We Moved

Moving is a bear and something I hope I never have to do again.  In April we sold our house in central NC, bought a house in Western NC, and moved to the mountains.

There is a lot less traffic, less people, less stress.  The scenery is gorgeous.  Mountain views from every road.

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mountain overlook

The sunsets are beautiful.

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We bought a home with just over 4-acres.  Only 1 to 1-1/2 acres is cleared though.  It’s an old farmhouse with a barn and workshop.  I just love old homes because they have so much character.  Also, we have a garden space, grapevines, and fruit trees.

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House

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Barn

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Grapes

There is a creek across the road that we have fished several times.

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Another reason I love old homes is because they usually have mature landscaping.  We have many, many different flowering plants in the yard and I love enjoying the fruits of someone else’s labor.  This is just a sampling of the flowers we’ve seen since mid-April.

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And one day we’ll have chickens and goats.  Moving in has taken longer than we hoped but we are finally getting close to being done.  But there is one big drawback to living in the country though  – the internet is horrible!  I guess I can live with that.

WE LOVE IT HERE!!

 

Modern Lone Star

There are certain quilts that must be on every quilters list to make at least once in their lifetime.  Things like Log Cabin, Churn Dash, Dresden Plate, (any) star block, Drunkard’s Path, and certainly the Lone Star.

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To date, I’ve made quilts for my oldest 2 children, and the grandchildren of course.  But I have 2 more children I needed to make quilts for.  I decided to make my middle son (now 23) a Lone Star quilt.  He is 6′ 4″, so even a quilt for snuggling on the couch would need to be larger than usual.

I pulled together some fabric scraps from my stash and then bought a couple of yards of chartreuse fabric to make it pop.  The solid fabric is Kona Slate.  Each diamond is 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ and measures 6 1/2″ point-to-point.

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Then once I had the lone star together, I cut it down one side.  Let me just say, that was super scary.  I shared with you previously here and here some of the challenges and lessons learned while piecing it, so to take a rotary cutter to it at this point was nerve racking.  If I messed it up, it would have to be remade.  But it worked great and the part I cut off, I flipped over to the back.

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I quilted it lightly with parallel lines 1/2″ apart following the lines of the star.IMG_3414

It was so big, I didn’t even get a complete view of the quilt until we were able to hang it for pictures.  (By the way, it’s really hard to photograph such a large quilt.)  I LOVE how it turned out!  It’s so beautiful!

Finished at 70″ x 90″.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Prairie Bonnet

I live in a small mountain town with my husband, teenage son, and parents.  Like most other small mountain towns, this town has quite a few vintage thrift and antique stores.  Tourist frequent the area and the vintage stores in the spring, summer and fall seasons, looking for treasures for their mountain homes or as a souvenir of their vacation.  My mother has a booth at one of the local stores and sells vintage items that she finds other places, and she requested that I make a prairie bonnet to put in her booth.

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First I tried to recall every single cowboy series I watched when I grew up, and of course Little House on the Prairie, and the women and their bonnets.  Thankfully I watched lots of those shows growing up so I had lots of memories to pull from.  LOL.

Then I trekked to the local quilt shop to find some fabric that would be suitable.  I decided the civil war reproduction prints – an area of the store I typically avoid like the plague –  would be the best place to look.  I found this blue mini fern print on a cream background and thought it looked kinda ‘prairie’-ish to me.  I think it will make a very pretty summer bonnet.

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Then after considerable search on the internet, I decided to use this pattern from Buns and Baskets to make my hat.  The pattern is simple and easy to follow and I love how all the seams are enclosed so there are no raw edges.   I worked on it two evenings.  Between the easy pattern, and the good quality fabric, it stitched up very nice.

