Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summertime catch up!

Hi to all my blog friends!  I have to share an update on what's going on in my life.  As I was taking pictures, it became apparent to me why I am so busy!  I've been making up for lost time this year, and really cranking through the projects.   First up,my favorite obsession at the moment!  This is the beautiful Mary Allen Sampler that I am stitching with my dear friend, Deb.  We e-mail back and forth and she has become my kindred spirit.  We met through blogging, and going to the Shepherd's Bush retreat.  When Deb told me she wanted to start working on this, I jumped at the chance to do a SAL with her.  My other SB, blogging friend, Terri ,gifted the pattern to me and I have been dreaming about it ever since! (Thanks sweet Terri!)   I just finished my first page today.  (I know I like to push deadlines).  We are stitching a page a month, and I am happy that I can start stitching page two tomorrow.  I am stitching on 35 count French Vanilla by R&R Reproductions, with one strand of NPI silks.  I debated on doing 2 strands, but with 35 count, I opted to do one.  Also, knowing me, I'll have to unpick a lot, so I don't want to worry about buying more silk.  :)

Just in time for the 4th of July, this is a quilt guild block exchange that we did last year.  I decided to make it my picnic blanket, so I added one more row to make it bigger.  It's an expensive little picnic blanket.  When it comes back from the quilters, I may change my mind about putting it on the ground!

So sorry for the blurry photo.  I took this picture a while ago, and the quilt is now at the quilters, so I couldn't shoot it again.  This is another block exchange we did in my quilt guild.  This one was a couple of years ago, and it's called, Cracker Crumb.  When we were exchanging blocks, I thought it was going to be a homely looking quilt, but I really like it now that it's put together.  I appliqued big stars on the corners.  This quilt is for my son's room. 

I was so happy to finally get this finished.  I put it away for a few months, because I wasn't happy with the orange colors I had going on.  I bought some different fabrics for the filler blocks, and I am really happy with the way it turned out.  This is Fig Tree's Garden Fence.  This one was tricky with the checker board border.  I spent several hours getting that to fit just right.  I think it was worth the effort.  Love this quilt!

This one was simple, just add the boarder.  What I didn't show you, is the bag of clothes that go on the dolls!  I loved the idea of a quilt you could actually play with.  I think my daughter and I will have fun dressing the paper dolls up during the Christmas holidays.

Since I finished my big Alphabet Village, I decide to start about 5 new projects.   Seriously, isn't that the way it goes?  I have so many things I want to do.  This is Weeping Tree by the City Stitcher.  I started this in May and haven't looked at it since.  I do hope to get back to it soon, as I loved working on it!

My SIL Melanie and I are doing a SAL with Random Thoughts by The Drawn Thread.  A nice easy piece to work on when I'm tired.   

Sweet Jolene was my partner in crime at Shop Hop.  She surprised me with this paper doll quilt!  How I love it!!!  I dream about working on it.  She is such a wonderful enabler!

Another Start, LHN Hillside Traveler.  This is a SAL with my Mom and SIL, Melanie.  We are doing so much together this year, and it's really fun.  I have until July 26th to stitch the brown house and the 2 trees.  I better get crossing my x's!

If stitching wasn't enough, My mom and SIL and I are also working on Farm Fresh by Buggy Barn.    My mom has spent hours on end cutting kits for us, and I have spent hours on end tracing and ironing.  Can you see my enormous pile that I have to prep?  I like to use the spray starch method for my appliques.  It goes fairly quick, if my kids help me paint the spray starch on.  This will be on the agenda after sewing for my DD's birthday is done.  Yikes!  I have a lot to do, it's only 2 weeks away. 

I got the urge to cut out this project a few weeks ago.  It's from the book "Simple Graces" by Kim Diehl.  I thought I would make this a "car project" this summer.  My last car project got left in there for 4 years.  I guess that means that I drive most of the time.   I don't plan on waiting that long for this one to be finished.  At least I hope not!
Another project from the Simple Graces book.   This is a yo yo quilt.  I have been cutting little circles to do this one day. After seeing Deb's last post about her wonderful Go machine, I think I may get one, just to cut my circles!  This quilt is a lot smaller in person than it looks in the book, and it was the first yo yo quilt project that inspired me to make one.  It was stunning in person!

