Friday
Dec092011

Humility Bootcamp?  

If you're not a parent but plan to become one some day, take my advice and practice humility.  You're going to need it.

For example if you live in a cold climate, your child might make an announcement that goes something like this ...

"Hey Mom, I just farted in my snowpants and now I'm all extra warm!"

... followed by hysterical laughter ... in the produce department of a grocery store ... with lots of people around. 

Just sayin'.

Thursday
Dec082011

Mystery Block Of the Month

Thanks to those of you who commented on my framed blocks in yesterday's post.  FYI, they fit a 5" (finished) block and I got them from Ikea a few years ago.  I'm pretty sure they're still available for something like $6 / pair.

And also thanks to everyone who shared their delinquent holiday decorating habits.  I feel better. :)

                    *               *               *               *               * 

Wohoo!  Halfway for my Fat Quarter Shop's Designer Mystery Block of the Month project!

I confess I breathed a sigh of relief when I opened this package.  Thank goodness it was an easy peasy lemon squeezy design.  Things are a little hectic around here with Christmas etc. and I needed a break!

This is the first block (for this project) where I did some fabric swapping.

Each block in this quilt is a flower head with stems & leaves under each block.  The finishing kit comes with the same green as the bottom of this flower (shown on the pattern), but I prefer the blue-ish green color (on my block) so I switched it. 

Which created another problem ... I don't like it when the same color bleeds into each other so I had to switch both of the blue prints.

Then I switched the large red floral for the smaller print - I think this small floral is my favorite print in this fabric collection. :)

MAN these mosaics are fun! :)

Wednesday
Dec072011

Making Room for Christmas

So, does anyone else have to take down Valentine's Day decorations ...

and/or (in my case AND) Easter decorations ...

to make room for the Christmas stuff?

Somebody?

Anybody?

Tuesday
Dec062011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Midway Mosaic

It didn't occur to me until mid afternoon yesterday that I could make a nice midway mosaic of my FW blocks.  (Well, I snuck in next week's blocks too ... ) 

What do you think?  This is just a random arrangement via Flickr.  I didn't feel like manually sorting them.

Yep, that "Bat Wings" block (top right corner) is definitely too red.  I'll have to redo it. 

I've never made a quilt like this before and I'm loving the entire process. 

Do you ever look at a quilt in progress and wonder where it will be 100 years from now?  Will it be preserved as a family heirloom and end up behind glass in a museum with a sign saying "maker unknown" because I was too lazy to label it?

Will it perish in a fire or a flood?

Or will it be loved and cuddled with and snuggled under and maybe even barfed on by a sick child and end up all stained & thread-bare in someone's attic? 

And will someone ever look at this quilt and wonder about me?  And will they know that I started making it to have fun with a wonderful online community of blogging quilters?  And will they have any inkling of just how.much.joy I had making it and sharing it with you? 

Sometimes I wonder about these things.  But I always come to the same conclusion.  I honestly don't care what happens to it after I'm done making it and maybe enjoying it for a while.

One thing that would absolutely devastate me is if one of my daughters felt obligated to keep something I've made, even though they don't like/want or need it.  I know what it feels like to not be able to get rid of something I think is absolutely hideous just because someone I loved made it.  I hope my daughters understand that getting rid of something I made doesn't mean they're getting rid of me or my love for them.

I think I'm going to make them pinkie-swear on that. 

Monday
Dec052011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 28

THE OFFICIAL HALFWAY MARK!!!  These are blocks 55 & 56 out of 111! :)

Red, White & Green

Considering the stores have been playing Christmas Carols since like EASTER, I thought I'd show a little restraint by waiting until DECEMBER to make Christmas-themed FW blocks.

#97 - Waste Not

I L.O.V.E love this block.  The first time I saw it in the book I KNEW the windmilly thing needed to be red.  Because the red pieces are so skinny, I fussy cut the fabric to avoid blotchiness.  I think the solid red (well, there IS a very tiny dark dot for interest) is fabulous. 

See, I've had it in my mind's eye all along that red would just be an accent color here and there in this quilt.  This block is EXACTLY what I had in mind.  Nice, strong, crisp contrast, but not too much red.

