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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Is There Anything Cuter than This Little Mouse?



Well, okay, maybe babies and kittens could be cuter -
- but that's all, I'm sure of it!

This is one of four paper-piecing designs newly released by my friend Juliet at The Tartankiwi - you remember the oh-so-talented designer of my recent Mini-Seahorse?


So Juliet has been up to her designing tricks once again - designers gonna design, you know what I mean?  This time she has released the cutest patterns ever in her new Mini Woodland Bundle!  And stick around to the bottom of this post because I'm going to tell you how you can WIN lots of really cool quilty prizes by joining in her Mini Woodland QAL!!!

Photo courtesy of ©The Tartankiwi

Each of the four patterns in the bundle come in four sizes - 4", 5", 6" and 8" - so you can go really really mini if you love mini's like me, or you can save your sanity and go bigger like a few of my friends :*)  These are quick little projects - I sewed up several in one day!  I love having a quick project to play with when time doesn't allow work on something more complicated, don't you?

Here are my little quilt tops - I made mine 5".....

Mouse - I have to show it again cuz it's my favorite!!!!!


Badger - so bold and brave!


Squirrel - I think he's just slightly nutty .... (I can hear you groaning!)


Bunny - Omigosh that tiny pink nose!!!


As with every Tartankiwi pattern I've sewn, these little quilts went together like butter!  Juliet's sections match up perfectly, and everything is easy to follow, and for me sewing up a stress-free pattern is FUN!  Right?

So I know you're all anxious to find out how to win those great prizes just for having a blast sewing up some cuter-than-cute Woodland creatures - right?  Well you can read all the details HERE and see all the prizes HERE in Juliet's announcement of the QAL, but basically, for each Mini Woodland Bundle creature you complete and use in a finished project, you will get a chance at the prizes!  Easy-peasy, right?  Juliet suggests, mini coasters like her original little quilts, or a fun pouch.... How about a wall quilt using all four designs - you would get four chances with that project!

I know I will be thinking hard about how I want to sew up my adorable little Woodland creatures...  What shall they be?  Hmmmm.......  Gosh!  There are so many possibilities for these sweet babies!!!

How would you use them?  Head on over to Juliet's Etsy, Payhip or Craftsy stores to purchase your Mini Woodland Bundle pattern set - ON SALE for the duration of the QAL at just $7.50 for the bundle!!!  (Note there may be very slight currency differences.)  That price is too good to pass up even if you don't intend to join in the QAL, right?  Then have fun stitching up your own little bunnies, and mousies, and ... well, you get the picture :*)

The QAL is being hosted on Instagram, so in order to win just share your finished projects on Instagram and tag @tartankiwi along with the hashtag #woodlandqa.  And if you haven't yet joined Instagram, well then, now's a good time to get started!  It's a very easy and fun site.  No long blog posts to slog through (who me?????) - just lovely pictures to stroll through and a fun giveaway once in a while.

So now I'm off to see what I can create with my sweet Woodland creatures!  I hope to see some of yours on Instagram!

I wish you all a lovely week and plenty of whatever gives you great Joy!!!!

Hugs & Blessings!
Teresa
=^..^=





Sunday, July 17, 2016

Stitching and Praying

Sundays are always a time for contemplation for me, as I am sure it is for many of you, too.  It is hard to ignore the insanity of our world right now, and this morning I found it very comforting to be able to pray my heart out until I felt His peace fill me up to the brim, and then spend the rest of the day with My Guy, peacefully stitching and watching the final round of the British Open.


And although he doesn't care at all for golf, my little furry sweetheart cannot resist a quilt, and it wasn't long before I saw this little face pop up .....  Whatcha doin' Mom?


Can I help?


I think you might have a problem .... right .... here .....


At this rate, you'll never get done Mom!!!  
C'mon!  Let me show you how it's done!



Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl has challenged her readers to take a Mid-Year Review of their goals for 2016 and see how they are doing now that the year is half over.

#2016MidYearReview

I didn't have time to do a formal review, but I do know that my main goal for this year is to finish my Blue Collection quilt.  To that end, I have been diligently working the hand applique on this project at every opportunity since the first of the year.


