Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gingerbread House

I've had such a fun December with my little one this year preparing for Christmas! I took her to a local gingerbread house tour to introduce her to the concept and that in itself was so fun. There were so many imaginative creations. A few days later I brought out a Wilton kit to try. I was hoping it would go smoothly and walls would stick together. I'll say, she was very patient with all of the waiting in between steps. We did the piping hand in hand and she had fun putting all of the candy in place.

My mom sent her an apron which she loved working in and she also wore it while we baked cookies with her other grandmother. It felt like my mom was involved in the festivities just a little bit, too!

She told Santa that she would like and Achoo Baby and a blanket for her baby. Santa asked if I could help out so I dashed off today to find some flannel fabric and hopefully I can put together a quick blanket in time to give Santa to give to her.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I took my daughter to the zoo recently and the fall color was just beautiful! I'm ready to set the mood for Christmas but before I do, here's a few photos of the leaves I took that day at the zoo.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I got to visit my family in Tennesse recently and had such a great time. The best part was celebrating my niece's 2nd birthday. I snapped this photo of the sunset when I was almost home. We get sunsets like this quite often and I love them!

My sweet Mom offered to quilt the two quilt tops I had finished and she took this picture of it on her long arm. I'm so excited to see it in person!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Creating Keepsakes Convention

I had the opportunity to attend several classes at Creating Keepsakes Convention in Kansas City this past weekend. I was excited to make some projects using a few new techniques. This acrylic album designed by The Button Farm was my favorite. I've made an acrylic album before but I just guessed on adhesive to use and design ideas and I was interested to see how someone else would approach using acrylic. The Button Farm had a booth in the vendor fair and I just loved all of their kits. They had such beautiful embellishments that I just had to touch them all. I'm a texture gal! Each of the kits includes well written instructions with color photos and helpful tips. I'll definitely be trying more of their kits.

This "Monkey Business Word Book" was a fun class too. It was taught by Lickety Split Scrapbooks.
It was easy to put together because the chipboard letters and pattern paper letters were both already cut out. The edges didn't match exactly which bugs me a bit but I just inked up the edges and called it good. I plan on putting some pictures of my little girl with her favorite monkey in the album.

This cute little card was one of the projects made in the "1 Stamp Set, 10 Techniques" by Wendy Sue Anderson for Creating Keepsakes. It focused on ways to make a stamp set more versatile. I love the little birdie and how it pops up off the page.

All in all, the convention was a good experience. It was nice to choose from a variety of classes and be able to take them in one day. I do think the some of the local and chain scrapbook stores offer classes that are just as good. I will say that all of the classes provided instruction up to a point and then expected students to finish the projects on their own at a later time which worked well for me as I had time over the weekend but it's something to consider. I will definitely check out the classes online next year and consider taking some.

The vendor fair was a treat. It was great to see so many different products offered in one place. I came home with a bag or two of some fun things to play with!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Something for Santa

Here's a little peek at something I've been working on for Christmas. I started it at the retreat and have a little more of the piecing to do. I'm not sure how far I'll go with embellishing it. The pattern I'm using has some applique and needlework included but I may make some modifications. I love the holly/peppermint fabric.

And before anyone is amazed by how on top of things I am to be getting ready for Christmas, let it be known that this was going to be gracing our home for my sweet little girl's first Christmas. She's three now.....I had all of it cut before she turned one but had stopped because when I was ready to cut the last part (the binding), I got stuck. I didn't know whether I should cut it on the bias or straight. So I put it away until I could figure it out. Now, I'm not sure why I was wondering that but I must have learned along the way that bias binding is for curvy edges. It was obvious to me when I pulled it out to work on again. But I still haven't cut the binding. I just got started sewing.