#85 - Square Dance

This Flower Sugar print is responsible for all the gingham I've been using. 

I love this panel type print - especially when you fussy cut ... its like 2 prints for the price of one.  But until now I hadn't found a way to use these pretty little wreaths.  I was SO happy to find this block with such a big square in the middle. 

PLUS, I like how the wreath sort of references my Christmas theme for this block too.  Almost like it was planned ... ;)

Thursday
Dec012011

Daisychain Sampler "I"

I is a cute flower made almost entirely with lazy daisy stitches.  Love it.

Whenever I mark out a lazy daisy stitch, I ALWAYS use just 2 dots.

One for where the needle goes DOWN and one for where the needle comes UP.

See?  This way, if I pull the stitch too tight (or not tight enough) there are no markings underneath to tell on me.

Nifty, eh? (And yes, those are 3 Colonial Knots - not French Knots - in the flower center.)

My daughter just walked into the room as I was writing this post and "informed me" that 'hi' is a word in the alphabet.

"Did you know that, Mummy?"

Love her.  :)

Wednesday
Nov302011

"It's Personal"

Remember these monogrammed drawstring bags I made back in June?

I made them for my daughter's friends.

Some of you asked if I'd write up a pattern.  Well, I am nothing if not accommodating ... ;)

So when Lecien asked if I'd like to contribute a free pattern to their ZAKKA recipe collection I already had the perfect project in mind.

It took me a while to get it done because I couldn't decide on what fabric to use ... that is until I got home from Quilt Market with the most ADORABLE FQ bundle of "Woodland" by Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches.

So if you'd like to make a few (or several) of these for Christmas, the pattern is free and you can download it from here.

Tuesday
Nov292011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 27

Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue & White (again)

I'm fascinated by how Flickr traffic can tell you what's popular.  Sometimes I'm a little slow with all the technology stuff, but it finally occurred to me that I can tell what people prefer - in terms of my FWQAL blocks - based on the # of view & comments etc.  Apparently this color combination is a favorite ... and we aim to please!

I love it too, especially on a day like today when the warmth of the sun has DEFINITELY left my part of the world for many many MANY (and a few more) months.  If I can't have happy colors outside, might as well find them here. 

(That reminds me, better go get the family some Vitamin D supplements for the winter ... )

#108 Periwinkle

So, remember my thing about gingham?  I decided to experiment and see if the same visual disturbance happens when different colors are used.  What do you think?  I'm both surprised and pleased with these results!

#66 Windmill

This block just cried out for 4 different colors.  And this is the first time I used this white print for a background.

It is one of the new "Flower Sugar" prints and I used a leftover scrap from the backing of my Quilt Market quilt - which is a free downloadable, just sayin'.  I will forever think of that quilt whenever I see this fabric. 

Makes me happy. :)

Monday
Nov282011

Daisychain Sampler "H"

Ok.  This wasn't so bad, satin-stitch wise, I mean.

I didn't worry as much about the edges being perfect.

'Cause I knew they would be hidden ...

... with a little outline. :)

You know, with all the yellow I've been using lately in my FWQAL blocks and now this pretty little letter, I really need to rethink my relationship with this color ...

Friday
Nov252011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 26

Yellow & Gray

Is this color combination still trendy?  Or is it like so totally last year and I'm just embarrassing myself?  I gotta say, when I started seeing yellow & gray everywhere I was getting a little annoyed.  Never really warmed to either color.  And putting the two together looked like ... well ... kinda sorta like dog pee on the sidewalk.

Sorry.  But it's Friday and I'm allowing my self a little grossology license today.  Have I ever mentioned I have an occasionally-difficult-to-restrain gross streak in me? 

(All my friends are going, "OCCASIONALLY?!!")

HOWEVER, since the new Flower Sugar line has both gray AND yellow in it, I've been forced to reconsider yet another one of my very narrow-minded opinions. 

Happy me.  Another horizon broadened. :)

And despite the typically modern look this color pairing always seemed to have, I think these blocks look decidely old fashioned ... I think because of the pretty little rosy posies.

Block #29 - Economy

Why oh why am I compelled to fussy cut all these center blocks?!  Can't - help - it.

