Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Just a little Halloween Humor...

...very little, in fact. In a former life I created rubber stamp art. Challenges are not unique to the quilting world, and one year (1994, to be exact) I took on a challenge to create a scene using the witch stamp, "Mordred" with her book of spells. I don't like anything scary or creepy and don't even include witches in my Halloween decor, so I tried to inject humor into my series, which I called "The Misadventures of Mordred". So here it is for your viewing pleasure (or not) on this Halloween Day. (You may need to click the pictures to be able to read the dialogue.)

In spite of the levity of this post, my prayers are with those who have suffered the wrath of Sandy--including my niece and her family in Connecticut.
Have a safe Halloween!
Janet O.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pineapples and Poor Lil' Punky ...

... came together to make this. My third and FINAL Halloween mini--at least this year. : )
I think I liked it better the way I imagined it would look than how it actually "materialized", but I'm not unhappy with it. If you enlarge the photo you will see that the little pumpkin centered in the lower right pineapple block is upside down. I don't know how that happened because I paid careful attention to that as I laid out the nine blocks to sew together. But I do know that it is staying that way!

Making the pineapple blocks and dealing with this reminded me why I don't do more paper piecing.

When I made these four Lil' Punkys I did the first one using the foundation paper piecing method as the directions said. I made the next three and the one in the mini above using perforated paper piecing (see tutorial tab at the top).

This is the only mess left from making all four of them. That is also why you may notice that in the photo above, one stem points to the right and the other three point left. As I did my perforated paper base, I didn't realize I was reversing the pattern.

Thanks, Julie, for the fun "Poor Lil' Punky" pattern. I tried to resist it, but it didn't work. (If you missed this pattern, the info and links are in this post.)

Until next time,
Janet O.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Let's hope this one travels better!

This is "Falling Stars 2" and I finished up the label and binding Tuesday evening. It is going to Texas as a "thank you" to my sweet friend Doniene for the quilt top she donated for my daughter's fundraiser in August. A couple of posts ago you saw the original "Falling Stars" that Carla won in my fundraiser drawing. I sent it to Carla (who lives just a couple of hours away) by priority mail on a Tuesday and it took 6 days to get there! (Sound familiar Freda?) So when I go to town and mail this tomorrow I will definitely track it to see what adventures it might have!

 After "Falling Stars 2" was completed I went to work on this. My youngest grandson, Ben, is going to be The Cat in the Hat for Halloween. DD#2 had the rest of the costume under control and I offered to tackle the hat. After viewing a few online tutorials (which were all for hats larger than I needed), I was able to pull this together without too much trouble.
Tomorrow I will be attempting to create portions of my granddaughter's cat costume. We'll see how that goes. : )
This is where I hang my head in shame. I said I wasn't going to do anymore minis until some other projects were completed. I tried, but I couldn't resist. I blame credit Teresa and Kris. Last month Teresa posted some orange and black mini pineapple blocks as part of her Rainbow Scrap Challenge project. She was making these luscious little pineapples each month in the chosen Rainbow Challenge color. The orange ones made me so happy. But I don't paper piece (while I made the Lil' Punkys I muttered that to myself quite a bit!), so I just admired them and moved on. Then Kris just posted some she was making in orange and black for Halloween. She has already tempted me into making two other Halloween minis. What made me think I could resist this? So after the cat's hat was made, I took the little paper pieced pattern I had downloaded, resized and printed--pulled out the orange and black scraps that have seen a lot of daylight lately, and I made a mini pineapple block. This will finish at about 4". It wasn't too terribly painful. So I have a 3rd little Halloween mini in mind to make using a few of these. As I make costumes and finish a couple of gifts in the next week, I hope to be able to squeeze in a block here and there and maybe have it finished before the last trick-or-treat.

