Friday, February 25, 2011

I'm a . . . . .

If you're a regular visitor to my blog, then you know quite a bit about me,

I'm a quilter
I'm a needle turn appliquer
I'm a wife
I'm a mama
I'm a dog lover
I'm a nut when it comes to selecting fabric
I'm a cupcake lover
I'm a regular at Starbucks
Oh, I'm a lot of things I guess, but one thing I am, that I don't think I've mentioned before,

I'm a runner!

This weekend I'm meeting my daughter at Walt Disney World in Florida and on Sunday we're running a half marathon. It's a Princess Half Marathon (it's Disney, of course it's a princess something!)

To commemorate the occasion we decided to bedazzle our running shoes. So if you're running the race, and you see these shoes, say "Hi"! I'm thinking I may have the only cupcake and daisy bedazzled running shoes in the race.

I wonder how many of these sparkly gems will make it to the finish line,
I don't care,
just as long as I do!

I hope you have a magical weekend too!

I'll back with the Eventide update on Tuesday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Just A Little Bit More . . . .

I have just a little more information to share on Evening Bloom, my hand applique project.

First, I took this picture to give you a sense of the size of the blocks, which are 24 inches.

I have one of these pattern sheets for each block. I use it to trace the pattern pieces onto freezer paper.

After I cut out the freezer paper and iron it to fabric,

I cut it out, leaving a reasonable amount of fabric, and trace around the wax paper, that's how I know what to turn under to get my shapes.

I also trace the pattern onto a sheet of pattern-ease,

to create this overlay.

This is how I determine the placement for each pattern piece,

without having to draw the pattern on my background fabric, leaving marks that may or may not get covered with the pattern piece, or may or may not wash out.

When I fell in love with the pattern Evening Bloom, and read the book's directions for needle turn applique, I immediately knew I would need additional help with the whole process. I had absolutely no background knowledge on this method of handwork. So I contacted a fellow quilter who teaches needle turn applique classes. As luck would have it, not only was she willing and eager to teach me how to applique, she was planning to make Evening Bloom and had even already purchased her fabric.

We decided to work on this quilt together (yeah, another sew along!) and immediately made plans to meet for my first lesson.

In addition to miscellaneous applique accoutrements, my applique teacher brought this to my first lesson.

A hot chocolate cupcake with vanilla peppermint icing. A moist, sweet, delicious cupcake with a marshmallow center.

A cupcake from one of the best cupcake bakeries in New York City, we live in Illinois.

She bought this cupcake, carried it all over the streets of New York, through airport security, and them home, to give to me. Needless to say, we get along pretty good!!

We've both finished our first block,

mine is on the right,
my patient, skilled, generous, and knowledgable applique teacher's block is on the left.

Marianne, thanks so much for all your help, I could not have done it without you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Eventide Sew-Along

It's Tuesday, time for another Eventide Sew Along update!

For those of you who've not been by lately,

Eventide is a lovely pattern by Carrie Nelson for Miss Rosie's Quilt Company.

I was lucky enough to find 31 other quilters just looking for an excuse to make this quilt too!

It's not too late to join, send me an email or leave a comment if you're interested!

First, I think I finally have my sew along list in order, but if you've been omitted or added in error, please contact me. I've added all participants to the Eventide list on the left.

Now for some Miscellaneous Updates:

Nicole, at Sister's Choice Quilts, who's using a mix of Lecien fabric but mainly Antique Rose for her Eventide, posted a very helpful blog regarding fabric choices for Eventide, be sure to read it if you've not done so. It's worth reading even if you aren't making Eventide. Choosing fabric is definitely my biggest struggle when making most quilts. Today Nicole is providing a tutorial on how to make the hour glass blocks for Eventide, another reason to pop over to her blog. Nicole, thanks so much for providing such wonderful posts for Eventide, your tips have been a big help to me!

Sinta, at Pink Pincushion, blogged about an Eventide finish, not hers, but an amazing quilting job on someone else's, take a look and be prepared to drool!

Judith, at Smokey From the Netherlands, blogged about her participation in the sew along, in two languages! She's using Roses the Noel as her fabric for Eventide.

Paula, at How to Make an American Quilt, has cut out and sorted all her Luna Notte fabric and started piecing the Ohio Star blocks, her design wall is looking pretty good, take a look.

