Friday, December 31, 2010

Year End

I was so busy this week enjoying my vacation and trying to finish up that "Last Quilt of the Year" - which was also the 'winter break quilt' that the Munchkin and I were working on together - that the idea of doing a year-end blog post was very low on my radar.

It is now 11:00 on Friday, December 31, 2010. The quilt is nearly done - and will be by the end of the winter break - the Munchkin is tucked away in bed - and Hubby and I are sitting here winding down the year.

...and the thought right now of recapping 2010 - life wise, crafting wise, Munchkin wise - is just not sparking the muse.

So I will just wish everyone a happy and healthy 2011 for now - and maybe do a more elaborate post when I am not trying to be creative this close to midnight.

Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

How many quilts does it take.... get to the end of a FQ bundle???

At last count... "tha-three" :-)

(...and yes, I totally forgot that there was a turtle in the Tootsie Pop commercial!!! Bonus!!!)

It all started in the middle of 2009 with receipt of a gift - a fat quarter bundle (and a layer cake) of Moda's Wonderland. I totally fell in love with the bright colors, the funky patterns - and the scissors. Oh how I love the scissors!!! Those super-for-a-crafter-gotta-make-something-for-a-crafter scissors.

I was at a loss on exactly what to do with the fabrics, though... and stashed them in my stash for a while as I pondered the possibilities. Since I had the luxury of the entire fabric line at my disposal - I wanted to take advantage of it - I normally don't have that many fabrics that actually "match"...

What to do? What to do??

Most of the FQ friendly quilt patterns I dismissed as being too limiting -as they only used 12-20 of the fabrics - I also wanted to challenge myself with a new pattern at the same time.

But what??? And for who????

I soon decided that my BFF Jill would be a perfect recipient for a quilt from this fabric. She's a crafter - likes bright colors - and I really wanted to make her a special quilt - so I set to work to find just the right pattern.

I soon found it in my blog travels - at Lyn Brown's website. A disappearing 9 patch and half square triangles married together - fun, easy, new and free -it had everything a girl could want.

I set to work - focusing on the pinks and teals - and soon had Sibling Revelry.

And I thought - WOW - that put a dent in that fabric!!! The quilt is HUGE and other than the white and the dark brown centers - I did not add anything other than the Wonderland.

Um.... then why did I have so much left???

And now what was I going to do with it???

I made a couple of Maggies and a Margo and continued to ponder the possibilities.

Then this spring, Shellie and I decided we would do a "quilt along" based on a quilt that I had seen Jill do - and had fallen in love with.. Sunny Lanes by Pat Speth. I started to "inventory" my leftover Wonderland -and realized I had enough to do this quilt as well... so that became the spring project, and "Return to Wonderland" was born.

This is also when I broke down and actually bought more yardage of Wonderland. I had hoped to use some Wonderland on the back of Jill's quilt, but that plan fell through.

This time I went with a different vendor, and was very happy with how the turquoise with the brown vines and the brown inner border (w/ turquoise dots) worked with the rest of the colors. The quilt is quite large - I even had to hang it sideways on the clothesline for this photo. It will come close to covering the top of my king sized bed (when I finally finish it!) and one would think that this would be the end of the FQ bundle... perhaps????

NOT.... SO..... FAST......

There was still a third quilt yet to come.

Quilt "tha-three"... aptly named "Tootsie Pop."

Tootsie Pop was born of the rest of the layer cake as it's base - making 2 4-patches from each fabric pairing. Most of the rest of the FQ's were cut into 10" squares -and those turned into 4-patches as well.

The size of this quilt is a little smaller than I usually make, but was dictated by how much of the turquoise I had left to do the border.

And since my lovely niece Karen had mentioned how much she loved this fabric line -it was perfect that I had enough left over to make her this special quilt for Christmas.

And STILL I am not done with the FQ bundle!!

I even made some covered mini-journals. And it still was not the end!!! There may have even been a few more little projects in there - and those that have been following my "Adventures in Wonderland" may remember some that I have missed.

There is not enough left to make another quilt - unless it is a doll quilt or heavily subsidized with other fabrics - but that has not stopped me from putting together a few more "Wonderful Wonderland" projects. A couple of them are "yet to be finished/yet to be gifted" so I can't share pictures -but just so you are warned that we are not ready to leave Wonderland just yet.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Simply a winner

OK - I don't have anything witty to say today - too much wrapping and last minute holiday sewing I guess. The brain is toast!

