Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A GIVEAWAY!

So yesterday was my 36th birthday and I wanted to quietly celebrate with this giveaway because it was may birthday and it might be my 100th blog post. Might be only means that my dashboard says I have 99 posts but when I look at my labels it only adds up to 98. So, I figure between this post and my announcement of the winners, I'll still have reached my 100th post.

Did I lose you? No? Well, let's continue then.

So, I'm celebrating both little milestones with a give-away. Problem is, I wanted to give away something different, fun, unique. I couldn't decide on just one thing so here is a BUNDLED giveaway. I want to see what all this giveaway fuss is about. :)

First, you get amusing little anecdotes from Helen Kelley.
Next, a pattern booklet (contains 2 patterns) for strip scrap quilting.

Third, a cute little sewing kit for fun little sewer in you.


Finally, if you trust me, you get my services! I will offer you my quilting services. DISCLAIMER:
I am not a professional longarm quilter. I have a mid-arm machine and I would qualify myself as an advanced beginner.

That said, here's the parameters of what I'm offering. I will quilt pieces of fleece for you or a finished top to a fleece back (no batting). (FYI, an anti-pill fleece works best with a pieced top.) I will work with you to determine what you'd like done within my capablities. In other words, this will not be show material. This will be a lovely "I get to use and abuse it," quilt.

Why am I offering this? I get to practice and you get to enjoy a the coziness of quilted fleece! My thought, you send me what you want done, we'll arrange the simple details and I'll send you final product. Here's a link to 2 webshot albums of mine with my work with fleece.

2-sided fleece pieced top/fleece back

So, are you in? Do you want to participate? The rules:

1 - leave a comment to this post answering the following question, "what is your favorite quilting memory?" (this gets you 1 entry)

2 - spread the word by linking to this post (this will get you a second entry) - BE SURE TO TELL ME you've done this in your comment reply, please or email me.

3 - check back to see who won on the end date.

END DATE for entries will be JANUARY 1 at 9pm ET. I will post the winner after that time or at the latest, Jan. 2. I will mail items the following week (traveling over the weekend.)

Good luck!

Friday, December 18, 2009

J does it again - teacher gift

My youngest, J, has the quilting bug! He may deny it but if I try hard, I might be able to keep him interested even through his teen years. :)

His teacher loves bright color. He enjoys his teacher and her class. He decided he wanted to make her a wall-hanging for Christmas. We browsed some blogs/photos/patterns and saw one (can't remember where) which gave J and I the basis for what was created. I picked the layout, J designed it and choose all the colors (and most of the fabric).

He helped sew the blocks, I added the sashing and the decorative stitching. He helped with the quilted "X"s.

I'm dang proud of this kid and he's proud of himself, too. He gave it to his teacher (which made her cry, he said) and then she showed it to the principal (which made her cry, too)!

Hmm, I'm just glad he's learning the fastest way to a woman's heart is by being heartfelt in his giving. :D

Enjoy the photos!





Monday, December 14, 2009

I won something!

Sew Mama Sew hosted a blog giveaway contest a couple weeks ago and I posted a comment here and won at a little Etsy shop I wouldn't otherwise have found.

I received the muscle relief bag a few days ago and tried it out last night. It is AWESOME. The scent is nice when room temperature but when warm, it's intoxicating.

Ahh... thanks LOVE ME KNOT CREATIONS!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

p.s.s.

Chocolate chip cookies take about 1 hr give or take at 200 degrees. Long time but at least I can start my holiday baking!

Monday, December 7, 2009

p.s.

per my previous post, I'm seriously pondering the feasibility of making cookies on the grill or how long it would take in a 190 degree oven to bake.

Any words of wisdom?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I miss my stove

I am in TN and renting a house. My house in VA has, hands-down, the best kitchen in my home in VA. I love the rest of my home but my kitchen made me want to get in and cook/bake/experiment. My stove in VA, is the BEST.

I say this b/c I've been tolerating the oven/stovetop in our rental. We are making due but two weeks ago, it crapped out on me and the stove doesn't heat up past 200 any longer. Christmas is coming! I want to bake cookies ahead of time, I want to bake dinners so I have time to finish my work during my busy time of the year. But no...

