Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Blue Screen of..... Uh Oh!!!

Talk about a scary way to start the day!!!   I was just minding my own business this morning, happily enjoying a relaxed Sunday at home by reading some of my favorite blogs, when all of a sudden, the photo I was viewing pixelated in some totally weird ways, and then.....POOF!!!  The Blue Screen of Death popped up!!!  I wasn't quite sure what was happening, but I was pretty darn sure it wasn't good!  Good thing my very own Personal Technical Expert (my wise and all-capable hubby) was in residence and came running when I screamed LOL!!!

Friends, I don't have a clue what he did to our computer - he tried to explain it to me.... something about drivers and service packs and downloading a bunch of stuff (of which I understood not one word) - but in no time flat he had it back up and running - Hooray!!!!

We do have another computer - our desktop system upstairs - but this laptop downstairs is so convenient and only a few years old.  It would have been a shame to lose it.  Plus, I'm pretty sure there are quite a few pictures on here that we have not backed up on CD or flash drive.  You can be sure that will be taken care of this afternoon!!!

So, while my husband worked to keep our laptop from going to computer heaven, I picked up my Dreambird bag and headed out to the side patio to knit and calmly reclaim the peace of my Sunday!

I have 11 feathers done now and this project is really getting into a rhythm.  It's going quickly now that I pretty much know what I'm doing.  Of course, just saying that guarantees that my next feather will develop some sort of problem, right?  LOL!

One of the bloggers who has been instrumental in inspiring me to pick up the knitting needles is Denise Russart at Just Quiltin.  She is always knitting something new and beautiful, and making it look easy in the process too.  She's also a very talented quilt designer and offers some amazing patterns, often for free.  She's got a sale going on right now for a fun set of patterns - Dog Pound Pals Adoption Society.  These are some really adorable dog patterns, so check it out HERE if you are interested.  This past week, I received this fun mousepad that I won from Denise in a giveaway she held last month......

Don't you just love the design and colors?
Believe me, I was pretty tickled when I saw I was a winner!!!
Thanks Denise!!!

This weekend, I've managed to mark off a few tasks from my list....

I finished off the BABY BLUE scraps for the September Rainbow Scrap Challenge, making the above Lone Starburst block as well as my Hatchett blocks and left-over HST's (not pictured).  I'm not sure what I was thinking when I put these together - how is that fabric in the bottom right a "baby blue"???  Oh well... sometimes my brain just goes on vacation!  Thankfully, this is not a block by itself, and all these sections will be mixed up with the other colored sections I've been making all year for a scrappy rainbow quilt, and that darker section will fit in great with the overall quilt :*)

I managed a little slow-stitching embroidery on my Winter Wonderland, but not enough to post a new picture yet.  I also prepared the next pattern for my Summertime wool applique project......

Darva's Daisies by
Mary Lou Designs

I just couldn't resist doing the cat block next!

The pattern needed to be reduced by 54% to get it to the 8-inch square-ish size to fit in with the other blocks for this project.  I will probably not do the dragnfly unless I can find a way to make it fit without distorting the block.  It also occurs to me that it might be fun to have a few colorful dragonflies floating free over the quilt... hmmmm.

My friend Daryl, who blogs at Patchouli Moon, shared a few tips with me about how she works with wool applique.  She doesn't use fusible because she says it makes the pieces harder to stitch.  She just uses an Elmer's Washable Glue stick and no staples.  I think I'll try that with this next block :*)

The rest of this week, I think I'll be busy doing some quilting.  Have to get ready for Oktoberfest the middle of October!  What are you up to this gorgeous Sunday?

Hugs & Blessings!

Linking up with:
SoScrappy - Rainbow Scrap Challenge
Kathy's Quilts - Slow Sunday Stitching
Freemotion by the River - Tuesday Linky Party

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Crazy About Wool Blog Hop!

When I agreed to join Denise Russell (Pieced Brain) in her fun Crazy About Wool Blog Hop, I really had to stop and think about it first.  I am the lowliest beginner at wool applique!!!  I've done only one wool project before this Hop, and that was almost 3 years ago.  But.....of course, I can't resist a challenge!!!

This is the first block for my Summertime wool applique wall quilt!
My colors are a little washed out here - the yellow in particular is much more vibrant as you'll see in later photos.  

