Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Big Puppy Love

It's Practically Here!

A good quilt for a good puppy.  My coco will be turning 1 year old on Christmas Day!  What better reason do I need to make her a special quilt just for her.

My friend, Sheila, will recognize these blocks.  We exchanged them years ago and I decided to use some for this scrap happy quilt.

In honor of Tonya's new book, I used her style of liberated letters.

I did my favorite unmarked liberated cross hatch.  I developed a new method of doing this and will share it with you soon.

I think she likes it!  And yes, I do intend for her to use it on her bed, in her crate, wherever she likes.

Yooray!  I finally finished my Christmas Red Work.  It only took about 10 years..... I love this 50/60's Santa, he is the real one for me.

I also finished my house for Beth's House Project.  You still have until January 1st to send her a 12" block.

And finally, from my home to yours, Merry Merry Christmas!!  Poor coco, she just had to endure it.

I am still planning to do a post on my marking techniques and tools.  But first, a Christmas break and a road trip to the "Farm".

See you next year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Now That's Christmas

Wow - last Sunday I was lucky to be invited along to a special Christmas house tour.

Jill invited me through her friend, Mary Ann - Thank you so much ladies!  This was not open to the public, but to members of The Golden Glow, a national club of vintage Christmas collectors.

People who know me or have come to my house know I love all things Christmas.  This group, however, is on a whole new level!  We toured 3 out of the 5 homes in NJ.  Most houses had 10 tress or so and other displays - it was Christmas Heaven.

Pretty, pretty pointesettia quilt.  I'd love to have one of these.

Look who is attending this event, it's Christopher Radko.  That was a nice surprise.

All of the following photos were taken at one home.  I can not give you his name or location, except to say rural NJ, on 3 beautiful acres. He is also master gardener and collects vintage Easter and Halloween decorations and items.

He is a serious collector, with the means to indulge.  In this custom built addition he has thousands of items on display.  They are all in like new condition.  Ebay, anyone?

On the shelf are salt and peppers, and the bottom portion is filled with vinatage boxed Christmas cards.

Me (well my ponytail) and Christopher,  I'm a  sucker for a celebrity sighting.

In the dining a lovely PINK feather tree.  A collection of painted turkeys are flocked on the lower shelves.

This is a real white feather tree and is covered with plastic icicles.  I have some of these thanks to my friend Susan McD.  Many me of them glow in the dark.

A tree in the sun room -

Spinning silver tree with 40's and 50's ornaments and the spinning color wheel - of course :)

I hope you enjoyed this Christmas tour, I loved it!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Making My Mark

Thank you so much for all of your kind comments about my Mother's Garden Quilt.  Quilters have been so important to me, offering me many surrogate mothers.  It seems so many of us are united in loss and this time of year certainly makes us miss our loved ones even more.

Thank you to all of the "non-reply" comments as well, I wish I could send you a note to thank you for visiting, I certainly appreciate your comments too!

after much of this;

And some of this;

and with the 3 hour Masterpiece presentation of David Copperfield (my favorite Dickens' story), my quilt top was marked.

I am going to quilt a 3/4" cross hatch in the center section with 3/4" diagonal lines on the surrounding borders.  I'm filling in circles and leaves where I can on the vines.

I'm going to use pink quilting thread on top of the applique; pieces, and white for the all of the outlining and background quilting.  I had started with pink, but you literally could not see it, so I "un-quilted", ouch! and I'll use white.

I hope you are all finding a little time for yourself during this hectic season.  Today I'm hoping to start 2 small projects for Christmas gifts, so Mother's Garden will probably have to wait.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Good Mourning

Today is a special day for me.  It has a sad story, but a good quilt.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of losing my mother, Catherine.    It almost seems impossible that she has been gone that long and that I have manged to live (and live well) without her.

Another reason I decided to make a "Mother" quilt this year is that I am the age, 48 years old, that she was when she passed away.  Like so many vibrant, beautiful women, she died of breast cancer.

"Mother's Garden" is the quilt I've been working on for many months in anticipation of this day.

The quote is by Alice Walker, author of "The Color Purple".  It seemed the perfect sentiment to me.

This is my own design and was inspired by antique quilts.  The center block was made about 5 years ago and the project was resurrected this year when I designed the borders.

