A bargain just the same ...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Is it me ... or do the prices at Value Village seem to be creeping up?  Maybe they are figuring out they were too much of a value?

I picked this heavy cotton table cloth up at VV about 2 months ago for $4.99.  At first I thought I might use it for some of my holiday pillows, but when I got it home and inspected it ... it was in perfect condition.  Then when I laid it on the table at the cabin ... well ... it just fit the space. 

So while it looks a bit holiday-ish ... it's been gracing my table now for a few months and will take us through the holiday season in style.

What's your favorite "find"?

All the best

Fresh Modern Bee 2 -- November 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

This month, Amanda at Scissors & Thread was looking for pinwheel sampler blocks.  Having never done any before, I turned to her suggestion of following the instructions from ps i quilt blog where Rachel has a Quilt Along for pinwheel samplers.

The material is Tanya Whelan's Dolce collection (I think I'm in love ...) with the Kona Medium Gray for the solid. 

I enjoyed trying something new ... and think there might even be a pinwheel in my future!  Am also pleased that I finished them before the end of the month AND they will actually be in the mail before December too (I believe a first for me ;-).

Happy sewing.

All the best

Whirls of color

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm not sure if this is called a whirlygig, windmill or whirlwind ... but I do think like how it came together. 

I've been admiring this pattern from afar for awhile and finally attempted it (with a little help from Michelle Sews tutorial). 

I finished it last night and had visions of using our recent snowfall today as a backdrop for the photos (and the resulting reflection of light).  But that just didn't pan out ... too much grass and not enough snow.

So my dining room table (and bathroom shower rod) it is ...

The blocks are made from 5" squares for the print fabrics and 5" x 6" rectangles for the white squares (see Michelle's blog for the scoop on why the different size squares), resulting in blocks that are ~8.5" before sewing.  

I added a border, comprised of all the fabrics (less the binding fabric) which are cut 1.25" and 2.5" long.  

Now ... back to that Christmas pillow making ...

I know many of you here in the U.S. are busy this evening planning for Thanksgiving tomorrow ... I am lucky to be married to the cook (the chestnuts are being peeled for the stuffing as I type).  And further grateful that, this year, we are off to my cousins for the big dinner.  A very safe and happy holiday to all of you here ... & a lovely rest of your week and great weekend for those of you in the rest of the world!

All the best.

Reclaimed ...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

His mom made this ... many many years ago.  I never got to meet her ... she passed away the year that I met my husband. 

After she passed, John had some of her belongings brought over from England to his cottage in Canada.  We closed down and sold the cottage several years ago, and this pillow cover got packed up and put in a box at that time.  I found it in the back of a cupboard this weekend as I was cleaning out some linens destined for Good Will. 

After a little repair work, a few of the 1" hexagons needed a little extra stitching, and the addition of a new pillow form, I brought it up to show John.  When he saw what I had in my hands ... I saw the biggest smile I have seen in a long time appear on his face ... it made my week!

It will go out to the cabin with us on Friday where it will sit on our bed ... at John's request ...

Hope you're having a good week.  We are emerging from a Seattle winter storm ... while we only had about 2" of snow, it's the ice and sub-25F degree temperatures that have really shut the city down.  They aren't anticipating it warming up until Thursday ... so it may be another 'work from home' day tomorrow.

All the best

Thanks for sharing your creations ...

Monday, November 22, 2010

This is why I am so appreciative of all of the talented people who share their photos, tips and techniques on blogs and Flickr.
As I posted over the weekend ... I found an inspiration on Flickr and some instructions on creating the actual blocks on another blog. 

But what I really get from the plethora of great work out there is ... confidence.  After 17 months of quilting, I believe I do a decent job on piecing, getting my points pretty close and am brave enough to try some interesting color combos (but then again ... what doesn't go with white ;-).  Where I am still growing ... a lot ... is the actual quilting.  That's where I really appreciate what people share.

I am willing, with in reason, to try new things, even new quilting techniques ... but invariably, I get part of the way through a project with a new technique ... like this one ... and I get disappointed.   I am still learning to envision what a finished quilt will look like ... and new quilting techniques throw me for the biggest loop.  In part, because it's the combination of the 'quilting' and the 'washing' that create the feel that I really like in a quilt ... and when I am quilting it, I only get to see 1/2 of the effect.

When someone compliments me and/or uses one of my quilts as an inspiration ... I am totally thrilled!  In my 17 months as a quilt viewer, I've seen that not everyone has the same positive feelings.  But for those of you who do ... thanks!  Thanks for sharing, thanks for offering advice, thanks for getting excited when someone gets inspired by your fabulous work!

I had an inspiration ... and I know in the end, that this quilt will turn out as lovely as that one and it will provide joy to the new parents of a little girl.  But for all those crazy moments in the middle ... thanks ... to all of you ...

 All the best.

A very special baby ... quilt

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A baby girl is weeks away ... she will be joy of parents who had their hearts broken too many times on this journey.  While she's not due until mid-January ... given their history, she's just as likely to come next week as she is in two months ...
I found some great pinks, greens and browns from the Milly collection from Erin Ries and decided it was time to try my hand at a windmill pattern (see my inspiration here).   

My learnings so far: 

Challenge #1:  Could not find the Omnigrid template that was recommended on several blogs.

Challenge #2:  I hadn't appreciated that cutting a square in half and re-sewing it would result in a rectangle, not a square ... this is where my inexperience as a quilter comes in ...

