Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mug Rug Angel

Here's an update on the mug rug swap that I posted about recently.  My swap partner was unable to  fulfill her swap assignment so I did not receive a mug rug.  Lindsey, our swap hostess, got to work and lined up a Mug Rug Angel to step in and complete the swap.
 
My mug rug arrived yesterday and I was surely happy to find this in my mailbox.  I don't know who my Mug Rug Angel is.... this is all I had to go by... no name and address.  Because of this, I'm unable to send her a thank you note so I'm hoping that she may come across this post and see that the mug rug was received and is appreciated.
 
 
This is the little note that she included, along with a couple of tasty tea bags.  I may not know who she is, but she has great calligraphy skills!
 

OK... here's the mug rug!  It's made of up a ton of little fabric strips...  I love the colors and I love the text prints.  Cute as a button!


The backside is a nice bright print and the only quilting lines are around the focal flower.  This picture doesn't show it very well, but it's pretty cute.  You can also see the quilting lines in the picture above.

 
So, Mug Rug Angel..... whoever you are..... I thank you very much for being kind enough to send me a mug rug, even though I was not your swap partner.  I wish I could thank you directly, but this will have to do..... THANK YOU VERY MUCH!  Blessings to you!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tree Bird Hop

 Apologies...this was scheduled to post and didn't....anyone having troubles with Blogger?

 

Just in time for spring comes this great blog hop..... Tree Bird Hop!  I can tell you that the birds are actually returning to Indiana in full swing with temps in the 40's and 50's.  The snow is melting and will be soon be gone ... my shovel will be retired to the garage and the mower will come out to take its place.

This is another hop from dear Madame Samm.  She continues to keep us "hoppin!"  And I also have Lana to thank for being our hostess.  There are lots of participants in this hop and it has to take a lot of checking and rechecking to keep us all under control.  A HUGE thanks to Madame Samm and Lana!!

This hop was all about the birds.  We were asked to make something bird related.  It was suggested.. only suggested.... that we might want to use some fabric from Elizabeth's Studio called Beautiful Birds.  It was designed by Tracy Lizotte.  Well, I loved the fabric so much that I really wanted to use it in my wall hanging.  I started with this panel of several birds nested in their colorful houses. If you are interested in this fabric line, there are many different bird fabrics, all colorful and delightful. 

 

And then, Pat, my sweet blogging friend, sent me this panel.... an empty tree, just waiting for some colorful birds.  Thank you so much Pat for sending this to me and making the vision that I had in my mind come true.



And lastly, a picture of Oliver that was printed on fabric.  I had intended to thread paint this, but it just didn't work out.  I'll have to give it a try on a future project.


 

Here's the finished hanging.  Although Oliver is no longer with me, I have tons of memories of him sitting by the window and "chatting/cackling" at the birds in the backyard.  I took a few of the birds from the bird panel and combined them with some "blank" tree sections from the tree panel.  I had intended the tree to kind of extend as one into the window sections.  Somehow, when I added the borders and the seam allowances, they were far from lining up.  Oh well... the eye really doesn't pay much attention to the fact that the tree doesn't exactly flow from pane to pane.




A closer look at Oliver.  I added a layer of fusible fleece under him to make him look like he was in the room and give him a bit of a 3D dimension.



These shots are trying to show that I actually did quilt this wall hanging.  Even in person, the quilting lines kind of disappear.  I didn't do heavy quilting, but quilted all of the trees and the window sections.  I think it would have turned out better if I had used a thicker batting.



 

This is a little template that I made to do the window sections.  It was the first time that I had done a version of Attic Windows and was concerned about messing up the Y seams.  With this little template, I just marked the intersections and stopped sewing at the marks.  I machine stitched the whole thing and they went together perfectly, without a glitch.  I was a happy camper!


 

Thanks for stopping by today and checking out my Tree Bird project.  There are other talented bloggers joining me today and here are the links to visit their blogs.  Please fly over to each one and let them know how much you enjoyed your visit!

Tuesday, March 17
Gracie Oliver Arts-You are here!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mug Rug Swap

Fort Worth Fabric Studio announced a spring mug rug swap a few months ago.  I thought it would be a fun swap to participate in... a quick project and something I'd have time to make without putting myself in a bind so I signed up.  We were to make one mug rug and were assigned a partner to make and send a mug rug to.

