Friday, July 3, 2015

Giveaway

For the past year, I've been a book reviewer for AQS, getting copies of new books and writing reviews for the AQS website. I've donated nearly all of the books to Quilting Guild of The Villages.

However, when I received the annual AQS Quilt Art calendar, I kept it to give away here. I know I have many blog-followers, but just a handful of you regularly comment. (You know who you are, and I love you for that!) Perhaps this giveaway will entice a few of you to speak up!

The calendar features a different quilt each week (no patterns), with a write-up about the quilt and quilt maker. Here are a few of my favorite quilts.

A Modern Medallion made with the Quick Curve Ruler.


I know several of the quilt makers, including Mayleen who blogs at QisforQuilter. I'm always a fan of selvage quilts, and Mayleen's is exceptional. At the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival, in June, this Star of Bethlehem won a first place ribbon!

For a chance to win this calendar, comment to tell me:
"What I'm looking forward to in 2016 is..."
Please make sure I have a way to reach you! Either double-check your Google profile setting to ensure your return email address appears, or add your email address to your comment. If I can't reach you, you certainly won't win!

This giveaway is open internationally. I'll pick a winner next Monday, July 6.

Happy Independence Day to my American friends! Linda

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Scrap Vortex

My Scrap Vortex quilt top is a wrap! I was happy, and quite honestly relieved to end the never-ending pressing, cutting, sewing, pressing, trimming, (repeat, repeat, repeat) that has been Scrap Vortex over the past four weeks.

I thought never to see it end! But it did. At 89" X 91". The quilt top is so heavy - I used seven bobbins of 50-weight Aurifil in it! - I couldn't even pin it to the design wall to take a full-on photo. So here's it is, draped across the guest room double bed. It might just stay that way.

After I get over being sick of working on it, it will be fun to look at, picking out the random small blocksand one-only prints among the thousands millions of pieces in it; and quilt it to a finish.

I never considered how heavy the quilt top might be, with all those seams, and how to go about sandwiching it. While flannel seems the best, light-weight choice for the inside, quilting through the thinness may prove a "bumpy ride." That makes me inclined to choose a low-loft batt like Quilter's Dream Request - cotton or polyester doesn't matter. For sure the quilting design will be a simple all over one like one giant spiral, as Amanda Jean/CrazyMomQuilts did (she has been our quilt-along guide); or, my favorite snail trails. You know... spiral into a 6"-8" circle, then curve or hook on the inside, and spiral back out; repeat.

Though my canvas bins are no longer stuffed, I can't believe I didn't use up every single scrap!

On July 1, I'm teaching an all-day Modern Hexagons workshop. Then it's back to the sewing room to work on a quilt - Candy Pop - from Christa Watson's (ChristaQuilts) yet-to-be-released book, "Machine Quilting With Style."

In September, when the book is published, I'll share my finished quilt during a blog hop where everyone will also have a chance to win a copy of the book. Linda

Saturday, June 27, 2015

It's Another Beautiful Day

It was three years ago, on June 23, 2012, that we moved into the house that we bought June 14. Three years ago, with the help of our son and DIL who now live in Austin, Texas, we moved in just as Tropical Storm Debby hit.

The day we closed on the house, it looked like this.

Today, it looks like this. Definitely more settled-looking with landscaping that makes a difference. I love that we can plant annuals... and that they bloom for six month or more!

A few days ago, when a storm was brewing toward the east (behind the house) and the evening sun was shining - it was about 7 pm - I took these photos. Amazing light!

My favorite palm in our yard is this Bismarck Palm. It's a different variety of palm than most people choose for their yards, and it's getting big. I measured the width of one of those fronds, from tip to tip. It's 58"! Big, and impressive! Love it right outside my sewing room window. 

And speaking of sewing room, here's a before and after of that space.

Now this is an "honest" sewing room! No less that four projects are in the works here. At least by making the space my own, it's now colorful! You might understand why I've opted to keep all white walls (except for one) in this house. White is a great canvas for the bright colors I've come to adore.

Happy anniversary - three years in The Villages - to us! Linda

Thursday, June 25, 2015

More of the Same, and Remembering

The scrap piles don't look much smaller than they did last week. There's a pile of cut pieces on the right side of the sewing machine.

And one canvas bin that's still a jumbled mess because I keep rooting around through it. 

But my design wall is filling up! The Scrap Vortex blocks are getting larger and chunkier (we're on week four of the quilt-along) and My Small World is growing. You can see it on the right, though it's difficult to tell where Scrap Vortex ends and My Small World begins! 

I've now completed Section 2 (of six sections) of My Small World. In keeping with my aim to give it a Florida feel, I used a couple palm fabrics, and fussy cut squares of a flamingo, and a beach chair. 

The colorful cabanas in the middle were hand appliquéd, as were four petals. My favorite method is back-basting needle turn appliqué. If you haven't tried it, here's a good tutorial.

