Friday, January 29, 2010


Instead of working on the dozens of UFO's that seem to keep appearing in my quilt room, I am going to be working on three new projects for classes.  So no more snowmen blocks for a while.  But truth be told...I'm really excited about these projects.

First to complete is "An Embroiderer's Blessing by Crabapple Hill.  Because she uses a different thread in her stitchery that what was at the shop, I had to select different colors.  No biggie though...just rollin' with the punches.

After that's complete I will be making another diamond quilt called "Diamond Patch" by Seams & Dreams.  I decided to do this project because I think a lot of quilters are afraid of diamonds and I want to show people that they are FUN to do.  I'll be doing the smaller quilt and using Shades of Blue by Sentimental Studios with a few extras thrown in.

And after these two are completed (hopefully by the end of next week) I'll be working on Crabapple Hill's "Vintage Trick or Treat."  I think it is just too cute.  This quilt I can take a little more time with because it won't be needed in the shop till the Fall.

So that's what I have been up to today.  What have you been up to?

Tah Dah!!!

I just finished my first fabric bowl!  Not too shabby for a first attempt if I do say so.  It's 10" in diameter and 4" tall.  I think I'm going to do another one tomorrow.

If you think you might be interested in doing one, check out the book "It's a Wrap" by Susan Breier.  She has "It's a Wrap 2" coming out this February.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Not much to report...

I didn't get much done yesterday with the Thimbleberries project.  I had planned to work on the applique portion of the project but when I opened the pattern up the directions were missing.  So I spent last night combing through my quilt room looking for the directions.  Well they didn't show up till this morning but boy are my shelves and drawers of patterns neat and tidy now.  

I did manage to piece together the blocks for the main body of the quilt.  Its not much to look at at the moment but here it is. if I could only find my Positively Pineapple book.  It's been missing for weeks and I need it to make a sample for an upcoming class....sigh.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's Thimbleberries Sewing Day!

I almost forgot....big duh moment.  Crazy Bout Quilts has started a Thimbleberries Sewing Day.  A few days back I had said that while I don't collect Thimbleberries fabrics I do have one of their quilt patterns I would like to start.

Today rolls around and I completely forgot.  Thank goodness I checked my dashboard.  This is what I "wanted" to start.  It's called Safe Haven from the book "Thimbleberries Big Book of Quilt Blocks."

As I sat there pondering what fabrics I was going to pull from my stash, I remembered that I did in fact have some Thimbleberries fabrics AND a half done project that needed to be worked on.  So here's what I'll be working on today.  THe pattern is Sweet Treats by Bunny Hill Designs. 

Marmalade and Fruit Butters

I've been continuing my exploration into marmalades and fruit butters.  So far I've made:

Orange Marmalade - too bitter with all the rind, going to try again without the rind
Lemon Marmalade - again too bitter with all the rind, going to try again without the rind
Strawberry Lemon Marmalade - AWESOME, strong strawberry with a hint of lemon.
Apple Butter - always good, like eating apple pie
Pear Butter - one of my favorites, nothing more than pears, sugar, and water
Pear Butter with Nutmeg and Orange Juice - this one was good, but I like it better without the extra stuff

Yesterday I made Apricot Butter from three pounds of apricots I found last week at Costco.  OH MY GOSH!  It is good!

Here's the recipe.

1.  Peal and remove the pit of the apricots (18 to 24) till you have about two pounds of usable fruit. 
2.  Put fruit and 1/2 cup water into a stainless steel pot.  Over medium high heat, bring up to a boil stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the apricots are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
3.  Using a food processor or grinder, puree the apricots until a uniform texture is achieved.  Do not liquefy.
4.  Return the puree to the pot and add three cups of sugar.  Stir until the sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and holds its shape on a spoon.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
5.  Ladle into hot canning jars leaving 1/4" headspace.  Put on lids and screw on bands until fingertip tight.
6.  Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.  Turn off heat, remove lid and let sit for 5 minutes before removing from bath.  Remove from bath and let sit from 24 hours.  Then check lids for a good seal. 

The lid should not flex up and down when you the center is pressed.  If it does just reprocess them in the canner.

Next up...Pecan Butter!

Camp Sloanie Winter Stashbuster - Assignment #1

First, let me explain what's going on. 

