Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wondering What Bertie's Been Up To?

Before the stitching and embellishments .....

I'm not a Fall person.  Many of my closest friends and loved ones revel in Fall - they adore it!!!  And I don't really have anything against the season itself - it's nice to have a little crispness in the air instead of all that stifling heat.  It's just that to me Fall means the imminent onset of Winter, and I am definitely not a winter person!  Of course, one thing I do like about Fall is the COLOR!!!

Picture taken on my trip to the Blue Ridge Mtns a couple weeks ago

It's as if God knows that the only way to keep some of us from dreading Fall is to embellish our world with an irresistible abundance of COLOR!!!  With happy abandon, He tosses out bright splashes of paint in those deep rich oranges, reds, yellows and golds  - everywhere you look!  Our sun-blinded eyes just soak it all up like a parched sponge.  And don't get me wrong - I do love that!

Bertie certainly has certainly gotten into the Fall mode!  The first picture above is my October Bertie's Year BOM block, currently in progress - such a FUN block design!  And here's my November block ..... all those wonderful leaf colors!  These are not the fabrics that came in my kit however ... serious rant coming up shortly!

I am so far behind on this BOM!  I was doing great until about July - getting each one done in time to hang and enjoy it each month.  But now I have FIVE of them in the basket that need to be done!  So I thought it would be a good idea to take them to retreat with me next week and just crank them out.  Here are July though November, all fused down and ready for hand-stitch embroidery embellishments :)

However, instead of just taking an hour or so to pop out the laser cuts and fuse them to the background, I had to spend HOURS in preparation for several of these blocks.  Why?  Because once again, I had to hunt down and substitute stash fabrics for the ones that were supplied with the kit..... and I hate to whine, but I'm not happy about that :(  And of course, using my stash fabrics means that I have to do all the prep work too, like drawing, cutting, etc....  I thought that was why I paid more for the laser cut kit, right?

Bonnie Sullivan has done such a wonderful job designing this series!  I love each and every block!!!  Her original blocks in the pictures on the pattern are always so colorful and have such fun bright fabrics - fabrics that are not included in my kit!  (Please Note - Bonnie Sullivan does not supply the kit)  What I get in my kit is positively DULL!!!  See the difference here with the October kit?  The top fabric is a dull brown they supplied for the pumpkin - yuk!!!  The bottom wool is from my stash.....

Candy corn substitutions.....

Now which one of these says "candy corn" to you?  Definitely not that ugly brown & gold on the right!!!!  Seriously???  They gave us THAT for candy corn????  And do these look anything like the colors in the sample picture above?  No, of course not!  Bonnie's candy corn looks like candy corn!!!!  Of course the bright wools on the left are what I substituted from my stash.

This dull, boring green at the top of this picture is the same green we've gotten in every single kit all year long.. ugh!!!  I decided to use the more interesting green wool at the bottom for October and November - the COLOmonths .....

And then here's the fabrics they sent for November - next to Bonnie's sample picture - sheesh!!!!

See how bright and colorful her fabrics are in the sample picture?  Are those the fabrics we got in the kit?  NO!!!  Not even close!!!!  Look at these dull browns .... not a bright orange or gold in the lot of them!   Notice the fun polka dot in the corners of Bonnie's block - of course that fabric is not included in my kit either.

And that leaf - seriously????  It is the definition of boring!!!  And nothing like the bright, interesting orange in the sample..... and certainly nothing like the true beauty of Fall leaves!!!!

So enough of the rant!  Substitutions were made - the blocks will be fine - and I'll get over it.... but don't look for me to buy another kit anytime soon.

On a much happier note, while I was playing in my stash last night, I came across this fun Laurel Burch Cats panel print ....

..... and inspiration struck..... What if I????

Yep, I totally changed my mind about how I'm going to make my Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM blocks!  Instead of the applique or embroidery in the center, I'm going to put these cat blocks in the center and construct Jacquelynne's sampler blocks around them using lots of those fun, bright colors!  Stay tuned.....and don't forget, there's still time to get in on this fun BOM HERE - my GIVEAWAY is HERE!!!!!

I'm also playing with lots of gorgeous fabrics for more Patchwork of the Crosses blocks.  Look for a lot more of these to come!

This set of design mirrors really helps me get an idea of how to fussy cut to get great fun designs....

So, what are you relaxing and playing with today?

I'm linking up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching

Hugs & Blessings!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM (Giveaway Alert!)

I just LOVE the name of Jacquelynne Steve's upcoming BOM....

Sew Sweet Simplicity!!!

...... And I'm just tickled pink to be a featured blogger for this fun event!!!!
                Come along, and let's have some fun making these oh-so-cute blocks!

