Saturday, November 10, 2012

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Sharon at Vroomans Quilts for winning my extra issue of Quiltmaker Magazine's 100 Blocks Volume 6!  Sharon, please send me a mailing address and I'll get it out to you after the Veteran's Day holiday.

Thanks to all for the suggestions of what to do with the blocks.  I think I'll take multiple suggestions.  If you were one who suggested giving away blocks to readers (I think there were two of you), let me know via email or comment which two or three you liked best and I'll see what I can do.  Others may go into charity blocks or pillows (again, if anyone has a suggestion of who might take random quilt blocks for charity quilts, please post or send!).

Thanks for entering and enjoy the magazine!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

100 Blocks Giveaway!

It's time for the giveaway post for my extra issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Volume 6!

As you probably know by now, I was a quilt tester for this issue and my name is listed as such on page 6.  I had to sign a confidentiality clause which kept me silent as to what I was working on until now.  I tested a total of fourteen blocks, including two of the blocks featured on the cover.  They comprised all sorts of techniques, including needleturn and fusible applique, foundation piecing, curved piecing, and embroidery.  Here is a collage of the blocks I tested:

They are as follows (with links to their blogs if available):
Top Row, from left:
1.  Doug Leko, Freedom Star
2.  Gudrun Erla, Fire Burst (to be featured on Nov. 8)
3.  Kimberly Jolly, Spring Favorite (links to her post!)
4.  Cindy Lammon, Lattice
5.  Monique Dillard, Scrollwork
Middle Row, from left:
1.  Robin Koehler, Tropical Flags (to be featured on Nov. 7)
2.  Lisa Bassett, Fan Fare
3.  Pippa Eccles Armbrester, Reflecting Cityscape
4.  Angela Walters, Boomerang
5.  Debby Kratovil, Divided Diamonds (links to her post!)
Bottom Row, from left:
1.  Susan Geddes, Chicken Surprise (links to her post!)
2.  Cheryl Brown, Swirly Geese (to be featured on Nov. 8)
3.  Paula Stoddard, So Tweet
4.  Dianne Gardner, Cat Nip

Each block was great fun to review, whether it appealed to me or not.  I did not sign up to make a full quilt from one of the blocks, but if I had, it might have been Lattice.  I really enjoyed the challenges of both Divided Diamonds and Fan Fare.  Now that I have my copy of the issue, I'm looking forward to trying some more of the blocks.  My favorite thing is to find patterns that use a lot of precuts - 1 1/2" strips, 2 1/2" strips, 5" or smaller pieces - and whip up a few from my stash cuttings.  Lattice is one of those patterns which could be made with a charm square pack, coordinating honey bun, and background fabric for great effect.  I also like finding blocks that can feature large scale prints well.  As usual, this issue does not disappoint!

Quiltmaker not only sent me a free issue to thank me for my work as a block tester, they sent me a second to give away, so I will!  I'll keep this post open for the entire duration of the blog tour (through Friday) and choose a winner on Saturday, November 10.  For a chance to win, first, make sure you're not a no-reply blogger (or leave a way for me to contact you in your comment), and second, answer me this question:  what on earth should I do with my fourteen rogue tester blocks shown above?

Thanks for reading and good luck winning a copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 6 - if not here then elsewhere on the tour!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's Here! It's Here!

The new Quiltmaker Magazine 100 Blocks (Volume 6) arrived in my mailbox yesterday with MY NAME inside acknowledged as a tester!  Best of all, they sent me a second copy which I will give away on my blog during Quiltmaker's blog tour week of November 5-9, when I also will share photos of the blocks I tested, two of which are on the cover (the designers' blocks, not mine, of course!). 

I won't be part of the "official" tour since I'm not a designer, but make sure you're following me or come back that week.  I may even give away some extras, like the blocks I sewed or some fabric bundles.  So much fun!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Long lost blogger here

Wow, it has been absolutely ages since I've posted.  I knew I would be a little challenged when I stopped working and sitting in front of a computer all day but I've actually been spending time doing all those things I think about doing while I sit in front of a computer all day!  First I had a great summer with my son and the rest of my family.  When the kids all went back to school I turned my attention to getting our house ready to go on the market, including replacing three bathroom sinks, touching up paint throughout the house, rewiring and patching drywall and installing seven different lighting fixtures, as well as steam cleaning every carpet in the house and goodness knows what other little jobs I can no longer remember.

After that it was only a week until I gave a presentation at quilt guild called "Charmed:  Five things to do with five inch squares."  I talked about the disappearing four patch (picture from the guild presentation) and divided nine patch blocks, templates, easy half square triangles, The Happy Zombie's hourglass technique, and flying geese with bonus triangles.  Some photos below.

Disappearing four patch
Divided nine patch

step-by-step flying geese


hourglass option one

hourglass option two
Right after I finished the guild class I flew to Phoenix for a few days R&R as a corporate spouse and thoroughly enjoyed it.  That brought us into this week, when I've been strategizing my return to the workplace, finishing up all the things I wanted to do before returning to work (car service, doctor appointments, etc.) and finding time to sew in between showings of the house (four this week alone).

At the end of September I participated in a quilt class taught by Barbara Cline on one of her triangle-based patterns called, "Chinese Checkers."  Here is a photo of Barbara I took in class holding up her quilt:
And here is the top I finished in the wee hours of this morning in an alternate colorway:
It was not the first time I'd worked with 60° triangles but Barbara taught a great new way of using templates that made me more willing to use them again in the future.

