Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year Mystery Quilt!

BJ and I sewed along with over one hundred other quilters in nine different countries to make the online NYE Mystery Quilt today. It was her first and I think my fourth for this event but the first time I have had company [other than Button dog] for the project and it's much more fun to have a quilty friend to share the day!
This is BJ hard at work.........
and here's a sample of her blocks. BJ is ambitious, making a queen size version.
My blocks..........
and 16 of them sewn together. Having more fabric I made another row of blocks, in the pic. above it's only 48" square. There is still enough left for three small borders making a nice lap size quilt and using up just about all of these fabrics. I have no idea about backing at this point.
BJ and I are both quite pleased with our fabric choices and the results of our labors today. Time goes by easily as we sew and press and trim and chat, stopping only for caloric sustenance, a bowl of potato soup and some beer bread!
For Phoenix it has been bitterly cold this week, a good time to stay cozy indoors and sew and eat soup!
Happy New Year to all and a healthy and successful 2011- for quilters may all your tops become quilts!
Till next year................

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas to all my bloggy friends! I hope you had a lovely day, spent just the way you wanted!
This morning I made monkey bread, half of it was cinnamon buns and the other half just monkey bread. I mixed up brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts and distributed it over half the rolls as I placed them in the Bundt pan, I wish I had a pic because it rose like crazy as it baked until the rolls were hanging over the sides of the pan like stalagtites! It was monkey bread on steroids, LOL! I made cream cheese frosting for the cinnamon bun part, oh my they were delicious!
We had roasted leg of lamb and garnet yams baked with EVOO and balsamic vinegar, and fresh asparagus. Yummy lunch with some nice red wine, the house smelled heavenly.
Our family gathered this afternoon for fellowship and sharing gifts. I always have such good intentions to take lots of pics but seldom follow through I get distracted with all the jollity! Our boys get together and the fun never ends, the stories they tell!
Here's Daniel with his quilt.......
Logan hiding behind part of his! You can see a pic. of the whole quilt in the previous post.
Baby Matthew...........
this is a cool toy Grandmother!
The big grandsons will only have one night under their new quilts before heading up to Colorado tomorrow with Grandfather for a week on the slopes- they are so excited, they will be out of here early in the morning.
And I am so excited to have a week of peace and quiet, just Button dog and me and my quilting!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Finished For Friday

And just in time for Christmas!
Logan's quilt is laundered and ready to give him tomorrow.
I used color catchers to wash it because I am not good at pre-washing fabrics and I thought it safest. Daniel's quilt bled more color than Logan's, they are different fabric manufacturers but both are black, white and red.
The center is the AZ Cardinals logo I had to draw and applique. Some of the fabrics in the immediate area around it came from a kit from Connecting Threads that was really only wall hanging size, so I purchased additional fabrics and pulled what I could from stash and kept inventing another row of blocks until it was large enough for Logan's bed. It's another one of those quilts that simply evolved, I made it up as I went along!
The backing was pieced from stash, I have made a serious dent in stash of this color-way with five quilts so far this year in red,white and black, and there's enough left for at least another couple of scrappy quilts!
And since no quilt is finished without a label, here it is!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Andrew!

We won't divulge your age to the entire world mostly because that really dates your Mother,LOL!
You were a beautiful baby and now a handsome and successful fella, very much loved and deservedly so, you have grown into the kind of man who would delight any parent.
Many happy returns son!
Your on the Great barrier Reef with your "little" brother.........
with two other Aussies!
And as Darth Vader!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Puppy Love

Wordless Wednesday

Button and her buddy Baby Matthew.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Phoenix Branch Of The Modern Quilt Guild

On Saturday I went with BJ to what was I think the second meeting of the Phoenix Modern Quilt Guild. This meeting was at the Spaghetti Company and we had a pin cushion swap.

