Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fun little project

My friend, Rachel, started to collect selvages a year or so ago.  She saw a magazine article with some projects in it and then bought a book.  I guess this is a hot new trend in the quilting world.  She made a quilt earlier this summer with them and it was fabulous.

So, we had a sew day at her house recently and she shared her selvages!  I made this cute little bag using Amy Butler's Swing Bag pattern.

You really can't see the bow very well but it's very cute.  Then, Rachel said I needed to make a coin purse with the scraps.  Well, I wasn't up to tackling a zipper, the snap almost did me in!  So I made a little wallet.

I think its a very cute set and I can't wait to use them.  The best part was it didn't cost a penny.  I had the muslin in my fabric stash and Rachel gave me the black and white fabric for the bow from her extensive stash.
I've had the pattern for years and have used it many times. I just freehanded the wallet.


Friday, September 2, 2011

I just love to read!

Summer is my time to read.  I'm halfway through this gem.

I will admit I didn't know what to think about it at first.  It's a different style of writing alternating between two protagonists.  It's a little like a series of essays.  But they are beautiful and tell a beautiful story.  I was also attracted to the Hedgehog in the title.  My daughter's 4th grade teacher had a hedgehog in the classroom and it was her theme for the year.  That was a little different for elementary school.  And this book has helped me to appreciate this special animal even more.  The book was a New York Times Bestseller, deservedly so.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fun new patterns

We did a lot of traveling this summer.  I was lucky enough to visit many special places (Dallas, Brianhead, UT; North Rim, Grand Canyon; Glacier National Park, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks).  And my friends and husband took me to many fun quilt shops. 

I picked up some fun new patterns along the way.  They are just fun, easy (hopefully) patterns.

I love this jacket and can't wait to make my own.  But it isn't sweatshirt season here in the desert yet and that's the base of this project.  I think I'll start with red since it's my favorite color.  I have several friends ready to make one too.

These notebooks sure look cute and fun to make.  I'm hoping I can adapt the pattern to make a fun Ipad cover.

And I've always wanted to make a casserole dish cover.  My friend thought it would be a nice wedding shower gift to make one, include the 8 X 8" or 9 X 13" pan, add a recipe and a grocery store gift card.  It could also be nice to make, fill the pan with your favorite casserole dish and take it to friend or family for dinner.  What's your idea?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Great book - read it again!

I just finished a re-read on this book.  I read it many years ago and a friend mentioned it to me recently.  So I checked it out from the library and finished it again.

It is pretty quirky but fabulous too.  It's not too long either.  It is highly recommended.

Monday, August 22, 2011

August UFO

I am staying on track with finishing one UFO a month.  Well, this one is really fabulous.  Of course, I am somewhat biased!  But really, it's the pattern that is fabulous.  This is called Mandala.  The pattern was published in an Australian quilt magazine many years ago. 

This is a variation of the traditional Drunkards Path. It was making 700+ of the same curved pieces, the arc and center.  Then you follow the picture for light and dark placement.  I started it in a class.  We all traded small floral strip sets.  The idea was fabulous.  I just love this quilt and could make another one.  It is big, 91" X 91" and took some time to finish.

Here's a closer look at the block and a snapshot of the sweet rosebud fabric I used for the back.  And don't forget your quilt label!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Some New Quilt books

It's been awhile since I bought a new quilt book.  These arrived from Amazon right before our last vacation. 

I just love Piece o' Cake designs!  I tried to resist this book.  Then I showed the email pictures to my daughter and she said I HAD to buy the book so I could make her this quilt:

So I bought it for her (have to blame it on somebody).  Don't know when I'll get busy on the quilt.  I do love applique and it's been a long time since I had one of these projects.

This is the other book that arrived:

It's embarrassing to admit, but I already had this book.  But I lent it to someone, can't remember who and just decided to buy it again!  Now I'd better make something from it!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Another good book!

It's summer and oh so hot!  We always have extreme heat here and for some reason I love to read or listen in the late afternoons.  So I catch up on all those books I've been wanting to read.  Here is my latest.  I think I've checked it out from the library two previous times and didn't have time to get it done.

