Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween - 2010

Here's the card my daughter sent for Halloween.....

I hope some fun Halloween themed cupcakes are part of your day!

Here's my two Halloween Quilts,

well really 5 . . .

I made 3 of these.
See Lifetime Quilt # 5, 6, & 7 to the right for more detail.

And I made 2 of these.

See Lifetime Quilt # 25 & 26 for more detail on this one.

But what I really want,

is this one . . . .

This has got to be my all time favorite Halloween/Fall Quilt....I don't own it, I don't even own the pattern.....
I just worship from afar!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Celebrations . . . .

Here's Nottingham Star with a few red stars filling its center.

Woo Hoo, I'm liking the looks of this quilt top. I get these ideas in my head, but am never sure if what I see in my mind's eye will appeal to my naked far so good!

Today is Cooper's 2nd birthday, so in addition to two tablespoons of canned salmon in his food bowl, the celebration continued with a trip to the park. Cooper has always loved the smells, playground equipment, and general atmosphere there.

Today, someone was flying a kite. Something I've not seen in years, but it was a perfect day for it.

The daisies have lasted longer than the leaves on the trees. Our fall foliage was short and unspectacular this year.....too dry I heard them say on TV.

Here's Cooper's first trip to the park, at 4 months old we was just a little ball of fat and fur.

And not very happy. He didn't smile much as a pup, which worried me at the time.

But he outgrew the grumps and pretty much everything else around the house, his bed, his crate. He's now twice the size of his Mama, and has a good 20 pounds on his sister.

Here he is today, celebrating his birthday at the park. He's an extremely good natured dog who has added so much happiness to our home.

Happy Birthday Cooper!!

We could not love you more!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Plan in Action . . . .

So I've started on my next project,

Nottingham Star by Grace's Dowry Quilts available from the Quilt Merchant.

I was able to actually see the quilt when I visited the store last month. They have kits available if you're interested.

So here's where I stand on mine. I've got the browns cut and all the brown and cream hst units done.

Right now it doesn't looks so different from the store quilt, but just wait, 42 red and cream stars are going to fill that center and really spice things up!

The 42 little stars in the center, they finish at 5 inches square. That requires a 3 x 1 3/4 inch flying geese unit, well technically, 4 geese units for each star. Doesn't that sound like an odd size and something that would be hard to get just right....

Not if you've got one of these....

one of the sizes that the Mini Fit to be Geese ruler can easily make is just that size......
Thanks Monique, how did you know that was just the size I needed!!

Ask me what I'm going to be doing this weekend.......
I'm going to be seeing stars, hopefully a lot of cream and red stars!

I hope you have a wonderful fall weekend.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Have A Plan . . . .

I almost forgot to share with you the fall quilt I've been enjoying this month.

This is the only quilt that I own that is hand quilted. And as if the hand quilting doesn't make it special enough, it was hand quilted by a friend, so it's twice as special.

This is Lifetime Quilt # 18. If you would like to see better pictures of the quilting and learn more about the pattern, select #18 - Twisted Bargello from the list on the right.

I'm sticking with my "few a day" plan for the half square triangles for Belle Meade.

102 down, 554 to go, and the basket still looks empty!

And, I decided on my next project.

It's Nottingham Star by Grace's Dowry Quilts available from The Quilt Merchant.

I'm not sure why I was stuck on picking my next project, but once I decided that Nottingham Star was the next one up, my next 4 quilt projects fell right into line.

I picked this pattern for the following reasons;
it met my brown criteria,
the whole project has 1300 fewer pieces than Route 44,
it's really different from anything I've made before, the whole quilt top is like one gigantic block,
and I have everything I need to get going on it NOW!!

I really liked Sandy's comment about needing to "cleanse the palette".... a very apt description of what I was needing.

My Nottingham Star will be very scrappy. I've pulled around 60 brown, red and cream fabrics from my stash, no family of fabrics this time around. I think I've decided that cutting one or two squares from each fabric is taking longer than the piecing.