Last but not least, I have to share my sweet little daughter's photo from her ballet recital.  It was a play based on the story of Madeline, and she played a "Petit Sailor" in the park.  She was so cute!  It was a wonderful performance.  Since then DD has tried out for the ballet company which is a small group of 30 girls, out of 150 that will perform more during the year.   We were so proud of her that she made it, and now our lives are going to be centered on ballet, because she starts taking lessons 3 times a week in August.  I may need more car projects!  
Thank you for stopping by to see me!  I appreciate every single comment. They make my day.  Have a wonderful 4h of July holiday.  Until next time, Happy Sewing.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

18 years in the making!

In 1993, the Spring before I got married, I went to Shepherd's Bush to buy a new project to stitch.  I decided upon a large project called "The Village Alphabet" by Cross My Heart, Inc.  The pattern was only $5.50.  The pattern was designed to stitch the entire alphabet, or you could stitch "Welcome to the ....(fill in your last name)."  Well, even though I was engaged, I was not married yet, and I didn't want to commit myself to a last name, so I decided to stitch the whole alphabet.  Little did I know that it would take me 18 years to finish!  Here I am at the ripe age of 22, sitting on a bean bag starting this journey.  I preferred to sit like this when my back and legs could stand it.  I wouldn't be able to last for 10 minutes now!

I started with the "M" block, and I stitched K through Q over a 4 year period.  Then my son was born.  Being a new mom, I didn't stitch very much for the next 3 years, as I was too busy running after him.  We moved to Oklahoma for 3 months while my husband was doing some training with the Air Force.  I felt certain I would finish this, because we were living in a hotel room and there was nothing to do, and this was the only project I took with me.  However I became very ill, and often didn't feel good enough to stitch.  Later I learned I was pregnant with my daughter.  When I retired this to the closet, blocks K through W were complete. 

About 5 years ago, I was cleaning out my closet, and discovered this sampler tucked in the back.  It was still on the scroll rods, and I thought about getting rid of it.  I asked my husband if he thought it was worth finishing, or if I should cut my loses and give it to someone else.  He encouraged me to finish it.  He said it was one of his favorite pieces.  That motivated me and I began working on it with excitement, but I still had over half of it to finish, and progress was slow.

Two months ago at stitch group, my mom said, "What can we give her if she finishes that sampler by next stitch group?"   I still had blocks A through E to finish, but somehow when I am given a "goal" then I can stick to things much easier.  I took the challenge to heart and pushed ahead.  I finished the top row in record time.  I will have to let you know what my "prize" is on Tuesday!

I had to unpick the finished date and change it from 2010 to 2011.  Some of you may remember that I thought by stitching the date, I would stay on task...I don't know what happened, I should know better!  :)  I have worked on this sampler for almost half of my life, and the memories are sweet in remembering where I have been, and what circumstances I was in as I stitched the blocks.  Thanks for celebrating this finish with me! 

Also, last but not least, I have to share my birthday present from Jolene!  She spoils me way too much, but her gifts are amazing.  I don't know where she finds such fabulous treasures, but I am truly blessed!  Thanks Jolene for your sweetness. I can't get over it all!  Hope all is well blog friends!  Thank you in advance for all your sweet comments.  They make my day!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

This poor blog! A much needed update!

What Have I been up to the past 2 months? I can't wait to show you.  I went to a quilting retreat in March and put together 3 quilt tops in a day and a half.  I attend this particular retreat every year, and I usually take easy, fun projects that don't involve a lot of thought.  You know how it is when you start talking...It's easy to mess up!  This is "Argyle with Style" by Bate and Taylor.  I bought this pattern at quilt market a few years ago.  My SIL and I were standing around looking at all the quilts.  I read the label..."Angry with Style...hmmm, cute".  After a long pause my SIL said, "It's called, ARGYLE with Style, not ANGRY with style".  We both started laughing.  I had to explain to the designer that I was very tired from staying up and talking half the night,  and that apparently it had affected my ability to read!  Then I bought the pattern so there would be no hard feelings.  :)

Next up is a tumbler quilt that  my SIL, Melanie, gave me for my birthday a few years ago.  She cut this out using a tumbler die from an Accu-cut machine.  Boy do I wish I had one of those handy machines sometimes!   I think the fabric line is called Rebel Roses by Henry Glass.  This will have a bias striped binding that will be added after quilting.  I intend to keep the hourglass shape on the sides.  I like the way it looks.

