Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A blatant example of why I don't make New Year's resolutions...

Happy New Year's Eve! Oh its that time of year when people all over the world make resolutions for the upcoming trip around the sun... but I don't do it... the resolutions part, I do want to make the trip! LOL Many of us will resolve to finish up projects we have started. In fact, a group from my quilting guild proposed that they would finish a UFO BEFORE they started any new project in a month. An admirable idea that lots of people agreed, being the smart a@@ that I am replied "I will try to try"... and well, I sometimes I have trouble even trying to try to do something.

Case in point... yesterday I started a new project, even though the most recent project (started last Sunday) still resides on my design wall. Yesterday I made this..

a giant sized - 24" finished- Urban Churn Dash block! I got the pattern here on Piece and Quilt's blog. She's given the fabric yardage that is needed and the cutting directions for a block. I think she'll post the sewing directions soon, but I couldn't wait and it was easy enough to figure out. The only adjustment I made was to cut my squares 9" instead of 8 7/8" as it gave me a little more wiggle room for squaring up the resulting HST.

Nine of these babies will make a 72" square quilt before borders. I dug out my Fat Quarter and Fat Eighth bundles of Charlevoix by Minnick & Simpson that I have been hoarding, aging like fine wine!

I made a Schnibble with this collection a couple of years ago and I love it still. I've been saving these bundles for something special. I will be using a different background in each block along with different fabrics. I think I'll have enough left for some kind of scrappy border and it will look great in my bedroom. Since my block doesn't have an "urban" look, I need to think of another name for this one.

As for the Kaffe/Brandon/Phillip quilt, I added a few more blocks. I bought 6 yards of that blue background and after whacking off some for those connector corners and vertical sashing I still have 200 running inches. I want to guesstimate how much I'll use for sashing between the rows and an outside border...cut that off one edge... and then resume cutting the connector corners and vertical sashing. This will require some thinking... I should do this before dinner time as afterwards I don't think too good - LOL! If you click on the picture you can see the patterns in the blocks more clearly, I love that this shows off big chunks of these fabrics. Oh oh... I just had a thought (a dangerous things) ...I might offset every other row... that sounds interesting... off to the sewing room!

Wishing everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

carol fun

PS... I just saw on Facebook where the leader of the proposal to finish an UFO before starting a new project, admitted to wanting to start a couple more projects before midnight so they'd be UFO's for 2015... LOL... now that is my kinda thinking!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gifts I gave...

Finally I can show off the projects I worked on all of December... and I was very happy with how these turned out.

These are made with the Divided Basket pattern from can find it and all her patterns here. These are really good sized baskets - almost a foot long!

Here's an overhead shot to show the linings and yes, there is a bag of candy in each basket. I believe you shouldn't give a wallet or a purse as a gift without a bit of money in it, and you shouldn't give a basket without candy... both sweeten the deal!

I tried to tailor my fabric choices to the recipient. This one is for Cathy and she likes jewel tone batiks!

This one is for Linda. I picked fabrics from the Sewing Box collection by Gina Martin. These are the colors in Linda's sewing room.

This one is for Laurey. Her house is filled to the brim with gorgeous antique furniture and I thought this fabric from Circa 1934 by Cosmo Cricket fit right in.

And last but not least is this one for Stephie. I found this new collection of Wizard of Oz fabrics at Fabric Shack. Stephie LOVES the musical Wicked, and the green fabric has the words "my beautiful wickedness" swirling around those hats.

I still want to make a couple more of these baskets. I have some great fabric picked out for my friend Vicki who spends the winters in Florida and I'd like to make one for me!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, December 29, 2014

The grayer the day...

the brighter the fabric needs to be!!! There have been way too many dreary, gray days lately and I think I've found the antidote...working with my Kaffe Fassett, Brandon Mably and Phillip Jacobs prints. I was inspired by a quilt top I saw on the blog by Kelly Young entitled,  My Quilt Infatuation which you can see here, and I put my spin on it.

I ended up doing connector corners on all 4 corners and I thought that bright cornerstones would look good...but they don't...sooooooooooooooo....

I replaced then with continuous sashing and I like it much better.

In looking at my inspiration piece I'm not sure what size her blocks are. I think she will be doing a pattern for her quilt as she has several great looking patterns here on Craftsy, so be on the lookout for it. I started with 5" X 10" rectangles and added 2" cut connector corners. My sashing is cut 2" also. This would work well with a layer cake - just cut it in half. I like that I can really show off these large scale prints. My plan is to make this large enough to fit my double bed. I "calculated" that I will need 120 of these blocks, so I cut 60 different 10" squares, and then sub-cut them to 5" X 10"... easy peasy... wish me luck that I did the math correctly!

This is my background fabric I purchased yesterday at my favorite shop, Fabric Shack. It is Jazz Basic by Timeless Treasures and you can see it here. I can't wait to stitch up more blocks.

 But before I can spend more quality time in my sewing room I have errands to run and phone calls to make. I have an idea to re-arrange some of the furniture in the living room and while moving the furniture shouldn't be too hard,  moving the cable box poses a problem. I need a longer cord and I hope by taking the one from the box to Best Buy will help me find one twice as long.