I think I'll try to clear a few more unfinished tops off my to do list before I start sandwiching and quilting the smaller ones of them (and sending the larger ones to Star City Stitchery).  Soon it will be time to start Christmas gifts (only pillowcases and table runners this year, I think - no quilts) and my challenge quilt for the 2013 quilt show.  I have an idea, which is half the battle; I just need to figure out how to execute it.

Now, one of these days, I'll catch up on READING some quilt blogs!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

changes and finishes

The summer has hit full crazy mode.  I have been in "temporary retirement" for two days now and I have installed a new toilet seat, two shower heads, ordered a bathroom sink (will install it and a faucet upon arrival), begun staining my back porch, and priced out more projects than I fear I can finish in a summer.  I have to begin getting serious about the yard sale sewing room contents now taking up my sewing room since they had to move out of my son's room (to make room for my son).  Life feels very busy.

I did finish and show off Spanish Treasure at quilt guild last night.  Other than that, I'm just trying to stay on top of my deadlines for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks testing, so I have little else to show.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bloggy awards!

I have to confess, this is not the first time I received an award.  Michele from Quilts From My Crayon Box gave me the Liebster award, for "favorite blogs with under 200 followers," back in February, before I was really striving for blog etiquette.  And today I received the Sunshine Award for "Bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere" from Priscilla at Thrifty Crafty Girl.  Although these awards are really kind of like a chain letter for blogs, I think it's high time I stopped being a lazy blogger and continued passing along these awards!

First, old business:  The Liebster award.  The Liebster Rules are:
1. Post about your win on your blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who presented you with the award.
3. Copy and paste the award to your blog.
4. Present the Liebster Award to 5 blogs that have fewer than 200 followers that you think deserve to be recognized.
5. Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
I'm bestowing this award upon:
  1. JoAnne from The Patriotic Quilter - I love her enthusiasm!
  2. Amy at House of Bad Cats.  That name alone makes me giggle.
  3. Prof. S at The Enchanted Bobbin.  She finished ALL of her FWQAL blocks and I'm in AWE!
  4. Barbara at Chester River Quilter.  She is local to my dad's house and I love seeing what she finds on her shopping trips!
  5. Michelle at Michelle's Quilts & Stuff.  I only found her recently but she lives in my home state of Delaware and I like reading about her work!
  6. Stephanie at Stephanie Hamilton Designs.  Stephanie is an old friend of my Honey and she creates the most beautiful jewelry from knitting stones into metal.  Her blog is both inspirational and informative.  I am STILL working on a quilt for her in the hope I will get some of her art in return!
  7. Susan at Susan Kraterfield's Quilts.  Susan has my vote for the most talented member of our guild and reading her blog helps me see what she's working on in between show & tell at guild meetings!
  8. Deb at Deb Cobb Photography.  Deb is one of my sorority sisters from college and one of the most talented photographers I know.  I love seeing her work although too little of it makes her blog!
  9. LSL at Long Story Longer.  I've been reading this blog for years as we commented on a mutual friend's blog.  I am so inspired by how she tackles life. 
  10. Krista from Need a Latte Mom.  I love seeing how she transforms furniture and she is who inspired me to buy Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for this summer's projects.

Now, new business:  The Sunshine Award.  The Sunshine Award Rules are:
  1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.
  2. Answer 10 questions about yourself.  
  3. Select 10 of your favorite bloggers, link their blogs to your post and let them know they've been awarded the Sunshine Award!
  4. Don't forget to copy and paste the award on your blog! 

The ten questions are:

Favorite Color?  Red.  A bluish red, not a yellowish red.

Favorite Animal?  Big, slow dogs with intelligent eyes, like an old labrador retriever.

Favorite Number? Seven.  I don't know why.  Number of letters in my first name?

Favorite Drink?  That would be either Diet Coke or Guinness, depending on the time of day!

Facebook or Twitter?  Oh, definitely Facebook.  I have not yet seen the point to Twitter.

Good Book or Good Movie?  Generally, I'd choose good book, but I can't sew while I read, so movies have their place too.  Unless it's an audiobook and then I can sew while I listen!  I just borrowed "Brideshead Revisited" from the library yesterday for an upcoming long drive.

My Passion?  Quilting.  I think that goes without saying!

Giving or Getting Presents?  Giving.  I feel more anxiety getting something than giving something.

Favorite Day?  My birthday.  It's nice to have one day a year that's all about me.  :-)

Favorite Flowers?  Lilacs.  I really don't mean to steal Priscilla's answer but I love the scent of them; they bring back good memories from my childhood.

Since this award has no maximum followers I am going to be choosing some famous names here:
  1. Kay Mackenzie at All About Applique - I love her passion for applique and all of her helpful tips!
  2. Karen from Sew Many Ways - she is always so cheerful and resourceful.
  3. Barb and Mary from Me and My Sister Designs.  In addition to creating gorgeous fabrics I think that they've helped Sonic increase their profit margin because I find myself stopping there more often!
  4. Pat at Color Me Quilty.  You know I made her Gothic window for the Virginia Quilt Museum!
  5. Kim from Magnolia Bay Quilts.  I love her books, and she has always posted such kind words about my quilts that I make from her patterns.
  6. Maryann from Domestically Speaking.  Painting furniture is going to be a summer project and she's got so much inspiration!
  7. Judi from Green Fairy Quilts.  Her longarm quilting has inspired me to try machine quilting myself. 
  8. Pat from Silver Thimble Talk.  I always feel personally touched by her words and enthusiasm.
  9. Kelly from The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.  Great resource.
  10. Melissa from Happy Quilting.  She's got a little of everything going on there!
Here's where I admit that I'm going to break from the rules.  I am too shy to let any of these people know that I'm giving them an award.  Most of them are such prolific bloggers with important projects and deadlines that an award from one of their many admiring followers is probably as annoying as a fly buzzing around their face.  But it doesn't mean that they don't deserve the props.  If you're reading and interested in what inspires me, go on and click through.  If you're one of the bloggers I've recognized here then you can blow me away by leaving a comment!
As for me, I've been busy.  My Honey is away and I definitely plan to get caught up in my sewing room tonight - I have a new project from the weekend which I should be able to wrap up and post.  I'm all caught up on my test blocks for Quiltmaker.  I'll post some photos in the near future, I promise.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Don't let me forget!!