I also still have not figured out how to post the picture of the random number generator thingy.

But the result was... 59 entries...random number picked was 23...23rd comment posted was...

Anjeanette!!! - who wrote "Regina, we have a memory box too. I write down what new ornaments we get each year and where we were living at the time. For years I thought I should drop the part about where we were living, but now that we just moved, I'm glad I kept that part!

Loved your post though. We didn't take our ornaments out this year so we didn't get to stroll down memory lane. That is one of my favorite things about Christmas each year."

Anj and her family have a wonderful crafty blog at Roots and Wings Co. and I would not be at all surprised if they have not made something similar to my horsies in one of those crafty households. Another bonus is that Anj has a family of 4 - so these will be perfect for her and her boys!

Congratulations - and thanks to everyone for sharing such wonderful memories. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas, and a wonderful 2011!!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Memory box... and a giveaway

On Saturday as my Munchkin (5) and I decorated our tree, he asked me why we had so many "things" to put on the tree.

I told him that they were not "things"... they were "memories" and that the box we keep them in is the "memory box."

I showed him the ornaments we got when Daddy and I were first married - and how seeing them reminds me of that time.

I showed him the ornaments we got when he was a little baby - and told him stories about his first Christmas.

I showed him ornaments that my Mom and the University women's group made when I was in high school and talked about how we looked forward to each new ornament each year.

I showed him ornaments from when I lived in Japan, ornaments that I had given to his Daddy because of a special event or hobby or interest, ornaments that people had given to me as gifts, ornaments that we had purchased on vacations or special trips, a teeny teeny tiny bear that my sister made that is not really an ornament but sits on an upper branch, and on and on. Needless to say decorating the tree around here takes a LONG time - and we are not done yet!!

We also talked about the ornaments that he made with Daddy at school on Friday... and that when he sees these each year as we decorate the tree, he is not just going to remember the beads and sticks and glue that put them together, but that it was a fun day with Daddy making something special.

One of my childhood memories was of the candy cane horse ornaments my mother used to make. I always liked filling the horses each year with a fresh stash of candy canes, and "discovering" uneaten candy canes when we undecorated the tree. These were also fun little gifties that I remember Mom making for friends and teachers - and each horse seemed to have its own personality.

I did not have a candy cane horse in my ornament box as I moved out on my own, but always thought of them every time I decorated a tree. Last year I finally made good on my efforts to figure out the pattern, and made some for the Munchkin's preschool class (photo above), and these are the same pattern that was mentioned in the Candlestick Horses post.

As part of Sew,Mama,Sew! Giveaway Day, I will be giving away a set of 4 "candlestick horses" (though they will probably be the ones cut out by electrical light and not by candle light) - colors may vary. I will also include the template and instructions so you can make your own.

To enter - please post a comment telling me about YOUR favorite ornament memory. One entry per person, please. (And if you don't celebrate Christmas, please share a special "object related" memory of your own)

Please be sure to include some way to contact you in your message - or be sure your profile is not set as "no-reply" (if I don't have a way to contact you, you won't be able to win!!). This giveaway will be open until Midnight on December 17th and is open to everyone - including international (I am in the US). I can't guarantee delivery before Christmas, but I WILL ship by the 20th, and after that it is up to the postal service.

So - what's in YOUR memory box?

(comments now closed -I will draw a winner later this morning. Thanks everyone for sharing such great memories!)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Coming soon...

Looks like more new projects for the new year!

...with this that I just won!!!
Woo Hoo!!!

With this stretch of good luck, maybe I should play the lottery???

I had been contemplating trying some wool applique - this looks like it will make it that much easier!

Thanks Bradie!!!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Time for a "Snowball" fight!!!

'Cause I just won a whole bunch of adorable fabric for snowball blocks from Melissa. Thanks!!!

Check out her great doll quilt tutorial for these!

Candlestick Horses

Tonight we spent about 90 minutes in the dark, courtesy of a blown transformer on the pole just in front of our house. 9 of our neighboring houses joined us in this little outage - while others nearby were blazing bright, with lights in every window and Christmas lights on every lawn.

The temperature? A blistering 9 degrees F.

