Sunday, December 28, 2008

Looking Ahead to 2009...

Let's just say that 2008 will NOT go down in the record books as a good year for us. The national economic situation has directly affected our own finances as (very) small business owners and spending has REALLY been cut short. That has been especially true for my quilt budget - which is most depressing to me. But....

I've decided to look at it positively and, taking Judy's cue, make this year a true stashbusting year! I have so many kits that I've collected in the past that are just collecting dust that, honestly, could keep me busy for a while. So, I vow to make a dent in my kit stash, doing my best to purchase only the fabrics NEEDED to complete specific projects. Since I like to match fabrics exactly to the ones shown on a pattern, I'm always on the lookout for those one or two fabrics that I'm still missing for each homemade 'kit'.

One other goal is to advance with my Thimbleberries Club projects from previous years. So, I plan to dedicate the first week of each month towards this end, working on blocks for the 2002-2007 projects, plus the original BOM, Month by Month. Some parts have already been completed for each of these quilts, but I haven't yet finished a club quilt. Sad, right?

My list of projects for this year is in my sidebar. I plan to post at least once a week to report my progress, especially amounts of yardage busted. Hoping to have some good news to share next week!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sally Collins

Today I had the pleasure of hearing renowned small-scale quilt maker Sally Collins speak at my local quilt guild. Her quilts were exquisite and truly beyond words. I hope you enjoy this mini quilt show!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

FINALLY Finished (almost)

Whoo hoo! Here is my completed top - that just needs some embroidery in the windows of the house. I've already stitched the panes on one of the windows, and the rest will get done either at the kids' soccer games this weekend or during TV time with DH at night. (Probably NOT the latter, 'cause he likes being my center of attention when he gets home from work! LOL)

And here's a prize that I totally did NOT deserve. Peggy sent me this Homer's Donut for pushing her to get her Pumpkin House done - isn't it scrumptious?! DH gets hungry every time he see's it. My special gifty for Peg should be going in the mail this week :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pumpkin House Progress...

Slowly but surely my Pumpkin House project is coming along. I was FINALLY able applique down the vines and fuse on the leaves and berries. Blanket stitching will wait until soccer season starts - so I'll have something to do while waiting for my darlings to finish their practices. Here's how it looks so far:

Now I need to work on the pumpkin stems for the middle border. Then it'll be time to add all of the borders. I think I can... I think I can... I think I can...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tutorial - Applique with Fusible Interfacing

Still busy working on my Thimbleberries Pumpkin House (have the fences all assembled) so now it's time for the applique. I've been preparing the berries and leaves and I thought I'd give a little tutorial on how to applique using fusible interfacing. I saw Eleanor Burns demonstrate this method on a Simply Quilts episode and I've been using it ever since.

You'll need fusible interfacing, of course. I prefer a medium weight because it will need to withstand some poking. (A lightweight one I bought would shred at the slightest tug - so test out a small corner before you buy.) I am using a charcoal color interfacing because my background piece is black. Here's a photo of the fusible side:

And a photo of the non-fusible side (with the applique shape traced onto it). The interfacing is very thin and I was able to trace the leaf without a lightbox or holding it up to a window.

Next, put the applique fabric together with the interfacing, so that the fusible dots touch the right side of the fabric. Sew on the traced line using a tight stitch (like 1.5) and a thread that matches either the applique fabric or the interfacing. In this case, I used black.

Once it's sewn, trim the seam allowances using pinking shears. This works out really well - and saves you from clipping the curves of the piece. After it's been trimmed, make a few cuts in the center of the interfacing as shown. Be careful NOT to cut the applique fabric!

Finally it's time to turn the right side of the fabric through that cut in the interfacing. You may need to pull at it a bit. I use my Purple Thang to round out my curves and to make my points sharp, but Eleanor uses a bodkin. Either way, fuss with it a bit until you get it nice and smooth - like my leaf below:

Then, position the shape on the background fabric and, following the manufacturer's instructions for the interfacing, press in place. Here's a photo of another piece where I used this same method. The stitches are all done by hand using perle cotton. See how the applique puffs up a bit? That seems to help the stitches lay nicely around the outer edge.

