Saturday, August 31, 2013

End of Month Reports - August 2013

Since I regularly do several posts at the end of the month to update progress or participate in challenges, I thought it would be good idea to try doing one post that covers them all.... I'm hoping that will help me stay organized and save some time.... time that I can use sewing!!!  I think you will all enjoy this post more than you might think, since it will be picture heavy - lots of eye candy on months when I get a lot done, right?

2013 NewFO Challenge project(s) - linking up with Cat Patches

Shop Hop Market Bag - see post HERE
Covered Project Box - see post HERE

Personalized Marker Rollups for Back-to-School gifts - see post HERE
Love my new Selvedge Box!!! - see post HERE
Yes I was BUSY in August!!!!

2013 Rainbow Scrap Challenge - REDS - linking up with SoScrappy

Fantasia - click HERE to see more Fantasia blocks :*)

Lone Starburst - click HERE to see more blocks like this one

I also did a lot of playing with my red scraps while constructing blocks for Talkin' Turkey, a slow and easy quilt-along project with a couple of friends.

Made 30 nine-patches for the block centers....  Next up - 456 flying geese - YIKES!!!

On the Needles - linking up with Patchwork Times
This month I completed my Cloud Illusions shawl - my first ever knitted lace project!!!

Click HERE to read my posts about this shawl

Completed 3 feathers in my Dreambird Shawl KAL with Judy & Denise...

Click HERE to read more about my Dreambird adventures ....

And I got this far on my Noro Bias Lace Scarf, although this project is now officially on hold until I finish Dreambird.

Get It Done - August/September 2013 - linking up with Patchwork Times
I've really let this handy little organizational tool drop by the wayside in all my busyness these past few months, but I'd like to get back into the mode of having a written plan of what I'd like to accomplish each month, and then be able to look back at the end of the month to see how I've done.  Although I haven't taken the time to write up a post in recent months, I have been writing my goals down on my dry-erase board...

Down and dirty organizational method, but it works for me!

August 2013 - my goals were to:

  • Wash Stash fabrics! - DONE - Washed 9 loads!
  • Prep for Runaway class - DONE - ordered patterns and emailed participants
  • Genevieve's Banners - planned but not yet started
  • Hexie Blog Hop - DONE!!!
  • Begin quilting Moonglow - not done :(
  • Quilt Midnight Runner (Santa Sleigh) - DONE!!!
  • RSC Challenge blocks - DONE!!!
  • Dishcloths for daughter- DONE knitted 3 and mailed them off to her!!!
  • Block Cloud Illusions - DONE!!!
  • Start Dreambird - DONE!!!

September 2013 Goals:
I will be at Runaway Retreat for 5 days this month which should equate to getting a LOT done!  I'm teaching one of those days, so I will have to plan some time for preparation for that.

  • Finish prep-work on all materials for Runaway class
  • Continue washing Stash!
  • RSC Challenge blocks
  • Complete Genevieve's baby quilt
  • New Tabletop quilt for Mom (NewFO Challenge project)
  • Quilt The First Tree of Life
  • Start quilting Moonglow
  • Make flying geese for Talkin' Turkey
  • Finish Dreambird Shawl
  • Plan and prepare Runaway projects that I think I can accomplish in 4 days

How are you planning your September?
I think I'm ready - BRING IT ON!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

Friday, August 30, 2013

On the Needles - 8/30/13

It's a glorious day in Nashville today!  It's probably going to get a little hot later in the day, but this morning, I'm just drinking in the early morning sun and song of the birds :*D  I'm also looking forward to my friends coming over to play with our Talkin' Turkey quilts for a while today.  I can never thank the Lord and my husband enough for allowing me to be at home and enjoy my life without the hassle of a job!!!

If my Dreambird were finished, I'm sure she would be soaring in that clear blue sky this morning, checking out what's for breakfast :*D  However, it will be quite a while before she can soar.  I do have three feathers done, and it's so exciting seeing how the colors fill the feathers.  This last feather went into the deeper purples, thankfully not so deep though that it hides in the black background....

I can't wait to see what surprises the next feather holds!!!

I had hoped to be further along on this project, but I had to "unknit" this 3rd feather when I was halfway through it because I thought I had dropped a stitch.  By the time I realized that I hadn't, I was all the way back to the beginning of the feather.  So that is the first and third feathers that I have now totally restitched LOL!!!  But as I read about my fellow knitters' adventures on Judy's updates, I'm seeing that I'm not the only one having to knit backwards occasionally :*)  Knit on.....

Have a glorious weekend my friends!!!
I'm linking up with other "chicks with sticks" at Patchwork Times!

Hugs & Blessings!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back to School Goodies!

The school year started back on Monday for our grandchildren in North Carolina.  Sometimes I feel really guilty that we don't get to take part in these special events with them because we live so far away.  And jealous of their other grandparents who live right around the corner and do - LOL!!!

So I had been picking up a few little things here and there to send them a "We Care" package.  Then I saw this cute tutorial on The Pleated Poppy for a crayon rollup, and the "What If?" juices began to flow....

