Thursday, February 4, 2016

OMG! and Circles!

Life is just crazy around here this week, so I'm dropping in for a quick-ish post and a promise to give more juicy details later ....

I've been impatient to get started on my Quilty 365 circles!  So many blog friends are doing these and they look SO fun!!!  I've wanted to do a circle quilt in the style of the amazing On the Bubble quilt by Coop Crafts (picture and tutorial can be found HERE) for ages, so I finally pulled some background fabrics a few days ago...

She used all solids for her backgrounds, which is gorgeous!  But I am determined to work from my stash where possible, so I pulled some tone on tone prints except for the black and white, and I think it's going to work just fine.  I am setting my official "start date" as February 15!

To cut down on the time invested in my circles, I decided to improvise my method so that the hand-stitching wouldn't take quite so long on each one.  I'm going to prepare them with my favorite starch method but then stitch them down to each square with a big-stitch effect in embroidery floss, similar to the effect I got (and LOVED!) with my Twinkle Star Runner (see HERE) - except I will be doing this to attach the circles, not as part of the quilting process.

I've been cutting a few circles as I had a spare minute here and there, but no stitching has yet been done....

Following the 2016 Rainbow Scrap Challenge colors, I started with BLUES that have a hint of purple - YUM!!!

Love all the movement in these beautiful blue circles!!!

That scrumptious reindeer circle in the upper left is from a piece of fabric sent to me
by my friend over at Amity Quilter to encourage me to start this project!
She's SUCH an instigator!!!!
And I love her for it :*)

So there's that. =^..^=

Then I need to quickly link up my One Monthly Goal project for February ....

I am combining my OMG! project with my guild's UFO challenge, and this month #6 was called for us to complete.  For me, that means my QAYG Reversible Runner.  This was a class I took at our Guild last year, and it was great fun!!!  However, I got 2 blocks done and it's been sitting in the project box ever since.

I chose Fall colors for one side ....

... and some yummy Christmas print scraps for the other side ....

Since the runner is already quilted when you are done with the piecing, I'm pretty sure I can complete this before March 1 - wish me luck!!!

Click on these buttons to see what's going on at these two fun Blog Parties!

Hugs & Blessings!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Quilting Twinkle Stars!

I think I've found a new love!

Big-stitch quilting...

Twinkle Stars is my RSC project in blues for January, and even though I got a late start, I managed to get it pieced fairly quickly.  I simply stitched the four stars blocks together and added a corner triangle on each end.

Last week I learned how to use my long-neglected tri-recs rulers, and this week I dug out a few others to help me cut those triangles ....

It sure does help to have the right tools, doesn't it?

The quilt was quickly sandwiched and pinned for quilting - I want to get this one done and use it on my kitchen bar before the winter season is over!

Deciding on a quilting design was a little problematic for me.  I could think of a lot of different ways to do it, but none of them clicked.  I kept thinking that all that white looked a little too much to me, but I really wanted to keep it VERY simple so I could finish quickly, which meant not a lot of free-motion razzle-dazzle, and no special shapes, etc.  I was also determined to keep the beautiful star as the STAR ... I didn't want a lot of quilting to take away from its shine :*)  Still, just quilting in the ditch was too blah .....

I'm not sure how Big Stitch quilting finally occurred to me, but I'm pretty sure it was because I had recently seen this post by Sherri Noel at Rebeccca Mae Designs and was totally smitten with the look of her beautiful quilting!  Fortunately, I had pinned the post to my Pinterest board and was able to find it quickly.   

♥ Click HERE for Sherri's wonderful tutorial ♥

I knew immediately that it was exactly what this little runner needed, so I hurriedly ran to see if I had any royal blue in my perle cottons - and YES!!!!

I was thrilled, because there are no options for purchasing quality perle cottons in a variety of colors quickly in my area.  Once again, a stash purchase of these threads during one of my quilt show vending sprees paid off!

It took only a few evenings while watching some taped shows on TV to get this quilted :*)  I used a blue Frixion pen to draw my lines, and then simply ironed them away!  You can see in the below photo at the top where some of them have not yet been ironed.  If you have questions about the use of Frixion pens, Kathy's Quilts recently posted an excellent article on this subject with some great research links HERE ♥  I use them frequently and have never had an issue.  I am careful, however, about using them on dark fabrics when I know they will not be covered completely by stitching.

I didn't worry about the length of my stitches, which made for a very enjoyable, stress free quilting project.  I just love the simple organic look they add to my stars!

The dark blue from the center of the stars will be the binding - which I hope to get done today - woohoo!!!!


There's a whole party of blue stitching going on over at Angela's So Scrappy blog today, so hop on over and see what all the fun is about!!!

Hugs & Blessings!


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Snow Stitching!

How many of you are covered up in snow?  Here in Nashville, we received a record 6-7 inches of snow yesterday - very rare for these parts.  And it's beautiful!!!  No ice.... just soft, blindingly white, puffy and fluffy SNOW!

