Monday, November 30, 2015

Pattern Revisited

It isn't often that I remake a quilt more than a couple times.  I usually can't wait to move on to a new design, something different.  However, since I designed this quilt and have a semi-finished pattern written...I felt the need to make it one more time!

I first made it exactly two years ago.  You can see how fast I am at making actual patterns for my designs!  

41" x 52"
This quilt has never had a name.  It needs a name.  Especially since it keeps coming back! It does remind me of Gum Balls!

The Shoo-Fly block is one of those blocks that with one flip or change, becomes completely different.  Which is pretty great.  A versatile block.

My design consists of 5 different sizes.  (3", 6", 7 1/2", 9 1/2" and12")  The different sizes together are what make this quilt work for me.  It breaks it up, gives the blocks breathing space.

And naturally, I went with color...30 different colors to be exact!  I was able to use a little of a lot scraps, but not nearly enough to make a dent!  And to round it out, Kona Snow is what I used for the background. 

These 3" blocks are a little tricky, a little bit of a pain in the butt...but worth it.  Since making the first quilt in 2013, where I tired to make the HST's perfect without trimming, I have since learned about the Bloc-Loc Ruler and that making HST's bigger and trimming is the way to go for better accuracy. 

This version received a quilted diamond design, which I really like!  

This text print has been lurking in my stash for a while.  It was suppose to be a 108" wide, but when I received it, it was in two pieces!   And, the two pieces didn't even add up to the yardage I ordered!  Maddening, right?  It turned out fine in the end, fabric!

That led to this...a scrappy back!    

I feel like every time I make this design, I tweak a little here and there.  Or I find I'm off by 1/4" somewhere else.  Now I see why pattern testers are so important!  Shall I say it?  One of these days I'm going to make a pattern!  (1073rd time I've said that!)


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Distractions 'R' Us

Distractions can be a lot of fun.  Or they can be just that, a big fat distraction!  Just when I thought I had all my 'goodies' ready for the Gift Horse Pop-Up Show (A New Adventure), a new idea popped into my head.  I had to do it.  I just had to.  

Cacti Pot Holders

The ever popular and always a adorable Cacti!  This succulent paper pieced pattern has been on my to-do list for quite a while.  I knew one day I would find the time to give it a try.   

The pattern is by Amanda at Material Girl Quilts.  The pattern has four different cactus plants each in their own little pots, and all neatly set upon a shelf.  I was so happy to rediscover this tutorial!  It worked well for these pot holders, but it also gave me an idea for a secret Santa gift!

I reduced this Cactus to 75% so it would fit a pot holder.  

The Agave had a little more modifications.  It was reduced to 65% and I made the pot smaller.  

The Succulent Shelf pattern is interchangeable, meaning you can swap pots or cacti!  Very smart!

I'm thinking if you did one of each cactus in the same color scheme...that would make for an even better set!  Next time, right?!

I have also been working on tagging ideas for the show.  It has been fun, but also time consuming.  

I was determined that the pot holder sets needed to be wrangled and kept together!  This is my solution.  A simply designed tag and ribbon.  I really like how it turned out.  The sets will stay together and have enough room for pricing.

Little hang tags were put together for the smaller items.  There won't be any confusion on who made these!

Thankfully I'm finished with everything for this show!  Tomorrow they will be off to their final resting place, tucked somewhere among the other talented artists.  

It does seem like this time of the year is always full of distractions.  How do you handle the stress and do you get distracted? 


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Charity Sew Day

Several times a year our guild schedules a day where we sew our little hearts out for a good cause. One thing we like so make are little tiny smocks for babies who are in NICU.  The sad truth is there are far too many babies who end up having to have an extended stay in the hospital after birth.  Seeing such a tiny baby...I cannot imagine.  

The pattern is available on Craftsy ~ NICU Smock 
These smocks will end up at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital NICU in Nashville.  They are so appreciated by both the hospital and the parents and a fantastic way to give back to the community.

There was a quite hum of sewing machines and constant chatter among us all.  A most enjoyable way to spend the afternoon!

I'm not going to say these little smocks are easy to make.  They are time consuming and a little tough when it comes to turning them.  All made a easier when you are surrounded with good company!

Within a few hours we managed to put together from start to finish 96 NICU smocks.  You would think that would last a while, but the sad truth is it is never enough.  