I'm happy to say that the 3D braided tree is now completely appliqued down!  There are still a few small branches at the top that will need to be stitched down after the top row is attached, and of course, hundreds of leaves, but I am so pleased with my progress on this project!


I also have several quilts that are on my list for family members.  Our smallest granddaughter still does not have her baby quilt!  She's 1-1/2 now, so it's definitely time :*)  Other than choosing the pattern and purchasing the fabrics, this project is not yet started.  And I have a brother who hopefully will receive a quilt from me this year as well, but choosing the pattern is as far as I've gotten.  Another goal has been to complete each month's UFO on my Guild Challenge list - except for last month, I've been faithful to get those done - Yay!!!  I am determined to finish last month's Blooming Nine Patch before the year is out.


One special goal for this year is to make a special quilt for a special someone that I can't share for a while.....


As you can see from my design wall here, I've got a great start on it, and if all goes well, I should have it done by the end of this week.  I had a ball digging through my white, gray and black scraps to make this background.


I cut the pieces I could get from them, then of course I saved the little left-over crumbs for a later project.  By the end of the day, I had quite a nice little pile of adorable crumbs :*)


And yes, I had lots of help with this project too!


I'll show and tell on this project as soon as I possibly can, 
but I don't want this someone to see it before it is gifted!

I'm looking forward to a fairly quiet week, which is nice because the past month has been pretty hectic.  I have a sit-n-sew with friends tomorrow - one of my favorite highlights of every week!  I'm teaching a class one day and still have some prep work to do to get that ready.  The rest of the week I will be immersing myself in those things that make myself and my loved ones happy.  And I hope you will be doing the same!  What will you be doing this week that makes you or someone you love happy?

Isn't it wonderful to have a passion in life that allows us to put the chaos of our world on a back burner somewhere, while we enter our peaceful zone with needle and thread?  While the world is seemingly going to hell in a handbasket all around us (one of my grandmother's favorite expressions), I am thankful to be able to take up my needle and choose to create something beautiful and lasting and filled with LOVE to counterbalance the hate spilling out on our streets.  And while I stitch, I pray.  For our country, for all countries, for all people, for our world.  When fear for the future, for the world our children and grandchildren are inheriting tries to overtake my mind, I turn to Psalm 23 - The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.... and before long my broken heart finds rest in His peace.

Hugs & Blessings!
Teresa
=^..^=

Linking up with the following:
Slow Sunday Stitching
Design Wall Monday
Tuesday Linky Party
Oh Scrap!
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Q3 2016 FAL List

I'm linking up with Leanne at She Can Quilt with my list of projects that I'm hoping to finish in the 3rd Quarter of 2016 .............



  • Finish quilting and bind Blooming Nine Patch - this should have been done in June!!!
  • Applique, quilt and bind Moon Over Meowmi
  • Surprise wall quilt for someone special - I will show it next month after it has been delivered :*)
  • Finish appliqueing all the leaves and stems on Blue Collection
  • Quilt & bind the Show Me The Honey quilt - this was actually listed on my 2015 Q3 FAL list - yikes!!!
  • 60degree Table Runner kit for my mom
  • Bind Strip Stax - seriously... it's time!!!
  • Bind Amish Beauties - again, seriously ... it's well beyond time!!!
  • Finish assembling, quilt & bind Whooooo's Your Daddy
  • Finish my fourth See-N-Go Project bag
Obviously, I know I won't finish all of these, but it's good to have a list of what I really want to have done so (maybe) I won't get distracted and forget them.  Wish me luck!!!

2016 FAL


Hugs & Blessings!
Teresa
=^..^=

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Few Fun Projects - and More on the Horizon

We took Sara and the grandpuppy Link home on Wednesday - what a nice visit it was!


One of our main goals was to get Sara reacquainted with her sewing machine, gifted to her by a sweet friend during her last visit.  She had decided to leave the machine at my house until she was at a place in her life where she could devote more time to sewing.  Although she is finishing up her senior year and plans to start college courses in a few months, she is excited about doing some small projects at home this summer, so we've sent the machine and some basic tools home with her.


