Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Blue Sky Quilts x 2

Blue skies looking at me.  Nothing but blue skies do I see.

If you were around for yesterday's post about my love affair with Instant Pot, you may recall I also mentioned a love affair with Laundry Basket's Blue Sky for Andover Fabrics.  Actually, David fell in love with these beautiful prints first and together we decided to purchase a yard cut of all the prints (he wheeled and dealed with a local quilt shop, Country Roads Quilts, one of our favorite shops).  Our goal was to use this fabric line to create a few new quilt patterns.

After a few weeks of back and forth we settled on a new smaller quilt measuring 48" (pictured above on the right), a larger quilt measuring 64" (not pieced together yet) and of course we had to make a version of our pattern Star Bloosom (pictured on the left).

First let's take a closer look at the newest quilt.  It was super quick and easy to piece together.  Best of all I think it will look wonderful with a good ol custom quilting job.  I'm just itching to get started. 

I just love all those prints!

We still need to give this one a name.  We all know how much I love a quilt along.  I am toying with the idea of offering this as a free online quilt along if enough people are interested.  In my head we will piece the top together in sections, then after it's together, I will walk you through the quilting process, so you can literally quilt right along with me if you want.  We will go slow and tackle the quilt small sections at a time.  Hopefully, it will be a fun way to give free motion a try if you like and at the end you will have a finished quilt.  Guess I will just kind of wait and see what the feed back is on this one.

Next up is Star Blossom, I just had to.  Star Blossom is my and Dave the Quilt Engineer's first pattern release, available in my Craftsy store for purchase and download.  The owner of Country Roads Quilt Shop expressed an interested in selling our pattern in print version and asked if I would have a sample of the quilt.  Since we purchased the fabric from her store and she has the entire collect (minus one bolt, she sold out of it as soon as she got it in), I thought this would make a wonderful sample for her, when we finally have print copies (fingers crossed within the next two weeks).

Have I mentioned we are in love with these fabrics?  There is something so calming and classic in these prints.  They work wonderfully together in a quilt and would also mixing nicely with other lines.

I can't wait to get these quilted up and start on the pattern for the bigger quilt.  I'd love to share it with you now, but I think the fabrics need to do the talking.  

Back to the Instant Pot...I know I'm a broken record...not only did it allow me to piece these two quilts but...

These two little puppies found me as well...aren't they just Dog Gone Cute!

So with that, I will leave you with these...

"Never saw the sun shining so bright,
Never saw things goin' so right, 
Noticing the days hurrying by,
When you're in love my, my how they fly.
Blue days, all of them gone.
Nothing but blue skies from now on."

Thank you Willie Nelson, Edyta Sitar from Laundry Basket Quilts, Andover Fabric, Peggy at Country Roads Quilts  and Dave the Quilt Engineer.

Today I'm linking up with Linky Tuseday, Let's Bee Social and Midweek Makers.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Favorite New Quilting Tool and Blue Sky Fabric

She had high hopes.  She had high hopes.  She had high apple pie, in Blue Sky hopes.  Okay, maybe that's not quite how that song goes, but that was me this weekend.

About a month and a half ago, David, scored us a deal on yard cuts from a LQS of every print (but one, she sold out) in Andover's Blue Sky fabric line.  We were in love with the blues and creams.  But what good is a truck load of fabric if you don't do something with it.  So for the past few weeks, we have been working on possible design ideas to use these babies in.  The sky was the limit (yup gonna be a punny post, look out)  So this weekend, rotary cutter sharp and machine threaded I was ready to embark on a piece-athon and put together two of the three quilts we came up with.

Let's pause there for just a second (or two).  That brings me to my new favorite quilting tool...

The Instant Pot.  I know, I know.  This is technically not a "quilting tool," but I swear it is.  Some of the best quilting tools are technically not quilting related at all.  Instant Pot is turning out to be a time saver, there for, time saved means more time for quilting.  That's like finding time in a bottle!  Or rather a pot.

I discovered this magical kitchen device, during my trip to Julie's house (Pink Doxies) over the 4th of July.  She made us some of the best BBQ ribs I've eaten for dinner one evening.  While chopping some broccoli, she began telling me about the wonders of Instant Pot and how easy it is to use.  Basically, it is an electric pressure cooker.

Now, if you are like me, I instantly had flash backs to my mom, yelling at me to stop running through the house, because if you bounce the giggly thing off the pressure cooker on the stove by running, the pot will cause the house to explode!  Causing my fear of pressure cookers and a twitch in my eye just hearing the word.

But the tale that Julie spun, slowly relaxed the twitch in my eye and replaced it with a curious gleam, like a child in wonder.  A device that could cook food in a fraction of the time of an oven or crock pot.  I was in!

Quilting Life confession, and it pains me to admit this, but my family eats out/fast food way way more than we should.  Why?  I could makes excuses until the cows come home, but honestly, after working all day, running back out to the store after I get home and just poor planning on my part, most nights it's easier to just pick something up on the way home.  Who wants to eat a home cooked meal at 9PM??  I hate talking about it because it makes me feel bad.  I know we could be eating healthier.