While Hubby worked diligently outside, connecting our generator to the furnace, sump pumps, fridge and freezer - keeping us warm and dry, and saving the products of our summer gardening efforts, I was inside, twiddling my thumbs by candlelight. The Munchkin was tucked warmly in bed, under layers of quilts, contentedly going to sleep knowing Daddy had things under control.

I had planned on cutting some felt horses out this evening... so I figured I would do it anyway - by candlelight. How hard could it be? Quilters and crafters in the pre-electric days had worked by candlelight, right? And with my big Yankee Candle jar candle, I should be fine...


Wow - it was so much harder than I thought! I was cutting dark colored felt with dark colored markings, and every time I shifted the felt to get a better angle with the scissors, it got between me and the candle and then I lost the line. Maybe if I had a second candle behind me - but that would have been just decadent!

I cut out 6 felt horses - and these will be my "candlestick horses" - when I get them all done, I will post them - and set them up side by side with the ones cut with those newfangled electric lights.

I can't even imagine sewing, darning, embroidering, or more in that light... and I hope it is not something I will need to get used to.

Lets chalk it up to an evening "interestingly" occupied... and great thanks to Hubby and the village electric crew for braving the cold and getting us back in the brightly lit present so quickly.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Quilt for All Seasons?

This morning the Munchkin asked me why the Halloween quilt was still on my bed.

Beside the fact that it is a cozy quilt and works to keep me warm, I told him it was because I did not have a quilt for Thanksgiving... or Christmas (yes - believe it or not)... or Valentine's Day...

...Or Earth Day... he says, confidently.

Like everyone should have a quilt for Earth Day!

So we got chatting a bit about it -and he has decided/agreed to help me design one - as long as he does not have to spend a lot of time in the fabric store picking out fabrics... "'cause that is boring, Mom!"

So watch to see what April brings... it may be April showers, and it may be a new quilt for the bed. I am just curious to see what he envisions - and to see what "ecological" conversations may come along in the process.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Was it Friday?

A few posts back, I said I would be participating in the Friday Night Sew In last night. And I did - albeit in a small way.

Thursday I was able to get my latest quilt to the binding stage. I even brought it to work yesterday and started on the binding there. I got a bit of a late start after enjoying Peter and the Wolf on CD (narrated by Patrick Stewart) with the Munchkin and then getting him all tucked in to bed. And then I continued binding until my eyes cried "uncle" and I had to stop for the night.

No pictures... yet. I am hoping the sunny weather (sunny but cold) holds out through tomorrow so I can hang it on the clothes line for a good shot.

Today was a Target/Post Office/Library run and now we are settling in with out new books and videos and hopefully a bit more binding time.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A winner!!!

I'm a winner!!!

Now I just have to find where I stashed my vol. 1 so I can flip through it again!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Intermission with the Munchkin

We interrupt your eager anticipation of my latest quilt with some of the latest pictures of my little cutie... in no particular order.

Sir Munchkin about to depart on his quest - for Halloween goodies (including asking at one house for a Milky Way bar "for my daddy")

Crafty Munchkin building a "knights house" for his Lego knights out of some paper trimmings, card stock, scotch tape and glue. Note the sofa, chair and table (for the helmets!) The more final version includes a "head box" for all the extra Lego heads - and a HUGE console TV.

The Munchkin with Grandma during our recent visit to SC. He's been sending her nearly daily messages during her recent hospitalization and is asking when we are going to visit again.

And lest you think I am not seriously working on my Snapshots quilt, here is the Munchkin assisting with the layout (sneak preview... don't want to give too much away!)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

To post or not to post...

I've been busy working on projects -really I have - I've just not been writing about them. Many nights it has come down to choosing between actually DOING a project, or just writing about it - and I've been choosing the doing, primarily because I have some gifting to be done and don't want to catch myself with too little time to get things done.

I've been trying to photograph things as I go along - and I promise I will share both the finished project and the process when I get the chance.

Tonight was VERY productive - in 2 hours I got a quilt binding stitched on, 5 strip sets assembled, 5 backing strips assembled, backing and border batting strips cut, binding cut, flange cut and pressed, borders cut - just need the right color thread for the quilting/assembly and I am good to go.

The pattern? Snapshots from Happy Hour by Atkinson Designs. The assembly method? Not what is in the book (more to follow on that later). The fabric? The photo above shows the 12 FQ and border/binding fabric I picked up on my recent visit to SC. There was a bit of a "battle of wills" between the shop clerk and I over my choice of the birds - but I am loving how they look in the quilt!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Turtle of the Week - artwork

There is nothing better in this world than Kindergarten artwork!

