Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sneak Peak Time!

I have been quietly working on a very special project for a retreat I will be teaching at next month.  Well, the cat is out of the bag, so to speak now, as the quilt shop that is sponsoring this retreat has recently released their most current newsletter with a photo of the center of my project.

So here it is:

This is the wool applique center of the "yet to be named" project for the retreat sponsored by Pieceful Gatherings Quilt Shop in Fox River Grove, Illinois.  Feel free to visit their website for further information on the retreat.  Call them today if you are in our area and sign up to join us on this fun weekend in March!

I'm in the final stages of stitching this center wool applique.  The outer borders will be assorted scraps of fabric that will highlight the colors in the center.

This pattern will be available exclusively through Pieceful Gatherings Quilt Shop from mid March through May 2012 only.  After that, the pattern will be available in your local quilt shops and on our website.  We wanted to make this a very special project for Pieceful Gatherings and that is why we have chosen not to introduce this design to the mass quilt market until it's grand "second" debut at Quilt Market in Kansas City, Missouri this year!

Here is an excerpt from the newsletter:

"Doesn't it look great so far? I love it! Tara will be teaching this small project at our retreat on Saturday. This is a picture of the center before it was stitched down. It will also have a pieced border around it. Tara did her center with wool appliqué and we will have kits like hers, but regular appliqué would also be a lovely option for this beautiful wall hanging, and we can probably substitute a pieced center for the appliqaphobes. There are still a couple of spots left if you want to join us for the retreat in March. It's sure to be a fun time." 

Pieceful Retreat Repeat
March 9-11, 2012
Loyola Retreat Center in Woodstock
Guest Teacher:
Tara Lynn Darr of Sew Unique Creations
Register Now! 
$280 Double Occupancy or $320 for a Single.  Includes all Meals, Room, Instructor and FUN!
$50.00 Non-Refundable Deposit required to hold your spot.  Spaces are limited, so don't wait too long to sign up!
Balance Due January 31

Enjoy your day!  My dear husband has jury duty this week and it appears to be wrecking havoc on my normal "quiet time" and schedule!  He has to call in daily to find out what to do - I'm a bit flustered with this because now he has to miss a full weeks worth of work to be "on call".  This just stinks - a week of vacation pay is really going to mess with our family budget - and yes I'm thankful we at least get vacation pay - but come on - I cannot believe that our lives have to be put on hold for an entire week of calling in for jury duty???  Somethings wrong with our system, how do people survive?  Anyhow - that's a whole other can of beans I just do not wish to open right now!

I may not post as much this week - but I'll be happily stitching away and finishing up this wool project!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dear Jane wants to come and play today!

After spending a wonderful evening in the company of good friends and fellow Dear Janer's last evening - I'm declaring it a Dear Jane kind of day today in my sewing room.

This poor pitiful block has been sitting in a cute little basket for months now without any attention from me.  So first on the list is to finish this one today!

But while I'm sharing what I'm doing today, I'd also like to pass on a great tip if you are working on a Dear Jane also, or a Farmers Wife quilt or whatever.

Stay organized.  Our wonderful instructor for our Dear Jane group suggested a way to stay organized and stay on top of our Dear Jane progress.  When I saw her binder of goodies - I jumped all over this idea like a fly on honey in the summertime.

Keep everything organized in one of those big huge 4" or 5" binders.  Use plastic sleeves to protect your project pages, keep your templates organized or hold fabrics that have patterns traced on them.

Use these pages to store your blocks - protecting those fabric edges until you are ready to sew them all together for this quilt.

Sometimes I'll pull a certain fabric from my stash and think - man this would make a great Dear Jane block.  So I'll take that hunk of fabric and add it into whatever plastic sleeve for the block I want to use it in. (in this photo you can see that I've traced my template pieces onto the fabric already - I'm to lazy today to grab the camera and walk back into my sewing room and take another picture of just fabric stuffed in a plastic sleeve - so just imagine hunks of fabric shoved in this plastic sleeve - ok?)

More than likely, if you are making a project like a Dear Jane quilt - you will need two binders as you progress.  I find myself printing off inspirational blog posts from others working on a DJ, helpful tips, charts, inspirational sayings and random thoughts and adding those to this binder also.  That way I have everything together and can store it all and file it away when it's time to work on something else!

This is a picture of my little cubby shelf that I store all Dear Jane items - I know right where to go when I need the patterns, freezer paper, plastic for templates and Carol Doak foundation papers.

This is a photo of the 2 little cubby shelf directly next to my Dear Jane items.  These fabrics, one side for backgrounds and one side is for the colored fabrics, that I just "have to" use in this quilt and have not decided what block they will be going in just yet.