(This is where I would put an image of a finger tied with string but I am terrified about using photos found on the internet without royalty or permission!)

At quilt guild Monday night I was approached by the programs chair who asked me to give October's presentation.  I had offered, about a year ago, to do a fun and informative session I'd call, "Charmed!  Five easy ideas for five inch squares."  There are so many books out on nickel quilts and other great way to use charm squares, but I wanted to do something that didn't need a pattern - like hourglass, disappearing nine patches, HSTs, flying geese, etc.  I consider charm square blocks to be something like candy ... when a fabric line is threatening to move into obsolescence and I don't own any of it yet, I can pick up a charm pack for under $10 and have it forever.  Or at least until I'm willing to cut into it.  Anyway, Monica Solorio-Snow at the Happy Zombie gave me permission to use her wonderful hourglass block tutorial in a guild class - you might remember the Hoopla baby quilts I made with this pattern, which is around the time I thought to give the class:
But this has been in the back of my mind for so long that I am prone to think of it as a done deal ... despite the fact that I don't have any quilts to use as demos.  So I am going to have to start digging into my charm packs this summer and MAKE SOME QUILTS!  I cannot forget!

I have two blocks to work on for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks testing, both are a bit more intricate than I have been tasked with previously, and so that will have to be the next project on deck.  After Sunday's marathon quilting day I have taken a few days off (yesterday was my birthday and we went out to dinner ... and I've gotten my Honey almost as interested in Downton Abbey as I am so the last couple of evenings have finished on the sofa in front of the big TV). 

I'm going to have to organize my summer a little more intently than I have so far.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Giveaway alert and weekend progress

First of all, Green Fairy Quilts, one of my favorite online quilt stores, is having a giveaway of Lily Ashbury Trade Winds fat quarters!  All you have to do to enter is tell them what your favorite fall releases are from their website.  I bought a charm pack of Trade Winds when I bought Lily Ashbury's Summer House jelly roll a few weeks ago, and I have my fingers crossed to win, but you should enter too!!

I had not yet posted on May's Crafting By The Numbers challenge, so here it is:

Twenty out of 31 days - not bad, considering the slow start.  You can see that I get on a roll of working on something for a few days before I switch to something else. May was spent on sewing for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, 6th edition; finishing Civil War Chronicles; the Shoes wallhanging; and starting Yankee Husband. 

Speaking of Yankee Husband, I realized I planned for only twenty blocks, which would make a pretty small quilt (four feet by five feet).  So I ordered a bit more fabric to be able to make ten more blocks (five feet by six feet).  I worked on it a bit every day during the weekend and almost all day Sunday while my Honey took his girls back to their mother and then continued on to a memorial service near where he grew up.  I have the first twenty blocks sewn and pressed:
He says it looks a little military since the flying geese look a little like chevrons.  I think I spent a total of about nine hours in my studio yesterday, and I wound up the day with hand applique in front of the big TV as I began watching Downton Abbey on Netflix streaming ... loved it!  Unfortunately, I figured out after I put down my needle for the night that I seem to have "lost" most of my Dragonfly Tubing blocks.  I have a pile of finished ones but cannot find the rest that have been cut and prepared for applique.  That's pretty bad when your sewing room starts eating your projects, so I think this is a call to organize.

Along those lines, I got rid of one more sewing machine this weekend - found someone on Freecycle to take the 1960's Kenmore that is so stiff that it will only sew by manually turning the flywheel.  I didn't want to pay to have it serviced, and the lady who took it is excited to get it running again.  It's a little sad to say goodbye to the machine I learned to sew on when I was a child but it will get more love there than with me.

Tonight is quilt guild and maybe when I come home I'll start cutting the Lily Ashbury Summer House jelly roll quilt.  I can't continue on Yankee Husband until the fabric arrives (I've cut and prepped everything else), and I can't find Dragonfly Tubing (embarrassed grimace), but I want to do something in front of the big TV upstairs that gets Netflix so I can continue with episode three of Downton Abbey

I nearly forgot to mention - we had a little birthday celebration over the weekend (mine is tomorrow) and my Honey gave me the fat eighth bundle of "Hello Luscious" I'd been aching for!  He is such a sweetie ... but next I need to think of what to do with it!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

sewing weekend

I'm super busy at work today (two days' worth of work jammed into one) and don't have time to post much.  However, I did make yesterday a sewing day (my Honey even brought me breakfast and dinner while I worked!), which I had to interrupt only for a quilt guild board meeting in the evening.  I was able to finish up the Civil War Chronicles border and backing on Friday and Saturday, and got the shoes all set into shelf-like sashing boxes on Monday morning, so I rewarded myself with beginning a new project on Monday.