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Now, she wants a pink one!  :)

This is my 5th UFO finish for the year.  Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

 

UFO Finish #4

I love this mini quilt.  I started this quilt last year when I started a much larger lone star quilt.  I had never done a lone star quilt so I wanted to ‘practice’ on something smaller.  I often practice new techniques in a similar fashion.  I’ll make one or two blocks to see how a quilt will go together, or if a bag or some other project, I may make it first with fabric that I really don’t care about before I cut into my good fabric.  Many times it ends up being a waste of time because (1) the pattern is so complicated I never want to make another one after the first (haha). or (2) because it goes together smoothly.  Other times though, I’m able to find areas that need to be improved or find things I would do differently in order to save fabric usage.

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I pulled this navy scrap with orange, teal, lime green, and purple elephants from my scrap bin and then found more scraps that complemented it.  For the most part the placement of each color was due to how much of each fabric that I had on hand, but I wanted the points to be bright so that the star would SPARKLE.  So orange was the only way to go there.  I just love orange these days.  It’s such a bright, cheery color.

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I used this tutorial by the Hopeful Homemaker for piecing my strips.  I did one thing different that I found to be very helpful.  When piecing the diamonds, I first ‘basted’ the seams with a long stitch.  I found that I often needed to adjust the seams just a smidgen in order for them to line up and it’s so much easier to pick out longer stitches.  Then, once I was happy with how the seams lined up, I would stitch one last time with a small stitch.

One thing I didn’t do that I wish I had was starch all the pieces when piecing.  I usually skip this step because I am impatient and want to get it done, but it really would have helped provide a much crisper, less puckered and wrinkled, finished star.

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I decided to offset the star rather than center it on the background.  It took me a few days to figure out how I wanted to quilt it, and I love what I came up with. First I marked and quilted diamonds to extend the star shape to the bottom and right.

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Then I free-motion quilting the remaining areas with a paisley flower.  I practice my FMQ every chance I get, and this was a very fun design to stitch.  I just love it!

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Then I decided the bottom right corner was a perfect place to put a small elephant.  He’s so cute!

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Quilt finishes at 17.5″ x 17.5″.  Each diamond in the star is 1″ x 1″ finished.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Outhouse Racing

IMG_3576Yesterday we traveled several mountains over to view some local entertainment.  Yes, you read that right. We went to the Outhouse Races – an annual event put on by a local ski resort.  For an hour we were entertained by outhouses on skis.  Only in the mountains would you find entertainment like this!

The outhouses were required to be at least 5′ tall, have a roll of toilet paper, and a hole in the seat.  Otherwise they could be decorated in any way.

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Then the race started.  Some races were clearly dominated.

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Others were too close to call.

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After the hour, White Lightening was the winner of the day.  Even with a broken ski.

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It was a great way to spend the afternoon, even with the frozen temperatures.  And when we left, my husband mentioned it gave him some ideas for next year.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up as a participant next year and not just part of the crowd.

UFO Finish #3

I have finished yet another UFO since the start of the year.  This is my second oldest UFO so I’m glad to finally get it done.  These blocks dates back to 2003.  No lie!

I really love this quilt.  Each block was made by a different person from a block swap I participated in.  No one knew what blogging or social media was back then, so I’m not sure what happened to the other blocks we mailed out or if the other participants finished their quilts.  I’m pretty sure I am the only one that sat it aside for more than a decade though.  I mean, who would do such a thing?  But like they say… ‘better late than never!’

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We each signed the blocks and wrote a little saying about our wonderful country.

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I free motion quilted it with a loop-d-loop (my favorite) with a few stars thrown in here and there.

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This quilt will be donated to our local Quilts of Valor chapter.  I hope it provides comfort and healing to a member of our armed forces that gave so much for our country.

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I’m very happy with the progress I have been making with my UFO’s though I expect I won’t be able to keep up this pace much longer.  Not only is it tax season, but our house is now under contract  (Yippee!) so hopefully we’ll be moving in the next 2-3 months.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

I’m Going to QuiltCon (I wish!)

