Sunday, February 28, 2016

Weekend Binging

This has been a weekend of binging for me. I started off on Friday night with tons of baking. My daughter's service club was having a bake sale on Saturday, so I made a double batch of blondies, a double batch of brownies, and a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cheesecake. Fortunately, I did not binge eat any of them!

After my baking marathon, I started binge reading my new book What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan. I finished it this afternoon outside enjoying the sixty degrees and sunshine with my dogs. If you like thrillers, this should be on your to read list! I know it is available at Target because it is their latest book club pick and it was fabulous--all 500 pages.

On Saturday morning, I made my first Pixie Basket.  I had seen the tutorial last weekend, but I was too swamped with 15 hours of work paperwork to try one then. I used some scraps of some sunflower fabric and made this darling basket. Here is the free tutorial from Heidi at Fabric Mutt

It was so easy and a great use of random batting scraps and fabrics. I decided to make more as they will be the perfect gift for Secretary's Day with some goodies in them.
 Between yesterday and today, I made 16 Pixie Baskets! I work at three schools and have 10 secretaries to show my appreciation to. I also need a little surprise for my BOM quilting students, so I made some extra. I am considering making some more for my fifth grade students as an end of the year gift. I usually make them monogrammed book covers, but these might be the gift this year. The only thing I bought was some twill tape for the little handles. Aren't they cheerful in my garden basket? I am going to dig into my Bonnie and Camille stash and make a couple more for myself next.
 Have you tried these amazing mechanical pencils yet? They have a thicker lead, so I do not break it with my hard writing. I was given two by a friend and had to get some more because they are awesome. I ordered some more on Amazon to put in the Secretary's Pixie Baskets. They were great for marking an embroidery design on fabric.
 This was the embroidery design I traced with them. This is the second one of these I have made. This one will be part of a retirement quilt for an amazing kindergarten teacher. I thought the sentiment and colors were fitting with her decades teaching.
I am going to continue my weekend of binging with an evening in front of the TV watching the Oscars and slow stitching my Down in the Garden Block 1.
Enjoy your week!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Late to the Party!

 Lori Holt has another quilt along going on--Bloom. I am a huge fan of her designs and was not planning on joining in because it is appliqué and I am NOT a fan. Then, my sister sent me a set of the templates and I figured I could make the blocks my way--with Heat and Bond Iron-On Adhesive and the buttonhole stitch on my Pfaff machine with matching thread.
 I dug into my scrap bins and started pulling out bits and pieces for the blocks. I am not sure how I am going to set the blocks--I may make them into a couple of baby quilts.
 I started sewing the pieces down, but my buttonhole stitch on my Pfaff is skipping. I put in a new needle and cleaned it, but it continues to misbehave. FRUSTRATION! The last time it did this, I took it in for a tune-up and it was fine after that. A tune-up is not in my budget right now, so this project is likely to be set aside. I do have several machines, but this is the only one with the buttonhole stitch. I was already late to the party, but now I think I should have just stayed home! 
 Straight stitching is no problem, so I made my 34 units for the Scrap Dance Tango Quilt Along. There is still plenty of time to join in with Carole here
Today is the only day I have done any quilting since last weekend--I am slaving over my computer with paperwork for my job, but the light at the end of the tunnel is near. I plan on watching some TV this evening and embroidering my Down in the Garden Block 1 for Slow Sunday Stitching. Check out how everyone else is relaxing with handwork here:

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

 Happy Valentine's Day! My hubby and I are pretty low key about the whole thing. We are planning on going out to brunch and then taking an afternoon walk.  A perfect plan that leaves me lots of sewing time and him puttering time.

I made this mini embroidery quilt for my sister. It arrived yesterday just in time! The pattern was from Fort Worth Fabric Studio--they offer lots of free patterns and gorgeous fat quarter bundles

I need to contribute a block for a retirement quilt and I am planning on embroidering another one of these for it because I just love the message.

My sister just texted my that my niece who is a 5th grader is impressed with my embroidery skills, so I texted back I will give her some lessons next time I see her. That will be fun!
 After teaching my Quilty Fun BOM class yesterday, I got caught up on my Ugly Xmas Sweaters, These are so much fun! This pink and green one was the last one I made--I am not sure how Xmasy it is, but I am thinking of the colors in my Fiestaware dishes since this will be a tablecloth for my kitchen table.
 These blocks go together very quickly with Lorna's accurate directions.
 My goal for the Ugly Xmas Sweaters is to use my stash and avoid repeating fabrics. My quilt will have 16 blocks, but Lorna is giving instructions for more blocks than that. I am making all of them and figure the extras can go on the back. You can find details about this quilt along here
I finally got started on embroidering my Down in the Garden Block 1 last night. I embroider with perle cotton #8 and use Warm and White batting behind the fabric as a stabilizer. See my egg carton full of the colors I am using? The egg carton helps keep my perle cotton balls from turning into a tangled mess and makes them more easily transported. I hope to get a lot more done on this today for Slow Sunday Stitching

I will also spend some time at my machine working on the second clue for the Scrap Dance Tango Mystery

Have a great week!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Snowball Fight Finish