(Complaining is almost over, I promise.)

I went to the local Wally-world the other day and found a mozzarella/proscuitto/basil roll and just had to buy it. Just tonight, as an appetizer, I cut it up cold, put on a wheat cracker, opened a great red wine and am enjoying myself.

But it's bitter sweet. This is good but store bought and sometimes, homemade with a little warming (melting) over toasted bread is best. I really miss my stove. I miss the tomato appetizers I make regularly that my kids all love.

COMPLAINT IS NOW OVER.

Here's what I love. I LOVE sweet basil. MMMMMMMMMMM....
I love fresh sage.
I love fresh parsley.
I love onions, garlic and chives.
I love herbs!

I love food. ;)

Time to get back to back to this quilting thing. I've finished day 1 of a 2 day class and now I have homework. I'll work on that and show you all my results when the class is finally over.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Thanksgiving weekend (NQR)

We did not meet family for turkey. I didn't even EAT turkey. We drove to a little town outside Atlanta, GA with our dogs and ate with some strangers and some friends at Shoney's. Let me tell you, it wasn't like momma makes it!

Why did we do this? Well, my husband works with the wounded warriors at Ft. Campbell, KY. One of the programs to help the soldiers during their rehabilitation is to get them out and hunting if that's what they like/want to do. It helps heal mind and spirit and thus, makes the physical healing move along a bit more easily. The program helps the soldiers with injuries understand that there is no limit to doing what they want, just a reassessment of how to go about getting it done.

This weekend, we hooked up with the
Vizsla Club of Metro Atlanta. (One of the members of this club, Barben Vizslas, donated our Jo-Jo to this cause for the warriors and that is how Mike and I are involved now in trying to train a vizsla.) The VCMA hosted a Field Trial where many came to compete with their dogs in simulated hunt tests. I have to tell you, I learned a lot and just fell in love with vizslas all over again. In a very short summary, here's what happens. They take the dogs out into a field 2 at a time and watch for them to point out a bird, by scent, not sight. The handler will flush the bird the dog pointed and then fire a starter pistol. The handler will then release the dog to go find another bird or covey of birds. It's beautiful. They take long sweeping runs and then all of the sudden will stop on point and not move. There are various levels of expertise during the trial.

At the end of the field run, there are call-backs for the top 3 or 4 who worked in the field. At that point, the real gunners come in. The dog has to find the point (they make this easy to do) and now has to stay ON POINT through the flush and shot to wing (the shooting of the bird). Also, the dog has to find where the bird went down and retrieve it back to the handler. The combined best runs in field and call-back determine the winners of the event.

Now, back to us. The VCMA invited a few warriors to come down and be the gunners for this event. After all of the competitions, with all the extra birds they laid in the fields, they also took the warriors out to the field for a guided hunt. Brought 2 dogs (Bart, the 3-legged mascot for the WTU in Ft. Campbell and Cutter, a beautiful young boy who's going to accomplish great things) to help point and the warriors were able to bring some birds down after being flushed. I think they walked away with about 8-10 quail when all was said and done.

We all had a great time and it just firmed up my husband's and my desire to keep our dogs on their training schedule so that come fall next year, they will also be out there full swing for these soldiers and their unique therapy programs. This collaboration with the WTU (Warrior Transition Unit) and these dog clubs (VCMA and now AKC) is just beginning but it looks to be a wonderful partnership. Thank you to VCMA for the invitation and hospitality! I know the soldiers loved every minute of watching those dogs show their skills!

Warning: Many pictures and few captions to follow! -grin-



This is our boy Jo-Jo. He didn't compete but here he is at the end of his own point. Just had to include him!


Most dogs were vizslas but a couple were other breeds. Here is a german-shorthaired pointer.


First shot of the call-back and a quick hit by the fellow in the wheelchair. It was a proud moment for all and a great start for the gunners who never felt the pressure of missing! (If they missed, it could cause a dog to falter and lose placement. Something like that, anyway - I'm still learning.)




Retriving the shot!


This one had her first ever retreive. Time to celebrate!


The warriors setting up to shoot whatever is flushed during a call back. The dog is on point behind the wheelchair. You can barely see him back there.





Searching for the scent.



