It’s Not Just Me…

I live in a perpetual state of behindness it seems. Rarely am I caught up, much less ahead of the game. I’ve been called a procrastinator extraordinaire, but after taking a few psych classes to get my degree, I learned that I’m one of those folks who performs better when the pressure is on. Because of that, I tend to leave things until it’s almost too late to get them done and then in a flurry of activity everything that needs doing gets done and in my tiny mind I’m proud of myself because I actually got it done the day before, or more often than not the morning before, it was needed.

I’ve often wondered if it was just me not using my time wisely, but here lately I’ve noticed that several bloggers that I follow are apologizing for not having blogged for a month or two. Seems like mine isn’t the only busy life out there. To be honest about it, I think I’d rather they be creating something for us to enjoy than blogging anyhow.

Despite being behind on most things, I managed to post on our Facebook page the other day that Moda is having a designer blog hop. I did it the day it started rather than giving folks a heads-up so they could be ready, but at least I did it. I’ve managed to keep up for the most part but haven’t looked at the designers for today yet. I’ll get there…eventually. It’s been interesting to see what these creative minds have done with one simple letter of the alphabet. Be sure to check it out.

The other thing I meant to tell you about is a new BOM that started this past Saturday at Justquiltin with Denise Russart. It’s called From Head to Toe and is really cute. The patterns are on for just a limited amount of time so don’t dawdle on this one. A new pattern will be posted on the third Saturday of the month making it easy for me to remember because that’s the day we have our All Stitched Up meeting.

Last, but definitely not least, are the free designs by Jenny of Elefantz. One of her newest ones, The Sparrow has been saved and is on my to-do list. If you go to her Craftsy site you’ll find a few more freebies as well as some designs that are for sale. They’re all just lovely, and I bet you’re going to love them as much as I do.

Now I must dash on to the next to-do on my always long list. Oh, wait! Victoria just came home after spending last night in Huntsville. I think the next important item on my to-do list is eating an apple dumpling and ice cream with her while we catch up on the events of the last two days. YUM!

Tuesday Tidbits

Tuesday is one of those “eh” kind of days. It’s not Monday, where you’re trying to get your engine running and back on track from the weekend. It’s not Wednesday, which is historically known as Hump Day because you’re halfway through the week. It’s not Thursday, the day that gets your heart racing because you’re looking forward to the weekend, or it’s your payday. And, it’s not Friday which is the official start of the weekend for most of us once the clock strikes 5:00 p.m. Of course, the feelings assigned to Saturday and Sunday go without saying.

Some folks use Tuesday as their special tea day; myself included. There are tons of ladies, like Sandi from Rose Chintz Cottage, who blog about their Tuesday teas and show off lovely china and beautiful table settings. One of these days soon, we plan on having Tea on Tuesday and hope that many of our ladies will be able to join us. I’ve been working on a table runner just for this occasion. The plan is to have little lessons to learn three different piecing techniques over three sessions, a devotion time as well as tea and light refreshments, not to mention the social interaction for which we quilty types are so well known.

For now, I thought I might share a few things that have come across my desk in the past few days. Some of these you might have already discovered yourself and some may be new to you. If you have any tidbits you would like to share with us today please feel free to leave a comment doing so or e-mail me and I’ll share them with everyone.

Tidbit #1 – Jenny of Elefantz is celebrating her fifth year as a blogger. She is graciously offering her Shabby Roses ‘Bouquet’ quilt pattern to us free of charge. The first block, the chair, went on her Craftsy site yesterday and she will add a new block each day until Saturday the 15th. Today’s block is the bucket. Since Jenny lives in Australia it’s already Wednesday there, so you can get tomorrow’s pattern, the girl, today because it’s already been posted! These patterns will only be free through September 30 so don’t put off snagging them while you can. While you’re at the Craftsy site, be sure to look at all of her other lovely designs, many of which are free. She also has an e-zine that I’ve not yet subscribed to but am told it’s wonderful. I’m going to have to subscribe so I can get that off my bucket list (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Tidbit #2 – Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet has a cute flower tutorial on her blog. She used her Gracie Girl fabrics to make the one shown, but you could use anything you have in your stash. You only need a 2-1/2”x5” strip of something that would make a good flower petal. She gives great step-by-step instructions on how to make her flower so you won’t have any trouble duplicating it.

After reading through her tutorial, I would like to suggest that you use two layers of fabric when making the covered button. That will keep the metal from shinning through the very stretched fabric that is covering it. You might also want to fussy cut a cute little picture out of a novelty piece of fabric with which to cover your button. For example, I’m thinking a bee would look cute on that button as it sits in the middle of the flower.

