Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spring to Finish is Sprung!

Jacquie at Tallgrass Prairie Studio hosted a Spring to Finish challenge. During this challenge I finished eight items:

  • Three Little Ugly Bunny Dolls



  • One Baby blanket for Gabriella Rose



  • One Mini-Cupcake Applique quilt



  • Disappearing 9-Patch Quilt



  • One Little personal purse



  • Botanical Shop Hop Top ~ it's off to the Long-Arm quilter




My Botanical Shop Hop Quilt top is also one of the largest quilts I've made, it's just a little bigger than Queen size! So I'm sending this top off to the long-arm quilter.

Cheers,

Dionne

April UFO Report

Another month has come and gone!






    My tally Overall



    -Quilt tops ready to quilt: 2
    -Quilts ALMOST ready: 3
    -Quilts in progress: 12
    -Quilts Not Yet Started: 7 (I really still want to do all of them!)
    -non quilt projects: 4 (Just a few little somethings!)






    My April Numbers

    -Quilt projects added: 1
    -Quilt projects finished: 3




    My Stats

    -Beginning Projects: 24
    -Current Projects: 24
    -Projects Finished overall: 8
    -Projects Added overall: 8
    -Progress Made? Definitely!


Okay, now that we've done the numbers, lets take a look at the Whys and the Whats

Why am I busting my bum (well, at least taking notice anyway) over all these unfinished projects? Because I still want to get them all done. And because I promised myself, as soon as I work through my backlog, I will allow myself to quilt with abandon!



Oh, tra la la la la! Doesn't that sound like a happy-go-lucky dream full of singing birds and sunshine flowers! I am absolutely positive that when I get through my entire 'backlog' list of projects, my list will NEVER fill up again! I mean, really, why would it??


Now lets get down to the Whats!

What am I busting my bum over? Well here it is, in all it's glory!






  • Nothing Done this Month





    • Quillow Project, so old I barely recognize the fabric



    • Flannel Crazy Quilt, it's CRAZY MAN!



    • ALMOST DONE Christmas wall hanging ~ it was almost done 10 years ago!



    • Really Big Kaleidescope Quilt ~ Does buying a ruler count as progress? Maybe it should be in a different list! (I'll take progress where I can get it) Also, the blocks above are not sewn together yet, I just put them next to each other for the picture!



    • Road to California (pictured) ~ perhaps the theme song for this quilt should be the Talking Heads: "I'm on the Road to Nowhere!" But I do like these scrap blocks done in greens and orange!



    • '07-'08 Thangles BOM - I made a small error in math on this one and haven't recovered yet!



    • Cinder's Best Day ~ poor cinder, I started this quilt when he was still alive. My fluffy little Cinder deserves his best day!



    • Garden Path Mosaic Pictorial - Aaaaahhhh, can we say ugly! But my little 2 year old fell in love with it and carried the top around for ever until it started to fall apart and I promised to turn the top into a finished piece ~ she turned 10 this year!




    • Ok, seven more that I didn't work on at all, but really why list them all. It's kind of like taking off a bandage really slowly. And do you really want to hear about all those projects anyway? Nah, me either! Let's get onto the fun stuff, the stuff I DID work on!




  • Something Done this Month





    • Botanical Shop Hop Quilt ~ Top done! Off to the long-arm!



    • Old Tobacco Road ~ I did 6 of the 388 2 inch Half Square Triangles I need (progress is progress right?)



    • Marissa Pinwheels ~ this is one of those layout nightmares! It looked so easy when Roxanne Carter just whipped it out! I did two more pinwheels.



    • 08'-'09 Thangles BOM - I'm doing two colorways, so I did two more blocks. Right on time Woo Hoo~!



    • Friendship Star - Yet another monthly swap for me! I did one block and dutifully sent it away! Such a good girl!



    • Disappearing 9-Patch - DONE, DONE, DONE! This started out as (another) swap and now its DONE (did you catch that???)



    • Lap Quilt Swap IV ~ Finished the top, just have the back to finish. Another BRILLIANT swap that is turning out BEAUTIFUL! Really like this one....



    • Gabriella's Baby Quilt - Done, and mailed off!



    • Postage Stamp Quilt - I cut a few more itsy bitsy teeny tiny squares. So few, I didn't even bother counting them!



    • Cam's Calendar Quilt ~ We finished a few more bricks here. Such a fun project to work on with my little guy!



    • Star Gazing ~ This beauty is for my daughter who picked out MODA's Sweet fabric. I'm going to do this Quilt-As-You-Go and so I did a few more blocks and cut out 100 8" batting squares!



