Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Drawing and Doodling!

I was able to get this new design all stitched up this past weekend!  Now I have to decide on how to quilt it?   I really do not have time to hand quilt it, but I really want to!  I'm stumped - so if you have suggestions on what quilting designs or motifs I should do or ask a longarm quilter to do - leave a comment!

Yesterday I spent the day drawing and designing new projects!  Ah yes - pure bliss.  And so far today - it's looking like I'm going to spend the day doing much of the same as yesterday.  When inspiration strikes - take advantage of it - that's my motto!

So after a full day of drawing and doodling, this is how my sewing room looks this morning when I walked into it! (be warned - it's starting to look like a tornado hit it!)

The pile of large notepads, Lite Steam A Seam 2 scraps and graph paper on my sewing table.

This is my cutting table with my light box (new design on top that I finished up yesterday evening!) and a bunch of tools laying nearby.  Of course my phone is handy and as always - a can of Diet Coke is within reach!

My pressing table holds all of yesterdays drawings (13 completed!) and to the right is all of my cardboard, vinyl and plastic templates I created!

This smaller cutting counter holds all my garbage - big stack of rejects and scraps of discarded paper!

And I'm sure the mess will get even worse today!  But who cares - I'm having fun!

The baby shower went off perfectly this past Sunday.  Here is the soon to be Mommy holding her quilt that I made for her.  This baby shower was so much fun to help with, but boy was I tired when I got home Sunday evening!  Geez - babies are a lot of work!

Here's the soon to be Mommy and Daddy - are they not cute!

And today I leave you with this picture.  I posted it on FaceBook yesterday after laughing hysterically when I first saw it.  Remember - laughter is the best medicine!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Books - oh do I love books!

New English Paper piecing by Sue Daley arrived today! I love it! So much beautiful eye candy and gorgeous patterns! Way to go Sue! You did good girl!

Then English Paper Piecing by Vicki Bellino arrived too! Such pretty patterns in this one too! My favorite is the one shown on the cover!

Then - if you like mystery and suspense type novels, I recommend this new release by Patricia MacDonald.

Missing Child - oh was this a good one! In fact I've read all of her books and each one is great!

I'm still working on my new wool and cotton quilt project. I have two of the large wool blocks appliquéd and only two more to go!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quiet Day Of Stitching

Today I'll be stitching away on some wool appliqué with my feline boss. How will I get anything done when Bella is quite enchanted with my current project!

Wish me luck!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Moving Right Along!

It was so wonderful having a three day weekend!  I was able to finish up the little star blocks I needed for my next quilt pattern design.  

The foundation blocks are all prepped and ready for a little wool applique and today I'll draw out the final details of those blocks, prep the templates and wool and begin to hand stitch those later this evening if all goes well!

I forgot to do an update last week on my Dear Jane block progress!

Seven more blocks completed.  Now I need to prep a few more DJ blocks so I can keep moving smoothly through assembling them!

I also jumped on the band wagon and removed the dreaded "two word verification" that blogger has imposed.  So far, everything is working fine, but I have been getting a lot of spam comments which I've easily deleted since I use comment approval through email.  Still - the spam comments are coming through on a daily basis and I get between 2 and 14 spam comments a day so far since I removed the word verification last week!  Ugghhh, I dislike spammers!

Have an awesome day!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Stars In Progress!

For the past week or so, I've had a new project brewing in my mind.

These cute little antique 4" finished stars that I bought a year or so ago have been my inspiration along with this:

This is an antique quilt top that I also bought a year or so ago.  I love this quilt top - so many wonderful old fabrics in it!

So I set out creating my new design in EQ and then went on to pulling fabrics from the stash!

A yummy pile of "light" fabrics.

Excellent pile of reproduction fabrics - oh how i love color and design!

Then I set out to make a test block:

Oops - cut off a point there - oh well - life goes on!

Then with the assistance of my boss Bella:

We starched and cut fabric for most of the day yesterday!  Bella is such a good boss to have around - she doesn't say to much or complain, but let me tell you - she was really being a stinker last night and had to be in the middle of everything I was doing!  She was really intrigued with my hot iron and she scared the daylights out of me with how closely she was getting to it to sniff it out and see what was going on! Thankfully, no kitties were burned or hurt in this process!

