Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bees: My happiness for 2011

It was fitting that I spent the last day of 2011 working on bee blocks.  I "discovered" bees this year and fell in love.  L.O.V.E.  I am lucky enough to be in 4 bees in 2012 and I just can not wait to dive in.

Why are bees so great?  I love meeting new folks, following new blogs, trying new things as my bee-mates circulate their requests and learn something new about combining fabrics each month.  What a great way to expand my horizons!

I fixed up my Sew & Bee Happy red star from yesterday, thank goodness!  It's looking better this time around :)  One point is a little skimpy, but it will have to do.


I made two blocks for Judith's Bee Blessed.  This month we are to make any block we want and she will put together a sampler quilt.  Great idea!  I have liked this block for quite some time, but never have an excuse to make/use it.



And finally I made a big Wonky Star block for my Sew & Bee Happy quilt.  I think this will look nice with the scattered tri-star blocks folks are making this month (as seen in yesterday's post).  Boy this one comes together so quickly as compared to the Stargazing blocks.  I am already itching to make another!


Happy new year to all of you.  It was a pleasure to meet so many of you in this past year.  I feel so very lucky to be included in such a wonderful group of kind, giving, inspirational, creative folks.  Thank you all for brightening each and every day!  I wish you health, happiness and fabulous crafting in 2012. xx

Friday, December 30, 2011

Stargazing

I am lucky enough to be Miss January!  Um, no. Not in a pin-up calendar, but for the Sew & Bee Happy bee!  As soon as I bought Modern Blocks, I knew I had to use Stargazing as my block for this scrappy bee.  I could not be more excited!


I finished off two test blocks today.  They went pretty well, but I learned a few things.  First, you need to carefully choose your scraps so that the fabric is a color. Stating the obvious, I know, but do you see that small pink star above?  For two points I chose a white fabric with a pink print but when it was used in the block, there wasn't enough contrast to see the point.  I will replace that little star tonight.


Second, if you go too tall with your points or they will be cropped when you piece the blocks together.  There is one point cropped in the blue star and one that will be cropped as soon as I join this block to the next.  So it goes - live and learn.  Do you see the little red star here?  I did better on try two :)

Anyway, I think this will make a fantastic quilt.  I will put these blocks into the quilt top with different orientations so the stars are scattered.  I will make a few large 12.5 inch wonky stars as well to add a little variety.  Can not wait to see this top finished off!  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Wrap Up

My holiday time in the US is coming to a close.  It has been just wonderful being here with my family, but I am also really looking forward to getting home to Galway to relax in our new house, unpack a bit and to start stitching again. 

There are just a few things to tidy up here on the blog before we close off this part of the holiday.  First, photos of a table runner that had to remain super top secret while it was being made:


I made this for my mom after loving the Modern Christmas Table Runner swap hosted by Susan at Canadian abroad.  So, I just kept stitching and made one as a gift too.  If I could do it again, I would not use the light colored prints at the star corners as you loose a bit of contrast that makes the star pop.  Beyond that, I am happy.  More importantly, Mom is happy.

(PS - you'll have to forgive me for the photo - I am  not at my computer and I am using software that I am not at all used to.  For the life of me I can't import this photo rotated at 90 degrees so that its hanging!  Arg!   Back to my computer tomorrow....)

No trip to the US is complete without a bit of fabric shopping.  I didn't go really nuts, but of course I have goodies to bring home....


Four Echo FQs.  I wanted more, but the shop only had 4 bolts from the 20 print line.  It will be like a scavenger hunt trying to find the rest as I have not seen them in Irish shops :)


Variety of FQs that just made me happy.  A little Riley Blake, Michael Miller (I think) and Joel Dewberry. 


Quarter yard cuts of Kona and Moda solids for a quilt I have in mind.  I needed a light, medium and dark of red, yellow, blue, green, orange and gray to go with the Kona white background.  I think these will work.  I am actually in love with them.  The only thing that makes me sad is this shop is filled with fabric rippers.  I hate that.  Hate the little hangy-off threads that get tangled and the off kilter piece you receive.  I'll get over it.


And finally.  The shopping extravaganza that will actually break my back going home....six (yes, SIX) yards of Warm and White.  What was I thinking!?!?  I wanted to buy some to make two design walls in my new quilting space, so it was going to happen some time.  Here, though, it was on a crazy sale so I saved tons of cash.  And it's hard to find Warm and White near me.  So I couldn't say no. 
That's the shopping news, ladies! Now I just have to squash it all into my suitcase! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Birdie Stitches: December

Since I am traveling this holiday, I brought along a little embroidery to keep my hands busy.


