Sep 26, 2010

Ahhh--It's Time To Relax

Relax. Just for a minute at least. I've finished. FINISHED! Three more quilts are sewn, quilted (thank you, my wonderful, loverly machine quilter!), bound (at least 30 hours of binding over 5 days) and given to their new owners. I am thrilled. They all turned out well, and I am now able to think about getting back to my Cheri Payne project, and begin seriously collecting fabric for my big 2011 project. The joy of it all. You can read about the fun we had meeting and getting the Cheri project off the ground here
As for the quilting frenzy back here at home, here is the very LARGE Yellow Brick Road quilt. It was a long over due retirement gift for a friend. Hey, she heard all about how I'm on the "Five Year Plan". I was only 6 months behind on this one, but I got brownie points for giving it to her at her birthday celebration. This picture really doesn't do it justice, but it is as good as it is going to get:

Here is a small close up. The colors are off here too. I used the Blackbird Designs fabric line, Aviary by Moda Fabrics. It is much prettier than these photos show.

The backing shows a bit better. I just love this graceful bird toile. You may see some of the cabbage roses that were quilted:

Next is the lap quilt I made for the hubby. No particular reason other than I am trying to make sure each family member has a quilt from me. Both girls have one; my mom has one. Now the hubby. In the works are quilts for son and DIL. The baby got his at his shower (amazing! something that was early!!), but the "2 year old quilt" is planned and fabrics ready for the making, and he is only 15 months old right now. I have plenty of time, lol.
Anyway- back to the husband quilt. He is quite pleased with it! I'm glad.

And last but not least, I did tease a bit in this post by showing you my little red birds and a silly tree. My flannel and wool applique project is done! I love it, the family loves it, my partner in crime at the shop loves it and the shop manager thinks it is spectacular. That is a very good thing as it is my new Block of the Month offering. It has been selling just by word of mouth and by my working on it during down times at the shop. I think it is going to sell out soon. That too makes me happy. It is always nice to have all your hard work appreciated. So here is the finished wall hanging, Festival of Trees from the book Juniper and Mistletoe:

and a small close up of just part of the top. Hopefully you can see the quilting in the blocks. I love it. I love everything about this one, and hope it can come home to roost very soon. I'd love for it to be hung on the landing as our winter quilt. What do you all think??

and so now you know why I'm ready to relax just a bit. Not long...I would certainly get bored. So in the meantime, I've decided to do a purge of the quilt room and the overflow in the attic. Too many patterns, too many books way too much fabric. I'm hoping to get a table (or two) at the local Quilter's "Garage Sale" held each year at a local high school. It will be a good thing. Maybe then I won't feel so guilty or overwhelmed by all the projects that are going no where. I just bet there is a quilter or two out there that would love a new book, pattern or half finished project that needs a good home!

Sep 11, 2010


I know I promised myself not to blog on weekends, but reading this post just brought back so many happy memories! When I was growing up, my family lived in a two flat house- my grandparents and aunties downstairs, my parents, sister and me upstairs. Our street was lined with large, beautiful American Chestnut trees. One of the favorite seasonal past times of the neighborhood children was collecting those big, lovely brown chestnuts! We didn't just want the ones that fell naturally to the ground . That would be much too easy! We would gather fallen sticks and then spend hours throwing those sticks into the trees knocking down the spiky green covered chestnut fruits. Even more fun was stomping on the outer hulls to release the beautiful brown nuts and see how many we could collect. Sometimes we'd get lucky and have a double chestnut!
I remember sitting on the porch steps stringing chestnuts into necklaces and bracelets.
Childhood times- so simple, so fun, so many wonderful memories. All good things!