    • Mini-Cupcake Quilt - This was an inpromtu mini little mini that was a fun intro to applique. Gonna have to do more applique!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sadie's Hosting an Around the World Swap


SummerSadie is hosting an Around the World Quilt Swap. It's going to be similair to a 'Round Robin' type of swap and I think it could be a lot of fun. If you'd like to join in, just check out the blog at: Around the World Quilt Swap



Now, I'm a bonafide Swap-aholic. If you haven't participated in a lot of swaps before, let me just give you one warning. Unless a swap is specifically organized otherwise, there are usually a variety of skill-levels involved, be prepared for that. I, personally find it really fun to encourage new quilters and find inspiration from those more experienced! So if you think you might be interested, come swap-a-long!


I'm so happy that Amazon.com is now offering Movies and Shows on Demand. I so rarely have the opportunity to watch television these days, that I only want to watch the shows I like. I am now actively using Tivo to record the shows I like onto my Hard Drive, but that still only allows me to watch the ones that come on that week. Now Amazon.com has even the back shows that I missed. And if you have HD tv, you're in luck, because they have that too!


Technology is so cool! I remember the bad old days of my youth, one tiny little black and white with bunny ears and three channels. I rarely watched TV back then too, but when I did, it was usually not something I would have chosen. I think the only thing I watched regularly was 60 Minutes with my Parents.



Cheers,


Dionne

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Little Personal Purse

My daughter who is twelve, had a sudden need to carry personal items in her backpack at school. Looking around the house, I didn't have anything that was suitable. So I made her this little personal purse.

I started with Three layers of fabric, wrong sides IN. The middle layer was just a piece of flannel to act as the batting.

Next, I stitched a few straight lines across, sandwiching the middle layer.

Then I added some decorative stitches to add some interest. Had I of had more time, some beautiful ribbons or decorative threads here would have been nice. I have a DVD I haven't watched yet called Ann Fahl Teaches You Coloring with Thread This might have been a good resource, should've busted it out!


This gave me a rectangle with unfinished edges. I folded the bottom up to create a pocket, then did a satin stitch along the bottom and sides. This is where a serger would have come in handy!

Lastly I added a button hole and put a button on. It's a bit rough, but it does the trick. I think next time, since I know what I'm doing, I could make something far more lovely.

But in this situation she has something very utilitarian, with all the items she needs, plus room to keep a change if she needs it. Twelve is a fun time, but I wouldn't want to do it again!

Cheers,


Dionne

Friday, April 24, 2009

D9P

First of all, I must print a correction. I had erroneously ASSUMED that Diane Gaudynski did her brilliant quilting on a Long-Arm machine.


Kathie at Inspired by Antique Quilts pointed out to me that she (Diane) actually does her fabulous work on a Bernina. This makes her work even more impressive (to me) than it already was.




Also, I find this error rather ironic on two counts. At my Day Job, I never ASSUME anything ~ as a software quality assurance engineer. It's my job to catch the mistakes other people make because THEY'VE made false assumptions!



And I actually provided a link to Diane Gaudynski's website which clearly states that she uses a Bernina. When I went to the website, I got so distracted by all the pretty pictures, I didn't actually read the text. Silly Didi!

Ok, now on to other stuff.



I took a short break from my forray into the world of Applique to finish another lap quilt. It's yet another quilt built from swap blocks. Yes, I am forever swapping!


This swap consisted of 12" Nine patch blocks. I'm not sure what the other participants did with their blocks, but I knew I wan't to do a Disappearing 9-Patch. I like how the black border and binding framed the deep predominantly jewel toned colors.

And because I didn't ~ and still don't (poor me) have a lovely Bernina capable of super cool embroidery, I went over to my LQS (Quiltworks Northwest) and had them make this beautiful label for me. I think it's really fabulous.
I put the label on the back before I did the quilting, and I realize that I didn't even think about placement. Oh well!

Cheers,


Dionne

Thursday, April 23, 2009

3 Liberated Minutes



So Victoria at Bumble Bee issued a three minute challenge.


Actually the challenge is a bit more involved. And it's very 'liberated'


It's a very interesting challenge and Victoria has listed some wonderful optional steps.


After looking at the painting, I took three minutes or perhaps a little less, and placed some scraps on my design wall.


I'm only going to spend quick slices of time on this challenge.


Cheers,



Dionne

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The snow was falling heavily outside...