This darling little Janome Derby sewing machine arrived yesterday after I succumbed to MassDrop's discounted price. The machine weighs less than five pounds and is available in many different colors. The "turbo teal" spoke to me.
I think it will be perfect to tote to my weekly Big Cypress Quilters meeting. Though a disadvantage is that it doesn't have a light, MassDrop is helping with that too as I've ordered a rechargeable, cordless LED lamp. Yep, I like shopping at MassDrop.

Last evening I made a practice quilt block that turned out too small. Seems I still need to figure out how to find an accurate quarter inch, since the machine has only one foot.

On an altogether different topic, today is a personal remembering day. This photo, taken in May 2002 in Austin, Texas, when our son received his master's degree in structural engineering from the University of Texas, is the last one I ever took of my mother. By December, died from non-Hodgkins lymphoma which she had fought and sent into remission twice previously. 
Today would have been her 85th birthday. My Dad, siblings, and I are missing her more than we can express, and think of her with much love. She was the best mother, and the one to whom I owe my ability and love for sewing. Linda

Friday, June 19, 2015

Sewin' Crazy

I've been getting to spend time at the sewing machine every day, and I couldn't be happier about it!

I made my second, size 2-4, Dress a Girl Around the World pillow case style dress. This one is sewn with a lovely, sturdy weight of Cloud 9 organic fabric. It's so rewarding to make these cute little dresses!

Mostly I've continued to piece bits together for my Scrap Vortex quilt. After hours of sewing, I put my small blocks on the design wall, as CrazyMomQuilts, Amanda Jean, suggested we do in week two. It started to look like something!

Returning to the sewing machine, I sewed some of the blocks together.

It continued to be quite the mess.


And then I realized that some of the small orphan blocks I have - like 4-1/2" X 4-1/2" unfinished - sort of fit into the scrappiness.

So in random places, I inserted these odd blocks.

I even sewed into the design a Quick Curve Ruler test block, and a small Nine Patch leftover from my Friendship Medallion quilt.

Today the scrappiness continues. The plastic bag at the bottom of the photo is all teeny bits and trimmings that will be given to a friend who uses them to stuff animal beds that she makes and donates to a shelter.

My design wall is filling up as I continue to sew. We're on to week three now. I'll say that I've done much more cutting than I thought I would. It turns out that most of my scraps are in chunks and strips - like leftover bindings - that I've cut smaller. It seems sort of silly to intentionally cut up more scraps, but on the other hand, after seeing several other Scrap Vortex quilts in progress (on Instagram), I definitely prefer them made with smaller pieces. The overall effect is more pronounced.

It's been gratifying to note that of my eight canvas scrap bins, four are seeing a dramatic reduction in fullness.

Progress on My Small World has slowed as I've worked on Scrap Vortex. But as I go along, I've been cutting 1-1/2" X 1-1/2" squares of neutral prints. That's because a total of 375 of them are needed for My Small World. I'm also prepping and working on the hand-sewn parts, including appliquéd pieces needed in Section 2.

Sections 4 and 5 need three small embroidered pieces, and I've stitched two. The pattern calls for the Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, and Harbour Bridge (Sydney), but I want to reflect my locale. Certainly, palms and golf carts (our primary mode of transportation) feature prominently in my world! The third embroidery will be the lighthouse on a nearby lake.

I guess you could say I'm sewin' crazy, and toodling along! Linda

Monday, June 15, 2015

Living Proof Ministries Event

Last week, I attended the Friday evening/Saturday morning Living Proof Ministries event in Tampa at the University of South Florida Sun Dome.

I still haven't come down from the Holy high. 

My friend Winnie, who I met through Happy Stitchers and attends our Friday morning "Good Book Study," accompanied me on the bus trip. 
Winnie and me
While I wouldn't recommend traveling by bus, I would most definitely recommend attending a Living Proof event to hear the inspirational, Spirit-filled speaker Beth Moore, and worship music led by Travis Cottrell. Beth's message from Galatians 6:1-10 is still on my mind and in my heart.

She asked us to memorize: "RE, the most beautiful prefix in history," and spent much time explaining the value of the "re" words in our lives: reverberate, restore, reframe, replant, repent, and remember.

Beth is such an enthusiastic speaker! It was difficult to get a good picture of her because she's always in motion.


On Saturday, she went into the crowd to ask questions.

She then shared a "re" word - RENEW, found on a roll of toilet paper!


All of Beth's Bible studies, devotional books, guides, and more were available for sale. I picked up these. The "Children of the Day" is a workbook for a nine week Bible study of 1 and 2 Thessalonians. I bought it in the hopes I can find an area church that's offering this study!

One of many beautiful moments during this event, was hearing 7,000 women singing praises to God. Who wouldn't be moved by that?! Linda

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