Monday, January 30, 2012

this and that

Yesterday my very first birthday gift arrived in the mail! My birthday isn't until Sunday, but Maria must have mailed this extra early because it came all the way from Australia... Look at those adorable buttons! Hats on a hatstand... not sure where they will end up eventually but for now they are pinned up on my inspiration board making me smile. The owl is a sweet cross stitch kit, so cute! And some labels for future quilts... even the card with the bright beach scenes made me smile! Lucky Maria to be enjoying summertime where she is (not that I can complain! It's been a very mild winter in Texas.) Thank you Maria!

Meanwhile, I've been stitching away. All of my blocks (98 of them) for the upcoming block swap are finished, tucked neatly into their ziploc bags. And this morning I finished up the borders on my Birdie Stitches Quilt...

I opted to go with three solids. The big polka dot I had bought was just too busy, so I will use it on the back of the quilt. I like how the pink, lime green and royal blue frame out the quilt. Thanks for the suggestion, Joellen, you were right!

Sorting and cleaning continues in my sewing room. I promise to take some pictures when I get it all neat and tidy. Amazing how much of a mess I can make when I clean. Sheesh...

Happy Monday Friends!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Crumb blocks

Yesterday, Joellen & I took a liberated piecing class at The Quilt Asylum. We learned to make crumb blocks. And I made 18! (yes, I did enjoy this method very much!) Don't worry, I don't intend to sew them all together like this! That would be a tad busy, don't you think? I haven't decided if I will sash them and put them all into one quilt (maybe something a bit modern?), or maybe break them up & make some mug rugs from them? For now they are stacked neatly in one of my recently emptied scrap drawers in my ever evolving sewing room.

You might be wondering what, exactly, a crumb block is? Well I was prepared to explain it all to you here, then I saw this awesome post on Knitty Bitties with a tutorial for crumb blocks! Timing is everything! Jodi from Pleasant Home had linked to Knitty Bitties yesterday as part of her scrappy January event. Why recreate the wheel, I say! So head on over & read their posts. Go on... I'll still be here when you get back...

Pretty cool, huh? And imagine doing this with a group of ladies! Many of us dumped all of our scraps into a big community bucket so we had more to choose from (no, I didn't take a picture of the bucket. yes, I did take my camera. Baby steps people). There was lots of laughing, lots of sewing, and yes, lots of crumb blocks made! The really cool thing is how different everyone's blocks were. You see, with liberated piecing there are NO RULES! Blocks could be any size (mine are all 6 1/2 inches), pieces could be any size... you get the picture!

Some of my blocks were mostly polka dots...
Joellen was making all of her blocks 3 1/2 inches with tiny scraps, then sewing four together to make 6 1/2 inch blocks! They were so pretty I had to try one that way...

wow! That one block took a long time to make. You know me, fast is better.... but I'm glad I tried this once.

Be watching for these crumb blocks to appear in a finished item somewhere down the road...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Apple Cinnamon muffins

I haven't had great luck with gluten free baking. That is, until now! For Christmas, my hubby gave me both of the Babycakes cookbooks. Today I decided to try out my first Babycakes recipe. Apple Cinnamon muffins. Yum!
It required a trip to Whole Foods this morning (oh darn!) for ingredients like agave nectar and different kinds of apples. The book actually has you roast the apples in the oven before you make the muffins. You should have smelled my house during this process! Heavenly.

The muffins turned out perfect! They are moist, flavorful & not all crumbly like so much gluten free bakery is.

If you want to try one, you better get over here QUICK! They are not going to last.

Now, to get someone to take me to New York City so I can find the Babycakes bakery & indulge! Until then, I'll just keep trying out their recipes. This one is a winner!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Baby Blankets in the shop

Looking for a baby gift? I've restocked my etsy shop with blankets... These are big (about 42 inches square) snuggly (2 layers of cotton flannel) blankets... not chincy little blankets like you buy at the store. I even know a few toddlers and bigger kids who are still attached to my blankets. And I just couldn't resist some of these adorable prints. Like, dinosaurs for instance...

Or whales....

Jungle animals are all the rage right now. Here are some pink ones for the girls...

And some on green flannel for the boys...

The sun is shining in Texas and it is warm & beautiful! It doesn't feel like January at all. I know some of you are getting buried in snow today where you are. Stay warm & be safe.

Monday, January 16, 2012

productive day

Since Ally didn't have school today, we decided to go shopping. She needed a pair of scrubs for the HOSA competition that she qualified for at school.... look how cute she is! Ready for the working world I say... This afternoon she helped me take a couple pictures of the cross quilt outside. It was kind of a gray day, very cloudy, but good enough for pictures. Can you see Ally's fingers up at the top?

