Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - new projects, same shirts

Hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day Weekend.  We just got back from visiting family in Western PA.  It was a great weekend, but now I've got a couple of days to get some work done before we head out for another weekend trip.  Busy time of year for traveling, that's for sure!

Late last week I started working on two quilts, simultaneously.  That's a first for me, but since they're both made with mostly the same fabrics, I thought it might be more efficient that way.  I'm using more of my oxford shirt collection for both of these quilts.

The first one is a special gift for a friend of mine, so I can't share too many details right now, but the I'm using a pattern I designed myself, called "Cube Mates" for this one. It's the second quilt I've made from this pattern, only I'm using a different fabric for the rectangles - a Moda fabric from an old line called "Simplicity" that I've had in my stash for a while now.  It is printed with inspirational words like "home, love, celebrate, harmony", etc. and it seems like a perfect match for the "simple" squares of oxford shirts.

The next one is another custom baby quilt, and my client requested the same shirt fabrics, because she loves the soft "beachy" look, but she wanted to just give it a little more of a feminine look, so I'm adding this batik that has a soft lavender background with tiny little flowers sprinkled all over that pick up all the colors in the shirt fabrics.  I think it adds just the right amount of femininity without being too girly.
The pattern is made up of large rectangles of shirt fabrics, and small rectangles of the batik.  I got the idea from this quilt by Red Pepper Quilts and Rita was nice enough to post some basic instructions on her blog.  I've reduced the size of my quilt though - this one will be about 48" x 60" - a little bigger than your typical baby quilt, but just the size that my client prefers.  I think the small floral rectangles will look like little tufts of wildflowers growing between the bricks, like the colors you'd find in wildflowers on the sand dunes at the beach.

I've got all my blocks finished for both quilts.  Now I just have to start putting them all together.  I'm very excited to see how both quilts turn out.  And I've still got even MORE of these shirt fabrics left!  Although I've put a pretty good dent in them this time...

Friday, May 25, 2012

And the winner is....

First of all - A HUGE THANK-YOU to everyone who entered my May Giveaway, and especially to Sew, Mama, Sew! for hosting this event.  This was my first year participating, and the response was fantastic.  I received so many nice compliments about my blog and my Etsy shop, and I appreciate each and every one.  I hope you'll continue to stop and visit with me again!
And now,,,,,,  are ya ready????  The winner is:
Super cute! and I love the material. The red is my fave. Thanks!
Megan, I'll be emailing you for your mailing address so I can mail the red eyeglass pouch out to you.  Congratulations!!!

I've been sewing up a storm today, after spending an hour or so weeding the garden on this sunny day.  I'm working on two more quilts using my upcycled oxford shirts (details coming soon), but I have to share this experience with you.

As I passed the kitchen window on one of my trips up from my Cotton Cellar, I noticed a small orange/brown spot next to the fence between our backyard and our neighbor's.  So I got the binoculars and took a closer look.  It was a fawn!  We normally see them around this time of year, so I'd been watching and wondering when the first one would appear.  So I got my camera out and took these pictures.

The quality isn't great, but keep in mind I was shooting through the window, with my camera zoomed, sometimes on macro, and steadied on a bag of goldfish crackers.  Not the best setup, obviously.  But I got some pictures, none the less.

While I was snapping pictures, it got up and stretched it's legs, then laid back down again until Mom came around to pick it up, and they both trotted off together.  So adorable!  Enjoy the show!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

More Zentangle

Remember this post about my discovery of Zentangle?  And the connection to quilting?  Well, check this out - this work is by the author of the books I bought and her work is AMAZING!!!  Click here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - Home for the Holidays

