All I Can Say is…WOW!!!

I finally got around to opening the new box of books from Martingale. While there were only two new titles in the box all I could say after looking at them was, “WOW!!!!” I’m not sure which book to tell you about first because they’re both just great…in my humble opinion of course.

Something for everyone!

Let’s start with the larger of the two. That would be 501 Quilting Motifs from the editors of one of my favorite magazines, Quiltmaker. This book is spiral bound so it will lay flat, has a hardcover, and 208 pages of designs for both hand and machine quilting. If you can’t find something in here to use on your next quilt you have a problem that I’m not sure anyone can help you with. I don’t mean to be ugly now, but this book has something for just about every quilt you’d ever want to quilt.

The book is divided up into sections to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. These sections include Children/Teens; Feathers; Flowers; Foods; Geometric Shapes; Hearts; Seasonal/Holiday; Vines & Leaves. Diagrams include measurements so you’ll know if the design you pick will fit in the space for which you need it. If the size isn’t quite right, but the design is perfect, you can enlarge or reduce it on a copier. You are given permission to do this but not to copy and share the designs with someone else who might like what they see. They’ll just have to buy their own book and do their own copying. They shouldn’t complain, especially when you tell them that the designs cost them less than 5 cents each. How’s that for being frugal!

50 Gorgeous Blocks x 5

The next book is just as desirable as the first, especially if you enjoy applique. Inspired by Tradition by Kay Mackenzie contains 50 designs in five sizes each. The book comes with a CD making it a breeze to print off the size block you need. Just be sure to check your settings so the designs are not reduced to fit the paper size/margins.  It also has instuctions for different applique methods and tips from the author.  The gallery of ideas will set your mouth to waterin’…especially those of us who enjoy applique.

When I looked through this book I wanted to stop what I was working on for Farmer’s Wife and start pulling fabric to make some of these great blocks.  Of course, the pansy block jumped out at me because it’s one of my favorites.  Then there was the basket block and the holly block and…and…and…See what I mean?!  The temptation was great, but clean livin’ (and fear of getting even further behind) prevailed.  I overcame the temptation and continued on with Farmer’s Wife so I could have the kits ready for next week.  After they’re done though it’s Katie bar the door!  I’m going to be doing some serious applique work.

Gorgeous up close!

Changing the subject completely now, those blooms that I identified as being from the Tulip Poplar weren’t.  Ginger e-mailed me and told me that they were actually from the Japanese Saucer Magnolia tree.  Doesn’t that sound exotic!

I heard Victoria tell Nathanael to set the ice cream out so I’m going to stop here.  I’ll review those new cookbooks next time.  Promise!

Little Wallet – Take Two

Now don’t faint!  I know this is a first, seeing two posts from me in as many days, but I just had to show you what I made today.  If you’ve not read the post from yesterday you might want to do that before you continue so you’ll have some background to go on.  I’ll wait…hum, hum, hum, hum…

OK…how did you like the little wallet that I made from Valori Well’s pattern?  Cute, huh!?  Well, I couldn’t keep myself from wondering “what if” all day until I broke down and tried my variations on a new little wallet.  I didn’t have far to go in picking the fabrics as they were right in the front room.  Our new Maxine fabric was just screaming to be used so I listened and used it.  Here’s what I came up with.  It’s cute, cute, cute!

Little Wallet #2

I fussy cut the sayings for the flap in order to get the one I wanted in just the right place.  It says, “I shop for all my favorite people…me, myself, and I.”  While it’s not totally true right now, it might be…one of these days.

What did I learn on the second rendition of this little wallet?  Well, I’ll tell you.  First of all, fussy cutting this fabric caused it to not be cut on grain.  In fact, it was cut more on the bias.  Had I thought about it, I would have ironed the interfacing to this piece rather than the lining piece as instructed.  That would have helped to stabilize the bias edges which I am afraid got stretched a bit out of shape.  The stretching was most noticeable at the opening left for turning. 

Back view

Here’s the view of the back of the wallet.  It has one of my favorite of Maxine’s sayings which is, “I keep hitting escape, but I’m still here!”  There are days when I do wish there were an escape button that I could push, but I’ve yet to find one.