Lindsay Conner (Lindsey Sews Blog) has been instrumental in making this project a success by hosting a Charity Sew through Craftsy.  2nd Annual Craftsy Charity Sew-Along.
Through her, Craftsy and the remarkable kindness of others, there will be over 950 more smocks that will be donated to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital Nashville!  

A big THANK YOU to the ladies of the Music City Modern Quilt Guild, Lindsay, Craftsy and all the other people who made will make a family very happy! 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Stray Blocks

We all have them.  We try to cut only what is needed.  We think we have calculated correctly every last piece.  Math.  I am not ashamed to say that math and me are like oil and water.  We just plain do not get along.  I've tried.  Many times I cut too much, or I buy too little or I get 3/4th's of the way through and realize what an idiot I was...and have to think of a solution before I can start piecing!  

It hasn't stopped me though!  You would think my 'Gozinta's' would be easier by now! (Boom!!! Dated myself!  For those who are not familiar...Beverly Hillbillies...Jethro math)

Not that it is a big deal having extra blocks, for they will never go to waste or cast aside. They become some thing, eventually!  I like the challenge. 

29 1/2" x 35"
I ended up will a nice stack of leftover Woven Stripe/Kona Shadow blocks.  Enough to make a handsome little baby quilt.  

Uncomplicated. Full of juicy colors! 

I thought I would try a different approach to quilting this time.  I loaded up a pretty teal thread and began free motion quilting some 'squiggles' (fingers) on each set of stripes. Because this was a small workable size quilt, I was able to achieve the desired effect!

While 'Baby Woven' is finished, I still have 'Mama Woven' draped over the rail waiting on its finishing touch!  I think I may try FMQ on it if I can get over the fear!  I've never free motion quilted anything that big before!  

For now, I will revel in this little package!  Take in the colors and crinkle!

Math.  It will always be my Achilles Heel!  It won't stop me from trying to calculate correctly when needed!  They end up becoming something, a new design I may have otherwise never thought of!

Do you have a tip or trick when trying to calculate correctly?  


Friday, November 13, 2015

A New Adventure

A couple of weeks ago I was asked if I would like to participate in a local Holiday Pop-Up Show.  What is a Pop-Up show?  It's an event that last a short time, a place where local artists can share their craft, a way for people to see and buy unique items they wouldn't normally have an opportunity to elsewhere.

Because my daughter is also participating, I thought I would give it a go too!  Nothing to lose!

Gift Horse Pop-Up Shop
604 Gallatin Ave, Ste 215, Nashville, Tennessee 37206
Monday-Friday 10:30-4:00
Saturday 10:00-6:00
Sunday 12:00-4:00

What the heck should I offer?  Quilts, not so much!  Small.  Something small.  I thought long and hard and hard and long.  

Pot Holders.  I spent a couple days making half a dozen or so sets.  They are unique, great for people who are looking for something different and unique, right?  We'll see about that!

4" x 9 1/2"
Pencil Pouches ~ whatever pouches!  I was thinking pencil pouches when I decided to make these, but they are certainly big enough for lots of other things.  

I pieced together a few front panels for those who like that look. 

Rainbow and pencils go hand in hand.

Lined, zipper tabs...the kitchen sink!

I found a couple pieces of my hand dyed fabrics that I thought would work well.  Plus, offering options in the way of designs and colors can't be a bad thing!

Vertical:  3 1/4" x 4 1/2"
Horizontal:  3 1/2" x 4"
You can buy zipper pouches everywhere, I know.  Hopefully there are people who appreciate handmade, love to support local, and want something that isn't mass produced!

I made a few...a few more than a few...coin purses, card holders, zipper pouches. Whatever you want to call them or use them for!  Multipurpose might be a good description for these or any zipper pouch!  I'm thinking stocking stuffer...

These are about as basic as it gets!  No lining!  I decided I would use Shape Flex Fusible Interfacing to give stability and the illusion of a lining.  Do you think that was okay to do?  

I had a lot of smaller pieces of hand dyed fabrics that were perfect for this project.  Shibori, Itajime, stamped, low water and even a couple Anna Marie Horner wovens!

Whether or not these sell is another question!  But that's okay.  If nothing else they make great gifts!  