This was a New York Times Best Seller and very intense.  It's about a mute boy with his own language.  The family breeds dogs and there's a ghost around somewhere.  It's a twist on Hamlet.  I highly recommend this one.  It's not an easy read though, takes some concentration.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Quick and Easy Project

This is truly a quick and easy project, I'm talking 30 minutes!  It's a boutique tissue cover.  I bought the pattern (just a page) in Texas and found some cute telephone fabric.  The pattern is from the Quilt Company. 

Like I said, it took about 30 minutes to turn the supplies into this:

Oops, I'd better go.  Looks like I have a message!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Another Book

This was another book I've "read" lately.  I really enjoy these fun mysteries by Laura Lippman.  They are perfect for listening to while I sew.  This was definitely another good one.

Tess gets in the middle of another murder to solve and prove a friend's innocence.  It did not fail to entertain me and I'll be looking for another one of hers soon.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Prep Time

I've finished several quick and easy scrap quilts.  So I promised myself I would machine quilt these myself.  They are a great size to handle with my machine at the kitchen table. I'll probably donate them in the fall to a charity doing a blanket drive.  I will add a label to the back that says "Something to keep you warm on a cold night".  I even pieced together bigger scrap pieces for the backings.  The prep is tedious, especially when you have several to get done.  I have a little help from our dog, or so she thinks.

I've learned to work around her.  Fiona just loves anything soft to lay on.  The next picture shows her on the backing before I have a chance to get the other layers together.

By the way, isn't that some fabulous backing fabric?  It's for a quick and easy cowboy quilt.  I'll have some pictures of finished projects soon.  Time to do some machine quilting!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Book

The Memory Keeper's Daughter is another favorite of mine, even enjoyed the movie.  I think it was on Lifetime a while ago.  Well, Kim Edwards has a new book, The Lake of Dreams.

It's another story full of secrets to be discovered.  This was not as good as the other book in my opinion.  It is a nice story and I'm glad I took the time to read it.  I am glad I checked it out from the library.  It doesn't need to be in my book collection.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Embroidery Books

These are a couple of great books I bought on a trip to Salt Lake City.  I found them at a fabulous store in West Jordan named Material Girls.  The quilt store is full of bright, hip, cheery fabric from the top designers.  They also have lots of embroidery patterns and project type patterns (aprons, bags, kids clothes, etc) as well as quilt patterns and books.  It's always a highlight to stop by and drop some dollars.  
I do seem to be on an embroidery kick lately.  I love to have a project to work on in the car on longer trips and to stitch while I watch TV.  I haven't prepped anything from these books yet but need to get going.  I highly recommend them both.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fabulous Book!

I really love the author, Lisa See.  Her books, Shanghai Girls and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan are a couple of my very favorite books.  Her mother was one of my book club members college mentor and she can remember Lisa as a young girl.  Snow Flower is out in a movie with a limited release so far, not in my neck of the woods yet.  Lisa's new book is Dreams of Joy.   I checked it out from the library and it was only available on CD's. 

I will give this book an A+ rating.  I just loved it.  It is almost a sequel to Shanghai Girls and follows Joy as she runs away to China during the reign of Mao.  Pearl follows her and tragedy and triumph follows.  I would rather to have the book in my hand for this story, did not love the CD format.  This is a lovely story but it filled with hardships and harsh realities.  I hope there is another story to follow.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Canning -- it's a hit!

My mom and I took some time last week to do some canning.  I had lots of apples (too many to be truthful) from our dwarf apple tree in our back yard.  We also bought some peaches to try.  I had to go in search of a water canning kit and was successful here at home.  I really didn't want to order on line.  We bought our canning jars and set sail on a new adventure.  Well, it was new for me anyway.  My mom used to help my grandma can the produce from a big garden we had when we were little.  But that was too many years ago for her.  So we learned it together.

Here are the fruits of our labors:

We made cinnamon applesauce, apple pie filling and peaches.  The peaches aren't as pretty as we wanted.  We didn't pack enough in the jars and learned a lesson on that one.  They'll still taste delicious.  We were happy all of our jars sealed.  We're ready to go again next week and found some fun recipes to try.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Embroidery Prep

I'm working on a big embroidery project.  It will eventually be a quilt.  The prep is very time consuming.  Above is a picture of my big "light box".  Actually, mine is very small so my kitchen window gets put to use when the piece is bigger.  First I tape up the pattern.