Hope you have a lovely week !

happy stitching-
carol fun

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Very Merry Christmas!

Just chugging by to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas!

 Check back in a day or two when I actually have crafty stuff to share!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas-y stuff

First a little whine... it is really hard finding crafty stuff to post on a crafty blog when everything you are working on is a gift for someone who reads this blog! Sheesh...I'm sewing as fast as I can! However there is one project I can share cause I made these for me! Christmas-y pillowcases featuring Santa and Frosty!

Now I almost titled this post "Sleeping with Santa and Frosty" but my son informed me that it sounded kinda slutty... so I figured I'd just hide it here in the text and see if anyone else finds it as funny as I do - LOL - I am easily amused in my old age!

Anyway here is Frosty...

And here is Santa and the whole gang from the 1964 Rankin/Bass production of Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer.

I used that burrito method of making the pillowcases so all the seams are enclosed -quick and easy! You can find a tutorial here. I'll be cozy with all these guys in bed with me.... OMG.... that sounds slutty too!

Sooooo lets switch gears here and look at one of our Christmas younger son decorates this one and it is all "food" ornaments.

Big Dude is making sure all those ones at the bottom are hung in their proper place.

 That big slice of pizza is a Christopher Radko ornament and it started the whole collection.

The gumball machine is a new addition this year and I love the little baking sheet with the gingerbread guys.

And looky here! I just found these in a plastic bin in the basement. I don't have a clue as to where or when I bought these but a couple are going on the big tree today. Maybe next Christmas I'll do a little tree in my sewing room with polka dot ornaments... could be the start of another collection!

Hope your holiday preparations are moving along nicely. I'm off to drop my Christmas cards in the mail. Each year I send less and less and each year it is later and later when I get them in the mail. I even thought of starting on next years cards now while I had the stuff strewn all over my desk, but there are too many other things that need to be done NOW!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, December 15, 2014

Feeling less grinchy on Design Wall Monday

Well again, I've disappeared from this blog for longer than I planned. Last week was filled with plumbers... a different problem from the As the Bathroom Turns saga... and I was working on Christmas presents that I can't show. The plumbers left me feeling kinda grinchy but I climbed out of my funk yesterday by going to the movies with a friend to see White Christmas. It is my FAVORITE movie of ALL time and it is just wonderful on the big screen. The singing and the dancing are fun and seeing all the details of the costumes is a feast for the eyes. Vera Ellen had such a tiny waist, and Rosemary Clooney was beautiful. I loved Edith Head's designs - such pretty fabrics and flattering styles. If you love this movie as much as I do here is a great article from the GlamAmor blog which talks about the costume and has great screen shots.  And here is another article I found on Vera Ellen's costumes... I particularly adore the daffodil yellow dance outfit she wears in the "Abraham" number.  I know every line of this movie and it never fails to make me smile! If you ever get a chance to see it in a theater I think you would enjoy it... I know I did!

My good mood continued when I got home and I went down to my sewing room to work on this quilt - my version of the Four Corners quilt from quirky granola girl.

It ended up being 58 inches square and I used a jelly roll of Deb Strain's Be Jolly collection. Now this quilt could easily be sewn up in an afternoon but I made it into project of EPIC proportions... something I am soooo GOOD at doing - LOL! If you go here and  look back at my design wall for December 1st you can see it was a scrappy quilt ,but it was too splotchy for me. I wanted busier, which isn't always better, but it was the destination I was headed for,  and I think I arrived. Here are some close ups of the fabrics.

Cute jolly snowmen and lots of polka dots...

Holly that looks jolly and snowflakes...

More dots and more snowflakes...

If I was going to do a quilt like this again...and I think I will... I would cut the jelly roll strips into random lengths before I started sewing them together.

I have some batik strips in my stash and I'm thinking I may play with this pattern...Birch Bark by Hunter's Designs.

You can purchase this as a digital download here on Craftsy.

I still have a couple of Christmas projects to work on, but this is awfully tempting...and then there are several WIPs that could benefit from a little attention.  So many choices, so little time... big sigh. I've even given some thought as to what I want to work on in 2015. I don't make New Years Resolutions as I never keep them, but I might put together a wish list of quilts I'd like to do. It could be interesting...

Hope the week is productive for you and for me!. Christmas is closing in and I know there is still lots of stuff we all have to do.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's beginning to look a little like Christmas around here

So I got all the Fall decor to hop back into their plastic bins, and hauled out the Christmas decorations... okay to be perfectly honest my sons did the  hauling  as I supervised...its a hard job but someone has to do it and I am definitely more managerial material than  labor!  LOL

In anticipation of Christmasfying the house I realized that I needed a table runner for my new yellow display chest, and I whipped this together.

It is a simple runner but I'm happy with how it turned out. The fabrics are from  the one Mini-Charm pack of Aspen Frost by Basic Grey I found in my stash. The background was leftover from a little Schnibble I made last Christmas. I think that mottled white/cream with the little silver polka dot is quite festive.

My Janome was behaving and I was able to quilt the whole piece using a Sulky silver metallic. I like that bit of sparkle when the light hits it just right.