I had not yet made my Honey his own quilt although I'd bought a fat eighth bundle of Panier de Fleurs, which I thought was refined (prints) and masculine (colors).  I'd been tossing around ideas for a pattern forever until I won and received the latest Quiltmaker 100 Blocks issue.  Coincidentally, it's Lee Heinrich's block - it was at her blog, Freshly Pieced, that I won the issue - which I chose to make my Honey's quilt with.  I bought some Moda Bella solids that coordinate well with the line - Stone, Tomato Soup, American Blue - and used one of the alternative layouts that Lee featured on her blog.  I cut out the pieces while watching the 25th anniversary production of Les Miserables, which was very moving (especially on Memorial Day when working with French General fabrics!) and pieced a first block to test before I went through all the marking and piecing of all the parts which made up the block.

(Sorry about the shadow - it's hard not to get a little bit of shadow in a photo in my sewing room!)

As I worked, I thought about a title for it which would suit both the fabric and my Honey.  He is a big New York Yankees fan, and asked for a quilt which memorialized that, so I thought about backing the quilt with an applique logo in the center to make it reversible.  The Moda Bella American Blue really reminds me of the Yankees' blue, and the colors just strike me as so vintage patriotic.  I liked the word Yankee as he is a transplanted northerner - a freethinking atheist here in the Bible belt - but so many of the clichéd expressions with Yankee in them are so negative.  So I thought I might simply call it "Yankee Husband."

I am string piecing the rest of the quilt so I will probably not have another photo to share until all the blocks are done.  I love how crisp the solids look in Lee's Cathedral Square layout with the Panier prints mixed in.  I should have a few more sewing days on my agenda coming up so I think it will be done before we know it.  To speed the sewing of multiple blocks, I did sew 2" x WOF strips of stone and red together and crosscut the pieces next to the flying geese, and the flying geese method makes four at a time, so I can't imagine this won't go super fast.

Both Civil War Chronicles and Spanish Treasure to go my longarm quilter this week, the former to be basted and the latter quilted, so progress is being made right and left.  Yay!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Other crafty things

I'm not sure I had posted some of my non-quilty initiatives here or if anyone even has interest.  But here are a few of the things I did when I wasn't working on something quilty.

When we had our family wedding celebration a few weeks ago we held it at my dad's house so that my Honey's family could see his boat, a 43' Shannon yacht, similar to Morgan Freeman's Afrodesia:
image courtesy of the National Sailing Hall of Fame
We had the ceremony and dinner for the thirteen of us at a little local marina restaurant and while it was only our immediate families and I didn't want to go all out with stuff like centerpieces, I did want to give each person a little placecard souvenir holder. So I bought a bunch of these glass sailboat votive holders for a great price online and then made little burgee flags with each person's name, laminated (to protect against the flame) and attached with a toothpick.
Do you recognize the Moda Hoopla fabric?
They looked really pretty on the table at the restaurant.

The other thing I was bent on creating was a bed for our new cat, Jack.  We adopted him early in January and he had just been prowling around the house making it his home.  I learned pretty quickly what kinds of things he liked to claim for his sleeping quarters:
My UFO basket was NOT going to be a long term option for him.  So I covered that up with a piece of fleece (which he doesn't seem to like laying on - static electricity issue?).  He HAS seemed to gravitate towards the cushion on my bathroom vanity seat since I laid a towel over it, so once I figured out that terrycloth was a fabric that appealed to him, I developed his own bed.  I bought a wicker basket at Jo-Ann's, spray painted it to match our bedroom, and then took an old towel and sewed like a simple envelope to cover a pillow form I had laying around.  I stuffed that in the basket and placed it in our room (raised off the floor to appeal, of course). 
Now that doesn't look very comfortable to me, but considering it's where he is most mornings (even though he does like to climb up into the windowsills behind him), he seems to like it.  The cover will easily come off the basket for cleaning when it gets too full of hair.

I am starting to read more furniture and home decor blogs and plan to experiment with some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint this summer, as well as a back porch redesign which has been on my plate for a year or so.  I will be home with the kids for the summer beginning in July, so hopefully I will make some progress.  If you're interested in the occasional post expanding the blog to other crafty endeavors beyond the quilt studio, let me know and I'll post once in a while.

Another sale alert!

Did you like the Good Fortune Quilt I posted earlier this week (which I intend to make with Lily Ashbury Summer House fabric)?  What if you could make that entire quilt top for $50?

Quilt Kit Market is going out of business and selling off their inventory at amazing prices.  That includes the fabrics to make the top and binding of this quilt for only $50

Or how about the Terrain Quilt Kit for $48?
I know from my last giveaway that I have a lot of Kate Spain lovers here.

They also have precuts at incredibly low prices - charm packs for $6; layer cakes and jelly rolls for $24.50 each.  If I hadn't already placed three separate orders for fabric earlier this week I think I'd snatch some up myself.

As for me, I am itching to cut into my new fabric for my two new projects - one being a quilt made from French General's Panier de Fleurs for my Honey, and the other mentioned above.  But I need to get my recent projects to a better state of completion - Civil War Chronicles needs its border finished and attached and it has GOT to be out of the house along with Spanish Treasure to the long arm quilter, and my shoes quilt needs to be pieced into a top - before I begin cutting anything.

I am excited for a three-day weekend with no plans to go anywhere.   I need to be disciplined and get things done around the house, though, because at this point I would be happy closing myself up in my studio not to see the outdoors again until Tuesday morning.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What a sale!

Someone please freeze my credit card in a block of ice somewhere and change my Paypal password.