Finally from my retreat, I put together this fun quilt.  This is a quilt from the Book "I can't believe I'm quilting, beyond the basics", by Pat Sloan.  The fabric line is called City Girl.  I think it's probably long gone by now, but I loved this fabric so much that I made a dress and a bag out of it.  I have 3 more quilts that I worked on, and are very close to being done.  I will share those when the tops are finished.  I am going to keep a quilter very busy because I have 10 quilts ready to take to the quilters at the moment!  My poor pocketbook!

As Easter approached, I decided to make some doll clothes for the "girls".  It's hard sewing for 4 dolls!  This is one of the dresses I made.   The other 2 looked like this.  A very easy dress, and really cute!  I didn't have time to dress up the dolls to take a picture, but I will next time they are wearing them. 

A few months ago I bought a bag of buttons on Ebay and made this cute basket.  My generous friend Jolene, gave me a bunch of buttons, but when I realized how many it would take, I decided I better buy my own so as not to use up all her stash!  :)  I thought this would be a daunting project, but I sewed all the buttons on in about 4 hours.  It was really relaxing, and a fun project to do.  It's still waiting for me to make it into a pillow for my couch.  I don't think anyone will be tempted to sleep on it, do you?  The pattern is by Joined at the Hip.

I celebrated my 40th birthday last week.  My Mom surprised me with the wonderful quilt!  I just can't believe she made it for me.  As you may remember I just bought the pattern when we  were in California in February.  It was on the top of my "want to do" list.  Well, she beat me to it, and it's a good thing, because at the rate I'm accomplishing things, it would have been years before I got to it.  My mom is such a fabulous quilter.  And, not only did she make me this quilt which would have been enough indeed...

She also made this for me!  I must be the luckiest daughter in the world.  Two fabulous quilts, and new red Born sandals too.  Love my mom!  She is so good to me.  I guess it helps being the only girl out of 5 brothers!  I do get spoiled sometimes!  :)

My wonderful SIL, Melanie also didn't disappoint for my b-day!  She always give me wonderful things.  I do love her so.  This is the new fabric line from Lila Tueller, who is now designing for Riley Blake.  I can't wait to do something wonderful with this stack of goodness!

This is my progress on Dear Jane.  I haven't done a lot as you can see.  I was doing a SAL, with my mom and Melanie, but I am lagging behind in a serious way.  Melanie is finished with her blocks (130 I think), and my mom has over 90 blocks done.  I have a stack of patterns and fabric that loom in the closet!  I'm hoping that summer will make it a little easier to get things done!  I don't love that black and white block that sticks out like a sore thumb, but my mom assured me that there are many more black and white blocks for me to still sew, so I won't get out the tea dye just yet.

For our family vacation, and my birthday, we went to California again.  This time we went to  Disneyland. We did 3 day passes for Disneyland, which was a little too much for all of us, (just look at my poor son sitting in the chair.  I think his face says it all).  However,  DD had some wonderful experiences with the characters.  Here she is with her favorite girl Jessie.  They sat and colored together for over 20 minutes.  I don't know how we got so lucky, but It's something DD will never forget!   

We enjoyed the fabulous weather and the beach.   This is at Balboa pier in Newport California.   I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw 9 dolphins in the water not far from the shore!  I've never seen dolphins in the wild, and it was a thrill!  Apparently they live there and are always around at feeding time.  It was so neat! 

We also fed some Sea Lions that were hanging around.

I added to my stash.  Love me some Fig Tree Fabrics!

We ate my birthday dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant called Ciao on Balboa Island.  The island is lined with cute little houses with flowers and flags.  It got me excited  to work on this...

