New Goodies

Don’t you just love it when you get fun stuff in the mail?  Normally the mailbox is full of bills, so it’s nice to get stuff that you actually want sometimes.  Well, my mailbox has been full of little surprises lately.

Today I received the sweetest thank you note from Ashley at Wasn’t Quilt in a Day.  Ashley was one of the winners of the pin cushion give-a-way I did last month.  And the fact that she took the time to hand write a thank you note and post it in the mail is super nice.  I honestly didn’t know folks did things like that any more.  She lives in Jersey, but I’m wondering if maybe she isn’t a Southern girl at heart.  And although she is fairly new at quilting, let me just say that she is on a roll making beautiful quilts and her excitement is contagious!  Go check her out… I know she’ll end up being one of your favorite bloggers.

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Then last week, I had new fabric arrive two days in a row.  It was Christmas in August.

First, I was the lucky winner of a $15 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop given to me by Richard and Tanya Quilts as part of their Link a Finish Friday.  Oh yeah!  I almost never win anything… and I won and couldn’t believe it!  And boy did I make the most of my winnings.  I shopped from the 50% off category and was able to buy three whole yards of delicious Moda fabric.  With my gift certificate, it cost me just $1 plus shipping.  I like that kind of shopping.  Be sure to visit Richard & Tanya — they are super nice folks.

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Then the next day, I was blessed to receive a box from Art Gallery Fabrics.  Remember the umbrella I made and entered into their Make it Right Challenge.  Well, I didn’t win the popular vote.  I’m not surprised really.  Although I had a good entry, I don’t have a ton of friends or a huge following of folks that would likely vote for me.  But, I did win the ‘Most Creative’ category as voted on by the Art Gallery Fabrics designers and staff which is a huge honor.  I didn’t know what to expect as part of the swag bag, so I was super excited to open the box.  Look at what I found — a twin size pack of cotton batting, an 8-fat quarter pack of the Textures fabric line by Angela Walters, a 6-pack of various other Art Gallery Fabric lines (each piece is between 17″-25″), a 10-pack of beautiful Aurifil thread, and a free Craftsy class.  How exciting is that!

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It’s been a while since I posted a finished project… in fact it’s been a while since I posted at all.  It’s been a busy summer but I have managed to get one or two things done.  I made this baby quilt with the same fabric that I used for the umbrella.  I like the chevron pattern, although I think I went about making it the hard way.  Next time I’ll know better.DSC_0039I used left over scraps for the back.  I had a few other blocks made with the scraps, but I decided that including all of them would make it too busy.  I guess they’ll find their way into another quilt at some point.DSC_0034

Linking up with Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Thanks for stopping by!

Make it Right Challenge Entry Unveiled — time to vote!

So, 2 weeks ago I gave you a teaser on what I made for the Make It Right Challenge sponsored by Art Gallery Fabrics.  I was finally able to take some pictures on a recent visit to our beautiful Duke Gardens, and I am ready to share it with you.  Drum roll please….

It’s an umbrella and/or parasol —

DSC_0494I thought long and hard about what I wanted to make for this challenge.  I thought there would likely be a lot of quilts and bags, and I wanted to do something different and unexpected.   Before this, it never crossed my mind to recover an umbrella; but out of the top 3 things I had on my list, that was the one that just seemed to stick in my mind.

DSC_0493So I ordered the fabric and started looking for a frame.  I found a cheap 60″ umbrella on a popular online electronic commerce website.  (I definitely wouldn’t recommend what I bought for it — I had two shipped to me and they were both broken in one way or another.  I had originally thought I might turn this into a pattern, but if I do that I would need to find a better quality umbrella frame.)  And, on retrospect, maybe I should have gone with a slightly smaller version.  This 60″ wide umbrella is big enough for two!