Last week I received advance notice that Thousands of Bolts was having a big sale and I stocked up on a few basics, including Moda Bella solids, for awesome prices.  Today I heard about Burgundy Buttons' blowout sale and had to check it out.  I wasn't looking for anything, but whenever I find a jelly roll for close to $20 I have to think long and hard.  Well, I picked up the last jelly roll of Moda's Summer House by Lily Ashbury.

Gorgeous fabric line, isn't it?  They also had yardage, so I thought quickly about what to do with it and decided to make the free pattern Moda had published for Kate Spain's Good Fortune Line (you do know how to download these free over at Moda's website, right?  Look for those black scissors to indicate free pattern):

It only takes a jelly roll, 2.5 yards of background (I have it on hand), 1.25 yards border and accent, and 5/8 yard binding.  So I bought some Summer House yardage also on sale (they price by the half yard which makes it look REALLY cheap, but it's still a bargain!), and when my package arrives, I will have everything to whip up this pretty little (little?  70" square!) quilt.

As if I don't have enough to do.  Honestly, though, The shoes top will be finished when my Thousands of Bolts order arrives, and I'm finishing up the border for Civil War Chronicles this week (I plan to photograph before sending to the longarm quilter to be basted for hand quilting), so this is perfect timing.  I think it will go together quickly.

Oh wait.  I also meant to start the quilt I've been meaning to make for my Honey when the Thousands of Bolts order arrives.  And I need to continue working on my Ghastlies quilt, and Quiltmaker blocks, and Dragonfly Summer, and a charity quilt, and a few other projects that have been languishing.

I have to prove my Honey wrong, you see.  The other day one of my recessed lights in my studio area blew and I mentioned it to him (he is my resident light bulb changer).  Apparently we are out of those bulbs.  He suggested that we take one from the spotlights in front of the fireplace in my studio since we never use those.  I said that I use those whenever I lay out a finished quilt on the floor to photograph and want the extra light on it.  His response:  "well, it's not like you'll be finishing anything anytime soon."  What???!  So you see, I HAVE to have some finishes soon to prove him wrong.  ;-) 

Anyway, go check out the sale prices over at Burgundy Buttons and Thousands of Bolts if you need to do some stash building or replenishing ... or maybe just need some of those low, low prices to tell you what to buy next.  I had confirmation from Leah at Burgundy Buttons that she shipped my order only hours after I placed it, using priority mail I can track as it works its way to me, so it's almost easier than intending to get to the fabric store!  Win-win!

Monday, May 21, 2012

I need your help -- HELP RECEIVED! THANKS!

Update - Robin in Washington State sent me a message with exactly the link I had seen at Quiltmaker - and it IS in their May/June issue!

I could have sworn I checked it thoroughly before I posted this!  I think I didn't bookmark it because I used to get Quiltmaker and thought maybe my subscription hadn't expired.  But now I'm pretty sure it has, so I'd better get to JoAnn's and snatch up this one before it leaves newsstands (assuming it's still there - magazine issues go SO far in advance that I wouldn't be surprised to see September on there already).

Thank you!!  I must make "I Love My All Stars" for my son once I finish my own shoe quilt!

I must read a gazillion quilt blogs and get so many emails from quilt shops and magazines, and also do the FabShopHop when I can.  So when I see something quilty somewhere I like, I'd better bookmark it, because I might never find it again.

Well, this is one of those times.

A week or two ago I saw something about a pattern to make a quilt featuring many pairs of Converse all-star Chuck Taylor sneakers - high tops and low tops.  My son LOVES these shoes and collects them like I collect high heels (this past Saturday I bought four pairs of shoes for us - two for him and two for me!).  So when I saw the quilt pattern I knew I had to put it on my to-do list right after I finished my other shoe quilt:
(and all eight pairs of the shoes are now done, I just have to set them together in a top).

But I've forgotten where I saw it.  When I turn to Google, it only gives me Chuck Taylor sneakers in quilted fabrics ... cool, but not what I was looking for.

So fellow quilt enthusiasts - have you seen this pattern?  I seem to think it was in a current issue of a quilt magazine but I can't figure out which one (I thought I went through them all).  Can you tell me where it is??  A quilt featuring Converse all star (Chuck Taylor) sneakers like these?

Monday, May 14, 2012

weekend progress

Well, another Mother's Day is in the books, thank goodness.  This is one of those awful holidays that it seems everyone else in the world but my family celebrates.  My Honey calls it a "Hallmark holiday" which is true, although he does take his daughters to shop for a gift and card for their mother.  This year I did get a text message from my son - last year he forgot it altogether - and because I asked, a quick phone call.  Both my mother and my MIL are deceased so there is no one for me to honor.  Still, it stings a bit to read blog after blog full of family celebrations, breakfasts in bed, cards, gifts, and I-love-yous from children.  That won't ever be part of my life, but since being a mother is all about sacrifice, I guess it's time to suck it up.  I had a child to leave a bit of goodness to the world, not to get thanks and cards.  I guess I'm doing all right on that score.

It did feel like a nice long weekend since we weren't traveling for the first time in four weeks.  My Honey and I had date night Friday, and got up early Saturday morning to go to a number of local yard sales.  I perpetually have a list of things I have an eye out for should I see a bargain, and I was able to cross one of them off my list.  We also got to one of my favorite local places, Black Dog Salvage, to pick up some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  I've seen some amazing things done with it and am looking forward to working on a couple of pieces in my son's room ... but first I need to clean out all my mom's stash that is waiting for me to resell myself.  On Saturday evening we ran a 5K, and I met my goal of finishing under 45 minutes ... but I'm still paying for it in aches and pains today!

