Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Good Year...

   Well, it's here-- today is my one year Blogiversary!!  Hurray!!
   I can't believe it's already been a year.  It has been such a wonderful experience.  I am so glad that my husband encouraged me to "take the plunge"!
   I have met so many wonderful people and made some special internet/virtual friends.  And I've learned so much (and still have so much to learn).  Quilting bloggers are such fun and generous people.  I feel very lucky and grateful to be a part of this exciting and inspiring community.
   In celebration of this big event in my life, I would like to offer a small giveaway to "give back'" to those that have given to me.  I played around with a few ideas, and here's what I came up with:
six fat-quarters of Denyse Scmidt's coordinating  Aunt Edna fabrics from Joann's
a few special charms/embellishments
(peace, love and a star)
butterfly flathead pins,
mini-roller (to clean up threads and tiny scraps)
and a button-making kit
an origami crane in your choice of color/paper
(it doesn't have to be one of these)
  I hope you like the change-of-plan giveaway, (went with a different idea than the teaser I shared a week or two ago).  All you have to do is leave a comment to be entered.  No "Mr. Random Generator' since I am a small blog (the kids will pick out of a hat, or something similar)-- but if you had your eye on one (or a few) of the fabrics I posted about at the end of this post, I'm open to including a few of those as well (speak up!).  I WILL SHIP INTERNATIONAL.
   Also: I've been curious lately as to whether people have named their machines.  Although I love my machine, I have not felt compelled to name it.  If you have a name for yours, please share it.
   Have a great day!
2/1/11-- the giveaway was open for 24 hours and is now closed.  I will announce the winner in a post later today.  Thanks!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Last Paper Piecing Class

   We had our final class yesterday for the Judy Niemeyer Total Eclipse Pattern.  Everyone was at different stages in their progress and it was exciting to see how the tops were all coming together!
   Are you ready for some GORGEOUS beauties??
   Our teacher, Jackie (of Canton Village Quiltworks), made this version (which she calls "Lollipops & Bubblegum")
   Jackie opted to make all her star points different colors.  Being relatively new to quilting and this being my first paper-piecing class, I opted for solid-colored stars-- and that was confusing enough for me!!
   At the start of class, Sharon laid out her pieced blocks:
   And by the end of our 3-hour session, she had sewn together this much of the top:
   Cathy also had all of her blocks laid out at the beginning of the class:
    Sally made these scrappy blocks out of her extras, which she will use for the backing, or possibly as part of a tote (or both!):
  Even though I shared a table with Sally, I was trying to focus on my sewing, and did not capture any of her blocks-in-progress with my camera.  But you can view them on her blog, Grendelskin, and on Jackie's post.  Jackie has also posted photos on Flicker, here.
   Here's Rita's arrangement (the blue backgrounds on the left half are a beautiful deep, dark midnight blue, the color is a little washed out here):
    And this is Joan's version (again, more vibrant than what my photo captures):
   I caught a shot of Barb (who's blog is A Corgi To Quilt By) after she completed  this:  [You can see more of her blocks on her blog post]
   And here's Maria's block assembly:

   Sadly, I missed getting photos of the Barbara's blocks-- [but I enjoyed our discussion at the end of class, Barbara-- thank you, if you are reading this!]
   Jackie shared a little show-and-tell of her other Judy Niemeyer projects (sit back and enjoy!):
[Side note: Jackie sells all of the following patterns in her on-line shop]
Which Way is North pattern by Judy Niemeyer
Jackie posted a wonderful tutorial for this paper-pieced block on her blog just yesterday



A Garden for My Wedding Ring pattern
A Touch of Spring pattern
Jackie titled her version "Chocolate Raspberry Truffle" (Yum!!)  
I love the multi-colored border Jackie used in this
Fourth of July pattern
Summer Solstice pattern
Golden Harvest pattern
Seasonal Table Runner pattern
   I was trying to figure out how to best pair my colorful units into blocks.  Some of my classmates helped me come up with these combinations (photos taken at home today in morning daylight):




   So all in all, it was a truly wonderful class and I am sad to see it end!  I will continue to work on my blocks and post updates-- but now I also need to turn some of my energy toward the Mouthy Stitches Swap that I am participating in. Partner, I have not forgotten about you!
   I'm getting excited because there are only 3 more days 'til my one-year Blogiversary!!  I am having fun gathering a few small fun notions/goodies from my collection of supplies and embellishments, in addition to some fat quarters from my stash.  Stay tuned for Tuesday! [I'm thinking of going to Joann's and purchasing some Denyse Schmidt fat quarters to include in the giveaway, since she is such a hot commodity and it is easy for me to get-- What do you think of this idea??]
   Have a great Sunday!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Slow & Steady

