Friday, February 28, 2014

Pillows - a finish Friday

Hooray, it is Friday!  I have a fun finish to share with you today; one that has been a long time coming.  My pillow shams!

finished shams

These are meant to go with the commission quilt I finished before the holidays.  I promised some shams made out of the scraps, but as usual when I finished quilting the quilt, I just couldn't bear looking at the same fabrics any more.  I've noticed this to be true with nearly every large project I make.  I think it has something to do with how long it takes me to quilt with my domestic machine.  Smaller projects don't have the same repulsion factor.  In fact most of them, I can't wait to start on another one just like the one I just finished.  Oh, I am getting off the subject, back to the pillows.

finished shams

While listening to Amy's podcast "Quiltcast" (this is Amy from Amy's Creative Side, btw), she mentioned a series she was planning called the Pillow Collective, and I thought what better time to get those pillows out and finish them up.  She also nearly convinced me to get out my glue stick and do a zipper closure on these, but in the end my laziness won out.  I didn't have any zippers in the appropriate size and a trip to the fabric store was clearly not in my best interest (read here about my epic fail on the fabric diet).  So, I just did the usual overlapping "envelope??" backing.  Maybe next time, Amy.

finished pillow sham

I do enjoy making pillows.  I like that it gives you a chance to try out something without committing to a whole quilt.  In this case, there is no way I would have paper pieced this many rectangles from scraps, OR free-motion quilted all those little feathers on a queen sized quilt.  Two shams was just enough for me to feel like I did something special without driving me totally insane.

Perhaps there is more pillow-making in my future.

finished shams

Note to self, get some nice big zippers next time I fail my diet.

Thanks for reading today,


Linking up with:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nothing New - Building Blocks Tuesday

I realized late last night that I didn't have any new blocks to share with you today.  I thought it would be easy to make one or two this morning in time for today's link up, but I got a little distracted and here it is afternoon!

I did work on a few blocks today, but they aren't really "new".  I finished up the last 16 NY Beauty blocks from my Lazy Bum Global Retreat.  They were just sitting there waiting for me to sew the final seam on each of them.

more NY beauty blocks

Here they are all laid out, with Tookie helping of course.

NY beauty layout with Tookie helping

She is always a BIG help!

I have a whole bunch of other things I've been working on, but they aren't blocks.  I think I will save them for a WIP post, since they are definitely "in progress".

So, what blocks have you been working on?  I would love to see.  Link up your fabulous blocks.  You put a lot of hard work into them - show them off!  This free linky will stay open until the first Monday of next month, but I will repost it every Tuesday until a new month starts.

Quilter in the Closet


1) Please link up only to the page in your blog showing your wonderful blocks, not just the blog homepage.  Flickr pictures are also OK.
2) Make sure to put your blog name as the description so people know where they are going or the name of your block!
3) Please grab my button and post it in your blog post or sidebar.
4) Visit other linky participants!

Thanks for reading!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Epic Fail - Fabriholics Anonymous February Check In

It has been time to check in for my Fabric Diet for over a week, and I've been avoiding it.  Why?  Because I was naughty of course!

It all started innocently enough (doesn't it always).  My first purchase in February was to get some more of the fabric I needed to sash my Wee Wander quilts.  I had originally ordered only 1/2 yard of each, and I think I needed 1 & 1/3 yards total to sash and use for the binding.  So I ordered just what I needed and left it at that.  No harm done, right?  I NEEDED the fabric to finish.

Next up came a totally spontaneous purchase.  I BLAME Katie!  Yeah, I'm pointing a finger!  (I think they call that "transference of guilt" or something like that.)  As if posting about all her marvelous finds during the Instagram destash wasn't enough, she alerted me to Missouri Star Quilt Co.'s daily deal one day on Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics charm pack.  It was just a little charm pack.  That barely counts as breaking a diet right?  I mean it is like popping one little chocolate chip in your mouth when you are staring down a huge bowl of cookie dough.  Totally doesn't count.

Turns out, that was just a pin hole leak in the Hoover Dam.  I don't remember when exactly it happened, but getting those packages in the mail was pure bliss.  Now, I have admitted in the past that my ordering is emotionally based and normally occurs when I am stressed or lonely.  I don't know if subconsciously I was feeling lonely not getting squishy mail from all the bees I didn't participate in this quarter or what, but I got those packages and went a little crazy.

new fabric

I started with fabrics I "needed" to finish my 4th of July quilt (reds and white/black).  Then I remember how I totally lacked "light" fabrics when I made that block using the Scrapitude instructions, so I added some low volume and some white on white and cream on creams - you know for future use.  Then I browsed through some of the other colors that my stash is low on.  I'm sure you've heard similar stories before, right?

