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.

IMG_3620

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.

IMG_3684

 

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.

IMG_3633

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.

IMG_3618

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!

IMG_3622

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

IMG_3628

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.

Ethel, The Rocking Elephant

I am in LOVE with Ethel.  Not only is she made with beautiful Art Gallery fabric, but she is soft, cuddly, and so freaking adorable.

IMG_2268

Art Gallery is sponsoring a contest using the new Cultivate line by Bonnie Christine.  This great line blends the cool colors of summer with warm fall tones.  The challenge was to use any of the prints from this line to make anything that signifies change.

We had just 2 1/2 weeks to make and submit a project for this challenge.  That’s not much time, but doable.  I was hoping to create my own pattern, but then I had the grand-monkeys for a week, and was sick for a week.  So really, I didn’t have much time as originally expected to work on this challenge.  But I love how she turned out.

I used a Huggable Pattern for the elephant.  I made up the hat and rocker, and honeyman made the rocker for me. She had her first photo shoot at the LQS, but when I took her to the park, her personality really came through.

She decided that she really liked to garden among the hosta plants.

IMG_2382

And then she lost her rocker (Is that the same as losing your marbles?) and decided to take a break.  She didn’t see any little boys or girls to play with, but she would have loved that as well.  (I put magnets in her feet that allow her to stand on the rocker without falling over.)

IMG_2400

She started playing hide-and-go-seek behind the bushes…

IMG_2395

And took a break on a bench in town square.

IMG_2375

If you have enjoyed Ethel, she asks that you log into Pinterest and VOTE FOR HER here.  You vote by clicking on the heart on her picture.  Of course, repins are great too.

Linking up with:

#CultivateChallenge & #CultivateInFall.

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

In case you didn’t guess it from the title, we will have a little boy join the family soon. My daughter is having her second, and he will be my 4th grandchild. Holy Cow! Four grand children! I still don’t understand how that could be true when I am only 29! {in my mind}

Don’t you just love little babies? They are so sweet and precious. Their little toes are so tiny and cute, and their little cheeks so ripe for kissing. And in a short month, I’ll be able to hug and cuddle him. In the meantime, I thought it would be a good idea to make a few things for him.

We went on a cruise in June, and for most of the drive to FL and back I worked on a blanket from a free pattern I found on ravelry. After the first couple of rows, the pattern was pretty easy. However, it was super important that I count the stitches each row — missing just one would throw the other rows off.  I love the waves, and the popcorn stitches make it a little more thick than a typical blanket but not too heavy.

DSC_0785-002

Next up were some burp cloths and onesies.  I usually make burp clothes from pre-folded diapers and add some flannel.  This time I used flannel on one side and terry on the other.  They were super easy to sew up.  I hope they are absorbent.

DSC_0806 DSC_0808And the onesies I embroidered with an adorable little elephant and dinosaur that I digitized.

DSC_0800Up next, a quilt.  I’ll keep you posted on the progress.  This little one is going to be ‘hooked-up’.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Posts

I find it interesting to look at the stats to see which posts have been most popular.  Two posts stand at the top with 3 times the views as the third post on the list.

First up is 1 Year Blogiversary.  The top search terms have nothing to do with a blogiversary, so my guess is that all the visits to that post came internally from WordPress.  If I had known it was going to be such a popular post, I would have put some more meat in it.  It was pretty boring as posts go.  Oh well, lost opportunity there.  For my next Blogiversary I’ll be sure to plan something grand!

IMG_3534

Up next is Baked Apple Slices – no added sugar.  This is an excellent recipe and everyone loves it.  Even if you’re not trying to cut down on sugar, the apples themselves have so much sugar you feel like you are eating an apple pie without the crust.  I find it strange that this is the second most visited post though because this isn’t a recipe site.  In fact, I have just three recipes listed.  This one, Choconut Chippers, and Game Day Sausage Dip, which is, ironically, the least visited post ever.   But search terms for the baked apples are coming from all over with things such as:

  • baked apple slices no sugar
  • no sugar baked apple slices
  • stewed apples no sugar
  • baked apple slices without sugar

I sure hope someone has decided to try the recipe and that they loved it!

Baked Apple Slices

And rounding out the top three posts… Lego, Car, Truck Sack Tutorial.  This is a cool sack for kids to carry their toys around.  I first heard about it as a lego sack, but I thought it would work great for cars, especially with road map fabric on the inside, so that is how I made it for my grandson.

DSCN0073

And the top referrer to my blog is Crazy Mom Quilts.  Thank you!   Go check out her blog when you get a chance.  It is full of great quilting projects.

