Thursday, November 29, 2012

New starts

 I am really into these little table top size wall hangings.  I think it is the variety, and chance to try different projects.  I have two underway.
   The first one will be for Spring.  A cute little arrangement of fused pieces.  I think I will do a little trapunto work on the bird and the birdhouse.

  But look at this one!  I was fortunate to get a chance at this pattern from  the Landscape Lady .  I have only gotten it fused so far, but want to get it finished  first.  The original pattern was wider than long, and I had to make a few adjustments to create the size I needed.   So a little play time and I figured out this layout.  It will be great for a Winter table topper.
  Looks like I will doing the zig-zag dance for a while here.  Happy stitching.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


  The end of the month almost slipped past me for the Free Motion Quilting challenge!  I thought this month would be a breeze because I love doing swirls.  Wrong!   I love quilting swirls, but I like them all over and different sizes.....and this month was based on consistency and working in a row.

I did the paper practice and it was fairly easy.  So I drew off  a grid of sorts onto my fabric to fill in with swirls.  See for sizes are all over the place.  A few times I hit the mark and filled in with the appropriate size, but mainly not.  After doing a half dozen bands of these, I just went to town and filled in the bare spaces.
   This practice piece is about 12" by 18".  My fabric choice was a solid piece of polished cotton moire---and probably not a great choice for practice.   I had to change needles and go much smaller to get a nicer stitch.
   Lesson learned......I don't like being boxed in, or following a grid, and I much prefer mixing it all up.
   Only one more month to go on the challenge.  I have mixed feelings....I liked trying new techniques each month and learning a few new things.  Yet I am glad to be finishing it up.  I am really glad I kept with it and saw it through to the end.  There is just something about making that commitment and working to that end that gives satisfaction.
Happy stitching.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Road Trip to.....

   It was  Road Trip day  to a very secret, very hidden, very special Santa Toy Shop.   This small cabin tucked away in the mountains is actually the original toy distribution point for The Country Santa, and where  all the helper elves work hard every year.   Toys from all over the upstate area of South Carolina, and North Carolina arrive here and are sorted  by age groups, and placed on shelves for Christmas delivery.
The Country Santa began over 30 years ago to provide toys at Christmas to kids. This organization  will cover at least 5 counties in the region of the Blue Ridge mountains, meeting needs where ever they can.
   This Santa believes ........
Children don't understand that life is hard and sometimes there just isn't enough for Christmas presents. A child believes that Santa will find them Christmas morning.

And Santa will be bringing  doll quilts this year, too....the doll quilts of Get Your Mrs. Claus On will be part of that.   Doll quilts from Mrs. Claus all over the country.  It would not be possible without the help of all of the Mrs. Clauses who have stepped up to be part of this project.  Thank you.
    Oh, yes,  Rudy went along to ensure the doll quilts were delivered safely.      Notice the signs...."Toy Loading Zone".

    It was a whirlwind of activity when we opened the door, as a group of elementary students were helping Santa that day.  Each had a list of children  for whom to select toys and each carried a very large bag to fill.  This Mrs. Claus had the privilege of helping  one of the students----and promised to hide her identity.  
   One of the older elves commented, "Christmas happens here."   After viewing and visiting, I knew what he meant.  Christmas begins in the heart and becomes that outward expression.  You could see it on the children's faces as they were Santa's elves for a day.    Priceless.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wonders of Color bound.

   No shopping here.  Instead I got the binding put on the color study wall hanging made from the 2 1/2" squares.  Here is the beginning of this project.   I purchased a packet of squares from Wanda at Exuberant Color  this summer to get me started on this one.  I added lots of squares from my stash and this one finished up at 34" by 50".

  I debated on the quilting for a while.  With so many prints and patterns in the fabrics, any quilting pattern I used, like swirls or stippling, would just be lost.  In the end, I decided to use simple straight lines.  I like the texture the lines created.
   I used multiple fabrics for the binding.....making sure they were all in the darker to mid tone in value.  Since one side--the right--is a bit lighter overall in value, I began there with a mid tone value and progressed to the dark value.
   Sir Old Man likes this one a lot and has claimed it for the office.....after I get the sleeve stitched down.
   Thank you, Wanda, for sharing your knowledge and fabrics, and spreading the love of color with us.