Also on Saturday I received my copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, volume 5 that I won from Lee at Freshly Pieced!

On Sunday I slept late and did some sewing.  I'm really trying to finish up the border blocks for Civil War Chronicles, but getting my new 100 Blocks made me motivated to do something fun.  I had started a little wallhanging from one of the previous issues called "Shoe Boxes" and I sewed another block for that before calling it a night.  I continued with two more tonight.

Even though Mother's Day is not a holiday in our home, my Honey still pampered me as if it were.  He brought home a little DVD player for my studio - all I had was a VHS player - and made me a delicious dinner complete with homemade blackberry cobbler for dessert.  And then he beat me at two consecutive games of Scrabble, which NEVER happens.  So it was a nice Sunday.

Now just to finish the rest of these.  I have slightly more than half finished, but like my running, sometimes it's easier to get it done without really knowing how much further I have to go.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Last night I finished sewing and trimming all the HSTs for the border to the Civil War Chronicles quilt.  I have half of the blocks done, I think, and will work on sewing the other half and attaching the border this weekend.  But things don't always go as quickly as planned in my sewing room.
Hi mom.  Remember me?
The main reason I gave into the kids' pleas to get a feline companion for our poor anxiety-ridden rescue dog was that I often feel rather lonely squirreled away in the basement sewing alone.  The dog prefers to spend time in places where no one else happens to be - if you walk in, he gets up and leaves.  Eventually, that gives a person something of a complex and I thought it might be nice if I had company in my sewing room for a change.  Well, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

You didn't need those pieces that are now on the floor, did you?
Jack the cat has some lovely ways of distracting me from making progress.  Trying to push my sewing machine out of the way is only one of them.  He also gets up on the chair behind me and tries walking up my back.  He hops up on my cutting table to lay down on my fabric.  He tries grabbing at the cord on the iron.  He kicks over my trash cans and he chews up pieces of paper that have instructions on them. 

While I do sometimes enjoy the presence of another living creature in my space with me, let's just say that I don't seem to sew at the same pace as I used to.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A glimmer of light ...

... it's either the sun peeking out from the rainclouds or the light at the end of the tunnel, but things are starting to brighten up.

Last night I rediscovered my sewing room for the first time in SEVENTEEN days.  That's right, I counted.  I had to skip quilt guild to do it, but that wasn't that hard a choice, since it was our social that started at 6 PM and I could not even get myself there by then, let alone bring a covered dish to share with the members.

Anyway, I can't show you what I worked on, though, because all I had time to do is catch up on my deadlines for Quiltmaker Magazine and testing the blocks for their upcoming 100 Blocks, Volume Six. I will say though that one of them was particularly fun to make and only required that I dive into my bin of precut strips and squares to do!  I've made five blocks so far and am really enjoying the challenge, and I can't wait to share more with you.

Since I've had the 100 Blocks issues on the brain lately, then, imagine my excitement when I found out that I was the lucky winner of the Volume Five issue that Lee Heinrich gave away over at her blog, Freshly Pieced, as part of the 100 Blocks Tour!!  I have been SO BUSY with work and personal life (I think I have now had three different weddings to my Honey since the beginning of the year) that I did not have much time to visit many of the blogs on the tour, and yet I kept peeking at my email on my phone all weekend to see if maybe I got a "Congratulations, you won!" email.  It didn't come until yesterday, but despite the odds, it came!!  I can't wait to get my copy and, well, let it distract me from the projects I have started from the previous issues ...?

Anyway, work is calling for now, time to get back to it.  But I am bound and determined to get back to finishing the border for Civil War Chronicles soon ...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April by the Numbers

Clearly I seem to have lost momentum.

In April, I added a little something to Michele's challenge and noted on my calendar what projects I worked on.  QM stands for the Quiltmaker 100 Blocks issue texting, ST stands for Spanish Treasure, CWC for Civil War Chronicles, and DS for Dragonfly Summer.  As you can see, after a certain point I haven't even had time to pick up hand sewing in front of the TV.  May is equally barren so far.  It was a strong start but April finished with 16 out of 30 days, including a stretch of two full weeks. 

I've been out of town every weekend since the last day I sewed and working like crazy (and training for May 12th's 5K) during the weeks.  I'm pooped.  Last weekend was particularly fun, though, with six of our best friends arranging a celebration of our wedding, complete with cheesy wedding outfits from Goodwill and a professional photographer.  Warning:  if you elope, your friends may feel so cheated out of a celebration that they might stage their own!  We have another celebration with family this coming weekend and then after that I might be able to get back into my sewing room for a bit.  My sanity is lacking something, being kept so long from fabric and needle.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sewing Room Occupancy: 2

I haven't really had much new to write lately.  I finished Jacob's Ladder and labeled it (and washed it twice).  I finished the Spanish Treasure top and it is ready to go to Laura at Star City Stitchery.  I'll post photos after it comes back and is all quilted and bound.  I've picked up Dragonfly Summer, the hand appliqué project, in slow times. 