Aren't they terrific, such a plethora of creative ability in this group. There is a pic of us on the group's FB page.
I loved them all so it's hard to choose a favorite - in the bottom left corner is one made using an Altoid tin with roses created with felted wool. I want to try this so I need to go to the thrift store and buy a couple of cheap wool sweaters to "felt". BJ's in the tulip bowl turned out beautifully, top left corner and the donut is very adorable. Ten of them and no two the same.
It was fun to meet some new quilty friends, though I am not sure that my quilts really fall into the"modern" category, but I plan to continue attending the monthly meetings.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stash Report

For the first time I am linking up with Stash Report at Patchwork Times blog.
My goal for the past couple of years in keeping track in the sidebar of fabric purchased and fabric used, is to keep ahead of the game by always using more than I buy. That said I have been successful but it doesn't seem to make any more space on my shelves! They are a bit messy right now because I have been pulling stuff out and shoving it back with less than great care. There will have to be an accounting and when that day comes I will re-arrange and tidy up what I have untidied!

In addition to these there is ...........
the scrap strip drawer[I cut my left over pieces into strips, 1.5" to about 4"].........
the selvedge collection, and, not pictured, a small tub of patriotic fabrics that I use for the Quilts Of Valor for our wounded warriors.
As much as possible when I plan a quilt I really do try to use from stash and much of the time I am able to. This year I purchased quite a lot of red, black and white fabrics for the two quilts for my older grandsons, and have been able to use up even more of those in a scrap quilt this past week.
I don't count fabrics as "out of stash" until the quilt is finished up through the binding, and currently to date this year I have 143 yds. used out of stash and have added 75 yds. leaving me with a net "loss" of 68 yds! And I am not done yet for 2010, I will complete at least two additional quilts perhaps more!
This is about the same result as last year using almost twice as much as I buy. I wish it showed more in extra space on the shelves...........
Originally I had planned to make a second Shakespeare In The Park quilt because I gave the first to my friend Katie, but as plans for the boy's quilts developed I decided to use the Snail Trail and star blocks in their quilts rather than construct another SITP, one of those is enough I have decided!
Still I ended up with some orphan blocks so they went into this quilt and there are yet a few more I hope to incorporate into a backing.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Crockpot Candy

Someone on one of my online quilt groups posted a recipe for Crockpot Candy. It sounded simple and tasty, so I picked up the extra ingredients I needed and cooked up a batch last night.
Typically, I did not follow the recipe perfectly and here is my adaptation.

1lb.almond bark
1lb.Girradelli semi sweet chocolate pieces.
16ozs.jar salted peanuts
16ozs. jar unsalted peanuts
Melt all together in large crockpot on low, stirring occasionally for two hours.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper & allow to set.
This recipe made about eleven dozen pieces of yummy candy, I recommend it highly.
The original recipe called for 1.5 lbs. of almond bark, I didn't find anything by that name but I did find a white bark that seemed like the same thing.
I plan to make this again and next time I will use pecans or almonds and some craisins, sound good?
I will report back on the success.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Daniel's Christmas Gift Quilt

The binding on this finally done this evening, another Christmas gift finished, don't you love to cross projects off the "to do" list! I am quite happy with it especially since I really had no idea how I would make it or how it would turn out!
Someone once said that you never experiment on your dinner guests but I do and I also experiment on quilts I am making. I know it is a risk but I am not patient enough to make practice dishes or practice quilts either!
This quilt is my own design, Daniel showed me what he wanted for the center and I used some monkey wrench blocks I had left from a UFO then built around them to about an 88"x90" finished size.
The quilting is a freehand peacock feather with Line Dancing in the monkey wrenches and a tiny version of peacock feathers in the center. Using Sew Fine thread kept the quilting subtle because the fabrics are so busy. Bottom Line was used in the bobbin.
The backing is pieced from leftover fabrics from my stash. I think it's masculine enough to please an [almost] seventeen year old lad, so I hope he will be happy with his quilt- he never looks at my blog so there is no risk that he will see it before Christmas!
Now I need to get his brother's quilt finished it is on the LA but I haven't touched it this week at all, I was finishing up the piecing of a scrap quilt and getting this one bound.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Using A Few Scraps!