What does all this tell me?  Keep linking up my quilting projects with Crazy Mom Quilts until I can turn this into a full-time blog.  And, I either need to include more no-sugar/low-sugar recipes or I need to create a new no-sugar/low sugar blog.  Hmmm… now, that’s an idea!

Here are some of my favorite posts that I think you might enjoy.

Thanks for reading.  I am truly humbled that you have taken the time to read my posts and follow my blog.  I do appreciate each and every one of you!!

Oh! Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree is up, the stockings are hung, and the snowmen are playing in the snow.  And it appears even my blog is in the Christmas spirit.

DSC_0277-001

DSC_0282

The annual job of decorating is mostly done. It is certainly not a job I look forward to, although I really like the end result. My two oldest boys are living on the other side of the country this year, and don’t plan to make it home for Christmas.  I was missing having them here and shed a few tears when no one else was watching.

I also spent this weekend cleaning up and purging some old clothes, toys, books, and stuff. In fact, I have a whole car full of stuff to take to the thrift store tomorrow. Really, where does it all come from? I wish I could do that daily until I get the house and storage areas uncluttered, but earning a living requires that I spend most of my time each week working for someone else instead.

So, due to all the other extra curricular activities this weekend, I haven’t gotten as much sewing done as I would have liked on the quilt top I’m making with the HST’s. Hopefully I’ll make a little bit of progress this week.

Otherwise, I did want to show you the flannel blankets I made. Remember the elephant and robin I spent forever and a day trying to digitize? Well, I did finally finish it and was able to get the blankets embroidered and made. And I won’t share any of the pictures of the baby with the blanket since it is not my family and not my right to share them. But the baby was adorable with her blankets and the mom was very touched. The robin was meant to be a reminder of her grandmother, the baby’s great-grandmother, that has passed and wasn’t able to be there for the birth.

2013-11-11

I also finished crocheting another baby blanket. But of course, I forgot to take pictures outside today so you’ll have to live with an indoor photo.
DSC_0291-001

I would say December is off to a good start. Now, if I can just get my Christmas shopping done and presents made before the 25th. Haha, that might be pushing it.  I would like to request a few extra weeks…  Do you think we could delay it?

Oh, and I keep forgetting to mention, I added a few things to my etsy store and everything is 18% off thru 12/2 and 15% off the rest of the December.   Check it out.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/MonkeyNeedle?ref=si_shop

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop!

Half Square Triangles

I started cutting and sewing half-square triangles (HST) for the quilt I decided to do for my parents.  I wanted the quilt to have a scrappy look with 10 or so different fabrics in each of the two colors.  But golly, this is a lot of cutting and trimming.

Putting the HSTs together really isn’t that bad.  I’m cutting my fabric so that I can sew and then cut 50 HSTs at one time.  Ironing and trimming to size comes next.  I realize that trimming them to size is probably the most important part, but it is taking forever.  This is what 400+ HST units look like.

DSC_0185-002

Only 800 more to go…

The embroidery design I’ve been working on for the baby blanket is now looking like this.

elephant & robin applique satin stitch1

And just because she couldn’t let me have the camera out without taking a picture of her..

DSC_0188-002

So what are you working on?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

WIP Wednesday linky

Blogger’s Quilt Festival

Greetings from Charleston.  I am traveling for work today and tomorrow and thought I would share this lovely sunset with you.

s

I have decided to enter a quilt in the fall Blogger’s Quilt Festival and I am squeaking it in at the last minute.

Blogger's quilt festival

I am entering Ellie the Elephant.  You may remember her from a post in May, but let me refresh your memory in case you don’t.

This quilt was designed around seven fat eighths of fabric from the Madrona Road line that I received for a challenge with the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild.  We had to make something with the fabric and we could only add other solids. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to make, I tried different layouts, and I finally heard the blue haystack speak to me saying that it wanted to be an elephant.  

2013-05-13

So Ellie the Elephant was born.  Isn’t she adorable?  You can visit my original blog post here.

DSC_0263-001

Since then she has spent more than 2 weeks at the North Carolina State Fair where she was viewed by tens of thousands of people and won 2nd place in the baby quilt division.  And later I hope to make a pink version and write up a pattern in the near future.

But in the meantime, hopefully she’ll pull out a win in the blogger’s quilt festival for me.  Head on over there and look at all the wonderful inspiration, if you haven’t already, and be sure to vote for your favorite quilt in each category.

http://amyscreativeside.com/2013/10/25/bloggers-quilt-festival-baby-quilts-2/

http://amyscreativeside.com/2013/10/25/bloggers-quilt-festival-fall-2013/