If wearing it as a pin isn’t your thing, try putting a nice sized piece of magnet on the back and using it on your refrigerator or file cabinet. While it doesn’t look like the petals need it, I’d still be inclined to add a bit of Poly-fil to them just to make sure they don’t go flat over time. You could also use scraps of batting or what I call fabric shavings. You know, those little bits of fabric you shave off the edges of projects that just get thrown away because there’s not much else you can do with them except use them for stuffing inside of something. Just a couple of thoughts…

Tidbit #3 – Moda is having a designer blog hop called Size Matters. It began on the 4th and goes through the 16th. There are two or three designers to visit each day and a free quilt square on each blog to save. Instructions for putting the squares together will be given on the last day. In addition to free quilt block patterns, there’s a giveaway on each of the designer’s blogs. I know I shouldn’t tell you that because it will just decrease my chances of winning, but since I saw over 1,000 comments on Edyta Sitar’s blog I know my chances are just two, slim and none. Besides, hopping from designer to designer is enough of a reward as it is. There’s so much inspiration and energy to be gotten from each of them alone, so imagine how much of each the whole bunch of them together generate. Can you say, “Creativity overload?”

Tidbit #4 – Do you love pincushions as much as I do? If you do, you’ll want to hop on over to the Pin It blog hop headquarters where pincushions take center stage starting today through the 17th. There are over 100 participants and giveaways too. I can foresee a lot of computer time in the near future. It just so happens that the folks mentioned in the next tidbit are sponsors of this hop along with P&B Textiles (love their fabrics!).

Tidbit #5 – Bird Brain Designs, one of our favorite redwork designers, is having a Redwork Challenge. As I understand it, you can take any of their patterns, mix and match them, change their size, change the colors from multi to red only, whatever it takes to make something unique. There are prizes and a chance that your entry will be displayed at a special exhibit in January at the Road to California Quilt Show. Entries must be received before January 10 so don’t procrastinate on this one.

We have lots of Bird Brain patterns in stock, but if we don’t have what you want we’d be happy to order it for you and save you the cost of shipping. I’ve already told Victoria about the challenge and she says she’ll do it. Don’t know what she’ll do just yet, but no one will be surprised if cats figure prominently in the finished project.

Tidbit #6Studioe Fabrics is hosting a Colorful Peppered Cottons Challenge in which you must use at least 75% Peppered Cottons, designed by Pepper Cory, and any other recognizable fabrics from Studioe in the finished project. The challenge runs from September 4 through midnight EST March 31. Prizes are in both cash and fabrics for the first three place winners.

I wish I could say come buy their fabrics here, but we don’t have a single bolt of their Peppered Cottons and have no means to add them to the shop any time soon. You can get on their website and look for a store near you or call them direct and see if they can help you locate a store. I put in the zip for Fayetteville, looked within a 100 mile radius, and found that there was a shop listed in Huntsville, but when I called I was told they no longer carried Studioe fabrics. The shop in Ringgold, GA was also listed but they have gone out of business. So, if you want to take advantage of this challenge the first challenge you’ll have is just finding the fabrics. Given the state of the economy though where quilt shops are concerned, I’d say any shop you contact would be more than happy to ship whatever you want and/or need to participate in this challenge.

Tidbit #7 – Buy a Martingale, That Patchwork Place, book at your local independent quilt shop and get $10 back! That’s right! Martingale will give you a $10 rebate just for buying one of their books. All you have to do is buy a book between now and December 31, fill out the rebate coupon, and mail it to Martingale. If you’ve bought the fall issue of Quilt Sampler magazine there’s a coupon inside, or I have coupons printed out that I can give you when you purchase your book. You have to send a copy of the receipt along with the coupon in order to get the rebate so be sure to hang on to it. Limit one coupon per person. Offer not valid for online purchases.
little projects
Tidbit #8 – A new BOM program came in the e-mail this week and I’d like to get your take on it. Since Thimbleberries is no more we’ve been looking for something to replace it. We have an in-house BOM that we’re working on, slowly but surely, but in the event that we don’t get it put together in time for the new year we need a backup plan, or even an extra as the case may be. There are some particulars that I won’t go into right now, no sense wasting your time in the event that we don’t bring it on board. Just look at these small table mats please, 13″x23″, and tell me what you think. They can be made as seen or into a sampler quilt if preferred. Nothing is set in stone, just taking feedback at the moment.

Tidbit #9 – Our fall Stitchin’ Camp has filled but don’t despair. Victoria Clendenon and Janet Rose have put together a Between the Holidays Quilt Retreat at Petticoat Junction in Normandy, TN from December 5-8. The last word I had was that there are 10 spots available so if you’re interested give one of them a call and secure your spot pronto. It sounds like a lovely place to go and relax after the big turkey day and get yourself in gear for the last big holiday of the year.