Here is a picture of the original quilt by designer, Erica Kaprow....see my little block on the bottom left?

Quilt by Erica Kaprow, Designer
Photo courtesy of
The blocks are only 10", and I am only going to do 9 of them, so it will be small.  It's tough deciding which 9 to do, too!  Of course, I have to do the watermelon, and the teacups, and the birdhouse, and ..... well, you get the idea!  Complicating my decision is this cute pattern I won in the silent auction at guild a couple weeks ago.....

Darva's Daisies by Mary Lou Designs

...... and I think it would make a totally CUTE addition to the quilt if I just reduce it in size to fit the size of the blocks.  Gotta have a cat in such a fun quilt, right?

Here are a few closeup's of my first completed block ....

The happy little hosta in the front is going wild with blooms!!!
And how about those wonky stairs LOL!!!
One of the things I love about wool art is that it doesn't have to be perfect :*D

These leaves and berries were hard to keep in place because the fusible started separating
 from the background as I worked on other pieces....

So I took a tip from a Pinterest pin and stapled them down until they were stitched securely!
Worked like a charm!!!

I have had this set of patterns since 2006 - yes, 7 years.  Now, bear in mind, that I started quilting in 2006!!!  Everything was still so new and exciting - and I had definitely "drunk the Kool-aid," as they say.  My brain was totally rewired to think about nothing but quilts and quilting LOL!!!

One of my new quilting friends was working in wools on a similar set of designs by Erica and of course I was enthralled by all that color popping on the black background! :*D  A quick visit to the Web revealed that she had a new set of patterns available - Summertime - and they were mine in the blink of an eye.  Then the pattern sat... and sat.... and sat.  I didn't have any wools and none of my LQS carried wools, so it just continued to sit.

A few years ago, though, I got smart!  Yes, indeed, I really did!  Don't you dare listen to anyone who tries to tell you that's not true LOL!!!  Anywho.... I started picking up wool jackets at my local Goodwill.

These are 100% wool jackets, reduced regularly to $7.99 at Goodwill, but I get them for 99 cents on Wednesdays :*)

I had 3 black jackets in my stash - enough for 3 block backgrounds each......

I think I'm going to love the variety of blacks for this background!
  And I cut them up into usable pieces.....

I also had some fun colors to play with!

Of course, I've also been picking up the odd wool piece here and there as I found them at quilt shops - and I've been collecting threads as I come across them too.... I found these on our way home from Runaway at a shop that is going out of business... $1.25 each - score!!!

Of course, now that I've discovered the joys of working with wool - and I have this stash of wools and threads that need to be used!!! - I'm finding projects everywhere that I'd like to do!   One of my students at Runaway had this fun pin cushion that caught my interest immediately....

Isn't this just darling?!?
And I've already traced off the pieces in fusible for this fun ball of yarn that I found on Pinterest.  It will be for a simple block that I will use as a pocket on a new knitting bag I plan to make someday.
I've pinned SO MANY ideas on my Pinterest board - you can see them HERE if you like :*D
 If only there were more hours in the day LOL!!!

Thanks SO MUCH for stopping by to share the fun with me today!
I hope you've had fun seeing all the fun wool projects during this Crazy About Wool blog hop!

Now please be sure to go and check out the other posts for today!

Hugs & Blessings!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dreambird Knit-a-long

I'm only halfway finished with my Dreambird Shawl, but Judy (Patchwork Times) is finished and Denise (Just Quiltin with Denise Russart) is almost there.  Judy has posted the Final Linky Party, so be sure to go over and see the wonderful Dreambird projects!!!  Here is how my beloved Dreambird looks so far....

I hope to finish this shawl in the next couple of weeks, because I have a few new projects percolating in my head - you know how that goes, don't you?  *wink-wink!!!*

I have to admit, this project has been so much fun, I'm seriously considering making another one when I finish this one.  I have some of the colorful Noro Sock yarn in fall colors - wouldn't that be gorgeous in Dreambird?  Gotta finish this one first though :*D


Final reminder to join me tomorrow for my Crazy About Wool project!  
Here's another little "sneak peek"!!!

Today's participants are:

Hugs & Blessings!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Runaway Retreat - What Fun!!!

This is the emblem on the t-shirts we ordered for the Runaway Quilters Retreat in Maple Mount, KY, this year - pretty cool, huh?  And in my favorite color too - BLUE!!!

