Thursday, May 31, 2012

In a funk....

Yes this is exactly the advice I need - Snap out of it! I've been in a funk the last week. Thinking lead to ruminating, ruminating lead to feeling guilty, feeling guilty lead to procrastination, and procrastination resulting in vegging. Blah..... I did summon a little energy and did some knitting and some cross stitching. Nothing complete - still works in progress, but I figure every stitch counts. Right?? Shake your head up and down up and down. Good. You follow direction waaayy better than I do.

Now the knitting project is the shawl Whippoorwill. Here the link to Ravelry. I'm getting close to being finished but I'm at that point where every row is at least 400 stitches, so it still needs time.

I do love the yarn. The rosy pink is a Malabrigo color called Light of Love and the variegated yarn is Fleece Art and it is called Sugarplum.

And the cross stitch project I'm still enthralled by is the Monasterium Design Willie's Quaker Sampler. On Saturday I decided I had to know for sure that it was going to fit. Experience has shown my math skills to be woefully inadequate in many instances.(Remember the quilt project that first there weren't enough blocks and then there were too many and somehow in the end there weren't enough and I had to make more -sheesh) So I went and stitched the entire alphabet.

Eureka! It will fit! Now I need to focus and see if I can finish this by June 16. Why that day? Well I got this dynamite coupon in the mail from Michaels which I could take to my wonderful framer at Joanns - 60% off plus another 10% off, and it is good till the 16th. Now that could be some serious savings on a piece this big. It will be more than 27 inches in length. So that is like 16 days away and yes I am being totally delusional thinking I can do this. I'm about halfway there. It could happen, possibly, maybe, oh damn I need to stitch like the wind. On the up side, isn't this feather wonderful?

Oh good I see you shaking your head up and down again.

And since I didn't turn on my sewing machine, I didn't post for Design Wall Monday because it looked exactly like it did the week before.

Gosh I love this addled gal! I plan to work on the machine applique parts today. I have yolks and beaks to stitch down. I have the added kick in the pants I need because I want to give this to Cass, my long arm quilter at the guild meeting on Monday night. I swear if it wasn't for the last minute I'd never get anything done.

Well, I need to shake off this funk and get moving. Thanks for all of you who checked up on me by email. I appreciate your concern and I'm okay. And my apologies to everyone who had to look at all the carp I pinned on Pinterest that showed up on Facebook while I was vegging out. I had no idea that was happening until today when I looked at my Facebook page. I don't check it very often. Luckily I figured out how to change my Pinterest settings and put a stop to it.

So off to do something productive - I don't mean laundry - although there is a rather large pile in the doorway of the laundry room. Maybe I can just jump over it on my way to my sewing room - ummmm.... probably not a good idea.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lots of thinking

Well I suppose the flaming bagel wasn't a sign of the Apocalypse after all, as it is Thursday and we are all still here. You are here, aren't you? Good. Thanks for all your kind comments. I'm thinking I may get a toaster oven. I'm still evaluating the options. Did I mention that I was toasting the bagel at home so I could use my own cream cheese and save a few pennies. Another vivid example of why I'm not a thrifty person.

So I'm in a state of flux as I can't decide what I want to start next. Not that I should be starting something new, I should liberate a project from its plastic tomb, I mean box or bag, and work on something that is already started. I have a bajillion ideas bouncing around in my brain. My chicken quilt is almost finished, and for me this is the time I lose focus, as my attention span is about a nanosecond in length. Visions of quilts I saw on BQF are dancing in my head (its just like Christmas). And, I did a quick look-see of my stash of precuts and there are at least 10 quilts that I could make. With the 3 day weekend beckoning me to sew sew sew I need to make some kind of plan, I think.... maybe.... we'll see....

Meanwhile, back in my basement lair, sewing area, I did a little stacking and whacking. First I cut fabric for my BFF Stephie. She's recovering from shoulder surgery and I think she can push fabric through the machine. Then I got out some of my Phillip Jacobs fabric and pinned it. Remember this one...