Block #77 - Seasons

I think this week is the first time I've used the same prints in reverse colors.  This block has the gray version of the yellow print & the yellow version of the gray print in the first block.  Love it.

Now if I tried to explain how exciting that is to a non-crafty quilty person, they'd look at me like my big toe was trying to come out my nose. 

But I know YOU get it.  :)  YOU know what I'm talkin' about.  YOU know that such considerations are not only rational, they're critical to our general well being.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday
Nov242011

Pincushion Prettiness III

We have a winner  ...

"Archie the Wonder Dog", congratulations!  I know you're going to enjoy Gigi's beautiful pin toppers. 

And remember, Gigi's Etsy Shop is just a click away if you're looking to treat yourself or find that perfect little something for the crafter in your life.  She's always coming up with new designs so you never know what treasure you're going to find!

Here's my last pincushion for you this week.  Yep, that's an egg cup!

Ok.  I didn't make this one.  Gigi did.  In fact, it was part of the FIRST giveaway she made for my blog.  But you never saw it.  Even if you've been reading my blog every day from the beginning.  See, I have a confession to make.  When she showed me this first giveaway set last summer, I held it in my hands (I may have even snatched it ... I can't remember) looked her dead in the eye and apologized because unfortunately I was going to keep it for myself because I really really really needed it so could she please make another one. 

True story.  I can be embarrassingly obnoxious.  (Please don't blame my parents ... they really did try to teach me better.)  But apparently I have enough other redeeming qualities that she overlooked my terrible manners and agreed.   (Love you, Gigi!)  (Oh, and I DID compensate her accordingly ... I'm not THAT horrible!!!)

Anyhow, this perfectly pretty little trio - plus yet another Shabby Cupcake of hers that coordinates so nicely colorwise - sits here in front of my computer screen and I look at it countless times a day. 

I love it.  I don't know if it's normal for such things to make me feel so happy.  But I don't care.  Knowing the person who made these beautiful pin toppers - AND being able to call her friend - makes them even that much more special. 

Thank you Gigi!  This was fun.  We should do it again sometime ... ;)

Wednesday
Nov232011

Pincushion Prettiness II

I got yet another adorable pincushion kit at Quilt Market.  (Last day to enter my giveaway!)

This one is from the sweet Brenda Riddle.  Her new Durham fabric line with Lecien is soooooo pretty.  We're shabby chic soul sisters, me & her. ;)

One of the prints in this line features an uber-feminine paisley and Brenda used that motif as the inspiration for the design on this cushion.

Like Lynette's cushion yesterday, this one also  uses a single skein of COSMO Seasons variegated embroidery floss.  Isn't it just so lovely? 

I woke up very early one morning at Market - like dark o'clock early - and I couldn't get back to sleep so I parked myself in front of the tv and happily stitched away until the rest of the world woke up.  (Why sleep when you can lazy-daisy stitch yourself senseless!)  A few more moments here and there and I had all the stitchery done before I left Houston.

The kit came with a tiny ricrac trim and a square of the gray paisley print for the bottom.  Brenda showed me her finished cushion and suggested I quilt the bottom fabric.  I loved the idea so much that I did the same with Lynette's design that I showed you yesterday. 

The original shape for this cushion was a basic square.  But I got this idea in my head to echo the shape of the stitched paisley motif (I later came to my senses and modified it into an oval) which left the perfect little spot to hold a few of my favorite Gigi pins.

And I added a scrap of pink fabric to form the sides ... I wanted the cushion to be "3-D".

I've had this little set of Gigi's cupcake pins for a few years now.  I'd LOVE to put them in this pincushion, but somehow I just can't bring myself to take them out of their pretty packaging!

I keep these on a message board above my computer so I look at them several times a day and smile.

I have one more cushion with a set of Gigi's pins to show you tomorrow.

Tuesday
Nov222011

Pincushion Prettiness I

I'm rescheduling Farmer's Wife blocks to Friday this week because I decided to run with the theme of my current giveaway (still time to enter - and Gigi has added a few more things to her shop since yesterday ... better go check them out ... seriously!) and thought I'd share a few little things I've made lately. 