Finished off my Birdie Stitches for December just in time!  I really enjoyed stitching this when we settled down for the evening.  Now I wish I brought my empty June block to finish off too. 

I finaly (FINALLY) have an idea for a June scene, thank goodness.  I am getting a little tired of this Birdie Stitches project, so finishing off that last block would be fantastic.  Looking forward to a finished top in no time :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mennonites Quilting Like Mad!

I grew up in Pennsylvania near a Mennonite community.  While I am home for the holiday I was lucky enough to get a tour of a facility where the Mennonites make quilts either to raise funds for their own work or to give away both domestically and internationally.  Can you believe they make 25 quilts a week just with volunteers who come in to sew?  They have an amazing setup.  Want to see? 

They have this fabulous prep room with a gigantic cutting table and storage for all kinds of fabric that has been donated.


Since so much is made with donated fabric, most of their quilts are scrappy.  Scrappy, when done well, looks so great!


They have a long arm machine but primarily use frames for communal hand quilting.  So, depending on the size of quilt they have several different frames ready to go. 



This Grandmothers Flower Garden quilt was on the frame for quilting while I was there.  They are echo quilting (by hand) around each "flower". It's going to look great when they are done!



Not all of the patchwork is done by hand, so they have rows of donated machines ready to quickly put a top together.  Wouldn't this be a great way to get together with your quilty friends for a good chat?  Check out that log cabin quilt in the center.


I'll just toss this one in because I loved it.  Pretty pretty.


So at any point they have several quilts on the go.  There were four prepped while I was there.  Some for quilting, some for hand tying.  Depends on how quickly they want to get something finished and sent out.  It was really amazing.


I was totally impressed with their setup and wish I lived closer to volunteer.  They send hundreds of quilts out to needy families while still providing a community for the local quilters.  What could be better?  Well done, Mennonite Central Committee of PA!  Wish I could be a greater contributor to your efforts! xx

Friday, December 23, 2011

Quilt Art: International Expressions

How lucky am I that I return to my hometown for Christmas and there's a quilt exhibit on?  What great news!  So, my folks and I went out to have a peek.  What a nice way to spend a few hours with them.  Neither are quilt makers, but both are quilt appreciators, so they are very supportive of my quilty love.  How cool of them.

So, we went to the local James Michener Art Museum.  All were art quilts, so not a traditional block in the bunch.  No modern quilts to speak of either.  Still, there were some fabulous colors.  This, for example, is my favorite:

I. Am. In. Love. With. It. 

Can I make something this beautiful?  This far outside of my comfort zone?  Well, I'm going to give it a try! 

Want to see a few more?





They were all beautiful in their own way.  Lots of hand dyed fabric, lots of applique, lots of non-cotton fabrics.  The quilting was always impressive.  My only complaint is that not all were actual quilts with three layers, but sometimes were even only just quilt tops.  Ah, details.  Still, it offered color and great inspiration and I can't wait to get stitching myself! 

This exhibit is traveling, so if it comes near you it is absolutely worth a peek.

 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mixer Cover

Check this off both my Handmade Christmas list AND my Winter Sewing Goals list!  I finally (FINALLY) made a cover for my brother's mixer.  He asked for one ages ago and I kind of procrastinated because circles are not always my friend.  Anyway, here it is Christmas so it was time to get a move on.  What do you think?


I just love this line from Monaluna.  I just hope its not too girly.  His kitchen is light yellow and his pantry red and white.  I looked all over for red and white fabric that I liked, but I continually returned to this Monaluna goodness.  Oh, just go with the inspiration that is moving you....  This will still be OK in a red and white pantry, I think.


Now, I wanted a fabric with retro mixers or cupcakes all over it, but he wanted me to tone it down.  Anyway, Monaluna also has this fab woodland print that I love.  He's a big hiker, so this seemed just perfect!  But it was EXACTLY what he asked me not to do.  So, it's the lining now and the entire thing is reversable.  I hope he flips it every now and then to get a little show of this fabric too.

Here's hoping he likes it :)

If you want to make one of your own, I used this tutorial as a guide and then kind of made it up as I went along.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Table Runner Love

How fantastic was the Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap hosted by Susan of Canadian Abroad?  I found this to be eye opening for me as I had not made a table runner before.  The lovely ladies participating were encouraging, chatty and filled with inspiration, so it just flows from the flickr group right into your sewing room at home. 

Much to my surprise, my online bloggy friend Rhonda was creating for me!  Rhonda writes Quilter in the Gap blog and hosts a podcast which is completely entertaining to listen to!  Anyway, I was so super duper excited to see her return address label sticking out of my post box!  Want to see what she made? 