I was actually very happy to sit and make something different for a little while.  A nice change as always, we all can appreciate that sometimes! 

I'm very appreciative that I was asked to participate in this event!  Along with my things, there will be soap, art prints, greeting cards, jewelry, ceramics and much more!


Monday, November 9, 2015

Challenge Improv

My guild (Music City Modern Quilt Guild) decided to participate in the Modern Quilt Guild's Charity Challenge.  The challenge:  A collaborative effort using a predetermined color palette and Improv With Intent.  The quilt will eventually be donated to a local charity.  Easy right? 

Once an idea was settled on, we were free to do what we do...quilt!  As you know, I do my fair share of improv.  What I don't do is improv specific shapes.  

These are the predetermined colors.  Solids are good!  White, off white, sunflower, tomato red, light teal, grey and black.  Coordinating prints are also allowed.  

Ladies and gentlemen...we got a theme!

This was my first attempt.  It worked pretty well, but I was going crazy trying to figure out how to pull it off.

The second one went a little better.  I'm trying to make each one different and unique.

Hash tag?  No, but it could be.  Let's call this a Sharp Music Note!

This one would be my stealth note!  Kinda funky, kinda weird, but sleek!

I have a couple more I need to make before our next meeting, so I better get busy!  

The more I look at the notes, the more I like them!  Seeing them all together gives me ideas and right now...I don't have time for new ideas!  ARGH!  I really would love to make these into paper pieced patterns.  Which I have never done before!     

My husband thinks they're 'cute'.  Cute!  I can hear the gears turning in his head on this one! He's a musician and his job is to make things perfect...I'm sure these notes are throwing him for a loop and probably make no sense at all to him!


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Peppermint Twist ~ Tutorial

And so it begins...the Holidays are upon us!  Time to think about decking the halls, walls, table and trees!

Today I'm sharing my tutorial 'Peppermint Twist Table Runner' over at Fort Worth Fabric Studio.  I hope you pop over and check it out!  

For an added bonus...I also included a tutorial for Candy Coasters!!  The mini version of the wrapped candies are a sweet delight!  

 I decided Free Motion Quilting was the only way I could give this runner a special touch!

And I love it! 

I hope you enjoy this tutorial!  Happy Decorating!

November Noel (Blossom Heart Quilts)

The Year ~ 2006

First of all, I wasn't about to miss out on Throwback Thursday hosted by Jenn @A Quarter Inch From the Edge this month!  Not this time!  So, I promptly wrote out a post-it note and plastered it on my computer.  And yes, next month's post-it is securely in place!

I have to say, Throwback Thursday is truly a blast from the past.  When I dig through the 'archives' I'm shocked at what I made back in the day...way back in the day!  I'm appalled at the horrific pictures!  The new camera technology was a break through.  Except if you haven't a clue how to use them, the fine art of photography, they look like crap...pure and simple!

This was another collaborative effort with my daughter, Britt.  We decided to make my Mom a quilt together using her favorite colors, purple and lime green.  (not so lime green!)  The only difficult part of this quilt was fussy cutting the square blocks so each had a flower highlighted.  

We went with purple batiks and a soft green for contrast.  One even has a slight shimmer to it.  

I, of course was the quilter of this.  Machine quilted.  It appears I even used a decorative stitch on this one!  What?!  I'm sure I was pulling my hair out, trying to make it perfect!  I didn't know there was a 'thing' called 'burying the threads'!  

We both signed it.  How barbaric!  

The good news, my Mom loved it!  She had to.  Could a mother say 'Wow, that's really awful' to their child or grandchild?  No, she really did love it!

I can't tell you what size it is.  Lap size, for sure.  I can't tell you what the pattern is or where I found it.  I can tell you that as always, we had a fun time making it!

One thing many bloggers say when asked why they started a blog is they wanted to document their quilting journey.  How true!  I am so glad I started a blog, especially now that I, for the most part, can take a good picture.  And for documentation!  We can write about our process, what fabrics we used, the pattern, inspirations...and it is always at our fingertips!  

So, forgive these 'throwback' pictures and limited information.  Let's just say we live and learn!

For Jenn, I'm showing a small picture of probably my ugliest ever quilt I made.  I think it was my second quilt, the fabrics were hideous!  Gag!!  

If I could make the picture smaller I would!  Epic fail, but proud of the effort!