I pinned this 3 different times since first I thought I'll do the square and do 4 repeats, then I thought I'll do something with 8 repeats as it turned out I had more fabric than I thought, and then I thought I'll do the hexagon which is 6 repeats. Can you tell there was a lot of thinking but decision making was sorely lacking. So I stopped after the third go round and whacked it and these are some of the blocks I'm seeing.

I think (there's that word again) this would make a great one block wonder with the hexagons melding into one another. But this will require real thinking and decision making and time spent on the design wall to ponder possibilities. And I'm not up to that much work. Soooooo.... this came in the mail on Monday.

Willie's Quaker Band Sampler from Monasterium Designs. I've looked at this one for over a year and just about 2 weeks ago I ordered it and I LOVE it! I'm using 32 count cream linen and it will measure about 30" in length and be about 6" in width.

There are 4 pages to the design and I'm about 2/3 of the way done with the first page. It is stitching up quickly. Now I did change all the flosses. I was surprised that the ones called for are very pale. I redid the palette in deeper shades. You need 2 shades of several colors, mine are gold, olive, taupe, rose, blue-green and marigold. I'm stitching most of the alphabet in a deep gold - DMC 781 - and I'm doing the C and the N - my boys initials in DMC 731. I've gotten a lot of stitching done the last 2 days as the weather has been perfect for sitting on my screen porch. And I find that when I can't make decisions about other projects, cross stitch is my go to activity since most of the decisions have already been made for me. I like that cross stitching gives my mind time to wander (although that may not be a good thing).

So in the end I still don't know exactly what quilt project I'll work on next. Stay tuned... film at 11... or whenever.

If you are starting your holiday weekend tomorrow, be safe and have lots of fun!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What kind of an omen is a flaming bagel?

Okay I wanted to start my day with one of those yummy Cinnamon Crunch bagels from Panera's. I had picked up a couple the other day. I placed it in the toaster and turned my back to find the cream cheese which other members of my family had shoved to the back of the top shelf behind the pickle relish, where I can hardly see it and have to jump up to reach, when my youngest son says "the toaster is on fire". Now, this child is known to be over dramatic and I replied (still not looking) oh that's just steam from my bagel. No, No it wasn't. There were flames shooting out of my toaster. (Not a picture of my actual toaster.)

So I unplugged it and removed the flaming half and doused it in water. Soggy, burnt sugar blech..... However I did salvage the bottom half - which has no yummy cinnamon sugar and ate that. Now I need a new toaster. Perhaps this one..

I do hope this isn't a sign of the Apocalypse since I'm caught up with my laundry and I'd hate to think I wasted my last hours on earth folding socks and underwear.

Hope your day does not include a flaming appliance.

carol fun

Monday, May 21, 2012

We have egg production on Design Wall Monday

Well I did get a little sewing time and I worked on getting the body of this quilt together. There was a LOT of finagaling and fussing and fudging to get those side triangles the way I wanted. Perhaps a better grounding in math might have helped, but since that train left years ago I had to go with the "cut'em big and trim 'em down approach".

I'm very happy with the girls. They are looking fat and sassy. And I even got some egg production from them.

I went with the simple snowball block version and I hand cut the yolks which will insure than no two will be identical. Right now I'm thinking I'll have a smattering of fried eggs around the upper left and lower right corners. I have to keep the size of the borders in check since this quilt is pushing the boundaries of how big it can be and still fit on the wall in my kitchen. I probably should have given size a bit more thought when I started but it is waaaaaayyy too late now. It is what it is.

Oh I love the yellow I found for the border. I got it at Fabric Shack from a line called Goofy Geckos.A perfect shade of yellow with random red, lime green and orange dots. I think the orange dots kinda look like fried eggs or eyeballs - hmmmmm.... I do have issues we aren't going to discuss today. Anyway I saw the fabric online and drove up to Fabric Shack - its about a 35 minute drive - and as soon as I saw it I knew it was the one.

So this quilt is in the final stages which means I can not wait to start something new. I've gotten tons of new ideas from the Bloggers' Quilt Festival. (Oh I am totally behind on my blog reading. I had the best of intentions, but you know the saying.) And there are several already started projects languishing in their hermetically sealed plastic bins that could possible see the light of day. Don't know which way to go yet. I'll figure out something.

