Thursday, April 10, 2014

Taking Care of the Essentials

The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
Joseph Addison

I am enjoying the warmer weather although it has still been cool.  That's fine with me because I don't like hot.  It is to get into the 80s this weekend.  Spring is definitely here because my world is covered in a yellow haze of pollen.  My sinuses can attest to this also.  I know from some of the blogs I read that snow is still around in some of the Northern Hemisphere so I'll share some more flowers to help warm your day or give you Spring envy at least.  My irises have been putting on a great show! 

 This is my smaller patch.  They have been blooming for over a week now.  I was happy to see more purples this year.  When I planted them they were in a single row about 4 feet away from the crepe myrtle.  They will soon surround it if we don't thin them out.

Here is a closer view.  The purple is much deeper than this.  I couldn't get it to show true color even with a little adjusting.

This is the batch in the center island.  They have just started opening.  This picture is several days ago.  Yesterday all those buds you see were open.  I'll try to get more pictures today.  I think a few purple ones should be open in this group today too.

I have one more batch of colored iris that blooms later.  I'm hoping I won't miss them while we are on vacation later this month.

Ready for some more purple?  Here is my Rainbow Scrap Challenge block.  The colors in it are much richer than they show here too.  Some of these look blue but they really are purple.
I have flourescent lights in the studio that just change colors even though they are daylight bulbs.  There is too much pollen to lay it outside.  It would turn yellow I'm sure.  LOL

Here is a peek at what I'm working on at the longarm.  Not too fancy but it is getting
DONE!  Yeah!  

I haven't done the wavy lines this way before.  I'm really liking it!  One day I won't chicken out of doing the ruler work.  Still more skills to master.  I'll get there one day I hope.  This is a good thing - refer to the quote above.  LOL

How's this post for a Happy Trifecta? Flowers, quilts and something for the Grandbaby.  I hope your day is a happy one too!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Learning to Change

Change is the end result of all true learning. Change involves three things: First, a dissatisfaction with self -- a felt void or need; 
second, a decision to change to fill the void or need; and 
third, a conscious dedication to the process of growth and change -- the willful act of making the change, doing something. 
Leo Buscaglia

I took some time in March to step back and look at how things were going in my life.  I know I haven't been blogging much but the time away gave me a chance to think about what I want from blogging, quilting and other areas in my life too.  I was surprised that my blog continued to get a number of hits even when I was absent.  Thank you, my readers, for the support!  I am approaching the 100,000 hits number and would have probably been there already if I had posted a little more in the last couple of months.  I will be having a drawing for my readers when I get there.  It will probably happen in June but could be in May.

I have not been idle.  I have been working in the studio and will share more about that later.
I don't intend to stop blogging, I just want to make sure I am doing it for reasons that are important to me.  I have always enjoyed sharing my skills by teaching quilting and the blog is a great way to do that.  I want to get more tutorials and tips posted but that does take a chunk of time.  I have one of those big, ending in '0', birthdays coming later in the year.  Those always make you do a little navel gazing about the important things in life and how time is so fleeting.  I'm trying to get a little smarter about how I spend mine. 

So what have I been doing?

Last month I took a few classes at the Sewing Expo.  I once again took a class from Dustin Farrell.  I have taken a number of his classes and this one was a repeat but I enjoyed it anyway.  Here is some of his work.

Dustin Farrell's thread work

Dustin's quilting

Dustin's Spiro Quilting and Feathers

More Spiro Quilting

I'm hoping to play with the Spiro Quilting soon.  I couldn't get in that class but I bought the DVD and tools.

I also took several classes with Gina Perks.  She was a delightful teacher!  She is a very talented quilter and has written a book.  She also is a very good photographer and pastry chef.  She has a blog that shows a little of her talents HERE.

Gina Perks
Gina is holding the class sample of applique done on the longarm.  That was a really fun class and I will have to share my version of it later.  I still have a little more to do on it but it was a great class with a number of techniques in it.  

One of the things I did make progress on during March was my NewFO from February.  I had shared my dissatisfaction with the jelly rolls when I was cutting them in this post.  I did get the blocks sewn now I need to find some time at the design wall.

Nothing complicated about these blocks for sure.  Just two seams.  You can't get much faster than that!  Here is the link for the Falling Charms pattern.

I did manage to find a few new black and white prints at the show also.  I will be using some of these in my Soul Searching quilt blocks soon.  I have this month's made but will have to get a picture made to share.