In the process of sewing, I discovered that I have either put back on my original non-1/4 inch foot or my 1/4 inch foot is not really a 1/4 inch foot. I decided to leave it on and continue as I was so that it all turns out in the end but I discovered it when one of my borders turned out too long. I was also getting frustrated that my corners were not aligning. One of my lovely new friends inspected my project and decided I was overcompensating in my attempt to make the seams match so they were overlapping a bit. UGGG! It's so hard for me not to pull that seam ripper out of the little box it sits in. I'm going to keep going carefully and keep learning and live with my progress and little mistakes. I crave that precision piecing though that I need to to some more intricate work.

I may try to just do my piecing with my walking foot on so that the fabric feeds evenly on both sides. I think my mom does this and several of the other gals at the retreat do the same thing. But I really like using the edge of the foot as a guide so I'll have to experiment a little

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pumpkin Update

I got to go with the family to the local pumpkin patch over the weekend. I just love this time of year! The air is cool and crisp and the leaves are changing. We have such fun picking out just the right pumpkins. I like to find something unusual each time. I might have to sneak back soon and get some corn stalks for the front porch.

I did finally finish the applique on this pumpkin quilt. I know I blogged before that my goal was to finish quilting and binding it at the retreat but that plan changed. My mom had suggested I hand quilt this a while back and I couldn't even imagine doing it. But I've had some other people also say that since I put the effort into the hand applique that it would be nice to hand quilt it. So I'm considering it. Actually leaning towards it. We'll see...I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Faded Glory

This is the second project I worked on at the retreat. It is a smaller version of the Turning Twenty pattern. I had completed the middle and just needed to add the border and corners. It's amazing to me that I got so far and then let it sit for so long (maybe 2 years? - gasp)! I met some wonderful quilters at the retreat who confessed that they don't often get to quilt either. One even said that she takes the same project to her quilt group once a month and works on it for 2 hours, then puts it away until next time. I'm starting to suspect that there are perhaps more quilters like me that I thought...ones that let house work, trips, playing with little ones, etc. come before quilting.

Some of the stripes look wonky in this photo and I think it's because the wind was blowing the quilt around. I tried to snap the picture when it flapped back down but I think maybe it was still moving.

This one gets named Faded Glory because it has a dark blue piece of fabric in it that must have been exposed to some light through my craft room window and has a faded spot. I left it in. Wasn't about to take stitches out. I will be using this to top a table during July and probably Independence Day festivities so it will get a lot of use and washings. Now I won't be afraid to use it.

I'm not quite sure how I'll quilt it yet. Any ideas?

Quilting Retreat Projects

I thought I'd share a few photos of the quilts I worked on at the retreat. I started this one in Tennessee this summer when I went to visit my family. My mom cut a huge stack of these squares for me to sew together. The plan was for me to finish the top and then learn how to use the long arm quilting machine but I didn't quite finish. I had it chain stitched all in one direction and needed to finish stitching the other direction.

The way I pieced this went completely against how I normally do things. I like to lay everything out and rearrange until it's just right. But I picked up all the squares pretty randomly, just making sure I didn't have two of the same fabrics right next to each other. It sure made things come together quicker and I like the result but I don't think it broke me of the urge to plan.

I was very surprised when I showed my husband. He liked it quite a bit which is nice because it will be big enough for our queen size bed. So now it's ready to take to Tennessee in a few weeks and hopefully I'll get a chance to try the long arm.

I'll show you a few more projects over the next couple of days. They are all pretty simple but I think the fabrics are fun!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lake Doniphan

I had a wonderful time at the retreat last weekend. It was so fun to get away and concentrate on those projects that have been waiting for a while. Stitch On Needlework Shop in Lawrence, Kansas put the retreat together. Leslie, Laura, and Teresa were so thoughtful and helpful in all of the little touches they provided to help everyone feel welcome and enjoy themselves. All of our beds had a goody bag waiting with fat quarters, coupons, candy, and other treats. Terrific soaps and shampoos elevated the camp experience into something more spa-like. A great homemade soup dinner and yummy snacks were so tasty.

The retreat center was at Lake Doniphan in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. The leaves on the trees were just beginning to turn so the view was fantastic. I had three other roommates who were so very nice! I was just amazed at all of the great projects everyone was putting together.

