Monday, August 29, 2011

Winner, and Water Bottle Carrier

You all just blew me away with your nice comments during the giveaway. Golly, some of you even became new followers when I said you didn't have to! Thanks very much. I think. No pressure to blog about interesting quilt-y things, right?

The RNG (Random Number Generator) picked 8 to win the Marmalade Fabrics $25 gift certificate. In the last post, if you count down eight comments you'll see the winner is Tricia from Ames, Iowa.

Tricia commented: 
Congratulations on hitting 152! I have been reading for months but just started following on Monday.
If I won a Marmalade Fabrics $25 gift certificate I would choose loulouthi.

I've recently become acquainted with Tricia through our Des Moines Chapter of The Modern Quilt Guild. Do you think she might let me admire, and perhaps touch, her  Loulouthi?

Last month I made several potholders using Insul-bright. When I wanted to make an insulated water bottle carrier, I learned that Insul-bright is recommended for cold too. I found a pattern here, and modified it to suit my needs. The two carriers I made are taller (11") and fatter (3-3/4") to accommodate our store-bought containers. 

This one belongs to my husband. Thank goodness for my stash bin of solids because he requested "plain," and he wanted his made with a tab so he can carry it from his belt. See the tab on the right. To make the tab durable, I cut and interfaced a selvage strip of the fabric. 

The pattern calls for French seams which add stability, as does the channel quilting.

"Plain" was not what I had in mind for my water bottle carrier! This fabric is Kumari Garden, Sanjay Blue, by Free Spirit. Would you believe that it was purely accidental that the round base has that centered flower print?!

I should have made these a long time ago, for our long walks. It will be interesting to see if they keep our cold water cold.

Last Friday (August 26) my husband and I celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary. Because he's an outstanding cook, we rarely eat dinner away from home. But for our anniversary, every year, we go to Tumea & Sons, a local Italian restaurant. The waitress, who sees us only once a year, always remembers who we are, and gives us the royal treatment. And boy is the food good. I could rave about my toasted ravioli, but let's focus on those desserts! I took a suicidal leap off the diet wagon for this one: Spumoni cheesecake. It's chocolate cheesecake; pistachio cheesecake; and cherry cheesecake topped with chocolate syrup. He had tiramasu. Both of us ate every decadent morsel.

Hogan celebrated our anniversary by lighting up! Not really, but doesn't his chew stick look like a stogie? He's our going-on-eight-years-old boy.

Because I like funnies so much, I'll leave you with one I like.
A girl went into a library and walked straight up to the librarian's desk. 
Librarian: "Uh, this is a library." 
Girl: (in a hushed whisper) "Oh, I'd like a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Marmalade for You!


I intended to offer a giveaway on the occasion of reaching 150 followers, but I blinked and missed it! I'm marveling that 152 of you would be interested in my quilt-y doin's and life. Thank you!

Still, as you know, it's never too late for a giveaway!

Tammy, who owns the online quilt shop Marmalade Fabrics, has kindly offered a giveaway through my blog. I'm very excited for you to get to know her. She's not only really nice through her business and blog - A Content Life - I know first-hand that she's a sweetie in person too.

And she has excellent taste in fabrics! I first found Marmalade when I was looking for Kaufmann Kona solids, and boy, does she have them! Check out those Bottled Rainbows. Yum!

See her modern prints in yardages as well as colorful bundles. And be sure to check out the patterns you won't find anywhere else!

Recently I made this Trio Tote bag using Outside Oslo fabrics from Marmalade. (See the previous blog post.)

I'd encourage you to browse her shop and see what you like. Do that. Then come back here to make one comment for one entry to win a $25 Marmalade Fabrics gift certificate! How cool is that... to be able to select whatever you want!?

Complete this sentence in your comment:
"If I won a Marmalade Fabrics $25 gift certificate, I would choose... "

You don't need to do anything else. No need to follow; no need to blog about this giveaway; and definitely no need to Facebook or Twitter! Life's already demanding enough without me sending you hither and yon for a chance to win.

So to wrap it all up, it's:
  • One chance/one comment to win 
  • Open to commenters worldwide 
  • Ending Sunday (midnight US Central time), August 28 

Since I attended my 40th high school reunion in June, I'll leave you with this...

I don't want to brag or make anyone jealous or anything, 
but I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Triple Tote

For several weeks now I've been mulling over how to make the bag I saw a woman carrying at the doctor's office. Hers was commercially-made, but I thought it might work using the pretty "Outside Oslo" canvas weight home dec fabric I purchased from Marmalade Fabrics.

