Monday, January 31, 2011

New medium

I have been quilting with silk dupioni this week, and have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to work with. You need to use a fusible interfacing on it to prevent massive unraveling. I used an ultra thin Pellon fusible and ironed it to the entire fat quarter. I started out using a pressing cloth on the silk, but it ends up with this kind of silk, you don't really need it, the silk can be ironed directly. I did used a pressing cloth on the interfacing though, because I've melted through interfacing in the past.

I used a basic pattern so the material is able to shine through. It's basically two  matching 4-patches, and then to sets of bricks for the sides. It's fun how the outer portion of the two 4-patches disappear once you add the rails to the sides. Since I wanted my blocks to be 6" finished, I used 2" unfinished strips to make the patches.

I'm using two colors of metallic thread to quilt it, turquoise and green. I was going to quilt it in swirls, but I finished about three swirls Friday night and decided I didn't like it, so I ripped them out. Rockin' Friday night, huh?
I eventually decided on alternating wavy lines. I'm rather pleased with them. They take longer, but what's a quilt without quilting, right?
I love most of the blocks, but this one is my favorite. It reminds me of a peacock. Is it wrong to love one quilt block more than the others?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sew Mod row quilt challenge

I have a wonderful small group that I belong to called SewMod. There's 7 of us, and we have a great time together. We are all inspired by, learn from, and share ideas with one another. We meet once a month and have sew-ins when we can all get together.
Paige had a great idea to do a group challenge sometime early last year. I think it was summer or maybe spring, and we had a deadline of February 3rd. Plenty of time, right? I'm a procrastinater, but I'm also generally swamped, so I put it off and didn't start until the beginning of this month. I have them all done though!
The challenge is to make a row, using an assigned block (different block for each person) and the fat quarter that the person you are doing the row for provided. By using the fabric that the person provided, there's a better chance that the rows will coordinate better. So I had 7 rows to do for others, plus one for me. I'm waiting to do my row until I get the others, so I can use my row to fill whatever design need I may have.

I had the week off of work last week, of which I thought I would spend 2 days on the rows, and the rest cleaning out my basement and sewing room. No such luck! I literally spent the whole weekend and week on my rows. I made all of them really scrappy, so just picking out the fabrics for each row took forever. This excercise solidifies my resolve to redo my stash and organize it by color.
I did Lorrie's row first, since I knew what I wanted to do. She gave us each a different Halloween fat quarter. I got the bats! I was so excited, since I love bats. The block I was to use for Lorrie was a pinwheel. I got out my Baltimore Halloween patterns and selected items that I thought would make pinwheel shapes well.

Shelley gave us all The Kaffe Fasset fabric on the outer border. (It's no secret that Shelley is a Kaffe fanatic). I had to make a row using flowers, so I chose the 'My Whimsical Garden' patterns by Piece O'Cake. I know that she likes their work as well. It's hard to see, but there's also a bitty little flange as an inner border, becuase you know, I love a flange!
 I had to make flying geese for Paige, so I found a paper piece pattern online and used the freezer paper technique to make them. I'm really thrilled with this pattern, and see more of these in my future. Even though it looks complicated, it went really quickly and easily.
Paige gave us each a different fabric, I got that red w/white dot in the bottome of the goose circle. And look, could it be? Yes, it's another flange! I like how the black sets the row off.
Jennie was part of our group, but moved away before doing the challenge, so we all decided to make the rows as planned, then we will put it together as a group and raffle it off in the late summer / early fall and give the money from it to charity. So stay tuned for the details on how to win it later this year!
 The fabric in the center of the blocks was the one provided and I had log cabins assigned for this row.
Kelly's was the biggest challenge for me since I had never made Dresden Plate's before. Lorrie loaned me her Dresden template, which made it amazingly easy! I have to say, I've always loved Dresdens, so I see more of these in my future as well.

Kelly gave us all the black and white swirl on the left and rightmost blocks shown here. I'm not sure I'm totally thrilled with the satin stitching on the inner curves, but I didn't know how else to finish them off.
I had the wild card block for Andrea, and since she didn't have the log cabin assigned to her, I decided to go with that. I tried to do a 'wonky' log cabin, but kept straightening them up unintentionally!
Andrea provided the fabrin in the middle.
Pattie provided the two Amy Butler fabrics in the middle of these stars. Can I tell you how much I love this row?
When the hubby saw it, he told me that I should make a different row for Pattie, and keep this one to make a table runner for us. Since I have a deadline on the row, I decided against that plan. However, I will be making myself a table runner for myself. I like the way the Kate Spain Fandango coordinates with the Amy Butler fabrics. And the grey just sets them off. Love it! I actually had to do a tester block for the star though, it was a pretty complicated set up.
To see the rows that everyone else in the group made, as well as the ones for me made from the Riley Blake fabric I chose for my quilt, check out the Sew Mod Flicker group.

