Thursday, January 31, 2013

Journal Covers Are Finished!

They're finally done!  I LOVED working on this project and can't wait to pass them on to my DIL to see how she and her friends like them.  This has bee such a satisfying project to work on.  Thanks to Bloom for a great tutorial!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

AAQI Update

For those of you who haven't heard the news yet, this is the last year for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI).  Click HERE to read a news post that reveals all the details of their "Sprint To The Finish" program.
My "Dare To Be Different" quilt has sold, and brought in $65 for Alzheimer's research.  The buyer sent me an email, filled with compliments about this little quilt, and even told me where it will reside once she gives it to a dear friend.  It's so nice to hear where these quilts end up.

The last two quilts I sent in have not been processed yet, but once they are posted on the site, my wish is that some lucky shopper will scoop them up into their shopping cart and they'll be shipped off to new homes as well.
So if you'd like to help fund Alzheimer's research, there's still time to make a quilt, or buy a quilt...  It's a great cause!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tasting Table Tuesday - Vintage Knitting

What a wonderful surprise!  A dear friend showed up at my door on Saturday night with a little vintage suitcase in her hand.  No, she wasn't leaving home...  she was giving me her lifetime collection of knitting supplies!  I was like a little kid on Christmas morning, as I explored the contents of this case.  Needles in every size, crochet hooks, stitch holders & counters, handwritten patterns, and even some old jingle bells!
All these items have definitely found a new, happy home.  Aren't friends wonderful?  :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Journal Covers

Last week I hinted about a big project that was coming up, so here's a peek at my progress so far.  My DIL needs a large quantity of gifts for a special event coming up, and since she's a busy working mom, she asked for my assistance.  Of course, I said yes, and put all my other WIP's aside for now.  There's always time to finish those later, right?

I've had this project (Journal Cover Tutorial by Bloom) in my mental "must-do" list ever since I saw it, and when I showed the tutorial to my DIL, she thought it was perfect.  So the production begins!  Six yards of Essex Linen in Natural, combined with fusible fleece and a ton of fabric scraps, makes about 30 covers.
The best part of this was digging through the big box of modern fabric scraps that she sent me to work with. Of course, I added a few of my own to the batch, just to add more variety, but her scrap collection is awesome!  I had so much fun cutting and arranging all the little 1 3/4" squares.  In fact, I cut so many that I have enough left over to make a baby quilt!  But that's a project for another day....

I made one complete cover first, just to test my dimensions, since I used a different sized notebook than Bloom did - and it's a good thing, because I screwed up and had to re-calculate.  Here's how the test one ended up, after re-cutting the linen.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tasting Table Tuesday - Brrrrrrr!!!

It's so cold here in Northern PA today.  Light snow is falling along with the temperatures.  And it's supposed to get even colder tomorrow.  So I'm hunkered down in my Cotton Cellar and getting lots accomplished.
I've got my backing fabric sewn and pressed for the two quilts I worked on at retreat, so they're both ready for basting.
The honey bee fabric I've picked for the back of the Pinwheel quilt is so cute!  It's called Cherish Nature by Deb Strain.
Have you ever been reluctant to use a favorite fabric?  That's the case with this gorgeous white & gray Echo print by Lotta Jansdotter.  I've been hoarding it for months and I cringe every time I think about cutting into it.  So it took some guts, but I finally cut a chunk off for the back of my Chevron quilt.  I think I still have about a yard leftover so I can still have some to look at any time I want.  I just love it and it's perfect for this quilt!  (one of my New Year's Resolutions - stop hoarding and start using!)
My daughter asked me if I'd like to donate some items to their PTO fund-raiser this spring, so I whipped up a couple of wristlets with my Zip Pocket Pouch pattern by Michele's Patterns.  I've made lots of these and really like the design - especially with the addition of the wrist strap.

I also made two more Flex-Frame Gadget Pouches this week.  One was a custom Etsy order, and I'll list the other one in my shop, or maybe donate it to the PTO as well...  not sure yet.
I've also been crocheting some new neckwarmers to list in my shop.  They've been quite popular and I'm down to only one left in inventory, so it's time to make some more.  These ones are ready for the quilted buttons.  I really enjoy digging through my batik scraps to pick out just the right fabric to make into a quilted button for these scarves.  I like to pick a fabric that really pops on the scarf, then add some free-motion quilting, so it ends up looking like a special piece of custom jewelry.

This one isn't quite done yet - but almost!

So that's what is on my Tasting Table Today.  And I've still got one more fun, BIG, project coming up that I can't wait to share with you.  I might have something ready to show you next week if my schedule goes as planned...  What are you working on today?


