Friday, July 28, 2017

Ducks in a Row

It's Friday!!!  Let's everyone shake our tail feathers for this little finish!  Towards the end of May, Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts posted the release of her then latest pattern Ducks In A Row.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Those ducks!  I was in love.  How adorable are they??  Are you with me?  I wanted to make it, but I really didn't need a baby quilt.  Then like a day later, I found out two of my co-workers are expecting little girls (so I still have a second one to make, but I have time).  YES!!!!

I didn't even hesitate.  Literally that evening I purchased the pattern.  That weekend, I was headed to Country Roads Quilt Shop and decided to commit to fabric.  Bright pink grunge and a super cute heart white on white fabric.

Since there were only four small blocks and one larger one and lots of negative space, this top pieced together super quickly.

And the quilting was even quicker.  If it's not broke, don't fix it...I love Lorna's organic wavy lines, so I decided to out line momma duck and her babies and do the wavy lines in the background.  Aurifil #1100 Red Plumb melted perfectly into the background.

If you look closely in this picture you may notice a few blue dots.  One at momma ducks forehead (do ducks have foreheads?), one at the tip of her beak, and a small one at her neck.  I wanted the waves to look like they naturally flowed behind the ducks and those small dots allowed me to have targets to aim for so that I didn't have to break thread.  I could stich all the lines to the front of momma, travel around her bottom to the other side, then aim for my dots between her and the next duck.  Then simply travel around the top of the baby's head and continue that way between ducks.  (I hope that made since)

I had to finish off this very pink quilt with a nice little flange binding.  I even found a new use for my extension table leg.

Momma and her babies are ready for a quick wash this weekend in the machine and will be delivered to my co-worker, so he can enjoy it with is precious little bundle of joy.

I had hoped to grab some more pictures with the quilt, but the weather has totally been a pill this week.  I was afraid it would swim away if I tried.  So here are a few more pictures from my one little photo shoot.

So that's my little finish for this Friday.  Time to prepare for the weekend and see what next week brings.  I'm hoping to have a date with a fellow blogger this weekend and it isn't Dave.  What?  Ok, he will probably be there too.  Hope everyone has a wonderful quilty weekend.  Stitch/quilt something even if it's only for 10 minutes.  Those small little bits do add up.

Today I'm linking up with Finished or Not Friday, TGIFF, and Can I Get a Whoop! Whoop!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

Wednesday just always seems like a nice day to reflect.  Look back at what you've accomplished over the weekend and a look forward to what you need to do.  So I thought I would take a few minutes to reflect on what's been going on in my sewing room house space.

I have had a few local quilt shops express interest in selling Star Blossom in their stores.  One store is right in my home town.  Helen, owner of Helen's Hen House, gave me the above fabrics this past weekend to create a shop sample of the quilt for her store.  Win, Win!  I get to play with pretty fabric, she gets a quilted shop sample, and I might sale some patterns.  So this weekend, I spent a few hours in between a line of thunder storms stitching up a baby quilt version of Star Blossom.

I cannot wait to get this one basted up and quilted this week  I'm starting to think I can make this quilt with my eyes closed, it's so fast and easy.   If you would like to pick up a copy of Star Blossom you can find it in my Craftsy Store.

Next on my list was to finish the sashing blocks called Charlotte's Web for the Pat Sloan The Children's Library Quilt.  After all of them were complete, I started stitching together the first and second row of blocks (there are still 3 blocks to be released).  Since there is a giant poodle living on the shared design wall (not my poodle), I took my rows outside and pinned them to the out building wall for a closer look.

I'll be honest I'm not sure how I'm feeling about this one.  I love the sashing fabric with the little date stamps, but not sure how it's working in this quilt.  To be fair, there are three more blocks to go and borders to be added, so I'm not going to be too quick to judge it yet.  Just keep sewing, you don't know what you've got till it's done.

Since the previous weekend I made time to make to blocks for the dog quilt, I decided to sneak in two blocks for the Sugar Skull quilt.  One in red and one in white(ish).

After all this piecing, I realized it was time to quilt, even for just a teeny tiny bit.  I need to start exercising the quilting machines more.  I need to quilt up my recent small quilt finishes and I have a customer quilt to quilt...and by customer I mean David...oh I'll make him pay, wink wink.

I posted this picture to Instagram with the caption, "So many possibilities from just this squiggly line.  What will it become?"  So what did it become?

David and I have briefly discussed how he would like his quilt quilted and it looks like he's leaning toward a woodgrain look and swirls in different sections of the quilt.  So what better way to kick start my quilty fingers than by practicing both of these designs.  So the above squiggle became a maze of wood grain.

I do love swirls and I think I've improved over the years stitching them.  Still room to grow, but I'm happy with how these turned out.  I know they will look even better on the quilt because I will be using thread that matches the fabric so they will be a bit more camouflaged.  As for the woodgrain, this was my first time stitching it and the verdict?  Super easy.  Although, it does require a bit of thinking about where to travel next and should I add an "knot hole" yet?  But a quick pause at each point allows me to think about it before I travel to the next spot.

Since I didn't fill the whole fat quarter up with these designs, I moved on to trying Angela Walter's Paisley Feather and a swirl flower design.

Paisley Feather turned out much better than I thought it would.  Still have some filling up the middle of the curve issues to work out, but I'm turning cartwheels that it turned out that great.  You can watch Angela's video for this motif here.  The swirl feather is a design I want to quilt on something so badly.  These were not the best ones I've done in practice.  I started getting frustrated and you can see my little scribble of frustration in the middle of the three flowers.  That's when I knew, it was time to walk away and do something else.  Always know when to say when.

So moving on with my week, I know I have a few QAL blocks I should work on, and small quilts to start quilting.  Hopefully, I will be able to answer an age old question on Friday...

Did Momma Duck, indeed get her ducks in a row???

Tune in later this week to find out if Momma Duck is sitting pretty with her babies or has she pulled all her feathers tail feathers out.  

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

Monday, July 24, 2017

Magnolia Mystery

It's my favorite time of year again, mystery quilt time over at Meadow Mist Designs!  This year's mystery is called Magnolia Mystery.  I was more than happy to pattern test the mystery quilt for Cheryl as a mystery again this year.  It's been so hard to keep quiet about it for the last several months, but I'm happy to share my progress on the quilt as the clues were revealed to me.

On July 6th, Cheryl released the fabric requirements for the quilt along.  On my trip to the quilt store I knew immediately one of the fabrics I would be using.  It was a wonderful black fabric with lots of bright flowers on it.  After going back and forth picking out coordinating colors and grabbing my favorite bolt of white on white, I had my color palette secured.

Next month the cutting instructions will be released.  If you haven't decided to play along yet, there is plenty of time.  With three fabrics and a background to pick out, really it's not that scary.  And I promise this quilt will not disappoint.  Are you playing along with this year's mystery quilt?  If sewing blindly scares the pants off you, put your pants back on.  Cheryl will email you a picture of what the finished top looks like, she just asks that you keep the final layout a secret for the others that are sewing it as a mystery.

And she has prizes!!!  At the end of the quilt along, she asks that you send her a picture of your finished top or quilt and she will create a parade of quilts on her blog, so that we can all see what everyone has made.  No blog required to play, just email her a picture.  Then she will randomly draw winners from the parade of quilts.  One thing is for certain, it is going to be a great time!  Join us all and come sew along!

Today I'm linking up with Main Crust Monday.

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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