I went to bed Monday night listening to the wind and rain. I love to be lulled to sleep by those sounds, and we have not had them often enough this year. But Tuesday morning when I awoke it was quiet. My first thought was, "The rain has stopped." I opened up the window and snow fell in on me. We do occasionally have snow in October, but it usually warms up during the day and all melts off. Not this time. We are under a winter storm watch until Thursday afternoon. Tree branches were down all over town and power was out in some areas. When the leaves are still on the trees and the snow is this heavy and wet it puts too much weight on the branches and they can just break right off the tree, sometimes taking power lines with them. Hopefully it won't be this cold on Halloween. The kids can't show off much of their costumes when they have to be bundled in winter coats.
Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Unfinished Business

When Randy apologized for taking more "grandma time", which would make the next Barrister's Sow-Along blocks late, I breathed a sigh of relief. How about you? I was not caught up on the last three. But I am now! I have filled the design board I have been using to keep these displayed, so it is a good thing we are nearing the end of our "Sowing". This is what it looks like.
The three blocks on the bottom right are the newest. I'm not finished with Fall colors yet, so I chose some fall-ish plaid shirts for these blocks. Maybe I could have used more contrast (that seems to be a reoccurring theme with me), but I still like them. Here they are at a closer view.
And speaking of low contrast--I played with border options on my "Mountain Trail" from Lori's QAL and this was what finally clicked for me.
I bordered it with the same dull red (it seems to appear brighter in this photo than in real life), but I have tucked a little blue around the edge to show that I am going to bind it with that when I have it quilted. For some reason an inner border didn't do it for me on this quilt, but I felt it needed something more than red binding.

And finally, I have gone back to the bay--Orca Bay. I didn't start it last year until it was no longer a mystery. I don't know how so many of you can keep up with Bonnie's mystery during the holidays. I just watched in fascination and then decided to do it after it had been revealed. It got put on the back burner months ago. I have everything cut and have pieced a little on it now and then, but recently decided I would use it as my leader/enders while I work on Christmas projects.                                                  You may recall that mine is named "Sunset Over The Men's Department" because I'm making it from men's thrift store shirts--yes, even the peach and purple were men's shirts. I cheated and didn't use string blocks (not my favorite to make, but I love the look). I subbed stripes and plaids instead. Mine won't be as large as Bonnie's and I don't have enough of the solid cream and black shirts to make her border. But I think it captures the feel of Bonnie's design and I love it, even though it is so outside my normal comfort zone. Hopefully it will be a flimsy by the end of the year.                       I am binding another little project and will be starting the quilting on another. I will share those soon.                                   Until next time,                                      Janet O.                                                              


Sunday, October 14, 2012

An Obscure Mountain Trail

Have you ever hiked a mountain trail that wasn't very well marked and you weren't always sure if you were still on the path? That is what we have here. These are my "Mountain Trail" blocks from Lori's QAL at Humble Quilts. I didn't have a solid red, so I chose a muted red print from my CW FQs. Everything else was from my CW scrap basket. I guess I should have seen it coming, but it wasn't until I finished putting the blocks together today that I realized my trail doesn't stand out. Live and learn. I still like it, but I wish I had used a red that was a little more "outstanding".
Now I need to sew these blocks together and determine how I want to border it. There is a plain red border on the original, but I can't decide if I want to go that route (with my dull red) or if I should do something to liven it up a little. As I look at the photo I can see there are some blocks I want to switch. Once I get started down that road I have a hard time knowing when to stop.

I  got Falling Stars bound tonight. It just needs a label and then it will be on its way to Carla in Idaho.
I like how the quilting turned out. Sorry I couldn't get a better photo of it. Wrong time of day.

 Next up for quilting are two minis that I will be sending to the two gracious women (Doniene and Randy) who donated quilts for my daughter's fundraiser raffles. Then there is a belated b'day gift to quilt and at that point I am going to buckle down to get quilts made for my 3 grandsons for Christmas. 
I think it is doable if I can keep myself away from pincushion patterns and mini quilt sew-alongs!! I don't know if anyone noticed, but I was pretty pleased with myself when Cheri had a SAL recently for three little quilts featuring flying geese and I DID NOT participate. 
I wanted to share this photo I took this morning. It was an overcast day, but the sun had broken through just enough to highlight the red foliage at the base of the shrouded mountains. The air had that golden Fall glow. Love it!
 Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Two by Two

Well, true to my usual form of not being able to stop at one of anything, I got my second little Halloween mini quilted and bound. It is the larger, rail fence quilt in this photo. As I look at the photo I can see I still haven't removed the chalk marks. It is more obvious with the camera flash.
I quilted it with a swirl pattern. Makes me think of a windy Halloween night. : )
You can also see from the first photo that I've been busy with the Poor Lil' Punky pincushion pattern by Julie Letvin (of the tiny paper-pieced jewelry fame) that was in the latest issue of "Simple Quilts".

