Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Choose Your Own Block Along:Starting a New Project

It always fascinates me how a new project gets started. You have a list of things to finish and you vow not to start anything new. And then, wham! You are pulling fabrics for a brand new project.

Awhile back, I found out that my good friends (and sisters) had some projects of their own in the works.  Michelle wanted to make the blocks from Tula Pink's City Sampler, and Rene' wanted to make her Dear Jane blocks. I have had the Tula Pink book for awhile and already had kind of plan formulating in my head.

They decided that doing a "block along" would keep them accountable. It sure worked for me when Carla and I decided to make all 111 Farmer's Wife blocks. (NOTE: I'm pretty good with the accountability portion of making the blocks. I just have trouble with the completion portion. Carla's quilt has been completely finished for a long time. Mine is finally off to my favorite longarmer tomorrow....)

So the three of us decided to form an accountability group. We would love to have people join us. Maybe Tula Pink's City Sampler isn't on your list, or you have never wanted to make a Dear Jane block. Doesn't matter. If you have a project to complete, I hope you will join us! The three of us will post our progress each Monday.  (NOTE: Did you notice it is Tuesday? Eek. I'm already a day behind. But yesterday was a holiday, right?)
Block 1
Block 2
I'm planning on going through the book and making the blocks consecutively. Debbie from A Quilter's Table has a great tutorial on creating a grid to keep track of the blocks. And that way I can get more of a handle on the plan that is floating around in my head.

You can see the progress Rene' and Michelle have already made.

I hope you join us and make some blocks of your own!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Flowering Snowball

I didn't actually snowball-along with Mary this summer, but I do have a flowering snowball quilt top.

When I made it several summers ago, I used a jelly roll of Sherbet Pips. 



Now that I have seen Mary's beautifully hand quilted version, I'd like to hand quilt this one. The back is already made, and now I'm at the point where my quilt-making usually comes to a dead halt--the basting step. I really need to work on that.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fat Quarter Shop: Coffee Koozie


Fat Quarter Shop has a free pattern for a really cute coffee koozie.

I've made several of these before, but I particularly like the way this one is sewn together. It is geared for the cute little 2 1/2" squares from mini charm packs.  I had some leftover end pieces from another strip-pieced project that were perfect for this.  You make two-patch units, then lay the first unit on the left end of a piece of batting, layer another one on top, right sides together, sew along the right side and press open. Continue with the rest of the two-patch units.

You end up with this, all sewn to the batting.

Lay the pattern on top and cut.
Lay this piece right sides together with your backing, along with an elastic hair band on one end, stitch around the edges, leaving a space so you can turn it right sides out, stitch closed, add button and voila.

You can find the free pattern here and a video with step-by-step instructions here.

I'd love to show you this cute little koozie around my favorite coffee mug. I was sure I had taken a picture of it. Before I gifted it to a friend. Oops. (It makes a great gift!)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sew Kind of Wonderful Blog Hop: Under the Big Top (and a giveaway!)

QCRbloghopbutton
Welcome to today's stop on the Sew Kind of Wonderful Blog Hop.

I'm so happy to be a part of sharing my experience with the great items available from the fabulous ladies from Sew Kind of Wonderful.

In case you are not familiar with the Quick Curve Ruler (QCR), and have been wondering if you too could conquer curved piecing, I can wholeheartedly say a definite yes!

Jenny was generous enough to send me the QCR and a copy of their sampler quilt pattern, Curve It Up.

I had a fat quarter stack of Kona Dimensions (you can find them here), a version of my favorite Kona solids with a wonderful honeycomb/hexie texture. The texture is especially beautiful on the lighter colors.
And I knew the colors would just pop against black.

I worked my way through the whole pattern, block by block. By the end, I had cut and successfully sewn many different curves, from very gentle ones to a few that were a little less gentle. The ruler makes everything easy to cut. And each part of the block construction gives you plenty of wiggle room, so you can easily trim and match all the components. There are plenty of illustrations to guide you through each block, step by step.

I also love that there is very little fabric waste. Cutting the curved pieces for my grandson's animal quilt with this ruler would have saved a LOT of fabric.
This was the first block I made. I thought it would be my favorite.
And then I made this one. I would love a whole quilt made with this block.
The pattern calls for 15 fat quarters, but I only had 14 to work with, so I had to make some creative "design decisions" along the way in order to have enough fabric. This accounts for several blocks with a lot more colors than I had planned. When I made the "dresden" and "fan" blocks, the name for the quilt popped into my mind: "Under the Big Top." 


Although there are some really great curved border options in the pattern, there was  LOT going on with all the strong colors and graphic design. So I opted for simple 2" sashing between each block to give the eye a place to rest and let each block shine on its own.
 
 
 
 Please go and check out Jenny’s blog and shop. You can also join the Sew Kind of Wonderful mailing list to get news of any new patterns or promotions. There is going to be a linky party on the Sew Kind of Wonderful blog on Friday 29 through 31 August – you can link up any quilt or block made using the Quick Curve Ruler. If you haven’t tried a QCR project yet, never fear, there’s a chance to win a ruler during the bloghop and have a go. You can find plenty of inspiration on the bloghop so please go and check out the other participants!

Monday 18 August http://quokkaquilts.com
Tuesday 19 August www.cluckclucksew.com
Wednesday 20 August www.fromthebluechair.com
Thursday 21 August liveacolorfullife.net
Friday 22 August www.happyquiltingmelissa.com
Monday 25 August www.greenfairyquiltsblog.com
Tuesday 26 August http://blog.sewbittersweetdesigns.com
Wednesday 27 August www.pleasant-home.com
Thursday 28 August http://www.lucymade.wordpress.com AND http://msmidge.blogspot.com.au
Friday 29 August www.dontcallmebetsy.com
The bloghop is going to be followed by a 'Curve it up' Challenge Quilt-a-long on the Sew Kind of Wonderful blog starting in September, so join in the bloghop, get inspired and get ready to Curve Up!