How spectacular is this?  I love how Rhonda took a creative approach to the runner - its not the usual rectangle that we always see.  Circles!  How great!?!?  Want to see each circle up close?



I love the fabric!  Now, do you notice anything special here?  Yes!  Each circle is an independent little quilt that could be used as a place mat, but they're all linked together using little handmade cuff link-like buttons.  So, each place mat has a button hole on either side that can then be used to link it up with its buddy.  You could even make a circular runner if you have a circular table!



Rhonda also included a handmade Christmas tree ornament with "2011" on it, to commemorate our recent move into our new home.  How thoughtful!  there were also sheets of stickers that I have since plastered EVERYWHERE.  

Rhonda, thank you.  Your creativity and inspiration are making my Christmas shiny and bright.  I am entirely grateful for your thoughtfulness and your huge effort to make something so beautiful. xx

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fluffy Pouch


I found this fabulous fabric in Pippablue a few weeks ago and I just could not walk out of the shop without buying a FQ.  It is an odd day that I buy fabric without a project in mind, so I just carried it around in my purse and pet it while I was at work.  Eventually I decided it would be fun to have something handmade by my friend Fi of PatchworkDelights.  A little pouch that I could bring with me everywhere.  


Well here it is!  I love this little cutie!  On the outside its echo quilted around little individual sheep to make them even fluffier!


Inside there is a bright happy yellow.  A little something to brighten my day.


And its the perfect size!  My phone, notebook and passport can fit in easily so its great to travel with.  Fi, you're the best.  Thank you so very much for making my day!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hi Again!

Wow!  What a week it has been!  Are you overwhelmed with giveaways? 

First, let me say a great big hello to my new bloggy friends.  So nice to meet you this week and I can not wait to get to know you better.  Your giveaway comments were really making me giggle!

Longstanding bloggy friends, I have missed you!  I missed the eye candy on your blog, your silly comments and emails and the sewing inspiration you consistently toss this way.  This move has really wiped me out of my routine.  I am finally (FINALLY) back online in the new house and I really look forward to catching up with each and every one of you.  I missed you guys! xx

What many of you are wondering is who will be the lucky recipient of the FSQ giveaway?  I just can not get over the positive response to this giveaway.  I really struggled to find an idea this year, which kind of surprised me.  Glad so many of you thought it was fun enough to enter your name.  Mr. Random had 930 entries to choose from and he selected number 121. 


Let me introduce you to Miss Laurel!  She hosts several blogs such as My Adventure is You and Cooking With Laurel.  Here's what she had to say:


Laurel, I emailed you for your mailing address.  I have a little package all ready to go to you and I'd love to get it in Monday's post!

Were any of you lucky enough to be a giveaway winner?  Tell me what you scored!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Giveaway Day! Giveaway Day!

It's the day we've all been waiting for!  Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!  I'm so excited I just don't know where to start. 

Hi to my regular FSQ friends. I miss you guys, but hope to be back blogging and reading your blogs soon enough.  To those just finding FSQ, welcome!  I'm so glad you're here!  Have a little look around, please :)

Right. Onto the giveaway.  Would you like a big, lovely stack of fabric to make something spectacular?  Well, how about yummy ECHINO prints?  I am in love with them.  There are 13 (yes, lucky 13) total with 8 at 9x10 inches and 5 at 9x19 inches.  Enough for a cute bag, several pouches or even a mini-quilt.





But wait!  You're going to need solids too!  I have a stack of 5 KONA solid fat quarters that coordinate.  They're a bit bigger than your usual fat quarter at 26x19 inches. 



How do you get your hands on these beauties?  There are several ways:

One entry: leave a comment below telling me your favorite fabric designer.
Second entry: become a follower and leave a second comment telling me what fabric line you just don't understand what the hub-bub is about
Third entry: blog about this particular giveaway (and leave the link in your comment) to spread the word of this Echino extravaganza

Winner will be chosen by random number generator on 16 Dec.  I'm happy to ship anywhere in the world.

That's it!  Super easy!  Wishing you the best of luck and have a fantastic time blog hopping!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nearly There Now...

Well, our move is nearly over!  We have most of our stuff in the new house and are looking forward to unpacking and making it home.  You better believe I am unpacking the sewing room first! 

I will go radio silent for the next few days as we don't have internet at the new house yet.  So, most likely no posts here or comments on your stuff.  I'll miss reading about your adventures, but I'll catch up as soon as I can.

Hope to chat with you again next week! 

xx
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