So on Amazon Prime Day, I noticed the 8 quart Instant Pot was on sale for $40 off.  This was just enough to make me order it; a promise of home cooked meals and time saved.  So this weekend started my new cooking adventures and no eating out.

On Saturday, for a quick lunch between mowing and power washing the house, in less than 15 minuets, my family was snaking away on spinach artichoke dip.

Then a few hours later, after a 50 minute pressurized stay in the pot, we were enjoying wonderful pulled pork sandwiches (sorry no pics).  Sunday, brought about a few left overs from Saturday's cooking and chicken fettuccini alfredo cooked in less than 20 minutes.  And the sauce didn't come from a jar!

And when I was finished cooking, really all the clean up required was the dishes we ate on, and the Instant Pot itself.  I promise I'm not a paid spokes person for Instant Pot, but I'm a huge fan of anything that can help speed things along and give my family more healthy eating options.

With all the time saved this weekend, I was able to piece two quilt tops using the Blue Sky fabrics, but I think we will talk about those tomorrow.  I promise they will be worth the wait.  For now, I just want to give my new "quilting tool" time saver its own little day.

Do you have any favorite non-quilting quilting tools?  A favorite little gizmo that saves you time and allows you to do more of what you want to do...quilt.

Today I'm linking up with Main Crush Monday.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Plan Ahead Projects

So, I'm kind of in denial that it has been almost two weeks since I last posted about my quilting adventures, but the last two weeks have found me relaxing and not doing to much of anything and it has felt great.  I did manage to have four days off in a row (a very rare thing for me) over the July 4th holiday and Julie from Pink Doxies generously invited my little family of three to head her way and spend the weekend with her and her family.  This was not my first time meeting them in person, you may remember we ventured her way back in October when she hosted the Quilt Bloggers International Retreat.

I'd love to share a ton of pictures with you from my visit, but (are you setting down?) I didn't take a single one.  Gasp!  No, it was great, not everything needs to be documented.  I think we only took one picture and Julie posted it to Instagram.  It was a weekend of talking, laughing, eating and (again are you still sitting?) very little sewing. Quilt bloggers not quilting???  We talked about projects, had great conversations about quilting quilts, but mostly we all relaxed.   There was laughter talking about our small towns, beautiful fireworks with the best pop corn and lots of bully rubs and ear scratches for the Doxie Girls.

We cannot thank Julie and her family enough, for allowing us into their lives and spending time with us.  I return from my visit with my batteries recharged and ready to be creative.  I wish I could bottle a little bit of what I call "Julie Sparkles" into a jar so that when I'm starting to feel low, I could sprinkle some, like magic fairy dust, and just feel renewed and excited.  Until I figure out a way to do this, texting will have to do.

So, quilting wise, what in the world have I been up to?  I have a few quilts all basted and ready for me to start quilting on.  Most of my QAL's are all caught up and I don't really want to start piecing any new projects, so what's a girl to do?  I have three quilts bouncing around in my head that I have fabric for, they just need cut and pieced.

So this past week and weekend, I spent some time creating pre-prepped project bags (aka future Works in Progress).  Think of these as the frozen crock pot meals everyone loves to pin on Pinterest (but if like me, never actually make).  When I find myself in the mood, with a little time on my hands, I can simply reach in my tote and pull out a precut block and piece my little heart out.  So what exactly do I have...

9 Sugar Skull blocks

12 Dog Gone Cute little puppies

The first 19 of the 25 Sewcial Bee Sampler Blocks

Now even if I only want to devote time to just a block a day, everything is ready and waiting for me.  All I have to do is set down and sew it up.  No pressure.  No timeline.

Changing gears just a bit, on our way home from Julie's we passed through Beth at Cooking Up Quilts stomping ground and stopped at the local quilt shop there, Bolts and Quarters.  I couldn't leave the shop without obtaining a few goodies.  I finally picked up a set of Handi Quilter Oval B quilting rulers and cannot wait to give them a try.

I also snagged some fat quarters to add to my Moda Modern Building Block Stash (the large cut came from my local quilt shop).  After petting Julie's finished version of the quilt, I'm dying to piece mine!

Beth wasn't able to meet us at the shop, so I had to settle for the next best thing...her quilts :)  If I couldn't snap a picture with Beth, I took selfies with her quilts.

David and Spinning

With all the talk about quilting, purchasing of fabric, and cutting of fabric, did I manage to piece any fabric??  Well of course I did.  I wouldn't be a mad (crazy not angry) quilter, if I didn't.  I made a little bit of time yesterday to start piecing on the sashings (Charlotte's Web) for The Children's Library Quilt.

I LOVE this Windham Fabric print, Literary Overdue Yesterday.  I had to have this in the sashing.  I chose fabrics that matched the date stamps to create the square in square blocks.  Here's to hoping that it doesn't make the quilt to busy and that it compliments the blocks...fingers crossed.

So that wraps things up on this beautiful Monday in my neck of the woods.  This post has bounced around all over the place, but I think that's just the excited energy I'm feeling.  Let's all go create something today!!!  (even if it's a mess)

Today I'm linking up with Main Crush Monday, Let's Bee Social and Midweek Makers.
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