Now for the pockets.  I cut only one piece of fabric for each pocket section.  I used a very light weight interfacing on the back of the fabric to give it body without adding bulk in the seams.  I allowed extra at the top edge to turn under, twice, and top stitch in place.  The sayings on the front pocket were again fussy cut.

Inside view

Don’t you just love that lining fabric?!  I was able to place the pattern in such a way as to use one of the flowers to mark the spot where the closure should go.  Note that I have even sewn on the Velcro dots to close the wallet.  Amazing, huh!  Since I’m well known for NOT finishing my projects completely it is more than merely amazing, it’s astonishing!!!

I can honestly say that I do like the way this lighter version turned out.  However, I am now wondering what it would be like to use the heavier interfacing on the body of the wallet and the lightweight only on the pockets.  Does that sound like another wallet might be in the making?  It does to me…

Oh yes, I realized this morning that I had made a mistake on the wallet I made last night.  Of course, no one would know if I didn’t tell them but since we crafty folks seem to have to always tell what we did wrong in a project I feel compelled to follow suit. 

Remember that I said I fussy cut a flower to go on the first pocket so that when I opened the wallet I would see a pretty flower?  Well, I did do that, BUT I sewed that side of the pocket on the inside instead of on the outside.  There’s a pretty flower on the inside of that pocket but only stripes on the outside.  I thought about taking it apart and fixing it, but Miss Janice, who happened to be here when I discovered what I had done, convinced me that it would be easier to just make a whole new one instead.  She was right of course.  After having made this fun little wallet I’m glad I took her advice.  I might still have to make another plaid floral wallet with a flower on the front of the pocket but not any time soon.  I need to really be getting my Thimbleberries block done, the Farmer’s Wife blocks done, and a new BOM block with baskets that we hope to begin in April or May.  I’ll let you know when the first block for the basket quilt is done so you can decide whether or not you want to participate.  We’ll be using a two new groups from Moda, “Dragonfly Summer” as well as “Lilac Hill” to do this BOM.  It’s going to be gorgeous!

Look What I Made!

Every now and then I have to take a break and do something other than what absolutely has to be done.  That’s especially true after I finish packing the kits for Farmer’s Wife.  While I love making the blocks, packing all the kits, at least 400 of them, sometimes takes a toll on my brain.  On a couple of occasions I made small raw-edge applique wallhangings because they can be done without much in the way of thinking.  This time, I decided to do something different…but what?

Outside view

We received the Little Wallet pattern designed by Valori Wells last week.  I took one of the patterns upstairs, sat in MY chair, and read over the instructions.  Once I got caught up on ordering more goodies this week I decided to make this little wallet because it seemed pretty quick and easy.

Inside view

It was no easy task choosing which fabrics to use.  I have wanted to make something from these Michael Miller fabrics for a while though so I decided to use them for my first little wallet.   After having made this one there are a few things that I will change on the next one.  For example, you are told to use interfacing but you’re not told what weight of interfacing to use.  I used Craft Fuse which is fairly heavy and gives a project body, something I definitely wanted in my little wallet.  I even fused a small piece to the wrong side of the outside fabric piece where the snap, or in my case Velcro and a button, will be sewn.  I like the feel of the top flap of the wallet, but there is so much fabric at the bottom of the wallet that I think I’ll use a lighter interfacing on the next one.

