Thursday, April 29, 2010

Giveaway Received

I received my giveaway fabrics from Cathy this week.  I won three marine life themed fabrics.  I love marine life stuff, so I can't wait to find something fun to do with these.  Thanks Cathy!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pieced Quilt Backs from Multiple Fabrics

Please visit me today over at the Stash Manicure blog.  The subject of my post is piecing quilt backs using multiple fabrics.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Strings from Stash Top is Done!

After two full days of power sewing the Strings from Stash quilt top is done, as is the backing, and the batting has been prewashed.  I just need to cut the batting to size and it is ready for drop of to my longarmer this afternoon.  I think this is the fastest that I've ever completed a quilt top.  I started sewing the blocks on 4/18 and had the quilt center all assembled except for borders on 4/24.  Yesterday the borders went on and the backing was pieced.

I just couldn't stop piecing these blocks.  They are so easy, but more importantly it was like a trip down memory lane since these strings were all cut from my stash of fat quarters and half yard pieces.  The back story is here.  It was so much fun to see what fabric I would pull out from the bin next.  I could remember where and when I bought many of them.  At the end of the day, every piece of fabric in this quilt came from my stash, including the borders and backing.  It truly is a "reflection of me", which may become the name of the quilt.  I'm still mulling that over.  What do you all think?  I would call it "Reflections of Me" if I go that route. 

So, I present to you Strings from Stash.  The border fabric is one of the first "speculative" purchases I made when I first started quilting, so it's probably almost 9 years old.  Even though I'm primarily a scrap quilter, I still buy yardage that would be good for borders or backing when I find it as I love to be able to shop my stash for those items.  This piece was just waiting for the perfect quilt to be used.  My DH even contributed to the border fabric evaluation and really spent a lot of time, for him anyway, (5 minutes vs 5 seconds) looking at the options and then telling me why he had selected this one.  I was also leaning towards this one, so I figured it must be the one.  I'm very pleased with it.

And here's the back:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

When Good Cats Go Bad

For those of you that read my blog regularly, you know that Echo is the good cat and rarely does anything to get in trouble.  He has always been good around my quilting things and the quilts, preferring just to either watch quietly from the sidelines, or test the quilts for softness, etc.

Until yesterday.  Given his history, I thought he could be trusted unsupervised with my string quilt blocks I had laid out for assembly.

Apparently not.

I was only gone for a couple of minutes or it could have been worse.  I think the mistake was laying out the quilt near some of his packing peanuts he has on the floor of my office.  See that white thing by the chair leg.  It's a packing peanut.  Those things are like kitty crack for Echo.  He HAD been playing with that one under my desk.  I also found a renegade sunflower seed under one of the blocks I straightened out, so I suspect that contributed to his deliquency as well.

I am off to a quilting day at Dawn's and first priority is to get the string quilt top assembled and the back pieced so I can get the quilt to my longarmer early next week.  She is squeezing me in before she shuts down for the summer.  Isn't that nice of her?

Here's one more picture of Echo admiring his handy work.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Strings from Stash progress

On Monday I posted over at Stash Manicure about my Strings from Stash project.  I got a lot of quilting time in yesterday and ended up getting 24 blocks completed.  Heres's a picture of 16 of them. 

And here's a closeup:

This project is so much fun.  Not only is it super easy to sew, but I love remembering where and when I got some of these fabrics.  If you want to make a quilt like this, I did a full tutorial in the Stash Manicure post.

I mentioned in that post that I started with this bin of strings (strips):

Here's what it looks like now that I've been rooting through it looking for the next fabric to use:

Not only have I not made a dent in the pile, but it grew!

Echo says, no problem.  I can squish them back down for you :-).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Strings from Stash

I am the contributor today over at the Stash Manicure blog.  My post is about using your stash to make a string quilt and includes a string quilt tutorial.

Please check out my post and this great new blog for ideas for using your stash!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chocolate Covered Cherries

While I love the chocolate covered cherry candies (Queen Anne brand please), this post is about the quilt that I cut out yesterday which will be named Chocolate Covered Cherries.  You will see why in a minute.  I've never made a two fabric quilt before.  I hope I don't get bored with the piecing before I'm done.  I have a very short attention span, which is probably why I make a lot of small quilts and scrap quilts!

Fabric out and ready to press.  Check. 