CurveItUpQALbutton

 GIVEAWAY!
The wonderful ladies are generously giving away a copy of one of their patterns. Just go to their website and check out all the patterns they have to offer, then come back and comment on your favorite. Since I seem to be in a "solids" phase right now, I would also love to know if you enjoy sewing with solids. A winner will be randomly chosen on Tuesday, August 26th.

The giveaway is over and the winner is #6, Janet, who said,
My favorite pattern from Sew Kind of Wonderful (at the moment) is Metro Lattice. I don't know if this is doable for a first curved piecing project but I'd like to give it a try!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Sew Kind of Wonderful. I received a free ruler and a copy of the Curve It Sampler pattern in exchange for my participation in this blog hop. My opinions are based on my hands-on experience with the products. 

I'm linking up here today too! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Basic Black

I'm sensing a theme.

Swooning with Oakshotts--pattern by Thimbleblossoms--completed
 
 Dotty--completed

 My Granny is Amish--completed


Waiting--pattern by Crazy Mom Quilts--WIP


 
Charm Parade--pattern by me--WIP
 
Mabel--WIP


 
 Sea Breeze--pattern by Canoe Ridge Creations--complete


 
 Quilty Stitches--pattern by Corey-LMS--WIP
 
 Curve It Up--pattern by Sew Kind of Wonderful
Please come back tomorrow for the full reveal of all 12 blocks from the Sew Kind of Wonderful Curve It Up quilt pattern. It's my turn on the blog hop. Oh, and there might just be a giveaway...


Friday, August 15, 2014

Finish It Friday: The Sew Together Bag


Last month at my quilting retreat at Gruber's, three of us made the Sew Together Bag by Sew Demented. I had not come prepared to make this, but since I knew it was kind of tricky, I thought making it together with friends would be much easier.

So I walked across the parking lot from the retreat center to the quilt store and bought a fat quarter of each colorway of my favorite Kaffe Fassett fabric, Guinea Flower, along with multiple zippers.
 

I took lots of pictures during the process because already I have fabric combinations galore floating around in my head. The extra pictures will make it easier when I'm making another one solo.
 
 
 
 
 
Here are all three bags getting acquainted. I  know they wish they lived closer together, just like the friends who made them.
Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Really Random Thursday, 8/14/14: My Life as Told in Starbucks Mugs

Awhile ago I got the idea of justifying Starbucks mug purchases telling my life story via Starbucks mugs. Mugs from the "you are here" series started popping up on Instagram and it is probably one of my favorite series.

Be prepared for some literary license. It turns out that some states don't have "state" mugs, only cities. And at least one state, crucial to my life story, doesn't have a mug at all!

I was born in Los Angeles, in a little town called Maywood, to be exact. In doing some research when writing this, it turns out that Maywood is a small city in southeast Los Angeles County, and at 1.18 square miles, it is the third-smallest incorporated city in Los Angeles County.
 
 At some point when I was very small, my parents packed up everything and moved to Chicago. I think my father planned on going to school. Things didn't work out, apparently I cried all the time, and so after about six weeks they packed up everything and moved back to California.
My father was a pastor of a church in Downey, also in the Los Angeles area, and we were there until I was about three. At that point, we moved to Oklahoma, where my father became the pastor of a larger church. We lived in Enid for seven years, until I completed fourth grade. I have great memories of Oklahoma and the house we lived in. My brother, Jeff, was adopted when he was ten days old, and came to live with us on July 4, when I was about 6 1/2 years old.

(Note to Starbucks: There are people living in Oklahoma who drink coffee. Design a mug for them!! Because seven years is a big chunk of my life, I am using a logo from Sew Oklahoma. Contact this designer. Oklahoma needs a mug!)


After fourth grade, we moved to Phoenix. I don't have fond memories. I apologize if you are one of those people who love the sun and the heat. I'm not one of you. While I enjoyed school, I hated the heat.
After my sophomore year in high school, we moved to Seattle. Total bliss. All those wonderful grey and drizzly days. I was totally in my element. Climate-wise at least. Changing schools right before my junior year in high school was a hard transition for me.  Funny story about my high school, Shoreline. It is not a school anymore--it is a retirement center.
After being in a graduating class of over 700 students, I wanted to attend a really small college. Our church denomination had just the college I was looking for, Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas (our son, Aaron, graduated from its sister school here in Fresno, Fresno Pacific University).
I was much more comfortable in a smaller setting. I met the love of my life, Mark. He was from Minnesota and was recruited to play football for Tabor.
We got married (in Seattle) after he graduated, and then settled down in western Kansas for five years while he taught school. At that point, I was pregnant, we were tired of the non-stop wind of western Kansas and Mark was ready to try something besides teaching. My parents had moved to Fresno the year before, so we made the decision to move there as well.
In the meantime, my brother had grown up, gotten his master's degree in economics, married and moved to Dallas.
He went to work right away for the federal reserve and was there until last fall, when he got a different job for the federal reserve in Washington, D.C. We can hardly wait to go there for a visit.
Aaron was born in Fresno, and after graduating from college and getting married, he and Christa moved to Portland for five years while he went to optometry school. What a beautiful city. I think if they had stayed there, we would have found a way to move there as well.
Instead, once he was ready to start his career as an optometrist, they moved back to Fresno, and live a mile away. We are so happy about that, because we love having them and our grandchildren so nearby.

So there you have it. The places I've lived, at least most of them,
and friends who have also contributed to my little collection.

If you have followed Really Random Thursday, you know I like a good quote. I saw this one at lunch today.
Your turn.