It doesn't look so bad when it is all folded and organized, or does it?

new fabric

To make matters worse, I got a little excited when I hit a few "Jackpots", where gives you the end of the bolt.  I have no idea how they decide who gets it and how much.  Usually I just get a few extra inches, but with this black & white polka dot fabric it ended up being just shy of a 1/2 yard extra???


I hit 5 jackpots with my order, and I was so hyped that I started thinking about all the backing I forgot to order.  I made a list and ordered away.  Terrible.  Hopefully the arrival of that package will not cause another lapse.

So bottom line - EPIC FAIL on the diet.

I'm just not perfect.  I will try again next month.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Inspirational Sunday (22) - via the 2013 International Quilt Festival in Long Beach

I thought we would take a quick break from spring inspired quilts today and share a few quilts I recognized that were made by fellow bloggers.

First up, this showstopper by Geta Grama of Rasnov, Brasov, Romania, called "A World of Many Colors".  She blogs over at Geta's Quilting Studio, so go check her gorgeous stuff out.  She has some great bag and quilt patterns.

This quilt won Honorable Mention in the Innovative Applique category.  It used shadow trapunto (something Geta has written a book about), fused applique, and wholecloth techniques.  It is an original design and is even more stunning in person than I could capture with my little camera.

"A World of Many Colors" by Georgeta Grama of Brasov, Romania

She says she "combined in this quilt the things I love most: color, circular design, and trapunto."

"A World of Many Colors" by Georgeta Grama, close up

As if the design wasn't "WOW" enough, the quilting is fantastic.

The next quilt was made by Lee Henrich of the Freshly Pieced blog.  She hosts the weekly linkup for WIP Wednesday.  She is from Mequon, Wisconsin.  This is her "Supernova" quilt which is pieced, and free-motion quilted.

"Supernova" by Lee Heinrich of Mequon, WI

She says, "I wanted to explore a different type of star block - one that was cleaner, more modern, and simplified, but yet still had a "radiating" quality.  Eventually I came up with this block, which reminded me of an explosion in a zero-gravity situation.  In fact, that's why I extended each star point straight off the quilt.  I enjoyed playing around with color graduations in the blocks, generally working the colors from darkest at the center out to lighter at the edges."

The last one for today is "Opposing Triangles" by Katie Pedersen and quilted by Krista Withers.  Katie blogs over at Sew Katie Did , and has co-authored one of my favorite books, Quilting Modern .  She lives in Seattle, Washington.  This quilt is improvisationally pieced, and long arm quilted.  It is an original design.

"Opposing Triangles" by Katie Pedersen quilted by Krista Withers of Seattle, WA

She says, "I love the graphic nature of triangles and wanted to play with them in a more improvisational fashion.  Each triangle is outlined in white to create the effect of a continuous line linking all the triangles together.  Densely quilting the negative space and leaving the triangles with a solid look really emphasized their presence.  Krista's organic quilting in the negative space perfectly blends the softness of the triangles analogous color scheme.  I think the final design is modern and edgy, yet calming at the same time.

"Opposing Triangles" by Katie Pedersen, quilted by Krista Withers, close up

The quilting really is fabulous!

Have you ever been to a show and noticed a fellow blogger's work?

Thanks for reading today,


Friday, February 21, 2014

Rock-N-Roll - a finish Friday

I am so happy it is Friday!  It has been a long week!

I have one small finish to share last Star of Africa Bee Block!  I am so happy to have these blocks finally finished.  They were a ton of fun to design and create, but stressful too.

Music themed Star of Africa Block

This one is for Irene who asked for a colorful music inspired block.  I was completely stumped for months.  I had some ideas, but they mostly involved people and I am not very good at drawing people yet.  For example, what could be more American that a cowgirl with a guitar (for Country music), or Elvis for that matter.  When it came down to it, I lacked the confidence to get those ideas right.

So, I continued thinking about just guitars.  It turns out that both of the brands of guitars that I am familiar with (meaning they must be famous) are American companies - Fender and Gibson.  So I Googled iconic guitars and started sketching.

The real challenge came when I had to decide which fabrics to use.  Turns out most iconic guitars are black, white or brown, with the occasional red or blue thrown in.  Not very colorful.  I also didn't have any flame fabric.  So, I started with some Tula Pink fabric which made me think of "Rock-N-Roll" but they started to get a little to matchy-matchy, and I really wanted at least one guitar to be red and none of my Tula fabrics were super friendly to red.  So I put my Tula away, picked out my red fabric and decided all the other guitars should be some form of blue to make the red one stand out.