This is another great idea from our fearless Dear Jane leader. A journal.

Now, I admit, I have not kept up with this very well.  I started off with the best of intentions and never followed through.  But at the beginning of this year I decided to use this journal not only for Dear Jane information, thoughts and things that were happening in my life on any given day I work on a DJ block - I'm also going to journal about the other projects I'm working on at the time.  The photo above you see the day I decided to work on Kathie from the Inspired by Antiques blog quilt design.  I printed the picture off and taped it to the page and information pertaining to where the pattern is (in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine!!!).  Sorry about the Miranda Lambert CD at the bottom of the page  and yes it is covering something else up.  That area holds a picture that a dear friend sent to me for inspiration of a block she is working on and I decided to piece that block also in my spare time.  You understand I'm sure, but I don't want to blab on and on about what others are working on and were shared with me in confidence.

Also in this journal, I have my ideas for new projects, drawings and sketches, random thoughts that were running through my head as I worked on a project.  I also note special little moments in my children's lives that pop up every now and then, so years down the road I can look back and read it and remember a little bit of the past!

With all these great tips shared, I urge you to visit your local quilt shop and take a class or join a club!  Not only is it wonderful to be in the company of others that share our love of quilting, it's also a great time to learn new tips, tricks and techniques.  Everyone can learn something new!

If you do not have a local quilt shop - start a quilting bee - ask your friends to join you at home or a designated location - or run an internet quilting bee!  Never stop learning and sharing!

Now I must get back to enjoying my day visiting Dear Jane and listening to Miranda's excellent CD!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Red & White Spider Web quilt is finished!!

Here it is all finished and our Dog Harley is showing no interest at all (he's lying on his bed in the upper right corner) - but Bella was in on the action again!  She was actually yawning in this picture but it looks as if she is sticking her tongue out at the camera!

Here she is again - she was really trying to model for me today!

And again...

Now - tonight I'm heading to Dear Jane club!!!  Yes - I'm so excited.  I started pulling some of my blocks today that are prepped and ready to go!

After I realized how many quilt tops I have waiting to be quilted by a long arm quilter. I decided I better get a second job. So if you see me on the streets like this:

Please have mercy on me and donate to the cause!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Crockpot Chili Mac Recipe

I felt like sharing a recipe this morning before I head into my sewing room to tackle that red and white strippy quilt!  I'm making it a little bigger than I originally planned, so I need to sew some more strip sets together this morning!


Crockpot Chili Mac

1 pound Ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 15 ounce can Chili Sauce, no beans
1 10 ounce can condensed Tomato Soup
2 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. Flour
15 ounce can kidney beans or chili beans, drained but not rinsed
1 cup water
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

In large skillet, brown ground beef with onion and garlic, drain well if necessary. Add green pepper and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook for 2 minutes. Pour into 4-quart crockpot.

Add remaining ingredients except the cheddar cheese and uncooked elbow macaroni.  Cover and cook for 2 -3 hours on low. 

Add macaroni to slow cooker and turn heat to high. Cover and cook for 10 - 15 minutes until macaroni is tender.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top and serve!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Project off to a great start!

Just a quickie post this morning, I'm off to the doctor for more blood work.  Checking my thyroid levels and assorted other on going issues.  Drats - I'd rather stay home and sew!

Yesterday I worked more on this project:

So far, I think it's coming along nicely.

I'm thinking about using this red and cream toile fabric along the side edges of the quilt and as a final border.  Not completely sold on it yet, What do you think?  I've also though about just leaving the pointed right and left sides of the quilt as they are and binding the edges that way - not straightening anything out.  I'll have to sew some of the rows together and play around with it before I decide!

Here's a little inspiration for you:

This is a little quilt I have hanging in the hallway between my sewing room and my office!  So cute!  I won this little gem at an auction last year when I visited Shipshewana during the quilt show there!

Have an awesome day today!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

2 Finishes This Week!!!!

I am having sew much fun in my sewing room this week!

I finished this yesterday:

This is Weaving The Rails and is designed by Kathie Holland of Inspired By Antiques Quilts Blog !

Here's a picture of Bella again - she says to tell you all hello!

Sometimes friends come into your life by surprise.  I'm glad to have a really good internet friend who can make me smile with just a simple text, email or comment on my blog.  We've never met in person, have only talked on the phone one time - but we hope to rectify that and meet some day!    What a treasure she is to me,  she has helped me work through some dark and depressing moments, inspired me to sew, created excitement in me when I was feeling low and is just an over all kind and sweet person. This person suggested a little something to add to those blocks in this quilt that I talked about the other day - you know the ones with the same fabric located in the same position in the same row!  Here's a reminder:

Here's what she suggest via text and I jumped on the idea!