I've named my bag Triple Tote because that's what it is - one, two, or three separate bags that can be carried simultaneously or individually. The strap, with swivel hooks at each end, allow me to carry whichever bag I want, or all three at once!

Fusible fleece gives shape to each bag, as do 2"-wide boxed bottoms. To help define the bag shape, I pressed a fold into the bottom and sides that I then edge-stitched. A tabbed D-ring on each side of a bag can be clipped to the swivel hook.

small tote - 10-1/2" wide X 6-1/2" tall

The yellow bag is the smallest at 10" wide by 6-1/2" tall. This is the one I'll probably use most often by itself, when running errands.

The medium bag (right) measures 10" wide X 8" deep, and is made with my favorite of these three Oslo prints.

The largest bag is 10" wide X 10-1/2" deep. It's no accident that this one can hold an IPad2... should I ever be so fortunate to own one.
All three bags are lined and have a divided 6" X 6" inside pocket. The 2" side is for pens, lip gloss or reading glasses; the 4" side perfectly holds my cell phone.

To make the zipper pull easier to grab, I threaded a piece of the Oslo selvage through the eye of the pull. The canvas selvage weave is dense enough that it shouldn't unravel.

It took some time to make a bag - zipper, lining, pocket, D-ring tabs, box bottom and edge stitching - and then make it again... and again. This heavier weight fabric assures me they should hold up well, and now I have a variety of options for actually using them.

The fair is over for another year, so this afternoon I'm off to the fairgrounds to pick up my quilts. Now I get to figure out what to do with my ribbon winnings... all $15 worth.  Linda

Friday, August 19, 2011


Thursday evening was the fourth meeting of our Des Moines Chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild (DSMMQG). Our speakers were Jill and Marny of ModernQuiltRelish, who offered a super program about the elements of design, and their experiences judging the Ann Arbor (Michigan) Chapter of MQG's "Kona Solids Challenge." Through discussion, I learned more about what I might do to create a satisfactory quilt for our "Habitat" challenge, due by the September meeting. Thanks Jill and Marny!

At the end of the evening, those of us who'd made potholders, drew numbers to swap them, returning home with the same number of potholders but different ones than we'd arrived with. These are the two I took home. Oddly enough, I drew numbers for potholders that were made by the same person! Veronica. Very cute!

I swapped two potholders I made and kept a couple for myself.

This 9" square potholder was my first attempt at fabric weaving. To make this one, I used Kona solid white, and a rolie-polie (2-1/2" strips) recently won in a giveaway from Riley Blake.

It's easy to sew strips for woven fabric. Just sew 2-1/2" strips wrong sides together and then press the seam open in the center back.

I also played around with no binding (potholder above) and binding.

To make the potholders useable, I inserted The Warm Company's Insul-bright between two layers of batting. Whoever uses these potholders should be able take a hot dish from the oven, or protect a tabletop from heat.

Since I've lately become enamored with the Circle of Geese FPP block, I decided to shrink the design for two more 9" square potholders. 

What I learned through this is:

1) Next time I won't use two layers of batting. One layer of batting and one layer of Insul-Bright should be enough.
2) I prefer the appearance of a potholder with binding, but next time I'll make each corner a curve, so I don't have to mess with mitering.
3) I don't think I can bring myself to actually use such pretty little quilts!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Another Australian Medallion Design

On the heels of my recent fair ribbons with both blues earned for quilts from Australian designers, I'm pretty much thinking that designs from there are worth sewing. Yes, I am very Aussie-biased. I count among my life's blessings the four times I traveled to Australia between 2008 and 2010, when our daughter and her family lived in Sydney. Being able to join and "meet" quilters through the Yahoo chat group, Quilting Down Under - several of whom I met in person - and/or visiting Australia quilt shops, have tremendously influenced and enhanced my knowledge and appreciation for quilting down under.

When FAB Elyte (Doesn't she have a beautiful name?) of "Tea, Fabric and Other Things" blogged that an Australian quilt shop, the Patchwork Pumpkin, was offering a free medallion quilt pattern I decided to sign up. It came with a few strings attached. They are:

1. You are not allowed to purchase any fabrics for the quilt top. You must use your stash!
2. You may swap fabrics with your friends.
3. Show us your quilt centre to get the next border instructions. No proof? No pattern. No exceptions!
Patchwork Pumpkin's "Friendship Medallion Quilt"
When I read the rules, I loved the concept... and promptly "bought" the free online pattern. Within a few days, I'd made my own "Friendship Medallion" quilt center. This is Part 1.
Friendship Medallion Quilt center, 20-1/2" X 20-1/2" 
Because I began buying quilting fabric so long ago, the bulk of my stash still tends toward "traditional." I'm trying to sneak some of those scraps into this quilt and use white to give it a more modern feel. I like this start.