Isn't is yummy?  I got the brown/pink fabric with a 40% off coupon and then found the pink that matched perfectly.  And that was when the idea for the two fabric quilt was born.  I'm using the Bento Box pattern with strips cut 2 1/2 inches.  Doesn't this kind of remind you of chocolate covered cherries?

New rotary blades for the cutter.  Check.

Ironing board set up, brown fabric unfolded and ready to press.  Check.

Hmmm, the fabric seems to have taken on some weight.  Remove cat from pile of fabric below the ironing board and store in bedroom (the cat, not the fabric).  Return to ironing board to find second cat laying on the top of the board.  Remove second cat and store in bedroom.  Finally get the fabric pressed and ready to cut.

First up, the borders.  I hate cutting borders, or anything that involves cutting long pieces of fabric.  I am inept at cutting through multiple layers in this situation, so I have to ever so carefully straighten one side and then cut through one layer the entire way, which takes me forever.  Since the brown fabric was a 5 yard piece, I sucked it up and cut the border strips along the 5 yard length to avoid having to piece any of them.  I did the same for the pink fabric for the inner border, but the length wasn't quite as long.  Here are the borders all cut.  I cut the outer border 6 inches to allow for squaring up of the quilt after quilting, but still retaining a minimum of a 5 inch border.  Plus, it was easier as that is the width of the ruler.

Once I got all of the 2 1/2 inch strips cut from each fabric, the subcutting actually went pretty fast as I could cut three layers at one time.  Here are all 20 blocks with the fabrics sorted, stacked and ready to sew.

And for those of you looking for a kitty fix, here's the three muskateers lounging a few days ago.  The boys were sleeping on the bed when Sassy horned in and joined them after getting removed from my sewing chair so I could use it.  You can't really tell in the picture, but they were spread out like spokes on a wheel.

And here's what happens when Sassy finds someone else, in this case Tyrone, in HER sewing chair when she wants to use it.  You can see that one of her arms is wrapped around his neck, but she actually had both of her little arms wrapped around his neck and was biting him in the face.  She's little, but she's got spunk!

And the winners are...

Since Sassy is such a frequent contributor to the blog I thought I would let her help with the drawing. 

She sniffed the papers and promptly walked away.  Open windows and the morning activity in the yard are apparently far more interesting.  Go figure.  So on to plan B.

I turned away and reached in so there was no chance of seeing any of the names on the papers.  And I swirled them around a few times too for good measure. 

The first name drawn was:

Terry chose the batiks as her first choice so those will soon be on the way to her. 

And the second winner is:

I originally said that the second person drawn would get their second choice, but I didn't quite think that through.  Since Terry and Renee had different first choices, they can both have their first choice.  Renee's first choice was the Debbie Mumm fabrics, so they will soon have a new home with her.

Interestingly enough, they both had the same second choice!  Ladies, I will email you to get your mailing addresses.  Congratulations on your wins!

All of the items not given away in this go around will be saved for future giveaways, maybe sooner than later, so stay tuned.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sunshine Blog Award

Jill sent me the Sunshine Blog Award a couple of weeks ago and I'm just now getting to publicly accepting the award and passing it along.  I have "known" Jill for a few years now since I've been following her blog, but once I started my blog she got the know me too and found out I was an accountant just like her :-).  She also has the honor of being the very first to leave a comment on my blog.

The rules for accepting this award are:
  1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
  2. Pass the award to 12 bloggers.  A great way to "meet" new bloggers!
  3. Link the nominees within your post.
  4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog.
  5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award.
Like Jill, I'm only going to pass the award to 6 other bloggers.