Bart (the dog) lost his leg to cancer in 2008. Since then he's won his Master Hunter title (a HUGE deal for a 4-legged dog, let alone a 3-legged dog)! He's become the unofficial mascot for the WTU at Ft. Campbell! Here he is with a retired wounded warrior as well his owner.

On the guided hunt. Ahh- good times!

You can walk a hunt.

You can ride horseback.
If neither of those are an option, bring on the four-wheeler!



THANK YOU EVERYONE!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pink quilt- complete

I'm finally getting around to posting photos of this quilt. I had given you a teaser a while back but here it finally is.


This quilt started as a mystery challenge off my OST Yahoo Group. I had a bunch of fabric from my mom and decided to use some of it for the mystery. While I'm not a huge fan of pink, I love the way it came together.
At the same time this mystery started, an old friend of mine reached out for donations for a breast cancer walk. His wife (another old acquaintance) and he were walking in memory of her mom.

As I was working the mystery, I couldn't stop thinking about her mom (I also knew her through my friends) and their little daughter and as I stitched, it became more and more apparent to me where this quilt should go. I continued working on it and the idea hung into it strong so I reached out to Brian and asked him if he thought the quilt would be a nice gift for his wife and daughter or if it would bring painful memories. He confirmed it was a good idea.

Fast forward... 1 year later I am finally finished. Many other tasks and life got in the way and I wanted to quilt it well so preferred to practice on my kids' quilts before I loaded this one. As I quilted, memories of her mom, the few I had, floated in and out. Images of Liz and her daughter Ana, snuggled under the quilt and talking of grandma also floated in my head.



It became apparent to me this quilt was a labor of love - and not mine. I put care into this one but someone else was putting the love into it. I have no doubt Liz's mom was stitching in her heart and hugs through me. None at all.



I bound it, attached a label, sent a card explaining this journey and pray they can feel the love of mom/grandma in it.



This one, this one is special to me despite it's simplicity in design.
Hmm, now there's a peach twin size one of these (I did 2 at the same time) that I have to find a home for. One thing at a time.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Just Because

I'm posting just because it's November and I haven't posted yet. I'm posting because I have something I've been wanting to tell you, it's on the tip of my tongue, but I have forgotten what it is for the last 9 days.

My mother wants me to believe it's an early onset of senility but since I'll only be 36 this Dec., I think she's just trying to make her own forgetfulness seem less noticeable. HA! She's not going to fool me.

I guess, instead of anything overly insightful, I'll have to do this instead. The following is my sewingin/quilting to do list before the end of December, but most before Christmas.

"DBD" = Due By Date.

DSS Bed Quilt (never completed last year for too many reasons to mention here) - DBD 12/31/09 - halfway through paper-piecing 15.5" blocks. The last post on this was is here.

SIL bed quilt - DBD 12/24/09 - must start cutting this week. This Jinny Beyer Shimmering Sea pattern is what it will look like except I will add an applique over the center of a celtic knot tatoo she has on her foot. I'm still unsure if it will be fantastic or ruin the piecing but it was a combined element we came up with to make it personal to her.

Breast Cancer Awareness Quilt - DBD 11/13/09 - finish label, add label, mail.

Dog Jackets - DBD 11/18/09 - cut out, need to sew.

DH Quilt - DBD 12/20/09 - need to cut still.

Wallet/Business Card Holder - DBD 12/24/09 - Make 2, one set for me and one for my GF.

Godmother's wall hanging - DBD 12/18/09 - this one is optional so it may be put off for later. We will see.

So there you have it. My to do so far. As I look at it, it seems manageable. I think, however, the hardest part will get the two bed quilts done b/c they are both paper-pieced and large sized. I have to kick butt this month so Dec. can be quilting them only. When I think of it that way, I get myself a little frazzled!

Clock is ticking...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Just a short non-quilty post to say Happy Halloween!

My girl just received the sacrament of Confirmation this morning. Congratulations K!


My eldest son (12) decided he didn't want to dress up and trick-or-treat but wanted to decorate so he and my younger son (9) went at it with the fake spiderwebs.



We will be picking up 2 pumpkins to carve this aftenroon to add to the decorations.

