Sunday, May 29, 2016

So Many Projects!!!

I thought I'd share a few of the projects that are getting the lion's share of my attention lately.  I've got so many quilting irons in the fire right now!  But I think I really work best when I have a lot going on.  It keeps me energized and inspired to have lots of different projects to choose from on any given day.  There's always something in the works that trips my trigger and makes me want to play in the studio!!!

Blue Collection is one of my Dinosaur UFO's - it's been in process since 2008!!!  It's my focus project for this year, and I've been steadily plugging along on it.  I'm happy to say that I've finally added the 3D tree in the center!  This tree has been a stumbling block for me from the beginning.  I've been dreading it!  But it got to the point that I couldn't add other elements until the tree was stitched down, so I finally bit the bullet and went for it!

The tree is made from three tapered bias strips of brown fabrics that are braided together and then loosely arranged on the quilt center, with lots of little branches and leaves sprouting out from it.  (Rocky felt that this particular strip should be his - we had a little bit of a disagreement about it, but happily I finally won ☺)

I had to piece together the blocks in the center section of the quilt with their blue-and-white checkerboard sashing before I could begin to make the tree.

When I appliqued that bottom pot, I left a section open so that I could slip the tree limbs down inside ....

I'm doing hand-stitched applique on this quilt, and it's pretty difficult work handling this large center section to stitch down the tree and all those little remaining leaves, but there was just no way around it.  Of course, this little guy with his curious little nose in everything I'm doing doesn't help LOL!!!  This picture was taken just seconds before he snatched the whole piece off my lap and tried to run for it!

There are quite a few wonderful little details stitched into this quilt ....

And lots of stitching remaining to be done!  But I can't tell you how excited I am to have gotten this far on my Blue Collection project!  I will try my best to post about my progress more often :*)

I usually try to have at least one project all set up and ready to stitch at the machine, so that when I have a spare few minutes I can use it stitching.  This is a paper-pieced project in progress called Diamonds Are Forever from a class I took at guild several years ago.

Lots and lots of scrap strips are going into this fun quilt, and it is amazing how quickly these blocks add up!

Happily, I also have an almost finish to show you!!!  Notice Rocky photo-bombing in the top right?  Believe me, he's not going to miss a quilt-on-the-floor opportunity!!!

Calypso is a kit My Guy bought for me quite a few years ago at a local quilt shop that is no longer in business.  I made the quilt top and then put it on my flimsy shelf to be quilted - and it has remained there for way too long.  I decided to put it on my Guild UFO Challenge list, and it's number came up for this month.  My friend Joanne let me use her long-arm machine so I could git 'er done ...

This will be a feel-good finish for me - I love whittling down that flimsy shelf!

Tomorrow my plan is to quilt and bind my little 14" Fractured Seahorse.  The fabric on the bottom is my backing fabric, and I'm thinking to use a scrappy hot pink binding.  This one is going to go in my stand-up frame in the living room for the summer!

After all the sewing I've been doing on my Janome 6600P, it was finally time to send it off to the spa for a good cleaning and to check the timing, etc.  While it was gone, Rocky found a new favorite place to sit and watch me as I putter around the studio ....

He's such a fun little guy, and I love how he keeps us smiling and laughing!

I'll be linking up with lots of fun parties this week:

Hugs & Blessings!

May is for Makers - Finally!

Although I didn't keep up very well with posting about it during the month, I did thoroughly enjoy supporting the excellent May is for Makers challenge sent out by Lindsey at LRStitched .....

Not only was this a great opportunity to show my support for some of our very talented independent designers, it was a guilt-free opportunity to pick up a few new patterns/books that I had been keeping my eye on!

Quilts by ©Juliet at The Tartankiwi
Photos courtesy of ©The Tartankiwi

Of course you all know from THIS POST that I absolutely adore the creative talents of Juliet at The Tartankiwi, right?  I'm SO excited to let you know that she has announced the release of both her Large (50") and Small (14") Seahorse patterns!!!!  You can go to her Etsy shop HERE to purchase them.  (And while you're there, be sure to check out some of her other gorgeous patterns - that Zebra is simple amazing!!!