I think it's interesting that the two projects I had planned to work on this weekend are the blue Twinkle Stars for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (first photo above), and Bertie's Year - December.

Angela at SoScrappy posted a fun tutorial for these beautiful Twinkle Star blocks on her blog as the January block for the RSC Column-Along she is doing this year.  I saw Sharon's beautiful blocks on her post at Vrooman's Quilts last week and fell in love!  So much so that, although I had other projects planned to be working on, I immediately had to to pull fabrics and print out the pattern right then and there!  I chose blues and whites that made me think of snow - maybe my bones were telling me the white stuff was coming our way? :*)

I managed to complete four blocks last week ....

..... and today I plan to put them together into a winter-themed runner for our kitchen bar.

Believe it or not, this was my very first time ever to use Tri-Recs rulers.  I've had the rulers forever, but always avoided them.  I was even tempted to paper piece these; Angela very kindly gave us a link to the foundation patterns in her wonderful tutorial.  But I decided to be adventurous and was rewarded with a fun afternoon of piecing.  I can't wait to finish this runner and enjoy it in my kitchen!

Yesterday, I finally pulled poor little December Bertie out of the bag and started work on her.

She was part of a BOM project for me in 2014, and this was the only month I did not finish up last year.  I felt really sorry for her, being so neglected.  I put her on my guild's UFO Challenge list so I could make sure she got finished this year in time for Christmas, and was delighted when her number was called for January!

These kits were laser-cut fusible applique, so all I had to do was peel away the paper, place them on the background and fuse.  Easy-peasy!  Then I stitched the applique pieces down, using either a straight stitch or a buttonhole stitch... Leaving me with lots of strings to tie off :*)

Last night I caught up on a few episodes of The Good Wife and worked the embroidery embellishments....

I also got all the half-square triangles made and assembled for the border.

Tomorrow I'll join Kathy's gang for some Slow Sunday Stitching as I handstitch the border embroidery while watching the NFL Playoff games with My Guy.  Our Panthers are playing for the Conference title, and of course if they win, they will go to the Super Bowl!!!  Exciting times my friends :*)

We are settled in for a long, solitary weekend.  One of my favorite things to do on cold, snowy winter days is to work jigsaw puzzles! I have this one set out to play with this weekend when I'm not stitching.

After New Year's while I was too sick to do much else beside sit, I did this one ....

Maybe I should have waited until this week LOL!!!

How well I remember the days when my children were small and they almost vibrated in their excitement to get outside and play in the stuff!  We didn't get a lot of snow in south-eastern North Carolina, so it was an exciting event when a storm dropped anything more than half an inch.  I had to go dig out a couple of my favorite memories from their childhood to share with you ....

Joshua in front of our house
circa 1980
 I bundled them up as if it were a North Dakota blizzard!!!

Christy in front yard
circa 1978
Probably one of my favorite pics of her childhood ever!!!

Notice in both pictures that there is only a small patch of snow for them to play in.  It almost always melted quickly, so they had to get out there and make the most of it!  Of course, they were out there maybe ten minutes before they were crying to come back in again, dripping water and snow all over the floor LOL!!!  In and out, in and out, for as long as the patches of snow lasted.  Those were good times :*)

Hoping you are finding ways to enjoy the snow if Jonas visited your neck of the woods!  My snowbird friends are sending us pictures of sunny Florida.  I'm not sure I'll be speaking to them when they return.... =^..^=

Also linking up:

Hugs & Blessings!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Q1 2016 Finish Along Goals

I've got a fun list lined up for my Q1 Finish Along goals!

I'm going to keep my list a little more manageable than usual this quarter because I'll be on a cruise(!) for several weeks.  I know!  It's a tough life, but someone's got to live it, right?

This will be my first cruise, so I'm equal parts excited and nervous.  Excited - because it is a quilter's cruise, so I'm going with some very good friends and there are several exciting projects that we'll be working on.  But perhaps the thing I'm most excited about is that it is going to be very WARM where I am going - hooray!!!

Nervous - because I'm prone to motion sickness and I'm not terribly comfortable on boats and don't care much for being surrounded by large bodies of water.  I like to be able to see the shore and know that I can doggie paddle to get there if I have to LOL!!!  I've never really been interested in going on cruises, but my friends insisted I try this one out with them.  If I end up sick or drowned, I'm going to blame it all on them!!!

I've already visited my friendly physician to procure the golden elixir patches just to be on the safe side :)  I'm not as bad as I used to be about getting sick, but still ... imprisoned in my room in the bowels of a ship, green and retching in my miserable cot is not how I want to spend a vacation.  (Can you tell I read too many novels?)

My friends assure me that I will not get sick or drown.  Both very good assurances, wouldn't you agree?  I think so long as the ship stays afloat I will have a very good time and be glad I went.  If not, well then, it's been great knowing you all!  =^..^=

While still safe on solid ground, I will be happily plugging away at these FAL projects ....