Then I add the fabric, centered over the pattern.  I trace it using a fine point blue washable marker.  I'm not brave enough to use a fine tip sharpie.  I like being able to wash out the leftovers safely.

Next I add some white muslin as backing to the piece.  I usually back my embroidery pieces with batting but the quilt will have battting.  So double batting will be too bulky.

I use my machine to baste it all together.  Since this piece is 21" X 32", I added center basting too.  This keeps the fabric secure and from shifting around while you work.

Here's the block I've been working on.  This hoop is kind of small for the piece and I do have a bigger hoop.  But I'm liking this one better, feel more of a sense of accomplishment as you can move the hoop more often. 

Above is the pattern cover, "Winter Wonderland".  The blue case is my favorite for carrying my work when traveling.  I'm about to have a lot of time in the car so that translates into stitching time for me.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Coasters from Leftovers

I got busy with those leftovers from the table runner.  I had enough to make 7 coasters.  Here they are:

They are kind of big for coasters.  Maybe they're great for a big mug of your favorite beverage.  They're almost the size of a potholder.  But I'll use them for sure. You can never have too many coasters. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July UFO

Well, I am happy to say my July UFO is finished a little earlier this month.  I am working on a couple of new projects that I had to put down for many hours to get this done.  I bought the table runner pattern a couple of summers ago in Kansas City but dragged my feet to the finish line.  The instructions were difficult to follow and I had this up on my design wall for a few weeks before I could figure out the last couple of steps. 

I really think it's lovely and the colors are perfect in the room.  Here's a close up of the hexagons.

I have lots of pieces and parts leftover and I'm off to make some coasters now.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

June UFO

I am staying on track to finish a UFO each month.  This month I am coming in just under the wire with my UFO.  The good thing is I finished many new projects, that's a lot of fun and the UFO pile doesn't grow.  Here is the Bullseye quilt I started a couple of years ago.  I had a grand vision for the machine quilting, got it half done and realized it looked terrible.  So I spent some time in front of the TV picking out the stitching.  Then I started over with a simple diagonal pattern.  I learned in a couple of machine quilting classes that your quilting should compliment the quilt pattern. So if there are curves, use straight lines for quilting and vice versa.  I highly recommend this pattern for fun, scraps and easy sewing. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fun Texas Shops

I'm home from a four day trip to visit my sister in the Dallas area and four days at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Both trips were so good for my soul.  One of the trips led me to a couple of fabulous quilt shops.

I found some fun shops in the Dallas area with a quick Google search.  I just love the names of the shops too.

The first was the Quilt Asylum and the second was Happiness is Quilting.  I did some major damage at the first shop as my sister felt is was imperative I buy some Cowboy fabrics to make a quilt to commemorate my trip to the great state of Texas.  And I just love the name of the second -- because it's oh so true.  Happiness is quilting!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Good Read and a Good Listen

It's summer and I love to catch up on my reading during these hot days.  I listen while I sew and love to read during the late afternoons when it's too hot to do anything else.  I go to the coolest part of the house - our bedroom - turn on the fan and curl up with our dog and a good book.  These are my two latest and very highly recommended.

This is my "listen".  And I just loved it.  Fannie Flagg did the recording and her voice is wonderful.  This is a great story about a former Miss Alabama turned real estate agent that spends her time getting ready to "leave".  But all these things keep happening to delay her departure.  It's heart warming and funny.  I've loved every minute of it.

This has been my "read".  It was recommended by someone and I love it too.

It's a year long quest to live according to Oprah -- her show, magazine and website.  The author blogs about it during the year.  It reminded me a little of Julie and Julia, but not too much, just the premise.  I totally enjoyed this and its highly recommended too.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

New Baby, New Quilt

I had to throw a baby boy quilt together in a hurry and fell back to one of my favorites for this, Yellow Brick Road.  I bought six fun fat quarters, border, backing and binding at one of my favorite local quilt shops.  This was the finished project finished with some simple diagonal quilting.