Friend BJ and I had a relaxing day sewing together on Saturday, only taking time out for lunch at Einstein's and a stop at Quiltz for a couple of bargain buys.
BJ worked on a mystery quilt while I pulled out some orphan blocks and other strips and bits to come up with this little baby quilt. It is always nice to have a baby quilt on hand and it will quilt up in no time flat.
There is absolutely no pattern to this and I didn't even have a design plan in mind just a desire to use a few scraps, my scrap drawer is overflowing! Still!
The couple of orphan blocks in this colorway were 8.5" so I made up enough other blocks that size to get a small quilt then used left over strips for a border. It's about 36"x 46", perfect new baby size. These fabrics were left over from several baby quilts, my only regret, I didn't use up more scraps!
Yesterday baby Matt was here, it felt as if he had gained several pounds since Thursday, boy is he getting heavy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Reflection

Thanksgiving is not a tradition from my childhood, having been raised in Australia my first Thanksgiving was in 1971 in Boston.
Growing up we had "Harvest Festival" each year as part of the liturgy in our church. It had the same purpose of giving thanks to God for the blessings of His bounty as did the Pilgrims first Thanksgiving celebration. The altar was decorated with fruit and vegetables and we sang hymns of praise and thankfulness, "Come ye thankful people come", "We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the ground", "Lord of the harvest ", does anyone else remember those hymns?
Thanksgiving services used to be more the practice in the years after I came to the USA but seem to have gone by to be replaced with a day of over- eating and football on TV!
Of course I studied along with my sons as they learned in school about the origins and traditions of this celebration and what follows are some tidbits of history that may not have been taught in school.
The first year after the Pilgrim's arrival was as we know, devastating, so the blessing of a bountiful harvest was to these Christians an indication of God's mercy and they deemed it necessary to give public thanks to the Creator.
In Autumn of 1621 the then Governor, WIlliam Bradford, sent "four men fowling" to capture wild ducks and geese-it does not seem likely that this first Thanksgiving included turkey but they did eat clams, lobster, berries, dried fruit, watercress and venison. They also had boiled pumpkin and a fried bread made with the pumpkin, sounds like there was lots of this vegetable!
This three day feast was not repeated and for many years there is no record of any further public celebration until in June of 1676 another thanksgiving day was proclaimed in Charlestown MA.
A hundred more years passed and in 1777 all 13 colonies joined in a celebration that also commemorated the victory over the British in Saratoga.
In 1789 George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving, but later Jefferson opposed this celebration.
The current Thanksgiving owes it's origins more to Sarah Hale, a magazine editor who for 40 years lobbied congress and presidents for a national thanksgiving until finally in 1863 President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November to be a National Day of Thanksgiving.
It is my hope that each of you today will find cause for gratitude, in spite of our hardships and losses, wars and the state of the nation/deficit, most of us have a sound roof over our heads, food a-plenty, loved ones around us both family and friends and -yet- the freedom to enjoy these blessings.
Thank you for your friendship, God bless you this day and always may you have much cause to bless the Lord.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Black, White And Red Quilts

Today these two quilt tops grew to final size for two older Grandsons. They turned out almost square, around 88"x90-92", fine size for a twin or a full size bed.

This is Daniel's, he came up with the design idea he wanted for the central motif then I had to draw it. I considered using a compass to draw up the outer limit of the design but the compass wasn't big enough. This is my second attempt at the machine appliqued center, I was dissatisfied with the first. It is reminiscent of the Knight's Cross but I found out this evening from JW, our youngest son, that this emblem is used by the skateboard company "Independent". The design developed as the quilt grew in size, each step was a new revelation as I asked my self how I would expand to the next size up until I finally reached a suitable measurement for Daniel's bed. The backing for this consists of large pieced strips of leftover fabrics- I have been collecting these colors for a couple of years.
At the same time I was working on Logan's quilt, he had asked for his favorite team's logo, the Arizona Cardinals. I drew the cardinal head and machine appliqued the pieces. The original idea for the star theme came from a kit from Connecting Threads, but again every new step became a challenge to develop some sort of design around the logo in order to reach bed size. The pieced backing for this is made up of more of the leftover fabrics from these projects, I didn't want to buy more for backings as my goal is always to have as little as possible left from each quilt!
I have no idea how I will quilt these, probably it will come to me once I load them on the longarm! I know that they need to be sturdily quilted to stand up to the use of two teenagers!
While I was roaming around looking at the online Christmas quilt show I saw a really pretty black, white and yellow quilt, so that may be a use for some of the unused black and white fabrics.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Latest QOV Quilt