   Don't forget the visit and enter the The Christmas Quilt Show  at Quilting Tutorials.  Some great quilts and inspiration to be seen.
Happy stitching.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Quilt Show 2012

Welcome to the Christmas Quilt Show for 2012!

    Hello, my name is Rudy.  I'm the  mascot for the Get Your Mrs. Claus On project.  My Mrs. Claus gave me life recently when she turned the little blog button (on the right sidebar) into moi!  We owe special thanks to Mrs. Techie Claus   (aka Dana at Stormy Days blog) for  the blog button idea.  

   I may be small  ( only 12" by 14")  but I have a very  important job around here.  You see I am also the guardian of the doll quilts that arrive from all over the country, and the Virgin Islands, and Canada, and France.   It is a big responsibility to oversee the arrival and make sure each doll quilt is photographed  before sharing.   On mail day when the squishy packages arrive, my nose glows redder.  I also must remind my Mrs. Claus to keep lists and write thank you emails, too.   There's a very big and special group of Mrs. Clauses at the HGTV message board that  help make the doll quilts.  My Mrs. Claus says I  am to say a big hello to them and their leader, Nicki.  Merry Christmas to each of you, too.

     I like it best when I get to take a break and rest a while outside.  I keep my eyes open and stay alert even then.  You never know who might be around and interested in the quilts.  Why just a few days ago I saw a couple of strangers who were quite interested in a recent winter scene quilt my Mrs. Claus made.  Just look at these two!  My antlers began to itch.   I was quite suspicious of the one with that funny pointed hat.  

    I managed to lure the other guy away from the quilt, so no damage was done.  I  gave him a stern warning and sent him on his way.  Guardians have to be firm.  My break is over and  I've got to go back inside now.  So you can visit a little with Mrs. Claus.

Mrs. Claus aka Debbie here......
   Rudy is quite the  protector and talker, I must say.  And I  love him....who could resist that face of his.
  For his construction,   I used fusing  technique and machine  applique for all the pieces.  The eyebrows and grin---which unfortunately got hidden by the binding---are machine stitched with a saddle stitch.  The ornament cording is zig zag stitched in place.  Fabric pencils were used for added highlights.  

  And as a special treat for you, I have added a new page above entitled "Patterns".  There you will find the line drawing for creating your own Rudy.  I am sure he would love to see photos of any cousins you create.

  Thanks for stopping by to meet Rudy.  He loves company.
   Enjoy the Christmas Quilt Show and be sure to check out the link above for entering for prizes.  There are a lot of them.  Voting will be found there too.
   Merry Christmas and happy stitching.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What's in the crate?

  There's a story that goes with this photo, so bear with me.
  This thing has been around with me for over 40 years.  Many times and with every move I attempted to discard it.  Yet each time  the thought would enter into my head that it was time to get rid of  it, I would be filled with a sense of  "not yet".   I could not let it go.
   I was just out of college and was beginning this wonderful journey of independent life.   This  fruit crate was found by a trash dumpster at the back of a grocery store in Nashville, TN.    It became my first piece of furniture and  turned on its side I used it as a dresser for my clothes.  *grin* sat beside my bed, which was a mattress on the floor.   I never thought twice about  its lowly  appearance in those days.
   Over the years it has been used to hold books, and magazines----the rustic country look was in style. Other times  it was stood on end and became a plant stand.   Then marriage and a daughter came along.  The crate was tucked into the corner of the living room and put into use to hold stuffed animals and toys.   When I learned to quilt and accumulated scraps, it turned into the scrap bin.  When my scrap collection out grew  the crate, it was once again re-purposed to corral  batting pieces.
   For the last few years, my crate has sat forlornly in the garage.    It is quite rickety now and not as sturdy as it once was.   I think it has just a little more life in it.....  holding doll quilts!!!

  Yep, more doll quilts arrived.    This collection is from Margaret and the Fiber Friends group in Landrum, SC.  Beautiful and soft flannel .  This pair is so nice and one is trimmed with ribbon and the other with eyelet.  

      Thank you all for helping and sending such wonderful doll quilts for the project.