I also finished up a UFO today. I had pieced this mini quilt top before Christmas (the kit was a Christmas gift, thanks Joellen!) so today I quilted it and bound it... I love the colors.

It feels good to have a finished project already, and it's only Monday! I wonder what else I can get done this week?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One week one thing.... week one finish

Lots of people are jumping on the "One week one thing" challenge this year. The Quilt Asylum blogged about it here and I decided to give it a try. Anything to start checking things off my list! So this week I challenged myself to finish up the Cross Quilt that I started way back in October for the church youth auction coming up. And today I finished up the final stitches on the binding.

I wanted to take a picture of it right away to share with you. It's a beautiful sunny day in Texas (a bit cold but sunny) so I headed outside with my quilt & my camera. Only one problem.... man is it windy out there! For the life of me I could not get the quilt to stay up on the fence and by the time I have a helper to hold it for me it will be dark. So I came back inside and tried to take some pictures with the quilt laying on the carpet. Lexi found that most entertaining. I snapped about 20 pictures of the quilt on the floor and they all came out crooked & wonky. What I really needed to do was stand on a chair so I could get directly above it, but given my recent knee surgery, I thought my sweet hubby might frown on that plan. I really didn't want him to come home & find me in a heap on the floor (at least I would have had a quilt to keep me warm, right?) This is the BEST shot I got.

Not good. So finally I draped it on the couch & took this shot (with my phone no less! so at least you can see how it turned out...

Most of the binding is stone colored, but I was a bit short. Mom suggested I make one strip of some of the other solids from the crosses so I did. I you look there in the bottom left corner you can see it. Great idea, Mom! Thanks. I really love the way it turned out and I hope it raises lots of money for the kids at church.

Today I am thankful for my church and for the sunshine...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ticker Tape... halfway done

Two more ticker tape blocks got finished today. Gray (this picture makes it look a little bluer than it really is)... And khaki brown...

Not colors that I had a lot of in my stash, but fun to do because they were out of the box for me! So we are halfway done with the ticker tape blocks, 12 blocks finished!

This is going to be a very large quilt. Maybe I should have made my blocks smaller? They are each 14 inches square (finished size). That will make my quilt 56" X 84" without any borders! Ah well, too late now. It is what it is...

Today I am thankful for friends to sew with and rain.

Friday, January 6, 2012

back to the sewing machine

Wow, I really missed my sewing machine! I made it that pretty new cover, then had knee surgery the next day. Since the surgery was on my right knee, I have been hesitant to drive... both my sewing machine and my car! You'll be happy to know that I have persevered & am now driving both!

This morning I picked up fabric for sashing and borders for my Birdie Stitches blocks. Then I came home, cut & stitched on the sashing... What do you think? I really love the bright pink. However... here it comes... I am not very happy with what I bought for my borders. That makes me sad, because I had this vision in my head, but when I lay this topper on top of the border fabric it just doesn't work the way I thought it would. Boo. So I am rethinking it, but hey, I got the topper this far! Yay me!

So, what do you think? Should I choose another solid to frame this out? I think with all of the polka dots & bright colors, a print is just too much. Such a dilemma!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Granny Squares

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

Knee surgery, round two. Last Tuesday Dr M scoped out my other knee. This time I knew more what to expect. I was ready for a few days in hubby's lounge chair. I had my projects ready. The basket full of granny square supplies was next to my chair. It's amazing how many grannys you can finish when there is nowhere you need to go, nothing you really need to do.... they pile up pretty quickly!

Time off your feet also gives you lots of time to think. To reflect. And to appreciate. I am thankful for my hubby & my kids, who waited on me hand & foot, steadied me on my trips to & from the restroom, kept my water filled, hooked up the ice machine & loved me even though I got a little cranky (hey, it happens!). And I am thankful for the physical therapists who are already pushing me, for increasing mobility and range of motion and patient friends who drive me here and there. I'm up and about again. A little slow, but I'm moving. Life is good.

27 granny squares.

Happy Tuesday.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A new year

Last year for the first time I chose a word for the year. My word was "Trust" and it was appropriate. Throughout the year I worked hard at trusting God, and it paid off. I learned a valuable lesson and despite many many challenges, 2011 turned out to be a great year. And I am so thankful! Which is what lead me to my word for 2012....
Gratitude! I just ordered this necklace from The Silver Diva's shop on Etsy. I love it's simplicity. I have not ordered from this shop before but I can't wait to receive my necklace! Somehow it made a difference wearing my word around my neck last year. It was a great reminder!

I have also created a Gratitude Pinterest board for myself. I have already added several great sayings & ideas for the coming year. For now I will leave you with this thought, which is my goal for 2012.....

Start each day with a Grateful Heart.

That's my plan. Do you have a word for 2012?