So if you buy the magazine on the left (I finally found it at Sam's Club), you will find the pattern on the right inside of it. I don't even like paper piecing, but I loved the pattern, and considering my recent pincushion obsession, I had to give it a try. I did do the same thing that I had done with the Tuffets pincushions--I made them boxy, instead of pillow shaped. And I mixed up the color scheme a little--two Lil' Punkys with no candle glowing, and two that are lit up.
If you want to make them and don't have orange fabrics in your stash, you can order a kit with the fabrics, if you'd like, on Julie's website. And if you want to make them boxy, check out my "Tuffet Tute" tab.

I took great advantage of The Stencil Company's September special offer for participants in SewCalGal's Free Motion Quilt Challenge. I have been waiting for these to arrive... that I could work on this. It is one of the two Fall colored minis I made using the Temecula Summer Stars Quilt -Along. 
This one will be going to Carla, who won the drawing for it from those who had donated to my daughter's fundraiser. I got all of the straight line quilting done a couple of weeks ago, but I was waiting for my stencil order to finish it up. Something that I have learned along the way in this FMQ Challenge is that I like using stencils. I never thought I would say that. My first attempts with them were really pathetic.
From the back you can get an idea of how it is coming along. I'd better get busy and finish this. After all, there is a second one waiting to be done--and someone waiting very patiently for it.
I did draw the winner for my little Fall giveaway on Monday night. I notified the winner and sent off her prize, but never had time to sit down and post about it. Grace, at citymousequilter blog, informed me by email today that she has received her package. Thanks to all who entered, and congrats to Grace!
Hope to get some minis that I owe people finished up this month and get serious about some bed quilts that are intended as Christmas gifts. Gotta hurry! Do you have your Christmas "gifts to make" list under control? If so, please tell me how you do it. : )
Until next time,
Janet O.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I Love Fall!

The days are cooler, the colors are gorgeous, sunlight takes on a golden glow in the evenings and pumpkins are everywhere.
When Kathie posted her little Halloween tumbler recently, I knew I had to make one, but I wanted to go with Fall colored repros. It is very small, and the leftover tumblers made an even smaller little quilt. I should probably call it a mug rug.
Here is the finish on one of my little Halloween colored minis. The other one is still a basted sandwich, ready for quilting. I hope to get it finished this coming week. Those are more of my little "Tuffet" creations from the Schnibbles pattern. I've had questions about how I made them chunky, instead of like pillows. I will put a tutorial on a tab at the top. I will not be showing the entire process--you will need Miss Rosie's pattern for that. I will just show how I adapted it to give it dimension. I've made almost a dozen of them now. Most of them are pictured at the end of the tutorial.

I made my next RRinJ block.
Then I got the latest Barrister's Sow-AL block made in Christmas Fabrics. Looks pretty simple, doesn't it. When I made it the first time in plaids it went together easily. This time I was having to unpick repeatedly. I hate to think what I would have been doing if it had been a hard block!

You can see the pins along the bottom of the Tuffet.
I haven't stitched the opening yet. : )

Now for some fun. Like I said at the start--I love Fall. So I am celebrating with a little Fall giveaway for my blog friends. It includes the tumbler mug rug, one of the Fall Tuffets pincushions, and a Fall bag of my handcrafted soaps in "Forest Blend", "Spearmint Clove", and "Spice Blend" scents. If you would like to be included just leave a comment and I will draw a winner late Monday night.

That's all for now. Thanks for all of your concern--I am recuperating nicely. There has been a lot of time for sewing and there are some things I am working on that I hope to share soon.
Until next time,
Janet O.