Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Seeing Spots?

Are you seeing spots and dots?  No need to call the doctor...just sit back and enjoy my stop on the Dots on Dots Blog Hop. 

For your viewing pleasure, I offer three blocks today.  The first was made especially for this blog hop.  It is a paper pieced lone star block.  Anna, who blogs at Six White Horses made this block look so beautiful and so effortless.  Look at her work here and tell me...are those not the most beautiful stars.  She even provides a template so you can make the block as well.  

After making this block, I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I love the dots. If you look closely, even the white background fabric has white dots!  I love the shape of the block, but....this was a tough block for me to piece together.  

For starters, I am not pleased with the way the center came together.  Since I plan on turning this into a pillow, I think I can easily hide the imperfections with a button.  It might not be the most cozy pillow, but it will be pretty.  The other issue I had with this block came when I started adding the white background pieces.  I like to skimp with the pins, but had I taken the time to pin the fabric down I think I could have avoided a lot of time with Jack (you know, the seam ripper).  I don't know if I will paper piece this beauty again....I think lone star and I definitely need some space for now.

The next two blocks are part of my quilt for the Vintage Holiday Quilt Along hosted by Heidi at Fabric Mutt.  The pattern is by Camille Roskelley and can be found here.  I love Christmas and I really enjoyed putting these blocks together.  I took a few liberties with some of the blocks to make them my own.  I will be posting pictures of the other blocks for you soon.  


A BIG thank you to Corrie at Quilt Taffy and Madame Samm at Sew We Quilt for organizing this event and allowing me to be a part of it.  Hop on over to the other stops on the tour today.  

I hope you are inspired to start your own dots on dots quilt project.  What are you waiting for?

Until Next Time,
Happy Quilting.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

And the winners are.....

Wow!  What an amazing response I received from the Blog Hop Party with Giveaways hosted by the Quilting Gallery.  I have been overwhelmed by your comments.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to reply individually to each comment, but I have read each one and I'm inspired by your ideas!

Without further ado, the winner of the Joy charm pack by Kate Spain for Moda is......Anita who said, 
How fun! I like making little things for Christmas...coasters...
zippered pouches, etc. That's a lovely charm pack set. And I'm a new follower. =)

The winner of the Blog Follower Appreciation gift certificate for $25 to the Fat Quarter Shop is .... Sh Rud.

For those of you who didn't win this time, I'll announce another Blog Follower Appreciation gift in the next couple of weeks to celebrate reaching 200 followers.  

Until Next Time
-Happy Quilting!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

It's a PAR-TAY!

Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways

Love parties?  Love give-aways?  Then you are going to love this blog hop.  Each stop is an opportunity for you to WIN!  

Since the Think Christmas blog hop, I haven't been able to get Christmas off my mind.  I found one more Christmas themed charm pack in my stash - 42 pieces of Joy by Kate Spain for Moda.  To get your name in the drawing for this charm pack, leave a comment below.  Any comment will do, but if you prefer a prompt tell me what kind of quilty Christmas doodads you like to make.  On Monday, September 3 at 8pm (CST), one winner will be randomly selected from the comments received.  Limit one comment/entry per person.  I will ship internationally, so everyone is welcome to participate.

BUT.....that's not all.  I'm getting very close to my first 100 followers and I appreciate each and every one of you.  On Monday, September 3 at 8pm (CST), if I have 100 or more people following me through Google Friends Connect (GFC)...I will randomly select one follower to receive a 

$25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop

To be in the running for the gift certificate, all you need to do is follow my blog through need to leave an additional comment.  

Good luck and don't forget to check out the other blogs on the Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways!


Spiral Squares?

Several years ago I picked up a coloring book - not for a kiddo....just for me.  The coloring book was called OptiDesigns by  I searched their website recently, but wasn't able to find this particular title on their shelves any more, but they do have other titles that look like they would be just as much fun.  So, why am I telling you about this crazy coloring book?

I love geometric shapes and as I was browsing through the coloring book, I was inspired to try to recreate those spiral squares you see on the bottom left corner of the cover in a quilt block.  I blew the photo up on a copy machine and attacked this project using paper piecing.  I'm fairly pleased with the results, but it's not exactly what I was hoping to achieve.  I'm hoping that once I quilt them I will be able to emphasize a bit more of the spiral shape.  

This block was submitted to the QuiltCon block challenge.  While it probably will not win any awards, I enjoyed going through the steps to create this piece and I hope it will be put to good use in a quilt for a child in need.  