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Child's Quilt

A child’s quilt

By a Grandmother stitched

Full of love

In every thread

In every square

A child sleeps

A child grows

Wrapped in warmth

Wrapped in dreams

Wrapped in love

Worn with age

A tattered quilt

Gone its warmth

Gone its beauty

But the dreams

And the love

These do remain

To hold and share

The legacy of a child’s quilt

And a Grandmother’s care

Quilt block 1967

part of a quilt stitched by Sarah Earl

written by Regina Earl Arlauckas

Christmas 1995

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sewing Plans

Finally - a Friday Night Sew In that actually coincides with a Friday night that I CAN sew!!! Woo Hoo!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Turtle of the Week - reprise

The Munchkin at Barret's Place park in Pendleton, SC - Fall 2010 (age 5.5)

The Munchkin at Barret's Place Park- Fall 2007 (age 2.5).

Either that turtle is shrinking (which I doubt - it's metal) - or the Munchkin is growing!

We had a great visit - more photos to follow after I get back in the swing of things - you know how it is when you feel like you need a vacation to recover from your vacation (it wasn't the vacation so much as the travel to and from that did me in - jet lag with no jet).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Whole Lan-Yards...

Last month I participated in my 7th MD20 Lions Leadership Institute. 1 of those was as a participant, and 6 have been as a staff member - 4 as Coordinator of the program.

Each year I served as coordinator, I ended up making something for the participants, the faculty/staff, or both.

This year it was lanyards for all - thanks to a pattern from Two Peas in a Pod Designs that I came across one day. I did not go as patchworky as her instructions, other than the star insert on each lanyard. Our theme was "reach for the stars" but I had a very limited amount of this fabric, so I just inserted a bit in to each lanyard.

I also modified the finishing a bit - I don't have pictures of it but will go back and do a little tutorial on that if people are interested - it encloses both raw ends but only uses one ring in the bottom, unlike the double ring in the original tutorial. Both work equally well - it just depends on what the lanyard is being used for. These were name tag holders -I printed the nametags out on card stock - ran them through my Xyron laminator -and punched a hole at the top for the lanyard clip.

I will say that this project really drove home the concept of different fabric quality though - the black pin dot and star fabrics were a bit softer to the hand than the solids (although they were the same price!) - and after sewing on them all for a while - and having to change out my needle THREE TIMES when sewing through the solids - I would best compare the rougher fabrics to sewing through sandpaper! I could "hear" the difference in the machine as I passed from the solid to the stars on each lanyard!

It is just a good reminder that I should remember to shop with my hands as much as my eyes when buying fabrics!!! I DO buy online - but usually manufacturers I am familiar with and fabric lines I have "pre-browsed" in stores.

I will be making more lanyards - I wear an ID badge/swipe card at work and now think I need more to change up my outfits - but I think I will choose my fabrics a little more selectively!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Don't you hate it when you have something (good?) to write about - that would make much more sense with photos - but you don't have any, and forgot to take them while you were working on what you wanted to write about???

I WAS going to write about binding, and I WAS going to say that the past few evenings I have been doing little more than sewing strips into binding and pressing them in half, and I WAS going to say that I now have the bindings prepared for 4 different quilts (and applied on one), even though 2 of the 4 quilts have yet to be sandwiched, and I WAS going to say that I have the strips cut for two other bindings but need to remember where I put them (the quilts AND the binding strips) , and I WAS going to ask how people "store" their binding before putting it on the quilt (I roll mine). I WAS...going to write about lots of things.

...well, I guess I just did.


(sorry about the lack of pics - I will take pictures of the bindings ON the quilts - I promise!)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Wardrobe update

Many of you questioned my sanity (!) at only getting 2 of these awesome cardigans.

I know I know - that was a bit conservative of me... so I went back today and got a 3rd - "Rumba Red"... I did have the "Beyond Navy" in my hand, but then I decided that a pair of comfy sweats (mine are threadbare) and another layering tee were a smarter purchase.

The brown one held up to 1 1/2 hours in the chilly misty rain yesterday - and kept my lower back nice and toasty warm. Went great with my orange shirt, too (orange and brown are the school colors where I work, and I was "working" a press conference so had to dress the part)... it was back again today as the temp in our office hovered slightly above "iceberg" - love that the sleeves are not bulky on my arms as I am working on the computer.


