Friday, April 18, 2014

Doing the Happy Dance!!!

I started this blog 2-1/2 years ago because I thought it would be fun... and it has been :)  But I continue to blog because of all the wonderful relationships I have made along the way!!!  This week has been a wonderful week for me because I've gotten to know two really wonderful blog friends better!

First, remember how I told you that Mary who blogs at Needled Mom is really to blame has been so encouraging to me and got me started on my wonderful Japanese x&+ blocks?  She even helped me choose the name for it, Happy Dance!

Well, this week I received an AMAZING squishy package from Mary ...... she made 4 blocks for me!!!!  How sweet is that????  Like I said before, Mary is a very gifted Encourager!!!

Oh MY!!!!  I am so IN LOVE with these beautiful blocks!!!  Didn't she do a fabulous job?  They are the perfect colors, and those fabrics.... wow!  Look at the fun prints on this one...

....... the cow and pig are hysterical :*)

And I love the beautiful patterns in this one....YUM!

Bright orange always makes me smile!  Love those orange dots on the yellow background ...

The mixture of soft patterns with bold geometrics in this one....perfect!!!!

Mary, I am thrilled and so happy with these blocks!  What's most amazing to me is how much these fabrics look like the ones I have in my stash, yet I don't have a single one of them!  I would have made these exact blocks myself if I had those fabrics... we must be quilting twins!  I bet we would have a ball playing in each other's stash LOL!!!  THANK YOU so much - these blocks will have a very happy home in my Happy Dance quilt, and I will smile every time I spy one of your blocks in it :*)

Then, on Tuesday, I met with Libby who blogs over at Life On The Hill.

Libby is a fairly new blogger who lives very near me and we decided that we'd like to meet up one day and share blogging tips and get to know each other better.  What a great time we had!!!

It was almost the meeting that never happened though, because I confused it with my Wednesday meeting.... I was waiting for her at the wrong place and time!!!  Once I realized my mistake of course I rushed to the correct place, and she was sweet enough to ignore my confusion and wait for me.  See what I mean about meeting such nice people in Blogland?  I had to laugh at the two us sitting there at McDonalds with our computers and tablets, like we were techy queens!!!  Of course, we both forgot to get a picture of us together :(  But we'll do that next time - and there will definitely be a next time!  Thanks Libby for such a fun day! :*)

Please be sure to go over and check out her blog and give her some love!!!  She blogs about our meeting too, HERE, as well as a fun new quilt tutorial she will be starting soon for one of her own designs called Dusk to Dawn - I love that quilt!


Since this is Friday, I have to share some On the Needles progress too, right? .....

This has been such a busy week, and there hasn't been much time for relaxing, but I've managed a little knitting in the evenings.  I've gotten these about 10 rows into the increases for the heels.

I also picked up some beautiful and funky yarn at Goodwill the other day for a song!

Look at these luscious colors!!!!  And the texture is really nice!  That dark color is really a deep forest green, not black.  I have no idea what I'll make with this, but I'm thinking a nice cowl.

I wish you all a Blessed Easter weekend!

Good Friday is always so bittersweet to me.  
It represents the day my Savior suffered and died for me and you. 
and it breaks my heart that He had to go through that for me.....  

But I'm so glad He did!
And I'm so glad that was not the end of the story.....

Hugs & Blessings!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Quick Share!

If you're a newbie to EQ7 like me, I thought you might like to know that the EQ Blog is starting a new sew-along beginning Monday, May 5, to "Jump Start" us on how to use the software!  You can read more about it HERE....

I've copied the following info from their blog - Behind the Mouse.....