I intend to mark the quilt top today and baste it.  I look forward to spending many hours hand quilting it this winter.

Thanks for letting me share this story and quilt with you.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

word play

Hooray!  Tonya's book has been released! 

She inspired me to add free pieced letters to this liberated house quilt that I made several years ago.  I still love this quilt and all the funky houses it contains.  It has bird houses, an out house, a snowed-in house and even a boy scout pup tent.

The letters were challenging for me but really fun and add a great border element to this quilt.  I'm hoping to get better with the help of her new book.

Congrats to you Tonya!  You are a real pioneer and an inspiration to us all.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Indoor Gardening

Happy Weekend!

I've had my head down to sewing for most of the week and the 2011 Brownstone Raffle Quilt, "Friendship Garden" is finished!  Yoooray!  I took it to the 2 holiday parties yesterday to show the guild members who did such a great job on this project.

I'm so happy that the top is finished!  It took a guild and 3 special friends, but it was completed in 2 1/2 months.  One of our talented guild members will be doing the quilting on her new long arm and I'm really looking forward to seeing it finished.

This quilt was inspired by Florence Peto's "Calico Garden" quilt that is owned by the Shelburne Museum.  It is rather small, only a crib size and was made in the 1950's.

Instead of nine-patches I decided to do the 16 patch to maintain scale with the larger applique' blocks.  We added a vine border and then finished the quilt with the small squares on point.

Each year I like to plant some indoor bulbs.  The amaryllis is a favorite.  Some years it does better than others.  This year I chose an orangy/red one.  I only got 2 blooms instead of the three, but it was lovely in the sun yesterday.

I also like paper whites, or Narcissus.  They have a wonderful, if not powerful scent.   I plant mine in fish gravel in this tall vase so they don't fall over.

And finally, after the evening guild Holiday party, they sent me home with this lovely pointsettia from one of the tables.  Thanks, ladies!  I'm starting to get in the Christmas spirit, I made a few Santa kleenex covers this morning.

I can't wait to make a house block for Beth's drawing.  You can find out about at her blog:  Love Laugh Quilt.  How fun!

Have a great weekend, and I hope you find some time to stitch.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Flat It Where's It's At

Hello - I hope everyone (in the US) had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I've been bitten this week with a flu bug, but feeling a little better finally and I'm grateful for all the help I had yesterday and that it was a quiet family day.

I even manged to set the table between rests on the couch.  It is my husbands tradition to sing "We Gather Together" before dinner.  We hold hands and sing with joy, if not skill.

Coco knew something was up with the fancy placemat.  She took up a post at her food bowl to see what would happen.  She enjoyed her first Thanksgiving turkey and gravy.

My quilting goal today is to get the last three borders on the raffle quilt.  I put the first one on and attached more leaves to it on Wednesday.

One thing I have learned from helping quilt judges is that they really want to see a nice flat, square quilt.  I used to just "wing it" and have had poor results.  There are many ways to add borders.  I developed this way of doing it and really works well for me.

I work on my "big board" ironing board, but any large flat surface will work fine.  I used "Abe" as my sample.

Step 1-
Layout the quilt right side up and find the center of the quilt.  Mark it with a pin, or a dot.

Step 2-
Find the center of the border and mark it with a pin.

Step 3-
Place a pin (through the border fabric only) at the center and at each end of the quilt.

I never trim any border extra off until it is sewn and pressed and squared up.

Step 4-
Pick up the border piece and re-pin the end pins to the edge of the quilt top (ride sides together) and pin the center point.

Step 5-
At this point I flipped it over and smoothed it and pinned from the pieced side.  Pin the dickens out of it easing where necessary - never move the center or end pins.  easing, pinning, sewing and pressing will work - trust.

Step 6-
Carefully lift it all and proceed to the machine.  I sometimes use a seam ripper as a stiletto to feed the seams in the right way.

Step 7-
Press carefully.  I like a lot of steam, but do what works for you.

Step 8 (final)-
Square up the corner.  I use my small mat and square ruler for this.

One of the reasons I like this method over just measuring and cutting is that I can "see" everything that is happening.  I also leave my border length intact until all is well, then I trim it off.

So I'm off to make a cup of tea and go to work - wish me luck.  I hope if you are not shopping, that you enjoy some quilting time today.