Hope you have time to sew this week!
Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A short stroll down memory lane on a Sampler for Sunday

Okay, technically this isn't a sampler, but it is definitely a stroll down memory lane for me. I think this little piece is the very first cross stitch I did on linen.

Now I have no idea who's design this is or what it was called. All I remember is I stitched this about 27 years ago and it was from the Better Homes and Gardens Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazine. Do you remember that one? I loved that magazine and I dearly wish I hadn't gotten rid of my back copies. One or two still lurk in my stash but not the one this piece appeared in.

I think I may have changed the colors of this piece since that dusty turquoise and rose are the colors of my bedroom in 1985.  I know I changed the hair color of the mother and child to reflect me and my first born son.

It is a sweet little piece that still hangs in my bedroom even though these are no longer my colors. This is one of less than 5 cross stitch pieces I have had matted and framed. Early on I made the decision to do my samplers with simply frames - no matting - a decision I'm still very happy with. And in continuing my stroll down memory lane I found a sampler I started probably 15 years ago in my stash. It doesn't need much to finish it so I think I'll work on it tonight. It isn't my style choice right now. It is a primitive but it is "cute country". It has elements that sucked me in which explains why I started it, however it is on a very loosely woven piece of linen which is driving me crazy. Nowadays I would never stitch on something this loose, so I guess I've learned something over the years.

Here's hoping your week has lots of stitching time -

carol fun

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Thoughts about BQF and quilting and Quilt Market

Have you been over to Amy's blog to see the wonderful entries in the Spring edition of the Bloggers' Quilt Festival? Go and take a look, no no wait, if you go look you'll be gone for hours and I really can't wait around, I have errands to do.

Well. that what the problem is with BQF. Yesterday I said I was going to look at every quilt and as of this moment I have been to over 300 blogs. I have seen so many amazing quilts. I've made a list of at least 20 quilt ideas I want to try and I even went to Joanns last night and bought a new quilt book for one of the quilts I want to make - NOW!

My thought process was that if I started looking at the quilt entries on the first day I would be able to keep up with my reading. However I kinda feel like Lucy and Ethel in the candy factory. Do you remember that episode?

I am blown away by the number of quilters who share their creations in the BQF. As someone who has been quilting for over 25 years, it makes me so happy to see how many young woman are quilting. Its validation that the stereotypical quilter isn't an old lady. Quilting is a living creative art form. I love how you can make a quilt and it is beautiful and practical. You can paint a pretty picture, but it can't keep you warm on a cold winter's night. Quilting is therapy. It makes you feel better about what's happening in your life. It can help you celebrate life's accomplishments and comfort you in times of disappointment. I am so happy that I'm a quilter!

Now go look at the Bloggers' Quilt Festival - you are going to have a wonderful time!


OH OH - I just found this stash of pictures from Quilt Market. It is from Fat Quarter Shop's Facebook page - click here.

Well that should keep you busy for quite a while!

Gotta go get my errands done!

carol fun

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival :: Spring 2012

I'm so glad you stopped by to view my entry for the Spring 2012 edition of Bloggers' Quilt Festival. I've been thinking for a week about which quilt I wanted to show and I decided on this one since it encompasses so many of the things I love about quilting.

This is "A tisket, a tasket, a LOT of yellow baskets" which I made in 2007 as an entry for the NQA show in Columbus, Ohio. It is big - about 96" square and there are 113 different yellow baskets. Yes, that is a lot of yellow and it the product of 25 years of collecting yellow fabrics.

The scallop-y inside border is the combination of applying a wide yellow rickrack over the edge of the narrow inside yellow border and being incredibly lucky that the yellow are almost identical. (you can click on the pictures to get a closer look)

The button stack in the corners was my creation. There are 3 buttons - a big black one, a medium white one, and tiny yellow one. I painted the white button to look like the flowers in the black and white sashing strips and thought I was exceeding clever - LOL!