The fabrics are very sweet with some animals, frogs and ABC's.  I know there is a very sweet baby boy that will we wrapped in warmth and love by it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Book Club

Book Club is at my house tonight!  I thought our lovely new furniture would have arrived and we could use our new sitting room for it, but alas, there is a six week delay on the four new chairs.  So, we'll be using the old sectional in the family room -- which is a fabulous piece of furniture.  It's brown leather, made in Italy by some renowned furniture maker and I forgot their name.  This is our book for this month -- Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

The book is very different in a nice way.  The subject matter is certainly new for me.  It's about a sixteen year old boy, Pi, his family and zoo animals emigrating from India to North America in a Japanese cargo ship.  The ship sinks and Pi is adrift on a lifeboat with a hyena, orangutan, zebra and Bengal tiger.    It is truly an adventure.  It's just over 300 pages and has a reader's guide at the end -- perfect for book club discussion. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

English Souveniers

Our daughter, Laurie, returned from her two weeks "across the pond".  She took 8 flights in 14 days and says she doesn't want to see another plane for a long time.  Oh, she forgot she's going to NYC in six weeks!  Hopefully that will be enough time to recover.  Her flights were to LA, Seattle, Paris, Stockholm, Dublin, London, LA and home.  We were so happy to pick her up at the airport with her requested order from In and Out Burger waiting in the truck.  She had a couple of bumps along the way but weathered them fine.  And we know how to get money across the ocean in an emergency when her credit card was canceled (along with 16,000 others) due to them being compromised in a Michael's store skimming operation.

She knows I LOVED the Royal wedding and everything about the new Royal couple.  So these were my treasures from England.

The program is so cool.  It has every detail listed, the music, script, official engagement photo, etc.  The small object in the upper right corner is a thimble with their photo.  The thimble may be a little cheesy but I love it -- and Laurie knew I would.

Now, my husband is a huge history buff and and this place is number two on his list of sites to visit outside of the U.S.  Laurie said it was almost ethereal being there and taking it all in.  They had a fabulous guide that did a great job of explaining the history of the site and all the theories about it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Beautiful Bibs

This was the sewing project I finished this week.  It was started several months ago, had to get the last couple done.  I have made these bibs for the past few years and I am retiring my newspaper pattern!  In fact, it's already been passed down.  These are for some very special young women for a very special event this weekend.

I added some machine embroidery this year with the help of my husband.  He handles the computer software end of it all.  I made 19 of these!  That's a big chunk of time.  And satin is so unforgiving.  Give my some 100% cotton any day!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Different kinds of paper

Well, it was a busy week without any time to blog.  I was sick, we went out of town (again) and watched from a distance as our youngest daughter made her way to Europe amidst delays.  So all that paper she left us for flights, connections, hotels was all for naught.  She did make it, had a blast in Stockholm and is now in Dublin before traveling on to London.  Maybe tomorrow, there will be some time for pictures and a new blog post.  I've been doing lots of embroidery.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May UFO's

I've been busy this month finishing small projects.  I already showed you several of the embroidery projects.  I also finished a small embroidery tote -- the embroidery and sewing parts!  Here is the pattern picture. 

I just LOVE Rosalie Quinlan and have a few more of her patterns to get started.  She is from Australia and is very popular here right now.  Here is my rendition.

The Back

The Front

The absolutely, positively fabulous lining.  I just LOVE this fabric to pieces.  I found it while in Salt Lake at the always wonderful quilt shop, Quilts, Etc.  It's so vintage, just my style.  I'm still working on the needle case and should be able to show it off soon!  I can't wait to get a project prepped to put in my new bag.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mother's Day gift

My mom has told me about this pattern for a long time.  She sees the made up sample in one of our favorite quilt shops when she's out and about.  The shop is Quiltique.  Well, I finally bought the pattern and some fabric to make it for Mother's Day.  Here's the pattern.

Here's the finished project.

And the inside with the slick magnetic snap.  They give you really cool directions for inserting this, a little tricky but smooth in the end!

Then my sister wanted a little wallet made to slip some travel money into and I threw this together.

All in a day's sewing!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

YoYo Pillow

This is a beautiful pillow my mom made for me.  It's been in my living room the past few years.  Now the neutral colors are moving into my new sitting room and my colorful pillows are finding new homes.  But this pillow will have a new resting spot in our bedroom.  The red and white is so fun and cheery.