I'm not sure if I succeeded or not, but there is the "finished" block.   I say "finished" because I am waiting to hear from Irene if she would like me to trim it up a bit more and add a skinny border in the same red fabric to make it even more colorful.  Plus, there seems to be a little extra space at the bottom that would be evened out with the addition of a border.

What do you think?

I have also finished one of the pillow shams that I was working on ages ago, but it is a set of two, so I will share when both are finished.

Thanks for reading today,


Linking up with:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Comfort blocks - Building Blocks Tuesday

I made some comfort blocks last week.  What are those you ask?  Well, they are blocks made with the intention of putting them together into a quilt to comfort someone.  I had two opportunities arise last week.

The first call out for blocks came from the guild in the local mountains that I am a member of.  We had two members in need, so Jan designed these little mugs or "cups of comfort" for us to make.

Cups of Comfort Blocks

I just love how cheerful these cups are.  They are bound to lift some spirits, and I love how crazy you can get with the fabrics if you want to.

Next up, Daisy from Lazy Daisy Quilts asked some of her followers on Twitter to make a block or two for a fellow podcaster in need.  She asked for Scrapitude blocks in soft and soothing colors.  Scrapitude is a free mystery quilt that Sandy from Quilting for the Rest of Us was involved in.  You can still access it on her blog if you are interested.

scrapitute block for Frances

I wasn't participating in Scrapitude, but I made a block for Daisy's drive.  I actually found it a little difficult.  Not so much in the construction of the block, but in the fabric choices.  I haven't really done "scrappy" before and I found it difficult.  I suppose if I was making 20 blocks with scraps, it would be different, but for one block I kept second guessing myself.  To get through it, I had to keep reminding myself that the whole quilt would be scrappy, so my choices didn't really matter too much.

Daisy asked for soft and soothing, so I pulled a bunch of blues and greens, then I noticed nearly everyone was doing more of a "spring" color palate, so I changed some things around.  I also had a lot of trouble coming up with enough "lights and whites" to fill out the block.  I tend to use solid white for most of my quilts and Daisy was hoping for more of a scrappy look.  About the only light colored scraps I had were left over from my Red, White and Blue New York Beauty Blocks, and I barely had enough to complete one block!  Yes, I could have cut into some of my yardage, but for one block?  I just couldn't do it.

Do you ever make comfort blocks?

So, what blocks have you been working on?  I would love to see.  Link up your fabulous blocks.  You put a lot of hard work into them - show them off!  This free linky will stay open until the first Monday of next month, but I will repost it every Tuesday until a new month starts.

Quilter in the Closet


1) Please link up only to the page in your blog showing your wonderful blocks, not just the blog homepage.  Flickr pictures are also OK.
2) Make sure to put your blog name as the description so people know where they are going or the name of your block!
3) Please grab my button and post it in your blog post or sidebar.
4) Visit other linky participants!

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Inspirational Sunday (21) - via the 2013 International Quilt Festival in Long Beach

Today we have some lovely appliqued spring inspired quilts.

This first one was made near me!  It is called Nana's Garden by Phyllis (Peggie) Wormington of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA (that is just up the hill from me).  She hand appliqued and machine pieced this beauty using Aunt Millie's Garden, a Piece 'o Cake design.

"Nana's Garden" by Phyllis (Peggie) Wormington of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

She says, "Piece o'Cake designed the applique (Aunt Millie's Garden) for this quilt.  I preferred a diagonal setting to the rectangular setting in the pattern, so redesigned the layout and created a new border design.  I had lots of fun selecting the fabric for the flowers and diagonal pieced sashing."

Check out that sashing!

"Nana's Garden" by Phyllis (Peggie) Wormington, close up

The next one is called "Ka-Bloom" by Linda Neustadt of Leland, North Carolina.  It is hand appliqued and pieced.  It also uses a Piece o'Cake design in the book, Stars in the Garden.

"KA-BLOOM" by Linda Neustadt of Leland, NC

She says, "My flower garden of vibrant and whimsical flowers explodes against a background of a variety of black and white fabrics."

"KA-BLOOM" by Linda Neustadt, close up

I just love the variety in the background fabrics, and the economy block border.

This one is called, "A Walk Through the Flowers" by Luann Bruce of Watertown, CT.  It is pieced, paper pieced, appliqued and braided.  It uses a Rose of Sharon applique with traditional rounds added.