Try it out sometime - you may like it!

*** A special thank you goes out to Peggy for sending me her leftover green fabric for my vines. You're a lifesaver! I'm wondering if my bias strips ever made it out of that garbage bag in Minnesota! LOL

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Okay, so I didn't do anything with those Fat Quarter 5 Stripe blocks... I was too busy cooking up a challenge for Peggy. As she mentioned last night, each of us will be working on our Pumpkin House tops that are in various stages. Here's a photo of my UFO, just after taking it out of the bag.

Now, Peggy thinks SHE's bad, having started the project back in Aug/Sept 2007... Shhhh, don't tell her, but I began mine back in September also - 2004! LOL! And I have not one..... not two... but THREE of these patterns! You see, I bought it when I first saw it at my LQS, and then I signed up for the class at the MSCS retreat - so the pattern was included with the class. Now, how did I get the third one, you ask? Well, I forgot to pack either of my two patterns in my luggage before flying off to Minnesota, so I needed to buy another one to use during my class! Stupid, right? You bet...

But that wasn't even the worst of it... During class I got a little sidetracked and started chatting and roaming around the room, leaving my project near my sewing machine. Class ended at 4:30pm, and the hotel staff quickly began transforming the room for the party to be held later that night. I guess my pile of pieces looked like garbage to them, because that's where I found my project! Fortunately, it was in a bag with 'clean' trash - but still... I learned my lesson after that - roam around during class all you want, but make sure you're back in your spot by the end of class! LOL


Whoo hoo!! I was able to finish these two pint size Alpine Star quilt tops last night, JUST before my Thimbleberries Club meeting. They are slightly different and were made from fabrics in my stash. Hopefully my secret swap partner won't guess that one of these is for her!

Maybe I ought to work on that Fat Quarter 5 Stripe... I've already assembled the twelve 15.5" blocks and just need to make the sashings and prepare the border. We'll see how much gets done today ;)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Remember me?

Yes, I'm a very, very, VERY bad blogger - disappearing for months... Shame on me! I didn't work on ANY quilt projects and spent most of my time working and just 'being Mom'. I would've bored you with my tales of (seemingly endless) softball games, baseball games, track meets, church activities, band concerts, graduation ceremonies, etc. So it was good that I didn't blog, right??? LOL

It took some 'virtual' quilting to get me back in the swing of things. Kairle, who is in charge of our online Thimbleberries group, asked me to help her with one of the swaps planned for our Christmas in July event. I started playing around with the block design on my computer using CorelDraw and came up with these:

The quilt is called "Ring Toss" and is from the Thimbleberries book My Best. I used images of Christmas Punch fabrics that I had saved from a distributor's website in order to color the blocks but, after seeing the fabrics in person, I realized how inaccurate they are. The red I used in the block is actually much brighter and the gold outer ring is more faded. Disappointed, I decided to check my stash - and came up with a nice combination of vintage TB fabrics that should work nicely. Stay tuned!

I've also begun working on my other Christmas in July project - a swap of pint-size (24" square or less) quilts. Yesterday I was able to finish cutting out two of these Christmas quilts (one for my partner and one for me) as well as the pint size Pumpkin House project in the new Pint Size Traditions II book. There are TONS of tiny pieces - but it's amazing how little fabric is needed to make these adorable quilts.

I thought I'd also show you part of my workspace. Now, I'm not lucky enough to have a dedicated quilting room/studio like many of you, so I have to make do with what I have. Here's MY cutting area:

Looks a lot like a kitchen counter and cabinets, right? Well, it is! LOL The open cabinet is a nice place to put my book while following cutting directions, and the counter is the perfect height for me for cutting. I just have to make sure that I clean up everything before it's time to make dinner and do the dishes...

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 7, 2008

My Favorite Pincushion

While browsing blogs this morning, I found that Patti, Jane, and May Britt had posted photos of their pincushions for the giveaway at Blueberry Lane Designs. I'd like to enter too - but there's a story behind mine...