Speaking of too much fabric at the bottom, there are eight layers of fabric by the time you get the wallet put together as instructed.  On my next version, I think I will use just one piece of fabric for each pocket, put interfacing on the back of each, turn under a hem on the top edge of each pocket, and then layer them as instructed.  That would mean there would be only five layers of fabric and the interfacing should give them some body without adding lots of bulk.  One thing I did that wasn’t in the instructions was to sew the three pockets together on both sides with about an eighth inch seam.  This assured that they would stay together as a unit while the outside and lining were being stitched together.
Another thing I will change is the location of the opening for turning the wallet inside out.  I have learned over the years that it is difficult when the opening for turning is placed on a corner.  I think by moving the opening toward the middle of one side the corner shape will not be compromised.  I will also leave a bit larger opening as it was difficult to get all that bulk through the 1-1/2″ opening given.  With such a small opening the fabric gets very wrinkled by the time you get it pulled through.  I had to use Mary Ellen’s Best Press to help get the wrinkles out and make the fabric in the wallet nice and smooth again.
I picked a floral fabric for the outside and first pocket.  Because of this, I had to pay attention to the designs in the fabric which added to the thinking factor…but not too much.  Thankfully, before I cut my outside fabric I realized that I would end up with the flowers upside down when I folded over the flap.  Sooooo, I centered the flower for the bottom back section and made sure the flap landed in the plaid section with no floral design.  I also centered one of the flowers for the first pocket so that when I open the flap I have a nice flower to look at.  I top stitched the edges of the pockets because I think that gives the project a nice finished look.  It will make the edge of the pockets crisp and neat.
This little wallet is fairly quick and easy to make.  It doesn’t require a lot of fabric and would be a great way to get rid of some of your scraps.  There are three pocket sections so you could use it to carry your driver’s license, a credit card or two, and some cash.  Or, maybe you have a friend who likes tea.  You could make one of these and put some individually wrapped tea bags in it for a wonderful little gift.  The hardest thing you will find in making this project is deciding on which fabrics to use.  There are so many possibilities!

Cute Coin Purse!

Another new pattern that we received last week was the Fun & Flirty Coin Purse by This & That.  It comes in two sizes, small (3″x5″) and large (4″x8″).  I’ve not had a chance to make this one yet, but it’s definitely on my wanna-do list.  I’m thinking that the larger of the two could also be used for cosmetics, to keep your writing implements and a small note pad in your purse so they’re easy to find, or maybe small notions that you wouldn’t want roaming around free inside your purse.  Again, I think choosing just which fabrics to use will be the hardest part of the whole project.

Carrie Nelson's Latest!

If you enjoyed Carrie Nelson’s book Schnibbles Times Two you’ll enjoy this one just as much.  She has included fourteen great quilts here for your pleasure.  In addition to great instructions, she gives you the reason for the names of some of the quilts.  One quilt is called Hound Dog.  Any idea where that name came from?  The answer is in the book.  Of course, the cover quilt caught my attention because it’s one of my favorite patterns.  It’s easy and so much fun to make.
I love crazy quilting!  This new book by Allie Aller is a must have if you do too, or if you have wanted to learn how to do this lovely quilt style.  The author shows you how to draw your own blocks and gives you four different methods for making these blocks.  One technique uses freezer paper, one fusible applique, and another chunk piecing.  The embellishment ideas are super and plentiful.  There is a great gallery of quilts and several projects for you to try.  I’ll definitly add this book to my personal library of crazy quilting books.

Get ready for summer!

The UPS man said he felt like he’d left something in the truck when he delivered just a small box.  What he didn’t know was just how much was in that small box.  The latest issue of Fons & Porter’s Easy Quilts for Summer is here!  There are 18 sizzlin’ projects that you don’t want to miss.  They range from full sized quilts to wallhangings just perfect for gift giving, after you make one for yourself of course. 

Smokey - all grown up

There’s a quilt that uses panels from the Tuxedo Cat line of fabric, which I don’t have unfortunately, but I couldn’t help but think how great it would be to use actual photos of our own Tuxedo cats.  Like the one I took today of Smokey.  Can you believe how big he’s gotten?!  The photo of him under the rocker is one of my favorites.  He was so little and so cute then…sigh…

Smokey - The early days...

I seem to be diverging from the quilty news for some reason.  Today was one of those days where I decided to take some photos of things around me that won’t be here forever.   The blooms on our Tulip Poplar tree is one of those things.  The tree is beginning to bloom out in gorgeous pink blossoms.  I figured I’d better go ahead and take some photos to share with you before the frost got them.  Many’s the year when the tree started to bloom and I looked forward to seeing those large pink blossoms, but before they popped out the frost came.  I would wake up the next morning to black blobs on the end of the branches…very unbecoming.  The past few days, when I looked out of the door in the office upstairs, I could see the buds as they began growing.  Being on the second floor gives one a whole other perspective on a tree.  It was just so beautiful I had to share it with you.  I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I have, and am, the view.

Gorgeous up close!

Gorgeous!

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