I set myself a goal this morning to finish the blocks for the Christmas quilt I mentioned earlier this week.  It's a shop sample for my LQS and my contribution to the project is the pieced alternate blocks.  They definitely took longer to make than I had anticipated, but that's the way most of my projects go.  We're probably all guilty of underestimating the amount of time things will take, but I stuck with it through most of the day (on and off, of course) and finally finished up at 9:00 tonight.
Of course, my evening glass of wine is long gone now, but I feel like I could use another now that this is finished.  But I'll stick with my usual cup of bedtime tea instead.  It's been a long day...
Tomorrow is a new day and I'll start by cleaning off my Tasting Table, to get ready to start my next project!
And if you're here looking for my free May Giveaway, click here to find it.  (Or just keep scrolling down on this page - it's the post previous to this one.)  Good luck in the drawing, if you've left a comment!

Monday, May 21, 2012

May Giveaway Day

It's May Giveaway Day (all week, actually!).  This is a great event hosted by Sew, Mama, Sew! and includes lots of great giveaway prizes.

The item that I've chosen to give away to one lucky reader is a Flex-Frame Eyeglass/Gadget Pouch, made by me.  Even though it's designed for glasses, you can use it for lots of other things - how about a rotary cutter case?  (sorry - glasses & rotary cutter not included).  If you'd like to see more of these flex frame gadget pouches, I have several listed on my Etsy shop called Cotton Cellar.  Click here to visit my shop.

A Flex-Frame pouch is so easy to use with just one hand - simply squeeze the sides of the pouch top and it pops open, then snaps shut again when you release it. I have added a split key ring on the back of the pouch so it can be attached to a belt loop, purse or backpack. So handy when you're hiking or biking! Just clip it on and off you go!

The main outer fabric is medium-weight cotton, imported from Sweden, with funky retro-style eyeglasses printed on it. The sleeve that covers the flex-frame, as well as the inner lining, is a black and white contemporary quilting cotton. The pouch and the sleeve are entirely backed with fusible fleece for extra padding to protect your glasses. The top of the pouch is top-stitched with a double row of black stitches.

The main pouch measures 3 1/2" wide and 6" long. The overall length, including the flex frame at the top, measures 7".

I've shown two pouches here, but the giveaway is just for ONE (glasses & rotary cutter not included). To enter the giveaway contest, just leave a comment below this post indicating which color you like best - red or yellow.

The comment period will close on May 25th at 8pm EST, when Mr. Random Number Generator will select the winner, and I will announce the winner here no later than May 26th.  If you're a no-reply blogger, please include your email address in your comment so I'll be able to notify you if you win.  International readers are welcome to participate.  Good luck!

And don't forget to pop on over to Sew, Mama, Sew! and check out all the other great prizes.  We're all linking up over there, so you can see what every one else is giving away.

Comment period is now closed.  Winner to be announced shortly!  Thanks for participating in my giveaway!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Triangulations - Product Review

There has been a flurry of Half-Square Triangle making going on in the Cotton Cellar this weekend.  The girls at Needles Quilt Shop are already working on shop sample quilts for next Christmas, and I'm helping.  Katie is busy making the applique blocks for this quilt, and I'm working on the alternate pieced blocks, which means LOTS of half-square triangles.
I've always used the traditional method of cutting lots of squares, drawing a diagonal line on the back of the light ones, then stitching on both sides of the line, cutting them apart, yada, yada, yada...  if you're a quilter, you get the drift - and if you're not, you probably don't care anyway :)...
Anyhoo - Mary suggested I try using Triangulations - a computer program that allows you to print foundation sheets for HST's.  I'm sold!!!  The ones I made finish at 1 1/2" square and I can get 24 units out of one sheet.  Talk about speedy!  And they are so accurate, it's amazing!  As long as you can stitch exactly on the dotted lines (just follow the arrows and stitch continuously) and cut exactly on the solid lines, they will all turn out exactly the same.  Don't forget to decrease your stitch length, otherwise you'll have a hard time removing the paper.  I used a stitch length of about 1.5 and the paper popped off without a hitch.  This is by far the fastest and most accurate method I've ever tried, and I'll be using this method from now on, especially when making lots of small ones.  If you haven't tried it yet, give it a shot.  Last I knew, you could buy it at Needles if you're in the Wellsboro area, or check with your local quilt shop - chances are they'll have it.

