Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012…..

Like most bloggers, I have enjoyed writing a year-end post where I can think about the things that have been accomplished during the past year. 

This year, unfortunately, there hasn’t been a lot of quilting going on as I have only finished two pieces and one of those was done in a 24 hour period this past week!!! 

The other was my Complimentary Color Challenge quilt and is one of my all-time favorite pieces….


I did work on two projects with my Mom and both are in the final stages of finishing and hopefully the Flower Pot quilt will be ready in time to put into our Guild Quilt Show in March….time will tell.

As I looked back at the past year’s posts, I found several small watercolor pieces that I enjoyed working on.  My favorite was this one…..


I enjoyed a two day workshop with Lyric Kinard and completed this sketchbook cover that I enjoyed giving to my Daughter-In-Law as part of her Christmas present…..


I spent a day with Pat Speth and have moved along with a pieced top and enjoyed another day with Mary Stori and am still working on my beaded piece.

But, this year has really been all about travel…..both around the world and across the county!! 

Michael and I enjoyed three weeks in Turkey and then three more weeks in China.  As we were eating dinner tonight we decided that our favorite memories were from our time in Turkey.  There were just too many enjoyable people and sights!!

The end of the year has been dominated by our move into a beautiful, new home and all of the work and excitement that goes along with such a move.  We know that we are truly blessed to be able to live here.

So, in just a few hours we will say good-bye to 2012 and hello to the exciting new world of 2013……cant wait!!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Change of pace

While Michael was gone last week, I had planned to work as hard as I could on the Flower Pot quilt, hoping to have a fair amount of the quilting done before he returned.  But, then came the opportunity to have lunches and dinners with various friends so I enjoyed the time of catching up and relaxing with them.

Then I got to thinking about one of my daughter’s friends who has recently been diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  She is about to go thru extensive Chemotherapy followed by a Mastectomy and then more Radiation.   As I thought about her, I knew that I wanted to make her a quilt. 

I dug into my closet and found a group of blocks that I had started playing with back in January.  See the original post here.

I cut some additional navy rectangles and started sewing like crazy to get a top finished……


I added one navy border and then started thinking about a second border….._C227014

I really liked the top left fabric so I cut another border with the idea that I would add yet another Navy one to the outside.  However, I really liked how it looked with just the narrow border and then bound with a bit wider binding.

Here is the finished quilt….._C237028

It is my hope and prayer that it will provide warmth and comfort during the next months of her life!!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What do you do on Boxing Day??

When we lived in Australia, we were surprised by the custom of celebrating Boxing Day…..the day after Christmas.   It was a wonderful day off to help transition from the holiday to the work week.   While there, we would often watch the start of the Sydney – Hobart Regatta….such a fun tradition.

Now here in the US, I normally celebrate the end of the holiday season by un-decorating my house.  Face it, I decorate on the day after Thanksgiving which means that all of this stuff has been up for over a month and I am ready to clean it up and move on!!

This year I had a wonderful time taking everything down and packing it up in my new boxes, in my new house. 

The problem arose when it came time to take down the Christmas Tree….you remember it…..the TWELVE foot tree!!!   After much discussion, we decided that the easiest way would be to saw it in half so Michael climbed the ladder and started sawing…..



Half of it goes out the door……


Followed by the lower half……


Hooray….that was VERY easy!!!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!



To each of you, I wish a very Merry Christmas and a most joyous New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Setting up for quilting

After I got the Flower Pot quilt basted (using fusible batting), it was time to first, clean up the studio……


….and then get set up to quilt a queen size quilt.   

Ever since I bought the inset table for my machine, I had been thinking about the best way to set up my “quilting station”.

First step was to fold down the cutting table and move the storage drawers out.  Then I moved in two small folding tables to form one large table…..