As promised, while she was here we each made a cuter-than-cute Shark Pencil Case which I told you about in this earlier post.  This is a design by Patchwork Posse which can be found as a free download on Craftsy.  I got to play with a lot saved-up crumbs for this project....


Sara's case is done in her beloved vintage-inspired pastels....


..... while mine is done in a fun mix of grays - one even has quilting text!


This was a fun project, so much so that I was seriously entertaining thoughts of making one out of each color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge next year - right up until time to add the zipper - UGH!!!  The designer says this can be a bit "fiddly" - riiiiiiight!  I even had to call in the Snoopervisor for help on this one!


Unfortunately, he wasn't much help.  He's decided zippers are not his thing!
In fact, he was plumb tuckered out by the time we got that sucker in there
and declared an emergency nap break =^..^=
  

It was nerve-wracking to tell the truth, and I had to do quite a bit of hand-stitching to close in the ends properly.  But they are well worth the effort I have to say. These turned out so darn cute and Sara was delighted with her accomplishment.  She did all of the sewing on her shark herself except for the zipper.  I put that in for her - I didn't want the poor child traumatized at this early stage of her sewing career :*)


And here's mine before the button eyes were added ....


I even used "scraps" for the buttons - these are buttons I've saved from recycled men's shirts!


No quilting was done on the Blooming 9 Patch while Sara was here, so I didn't meet my Guild UFO Challenge for June.  We were just too busy, and I had a couple of non-quilty things going on that needed a lot of my time and energy.  But Rocky volunteered for some overtime hours in the Studio to stand guard over the quilt until I can get back to it ....


One reason I ran out of time is because we celebrated the 80th birthday of my dear friend, Joanne!


Yes, she's 80 and still fabulous!!!

And she runs rings around me!  This is the Joanne who often shares her long-arm machine with me.  She had two parties, one given by her daughter for all of her many friends at church, book club, women's groups, as well as a few of her quilting friends.  The second was a small surprise party at the home of one of our Mountain Quiltfest ladies, Susie.  I made the cake for this party and put a lot of love and time into planning and executing it, especially since it had been ages since I had decorated a cake and I wanted it to be perfect!


Joanne loves birds and birdhouses, especially cardinals, so naturally I had to put a couple of those in the birdhouses.  You can just barely see the white picket fence behind them if you look closely.  I let out a deep whoosh of relief once that was done ... I was definitely reminded of why I no longer decorate cakes LOL!!!

I did manage to finish my latest See-N-Go Project bag.  This is the back of the bag featuring a Kaffe Fassett Corsage print ....


And the front with a vinyl see-thru window - I just LOVE Kaffe's purple and pink dot fabric lining showing through - so bright and cheerful :*)


This is a pattern I designed for Jacquelynne Steves for her Summer 2014 Summer E-magazine.  Some of you told me the links I shared in my last post for this pattern no longer work, so she gave me new links for you to get this pattern from her......

Please sign up for my free newsletter and emagazine here http://jacquelynnesteves.com/my-emagazine/
and when you sign up you will get a welcome email with a link to the archives page with ALL of the previous issues. The bag project was in the Summer 2014 issue.
You also can read the online magazine issue without signing up for my newsletter herehttps://issuu.com/jacquelynnesteves/docs/the_art_of_home_summer2014
If you have further questions, please email me at comments@jacquelynnesteves.com

I highly recommend that you sign up for Jacquelynne's FREE e-magazine - it's always full of fun projects, inspirational ideas, and even a few delicious recipes!

A teensy bit of hand stitching has been worked in here and there when I can.  I always enjoy linking up with Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching linky party - today she talks about multi-tasking and the value of slowing down.  It's a great post - be sure to go over and check it out!

My 3-D braided tree is almost completely stitched down in my Blue Collection center....


And I am finally getting back to playing a little with my Patchwork of the Crosses blocks.  This is the latest one in progress ....


Even with the best of intentions, I didn't find time to join in on these great QAL's, although I fully intend to make a start this coming week.....

Elm Street Quilts   

I really, really want to do both of these.  I love starting something new and fresh, don't you?  I plan to keep both of these pretty simple so they don't end up on my UFO list for next year LOL!!!

