30 November 2011

A Few FMQ Try-Outs

With A Very Merry just dying to be finished,
I'm on a mission to master a few new
FMQ designs.  I prefer to use designs that I feel
comfortable with, are fun, and allow for mistakes. 

The past holiday kept me so busy that it wasn't until
Monday that I was able to sit down at my machine to
try a few out.  Please bear in mind that these are all
 "first runs."  I purposely don't try real hard at first 
because I want to see how easily (or not!) that they
might work up for me--if I get it barely passable
first time through, it'll show some promise. 

I headed over to the Free Motion Quilting Project 
blog for some ideas and came up with a few.

These are icicle lights: 

A "first run" through this one tells me I would have
issues with straight lines, especially while tugging
 on a big quilt...then again, this little sample piece
actually moved too easily so maybe it'd not be that
 bad?  I think I could get the "return exactly over
previous line" worked out though.

As much as I want to put swirls into this quilt,
I don't think that'll be a go for me just yet. 
 (I'm not posting that picture!  Not up for that much humiliation today.)    
Maybe with a lot of practice but that's not something
 I want to take the time out for now, nor do I want to
 try something new that I clearly struggle with
 on this project.

The swirls on this fill-in pattern were about as far
as I felt comfortable with.  I like to think through the
same situations (curve to the left/right, up/down, etc)
an actual quilt (aka, heavy, hard to maneuver) would
provide.  Toward the end of this I felt that, with a little
more practice, I could get it...except for returning
back down on top of a swirl already stitched. 
My husband, who, thankfully, has a fairly picky eye,
told me he saw no problem straying from
the swirl a little.  What do you think?  I know I can do
better--just not perfect.  Does it need to be exact or
does it kind of give it a ribbon-look if I happen to get
off track a bit?  And I'm definitely going to have
to get a more even-pattern look to it.

These flowing star flowers look like poinsettias, no?
I just can't see how to incorporate the "flow" part.
The flowers, though--those showed some promise.

It's messy in the pic but I now have it figured out how
 to handle the "back down between the petals" part
so I think this could be perfected enough. 
And it's really fun.

  I'm thinking of just using white thread.  I don't like
to call that much attention to my quilting...for now. 

For now, I'm taking a break to make a few more 
Christmas gifts! 

23 November 2011

FMQ Ideas for A Very Merry

Even with the upcoming holiday, I managed to find
the time to get the applique on A Very Merry.

 What do you think?  Don't the poinsettias just set it off?
I might be ready to make another in blues/greens!

Maybe the poinsettia fabric should be tad darker but,
really, it was the best choice and I'm happy.
I plan on using this red for the binding as well.

I also pieced together a backing that would do
my thriftiest quilting ancestors proud.
Used up most of the scraps and then some!

It's layered and basted and is now sitting on
my sewing machine just waiting for some time and
just the right FMQ idea.  I think I'll do some
inside-shadowing on the petals but the rest of the quilt
has me stumped.  Tomorrow I'll do some surfing
for ideas while waiting on the turkey to cook.

Thanksgiving blessings to you and your families!

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating


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My Crazy Beautiful Life

21 November 2011

Embarrassing Moment #467

I'm one of those customers.
You know, there in the car waiting till the door is unlocked.
So, bright and early--er, sort of...
 (well, it doesn't open till 10 am--if it had opened at 7 am, I probably
 would've been there "bright and early".)
I walked into the quilt shop, coffee in hand.
Knowing better, I set my coffee on the top of a shelf
of a beautiful display of reds and went to work.
(you know where this is going, don't you?)

Yes, normally I would set my coffee on the floor,
being respectful of the fabric around me.  I had no way
of knowing that display boards can randomly jump out
from top shelves and attack customers, thus creating a
domino effect down the top shelf and eventually hitting
my cup of coffee that I had at least set way out of the
way--or so I thought.   After all of this had unfolded in
sloooow motion, I pretty much just wanted to crawl
into a hole bolt.  But, the employee rounded the corner
 just then, put two-and-two together and insisted it was
not my fault.  The board should have been tacked down. 
They don't like "divers" in their shop, she said.  
(So, there's even a name for this agressive species!)
Well, very little fabric was damaged.  And I even offered
to buy that peice.  I know--highly considerate of me to
offer to buy some fabric! 
(why, yes I did make sure I liked it before offering...)

Here's the culprit--sitting atop more fabric. 
I guess you could say this is his "mug" shot. 

Random:  Like the cozy?  Made it from an old favorite
sweater last year--get lots of compliments on that. 

Well, the good news is that I have my red that I was after
and I can get right to work on finishing A Very Merry.
Even with all that had happened, the shop employee was
super-helpful and I think what I have will work beautifully.

