Holiday gifts

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

There's not been a lot of quilting going on here over the past few months ... in fact ... none.

But it is Christmas ... and it's time to get a few small gifts put together to share with family and friends.

My husband, John, works with a local charity and delivers groceries to 8 shut-ins on a bi-weekly basis.  About two weeks ago, he said he wanted to do something for them for the holiday and asked if I would be willing to make some of my Christmas-tree potholders for them to go with his home-made biscotti.  I'll be honest, it's Christmas, I work for a large retailer and I'm kinda busy right now.

But after a little thought, I realized that John has made friends with these people and I wanted to support him ... so I finished the final hot pads last night.

This afternoon, he sent me the following email at work ...  "The hot pads were a bit hit today ... some of the people I deliver to told me that was the only present they would get this year and they were all touched by the gift".

That ... puts it all in perspective.

Merry Christmas everyone.

All the best.

New diagnosis

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We have a new ribbon in our family ... this one is for Prostate Cancer ... and it's for my husband, John.

It is with optimism that I share this ribbon ... because, like me, his cancer was found relatively early, and that means we have options, we have hope and we likely have a future.

I don't share for sympathy ... but I do share for the continued warning that early detection quite literally makes the difference between life and death ...

And for the 2nd time in 11 years ... we are proof of that.

So I continue to share my message ... if your body is sending you new signals ... go see your doctor ... and if your doctor is not willing to help you get to the bottom of it ... find a new doctor.

I was turned away by my doc 3 times before my Ovarian Cancer was discovered ... thank goodness I am a pain in the ass ...

Fortunately, John's doc was in the fight with him from the beginning ... we will have a good ending ... I am confident ...

And I hope to be back to quilting soon ...

All the best

Grand-dad again!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

John's about to become a grand-dad again!  My husband has three sons and come January ... all three of them will be daddies!

He's heading up to Toronto to visit all three of his sons and celebrate his grandson's 5th and granddaughter's 1st birthdays (kind of them to be born within 2 weeks of each other to make the trips easier ;-).  So he's going to take this quilt with him on the trip for the next little guy!

For this quilt, I used my 5 + One Square Tutorial.  I used the remaining piece I had of Alexander Henry 3D Zoo fabric I had left over from the Giraffes on this quilt as the base fabric.  The sashing is Kona Coal and then I picked out some Kona solids from my LQS.

I didn't have enough of the 3D Zoo to do all of the large squares in that fabric, so I alternated and did some in the print and others in solids ... but all blocks have at least one square in the print.

The squares around the perimeter are 1.5" cut and ~1" as finished.

I thought of ordering more of the 3D Zoo fabric for the front, but was fearful that the dye lots wouldn't match, so I ordered 1/2 yard of the print in the smaller scale for the back, where I also incorporated more of the 1" squares from the front.

I finished it with a reasonably tight meandering quilting pattern in a gray thread.

I have to say, I am smitten ... the colors worked really well together and I find it fun and soothing at the same time ... just like a baby quilt should be!

I had a relaxing weekend at the cabin quilting ... while John attempted to repair the damage the deer have done to the garden over the past several weeks since we've been out.  We're pretty easy going with it ... it's "their neighborhood" and we run the risk of planting out here and them finding their dessert ... but unfortunately, it has been such a dry summer, that they are looking extra hard and stripped a number of young trees of their bark.  We departed tonight with a lot of duct tape on the trees ... we'll see if John's internet search results pay off in a month or two.

But two flowers that did survive ... are the 8' sunflowers!  Enjoy ...

Hope everyone had a GREAT weekend!

All the best

Obstacles to quilting ...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Anyone with a dog (or cat for that matter) understands this photo.

For those that don't have a dog ... she needed her own quilt to keep her off mine.

... btw ... still didn't work, stepped away a couple of times to come back & find her on the WIP.

Quilting tomorrow ;-)

All the best

Bunch of squares completed!