Pat Sloan is having a Winter Stashbuster weekend February 5-7.  She will be giving out a block pattern on February 5th that is perfect for stashbusting (especially for precut jelly rolls and squares).  Doing her block is not required but using up that stash is.  You can do whatever you want that weekend so long as you are sewing your little heart out.  And the best part, there will be giveaways throughout the weekend!  How awesome is that?

Ok, assignment #1 is to go through your closets, shelves and other hiding places, and find jelly rolls, charm packs, layer cakes, etc. as well as any collections of fabric you have been saying.

Well I have completed assignment #1 and oh am I ashamed (not really)...insert pouty face.

In searching I found:
2 Hushaby Charm Packs with yardage
1 American Primer Jelly Roll
1 Glace Jelly Roll with yardage
2 Essence Charm Packs
1 Objects of Desire Charm Pack
2 Santorini Charm Packs
1 Nature's Notebook Jelly Roll + 4 Charm Packs
1 Aster Manor Jelly Roll + 4 Charm Packs
7 Gypsy Rose Charm Packs
2 Patisserie Layer Cakes
1 Oz Jelly Roll + 4 Charm Packs
1 Hello Betty Jelly Roll + 1 Layer Cake
1 Whimsey Jelly Roll
1 Cornucopia Fat Quarter Collection
1 At Water's Edge Fat Quarter Collection
1 Shangri-La Fat Quarter Collection
1 Collection of Miscellaneous Fat Quarters I'm in love with
2 Ornamentations Fat Quarter Collections

Some were bought for a project in mind and some I just bought because I liked them.  It's definately time to start using this stuff up.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

Just completed, here is E is for elf / F is for fir.  I'm surprised how fast this one went.  Next up...H.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lots to talk about!

I've been busy busy busy and have pictures to share.

I finally finished both diamond quilts last week.  Here's a picture of the batik diamonds quilt.

Sorry the pic is a bit wonky.  As soon as I can find a suitable back for it, I think I'll let DH quilt it for me.  My other diamond quilt, Portobello Market was quilted by DH a week ago Sunday.  Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the finished quilt right now because I forgot to take a pic of it before I dropped it off at the  quilt shop for display.  I'll post a picture as soon as I can get one taken. 

After completing those two last week I just wanted to goof around and do something that didn't require a lot of effort or brain power.  Monday night I made this little quilt using a dresden template and a charm pack.  It measures approximately 16x20.  When its quilted and bound it will be donated to one of our local hospital's NICU to cover the incubators to protect the babies' eyes from the bright lights.

I enjoyed myself so much Monday night that Friday I made another one from a few scraps in my bin.  It measure probably 24x36.  I am not sure what I'll do with it yet.  It has a few too many lights in it but c'est la vie.  I'll probably add a small border to it before I quilt it.

Thursday night I wasn't feeling too well (suffering from Cedar Fever...again!) so I didn't feel like working on anything too involved.  So I decided to finish this little quilt top since I only had the top and bottom row left to complete and they were already cut and had sitting around for a couple months.  It measures 16x20 and is from the book Fat-Quarter Quilting by Lori Smith aka From My Heart to Your Hands.  I'm not sure what I am going to do with it yet...maybe donate it to the Silent Auction for our next quilt show.

Saturday I visited a couple new quilt shops in Arlington with my friend Donna.  I went nuts on patterns.  I firmly believe that when you're in a quilt shop and you see something you want - BUY IT because you never know if you'll see it again.  In the first photo is a From My Heart to Your Hands pattern.  I plan to do all 9 mini quilt and put them into one large quilt.  The other two are from Laundry Basket Quilts.  They'll be great for my overflowing Civil War fabrics.  In the other photo the only new one I bought is the middle one.  Its from Crabapple Hill (of course).  All three of the embroidery patterns shown are next on my to do list as soon as I complete my snowmen.

Sunday I started working on this little quilt.  I had bought the pattern at our quilt show in the fall, lost the pattern in my quilt room, and went out and bought the pattern again.  It is being made from Fig Tree's Millhouse Inn line.  Not sure how I feel about the dark blocks but I am reserving judgement till the quilt top is completed.  DH likes it so far.