Meanwhile back at home....
My boys were having a little fun of their own.
Meet Fezziwig, our "cockatiel from heaven".
(seriously, he just appeared on our front porch one day and we couldn't leave him there.
I don't even like animals in my house!  And yet, I have a cat, a bird, some fish, a turtle...
At least the chickens are outside!!  Now, where was I?)

The boys got him out for a "stretch of the wings" and look
where he hopped up onto?  The cat's food dish.
This picture just appeared on my camera.
Good to know my boys have a thriving sense of humor...

Mix It Up Monday: Ziti Meatball Casserole

One of the greatest things about this recipe is how
interchangeable it is.  If you prefer homemade
( = healthier), you can add fresh ingredients. 
(My herbs have mostly all frozen now but I always have my own dried parsley)

Or, if you're short on time, grab some frozen
meatballs and canned spaghetti sauce.
But the greatest thing about this recipe is the taste.
Big thumbs up from my family!
Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of it as it came out of the oven.  Just imagine
Italian cheesy yumminess with red sauce bubbling from underneath.

Baked Ziti & Meatball Casserole

1 16-oz pkg ziti or penne (I prefer penne)
Approx 4 c spaghetti sauce, canned or homemade
1 large egg
1 15 oz ricotta cheese
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
2 T freshly grated Parmesean cheese
1/2 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground coarse black pepper
meatballs, frozen & thawed, or homemade, sliced
1 c shredded mozzarella

Prepare pasta in salted boiling water as directed.  Drain.  Return to pan.  Add 3 c spaghetti sauce, reserving 1 c for later.

In medium bowl, combine egg, ricotta cheese, Parmesean cheese, parsley, salt & pepper.
Preheat oven 400'.  Into a 4 qt casserole or 13X9 glass baking dish, spoon half of the pasta mixture.  Top with all of the meatballs. 

Drop ricotta cheese mixture by spoon evenly over meatball layer.  

Spoon remaining pasta mixture over ricotta-cheese layer, then spoon remaining
1 c sauce over pasta.   Sprinkle with shredded mozarella cheese.
Bake, uncovered, 25 minutes or until very hot and cheese is lightly browned.

20 November 2011

All In a Tinsel With A Holiday Quilt

A little update on A Very Merry.

I kind of did a quilter's no-no and put two circular
fabric patterns together (both borders) but I'm a sucker
for dots.  I did make the inner green one a little bigger
and the outer a little smaller than the pattern suggested.
I wanted the green to frame it well.  Then the outer one
turned out pretty crazy but it's fun--hopefully, a nice
solid-ish binding will finish it off nicely?
(Bright pink?  The red from the poinsettias?)
I'm afraid this picture draws even more attention
to the dots. I'll definitely have to get better lighting
on the finished quilt!

Side Note:  My delimma
I'm kind of stuck as to what fabric to use for the
poinsettias.  I have the red that is also in the quilt but
I think it needs to be a completely different red
(which, in these contemporary colors is actually not easy to find!)
  I looked all over the shop for a good one and ended
up just buying more of this...but I'm not liking it.

(hard to see cel pic!)
Here is the one I'm copying--the red is much darker than the rest of the quilt.
My quilt top already has a few dark reds in it?  I'm going to check out a different
quilt shop tomorrow to see if I can't find something better.  And, this will set me back
a little for getting it done by Friday.
BUT, I digress....

I was going to say that I'm so excited about it but...
 has anyone else noticed that we say that about
everything?   And yet our language is so huge! 
So, I did a little searching and would
like to suggest some alternatives:

Charged, charged up, thrilled, keyed up, stoked, psyched,
in a tizzy, in a flutter, hopped up, worked up, hyped up, electrified, fired up, delirious, delighted, exhilarated...
just to list a few.
"In a tizzy" catches my eye but we're talking about a
Christmas quilt here so, even after all of that, I'm going
to coin my own little alternative for this occasion:

I'm all in a tinsel about getting a Christmas
quilt made this year!

See?  Just like it.  Shiny and bursting out all over!
Anything have you all in a tinsel this season?

19 November 2011

Bring This Turkey To Your Table

We have the same turkey to dinner every Thanksgiving.

What a cutey.
His very-important job on Thanksgiving Day is to 
display the "thank you's" which family members
write on slips of paper and tie under the buttons.

He's actually 8 years old but I think he holds his age
well, don't you?  As I often do, I crafted two at once. 
His brother went to a friend with 5 children at the time.
7 buttons = 5 children + 2 parents.  Perfect!
Not that you couldn't put extra thanks on each button.
She's had another child since then. 
Just as there is no limit to love, there should
be no limit to our thanks.  :o)

And guess what?  The directions are still out there!
He's quick and fun and if you do much crafting, 
chances are you already have everything you need.