I decided to make two mug rugs, as it seems like the times that I'm using a mug rug, I'm usually sharing a cup of coffee with a friend and it's nice to have a spare mug rug to share.

So here they are.  I didn't know anything about my swap partner, so I just focused on happy, spring fabrics.  I paper pieced the baskets on both mats.  I forgot to measure these before I mailed them, but I'm guessing they were about 6" x 12"...or something like that.


 

These could be reversed... pretty simple and clean on the backside.  To quilt these, I used a standard serpentine stitch on my machine and just made it as wide as the stitch adjustment would allow.

                   

 
 

 

 

I enclosed a pack of lady bug buttons and some spring-ish note cards.  There was also an initial button but I forgot to include it in the photo. 


Now, here's the not-so-great part.  I haven't heard anything from my swap partner.  Not even a quick email acknowledging that she received these mug rugs.  It makes me think that she didn't like them at all.  :(  I also have not received a mug rug from whom ever was assigned my name....this would not be the same person that I sent my mug rugs to.  You always take a risk when you join a swap.  I will say that this was an international swap and it is possible that my mug rug will yet arrive and is swimming around in the postal system somewhere.  I'll post an update if this happens.  I've been terribly disappointed with some swaps before and I have also been extremely thrilled..... you just never know! 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Nothing Special

Not much to show you lately.  I'm still out here, lurking around  all of the other blogs but not adding any posts of my own.  I have been doing a little sewing but two of those projects have to be secret for a little while longer.
 
This one I can show you. This is a little project that has taken me about a year and 30 minutes.... one year thinking about making it..... and 30 minutes actually constructing it.  Pitiful, huh?  In any case, it's just a little quilted envelope style bag to hold the extension table for my Janome.  I've already made one for my other extension table but wanted to make another one to keep this one from getting scratched too.  Simple, but effective. 
 

 
We've been blasted by snow this past week.... 16" on Sunday and another 6" two nights ago.  Yesterday was the first day that I was able to get out of my house and run some errands.  I focused on the important errands..... getting some groceries and stopping at my LQS.  Only essentials, right?!
 
I found this cute little basket at Target for $3.00..... not bad.  It was in those $1 to $3 bins that are in the front of the store.  It's actually quite well made. 
 

I'm using it as a scrap basket for now.  It's just perfect for the job.


And finally, a little stash building at my local quilt shop.  Everything Christmas was on sale and I picked up a yard of each of these fabrics, plus the charm packs.  I'm telling you, after being stranded for 4 days, I needed some retail therapy to keep my sanity!

 
Hope you are all hanging in there this winter.  I do love the exquisite beauty of winter, but the snow shoveling just wears me out.  We are actually expecting rain on Sunday with warmer temps so the snow will melt a bit, enough to clear the streets anyway, I hope.  OK, Spring.... I'm ready!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tree Bird Blog Hop

There's a new blog hop in town!  I just joined the Tree Bird Blog Hop, scheduled for March 13- 23.  This is the perfect time to see all of the birdie creations my fellow bloggers will make as the "real" birds are returning for the spring weather.  I'll bet there are still openings if you'd like to join in on the fun.  Click on the Tree Bird button here or on my side bar to find out all of the details.
 
 
 
I also wanted to show you a new toy.  I picked up a Stitchopoly board game.  Basically, it's Monopoly with a stitching theme.  It's really cute....."Jail" is "Pull out Thread".... the houses and hotels are needlework studios and needlework shops.....etc. 
 
 


I'll be annoying treating my quilting friends with this at our next meeting.  Hopefully, I can find someone who will play along!

 
There is also a Quiltopoly ...same idea as Stitchopoly, but quilting themed... but it can be hard to find.  I keep an eye out and one day I'll come across one that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. :) 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Gift Certificate Winnings

 
I wanted to show you some great fabrics that I WON a few weeks ago.  Melissa from Happy Quilting has a very generous sponsored giveaway every Tuesday.  (Go there right now to see what's up today!)  Sure makes Tuesday a special day, doesn't it?!  I was the lucky winner of a gift certificate from Shabby Fabrics and here's what I chose. 
 
I went immediately to the 50% off section so that I could get more for my money... or gift certificate.  I picked up a fat quarter set of Pearl Bracelets... 15 of them... most in a tone on tone coloring.  There are also 2+ yards of the cute sewing scissors fabric and 1 yard of Christmas fabric.  And to top all of this off, SF had a 15% off of your total order.   Score!
 