I finished three quilt tops and started on a fourth. My plan for the pumpkin wall hanging changed. I've been encouraged by several people to hand quilt it since I did so much hand applique work on it. I'll share pictures of the others as soon as the sun comes out and I can snap a few photos.

Stitch On announced that they will be holding two more retreats in 2010 and I am so excited to have an opportunity to join them again!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Teapots & Teacups

I have a great stash of fabric, thread, and notions but somehow I don't have a pincushion. I've been looking at different ideas since February of pincushions I could make but now it's September and I really want to have one at the retreat. So Little Miss fell asleep on the way home this afternoon and after I gently put her on the sofa I tiptoed to my supplies. Of course I couldn't find the pattern I'd chosen but I know naptimes are few and far between these days. I quickly decided an easy nine patch would work just great. I found these darling fabrics that I'd been saving for something special and started cutting.

Little Miss woke up before I was finished but a little snack and one cartoon did the trick while I finished up.

Oh, and I discovered that what I thought was a big enough hole turned out to be a very small hole and those crushed walnut shells were tough to get in there! On the bright side, I was able to stitch it up very quickly and now I'm ready for pins!

Beautiful Imperfection

As I returned home from running some errands yesterday afternoon I noticed some tiny butterflies fluttering in my front flower bed. This sedum needs to be transplanted to a different spot because my rose bush is overtaking it and I've never liked the flies that congregate around the blooms this time of year. Notice the butterfly's torn wing? Such a great reminder that beauty can still be found in the midst of all this imperfection!

I know next to nothing about gardening but I planted this pink Knockout Rose and it has been such a wonderful addition to my front porch. I can even see it from my living room at the back of the house. It blooms from early spring to late fall. In fact there are still buds on it now. Last spring I cut it back at the "wrong" time of the year and it just grew like crazy to catch up. If you don't have much of a green thumb this one is a pretty safe bet.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Picking Up the Pumpkins...again

I am in the very exciting process of preparing for a quilting retreat this fall! I have quite the stash of projects that need to be finished but at the top of the list is this pumpkin wall hanging. I believe this began back in 2001. I had just changed teaching positions, was building a house and feeling ready to spread my creative wings. I took a beginning quilting class at Quilting Bits and Pieces in Eudora, KS and this was the kit that was offered. The pattern is called Pumpkin Stars and is found in American Patchwork & Quilting's October 2000 issue.

As you can see from the fold line across the middle, this has been in and out of my basket quite a few times. I loved how quick the piecing came together. Hand applique is a different story. I've always loved needlework but I tend to make tiny stitches and it takes me forever to get around a shape. I love the result but it's taken a while considering all of the time it's been sitting in my basket.

I only have about 4 inches of this vine to finish and my goal is to quilt and bind this at the retreat. I have just the spot waiting on my dining room wall.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Simplicity Baby Quilt

I decided to whip up a quick baby quilt for my best friend's baby just before the baby was due. These are fabrics from a charm pack I picked up last year on a shop hop in the Kansas City area. They are Simplicity fabrics by 3 Sisters for Moda. I played with the arrangement on my foyer floor.
After I pieced it, I decided to try quilting it myself. With some help over the phone from my Mom, an issue of Quilts and More, and a visit to two of my local quilt shops, I quilted my very first quilt. The best advice came from my Mom who suggested I read my sewing machine manual. It helped me adjust the tension and thread the machine correctly. The grid pattern was easy to accomplish and I got better as I went along. Machingers gloves helped a great deal.
I bound the quilt by hand over the course of a couple of days. I enjoyed that part so much. I was able to sit beside my daughter as she played and visit with her while I worked on it. I need to investigate a thinner needle (I think) or a thimble. I had to finish with bandages wrapped around a couple fingers.
It was far from perfect but I learned so much during the process and I feel like a real quilter now! After I finished the last stitch, I threw it in the washer and dryer and quickly wrapped it before I headed off to the hospital to visit the new baby.

I can't wait to start a new project!


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