Words that mean something to me written on each of the strips!

When life gives you scraps...... make a quilt!

Family, Friends, Love and Peace - 4 words that mean a lot to me

New Beginnings 2012.  This one is important to me also, as this year will be a year of many new things for me and also getting back to what I truly love to do - designing and playing with fabrics.

I also started working on this project yesterday:

This project was inspired by Keryn of the blog titled "Quilting Twin".  She's working on her scraps and trying to bust them a little.  After working on my scrappy rail fence quilt, I realized I had a bunch of leftovers.  I trimmed all the leftover rail fence bits and pieces to 4" wide and then cut the other fabric to 6" wide strips and started going to town after I realized Keryn's project would be the perfect thing for me to do also to help finish up those extra bits and pieces! This will be a work in progress and might take me a bit to finish as I'll probably have to piece more 1 1/2" wide strips together!  Thanks Keryn!

I'm also piecing 2 1/2" strips together to work on this scrappy project:

Spider Web blocks - this should be a blast to work on and it will really put a dent in all my white, cream and red scraps!

Here's a sneak peek at an up and coming project I'm working on.  I'll be teaching in March at a retreat and I'm working on a special wool project just for them!  This weekend I'll be hand stitching this also!

Yesterday we received a whopper of a storm here.  So after trying to clean up the driveway and sidewalks a bit, we decided it was time for a little fun!

Now granted, after using the snow-blower twice yesterday and realizing that the vibration in the handles was making my hands ache a little - I decided not to play on the quad in the snow.  The vibration from the handles on that Quad machine would have probably aggravated my recovery from carpal tunnel surgeries, so I played photographer instead and baked a few Chocolate Chip Cookies for the riders when they were done playing.  I'll be back to riding my Quad this summer, now it's time for me to continue healing so I'm back to 100%!

Here's a few other snow pictures from this morning:

Picture of the snow on my deck rail.  From my measurements - we received well over the 3" to 6" predicted.  More like 8" if my calculations are correct!

A photo across the fence in our back yard - I love this neighbors shed - I really want one like this!  So old fashioned looking!  Would look great in my yard!

And now I need to get ready for our busy weekend.  We have a birthday party this evening and I am baking the cake!  A triple layer chocolate cake with strawberry filling and cream cheese frosting!  I'll take pictures to share, if I remember!

Here's a picture of my Grandma quilting.  This is the only picture that I'm aware of that exists of my Grandma at her quilt frame.  The quilt she is working on is still in my family, my dear Aunt Julie has it and sleeps under it often.

This is my Grandma, Lucille Baisden.  She was my Dad's Mom.  She left us several years back and we miss her so much. I was thinking about her a lot a couple days ago and decided to scan this photo to share.  I showed it on FaceBook and it brought on a good discussion between family and friends. According to my Aunt, the yellow fabric used in this quilt was from one of her dresses.  She's drawing out her quilt pattern here.  She used a simple string tied to a pencil.  She held the string and then drew out her baptist fans pattern on many of her quilts.  She also quilted on a quilting frame that my Grandpa made for her.  It was one of those wonderful old quilting frames that could be raised up to the ceiling when not in use and lowered when she took the notion to quilt, which was often.  The frame was stored on the ceiling of the family room when not in use. Thankfully, the quilt frame is also still in the family!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

In The Zone...

A lot of times when I'm piecing a quilt - I get "In The Zone" - no not the diet type of "zone" - really in that "zone" where nothing else matters, I'm just sewing along minding my own business and having a blast.  Now, I'm not sure about you, but when I scrap quilt I really go to town and get in the "zone".  I pay no attention to what fabric plays best with another nor do I get all "matchy, matchy".  This photo goes to show you how "in the zone" I was yesterday!

Do you see those blocks I've "tried" to circle above?  (ok - don't laugh at my rather childish attempt to circle the blocks using photoshop - I'm still in the learning stages in that program - my 14 year old son is still trying to teach good old Mom the basics!)

Those 3 blocks particularly that are going horizontally across your screen - notice that they all have the same middle "light" fabric going through them?  This was not intentional and was an accident!  If I wouldn't have been so deeply "in the zone" I would have never placed the blocks with the same fabrics in the same exact location of the block so closely together in this scrap quilt.  Oh well now - they are pieced together and that's the way they are staying - another incident in one of my quilts that will be left there to humble me a bit!  They still look good, but of course their location is near the top of the quilt at this point - right where they stand out!   Not going to let it bother me though - just wanted to point out how easily things like this happen and really - what does it matter - as long as we are having fun during the whole process of making a quilt! Right????