Be sure to check out Melissa's blog and also visit Shabby Fabrics with the links above!
 
 
I was anxious to try my new Go Cutter and started a project for a small wall hanging.  I only used one shape, the 2 1/2" square to cut out these background squares.  Yeah.... I could have easily cut strips and sliced them off fairly quickly the "normal" way, but I wanted to see what the cutter could do.  I cut 88 of these little squares in short order.  Since you can cut 6 layers at a time, it was a bit faster.  When I rotary cut, I worry about slippage and never cut more than two layers.  The thing I like best about it is that I know these squares are just about perfect.  I always feel like I'm rotary cutting things perfectly too, but now and again, I'm off a few threads.  This adds up in the long run. 
 
So anyway, I had fun with my new gadget.  The worst thing about it is the fabric waste.  You have to have enough fabric to cover the die blades with a small border that is ultimately cut off.  This is certainly something to take into consideration when you are planning your cutting.   
 
 
Hope you are off to a great start in 2015.  We had our first "major" snow last night, which was only 3".  We were predicted to get more and I was thrilled to look out the window this morning and see that it would be manageable.  I'm tired now.... 65 minutes of aerobic shoveling is pretty rough when you are as out of shape as I am.  But.... I can't complain when I think of last year and shoveling 90+" of snow! 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Gifts!

Santa was very good to me this year!  My dear friend, Kathy, gave me a Go Cutter, plus an extra die!  How generous was this.... I have to say I was a bit overwhelmed!
 
This is one of those quilting gadgets that is far out of my budget so it was never even considered.  Now that I have one, I'm trying to think of ways to utilize it the best.  It's not the answer to all of my cutting needs, but it's one of those specialized tools that is just right for certain projects.  I'm ready to start slicing!
 
 
And don't worry, Santa did not overlook the Sarducci's!  They each received two skate boards, each with a Star Wars character on it.  They love Star Wars so they were pretty excited.

Since the modeling business has not been that busy, I needed something to keep them occupied and to burn up some of that goblin energy.  Trust me, you do not want bored goblins.... they will find their own entertainment!


They soon mastered their boards and have kept out of trouble and out of my way. 


And don't worry, they may be fearless but they also seem to be indestructible.  No bumps... no bruises.... nothing but fun!


Hope your Christmas was full of delightful surprises!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

Designer Mystery BOM

 
I can't exactly claim this as a finish, but it's as finished as it's going to get for the time being.  These are the blocks from the 2013 Designer Mystery BOM series from the Fat Quarter Shop.  I managed to keep up with the monthly blocks, but then fell behind with the sashing and completing the quilt top.  Well.... the top is finally completed.
 
The FQS is very generous with the fabrics that they include with their BOM packages....generous enough that I was able to do my sashing and corner stones with leftover fabric.  I still have plenty of fabrics left, but they are smaller pieces and will be used in my general stash.  I did have to buy the red border and outer yellow border.
 
As always, these pictures are not the best.  The colors are bold and bright, not washed out.  In fact, I just fell in love with these fabrics and that's why I first joined the BOM.  The blocks were a mystery, but I love them too because they are all so different. 
 
 

The first row is made up of baskets, the second row contains stars, the third row is full of houses and the last row has flowers.  I really loved making these blocks and I'm glad to see them sewn together.



Now my little flimsie will go into the "needs to be quilted" bin.... and this contains many tops.  I get everything pieced and then shy away from the quilting.  I'm getting better with smaller quilts, but the larger ones still scare me.  That's a goal I'm working on.... tackling the larger quilts.  I'll get there....... 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Zipper Bag

 
We all love our zipper bags, don't we?!  I finished this one yesterday and was pleased with the overall results.  I bought a kit for the zipper bag at Sew Lux Fabric which included the sewing machine pattern, fabric, and zipper.  The sewing machine pattern was actually a pattern for a mini quilt, using four sewing machines.  I'll be making that someday too.
 
It's a large bag..... 12" x 13".... big enough to carry quite a bit.  For some reason, I thought it would be a smaller, cosmetic sized bag.  The pattern called for boxed corners but I decided to leave mine flat.
 
The background fabric is actually a tan linen even though it may look more gray in this picture.  The hand wheel and needle are actually gray.
 