Sep 10, 2010

I Was A Bad Girl

I was a bad girl yesterday, a very bad girl. I had an unexpected day off, and instead of staying home and getting some last minute work done for the shop, I decided to play hooky for the (entire) day. First Born and I jumped into the car and headed off here.
It was a beautiful day for a drive into the Catskills, and well worth the trip. From the minute I walked through the front door of the shop, all I could say was OMG!! I think I repeated that phrase at least 5 times in the first 3 seconds!!
The store is bright, large, extremely well stocked, played great music in the background (come on! Simon and Garfunkle right as we walked in- my kind of place!!). Most of all, what can I say about Fran and Murray!? They are so adorable- I think they are going to be my new best friends.
I went armed with a fabric list "just in case". While surfing the net I came across this blog and thought: "I was a child born in 1950. I love stars! I think this could be fun...and it would be really fun to do in fabrics that might remind me of the 50's. That led to the fabric list- you know, "just in case". Well that is when the bad girl in me set in. In case?? Heck, it's a quilt store- and a quilt store that has a collection that is really cute, and it reminds me of the 50's AND it is on sale (the entire collection!) at $5.00 a yard!!
Score! So I bought this:

There were lots of samples that I have patterns for. Just in case no one noticed, I love reproduction fabrics, and the shop had some beautiful samples hanging from patterns I had previously downloaded from the free pattern page at Windham Fabrics. I am definitely going back with some of my print outs in hand. Actually I have to. I signed up for the new historic Block of the Month: Patriots in Pitticoats which starts in January. I'll be driving to Windham once a month as long as the weather cooperates. You can read about the BOM here
The shop also has all the Presidential Fabrics printed in commemoration of the upcoming anniversary of the Civil War. We decided that I'd make placemats and napkins for my nephew who is a bit of a history buff, and lives and works in D.C. We chose this after seeing some made up:

the bottom fabric with the large postage stamp type presidential print was a must after we saw it framed! The portraits were cut out and then feather stitched to an aged muslin with red pearl cotton. The entire thing looked very antique and both The First Born and I wanted to reproduce our own framed piece of fabric art. Simple project with a lot of bang for the buck.

I also couldn't resist these fat quarters and a Renee Plains pattern:

After all the fabric merriment, we drove home through the back roads of the Catskill Mountains, stopping in Woodstock for an early dinner at our favorite bistro.
My French Lentil soup and Chicken Avocado sandwich were beyond yummy!! The stop gave us the fuel to continue our drive. We arrived back home early evening, tired,happy and fabric laden. I was so pleased with my hooky day!! I should take one more often.
Smiles and happy stitching

Sep 9, 2010

Off The Worktable and Onto The Rack!

Since I posted a rather long post yesterday, I thought I'd hold my Workspace Wednesday post for today. I mentioned in this post that I would be traveling to MA this Sunday to begin a journey of new friendships and stitching. Our project Folk Art Gathering has large pieced backgrounds to which we will add our applique at our monthly get-togethers.
Here is month #1's finished background! I just love it. I especially loved trolling through my rather extensive stash to pull fabrics. I have made it my goal to use what is on-hand and not buy anything (OK, I'm only human, not buy much )for this project.

I am especially in love with these little half Log Cabin blocks. Not exactly sure why- I just think they were fun to piece and are quite cute!

Later today, I will dive into my collection of wool. I intend to mix wool and cotton applique in this project. I need to be prepared for the weekend. Can you tell I'm excited?