But after making (and failing at) the same square 3 times ... I found Michelle Sews blog and a fool proof way to make a square windmill ... whirlygigs with no trimming.

Armed with knowledge, I made 2 templates from light-weight cardboard ... one for the white and one for the colored fabric, and started making blocks.
That solved the problem and I made about 20 blocks in 2 hours ...

I am hoping to finish up the final four blocks and finishing the top tomorrow ... but I have to admit that vegging in front of the tube this week seems to be winning.

Hope you're having a more productive week.

All the best

A fun run for charity ...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We raised $1,460 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's fight against blood cancers!

And we had a heck of a lot of fun in the process!  Teams of 2 or 4 dress up for the challenge (we were pirates ... if you couldn't tell ;-).  Raise money and run a 5K with an obstacle course.  Yup ... climbing walls, slithering through tubes, rope climbs, walking tires and my personal favorite ... the slip and slide ...

that's me ... doing a little more 'plunking' than 'sliding'.

We were a little mucky after the race ...

... but had a marvelous time!  The back held up like a charm (of week of no quilting and sitting on an ice pack 4x per day seems to have helped) and we had an all around fantastic time!

I am so grateful to my friends who sponsored so generously ... they raised $1,310 of the total!!!

It was a blast and I look forward to participating again next year ... now I need to gear up for Seattles Jingle Bell Run (a 5K without the obstacle course) in about a month.

Hope you had a great weekend!

All the best


Sunday, November 7, 2010

My blog is now a WIP ... let's hope it gets finished faster than some of my WIP quilt tops!

Last night I woke up in excruciating pain ... the kind of pain that makes you nauseous.  It turns out that it is a cramp in my lower back muscle.  If you've ever had one in your calf ... imagine one in your lower back.  Seems like running is doing a little more than making me fit!

So ... today I am immobile.

After finishing looking at all the quilts of interest on Amy's Bloggers Quilt Festival and finding a couple of great new blogs to follow.  I have decided to get after the fixes to my blog that I've been thinking about for awhile.  I suspect that I am one of the only bloggers left using the original Blogger Template!

As much as I would love to hire someone to create a really cool blog like many that I see out there, the reality is that my blog is just for play.  I don't generate any income off of my blog or quilts as I don't sell them.

Looks like I'm going to learn how to design the blog that I'm looking for by myself.  I've just made the first step and don't be surprised if you see a few changes over the next few days (hopefully for the better).

I have 6 days to recover as I am participating in the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society - Seattle Pineapple run next Saturday ... I've raised over $1,200 for the cause and I WILL be running!

Hope you're having a productive weekend.

All the best

It's all about running tonight ...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sometimes somthing gets you excited ... and you just have to share!

If you've been following my blog, you know that I was training to run an 8K over the summer.  Early this year, a career change found me in a new job ... driving strategy for a not-for-profit health insurance company.  As a result, I have learned a lot over the past 6 months about personal responsibility for fitness and healthcare.

I am married to a half marathoner, and at the age of 49, I decided that running with him would be a great way for me to take off the extra 15 pounds that I now seem to be carrying (I have since learned that we definitely don't run at the same pace ;-).  Unfortunately, about 2 months into my training, I got salmonella poisoning from eating raw cookie dough (remember the egg fiasco in August?).  I stopped running for 2 weeks, and was never able to get back into it again.
About a month ago, I was perusing the apps on my new iTouch (an iPhone without the phone) and I ran across a transformational application ... it's called Couch to 10K.  It's a 13 week program, that has you going out 3 times per week, that helps you go from walking to running 10 kilometers.  
I finished day 3 of week 3 this evening.
It's pretty basic ... it's a 5 minute cycle. 
  • Week 1:  30 seconds running, 4:30 walking
  • Week 3:  1:30 running, 3:30 walking
In 10 weeks ... I'll be running a 10K!  (I also understand they have a 10-week Couch to 5K program as well.)

The intriguing part of this program is that it runs on your iTouch or iPhone and while you're listening to your music as you exercise, it tells you exactly when to run, walk and warmup or down.  It's SO easy ... and it scales up slow enough, that even I can do it!

OK ... enough of the infomercial ... if there's an iSomething in your house ... give it a look ... you may find it as helpful as I have!

A small spot ... and a minor explosion

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's November 1st ... and I just finished October's blocks for Fresh Modern Bee 2 ... well ... one day late isn't too bad ...

This month we're making blocks for Danielle at Petit Elefants and she's all about squares, squares and more squares!  She's sent us a mix of fabric from Wonderland, Hunky Dory, and Tweet Tweet ... plus a little Kona Ash.  The blocks can be any size between 4" or 16".

I am actually quite pleased with my first block.  I got the little chick centered in the middle and I really liked the fresh colors that Danielle chose!

The second block is where I ran into a little trouble.  I found a little Wonderland in my red scrap bin and used it for the final piecing around the block.

I was reasonably happy with it, when I noticed a spot up in the top right corner.

It looks like it's bleached out ... and there's no way I could send that back to Danielle ... so I added an extra strip down the right side to cover it up ... it was an acceptable solution.

With the final block, I was looking to feature the 'tree' in the center.

I really do enjoy making the blocks for the bee (now I just need to finish them about a week earlier ;-).

Oh ... and the minor explosion ... a Dr. Pepper can in the spare fridge (no one in this house even drinks the stuff).  Glad I got the blocks finished tonight, because I have a whole different project now to work on tomorrow night.

All the best
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