  1. Thelma - I discovered Thelma's blog a few months ago when she posted a picture of her former dog Simon.  We have been corresponding since then.  Thelma is a retired CPA so we have that in common in addition to quilting.  She produces great quilts and writes a great blog.
  2. Wanda - I found Wanda's blog by accident some time last year and felt I had found my soul sister with regard to my love of batiks and using up all of the little scraps that come with making quilts.  Wanda is extremely creative and generously shares her creativity and quilting knowledge through her blog.
  3. Allyson - I discovered Allyson's blog just recently and have enjoyed getting to know her and her two felines better through her blog posts.  She is an excellent writer, produces beautiful quilts, and has stunning pictures of the area in Alaska in which she lives.
  4. Vicky - Like Jill, I have been reading Vicky's blog for several years as they are both members of the Stash Quilts webring.  Vicky is also an accountant like me, and loves to buy fabric like I do, so we have a lot in common LOL.  She produces many great quilts and has a cute little dog named Penny.
  5. Susan - Susan's blog was another new blog discovery for me after I started my own blog in December.  She has a lot of posts that include her feline family members, so I'm sure that's how I first found her blog.  She also is very creative and produces wonderful quilts.
  6. Evelyn - Evelyn is also part of the Stash Quilts webring so I've been reading her blog for a number of years as well.  Evelyn is a prolific seamstress, quilter and cook in addition to spending many hours with her little boy doing lots of interesting activities, all of which she documents with numerous wonderful photographs. 
So everyone go check out these great blogs!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Charmed, I'm Sure & Giveaway Reminder

I find charm packs very cute, but had never purchased one until recently.  One of my local shops had pre-cuts on sale for 25% off Easter weekend.  I ran up there with the hope of finding a couple of Blush layer cakes, which I did, but sandwiched between the layer cakes was a lone charm pack, so I bought that too.

I was anxious to make something with these fabrics, so last Sunday after quilting day with Dawn, I started randomly cutting up the charm pack, with no plan in mind.  This is what I ended up with.

I made this little decorative quilt, which is approximately 18 inches by 18 inches:

And I also made this little quilt, which is 11 inches by 11 inches.  I plan to just bind this little quilt with no borders and I've shown the binding fabric with the quilt laying on it on two sides (the pink dot fabric).

After these two quilts were completed, I was left with the following:

I'm going to make the hourglass and four patch units into coasters/candle mats using the three intact charm squares and the large half square triangle unit as the backs.  The two little string square units will just be added to the orphan drawer.

The only fabric I didn't use is this, basically 3 charms, cut in half, and a few scraps.  Being the scrapaholic that I am, all of these items will be added to my scrap, string, and crumb stashes.

When all is said and done, the only fabric I will have added besides the charm pack, is about a third of a yard of the pink dot fabric from this line.  I received a 7 inch by WOF strip of the pink dot fabric in the grab bag box from the Fat Quarter Shop referenced in this post, which I will use for the bindings, plus I will add another strip or two from the Blush yardage I have coming for the larger quilt I plan to make to get the one-third yard that I need.  There is a brown civil war fabric that I also got in the grab bag box that looks like it will be perfect for the backings for the two quilts.

This project also counts for the cutting challenge in the Tranquiltity group, since it's a new project.  Here are a couple of pictures of the initial cutting for this quilt, as well as the small pile of waste that I ended up with.  Not too bad for winging it!  See, even anal accountants can do things on the fly sometimes :-).

Oh, and don't forget the giveaway that ends early Sunday morning.  Details are in the post just below this one.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

End of Tax Season Giveaway!

I am happy to announce that I have survived another tax season.  The last deliverables were sent out today so I am effectively done.  To celebrate, I am having a giveaway.  I have been pulling items for the last week or so and have come up with quite a few items.  I couldn't decide which to offer now and which to save for future giveaways, so I decided to offer them all right now, but select only two winners and then save the leftovers for another giveaway down the road.  I think there is enough variety that everyone can find something that interests them.

This is how it will work.  To be entered in the giveaway you need to leave a comment on this post.  You don't have to say anything special, just that you want to be entered in the giveaway.  Please tell me your first and second choices of the items available.  I will draw two numbers sometime Sunday morning, probably between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. PST since I'm an early bird.  The first number drawn will get their first choice and the second number drawn will get their second choice.  It's as simple as that.  So, let's get on with the choice of goodies.

Item #1 - Set of Debbie Mumm almost fat quarters - I say almost because there has a been one strip cut from each, none larger than 2 1/2 inches, so the bulk of the fabric is there.  There are 9 total and they are all school or sports themed.  There is also one other fabric, the traffic pattern fabric on the right in the picture.  It's about a 1/2 yard piece and is a current fabric that was part of a Fat Quarter Shop grab bag that I purchased recently.

Item #2 - Three pieces of civil war fabrics from the same Fat Quarter Shop grab bag, so they are current fabrics - probably about 1 1/2 yards total.