Part 2 arrived last week and I finished it today. Instructions call these Churn Dash blocks, but I'm familiar with them as Hole in the Barn Door, or Monkey Wrench. (Churn Dash blocks have rectangles instead of squares.) In any case, this is a favorite block, and it's a good thing... I had to make 20 of them. Each block finished at 5" X 5".

I've been cutting the framing spacers larger than the 1-1/2" width called for in the pattern. Having wider spacers allows me more fitting and squaring-up options when my quarter inch seam isn't spot on. The medallion is about 35-1/2" square now. I still think I'm gonna like it.
Friendship Medallion Quilt, part 2 complete
You can join in any time you wish. I hope you do! Let me see your pictures. Linda

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair

And the rest of the words go, "don't miss it. Don't even be late!" I know I'm giving away my age, remembering the words to that song from the 1962 Rodgers and Hammerstein movie, "State Fair." It's an oldie but a goodie... as is our fair!

Dan and I went on Monday, along with 90,367 (up from 85,569 in 2010) of our Iowa neighbors and visitors. Daily fair attendance has been up, and most everyone agrees it's because of the weather which has been unseasonably moderate, surprisingly so after the high heat and humidity of July. No one's complaining.

To my Aussie and NZ friends: I would favorably compare our fair to the Sydney Royal Easter Show which I was fortunate to attend in 2009. Our fairgrounds aren't as new as Sydney Olympic Park (site of the 2000 Olympics) nor as well planned (expansive) and paved, but our exhibits and activities are similarly wonderful. We have a pleasant mix of old and new buildings, but more importantly, the intent is the same as that of the Sydney Royal Easter Show... to showcase our best.

Here's my take on a nine hour day at the Iowa State Fair.
John Deere tractors pull wagons full of people around the grounds
From a hilltop, you can see downtown Des Moines and our gold-domed state capitol building
A fair parade is daily. Monday was Veteran's Day, and here's a vehicle flying patriotic flags.

We were captivated by a free performance: Extreme Canines That's a dog balancing on the palm of his handler. 
Chain saw wood carver at work.
My husband with a fairgoer who WOODn't even speak to him. That's so unlike an Iowan.
Gardens outside the Agricultural/Horticultural building
This year the fair features cows! Sculpted from butter, made of sand, made of concrete and painted.
The infamous butter cow. This one's a replica of the 1911 display.
Honoring the former butter sculptor and the new sculptor.
Cow and calf sand sculpture in progress.
My collage of some of the 100 concrete painted cows scattered throughout the fairgrounds

The fair is famous for its foods on a stick - corn dogs to pork tenderloins to salad!
In Pioneer Hall we sat in on the harmonica competition. One of the judges, Phil Hauge, offers an impressive performance.

All varieties of animals

4-H kids have their own building to show off their talents
In the 4-H Building: Restored children-sized, metal John Deere tractors
4-H Building: woodworking
4-H Building: table made from cut-up yard sticks. Cute idea!
Politicians love schmoozing at the Iowa State Fair.
My husband (right) shakes hands with one of our Republican presidential candidates, Rick Perry (Texas)
The one man band - Bandaloni
He delighted and impressed us by playing a: drum, wood block, cymbal, guitar, harmonica and singing, almost simultaneously!
A husband and wife, working together at a nearby lemonade stand, came out to give us a dancing show. Don't they look like they're having fun?

Bandaloni, who has been on "America's Got Talent," got everyone dancin', even the Iowa State Fair mascots! 

As we were leaving the fair, we saw this local newsman, Todd Magel, setting up for the evening broadcast. He's standing by The Ejection Seat ride where a brother and sister were stuck - suspended in the air, for 2-1/2 hours! We missed all that excitement. Here's the actual video broadcast made by this newsman.
What else can I tell you about it? If you're really interested, lots more photos can be seen here. The Fabric and Threads Department display of talent is remarkable, as are the talent shows, baking (the cakes!) and cooking competitions, and displays of all things commercial and farm-related. The amusement rides, the food... I could go on and on about all of it. I'll probably return one more time before this ten day run ends. I wouldn't want to miss my annual chance to eat something on a stick! Linda


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