Monday, October 04, 2010

Attention K-Mart Shoppers...

Last week I swung through my local K-Mart to pick up a couple of their long sleeved cotton tees. I like them for layering under blazers and sweaters for work, or for snuggling on a cool day, and wanted to get the pick of the new colors in my size range when they first came out.

After picking up 2 different colors, I looked around a little bit more, and then I looked up - and there they were!!!

Cardigan sweaters
! Not just any cardigan sweaters - but PERFECT cardigan sweaters...
Cardigan sweaters like I have been searching for forever...
Well - not forever - but since around 1989 I think - when I had my last favorite cardigan and wore it to threads.

They had to meet the following criteria:
1. mostly or all cotton
2. no zipper
3. v-neck/tapered.
4. sleeves that fit my large upper arms and over another shirt comfortably
5. sleeves that were not super duper past my fingertips long
7. affordable
8. good basic versatile colors with no major embellishments
9. machine wash/tumble dry

I don't ask for much, do I? I nearly took up knitting just to get my perfect cardigan.

I bought 2 - black and coffee bean.
I may go back... it is not often that I can find perfection!

And now that the weather has turned cool and damp - it is perfect cardigan weather.
They just came out of the dryer - is it wrong to want to wear one to bed? :-)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

oh I don't have a witty post title tonight... just read it!

The post below is very photo heavy and contains not only the "booty" (fitting word for today - since it is International Talk Like a Pirate Day) from yesterday's shop hop - but also a few other goodies that have crossed my threshold in one way or another recently that I had not yet had the chance to show off.

We'll start with yesterday... three shop stops... three bags .... four pictures.

Fat quarters from our first stop, Chestnut Bay Quilting. This shop has a wonderful selection of batik fabrics and Civil War reproductions, and the owner also has some wonderful original pattern designs. The two little rolls were from a shop hop held previously - and were a little "bonus" gifty... the big black yo-yo is actually attached to the quilt underneath - more to follow on that in a future post.
Our second stop was Mt. Pleasant Quilting Company. They were celebrating their 'birthday' and had a tent sale with 50% off bolts and yardage. The pink dot to the right I picked up in the tent and will be a backing fabric.

The measuring tape fabric is a new fabric line - sorry I don't know the name right now and the yardage is upstairs. When I first spotted it there were only FQ's on the shelf (and only 2 left of those) and the bolt was AWOL. The wonderful staff there went hunting it down, and I was able to get a yard off it without having to throw any elbows! :-) I ran into another quilting/Lions Club friend there... which was great fun. We are already making plans to have our own mini one-day retreat with a small group locally. That should be fun - and maybe something we can do this winter.
At our third stop, Material Rewards Quilts, I spent a lot of time just going through the entire shop very slowly. The previous two times I had been in the shop it was their Christmas in July - and so the shop had always been very crowded.

I found some fun fabrics in here, including (L to R) the chickens for my neighbor, the white "glow in the dark" for Halloween and the Munchkin's bedroom, and some fabrics to make some 'candy corn' gifties. I also picked up this great Nativity fabric panel to do a wall hanging - will be fun to have the Munchkin decorate the hanging, as each element hangs from a ribbon on a button.

Prior to the shop hop, I had been dangerously surfing the web and checking in on a few fabrics I had been coveting. When they went on clearance, I went a little crazy....

These are mostly 1/2 yard cuts - I am planning some projects in orange and brown - and I just love them all.

Then I had to buy some border fabric for a project, and since was having such a great sale at the time, I picked up some other items as well.

And last but not least - this was a giveaway prize that I won from Quiltmaker magazine on their blog. They were giving away the fabric left over from making the samples from their latest issue I won the leftovers from Practical Magic, and when I won they told me I would probably have enough to make the pattern from the leftovers.

'Scuse me but there are nearly 12 yards of fabric here!!! 12 yards of yummy batiks!!! I think I will be able to make it - and then some!!!

So all these should keep me busy for a while... if nothing else I will be busy figuring out where to stash them until I am ready for them!

I did not take many photos at the quilt show -and did not pick up anything from any of the vendors. The few pictures I did take I will post tomorrow -they were mostly pictures of parts of quilts for future reference and inspiration.... do others do that, too or do you always photo the entire quilt? I think I only have 2 quilts full size shots - the rest are just little bits.