My "A" block is finally complete as of late last night.  I didn't think I'd ever get back to my snowman quilt...too many distractions.  I am starting on E/F today.

And finally,  in the middle of all this I made this little stitchery from a pattern posted on Flickr group Hoop Love Vintage Transfers.  I am thinking about stitching some more in the varegated threads and putting them into a quilt using 30's prints.

Now you know what I've been up to the past week.  I can't wait to find out what I'll up to this week...haha.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mail anyone?...An Open Invitation!

For a couple years now I have been making and swapping fabric postcards with ladies around the world.   I find they really bring out my creative side.  And they are so much fun to make.  They are perfect for making on those days when you want to accomplish something but don't want to work on something complicated and/or time consuming.

Here are just a of my favorites from the postcards I have made. You can see more of my postcards by clicking on the Fairy postcard to the right.

For anyone out there that would like to receive (non quilters) or swap one (quilters and crafty types), leave a comment on this post and I'll contact you by email to swap addys.

P.S.  This is an ongoing invitation.  If this blog still exists five years from now and you're running across this post, I'd still be happy to send you one.

Switching Gears

Well the diamonds quilt top is put together minus borders.  I've had to put it and my embroidery aside so I can complete my Portobello Market quilt.  I need to have it finished this weekend so we can get it up at the shop for students to see.  I love teaching this class.  Anyway, here's how its coming along so far.

I've got four more blocks to complete and then I can start putting them together.  DH is going to quilt it.  He's still learning the ins and outs of maching quilting but he's learned enought that I'm comfortable letting him quilt it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm in love!

I am going to attempt (at some point this year) to make a Joseph's Coat quilt.  The blog Don't Look Now has great step by step instructions!  You should go check it out.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I have the BESTEST friend!

Look what my friend Donna knitted for me!

I am soooo loving it!  One because us Texans (native and registered) have been freezing our buns off lately and two because it matches the new Calvin Klein jacket I bought recently.  Donna really is the best! 

I told DH last night I want to teach myself to knit.  And get this...he told me I wasn't allowed! LOL (like that'd stop me).  He said I have too many UFO's and I need to work on finishing them before I start something new...pfft!  As if.  Men!  They just don't understand.

I'm still working on the A block but I put it down last night to work on the Diamonds quilt.  The diamonds are almost all put together and then I can put the borders on and quilt it.  I'll wait to show a pic until the top is completed.  I am really excited about how it has turned out.  It has been super easy to make.  The only thing I've had to do is make a few more blocks to change out a few that just weren't working colorwise.  I'm sure when all is said and done there'll still be a block or two that don't completely satisfy me but c'est la vie.  I could mess with the thing forever but I'm not gonna let myself. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Back to Quilty Things

I'm still working on A.  There are a lot of words in this block which is what takes the most time to stitch...the smaller the motif being embroidered, the smaller the stitches, the more time it takes.

For now I'll post a picture of quilt I intended to finish this past August but didn't for reasons I'll explain.

This quilt is called Aunt Bea's Parlor by Black Cat Creations.  I LOVED making these blocks!  They went so fast I was able to do about two a day when I really stuck with them. 

This past August I went to our local guild's annual quilt retreat determined to finish this quilt.  All the border triangles were cut and ready to go.  I had my iron and portable mat and ironing pad (the Olfa one with the handles) with me.  I get the first triangle border on and pressed.  All is well until I am adding the next border and I notice black smudges on the white triangles.  Somehow I managed to melt some of the nylon handle into the white triangles.  In disgust I put it away and now it's January and the quilt still isn't finished. 

Sigh...I need to dig through my scraps and look for the white I used.  I have lots of white fabric on the shelves but you'd be surprised how many shades of white there are in the stores.  So dig I must to find the "right" white...insert more sighs.

Wish me luck.

Meet Buddy!

or so I like to call him.  Don't get too close though.  He smells like he got sprayed by a skunk.  Buddy, as he has so deservingly been named, has been living in the attic right above my quilting room for the past month or so. 

Buddy and I have spent a lot of time together...pretty much everyday while DH is away at work.  While I quilted and embroidered away Buddy quietly slept, only making noise when he decided to roll over.  I'm guessing just to assure me he was still there.  I could hear him each night as he got up and left the house to find food. 

