Monday, January 26, 2015

ABC quilt is finished

Once again, I ask myself why I waited so long to make something out of this fabric. I guess until now, the time just wasn't right. It took me all of three days to put this together. It's smallish...about 33" by 40"...but it's finished and I love it! The extra blocks I used as filler at the top and bottom are the same as the backing and binding.

And this panel even came with a block I can use to label the quilt. I've got to do that next, then this one will be ready for the wash tomorrow. Once it's all dried and soft, it will go on the back of the rocking chair in the living room where I can see it all the time. :0)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

One more option

As the saying goes, one thing leads to another. Yesterday when I added the little squares to the center of the snowball blocks in mom's design, I thought to myself that I wished I could do that with my snowball blocks. I had thought they stood out on the quilt too much, just a big old white space. Nothing wrong with that, but it was bothering me. So yesterday it came to me...I could add squares to my snowball blocks, if I appliqued them on. Even better...I could add them on point.

So I  laid some out on my design wall and look at the difference! I truly love this quilt just seems more balanced to me without those big white spaces. And this will use up a few more of my scrap squares too. I'll probably use raw edge applique to attach the squares...I haven't decided for sure yet.

And one more thing...I was unable to reply to some comments recently regarding swapping scraps. Would Patty, Edie and Mary Jo please email me using the link on my sidebar. All three of you came up as no reply bloggers so I had no way to contact you. Thanks! :0)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A's, Bees and Dandelion Seeds

Since I've finished my charming stars top, and the pinwheel quilt, and my scrappy nine patch top, it was time for me to choose another project to start on. I went through my project tubs last night and found one I've had tucked away for quite some time. Long ago (sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale! LOL) I bought this panel. The line is called "A's, Bees and Dandelion Seeds" by Jacqueline Paton for Red Rooster Fabrics. I know it's an older line, but I couldn't find a date (thank goodness! LOL). 

I got the panel cut into blocks, and then dug through my stash looking for fabrics to go with them. I found some and decided to make four patch blocks to alternate with the ABC blocks. I only have one four patch made, but I hope to make some more tonight.

And for those of you doing the snowball sew-along, here are a couple more ideas for you if you've not decided on fabric yet. My mom (Tudy's Craft Cupboard) send me an email a little while ago with a two-color version of the sew-along quilt. 

I told her I loved it, but then I played with her drawing a bit and added a blue square in the middle of each snowball block. It would mean a bit more piecing, but I really like how that version looks. Now she's trying to decide between using just two fabrics, or using a variety of blues and yellows. I think using lots of different prints would give it more interest, but that's just my opinion. :0)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Scrappy Snowballs

Sometimes I wonder if there will ever come a day when I'm not working on a scrappy quilt. Don't get me wrong...I love scrappy quilts. But sometimes it seems like that's all I make. I know that's not true, but I guess I just get tired of sewing with the same old scraps over and over as I try to use them up. I realized that today when I was making snowball blocks for the new sew-along. And then I got to thinking...I wonder if anyone would be interested in swapping scrappy squares with me? It would be like getting new fabric without buying anything. If you're interested in doing a swap, just leave me a comment and we can figure out the details. I have lots of little squares I'd love to share with you! :0)

Now, on to the sew-along. I've been doing some figuring and here's some more info to help you get ready. The one tutorial I had bookmarked said she made 99 blocks...50 nine-patch blocks and 49 snowball blocks. Using 2-1/2 inch squares, the blocks will finish at six inches. The 99 blocks would give you a quilt 54" wide by 66" high. If this is what you want to do, you'll need approximately two yards of your background fabric. If you're like me, you 'll probably buy extra. But this gives you a place to start. And of course if you're making your quilt bigger, buy more. I think I'll be making mine bigger...I plan to keep making blocks until I run out of little squares or background fabric, whichever comes first. And if nobody really minds, I think we'll go ahead and start on February 1. The sooner we get started, the sooner we'll all have a new quilt, right? LOL

Stella Mia

If you're a regular follower of my blog, you know how much I love to read. Well, I just read this book, and it was amazing! I literally couldn't go to bed last night until I had finished it...I had to know how it ended! This is truly one of the best books I've read in a long time. I highly recommend it.

