Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Post About Anna

Actually, this post is "All About Anna." That's the pattern name for the bag I just made. A couple months ago I won the pattern in a giveaway hosted by the designer, Stephanie at Loft Creations.

Instead of making mine with a charm pack - I'm not a typically a charm pack buyer - this comes from stash. "Hometown" by Sweetwater is the feature fabric on the outside pockets. There's also a bit of Central Park, Denyse Schmidt fabrics (Picnic, Fairgrounds, Aunt Edna) Juicy Blooms, Castle Peeps, Sunkissed, Metro Living and Moda Marble.

I modified Stephanie's pattern to suit my need for pockets. By my way of thinking, a bag can't have too many pockets. First, I put pockets on the outside front and back.
tote back
On the inside I added a second pocket. The one at top is called for in the instructions. The one opposite (on the bottom), is another, larger one with a stitching line so I can have a place to put a pen and pencil. I also interfaced the inside pockets. On the bottom you see a base I made, for stability. It's a piece of foam core covered with fabric.

In this close-up you can see two things I want to point out. The decorative button closure is actually two buttons. I first sewed a sew-through gray button to the bag, and then sewed the aqua shank button on top of it. That's called improvisation. The button I wanted to buy was $5.95! Also, my city's name appears in the fabric. "Des Moines." It's entertaining to read all the cities listed. My editor/proofreader nature came to bear when I discovered the letter "v" missing for the city name "Spring Gro e."
Thanks for the pattern Stephanie! I'm already using this! Linda

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Giveaway Winners

"My Birthday Presents to You" giveaway winners are:

Patchwork Pumpkin Pattern - Sue R. (Mtnquilter) of Canada
Patchwork Pumpkin Pattern - Carla T. of Missouri, who blogs at Lollyquiltz
Friendship Medallion Quilt Kit - Heather W. of Canada, who blogs at Creative Confessions

Congratulations to each of you!

A blog post isn't right without photos, so here are pics of fabrics I bought yesterday. The first bundle is half-yard cuts of a dozen prints in the newish Aunt Edna line from DS Collection (Denyse Schmidt) sold at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I have six each of two colorways: "Cherry" and "Far Meadow." But they sure look nice all together. According to Red Pepper Quilts, this line will arrive in Australia's Spotlight stores in May.
The close-to-me Jo-Ann's didn't have all the Aunt Edna prints, so to get them I went to the grand opening of a new Jo-Ann's on the north side of Des Moines. I picked up a few other not-on-sale items, so I managed to use three 50 percent off items coupons, a 25 percent off the total purchase coupon, and the $10 gift card I received for being one the first 100 customers! I made out like a bandit! FYI: Aunt Edna regularly sells for $12.99/yard.

It's shop hop weekend at area quilt shops. That means 15 percent off fabric. I found these two Rendezvous pieces at the only area quilt shop that carries Anthology. Can't you picture the pretty Easter skirt I'll be wearing? 

And this fabric? Well it's just so appealing. Retro. Gray. Chartreuse. Wine-y. A few of my favorite things.

I hope you're having a happy sew-y weekend. Linda

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Quilting My Friendship Medallion

My Birthday Present to You giveaway remains open until Thursday. Click the link, or scroll down to the next post to comment. NOTE: Four of you who commented are "no reply" bloggers: Me, Myself, and I; linny; Joanne H.; and Jannelle. It means your Blogger profile is set to hide your email address. If you want to be in the draw, please contact me with a way to reply to you.

While I've been waiting to draw for the giveaway, I've been free-motion quilting the quilt - the one like the kit I'm giving away. Actually, I've been quilting on and off for a couple weeks now. It's a large quilt!

Instead of going straight to my favorite go-to quilt design, feathers, I decided to challenge myself to not quilt feathers - a "Feather Free" Quilt. Feathers just didn't seem to suit the fabrics, which have a more modern feel. And I didn't want dense quilting since this quilt is plenty heavy as it is.

In the center medallion I quilted a sort of spirograph design using my favorite quilting templates. They're a set of 1/8-inch thick, nested acrylic circles purchased from a vendor at the Overland Park, Kansas, Machine Quilters Showcase a few years ago.
 I used a Frixion pen and circle templates to mark my quilting lines.
The spirograph is quilted with aqua-colored 50-weight Aurifil.

I switched to white-colored Aurifil thread for the rest of the quilt. These Hole in the Barn Door blocks are free-hand quilted in a snail design - spiral in, and spiral back out.

Simple loop-de-loos here.