Happy Stitching

Sep 8, 2010

October/November Goals

Kelly wrote a very inspiring post as to her self-care goals and how it can add more stress to one's life. She learned life lessons that I think are quite commendable, and should be something many of us, me included, can learn from and incorporate into our day to day lives. I know I tried to do the self-care thing. It didn't work. Well, it worked some- for a bit, but fell apart miserably towards the end of our two month goal period. I need practice, and am not sure that it is in my nature. A goal worthy of keeping in the forefront of daily living. We'll see what happens down the line. Our next challenge, so to speak, is "Quilting the Quilt". I had to smile at that one, and will definitely be checking in with the other Charming Girls to see their quilts, hints, techniques. It is always interesting to see how others handle the "quilt as desired" that comes once all the piecing/applique is done. I've taken hand quilting classes; I've taken machine quilting classes (thank you, Harriet Hargrave). I don't have many personal tips to share, but I do know one thing. I am a hand quilter. I don't have the right set up to machine quilt comfortably, and I am a tense machine quilter- not good for the body. I adore the calming effect of sitting with a quilt in my lap and hand quilting. I also know I don't do enough of it. This is going to be one of my goals for October/November. I have had a pink and brown churn dash quilt I named The Slave Quilt ready to quilt for several years now. I hang my head in shame. I love this quilt. I would love to have it see the light of day again. I made it using blocks swapped with girls from a monthly sewing group that meets at the shop where I work. When I put these blocks together, I was inspired by a book about the Underground Railroad and a photo of a slave bed with its churn dash quilt. Simple. Unassuming. It was love at first sight. I will also make it a goal to finish my bigger than big applique project! It was intended to be my son and daughter-in-law's wedding quilt. It is three years in, and it is still not finished. You can see the pattern here
Two big goals, but goals I would like to meet over the upcoming months. Vintage Valentine will go to a long-arm machine quilter. It needs to be given to the kids before more time goes by. Another anniversary is coming up in October!!
I'd not want it to look as if I haven't accomplished anything! If you have read this far and would like to visit (or re-visit as the case may be) a few snippets of what I've been working on (and a planned quilting trip for this weekend!), you'll see I'm still practicing the concept of self-care by taking a fun day for just for myself. I'm excited!
Happy Stitching!

Sep 6, 2010

Fun Packaging

Just when I thought I'd be done sewing for the day, I remembered I had promised to do some creative packaging for The Youngest. The child (ok, ok, young adult...who am I trying to kid) had spent countless hours creating a mini scrapbook of memories for her BFF back in the beautiful state of Kentucky. The girls had worked together at the Equine Hospital at Louisville and there were many hours of work, play and general moments of merriment to put into tangible form. When it came to making sure it was safe and sound in its packing box, I came up with a bright idea. What else would you use to cradle and create another surprise element for the birthday girl?? A pillowcase of course!

A quick look through some old stash I had planned to part ways with, 20 minutes of cutting and sewing (french seams and all!)time, and this is what we came up with:

I wonder if I have enough fabric to make one more?? I think there is another stylish young lady who would like a matching pillowcase!


So Where Have I Been Exactly?

I'd like to say I've been hanging out with other wonderful quilters, stitching my fingers to the bone, enjoying laughter and companionship. I'd like to say I have gotten so much done no one would believe me. I'd like to say...
what exactly?? Maybe the girls know??

I may not have hung out with the girls, but I have been stitching my fingers to the bone. It is September! How did that happen?? The heat (oh, the heat!) was pushed aside by a Canadian cold front (thank you Canada!) which kept Hurricane Earl from causing too much havoc, and today I woke to a balmy 48 degree morning. Actually it was loverly. I am surely hoping that the 90 degree days are behind us. Schoolchildren return to the classrooms of NY this week, so naturally we will get a mini-heatwave. It's tradition. But, Fall looms in the air, and it excites me to no end. Fall is my favorite time of year!! You can tell by the work I have been stitching on. Would you like a sneak peek? Yes? Ok, here goes!

What could these little cuties be looking at?

Could they be looking for a roost like this little guy has?

Maybe they are worried this one is too lop-sided for all of them to call home.

Stay tuned,I'll let you in on their secret in just a little bit!

I've also been constructing a house! Yes, a house. Ok, so not a cut the lumber, drive the nails kind of house, but a house none-the-less. Next Sunday, I will be packing my house (and the needed construction tools: needles, threads, fabric scraps...) into the car and heading off to The Quilted Crow in MA. I am very excited to meet "Simply Libby" from blogland! A small group of us will be working on Folk Art Gathering, a new pattern by Cheri Saffotti-Payne. We will be working right along as Cheri designs. I have parts 1-3 in my possession, and even Cheri isn't sure how many parts there will be in the end. I love a good mystery!
I'll share a peek at my house-even if it is still under construction. Just a few more timbers to top and bottom and I'll be set to get to the applique next week at "The Crow".


has become this:

and I hope to get to little log cabins this week!

And there you have it! Where I have been- besides soaking my poor sore fingers!
Are you curious to see where all this goes?

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