Saturday, July 4, 2015

Hooray for the Red, White and Blue!

Happy 4th of July!!!


I'm so happy to have my new calendar quilt, Flowercrackers! decorating my home this holiday :*)

This is the 6th quilt I've made from Kim Schaefer's Calendar Quilts book, and I still have to finish the August project before I will be finished making all of the ones I really love.  I have used this book of patterns more than any other quilting book I own!

This quilt is made almost completely from scraps too!  Many of the fabrics are pieces left over from my Dear Jane quilt.  I really dug deep into my scrap bins and anything red, cream, or blue was fair game.  I only used yardage for the binding and backing.  That green plaid leaf you see near the bottom is from a recycled men's shirt :*)

I quilted this one very simply, choosing once again to stitch down the applique as I quilted, cutting out that one step and speeding up the finish considerably :)  I always love picking out yummy threads for quilting!!!

For the borders I just did a simple straight stitch following some of the lines, using painter's tape to cross from one section to another in straight lines ....

I did a buttonhole stitch on the star flowers to give them a frame ....

 ..... and a quick straight stitching on the stems and leaves.  I had fun playing with freemotion sloppy-by-design circles around each of the flower centers ....

Deciding on the binding for it was not easy.  I really wanted a nice plaid, but didn't have anything on hand that worked and certainly wasn't going to buy fabric for that!  Kim put blue on her original quilt, but it looked too out of place on mine, and red was too much red all by itself - no clear separation from the quilt because there was so much red in the borders.  So I decided to use one of my favorite binding techniques - a tiny flange of blue to stop and frame the quilt between it and a red binding ...

I love that Debbie Mumm selvedge!!!
Can you see her logo on the very left?  
There's no date on this one, but it's a few years old :*)

I began by stitching down my blue strips all around the quilt, a little less than 1/4" away from the edge....

Then I stitched the red binding strips on top of that using a full 1/4" inch which covered the previous stitching on the blue ....

Don't you just love it when the join lands smack dab on the top of the corner???  Grrrrrr!!!!!  I had to stop, tear out several inches of stitches, cut out the join and start it further back before the corner ....

Next, I machine stitched the binding down by stitching in the ditch between the blue and red ....

I use wonder clips on the sides and very fine pins at those tricky corners to keep the binding in place on the back so it is caught neatly in the stitching.....

I just love the look of this technique and have used it on several projects.

It is very effective at providing a frame for the center of the quilt by that line of color as a stop before the red comes in again in the binding.

The backing is a fun, summery sunflower print on a bright blue sky background .... not at all patriotic, but definitely playful and happy, and I think it complements the quilt nicely :*)

Now I need to get busy on my August calendar quilt!


This is the first of my Q3 Finish-Along projects to be completed - woohoo!!!!  I'll be linking up with Adrianne at On the Windy Side.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Also linking up with SoScrappy for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge ... lots of fun happy RED scraps in this one!!!

RSC 15


I hope you all enjoy the 4th by doing whatever it is that you love most, 
with those whom you love the most -
and that we will all remember the men and women 
who have fought so hard to give us the freedom to do so!!!

.... and please celebrate safely my friends :*)

Hugs & Blessings!

Friday, July 3, 2015

2015 Finish-Along Q3 List

Since this year seems determined to just barrel along with no thought to whether we might want to be in such a daggone hurry, I figure I'd better get my Q3 Finish-Along projects posted quickly!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

As I posted HERE, I finished only 4 of my items listed for Q2 - and interestingly enough, I finished only 4 on my list in Q1 as well .... hmmmmm, hope that's not a pattern forming there!  Obviously I need to get my butt in gear apply myself a little more diligently this coming quarter!