This past weekend, my Honey's daughters came for the Easter holiday.  On Friday night, sleepover plans for my 9 (almost 10)-year-old stepdaughter fell through so I said she could hang out with me.  I wondered if she wanted to revisit this:
Some time ago - maybe last summer - my stepdaughter had a playmate over when I wasn't home and my Honey called to ask me if they could play with some of my fabric to pick it out and "make" something with.  I thought that sounded harmless and directed him to my scraps drawer.  (Rule #1 - don't ever put anyone else in charge of what things kids can take from your stash.  There were project bags on top of the scraps drawer that I thought were pretty clear from the labeling and sealed nature were NOT scraps, but they had no supervision!  It was not pretty when I got home and all the scraps had to come back and be sorted through to rescue my project pieces!)  But my stepdaughter doesn't know how to sew and so this bag of scraps just sat there.

So we had an entire Friday evening and SD said she wanted to make a quilt.  A quilt?  Hm.  What kind of quilt?  She didn't know.  Did she want to hand sew or use a machine?  Didn't know.  I was worried, given her age, that if something wasn't fun or rewarding enough early in the process, she would give up on the entire concept ... not just the quilt project, but sewing altogether.  So I pulled out a cheapo purple kids' sewing machine my late MIL bought for her granddaughters years ago and got it all set up for SD.  I wasn't going to mess with the idea of seam allowances and so I thought foundation piecing might be the way to go.  I grabbed a nearby edition of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks and flipped to a foundation pieced pattern that could be broken into simple segments.  I made four copies of a diamond-in-a-square pattern and taught her how to lay out fabrics on top to see if they'd be big enough.  She had fun doing this while we put "The Princess Bride" on the TV.

My stepdaughter is notoriously camera shy so I didn't take any photos during the process, but she said I could post pictures of her work to the blog.  I got the fabrics lined up on the paper, put them under the needle, she sewed on the line, I pressed and trimmed and placed the next piece.  The cheapo kids' machine was too troublesome to work with so I put it away and put Baron von Quilthausen, the Bernina, in action.  Even at half speed she liked pressing the pedal to the metal so the Baron was still kind to her work.

These are the four blocks she finished with the pattern that served as inspiration on the left - we used only the finished portion.  She has "themes" for each of her blocks and fabrics picked for several more, but we ran out of time before bedtime.  I suppose we'll have to resume in the summer when she is at our house again.

As for my own work, this is what I have stacked up right now:
It's the pieces for the border to the Civil War Chronicles quilt top.  I need to make 66 of these 6" Hovering Hawks suckers:
Once that is completed I'll take it to Laura for longarm basting at the same time I drop off Spanish Treasure.  It's a ginormous quilt and my Honey's eyes go wide as saucers when I talk about hand-quilting it, but it deserves it.

After that I need to take some time to do some non-quilting and even non-sewing work for a while.  I might still post some pictures if they relate to sewing or craftiness in general from time to time.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Jacob's Ladder Finished

Here it is, all washed and dried.

In hanging it I notice that a) there are still some chalky markings on it, and b) there is a bit of bleeding, despite my having thrown in four dye catcher sheets with it.  It will probably have to go through again.  But all in all, I'm happy with it.  More than anything, it's nice to have a 10-year-old UFO finished.  In looking at it this way, I'm also glad I chose a solid white binding ... I had puzzled on that one for a while but wanted the sawteeth to really pop.

I also chalked up 22 days of sewing on Michele's Crafting by the Numbers challenge, out of a possible 31 in March. 

Obviously, I'm still having a bit of trouble with weekends.  Starting in April, I am going to also note on the calendar the project(s) I'm working on during a specific day/evening.

Last night I made my first test block for Quiltmaker's 100 blocks volume 6.  Although it wasn't a block I would normally choose, I enjoyed the process.  I emailed them my photo and evaluation today, and there is a new block in the dropbox today.  I will probably get to it later this week since it's a busy week, starting with quilt guild tonight.  I need to wrap up here at work and get going soon.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I feel like a rock star!

Today I received a very special squishy in the mail (maimed by the U. S. Postal Service, with their apologies, but contents still intact).  It was a bundle of beautiful fat quarters from Quiltmaker Magazine.  Why?

Because I am part of the Block Testing Team for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Volume 6!!!  Yes, me!!

I hadn't said anything yet because I had not yet received the fine print, but it was enclosed with the fabric.  Although I may tell others that I am part of the 100 Blocks Testing Team, I may not post or share pictures with anyone other than Quiltmaker staff until they have a promotion plan ready to launch.  I MAY take pictures along the way so that I am ready to post and share online at that time.  And I will!!!

I own volumes 2, 3 and 4 of the magazine and love them.  My Ghastlies quilt (in progress) is from one of them.  My shoes wallhanging (in progress) is from one of them.  I plan to make something using the Going Coastal fabric with a pattern from one of them.  Back in December when we had a guild challenge to make several blocks from one piece of fabric given to each member of the guild, I made several different blocks from the magazine issues because they were so easy to resize from 12" (finished) to the 9" specified by the guild.  Each member got one drawing entry for each block made, and three members took home the blocks.  In fact, one block I made was so popular that at last month's meeting the owner came to ask who had done it and where she could find the pattern! So I am an ardent admirer of the magazine and am SO excited to be in on the ground floor for Volume 6!

So stay tuned, I will share info as soon as I'm allowed!

Finally, a winner announced ...

... first, let me apologize for being so late on the ball here.  We had a weekend away with the kids complicated by my eldest stepdaughter being so sick she required hospitalization and bedrest for the rest of the weekend with my Honey spending time with her only at her mother's house.  We generally have use of a second vehicle while we're up there but it was not starting and at the very last second we had to rent a second car for the weekend so that neither of us needed to sacrifice kid time.  It's a major orchestration of minutae (remember, the dog comes with us, which is another wrench in the machine), and the giveaway had to wait until we were back home and rested.

