Saturday, December 31, 2011

End with a Finish

How about wrapping up the year with a finish,

Birdseye is done!

The last time I blogged about this project I showed you all my finished star blocks. I intentionally didn't photograph the alternate blocks because I think this is a a very clever pattern and don't want to spoil the surprise of how it all goes together.

Sometimes my finishes have to grow on me, I don't know if I get tired of working with them and they overstay their welcome or what, but I've loved this project from start to finish and am even a little sad to have it done. If I didn't have such a long list of other patterns calling my name I would make this one again and again, it was fun and easy. It's one of those patterns that looks like you spent forever working on but didn't.

I'm still calling my project Birdseye, generally I like to give my projects a different name but sometimes its first name, the pattern name, sticks. Maybe something new will come to mind after it gets quilted.

This project finished at 79" x 79" and has approximately 1,877 pieces.

Counting the number of pieces in each one of my finished projects is just a fun little thing I always do and add to my posts when blogging about my finish. I don't know why, I'm just a numbers girl at heart I guess. Since it's the end of the year, I thought it would be fun to add up all the pieces from all my 2011 finishes.....are you ready....
20,145 pieces !!
That averages out to 55 pieces a day!

The pattern Birdseye is by Carrie Nelson for Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. I love this pattern, I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think there should be more Birdseyes in this quilting world, if you've not already done so, put this pattern on your To Do List for 2012, you'll be glad you did!

This is my 13th finish for the year. One more than my arbitrary and completely random 2011 goal of finishing 12 projects. This time last year, when I was thinking about what I wanted to accomplish in 2011, I was training for a half marathon and not even thinking about running a whole marathon, the Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts show was months away, I had no idea I would be making a Red & White Tribute quilt, let alone one that would get in a magazine. I was thinking I would make Eventide, but hadn't really put together the notion of hosting an Eventide Sew Along. My year was full of wonderful unplanned surprises, thanks so much for following along.

I'm open minded about what I accomplish in 2012 but look forward to sharing it with you and hearing about what you accomplish too.

Cheers to you, quilters extraoedinaire, bloggers, lurkers and friends, let's all go out and have a happy and healthy 2012.

Added Later - I just asked my husband to guess how many pieces were in the 13 quilts I finished this year, his guess, 1,000!
No, he's not a quilter.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tis the Season . . .

Seasons Greetings!!

How are things going at your house? Ready or not, here comes Christmas !

No sewing going on at all at my house, not even a quick 20 minutes over the last two weeks! I've been too busy to even miss it. I spent a couple of days with family, shopping, visiting, and baking, I had a wonderful time, time well spent. I've attended parties and gatherings and ate wonderful food.

I also squeezed in a quick trip to New York City. My husband had to travel to the city for business and asked if I wanted to tag along, who would pass up a few days of Christmas hustle and bustle in the Big Apple? Well me, almost. A quick trip to New York, days before Christmas, I've got decorating, shopping, baking, and parties to tend to and what if we got to NY then couldn't get home! Well I adjusted my schedule, threw caution to the wind and went and am so glad I did.

Here's the tree at Rockefeller Center, as amazing as it looks on TV, it looks even more impressive in person. That's one huge tree! So much to see in just a few days, but I enjoyed all the trimmings, every decorated store window, the shopping, the show and the food. Plus I made it back home in one piece, on time, sans cold or flu! Who could ask for more!

I wasn't the only person who decided to visit the city before Christmas, I'll NEVER complain about the lines or folks at my only local store ever again. It felt great to be surrounded by folks from all over the world for a few days, a little reminder to me of how many folks there are in this world, lots and lots of folks!!

Here's the latest picture of my miracle Home Depot $4.99 poinsettia,

it's still yet to drop a single leaf! I am in awe of how beautiful this plant continues to be! Several of you mentioned that my poinsettia would easily last until Christmas, I had my doubts but you were right! Now I'm wondering how long it will last!!

I went with a new theme for my kitchen table decorations this year. My friend Donna at Sugar Spice and Southern Life has a wonderful knack for decorating, go check out her blog for a wonderful tour of her house, it's amazing. (click here)

One thing Donna decorates with year round are cloche bell jars. Every time Donna would blog about her latest cloche landscape I would say to myself, "I've got to get me one of those cloches", well I finally did! Thanks Donna for the inspiration!