*** Projects I'm carrying over from Q2 can see pics and details on these HERE

#1 - Make two Bionic Gear Bags - I've actually made one of these, but it doesn't count since I didn't get the second one done :(
#2.     Repair faulty quilting and bind Montego Bay
#3.     Quilt and bind Whooooooo's Your Daddy?
#4.     Quilt and bind Amish Beauties

*** New items on the list! ........

#5.     Bind Strip Stacks quilt - class taken at Mountain Quiltfest taught by Klaudeen Hansen in 2013.  It's been raining here for days so a picture on the porch is the best I can do right now :*)

#6      Quilt and bind Flowercrackers!  This is the July project from Kim Schaefer's book, Calendar Quilts

I started this quilt in June of last year hoping to have it for 4th of July, but it didn't happen.  So I picked it back up last month and got it to the quilting phase earlier this week --- binding went on today and it will decorate my wall for the 4th this year - woohoo!!!!!  Post to follow soon :*)

#7      Complete the August project from Kim's book, which I call Show Me the Honey.  .....

This project only has the applique pieces traced onto fusible and the background squares cut.  Lots of work yet before this one is done!

#8      Bind Romancing the Paisleys - this was one of my first ever Mystery Quilts and might give you a fair idea of why I no longer participate in mysteries!

If you visit my blog often, then you know that I don't do soft and romantic.  I do like the fabrics in this quilt - aqua and paisleys are favorites of course - I just don't care for the way it all comes together .... it's just blah!!!  My total lack of love for this quilt is probably why it's been lounging around on a shelf in my studio just waiting to be bound since I quilted it in 2012.  Sheesh!!!  Time to get it outta here!

#9      Do something - not sure what yet - with these 3 orphan Heart Blocks!  I do have an idea but we'll see if it pans out before I share it :*)

So I think that will be enough to keep me focused and moving the old dinosaur projects out of my studio!  I've realized lately that having these older projects sitting around mocking me is like dynamite to my mojo.  I'm really glad to have the Finish-Along initiative to encourage me to continue getting them out of my hair.  What do you use to help you move those quilts from start to finish?

Wishing you all a lovely July !!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Finishing up the Q2 Finish Along!

My oh my!!!  ... 2015 is already half over?  And of course that means the Q2 Finish Along hosted by the lovely Adrianne from On the Windy Side is also wrapping up :*)

2015 Finish-Along

You absolutely want to go over HERE to see all the gorgeous
finished projects being proudly linked up for the linky party!!!

I managed to eek out only FOUR finishes from the nine hopeful UFO's on my Q2 Finish Along list (see it HERE) - not such a great accomplishment I admit.  But considering the last couple of months, I'm not going to be too hard on myself.

The last of my finishes I'm sharing here with you today is actually the first one I completed this quarter - I simply forgot to blog about it!!!

Bind Blue Noel .....

This was my Guild UFO #8, the number called in March that was due the first Tuesday in April.  I started piecing it in 2010, finished quilting it in 2014, and finally got the binding on this past April to fulfill one of my Q2 List items - hooray!!!!!

This amazing little quilt is an original design by Melissa at Doodle-head Stitches who was a member at our Guild at that time.  She designed it as a Mystery BOM for us in 2010 and needless to say we all loved it!  She gave us the option for two sizes, and of course I had to pick the smaller one.  I can't wait to add it to my Christmas decorations this year :*)

Other Q2 Finish Along projects I completed are:

* Peacock See-N-Go Project Bag (see it HERE)

* Five of the Bertie's Year Wall Quilts (see it HERE)

* Raspberry Smooshy Socks (see it HERE)

I'll be posting my Q3 Finish Along list soon - you can start placing your bets now to see how many I get done LOL!!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

PS - Congratulations to Kris who blogs over at In The Emerald Woods!!!  Kris was the winner of my Cozy Afternoon giveaway PDF Pattern package from Jacquelynne Steves!!!  The next block will be posted on July 13, so mark your calendar to come on back and see what the Laurel Burch kitties have been up to these past few weeks =^..^=

Monday, June 15, 2015

Cozy Afternoon!

It's Here!!!