Pincushions. 

I was a very lucky girl at Quilt Market last month and got a sweet little pincushion kit from the lovely Lynette Anderson.  Here's the cushion all finished.

If you're at all familiar with this talented designer, you didn't need me to tell you this is her work.  Lynette's  style is very distinctive ... and incredibly popular.

(Can't you just imagine these 'lil guys in this cushion?)

I started this pretty little stitchery on the plane home from Houston - managed to get the border and almost one corner done before I landed (the movie onboard was terrible ...  )

Can you believe all this embroidery is done with ONE skein of embroidery floss?

Dude!  I know!!!

It's a COSMO Seasons variegated floss.  The hues in this one skein range from light brown through dark brown and then a lovely purple!  I'd actually been stitching away for a few hours before I had good enough light to even notice the purple.  I almost squealed out loud when I discovered it, but I was in the audience of my daughter's string orchestra rehearsal (seriously, I WILL stitch just about anywhere) so good thing I was able to control myself.

And I got a good idea from someone (will share that tomorrow) to quilt the backing.

I filled it with ground walnut shells ... available at your local pet store as some sort of creepy reptile aquarium filler - which is precisely why I decided to have daughters instead of sons.  ;) 

(Honestly, I don't think my constitution would have survived boys!)

Monday
Nov212011

GIVE-A-WAY!

Happy Monday! 

I know, I know what's to be happy about with no more quiltlets, is probably what you're wondering.  Well, as a sort of olive branch offering, I have another giveaway for you.  You're welcome. ;)

               *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Ok.  Do you remember what it was on Etsy that you had to have so badly that you became a member just so you could buy it? 

I do. 

It was this adorable set of pin toppers - impossibly tiny sewing notions ... IN PINK!  (You may have noticed them in my banner photo up top.)

I've bought many pins from this artist since I discovered her 3 years ago.  And I've even managed to keep a few for myself.  But these pins have become my go-to gift for crafty family members, dear friends and very special people who mean a lot to me.

Now, I'm normally a little shy when it comes to introducing myself (I know, you're probably surprised - but it's true.  My natural tendency is to be introverted.)  But I was so excited about starting my blog I wanted to tell her that I'd included her pins in my banner.  So I emailed her and a  conversation started.

(Are you serious?  LOOK at this little mushroom!)

This past summer, my family spent several weeks in California very near - it just so happens - to where she lives.  So at the risk of making her think I was a crazy stalker person, I asked if she was interested in meeting.  She said yes.

(I'm dyin' here ... now I need to make myself a pink tomato pincushion!  You know I'm gonna.  See what she does to me?)

We got together a few times - for breakfast, hanging out, burgers and yes, crafting.  I begged her to come to our place with all her pin-making paraphanelia just so I could watch her work. 

(Dude ... !!!!!!)

I gotta tell you, it was the absolute weirdest, out-of-body, "pinch-me-I-can't-believe-I'm-sitting-here-with-HER" time of my life.  HER as in SHE MADE ME SIGN UP FOR ETSY HER!  (Can you tell I'm a little excited?!) 

(Can't you just imagine THESE in your pincushion?)

I mean, of all the merchants and crafters with shops on Etsy from all around the w.o.r.l.d,  SHE'S here.  Drinkin' my Pellegrino and hangin' out with me. 

She's amazing.  She is Gigi Minor of Pinks & Needles.

I am just SO HONORED (you really have no idea) to have this opportunity to share Gigi's fabulous talent with you because she's designed this exclusive 4-piece pin set especially for one of my lovely readers. 

Gigi suggested making something that reflected my style.  Naturally, it had to be pink. :)  My favorite beverage is tea and I always blog with a cup beside me.  So she started with this sweet little cup of tea, complete with a tag and string from the teabag!  (Omg, can you beLIEVE her?)

A tiny pale blue blossom that she was inspired to make when she noticed the blue flower in the fabric.

A spool of thread because, well, you know ...

And then the piece-de-resistance, ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!  This rose - the quintessential symbol of pretty, romantic, shabby chic, flower sugar ... everything that makes my heart so happy.  (I watched her make this rose and I still don't know how she did it, but to quote a very famous Vulcan, "Fascinating" - except I have to add these ... !!!! ... even though Vulcans don't have emotions.)