"A Walk Through the Flowers" by Luann Bruce of Watertown, CT

Her statement, "My small Thursday night quilt group wanted to do a round robin.  I chose the Rose of Sharon block fro my center.  I picked 1930's reproduction fabrics because they are happy fabrics.  My quilting sisters built me an amazing quilt.  They used piecing, applique, braiding and paper piecing with a totally unique binding.  I hand quilted it using butterflies, dragonflies, and many different quilting stitches.  It was a work of love."

I do love the heart edges.

"A Walk Through the Flowers" by Luann Bruce, close up

Finally, "Dream Garden III" by Suzanne Sanger of Brevard, North Carolina.  It is machine raw edge appliqued, and an original design.

"Dream Garden III" by Suzanne Sanger of Brevard, NC

"The flowers depicted in this riotous garden are my imaginary versions of hollyhocks, lupine, asters, bellflowers and coleus.  I love gardening in my dreams.  All my dream flowers are in full bloom, healthy, unaffected by environmental conditions and weed free."

"Dream Garden III" by Suzanne Sanger, close up

I must admit I also garden in my dreams.  We don't have a yard, so that is the only gardening I get to do. As much as I love flowers, I dream of vegetables.

Do you dream garden?

I think next week we might take a break from spring, just briefly.

Thanks for reading today,


Friday, February 14, 2014

A little Valentine finish - finish Friday

Happy Valentine's Day!

The girls were very excited to be going to school today.  In kindergarten, they are planning to really party!  My 2nd grader was even looking forward to her valentine exchange, even though there was no party for them.  I guess they are more focused in 2nd grade.

EKG Valentine Mug Rug

I found a moment last night to sneak down to the garage and put my EKG mug rug in my husbands car so he would find it as he left at the crack of dawn.  I wanted him to know I was thinking of him first thing.  He even came back upstairs to give me an extra kiss goodbye before leaving.  Aw!

This morning I've been slaving away trying to make a special dessert for our night tonight.  The kids are going to a parent's night out event, so it is just me and my DH.  I've been wanting to try out a recipe for Salted Caramel Pots de Creme, despite never having made caramel before.  It didn't go extremely well.  I had to make it twice and completely guess when my caramel was ready, and then water got into two of my pots ruining the custard.  You know, water baths really are tricky!  Luckily the recipe made several pots, so fingers crossed they taste good later.  I am also making a few cookies, as a backup plan.  A girl should always have a backup plan!

How will my Valentine wish me a happy Valentine's Day?  I don't know, but I hope he says it with bacon.  Ever since my cholesterol numbers came back just over "what they like to see", I can't help myself, I've been thinking of almost nothing besides BACON.  Is that wrong?

In other news, for those of you not fasting, Craftsy is having a flash sale this weekend on matched classes.  Craftsy Perfect Match Flash Sale  Show yourself (or your Valentine) a little love!   I have been watching my classes regularly, and still haven't had a bad one.

Thanks for reading today,


Linking up with:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine in progress - WIP Wednesday

I've had my hands working on several projects during the last few days, but mostly I've just been puttering about.

I did finish up my Houses of San Francisco block.  Hooray!  Now I just have one more Star of Africa bee block to finish, and I'm happy to report that I know just what I am going to attempt.

Houses of San Francisco

For the last couple of days, I've been working on my Valentine for my DH.  If you remember, last year I went a little crazy and made him this mini, complete with the lyrics of one of our wedding songs.

For my Valentine

This year, I decided to go a little smaller by making a man-friendly mug rug.  What do I mean by "man-friendly"?   Well, the quilt above was pretty pink.  Not that pink threatens my man, but I'm sure he would prefer something less pink.

Valentine sneak peak

I kept the note in my own handwriting again.  I just like the personal touch.

Valentine Mug Rug in progress
Add caption
This design was one of those that was simple to sketch out, somewhat challenging to create the pattern, and a downright pain to piece.  But, it is almost done.  I just have a little more to my message, and I need to bind it.   Unless the plumber needs a lot of my attention tomorrow, I should be able to finish it up in time for sneaking it into his work bag on Friday morning.

Did you sew anything special for your sweetheart?

As always, thanks for reading,


Linking up with:

 WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

California Poppies - Building Blocks Tuesday

Thank you to everyone who chimed in on yesterday's advice request.  I agree, the pink should stay with the pink, and the blue with the blue.  Turns out, all I had to do was ask my daughters.  My eldest has gotten over her need for everything to be pink and has moved on to blue being her lasted favorite color.  She didn't want any pink in her quilt if it could be helped.  Figures.

In today's news....hooray!  I have finished a Star of Africa Bee block!  The houses of San Francisco is also almost finished, so that means I only have one more to go (of course it is the toughest)!  I can't tell you what a weight has been lifted.  I don't like to owe, and it is shameful that I got so behind on this bee.