My younger son wanted to be a quilt for Halloween. Isn't that a hoot! So, we used the quilt he made and the quillow I made as a tutorial a while back, pinned em together and voila! His costume is done. I didn't want a bar to make it look like a hanging quilt, he wanted to have it drape like a poncho. Here's what he'll be walking around in tonight. I love this kid!




A picture of the newest mug in my growing collection.

Finally, a photo of each the dogs who take up so much of my time these days.


Buddy (6yr old Cocker Spaniel)


Jo-Jo (21 mo. Viszla)


Sasha (19mo. Viszla/Lab)
Remember, have a happy and safe Halloween!

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's a love/hate affair

Yes, yes it is.

Bags, purses, totes... my nemesis (wait, would it be nemesies?).

I love the idea of being creative and having a tote/purse/bag for whatever mood I'm in. I love the unique designs I see and the endless possibilities one pattern can provide.

But I hate them. I hate them all and I'm not exaggerating. Pardon my french here, but bags suck. They do. Don't let anyone tell you differently, don't let all those bloggers out there who make em and post how easy they are fool you.

They LIE. It's not easy, there's no quickie you can put together... realize it now, if you want a cute bag for your mood, you will have to shell out the $ for one. And now I KNOW why all these folks say they are so easy and then charge $50 a pop for a bag... because they AREN'T easy. By the time I'm halfway through a bag (I've quit on a few) I'm ready to spend the $.

Do you feel me yet?
I say, Do you feel me yet?"

I thought a kit I purchased would be easier to do than the others I've flubbed and tried along the way (with only 1 success). I thought it would be good for my football fleece blankets and LOVED the idea it was almost completely done for me.

The pockets were sewn on, zipper sewn on, piping sewn on. All I had to do was sew the 2 lining pieces together, the two shell pieces together, then sew the interior, exterior and handles together.
That's all.

I hate bags. I hate bag instructions.

After too many hours reading the instructions, looking at the pictures, reading instructions, trying to sew the shell and interior together and failoing miserably, I tore it all out and called my friend.

She's started sewing bags, you see. She does a great job, too. She says they are easy. She thinks quilts are awful but bags, they are fun. So I called her. I mean, I've helped her with some sewing items here and there (ps, she's the friend who conned me into doing this for the school secretary) so she owed me, right?
Graciously, she said yes, and read the instructions, looked at pictures, read the instructions, tried a few things, read the instructions, pulled out instructions from her other bag projects, and figured it out. The instructions weren't incorrect, just not as precise as they should be. Our problem was I sewed the handles on wrong.
Rip-it, rip-it.

Here she is, my now known as, "Friend, Goddess of Bags." She sewed it almost all up and I was able to finish the other few sections.


I hate sewing bags but I do love my finished bag. so much so, that when another year passes, I may try again (probably with the same result!)
Thank you, Kim, my Friend, Goddess of Bags!
Here are the finished pictures.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I want this chair!

This chair is on sale in a little shop in Occoquan, VA for $500 and I want it. I'm 5'2" and it's the perfect height for me to be able to sit in and bind quilts. It's super fun to look at but, alas, it's $500.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Halloween decoration break

A quick break from my current projects to whip up 4 placemats for Halloween decoration (which is about the only decoration I have going this year!)

These are double-sided so I can have all ghosts & trees showing or all skeletons showing.

One giant spiderweb became my quilting motif. Kids love them b/c they are fun so I'm pleased.

Friday, October 2, 2009

One week quilt marathon - Part 2

My second quilt of the week is my aunt's quilt. For her 70th birthday the family is surprising her this weekend. I won't be able to attend so I was determined to finish this quilt on time to get it to her.


It's a memory quilt but in a gentle way. "Memory light," if you will. I call it such because it's not full of memories, just random ones from family which can remind her of fun or silly times. There's not really one serious thing in there except her committment to service.

I was going to make it puzzle-like, with clues to the memories but I just wasn't feeling it, even after my friends at my OST Yahoo group and my family assisted. So, more straight pictures/print outs. I like it so no complaints.
I did a simple meandering but also threw in some feathering (a first!) for practice.
Finally, instead of a label, I wrote directly on the back of the quilt. I felt it was more in line with the fun theme on the front.
I hope she likes it!