That's a little of what I've been up to.  There is more to share but I'll save that for another day.  I have a quilt calling me from the longarm ;-)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Crush

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds 
on the heel that has crushed it. 
Mark Twain 

Spring is on it way so they say.  The calendar says that it is here but the temperatures have not given much credence to that fact.  So to add a bit of hope in that direction I will share some of the flowers that have come and gone in my yard this month.

The crocus are such small delicate little things that they are easily missed.  We only have a few that show up but I love them anyway.

I have been busy at my machine this month and have gotten a bit done.  I have more to share later but I'm off to a shower soon.

I added borders to this top.  At first I wasn't sure I would.  I ran out of fabrics so that I had to make the last one scrappy.  I have just enough fabric left for binding and these will be all gone.  Yeah.  Now to decide on backing.

Remember I said that there was a project that was just demanding that I make it.  Well the top was finished last week and I trimmed the edges and got a picture yesterday.  What do you think?

I don't usually work with solids but I had been looking at this design ever since I bought the Hex-N-More ruler.  I pawed through my solids stash and came up with these.  I would have liked to make it a little longer but I didn't have enough of the light purple on the right.

This is the most modern quilt I've made.  My husband really likes it which is surprising since it has purples in it.

The pansies have recovered from the winter and are much happier now that it's almost time to replace them with something new.

My lack of blogging posts lately may or may not be related to my newest Crush.  Do you have this problem?

I've got to hurry and get ready and leave for the shower.  I'll have details to share later.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring News

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. 
Anne Dudley Bradstreet

I have good news!  Spring is coming to the South.  Yesterday and today the temperatures are in the 70s.  Of course tomorrow is to be colder and rainy but the long harsh winter seems to be coming to an end at last.  You may cheer now!

Misty even seems to enjoy the daffodils.

It's nice to see the hyacinths that David planted after they quit blooming last year did make it through the winter and bloom.  The tops of two of them were a little frost bit and they are a little small but that's OK.  You can see how they looked when I bought them last year here.
Definitely not as showy this year.

I know I haven't been blogging a lot lately but I have been on a cutting and sewing jag.  My head is filled with projects that I want to get made.  Of course a good shrink might have a few words to say about why I have been in the mood to attack fabric with my rotary cutter and chop it into bits.  LOL  I also have made a dent in the bin of fabric waiting to be ironed and put away.  Still working on that last step though.

I did get the aqua/teal Soul Searching block made for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Since purples and teal were my favorite colors for a number of years during the 80s and 90s I had a few to pull from.  I'm hoping purple and yellow will come up soon.

I got the 5 inch black squares cut on the Accuquilt studio too.  This project is now ready to go.  I put it aside for another one that was just screaming for my attention though.  It is going so fast that I should have the whole top done today if I can get back into the studio.  I'll let you keep guessing as to what it may be.  

And are you ready for?  Can you believe it?  I have not one but TWO finished tops!!! I told you I had been busy.  The border issues were resolved and now the question is which one to finish first so I will let you help with the decision.


This was the original plan.  Star blocks are just two colors, a dotted print and a solid.  Two blocks of each colorway.  The border issue HERE, was resolved by eliminating the solids. It took a while to make up my mind about it though.  Take a closer look at the blocks.


When I started this project back in June I realized I had enough strip sets for two sets of blocks since I was using so many colors.  As I was working on it the extra blocks just kept nagging me for attention so they got made too.

Again there are two blocks in each colorway.  I wanted the quilt to look a little different too so I went with a piano key border on this one.  Not my favorite border but I made it fit.  They can be a bit of a pain to get to the right size sometimes and don't expect the second side to fit just because the first one did.  Remember I mentioned the crooked jelly roll strips.  Grrrr.....

Here is how it turned out.  Solid cornerstones might would have looked better but then I would have had to decide which of the 8 solids to use.  To simplify matters I went with the dotted white background.

So which of the two do you like best?  Or do you think they are so similar it is a toss up?

By the way this is my 200th post.  Hard to believe isn't it!

Monday, March 3, 2014

New in February

A real decision is measured by the fact that you've taken a new action. 
If there's no action, you haven't truly decided.
 Anthony Robbins

So once again I could not make it through another month without starting something NEW!   I saw THIS QUILT on the AQS blog and really liked it.  I had a strip roll from Blank textiles that I thought would work well.  Remember I was auditioning blacks for use with several projects.  You can see the pictures in this post.  After looking through my solids stash twice I came up with enough of the same black to use for the quilt.