Hugs & Blessings!
Teresa
=^..^=

Linking up with the following fun parties:
(links will show up when the party starts :*)
Slow Sunday Stitching
Tuesday Linky Party
Scraptastic Tuesday
Oh Scrap!
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
Let's Book It






Thursday, July 7, 2016

OMG! Project for July

I'm just sliding in under the wire here!  I haven't gotten my OMG! projects posted the past few months, and I really want to be sure to do that the rest of this year if I can.  It's a FUN party to join - with prizes!!! - hosted by Heidi at Red Letter Quilts.  There's always something fun going on over there!  So if you haven't been playing along, I'd love to encourage you to quickly post your own July project :*)

I always like to partner this party with my Guild's monthly UFO Challenge, and this month the number called was #5 - for me, this means finishing up this little wall-hanging .....


I'm calling this one Moon Over Meowmi - isn't that just the cutest name???  Yep, I think so too!  And of course you know I love anything to do with cats, especially in my quilts =^..^=

This UFO was started waaaaaaayyyyyyy back in October of 2013.  In checking back over my posts, I found that I listed it as my NewFO project for July of that year.  So, this project is now officially 3 years old and still hasn't budged an inch toward completion since that last post!  *shaking head in shame!*  (And by the way, if you're wondering what a "NewFO" is, it was a monthly challenge that used to be offered by my friend Barbara over at her most excellent blog, Cat Patches.  I do miss that party, but my UFO shelves are simply groaning at the weight of all the projects I started while playing along!)

And when I say started, I mean just that - started!  I traced off the pattern pieces onto fusible ... and that was that.  Nada.  Nothing else.  It's still sitting awaiting further orders from me!  I'm really glad I put this cute wall-hanging on my UFO list because I really love it and will enjoy having it done.  What will you try to finish up this month?




Hugs & Blessings!
Teresa
=^..^=

Sunday, June 26, 2016

June UFO Busting

My Guild UFO Challenge for June is to quilt my Blooming Nine Patch (B9P).


Looking back through my posts about this quilt (you can also see them if you click on the quilt name above), I recalled that I began work on it during a class taught by a good friend and guild member, Pam Thorne, in late July 2014 ....

Fabrics in the quilt with the exception of the second one from the left
Although you might think "batiks" when you see this quilt, only 3 fabrics are batik

Getting a good start!

I finished piecing the top in late October of that same year.  Two years since I started it - yep, it's time to get this puppy quilted and done!

My first thought was to simply do a nice flowing panto on it .... something that could be done in a day on the longarm.  The busy pattern would probably not show the quilting stitches very well, so no need to get fancy with it, right?  Buuuuut .... this diva quilt top kept asking for free-motion feathers!  Seriously?  Yikes!  The longer I thought about it though, the more excited I got about doing some lovely free-motion on this favorite quilt top.  It had been ages since I had done any serious free-motion quilting even though it is something I really enjoy.

I knew there would need to be quite a bit of practice on muslin sandwiches first of course!


It was actually 2008 when I had last quilted free-motion feathers on a large quilt, but I remembered that it was great fun, very rewarding, and I loved the way the quilting turned out.  I wasn't sure how long it would take for me to begin producing decent looking feathers on the sample swatches, but happily in only a few hours they were coming along nicely.... not perfect, mind you, but I knew better than to hope for that!


After practicing throughout the afternoon, I was comfortable that I could do a decent job on the quilting.  Next, I had to baste the quilt sandwich - Ugh!!!  One of the main reasons I have been grateful for friend Joanne's generosity with her longarm is not having to baste sandwiches!  I simply can't get down on the floor to do this anymore, but there was no getting around the fact that it had to be hand basted.  I had seen many other bloggers post about how they used this table-basting method and that it had worked well for them.


I like to use a combination of basting glue spray along with safety pins - the basting spray really adds that extra control to hold the layers together securely no matter how much I shove and shift them under the smaller harp of a domestic machine.  So I asked My Guy to set the table up in the garage, because after all the health struggles I've faced recently because of chemicals and toxins in my environment, the last thing I wanted to do was spray a bunch of chemicals into the air in my home!