I snapped up the Large Seahorse the day she released it for my first May is for Makers purchase!  In case you missed it, here is my completed Small Seahorse ....

Next up, I couldn't resist this new pattern by Sara at SewSweetness!

Photo courtesy of ©

Like most of you, I love bags and pouches and .... well, just anything that will hold stuff!  Right?  Tell me I'm not alone here!!!  And who can resist getting two bags in one????  I love this new design and can't wait to make one (or two!) of them up!  Sara is the most amazing bag designer, and I've been eyeing her patterns for ages.  I think this double zip bag will be a great help in keeping my sewing tools organized.  You can purchase this newly released pattern at Sara's site HERE.

This paper-pieced block design is called Humming by Esther at ipatchandquilt.  I've seen it made up in quite a few different looks and decided I just had to play with it myself!  You can find it on her Craftsy shop HERE.

Quilt by Esther at ipatchandquilt
photo courtesy of ipatchandquilt

And although I have wayyyyy too many books already, I simply couldn't resist Lara Bucella's new release of her new book, Crafted Applique - New Possibilities.  I'm always on the lookout for new and better ways to accomplish applique projects, aren't you?

Photo courtesy of BuzzinBumble blog

Lara blogs over at BuzzinBumble, and she is just the sweetest.  She's blown up the blog world with her amazing book launch this month, with tons of guest bloggers and book giveaways.  You can find her blog HERE - and be sure to order a signed copy of her book while you're there!  Because I can guarantee that when you see pictures of my new applique projects using her new fray-less applique technique, you're going to want to do it too LOL!!!

Please, please, keep in mind that these designers receive more of the money you pay for their designs when you buy from them directly rather than from an intermediate source.

So that's it for my May is for Makers spree!  I hope that you also took advantage of this wonderful opportunity to shop among your favorite designers and support them generously!

Hugs & Blessings!

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Horse is a Horse, of course ....

.... Unless it's a Seahorse!

Design by ©The Tartankiwi

I spent my weekend happily paper piecing, testing this wonderful pattern designed by Juliet at The Tartankiwi.  Juliet is one very talented designer!!!  This is her mini-Seahorse pattern, finishing up at 14 inches square.  It went together like butter - you will love working with her patterns if you like to paper piece.

I really recommend that you go to her website HERE and check out her other designs.  For instance, she has a full-sized Seahorse HERE.  It took my breath away the first time I saw it!  The pattern for the full-sized Seahorse will be available on her site soon - I can't wait!  I'll be sure to let you know when both patterns become available.  Her newest release is a full-sized Zebra - Oh my!  You've got to go see that one!!!

I was like a kid with a new toy when Juliet sent me the mini-Seahorse to test for her!  Pulling fabrics for a new project is my absolute favorite part of quilting!  As you can see, I got a little help with this one.....

Okay Mom - that's enough fabrics for TEN quilts - enough already!!!

Rocky even chose his favorite fabric .... he was pretty darn persistent that this piece of fabric was now his and I couldn't have it LOL!!!

Paper-piecing is one of my favorite piecing techniques.  But I do tend to end up with a mess ....

I admit I'm pretty hopeless at keeping the fabrics neat while in the middle of a project, but one of the things I like to do to keep my piecing organized is to color in the different sections so I can see at a glance which fabric comes next....

And before long, I have a finished section!

I'm a huge seahorse fan - I've loved them since I was a small child when my grandmother took me every summer to Ocean City MD.  It used to be pretty difficult to find seahorse things to collect, but happily they've become more popular in recent years.  They always remind me of my sweet Granny!

While I was happily stitching along, My Guy and Rocky came up to keep me company and watch golf....

Well, actually, it turns out Rocky doesn't seem to share our enthusiasm for golf.  He thought it was a great time for a nap on his favorite quilt!  Of course, when he woke up, then it was play time.....

Let's see what I can knock down from here - wow this is high!!!