Friday, January 28, 2011


It's been a busy couple of weeks, so I have lots to share and catch up on.
Two weekends ago, Donna, Anna, the hubby and I spent something like 6 hours decorating 8 aprons for Anna's birthday party which was a cooking class at LeTiti de Paris on Sunday.
I have to say, couldn't believe how much fun bedazzling is. We started with iron-on names for each girl. Boy did we struggle with Jacqueline's name. It almost didn't fit. We all decided she should really go by Jackie. We were running out of letters, so we decided to whimsically mix capitals and small letters. If it wasn't quite right, we called it 'whimsical'.
We artfully placed, well Anna artfully placed, iron on butterflies, flowers and they such.

Then the fun began! Anna, Donna and the hubby arranged the rhinestones, and I heat set. Donna is the least sparkly, and not bedazzled person I know, but at one point Anna, who had rhinestones on every article of clothing, told her mother that she was overdoing the bedazzles. It was really funny.
I kind of invited myself to Anna's party. I did it under the guise of 'helping'. I thought it was only fair though, since Donna and I were the only chaperons for her son's birthday party in October at Medieval times. I figured, if I had to corral 10 seven year old boys and tear apart their chicken for them, then I should get to go to the French restaurant too.
The restaurant did a great job. The owner, Chef Susan and her daughter taught the class and wouldn't let Donna and I do anything but watch, have a glass of wine, and a fantastic gourmet lunch! Now that's a party I can enjoy!
The girls had a chocolate theme for the party. They made the Pot du Creme, the chocolate mousse cake (which was Anna's birthday cake)and the warm chocolate ambrosia, which was like a molten cake. Chef Susan made an executive decision at the last minute to make a double batch of the Ambrosia so that we could have some with our mousse cake. Smart woman, that Chef Susan!
Donna made sure that I got a picture of the ingredients table. Look at that butter!
I should have taken a photo of what Donna and I had for lunch, but well, we were so excited by the meal that we dug right in. The girls had salad, chicken breast and a wonderful homemade macaroni and cheese for lunch. One girl declared that "it was ok, but it had nothing on Kraft mac and cheese". Ah youth. The same child declared that the chocolate desserts were "glorious!" and based on the copious amount of chocolate all over her cheeks, I'm positive she meant it. She really got into the chocolate thing.
All of the girls seemed to have a good time. I had totally forgotten how loud 8 girls can giggle. I felt badly for the other's in the restaurant, but at least the girls were having fun and laughing, not screaming.
Le Titi has monthly children's cooking classes. I think it's a great thing to teach your children how to cook for you! And it's even better if you can sit and have a lovely meal while they are learning.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Giveaway over at SewMod

Thank you to everytone for your sympathies about my Beaner. I tried to reply to everyone, but some people didn't have an email with their comment, so a special thank you to you lovely ladies as well.

On a more positive note, Lorrie, a good friend from my SewMod sewing group is having a giveaway!!!! She made this amazing pillow as a 'practice' block.
Seriously, this is a 'practice' piece. Look at all those little, itty-bitty french knots in the birdie earmuff! And the tassles on the scarf. It's beyond cute. She used the Birdie quilt along pattern from Little Miss Shabby and Hideaway by Lauren and Jessi Jung for Moda
Lorrie's embroidery is amazing. I hope to spend more time  in the very near future learning from her how to make my embroidery look like this. Or half as good. I think I could settle with half as good and be happy.
You should all click over to Lorrie and Paige's blog ASAP and enter to win it. You can enter through Thursday, January 27th. The drawing is this Friday, January 28th.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Beaner

