Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Love Day!

Happy Valentines Day to all who might read this. This lovely table runner was made and sent to me by Karen Way of Sew Many Ways. Wasn't that just the sweetest gesture? I love it and I have loved and used this fabric in so many ways over the last two years. Just recently I made a valance for my little kitchen window. So when I saw this on her website I just had to leave a comment and she happened to be having a give away and she picked my name from her little basket of comments. Such a kind and talented woman she is...if you happen to check out her blog now she is having yet another give away of 2 pieces of her work and she has a great tutorial with lots of helpful tips on doing hexagons for Grandmother's Flower Garden piecing. I forgot to get a picture of the cute little hexagon pin cushion she made, but it is on her blog and just as sweet on my sewing table as in her picture. Be sure to check out her blog and tell her I said "Hello". She is also asking for help with this Blogger thing. I had no answers for her and have experienced all the same problems as she has so I will be checking back to see if there any magic answers out there. For the most part I can't complain if Blogger chooses to ignore the spaces I put in after the end of a sentence or mysteriously makes my pictures disappear. I have been using this program free for a few years and it is storing all my pictures neatly in Picasso. A few people have said that they get their blog copied into a book yearly so that they will have a copy just in case of what I don't know, but it would be nice to have so I should check that out.

In my last post I showed a picture of a plate I scored at the thrift store last week. Well, I got so many fun things that day that I went back the next day and found more. It was kind of a lucky streak for me because sometimes I go and find nothing. The second day I found this most precious little sugar bowl. There is absolutely no marking on it so I don't know what it is or where it came from, but I love it and it looks so sweet with my little bird in its company. I love dishes though I don't always use what I have...I just collect them!

I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow full of love and sweetness. We made the most delicious Honey Cake and have been enjoying it and should have more left to enjoy through the day tomorrow too. The weather here has been a little minute the sun is shining the next there is wind and rain and even thunder and lightening. This morning there was even snow on the foothills so who knows what will happen in the next 5 minutes. It is sure cold enough to snow some more!

Take time to enjoy the company of those you love!


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Looking at Color

I have been looking at my stash a little differently after reading a post in Quilt Gallery about a new book called 'Color Mastery: 10 Principles for Creating Stunning Quilts' by Maria Peagler. The concepts in this book seem to be something that many quilters are looking for. I don't know how many times in the last few weeks I have heard, "I don't know how to pick fabric that looks good together." I think I have occasionally said it myself. Maria lets you read the first chapter in her book and create a color wheel with your stash when you visit her website (click the link above for her book). I am working on my color wheel now. Last night I pulled out the big box of scraps that I have been holding onto for those times that I might need just a little piece of something. I separated them into piles by basic, blue, green, yellow, purple, brown. I know brown is not on the color wheel, but I had lots of shades of brown. I did find that I don't have very much purple. As I was doing this I had a brainstorm of an idea for a quilt of some sort. I am not sure of what size, but I have a feeling it could be big. Today I worked on my red block. I pieced together 2.5 inch squares with a natural Kona cotton between each one. it was amazing how good these pieces were looking next to each other even though I had never thought to put them together before. Everything is from some past project I have worked on so I was having a lot of fun seeing them come together and remembering what I had done with each one. Maria gives you projects in her book to do as exercises but, I don't have the book yet so I made up my own exercise. She is doing something she is calling a blog tour and hopping to several different blogs to promote her book. It really is interesting. She points out that creating with fabric is different than painting in that you can't blend your fabric colors to make a new color, but you can change the way it looks by choosing carefully what you put side by side. The interesting thing is how different one block can look depending on the fabric choices or how the same fabrics used in a different block with only one or two color changes. I feel like I could go on and on about this, but I need to end this post and don't want to bore anyone. It really had my mind working last night so much so that I was dreaming about colors and quilt patterns.

I did another experiment with some of the 9 patch blocks I was making and cut them in half in two directions then turned the pieces and sewed them back together. It was fun, but I decided that I was liking the simplicity of the 9 patches for this project and in the end I sewed 9 nine patches together to make one block I guess it is an 81 patch...hmmmm. I am going to make one using each of my sorted scrap bags so I will have one in green, blue, yellow and maybe brown since I have so much fabric to work with. Then I will decide just where to go from there. I was thinking of making strips of color for the back instead of squares...

I tore myself away from my sewing machine Thursday to go out in the rain to a local thrift store where I found a few treasures. This very colorful plate is stamped on the back "Limoges France". It is a beauty with lots of gold paint on it. It made some Lemon Poppy Seed muffins from a box mix look extra good. I usually like to make muffins from scratch, but we had the mix and it was looking tasty to me so I cheated. I used the plate to make them look more special and it really did the job.

I also found some pretty little hankies and this tiny little doily with the cutest little ribbon embroidered flowers. It looks very fragile so I am thinking I will put it in a frame with some nice fabric behind it to show off the delicate stitches. I really felt like I had won a jackpot on this trip. I also found a few tops for myself and they all fit perfectly! Lucky me!

Take some time to check out the c
olors in your world. It is amazing what you will see!


Monday, February 02, 2009

Tools of the Trade

Every trade (or hobby) seems to have its own tools. For gardening my favorite, must have tools are my Felco pruners and the leather holster I keep them in when not in use. Since I work at a nursery and love to garden at home I use them almost every day. Sooo, I had to add another tool which was a good quality leather belt that I could strap on in a flash and get to work with my tools near by. Next thing I have to have with me is a good pair of gloves. I keep them in my pocket so the ones I use most are thin, washable and fit like 'a glove'.

A wife of a friend was moving recently and didn't have the space for her quilting frame so she gave it to me. I really don't have room either, but hope to one day. Curiosity got the best of me the other day and I just had to set it to see how it worked. It was easier to set up than I expected, but took up too much room to leave up if anyone wanted to watch the TV. I did use it though to pin a quilt top. This required using another tool that saves my hands, it is a wooden dowel with a brass fitting on the end that helps to push the pin closed and it helped me to work faster too. It is called Kwik Klip and can be found at most quilting stores. We were able to store the frame behind the couch after we took it apart, and it really didn't take very long to set up. I should be able to put it to good use one of these days. Thanks Gail!

I also tried my hand at hand quilting which has lead me on a quest for a perfect thimble. Anyone reading this please leave me a comment if you have any to recommend. I have to go back to The Quilt Show and look up a video I saw a while back where Alex Anderson covers the subject. I have never felt like I needed a thimble before because I like to feel what I am doing, but those little quilting needles are really sharp! I also started working on some embroidery and found some really nice needles, nice because they are sharp. Not only is the point sharp, but so is the head of the needle and I actually drew blood which doesn't look so nice on your beautiful embroidery project. I use to garden without gloves too for the same reason I like feeling what I was doing, but soil really dries out your skin and I got tired of having rough hands and ugly fingernails so I searched for gloves and found that I now use different gloves for different gardening jobs. The same might apply to thimbles...hmmm...I could start a thimble collection to add to my pin cushion collection. The search could be fun!

I did finish another project the other day that I am quite happy with and will use it to take my notebook and other odds and ends to class. I love the fabric and have no idea where I got it or what line it is from... isn't that the way it goes? I think it will be quite handy. This is the 4th bag I have made with the same pattern by American Jane. It is pretty simple and really nice size.

What is your favorite thimble or thimbles and for what kind of job?
Thanks for sharing!