Rosanna Chiofalo's poignant, beautifully written new novel evokes the stunning scenery of Sicily and the Aeolian Islands and tells of mothers and daughters, love and sacrifice--and the choices that resound across continents and through generations.

Julia Parlatone doesn't have much to remember her Italian mother by. A grapevine that Sarina planted still flourishes in the backyard of Julia's childhood home in Astoria, Queens. And there's a song, "Stella Mia," she recalls her mother singing--my star, my star, you are the most beautiful star--until the day she left three-year-old Julia behind and returned to Italy for good.

Now a happily married school teacher, Julia tries not to dwell on a past she can't change or on a mother who chose to leave. But in an old trunk in the family basement, she discovers items that belonged to her mother--a song book, Tarot cards, a Sicilian folk costume--and a diary. Sarina writes unflinchingly of her harsh childhood and of a first, passionate love affair;of blissful months spent living in the enchanting coastal resort town of Taormina and the unspoiled Aeolian Islands north of Sicily as well as the reasons she came to New York. By the diary's end, Julia knows she must track down her mother in Italy and piece together the rest of the complex, bittersweet truth--a journey that, for better or worse, will change her own life forever.

And I finally was able to get a picture of my little pinwheel quilt. It looks a bit wrinkly and it is, because it's been washed and dried and it's all soft now. This one finished about 19 x 17 inches, so it's quite small. I just love it! :0)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New pins and a new pincushion

The pins I use are old. I love them, but the heads are plastic and they're so old the plastic has gotten brittle. I have butterflies missing wings, and hearts that are broke in half. I do have other pins I could use, but I'd read about glass head pins and since I did melt a pin head once, I thought maybe going with the glass head pins was a good idea. I also wanted to try out thin pins. So I went online and found some thin glass head pins. Now that I had the new pins, of course I needed a new pincushion for them. So I started it last night and finished it today. It's very simple, but that's all I need for next to my sewing machine. I love the little spools on the fabric! :0)

And remember this pile of pinwheel blocks? Well, they're all sewn together and now they look like...

...this! I love how this little quilt looks. My only problem now is figuring out how to quilt it. The pinwheels are so thick in the middle that I have to try to stay away from the center of the blocks. I guess I might just stitch in the ditch along the seam lines around each block basically. I'll figure something out tomorrow.

Friday, January 16, 2015

What am I thinking??

I've just come across another adorable BOM. This one is called Zoo Animals and it's from Kristy at Quiet Play. The first block is the flamingo...I have a thing for flamingos. However, I don't paper piece. So this is going to be a learning experience for me. If you want to read more just go HERE. Each block will be free just for a month, so if you're interested, get over there and grab the flamingo block before it's gone.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pinwheels and Elephants

I've been busy today sewing up pinwheel blocks from the bonus triangles leftover from my charming star blocks. I knew if I didn't do something with them right away, they'd sit there for days...weeks...OK, probably months. I have 30 pinwheel blocks now to make into something. Deciding what to make is next on my list.

And while blog reading this afternoon, I came across a wonderful quilt along I think I might have to join. The blocks are elephants...I LOVE elephants! If you want more info just go HERE and you can get all the details for yourself. This is gonna be so much fun! :0)

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Charming Finish

Well, it's technically not a finish for me until it's a finished quilt, but the top is finished and that has to count for something, right? LOL This ended up a really nice's about 68" by 81". I had thought to add a border or two, but I think I like it just the way it is. So now I need to find backing for it, and then get it sent off for quilting.

I just wanted to mention something about the upcoming sew-along. First of all, thank you all so much for showing so much interest in it! I'm really pleased that so many of you want to sew along with me! What I wanted to say is that while I'm going to use 2-1/2 inch squares for my nine-patch blocks, there's no reason you can't use three-inch, four-inch or even five-inch blocks for yours. If I didn't have so many 2-1/2 inch scraps to use up, I think I'd use bigger pieces myself. So just plan to use whatever size works for you. :0)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sewing and Reading

It's sure been nice to have a few extra days off from work. It's given me time to finally get to some sewing! Besides getting all the blocks made for my charming stars quilt, I was able to finish up the scrappy nine patch blocks I'd been working on as leaders and enders. I got this top put together this afternoon...hopefully later I can lay out my charming stars and start putting that top together.