I'm heading out to sit-n-sew with some friends this morning - I hope you have plans to do something fun and creative as well!!!

Linking up:

Hugs & Blessings!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Rocky Learns to Sew ....

First of all, I want to wish Happy Mother's Day to all my lovely followers!  

Lovely pot of hydrangeas from my son!

Even if you are not a mother in the typical sense of the word, it's more than likely that you have "mothered" others in your life - even guys can do that! - and that really is what we celebrate isn't it?  I've had a great day and hope that you have too =^..^=

Also, since this is Sunday, I'd like to join Kathy's Quilts Slow Sunday linkup by sharing some hand smocking that I've been stitching during the past month or so.

I've never done smocking before, so it's been kinda fun, even it if does take forever.  I remember my mother making smocked pillows when I was a child, and being fascinated at the folded designs.  This is how it is shaping up.  Not perfect, but it will look better after I have straightened some of the puckers out.  It will definitely be good enough for my first adventure in smocking.

I'm making the smocked piece to be used on a bag project I started in March.  I took this class called the Fifth Dimension Bag from Rami Kim at Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge TN.

I have to say, this was the most interesting and downright FUN class I've ever taken!  Quite a few of my friends were also in the class, and we all agreed that it was great.  Above in the orange grunge fabric you can see a segment I made in class (by machine) called Harlequin Tucks, and beside that are my Lined Prairie Points and Square Chopkeys.  Chopkey is the Korean form of fabric folding.

I believe someone else has also taken quite a liking to this project!  Rocky has become quite the little quilter's helper.  He loves being in the studio and "helping" me do anything and everything.

He's even learning to help me pick out fabrics ....

Gypsy and Sable never paid any attention at all to anything I did in the studio.  They often came in to sleep on a quilt while I sewed, but I never had to worry about them bothering any of my tools.  But for Rocky, this is a veritable treasure-trove of toys to play with!

I've actually had to cover this area over with fabric and hope he never figures out how to pull it off ...

He knows it's under there, but hasn't yet figured out how to get there ....

His favorite thing to do is pull the pins from my pincushions - and of course that's something that worries me half to death!  I've had to bring out the squirt bottle to teach him to leave the pins alone.  He's not at all happy about being deprived of his most exciting pastime in the studio, and often sneaks over there to grab one when I'm ironing or pulling fabric.  So I've had to start covering all the pincushions too!

He especially loves the ones with the big colorful butterfly heads!

And remember the quilt he claimed before I could get the binding on it (here)?  He actually sat on the quilt while I sewed the binding down!

When I shooed him away, he went over to sit in the back and watch what I was doing from there - as though he was making sure I didn't hurt his quilt :*)

Something tells me I'm going to have to learn to sew with him right there watching every stitch!  After a bit, sitting quietly in the back wasn't good enough and he walked back around to the front to get a better look at exactly what I was doing.  Before I could blink, he started trying to grab the light!

The next day, he was back on duty.  I was simply sewing up a backing for the top I need to quilt for my Guild UFO Challenge.  First, he refused to let me press the fabric.  He decided it would be great fun to play "grab the fabric away from Mom" - thankfully the iron had not heated up yet and I got him down from there quickly!

Then he had to examine what was making all that noise at the machine ...

Nothing is going to happen around here without him supervising, that's becoming quite clear!

I sat back for a bit and just let him explore all the parts until he got tired of it.  I've had to be pretty careful though, because he just loves to sit close and watch the sewing process.  His quick little paws have come close to getting hit with the needle.  I like that he is interested, but I'm going to have to find ways to let him watch without worrying about him getting hurt.

Before I close, I thought I'd share a recent fabric pull ....

These two fabrics are the background - I just love grunge! - and focus print ....

These pretties will be used to make a quilt for a very special little one-year-old, our youngest granddaughter, Jacqueline Monroe...

Well, what else would I be doing on Mother's Day than picking out fabrics to make a sweet quilt for a grandbaby?  Hope you are finding something equally fun and exciting to do this beautiful Sunday!!!

Hugs & Blessings!
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