Now along with lots of tone-on-tone and printed yellow fabrics I have a healthy (cough -ok maybe a tad obsessive) love of novelty prints which I was able to use in abundance in this quilt. Up first...

a pizza man, a nod to my Italian heritage. Next...

a bright orange cat, who looked like our beloved Khat (the h is silent, and yes we aren't very creative with pet names) who went over the rainbow bridge a couple of years ago. Then...

some of my favorite flowers, tulips. And a patriotic salute...

Uncle Sam who also happens to be a Debbie Mumm fabric - one of my favorite designers. And last but certainly not least...

a polka dot chicken!! This was years before I started this blog so you can see that my affection for polka dot poultry has a long history.

I love everything about this quilt. The bright red dotty border reminds me of Minnie Mouse - which makes me smile. All those lovely yellow baskets bring back memories of the great little quilt shops I bought them in and the friends I was shopping with. Fabric and friends is a combination that can't be beat!

So I hope you've enjoyed my quilt. I'd love for you to stop back anytime. You'll find me indulging in all types of crafty stuff - knitting, quilting, cross stitching- that involves a needle and thread. And there will be chickens...lots of polka dot chickens - LOL!

Thank you Amy for hosting this wonderful event. I find so much inspiration in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival and now,...I'm off to look at every single entry!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Amy's Creative Side

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I think you are neater than...

Source: via Carol on Pinterest

I found this on Pinterest and I have never heard this saying before, but really - it was meant for me!!! LOL -- two of my most favorite things, socks and chickens. And I do think that every single one of you who reads this blog is neater than socks on a chicken!

So I decided to put this saying into my own images....ta dah!!!

Yep, my chickens have arrived and aren't they spiffy! What you couldn't tell from the image on Amazon was that there is glitter on them too. Oh I love sparkly stuff!

And they come apart and you could group them this way too!

I'm not sure exactly where I'm going to place them yet. Even if I spray them with polyurethane I doubt they are going to last long outside. So, I'm thinking of getting a big flowerpot and weighting it and putting some floral foam in the pot and make a chicken stack for inside. I could enjoy them for many many years to come. (Oh my son - who purchased these chickens - told me "you know you're crazy, right?" - yeah I know- LOL!)

And here's a close up of the latest pair of socks I've finished. This is DROPS Fabel sock yarn.

I love sock yarn with varying widths of stripes. I don't think I've seen purple, pink and chartreuse-y green in a sock yarn before. I bought this yarn in 2 more colorways and I can't wait to see how they knit up.

It was another busy day - lots of errands. I hope to get some sewing time in real soon as I finally figured out how I'm going to do the border on the chicken quilt - stay tuned!

And remember I think you are neater than socks on a chicken!

carol fun

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fluffing my chickens on Design Wall Monday

I didn't get as much time to sew last week as I had hoped but I did get a little done and added the blocks between the hens.

Now I started with a Hens and Chickens block but it didn't have that square in the middle and the block really needed that in my opinion. There were only 6 of these blocks but they took a lot of time, not because they are hard to piece but because I had to cut each block twice.

The first time I cut all the pieces too big and I cut some background pieces I didn't even need. Sheesh! I have no idea what chart I was looking at. So then I worked on salvaging them by shaving off a little on each piece which probably took longer than re-cutting them.

I'm real happy with how they look. They are smaller than the chicken blocks. I'm either going to float them in the space or add nesting boxes under the hens and spacers underneath. I need to cut some fabrics and try out different settings. And then there is the question of what to use in the border. I want to have fried eggs framing the girls but I haven't decided if I want to do snowball block type fried eggs like the quilt in my header. Or do I want to do free-form appliqued fried eggs. And then there is the decision of what fabric to use as the background for the fried eggs. All questions that I will ponder this week.

Hope your week has lots of quality sewing time!
Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A little Mother's Day piece for this Sunday

Happy Mother's Day!
I hope that you can spend the day relaxing with your loved ones. My plans are to stitch a little and sew a little and enjoy the day.

This Sunday I have a small piece I cross stitched years ago when my boys were toddlers.I know this was a Cricket Collection piece but I don't remember the name. I love the verse around the mother bunny.