After making the block for the QuiltCon block challenge I wasn't quite ready to stop so I pulled out my Christmas fabrics and created a spiral block to add to my Christmas table runner....a work in progress.

Of course, in recent weeks, I have come to realize my spiral squares are not a unique idea.  Others call this block the twisted log cabin.  I'm not sure if others are creating this block using improvisation, paper piecing or some other method.  I utilized a log cabin approach with a paper pieced foundation as my guide to construct the block.  It worked well for me, but it was a time consuming process.

I'm still in a Christmas mood.  I'm focusing my attention on the Vintage Holiday Quilt Along right now.  I'll have some pictures of that project up for you next week.

In other news I am participating in the Blog Hop Party with Giveaways!  Check back tomorrow for the details on what you can win.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

And The Winner Is.....

Congratulations to Lisa Marie, winner of the "Joy" charm pack by Kate Spain for Moda.  Lisa Marie wrote, "So cute! I bought one of those tabletop stands and really need to get busy making something to hang on it. That wreath may be just the thing!"  This should help you get started on your own wreath.  I hope she will share pictures with us of her finished product.  Lisa Marie, I will be sending you an email shortly.  Email me your address and I will get the charm pack out to you! 

Thanks again to everyone who stopped by on the Think Christmas blog hop.  The blog hop might be over, but there are plenty more Christmas goodies to come. 

-Until Then
Happy Quilting!

P.S.  Only 16 followers away from another giveaway!  Send your friends and quilting buddies on over.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cathedral Windows and the Desi Quilters

I have always been attracted to the traditional cathedral windows quilting technique, but I never took the time to learn it.  -Until recently!  

For the past couple of months, I have been part of a group known as the Desi Quilters.  Desi Quilters are a group of phenomenal ladies who share two things:  1) a love of quilting and 2) a love of India.  Most are of an Indian ethnicity, but in spite of my lack of an Indian heritage, these ladies have warmly welcomed me into their circle.  They have quilting bees, monthly challenges (like complete a quilt project using only squares or using only monochromatic prints, etc), and small project quilt alongs designed to build  skills.  The small project quilt alongs are my FAVORITE!  Because they are small projects, like pillows or table top decor, they are a quick and easy way to learn and practice new skills.  

For the past several weeks, Chumki at My Favorite Things has guided us through three different techniques that can be used to construct a Cathedral Windows project (the Orange Peel Method, the One Seam Flying Geese Method, and the Traditional Cathedral Windows Method).  So far, I've only tried the Orange Peel Method, but I love the way it turned out.  

I've added a page for the Desi Quilters.  Take a second to check out what these wonderful ladies are up to.  I find them to be so inspiring and supportive.  I love checking in with them each day.  You will, too.  

Don't forget Wednesday (8/8/12) at 8:00pm CST, I draw the winner of the Christmas Charm Pack.  Get in the game by following this link.

-Until Next Time.
Happy Quilting!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Think Christmas Blog Hop Stop + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Think Christmas Blog Hop!  Special thanks to Lesley of The Cuddle Quilter and Madam Samm of Sew We Quilt and Sew I Quilt for their amazing dedication and organization.  Without their efforts, I'm afraid I would be sweltering in the heat with no thoughts of Christmas at all!

Before I show you my Christmas blocks, I should warn you that we take Christmas decorations very seriously in my house.  Last Christmas we had four decorated trees in our home and my husband went to great lengths to defend his title of "Best Christmas Decorations" in our neighborhood.  He has won for the past two years and is committed to keeping his title this year!  

This year, I'm taking my holiday quilting more seriously, as well.  Today, I've tried to provide an assortment of Christmas quilt blocks that may appeal to a variety of tastes.

To begin, I'd like to share with you a more traditionally pieced Christmas wreath with bow.  The pattern came from Moda Bake Shop.  Measurements are provided to make a 24 x 24 wall hanging, but I adjusted it to create a 12.5 inch block.  This little bugger has more than 100 pieces and is sure to qualify as more of a mini-quilt than a quilt block, but I wanted a beautiful wreath to include in my quilted holiday decor.  I plan to finish it and display it on a table near the entrance to my home this year.

For the more modern quilter, this is a 12.5 inch block called "Free Wheeling."  I've been drawn to this block many times.  Every time I see this block, I think it looks like a bow.  I had to include it in my Christmas plans this year.  Free Wheeling was made using improvisation, paper piecing and traditional piecing.  The block was designed by Natasha Bruecher and can be found in "Modern Blocks" by Susanne Woods.  