During the Christmas season back in 2001, my son Logan handed me a notice for the Holiday Boutique fundraiser, in which kids can purchase gifts for their family members for minimal prices. They usually have a variety of small tool kits, personalized pens (saying #1 Mom or Dad), necklaces, keychains, etc. I gave him some money, and off he went to school the next day. When Logan came home, he was SO excited! All he kept repeating was, "You're going to LOVE your gift. It's the perfect gift!" Now, mind you, he went shopping early in December - so I had to listen to him say this every day, several times a day until Christmas morning. That's when I was finally able to see what he was so proud to give me:

Isn't it adorable?! Logan just KNEW I'd love it! It sits by my sewing machine as a constant reminder of my thoughtful son. He's turning 12 tomorrow and is still just as loving and caring as he was when he was 5. Happy Birthday, Logan!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Progress with my list...

I've been a busy bee, and have not one by TWO tops to show! Whoo hoo! Here is Lakeland Pines, which is the first quarterly project in the Thimbleberries Quilt Club this year. The Lodge colorway really appealed to me, and I plan to do all four small projects through one quilt shop and the big quilt with another shop. I'm trying my best to support my local shops, and to keep them buying Thimbleberries fabrics.

Here is the second top I've been working on. It's from the Thimbleberries pattern called Flower Maze and I used Autumn Traditions fabrics to make it. I saw it at the retreat last year and just HAD to buy the kit. The colors are perfect for fall, or for watching my favorite NFL team, the Washington Redskins, try to make the playoffs again.

And now for my next project. The fabric FINALLY arrived for my outside borders, and I'm ready to continue working on Fat Quarter 5 Stripe. I spent yesterday afternoon arranging the scrappy blocks and labelling them all with masking tape. There are a total of 108 5.5" blocks, so I wouldn't want to get them (or me) confused... LOL! For now, they're in any empty box that I picked up at Pizza Hut last night, but I'm hoping to do a lot of sewing tomorrow. We'll see how that goes...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Welcoming Beth to Blogland!

Please say hello to Beth, who just posted her first entry on her blog yesterday! We actually 'met' online a few months ago when she asked me some questions about my blog and how it was setup, and then we MET (in person) out in Minnesota at the retreat last September! I checked through my photos and found this one with Beth at Mr. Halloween's Party, held in the Thimbleberries studio. She's the one on the left side in the back of the picture wearing the cute black and gold apron. Welcome Beth!

I haven't been able to get much sewing done at all - just some piecing on the TB Club first quarter project Lakeland Pines. I have all of the blocks sewn and just need to assemble them into the finished top. Hopefully I can post that soon. My next club meeting is Tuesday morning, and I may just camp out there all day and sew. Don't worry - I'm allowed ;) It's Sit, Stitch and Grumble day (aka Stitch and *itch) and for $10 I can work on my projects with NO interruptions. The kids have vacation next week (all week long) but I could take them for a visit to my MIL's home on Tuesday, right? Let's see how much I can get done then!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

First Top on My To Do List DONE!

It's taken me a little while to get on the computer to post it, but I finished my Twilight Village top on New Year's Day (and it's been crossed out on my sidebar list)! Here's a pic:

Sorry it's a bit fuzzy - I was trying to stand on a dining room chair to take an 'aerial' shot - but I don't seem to be too steady! LOL And yes, I was able to make it with ALL ORIGINAL FABRICS - just as I had hoped. :)

Next on my list is Fat Quarter 5 Stripe. I began this quilt back in 2003 the first retreat I attended out in Minnesota. I love this quilt! Don't ask me why I haven't finished it, because I really can't wait to snuggle under it. All of the strip piecing is done for the 5" blocks, and they still need to be assembled into the (12) 15" ones. I think I need to put up my portable design wall (flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth) and start working on the layout.

To tie you over until I can post my own top, here's a picture of the one on display at the retreat. In front of it (from left to right) are my friend Pam, Lynette Jensen from Thimbleberries, me, and my friend Kairle. We were the first three from our online Thimbleberries group to attend the retreat.

I guess I should actually start working on this now :) Chao for now...