And here it is in action as the ground for my Nativity scene. Not a lot of it shows but I know how pretty it is.

This Nativity scene is turning into an heirloom. When I needlepointed these little figures (they are about 5 to 6 inches high) I didn't know that I would still be using them 30 years later. At that time I was into needlepoint, and I frequented a shop that had a professional finisher, She did a lovely job with these. On the bottom of each one she stitched my initials and the year "1984".

I  was pregnant with my first son when I  was stitching these and I envisioned a Nativity scene that could be handled with no fear of breakage and it has performed admirably.

I used lots of different wools, perle cottons and metallic threads and all the beards and the sheep are done in a stitch that makes them fluffy. My boys still love this set and they have never wanted me to replace it, so I haven't. There is a little part of me that hopes it lasts another 30 years or more and that some other little person will enjoy it someday. (It's still way too soon to think about grandkids, as my son and his fiancee aren't going to be married till April... but I can indulge in wishful thinking, can't I?)

And to get into the holiday spirit I took a trip to my local greenhouse -Benkens- love that place. A week ago I picked up two small pine trees for the pots next to my garage door. Today the place was wall-to-wall poinsettias - isn't that swath of red just gorgeous?

And I've never seen poinsettias this big - these were about 4 to 5 feet tall!

I took home a couple of these little gems - this poinsettia is in a teeny tiny 2 inch diameter pot and the whole thing is only 5" high. I put it in one of my Fiestaware condiment cups and placed  it next to the sink in my kitchen. Too cute!

Well, my Christmas tree is assembled but not decorated yet. I was thrilled that it all lit up this year. I just bought it last year and my experience with pre-lit trees is that you only get a few years use out of them before they start going dark a section at time driving you stark raving mad and sucking any good Christmas feelings you have right down the drain. Taking a deep breath now... fortunately we haven't reached that point yet with this tree... I give it 2 more years tops.

Hope things in your corner of the world are starting to look Christmas-y too!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, December 1, 2014

Why I'm not a runner on Design Wall Monday

Well, I disappeared for another week - didn't mean to, but boy was I busy busy busy! Since last Wednesday I have been swept up in a whirlwind of activities that had to be done RIGHT NOW! I helped my son with two major end of the semester projects. I cleaned my house...REALLY GOOD... it needed it. I prepared a Thanksgiving meal for 7 that was eaten Saturday evening... a lovely evening with family... good food (if I say so myself, and I do) and good conversation. Yesterday was the first day in eons I had time to sit and sew... and I did!
I had seen a jelly roll quilt tutorial on quirky granola girl's blog and I wanted to try it out. Now I've never done a jelly roll quilt before and in my mind I thought this was something I could knock out in an hour. I have Juki sewing machine that goes REAL FAST - and off I went. What I forgot to consider was if I ever did run a race of any kind I would be the participant that stops about forty thousand times to look at this, and that, and that, and that shiny thing over there, and oh there's white squirrel! (I saw another one last week and this time not in my neighborhood... I'm beginning to think they are stalking me instead of the other way around.) Anyway, just like that previous thought it took a while to get my jelly roll panel together.

I used the Deb Strain Be Jolly collection which you can see here. Two of my friends have made darling disappearing 4 patch quilts with this collection and I wanted to play with it too, so I picked up a jelly roll at Fabric Shack. You only need to sew it to a width of 16 strips which is 4 passes. However, I kept stopping and rearranging the fabrics. It says to randomly sew them end to end, and I did, but when I started to sew them to each other I encountered deep OCD issues. Now I was okay if one red fabric touched another red fabric, but it was the two strips of the same red fabric well...I just couldn't do it! So I'd stop and pick out one strip and replace it with another strip and them move a third strip so that it didn't happen again and on and on and on. Again I succeeded in taking something simple and easy and turning it into a major production ... it's a gift don'tcha know - LOL!

Sooooo....when you finally get your strip set cut down into four sections you arrange it around a center square like this...

Check out the tutorial here. She does a great job walking you through the process. And I bet if you just followed the instructions you could whip this up real a runner...which I'm not...I'm more of a wanderer. And at this point all you need to do is sew the four sections together starting with a partial seam...but I can't do it... isn't scrappy enough for me.  I really don't like those areas where there is only one fabric in a row.. I want more pattern, more color...and I know how to get it. It will involve unsewing some areas and inserting the bits and pieces I had left to make the whole thing scrappier... and it will make me HAPPY!

As I was sewing this I was pondering other variations with this idea. I'd love to do this in batiks but instead of starting with 42" strips I want to use a variety of shorter lengths... and maybe put in a spacer strip here and there... oh the little hamster wheel in my brain is turning now... and you know that's gonna be trouble!

And why do I sit down to sew with precuts wearing a black turtleneck? Here's a selfie I took... and yes I have no head...I didn't crop it that way, it is just the way I took it. So not only am I not a runner I'm also not a very good photographer.

It was very festive fuzz... red, green, navy, white... my first Christmas decor project! The splotch in the middle is chocolate. I can't sew without chocolate... and I have to take my shoes off too...I think that is the Kentucky in me - LOL!

Happy stitching-
carol fun