For the whimsical quilter, no Christmas is complete without Santa's Little Helper....

Oops...wrong helper.  How about this one?

Santa's Little Helper is an example of raw edge applique.  I typically avoid this technique because I'm always concerned about how it will hold up over the years, but he was just too cute not to bring to life this year.  

I hope you have enjoyed my stop on the Think Christmas Blog Hop.  (Could you tell this was the first time I ever participated in a blog hop? - I hope not!)  Be sure to visit my fellow quilters on the hop today.  

Quilty Doodads (YOU ARE HERE)

One last thing before you go...

I purchased one extra charm pack of Joy by Kate Spain for Moda that I will share with one lucky winner.  To register for a chance to win this holiday charm pack, leave a comment below.  Become a follower of my blog and leave an additional comment letting me know that you are now a follower for another chance to win (Limit:  two entries per person).  One winner will be selected via a random number generator on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 8:00pm (CST).  International entries welcome.  Winner will be notified by email.  If you are a no reply blogger, please leave contact information in your comment or another name will be drawn.  

Thanks for stopping by....Happy Quilting and Blog Hopping!

The Charm Pack Giveaway is now closed.  Comments are welcome, but will not be considered in the giveaway drawing. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

I FINALLY won!!!!

How many times have you entered a competition and thought, "I never win"?  I used to say it all the time, but not anymore.  I FINALLY won something!  

For those of you familiar with Crafsy you may recall they recently had a giveaway for facebook fans.  I received an email a couple of weeks back saying I had won the giveaway.  The prize....a new Brother sewing machine complements of Craftsy!  I couldn't believe it!  I even called their offices in Denver to make sure it was legitimate and it was.  This little beauty arrive a week ago and I have been having a lot of fun with it.

It only seemed fitting to use my new machine from Craftsy to create my Craftsy Blocks of the Month.  This was my first attempt at dresden plates.  I think they turned out nicely.  The only real issue I had was stitching circles for the middle that weren't too wonky.  I look forward to making more dresden plates in the future.  If you haven't been to Craftsy lately, pop over there and check out their new classes, workshops and pattern. 

-Until Next Time 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

There's A Quilty App For That

A couple years ago, my office provided me with my first Mac computer. Add to that an iPhone and an iPad and you realize I am a Mac fanatic!

I've found a few quilty apps that have become go-to resources.

The first is QuiltingCalc by Robert Kaufman Fabrics. It's available in for the iPhone and in HD for an iPad. Enter the width of the fabric and the measurements of your quilt and it will tell you how much fabric you need for your backing. It also helps with calculations foe bindings, borders, triangles and square in squares. Plus you can view the latest Kaufman fabrics with this handy little app. Oh, and did I mention it's FREE!

My next favorite app is a toss up between Quick & Easy Quilt Block Tool by C&T Publishing, Inc ($3.99) and BlockFab by Mary Kay Podlecki (Free). Both provide a library of blocks that I browse when looking for ideas. There is very little overlap between the blocks listed in the two apps. Both provide calculations and cutting instructions based on the size and number of block you want to make. They also provide with layout options to give you an idea of what the finished quilt will look like.

The final app I will talk about is TouchDraw for the iPad ($8.99). I recently purchased this app and I am still learning the intricacies of the program, but several quilter's, most notably Lily's Quilts, has been using this app to create original designs. Pop over to her blog and check out her fabulous tutorials.

What about you? What quilty apps have you found helpful? No need to limit the discussion to just Mac users...are there handy quilt apps out there for other types of smart phones?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Beginner's Luck

My quilting life has been full of first lately.

  • My first blog
  • My first bee
  • My first swap
  • My first experience shipping internationally
  • My first custom's form
As I mentioned in my previous post, I am am participating in the Star of Africa International Quilting Bee.  This month the recipient of our blocks was Patti of Retired to Quilt.  Inspired by my current state of residence (Tennessee), I decided to make a block that paid homage to Elvis and country music...hence the Elvis block above.  The block isn't perfect....I wish the red triangles were a little neater and some of my seams were a little straighter, but I press on and strive for a more perfect block next month.  