The snow was falling heavily outside. I sat before a blank page for close to ten hours. I refused to get up; instead attempted with great pains to coerce stubborn thoughts from my noodle. Useless it seemed until the 11th hour and then all I'd seen and felt and heard, arrived, and was transcribed effortlessly like the tune of chirping birds.

Greg Evans
American Writer 1978-
more famous quotes


Wow! Now that is commitment! I guess if you have writers block, it might work. Wouldn't it be funny if someone had Quilters Block.... just sitting at their machine for ten hours then to have the masterpiece just flow from them effortlessly. I wonder if that's what Diane Gaudynski does. She sits at her long arm machine for ten hours, then channels the spirits of quilty brilliance. Somehow, I think not!

As for me, I have the opposite problem of Quilters Block. It's a condition that you may be well aware of: Quilters ADD! Yes, that brain of mine is over-flowing with ideas and projects.

By the way, the photograph is from my front yard, but clear back at Christmas time. Our current cold spell hasn't brought weather quite that severe.

Cheers,





Dionne


PS - I tried to Google Greg Evans, Author but had no luck. Then I tried Amazon.com and as near as I can tell, Greg Evans is a Cartoonist who does a character called Luann.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mini-Cupcake Quilt

I spent my Saturday evening reading through Learn To Applique With Pat Sloan and Teapots 2 to Applique by Kay Mackenzie.

Have you ever listened to a lecture, or begun a project only to realize that you don't even know enough to know where to begin or what questions you need to ask?

That's how I felt after all my watching and reading. All that information was a bit overwhelming so I decided dump all the directions and jump right in and mess about with a practice quilt ~ a Mini Cupcake Quilt.

I started with a framed background of black with white dots. I was going for something rather freeform and organic.



I added some simple quilting and a few cupcake shapes.

I used raw edge shapes with a satin stitch. I also did a small bit of decorative stitching on the cupcake cup.


Finally, I topped the cupcake with a red button cherry. I did a very simple self binding, I wasn't really sure I would finish off the quilt at all actually.





The back shows my applique outline. I'm not sure if machine applique is supposed to show the outline on the back or not. The whole Mini-Quilt is approx. 5 inches square.


Now that I've done a bit on my own, next I'll follow the directions, and work on technique.

Cheers,


Dionne

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Not just a giveaway!



There is a really fun give away being hosted on the website turning*turning



The exact link to get to the giveaway is:


http://turningturning.com/giveaway-granny-day-2009/

I love the idea of this giveaway because it really makes you think about color from a different perspective.

Here is what I wrote:

"I absolutely love green. It makes me feel nostalgic, calm, hopeful and peaceful all at the same time. Green is the feel of the summer sun on my cheeks,
the cool of a soft breeze through the trees, the smell of freshly cut grass, the tingle of evergreen tines on a winter afternoon, the bounce of moss under your
shoes, Green is the love reflected in my husbands eyes. I love green, it’s a warm safe color that reminds me of all things good and natural.

Cheers,
Dionne

PS - what a nice giveaway."



What is your favorite color and why? If you have one, and even if you don't, take a look at this blog. I really encourage you not just to enter the giveaway but really check out the entire blog.

There is one entry that is an especially touching tribute to the author's grandmother. I don't have a close relationship to either of my grandmothers or even with my mom; but this post is so very, very touching.

Cheers,
Dionne

Friday, April 17, 2009

Applique the Piece of Cake Way!

I've decided to tackle Applique!


I have this beautiful pattern from Lori Holt from Bee in My Bonnet
that I'm eager to work on. Only problem is that I REALLY don't want to learn on that quilt.

Applique is something that has always intimidated me. So I've decided to draw on all the experts.




  • Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins


  • Pat Sloan


  • Kay Mackenzie



I've started with the DVD Becky Goldsmith & Linda Jenkins Teach You to Applique the Piece O' Cake Way

I've watched this DVD all the way through twice now in the last week. The thing thats great about a DVD is that I can actually see what they are doing as they take you through applique Step-by-Step.


I REALLY needed this visual. I've never really been exposed to applique, except to see the wonderful results. Their style is so calm and relaxed, just watching them I felt the tension and apprehension fade away.


Plus at the end there is a bonus section that includes a Gallery of their quilts. The fun thing about the gallery is that you get a little story about each quilt. Then there was a bit at the end I found fascinating where they just talked about how they met, how they got into business together, how they divide and run the business and more. These little tidbits I find so very, very interesting!

With the help of this DVD I really feel for the first time I can actually DO Applique!

Next I'll tackle Pat Sloan and Kay Mackenzie!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Some more ramblings, and a finish.