Flying Geese blocks are covered with arcs.
The most dense quilting is a wavy echo behind the red zig-zag blocks.

Triangles are echo quilted.

In this photo you might be able to see, on the back of the quilt, the last rounds of quilting. Nine Patch blocks were simply outline quilted, and the Sawtooth Triangles were quilted with arcs, once again drawn using my nested circle templates. I intentionally kept all the quilting very light.
85" X 96-1/2"
Binding is made with Patrick Lose's dark red Satinesque, a favorite fabric line of mine.

Between the grand size of this quilt (85" X 96-1/2") and recent rains that have left everything wet, I had a difficult time taking pictures on my deck. The quilt's laying across a bistro table and chairs.

Still, it's a very happy finish. I hope my quilt inspires some of you to head to Patchwork Pumpkin to sign up to make this fun, stash-busting quilt. It's a free pattern. Linda

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Birthday Present to You

Today's my birthday. I'm not ashamed to admit I'm 59.

Three years ago today, I quite vividly remember spending my birthday in this down under city.
Foreground: Sydney Opera House; Background: Harbour Bridge
That day, we rode the ferry from Five Dock... 

to the CBD (Central Business District) 
Sydney CBD view from the top of Sydney Tower, the gold spire in the center of the previous photo.
In the CBD I shopped for opal (the national gemstone of Australian) earrings, and got them.

Most often though, birthdays are low key in our family. This year is slightly different because I'd like to give you a chance to win one of three presents. This is an Australia-themed giveaway.

You might remember that back in August 2011, I started making this Friendship Medallion Quilt. The pattern is a freebie from Patchwork Pumpkin, an Australian quilt shop. Instructions come with a few strings attached.
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!

Wanting a stash-busting project, many of you saw my posts about this and decided to join me. Because so many of you did that, Patchwork Pumpkin asked if I would like to give away two of their patterns! Two of you have a chance to win a pattern of your choice from Patchwork Pumpkin.

While I was cutting out each of the eight parts for this medallion quilt, I thought about how great it was to be stash-busting. And gosh, why not cut out TWO of every piece needed?

So, for example, in part one (as seen on the right) instead of cutting out just 64 1-1/2" X 1-1/2" turquoise prints and 40 1-1/2" X 1-1/2" white prints...

I cut out 128 1-1/2" X 1-1/2" turquoise prints and 80 1-1/2" X 1-1/2" white prints.

I continued to double-up on my cutting throughout all eight parts, setting aside the half I didn't use. With permission from Patchwork Pumpkin, I printed instructions to accompany each part.

That means, my giveaway gift is this. THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.
A cut out kit, not just hunks of fabric, to sew your own 85" X 95-1/2" medallion quilt top like mine.

Anyone can enter once for a chance to win one of two patterns or the kit. Here are the parameters:
  • I'll ship the kit within the lower 48 U.S. states. An international kit-winner should expect to pay shipping. 
  • Three winners will be selected Thursday, March 22.
  • In your one comment, tell me two things:
  1. Whether you'd like to win the "pattern" or "kit" or "either."
  2. Something you know or like about Australia, whether you've ever been there or not.

As for celebrating my birthday, what I'll be doing is this.
Hosting our second Sunday afternoon open house. Last Sunday's visitors, who numbered a dozen, were mostly curiosity peepers. We're hoping this Sunday's visitors will be more serious since we'll be hosting an open house every Sunday until the house sells! I can't think of a better birthday present than an offer. Linda

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Middlin' Time

Feeling that I'm living in a state of limbo what with our house for sale, I'm not inclined to turn my sewing room upside down to dig into a big new project. So in between frenzied bouts of housekeeping, just in case someone wants to see the house, I've been trying to find things to keep my hands busy. 

My good 'ole, long-running Snowmen A to Zzzz embroidery continues to plod along. "P" isn't a snowman, obviously.

"Q" for quilt, naturally, is well underway.

Dishcloths. Four of them knitted in the last few days. Ya gotta do somethin' between visitors to an open house! (With a flat fee broker, we're showing and hosting the open houses.) I've made my own dishcloths for years - all garter stitch - and every once in a while I like to knit them in bright, obnoxious colors. I don't put them out when the house is being shown. Might make someone think I have poor taste or something.

Now whoo are these wise guys?!

A free pattern, that's what! These darling owl "Love Birds" are rice-filled heating pads. You can find the pattern on Suzanne's blog. The fronts looked like this before I headed to the store to buy flannel for backing.