Monday, September 17, 2012

My version of "what a bunch of squares" by Denise Schmidt.  This is for my brother for his 35th business ... only 5 months late ;-).

My thanks to the readers who gave me input on how to quilt ... this was minimally quilted and I am actually quite happy with how it came out!

The back is a little different ... not sure I would call it 'reversible', but I do like the colors on the back.

I made this significantly larger than normal after the over-shrinking that I have been having on queen size quilts ... this one is much better sized.  

I kinda took the summer off ... enjoyed it ... but happy to be back quilting again ... see you soon!

All the best

Graduation quilt

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My cousin's daughter, Stephanie, just graduated from University ... so time to put together anther quilt!  When I asked what Stephanie's favorite colors are, I was told orange and purple.  I know Stephanie ... and she's a bit of a 60's flower child kind of young woman.  Given her personality and color choices, I knew that I needed to pull together a creative, modern quilt.  So I pulled out my new copy of Quilting Modern and turned to the Tipsy City Quilt.

I really liked Katie and Jacquie's version much better than mine ...
But that said, I really, really, really learned a lot in the making of this quilt.

  1. I really do need a design wall -- a lot of what I'm seeing now that I am done, I could have seen on the design wall, 
  2. Putting the blocks in the island of orange could have been more effective had I created a little more distance between the blocks,
  3. I started making blocks like Katie & Jacquie recommended (top left side of quilt), but over time, I adapted my style and was happier with where my blocks went from a personal style.

I also really enjoyed replicating the quilting style that they used  and will definitely try it again.

Stephanie was thrilled ... so it's cool that she can't see the flaws.

I've been away from quilting for a few weeks and am happy to be back at it again this weekend!

All the best

Pinned ... but need thoughts on quilting

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I've made progress on my "what a bunch of squares" quilt for my brother's belated birthday present.

Would welcome some thoughts on quilting it ...

Denyse Schmidt hand quilts her version and quilts around the squares, which accentuates them and makes it clear that there are unique squares.

Challenge ... no money in the budget to send out and I have a portable home Pfaff sewing machine.

I can't do the quilting that she did ... as it won't work on my machine and I don't have the patience to hand quilt.  Right now, I think my options are meandering and straight-line up and down of various widths across ... due to the sheer size, I'm not sure how much more option I have.

I recently pushed a queen size quilt through my machine by doing a meandering pattern (seen here) and my straight-line attempt at a queen can be seen here.

Please let me know what you think would be the best approach?  Any thoughts welcome at this point!

All the best

From the scrap bin ...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hit the scrap bin today for a hostess gift for tomorrow.  We are having brunch over at friends house who have 3 little ones.  Their eldest is turning 5 early next month ... I figured this banner will get a fair amount of use in the future!

Birthday banner
Back of birthday banner
Don't you just love it when you can make something fun totally from the scrap bin ;-).

The tutorial I used for this can be found here.

I know I haven't been around for a bit ... it's been pretty busy around here ... besides my new job ... we've done all the following over the past week!

The U.S. Olympic Diving Trials here in the Seattle area.
Olympic Diving Trials
Friends in town and a visit to the new Chihuly exhibit at Seattle Center.

Me and my better half ;-)

Indian Blanket inspiration for Chihuly

Seattle Space Needle through the new greenhouse exhibit

And today ... the Seattle Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon.  Where "he" (also known as my husband) finished 3rd in his age group ... despite a stomach that required 2 pit stops along the way!!!
Running the Seattle Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon

Relaxing after!

Special medal for runners of BOTH the Seattle & Portland R&R Marathon
While I am longing to get back to some quilting ... it was a fabulous week with friends, family and a little victory woven in ...

Hope you're having an awesome weekend!

Monday, June 11, 2012

A little more progress on the quilt this weekend ...
And we got the paths cleared and gravel laid at the cabin.

Other Side

And the VERY tired man who moved all the gravel
Hope you had an equally productive weekend!

All the best,

Fun all around ...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Having a little fun prepping to make the "Tipsy City Quilt" from Quilting Modern.