I was working on a purple and green flannel baby quilt ( a version of THIS Christmas quilt that I made for my son). But I tried so many new techniques while making the purple and green quilt ~ not to mention the fact that the purple and green flannel I was making it from is prone to... ahem... flexible sizing, shall we say!

Well, in the end, it really wasn't something to send off as a gift. So I'm going to keep it and finish it off for the practice, trying out new techniques on each square.

Instead, Baby Gabriella will be getting this simple Quilt as you go Flannel stripe quilt.

It really wasn't what I was planning, but I simply can't wait any longer. I'm sure my cousin will be happy with it.

~~~

One of my readers asked me why I put stuff up on my blog that turns out so terrible. Good question! But the answer is simple really. If I only put shared and talked about my successes, I'd have precious little to say. That and I really learn well by failure, its a great learning tool.

I have, for example, learned that stuffed animals are really not my strength!

~~~

Ricky Tims shared this link with me and it's so wonderful, I wanted to share it with you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY

It's not quilt related, but this was such a shock and a 'feel-good' moment, that I had to watch it twice, with tears in my eyes!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bunny Love



There is a line of dolls called Ugly Dolls, which my children adore. To my knowledge, there is no bunny in the line of Ugly Dolls ~ at least not at the two stores I looked at.


So I thought I would be really clever and make an Ugly Bunny to include in our Easter Baskets this year.



First, I made a simple pattern for the body. These dolls are flattish and a bit boxy. I used some fabric from my stash that was pre-quilted.



I made a couple of ears to attach. For the ears, I took the same flannel I used for matching bellies for the ear lining. I just cut out the ears without a pattern.
A nice fluffy tail, and a personalized label across their bunny bums. Then I put right sides together, included the bunny ears and sewed them together.
Because I was running a bit behind as I didn't start them until Good Friday, I gave them standard stuffed animal eyes and noses.
Each bunny was given an endearing 'ugly' characteristic, which the children needed to figure out for themselves.
But in the end, they don't look anything like the Ugly Dolls.
When I asked to take a picture for my blog, they set them up quite nicely with a little pirate decor.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pleated Petal Tank GIVEAWAY!

If you haven't discovered the blog Grosgrain, it's a real treat. It isn't exactly the kind of blog I usually read.

This blog is really a wonderful journal about beautiful creations. The author takes old clothes and 're-make' them into fabulous clothes; which she then gives away.

She makes everything in a petite size, that will fit her perfectly. So the giveaway bit might not be of interest, but her creativity is worth a look.

Also, her children's creations are spectacularly adorable. She has two very young girls who serve as her models.


Pleated Petal Tank ANTHROPOLIFICATION GIVEAWAY!!!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another Challenge Knocking at my Door: Spring to Finish!


Jacquie is hosting a challenge, Tallgrass Prairie Studio: Spring to Finish! , that seems designed for me.

It's a challenge to finish as much as you can on your list in April. Every finish should be documented on your blog, and every finish is an entry into her giveaway.

Since I have decided this year to finish off ALL my UFOs, this is a great challenge for me. In January I calculated that I would need to finish 2 projects a month to achieve this goal.

It's early April now and I have TWO finishes!

Oh well, goals are good, stretch goals (for me) are a good thing. I have a good friend who thinks stretch goals are rubbish and overwhelming. She makes 'slam-dunk' goals. She just breaks everything down into small enough tasks that completing them are slam-dunks, and she never gets overwhelmed.

So, this month I'm stretching!

I expect to finish


Disappearing Nine Patch

Gabriella's Pink and Green Flannel

Lap Quilt Swap IV



And if I get REALLY motivated, I'll also finish:



Botanical Shop Hop Quilt


For me, stretch goals are good. But somehow I always think I'll get more done, than I do.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring Break is taking its toll

I always know it's coming, it happens every year. But still, I seem to get blind-sided by Spring Break every year.



I have Grand Plans ~ no, we don't go on vacation. We do the vacay thing during Winter Break (when we REALLY need a good dose of sun). But still, I have all these great plans: get the kids in some really fun classes (cooking is a particular favorite of theirs), big chunks of time sewing on projects with them (creative minds can find a fun sewing project for even a 5 yr old boy), and then huge, large glorious chunks of quilting time for ME!



But, sadly, none of those happened. I registered my kids for classes too late, they were all full. That was the pebble that started the snowball that has been my spring break.



Really though, I should back up to LAST friday. The last day of school, my daughter has an asthma attack. She is sent to the nurse, the nurse calls me. I'm home, but at certain parts of my house, my cell phone doesn't get a signal and right now all of our house phones (a set purchased together) are dying. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't; I've been meaning to replace them.