If I was sending Christmas cards this year this would be it, so consider this your Christmas card from me to you.

My daughter picked up that reindeer last year when she was home for Thanksgiving. When she went back home I took it to the pack mail store so it could go live with her in California. Uh, shipping reindeer as it turns out is an expensive venture, who knew!! After a little research we found out she could buy the exact same reindeer online for less than the cost of the one she bought at the store plus, get this, FREE shipping. So that's why I have a white reindeer at my house, and my daughter has its twin at hers!

Well I'm ready for the holidays, the last minutes to dos, like grocery shopping and wrapping are done. My daughter arrived yesterday, all that's left to do is enjoy the season. I'm going to attempt baking a coconut layer cake, my first, wish me luck!

I hope you have a safe, healthy and happy holiday full of cheer, your support and friendship to me this year has been a wonderful gift, thanks so much.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Home for the Holidays . . . .

Another quilt made its way home from the quilter, just in time . . .

I'm so happy my 2010 Fat Quarter Shop Kate Spain Mystery Block of the Month is all done and ready, just in time for Christmas!!

Someone sent me an email months ago asking about the width of my sashing around those blocks, but since the quilt was at the quilter's and I hadn't written it down anywhere, I wasn't much help. For the record, the green strips finish at 3/4" and the white strip at 1/2", creating a sashing that's 2 inches finished, which was called for in the finishing pattern. I'm guessing that's no help to the person who asked, but if the question comes up again, I have it documented, now all I have to remember is where I documented it!

But back to the quilting,

Dawn at the Sewing Basket went with a nice swirly design in the white background of each block and did a little custom quilting for the pieced section of the block. For this basket she did some nice cross hatching.

Here she did a cute little design in the mitten cuff and a nice design in and around the star.

I made this quilt for my daughter, here it is hanging in its new home in California.

(Have you ever noticed when you want a dog in a picture they just refuse to sit still, but when you're not looking, they sneak in!)

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 71, click here if you want to read more.

It's official, I'm finally done with my decorating. Some years I'm done when I get tired of decorating and just quit, but this year I kept decorating until I had everything out, I think it was worth the time and effort. I hope you're getting through the items on your Christmas To Do List too!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Christmas Quilts Are Out!

I'm still decorating but all my Christmas quilts are out! Over my quilting career I've made 10 Christmas quilts, my folks have three, my daughter has three and I have four! By this time next year I'm hoping to have five, that Countdown to Christmas fabric by Sweetwater is calling my name.

So here's a little walking tour of Christmas quilts in my house.

Oh Christmas Tree (Lifetime Quilt Number 53 )

Red, White and Wonderful (Lifetime Quilt Number 64)

I've always thought of this quilt as being a Christmas Quilt, but really, none of the fabric used in this quilt is what I would call Christmas fabric. I just got this quilt up in the guest bedroom but think I'll keep it up for a few months after Christmas, I think it works for January and February too!

Toulouse (One of my most favorite Miss Rosie patterns, there should be more Toulouses in the world! Lifetime Quilt Number 54 )

And Thimbleberries Hometown Christmas (Lifetime Quilt Number 13 )

This is the only Thimbleberries pattern I've ever used, but I made 3 of these quilts. (that was back in the day when I knew I wanted to make quilts but didn't know how to go about picking out patterns and fabric, when I found something I liked I just made multiples of it. Those days sure have changed!)

I'm hoping by Monday I can say I'm done with my decorating, wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Its the most Wonderful-LY BUSY time of the year . . .

How are things going at your house, are you getting through your holiday to dos? One of my to dos should be organizing my To Do lists. Something pops in my head, I write it down so it doesn't get forgotten, then I stick it in my calendar. My calendar is fat with post it notes.

With all the hubbub of decorating, shopping, and errands my days are hectic and seem to just fly by. There are two things I make sure I'm not dropping from my daily routine, running and sewing. One keeps me in my jeans, the other keeps me sane. All it takes is 5 miles in my running shoes and 60 minutes in my sewing room, that's the perfect combination for me. Some days my 60 minutes of sewing starts at 4 am, which I know may sound alarmingly early to some of you, but my body has yet to adjust to the time change so I'm taking advantage of that hour by doing something I love instead of just laying in bed and staring at the walls. The only downside, I'm pretty much worthless after dinner, all tuckered out, I'm lucky if I get half way through a magazine before falling asleep.