She even fashioned a pincushion out of a little pink egg cup and a scrap of fabric from my stash.

She makes every single pin - one at a time - by hand.  Incredibly tiny, detailed and no-holds-barred ADORABLE!  And let me tell you she is a perfectionist.  She takes great pains to ensure all her pins are flawless.

So here's the deal (still with me?).  To enter the draw to win this 4-piece pin topper set PLUS eggcup pincushion - all hand-crafted by Gigi Minor - go to her Etsy shop, have a browse, come back and leave me a comment telling me which are your favorite designs ... and I'm warning you - it's impossible to have just one! 

I've already done some Christmas shopping myself ... and it's possible everything I bought will end up in my stocking from Santa, just sayin'. ;)

Comments will close Wednesday Nov 23 6:00pm PST (west coast United States) and I'll announce the winner Thursday Nov 24th.

PLEASE double check your email address to make sure it's spelled correctly when you leave it for me. 

And now I'm going to try to calm down and hope no one enters so Gigi will send the pins to me.

Kidding!

Probably ...

:)

Friday
Nov182011

My Cup Runneth Over

Winter arrived last night.  Ugh.  But the bright side is that now my daughters are old enough to shovel.  (And so the rewards of midnight feedings and poopy diapers begins ... mwah ha ha ha.)

So, I was here in my sewing room working away and the little monkeys started banging on the house outside my room to get my attention.  I went to the window and was about to give them heck for trying to wreck what is already a house that has seen better days when they directed my attention to this:

Good thing I don't have PMS 'cause this would have totally made me cry.  I am one lucky mom. :)

(And I didn't think I'd have anything to blog about today ... )

Thursday
Nov172011

Mystery Block of the Month

Confession.  This block - #5 of Fat Quarter Shop's Designer Mystery Block of the Month Club - arrived in the mail the day before I left for Quilt Market.  I was in the middle of packing & stuff when I heard the mailbox squeak.  I dropped everything and was pressing & cutting before the mailman got to the end of the street.  (Yes, I was one of those naughty kids who would snoop under beds and in closets before Christmas!)

This month's block "Vintage Posey" was designed by Brenda Riddle.  Super sweet and talented lady. 

In truth, I wanted to make the block so I could tell Brenda at Market that I made it and I loved it and it came together so nicely.  That is all true.  And the block is adorable. 

But I totally forgot to tell her!

Wednesday
Nov162011

Daisychain Sampler "E"

I decided to just go for it this time and not do the pre-outlining before I satin stitched.

Lazy or brave?

You decide. ;)

Tuesday
Nov152011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 25

Red, Pink, Green, Blue & White (again)

I loved last week's color theme so much I did it again.  Guess I'm really diggin' the crayon box look.

#39 - Friendship

Ok.  You know I have this thing about not letting the same print "touch" in a quilt, right?  Well, I decided to challenge myself and do the complete opposite here.  Yep.  FOUR, count 'em - 4 - of the same print, all cozy and nesting together.  Don't they look friendly? ;)

#27 - Darting Birds

All this rule breaking is kinda fun (just please don't tell my children, kay?)! 

You know, when I first looked at this block it was just another design with more yucky triangles.  Me & triangles ... we ain't exactly the best of friends. 

But when I read the name 'Darting Birds', and then actually SAW the birds - with their cute lil' heads and cute lil' wings - my attitude TOTALLY changed.  I think these little birdies are just so sweet.  

And of course, pink is the leader. :)

Monday
Nov142011

Mini-Series Monday #9

Ok, first things first.

The random number generator found my winners for Anne Sutton's patterns and the adorable Miss Henrietta Squirrel.  (I've already notified the winners so if you see your name, check your email ...)

#1. Allie the Scottie Dog - Andrea

#2. Baby Bear - Karen H

#3. Henrietta the Squirrel - Louise

#4. Lollipop the Lamb - Richla

#5. Scooter Pie the Cat - Chris

#6. Snickerdoodles the Bunny - Katie

#7. Finished Henrietta - Becky

Congratulations Ladies!  And thank you everyone so much for entering!  I know it sounds cliche to say I wish you could all win, but I really do feel that way. 

