Sunday, May 31, 2009

May Giveaway winners

Thank you so much to everyone who visited my blog for the May Giveaway. I hope you return!
Congrats to my 2 winners. I have emailed you to send me your address so I may forward your prize!

I haven't just been reading all the fabulous comments you have left me. I have a new quilt top in the works on my design wall. Here it is:

It started as a nine patch from the Moda Bake Shop. I got tired of just making nine-patches and did some half-square triangles (that turned into quarter-square triangles). I played with them and moved them around. I like this arrangement. It is small, either a baby quilt or a wall-quilt. I am going to start sewing the strips together tomorrow. This quilt was made from 6 FQs and 1.5 yds of the solid. It has been fun to piece.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Give away!

My May giveaway is open until 9pm, EST May 31! Don't hesitate to comment and leave your email addy! I will also post the user name of the winners on June 1.
Thanks for visiting, please check back.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May Giveaway fun!

Wow! It is great to have so many visitors! I am glad I spruced the blog up for my guests. I do hope you will return and see what I am making. Remember I am leaving the giveaway sign up open until May 31st. I will then select 2 random numbers for the winners. While your here, check out the older posts (a good tutorial on making quilt labels) and my Flickr link to see some of my older works.

Here is a detail of my king-sized quilt. I did a rail fence with batiks and prints in soft taupes, blues and greys. I will quilt it on my mom's long-arm later this summer.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May Giveaway!

Ok, so I got the day wrong, at least I got the date right! The May Giveaway is Wednesday, May 27, on sites all across the blogesphere! I am giving these prizes:

1. This lovely hand-made table runner. I call it "Cuppa Joe" and it features a cute coffee-cup print highlighted by lovely a lovely batik and coordinating dots. I free-motion quilted it as well.

2. This lovely set of 5 (five) fat quarters . All are nice quilt shop fabrics, in coordinating pinks and greens. A great addition to your stack, or perhaps the start of your next project!

How to win ? Well, please leave a comment including your email address. I will be using's random number generator to select 2 winners. I will then email the winners for their addresses, then I will ship the prizes. Pretty simple. And I will not select the winners until May 31, so you have plenty of time to comment. Tomorrow morning, visit SewMamaSew to see all the sites participating, register/comment to win and find lots of great ideas! Enjoy May Giveaway Day 2009!


Monday, May 25, 2009

New project

Inspired by Amandajean's Quilt A Long and this fun tutorial on Moda Bake Shop, I am making a 9 patch quilt.
I wasn't in love with any of the prints (they were given to me), but they are nice quality fabrics. I have wanted to use my solid Kona black as an accent AND I need a simple fun project to sit and work on when I have a few minutes to unwind and this fits the bill. I am not sure how large I will make it and I am not putting myself on a deadline with this. Just some mindless sewing!

This Tuesday, May 27, is the
sponsored by SewMamaSew. On this day, many of us Crafty bloggers are giving away neat stuff to our readers. I am participating. So remember, on Tuesday, May 27, visit SewMamaSew for the complete list of giveaway sites, then visit all the crafters, and try to win neat stuff!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

And now, back to the sweat shop!

I started this bag yesterday, it's for my niece, Maddie, who will be 9 in July.
She saw the one I made for my other niece (& her cousin) Kahia, and requested one. She asked for blue and yellow. I bought the fabric at Mary Jo's.

I love to use a light color for the lining. It makes it easier to find what's in there. And I think the big dots are very sassy!

I got the basic pattern here and altered it slightly. I added the cell-phone pocket, and used by label from yesterday's tutorial. Fun and cute, I might make one for myself!

Adding to our family

Please allow me to introduce Sarge.

He joined our family yesterday after being bailed out of an animal shelter. He is quite obviously a Belgian Malinois, and we are guessing about 15-18 months old. Now if you are new to this blog, you may not realize our love for dogs and prior to yesterday we were a 2 dog family. Our first Belgian, Pepper, joined us in September. We were struck by her beauty, intelligence and amazing humor. My hubby spotted this handsome fellow at a local animal shelter (and not the "no-kill" kind either) and let the animal control officer know that we wanted him if no one claimed him.