Photo courtesy of The Pleated Poppy
What if I made it a little larger for markers instead of crayons?  And, what if I put velcro on the end instead of the button and elastic?  And, what if I embroidered their names on them?  Oh yes!!!

Earlier this year I bought a second-hand Bernina Artista 180 with the embroidery module from a friend in our Guild.  

The machine description is hiding behind that cute pincushion :*)
I've been using the machine regularly for my piecing projects, but I had not had time to play around with the embroidery module.  And I had never done any embroidery before - so this was a little challenging and a lot intimidating!!!  But it was the perfect project to begin my machine embroidery adventure....

So I sat down one Saturday morning with the instructions in front of me, and by golly I did it!!!  Yes, it took me all day, and it was close to midnight when I finished up the projects - but I did it!!!  =^..^=

It was really kind of easy once I figured out how to do it - isn't that usually the truth?  LOL!!!

Both names, embroidered and ready to go into the project....whew!!!

I used a fun Adventure Heroes fabric for Adam's roll-up....can you see the Incredible Hulk peeking out through the markers?  Adam is really into Hulk right now :*)

The velcro part was a little fussy getting everything lined up, but it wasn't too bad and I like it much better than elastic and buttons....

I had a little more difficulty with Reaghan's name - the machine kept telling me there were too many letters and that I needed to either reduce the size or rotate the letters.  The problem with that was that everytime I tried to do one of those, it kept reverting back to Adam's name!  Of course, after much investigation and a few choice words, it was finally determined that the problem was "Operator Error" LOL!!!

I used this really cute "lined paper doodling" fabric with peace symbols on it for her inner fabric - the same fabric I used for her Chalkboard Wallhanging last year (see HERE) :*)

The kids were so excited to receive a package from Grandma & Grandpa, 
and they LOVED their marker roll-ups!  
Reaghan asked me "How'd you get our names on there?"  I just said, "It's magic, Honey!"  

And what was their favorite part of the gift?  That I had included the markers 
so they could sit down and play with them right away LOL!!!  
Kids are SO cute!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Hexie Queen for a Day!

Today is my day to see if I can rise to the lofty heights of Hexie Queen for a Day!
Of course, considering all the wonderful projects we've been seeing
during this Hop, that would be well-nigh miraculous LOL!!!

Edited:  I won Queen of Creativity!!!!
Thanks Madame Samm for that great honor!!!
(Now pardon me while I get just the right tilt on my tiara :*D)

What fun I have had playing with ideas for this Hop!
Even my new Blog Header shows off my new enthusiasm for all things HEXIE!!!  
Thanks sew much, of course, to our leader Madame Samm and our very efficient 
Cheerleader Debby for all their hard work in making this Hop happen!  

My very first little EPP Hexie!!!  Awwww...... isn't it sweet?
I was really excited when the Hexie Queen Blog Hop was announced, because my favorite part of joining in on the fun of these hops is the way I am always stretched and challenged until I freak out manage to create something I didn't even know I wanted to do.  I will always love the Stitchery Keeper I designed for the Dare to Dresden blog hop in January - I had never made a Dresden block before and relished the chance to force my hand and make myself a Dresden!   (You can read that post here.)

I was hoping to have the same kind of experience with this Hexie Hop.  I kept seeing so many really cute and fun Hexie projects in Blogland, but I just kept procrastinating when it came to trying any of them out for myself.  This is one block design that has really upped the game for modern quilting!  And even traditional Hexie quilts are far more creative today than our "Grandmother's Flower Garden" quilts of old..... anybody remember these???

Sandpaper templates that I used to make a GFG quilt many, many years ago!!!

So I decided it was time to force my hand and signed up for this Hop.  Needless to say, I was delighted when the creativity began to flow!  I especially wanted to experiment with some of the different ways we have available to us to make Hexies today - EPP, machine paper-pieced, fusible, quilt-as-you-go - you name it and I played with it!

My goal for this Hop has been to create something not only beautiful and fun but also useful.... and I think I'll have to tell me what you think!  =^..^=

For a while now, I have really wanted to make a BIG market-type bag for quilt shows, shop hops, etc.   You know - you end up with a dozen little bags of "stuff" and go crazy trying to keep up with them all.  I had picked up Pink Chalk's Mail Sack pattern some time earlier.....

I love the size of this bag, and the fact that it goes over the shoulder.  It leaves my hands free and takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders.  So first I pulled this Michael Miller lettered fabric from my stash......

I had the idea that these letters would look cute cut into hexie shapes and fused down like any raw-edge applique project..... and it worked like a charm!!!

Then I started pulling red, white and black fabrics so they could come out and play with the cute Hexie letters......  happy fabrics.... fun fabrics.... exciting fabrics... just like today's modern Hexie's!

And then I fused & stitched the letters down..... Q - U - I - L - T ..... and hand-stitched some perfect little stitches all around them with black perle cotton for my first attempt at Big-Stitch Quilting!  Not bad, huh?  Now that was fun!!!