The only problem with this was that the machine table was about 1.25 inches shorter than the other two tables, so I trudged down to the garage and started looking for pieces of wood that I could use to bolster my table height, and voila……_C186998

I found a piece that worked perfectly except that it was WAY too big for the table.  Out came the ruler and pencil, cutting marks were drawn and then back down to the garage to use the Jigsaw to cut the piece to the proper size.  I think that I will eventually cover it with the rubber backings that you can buy for rugs.

I also thought about the fact that I didn’t want the quilt to fall off of the front edge of the tables, so I moved my cutting table to block it off……


As I picked up the quilt to lay it out and start quilting, I realized that it was really heavy and that my tables weren’t in the correct position.  To fix this, I moved the table to my left down so that there was a place to support the side of the quilt

Once I started quilting, I realized that it was still falling below the table so another trip to the garage brought two TV tables that fit perfectly beside my chair, thus giving full support on each side.


To finish the support, I grabbed a cushion from one of the other rooms and put it in my lap to allow the quilt to NEVER drop below the edge of the table.

The only downside to my arrangement is that it gets fairly warm sitting under the quilt and pillow….but fortunately there is a ceiling fan so that solved the final problem!!

By the way, the funky cover on the back of my chair is to keep me from bumping the wall and putting black marks on it.   I will eventually make a nice one, but this piece of flannel left over from the design wall is serving the immediate purpose

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What was I thinking…..

On Monday, I planned to get the backing ready so that I could start quilting on the Flower Pot quilt.  Since I didn’t have any fabric pieces that were big enough for the back, I decided that I would piece one together.

I initially wanted an accent strip so made a stripe using strips from my 2-1/2 inch drawer along with some from a Jelly Roll that I bought long ago…..


OK….good start.

Next I found some samples that I had made when I was teaching a mini class on using Elmer’s Glue as a dye resist.  The class had to be postponed and never was rescheduled so I still had all of the samples….


I spent about an hour washing out the glue (it had REALLY dried in the past 3 years and took a lot of soaking and scrubbing) and getting the fabric ready to use. 

Then I started adding different lengths of fabric, trying to come up with a pleasing arrangement.   Here is the final……


I am not SUPER happy with it, but at least, after SIX hours, it is finished!!!!

I spent some time online looking at other quilter’s backs and think that my main problem is that I tried to use too many different fabrics.  It would have been better for me to have one or two much larger pieces, and only have one or two “accent” pieces.  

That realization also means that I need to start buying larger pieces of fabric when I see ones that are good for backs.

On with the quilting…….

Monday, December 17, 2012

Finished top


About 9:00pm last night I finished attaching the last border!!

I couldn’t find a place large enough to pin it up so ended up laying it out in the downstairs foyer and photographing from the stairs…..


I am really pleased with the result and cant wait to get onto the quilting.

I am struggling a bit with the arrangement of my studio.  It doesn’t seem to be as user friendly as I had hoped.  Don’t know if it is just that I am not used to it yet or if I need to do some rearranging…..guess time will tell.

I do know that I need to clean up the table to the right of my machine.  I don’t have as much room there now as I used to so think that some of the “stuff” may need to move to a shelf or maybe I need to build a small shelf to sit on the floor just under the table.

I did have one AHA moment when I thought about opening out the other side of the table which made it MUCH easier to pin on the borders….just wish that I had thought of about 5 borders ago!!!!


Ok, enough talking…..back to the studio to design the backing….

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Border Mania

Yesterday my husband, Michael, left for a week in Scotland.  Since I have worked hard to get the majority of my accounting work done and all of my Christmas presents purchased and mostly wrapped, I have given myself the gift of a week of quilting.  

And the project is……Flower Pots!!……


As I posted several months ago, I had trouble deciding how to set the blocks together and, through trial and error, ended up with a series of borders in each block.  First a 1/2 inch light green fabric that started out as the “pot” fabric but then changed to another fabric once I ran out.

Next came a 1 inch border in a dark fabric that offset the colors of the block.

Then the accent orange border which is 3/4 inch.

As I planned the large flower border, I ended up adding another set of borders prior to the flower border and had planned to put another set on the outside.  That is where this tale continues.