Once I had the pattern designed, it wasn’t very hard to piece it all together.  It is pieced with Aurifil thread which stitched wonderfully.  The only broken thread I had was when I was sewing with the ‘pedal to the metal’.  Getting it on the frame though was a different story.  Let’s just say there was a lot of trial and error, and several days of refitting.  It has been treated with a waterproofing product, so although I took pictures on a sunny day (sunny days just work better for picture taking), it can be used in the rain.

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All entries are to be uploaded to AGF’s Pinterest board today.  I can’t wait to see what everyone made.  Voting is done by pinning and liking.   Please do not pin from this site since it cannot be tracked.  You actually have to pin from the Art Gallery Fabrics board on Pinterest.  Go take a look and vote for your favorite (hint, hint).  Here is a link to the challenge entries and mine is under “Make It Right – Apparel”.  http://pinterest.com/artgalleryfab/make-it-right-apparel/.

I still had about 10-days left until the deadline for submitting projects, so I thought I would just ‘throw together’ a baby quilt with the left over fabric and submit it as well.  Honeyman laughed at me in thinking I could just ‘throw’ something together – I tend to lean more towards the complicated projects rather than simple ones.  I thought it was possible, but I ended up getting sick for about 5-6 days and was not able to get it finished in time.  But here is a sneak peak of it.  Hopefully, I’ll have it finished in the next week.  Although it won’t be finished in time to be submitted for the challenge, a finish is still something to be celebrated.

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Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Wonky Star

A couple of months ago, March I think it was,  I took a class at Spoonflower with Nicole at Mama Love Quilts    Nicole makes beautiful quilts, so not only was it an opportunity to possibly learn something new from a great quilt maker, but I was intrigued by the sample quilt.  Here is her quilt.
8568723788_18519fb6fbAlso, if you’ve not heard of Spoonflower, check out my post here.

None of the seams for the stars lined up so I was very interested in how this pattern was written.  And the class was free, so I really had nothing to lose.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that it used improv piecing and wasn’t a pattern in the typical sense.  I have never really done any improv piecing, but it didn’t take me long to get the hang of it.  And it was quite fun and freeing.  There are no rules, and no pattern — in fact, the wonkier, the better.

I decided to use scraps rather than cut up some of my stash, so I pulled out all my bright scraps from past projects.  I also decided to make my quilt large enough to be a baby quilt.  What’s really exciting about this quilt is that I have fabric from at least 8 other projects represented here.    I still need to bind it, but that should be done later tonight.

DSC_0278I used scraps for the back.

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Also, one of my goals this year was to practice my free motion quilting and get somewhat better at it.  So I used 4 different free motion quilting techniques on this quilt.  By the time I got done with the quilt, I was certainly better at the FMQ patterns I had decided to do.

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DSC_0285DSC_0286Now to start the binding.  Have a blessed weekend!

Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

 

 

 

 

Madrona Road Challenge – How Ideas are Born

This past February I joined the Triangle MQG and decided to participate in my first challenge with the group.  We were given seven fat eighths of fabric from the Madrona Road line by Violet Craft for Michael Miller fabrics.

2013-05-13Our challenge was to make something, anything really, from these 7 fat eights.  And the only real rule was that you could only add other solids.  No other prints were allowed.  To make this even more challenging, I didn’t particularly care for this fabric.  I liked the black with the writing, and the blue with the lighter blue criss-cross lines (I think it’s called haystack).  But overall, the rest of the fabric is definitely not something I would have picked out.  But it was free and I just couldn’t pass up free fabric or the challenge — I really do like to be challenged.  The unveiling was planned for the May meeting — just 3 months away.

Oh, what should I make?  When I first got the fabric I was working a lot and didn’t have much time to think about it, but it was still in the back of my mind.  A month later, I still didn’t have a clue.  I thought I might want to turn it into a full size lap quilt, but seven fat eighths didn’t leave me much to work with.  But work was slowing down just a bit, so I had a little time to play around.

I played with squares…

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I played with circles…  I even colored the circles to match the fabric hoping that would help.