   I have been working on the units for my paper piecing class and have had 2 days of "progress".  [Mind you, that does not mean earth-shattering progress by any means, but at least I've moved forward and haven't just "stayed even"!]  My seam ripper has gotten a little rest.
   I've made enough background blocks that I started playing around with the color combinations.  [I have to note that each of the 2 units in these blocks are not yet stitched together-- I'm working on that today]
    This is going to be one bright quilt!  I'm loving all the colors and fabrics I'm working with, but fear that they may clash once assembled.  Its still too soon to tell.  I am looking forward to class tomorrow, when everyone will share their blocks and start arranging and assembling their quilt tops and adding borders.  I will, of course, take lots of photos so I can share all the beautiful creations from my classmates.  It really is exciting to see all the variety. 
   Here is Jackie's (our teacher) completed version:
   And this is Judy Niemeyer's version from the cover of the pattern:

   I've been so preoccupied with this paper piecing class that I haven't mentioned that I've joined a swap.  Its the Mouthy Stitches Swap (see button in sidebar) hosted by three wonderful Brits:  Hadley, Susan & Cindy.   I received my partner assignment last week and have done a little sleuthing/stalking.  We are required to make a zippered pouch and to be active in the Flickr group.  I must apologize to whoever my partner is-- I have not done much visiting or commenting on Flickr this last week-- but don't you worry because I will start being active after tomorrow!  It is a very fun and lively group.
   Have I told you that I'm a Brit Wannabe?  Yes, it's true.  I frequently find myself thinking in British terms these days, talking about the "post" (instead of mail) and saying "wee"-- as in "I'll just take a wee break".  
   So when I saw this shirt in the store next to Joann's (and it was on sale!), I just HAD to purchase it:
   I am now four days away from my blogiversary!!  I can't believe its been a whole year already!  Stay tuned, I will be doing a little giveaway to celebrate.  I'm not broadcasting about the giveaway to the masses or anything-- I'm a small blog and want it to be for my regular followers.  It has been so wonderful getting to know other bloggers and making some new friends :0).
   Well, I'm off now to start my day-- lots to do ahead!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Trend

   The newest trend in my life is not good.  Its called lack of sleep.  I'm going on my 3rd night of either not being able to fall asleep 'til the wee hours of the morning, or waking during the middle of the night for several hours. And now I'm sick with the cough/cold that my kids had last week.  [Let us all pause for a moment of sympathy here for Elisa.]  Okay.  Done.
   The trend on the quilting front has not been good either.  Let's just say I'm at a ratio of 1:1 with making progress on the paper piecing and then ripping it out.  The 3rd and final class meets on Saturday.  I am  trying my best not to stress about how ill-prepared I am (thanks to some wise advice from some of my favorite readers who commented on my post over the weekend-- you know who you are-- thank you :0) ).  I will just have to take lots of pictures during class so I have the techniques and info I need to complete it at home at my own snail's pace.
    Here's a peak at what I have:



   The above units will be matched with all those circles with spikes/stars in them that I've been sharing recently.  Here's the overall pattern to give you the bigger picture:
  And now I shall make an attempt to take care of myself and try to get in a wee nap in (borrowed the "wee" term from my Brit friends)-- I want to be in better shape when the kids get home from school.
   Bye for now!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Late Night Reflections...

   It's 2:08am and I'm WIDE awake.  Perhaps it's the small cup of half-decaf coffee I had at around 7pm?  I can't imagine so, but then again, I'm on this relatively new medication and perhaps it makes me especially sensitive to caffeine?  (Mind you, I drink several mugs of half-decaf every single morning and I don't usually get crazy).
   So here's what I'm pondering just before 2am... (and it might involve you, dear reader!)
   1)   I thought I started my blog in early February of last winter.  Took a look at my posting history earlier this evening, and realized that my blogiversary (sp) is actually on January 31st-- a mere 8 days away from now!  I just might have to do some small sort of giveaway to celebrate.  (I'm a small blog, so a small giveaway is in order).  I'm thinking some nice selections from my stash (which grew exponentially over the holidays).  I'll probably have the winner select maybe ten or a dozen fat quarters, or a combo of FQs and charm squares?  I'l have to think about it further.
   Hmmm, no photos in this post yet-- maybe I better give you a preview of potential goodies....  The giveaway will not include all of the following, but selections from them.
Just kidding!
Couldn't locate the photos I was looking for on this computer--
will have to add them in in the am.
If you like Westminster Fabrics, I have these....


