Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A surprise, flimsies, a challenge, and a winner!

This lovely little quilt arrived in the mail this week as a birthday gift from my sweet friend, Doniene. This woman knows me. Purple reproduction fabric churn dash blocks--love it!! It doesn't get any better than this! If you look closely you can see a bit of the beautiful hand quilting. I tried, but couldn't get a shot that showed the quilting better than this. Thanks you so much for this treasure!
All of the tops for my grandsons' Christmas quilts are sewn up. The baseball quilt got scrapped. I think little brother will want a Star Wars quilt when he sees big brother get one, no matter how much he loves baseball. These two are twin size.
And the youngest of my grandsons LOVES trains, so this quilt will be his. This is a crib quilt.

I need to get my November SewCalGal FMQ Challenge posted, so this seems like as good a time as any. I love to quilt swirls in random patterns, but found it a major challenge to swirl within the lines. First I practiced tracing over the printed design this month's expert, Sarah Vedeler, provided. Then I pounced grid lines on some swirl fabric left from the Star Wars quilts (seemed appropriate). I used a Design With Lines stencil from Pam Clarke.
The quilting did not go well. I tried going very slowly, but it didn't improve the swirls. On the black piece to the left I did the swirls all going the same direction. On the blue piece to the left I tried reversing the direction of the swirl each time. It felt very awkward trying to keep the swirl within the square. I had to finish up with some free swirling on the right, just for fun. I quilted one of my Halloween minis with the random swirls and really liked it.

There isn't more quilting to show because I have been doing too much of this...
...making all of the soap I need to get us through the holiday gift-giving (and supply our family's needs until I find time to make it again in the new year). For a few days after a soap making session the essential oils sure make the house smell nice.

Before I announce the giveaway winner, I want to let 5 bloggers know they are "no reply" bloggers, which means no one can respond to your comments because there is no email address attached to your account. So Dstitcher, Linda, Marcia, Carole in Nebraska and Anne Simonot, your accounts are either on "no reply" by default (that is the setting when you set up your account and it stays that way unless you change it), or you prefer not to be contacted, but that also means you lose out on giveaways where there is no way to contact you if you win. Many people don't know they are a "no reply" blogger, so I thought I would let you know.

Okay, that said, the winner of my "little" birthday giveaway is Mrs. Goodneedle! Since I already have your address, Mrs. G., I will get this in the mail to you tomorrow. Congratulations, my friend!

I will leave you with this photo I took yesterday of the moon rising over the mountains. Interestingly enough, Robin, of Solstice Studio blog (who lives a couple of hours away along the same mountain range) took a similar photo that evening and posted it here. Hers is a much closer, prettier view. Check it out.
Hopefully next post will have more quilty content. I need to get crackin' on my Barrister Sow-along blocks before Randy posts the next batch!
Until then,
Janet O.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Belated Birthday Giveaway

In my last post (over a week ago) I had promised a "little giveaway" on my birthday (which was yesterday). I had planned on just staying home and sewing that day. I do not usually venture out on Black Friday, but DD#2 invited me to meet her at a local craft fair and it sounded like fun--haven't been to one in years. Afterward DH and I went to dinner (though we had gone last Friday since I didn't plan to go out on BF). On top of that, my two sons came over in the evening unexpectedly and brought a friend so we could play some games. What I'm trying to say is that I didn't just sit around sewing all day, so I didn't have time to post my giveaway, but I had a wonderful birthday. When I did get a few minutes to sew I treated myself to a feeling of satisfaction by finally sewing together the center section of my feathered star quilt. The star has been partially assembled and occupying a corner of my design wall since I took the class back in February. It feels so good to get it sewn together. Now I need to play with the borders. Not sure if this is the final choice, but I like it best of what I have tried so far. Once I get the borders and "on point", fussy-cut 4-patches sewn on I will decide if I want to add a final border or two and call it good, or if I should attempt to expand the pattern to a full bed quilt. We'll see.
So here is my "little" birthday giveaway--I meant that "little" literally. There is a Moda Mini Charm Pack, containing 42 2.5" squares of Harvest Moon fabric by Kansas Troubles. Then there is the Primitive Gatherings Tiny Tumblers pattern, which includes the tiny tumbler acrylic template. That is the size I used on the Tumbling Glory flag (see tutorial tab at the top). And finally I have included one of my Tuffet pincushions. The one shown is made in CW repro fabrics, but I can make a brighter one if that is your fabric preference. There may also be a couple of bars of my herbal soap thrown in (not pictured). This is just a "little" thank you to  my readers and friends in blogland who make life more interesting. If you would like to be included please leave a comment.

And speaking of friends in blogland, my birthday has been made a little brighter by some fun surprises that arrived in the mail. Mary sent this fun little bundle. Mary was the first blogger I actually met when she came to Utah a year ago. We met up for dinner and then attended a Jennifer Chiaverini book signing. I recently "won" a couple of batik fat quarters on her blog (it was kind of a set-up job) and she sent along some other goodies as well. There was actually one more candy bar than is shown, but I had no resistance when I opened the package. : ) Thank you so much, Mary!