Gretchen, at Stella Bella Quilts, has her Eventide pattern and fabric, I'm eager to see Eventide using her fabric choice of, are you ready for this, Central Park!

Sue, at Cozy Little Quilts, has also made her fabric selection, Luna Notte, and her first Ohio Star Block, take a look!

And finally Beatrice, has posted some pictures of her Eventide progress. She's off to a great start, her hour glass blocks are all done.

I think that's all the posts I've caught for Eventide progress, if I missed you this week, I'll make up for it next week.

Some folks have also passed along their fabric selection for Eventide,
Deb is leaning towards Jo Morton fabrics,
Anita is going with Rural Jardin (I've yet to see that fabric make a bad quilt)
Bea thinks Collection for Cause - Heritage will make an amazing Eventide,
Carol is thinking about Wiscasset,
Lisa is going with Luna Notte ( our most popular choice so far),
Betty is shoppping from her stash and going with an older 3 Sisters line, Gingham Rose,
Peggy has decided on Gatherings,
Shelley, Martinique, (I think I've spotted one quilt using this fabric on a blog, and it wasn't Eventide, this was a popular line but folks must be sitting on their fat quarter bundles!)
Sinta and Cheryl are going Fig Tree, Mill House Inn and Breakfast at Tiffany's
and Leona is going to let the fates decide her choice, she's ordered Antique Fair and Park Avenue, whichever fabric arrives on her doorstep first, that's her choice. I wonder what will happen if they show up the same day!

So that's all I've heard so far as far as fabric choices go, but we have a wonderful assortment already. What an amazing parade we'll have!!

I'm going with Park Avenue for my Eventide, I, like Bea, decided to make the large star points (large hour glass blocks) first. Here's my first attempt that didn't please me.....

I wish I could tell you why.....and that's the part that drives me crazy, I'm not a why person. I'm a rule follower, which is probably why being an Accountant fit me perfectly, no whys in Accounting, it's all about following the rules. But I'm wanting to understand why I do and don't like my fabric choices, it would be so helpful, a real time saver, and easier on my budget if I could determine my likes and dislikes before I cut and piece the blocks.

Here are 6 more sets of hour glass blocks that did not meet my expectations.

And here are 6 sets that do.

I'm now trying to decide if the only reason I picked Park Avenue was because of the blue, and the pattern had the large star points in blue. After making so many poor choices, I'm beginning to think it's not my fabric choices that aren't appealing to me as much as the blue star points. I'm now wondering if I wouldn't prefer those star points in caramels or tans.

I think the only way to determine if I'm going to like this look is to finish the quilt with the blues, and even then, I wonder if I'll be thinking that I could have made a better fabric choice. Note to self, before you start cutting and piecing your Eventide, or any pattern for that matter, remember, you can choose any fabric that appeals to you for any aspect of a project, the picture on the cover of the pattern is just a suggestion, a pretty good suggestion, but just a suggestion.

Oh well, now it's on to the 42 Ohio Star blocks for me. I think I"ll make a few, to get a feel for the fabric, then go to town on cutting all pieces and parts for the remaining blocks, or at least that's my plan for today!

Denise in PA, you're the winner of the Pom Pom Charm pack giveaway from last week, send me your address and I'll get that lovely fabric in the mail to you!

Beatrice - You're this week's Sew Along winner of any Carrie Nelson pattern from the Fat Quarter Shop!!

Added later - I just learned today is Beatrice's birthday, so she's a winner AND a Birthday Girl, so drop by and wish her a Happy Birthday, and if you can say Happy Birthday in French, that would be great, Beatrice is joining our sew along from France and has selected Due South as her Carrie Nelson pattern!!

If you wold like to win a Carrie Nelson pattern of your choice from the Fat Quarter Shop, leave a comment on this post by midnight, CST, Wednesday, February 23rd.
Any comment will do!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Block One - Evening Bloom

So here's what block one, The Tulip Block, looks like in the pattern book, Country Inn, by Blackbird Designs.

The designer chose the original Rouenneries by French General gray medallion print for the background.

I'm also using French General, but I'm going with the lighter medallion print from Maison De Noel.

For the applique pieces, I'll be going with French General, but probably sticking mainly with the Maison de Garance family, I seem to be going through a red and brown phase right now.

So here's the only flower that bloomed in January at my house,

Block One, all done!!

One of my pet peeves on other folks blogs, is when they show a perfectly lovely quilt, or block, then point out a mistake they made, something that I would have never noticed on my own, why point it out for the world to see?