As I started picking fabrics for the next 1 inch border, I really wanted the same fabric that had been used in the other 2 large framing borders, but unfortunately there was just barely enough fabric.  I even pieced them together with a straight seam rather than a bias seam because I was afraid that I would run out……


And then as I measured, I was still a few inches short.  SO, I dug thru my scrap basket and found this wonderful 13 inch piece….._C166963

HOORAY, we were saved!!!

OK, that border was added and then the last 1/2 inch orange border (which, by the way, I only have about 6 inches of orange fabric left)……_C176965

Now came the fun task of figuring out what to do with the final border.  I tried a light green……_C176966


Then a darker blue……


…..Still not right.


How about white…_C176969


How about the green that is already in the inner borders…..


Better…..but not quite there….

And then it hit me……I HAD to finish the pattern by encasing the orange strip in two dark border strips……


Yes it looks great, but that means that I have TWO more sets of borders to add!!!

Back to the studio I go!!!   Now, don’t get the idea that I am really upset….I am so happy about getting to sew that I don’t mind HOW many borders I have to add.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fun with Mary Stori

About a month ago the talented Mary Stori visited our local guild for the meeting and then a wonderful one day workshop.  I was fortunate to be able to attend both events and came away with a new love for using beads in my projects.  I also enjoyed Mary’s quick sense of humor which comes thru in many of her quilts……just look at this one…..


….isn’t it cute.  All of the cow outline is done with tiny beads and all of the dots in the binding are beads that she added too.

In the workshop she showed many examples of how to attach beads and also how to use the beads to accent a piece or even to be the entire design element.  She was very willing to share all that she knew and yet helped us to each find our own way….


She brought many examples of her work including these beautiful leaves…..


I thought that this street scene  was so cute…..


These four beauties were made from discharge dyed felt pieces.  The one on the top left came home with me……


This was my favorite piece.  It is so sweet and simple……


When I was getting the supplies together for this class, I found this small piece that I had played with when I first bought my felting machine.  I didn’t think that much of it but thought that it might be fun to play with…..


I place a piece of tracing paper over the top and did a few drawings to get an idea of what I wanted to add….


I forgot to take photos during the further work, but here is where it stands right now…..


It has been fun to add the beads and other hand-work to the project.  Maybe I will get it finished someday!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Flower Pot Borders

During the short times that I have had available, I have been working on the quilt top that Mom and I currently have in progress.   I had sent the borders to her for applique work and she returned those just before we moved.  She was worried about doing the edge stitch on the small stems so I added those with the sewing machine…..



I have the edge borders cut as well so just need some time to get back up there and sew them on……



I am enjoying using my new studio and have found one arrangement to work very well……


By placing the ironing board perpendicular to my sewing table I have a large area to iron on when sitting at the machine….

DSC07484….. and then if I need to do regular ironing or other larger pieces, I can step to the other side and use the board in its normal orientation.


One of those simple things that makes life SOOOO much easier!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Celebration Time

At Christmas time, we love to make lots of Christmas goodies that we carry to various friends on Christmas Eve… of Jenny’s friends calls it the “Arnold Sleigh”   This year, Michael is going to be in Scotland from the 15th thru the 22nd of December, so we were worried that there wouldn’t be time to cook and deliver.

Instead, we decided to have an Open House to invite friends into our new home and enjoy some Holiday cheer!!!

I spent two wonderful days making fudge, cookies, Truffles, Peanut Brittle, Peppermint Brittle, Chocolate Pretzels…….DSC07442

and baking a delicious Hummingbird Cake……DSC07468

On Saturday, I added the savory items to the menu including this wonderful idea that I saw in a recent magazine…..


…..skewered tomatoes and marinated Mozzarella cheese balls….YUMMMMMM!

We took a few photos just before the guests arrived…..


….and then enjoyed a wonderful 4 hours of talking, laughing, eating and generally having a  fun time with some very special friends…..


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