My friend Joanne and I drove down early Monday morning for the Big Monday event.  Before last year, Runaway always ran from Tuesday through Friday at lunch, but last year they opened up the option to pay for an additional day/night if you wanted it.  Last year, I won a door prize for a FREE Big Monday this year, so it was a no-brainer that I would go down early :*D

Runaway has lots of class options (at no charge), or you can simply choose to sign up for Sit-n-Sew for one or more days in the Auditorium....

Vview of the Auditorium from my table....
I usually just sign up for Sit-n-Sew, because if you take a class, you have to move everything to the classroom - you can't leave some things in the auditorium until you return.  It's like having to move house every day!  I learned that lesson the hard way my first year.  This year I did sign up to teach a class, but it was scheduled on Friday so I was able to sew every day without having to move until the night before we left :*D

There were quilt displays everywhere you looked.  We all especially love the quilts they hang over the railings in the open garden area at the center of the Retreat Center.  They took them down for several days this year because it looked like rain, and I never got a picture of a really divine Blue-and-White quilt hanging out there, but here are a couple of my favorites that I snapped before they disappeared...

I will definitely be making one of these real soon!!!

I don't care for Halloween, but I love pumpkins, and jack-o-lanterns are fun!!!

I love this quilt below that was taught by Denise Stewart - Sexy Hexy Love quilt by Amy Butler.....(click on the quilt name for a pdf of the pattern!)  I would love to make one of these someday too.  Don't you think it would make a wonderful teen quilt?  I was kicking myself for not signing up for the class!!!

This one with Elvis prints was really cute!!!
And then we saw these wonderful tiny granny squares springing up on design walls in the Auditorium... it was love at first sight!  These squares end up only 1 inch!!!  Another class I should have taken!!!  But we found out the pattern is available free HERE.

This is the first year that I taught a class at Runaway.  I decided to start with something fun and really simple, so I offered to teach Runaway to Bali......

This quilt is made from a pattern by Lyn Brown called Staycation.  I used a gorgeous aqua batik for the background and a Bali Pop for the color pops.  Don't you just love that backing fabric???  It's an oriental print that I had picked up for $2 a yard when one of our local shops went out of business :*)

I put this quilt together during sit-n-sew my first year at Runaway, and quite a few people stopped at the table and wanted to know if I would teach it the next year.  I didn't feel comfortable trying to teach last year, but I've since taught several classes at our local shops and decided to jump in and offer to teach it this year.  This is the class sample I put together to make sure I remembered how to put the main block together....

I really like this color play too.  The more I looked at it during class, the more I think I will put together 5 more blocks and make a baby quilt out of it :*)  A baby would LOVE those bright colors!!!

Thankfully, the class turned out really well!  I had 7 students, and it was only for half a day, so things moved quickly.  I wanted each one to at least finish up one large block and they came through with no problems, except for one girl who didn't care for her center accent piece and decided to go home and choose another fabric before putting her blocks together.  Here are the completed blocks - they did a great job in choosing their color schemes, don't you think?

Denise's black and white prints just sparkle on that rich red background!

Sonya's Batiks in similar colors to my original - her greens were to die for!!!

Dana's yellow background was a delightful surprise - who knew yellow could be so wonderful???

Beverly used Batiks that look a lot like solids - wonderful visual impact!

Joyce almost didn't make it home with hers - because I wanted to steal it!  Love those aquas/purples :*D

Rosalie wanted "masculine" prints because this will be a gift for a special guy in her life - I think she nailed it!

Besides, sewing and classes, Runaway offers a Silent Auction, a Live Auction, Door Prizes, Vendors, Block Lotteries, and much much more!  The food is pretty darn good too (especially if you like fresh salads and sandwiches LOL) =^..^=

On Tuesday, eight of us decided to make a road trip to Boonville, Indiana.  The Village Mercantile is a favorite shop for us to visit during Runaway - what an amazing shop!  They have everything!!!  And lots of it too :*)

Photo courtesy of The Village Mercantile

Photo courtesy of The Village Mercantile

Then we HAD to stop at the Tastee Freeze and get homemade ice cream - YUM!!!

I would have taken pictures, but my ice cream was melting LOL!!!
Mine was butter pecan scoops in a fresh waffle cone - I ate/licked every bite!!!