Well I'm about to do the same,

here's a close-up of the bottom of my flower bloom, and it's a mess.......

the left hand side doesn't match the right hand side, the right hand side is too low or too something, and the base of that flower petal in the middle, oh my, how wonky is that!

The reason I'm showing you my poor needlework is to show you how much better it looked with a little more time and attention.

4 hours of time and attention, but worth every stitch, or restitch!

So my very first hand applique block is all done, and I've already started on block two!

Tomorrow is the Eventide Sew Along Update Post, if you have any updates for me to add to my post, send me an email, thanks! I started piecing the large quarter square triangle blocks, it took several tries, but I think I finally like what I've got. I'll share the pictures tomorrow.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Kabob Skewer Applique . . . .

If you would have told me last year that I would not only be making a quilt that was hand appliqued, but enjoying every minute of it, I would not have believed you, but here I am, working on my first hand applique project and absolutely loving it.

It all started with this book, Country Inn, by Barb Adams and Alma Allen of Blackbird Designs.

Someone who thought I would benefit from a little Blackbird Design exposure sent it to me. I had heard of Blackbird Designs, but really hadn't paid too much attention to their designs because "I wasn't an applique person".

This book is nothing but eye candy, and very cleverly written. The goal of the book is to "bring the feeling of comfort" into your own home. And this book delivers on its promise by providing amazing recipes, several craft projects, and quilt instructions for 6 quilts. The book was published last year, but if you don't own it, you can still easily get it.

One of the craft projects is this adorable pincushion. I made one but forgot to take a picture.

It now lives somewhere else. The pattern calls for 1 inch hexagons, but the next time I make one, I'm going with 3/4 inch hexies, I think it would be even cuter if it were smaller.

The book also has several pages of instructions for making these sachets.

Lisa - Stashmaster made them for her coworkers for Christmas. (click here to see Lisa's sachets)

Of the quilt patterns provided in this book, 4 are applique projects and two are not. Of the 4 applique projects these are the two that caught my eye,

This is Country Rose

And this is Evening Bloom.

The quilts are very similar, same patterns for the floral blocks, but each quilt has different borders and fabrics.

The quilts finish at 80" X 80". The flower blocks are 24 inches each.

If you read my blog very often you'll easily know which project called my name, yes Evening Bloom with the reds and French General fabric. It was love at first sight! This quilt called my name so loudly that I could do nothing but find an applique teacher and learn how to applique.

So that is how I became an appliquer, some things are just meant to be and happen when they are meant to happen.

There are several aspects of appliqueing that I enjoy, it's relaxing, it's something I can do while I watch TV in the evenings with my husband (how appropriate that the quilt is named Evening Bloom, because most of my stitches are done in the evening), and it gave me a reason to finally use this sewing basket. I think I've had this sewing basket for over 20 years. It just sat on a shelf in my office with nothing in it that whole time.

For some reason I just like the idea of having a sewing basket. The method I was taught for appliqueing Evening Bloom was needle turn applique, but I had a little trouble getting the needle to turn the fabric. See that little wooden pointed stick in my basket? That's a kabob skewer from my kitchen. I use it to turn under the fabric, the grain in the wood sort of grabs the fabric and turns it under. I'm guessing as I get more adept at working with the fabric turning process, I'll be able to use my needle as easily as this skewer, but until then, technically, I do Kabob Skewer Applique.

Another aspect of applique that I like is that it gives me a reason to use this. . . .

this cute cupcake stores needles!

This was a gift from a friend, I loved it before I figured out what it was, but love it even more now that I use it.

Monday I'll blog about my first block and actually show a picture of it, stop back by.

If you are participating in the Eventide sew along, or Eventide is on your Quilt To Do list, be sure to hop over to Nicole's blog, Sisters Choice Quilts. She's blogging about her fabric selection and how to use light, medium, and dark tones from any family of fabrics to get a great look for Eventide. If you are were struggling with how to get started on this project, I think Nicole will give you some great tips that will get you on your way!
Thanks Nicole!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's Tuesday . . .

and Eventide Progress Day! So for the next 7 weeks, Tuesday on my blog will be all about the Eventide Sew Along.

Welcome quilters who are participating in the sew along, and welcome folks who are going to be cheering the participants on from the sidelines. I hope it makes for fun and interesting blogging for all of us.