Bertie's Year - December wallhanging

Last year I managed to complete 11 of these wonderful BOM quilts.  This will be the last one - and I think it is one of the cutest.  It's not even out of the package, so it will be a Start-to-Finish project.  It's small though, so only the embroidery really takes much time at all.

Sassy Garden

This quilt top has been finished for quite a while, waiting on the Flimsy Shelf for its turn in line to be quilted and finished.  It was suddenly knocked to the top because the focal fabric is a Jane Sassaman print, and we are lucky enough to have Jane come to speak and teach out our guild this fall!  Needless to say, I'd like to have it done to show when she comes.  Quilt, Label, Bind

Show Me the Honey!

This is one of Kim Schaeffer's Calendar Quilts - a leftover from last year so you know I'd love to have it done soon!  It's already sandwiched and ready to quilt.  Quilt, Label, Bind

Fire in the Cabin

This paper-piecing project was started at a retreat class late last year.  I love the fire in the colors, and the squiggly effect in the focal fabric.  It reminds me so much of a breathtaking glass fireball by the amazing Dale Chihuly my husband and I saw in the Bahamas years ago - it was utterly breathtaking!  This little quilt will be a forever reminder for us :*)  Complete blocks

Love You!

I blogged about this adorable mini-quilt today . I want to have it quilted, bound and ready to display for Valentine's - which means I don't put it off until the day before LOL!!!  I need to Just Do It!  Quilt, Bind

Montego Bay

Another left-over from last year!  Repair a few quilting issues, Bind.

Bionic Gear Bags.  I need to make 2 of these this quarter.  They are not easy sews, but I've made several now, so they should go pretty fast.

I'm sliding in on the last day to link up with others who are planning their 1st Quarter 2016!  Come along and see what others are planning to finish up!  Linky party is HERE ....

2016 FAL

Hugs & Blessings!

I Love a Party!

So many BOMs and Sew-alongs and UFO-Finish-it-up parties out there in Blogland this year!!!

For me, the temptation to join them all is tough, because as the title says, I love a party!!!  And after all, one of the main reasons I began this blog was so that I could join in on some of the fun parties going on.

However, since my PHRASE this year is Just Do It!, I've decided to be very careful about how I choose to commit my time resources.  Mainly, I'm going to join in the parties that work into my goal of getting some targeted priority projects from A to Z, with a huge emphasis on the "Z"!  I don't want to come sliding into December, out of breath, frazzled and frustrated and ready to drop - with nothing really to show for it except a bunch of blocks or project boxes in various stages of chaos!  Since willpower is NOT one of my superpowers, I'm giving myself a huge pat on the back here :)

So what will I be joining this year?

Kathy's Quilts:

Slow Sunday Stitching

I've made such wonderful friends at Kathy's parties :-)  My focus UFO for the first part of 2016 is to finally finish my Blue Collection project.

I believe I started this monster in 2008 when I bought the patterns from a friend who was moving and downsizing her patterns.  It is hand-appliqued, so a slow goer.  I've worked on it in fits and starts, always putting it back in the box when something critical came up to push it aside, or when I hit a standstill because I didn't have any applique prepared.  All the vase blocks are done, and I am now working on the borders.  This is my first Just Do It! Challenge to myself :)

I'll also be working on my other current hand project, the Folk Art Album blocks.

SoScrappy's Rainbow Scrap Challenge


Using up those scraps is perpetually on my ToDo list, and there are few things I love better than playing in rainbow colors, so I'll be playing along with Angela and the gang again this year!

For my RSC blocks, I'm going to buddy up with the Quilty 365 sew along at Quilty Folk.  I've been seeing these circle blocks pop up everywhere - and the urge to join in was very tempting because I've always wanted to do a circle quilt!  I decided I could join in if I made it part of something I was already doing, like the RSC.

My mind was finally made up when my sweet friend over at Amity Quilter blog sent me a piece of fabric to make a cute deer circle just like hers!

Now how could I resist that I ask you???
So I'm in!
And I'm already behind!!  LOL!!!

The two final parties I plan to join are:

Heidi at Red Letter Quilts - OMG!

Isn't that just the cutest party name?
I love it :*)

Jess at Elven Quilts:

2016 FAL

I'll share my detailed plans for each of these in separate posts since they can run quite long.  But in a nutshell, the OMG will fall in line with my Guild's UFO Challenge, so I know I can play along without falling behind.  And I really enjoyed the FAL last year!  I found it very helpful to have that list of projects already targeted when it came time to decide what needed to be worked on last year, and I finished quite a few projects that would still be sitting on my UFO shelf otherwise.

There are other linky parties that I often join in as I can - you can see the buttons for most of them on my sidebar, and if you click on the button it will take you to the party!

So, what are your plans for 2016?  Will you join in some of these fun sew-along parties?  Or do you plan to follow along while doing your own thing?  Does it help you to join in these parties, or do you tend to get overwhelmed with the deadlines?  I find that both are true for me, and that's why I have to pick and choose what I join, while setting limits on my involvement.  I hope to see you at some of them!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

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