All my Birdseye star blocks are now done.

They look better in person but you do get a nice feel for the color combinations in this picture. The stars went together fast, one reason, because I spent the time up front selecting my fabric combinations, and the other reason, I'm using my Fit to be Quarter ruler (by Open Gate Quilts) when squaring up those half-quarter triangle squares . Having the right tool for the right job is such a time saver and this time of year I'm all about saving time. If you don't have one of those rulers put it on your Christmas List, I bet Santa will bring you one!

I loved making each block, I think each one is perfect, not a stinker in the bunch. Next up, nine patches and more nine patches.

The other day, when I was in Home Depot picking up a $20 gift card for my mailman (what's up with the government allowing postal workers to accept gifts with a market value of $20 or less but not cash of $20 or less!) they had a rack of poinsettias that looked too good to be real.

But they were real, and really cheap, $4.99! I've had this one a week and a single leaf has yet to fall off. I think this is the direction I'm going with for new holiday decorations, fresh flowers. They look great and once the holidays are over, no storage issues! When I bought it, I figured if it only lasted a week, for that price, I could go back and buy another one and even another one, but I'm beginning to think this one is going to last until Christmas! I'll keep you posted.

Friday, December 2, 2011

What a week . . . . .

So as if this week's not been exciting enough, between starting Birdseye and getting a look at my quilt on Judi's blog, look what arrived in my mailbox yesterday . . . .

the latest issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. I've been quilting for over 7 years and have subscribed to this magazine from the get go. I'm always happy to see this magazine arrive in my mailbox, but this issue is particularly special to me, there's a nice little write-up on page 51 about my Red and White Tribute quilt. Can you believe it, my quilt is in a magazine!!

It's been a real whirlwind getting the top quilted and off to Iowa for photographs before the deadline. A big thanks to Connie Lancaster at Quilts Plus in Indianapolis for taking the time to work this quilt into her busy schedule, do an amazing job of quilting the quilt, all within a narrow time frame.

This is how it all came to be, the day after I blogged about my finished top I got a note from Elizabeth Tisinger Beese, Senior Editor for the magazine. She said they were working on some red and white quilts for the next issue and that they would like to add a small article about my quilt. I was pretty much in shock, I'm a quilter, just like you, not a pattern designer, not someone who ever dreamed of having a quilt in a national magazine, just a someone who enjoys taking pieces of fabric, cutting them up, then sewing them together again, at home, alone, just for the pure joy of it. After the initial shock wore off, I wondered how Elizabeth had found my blog and read about my quilt, so I asked. She said someone who reads my blog had sent her a note about my quilt and she was so glad that they did. She also sent me the email that she received that started the whole thing, and here it is . .


Fresh on the morning's blog(s) is a most amazing quilt that you just have to feature, aMUST in my opinion! Just wait 'til you see this quilt~! And HURRY, before another publication beats you to it~~ Trust me...this is unlike no other quilt you've EVER seen!!!! This is a huge, huge, huge story~~~~

You can go to Thelma's blog and read all about her creation and her tribute to the Red & White Quilt Show in NYC....It is truly an amazing journey~

Hoping to read Thelma's story in a future issue~ Heck, Thelma's story could be an entire (special?) issue in itself!! I'd love to have a follow up confirmation (should) when you feature this story if possible~~ that would be awesome!!

Thanks for listening...

Aren't quilters just the most amazing folks in the world! If Debbie hadn't taken the time to send the note to American Patchwork & Quilting my quilt would not be in that publication. And isn't her note hilarious, I think Debbie is quite a salesperson, and her enthusiasm for my quilt just warmed my heart. I've had the privilege of meeting Debbie in person at the Prairie Star Quilters Guild meeting where Carrie Nelson was presenting a trunk show the fall of 2010. Debbie is more of a lurker on my blog, I don't hear from her on a regular basis, which makes the fact that she took the time and effort to contact AP&Q on my behalf even more amazing. Debbie, thanks so much, I'll forever be in your debt.