And I've also had time to do some reading. I was lucky enough to get a copy of this book from the author. I started it yesterday afternoon and finished it last night...I just couldn't put it down! I happen to love lighthouses, so the fact that the story takes place at a lighthouse made it even more interesting to me. I love it and can't wait to read the next one in the series.

Here's what the book is about...I highly recommend it! :0)

All she's ever wanted was a home. But stranded at Presque Isle port after their steamboat sank, Emma Chambers and her brother, Ryan, couldn't be farther away from security. While Ryan at least can find work, Emma can't even find a place to stay. An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper, who recently lost his wife and is struggling to raise his young son, arrives in town. A traveling preacher believes they might be the answer to each others' problems, and after a hasty marriage, Emma is headed back to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger.

But nothing in her wandering life has prepared her for suddenly being asked to raise a child and keep a house. Struggling at every turn, Emma also suspects Patrick may be keeping something hidden from her. In town she hears whispers about strange circumstances surrounding his previous wife's death, and it seems as though Emma's answered prayer for a home and family may actually be something much more dangerous.

You can find more info about the author at her website HERE or on her Facebook page HERE.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Snowballs, anyone?

Yes, we do have an abundance of snow right now, but that's not the kind of snowballs I'm talking about. I spent a good part of the morning searching for the next sew-along quilt, and nothing caught my eye. Then I thought about finding something that would make good use of my large supply of 2-1/2 inch scraps. So I did a search for nine-patch blocks and voila...I think I found it! This quilt is made up of snowball blocks and nine-patch blocks, and depending on how you make your nine-patch blocks, you can get several different looks. Here are the three variations I found...I think I'm using the first layout for my blocks.

You can see that depending on if you use your background fabric in your nine-patch blocks or not, and where you use it, you can get a totally different look. I think I'll plan on starting this sew-along on March 1. If I have time, I'll probably post the pattern/tutorials sometime in February so you can get background fabric if you need to. That's all I'm buying for this one...I'm looking forward to attacking my 2-1/2 inch scraps tub and emptying it out! :0)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Cookies, cold, and charming stars

The other day I came home from work and Emily had made peanut butter blossom cookies. Well, she had also made a miniature one. You can see the normal sized one on the left, and the mini is on the right. She put a chocolate chip on the top instead of a chocolate kiss. And there's a quarter on the plate to show how small the mini is.

This is what it looks like out my back door today. It looks so pretty, but it's so cold! We woke up this morning to a temp of -4 and a wind chill of -22. Thank goodness it's warmed up a we're up to 2F and the wind chill is only -15F.

I've found time to do a little bit of sewing, and I now have 19 charming stars blocks done. My original plan was to make this quilt king-sized so I could use up all the Kansas Troubles charms and fat quarters I had. Well, I think this quilt is going to end up a bit smaller. I'm getting bored with these fabrics and blocks, so I'll make up the rest that I have star parts cut for, and then see how many I have. I may not use up all the fabric, but at least I won't end up with a UFO sitting around because I didn't want to work on it anymore.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Finishing off 2014

I know the year ended a few days ago, but I've just counted up my finishes for the year. Even with work taking up much of my time, I still managed to have 48 finishes in 2014. That's fewer than the previous few years, but it's nice to look back and see how much I did accomplish over the last 12 months. Here are a few of my favorites...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Last installment of the Charming Stars

I really wish I had a picture of my charming stars quilt to show you. But I don't because I haven't sewn any new blocks for it in two months. I have a slower week at work next week, and I plan to spend my days off sewing to make up for it. If you've kept up with each month of the sew-along, you're now ready to add sashing and cornerstones and finish your top and quilt. I know many of you are done already, and some of you haven't even started. If you are finished, please add a link to the post showing your finished quilt on the Linky thing on my sidebar. That way everyone can visit and see all the lovely quilts. And if you only get a little bit done this month, link that up too. It will encourage those of us who are behind to get busy! LOL

Many of you have asked about the next sew-along. I know for sure it will be a couple of months before I start a new one. I have several ideas for patterns I might want to use, but if you have any suggestions, just let me know. I'd love to have your input! And thank you all for taking part in this and all the sew-alongs I've had. It's been so much fun to be making quilts with all of you and to see all the different variations you come up with along the way. :0)