The other little squishy came from my newest old friend. We live less than 7 miles apart in northern Utah, but were introduced through another blogger in Alabama. (Thanks, Denise!) Kris and I met Monday at her home and got chatting about life and admiring fabrics and talking sewing machines. We probably wouldn't have quit after three hours if it hadn't been for a previous commitment Kris had.  I am so happy to know her. We will definitely be getting together again. This arrived in my mail Wednesday from Kris--a total surprise. She has an ebay store (The Quilting Garden) and a blog (Lavender Quilts), so maybe you already know her. Thanks for the lovely surprise, Kris!

This little quilt finally went in the mail today--off to Randy in California. I know it is going to a good home!
Another feeling of accomplishment (okay, so it takes less for me to feel like I have accomplished something than it probably does for most of you)--I have all of the "units" made for Orca Bay, one year after Bonnie started posting the clues. This is as big as I could make it with the shirts I had. You can see that it is not all sewn together (about 1/2 of it is). Now I need to decide how I want to border it. I probably won't be doing Bonnie's border. Don't think I have the patience for it at this point and I think mine looks even busier than the original, with my stripes and plaids. I want something a little calmer around the edges. I actually found a great shirt that is black with purple stripes and I'm wondering if I can use it somehow.
 And finally, when my two sons came over this evening they brought this bouquet. I love the bright mix of colors. I always gravitate to multi-colored flowers and multi-colored bouquets.
 Now, notice the crocheted doily on which the vase is sitting. I bought that at the craft fair I went to with my daughter. A sweet elderly woman had crocheted these and snowflake tree ornaments, butterfly fridge magnets and a bunch of other things. They are all well done--this doily is gorgeous. She had it priced at $25!! Her snowflake ornaments were $1.25 each. The butterfly fridge magnets were often just given away to children who came by. My daughter and I told her she should charge more. Her husband told us that their daughter told them the same thing. We bought a bunch of the snowflakes, and then I got the doily. It is good sized--about 15" across. I couldn't take it at that price with a clear conscience. I gave her $40 and told her if I could afford more I would pay it because it was worth more.

This is a very long, wordy post. Sorry. I have been trying to make them shorter, but I guess I will let this one slide. Remember to leave a comment if you are interested in the belated b'day giveaway. I will let the RNG choose a winner Tuesday night and post the winner Wednesday.
Until next time,
Janet O.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I have finished this little quilt and it has gone to its new home.
It was made with leftover Rail Fence blocks from the Little Temecula quilt I copied here.
You can see the quilting a little better from the back.
And I have the quilting done on the first of my four little "Temecula Blessings Baskets" quilt to actually get quilted. I'm trying to decide what color to use as binding. What would you use?

Maybe this angle gives you a little better view of some of the quilting patterns used--the backing on this is that same black fabric as in the border, and I can't get a shot from the back that shows the quilting well. Maybe that is a good thing--I really struggled quilting this one. Sorry, Randy. This quilt will be going to Randy as a "thank you" for the quilts she has donated when my daughter has held her fund raisers for Dravet Syndrome.

I've also made progress on the quilts for my grandsons for Christmas. They don't read my blog and their mother has already seen these photos, so here are the cut pieces laid out ready for sewing.                                                                                                                                                                      
This is for the oldest grandson and big
Star Wars fan. Not happy with it. I have found
another S.W. fabric that I think I am going to be
subbing for the bigger strips. This quilt will
have a "starry sky" print border all around.
This is for the middle grandson who is a
baseball nut. He loves all sports, it seems,
but especially baseball. There will be a border
all around this in the black tonal houndstooth
print that makes some of the narrow strips.

This is a crib quilt for little Ben. He loves trains!
When I get the black binding on it that red
stripe around the outer edge will be covered up.
This one is already partially sewn together.
All of these quilts are made using favorite quick donation quilt pattern, found here. I have made these a little bigger and varied the fabric placement a little. This is a great pattern for a quick quilt, whether a gift or a donation.

I continue to plow ahead with Orca Bay (SOTMD). Hope to have a flimsy by month's end. Now I need to get plowing on the 5 Sow-Along blocks I have yet to make.

There seem to be a lot of November birthdays on the blogs I follow. I was a November baby, too. My friends have long tried to teach me to celebrate all month long, and I am seeing the value--especially when your birthday gets swallowed up in the Thanksgiving festivities. DD#2 gave me tickets  to a Gary Morris concert, which DH and I enjoyed Saturday night. Monday I went to brunch (crepes and hot chocolate made with Nutella) with a friend and DD#2 (DD#1 would join us if she lived anywhere nearby). Later that day I was doing some grocery shopping and I spotted a fall bouquet that I loved. I don't usually buy myself flowers, but in the spirit of celebrating all month, I did. Doesn't it look nice with my Fall table runner (which, by the way, I bound but never quilted)?
So to spice up the birthday a bit (as if having it on Black Friday this year isn't spicy enough), I will be posting a little giveaway that day. Tune in then for the details. Nothing fancy--just a little treat for my quilt blog friends who make my life a little more spicy.