First - The Fat Quarter Shop has a new shipment of Eventide patterns, if you've been searching for a pattern, your search is over! The pattern is online and available. Thanks Kimberly!

Eventide is by Carrie Nelson for Miss Rosie's Quilt Company and finishes at 84" X 87".

I've gotten a few notes that some folks are a little intimidated by this pattern and not sure how to start. I've had my issues with some patterns, patterns that are poorly written or just plain wrong, those are patterns that should scare you. In its simplest form, Eventide is just a nice size quilt comprised of 72 nine inch finished blocks, an inner border of quarter square triangles, and an outer border of scrappy strips. A very basic pattern. It's the fabric that does all the work, well and Carrie did a little work, coming up with the clever idea of how to place that fabric.

If you're still overwhelmed, it gets even simpler, of the main 9 inch blocks, 42 are Ohio Star blocks and 30 are quarter square triangle blocks. And if that still sounds overwhelming, break it down some more, and keep breaking down each step until you get to a level that feels comfortable to you. Maybe even cut and piece one Ohio Star block, just to get a feel for your fabric choice and the piecing.

Now for the cutting, some folks start a project by cutting all the fabric at once, as Nicole blogged about yesterday. She even sorted her fabric and put the different pieces in marked bags! Very Clever Nicole!! It's not very often that I even look at the cutting requirements for a pattern. I'm a cut as I go type of girl. Especially when I'm not sure of my fabric choices. There's nothing worse than cutting out an entire project only to start and realize you don't like your fabric or the pattern. I have some lovely poppy fabric that is all cut out for a pattern I changed my mind on, Im still looking for the perfect pattern that will somehow use the pieces that I've cut.

So don't be scared, just get started! And if you make a mistake, we won't know unless you tell us!!

I've got some exciting news, Kimberly from the the Fat Quarter Shop is donating a $50 gift certificate to our sew along.

We'll have a drawing from the finished quilts to determine the winner.
Thanks again Kimberly.

I'm still sorting out our participant list, drop me a note or leave a comment if there is an error. I'm not intentionally leaving anyone off, don't be shy about telling me I've made a mistake! AND it's not too late to join us!

I should have the participant list nailed down this week and will create a list for a column on my blog.

In the meantime, Nicole and Paula have blogged about the sew along, and Sherri has a giveaway going on at her blog today.

Eventide Sew Along List
A very impressive group and great mix of bloggers and non bloggers, I'll do the blogging for the folks without blogs.

Next week I hope to be able to share the fabric choices of all the participants.

Now for the fun part of this sew along, the giveaways, I drew a name from the participants and
Leona, you've won this!

A charm pack of Pom Pom de Paris by French General.

If you would also like to win a Pom Pom Charm pack, leave a comment about how you attack a new project or how you cut out a new project, are you a cut it all out at once quilter or a cut as you go quilter? You have until midnight CST, tomorrow night, February 16th to be eligible.

Thanks for stopping by, I've finished my first block for my needle turn applique project, look for that post later this week!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Little More of Virginia's Star Quilt . . . .

With Belle Meade done it was on to my next project. After working with nothing but French General reds, whites, and blues, I was in the mood for some different colors.

So I went with this . . .

Virginia's Star Quilt by Lori Smith for From my heart to your hands Quilt designs. My favorite part of this pattern, it comes with 5 different quilt size options. The star block can range in size from a 4 1/2 inch square to a 10 1/2 inch square, and this pattern has detailed directions for each size.

So here are all my stars . . .

I wish I could take credit for choosing all that lovely fabric, but this project is the result of a kit, a kit I've had for several months. This project was kitted for the 6 inch square blocks, so that's what I went with.

So that was easy, the size was chosen for me, the fabric was chosen for me, no drama for this project, right....right...., uh not right.....

I wasn't particularly fond of the border provided in the pattern, a 6 inch piece of plain fabric with a star in each corner.

I thought I could come up with something a little better ( you know me and borders) and thought maybe a scrappy checkerboard inner border would have a good look and feel.

It didn't take long to figure out that the scrappy checkerboard border fought with the scrappy stars, so back to the drawing board......I was a little limited since this was a kit, and I really don't have much in the way of fabric on hand.

Then I noticed the binding fabric that came with the kit, and tried this.....

This I like,

so the binding became the border!

I'm still deciding on the perfect width for plain tan inner border, and plan to add another plain strip of fabric to the other side of the checkerboard border. I'm also still deciding about whether to add the hst units along the outside, like the pattern.