Friday, they didn't work! Or at least at 11:30am on Fri, they weren't working. Nurse is in a panic, Cricket doesn't have her inhaler, nurse doesn't have an inhaler ~ not that I would let her give my child someone elses inhaler.
An hour later I am sitting on the toilet (no joke ~ please don't visualize this too clearly) and my cell phone beeps to let me know I have a text msg.



Why I got a text message and not a phone call is one of those mysteries of the cell phone world. I pick up my phone, yes, I had it in the bathroom with me!

Its my husband: 'Leaving work to pick up Cricket.'

What?! It must be something bad. He's Scottish, they're tough folk, and he expects our children to be sturdy as well.
If he's leaving work, it must be really, really bad. She might have broken an arm, She Probably Fell Off The Monkey Bars, SHE MUST HAVE BROKEN HER NECK!

Now, I'm running through the house with my pants around my ankles grabbing my car keys with one hand, yanking up my trousers with my other, trip over the cat and land face first on the floor.

That's when my husband walked in with my daughter. There I am, sprawled across the entryway floor with my pants still down, purse over my shoulder and a swelling lip.

Evidently he was already on his way to the school when he sent that text.

Yeah, that's how this week has started.

Classes ~ none, Fun Sewing projects with the kids ~ zippo, Quilty Goodness ~ in very short supply!


Fortunately my children can make anything fun for themselves. So while it has been a difficult week for me, they seem to be enjoying themselves.



I promise, it will be back to the quilty goodness SOON!

Cheers,
Dionne

PS - My daughter is fine!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

iWeb Me!

So here it is! I finally did a webcast video.

I had been wanting to do this for a long time, so I finally did. But I must say, I was a bit nervous... I have no idea why... and I rambled on a bit.... so please be kind when you watch this!


video

Cheers,
Dionne

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Art Quilt Diva ~ The interviews, the history



Many of you may know my love of podcasts. Well this week Annie Smith came out with a fabulous interview of Jane Davila on her podcast, Annie's Quilting Stash

Jane Davila is an art quilter and author of the Art Quilt Workbook and more recently Art Quilts at Play

Now, I'm not an art quilter... at least not yet, but I found this interview incredibly inspiring and downright interesting. I highly recommend you take a moment and listen to it. If you don't have an iPod, you can listen to it right on your computer.

And after you've listened to the podcast, take a moment to read Jane Moxey's account of taping the DVD Jane Davila & Elin Waterston Teach You Art Quilting Basics



~*~*~
On another podcast note, several months ago I did a review of the podcast Within a Quarter Inch Ever since Alison moved her podcast location, I've had MUCH trouble getting my iPod to find and recognize my subscription. If I've had trouble, maybe a few of you have had trouble as well. Here's my advice, if you search for it on iTunes select the title which does NOT include the word 'podcast'. OR you can just go to her website, Within a Quarter Inch and subscribe from there.
And FINALLY she has posted another podcast! It's been a long time since her last one. I finally found her and then she almost completely stops post, what's that all about. If you do go to her website feel free to give her a hard time for me! :-)
Anyhow, there are several other podcasts that are really worth your time. I am particularly enjoying Jennifer Patchwork and Pacifiers podcast. Even if you don't have an iPod, or speakers on your computer (and therefore must be living in the stone-age! J/K) You should check out her blog because she is GREAT about posting pictures.
She does an interview with Mark Lipinski which is too friggin' funny, but perhaps not for listeners between the ages of 8 and 13. (you know how THEY are) He used the word W-H-O-R-E ~ as in bead whore, and my girls with very delicate ears insisted I turn it off and listen to it when they aren't around to be corrupted! LOL, perhaps they were right.
There are a few other podcast out there these days as well and you can search on them and find them if you'd like. I got an email from a reader asking me why I never do any bad reviews, quite simply, I never will. If I don't like something, I just won't talk about it. Bad press is better than no press and... well, I'm a good press kinda girl.
So, Cheers for now!
Dionne

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Botanical Quilt, a new start

Because, as you all know, I'm not afraid to show off my 'faux pas' I'm showing you my Before and After pictures, so you can compare accordingly.

I originally chose these fabrics to make a quilt for our bed. But after halfway through, I put the blocks up on my design wall.

Before



It was pretty evident that the blue blocks needed to go. So I took the stitch ripper out and got busy. I finally found the fabric I wanted, one that was designed by the designer (Jason Yenter) of the base pattern ~ which I modified slightly.

So here is what my design wall looks like now:

After