Grand Gobbler turkey made with felt

Pick up the directions and printable pattern at
sewing.org and let this turkey be a regular guest
at your Thanksgiving dinners.

linked to:

Funky Junk Interiors
Link Party

Weekend Bloggy Reading

sew many ways

Keeping It Simple


Strictly Homemade Tuesday

18 November 2011

Just In Time...For Next Year

Crossing another item off my Winter Stitching List.

It may not have been done in time for Halloween
but it is done in plenty of time for next year!
Directions for this 56X56 "Halloween Stars" quilt
can be found in Thimbleberries: Quilting for Harvest
by Lynette Jensen.   (listed under Amazon recommendations)

Don't you hate it when you REALLY have your FMQ
groove on and the phone keeps ringing?  When I
first started on the black border, I had it going on but
then I totally lost it at several points so this quilt is a
real mixture of "great" and "so-so."  I suppose the leaf
border doesn't really go but it's one that I can do
quickly and I just like it.  I do need to learn some
new ones--I'm feeling very limited! 
The star/moon fabric is the backing, btw.

At the advice of a blogger friend, I finally picked up
 some of these.  If you are like me and you've put this
off for say, 8 or 9 years, do yourself a favor.  STOP
what you're doing and go get yourself a pair.

See how the fingertips have a coating?  Grabs the quilt
 really well.  WHY WHY WHY did I not pick these up the
first second I'd heard of them?  I've also heard you can
just use gardening gloves...but mine are all very dirty! 
And, these fit much better than gardening gloves.

Kitties on fabric...

Kitty on fabric.

She just likes to feel it.  Really.  I have to tell her
to get off of my projects constantly.

Incidentally, that's the remaining fabric that I needed
to purchase for my Very Merry Christmas quilt so I'm
off to work on that now.  Hopefully I can make it till
2 pm when the Starbucks BOGO kicks in.

Quilter question:  Do you have a favorite
place online to buy batting?


Weekend Bloggy Reading

Link Party
sew many ways

15 November 2011

A Great Deal on Holiday Fabric

Just thought I'd pass this one on: 
The Fat Quarter Shop is offering "Ready, Set, Snow" 
by Me and My Sister Designs for Moda 50% off today through Nov. 21st.

Ready Set Snow

I have avoided purchasing fabric online because 
it's too dangerous--I could really get hooked!
So...yeah.  This is my second online fabric purchase
 in less than a week.  Somebody stop me.
I'm supposed to be using my stash/scraps!!!

What do you think the above fabrics would
look like on this design?

I LOVE the dramatic colors in this but seeing as I
don't have those fabrics and I just ordered a layer
cake and 2 charm packs of Ready, Set, Snow...?
Seriously.  Honest opinions.  I need 'em.
Should I try it out?  Or try to find the above
fabrics some other time?  Any other ideas?

Side note 
Wish I could "attach" the aroma coming from my
oven!  Pumpkin bread made from our own pumpkins!

14 November 2011

A Very Merry Christmas Quilt

Today I started on a Christmas Quilt.

I picked up this Riley Blake layer cake
a few months ago and have been watching
for just the right pattern for it.

If you're ever in need of boosting your
quilting/crafting mojo, a visit to a favorite
store always helps. 

My favorite quilt shop had this beauty
hanging on the wall. 
(Sorry about the cel phone pic, plus, it was hanging high on
the wall and there was a shadow being cast on it.)

The pattern looks nothing like it.
(pictured on the left; the other is for another day!)
I really prefer the fabrics/colors
that the quilter at the shop chose.

The fabric requirements are given in yardage
and not "layer cakes" so I was concerned about 
wasting a bit of fabric; I also made sure the
quilt shop had plenty of these on hand for
whatever I'd still need after cutting up the cake.

Here are my rows so far, hanging on top
 of my organizer buckets.
(that shelf comes in handy for SO many things!)
I do need to buy a little more fabric and the borders
 but you can get a little idea of how it's going to look. 
(I really didn't waste much of the layer cake, btw.)
I kinda miss the blue that the quilt shop's had.
Maybe I'll just have to make another one?

I use clothespins to mark everything.  On one
side, I have letters; on the other, I have numbers.
I pencil these "codes" in on the pattern to coordinate
and keep track of what's what so that
it's just easier to put together...and to know where
I'm at if I have to set it aside for a while.

It's good for little notes to myself, too.  My ADD
 issue shows up in quilting as well as my
knitting so I've learned to keep uber-organized!

Well, that's as far as I could go today.
I'm not going to make it back into the quilt shop till
Wednesday so look for more photos then!

Fresh Poppy Design
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