I have the 5 inch square die for my Accuquilt Studio Cutter so I will be using it to cut the black squares I need for the quilt.  I have already done the subcuts on the strips.  You can see them here.

Notice the little pile of scraps to the right and their very divergent sizes?  This is the second strip roll that I have used this year and so far I AM NOT IMPRESSED!  Both were cut crooked.  This one had strips that were almost 3 inches different in length.  The different sizes make it hard to depend on the being able to get the same cuts from the strips.  Some of them I will even have to use part of the selvedge to get what I need and you can see what is left from other strips.  All of the strips were over 1/8" narrower near the fold.  I will have to make a number of adjustments when sewing the blocks together.

HERE is the video tutorial for the quilt.  It is one by the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  The quilt in the video doesn't look anything like the one in the link above.  I chose to cut the strips to the sizes needed rather than doing it the way the video shows.  After I started having problems with the strip lengths I was really glad I did.  I would not have had nearly enough fabric to do it the other way. 

Which method would you prefer to use if the quantity of fabric was not an issue? 
Have you had any problems with strip rolls?

Linking with: Cat Patches NewFO

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Soul Searching

The soul is made for action, and cannot rest till it be employed. Idleness is its rust. Unless it will up and think and taste and see, all is in vain. 
Thomas Traherne

I've been having some more fun cutting strips with my Accuquilt Studio Cutter.  They just come out so straight and fast.  I was working on teal and turquoise strips for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and in just three passes through the cutter I had a stack of strips about 4 inches high.  Here are the pieces I cut from them for another block in the Soul Searching Quilt.  You can see my previous blocks HERE AND HERE.

Even though I was able to draft the block from a picture back in January I bought the book this week.  I found it at JoAnn and it was 30% off plus I had another 20% off the total sale coupon to use.  There are several projects that I liked in it so it will be nice to have it in my collection of quilting books.  The photos are great to look at also.

These big blocks work up so quickly that I'm thinking of making another one using more prints.  The ones I'm using now are mostly tone on tone.  I was wondering today how it would look with black with white prints for the background instead of the white with black that I am using this time.  I should get the block together in a few days.

I didn't realize until I had the book in hand that this is where the Fractured Quilt is to be found also.  There was a large number of people doing a Quilt Along on it recently.  There are many ways it can be laid out and sewn together.

I like adding really good quilting books that have great photos and design ideas to my library. My bookcase is getting a little too full so I am picky about what I buy.  I bought another one that I will share with you latter.

I'm linking with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and Let's Book It

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Signs of Hope

Morale is the state of mind. It is steadfastness and courage and hope. It is confidence and zeal and loyalty. It is elan,esprit de corps and determination. 
General George Catlet Marshall

Look what popped up in my yard finally last week!

It has been a long cold and wet winter and it isn't over yet.  Any signs that it is coming to an end soon are welcome!  We still have some cold weather in the forecast so I am not holding my breath that it will be staying warm.  The weekend will at least be dry.  Rain is not expected until Monday.  I wanted to get pictures of these last week but it was either raining or my camera was in the basement studio.  I finally took this one with my Iphone.  It was cloudy so it's not the best picture.  It has been so cold that the daffodils are very short because they have just popped out of the ground and bloomed.  I still have many that are just coming up so I'll have more pictures soon.  This is really late for them.  The last two years I've had blooms the first week of January.

I didn't mean to be absent for so long from blogland.  The last two weeks I haven't been sleeping well and this week I have been hit with allergies.  I think it is from eating gluten, yes I know better, I lost my voice and have been dealing with itchy eyes, throat and drippy sinuses.  Yucky is how I've been feeling so I haven't wanted to share.

I have been sewing away and made progress on a number of projects.  There is even a FINISHED TOP!!!!

If you remember, this was made with a charm pack that I won.  I started with making triangle units and then played with them on the design wall.  I did add a few prints from my stash to finish it up.

I was puzzled about where to use the few large prints.  I wound up placing them diagonally in the rows.  I think it works OK.

The background are a variety of tone on tone cream prints.  I darkened the picture above so you might be able to see them.

I also finished up this top but I still need to add the borders.  I'll have a better picture when I get them on.

Linking with:  Crazy Mom Quilts AND Lily's Quilts

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