Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's Heeere...

And it's Miiine...
All the way from England, via Royal Mail. 

My Mouthy Stitches swap tote has arrived wrapped in some lovely text fabric. No one said there was a rule for how to wrap your tote, so Trudi snuck in a little extra something. Don't tell the swap mamas!
She also made a beautiful machine embroidered postcard.

Trudi used some of my favorite linen and text fabrics combined with some great fabrics to make a panel of flying geese on the front of the tote. She quilted it with straight lines about 1/4" apart.

Trudi made a big pocket all across the back side. That is what is so cool about this swap. Everyone used the same basic pattern and then added their own personal touches and changes to make each bag unique. The back is quilted with straight lines and a great leaf-like vine, a la Orla Kiely.
I forgot to take a photo of the lining, but it is a lovely apple green pin dot. You can see Trudi's photo here.

The one little extra we were supposed to make was a key fob and Trudi made this one with a cute "made with love" twill tape on it.

This tote is destined to carry around all my English Paper Piecing supplies. It's just the right size for carrying my projects when traveling.

Thanks to Trudi for making this perfect for me tote and the swap mamas Susan, Hadley and Cindy for running such a wonderful swap. I can't wait for round three!

I hope everyone in the eastern US is recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. I still can't get through to my cousin in New Jersey, but I hear their electricity might be out for 7-10 days.

We are going Trick-or-Treating with the grandkids tonight. Everyone stay safe.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Time for Lime-Aid

I had started making Katy's Orange Soda quilt in September. I needed an easy project with a quick finish because I had been working on so many different small projects for swaps and Sewing Summit that I wanted a big cozy quilt project to work on. I know, this sounds crazy but I really like working on projects of different sizes and difficulty at the same time. I'm sort of scatter-brained and like to flit from project to project.

This is an easy, but labor intensive quilt because it is made up of 285 5" squares and 420 template cut petal pieces. But, once the cutting is finished the actual construction was really easy. I used a mix of 7 charm packs from 4 different fabric lines {domestic bliss, Just Wing It, Good Fortune and Flora}.

For the petal shapes I used Michael Miller's Garden Pin Dot in Apple Green. The petals are raw edge fused to the quilt top giving the appearance of a faux cathedral window pattern.

I don't know what you do when you hear someone has an illness or is in need of assistance but I either cook or make a quilt. About a month ago our daughter-in-law told us her friend had been suffering from a cough and what seemed like a virus that would not go away. Well, that "virus" turned out to be a  17 cm. sarcoma tumor in her lung.

This past Saturday I asked how Tania was doing and Jenny told me she is having daily radiation treatments, all while holding down a job! She's also a wife and mom and is exhausted, to say the least. I came home from our granddaughter's soccer game and decided I was going to finish this quilt so they can give it to Tania.

It has been ready to be quilted for a few weeks now so I spray basted it, using a sheet I ordered from Garnet Hill catalog as the backing.

In her pattern, Katy says to stitch the petal pieces to the quilt top but I decided to stitch the fused pieces as part of the quilting, to speed things up.

You can see the petal pattern it created on the back of the quilt.

I used the pin dot as the binding, too, just like Katy did in her original version.

To help get this quilt finished this weekend I also used Pat Sloan's machine binding method. It really works well. I still have a hard time maneuvering the corners when finishing the binding by machine, but you can't beat it for a speedy finish.

So here is Time for Lime-Aid...spelled incorrectly on purpose, because I can't really help Tania, but I hope this quilt will bring her some aid in the form of comfort and knowing that others are praying for her.

Time for Lime-Aid
Time for Lime-Aid
I like the way the raw edge applique adds some extra texture to the quilt after it has been washed and dried. 

Time for Lime-Aid

I just love seeing a quilt all finished and rolled up, 
but I like seeing them get used more. 
Hopefully, this one will be used and abused by Tania and her family.

Quilt stats:
Pattern: by Katy Jones as seen in Shape Workshop for Quilters book
Fabric by Moda: domestic bliss, Just Wing It, Good Fortune and Flora; Michael Miller Garden Pin Dot in Apple
Backing: Retro Clock queen sized sheet from Garnet Hill Catalog
Thread: pieced and quilted with Auriful 50 wt.
Batting: Warm and White
size: 63" x 79"

Sunday, October 28, 2012

This Week in 2012, Week 43

This week I finished piecing the intersecting stars for the Pillow Talk Swap.
Now to decide how to quilt it and finish it.
I'm thinking it needs red piping all around the outside.