My first swap is a Christmas layer cake charm swap.  I just sent off my packet to Angie of Sew Scappy Quilts.  I selected Jingle Ornaments Holiday by Kaufman (above left) and Holiday Yule Trees Aqua Deck the Halls by Michael Miller (above right). Angie posted a great tutorial demonstrating the best way to cut 2 yards of fabric into 28 10" squares.  I can't wait to see the beautiful Christmas layer cake I will get back in return!

In the meantime, I'm preparing for my first blog hop, Think Christmas.  Check back here August 2 to see what I'm doing with all these beauties.  

Until next time...
-Happy Quilting!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

International Quilting Bee - Month 1

I can't believe my first quilting bee is an international quilting bee, Star of Africa.  Ladies from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa create one block each month and mail them to a member of the group.  This month we were asked to create an 8 or 10 inch block representing our countries.  Since there were several ladies from the US in the group, I decided to make a block representative of my current home state, Tennessee. 

Country music, Elvis, Gone with the Wind, cotton fields, hamburgers and football...these were the things that came to mind when group members thought of Tennessee.   Looking for quilting inspiration, I wondered around downtown Nashville and found these classic landmarks that were in line with the preconceptions of the group:  

Patti, from Retired to Quilt, is the lucky recipient of our quilt blocks this month.  I'm not going to show you a picture of the quilt block yet, because Patti wanted to be surprised.  I mailed my block off on Thursday (6/11).  Check back in the next week or so to see how I incorporated these two Nashville icons into my quilt block.  (I hope she likes it...but I'm a little worried.  I don't want to disappoint anyone.)

I also thought I would use this space each month to share a little Tennessee/US history with you.  For my international friends, you will find Tennessee in the southeastern US.  During the War of 1812 Tennessee acquired the nickname, the "Volunteer State," when volunteer soldiers fought valiantly in the Battle of New Orleans.  The nickname was solidified during the Mexican War when President Polk asked for 2,600 Tennesseans to volunteer to aid in the war.  Within a week, 30,000 soldiers from Tennessee volunteered to participate in the cause.  

As my international friends observed, Tennessee is known as the home of Elvis Presley and his estate, Graceland, can be found in Memphis.  Tennessee is also well known for its country music roots.  It is the home of the Grand Ole Opry, Music Row, and the Country Music Hall of Fame.  For more information, check out these websites.  

Thanks for stopping by.  More on the modern "Envy" block quilt, I'm working on in the next couple of days.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I wish I were a speedy stitcher.  I'm amazed at the quilting bloggers of the world who seem to be so productive.  They manage to post regularly on their blog and design, assemble and quilt amazing works of art.  Me?  I'm a slow poke....I even prefer the turtle setting on my sewing machine!

This week I am working on a twin size quilt incorporating nine "Envy" blocks from the book, Modern Blocks.  Here is a peek at what one looks like.  The fabric is by City Girl.  I'll share more progress with you later this week.

I'm trying to rush the hubby through dinner tonight so I can join Talkin Tuesdays on Twitter in a bit.  It sounds like a lot of fun....I hope you pop over and join the conversation if you can.

See you there.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

June 2012 - New Adventures

June was an exciting month for me.  I took the plunge and went from isolated at-home quilter to an internationally connected blogging quilter.   WOW!  (I promise that sounds sooooo much more impressive than it is in reality!)

I'm grateful for the people I have met and the opportunities that have presented themselves to me in June.  First, I'd like to acknowledge May from Confessions of a Fabraholic. She graciously allowed me, a total stranger, to join her international quilting bee, Star of Africa.  Quilters from most continents are represented in this bee and I hope I do not disappoint them with my Tennessee inspired block.  May encouraged take the plunge into the blogosphere and I'm glad I took her advice.

Next, I'd like to thank Beth from Plum and June for introducing readers to quilting bloggers each week.  Look for my stop on the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop in November.  In the meantime, I encourage you to visit Beth's blog where you will find some great advice for new bloggers.  

Finally, I have to give a shout out to Lesley from The Cuddle Quilter for allowing me to participate in the Think Christmas blog hop later this month.  This will be my first blog hop and I can't wait.  I love Christmas!

All in all, I think you will agree....June was full of new adventures for me.  -Not bad for a new quilting blogger...if I do say so myself.  

Check back tomorrow.  I've been working on a new quilt based on the 'Envy" quilt block from Modern Blocks.  I think you will like it.  

Until then. - Happy Quilting

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fabric Mail Call

What an exciting day!  A fabric order arrived in the mail today from Fort Worth Fabric Studio!  Jodie was great.  We had a little snafo with USPS (my fault), but Jodie was responsive and very accommodating.  Overall, it was a good experience.  