My next project will use the Maison De Garance fabric from French General for Moda. Based on the comments I received, that was by far the most popular choice for my next project. But I need to give that pattern some thought, and I want something really special for that family of fabrics.

Stay tuned for updates, I expect this project to go fast, if I ever get done with the cutting!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Route 44

On the back of the Route 44 pattern by Carrie Nelson, she says, "Route 44? It's not a road but it will sure transport you to happiness."

I could not agree more.

My road is over, but I loved every minute of the journey.

I started planning this project as soon as I saw that Carrie Nelson was teaching a class sponsored by the Quilter's General Store in Rockford, Illinois, back in January!! Now, 10 months later, the journey is over.

I'm so happy I have such a lovely quilt to remember my trip and happy that I picked Saltbox Harvest by Deb Strain for Moda for my fabric. I happily cut, pieced and sewed this quilt top. It went together like a dream. Some projects are just like that, all fun and no work!!

Even the border was fun,

but a lot of Carrie's patterns are like that, why stop having fun just because the center of the quilt is finished, why not go for just a little more fun in the border.

So after you attach the 2 inch containment border, Carrie throws in some eye candy before adding the outer border. The eye candy is a 1 1/2 inch scrappy pieced strip, surrounded on each side by a 1/2 inch strip of background fabric. I think this small little detail adds so much charm to the quilt.

In class, Carrie suggested sewing the three pieces of that middle eye candy border together, then attaching that unit to the containment border, leaving some extra fabric on each end, then connecting all the ends once all 4 side units have been added. That's what I did, and it worked out great. Since I don't quilt my tops, I'm just not that experienced at working with bulk, it was nice to only go around the containment border once with the middle border unit, then one last time with the outer border.

This is my lifetime quilt #61.

It has approximately 1,464 pieces.

And finished at 78" x 78"

Carrie named this pattern for Camille Roskelly, the designer of the Simple Abundance fabric Carrie used on her project,

the quilt that's on the pattern cover. Camille loves Route 44 Dr. Peppers available at Sonic Drive Ins. I didn't use Simple Abundance for my top, or drink any Dr. Pepper while making this quilt, so my quilt probably needs a different name. But after calling it Route 44 for 10 months, I'm not sure calling it something else is possible.

Lisa/Stashmaster and Nicole/Sisters Choice, fellow bloggers who I met for the first time while attending this class, are also working away on their Route 44 projects. They chose different fabric, so be sure to check out their blogs for their finished quilts, coming soon I'm sure.

I'm also hoping to hear from my fellow Route 44 classmates, and hoping I get to see their finished projects as well. One quilter was using the William Morris Workshop family of fabrics, I would love to see that one all done.

This pattern is a great stash buster, all you need is 3 yards of primary fabric (my red dot fabric) then pull colors from the primary fabric from your stash for the 4 patches, the more fabric the better. I think going scrappy with the background fabric would look great too!

What are you waiting for, here's your route to happiness.....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

3rd Cupcake Review - Gigi's Cupcakes

My third cupcake review is for Gigi's Cupcakes.

They currently have around 20 shops in 7 different states.

I visited the Gigi's Cupcakes in Indianapolis, Indiana.

I've learned a thing or two as I continue on my quest to find the best cupcake, I now take my own fork, knife, and plate. It's just not possible to eat these cupcakes with your hands, unless you're OK with icing all over your nose and chin. I've even bought special plastic silverware and pretty plastic plates, and carry them in my car, so that I'm prepared should the opportunity to review a cupcake presents itself!

So I was armed and ready the day I visited Gigi's.

Look at all those lovely cupcakes.

I know what you're thinking, "look at the icing on those cupcakes!!!" I had read about Gigi's before visiting the store, and was prepared for a cupcake with mounds of icing, but still, seeing them in person, WOW, they are something to behold!

It was very hard to decide which cupcake to try, but in the interest of my blog, and my duty to report back to you, I decided to order TWO!!

Top Hats,

"a dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate chips baked in and buttercream frosting dipped in chocolate ganache"

And Wedding Cake,

"white cake topped with a vanilla buttercream frosting sprinkled with white nonpareils.