Tidbit #10 – Last but not least, starting next Monday Better Homes & Garden will begin their 100 Days of Holidays program which will run through January 1. Can you believe that 100 days is about all that’s left in this year?! If you need some inspiration for the upcoming holidays, this will be one of the best places to go. Be sure to sign up so you don’t miss a day.

OK…ten tidbits should give you plenty to occupy yourself with for a while. Feel free to ask for clarification on anything, and as I said, share other needful tidbits that you might know of that I don’t. I’m sure there’s plenty out there worth sharing.

What a Lovely Week!

Yes, what a lovely week it has been. We’ve had sunshine, and we’ve had snow. Thankfully, we had more sunshine than snow, but it was nice to look out for just a brief moment and see snow flying through the air, and I do mean flying! The wind was blowing it almost completely horizontally. What a treat!
Valentine Roses
Of course Valentine’s Day falling during the week made for a nice change as well. I got these from my husband of soon to be 25 years, and Dove chocolates and a new book to read from my secret stitchin’ sister at our guild meeting on Thursday night. Our program that evening was given by Miss Bonnie on the red and white quilts that were exhibited at the Armory in New York back in 2011. Absolutely perfect for a guild meeting that fell on Valentine’s Day.1 Dozen Roses

I had all three of children here at one time or another during the week which hasn’t happened for a while. Everyone seems to be going in their own direction these days, except me of course. I’m here all the time, save for going to a guild meeting now and then and an occasional Friday night date. That’s probably just as well because I still can’t seem to find enough time to get done all that I want and need to do. Amazing!

We had our second Stitchin’ Camp last weekend and the ladies seemed to enjoy themselves as much as ever. They get sooooo many projects finished at camp! We had a few who had attended the first camp and returned for the second camp, and we had several who returned from last year, and then there were a few who had never been to camp before. I love having them all! I need to come up with a little different menu for the third camp which will be held March 7-9. Want to join us? There’s still room if you do.

Miss Frances' Medallion Quilt
On Saturday afternoon we have Show-n-Tell. We’ve seem some amazing quilts over the years during this time. Like this quilt shown at our January camp by Miss Frances. It started its life with just the center section that was taught in a guild workshop several years ago. The center section is known as a Gordian Knot and was taught by Nancy Allain. Our guild later had a challenge whereby the quilt had to start with a medallion center and was to grow from there. Miss Frances did a wonderful job of incorporating all the different requirements of the challenge.
Spicy Spiral Runner
Miss Pat taught a spiral table runner at the January camp and we had several of those to enjoy. She also brought several of her quilts that were made with the Twister tool and the X-Block tool. She believes that learning how to use a tool isn’t enough. You have to use the tool over and over again in order to really master it and keep the technique in your head. In order to master the technique she usually makes six, or more, of the new project so she doesn’t forget how. Here’s one of the runners that Victoria made (not my Victoria). Aren’t the colors wonderful!!!
Susan's Elegant Runner
Another impressive runner that was made in the January camp is this one. Susan did a beautiful job on this one, making it longer than the pattern says. While it looks very complicated, it’s done with striped fabric from the Holiday Flourish collection by Peggy Toole for Robert Kaufman. Isn’t this runner absolutely gorgeous! You’d have to see it in person to really appreciate its beauty. If you’ve been looking for a quick and easy runner this one is exactly what you need. What an impact you get with only seven seams!

OK…I can now see how Flicker might come in handy for posting lots of show-n-tell photos. I’ll have to look into setting up an account so you can see all the other wonderful projects that we enjoyed during both camps as well as our camps last year. I think I have some photos from those camps as well that I could share with you.

I want to alert you to a new blog hop sponsored by Moda that starts tomorrow. You won’t want to miss this hop as there will be several 9” block patterns to save and prizes to win. Some of the designers you will know and some of them will be new to both you and me. I’m putting a reminder on my calendar now so I don’t get caught up in other goings on here and forget. This should be great fun so mark your calendar too!

It’s my turn!!! The day I’ve been waiting for (and fretting over) has finally arrived. Ever since I ran across this pattern on Jill Finley’s website last year I have wanted to make it. Did I get a round to it? No, of course not. Soooooo, when I discovered that there was going to be a blog hop and the main attraction was going to be this pillow I decided I’d better sign up or the project would be one more thing on my wanna-do-one-of-these-days list. Yes, it is a very, very long list.