This giveaway was so much fun, I just might have another one coming up soon ... stay tuned, kay? ;)

               *          *          *          *          *          *          *

And now for the last episode of Project Simplify, the Mini-Series.

Dream Big - or Little (15.5" x 17.5"), as the case may be.

As with the big one, this quiltlet (love that name!) is borderless.  I had just enough scraps to eke out this little one.

Because it's so small, I didn't scrap the binding like I did on the big one.  But my stash didn't let me down and I found a perfectly cute polka dot cream from another Fig Tree line - Mill House Inn - that was perfect for the job.

And I'm totally digging this teeny tiny flower / swirly twirly FMQing that I've done on 2 other quiltlets here and here.  I think it's my favorite FMQ design.

Big and little.

And once again a little back fun. :)

Ok people, stick a fork in me I'm done.  I'm pretty sure this is it for Project Simplify.  It's time to draw the curtains and turn off the lights for this ... wonderful thing that has been so much fun for me and hopefully for you.

Thanks again to all of you who commented throught the process of me sewing my way through Camille's book - twice.  You've inspired me, encouraged me, taught me and best of all, made me laugh.  Seriously, you guys are hilarious. :)

Ok wait.  This sorta sounds like I'm quitting my blog ... I'M NOT!  Wild horses couldn't drag me away from my sewing machine & computer.  I'm just saying good bye to Project Simplify.  Kay?  I'll be back tomorrow with more FW blocks.  Promise.  As long as at least one person out there in Inter-Web-Landia has a decidedly inexplicable taste for my silliness, I'll be here.

Besides, since one of my best bloggy friends (who has an amazingly beautiful blog) just taught me how to make these very cool photo mosaics, I need an excuse to make more. ;)

Thursday
Nov102011

Quilt Market - Giveaway

This was me at the airport waiting for the scale to tell me how much my suitcase weighed, "Oh pleeeeeease, please please please PLEASE be under 50 lbs!"  Whew!  Just barely made it. :)

I'm really happy with all the pretty fabric I brought home.  My creative wheels are turning and I'm dying to start cutting & sewing.

"La Petite Mercerie" by Lecien - LOVE notion prints!

"Woodland" by Lecien.  So adorable.  I know I'll be making lots of gifts for my daughters' friends as birthday gifts & such.

Died and went to heaven with Lecien's "Durham Anew" line.

Moda's "California Girls".  Couldn't resist those blues!

So yummy "Athill" by Moda

But my absolute favorite find was, of course, Yoko Saito's book.  I'm considering putting it in a safety deposit box. ;)

Ok.  Now for some fun for you.

I met one of the nicest people on the planet at Quilt Market - Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs.

And she generously sent me home with some goodies to give away here to a few lovely Pretty by Hand readers.  (Thank you Anne!)  Not one, not two, but SIX patterns for her adorable little soft creatures. 

1. Allie the Scottie Dog

2. Baby Bear

3. Henrietta the Squirrel

4. Lollipop the Lamb

5. Scooter Pie the Cat

6. Snickerdoodles the Bunny

7. AND an ACTUAL finished Henrietta made from Anne's fabric. 

(And the limbs are hinged so they move!)

But wait.

There's MORE!

Just to sweeten the deal, I'm sure I can find a pretty fat quarter - or two - from my stash to go with each prize.  (Need to make room for all the aforementioned bundles ...)

So.  If you would like to enter this giveaway to win ONE of these 6 patterns + FQs or the sweet squirrel + FQs (so 7 winners in total), please go to Anne's shop, take a look at her patterns, come back here and leave a comment telling me which of her designs is your favorite. 

Winners will be selected at random.  The first name drawn will win the Allie pattern & a FQ, winner #2 will receive the Baby Bear pattern & a FQ, etc. following the list above.

Comments will close Sunday Nov 13th at 6:00 pm PST  (West coast of North America).  I will announce the winners on Monday Nov 14th.  Please be sure to leave me your email (only I can read it) so I can reach you if you win.

Good luck everyone! :)