I made these delicious pumpkin brownies from  a recipe I found on Pinterest.
My entire house smelled like fall
and they were really good.

I am almost finished listening to Rod Stewart's autobiography 
that I downloaded from
One more quick sewing session and I will be finished.

I forgot to show you the pouch I received in the zipper pouch swap at Sewing Summit.
It was made by Tammy who blogs at
I never saw her after the swap so I didn't get to thank her.

It's an open-wide pouch, so I will find a lot of uses for this one.

My daughter-in-law put my son's photo and their son's photo side by side.
Both are 6 years old in their photos. I'd say they look quite similar,

I've been working on some projects that I can't reveal until next week
and I also finished a quilt that deserves it's own post.

It's been a good week.
I hope your's was, too.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2012

Twice a year the fabulous and talented Amy Ellis of Amy's Creative Side hosts the Blogger's Quilt Festival to coincide with the spring and fall Quilt Markets.
This week, while everyone is looking at all the new fabrics and patterns in Houston
we are sharing our favorite quilts.

Amy's Creative Side

This time I didn't know which quilt to enter. I thought about entering my Swoon quilt or my Granny Square quilt but in the end I decided to enter the Retro Flowers quilt.
This was one of three quilts I made for three of my friends
celebrating their 60th birthday (along with me) this year.

Retro Flower QAL
It was a wonderful pattern using templates to cut the curved pieces.
Don't let curves scare you, they really are easy to master.
Designed by Christina of The Sometimes Crafter,
 I joined the Flickr quilt-along hosted by Megan  and Bianca.
I used a duvet cover from Ikea for the backing and I think it is perfect for this quilt.
I like one piece backings, so sheets and duvet covers work well.

Retro Flower QAL

It was a race to the finish for me to finish this quilt
to get it entered into the competition.
I actually finished it just 6 hours shy of the deadline.
Using Malka Dubrawsky's a Stitch in Color line of fabric and Kona White as the background
gave this quilt the Retro look I was hoping for. 

Retro  Flowers

That reverse flower was a last minute decision and I think it made the quilt unique.
Quilted with straight lines {using Aurifil 50 wt. thread in white} in both directions was time consuming but easy.
I bound the quilt with the scraps left over from all the fabrics.

Retro Flower QAL

I had to wait nearly two months to give it to the birthday girl,
but I am pretty sure she liked it.
We had fun remembering clothes we had made in junior high school
that used fabrics similar to those used in the quilt.

I think the best part of giving a handmade quilt to a friend is knowing that it will be loved and appreciated.
Also, the sign of a happy finish is when you have a hard time parting with the quilt.
I think this quilt made both of us happy.

Quilt Stats Retro Flowers Quilt Entry # 182
Size: 56"x68"
Fabric: Kona White and a Stitch in Color
Special Technique: Pinless Curves
Pieced by: Me
Quilting: Straight lines, by Me
Best Category:Throw Quilt, Home Machine Quilted

Tomatoes 101, Tasting

This is a long overdue post. 
I am mostly doing this for my own benefit so I can remember which tomatoes were a hit in the garden this year and which ones to pass on planting again next year.

Italian Heirloom

This plant produced large, meaty tomatoes with an almost heart shape.
They were very tasty but did not yield a lot of fruit per plant.

Pineapple Heirloom

Although this tomato is beautiful to look at
it was bland in flavor and had little meat and too many seeds.
Unfortunately, it produces a heavy yield.

Coustralee Heirloom

This tomato is medium in size, but very meaty and super delicious.

Ananas Noire Heirloom

This super meaty tomato is heavy for it's medium to large size.
It is acidic and has few seeds.

Yellow Pear

This one is the favorite of my grandchildren.
They eat them like candy, straight from the vine.
They are super sweet and are delicious in a salad or just as a snack.

Green Zebra Heirloom

This is probably one of my favorite tomatoes to plant and to eat.
It is small and meaty with a tart flavor.
It is so pretty with it's stripes of green to dark yellow/orange
and makes a lovely addition to my favorite Caprese salad.
It produces lots and lots of tomatoes that are about 3 inches in size.

