Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Little Eye Candy

Since I haven't been sewing too much this week, I submit to you a few of the 2007 Sew-A-Rows that have been turned in. We will select the winner at our last meeting of the year next Thursday.

At the right, we have our Polarscape, started with the wonderful polar bears by Linda and finished with Inuits, Penguins, a walrus and the northern lights. It is one of my favorites. Linda designed and painted the Art Quilt for our guild and she is a wonderful artist. (See link to SR Quilt Guild at left).

The quilt at the left started with the sailboats and turned into a "By the Seaside" top. Very creative.

This was my first year as Sew-A-Row coordinator, taking the job from Phyllis, who was our programs coordinator for 2007 and while she's a whiz, she can only do so much....a girl's gotta sleep sometime. She let me keep it because she's taken over the job of being the organizer of the Moonlight Quilt Guild's annual quilt show and that ought to keep her busy for a while.

Finally, here is Moon Over the Mountain and Kathy just turned this one in today. It started with Justine's Moon Over the Mountain blocks and has progressed very nicely.

More tops tomorrow, but in the meantime, here's a couple of the starter rows for 2008. Doris turned in these darling Victorian ladies with a fabulous Civil War reproduction border.

Sharon, the amazing Librarian of our guild made these adorable paper pieced Red Hats and included some great paper-pieced shoes and handbags as possible additions. Today she gave me some great lavender fabric with red hats to go-with.

More fun tomorrow!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Ghosts are Done

My ghosts are finished and looking very scary in my opinion. The top of the lower ghost can't be finished until the blocks are sewn together as the top of his head overlaps the other block.

In the spirit of further stashbusting, I used some new yardage I acquired on a field trip to Eddie's Quilting Bee when we were at P.I.Q.F. in October.

I fell in love with the Fresh Air by Chez Moi line from Moda when I got a fat quarter of it in a Sweet Treat from the Pincushion Boutique. I found more and used it as my fabric in our Fat Quarters' online group block lotto. Ad Eddie's, I found it in a darker colorway than I'd used for my lotto block and I was crazy for it so I bought 2 yards of one print and 3 yards of the other. Just because.

So, I'm looking at these two fabrics on my cutting table and thinking "What was I thinking?" "What am I going to do?" I was also looking at my ironing board with its slick specialty cover I'd bought at PIQF a few years ago. If you've been to a major quilt show on the West Coast, you know the ones I mean. The vendor is always there and they have these covers in every conceivable size and they sound too good to be true. Everything slides off the darned things and onto the floor! The things come with a cheesy sponge pad that wears out in no time flat and my bigger-than-standard ironing board was sadly in need of a facelift.

Enter an old bathsheet style towel folded in half and trimmed and a quick cut out and stitching of a casing on the edges and voila! An ironing board covered with a fabric I absolutely love.

Now maybe I'll get caught up on the backlog of shirts piled on the floor!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Stashbusting Sunday

In baby steps, that is....

Judy Laquidara at Sunshine Quilts issued a challenge to all of us in Blogland to work at busting our stashes and no one needs it more than I do.

I'm also knee deep in the final Santa Rosa Quilt Guild Newsletter of the year and winding up the 2007 Sew-a-Rows and organizing the 2008s.

In the spirit of both tasks, I dipped into my black and white and pink stash and made up a little Sew-a-Row starter project that I designed in Electric Quilt 6 last night.

I have a darling striped print with pink and black on white that features French femme fatales, the Eiffel Tower and other pink and black harlequin patterns and dots that I'll include in the package along with generous scraps of all the fabrics included in the row.

I guess this qualifies, doesn't it?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are visiting with my Mother and Father-In-Law in beautiful Carmel. The weather is cool and clear and we spent yesterday afternoon on the cliff above the beach with wine, cheese and crackers. We always have fun with Daisy and Ed.
We have much to be thankful for and we know it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

We Can Say We Knew Her When...

Congratulations to Miss Bonnie at Quiltville!

Bonnie has long been renowned in the online quilt world for her smarts and generosity with the designing and sharing of patterns using scraps. She's been published in the new issue of Quiltmaker! Congratulations Bonnie!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I'm a Stitchin' Fool

We've been watching our latest Showtime serial (and I mean serial) via Netflix.....Dexter, the blood spatter specialist who is a forensics technician by day and a serial killer by night. We are enjoying it, in a warped kind of way. Given that, it is fitting that I continue stitching on Happy Hauntings.

The candelabra points were a pain in the behind to do with the freezer paper method--the method in which you iron freezer paper to the back of the applique piece and press the seam allowances under with starch or sizing. I really prefer needle-turn applique so I've decided to use a combination of both methods, depending on the location.

As you can see, I used a fabric marking pen in a color that was very close to the ghost color to mark the edges of the applique piece. Outside marking is favored by Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins of Piece O'Cake Designs and all you have to do is roll the marked edge under as you needle turn. That doesn't work as well for darker patches, so I'm using Pearl Pereira's method used by my pal Becky who took a class from Pearl herself.

Now that I'm getting caught up, I wish the blocks would come faster, but I'll bet I won't feel that way when the skeleton and haunted house arrive.

After a chat with Benjamin today, we decided to make chicken enchiladas when he comes to visit in December. The boy loves to cook and I love to cook with him.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

W.I.P. Wednesday

Sooze put out the call for a W.I.P. Wednesday post, so here goes.