Item #3 - set of three more current fabrics from the grab bag.  Don't worry, I kept plenty.  There was a ton of fabric in the box!  These are good size pieces, probably more than a yard and a half total.  The center piece is a Kaffe Fassett.

Item #4 - Flannel scraps.  The patriotic pieces are all 6 inches by WOF and the rest are scraps of various widths and lengths.

Item #5 - Two panels - Peter Rabbit and a patriotic panel.

Item #6 - Batiks - some larger batik scraps plus about 35 charms, mostly dark colors.  The charms are not dye cut charms, plus I pre-washed them, so once trimmed up, they would be nice 4 1/2 inch squares.

Item #7 - Floral scraps - these are decent size scraps.  Most are older fabrics and most are quilt shop quality, although some are not.

Item #8 - Miscellaneous scraps - this batch is really a hodge podge of fabrics and again are decent size scraps.  These are older fabrics and most are quilt shop quality, but not all of them are.

That's it.  I hope everyone can find something they would like.  Oh, and please make sure that I have a way to contact you.  If you don't have a blog, please leave your email address in your comment.

Feel free to share the news of this giveaway on your own blogs.  Or not, if you want to increase your own chance of winning LOL.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New project cut out

I played hooky from doing taxes on Sunday and Dawn and I had a quilting day at her house.  I cut out a new project that has to be done by the time I make my trip home to North Dakota in June.  My sister requested a Christmas table runner for her gift this past Christmas and there was plenty of fabric left over for a set of matching placemats.  So here they are all cut out and ready to sew, just as soon as the last tax return extension is out the door LOL.  I belong to the Tranquiltity yahoo group and we have a cutting challenge going on right now, so this project qualified for that too.  Bonus for me!

That picture is kind of boring, so here's one of Otis "helping" me.  He wasn't in the mood to pose for pictures this time, so this is the best I got. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

How Sassy Helps Change a Lightbulb

I had to share with you all how Sassy "helped" my husband change a lightbulb yesterday.  We have high ceilings and the kitchen lights are recessed, so we have this contraption with a suction thing on the end for changing the bulbs.  It's all controlled by a very long string.  You can see where this is going now, can't you?

Here's Sassy helping with the lightbulb change.

Sassy has never met a string or any other moving thing she didn't like.  I had to come hold her so my husband could finish the job.

Oh, and as a side note, any guesses how many times I removed her in a 5 minute period yesterday from the screen on the security door, where she hanging about 2/3 of the way up the door and on her way to the top.

Go ahead and add one more to the total too, since I had to remove her once more while I was in the middle of this post.  She knows she's not supposed to do it because she keeps looking over her shoulder while she's climbing to see if you are coming.

And on that note, I am off to work.  All of the returns are done that need to go out and now it's just extension work.  Still a lot of work, but easier than getting the returns actually done and out.  If all goes as planned today and tomorrow, I am playing hooky on Sunday and going to Dawn's for a quilting day.  I can't wait! 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Exciting day yesterday

I was sitting at my computer mid afternoon yesterday when suddenly the chair felt like it was rocking towards my desk and the monitors seemed to be moving.  My first thought was oh crap, I've pushed myself too hard with work and now I'm having some sort of serious health problem.  I yelled to DH in the other room and told him what was going on.  Thankfully he said that he had just had the same feeling sitting on the couch so either we were having simultanous strokes or something else was going on.

We started looking around and DH went to the back door and yelled at me to come look at the pool.  We had whitecaps in the pool and the water was sloshing out the shallow end.  I looked at him and said "earthquake".

I called Dawn who lives a few miles from us and she confirmed that the same thing had happened to them.  While I was on the phone with Dawn I was googling and found that a magnitude 6.9 quake (subsequently upgraded to 7.2) had hit Baja California, Mexico two minutes before we felt it here.  DH had looked at the clock when we were watching the pool, so we knew exactly when we had felt it here.

Phoenix is so big though that a friend that lives about 15 miles further east than us didn't feel a thing, nor did a colleague who was up in the north central valley at the time.

Here's a picture of the water mark from the water sloshing out on to the cool decking.  You can see that it went several feet out.

Oh, and for those of you that have read this far, make a note that I have been gathering some things for a post tax season giveaway.  I plan to do a post announcing it, but thought I'd throw it in here too for those of you that read to the end of the post :-).