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Did I want to make a stuffed toy?  Did I want to make a skirt, or a bag, or a _____ (file in the blank)?

But, nothing seemed to be ‘just right’.  So, I put it aside for another couple of weeks while I got through the next deadline for work, and while I waited for the fabric to ‘talk’ to me.  Maybe if I listened hard enough, it would tell me what it wanted to be.  So I would look at it and think about it, and look at it and think about it…  This went on for a couple of weeks before I figured out what it wanted to be…

This blue haystack I decided wanted to be an elephant.

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Cool, I could do an elephant on a baby quilt.  I like baby quilts.  I can be just as creative as I want to be, they don’t take too much time to make or quilt, and they make great baby gifts. But how do I fit the other fabrics into this?  I could make an elephant parade, or elephants stacked on top of each other, or I could simply make just one elephant and use the other fabrics as a border.  Or… the one elephant could be holding something in his trunk.  Yes, that’s it!  And the idea for my challenge quilt was born.  It was designed, appliqued, quilted, and bound in about a week, and weeks before the unveiling at the meeting yesterday.

Meet Elijah Elephant.  (He’s a nice elephant, so we can give him a nice strong Bible name.)

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This is the back.

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I also free motion quilted smaller elephants onto the background.

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I’m very pleased with how he turned out.  If I had planned to make an elephant from the very beginning, I don’t think it would have been as good.  I think my brain needed to go through the process of figuring out the personality of the fabric.

And that’s how ideas are born… many weeks and months of planning, thinking, designing, and thinking some more.  Then the idea is finally formed and the plan implemented, usually in a much quicker manner than what it took to come up with the idea to start with.

Linking up with Plum & June Blossom Art Quilts for Let’s Get Acquainted. (Hope I”m doing this right)

Let's get acquainted

5 Week Update

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The kits are 5 weeks old, today.  For meat rabbits, they should be 1-1/2 pounds by now.  And they are very close.  They weigh between 1 pound 4 ounces and 1 pound 7 ounces.  They are eating about 100% pellets and hay now.  We still put the mom with them once a day to nurse them, but she only nurses for about 5 minutes max and then she’s done.   So, it’s probably time to start weaning them.  We also re-bred the mom this past weekend, so hopefully she’ll be having another liter in 4 weeks.

We have 3 females and 7 males.  It surprises me that the split between male and female is not more even.  I”m not sure if this is normal or not.  I believe we are going to keep the white and brown female.

So, I broke rule #1 and got attached. The runt of the litter – the small brown one — is the sweetest little bunny.  My 3 year old grand daughter plays with him often and he lets her hold him all sorts of ways, and he doesn’t care.  He doesn’t kick if she doesn’t hold his hind legs.  It’s amazing.  We hadn’t planned on keeping a male, so I’m trying to find him a home.  If we can’t find a home for him, we’ll likely keep him too.

I also made them some organic snacks.  They love them.

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Scrappy Trip Along

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Even with working 65 hours a week, I have been able to finish a small project.  One of my goals this year was to do a Scrappy Trip Along quilt.  This quilt pattern has really taken off — there is even a Flickr group.  Apparently this design has been around for 14 years.  Wow, I feel like I’m so behind having just recently discovered it.  But it’s still very popular, and pictures of new quilts made with this pattern are being uploaded daily.

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I used a 1/2 jelly roll of Moda Birdie that I had left over from a baby quilt I made a few years ago.  I had just enough of the jelly roll left to make this quilt 40″ x 40″, which is also a good size for a baby quilt.  I did have some problems with the strips of fabric stretching, so not all my seams line up correctly.  I hate that — but sometimes I have to tell that perfectionism thing to take a back seat.

I also used this opportunity to practice some free motion quilting.  I chose a design called Paisley Flower by Leah  Day and then adapted it for a larger quilt versus a 6″-8″ square.  My flowers ended up being 3″-7″ in diameter, with the average being about 5″, and it still took quite a while to quilt.  I still need to practice sewing over the same line more than once, but I am very pleased with how it turned out.