 I am teaching a BOM this year using Lori Holt's Quilty Fun book. Our row this month is mittens. This is a table runner also featured in the book called Snowball Fight which is a combination  of mittens and snowball blocks. 
 I was able to find a big enough area of snow in my front yard for some pictures. We are finally having warmer weather, so the snow is melting quickly! I just quilted it with a cross hatch design. I really like the little flying geese border and the scrappy binding. I hope this will give my students some other ideas for their own projects.
 For January, everyone was making the cocoa cups. I promised a prize for anyone who got the cocoa mugs row done, so I made some small design boards using Lori Holt's tutorial 
I made these design boards 10 x 10 inches. They each only took one 2.5 inch fabric strip, a scrap of Warm and White batting, and glue gun sticks. I bought foam core board at the dollar store and was able to make six this size from each board--very inexpensive, but a little time consuming. I wonder how many I will get to give away... When we met in January, we had eight in the class, but several more have enrolled since then. I made a dozen just in case everyone got their homework done.
 My sister sent me more blocks from Moda's Sample Block Shuffle. They arrived on Monday and I worked a little bit on them each evening this week. 
There are only two more blocks left! The blocks are going to be set on point with flying geese in the border. All the blocks have been made with Hello Darling fabrics and are six inches finished.
 One of our night custodians stopped me on Thursday and asked if I was a quilter. Usually, I only get asked that question if someone wants me to sew or make something for them, but this time was different. He told me that his mom has a quilting business and he had done some experimenting on one of her machines. He went and grabbed this! His mother's machine is not your typical long arm, but a custom made machine that is fully computerized and was well over $30,000. He made this large  thousand dollar bill quilt. It is amazing! He said it took over eight hours for the machine to quilt it. He used four different colors of thread and the machine works its way from the outside in.
It was over six feet long and about three feet wide.  He said the machine can convert just about any design into a quilting pattern. I might just have to go check it out!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Lucky Me

I have been busy sewing this week, but what I am working on is a secret goodie for my kind and generous sister. I cannot reveal my secret sewing until she receives it. She has a also sent me some quilty goodies, but they will not arrive until Monday. I was all signed up for Friday Night with Friends
so I decided to start prepping my Down in the Garden blocks. Above is block 1, my UFO goal for February os to finish up this block. I need to embroider it and make a Dresden plate to go on the green gingham square.
This is block 3. I am using a combination of Chantilly and Bonnie and Camille scraps--they are happy and cheerful just like this quilt is going to be! I love embroidered quilts and will be spending a lot of time embroidering these blocks for Slow Sunday Stitching with Kathy and crew
My first lucky thing this week was to win this book. I had been drooling over this book that was featured on a fabulous blog hop and entering all the giveaways.  Yay for me, I won a copy courtesy of Kate Spain--look at the note from her! There are so many adorable rows and a really cute feature where each designer answers some prompts called "Here's the Skinny."

I thought it would be fun to answer the prompts and share them with you...

Here's the Skinny
  • I'm currently obsessed with using up my stash and making scrap quilts.
  • If I'm not quilting, I'm working most of the time unfortunately.
  • The best piece of advice (regarding quilting) I've received was the quilting police are not going to come and arrest you for breaking a "rule," so do what works for you!
  • My go-to snack food for a full day (or night) of quilting is an everything bagel toasted with cream cheese and jalapeño pepper jelly and Reese's peanut butter cups.
  • When I just can't get a quilt to come together, I put it away and grab another project.
  • My go-to color combination is aqua and white.
  • I can't begin a new quilting project unless I tidy up my sewing room--I have to make some more space for the mess I am going to make.
  • On my playlist while quilting is NFL games and the X Files on Netflix
  • Beyond designing, my favorite part of making a quilt is selecting the fabrics and finishing the hand binding.
  • One little tip that will make creating my row easier is I don't have a row, but my advice is to organize your scraps by color and it will make it much easier to create scrap quilts.

I also won three patterns from Carol Steely. It was hard to pick only three when she has so many cheerful and bright designs. I don't have a Go Cutter, but this heart appliqué pattern looks like a scrap buster to me!
These sharks looked like a cute and quick design and I can always use a new baby quilt pattern.
Lastly, I chose this adorable bunny pattern. The glasses on him are precious! Thank you Carol! You can see all of her patterns here
I am always saddened when the NFL season ends, but this year the last game, Super Bowl 50, should be a good one--GO BRONCOS! Hopefully, my lucky week continues and they win.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Welcome February

We got a foot of snow yesterday to end January. In most places that much snow would mean a snow day, but not for us! I had my fingers crossed for a snow day/sew day, but it did not happen--I still managed to run home after work and piece my first Ugly Christmas Sweater Block. I am glad that I decided to use a gray for my background, it will make the bright cheerful fabrics from my stash pop. Plus, the gray will help hide spills as this will be the Xmas tablecloth for my kitchen table. Sorry for the bad lighting, but it was after dark--that is pink not red.
There is still time to join us for the Ugly Christmas Sweater Quilt Along. You can find all the details for this FREE event here:
My hubby and I were huge fans of the X Files back in the day and we are very excited about the new episodes too. I have been binge watching season 1 on Netflix as I sew, so much better than all the politics on the news channels. I have vague memories of some episodes, but since they were from 15 years ago they seem fresh to me. They are definitely better without commercials!
Heidi is helping to keep me and many other quilters motivated with her One Monthly Goal Linkup 2016. She has even arranged prizes! To join you can go to this link:
 February is a very busy paperwork month for me at work, so I am keeping my OMG goal small, but I am also really chomping at the bit to get started with this. My February OMG 2016 goal is to get my Down in the Garden Block 1 prepped and sewn. It could be a little ambitious with that small Dresden plate...
I have collected these mostly Chantilly fabrics along with some of my Bonnie and Camille stash for the quilt. I need to dig into my perle cotton to find all the right colors for the embroidery. I had such a great time making Leanne's Journey of a Quilter in 2014-15, so I think this will be awesome too.
I signed up for FNwF over with Cheryll
After my power sewing this past Friday night, I want to get into the sewing groove again. I am hoping to get a package of quilty goodness in time from my sister. She has promised to send the next Moda Quilt Sampler Block Shuffle blocks and the Lori Holt Bloom templates, so I can get started on that. However, even if they don't arrive, I have plenty of projects to keep me busy!