Although I won’t be there, a quilt of mine will be and that in itself is exciting!  Also there is a moral to this story, so be sure to read to the end.

I decided to enter a quilt into the Michael Miller Glitz Fabric Challenge for this year’s QuiltCon in Pasadena.   I was a lucky recipient of a pack of 8 fat-eighths of Michael Miller Glitz in black/silver and white/silver.  I have not used metallics in a quilt before, so that in itself was challenging.

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The fabrics above should be the focal point of the point, but other Michael Miller solids were permitted.  Michael Miller prints could be used on the back and/or binding.

After some soul searching I decided to order Mist & Honey as solids for the front.  I love how the warm honey and the cool mist play off each other and has become one of my new favorite color combinations.

And I found a coordinating Michael Miller print for the back that also used the same colors.  Maybe I’m on the only one loving that combination.  I couldn’t tell by the picture that the print I picked for the back had metallic gold accents until it was here.  It was metallic gold, and I had metallic silver for the front.  Hmmm…  Oh, well.  It is what it is.  I decided to roll with it.  The charcoal solid was for the binding.  IMG_2845

You may recall the block I designed earlier in the year for the Cirrus Solids Block Challenge.  This block was very easy to piece  since it is made up of 1″ blocks (finished) and then longer 1″ strips or rectangles to fill in the remainder of the negative space.stuck in the middle

I decided to rework this block to use just two colors (black and white) and to piece the block so that the colors looked they there were woven together.  The center white squares really gave me a headache.  In order to piece complete squares or rectangles to create the block, the center white strip needed to be 3 pieces.  But the ‘woven’ look I was trying to achieve didn’t work with 3 separate pieces there.   It needed to be one piece.  Well, that ended up creating more issues when piecing the rest of the block.  Long story short… it was easier for me to piece the entire block with three 1″ white squares there in the middle, and then when the block was finished, pick out those three 1″ white squares and replace them with a 1″ x 3″ rectangle.  That really surprised me!  Surprised that it was easier to do it that way and pick and resew than it was to sew the block with the correct piece to start with.  But it really was.  And if you don’t understand all that…. let me know and I’ll make another block with pictures and explain it better.

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I made 4 blocks – two with honey and two with mist and then placed them opposite of each other.  I decided not to use the charcoal solid for the binding.  It just didn’t look right.  Instead, I decided to finish the quilt by ‘facing’ the edges.  I LOVE how it looks!  It gave the edges a clean crisp finish.  I will definitely be using this method again!  In fact, I already have with the buck I appliqued here, and I’m getting ready to finish a 3rd wall hanging using this same method.  In fact, I may never traditionally bind another wall hanging.

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I quilted it with a spiral (lines are 3/8″ apart) with my walking foot, except in the very middle.  A spiral is next to impossible to quilt (neatly) in the very center.  So instead I started the spiral a little wider and filled in the center with some parallel lines.

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Last but not least, every quilt entered into the competition needed a story.  Yikes!!  Ummm… a story.  I guess ‘because I liked the way it looked’ wasn’t good enough.  So, I put on my thinking cap…

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This is my story (with limited number of characters)…

Intertwined Lives: I reworked a block I designed earlier this year for the Cirrus Solids BOM challenge. The woven glitz fabrics show how we, individual people, are different colors and have different features, and how our lives intertwine with others over our lifetimes. The lives of the people that we have these relationships with, also intertwine with people we will never meet and never directly have any impact on because we lead parallel lives. However, the circular stitching exposes the bits and pieces of ourselves that get carried from our direct relationships to these parallel relationships. Without our knowledge, bits and pieces of ourselves are deposited into others lives and we never know if these pieces will have a small or a significant impact. Moral of the story: Your life affects more than just the people you know first-hand, so make sure your life is worth sharing.

Quilt measures approx 24″ x 24″.

Oh, and if you happen to be at QuiltCon and see my quilt, please let me know.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.