After that, we stopped at the Moonlite BBQ Inn in Owensboro KY for their famous buffet - 
What's retreat for if you can't break all the rules, right???

As always, I wish I had taken more pictures to share with you.  And of course I took many more projects than I had any hope of finishing, but you can view THIS POST to see what I worked on while I was there.  I felt better knowing that I wasn't the only one taking untouched projects back home at the end of the week ;*D

This was a wonderful week, spent with wonderful friends - some I only get to see once a year!  
Is it any wonder that I'm already looking forward to going back next year?

And here's your daily reminder to check out the Crazy About Wool blog hop going on over at Denise's blog - Pieced Brain!  

Just another quick peek at what I'm doing....come back Thursday for the Big Reveal!!!  

You don't want to miss today's fun projects at:

Hugs & Blessings!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Design Wall Happenings!

Last week I told you I'd be AWOL from Blogland because I was going to Runaway Retreat -
      Well, I'm back!!!

And I had a wonderful time!!!  I'll share more about the retreat in a few days, but for now, I'd like to share some of the things I worked on while there.  It's exciting to see projects taking shape.  I have a combination of new and old projects going on .....

New.... Bargello Tree Skirt

Two sections of this hexagon-shaped skirt assembled.
I was TOTALLY excited when I got these two sections sewn together and saw a glimpse of just how amazing this tree skirt is going to be!!!  It is not an easy project, and I was worried that the sections would not line up correctly.  I had to get two complete sections done and trimmed with the oversized triangle template I had prepared before I could tell for sure that it was working - so you can imagine how delighted I was when they lined up perfectly!

When I put it up on the design wall at retreat, everyone said it is too striking to be stuck under a tree and that it needs to be a wall quilt.... hmmmm..... that's definitely a possibility - we'll have to see! :*D

My original intention was to make this in blues and whites to look like a snowflake, but then I went shopping for fabrics and fell in love with this focus print.....

It is a Jason Yenter Wintergraphix print and I just loved the colors!  I added in a wonderful bright blue, a nice spectrum of greens, and some golds......

 But then I ended up taking out the lightest gold and adding in the black instead, and I think it was a good choice.  You can really see the black add some definition in the first picture above.  The light gold was just too mushy and died out when put in the bargello spectrum with the deep colors.

I've had these fabrics for this project for quite some time, but as usual, the project got pushed to the side for more urgent projects.  Then as I shared in THIS POST, I decided that I really want to get some of my Christmas UFO's done so they can decorate my house rather than a UFO box this Christmas.  I joined up with Needle, Thread, Happiness for her 2013 Christmas QAL in order to have some accountability to get them done :*)  This will be my second UFO I've tackled so far.  The August project - Midnight Runner - is complete - quilted, bound, and ready to be proudly displayed this Christmas!  Yoohoo!!!  You can click on the quilt name if you'd like to read more about it's progress :*)

So far so good!

I also began another NEW project while at Runaway - a small quilt for my mom to fit in her tabletopper frame I gave her last year.....

She asked for a Vintage Valentine block to switch out with the Sonshine sunflower table-topper quilt I made for it last year, so I got it all ready for stitching down while at Runaway.  All the button-hole stitching was completed at retreat, so I just need to quilt and bind it, and then add the little hanging sleeve for the frame.

I hope to have this ready to take to her when I visit at Thanksgiving :*D

As for OLD projects on my design wall, I still have to get Genevieve's Banners sandwiched and quilted....another project that needs to be ready to go with me at Thanksgiving!

and I'm hoping to get the appliqued border for Amish Beauties applied and stitched down soon....

And don't forget....
              Today is the first day of the Crazy About Wool blog hop over at Pieced Brain!!!

My day is Thursday so be sure to come back and see what I'm playing with.... here's a sneak peek....

Hmmm..... what could it be?

Here is the Blog Hop schedule for today:
Hope you have a marvelous week!  Here in Nashville, we are enjoying fall-like weather and it is gloriously cool and crisp - yum!!!  I don't know how long it will last, but I plan to enjoy it while I can.  Mornings will be pleasurably spent on my side porch with a little stitchery =^..^=

Hugs & Blessings!

Linking up with ....
Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times
Christmas QAL at Hazel's Quilts
Tuesday Linky Party at Freemotion at the River
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

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