Saturday, November 21, 2020

Gearing Up for Christmas

 Winter weather helps increase holiday spirits. 

Just trying to look on the bright side of cold, dark days.

I am always amazed by the snow/ice crystals that form on everything when temperatures drop into the teens.  I get totally distracted during my daily dog walks.


I have started putting up all the garland with lights around the house. Today I hope to hang some Christmas quilts which will get me to the last of the garland hanging.

My studio is a little chaotic. Thought I would share what my poor quilting frame looks like between quilting projects...it’s like those treadmills folks wind up using as clothing hangars.


I do plan to quilt a Christmas quilt on it next.

I’ve prepped all the cross stitch ornaments I finished this year for wool felt backings. I stitch the perforated paper to the green wool as I find gluing the felt backing does not last in all cases.


I am struggling like everyone with feeling shut in...always a problem every winter but of course this year is worse. So...I gave myself permission to work on whatever makes me happy at the moment. 

I am done with Santa ornaments for this year but have started a set of snowmen ornaments from Mill Hill that are small projects and only take two or three evenings to complete one kit.


There are six snow folks in this series. One done.

I am working a little everyday on making rows and getting rows sewn together for the Royal Gardens quilt. I thought I wouldn’t make any changes to the original pattern but as I am working on it I feel the need to create a different border. 


I am one kit short of my personal goal to finish 10 Bucilla kits a year.
 I picked a kit from my stash that I feel confident I will finish before 2021.


Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! 

I'll be spending it calling family this year as no one will be in the Anchorage area this year...it happens when hubby and sons are pilots. I switched to a plant based diet several years ago so I am thankful I will not be fixing the traditional meal everyone else likes to have at Thanksgiving. 

Hubby insists we make a turkey roulade when he gets home but he will tolerate side dishes that are modified to my new tastes. I'm anxious to try a couple of new recipes. 

We have two Bailey family tradition for Thanksgiving. 
First, we all share what we are thankful for this year. 
Then, after dinner we watch, "It's a Wonderful Life." 

I'm very thankful for the connections I feel to so many stitchers around the world. 
I have really relied on internet relationships this year!
Even my workouts are through the internet now!
Thankful I have that option. 
I know so many folks have many more real struggles.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

A Great Start to November in the Studio

I finished my mini Fall Frolic, a 35-inch square. I gathered those chopped of corners from the original Fall Frolic and just had to make a mini one! 

With the help of EQ7, I took a photo of my border fabric and was able to make a pretty close rendition of the colors.


A little close up of the quilting...it mimics quilting on the big Fall Frolic.


Here are the two quilts hanging together in my dining room...a gloomy day so not an accurate look at the vibrant colors. I am not sure where the mini will be displayed...I'm already thinking of getting the Christmas garlands with lights out to combat our dark weather. 


And my second major accomplishment pictured below was finishing this top...not yet named. A set of Hoffman Bali Pops and Crackers in the colorway parrot made up this quilt. The pattern started out as "Birthday Cake," from the book "Perfect 10," by It's Sew Emma. I added blocks and a piano key border. This quilt is now 70 x 90-inches. I am thinking this will be a gift and since both my sons are over 6-feet tall, even a lap quilt has to be on the big side. 


I have a general idea of quilting circles which pop the further away I am from the design wall. The colors remind me of walking through the woods. Indoor winter pictures of quilts...not so good. These colors are so pretty and the photo just doesn't capture those colors.

My last project is still in progress, Llama Christmas. So cute! Lots of presents get stacked on the saddle and a cactus to add for the finish...and lots of sequins in the background. This is the last planned stocking project for the year, but not the last Bucilla kit on my list.


And just like that...the holidays are approaching and I find the feeling of really not having enough hours in the day taking hold of me!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Halloween Treats

I have been working away in the evenings on a set of Halloween ornaments from the Bucilla kit, “Vintage Halloween.” Here’s a look at my spooky finishes.


A new technique with the pumpkin ornament was adding "strings," of beads.
 Once I got the hang of it,
 it is was easy and looks great!


It was pretty challenging to work with felt and pointy ends that have a bead. 
Yipes...not easy.


The skeleton was pretty simple.


Okay...the spider was labor intensive. Chenille sticks are the foundation of the legs but have to be trimmed and then stitched inside a folded strip of felt. 

A nice challenge and it came out great.


The ghost was nice and easy. I have one ornament left to make, an owl. 

After I finish the owl ornament I will start my granddaughter's stocking.


This Christmas Llama stocking looks pretty simple. 
I think it will take a week of evenings. 


I spent days making design boards...mostly to use with my Bucilla felt projects. 

I got a bit obsessed with getting one of my retreat projects to the next stage.

Blocks and sashing all put together. 


Loving it!
 I have a set of Bali pops that match the layer cake and am planning to make a piano key border.


I did a quick mock-up on EQ.
Thumbs up!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

October Material Girls Quilt Retreat Projects

 Last weekend was my first quilt outing since last February's, Material Girls retreat.

 It was so much fun. 

Here’s a look at the projects I worked on this last weekend.

At our last retreat in February, I made these butterfly blocks so I started this retreat by finishing the top!

 This was a charm pattern, "Madame Butterfly," from the book, "Charm School," by Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique. My scrappy border was the only change I made to the quilt pattern. I used layer cakes so there were enough scraps to make the 3 1/2-inch long strips for the border.


I started two new quilts from patterns and fabrics that have been aging in my stash.