We have had a lot of snow lately. This was the view to the west a couple of days ago.
 And this was the view to the east.
But we are warming back up this week, so it is melting away on the valley floor now. Just so long as it is back by Christmas. : )

Until next time,
Janet O.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Just a bunch of stuff.

Mountain Trail is all quilted and bound!

You can see the quilting pattern better from the back.
I'm going to link this up with Lori at Humble Quilts. I had just checked her blog to make sure I wasn't too late to link and I was surprised there weren't more links. I have seen so many of these around blogland. If you have made one and haven't linked yet, please join in. It is fun to see the unique qualities of each quilt, working from the same pattern.

I decided to get my "Random Roses in Jamestown" block done early this month. One more block to go and then I will make some kind of setting squares. I am thinking chain blocks instead of the log cabin blocks in the pattern. I love chains for tying sampler blocks together. I am so proud of myself for keeping up with this, since I am doing it on my own and there is no group, or link to keep me motivated and on track.

I also got another mini quilt finished. When Cheri posted her "labor of love" directions on Labor Day I made two and gave one to each daughter. But I just kept making 4-patches as leader/enders and finally decided I'd better stop and make something out of them. So I made another, larger "labor of love". As is my recent trend, I made the setting HSTs out of rather similar value fabrics--not much contrast there. The 4-patches save it from being too drab. I also bound it with something rather nondescript. I was determined to make this entirely from the scrap basket, and nothing else worked for me any better than this did.

I continue to plug along on Orca Bay (aka SOTMD). I have 32 more of those rectangle unit thingies to make and then I can stitch it all together and figure out how I want to border it. It will only be about a twin size. That is as far as I could stretch the peach and purple shirts. Even after a year, I still love the movement the string blocks (faux, in my case) give this quilt.

 Next up in the quilting cue are these two minis. Both are gifts and the recipients know who they are. I started marking the basket quilt this evening.
My main project for November will be to piece the quilts for my grandsons for Christmas. I have all of the fabric, but have barely begun to cut and stitch. Speaking of grandkids, some have asked to see the costumes I made for two of them for Halloween. 
Abby was a black cat. I made her skirt, tail, and faux fur collar and ankle and wrist cuffs. The ears were purchased. Can you hear her meow?

Ben was The Cat in the Hat. I made his hat and tail, and stitched a white tummy to his shirt. He was thrilled to be "Go-go", as he calls him, because of something on the PBS Kids Cat in the Hat show.
And lest one of the other two grandchildren feel left out, here they are. Matt's Ninja costume was purchased (and can you tell he took his role seriously?) and Josh's Mr. F. costume came mainly from the thrift store, but my clever daughter created his headgear.

That's enough for now. I'm going to go reset clocks and get ready for bed.
Until next time,
Janet O.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Just under the wire again!

I almost didn't do this months FMQ Challenge at Insights From SewCalGal. I have yet to miss a month (though several times came as close to missing as I could without actually missing). The reason I thought I wouldn't do this one was because it involved using different battings, fabrics and threads. Let's face it, I'm boring. I have no silk anything--fabric or thread. My battings are all cotton or cotton/poly--no wool here. My threads are similarly bland. So I decided right off the bat that I was going to skip this one. Maybe I would make it up with a bonus tutorial, maybe not. Just possibly I would drop out all together. Oh, I was getting drastic in my thinking. But other, more daring souls forged ahead with what they had on hand. Why didn't I think of that? They inspired me. So I am posting my link by the skin of my teeth again. Here it is.

 I usually stick pretty closely to designs I have tried before, but this time I branched out with some new stuff. I had fun, other than the changing of thread. Am I the only one that doesn't enjoy frequent thread changing? Oh, and the feather wasn't fun, either. Feathers are my nemesis. I wasn't going to do one, but I figured I needed to get brave. This is patterned after Sally Terry's hooked feathers. It is better than some I have quilted, but that is still my least favorite corner of this project.
The fabric is cotton, the batting is a scrap of cotton left from a larger quilt. These are the threads I used--a couple of size 30 Poly Quilter's Choice by Golden Threads, size 40 Poly Glide, size 50 cotton Aurifil, size 50 cotton Mettler, size 40 cotton Signature, size 40 poly Isacord, and size 50 cotton Gutermann.
I've also worked on quilting my Mountain Trail today. Hopefully I will get it bound in the next day or two and link it up with Lori at Humble Quilts.
My time is almost up to link this with the FMQ Challenge, so I'd better do it now. 
Until next time, 
Janet O.