Finding time to make the project now proved to be just as difficult as it has been all year, but remembering the words of my high school band director, Mr. Lambert, I decided that results, not excuses, were what I needed to strive for. Of course, I had to make the project my own and change some things. I know you’re not surprised. Before I tell you what I changed though I’ll show you the whole project. Cute, huh!

Now, to explain the changes and why, just in case you’re interested. The main thing I changed was the construction method of the project. Rather than doing the piecing I turned the project into an appliqué one. Why? Well, first because all this time that’s what I thought it was to begin with. No, I had not looked at the actual instructions until it was time to start working on the project. Secondly, and more importantly, because I greatly dislike sewing on a drawn line and flipping back corners. Yes, I dislike it enough to prefer the “A” word technique. I used the measurements of the rectangles given for the houses and drafted my appliqué patterns accordingly…with one exception. You see, I prefer smaller projects and really didn’t need such a large pillow. You may not have been able to tell it from the photo, but I shrank the houses so that they’re only 2-1/4” wide and their height is half of the measurements given for those rectangles in the original pattern. Of course, I then had to draw my own rooftops and trees, but that wasn’t too difficult, even for someone like me who has trouble drawing stick figures that are recognizable.

I decided that instead of having a black background I would use a lovely night sky fabric that we have on hand and Michael Miller’s Fairy Frost for the snow covered ground. I mean after all, if there’s that much snow on the rooftops there must be snow on the ground. Right? Then I decided I didn’t want dark windows but lighted ones, hence the golden glow emanating from two of the houses. I also thought it might be kind of interesting to look into one of those houses and see the occupants’ tree all decorated up. Last, but not least, I made one of the houses yellow because I’ve always wanted to paint our house yellow. I doubt that it will ever happen though. It used to be a medium shade of green at one time many, many years ago. We found evidence of that on the part that was built in the 1850s.

My project ended up measuring about 11”x16” (I didn’t measure it after it was put together) and will be a wallhanging instead of a pillow. Then again, I might get creative and decide to use it as the center, or one section somewhere, in a larger wallhanging and add some of my favorite wintery things in other blocks. Talk about getting the creative juices flowing!!! I think I’ll live with it as is for the time being and just ruminate over it a while. As they say, you can’t rush greatness…

Many thanks to Miss Jill for so generously giving us her pattern. I love her work and plan on making several projects from her latest book…one of these days. Thanks too to Mdm. Samm for all she does to promote and encourage our creativity and to Miss Pauline for cheering us on and answering question after question for this technically challenged person. Be sure to visit each and every one of the blogs listed below because without a doubt you’ll find even more inspiration. That’s what it’s all about; inspiring and challenging each other to explore areas that are interesting but maybe a little scary were it not for the reassurance of like-minded individuals, of which there are thankfully many.

Words and Stitches
Trying to Blog
Peanut’s Patchwork
Moosestash Quilting
A Loose Thread
stitch, stitch, stitch
In Stitches and Seams
Hooked on Quilting – Enjoy!
A Reformed Heath’n
As Sweet as Peaches
Geema’s Wonderings

Touring Time!

Today I ran across a blog tour being hosted by Quiltmaker magazine to showcase their latest edition (Volume 6) of their popular 100 Blocks magazine. We received our copies either Friday or Saturday. I’m not sure which since I found the already opened box yesterday. My guess is that Miss Martha opened it one of those two days and since it didn’t really interest her she forgot to tell me they were here. No harm done though. I took a copy upstairs yesterday and still haven’t gotten a chance to look through it yet.

That’s why I was so glad to run across the blog tour of designers whose blocks were in the magazine. Now I’ve not only looked at several of the blocks through their blogs and personal insights, but I’ve also found some new blogs to follow. Plus, each designer has a copy of the new magazine to give away just for reading their post and leaving a comment. At least one of the designers whose site I’ve visited has even more that she’s giving away, but I won’t tell you who it is. You need to go touring around all the blogs and see if you can find her yourself. The tour started yesterday so we’re a little bit behind. If you start now you can catch up though. It ends on Friday so if you like winning free things you need to get a move on.

A bit of advice if I may, be sure to bookmark or sign up for future blog posts when you find a designer you like. I didn’t do that on a past blog hop and have regretted it ever since. One designer had a cute little spider mug rug and I haven’t been able to find it again. Bummer!

On my list of things to do for tonight is sitting down with a copy of this new magazine and looking at each and every block carefully and thoroughly. I know I will find some great blocks that will run the gambit from paper-piecing to applique, scrappy to controlled. The hardest thing will be deciding which ones to tackle first. Oh yes, I almost forgot…there are contest details on the very last page of the magazine. There are ten chances to win ten of the actual blocks made by the designers showcased in this issue. How are you at haiku?

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