All my HST's are done, and I'm ready to start assembling my blocks tomorrow.  Ho Ho Ho!
And don't forget to check back here on Monday to see what I'm giving away for the May Giveaway Day!

Friday, May 18, 2012

New Book - You SEW, Girl!

I had a wonderful time babysitting my granddaughter this past week.  The 3 days went by so quickly and I miss her already.  But now it's back to reality and time to catch up on my project list...

But that might be hard to do because this arrived in the mail today!

I've wanted a copy of this book ever since it came out last year, but it was only available in Australia at first and I was hoping to save on shipping, so I've tried to be patient and wait until I could buy it here in the US.  (tough task though - I REALLY wanted this book!!!)  My patience paid off because ABE Books had it listed with free shipping!  (although I just checked their site and the book is no longer showing up on their list - don't know what's up with that...) And it only took about 10 days for it to arrive, so I'm one happy gal right now!  There are so many fantastic projects in this book, that I'm going to have a hard time holding back and finishing what I've already committed to first.  But hopefully soon, I'll get started.  If you've been thinking about buying this book, I highly recommend it.  Nicole has packed it full of all kinds of sewing tips, not just patterns.  If you'd like to learn more, you can preview the book here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - Grammie Duty

Yup - I'm doing "Grammie Duty" again, so I don't have anything on my Tasting Table to share with you today.  I'm really enjoying a few days with my granddaughter in NJ, while she takes a few days away from daycare to try and put an end to a continuous cycle of colds, ear infections and fevers.  It's tough at this age - they seem to keep passing the germs back and forth over and over again.  But her mood is great and we've had a wonderful time together.  So I'll be back to my regular schedule on Thursday and hope to have something sewing related to post next time.  Now it's back to our play-time...  Hope you're having a good week!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Oxygen Bag Finale

It's finally done!  This was probably the most difficult bag I've made far - primarily because I did not have a pattern.  It seemed like it would be a fairly easy task to take apart an existing bag, use the pieces as patterns for the new fabric, then sew it all back together again.  Well, it wasn't that easy - believe me!  I had to totally change the construction of the bag because I eliminated the back-pack feature altogether (my customer only uses it as a shoulder bag), and while the old bag was just a single layer of canvas-like material, she wanted a batik fabric with lots of padding, which meant a lining needed to be added as well.  So I really had to do use some serious brain-power to figure out how to put it all together.  It took three attempts to get it right, and I almost gave up a few times, but it's finally done.  And I think my customer will be thrilled with her new bag.  Which one do you think she'd rather carry?  This original black one? ...... 
 .... or this new purple batik one?  (the picture of the black one isn't the exact one I started with, which is why the flap design is slightly different, but they both hold the same oxygen machine, so either works.)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Beaver Valley Piecemakers Quilt Show

If you happen to be near Pittsburg PA on October 12-14 this year, there's a quilt show you might want to attend.  I received an email from the Beaver Valley Piecemaker's Quilt Guild asking me to mention their show on my blog, and before I got to it, I discovered that my friend Kelly already posted about it on her blog over at IHAN.  So rather than "re-invent the wheel" as the old saying goes, I'll save myself a little work and just send you over to IHAN's blog to read all about it.  There's a picture of their raffle quilt too.  Sounds like a great show!

Now I've got to get packing - I'm off for a day of "girls-day-out-shop-hopping" in Ithaca NY tomorrow.  Neither of us has ever been to Ithaca before, but we've heard great things about the quilt shops and yarn shops there.  And lunch at Moosewood is in the plans.  Sounds like a fun day!  Hopefully I'll come home with some pretties to use in a couple of quilts I've got planned...