This I am sure of, I ran out of fabric! The kit didn't come with enough fabric to finish the border using my pattern changes!! I was able to order more of the dark fabric from the quilt shop where I got the kit, the plain tan border fabric, it's available, but the color is a little different. It has a hand dyed look that probably changes on each bolt. Luckily for me, I know a quilter who had also bought this kit and she is willing to part with her border fabric so I can finish mine! Aren't quilters the nicest bunch of folks you would ever want to meet!

So while I wait for more fabric to finish this project, I guess I'll get started on Eventide!

Stop back tomorrow for an update on my Eventide progress and some sew along updates!!

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm wearing my Valentine's Day socks and eating red food all day. I just love it when I have to eat Red Velvet Cupcakes for breakfast, just in the name of a holiday! I'm all for any holiday that adds a little fun to what would normally be another boring winter day. If a valentine doesn't find its way to you, don't hesitate to treat yourself to a little's all about love, and shouldn't you give yourself a little love everyday, but particularly this day!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Eventide Sew-Along and Winner . . .

First, to all the folks who have so much snow that they have to actually shovel their roofs, I am so sorry I complained about my measly 22 inches!! I don't even shovel my drive, is there a service for that type of thing.....I can't imagine getting up on a slick roof to shovel snow. No more complaining about snow from me, no the temperature, that's another matter, today it's 0!

I'm so excited, it appears as if we have around 25 quilters up for an Eventide sew along! At first I was amazed by the number of folks who said they would participate, but then it is an amazing pattern. And for a Carrie Nelson pattern, pretty low on the pieces scale, only around 1,115.

So here's the list of folks who I think are in the sew along:
Nicole - Sisters Choice Quilts
Sherri - A Quilting Life
Cindy B
Sue - Cozy Little Quilts
Mary Lou - Cheaper Than Therapy Quilting
Linda - The Quilted Pineapple
Gretchen - Stella Bella Quilts
The NCQ - The North Carolina Quilter
Brenda - Quilting Along Life's Way
Laura Dublin
Dresden Quilter
Becky - The Quilting Book Lady
Paula Frances - Love Zao
Kathy - Troublesome Creek Quilts
Lisa - Stashmaster
Sinta - Pink Pincushion

If you want to join us, and I missed you, just leave a comment or send me an email, If you're on the list in error, I'm sorry, leave me a comment or send me an email and I'll remove you from the list.

Anita, Mary, A, and Cheryl. You left comments saying you wanted to sew along but I don't have a way of contacting you, please send me your email address. I'm happy to do the blogging for you.

I have a few more folks still thinking it over, quit thinking, come on and join us, and send me an email or leave a comment so I can add you to the list.

Here are the rules, start when you want, finish when you can and if you finish by the end of March, 2011, you get a mug rug, made by me! We'll also have other drawings as we go. Oh, and a prize for the first person done, piecing the top. Shelley started this project with Carrie in Wisconsin, so she has a head start....just throwing that out there for you competitive types!!

I plan to blog about the Eventide Sew Along every Tuesday. Feel free to blog about your progress when it suits you. If you have a blog, I'll link to it. I just love the parades that Sherri and Sinta have for their monthly sew along, so let's do the same, have an Eventide Parade the last day of March.

That's it! What could be more fun!

Added later - If you are looking for an Eventide pattern, the Fat Quarter Shop will have them online in the next 24 hours or so. Also, Kimberly from the Fat Quarter Shop has donated a gift certificate for our sew along! Thanks Kimberly, that's very exciting news! The fun just keeps happening and I've yet to even unwrap my fat quarter bundle!

And the winner of the Eventide pattern is

Congratulations Jayne, and thanks to all who stopped by and left a comment.

I'm working on this project right now,

Virginia's Star Quilt by Lori Smith of From my heart to your hands.

I just need to finish the stars, sew them together, and add the border.

Depending on how Virginia's Star progresses, I'm hoping to start Eventide the end of next week.

Someone asked about my progress on my needle turn applique project, I'm loving it and am still working on my first block. I would show you my progress, but I get the idea that appliquers blog about their applique when they finish a block, and I'm new to the club and don't want to break any rules, so hang in there, there will be a applique block to share soon.
(If it were up to me, I would show you a picture every time I added a piece, wouldn't you just hate that!!)