Instructions say to fill each half full of long-grain rice. We didn't have any rice, so for $8.97 hubby picked up this at Sam's Club. Yowsa! 25 pounds! I think I have enough rice for a dozen more owls, a stir-fry dinner for 10 guests, and fist-fulls to toss at a wedding too!

After I got the idea to personalize these characters for our three grandsons who are 2-1/2, 17 months, and 22 months, I thought they looked even cuter. The lettering is hand-drawn and back-stitched using #3 perle cotton.
flannel backs
If you're making them, here's a tip from me. Instructions call for three different colors of felt for the eyes. I substituted three different colors of solid cotton and that worked a treat.

Standing up for pictures is difficult when you're bottom heavy.

From the front yard tree, I swear I heard hooting. "Whoo will buy this house?"

Monday, March 5, 2012

Arbitrary Activities

Right up front I'll say this post is about a bunch of random stuff. Odds and ends of finishes, and a new beginning.

As most of you know, we've been doing quite a bit of clearing out. It also means there's been lots of cleaning. I mean vacuuming, de-cobwebbing, dusting, mopping, window-washing, woodwork-oiling and general back-breaking scrubbing.

We have a bottle of this, and I couldn't help noticing "New Zealand Springs scent." Goodness! Does this mean that springs in New Zealand smell better than they do here? How does a New Zealand spring smell when compared to... say, Hot Spring, Arkansas, or Steamboat Springs, Colorado, or Sarasota Springs, New York? Kiwi friends, can you enlighten me?

This Star Block is the February design for the Blogger's BOM. I'm sticking with my name for this quilt: Strawberry Fizz and Lime Pop.

The gray sorta washes out on this one, but it will be a great place for some detailed quilting.

Love that pink "pop" in the center.

Last year I won a giveaway for a "Spiced Pear Pincushion" kit. The pattern is from Sewn into the Fabric. I didn't care for the fabric in the kit, so I used six prints from a "Sunkissed" (by Sweetwater) charm pack to make it.

It's filled with three tablespoons of walnut litter, as the instructions called for, but I think another tablespoon or more would have made the pear a bit "taller."

It's so tiny!

I took advantage of a perfectly lovely day to photograph my finished Disappearing Four-Patch quilt. There's no green grass below, but check out the blue sky above.

The colors are certainly more vibrant together than those dull, ugly prints were by themselves.  

Such a pretty, crinkly look with the feather flower quilting.
57" X 69"
 Even the backing, made from left overs, looks nice on such a pretty day.

I photographed the quilt on my backyard clothesline.

If you don't have a clothesline, but would like to buy mine, it's for sale.

My clothesline comes with a house! 

As of last Friday, March 2, our house in West Des Moines, Iowa, is for sale. 

All that purging, paring down, Craigslist-selling, sorting, organizing, donating, and cleaning, was for a purpose. After 22-1/2 years, we're heading south - permanently - to a warmer clime. When last December I excitedly blogged about our lifestyle visit to The Villages, Florida, we weren't exaggerating when we said we liked it! So much that we're selling our house, all the furnishings, and my 2000 Volkswagen Beetle to move there! (Boo-hoo, about my Bug. It was my surprise, college graduation gift from my husband.) So, except for our personal possessions and my quilting necessities, we'll load up a 14-foot rental truck to make this HUGE change. We'll:

  • go from a two-story (three-story, if you count my basement sewing room) to a single floor home.
  • downsize from 1,860 square feet (not counting the basement) to approximately 1,500 square feet... when we pick out our new house.
  • become a one-car family. Our new "second car" will be a golf cart, even though we don't golf.
  • go further away from our Kansas City family and grandies who will be 1,200 miles/19 hours from us (boo-hoo again).
  • move closer to our Tampa family and grandson who will be 90 miles/90 minutes from us.
  • leave 22-1/2 years of friends and memories (boo-hoo even more) and God-willing, make another 20 years of friends and memories.
A Bible verse from Acts 17:26b (NIV) has recently become a new favorite, thanks to my friend Carla.

...and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

God knows. He has determine that the time is set for us to go, and where we should live.

While we'd already planned to move this spring, we put sort of a "rush job" on it when, in mid-January, I learned that my degenerative osteoarthritis is worsening. No whinging here; just the facts. I'll need a hip replacement in the not-too-distant future. Better to be in a single-story home with a master suite on the main floor, where recuperation will be easier, than in a two-story.

So here we go! Let's sell a house. If you know anyone who's looking to move to Des Moines, and wants a clothesline well-kept home at a very fair price, do let me know. 

Now let the daily quilting housekeeping begin! Linda


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