Jacquelynne is all geared up to start things off by publishing the first block on October 27.... are you signed up to receive your FREE blocks yet?  If not, it's not too late :)  Go HERE NOW to sign up!!!  Please note - even if you currently receive The Art of Home newsletter, you still need to sign up separately for the BOM blocks :)

The BOM will run for 5 months - you will receive 1-2 blocks per month (total of 6 blocks) for 4 months, then you will receive instructions for the borders and finishing on the 5th month.  And don't let the look of these blocks fool you - they may look complicated, but they're simply made up of squares, half-square triangles, and flying geese!!!  They're not named "Simplicity" blocks for nothing :)

And listen up.... We have OPTIONS!!!  Yep, we can make this quilt as simple or as fancy as we like!  Jacquelynne will provide the option of making a 4- or 6-block quilt!  And she is adding some lovely applique details for those of us who think no quilt is complete without an applique or two .... even some really cute embroidery designs for the hand stitchers among us!  (There will also be video tutorials to help any newbies out there!)  Or, you can choose to just make the pieced blocks only ..... the choice is yours!  Isn't it nice to have choices?

Of course, there will be lots of prizes and giveaways!  Starting today!  Jacquelynne is offering this AMAZING PDF Pattern Bundle with a retail value of $40 to one lucky winner on my blog!

All you need to do is leave a comment on this post - and be sure you leave me a valid email address to contact you if you are the winner.  The Giveaway will run until midnight October 23 (Central time).  Because it is a PDF download, it is open to all US and International readers!  Yes, that means YOU!!!!

There are quite a few other featured bloggers who are joining in to share their blocks and give you inspiration as we go along, so be sure to get the schedule on The Art of Home blog so you can see what each blogger is doing.  Jacquelynne is doing the sample blocks in her lovely Cottage Charm fabric line - and I gotta say, it's really hard to beat that!

As you know, I'm a COLOR GIRL and I like to be different (no snickering now - be nice!) - so I've chosen to use my bright solid scraps on a black background - BIG surprise, right?  =^..^=

Leftovers from Amish Beauties ♥♥♥

What I haven't decided for sure yet is whether I will include applique or embroidery - but I'm leaning toward a little of both maybe.  I think they will add a unique element to these sampler blocks - and I really love some of the sneak peeks Jacquelynne has shown of her designs!

Jacquelynne Steves Free Block of the Month
Photo courtesy of The Art of Home

Looks like fun, right?
You betcha!!!

So, make sure you are signed up to receive the blocks -
And don't forget to leave a comment for the Giveaway!

Hugs & Blessings!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Calling All Scrappers!

Today is the first monthly linky party for Scraptastic Tuesday
You can visit with either Leanne at She Can Quilt or Nicky at Mrs. Sew and Sow to join in - or just to look at all the fun, scrappy projects in progress!!!

I'm really excited about this new linky party, because as you all know, I'm a very SCRAPPY girl!!!  I absolutely LOVE stitching together small scraps of fabrics to make something beautiful and useful. There are so many scrappy projects in progress in my studio, you'd be snoozing before I could share them all!   However, you can check out some of my recent scrappy projects HERE and HERE :)

One of my favorites is this recent finish - Soul Searching!

I plan to get back on track making these fun Happy Dance blocks too...

Of course, a post about scrappiness would not be complete without sharing my latest completed Patchwork of the Crosses block - these are my latest obsession!!!!  You can see some of my earlier blocks HERE and HERE....

I just returned from a really wonderful visit with some fun ladies who were retreating at Quilting on the Mountain, and they allowed me to share a talk and trunk show of my scrappy quilts and processes with them.  I have to say though, these were some very scrappy ladies, and any one of them could have given that presentation!  Just look below at the amazing scrappy quilt one young girl shared - she made this quilt when she was only 9 years old!!!!  I wrote down her name, but of course I can't find it now.  But she and her sister (who is currently 9) were sewing up a storm - and not simple quilts either!  Let me tell you - I was impressed!!!

Although the Scraptastic Tuesday linkup party is the second Tuesday of each month, Leanne and Nicky share every Tuesday about all things "scrappy" so be sure to join them each week, and maybe even do a ST post of your own.  Next week I'll be away at retreat, and Internet is always iffy when traveling!  But for my next ST post, I'll try to share a little about how I store and use scraps.

Please be sure to come back Thursday for a little "Meet and Greet" in preparation for the new FREE BOM, Sew Sweet Simplicity, designed by Jacquelynne Steves!  The first block for this fun BOM will be released on Jacquelynne's blog on October 27!!!

Jacquelynne Steves Free Block of the Month
Photo courtesy of The Art of Home
You don't want to miss this fun BOM - 
there will be a WONDERFUL giveaway too!!!  

Come find out more tomorrow :)

Hugs & Blessings!

Also linking up with
Freemotion by the River Lindy Tuesday :)

Friday, October 10, 2014

On the Needles - 10/10/14

I'm away from my computer, having such a lovely visit at my Mom's home in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina!