4 Blocks, Lots of EQ Skills! I’m so excited to announce a new sew along here on the EQ Blog! We’re going to make a fun-to-sew quilt together that will teach us lots of useful EQ7 skills. If you’re an EQ newbie, I hope this sew along jump starts your EQ journey. If you’re a long-time EQ user, you may still learn something new. Plus it’s just fun to sew along with the group! All of the blocks we’ll be working with are based on a nine patch grid. They’ll be fairly simple to sew, but we’re going to learn a lot about EQ7 along the way. Like the sew alongs we’ve done in the past, I’ll start by posting a lesson for the block. You’ll have two weeks to do the lesson and sew the block. Then I’ll post the “Link Up” page where we can all share pictures of our sewn blocks. The sew along posts will always be on the blog, so you can access the posts whenever you’d like. 

I'll be following along - will you?

Hugs & Blessings!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Design Wall Monday - 4/14/14

I finally made a decision on how to set my Fantasia blocks!

 I remember that Sew Kind of Wonderful used a great curved sashing for their Curve It Up QAL blocks last year, which I just loved.  Since I used the Quick Curve Ruler to make the curves in these blocks, I thought that sashing treatment might look good with them.  The first thing I did was draft it up in EQ7....

The more I play around with this software, the more I like it!  It's really helpful to be able to see lots of options before I cut even one piece of fabric.  I'm still trying to decide about binding (black or multi?) And maybe the stripe or dots on the outside edge?  But I really do like the look of this sashing!

One of my biggest problems was what fabric to use to tie them all together.  Rainbow blocks are a lot of fun, but no one fabric really works with all of them.  In the end, I went with my usual favorite - black!  A nice black with a white polka dot worked perfectly.

After some trial and error, I finally worked out a method to make a strip that looks like the original and works for me.  Here is how it will look in the actual quilt....

And a close-up view.....

So now I just need to get busy stitching it up!  
I may actually get this Guild Challenge project done in time for the next meeting after all :*)

What's on your Design Wall?
Share with us at Judy's Patchwork Times!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

Slow Stitching Sunday - 4/13/14

Today I'm planning to join Kathy over at Kathy's Quilts and all her friends who are doing some Slow Stitching.  The May Bertie block arrived this week, and I was SO excited to begin working on it.  For once, I am caught up on these blocks, and I want to stay that way if I can.

Here is my block ready for stitching :*)  It is one of my favorite Bertie's Year blocks so far - such a cute design!!!

Unfortunately, I had to make quite a few replacements of the fabrics included in this month's block. I know you don't always get the same fabrics in a BOM that were used in the original quilt, but I do expect something similar in color and texture.  I was glad I had some flannels in my stash that would work - yes I even have a flannels stash :)  Below is the picture of the original quilt on the pattern front .....

I love those bright colors!  Spring calls for BRIGHT and HAPPY colors, am I right?  Well, what came in the laser-cut set was not even close to those in the picture.  This dull mauvy pink (top fabric below) looked dead on the brown background and I decided to go with a new spring grass green instead of their darker choice...

And fall-like golds instead of yellows and oranges.... Really?  What part of that top flower says "spring"????  The bottom flannels are my replacements - can you see how much closer to the original they are?

The original also has a pretty deep blue wagon hitch, but they sent this rather blotchy, dull flannel instead .....

...... so I changed it out to a nice bright purple!  Okay, so I know that the color of wagon hitches is not normally the subject of hot debate, but I happen to be very particular about my wagon hitches! LOL :)  The bluebell piece on the very left is one that came with the package.  The violet was bright and would have been fine, but it really didn't work once I changed to the purple for the hitch, so the six petals on the right are the ones I cut from a brighter light purple that matched better.

So, that's enough complaining!  I'm delighted to have this piece ready for stitching.  It won't take very long to do the buttonhole stitch by machine, and then I can sit and do some embroidery embellishments with my lovely perle cotton threads.

I found this awesome box at Tuesday Mornings last week - and for only $2.00!!!!
(Just the box!  I already had the threads)

This sure beats them all tumbling around in a tin and getting tangled :*)

I also want to spend a little time working on my last Blue Collection vase.  Last night I prepared a new piece for the one on the bottom right that was not lining up very well....