I unfortunately have sad news to share today. We had to have our Beaner put down last night. She was her perfectly peppy, happy, sweet self when I got home from work yesterday, but around 6:20pm she became lethargic and seemed to have difficulty getting up.
We took her to the emergency vet where they diagnosed her with a cancer. Her issues were caused by a cluster of tumors on her heart, one of which burst and caused the sack around her heart to swell with fluid, making it hard for her heart to pump blood and oxygen. They removed the extra fluid, which made her peppier, so we were able to spend some quality time with her, say goodbye and be with her through the end.
Unfortunately or fortunately (because I had knowledge about it), I had an Akita back in 2002 who suffered from almost exactly the same thing. When the vet diagnosed Beaner, I knew, but dreaded, what had to be done. To be completely sure, we asked if surgery would help her at all, and he said it would only give her a couple of weeks at best.
Needless to say, we are completely saddened and shocked. She was only 7 years old, and we had her just over 2 years. The vet said that these kinds of cancers can be totally silent and not noticeable until one of the tumors ruptures, and that it's very aggressive.
She was so full of life, and such an amazingly sweet dog. At Christmas, I walked into the family room and saw my one year old nephew sitting with her, just the two of them, and he was petting her snoot and head. She just loved it, and was so gentle with him.  I will miss her Wookie/Werewolf howling, the woo-woo conversations that she and I had, her kisses and her snuggling. I'm just glad that she didn't have to suffer and that we could be with her through it all and that we gave her the love that she craved, even if only for too short a time.

I walked by the basement and saw her laying like this. I cracked up.
When she wanted in, she would press her nose into the door and usually licked it too. She would stand like that for the longest time. It totally cracked us up every single time.
She liked wildlife shows. Especially those with wolves or dogs.
She was a good pillow for Magic.
Beaner and Bug, their one winter together.
I miss my girls something awful.
Beaner loved her stuffed toys.
The other dogs knew not to take her babies from her!
I hope she's playing with Bug, Methos and Barqy now.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas catching up

I never shared some of my Christmas projects and decorating from this year, so I thought I should do that before we take it all down.
This is for Julie, one of the lovely ladies I know from Tammy Tadds. She wanted to make this quilt, but I brought the sample home too quickly.
I love this quilt. Basic Grey designs fabulous Christmas fabric. This year's line was called 'Fruitcake' and it's a follow up to my all time favorite (so far) 'Figgy Pudding' from last year. The nice thing is that they coordinate nicely together, so I can use both in the 5 quilts I have planned for the line!
Fruitcake Plaid About you
The pattern is 'Plaid About You' by Tammy Tadd. I also love this pattern. It goes together quickly and showcases large prints extremely well.  I was able to match up my stripes on the border everywhere but on the bottom. Se la vie! C'est la vie! (Pattie corrected my Frenish (combo of French and Spanish).
I like how the stripes on the bias do the arrowy-angle thing on the corners.
Of course I quilted the snot out of it. I can't help myself. I love the look of quilting, and I try to make it part of the design rather than an after thought.
Fruitcake Plaid About you
I quilted it with metallic thread. I don't know if you can tell or not in the photos above and below. I was trying to get the sun to shine on it to show the sparkle. The Husky hair is an added something special that I put on it.
Fruitcake Plaid About you
I have it hanging on the back of my new leather chair that I bought at my friend Kelly's estate sale and the dogs rub on it as they walk past all the time.
Kelly moved to a loft in the city and had to get rid of a ton of furniture that didn't fit into her new place. Kelly is a designer and has impeccable taste. I bought several really nice pieces from her for what I would consider a steal. She priced the stuff to move!
I love this chair. It's totally comfy and it looks so much nicer in my family room than the band-aid colored, poofy, pleather recliner that was there previously. I sit in it all the time.
Fruitcake Plaid About you on new chair

I also got this desk  and the lamps at Kelly's sale. I use it as a table in my front hall. I put it in place and immediately decorated it for Christmas.
New entry table all decked out for Christmas
The hubby thought the candles on the plate were real cookies and asked if he could eat one. Donna and the kids came over on the 23rd to help decorate our tree and also helped me decorate the little white one. Donna thought we may have put too many ornaments on it, what do you think?
The kids also put the Husky by Santa and the Santa Cow next to the Christmas card sleigh.

We had a great time decorating and drinking hot chocolate. Then about 2 hours after they left, I was standing in the kitchen drinking the last of my hot chocolate and there was a huge CRASH! SHATTER!! BANG!!!  The tree had fallen down! There was a loud expletive from me and the hubby came running. Luckily the ladder was still in front of it and helped to break it's fall. We only lost one good ornament, my cow in Bermuda shorts drinking a pina colada lost his legs. The others that broke were just cheapy after Christmas sale ones.  We put him on the tree anyway.
This is my favorite Christmas decoration. Truth be told, I leave it up all year. It looks pretty at night.
Christmas lights cloche
This is one of my vintage Christmas tablecloths. I think it's so happy!
family room
I think I'll save the rest Christmas projects I've made for another post. I think this is enough eye candy for now.
Happy Quilting!