     So what's in the crate?  Memories.....from where my journey began to where I am now.   It reminds me of the road I have traveled, and the things I have learned.  I see function and purpose etched into the battered wood slats.  And ultimately I know that it is not what you have, but rather what you do with what you have.   Cost of the crate--- $0.   Worth of this crate---priceless.
Insight:  I won't even think about discarding the crate again.  I'll leave that  to someone else for later.   For me, I am very thankful I listened to my heart and kept the crate around to store the memories  in.
      The  Christmas Quilt Show  begins in a couple of days.  2012 Christmas Quilt Show
Be sure to check out the details and join in.   I'm entering a special friend  ;)
  Happy Thanksgiving to you all.  Happy stitching.

Friday, November 16, 2012

More from Mrs. Claus

    Contrary to appearances, I am still around.  :)   And yes, Dana, you are right....... my freezer is full to overflowing with baked items and Thanksgiving dinner preparations.   Actually, it will be  our Christmas time too, as Deana will be starting her new job/position in 3 weeks.  So our table at Thanksgiving will look more like a "groaning board"---- full and overflowing.

  Once again, packages arrived from  Mrs. Claus.  First up is Mrs. Claus from The Virgin Islands.  Karibbean Quilter  is a member of the HGTV message board and she used the cutest fabric for these 2 quilts.  It features Paddington Bear.
  I love her quilting inspiration....outline the circles.  Sometimes, simple is so effective.
Thank you for being a Mrs. Claus.
  Karen has the cutest little tags  that she uses on her quilts.  They are embroidered with a palm tree too.  Look close and you can see one in the bottom corner  of the quilts.

    From Mrs. Claus in Virginia came 2 bright and cheerful doll quilts.  I absolutely am in awe of the bargello one.  The blue and golden yellow combination is so striking  that I want one for myself!    But check out the ducky.....his little beak is dimensional.  A little girl is going to really enjoy this one.     Jo Anne used a variety of straight line quilting on this  and it looks wonderful.   Thank you so much for helping.
    Rudy is quite happy with this last batch of doll quilts.  He loves new additions to protect and watch over.  They make his nose glow just a little brighter.  Rudy adds his thanks to mine and says.....Happy stitching!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

One of those days

  When feeling stressed, anxious, worried,  angry, or just plain rotten, my family always knew because it would be cleaning or baking days.  I mean you didn't talk to me or anything, I would be on a frantic mission to have everything sparkle and shine.  And I would cook for hours---day or night---to work off some pressure.  So now, I have matured.......forget the cleaning, and  it is to the kitchen I go when things are pressing me down.  Today has been a baking day.   I can't concentrate to sew at all.   It looks like there may be a job change and move happening quickly  for my daughter.  I will be supportive and helpful, I hope.....but man, I don't even like to think about it.   So I made batches of Chex mix and cookies are next.

Mrs. Claus News.......
   Luckily, I got some great packages in the mail recently.    Dolls quilts from Mrs. Claus in Ohio.  Oops make that 2  different Mrs. Claus and both are from Ohio!
  Mrs. Claus at New 2 Quilting blog  sent this set of 4 adorable quilts.  She used lots of wonky piecing  for the blocks.  But on the back of each she did a pair of elephants!  How cute and creative is that!    Such a super idea for a label.  Thank you, Kathy for helping and being a wonderful Mrs. Claus.

   The next 2 doll quilts arrived from another Mrs. Claus in Ohio, who is a member of the HGTV message board.    And  I see  more elephants in the print in the pink doll quilt.  These are so nice, Shelia, I thank you for helping.    Those quilting angels at the HGTV board are on a roll for 2013 already......can you believe that?  Nicki has a listing set up and states are being taken  already.  What a treasure that group is.  Thank you all.
    Two weeks till Thanksgiving.....already?  I am thankful for quilting angels and Mrs. Claus helpers to lighten the load.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Questions on Turning Twenty Again

    An email reader asked about the pattern I used for the retirement quilt.  It is the Turning Twenty Again  pattern...not the first Turning Twenty.  This pattern is based on using fat quarters----9, 12, 15, 20, etc.  The number of FQs  you use determines the size.   The block ends up 18" and has about 12 pieces of various sizes in it.   Each block has an 8" square as a focal point.
    The trick is the cutting and follow them to have just the right amount of fabric with very little waste.    Of course, you can use your stash yardage, just be sure to have enough fabrics.  Variety is  key for this.  I did not cut from fat quarters on this one.  I made 12 blocks and used 15 or 16 different fabrics.  Some of my pieces were not large enough---I had already used some of the FQ----so I substituted a similar fabric for one or two pieces in different blocks.    You can easily cut it all in a couple of hours and put the blocks together over a weekend.