He is quite thin and currently has scars on his nose and ears. He is also quite skittish, but that has lessened dramatically in the past 12 hours. We named him Sarge after a long, drawn-out discussion of names. Sarge is totally taken with Pepper. They ran and played last night, but he wouldn't come in the house to sleep. He slept in our back yard (which is fenced). When we got up this morning, he greeted me at the door with that gorgeous, expectant Belgian Malinois expression on his face. It immediately changed to joy when Pepper ran out to greet him!

They seem to have such fun and having Sarge to run with Pepper gives our elderly hound, Murray, much needed rest. This will be a long road of establishing trust in an abandoned animal, but it is already rewarding to see him begin to flourish. We keep telling him that this is his home, his forever home.

Friday, May 22, 2009

How to make and print your own fabric labels*

Here is how I make my own printed labels for my quilts and bags.

You will need these:

1. Computer with software to lay out the type you want (I used Microsoft Word)
2. Printer
3. Freezer paper or full-page sticker paper
4. Iron
5. Prepared For Dying fabric (PFD) this is ESSENTIAL!

These are the steps:
1. Design your label, include any info you wish. Set this info up as a "text box".
2. Copy and paste as desired on your 8.5" x 11" page layout. Don't forget to give yourself room to cut apart and seam allowance to attach to your item!
3. Cut a piece of the PFD fabric to 8.5" x 11". Attach to either the full-page sticker, or a 8.5" x 11" piece of Freezer Paper. I used the sticker paper for this.

4. Print this page (I have a Lexmark P4350 ink jet printer).
I use the regular ink that I have in the printer.

5.Allow to dry completely.

6. After completely dry, remove sticker paper (or freezer paper) backing.

7. Heat set ink with a hot (cotton setting) iron.

8. Cut and attach to your item!
I apply double-sided fusible to the back, folding over edge to catch with the fusible. Then remove backing paper and fuse to the item, I then whip-stitch for a nice, smooth edge.

9. This creates a label that is wash-proof. This photo shows my label on a quilt after laundering.

Any comments or questions are welcome.
*my first tutorial!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another WIP completed!

I finished my "Springtide" quilt. I free-motion quilted it on my Viking. I have been trying to learn free-motion quilting for several years, now, and I have to say I am getting pretty good! This pattern is the Disappearing 9-patch, and I used the directions I found here. It is a fun quilt to make. Most of the patterned fabrics were from a Moda charm pack, I supplemented to make it larger with some Amy Butler fabrics I had in my stash. I also chose to use some whites/creams to make the colorful patterns stand out. I have been inspired to do so by Amanda Jean. These are not colors I would normally chose, but I think it is imperative to step outside of my comfort zone in order to grow artistically. I am very happy with this quilt.

I caught these lovely California poppies earlier this week on my daily lunch-walk. They are so happy and the orange captured the bright sunlight. They kinda coordinate with the quilt as well.

Next up for me: get the cabinet doors back on in the kitchen. It was the last room we needed to paint. And I am back into my sewing studio to make a duffel bag for my niece, Maddie.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Some of my favorite things!

I have extremely sensitive skin. Have all my life. Strong perfumes, and chemicals really can do a job on me. I had an episode about 7 years ago when my skin hived-up and was read and sore for 9 months. I really do not know what precipitated the extreme reaction, but it set me on a quest to find products that worked for me and didn't hurt!

I had been a faithful Clinique user since my teenage years. But as age came on, I wasn't happy with the way I looked. The liquid foundations were too heavy and the eye shadows just faded away. And mascara? To have such dry, sensitive skin, I have small eyes and mascara just melts and bleeds on my cheeks.

I decided to research my options for both a foundation and mascara. I was lucky in the cleansing and moisturizing. Cetaphil cleaner and moisturizing cream. They work for me.

For my foundation, I am a convert to bareMinerals. I love it! I love how it makes me look while wearing it and how my skin looks without it!

And as for mascara, the absolute best, the greatest, is Blinc:

Once applied, and set, this stuff stays put! Won't cry off, sweat off or melt off. Both of these products really live up to their hype.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

It has been a really enjoyable Mother's Day. We worked on the house, mostly cleaning and putting tools away. The lack of clutter is always very soothing for me! Sweet Hubby cooked Mother's Day Dinner for my Mom, Dad and his Mom. BBQ chicken, potato salad, baked beans and strawberry shortcake! YUM! Then I finished a tote bag. I got the pattern from this magazine, a Better Homes and Gardens publication. It is the bag in the upper left.