It's been awhile since I reviewed a cupcake so here's a refresher on the 50 point system I created to judge all the cupcakes I try:

The Cupcakery - maximum points available - 5
Cupcake Selection - maximum points available - 5
Packaging of Cupcakes - maximum points available - 5
Cupcake's Appearance - maximum points available - 5
Cake Portion of Cupcake - maximum points available - 10
Frosting Portion of Cupcake - maximum points available - 10
Overall Cupcake Taste and Consistency - maximum points available - 10

So a cupcake awarded a point value of 50 would be, in my opinion, and according to my taste, a perfect cupcake.

So here's my rating of both cupcakes:

Cupcakery - the store was new, clean and pretty. The staff very helpful and fine with me taking pictures inside. There were stools and a bar by the front windows for dining in. - I give it a
5 out of 5
Cupcake Selection - The cupcake menu changes daily, with somewhere around 15 choices, I visited the shop at 11:30 am, the selection, amazing, I give it a
5 out of 5
Packaging of Cupcakes - There was nothing in the cupcake box to support that top heavy cupcake. Every customer was told the same thing by the staff, "be careful, the cupcakes tip easily" The box was cute but not serviceable for their product - I give it a
1 out of 5.
Cupcake's Appearance - The cupcakes looked amazing, each cupcake in the display case was perfect. Either they get to eat the mistakes or don't make mistakes. The cupcakes, all of them, lovely works of art. I give them a
5 out of 5.
Cake Portion of Cupcake - the cake was a medium texture, not as moist as I like, a nice portion, but sickeningly sweet. I give them a
2 out of 10.
Frosting Portion of Cupcake - The frosting did have some flavor, very nice consistency, but again I thought it was sickeningly sweet. I give it a
3 out of 10.
Overall Cupcake Taste and Consistency - I knew that Gigi's cupcakes were heavy on the icing, I think that may be their "thing". I'm OK with that, folks who love icing are happy and it's easy for folks who aren't over the top icing fans to scrape some icing off. The flavor combinations sounded good, and creative, but all I could taste was sugar. I give them a
2 out of 10.

So the cupcakes at Gigi's earned a total of 20 points.

The lowest score earned to date. I only took two bites of each cupcake.
I have been back to Indianapolis a couple of times since I visited Gigi's and thought about giving them another try, but just can't talk myself into it.

If you've had a Gigi's cupcake, I would be curious to know if you thought they were over the top sweet, because frankly, I didn't know I could ever think any food item was too sweet!!

So the Fleur de Sel at Kara's cupcakes in San Francisco, the first cupcake I reviewed, is still on top with 44 points.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Next Up ? ? ?

Before I'm done with one quilt, my mind is seriously planning the next one.

Like most of you, I have my Quilt To Do List. Not a random mix of patterns and fabric in my head, but an actual list, that I write up, add to and best of all, cross off, when I complete a project.

My Quilt To Do List has all my patterns with fabric, families of fabric with no pattern, and patterns that need fabric. Compared to most folks, it's a pretty short list. That would probably be due to the fact that I've not been quilting all that long, don't have easy access to a LQS, and start and finish about 12 quilts a year.

So usually, by the time I get to the border on my current project, I've decided on my next project, have the fabric out, usually pressed, have read the pattern several times, have rewritten the pattern directions to suit my taste, and outlined how I want to go about cutting out my project.

Well as I wrap up Route 44, I have no idea what's up next, I'm not sure why, so maybe you can help.

Here's what I do know, I want to work with brown fabric, I'm in the mood for fall, and brown says fall to me.

So here's what's currently under consideration:

Birdseye....Nicole at Sisters Choice made this quilt and I just loved it.

I picked up this Birdseye kit at Quilts Plus in Indianapolis a couple of months ago, so I've got the pattern, the fabric and the fabric has browns. I think the thing stopping me from jumping into this project is the amount of piecing involved. Route 44 had those same little four patches and I think maybe I would like something different for my next project.

I've got a few yards of random browns that I've picked up here and there and would like to use

here are just a few.