   This is Autumn's Carpet that I showed part of recently.  Same pattern and I used batiks for this one too.  But it is the appliqued leaves that everyone notices.  Those large 8" squares are perfect to use for applique.
  So....what if you love applique and want a way to show it off? This pattern would work.
  What if you want a quick and easy Christmas quilt?   Applique those large squares and finish in a weekend.

  A second question was on picking out the fabrics.
  A few thoughts on fabric selection-----choose carefully.  This pattern does not really offer a good discussion of picking the right fabrics for this pattern.   If you are thinking of novelty fabrics for the large square, be sure to select calming, less busy prints or tonal pattern  fabrics for the smaller pieces and include light and dark  values.  Too busy is just too much in all these  pieces  that are  this large.  When you flip through the pattern  booklet, you will see what I mean.
  A main theme fabric is a good starting gives you the main color and hopefully one or two colors for your over all scheme.   Even I would not use 12 different colors in this pattern.....just too overwhelming.  The leaves quilt was based on fall tones of green, gold, and blue for sky.  I used lighter and darker tones of those colors.   Batiks work so wonderful for this!!
  You get contrast and tonal blending in them.  I also made this pattern early on using very old----early 80s type print fabrics and calico prints---and it worked.  The prints were not large and the colors were almost muted, and it has a "shabby chic" appearance almost.  It is worn, washed and well used.

  So, easy pattern that goes together quickly in a weekend.  Choose fabrics carefully to create your own style of  Turning Twenty Again.   Thanks for the questions.

Happy stitching.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The third try

   Boy, these went together quickly, and I ended up with 3 before I knew it.
 I'm sending these off to Erin for her storm quilt project.  She offers a quick tutorial on this form of a disappearing 4 patch.

   Interruptions.....This is the third time to try and put together this post.  So let's zip to it and get it done.

   This quilt  is a gift for a friend's husband who is retiring.  Lots of batiks in the Turning Twenty Again pattern.  Sir Old Man critiqued it and said, "Bigger".        I obeyed this time and added a border strip of long pieces about 5 inches wide.  Now it measures  64" by 82".

  This is the one I was working on earlier with the feathered swirls.   I just did an all over / any which direction you want method.  After all this practice, I think I really do have this motif figured out.  

   I love the texture you get with the swirls on the batiks.

   Mike is the original "Mr. Mom" husband.  He cleans, he cooks, he fixes things, he works on cars, and is so nice to top it off.   So after all his Mr. Mom chores are done, and he has done some fun stuff, he will be able to put up his feet and nap under this.    Enjoy your well deserved life event, Mike.


   One more in my stack to quilt.  Time to get busy with some more piecing.  Happy stitching.   

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pay it forward

 Want to help by Paying it Forward?    Erin at My Patchwork Life  has jumped in to start a project for the Sandy victims.  She needs blocks and offers a great little tutorial on what she wants for making some quilts for the storm victims.   Little does she know what she may have, I am making blocks to send her.  Please help if you can.   

2012 Christmas Quilt Show
The Christmas Quilt show is coming.  A new hostess this year at Quilting Tutorials.  . Entries begin on November 23rd.  Jump over and check out the details.

   Don't forget the Blogger's Quilt Festival going on at Amy's Creative Side.  Two things are going on right now....nominations for each category and voting for your overall favorite.  Here are the links.

Nomination form is Here for the Blogger's Quilt Festival. 
Vote here for your favorite quilt .
   There are some wonderful quilts here, and I hope you take a bit of time this weekend and view them.  Nothing like an online quilt show for some inspiration.

  My cold is finally breaking up and I am feeling much off to stitch a couple of blocks.

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