This post is coming to you via my iPad, AKA "Miss Kitty"..... you remember Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke, don't you?  She was the beautiful Saloon Owner lady who loved Matt Dillon but could never have him *sigh*  But she was always there for him and helped him find solutions to all sorts of problems.  Since I don't need a beautiful woman in my life, my iPad is my very own "Miss Kitty" =^..^=  Do you name your electronic devices?

So anyway, blogging from the ipad means I dont' get to size my pictures or any of the other cool things I can do from the computer.  I'll put together a post of all the gorgeous mountain photos I took from the Blue Ridge Parkway yesterday when I get home - promise!!!!

I've done a little knitting on my travels this week.....

Yep - I chose the Raspberry Smooshy yarn for my next pair of socks!!!

This yarn feels different than anything I've worked with before - kind of spongy and ropelike, although softer than rope of course.....

It's working up into a much more dense fabric than previous sock yarns have.  I think it will prove to be very durable :)

Be sure to check out all the other yarn projects going on at Judy's Patchwork Times today!

Hugs & Blessings!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Preparation is the Key for Me

I'm still in love with the Patchwork of the Crosses blocks!

Add caption
I just realized this morning that I had never posted the completed picture of this block!
It's definitely my favorite so far!

This one is ready for the last layer - dark green to pull out that color from the center :)  It's already beautiful, don't you think?  That bold pink is amazing!!!  When it's finished, there will be four POTC blocks on the finished pile - woohoo!!!

Today is going to be a very busy day for me, so I doubt I'll get around to much Slow Stitching with Kathy and the girls, but if I want to do any stitching next week, I'd better take time to get a few more blocks prepped.

Here are some fabrics I've pulled to see how they will work as POTC blocks....

Picked this one up in Indiana last week - that's a gorgeous deep orange!

Same pattern in two colorways - red and white

Stripe border print for the above two poinsettia prints

One of my favorite fabrics EVER!!!
But it might be tricky to get a clean design.....

I seem to be liking deep pinks quite a lot lately, don't I?

I always enjoy having a slow stitching project at hand, ready to pick up whenever I sit to watch TV or go away for a few days.  But I've found that the key to my success and happiness with any hand project is PREPARATION!  I have to take the time to prepare or that project will end up languishing.  Believe me, I have several who have already met that fate, so I know!

Are you taking it slow today?  
Join us at Kathy's Quilts!

Slow Sunday Stitching

Hugs & Blessings!

Friday, October 3, 2014

October Rainbow Scrap Challenge

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge colors for October 2014 are going to be the darks - BROWNs, BLACKs and even GRAYs.  And believe it or not, I'm quite happy with that!

Miniature Rainbow Pineapples
Rainbow Scrap Challenge project for 2013

As most of you know, BLACK is a favorite background for me - my beloved bright jewel colors POP against it so beautifully!!!  But I also love black/white prints - probably for the same reason.  Here they are in my Soul Searching quilt top, with my BLACK block in the center to tie everything together.....

Notice how the colors in the BLACK fabrics move around the block with the colors that surround it? I LOVE IT!!!!

For this month, I plan to add the BROWN limbs (sashing) to my Hootie Owls - after I finish up the last two blocks of course :)

And then I hope to make one of these adorable Shark Pencil Cases from Patchwork Posse in GRAYs ..... I've seen these made in some of the cutest fabrics!!!!

What will you be working on for the RSC this month?


Hugs & Blessings!

Off the Needles! 10-3-14

The Diagonal Cowl is a FINISH!!!!

Even Pumpkin Pete thinks this is the perfect Fall accessory *wink*

I really love the look of all these colors playing together, and the added ZIP of the diagonal design ....

I made sure I had enough left of the last yarn to be able to join the two ends with the Kitchener Stitch.  First I had to remove the provisional cast-on stitches and put the live stitches on a new needle ....

Then I put the stitches from the other end on a separate needle and began the joining.....

If you Google Kitchener Stitch, there are dozens of videos and instructions to help you along if you've never done this joining stitch before.  I won't say it was easy, but it wasn't difficult either.  You just have to pay close attention as you work it.  If you do it right, you can't even tell it is a join!  Mine is not perfect, but I'm happy with it.....

This cowl is going to get LOTS of wear this Fall!!!!

So now I think it's time to put another pair of socks on the needles.... pretty soon, my toes are going to be begging for something warm to cover them :)

But which yarn?

Left is Smooshy in Raspberry, and the right is Frolicking Feet in Aquas
Hmmm.....  decisions, decisions!!!!
(I'm thinking the Raspberry for Fall :*)

Check out all the other lovely On the Needle projects at Patchwork Times today!

And please have a lovely weekend!!!

Hugs & Blessings!
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