And here is my version:

The pattern was easy to follow and it went together very quickly. It is much larger than I visualized, more suited to being a "tote bag" than a handbag, but I am carrying it as a handbag until I make another.

And to finish off this weekend, here is a gorgeous lily I snapped yesterday:

Friday, May 8, 2009

one small ray of light

I am on an unpaid day off today. I had to take a 5% pay cut, but in exchange, I get 1 unpaid day off every 4 weeks. That is in addition to my regular paid vacation and holidays. And with the recent tax changes (we call it the "Obama Bump") my take home pay is back to where it was prior to the pay cut. Yes, I know I am not putting as much into my 401K due to the pay cut (my company suspended their contribution), but the extra time is really a blessing.

Time is such a valuable, yet nebulous thing. We try to save time, but there is no "time bank" where we can deposit it and spend it later. Time wasted is gone forever. You can never regain it. So I really like this little bit of "extra time" I get each 4 weeks. It becomes an extra weekend day for me to do whatever I want or need to do. We actually call it a "DWoP" (pronounced du-wop) for Day Without Pay, and look forward to it. I have used past DWoPs to spend the day with my Mom quilting, visit friends on a long weekend, polish up my portfolio (you can never be too careful) and today I am cleaning my closet and getting my hair cut. I can do this and still have Saturday and Sunday to relax as well. It feels like I am getting away with doing something wrong, but it isn't!

Yes, the loss of salary is scary, but this economic storm (like others) will eventually pass. So I plan to take my DWoP every 4 weeks (that is an extra 12 days off this year!) in addition to my vacation days and enjoy what each day brings.

And now a shot of Pepper in the creek (she likes to lay down and lap the water after we walk):

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The rains of May

We have had an incredibly rainy week. Nice, considering the drought of the past 2 years. The clouds have been dark, grey and full, producing copious amounts of rain. Where it seems the media was complaining about how dry it was, now they are grousing about flooding in low-lying areas.
Well, as much as I prefer the sun, I enjoy the rain and the profuse fecudity of our local flora. (Makes me a little loquacious as well!). Seems like a million shades of green in addition to the many colors of the wildflowers in bloom.

Words that begin to describe my corner of the world: verdant, lush, fertile.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

King Sized top - DONE

Just finished piecing my king sized top. Hope to quilt it on Mom's long-arm later this month!
I love to finish things!

More Quilt shop reviews

(Grabbed this hibiscus close up yesterday at Lowes)

A correction for my previous list of quilt shops: I mistakenly listed Sew Original as Sewing Yours in Boone. My apologies! I love both of these places and appreciate their awesome staffs!

Continuing on my impressions of quilt shops:

In Morehead City, NC, I have visited The Quilted Butterfly, which is part of ALB Decorator Fabrics. The quilt fabrics side looks deceptively small. There is a ton of incredible fabrics here! I was struck by the beautiful oriental and batik fabrics. There are fabrics here you won't find easily in other places! The shop also has a great selection of kits using original patterns. The only drawback for me was the small space. With the beautiful unique fabrics, kits and samples, it would be nice to have more space. Also, if there are more than 3 people in there, it gets crowded!Worth the visit.

Also in Morehead City is Sew it Seams. This shop has a large inventory of many, many fabrics! All arranged by color, it is a visual delight. This shop also features a nice selection of quilting notions and kits. At my visit, I did wish they had better lighting. This shop is large and has a nice layout, but seemed dim. I will revisit!

I mentioned the Whistle Stop Quilt Shop in a previous post. I will reiterate the fun atmosphere and great selection of fabrics and patterns! A very nice, helpful proprietor as well (Connie).

And now, I will try to write about Mary Jo's. This cannot be called just a quilt shop. Mary Jo's is a sewing destination. There are 10's of thousands of fabrics here. Wedding, pagent, apparel, wool, upholstery, trims, gimp, and an incredible array of quilting cottons in 32,000 square feet all under one roof! You can spend a day here! In the parking lot you will see license plates from all over the US and Canada. Not kidding, this place is HUGE. Now, it is not just the selection, the staff here is awesome as well. The quilting fabrics are arranged by themes (animals, fruit, stripes, batiks) and by color. She also carries Michael Miller, Amy Butler and Kaffe Fassett fabrics. There is a huge wall of notions to choose from as well. Mary Jo's is a treat for me. I current live only an hour away, but I force myself to finish projects before I go there and stock up on more!