 I had a Hoffman Bali layer cake, Parrot, and the pattern, "Birthday Cake," from the book, "Perfect 10 Quilts," by It's Sew Emma. 



I am adding another row to the pattern so I added some layer cakes from my stash.

The additional row will add 12 more blocks for a total of 48. I finished 23 blocks....just one shy of the  halfway point.


And on the third day I started a third project.



I finished all the center blocks for the pattern, "Royal Gardens," from Cozy Quilt Designs. This pattern was designed as a block-of-the-month. It comes with instructions for two sizes based on 2-inch or 2 1/2-inch strips. I am doing the smaller version with 2-inch strips.


And at every retreat there is a bit of retail therapy.

I picked up a few more fabrics for my stash...


and a panel I just couldn't resist.


I even continued with my weekend productivity when I got home by completing the last Santa on Sunday night from the Antarctica Santa series, Albatross Santa.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Monthly Update - October 2020

 Looks like I am monthly blogger!

Lots of fun stuff to share since my last post. 

Hot off the quilting frame and promptly bound, "Fall Frolic."

This pattern is from Quilter's World magazine, Autumn 2016. It was a Breakfast Club project. I didn't change anything with this design which is pretty unusual for me...loved as it was originally designed. 

I probably say this all the time...but this is one of my favorites. I used only batiks in my stash and most of the batiks were ones I purchased when I first discovered how much I loved them. I remember buying the border batik at the Houston quilt show...at least 20 years ago...WOW! Finally found the perfect pattern for it!


Not enough sunlight to show the quilting design...the sun is teasing my as I write...just hanging below the mountain tops of our valley.


A little slice of the quilting before it was pulled off the frame.


I started another Halloween ornament kit from Bucilla.


I'm so proud of myself to think of using design boards when working with Bucilla kits. It was fabulous to have all the tiny pieces stick to the quilt batting...and I even had some black batting leftovers just right for the size of design boards.


I finished a stocking for my daughter-in-law. It was so cute when I tried to get her to pick a stocking kit for me to make...she was completely overwhelmed by my stash.  I have hundreds of kits and then I showed her the catalogue with the new designs...too much information! So finally I suggested this one and she approved. She likes to bake so it works. 

This is, "Snack Time," Bucilla kit # 86655, from 2015


I had finished my son's stocking over a year ago but he still needed his name tag.


And another quilting technique was tried this month on a Bucilla felt project...using a Frixion pen to write the names on felt for personalizing. Perfection! I tapped the felt with a hot iron when done stitching and the marking line disappeared...though most of the ink wasn't visible after stitching. I guess I was most surprised at how well the marker worked on the felt. Several years ago I tried the purple marker that disappears with time and it never worked on the rough felt surface.


A little more detailed look...


I still have baby Kate's stocking to make but I don't have that kit in my stash. It's on backorder and I'm hoping it will be ship in November. It is a Christmas llama stocking. Looks like a pretty simple design so I am confident it will get made in time for Christmas. I definitely have one or two in my stash as a backup plan.

Two more Santa ornaments finished.
 
A vintage design from Sandra Cozzolino, Sante Klaas.


And Seal Leopard Santa from the 2020 series, Antarctic Santas.


And I finally found a Christmas fabric to line this tree skirt/table topper.
A vintage Bucilla kit that I cannot find a date anywhere in the packaging so a pre-1990s kit. 


Looks like this snow family has found it's home. 


It's funny to see the green leaves outside in this picture since all the leaves changed colors and have fallen to the ground. Ready for winter to arrive.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Starting September with Several Finishes

 I’m start with the biggie finish which I am labeling a “Trifecta.” The only reason I know what that word means is I have actually been to a horse race and won betting on the top three horses in a race. 

I made two oversized twin quilts and a mini wall hanging from the scraps.


This quilt saga started with the deal I got on the purchase of two Spumoni Bali Pops.
 In 2011, I decided I needed a “back-up plan” to work on at Breakfast Club meetings when I didn’t have time to prep the latest project or just wasn’t inspired to make it.


When Breakfast Club started we focused on making patterns with 2 1/2-inch strips. I picked the pattern, “State of Grace.” I failed to find a border fabric that worked for me so I came up with my border. I wanted to emphasize the deep teal blue pinwheels in the design.


And of course there were hundreds of scrap HSTs leftover from two twin quilts.


I have been stung by wasps twice this week! I surrendered to Mother Nature and spent two pretty days inside quilting instead of working in my yard. I was able to start the last bear stocking pattern in my stash. I figured out what was holding me back from starting this project...I didn’t like my initial fabric selection. The new colors remind me of Alaska and our state flag that is a solid blue with gold stars in the Big Dipper layout.


The next step for the stocking is to hand quilt the front and back sections.

I have finished one of the Antarctic Santas, Penguin Santa.


And I have some finishes on Bucilla kits to share!

The first is a 3D kit, “Frosty Flight.” I need to figure out a permanent stand for the plane.


I did not follow the directions on this kit at all.
It was a nice challenge...I made plenty of mistakes!


As a reward, I decided a simple kit should be the next project. I still have four more ornaments to complete in this kit which was given to me by Plaid as part of their ambassador program.


And of course, I had some unexpected visitors...neighbors who live behind me. They didn’t stay long and headed home after traipsing through my yard to include one of my perennial flower beds. At least they didn’t leave me any presents.


Happy Fall to Y'all.
 It is my favorite season.
 Love the intense colors of the changing leaves against brilliant blue skies.