I'm working hard to keep up with my Block of the Month Happy Hauntings.

I finished block #1, the man in the moon and block #2, the blackbirds with candy apples.

I finished all the prep work on the #3 the candelabra and #4, two ghosts and all I need to do is stitch down the applique. Hopefully, I'll have that done before the end of the month when block #5 arrives.

I was a bit annoyed that the candelabra block was missing the fabric for the candelabra, but I had just the thing to substitute and that seemed easier than waiting to get some from Thimble Creek. Had it been a background fabric, I'd probably been a bit fussier.

The preparation is such a pain, but I do love to applique and I really love this project.
Here is a sneak peek at the whole thing :

I doubt it will be finished for Halloween next year, but perhaps 2009.

What's your WIP this Wednesday??

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mini Round Robin

A few weeks ago, inspired by the Mini Round Robin quilts produced by May Britt's group, Nancy, NP suggested that interested USA bloggers might want to consider such a project. Well, I've done swaps with Nancy in the past and had been thinking myself that this would be a great project, so I happily jumped in.

The project is quite small, even with 15 participants, so each rotation can be as simple or elaborate as the maker desires. I've pictured my submission here, a skull block I borrowed from one Justine did for Linda at the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild as part of the Friendship Block program. Justine's block was close to 8 X 10 inches, mine is 4 inches square and I made it with a combination of measuring and using Tonya's free piecing technique. My theme is "El Dia de los Muertos" for the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead. I love Halloween and always set up an altar for Dia de los Muertos honoring my parents, hubby's Dad and our grandparents and anyone we care for who has passed. My main decoration for the altar is my quilt Eternal Beauty, but I thought a little quiltlet for the side wall would be fun as well.

I've chosen brighter colors for my quilt, rather than the muted tones of most Halloween decorations, but have been unable to find a scrap of my skeleton fabric in my horribly disorganized stash.

Check out the RR Bloggers webring on my sidebar to see what my fellow Round Robin chicks are up to. We've decided as a group to not share photos of the projects after we submit our initial blocks. The end products will be a great surprise!

We decided to mail the projects in a geographic rotation, so I'll always receive from Karrin and always mail to Julie, and Karrin says hers is in the mail. I'll be mailing to Julie on Tuesday.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tried and True

Years ago, my Mom bought me a sampler set of DMC embroidery threads. (My mother passed away in 1993, so it has been quite a while) The kit had a few yards of each DMC color in existence at the time and a small storage container filled with plastic goodies on which to wind the floss. Also included were the color labels. All I had to do was assemble it. It was, and continues to be, a most handy gadget, and very reasonably priced at $25.00.

I can't tell you how many times this set has saved me when I was just a few inches short of having all the floss I needed for a project.

Well, it saved the day yet again. I recently enrolled in a Block-of-the-Month from Thimble Creek, formerly of Walnut Creek, now of Concord. The BOM is called Happy Hauntings and was designed by Verna Mosquera, owner of The Vintage Spool in Danville.

The project starts in the upper right corner with Mr. Moon, and he was the block in question. Apparently the embroidery was designed for 2 strands of floss, and of course, I used 3 and ran out. DMC collection to the rescue. I had exactly the right shade of orange to finish the block. =)

I'm also working on Friendship Blocks for some Guild buddies. Marilyn wanted blocks that were either "California Rice Bowls" and/or "A Cup of Christmas Cheer." I decided to do both and got those completed yesterday. Denise wants a Sonoma County theme and asked me to make her a Fountaingrove Round Barn like the one I did for Pat last year, so that's in the works, too.

It feels SEW GOOD to be back working on my Bernina again!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Four Season Quilt Swap Round Two

It's that time again!

The Four Seasons Quilt Swap is taking sign-ups for our second installment--Winter!

Go to Margaret's blog (link above) and if you are interested in this fun swap project, sign up. The more the merrier and it won't be due until after the first of the year....

Monday, November 05, 2007

What's On My Bed

After being away from home 15 of the last 26 days, I am so ready to stay put for a while. I've not even touched the Bernina since before our trip to Maine and Salem.

I did enjoy my visit with Kate and the Boys. Benjamin is shown here wearing the Oh-So-Appropriate shirt Pop and I bought him in Baa Haba Maine that says "I'm 2 years old and there's nothing you can do about it!"

This is also my "What's on my bed" picture (thanks to Nicole at Sister's Choice Quilts) as this is the bed I use when I visit Fresno without Pop. Benjamin graciously loaned me his robot quilt and I placed Alex's new baby quilt on top.

By the way, Alex's baby quilt is a new finish! I started his quilt in January, right after we found out that he was a boy and I enjoyed the making of it so much that I couldn't bring myself to finish it. He will be 7 months old on Friday, so it was about time.

We did have a near catastrophe with this quilt. One of the red fabrics bled like a son-of-a-gun when I sprayed off the water soluble marking pen. I was literally on pins and needles worrying about getting it out, but given a bit of Tide To Go and Spray-N-Wash Stain Stick , it all came out in the wash (just as the old saying goes...)

You can see here that the quilt passed an intense examination from Alex, complete with drool testing.

I have to say that after all these years making quilts largely for other people, the two quilts I've made for my grandsons are my favorites.

I guess that's a good thing. To quote Mrs. Goodneedle...."Life is Good."

With any good luck, more sewing and pictures to follow in the coming weeks. Michelle is pregnant again, so a new baby quilt will be in the works soon.