I have some Aneela Hooey Little Apples:

I have many more Asian fabrics in addition to these:
    (Our dog Buddy decided to rest in front of the bright window, where I wanted to take the photos, so there's our little cutie!) 
Or perhaps you prefer some novelty fabrics? 
   This is just a preview of possibilities.  There's more to choose from, but its almost time to pick up the kids from school so no more time for photos. (I have a few Australian Aboriginals, too).   I have 8 more days to firm up the details!
And now we resume my late night reflections....
   2)  I am now at 42 followers-- approaching 50-- that's another milestone.  However, it took me 11+ months to get to 42, so I think I have some time for that one.  But I'll have to celebrate when it happens.
   3)  Also pondering that next month is my birthday and that I'm getting closer to approaching The Big 5-0 in age as well (still have a couple years to go)-- but it relates to the other thing I'm pondering: gray hair.  I'm currently a salt-and-pepper kind of gal.  Haven't dyed it yet since I usually wear it in a pony tail, and my hair actually looks darker pulled back as opposed to down. 
      When push comes to shove, I will probably try to go with a natural kind of dye-- I'm not a big fan of chemicals for unnecessary purposes (and out of concern for the environment).  But the entire texture of my hair is now different than it used to be.  It used to be mostly straight with a slight wave.  Now its mostly wavy and much coarser.  Have any of you noticed this [about yourselves, not me] too?  
   Well, that's the extent of my pondering at [now] 2:33am.  I thought there was more.  Thought I had the makings of a decent post.  Oh well,  Maybe it's a sign of my aging that I can't remember?  
   At any rate, I'm still not feeling any semblance of fatigue.  
   Anyway, better try again to get some sleep.  Stay tuned for the blogiversary small-scale giveaway!!  (Hopefully I won't forget!)  
   Good night! (morning, actually)...
   4)  P.S.-- one final observation: if you are still awake at 3am and ate dinner at a reasonable hour, then your stomach starts grumbling out of hunger.  Not sure when I finally did nod off-- I got maybe 3 hours in (and still going). 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Shades of Gray... and White

   G'day, Matey's!
We are in the midst of a winter snowstorm here.  The sky is very gray, but the snowfall is very white.  I think that it may be tapering off now (at 3:22pm) after > 6" accumulation.  Here are some photos from about an hour ago.
Oh, yeah-- I forgot that I meant to move this furniture to the back porch and cover it now that its winter.  It's been so mild up 'til now, I just kept procrastinating... oops.
This is the rear view of the car--
we parked facing out so that it would be easier
to maneuver our driveway, which has
both a slope and a curve.
   I'm in kind of a gray mood myself today.  Feeling a little cabin-feverish-- although I did go out and shovel a walkway to the car and cleared my car (so Hubster can go pick up my stepson at the train station).  I actually like shoveling 'cause it gets me out in the fresh air.  I also woke up at 3:30am and decided not to go back to bed so I could have some "me" time and work on my quilting.
   Here's an old fave of mine from the mid-90s, a good song...
<iframe width="480" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/_4SS3YDGQHM?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
   I can see from the preview that this will not embed, so click on the link below to listen [YouTube]
Wish I could play guitar and sing like her!!
   As some of you may know from recent posts, I am taking a paper piecing class with a Judy Niemeyer pattern-- but its a little advanced for my level and I'm realizing how slow of a quilter I really am.  While everyone else is already working on-- or have completed-- their 2nd set of units, I am still just on the cusp of completing my first set of units.  I've been spending at least 3-4  hours on it each day, but there are two other bloggers in my class, and I can see from their posts this week that I am waaaaay behind.  And this is doing my best.  I spend as much time as I can, when the kids are in school, working on it-- I don't know how those who have a full-time job manage to get it done.  [Although I think most of the others' kids are older or grown and out of the nest, so to speak].  
   I get in big trouble when I start comparing myself to others.  I know that I am doing the best I can for my ability, but I still feel so.... so.... inadequate?  Not sure what the word is I'm looking for, but not feeling very competent right now.  And I feel like if they knew how far behind I was they would surely think I was pathetic.  Not sure exactly what they would think, but I'm not being lazy about this.
   Anyway, enough of my "Sob Story".  
   On a positive note, I did get my partner assignment for the Mouthy Swap I'm participating in.  And if I could figure out how to put the icon in my sidebar, or even in this post, I would, but nothing seems to be working right.  [Just call me Eeyore today].  
   So I have started "stalking" my partner on Flickr a bit to see what her likes and interests are, to lift the mood.  I like her taste-- so that's good.  It won't be a huge stretch to make something for someone who likes things I like.  But I will have to practice my zippers before the "real" make for my partner.  
   I purchased this yesterday, and have already flagged a number of projects to try...
  Oh, dear-- much too much rambling and not enough photos. 
  More snow, and then some colorful units to brighten the mood.  Ready?
Oh, wait-- 3:56pm is not too early for a glass of wine (cocktail hour) on the weekend, right?  Let me pour a glass first...
   These are more of the same view from this morning-- and even then the dog refused to go out!  [He's a little dog, but he's got a great disposition/personality and we love him].


   And for some, these will be redundant, but for those who haven't been reading, here is my first set of bright units...






     So, ending on a better note.... Happy Quilting to all of you!  [And hope you're staying warm].