The Cozy Afternoon BOM starts today!  If you've signed up to sew along, you should have already received an email from Jacquelynne with the patterns for the first two blocks.  If you haven't signed up .... what are you waiting for?????  It's FREE!!! And it's FUN!!!  Go HERE NOW to sign up :*)

You can see Jacquelynne's wonderful blocks #1 and #2 on her blog post today HERE, and see how gorgeous they look in her fabric choices.  (She does still have a few fabric kits, but they're going fast so get one while you can!!!)  Her post shows many different ways to make the fun and easy blocks - applique, embroidered, or even just pieced with a yummy focus fabric!

All of Jacquelynne's guest bloggers are also posting the first two blocks today - including me! :*)  You can find all those super friendly, helpful guest bloggers listed below!  And as always, stick around to the end of this post, because Jacquelynne is offering a SUPER GIVEAWAY PACKAGE!!!

As I shared in an earlier post, my plan is to continue using the Laurel Burch panel cats that I used in Sew Sweet Simplicity last year...

Yes, I had to change the corners of the top block so it would "chain" with the others :*)

And by the way, if you missed out on the Sew Sweet Simplicity sew-along, don't fret!  You can still get the patterns at a very small cost from Jacquelynne's Shop HERE!

When I realized that the blocks for Cozy Afternoon (CA) are all rounded in design, I thought they would be perfect to set in between the SSS blocks - and I was right as you will see :*)

The first CA block is a super simple strip design.  Here are all my pieces cut and ready to go ....

It was a snap to simply sew those four hot-colored strips together in the order I liked best and then cut them into the required sized chunks for the block design ....

These bright fabrics make a very colorful frame for this gorgeous Laurel Burch Cat, don't they?  

There will be TONS of color and activity going on in this quilt, so I've decided to use this calming purple dot with black to make corner HST's on all of these CA blocks to pull it together.  I'll share more on my thoughts on that later :*)

I used Jacquelynne's instructions for making these hst's and then squared them up using my favorite new tool, the 6-1/2" Bloc-Loc ruler.  I'll explain more about these rulers in a little more depth later in this post :)

Here is my completed Block #1 .....

I just LOVE IT!!!

So now on to Block #2!

Lots of bright colorful hst's for this block!  First we make four hst diamond blocks - these were so fun!!!

You might notice that instead of pressing these seams open as Jacquelynne suggests, I decided to press mine to one side because I may end up quilting this block by stitching in the ditch (SID) and will need that fabric under the stitching if I do.  If you don't think you'll be using SID for your quilting, then pressing the seams open is definitely the way to go!  You can see in the top right photo that I also alternated the pressing direction on these so they would "nest" nicely for me when it came time to assemble the units....

I also used a Bloc-Loc ruler on these smaller units -  my 2-1/2" ruler was perfect for the job!

In the top two pictures, you can see that you simply line up the diagonal seam with the "groove" in the ruler and trim the first two sides, leaving room to turn and trim the remaining two sides to finish it up to a perfect square.  See how nicely that diagonal is kept true?  That makes for perfect hst's, and no tips floating or cut off when you stitch them together - pure bliss!!!

These rulers are a little pricey, but I have found them to be well worth it.  They are available in many sizes, but I actually use the 6-1/2" ruler for most applications because it will square up any size hst that size or smaller.  I couldn't resist picking up the 2-1/2" ruler at Quiltfest this year because I knew it would be a pretty common, much-used size - and I must admit, it is a luxury to have that convenience :*)  HERE is the Bloc-Loc site if you are interested in checking them out.

Once all the little hst diamonds were finished up and looking oh-so-adorable, Jacquelynne has us twist them around one clockwise turn around the block for additional interest - notice how each fabric travels around to a different position on each diamond?  I really like this fun effect!

Sooooo back to the star of this block - the Laurel Burch Cat!  I chose to use this wonderful feline for the center of Block #2 .... it takes me back to my groovy 70's days :*)  Flower Power baby!!!

And here is my completed block ....

Again, I love it!!!
Isn't this a FUN block?  