There is no higher calling in life than raising the children God has trusted to our care. That sums it up nicely, doesn't it? This piece hangs on the wall next to my bed and I see it every night before I turn in. A little affirmation that being a mom is a job we need to do the best as we can. Some days are definitely more trying than others but I've always been glad to be a mom.

So do you have any Mother's Day traditions? I have one I started for me years ago. I always start a new cross stitch project on Mother's Day. A totally guilt free start, cause you know I need that - LOL! Anyway yesterday I was looking at my rather robust stash and looking at all my WIPs and was finding it a wee bit hard to justify another start. And then it hit me - I would start a new month on my BBD Anniversaries of the Heart piece! Last night I just about finished Pattern 9, Moonlight Visitor, and the next month I planned on doing was Pattern 8, Clara Ellen. Now Pattern 8 would be the month of August and August is the birth month of my Mother and my Grandmother. What could be a more perfect day to start this one than Mother's Day. A day I remember both of these wonderful women who first put a needle in my hand and praised my work from the time I was a child. I am so grateful that they introduced me to a world of fabric, thread, yarn and crafty stuff. It makes me happy every day!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, May 11, 2012

Rattling around like a BB in a box car

My Dad used that phrase to describe my behavior on numerous occasions. I would go from thing to thing to thing to thing and eventually loop back to where I began. Hey - I was ADHD before they had a name for it. The nuns just wished I could sit still and be quiet - it was hard to do! So this week has found me rattling around with my cross stitch.

Last Friday evening I took my BBD AoH piece to my LNS to stitch. I figured that filling in the house on this part - pattern no. 9 Moonlight Visitor - would allow me to talk and stitch. I've changed the color of the house to a more golden yellow - this is Gentle Arts Queen Bee.

I didn't get it finished and I thought I'd pick it back up when I got home but instead my Rosewood Manor Quaker Diamonds sampler called my name so I stitched a bit on it. I'm loving those Valdani threads.

And then I was looking at some seasonal pieces I've done and decided that I needed another patriotic piece so I started this one

This is Liberty Star Sampler by Chessie and Me and I've already changed flosses on this one. I made the navy, navy-er and the red, redder and I realized today that I've done the alphabet in a totally different floss than what the chart called for. Oh well, it's gonna stay that way. I'm not picking out that over one stuff. I may frog that outer border, it looks too pale to me with the flosses I stitched. Oh I never make it easier - LOL

And then I decided I needed a little piece to sit with an arrangement of pretties I put on my bookcase. I have a lovely Mary Engelbreit tea cup and a glass jar with my cupcake liners in it but it needs a third item, so I looked through my stash and found this little gem from Lizzie Kate.

Now I told myself if I didn't have all the over-dyed flosses, that was God's way of telling me not to start another piece, but he must have wanted me to do this one since I had every single one in my stash. Yes I am crazy but the voices in my head are happy - LOL! So I'll continue to rattle around with my stitching, and eventually something will get finished.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy happy joy joy!!!!

Happy happy joy joy! Happy happy joy joy! Happy happy happy happy happy happy joy joy joy!!!!

Why this outburst you may ask? Well Sandie who's name links here, but doesn't have an return email found my chicken stack on Amazon.

Here is the link. I have already ordered it. There were only 3 left and I took that as a sign that I was meant to have it. My boys will be happy to give this to me as a Mother's day gift and I will be thrilled to have it in my garden. And since I'm an Amazon prime member there was no shipping!

Thank you, thank you, Sandie for finding this. I really appreciate it! I googled a bunch of things last night but didn't find it anywhere.

Beth - no need to do back to the garden center on my account.

And I apologize to any of you who have the Ren & Stimpy "Happy" song stuck in your head!

carol fun

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What I learned in an Ami Simms workshop

Well first I wanted to say that I had a great time on Sunday in the String Piecing workshop with Ami Simms. There were about 25 ladies in attendance and it was neat to see all the different fabric choices. However it was clear, very early on, that my fabrics didn't look like anyone else's fabrics. Hmmm... there were ladies using Christmas fabrics, reproduction fabrics, some novelties and a smattering of brights but no one else's blocks looked like this -

Yes that shade is pretty close to the yellow they use to stripe streets-- it glows! LOL I've used this background before on a Schnibble - I bought at least 9 yards of it at a going out of business sale. I had no clue why anyone else wouldn't want it - because I am clueless. So here are a couple of close-ups of my blocks.