And here's what an English Setter looks like when prowling the yard for critters ...
And then after a 12 mile run ...
Tis the life ...

Started in a van pool this week ... looking forward to having a little extra time on my hands!

Hope you're having a good week.

A little improv ...

Monday, May 28, 2012

While improv piecing is something I like to do ... I must admit, it really challenges me ... I'm the kinda person who likes to create a block and then replicate it over and over like here and here.

Currently I am working on the back to the queen size quilt that I am making my brother and figured ... why not try a little improv?  I continued to be inspired by the QUEEN of improv ... Marianne @ The Quilting Edge (if you haven't seen her yet ... you will not be disappointed to go spend, oh, I would say, about an hour looking through the treasure chest that she is sharing on line!).


I also woke up to an incredibly fun email this morning ... along the lines of "You've been nominated!".  It was pretty exciting to see that among the hundreds of quilts that have been posted on The Bloggers Quilt Festival over @ Amy's Creative Side ... my Confetti Quilt was nominated in the "Favorite Bed Quilt" category!
Confetti Quilt
There are 14 categories and some AMAZING quilts ... so you should definitely head on over and cast your votes!

And finally ... on Memorial Day here in the US when we remember and honor those that have fought for our freedom ... we are also starting to recognize the needs of so many soldiers, that in previous wars, would not have made it off the battlefield alive.

Today, they are coming home to their families (and that is a really good thing) however, they are fighting different battles upon their return as they strive to overcome many devastating injuries and create what is a 'new normal' for them.

And with that, I leave you the story of Cpt. TJ Hromisin.  Five years ago tomorrow, TJ was a LT leading a platoon in Tarmiyah, Iraq, in my brother's Company, when he was shot in the temple by a sniper.   It was a devastating injury and he has come further than many ever expected.  Today he and his family are leading an effort to create the Thomas Jerome House, a non-profit organization providing support to show with traumatic brain injuries sustained in combat -- a place where they can live together and support each other .  They are not looking for a million-dollar donor, they are looking for a million $1-donors.  And spreading the word about this charity is key to that goal.

As you enjoy your Memorial Day ... please keep these soldiers in mind ... they are home, they are working to thrive in different ways and some of them ... need a little help from us.

All the best

Geometric patchwork creation

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sharon H. was kind enough to contact me and share a couple of photos of her latest creation ... which was based on my Geometric Patchwork quilt.

She used the tutorial I made to make this wonderfully vibrant version for her grandson Tyler.

Who I would say is a lucky young lad ... wouldn't you?!?!?

Well done Sharon ... and thanks SO MUCH for taking the time to share!


Bloggers Quilt Festival

Monday, May 21, 2012

Amy is at it again!!!  And I am delighted to participate in her Bloggers Quilt Festival -- which looks like it has continued to grow ... YES ... lots more cool stuff to look at!  (if anyone can tell me how to inbed that cool button onto my post ... that would be awesome too).
Confetti quilt
My favorite quilt of mine this year is my queen size confetti quilt.

It started as a way to use up some of my scrap solids ... I did have to buy a little extra fabric to complete, but about 70-80% of the quilt came from my scrap bucket.

This quilt is for the murphy bed in the cabin.

I had spent a couple of months trying to figure out a pattern that would use the solid scraps that I was slowly collecting.  I wanted a pattern that would allow me to use up some of the small scraps that I had accumulated.  So I created a pattern where each block is comprised of 3 pieces -- 3.5" x 3.5" square, accompanied by a 3.5" x 1.75" strip and a 4.75" x 1.75" strip.

There were LOTS of little pieces to be cut (1,716 pieces to be exact).

Finding somewhere to lay it out where there was both enough room AND dog free was a challenge.

The back turned out to be one of my favorite parts!

My biggest learning on this quilt was that shrinkage can be even greater than you anticipate ... this quilt shrunk nearly 10%.  I don't know if it was the material or the tight meandering quilting that make it shrink so much ... but lesson learned for my next one.
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