My new Quilty Market Bag is just perfect for me - I am SEW happy with it!!!

My bag has lots of space inside,
                    ............. gotta love that polka-dot lining :*D

with nice, large sectioned pockets on one side for cell phone, pens, etc. .....

........ and a zippered pocket on the other.  
I had never done a zippered pocket like this before and was amazed at just how easy it was!

And, did you notice.....??????

This little hand-stitched English Paper-Pieced (EPP) Hexie Flower Pin is made from tiny little 7/8" hexies, and I love the perfect little touch of whimsy it adds to my bag, don't you?

Even the fabrics for these little hexies are Hexie designs :*)  I used Heat 'n Bond Ultra to fuse the Hexie Flower to a fabric backing to give it enough stiffness to be wearable, and I made sure to insert the pin before fusing.  Then I added a touch of Fray Block to all sides of the backing fabric just to be sure all the edges are secure and won't fray.  I love that I can wear this pin separately from the bag anytime I want!!!

Next, I decided to try paper-piecing a Hexie block and remembered pinning a pattern by Charise Creates to my Pinterest board.  Before you could blink, I had downloaded that pattern lickety-split and printed off the pieces!  The link to this cute pattern is HERE - be sure to check out her other patterns - too cute!!!

Does anyone else think this would make a marvelous butterfly?

This was an easy and very fun project to paper-piece.  I couldn't resist appliqueing a tiny fussy-cut pincushion in the center.  As I was working on the block, I kept wondering how it could best be used in a project..... remember, my objective was not just to make Hexies, but to make them into useful items.

Then I spied the little round box I had been using for my EPP supplies....

 ..... functional - but not very exciting, right?  

And it occurred to me that my paper-pieced hexie block was just about the same size as the top of this box.... and that it would make a great cover for the box!  I had learned how to cover boxes just a few weeks ago at a class held at my Guild - (you can see my gorgeous new Selvedge Box HERE!) - so I set to work covering the lid of this little box, including the bright idea to make the top of it a pin cushion!

I added just enough fabric to the edges to make it just the right size .....

.... and then drew a circle around it, adding a 1/4" seam allowance with this handy-dandy little never-before-used tool that has been languishing in my sewing cabinet drawer forever .... you just never know when those little miscellaneous doo-dads you've picked up here and there will come in handy :*)

I quilted the block to several layers of batting, adding a little extra under the center hexie to give extra loft for pins...

..... and then added on a fun stripe fabric for the edge and glued it down to the box lid with Aleene's Tacky glue...

A new Hexie Project Box!!!

This little box holds everything I need to make more little hand-pieced Hexies....

One tin holds my little needle case (a hand-made gift from a very special friend!) and a packet of the tiny hexie templates...

..... while the other holds clips and my little finger thimble, etc.

Isn't it just adorable???

Oh, and we can't forget the truly cute Quilt-as-you-go Hexie blocks that make up the special blog header for this Hop...

I made these using some of my stash of fabulously wild fabrics.....

and bordered them with some shiny ombre solids that I picked up off the free table at Guild one month .....

They are SO simple to make!  I just used these Marti Michel templates that I had on hand (remember I said I had been wanting to make some Hexie projects?  See - I wasn't lying!  I had even bought templates!!!) =^..^=

I fussy cut the wild centers and a piece of batting using the smaller hexagon template, and then I cut the "border" from the larger hexagon shape.  I layered the pieces, making sure the smaller shapes were perfectly centered............

........and then I double-folded over the edges of the "border" hexagon and stitched them down with a gray unifying thread - easy peasy!!!   I haven't finished making all of these yet, and I'm still not sure how I'll use them in a project, but when the inspiration hits, I'll be ready with these cute QAYG Hexies :*)

And last, but not least, here is the very first quilt I ever started....
the quilt that started it all many years ago!!!

.... my very traditional hand-pieced, hand-quilted Grandmother's Flower Garden!

As many of you also did years ago, I used those sandpaper templates to trace off every single hexagon shape for these flowers and then cut them out by hand with scissors.  Most of the fabrics were scraps left from clothing I made for everyone in my family from the time I was 15, even the men.  But some of them were treasured scraps given to me by my grandmother who taught me how to sew.  I started the quilt in the early 80's, intending to give it to her one day, but she passed away before I could complete it.  I boxed it up half-done, and it sat on a shelf for years, waiting for my life to slow down and for me to find the time and inclination to sew again.  Happily, it was completed in 2005, and I smile with fond memories of my dearest Granny every time I see it :*)

I hope you've enjoyed seeing all my new Hexie goodies!  
And now I'm off to visit my fellow Hexie Hoppers on the Hexie Queen Blog Hop today!  

Come on - we'll go together..............

A Quilt and a Prayer  (that's me!!!)


Linking up with these wonderful, fun-filled Linky Parties!
Design Wall Monday @ Patchwork Times
Tuesday Linky Party @ Freemotion by the River
Sew Cute Tuesday @ Better Off Thread
WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced
Can I Get a Whoop! Whoop! @ 
Hugs & Blessings!
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