Monday, May 31, 2010

Announcing Christmas in July Quilt Along

Would you like to join me for a quilt-along?  I'm dedicating the month of July to working on Christmas projects.  That way, I have some hope of getting them done before the holiday season is upon us.  I will be working on Brand New Day made with my hoarded stash of Robyn Pandolph red, green, and cream fabrics.

If I get that quilt done before the end of the month, I'll start on Let It Snow, the pattern I won in a give-away on Thelma's blog.

So, are you interested in joining me?  Not a lot of rules or structure - you can make anything you want to, as long as it has a winter or Christmas theme.  Bed quilt, throw, wall hanging, tree skirt - whatever you choose to do.  All you have to do is work on it during the month of July and periodically post something on your blog showing your progress.  No blog - not a problem - send me pictures and I'll post them here for you.

If you want to join me, let me know via comment here or email message and I'll post a link to your blog on my sidebar so readers can check out your progress. 

We'll officially start on July 1 but you can use the month of June to get ready by deciding what you want to make and getting your supplies together.  The new Christmas fabrics are just arriving in the quilt shops, so this is a great time to start.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Progress Report

I've finished all the 9-patch blocks for Second Hand Clothes.  They went together very easily with the chain piecing method I showed in my previous post on this project.  I could start putting the rows together for the top but the fabric I ordered for the setting triangles has not arrived from Hancocks of Paducah yet.  

If you are interested in this pattern, Bonnie Blue Quilts is having a 25% off sale through the holiday weekend.   If you are mentally kicking yourself for not having bought Rouenneries while it was widely available, you can still get it.  Bonnie Blue Quilts still has kits for this quilt (called Belle Mead) on sale now.

I'm tempted, very tempted.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In - Positive Reinforcement

Despite the fact that the needle has barely budged since I got the new scale, I have lost some of my "padding."  I am wearing pants I bought in 2008 that were too tight last summer, and that makes me feel like I've accomplished something.  You may recall my post about weight-loss rewards and he importance of non-food presents or pick-me-ups (as I call them).  Well, I cashed in one of my rewards last Saturday when I used my birthday gift certificate for spa services at Metropolis in Princeton.  I had a service called the Spa Mosaic Body Treatment, a sort of fancy massage.  It was heavenly! 

I've promised myself another one when I reach my goal weight.

The stats:
weight lost this week: -0.8 pounds
weight lost YTD: 3.2 pounds

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spring Quilt Market Inspiration

I am fascinated by the semi-annual Quilt Market.  The 2010 Spring edition was held in Minneapolis this past weekend.  Thankfully, the quilt trade people attendees include a number of bloggers who satisfy our curiosity by posting photos on their blogs  (THANK YOU!!). 

Now that I have my own kaleidoscope quilt in the works (very slow and sporadic progress), I notice them all over the place, and the photos from Spring Quilt Market were no exception.  Fig Tree has what appears to be a version of a kaleidoscope, called Saltwater Taffy.   This could be fortunate because I've noticed the Fig Tree designer often finds an easier, simpler, quicker way to construct traditional blocks.

Then there is the cover of Quiltmania Magazine.

I like the color placement and way the blocks form a border. 

It all inspires me to get back to my own version and make some more progress.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Chain Piecing

I am working away on my version of Second Hand Clothes using Moda Collection for a Cause Legacy fabrics.  My workload at this time does not allow for big day-long marathons in the studio.  Fortunately, this quilt is perfect for making in a few minutes grabbed here and there.

Here's a photo of one of the instruction sheets, with directions for piecing the 9-patch blocks.  You cut the rectangles then sew them to a strip of the solid fabric used for the center and outer corners of the 9-patch.  Leave a tiny bit of space between each rectangle as you sew them to the strip.

When you finish chain piecing, you use your ruler and rotary cutter to cut the pieces apart, then line them up on the strip that forms the other corner.  It goes fairly quickly and I think it will yield more accurate, square blocks. 

I'm hoping to get these blocks done this week, then I can start putting the quilt together over the long weekend.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Amy is hosting the Bloggers' Quilt Festival again this spring, while the pros are at Quilt Market.  Gives us something to distract ourselves with while we wait for the Great Reveal, you know, all the stuff we will want to buy and add to our stashes in the coming months!

Here's my reveal: 

This is Aquarium.  As a little girl, my daughter loved aquariums and we visited the ones in Baltimore, Chicago, and Mystic, CT.  She used to say she was going to be a dolphin trainer when she grew up.  So for a while, I was collecting aquarium-like fabrics.  Not just theme prints with dolphins and fish, but coordinating prints in deep sea colors. 

I made this wallhanging using the techniques in Strips 'n Curves, by Louisa L. Smith

Strips 'n Curves: A New Spin on Strip Piecing

It is a combination of strip piecing and curved seams.  Very fun to make and not as difficult as it looks, yet yields impactful results.  Here's a close-up:

Go visit Amy's blog where you'll find links that will take you to all the blogs participating in the Festival.  You will see a lot great quilts, without having to travel anywhere.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In - Diet Buster

The week was a disaster as far as the diet goes, just look at the stats below.  And all the fault of this product:

My daughter introduced me to it after having it at school.  Nutella, nectar of the gods and elixir of love as far as I can tell.   I mean, seriously good.  "OMG, it rocks!" as Hungry Girl would say.  Similar to peanut butter but made of chocolate and hazelnuts.  Only problem is that is has about a gazillion calories in a tablespoon, which is the minimum amount you need to spread on a piece of toast. 