Linking up with Finished For Friday
I dropped this one off to Bernina Connection yesterday, to be bound and labeled for a Wounded Warrior. Not sure who was the piecer, these come from BC's outreach work for QOV.
Seen from the back, I used a freehand "peacock feather" overall to quilt it. The flash was turned off so I think I must have moved a bit while I took the pic!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas Quilt Show 2010

This little table topper comes out at Christmas and our Advent wreath rests on top.
I made it a couple of years ago when my CO. friend Gale persuaded me to join her in purchasing the panel and coordinates.
It's quilted in gold thread with holly, candy canes and ribbons etc.
The second entry is Carolina Christmas from Bonnie Hunter's blog, I think last Christmas but that was so many quilts ago I cannot be sure! It's "controlled' scrappy, meaning that I limited color to three, red, green and light neutrals, but within those parameters I used whatever red, green and neutrals I had in stash. It's a great way to use up a lot of "scraps".
The Dogwood is Carolina's state flower so I quilted freehand Dogwood flowers and leaves all over the quilt.
Then to use up these older Christmas fabrics I sewed lots of pieces together to make a scrappy backing - rotating stock in the stash is important to make way for new stuff!
If you would like to get in the Christmas spirit by looking at many more Christmas quilts you can check out Sew Cal Gal's blog here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Watercolor Quilts

Lit An Laundry hosts Finished For Friday where other crafty bloggers show off their weekly accomplishments.
This weekend is the Holiday Boutique at our church and I have made a few small wall hangings to take along with all the larger quilts.I used different prints for the two crosses and some of the backgrounds.

There always seems to be a demand for my "Resurrection" wall hangings and if these sell I can always take orders for more. I have lost count of how many of this design [my own] that I have made, mostly around the 30"-40" size [these are 33" square] but each one unique, no two ever exactly the same. I have also made them custom in specific colors on request, to coordinate with a client's decor.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veteran's Day, Lest We Forget

Eternal Father, Strong to save,

Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,

Who bid'st the mighty Ocean deep

Its own appointed limits keep;

O hear us when we cry to thee,

for those in peril on the sea.

O Christ, the Lord of hill and plain

O'er which our traffic runs amain,

by mountain pass or valley low,

Wherever Lord thy brethren go;

Protect them by Thy guardian hand

From every peril on the land.

O Spirit, Whom the Father send

To spread abroad the Firmament;

O wind of heaven, by Thy Might,

Save all who dare the eagle's flight;

And keep them by Thy watchful care

From every peril in the air.

O Trinity of love and power,
our brethren shield in danger's hour;
from rock and tempest, fire and foe,
protect them wheresoe'er they go;
thus evermore shall rise to thee
glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Whole Cloth Quilts

This is my first attempt at a whole cloth quilt. I needed a couple of smaller quilts for the Holiday Boutique this weekend and it seemed a great time to try the technique. I took a couple more pics without the flash to show the quilting .

The fabric is a bleached muslin, front and back, the threads are Superior's, So Fine in the top and Bottom Line in the bobbin.
I drew a rough outline guide of my plan with a water soluble pen, then freehanded the quilting with feathers, Mactavishing and folk art flowers.
It was easy to make two at the same time, loading a 70"x 40" piece of muslin, using Quilter's Dream blend batting and placing a length of polyester batting over it to give definition to the stitching. The QD batting helps the quilt to lay flat and gives it more stability than using only polyester.
I am quite pleased with the results so I will be making more wall hangings using these tools!