Here is Veena's block.  She asked for flowers surrounded by a black/white border.  I made her a California Poppy.

CA poppies for Veena

That black & white border fabric is one of my favorites in my stash.  I've almost used it all up.

I also remembered to take some "in progress" shots along the way, just in case someone out there is interested in the process.

CA poppies in progress

1. CA poppies in progress, 2. CA poppies in progress, 3. CA poppies in progress, 4. CA poppies in progress, 5. CA poppies in progress

I started with a drawing of a poppy.  Then I traced the mirror images of the shapes onto a double sided fusible applique paper by flipping my paper over and using my Crayola Light Up Tracing Pad (this thing comes in so handy!).  I applied my fusible to the backside of the fabrics I choose, and cut them out.  I used my light up tablet again with my original drawing, to help me place the stems in the right orientation, fused them with the iron, and then stitched them down with a small blanket stitch.  I then continued the process with the leaves and buds, fused and stitched them down, added the petals and inner buds, stitched them down with orange thread, added the black center, stitched it down with black thread, then finally added the outer petals with orange thread again.

I considered adding some yellow stamens to the flower, but I really liked how it looked when it was all done, so I left it.  Sometimes you have to know when to stop, right?

So, what blocks have you been working on?  I would love to see.  Link up your fabulous blocks.  You put a lot of hard work into them - show them off!  This free linky will stay open until the first Monday of next month, but I will repost it every Tuesday until a new month starts.

Quilter in the Closet


1) Please link up only to the page in your blog showing your wonderful blocks, not just the blog homepage.  Flickr pictures are also OK.
2) Make sure to put your blog name as the description so people know where they are going or the name of your block!
3) Please grab my button and post it in your blog post or sidebar.
4) Visit other linky participants!

Thanks for reading!


Monday, February 10, 2014

Sashing Decisions - need your help

I wasn't ready to reveal these WIP's, but I can't decide on the sashing and I need your help.

I am making 2 versions of the quilt below, one in each colorway, for my daughters.  I can't decide which sashing to put with which colorway.  Please weigh in with your opinions.

Should I keep the pink with with pink, and the blue with the blue?

Blue Wee Wander with Blue SashingPink Wee Wander with Pink Sashing

Or should I mix it up?

Blue Wee Wander with Pink SashingPink Wee Wander with Blue Sashing

When I originally started this project, I envisioned it mixed up, but once I laid it out, I started having doubts.  I think the problem is that I like both colorways with the pink sashing, but I am NOT going to make more.

What do you think?

Thanks for the help!


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Inspirational Sunday (20) - via the 2013 International Quilt Festival in Long Beach

As promised, here are some more spring inspired quilts for those of you still covered in snow.  Today's selections are mostly art quilts, but I have plenty more spring inspired quilts that are pieced and appliqued coming up next week.

This first one is called "Iris in My Garden" by Marianne Williamson of Miami, Florida.  She used raw-edge applique, free-motion quilted, and painted this quilt.

"Iris in My Garden" by Marianne Williamson of Miami, FL

She says, "What is more spring-like than irises?  Inspiration came from the Japanese silks that I used for this stylized iris."

"Iris in My Garden" by Marianne Williamson, close up

Just look at all those little circles of thread!

Here is another quilt by Marianne Williamson of Miami, Florida, called, "Evening Garden".  It is raw-edge appliqued, threadpainted and painted.

"Evening Garden" by Marianne Williamson of Miami, FL

Her statement, "Tulips in a garden in May are the image that comes to mind when I think of spring.  I worked from images that I had taken when I was in Monet's garden near Paris."

I must admit when I saw that she created two springtime quilts with flowers that normally don't grow in Miami (way too hot), I was wondering where she got her inspiration.  I would gather that Monet's garden would be a spectacular place to be inspired!

The next quilt is called "Spring Stroll" by Sally Manke of Arcadia, Michigan.  She used confetti-cut fabrics layered under tulle, in the style of Noriko Endo.

"Spring Stroll" by Sally Manke of Arcadia, MI

Her statement, "A spring trip to New York City's Central Park provided the contrasting colors and textures for this work.  Recent rain coated the path with blossoms from the trees overhead and provided glistening reflections.  The vibrant magenta blooms contrasting with the textures of the tree bark and sidewalks were the inspiration for this piece.  We celebrate spring by enjoying the colors, smells and textures found in nature while within a huge city.  This art quilt depicts the beauty of springtime in bloom."

"Spring Stroll" by Sally Manke, close up

Which one of these quilts reminds you most of springtime in your area?

Thanks for reading,