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tasting Table Tuesday - Trip Report

I don't know about you, but it seems like I've been running full speed throughout the holidays, and things are just now starting to feel normal again.  I found the perfect cure for my annual PHS disorder (that's Post Holiday Stress).  It's called RETREAT - and it's WONDERFUL!
As I mentioned earlier, I had never been to a retreat before.  It always seemed like it was a lot of work to pack everything up and set up somewhere else to sew.  I didn't get it...  But now I understand.  I'm sure those of you who go to retreats know what I mean.  Yes - it's a lot of work to pack, but there's just something about spending four days with a group of great women who share common interests.  And I mean it when I say "great women".  Everyone got along beautifully and we thoroughly enjoyed each other's company.  Thanks for including me, ladies - I love each and every one of you!
Here's the whole gang, with each of us holding something we were working on.  Isn't Leisa's quilt in the background gorgeous?
We had oodles of great food (and are now in the process of sharing all our recipes), had lots of fun and interesting conversations, watched a great movie, and we sewed - and sewed - and sewed...  then sewed some more - with lots of laughter thrown in, of course!
 Here are two more beauties on the design walls, ready to be assembled - Megan's on the right and Ann's on the left.  Stunning!
And here are the projects that I worked on...
I still have to add gray borders around the sides of this quilt.  It was so much fun to have everyone's input while we played around with the color placement!  I'm really happy with our final decision.  I know the picture is a little fuzzy, but it looks better in person.  I used some Andover Frippery charm squares and paired them with dark gray.  I hope to do some special quilting in the gray whirlygigs in the center.
This one is also made from Andover Lucky Penny charm squares, paired with a medium gray this time.  All half-square triangles, arranged in a chevron pattern.  Not sure if I'll put a border on this one or not - I'll see how it looks after the blocks are all sewn together.
Next up is a little AAQI quilt.  My regular readers will remember that I made a personal commitment to make and donate a matching mini AAQI quilt each time I sold a quilt in my Etsy Shop.  I sold two quilts in November and I thought that Retreat would be the perfect place to work on these mini quilts.  This first one is made with Tula Pink's Neptune collection.
And here is a picture of the original quilt that was sold.

And this is the second mini-quilt, made with Bunny Hill's Puttin' On The Ritz fabrics, in gray and cream.  I like how the words "Baby" and "Dream" appear in some of the cream squares.  That was lucky, because I have absolutely none of this cream fabric left - only scraps of the gray - it was close!
And here is the quilt that inspired it.

Last up is yet MORE blocks made using Tula Pink's Neptune fabrics.  I've made two quilts, a huge patchwork duffle bag, several purses, the mini quilt above, and other little odds and ends with this fabric and I still have lots MORE!  I still love it though, so I'm sure I'll keep on using it.

So that's it for my trip report.  Now I have to unpack all my sewing stuff and settle back in to my Cotton Cellar to get some work done.  And I don't care how much work is involved - retreat was FANTASTIC!

Edited to add:  Thanks for all your recipe suggestions!  They all sounded great.  I finally settled on two recipes I found on Pinterest - an egg, sausage & cheese casserole, and a yummie fruit salad.


Saturday, January 5, 2013


Next weekend I'm finally going on my VERY FIRST QUILTING RETREAT with a bunch of my friends!!!  Yeah!
My list of what to take is growing by the minute.  So many ideas of things to work on - what to pick...  hmmm...
I'm sure I'll take way more stuff than I'll actually need, since I've never done this before.  But I'd rather take too much than run out of things to work on.

I've volunteered to cook breakfast one morning for the group (about 10).  I'm thinking of one of those "mix-it-up-the-night-before-and-bake-it-in-the-morning" kind of things.  If anyone has a favorite recipe they'd like to share, I'd sure appreciate it!  Thanks!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tasting Table Tuesday - A New Year

Happy New Year!  Seems like forever since I've posted anything new here.  The holidays were a flurry of activity, both before - and during - leaving no extra time for blogging.  I made almost all of my Christmas gifts this year, and in hind-sight, I probably got in a little too deep this time.  I got a little stressed out in  my attempts to finish everything on time, but in the end, it all worked out fine.

Following tradition, hubby and I got up early Christmas morning and drove to a nearby State Park at the PA Grand Canyon for a daybreak pancake breakfast.  We always do this when we find ourselves alone on Christmas morning, and it's a very special start to our holiday.  This year there was a fresh snowfall and absolutely no wind.  The weather was perfect.  We built a fire in the huge stone fireplace in the pavillion, cooked pancakes and drank coffee.  A peaceful start to a perfect day.

Our daughter, SIL  and granddaughter were here for most of the week, including Christmas, and the 5 of us had plans to travel to Western PA to see my parents and brothers, but Mother Nature had other plans.  We got dumped with about 18 inches of snow between Wednesday and Saturday so that brought our travel plans to a screeching halt.  Very disappointing, to say the least.  But we made the best of it and enjoyed a quiet end to the week and enjoyed the time together.  And you have to admit - the snow was beautiful.

Little Miss R kept us totally entertained as she played "dress-up" for hours on end.  Grammie's hats, shoes, jewelry, purses, scarves - you name it - she wore it.

Now for some of my Christmas projects...
My husband loved his target quilt, so that was a huge success.  In my rush to get everything done, I neglected to take a picture of it after I finished quilting it, and I just now realized it.  Oh well - I'll take one later.
The Weekender Bag was also a hit, as was the I Spy Matching Game, as you can see here.  She's not yet two years old, but was already finding the pairs and matching them up.
At the last minute, I also decided to make a Computer Bag for my DIL.  I used the Two-Zip Hipster pattern by Dog Under My Desk, but made it twice as wide and an inch taller, so it would hold her laptop computer. I also added a padded, elasticized pocket for the power cord and the mouse, along with some slip pockets on the other side.  I love these fabrics.  They're from the Juggling Summer collection by Moda.

There were many other small miscellaneous gifts, but I neglected to photograph them all.  Besides, I don't want to bore you with picture overload.  Next year I think I need to get an earlier start on my projects...
Thank you for sharing 2012 with me here at the Cotton Cellar, and I look forward to keeping in touch with you all in 2013.  Happy New Year!