My long lost Shores project.  I've been stalled on it for a year of more.  I am working on the sails right now.  For some reason when I got to this block I lost my zeal for it, but hopefully I can get the excitement going again.  I have many other wonderful projects just waiting to show you. I even have things I haven't shared, but when you wait too long between posts, it's too hard to share it all!  I have something really special I'm doing that is hush hush right now, and it will be taking up most of my time this month.  I can show it to you after July!  Hope all is well with you my friends.  Until next time...Happy sewing! 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Not a lot of Gain on Jane, California and other progress (Picture Heavy)

Hi to all.  Life has a funny way of teaching us.  I have not been blogging, nor looking at blogs as much lately.  I felt that it was keeping me from exercising,  enjoying my hobbies, and keeping me away from my family.  As I learn to juggle my time a bit better, please bear with me. I will try and post at least once a month, but if I don't comment on your blog right away, I will eventually, even if it means reading several of your posts at once.
What have I been doing lately?  Vacationing in lovely California, which was a mere 30 degrees in the mornings.  Burrrrrr!  I will take 30 degrees where I live any day.  
With my parents and kids we flew to San Diego, and over 4 days drove up the coast to Los Angeles.  We enjoyed many things about this trip.  As my parents age, I feel spending time with them is so important, even if I do have to adjust to their schedules and habits. We made some wonderful memories.
On the last day of our trip,  my son got very ill, and started to run a fever.  That was the start of the awful flu coming to our house!  I never did get it, but both my kids, and husband did.  It's taken a lot of energy to keep up with them.  Keeping them hydrated, fed, comfortable.  My daughter lost 3 pounds, and my son was the sickest I have ever seen him.  I'm glad that's over.  I didn't get much done for a week!
At a wonderful quilt shop in Vista California called Fat Quarter's Quilt Shop.  My mom and I did some damage to the credit card, and spent several hours here.  I bought 4 patterns from this designer.  This one is called Thursday's Quilt by Quilts by Cheri.

This is at the wonderful Mormon Battalion Visitor Center in Old Town San Diego.  We made a beeline here after getting off the plane.  If you have never been, you MUST go.  It tells the story of some Mormon pioneers that enlisted to serve in the Mexican/American War in the 1840's and marched over 1000 miles to San Diego.  They built roads and many of the original buildings in San Diego.   One of our descendants, C.Y Webb,  was part of this, so it meant a lot to us to learn about him.  It is top notch "Disney style" fun and story telling, and it's all FREE.  Here I am trying to strike it rich with my kids and my Mom, (my dad is hiding in the background.  I'm wearing a fabulous scarf that Deb knitted for me and gave to me on her trip to Utah.  I get so many compliments on it.  Thanks Deb!

More of Fat Quarters quilt shop.  You know when you just fall in love with something, and have to have it?  That was me with this quilt.  I don't know why, but the colors just spoke to me.   They did have a kit of this, but it was $60.00, and for a wall hanging I thought that was a bit steep.  I opted to buy the pattern instead.  It's on the cutting table right now.  A Tisket A Tasket by The Whole Country Caboodle. 
One of the best things about visiting other quilt stores is seeing the local designers.  I am in love with this local,  Quilts by Cheri.  Cheri is the sister of well known designer, Bari from BareRoots.  They have very different styles, don't you think?  This is the Journal quilt.  My mom and I really want to do this one soon. 

I bought this pattern too.  I could see it hanging with the quilt with the basket. (above).  Another local designer Joan Grenke of Bits and Pieces by Joan.  This is called Honey Bee Baskets.

Another quilt by Cheri,  "Soots and Ashes".  Sorry  I couldn't get a good picture.  It's done with all blacks and creams, then heavily tea dyed.

Another local "Stitching Stories"  A $2.00 pattern, that went home with me!

My Dad at the gardens at the mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside.  The tree in the background is the first Pepper Tree planted in California.  The monks used it for medicine. 

What's a trip to California without a stop at the American Girl place.  Yes we bought Kanani, my daughter earned her by doing jobs and homework. Now we have 4 dolls, and I think that is enough!