This one is not perfect either, but since the pieces are at an angle, the lines are never going to line up perfectly, so it's as good as it's going to get!  I'm so excited to be this close to having all the vase blocks done!  True, they all have to be assembled with block sashing, the 3-D tree has to be wrangled in there somehow, and the borders have to be prepared and stitched.... whew, that's still a lot of work!!  But I'm a whole lot closer than I was when I started, right?  LOL!!!!

I think that just might be enough to keep me out of trouble on this fine Sunday :*)
Be sure to visit Kathy's Quilts HERE to see what others are Slow Stitching on today.

Hugs & Blessings to you all!!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Colorful Hooties Everywhere :)

Today is Saturday, and of course that means Rainbow Scrap Challenge link up day!

Meet the newest sibling in the Hootie family....

I traced and fused the pieces down for PURPLE Hootie yesterday - isn't he so cute???  I still have to stitch them down, but that's for another day.  Now that I have four of them, I decided to put them on the design wall just to see how they are going to play together....

Awwwww... they're adorable!!!!

The layout will have 3 Hooties each in 3 rows sitting on a brown branch (which is really just a sashing row of brown fabric).  That's when they will get their little feet.....

The bottom is left unfused so I can insert the feet when the blocks are sewn to the brown sashing....

... or is that claws?  Anyway, I'm sure PINK Hootie will be happy about that, because she seems to be a little worried about not having any feet, don't you think?

I also put up  my Fantasia blocks from the Rainbow Scrap Challenge last year to try to figure out how I want to set them together .....

Honestly, right now I have no idea!!!  But this is my Guild Challenge project for April, so I'd better come up with some ideas soon :*)

Be sure to go over to Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge to see all the other PURPLE projects in process... hmmmm, say THAT three times real fast LOL!!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Like a Little Kid with a New Toy!

I've got a new bag of "potato chips" to share with you my friends!  These blocks are irresistible and YUMMY!

My very first Japanese x&+ block!!!

Yep, I just started a new can't-make-just-one-block project!!!  Honestly, I couldn't help it.... It's all Mary at Needled Mom's fault LOL!!!!  I was totally focused on getting a good chunk of my Diamonds are Forever blocks done this week, and feeling very virtuous :)  Head down, knocking out those blocks.... oh yeah!  I'm in the Zone!!!
Then suddenly, out of the blue - BAM!!!  

I got totally knocked off the tracks!  I was very innocently reading a few blogs the other day with my morning cup of tea as usual, when I pulled up Mary's blog post and saw her AMAZING Japanese x&+ quilt ....

Photo courtesy of Needled Mom

You can read more about Mary's quilt HERE.

Oh my gosh!!!  I could look at this quilt all day and not get tired of it!  Look at all that scrappy goodness :)  Bright colors everywhere - it's just awesome!!!  Mary joined a Japanese x&+ group swap - what a great way to get so much variety!  My first thought was, "I want one!!!"

I must admit that I've fallen in love with every Japanese x&+ quilt I've seen - something about this pattern really appeals to me.   The first one I saw was made by Carol Muse Skinner, and she used all Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  You can see it HERE at her blog, Postcards from Panama.  Seriously - go see it now!  You'll be glad you did!  Friends, it just about made my eyeballs pop out it was SO beautiful!!!!  I decided then that I really wanted to make one for myself, but I got sidetracked, and before long I had forgotten it.

Then a few weeks ago, the bug bit again when I saw Carla's in progress - you can read about her quilt's journey at her blog Grace and Favor HERE....

Photo courtesy of Grace and Favor

.................. Oh!  I wanted every single one of those blocks!  Yes, my friends, I coveted them!!!  Teals and grays and limes - Oooo-la-la!!!!  Carla did a swap with her friend Cindy to build up the scrappiness of their blocks - great idea right?  She encouraged me to get started on a Jx&+ of my own, maybe even start a swap, but there was too much going on in my life right then and again I let the idea slide.  I did however Pin a tutorial on how to make the blocks from Badskirt blog :)

Then I saw Mary's quilt and the longing returned, full force!  When I commented on how beautiful her quilt is, she replied with lots of encouragement to start my own.  And when I said, "I really want to - maybe I'll do some color planning today ...."  she came right back with, "I'm holding you to it!"  And even offered to make up a few and send them to me to get me started... Wow - Mary is clearly a gifted Encourager!  How could I resist that???