Caprese Salad

Ace Heirloom

A large fruit with yellow, green and red striations.
Extremely good, meaty and a heavy producer.

German Orange Strawberry Heirloom

This tomato vine produced my largest tomato this year at 20.3 ounces
You can see it is a deep yellow, extremely meaty and has few seeds.
The skin is thin and it was an all around hit; sweet and acidic at the same time.

Box Car Willie

This medium, seedy tomato was a disappointment. 
It tastes like a grocery store tomato. Blah!

Red Zebra Heirloom

Similar to the Green Zebra Heirloom this tomato is a great one
to use in the Caprese Salad. Although it has a lot of seeds
it is extremely tasty and meaty too.
Small in size but it produces lots and lots of tomatoes.

White Cherry 

I would wager to say this tomato plant was mis-marked. 
There is nothing white about this tomato
but whatever it was it was delicious.
Sweet and a heavy producer.
Great for salads and snacks.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Playing in Park City

My time at Sewing Summit was so fun, but I missed being with Mr. Romance on his birthday for the first time in 42 years! I have the best husband, ever! To make up for not being with him on his actual birthday,  I suggested he come to Salt Lake City at the end of the Sewing Summit and we could have a fun, fall vacation in Utah.
My husband has a bucket list full of things he wants to see and do in his lifetime. One of them was fly fishing. So he checked into the availability of fly fishing and found out that the Provo River has some of the best fly fishing in the Western United States.
So, we looked into accommodations and other things we could do in the area and came up with a three day plan.
First up was finding a hotel. How lucky are we that we had enough Starwood points to stay at the St. Regis Deer Valley hotel for F*R*E*E?

The hotel is built on a hill and you must take a funicular up to the resort.

The panoramic view from the funicular.

We arrived at the hotel Sunday afternoon but had to wait for our room to be ready, so we enjoyed sitting on the patio enjoying an Irish coffee and a snack.

The view from our room 

the bathroom had a TV built into the mirror. Pretty cool, huh?

I was still on my Sewing Summit high, so I decorated our room with the bunting I received in the swap at the Salt Lake City Modern Quilt Guild mixer.

Park City has some pretty fantastic restaurants and we ate at two of them.The first was a little French Bistro called Bistro 421. They have a lovely menu and the restaurant is small and cozy and the food was delicious. We liked the decor and thought the way the water was kept chilled in this cool ice bag was interesting.

photo edited with iphone app Glaze

photo edited with iphone app Glaze
Because it was a Sunday and sort of off season, most of the shops were closed on Main Street, so we just took a quick walk before dinner to get familiar with the town. Park City is small and quaint in a good way. The last time we were here was pre-2002 Winter Olympics, so the city has grown and changed but kept it's charm.

The hotel offers s'mores every night at 8 o'clock. Its fun to sit outside by the fire with the other guests, chatting and making a snack. I can't imagine doing it in the freezing winter, but the cold fall night was fun.

Monday was our most anticipated day of fun. Fly fishing is not for sissies! You must get up early, wear really "cute" clothes

and stand in cold water on slippery, uneven river beds. It was a blast and we actually caught some fish. This was catch and release so no fish were hurt or maimed on this day.

Our guide, Will, was great and so tolerant of our ignorance. You wouldn't think throwing a 3 oz. rod back and forth {at least 500 times} would be a work out, but the next day my arm, chest and shoulder were so sore.
Here's my first fish, I caught the most (9 total)!          

Paul caught the biggest fish, at 17 inches.

 So that's another tick on Paul's bucket list.

The next day we went on a beautiful drive and photo shoot through the Alpine Loop.
We stopped at Sundance to do a little shopping and site seeing. The only "stars" we saw were the flock of wild turkeys that were making their way through the Sundance property.

Can you tell we are a little crazy over fall color photos? We just don't see this in Southern California and it is so different from the fall color in the eastern US. These Aspen trees were just beautiful!

The last night we ate at a restaurant called Chimayo. If you are ever in Park City I highly recommend this place. The food and ambiance were perfect.

edited with Glaze iphone app

The scallop entree'

the baby back rib entree'
The next morning when we woke up it was 27'F and when we arrived at home at 3:30 that afternoon it was 97' that's just wrong! We had a wonderful time and as always the time went too fast.

Thanks for stopping by,