So, I've been a bad girl and the stats show it.  I will try to get back on track.

The stats:
weight lost this week: +1.6 pounds
weight lost YTD: 2.4 pounds

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Project

I started a new quilting project this weekend. 

The pattern is Second Hand Clothes, from Bonnie Blue Quilts, and the fabric is Moda Collection for a Cause - Legacy.  I bought the layer cake some time ago (over a year, I think - that makes it a stash quilt) and have augmented with a few fat quarters from other collections that complement the aqua/blue background and will use a sand-color Kona cotton for the nine-patch blocks.  I have some Kona cotton in an aqua-green color on order from Hancock's of Paducah but it has been backordered for months.  I just hope it arrives by the time I need it.

I think this will be a good project for the one-hour-a-day construction method. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In - Now Eat This!

Have you heard about this book?  Now Eat This, by Rocco Dispirito.   A woman I work with was enthusing about it so when I saw it in Barnes & Noble, I bought it in an effort to help the weight-loss cause.  (I've always considered it unfortunate that it is not enough to just read weight-loss books, low-cal cookbooks, and exercise instructions; you have to actually put the advice into practice.  That's the hard part; I don't have any trouble with the reading.)

Anyway, its a cookbook with recipes for "America's favorite comfort foods, all under 350 calories."    For example, in Cheesy Turkey Enchiladas with Tomatillo Salsa and Cilantro, he comes up with a version that has only 314 calories per serving (previously 990 calories), while Almost General Tso's Chicken comes in at 310 calories.  In No Cream-No Cry Penne Alla Vodka (one of my Italian restaurant favorites!), he trades low fat Greek yogurt for the traditional cream.  I'm going to try a few of these recipes and report back.  My weight loss effort has been stalled, creeping along at about a pound a month, so I need something to jump-start the effort.

The stats:
weight lost this week: 0.5 pounds
weight lost YTD: 4.1 pounds

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Remember this quilt?

The school fundraising auction was 10 days ago and I found out my quilt, part of the silent auction, sold for $300.  I think that's pretty good.  Of course, not much on an hourly basis when you consider all the time that goes into making a quilt but I don't believe buyers think about that and tend to value handmade quilts like the "made in China" quilts found at chain stores.  Anyway, I think I'll be making another quilt for next year's auction.

The star item at the auction, the item that got the highest bid, was a package of four tickets for grandstand seats at the 2010 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.  It sold for $10,000 in heated bidding!  I could not believe it!  Given the early weather, the crowds, the probable cold, the crowds, and especially the crowds, you would have to pay me $10,000 to go to the parade.  Crowds are not my thing!  I'd rather stay home and quilt while I watch the parade on tv. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Make A Table-Top Ironing Board

I found a new-to-me website called Missouri Star Quilt Co.  Two very cool things about it: 

  • They have a deal of the day which is one item available at a steep discount.  Today it was a jelly roll of Nicey Jane fabrics for only $19.95 - I was tempted, very tempted, but resisted.  Then when I went back in the evening to make the purchase, they were sold out.  Moral - grab it while you can!

  • They have lots of video tutorials.  I was very taken with the one for making your own ironing board (you can see it here).  This would be very handy when working on blocks that don't require a full size ironing board.  I think I will make myself one as soon as I locate the flooring used as the base.

Friday, May 7, 2010

MIA No Longer!

Time flies and I did not even realize how long it had been since I last blogged.  I even missed Wednesday Weigh-In.  Oh well, maybe I'll have something good to report next Wednesday.

Between my mom's visit, jury duty, and an overload of work at work, I have not been doing anything of a quilting nature, except for day dreaming about starting a new project.  And I just might this weekend.  Along with some work on a binding.  But I also have these to read:

Quiltmaker's Small Quilts (I think this is a special edition) and the semi-annual Quilt Sampler.  There are several projects that caught my eye in Small Quilts, particularly Carrie Nelsons quilt.  And I am especially fond of Quilt Sampler.  I think I have most of the editions they've published.

Have a good weekend!  I'll try to make it back here by Monday, with something good to show you.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Yo-Yo Inspiration

My mom left for her home this afternoon; I will be reclaiming my sewing room later this week.  We had a good time while she was here.  Mom and I usually go on an antiquing trip when she visits and this trip was no exception.  We went to The Tomato Factory in Hopewell, NJ. a consortium of antique dealers in one building.

I saw this pillow and could not resist a photo for the blog!

The pillow is about 16 inches square, made of black wool, and the basket and flowers are made of tiny (about 1/2 inch) yo-yos!  I thought it was pretty cute.  The dealer has two of them.  I'm not sure of the era though the fabrics in the yo-yos seemed like 30's to me (but I am not an expert).  I didn't buy either pillow because I don't have any place to put them.

Another day, we went to the mall.  Mom had promised Miss Main Street a shopping trip for her birthday.  While there, I found these must-buy flip flops at J. Crew. 

The little black flowers aren't yo-yos but they are similar, and they have small beads in the center.  These did come home with me but you can find them here.  On sale too!  If it was Friday, I'd call this a Friday Find.  The flip flops come in several colors; J. Crew calls this color "metallic pewter" but they look black to me. 

This week is going to be very busy but I'm hoping for some quality quilting time this coming weekend.