 
Inside lining with my label.
 

 A little bit closer shot of the sewing machine block.  It was not paper pieced, although it would be a great candidate for simple PP.  If you just cut your fabrics accurately, they all go together quite nicely.  The smallest pieces are in the needle area, but again, simple if you pay attention to your cutting.

 
A finished project!  I have sooooo many things that need to be finished and this one looked like it might be fairly quick.... it was.  Now I'm off to find my next victim project.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Post Card

Two of my friends headed south for Christmas..... from snowy Michigan to warm Florida.  Although I can't blame them, their snowman didn't appreciate being left behind.
 
 
Note how I he stamped "Post Card" upside down.  Oh well...



Merry Christmas to you all, no matter where you find yourself this holiday season!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Wrapping

Yes.... In spite of all of the shenanigans help from the Sarducci's, all of my wrapping is done!
 
Who knew that bubble wrap was good for so many things.
 

And ribbon.... you can tie up a lot of things with it!

 
They did clean up all of their mess and Earl was retrieved from the trash can before he mysteriously and tragically disappeared. 

 
 
 Hope your holidays are full of fun and shenanigans too.  After all, life's not expected to run smoothly.  ;)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Gathering

I went to my first Christmas gathering this week.  My Kingdom Quilters group met for lunch and fellowship this past Thursday.  For one of our exchanges, we were to bring along four fat quarters..... you bring 4... you get 4.  These are the FQ's that I received.  I was lucky enough to get 5 FQ's.  The red was added for a little pop.  Now we will all take our 4 FQ's and make whatever we want with them and will reveal our projects at our June meeting.  Six months should be enough time to make something, even for me. ;) 
 
 
 
I forgot to take of picture of the FQ's that I brought to exchange .... they were in blues and greens.  I'll be excited to see what Fran makes with them next June.
 
I made some goody gifts too.  I started with some yard sticks and cut them up to make little boxes.
 
 
Filled them with some sewing items and wrapped them in a yardstick design FQ.
 
 
Here are the contents.... pins, needles, ribbon, measuring tape, and bookmarks.  I think everyone enjoyed these little boxes and will find a good use for them.


I keep saying that I'm all done with Christmas prep, but I still have a small amount of wrapping and have two more gifts to mail out.  I want this done and ready to go out first thing Monday so that I won't have to be standing in looooooong post office lines.  I'm a bit of a scrooge when it comes to standing in lines.....Bah Humbug!  Oh.... and I'm still eking out Christmas cards.  At least these can just be put in the mailbox and they will be on their way.  I'm almost done....really, I am!  How about you?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Misc

A few odds and ends today....  First, here is a wonderful fabric assortment that I won in a generous giveaway from Michele of Crayon Box Quilt Studio.  These are 1/2 yard cuts and they are in one of my favorite color combinations, turquoise and bright green.  Thanks so much, Michele..... I love them!
 
 
While trying to gain control in my sewing room, I came across  some additional fabric that my friend, Kathy, gave me.  Somehow, I had forgotten to take a picture to show you.  She knows I'm a bug-frog-insect (creepy things) lover and this fabric collection was pretty much made for me.  Again, half yard cuts.  Thanks, Kathy!  Aren't the bugs cuties!?
 

I stopped at Lowe's yesterday to pick up the color chips that Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville Quips and Snips is using in her Grand Illusion Winter Mystery Quilt Along.  This year, her inspiration came from the colors found in the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Upper Michigan.  I'm not even sure if I'm going to join in, but I've printed off the first two clues and will print the rest as they are revealed.  Her Mystery QAL's are always fabulous and I don't want to miss out if I decide to join in later.  You can follow the link above to print off the introduction and first two clues.  New clues come out each Friday.
 
I think the idea of the paint chips is just fabulous.  Think of the many uses these can have when you want to match a color.  Maybe you want to make something for a friend and you don't know what colors would match her kitchen-her bedroom- etc.  Your friend could simply give you the color numbers that she likes and you are on your way.  The possibilities are endless for these chips!


While I was at Lowe's, I picked up a little Christmas cactus.  My own Christmas cactus has already bloomed.  I moved it to a different window this past summer and it bloomed during Halloween and Thanksgiving.  I think I messed up it's schedule with the new location.  Anyway, this new one was too pretty to pass by.