Fabric goodies can be characterized by two specific themes:  Quiltcon and the ghastlies.

First let's talk about Quiltcon.  Check out the link above if you haven't heard about it yet.  Jodie has pulled together a fat quarter bundle in quiltcon colors.  I know it's too much fabric for three blocks, but I loved the assortment and I have plenty of other projects in mind for the leftovers. 


As for the ghastlies...I have been lusting over this collection since I first saw it.  My husband and I host an adult themed Halloween party from time to time and I think this is going to make an adorable set of ghastlie wall hangings.  However, I must confess the ghastlies are so great, I don't really want to cut into them yet.  Here's a glimpse at a few of my choices.

Can't wait to get started with these lovelies!   Until next time.  - Happy Quilting.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wonky Real Estate

Hubby and I are planning a move this fall so I thought I would whip up some wonky real estate mug rugs for the realtors in my life.  Actually, to say that I  "whipped up" these beauties suggests I sat down and cranked these puppies out in half a minute.  I can assure you - that did NOT happen.

I knew that I wanted my mug rugs to include two things:  a wonky house and a "SOLD" sign.  I did some internet research, browsed a lot of wonky house creations and photos, and decided I would wing it....I'd just engage in a little improv piecing and stitch these mug rugs together real quick.  Unfortunately, my improv experience was not successful.  I was very dissatisfied with the number of asymmetrical seams I created with my improv wonky house....I'm too embarrassed to even show you a picture of the catastrophe.

So, with my improv experience behind me, I sat down with my tried and true graph paper and colored pencils and began to sketch.  I decided the best way to get the crisp, clean lines I love would be applique the houses onto the a background fabric.  Personally, I prefer to avoid raw edge applique.  I've never tried it, but I am always concerned that the edges may begin to fray (like a rag quilt), especially with pieces that may be used and frequently laundered.  For this project, I used turned applique.

I'm sure there are many ways, to achieve a quality turned applique piece.  My way is rather complicated.  I create paper templates and baste a quarter inch "turn" for each piece that I applique.  In this case, each window, door, roof, etc....was basted.  (Ugh...I know!)  After basting, I starched each piece, removed the basting, the paper template and headed to the sewing machine.  I know what you are thinking...that's a lot of unnecessary work.  Perhaps, but each piece is nice and crisp and precise....I like that.

I knew I wasn't going to be happy when I attached the first applique to the background because the background fabric began to pucker.  After ripping out the offending stitches, I ironed some tear away embroidery stabilizer onto the wrong side of my background fabric, went back to the machine and was very pleased with the results.  (I'll have to remember that in the future!)  I hope you like them.  I had a lot of fun putting them together.  Hopefully, I will be able to quilt them together in the next day or so and share more pictures with you!  If you have any tips, please share.  I'm always open to new ideas.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Another Quilting Blog?

What motivates you to search for, read, or subscribe to a quilting blog? 

I've been quilting here and there for the last five years or so and it is a past time I thoroughly enjoy.  I often turn to quilting blogs for inspiration, instruction, motivation and let's face it....those give aways are pretty enticing, aren't they?  Over the years, I have found some amazing blogs and I've toyed with the idea of creating my own blog, but I've hesitated to act.  I am a quilting novice.  I make mistakes.  I would never present myself as an expert quilter and let's face it...there are a LOT of quilting blogs out there.  Do we really need another one?

In the past couple of months, my view on quilting blogs as changed.  Blogs are not just encyclopedic notations about quilting.  They are not just free images to guide us as we undertake our next project.  They are a way for us to engage with the greater quilting community...a way to make friends with quilters in our own communities and around the world...a way to share our lives, our culture, our creations and our mistakes with others.

Join me as I undertake this new adventure and share my love of life and creating with you.  I'll endeavor to inspire, instruct and motivate you and I promise to even throw in a few give aways here and there. 

In the next few months, I will share with you several works-in-progress (WIPs) and with the accountability that comes with a blog, I promise to even finish a few!  Here's a list of just a few things waiting for my attention:

  • Mug Rugs for some fabulous realtors
  • Dresden Wall Hanging
  • Quilting Snail's Trail Quilt for a Full Size Bed
  • Block for the Star of Africa International Quilt Bee
  • Christmas Bunting with a Twist
  • And what am I going to do with all these hexis???

Stay tuned.....there's much more to come!