Here's my project I am working on today - I'll probably finish this top today.  This pattern can be found in the August 2011 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine.  It's called Weaving The Rails and is designed by Kathie Holland of Inspired By Antiques Quilts Blog (which by the way - if you do not follow and read this blog - you are really missing out!!!)

Here's a picture of the quilt in the magazine!

And now to show you the finish of the Katie's String Star Quilt - but first, do you know how hard it is take a picture of a quilt top when a little fur ball just has to mess with you?

This is Bella again striking a pose for you.  She really should be a model - Don't you think?

Regardless, I gave up trying to be all fancy and getting this quilt top spread out nice and flat and un-wrinkled for you to see.  Every time I had it near perfect, she nose dived right into it!  So, I left it like it was after a quick fixing and tossing a treat in the cats direction and snapped a picture quickly!

Here is a corner picture for you so that you can see the border fabrics.

In other news, I'm still cleaning and re-organizing my new creative life.  For those of you that don't know - I spend my creative hours in my basement studio and office.  It can be rather dark and dreary down there sometimes, so I'm brightening things up a bit and reorganizing my stash.  I've torn out old shelves and installed new, gone through books and magazines and dug into rubbermaid totes that have long been forgotten about. Here's a photo of my newly cleaned and organized wool cubbie:

It's nearly finished and organized, just a few more pieces to sort through and I'm calling it done!

Also, I cleaned off one of my inspiration boards in my office and look at my two little munchkins:

Are they not cute?  This is my daughter Ashley when she was 3 1/2 years old - this is her soccer photo.  My son is on the right and he was 4 - nearly 5 in this baseball picture.  They truly are my inspiration and their little photo buttons will remain on my inspiration wall, but I've moved them from the office location to my studio so that I can look at them a little more each day! I miss them when they are gone all day at school.

Give your kids a hug today - they grow up so quickly - my little munchkins are now 13 and 14 and I cannot believe how quickly time has flown!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just a little curious....

I received a sweet email from a person the other day and she's really had me thinking on a subject.

What is your favorite source for hand or machine quilting patterns.  This person specifically asked me for sources for hand quilting patterns to use on a quilt that is a reproduction style quilt using several mid to late 18th century reproduction type fabrics. Oh - be still my heart - my favorite style quilt!

I love to hand quilt and seriously wish I could do so on every quilt I make. But time being as valueble as it is in the design word - I'm lucky if I get to hand quilt one project a year! I highly recommend this book:

This is Quilting Designs from the Past written by Jenny Carr Kinney.  I love this book and many times I just flip through it and read - just to do it for inspiration!

I also have a pretty hefty size collections of plastic stencils:

(this photo courtesy of the Minick and Simpson Blog! Which by the way if you follow this link, they have done a nice write up on quilting stencils!)

And then of course:

(this photos is courtesy of the Tim Latimer Quilts  blog - I do have a nice collection of old antique cardboard templates I won on ebay also - but I was to lazy to dig them out just to photograph them!  My sewing storage area is under massive clean up and reconstruction and it would take me a day just to find the plastic tote containing my treasures!)

I also like to look through my collection of quilt museum and collections style quilt books.  Those with really good photographs, I can sometimes see just what type of quilting they did "way back then"!

  So - What is your favorite source of finding hand quilting patterns?

What is your favorite source of machine quilting patterns?  (This is something I'd like to learn to do more of, I'm not the greatest machine quilter and tend to leave that up to a longarm quilter!)

If you would rather not leave a comment here on my blog, feel free to email me also!


Tomorrow I'll post pictures of my Katie's String Star finished quilt top!  Right now - I need to get back to my sewing machine - I'm zipping through a ton of Rail Fence Blocks this afternoon!  Such fun!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's a border kind of day and other distractions!

I'm nearing the finish line on my Katie's String Star quilt!  Look -

I just have to trim the edges of the quilt up and add the 3 outer borders and I'll have this quilt top completed today!

I just love looking at each of these stars!  They are all so different and "sew" scrappy!  I've chosen a neat stripe print for the middle outer border, so I'm really excited to see how it turns out.  

This pattern can be found in this book on page 153:

Or you can find it in the May/June 2004 issue of Fons and Porter magazine - page 83!  (see what happens when I clean out all my magazines - I find things I new I had - just didn't know where they were stashed!

I've been a little distracted this morning while blogging....

It seems my dear sweet Bella is trying to learn how to use my computer!

Have a good one!
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