I think any of these patterns would work with my collection of browns.

I would probably swap the pink for red on this one. This is a serious contender.

I've had my eye on this pattern for awhile, I just love that border, I would go with reds and browns on this one too.

Then there's this pattern, that I picked up while visiting the Quilt Merchant.

They had a kit, but Beth told me the original quilt, that this pattern was based off of, was a two color quilt, reds and creams. I was thinking I could use my browns for the corners, and go with red and creams for the center.

And finally,

does anything say fall better than Maison de Garance, by French General?

I was thinking this pattern might be a good use of that fat eighths bundle.

So that's where I am, I don't think I can make a bad choice, but after enjoying my Ashcombe and Route 44 projects so much, I'm hoping to be equally excited about the next one.

If nothing pops out at me, I guess I could just work on my Belle Mead hsts until something calls my name. (I'm currently up to 58!!)

Maybe I need to rethink the brown...I just don't you?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Great Giveaway ! ! !

Monique Dillard, of Open Gate Quilts, is having a wonderful giveaway . . . . .

A flying geese ruler and kit are up for grabs. The fabric is her Olde World Style line that I love, own, and hope to start cutting and piecing in the next few weeks.

After you leave a comment here,

hop over here, to Monique's Bundles and Bolts website. I just love this page, it's a Pet Page, where folks can post pictures of their pets on a quilt designed by Monique....I like looking at the pets and the quilts!

Monique is one of the new friends I made while on my Chicago retreat, she's as sweet as she is clever, I think you'll enjoy her blog.

Speaking of giveaways, my 200th post giveaway is coming up fast, where does time go!!

I'm wrapping up Route 44 and contemplating my next project, stop by tomorrow, maybe you'll be able to help me decide, so many wonderful choices, so little time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Little Now, A Little Later . . . .

I connected all the blocks for Route 44.


added the first border fabric.

What a difference one little two inch strip of fabric can make!!

Next up, 4 more rows of borders.......It should be interesting, there are two one inch border strips involved!

The other day, I was "talking" to Nicole about working on Belle Meade. This is a Bonnie Blue Quilts pattern. Bonnie Blue had this pattern in a kit using Rouenneries by French General at the Chicago Quilt Show this spring. I had the Rouenneries fabric, so I grabbed the pattern.

We decided to get started on this project right after the holidays, if you would like to join in on the fun, you have plenty of time to get your fabric and pattern.

This pattern requires a few 2 1/2" hsts, 656 to be exact.....doesn't that sound horrible, and boring....and a lot of work!

We decided doing a few everyday would maybe alleviate some of the pain. So the first thing, each day that I sit down at my sewing machine, I'm starting with of few hsts.

I'm a "make the squares bigger, draw the line, and square up" kind of girl when it comes to my hsts. I thought I would give a couple of new methods a shot, since I would be doing just a few each day.

First up Thangles,

the process is easy enough, and the hsts, no squaring up required......but tearing off the paper is a nuisance.

Next I tried the Easy Angle,

quick, easy, no squaring up and best of all,
when they're done they're done, no paper to tear off.

So here's my Belle Meade hst basket

32 down, 624 more to go!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Signed, Sealed, Delivered. . . . .

Look who's back from the quilter!

It's Lee's Quilt, my Lifetime Quilt # 59

Just a little reminder on this quilt's history;

I made this quilt for my father-in-law, Lee, to celebrate his 90th birthday,

it finished at 58" X 64",

I modified the Simple Stars Beautiful Quilts pattern by Debbie Maddy,

and used the fabric Butterfly Garden by Kansas Troubles Quilters.

We went with this all over pattern for the quilting.

This quilt was only at my house for a few days before it made its way to its new home.

Over the weekend, family members who hadn't gathered together for too many years to count, descended on a small town in Southern Illinois to celebrate the life of a wonderful man.

I got to hug nieces I had not seen in years and meet new additions to the family.

How lucky we were, to spend a perfect fall weekend together, for a happy occasion.

So this morning, Lee's Quilt is with Lee, the best father-in-law a girl could wish for.