And here is my Design Wall with the two new blocks added ...
The circle shows where I fixed the corners of that center top block so it "chains"
Notice that I've chosen to use the hot colors (pinks, reds, yellows, oranges) in the side sections of the new CA blocks, and then contrasted with the cool purple dot/black hst's in the corners?  That's to give the design a framework, so the eye can rest on those cool areas :*)  The center block will be surrounded with the purple dot to tie it all together.

I hope my blocks will offer some inspiration as you start to play with your Cozy Afternoon version!  Be sure to share your blocks with us on Instagram at #CozyAfternoonQuilt - spread the inspiration!!! 

Block #3 will be released July 13, so be sure to come on back !!!

And now, for the GIVEAWAY you've all been waiting for!!!  This awesome Digital Pattern Package from Jacquelynne is going to the winner of my giveaway!!!  For your chance to win, leave me a comment telling me what you like to do best on a "cozy afternoon" - and keep it clean LOL!!!  If you are a follower, you can have a second chance to win by leaving a second comment letting me know how you follow!!!  The giveaway is open to all readers, domestic and international, and will end at midnight on Saturday, June 20.

Now - head on over to visit the other Cozy Afternoon guest bloggers - you'll be glad you did!!!  See their creative versions of the CA blocks, and get more chances to win the super GIVEAWAY!!!

A Quilt and a Prayer (ME!!!)

Lily Pad Quilting   

Red Letter Quilts

The Crafty Quilter

44th Street Fabric                       

Kathy's Quilts

Hugs & Blessings!

Also linking up with Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday and Freemotion by the River Tuesday Linky Party

Friday, June 12, 2015

Peacocks Like to Knit Too!

Last summer I designed a cute line of See-N-Go project bags for Jacquelynne Steve's Summer 2014 E-Magazine.  You can see my blog about them HERE :*)

Since then, I've made several more of these oh-so-useful project bags .... they're always a welcome gift, and I just can't ever seem to have enough of them on hand for my various portable projects!

Number 6 on my Q2 Finish Along List was to complete one of the large-size bags I had cut last year out of my coveted Peacock fabric.  And I finally got it done!

Bag Back - isn't that Peacock GORGEOUS?????

And just in time too, since my current socks project On The Needles is AQUA!!!!

The inside pocket is perfect to hold scissors and other tools that you don't want getting mixed up with the project in the bag.

The bags are perfect for knitting projects of course, but I've also used mine for embroidery, hexies, even makeup during travel!  If you'd like to make one of your own, just go to Jacquelynne Steve's - The Art of Home site HERE and sign up for her e-magazine - it's FREE! - and then ask her to send you the link to her Summer 2014 issue to get the free instructions for my See-N-Go Project Bags, as well as many other fun projects and crafty ideas from Jacquelynne  - even yummy recipes!

My socks are coming along very nicely by the way :*)  I love how this Frolicking yarn is striping in a "step" fashion, and pooling a little bit too.... this is a picture from last week.....

Since then, I've gotten quite a lot done!  One heel is made and the other is ready to work the heel flap.

A few more rows and I'll be moving on to the cuff!  We've been doing some traveling back east to visit with our family in North Carolina, and knitting is fortunately one of the things I can do in the car without fear of getting carsick, so this sock project has moved along much more quickly than I expected.  =^..^=

Oh yes, thought I'd share one more thing I managed to accomplish during this trip ....


It's amazing just how sunburned one can get even while sitting in the shade of an umbrella on the beach!!!  Yes, it's painful!  I'm usually so careful about being in the sun, but I got tricked this time.  I have to say though, our first vacation to the beach in 5 years was well worth it!

I'll leave you with a few pictures - not that I want to make you jealous or anything *wink* .....

Morning has broken - Wrightsville Beach, NC
Is there anything more wonderful than that first dipping of the toes in warm ocean water?????
I think this fellow was fascinated with the way my hair sort of resembled a cyclone LOL!!!
Hex on the Beach anyone???
I've still got sand in my shoes :*D

Hugs & Blessings!

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