DSC_0701And look at the colorful pile of fabric scraps I had left over.  I think I might put this outside and lets the birds use them to decorate their nests.  Or maybe I’ll make one myself similar to this.  DSC_0683

 

This would be a great quilt to use with scraps.  I might just make another one another day. They all look great when done

 

I am 4 Days Old

DSC_0660My nine siblings and I are 4 days old now.  We like to wiggle in the hay, and our mama’s hair keeps up warm.  We have just started getting a little bit of peach fuzz for hair.  Just 3 days ago, I was the biggest weighing in at 2.1 ounces.  My brothers and sisters weighed just 1.2 to 1.9 ounces.  And today,the others weigh 2.0-2.9 ounces.  But I am still the biggest!  I weigh a whole 3 ounces now.  Aren’t I cute?  I’ll open my eyes in 6-7 days and then I’ll be really cute — just wait and see.

Me with 8 of my brothers and sisters.  The 10th one is hiding somewhere else in the hay

Me with 8 of my brothers and sisters. The 10th one is hiding somewhere else in the hay

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Merry (day after) Christmas!

Merry-Christmas

Merry (day after) Christmas!  I was hoping to post again before now, but I have been sick with the crud that’s been going around so everything else got put on the back burner.  Our plans for brunch at the in-laws, dinner get-together with dad’s family, and then my sister and family staying with us for several days was all canceled.  Being sick is not fun, and being sick at Christmas really sucks.  But, then I had to remind myself that there were others in this corner of the world that were having a much worse Christmas – families with loved ones in the hospital, families recently affected by the shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut, families with loved ones in the military overseas, those affected by the storms ravaging the U.S. on Christmas day, and those lonely individuals with no families with which to celebrate.  It’s so easy to have a pity party because our plans get canceled by something we can’t control.  But when you stop to think about those that have it much worse off than you, it becomes easy to thank the Lord for the blessings we do have — family and friends that we love and miss but that we know we will see again soon, health that we know will return once the crud has run its course, a warm home, and knowing that we have life because of God’s son that was born on this day very long ago.

for unto us a child is born

So, I didn’t get as many projects finished as I was planning on before Christmas.  But I did want to share a few of them with you.   I have been participating in a monthly challenge through Art Gallery Fabrics.  Last month the challenge was to make a patchwork toy.  I designed and made this cute little turtle for my niece.  Each scale is a learning toy — she can learn to button, snap, tie, velcro, zip, and one is a noise maker. Also, if you lift each scale up, I have patch-worked a letter. As you go around the turtle, the letters spell her name starting with the T on top. And opening the zipper also allows you to peek-a-boo through to the letter.

Torreya Turtle

She is a little young to really play with the turtle now so I also made her some soft rings from a pattern found here.  http://www.michaelmillerfabrics.com/Blog/Baby_rings.pdf These are a great way to use up those fabric scraps and are nice soft toys for a wee one.

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Also, I found a great project from a young lady I met at the local fabric store.  If you have children that love to play with Legos, you will understand the fact that they get everywhere.  All those little bricks are super hard to keep up with.  She told me about a ‘lego play mat’ that lays flat in order to be played on, but then when you finish playing you just pull up the strings on either side, tie a bow, and the legos are cleaned up.  I bet this doesn’t stop all the stray legos, but it should help.  I made this for my nephew.  It was super quick — I like projects like that.

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There are many tutorials on the internet.  I skimmed several and started out using one, but I ended up making some changes as I went along.  I plan to make another one in the next month or two for my grandson, but I want to make it a play mat for cars rather than legos.  I found some cool fabric that will be perfect as a play mat for cars.  I’ll post a tutorial when I make it.

Up next though is the next, and last, challenge through Art Gallery fabrics — a messenger bag.  Wish me luck!