We have bright birds...

and did you have any doubt there would be polka dot chickens? I didn't think so.

Ami has a wonderful sense of humor. She really could do stand-up,in fact the program she gave on Monday night at the guild meeting "How Not to Make a Prize Winning Quilt" had everyone in stitches. (bad pun - sorry!) Ami stressed in the class that problems with your quilt and fabric are NOT your fault - the humidity is high, the lighting is wrong, the ruler is uneven, there is a shift in the cosmic universe -- but it is not your fault. I like that philosophy.

Now if you are looking for pictures of the workshop I'm afraid I have bad news. I did take my camera, what I didn't take was the memory card that goes in the camera, so basically I had a lovely little red paperweight in my purse. Arghh.... however Heather, our illustrious guild website manager and photographer took lots of pictures and I was going to link to them but they aren't loaded yet. I'll let you know when she uploads them.

Of course if you've read this blog for more than one day you know how happy chickens make me (we will not probe the dark psychological reasons for this, ok?). And lots of other people have picked up on this and have recently gifted me with some wonderful chickens (don't fault them for feeding my habit - they are good people!- LOL). First we have this beauty, a gift made by Cass, the gal that does the great long arm quilting on my stuff. Is this chicken not adorable??

And here is a right profile. The little brown egg has cracks embroidered on it and a little bitty beak is poking out.

I got to show it at "Show and Tell" at the meeting and we were color coordinated. I was wearing an orange sweater with white dots and I had no previous knowledge of what this chicken would look like. Obviously we are soul mates! Thanks Cass!

And my dear friend from Nebraska sent me this crazy chicken...

OMG -a hot pink and orange dotted chicken! All hand crocheted! Love it! The legs dangle and I'm going to put it on the mantle as part of my chicken display. Thanks Amy! Everywhere I go people put chickens in my path - and it makes me smile. Just the other day Beth from Garden Grumbles & Cross Stitch Fumbles was giving a tour of a local garden center she frequents and there was this....

I NEED this!!!! I'm going to contact the garden center and see how much it is and how much it would cost to ship it. Now the garden center is in Oregon and I live in Ohio and I'm afraid it may be a bit pricey. Soooooo here is your mission..... if you see this lovely stack of chickens in your travels let me know. Maybe I can find one closer to home. I would be eternally grateful and your slightly cracked friend forever and ever!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, May 7, 2012

My chickens have come home to roost on Design Wall Monday

I got all 12 chickens pieced last week and oh are they looking fine! LOL! I've just pinned the googly eyes and the beaks on so I could get a sense of their personalities and yes, that does mean that I am more than slightly cracked. Whatever -

Some look slightly addled....

Some look surprised....

And some look mutant....

I may need to change the orientation of this chicken's body since it looks like she has a 3rd eye there!

I'm really loving these gals. Now I have to figure out what I'm going to in the blank spaces between them. I'm thinking of a Hens and Chickens block pieced in random dotty fabrics. My son suggested that they have a roost underneath them made from a wood grain fabric and I think that's a good idea. He is quite the creative chap. It was his idea for bigger googly eyes and he was so right! He also suggested that I name them - I LOVE that idea! He thought that each one should wear one of those sticky back name tags they give you at meetings - kinda funny. I'm still mulling over how I'd accomplish this. I'm thinking little signs over each one with their name. I could add it after it is quilted. I think I may have something there.

Please stop by tomorrow and I'll show some pics of the workshop with Ami Simms. It was a fun day but boy was I beat when I got home. Being out of the house Friday night, Saturday night and all day Sunday is more social time than I usually do in a month! I'm getting too old for all this running around and today still has plenty of running to do. I'm looking forward to staying home on Tues - and maybe Wed, Thurs and Friday too!

Happy stitching-
carol fun