If you've yet to receive your issue or don't subscribe, here's a link to Elizabeth's blog that talks about the Red and White quilt show and my quilt. click here

So that's the latest from here, next week I'll be back to my normal routine, decorating for the holidays, doing some shopping, and of course sewing!!

Thanks to everyone who has sent notes or left comments regarding my Red and White Tribute quilt. When I started that project I didn't even know what the finished quilt would look like, and here it is, in a magazine. I could not be happier or more grateful, it's really been a fun adventure, a once in a lifetime event, thanks for following along.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Birdseye Update . . . .

I love covering my design wall with my Birdseye star blocks. (Birdseye is by Carrie Nelson for Miss Rosie's Quilt Co)

I couldn't stand it, I went back into my box of fat quarters and tried to find fabric "matches" for the nine patches that fit in the middle my star points. It probably took me 90 minutes to get what I think is the perfect combination of three colored fabrics and two background fabrics. I'm guessing that was 90 minutes I could have used making blocks, but I'm happier when things go together just right, and now I think things are, just right!

In the pattern Carrie suggests making the 124 nine patches first, to get that out of the way. As you can see, I started with the star blocks. But I am making a couple of nine patches from each fabric I'm using for the stars as I go, I figure by the time I have all my star blocks done I'll also have the majority of my nine patches done too!

I'm guessing I'll have an assortment of over 100 fabrics in the top when it's all done. I'm making star blocks as quick as I can, I'm so eager to see this quilt come together.

For those of you who haven't caught Judi's latest post over at the Green Fairy Quilts, go take a peek, she just finished quilting Nottingham Star, my Lifetime Quilt Number 62. I can't even find the words to describe how I feel about the time and effort Judi put into my quilt top and the finished quilt, saying it's amazing doesn't even come close.

The quilt is in the mail and I can hardly wait to see it in person, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed it makes it home safe and sound!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's Birdseye Time . . .

Woo Hoo!! It's fall, I've got my fabric, I've got my window of opportunity and I'm finally starting on Birdseye!! It seems like it took forever for this project to make its way to the top of my To Do list.

I've drooled over this pattern for at least 18 months.

Birdseye is by Carrie Nelson for Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. I like the size of this quilt (it finishes at around 80" x 80"), I like the dark background, I like the big star blocks and I LOVE those nine patches dancing around everywhere.

I bought three different background fabrics, all black, for this project. But I just wasn't 100% sold on any of them so I kept looking, until I finally decided on this one.

It's Kansas Troubles Favorites by Kansas Troubles Quilters for Moda, and it's brown, not black. I like the color of this brown and I like the little hint of additional color in the background. I can't take credit for choosing this background fabric, the talented ladies at Quilts Plus in Indianapolis had this fabric in a Birdseye kit. But as soon as I saw it I knew that was the fabric for my Birdseye.

The red accent fabric I'm going with came from my stash and is a perfect match for the dark background fabric.

I'm using the red vine fabric from the Stars and Coxcombs collection by Terry Clothier Thompson for Moda.

So in addition to drooling over the pattern and the searching for the perfect background and accent fabric for the last 18 months, I've also been collecting fat quarters for the stars and nine patches. I wanted 25 coordinating fat quarter sets (two matching fat quarters for each star) so each star would be unique. I figured I would also use that fabric for the nine patches, 50 different fat quarters should be enough, don't you agree?

Anytime a couple of fat quarters would catch my eye I would buy them and throw them in my Birdseye project box. Imagine my surprise when I got out my project box and sorted through my fat quarters to find 45 sets of fabric combinations which I was able to narrow down to 37 perfect sets for my Birdseye!

I guess that's the problem to have, but I don't know how I'm going to only pick 25 sets out of the 37 sets, but I figure as I make my star blocks and throw them on my design wall, I'll get a better feel for what the quilt needs as far as fabric color and contrast.

Here's my inspiration block, and I'm inspired. I'm coordinating the star points but not worrying so much about the nine patch in the middle. I figure my 25 sets of fabric (50 individual pieces) will give me a nice variety and a good look, no need to try and coordinate a third fabric for the center, right?