Sadly...Buddy moved away yesterday.  I hardly knew him.  Critter Control picked Buddy up to take him to his new home in the country where hopefully he'll meet a nice girl raccoon.

I keep listening for Buddy moving above me.  But all is quiet.  I kinda miss the little booger.  

Monday, January 11, 2010

Snowman Quilt

O is done now and I've started on A which is a larger block.  This is a really fun project.  As I work on it I'm trying to decide if I'll put it together like the pattern calls for or do something different.  I'm leaning towards something different.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snowman Quilt

G is complete.  Next I am starting on O.

When Trucks and Trees Collide

My DH is an early riser.  Each morning he quietly gets up at 4:00AM and get ready for work.  By 5:00 he is out the door and on his way to work.  From the time I lay my head down on the pillow the night before and sometime midday the next I never hear a word from him (I'm a heavy sleeper and he's a busy guy). 

At 5:15 AM this past Thursday he broke with our usual routine to call me.  Not used to getting calls in the early early hours of the morning, it tooks me what seemed like forever to find my phone.  DH says "Sorry to wake you up but I just got in an accident but I'm okay."  He goes on to tell me what happened.   It boiled down to this...he got into a fight with a tree and the tree won. 

This was the first morning after a gnarly arctic front had blown in the night before, bringing very little moisture with it.  The roads were dry for the most part but he went ahead and reduced his speed to work just to be safe..HA!  As he crested a hill the back end of the truck broke loose, sending him to the shoulder where he hill a small culvert.  From there it was the tree's turn.   It ran down the ENTIRE length of the truck on the passenger side.  Both airbags deployed.  The passenger window shattered.  And bolts on the front wheels snapped.  Here's a picture of the culprit.  That tree couldn't have been more than 6 to 8 inches in diameter. 

We are pretty sure the truck will be totalled.  Airbag replacement alone can cost a couple thousand to replace.  DH is sad.  He loves his truck and doesn't want to see it go.  But on the bright back when the  fuel prices skyrocketed, the price on used trucks dropped dramatically.  So there are some great deals to be made out there.

So our lesson for today is Texas and ice don't mix.

P.S.  I'm thinking about making up a t-shirt for DH that says "I fought the tree and the tree won"...hehehe. 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Taking a break...

...from quilting.  Changing gears I've gone back to doing some embroidery.  Back in October, I started working on "Snowmen A to Zzzz" by Crabapple Hill Studio.  I thought for sure I'd get it done by Christmas...pfft.  Life (and my ADD) got in the way.  So yesterday I was looking at it and decided it was time to get back to it.  Here's what I have so far.

Yesterday I finished up C and this morning I finished D.  Right now I am now working on G. 

On a cold day like today I like curling up in a quilt and doing some embroidery.  With the continued cold weather we're supposed to get I should be able to crank out a ton of these in the next several days.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I think this is it...?

After mulling over ideas (and working with what I had), here's what I've come up with.

If I look at these diamonds any longer I think I'll go cross-eyed.  For better or worse I think this is what I'm going to go with.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Another Day of Diamonds

Well...all the blocks are done.  Here's the layout as it is now.

I gotta be honest.  The layout has got me stumped. I just can't decide how to lay it out.  As you can see there are dark and light areas.  I'm not sure if I want to create some sort of secondary design or just leave it as it is.  I really want to get this top done so I need to make a decision and this is killing me.  I'm not usually on the fence about things like this.

Off to ponder for a while.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I made more progress on the diamond quilt today.  Looking at it, I've decided it needs a couple more rows to make it a bit longer.  I am hoping I can get this quilt top done in the next day or two.  I'm excited to see it finished!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I'm a Little ADD

A little?  More like A LOT!

There are so many things in life I want to do that I get distracted very a kid in a candy store.

Instead of working on my diamond quilt or the bajillion othere projects I need to be working on, I've been working on this little gem since Friday.  Kaaren at The Painted Quilt posted this cute embroidery freebie.  I fell in love with it the moment I saw it.  She did it in bluework and redwork.  Mine, I decided, needed to be in color.  This morning I added the squares.  Next up, quilting it.

P.S.  I got distracted last night and made eight jars of strawberry-lemon marmalade, three jars of apple butter, and one jar of pear butter.  Gahhhh!