it.  I haven't decided on the quilting design yet, but I know it will come to me.  Eventually.  First I need to decide on the backing fabric.  I believe I will dye some fabric for that.  So, I had better hop to it!

This quilt will end up 57" x 57" and they are 9" blocks.  

So, have you done a BOM?  
Do you love them?

I would love to do another one, so if anyone has any ideas I would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It's The Little Things

This time of years seems to fly by in the blink of an eye.  Holiday festivities are in full swing. Baking, planning, gift making.  It seems every year about this time, I start getting in panic mode. Will I get my gifts finished, will I be ready for the holidays, are my shops stocked?! Amazingly it does all come together.  It may become more stressful every year, but it all works out.

After selling a good bunch of bookmarks from Twiggy & Opal Too last week, I thought I had better restock.  They make great stocking stuffers!  You may be thinking 'do people still use bookmarks'? The answer is a big YES!  There are still die hard book readers out there! Holding a book in your hands or encouraging a child to read is still pretty popular!

These whales are fabulously fun!  A closed book with a whale tail saving your spot...too cute!

A pod of whales!
Complete with a blow hole!

If mammals aren't your thing...how about a den of snakes?  These are my kind of snake! Very friendly, cute and one that I would actually hold!

I used leather for the forked tongue.

And of course if you are wanting a slightly more sophisticated look, I got you covered!

The button is perfect to keep the bookmark from slipping inside your book.

In the end, I think I made about 30-35 bookmarks.  It was a welcomed afternoon of something different.  I needed a break from quilting.  Just a short break.

I have officially been blogging for a year now (I started October 5th, 2013) (happy anniversary to me) and decided it's time to take off the 'training wheels' in 2015 with my very own tutorials.  Gotta move forward, take it up a notch!

These are so easy!  And I cannot wait to share a tutorial with you!  


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Color Block Placemats

Back in September I was in Chattanooga at the AQS Quilt Show.  It was a wonderful experience and my first time attending a quilt show.  Plus, I got to spend a few days with my daughter.  One of our 'gotta do's' was visit Spool.  It's a really fabulous shop and Maddie (the owner) was a delight to meet!  Super friendly environment. 

Spool ~ Chattanooga
One of my purchases was Pepper Cory's Peppered Cotton fabric.  As soon as I saw the colors, I knew I had to have some!  Gorgeous!  The weight of this fabric surprised me. Very sturdy, rich, soft and touchable.  This fabric is considered a shot cotton ~ the warp and weft are different colors. 
25 Gorgeous Colors
I'm never sure what I will make when I buy fabric.  It may sit for a while on a little shelf until an idea hits me.  One day it did.  I wanted to make some placemats with a modern design. After playing with ideas and making a practice piece, I settled on this design.  A very simple design using rectangles.

Color Block Placemat
The peppered cotton colors are Fuchsia, Aubergine, Morning Glory and Blue Jay. Beautiful together!  

I decided grays would be best bet to highlight the Jewel Tones.  Each peppered cotton has its own gray ~ Kona Shadow, Iron, Medium Gray and Pewter.  

13 1/2" x 17 1/2"

I actually free-motion quilted the center!  Little projects + FMQ = I can handle that!!  


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My Iron Is Incontinent ~ The Leaky Truth

It seems my iron is at that age where she just cannot hold her water!  Drip, drip, drip.  Aging gracefully is not in the cards, but the appliance graveyard seems to be!

Black & Decker Digital Advantage 2030
I love this iron.  It has all the bells and whistles that I need.  Great steam, great settings, lightweight, glides like an angel.  The price is super reasonable.  Which is probably why I have bought four over the years ~ all ending up having the same problem with peeing/leaking.  I use her all the time, nearly everyday.  What would a quilter do without her faithful iron?!  

Drippity Drip Drip
I know it's time to invest in another iron.  My heart says 'just get another one', my mind says 'get something different'.  

Since I use it all the time, I should really invest in a heavy duty one.  Something that will last longer than a year or two!  Yes, this Black & Decker don't last much longer than that!  Crazy!  
Yes, it's another HST Quilt!

This is where your help would be greatly appreciated!  I need some advice and suggestions!  

What kind of iron do you currently use?

Would you recommend it to others?

What do you love about your iron?

What do you hate about your iron?

How long have your owned your current iron?

What is the one thing you look for when buying a new iron?

One thing I cannot live without is an iron.  Sometimes you have to make a clean break from the one you love.  Start over.  Start Fresh.  Be strong.  I'm being a little dramatic!  I do not like change.  It can be way to stressful and at this point in my life...I can do without that!

With a new day comes new strength and new thoughts~
Elanor Roosevelt  

Friday, November 7, 2014

I realized it was that time of the year that I should get some things in my Etsy shops re-stocked.  Just to round them out, freshen up and fill them up!

Yes, I do have two shops.  Last year I decided I should split my main shop and keep it cohesive.  It got to the point where I had so much...crap...stuff that all my proudest and best things were getting lost.  It was also a time to revamp pictures, descriptions and well, basically everything!  

I love to make other things besides quilts, but they were out of place in my #1 shop.  One of the things in my Twiggy & Opal Too shop are these crochet roll-ups.  Such a simple and useful little item.  

As I was rummaging through my sewing closet, I found a stack of fabric cut out, interfaced and waiting to be assembled!  Saved me a ton of time!  This was one of those times where I decided it was time to 'get rid' of some fabric that I knew I may never use.

A pile of destashing results.

Fabulous variety of color!

Neatly stacked and ready to list!

I am having a serious debate with myself right now.  I'm not sure I want to keep two shops. Then again, what would I do with all the things I 'have' to make??!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Fantastic Finish

Oh how I love when I love something!  Especially when its a project that literally takes me to a meditative, zen happy place!  Having a vision (usually not completely thought out) and having it come together is such an amazing feeling to me.

Quilting is so creative.  How many times have you seen a quilt and thought...I so want to do that?  Every other quilt I look at inspires me!  Makes me think in different ways, pushes me to do more, try more.  I love quilters!  You guys may or may not know how much you inspire others.  

Okay...the finish!

50" x 64"

A beautiful array of shot cottons and just a touch of hand dyed.  The gray is Kona Shadow.
It is a beautiful light gray that really enhanced these colors.

I went CRAZY with the quilting!  After dividing the quilt in 4 sections, I machine quilted super dense organic lines in a Log Cabin type design.  I used 6 different thread colors alternating colors in a random sort of way.

I have never quilted a quilt in such a dense way before.  It was a lot of work, lots of thread changes, lots of turns.  However, so worth it in the end!  I was hoping after washing it that it would look amazing!

This is the back.  I couldn't let those test blocks go to waste, so I incorporated them in the back.  The grays are Kona Pewter and Kona Iron. I love this back and plan on making a quilt front with the design!

Thank you for stopping by and letting me over indulge with this quilt!