Even though I did go and raid my stash to select a different coordinating fabric for the center of my first block, I won't have to do that for the remaining 24 star blocks, I can go scrappy, I can throw caution to the wind, I have the confidence to know that 50 different fabrics is all this quilt needs, trying to find 24 more fabrics to go with the star points would just be crazy!

In addition to the colored fabric I'm also going scrappy for the light background fabric.

Like you, I'm squeezing in my sewing around holiday responsibilities, but I'm looking forward to tacking both, a different sort of marathon! Ready, set, GO!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving ! ! !

My baby girl is home this week, it's been a full week,
a week full of fun, shopping, game playing, watching movies, connecting with family, and most importantly laughing.

No sewing to speak of, but that can wait.

My table's set and the turkey is in the oven . . .

Best wishes to you all, whether it's Thanksgiving Day where you live or not!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quilt-y-ness . . . .

Several of you sent me notes about my blog redesign saying not only did you notice that my blog was now sitting in the middle of my Red and White Tribute Quilt, but it looked like my Red and White Tribute was quilted!
Very observant of you, and so right!

Yes it's true, my Red and White Tribute Quilt has been quilted.
It was quilted by Connie Lancaster at Quilts Plus in Indianapolis, IN.

Here it is, all done. I could not be happier.

Each mini quilt in this project was quilted uniquely. Connie went with a perfect combination of new and old quilting designs, I think it adds so much to the overall look and feel of the quilt.

So here's the center, it's hard to go wrong with feathers.

We chose a more modern design for the Jacobs Ladder quilt.

And some swirls for the snowball blocks.

More feathers to surround the stars,

and some wreaths and crosshatching for my houses.

Finally, a different wreath pattern for the double nine patch quilt.

It's so hard to believe that after spending my whole summer devoted to this project that it's all done. Nothing left to do now but enjoy it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Itsy Bitsy Swoon Block . . . . .

So after I blogged about my Baby Swoon wall hanging, for my Baby Girl's office, I kept thinking and wondering what an itsy bitsy Swoon block would look like. Then I remembered my Baby Girl also asking for a mug rug, what a perfect opportunity, I could make an itsy bitsy Swoon block and see what I thought of the downsized block and then use the block to make a matching mug rug for my daughter.

So here's the smallest Swoon block I could make, based on the smallest flying geese unit I could make using my Fit to be Geese ruler.

The block finished at 6 3/4".

To give you an idea of size, here is itsy bitsy Swoon block in the middle of the Baby Swoon block.

Here it is surrounded by Baby Swoon blocks. I have to say I think this block looks better bigger, it makes an OK smaller block but I think the bigger blocks are stunning, make a bigger impression.

So I guess I would have to say, in this case, size does matter, and when it comes to Swoon blocks, the bigger the better!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Swoon Song . . . .

Hey, thanks for all the great feedback on my new blog look! I was a little worried when I showed my new look to my husband and he said, " I liked the old design better". But when I shared that with a friend she mentioned that most husbands don't like change, and how we woman folk like to move the furniture just for fun (that's so me!) but men don't usually take to the new look right off. I'm also taking the comments that were something like, "that sure is red" as a good thing....that's what you meant right? It's sort of like those comments "did you get a new hair cut" followed by nothing.

My Baby's Swoon or Baby Swoon as she is called is done. I enjoyed every minute of making this project. This block is amazing and has unlimited potential. It works for any style of fabric and for any level of sewing. If you are a beginner quilter and have been scared to tackle a large bed size quilt, look no further. I'm keeping this pattern in the back of my mind, I think an itsy bitsy baby swoon, one where the blocks are 8 inches would be interesting to try.

So here's where we left off . .

Block 1, then it was on to . . .

Block 2, then . . .

Block 3, and finally . .

Block 4!

Then I attached them all

and thought they looked so pretty, but wanted to use just a little more of that Nine Dots fabric . . .

so I added a thin border.

I don't use white background fabric near enough in my projects! For some reason I tend to use off whites or ivories, but I really love the crispness that the white background fabric adds to this project.

Baby Swoon is Lifetime Quilt Number 76.
She finished at 41" x 41" and has approximately 371 pieces.
The fabric is Nine Dots by Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Company for Henry Glass.