Now you all know how I get when I start thinking in terms of color, right?  It's like offering a dog a steak bone!  It's all I can think of.  There's a reason they call it "stash" - as in "addiction"!  Once I started thinking about what colors I'd like to play with in this quilt, I was off and running - there was no stopping me!

Hot pinks!

Hot oranges and yellows!

With Blacks and Whites to frame them....

I had to wash my orange and yellow stash before I could do anything, and a good part of yesterday was spent washing the rest of my black/white fabrics.  I couldn't resist putting together block combos as soon as they came out of the dryer!  They are truly just as irresistible as a fresh bag of chips!!!

And now there are Four!!!

Between this new project and the Diamonds are Forever blocks, I think I'm in heaven :*)
Thanks to Mary and Carla, I'm well on my way to having my own Japanese x&+ quilt!!!
I'm kinda glad you can't see me doing the Happy Dance right now :*)
I bet you want to start your own now, too, don't you?  LOL!!!

And for an added bonus, this is my NewFO Challenge project for April
I just love checking things off the To Do List so early in the month =^..^=

Hugs & Blessings!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Design Wall Monday - 4/8/14

Yes, I'm a day late, but I have several exciting-to-me projects currently in the works....

These Diamonds are Forever blocks are just too much fun to let them sit idle for too long!  They're like potato chips - I can't resist dipping my hand into those luscious strips and starting just one more block.... and then just one more.... well, maybe just one more LOL!!!

I love all these wonderful colors and playing in the scrappy strips - and don't these lime pieces look like a row of ties?  LOL!!!  Yes, late last night I was getting a little loopy and in need of sleep :*)  You can see by the number of "ties" that I still have quite a few blocks to go on this project, so you'll be seeing it again - just thought I'd warn you!

I also spent a very relaxing and enjoyable couple of hours this weekend preparing the applique pieces for my last vase in The Blue Collection.

My tools of the trade for Starch Applique preparation
Edit - One friend just pointed out that she found it amazing that diced pimentos would be part of my applique tools LOL!!!!!  Of course, that's just the jar that I keep the liquid starch in for traveling :*)

This is the vase that holds the center tree, and I totally love this piece of Jenny Beyer border fabric I found for it!  There is only a fat quarter of it, so I have had to be very careful about cutting it.  There are a lot of pieces to this block, and of course those angles are already threatening to give me headaches.  Looks like I'm going to have to re-cut the bottom right piece because it is not lining up :( 

The Blue Collection is one of those dreaded Dinosaur UFO's that I really, really, really want to get done this year!!!  Once this block is done, I will have the outer border applique remaining, with about a million leaves (see below picture of the original by Maggie Walker), but most of those are going to be done with raw edge fusible.  I'm sorry but I'm just not crazy enough to sew all of those leaves down by hand!!!  And there is still the motif block at the center top that needs to be completed as well.  But I'm beginning to smell a finish here and it feels GREAT!!!!

This is the Designer, Maggie Walker's quilt.....

Courtesy of Maggie Walker

The number pulled for my Guild UFO this month is #7 - which is to assemble my Fantasia blocks from the Rainbow Scrap Challenge last year into a top for the contest at our next meeting.  Ugh!  I have no idea how I want to set those blocks!  At least I DO have all of them done, which gives me a great shot at maybe meeting that goal.  Here's the RED block for reference :)

The May Bertie's Year BOM block should arrive this week and I'm looking forward to playing with her - we're quickly becoming very good friends.

And that's about it for me.  What is on your Design Wall?  Some see all the pretties at Judy's Patchwork Times today!  Also linking up with Connie's Linky Tuesday party!  Hey, wait a minute.... that MY Cottontail bunny she's featuring today!!!!  Yippee :*)

Hugs & Blessings!

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