When the weather warmed up we enjoyed the La Brea tar pits, right in the heart of Los Angeles.  They have millions of fossils from these tar pits.  A great school day! 

We also went to the Science museum in Los Angeles.  Nothing better than leaning "hands on"

Okay, now I have to share a fun project my stitch group did last week at my house.  These clever pincushions are mounted on a heavy metal bell from Hobby Lobby.  Jolene donated the wool from her  stash that she has acquired from thrift store wool jackets.  Kathryn (no blog) prepped the wool, and provided the inspiration.  We had these almost finished by the end of our day.  The pattern is called "A Little Birdie Told Me", by Wooden Spool Designs.  Five of us made them, and they all turned out so different and cute.
My finished bird from the  front!

From the back.  Perfect for holding some scissors!  The pocket looks crooked, but it's just the angle I took the picture from.

I've picked up a little framing.  Ah' Tis Spring by Notforgotten Farm.  This was a premade frame I found and against my framers wishes, I went ahead and had them frame it in here.  It's a bit tight, but I think it still looks okay for a seasonal item.  It was a lot cheaper than going custom!

The Farmer's Wife, ready to hang in my sewing room

 This is one of my favorite samplers.  A sweet gift given to me by dear
Terri.  She did the little dark haired girl and I stitched the rest.  I hung it in my sewing room, where I can see it every day.

Last weekend, I went shopping with Jolene and Kathryn (no blog) and found this cute child size ironing board.  I fell in love, and it came home with me.  I don't know where this will end up, but for now it is sitting by an old chair in the living room.  My mom made this little quilt for one of my daughter's dolls, and I'm "borrowing it" for a little while, until I can make one for myself.

I won a fabulous giveaway by Nancy, Bountiful Stitches.  Thanks so much Nancy.  This one is going in the work basket next month!

Some of my stash from Fat Quarters.  I loved the Buggy Barn quilt.  With all the fabrics bundled up so perfectly, it somehow made it into my shopping bag.  I don't know how that happens!  LOL

Last month Jolene surprised me with fabric for this fabulous quilt.  We got together and whipped up 2 quilts,  one for her, and one for me!     We were like a well oiled machine.  She put  the fabrics in order, handed them to me for piecing,   we both ironed, and she trusted me to quilt them.   I will always have fun memories of making this fun January project with sweet Jolene.  This is called Snowman Basket by Jan Patek and it's made from 1 charm pack, and a little yardage.  Easy peesy!  Thanks JoJo!

I've been trying to get some older projects out of the closet.  My SIL gave me these cute perforated paper designs with the blocks for my birthday about 4 years ago.  I stitched a few of them, and they are in storage now, but these still needed to be done.  Seeing all of these stash buster challenges, I decided to finish these up.  I am still working on December, and then I will be done!  YES!

Not a lot of gain on Jane, but this is my progress. For the past 2 whole days I have been printing the rest of the patterns I need to send on to my Mom and SIL.  Now I just need to get sewing.  I have about 50 blocks sitting here with fabric.  Can you say OVERWHELMED!  I guess if there is no Pain, I will not have a Dear Jane, so it must be done.  This is what I will be working on the rest of the month.

Love by Sweetheart Tree, is another one of those projects that has been in my closet for 5 plus years.  I was going to make this for my in-laws wedding anniversary.  One day while working on it around her I was trying to get a feel if she liked it or not, and I asked her how she liked it. The answer was, "I would do it in different colors",   Well, it went back in it's bag and hasn't' seen the light of day since.  I decided to work on it for Valentines day, and I will finish it up for next year.  The other project Jolene and I started last month at stitch group.  It just needs a few hours to be finished.  Hopefully I can show it finished next month.

This is my quilt that I was working on last month.  It's been finished and ready to take to the quilters for a few weeks.  Initially I had planned to quilt it myself, but I don't want to mess it up, so it's off to quilters for this one.  I love the saw tooth border, and even though it was tedious, it really adds to the quilt. 
Thanks so much for coming to visit me!  Cyber hugs to all my blog friends.  I'm anxious to hear from you.  Until next time, happy stitching and sewing!