I was pretty optimistic that it would work out well once I figured out what I was supposed to be doing - Happily, it worked like a charm!



Because I use the basting spray, there's not a need for a lot of pins, just enough here and there to keep it in place enough so there's no opportunity for the layers to pull loose from the glue basting ...


Once a section was pinned, then it was a pretty simple matter to move on to the next and clamp it in place...


I have to say I'm delighted to know there is an easier way to baste large quilts, and I won't let that keep me from getting as creative as I like with the quilting stage of my projects in the future!

When I finished basting and laid the quilt aside while setting up my machine, Mr. King of the Studio decided a little Quality Assurance testing needed to be done to test it for nap-worthiness before things could go any further.  Does this face look like he's willing to compromise on this all-important stage of the work to you? ....  Oh my gosh, he's a tough Snoopervisor!  All the workers in the studio are terrified of him and toe the line!


Even after he grumpily graciously allowed me to have the quilt back, he continued to insist on curling up and napping on it - even while I was stitching!


I finally had to put a quilt next to it on the work table for him to nap near me (or near his quilt, depending on who is telling the story LOL!)


Once I got everything (and everyone!) settled, I nervously began to stitch some feathers.

My Janome 6600 is a trusted friend!  She has been my quilting workhorse for the past 10 years, and I've pieced and quilted so many quilts on this beloved machine with nary a hiccup.  So I was quite shocked when I hit a road block almost immediately.  I had all of one feather section quilted before I started noticing that the top thread was no longer sinking into the layers and the bobbin thread was popping up on the top .... uh-oh!


You can see from the threads at the top right that it was not doing this at first, so I didn't realize there was a serious tension issue for a while.  But when I checked to see what was happening on the back, I got a very ugly surprise ....


Apparently the tension issues just didn't show up on the front at first, but it was looking pretty darn nasty on the back from the beginning!  I can't remember EVER having tension issues with this machine.  I even have a separate bobbin case with the tension set for free-motion that has never failed me.  All had gone well during the practice sampling, so I can only assume the problem lay in using a thicker top thread (King Tut #40) with a thinner bobbin thread (SoFine) for the actual quilting on the quilt.


All production stopped - with a few choice words coloring the air of the studio I must in all fairness add! - while I fiddled and fidgeted with the tension both upper and lower until it was in such a mess that I couldn't even get it back to stitching normal stitches anymore!  This happened on a Saturday afternoon so I was looking at having to take the machine in to my local shop on Monday and waiting until I could get it back.  Thankfully, My Guy sat down with me on Sunday morning and spent a couple of hours very painstakingly going through the tension settings until we had it making decent stitches again.  Seriously, he's my hero!!!


I can't say it's working perfectly - I may need to replace a bobbin case - but it's working well enough that I've been able to continue quilting the B9P.  I'm hoping it gets me through this project so I can make the July 6 deadline!

Following are a few progress photos - you can tell I get a little more comfortable and the stitching is smoother as I go along ....







Discounting the frustration of tension issues, this project has been a real joy for me!  I have to carve out time to work on it because lots of other good things are going on as well, such as these two coming for their summer visit!

Granddaughter Sara and Link on the way to our house
They look just as excited as we are about them coming!

Sara is now 18 - all grown up!  


But she's still young enough to be a delight to have around and to teach new things :*)  Do you remember her from this picture when she was learning to sew on a previous visit?


She had just finished her first ever sewing project - a pillowcase out of soft beach fabrics.  We are planning to be up to lots of different crafty things while she is here.  Like stitching up one of these .....


Needless to say, Rocky is not quite so delighted with their visit - he has taken to hiding under the bed and being very inhospitable!  Anyone would think sweet little Link was a huge devouring beast intent on tearing him from limb to limb!  It is clear we have some manners training in our future. But he did find a chance to sneak in and take a nap on the B9P for a few hours, so although he might try to tell you otherwise, all is not quite misery is his world. =^..^=





Hugs & Blessings!
Teresa
=^..^=

Linking up with the following fun parties:
Design Wall Monday
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
Let's Bee Social
Tuesday Linky Party

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