May Giveaway Day

Mark your calendars!  May 21st is the start of Sew, Mama, Sew's May Giveaway Day (but it lasts all week this year!)  As a new blogger, this will be my first time participating in this great event.  I've already decided what I'm going to give away to one lucky reader, and it's something that I sell in my Etsy Shop - hint, hint!  Check back here on the 21st for more details.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - Hokey Pokey

I've been working all day on the Oxygen Tote Bag I mentioned in my last post, and I'm finally making some progress.  What sounded like a simple project has actually turned out to be quite complicated.  It's amazing how difficult it is to figure out how to assemble something without any directions.  Tomorrow is a busy day of appointments and shopping, so I probably won't get back to it until Thursday.  It's not far enough along to make for an interesting photo post, so to fill the gap, I'll share a couple of older quilts with you today.

A couple of years ago I decided to make a quilt to hang behind our bed. I found this pattern, called Hokey Pokey, by Quilter's Dream, and instantly knew that this was the one.  It's fast and easy to make, and creates a great visual impression with a vivid splash of color.  I made this one out of earth-tone batiks, which looks really nice in our bedroom.  Someone told me she thought it looks like Lava Lamps.  Remember those?

A friend of mine loved the quilt so much that she asked me to make one for her as well.  She chose turquoise and pink for her colors, so it has a much more tropical feel to it.  You need to have a high contrast of fabrics in this quilt - either darks and lights like the one above, or two different color groups like the pink & green below.  This is a really fun pattern and I enjoyed making both quilts.
Have you made a Hokey Pokey quilt?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mother's Day

I know it's not quite Mother's Day yet, but I just got a package in the mail from my DIL yesterday, and look what they sent me for my Mother's Day/Birthday Gift this year!  She remembered that I was IN LOVE with this Echo collection when I first saw it showing up on the blogs I follow, and when she found it at her LQS, she bought me a bundle of fat quarters!  This fabric is gorgeous!  Now I just have to decide what to make...
 The Oxygen Tote Bag is now dissassembled - after spending MANY hours in a close relationship with my seam ripper.  Whew... that was a struggle.  Now I have to make the "pretty" quilted pieces and figure out how to put it all back together.  I might have a few more grey hairs by the time this job is done.
 What are you giving your mom for Mother's Day this year?  If you need an idea, I just listed several of these ColorBlock iPhone/Gadget Pouches in my Etsy shop.  They would make great Mother's Day gifts, don't ya think?
Now I'm off to clean the house.  My granddaughter and her parents are coming to visit for the weekend!  Yippee!!!  Hope you have plans for a fun weekend too.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - wrapping up loose ends

Since returning from our trip to Florida, I've spent the last few days wrapping up loose ends and getting ready to start some new projects.  I showed you some pictures last week of the borders that I was adding to an existing quilt (Growing a Quilt), and am happy to say that the method I used was a success!  It wasn't an easy project, but I've very pleased with how it turned out.  If you didn't read my previous post about the process, you can link back here.

 And this morning, I put the finishing touches on this modern baby quilt, all ready to go out to the customer.

 And my daughter sent me this picture of my grand-daughter wearing the new Easter outfit I made for her.  I think the bunnies on the fabric are cute, but the model is even cuter!!!  She's coming to visit us this weekend, and I can't wait!
 Now that I've got these other projects done, next on my list is an interesting - but unique - project.  A customer who carries a portable oxygen tank has asked me to turn this bag into something "pretty".  She dislikes having to carry the plain black canvas bag everywhere, and would love to have something more attractive.  I bought a 2nd bag from my local oxygen supply store and plan on taking it apart so I can re-use the mesh panels and the hardware, then use the canvas pieces as pattern pieces.  She picked out a gorgeous purple batik fabric, so I'll quilt up some sections and try and remake the bag using the quilted batik in place of the canvas.  Wish me luck!  I hope I'm successful, because it will surely make this customer one happy lady!