After quite a busy and long day of starching, ironing, cutting and many breaks! (Remember - I'm still recovering from Carpal Tunnel surgeries - and yes, I do take frequent breaks when doing repetitive work like cutting and ironing because my hands are still healing.  If I try to do something for too long of a period - I get an achy feeling in the heels of my hands and sometimes a few fingers, so I take breaks and stretch and do my exercises just like I'm supposed to be doing! Did you know it can take up to a year or more for complete recovery - if complete recovery ever does occur?  Oh yes - quite interesting stuff!)

Here is the result of a days work.  44 little piles of yummy fabrics, cut to size and ready to be created into tiny little 4" finished size stars for my next new pattern design!

Want a sneak peek?

Not much of a sneak peek - but trust me - you'll see more of this in the future!  Think - cottons and wool - pieced stars and yummy wool applique blocks!  Oh joy - I'm going to have a super fun day today! And I hope your day is just as fun!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Oak Leaf & Reel Finished and A Really Good Cookie Recipe!

I was able to complete another project yesterday - this one had been "in progress" for about 2 years now.  I just needed to put the binding on it yesterday!

This is Oak Leaf & Reel from the Autumn Gatherings book by Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings Quilt Shop and Carole Charles!  Loved this project - I bought a kit for this one and every single fabric was so yummy and perfect!

Here's a close up:

Here's the front cover of the book

Awhile back I also finished this project from the book:

This is Turkey Track - another kit I purchased!  Loved it!

If you have this book - be sure to try out the Green Bay Mac and Cheese recipe - it was a real winner with my husband and kids!

And speaking of recipes, I'm going to share my time tested Snickerdoodle Cookie recipe with you today.  I'm going to be making these cookies this evening for the upcoming baby shower that I'm helping with.  These cookies are so easy to make, yummy and freeze very well after they are made!

The Best Snickerdoodles

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter (softened to room temperature)
(If you have Butter Flavored Crisco - I've also used this instead of part shortening part butter and it works great - just use 1 cup Butter Flavored Crisco)
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Reserve the following to roll the cookies in:
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbls cinnamon

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix shortening and butter (or Butter Crisco), 1 cup sugar and eggs until fluffy.  In a separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt thoroughly and add to the shortening mixture. Form dough by taking a generous size tablespoon of dough and rolling in your hands.

Mix reserved sugar and cinnamon together and roll balls of cookie dough in it.  

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2" apart and bake just until the cookies are set - do not overcook, about 10 minutes.  Yields about 2 dozen cookies. 

Typically when I make this recipe - I double it and freeze half the cookies for the kids to grab for a snack later on or for my husband to pack in his lunch for work! 

I finished the baby quilt I've been working on last night also!  Binding is done - I'm going to toss it in the washing machine today and fluff it up a bit and it's all ready to be wrapped up for the my neighbors first grandbaby that should be arriving in about 7 weeks!  How exciting!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Civil War Quilts Book - A Must Have!!!

I had no intention of blogging twice today, but my lovely postal lady brought me the absolute best package earlier and I simply had to share!

This book is 100 times better than I expected.  The photography is so rich and wonderful - you can actually see some of the wonderful hand quilting on many of the quilts.  The colors are lovely in the photos - they appear to be so "right on" with the era of these quilts.  The layout of the book is fabulous.  The stories are intriguing and well written (from what I've gotten to read so far!)

And - there are patterns for some of the quilts in the book.

Oh My! I have to make this quilt block soon - it's calling my name! (click on any of the photos - I have left the files a bit larger so that you could get a really good sneak peak at this book!)

Oh do I love this quilt!

This book is titled Civil War Quilts, authored by Pam Weeks and Don Beld - the publisher is Schiffer (they always produce such great books!)

If you have a local quilt shop - call them and request they order this book for you- you will not regret it!

Here's a little more eye candy!

Lovely reproduction fabrics!

Oh man - I gotta make this quilt too!

This one has also been added to the to do list also!

I cannot say enough about how good the photography in this book is.  The information - wow - I'm like a sponge, everything is written so well!

Inside cover details - look at that quilting!

Go order this book!

Second Hand Rose Finished!

I have so many projects around here in different phases of completion.  Assorted blocks, assorted quilt tops, some quilt tops that are quilted and just need binding - you get the picture.

Yesterday I worked on a few Dear Jane blocks, quilted the baby quilt I'm working on a little more, chose fabrics for more upcoming new designs, went to lunch with girlfriends and finally - got the binding on one of my little quilts.