Now, secondly, I have to say that I have profound respect for those who coordinate a giveaway on their blogs with thousands of comments.  I don't know how you count them all.  For me it involved a lot of copying and pasting from my blog to Excel, then fancy calculations of the =if(right(B2,2)="AM", A1+1, if(right(B2,2)="PM", A1+1, A1)) variety in order to make sure that the right number was given to each feedbacker (feederbacker?  backfeeder?  ugh)  and then giving the extra entry to followers who commented prior to the official begin, with verification against my email (once I discovered that the timestamp on my blog was off but my emailed version of the comment had the official time of receipt).  It took a while!

So, without further ado, from 255 official entries, of which 24 were "bonus" entries for previous followers, the winner is:

.... Charlene S!  She wrote in answer to my question about teens, "When they turn in to teens, you lose all sense by their standards. That changes once they reach 30. If you make rules, stick to them no matter what! Give them respect by listening but demand respect too - you are the parent not their friend"  So thanks to Charlene I know I have two more decades before these little people turn "normal" again.  I think I'll start counting the days!  ;-)

It was actually her "follower bonus entry" that won the prize, so there you go - it pays to stay on top of your blog feeds!  Charlene, I'll be sending you email to ask for your mailing address so I can get these goodies off to you.

Thanks to ALL who visited and left comments.  My Honey and I have enjoyed reading them all and hopefully I've replied to all of you who had a valid email address ... unless you commented after Friday afternoon when the weekend began for me. I wish I could give prizes to everyone but the best I can do is pass along the clearance announcement at one of my favorite online quilt stores, Burgundy Buttons.  They really have some great prices on clearance fabric and precuts, so go check it out.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Progress on Spanish Treasure

I made some progress on Spanish Treasure last night - laying out all the blocks on the floor (even though I had to lock the cat in the bathroom for a while when I got them organized ... what is it about quilt pieces laying on the floor that invite animals to lie on them?  At least the dog goes away when I tell him to!).  I wanted a nice mix of colors, busy vs. simple patterns, and yet I also wanted each block to pick up some colors from those around it.  To that end, I may have too many greens towards the bottom of this photo, but for the most part, I like how it's been put together.  However, I'll admit that this is a project that someone with a better sense of color could rearrange in a gorgeous blending of color and tone.

I began sewing the first two of eleven rows together.  My Honey has a business dinner tonight so I should be able to finish the rest of them tonight and maybe even put the top together and start on borders if I don't putz around too much after I work out and get home.

I'm blown away by all the comments I'm getting on my giveaway!  So far I'd say that the top three pieces of advice for dealing with teens are 1) LISTEN, 2) don't sweat the small stuff/pick your battles, and 3) be a parent, not a friend (a more challenging position for stepparents but still basically good advice).

I also finished the quilting on Jacob's Ladder, although I have no new photos to show you.  I want to get it bound and washed first (fingers crossed that the reds don't run into the whites too much ... a big chance when working with swap blocks, but I've got lots of Dye Catcher sheets) before I take any more pics.

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's Giveaway Time!!!

Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways

Thank you to the Quilting Gallery for hosting the Quilter's Blog Hop Party!  Somehow they were reading my mind and knew that I had something to give away and thought they'd help direct some traffic this way.  :-)

If you've never visited before, welcome!  I'm Kristen (Ten for short, hence the name of the blog), and I am a wife (as of January), mother, stepmother, full-time data analyst, volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate, quilt guild member, pet owner, and, since last year, blogger.  I have been quilting for over twenty years and really NEED that time to sew in order to keep my sanity.  I have quotation hanging in my sewing room which reads, "I cannot count my day complete/til needle, thread and fabric meet" and it is very true ... I feel like I missed out on an important element of my day if I have done no sewing whatsoever.

Here is a small collage (thanks to Picasa and the instructions at Skip to My Lou) of some of the projects I've featured here since I began the blog.

Now, about the giveaway!  Here's the thing:  my Honey is the most supportive husband a quilter could ever have.  He does not ever seem to think that I already have enough fabric, and every Christmas he buys me more!  This past year, he bought me half yard cuts of a number of fabrics from Kate Spain's Terrain line; the line was on my wish list but I was (of course) thinking precuts.  I couldn't think about what to do with them, so I bought some charm packs to supplement, and then a layer cake of her Good Fortune line, and then I ended up making a quilt top almost entirely of what I'd bought to supplement his gift and cut only small bits of a few of his fabrics!  Oops! So I feel compelled to share the wealth.

I am giving away seven fat quarters (is that a baker's half dozen?) of Terrain, and the classic M'Liss Rae Hawley book, "Fat Quarter Quilts."

Most of the quilts in the book start with six coordinating fat quarters and I've thrown in a seventh for some variety. 
To enter, I'm not going to require to be a follower or anything, just be sure that you have a valid email address either as part of your Blogger profile or in the body of your comment.  I will try to reply to every comment before the giveaway closes on Friday, March 23, although it may take me a few days.  However, it occurred to me yesterday that this year all three of our children will be in double digits this summer, I'm panicking a little bit.  So I'm asking for advice:  what is the MOST IMPORTANT THING to remember when dealing with teenage or pre-teen kids?  Even if you don't have kids or yours aren't that old yet, you were surely a teenager once yourself and have some words of wisdom!  Please leave a comment with your answer for a chance to win!  And remember - followers who comment before midnight tonight (Friday, March 16) automatically get a second entry ... no second comment needed.

Thanks for visiting and good luck - I'm looking forward to reading the comments!