This is Second Hand Rose.  The pattern can be found in the Remembrances book by Jo Morton. The picture above of my finished quilt looks a little wonky - but it's perfectly squared - I just didn't straighten it out on my design wall as well as I should have!

This was the very first kit I have ever bought.  I purchased it about 3 years ago, swapped out a few of the fabrics in the kit for something from my stash because the provided fabrics were just not "doing it" for me.  I pieced the quilt top a year after purchasing the kit.  It sat here for another year until I sent it off to the long arm quilter.  Sat here for awhile longer because I wished more quilting would have been done on the quilt then what I ended up receiving and was just frustrated with it - then I decided to tea stain the center of the quilt because the fabric (from the kit) was so glaringly white compared to the other fabrics (I should have swapped that out too - but now with the tea staining - it's perfectly fine!)  It sat awhile longer and finally yesterday was the day for binding.  

And now it's done.  It's ready to be hung on my living room wall.

Here's a close up of a few of the fabrics:

Today, I'm working in a bad rush to beat the postal pick up today.  I need to finish the final drawings on one of my new patterns and get it in the mail to the printer - Today!  It's a quick turn around job for them and thankfully they are "squeezing" me in so I can meet my deadlines!

After that - I'll be quilting that baby quilt some more and hopefully finish it soon!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day to each of you!

Yesterday after posting about this beautiful quilt that by Great Aunt gifted to me:

I started thinking back to a few years ago when she first showed me this quilt.  I was utterly consumed with this quilt and so amused and delighted with it - that I went back to her house twice that day to take more pictures and measurements so that I could draft the pattern. And do you know - she still remembers that day and that is how she decided upon this quilt to send to me.  She remembered how much I loved it!

My memory was also jolted a bit yesterday into remembering that this quilt pattern used for this exact quilt was originally given to my Great Aunt and my Grandmother by my Great Grandmother Juliana!  How neat!

Anyhow - here is a link to the post where I first spoke about this quilt in April, 2010!

Last night, I went on a mad search through my quilting cupboard to locate the sample I sewed up two years ago after returning from my visit to see family.  That's how intrigued I was with this quilt! This original quilt that I now proudly own is a bit smaller in the finished product than a pattern I found for it in a printed publication - but you still get the same over all effect with slightly larger pieces!

I have located the pattern for this quilt that was originally published in one of the Aunt Martha's publications, If you would like to order the booklet - or search for it in your stash of quilting patterns - it was printed in Issue #3230 titled Aunt Martha's Favorite Quilts and is located on page 12.  You can order this booklet that is still in print on the Aunt Martha's website!

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm Crying Like A Newborn Baby Today!! (In A Good Way!)

Oh my!

Many of you that follow my blog may remember me speaking in the past of my dear sweet Great Aunt Columbia Jane.  That woman has gone and put me in tears today - in a good way though!

Last week a cousin of mine FaceBooked me a private message and told me to be on the lookout for a package from my Great Aunt.

It arrived today.

Here's the next phase of opening my package - this is where the tears started to flow.  I knew I was receiving a quilt at this point and the letter enclosed was so precious and will soon be framed and hung in my sewing room.

At this point I'm crying and shaking because I'm so excited.  I can hardly stand the anticipation, but I continue slowly unfolding the quilt to enjoy this thrill and take photos for you!

Look at this incredible backing and the wonderfully delightful hand quilting!

And here is the quilt!

Here is a close up for you!

And of course a picture of Bella - she had to inspect the quilt herself!

Oh dear sweet Great Aunt of mine - you made my day!  I had not intended on blogging today because I'm buried under a pile of paper work and I'm writing pattern instructions today, - but in the back of my mind I kept nagging at myself to blog about something!!!  This surprise is very much welcomed to my day today!  It was so wonderful to take a mini break to go upstairs to check to see if the mail had been delivered and see this delightful box waiting for me on my front steps.

I was like a kid in a candy store opening it up. I wish my kids would have been home to take pictures of me during each step of me opening this box, because you all would have gotten a good laugh out of it - I was jumping up and down, crying, shaking - you name it - I did it all!

Now, I will continue my day, wrapped in my warm and wonderful quilt in my freezing cold basement office, happily typing away on my computer and writing these pattern instructions with a big huge grin on my face!

Love you Great Aunt Columbia Jane - you are such a treasure to me and our family!
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