Friday, November 18, 2011

Two Quickies, One of Which You DON'T Want to Miss!

I just wanted to pop in and say "hi" for a sec.  First, I'm so excited that I have not one, but TWO dates coming up with my awesome hubs.  Tomorrow we are going to the wedding of a gal I babysat for many, many years ago.  So, we will will go, party it up with the youngsters, and offer sage marriage advice...cuz you know I've got some! 

Then, on Monday...Are You Ready For Some Football?! 

Although I've recently been told they don't to that song anymore, it will be burned in my brain forever as the Monday Night Football jingle.  And, guess who's going THIS Monday night?  Me (and my man)!  The Patriots will hopefully beat the pants off the Chiefs.  Being from New England, even if I'm not a die-hard football fan, I've got to cheer on the home team, right?  This should be fun.  I've gone to a couple of other NFL games over the years (one in Oakland and one in Dallas), but this should be the funnest...yes, not a word, but it seems appropriate.  Anyway, I just had to share.  We don't have a lot of time to go on a lot of dates (I know a lot of you can relate), so I figured I'd announce, for the record, that we have TWO - go us!

My other tidbit is probably more least for a sewing blog.  Have you heard about the giveaway going on over at Lily's Quilts?  It's HUGE and I do mean huge.  I don't want to ruin the surprise, but I'll give you a hint... it rhymes with Mona.  You should run over there RIGHT NOW and check out the giveaway link.  The winner will be drawn November 23rd.  You have been warned.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Let's Just Beat This Poor Dead Horse

How about another post about my mini?  Sick of it yet?  I chatted about it here and here.  I'm just going to go ahead and mention it one.more.time.  Then we'll officially put it to bed (unless there's a reason not to!).

Rachel over at Stitched in Color has been hosting the fabulous Celebrate Color series on her blog all fall long.  She and her pals Emma, Mollie, and Shannon have put together a huge party to inspire us to use color in our lives...and they're even giving away tons of fabulous prizes!  All you have to do is make something (the categories are home decor, wearables, yarn, and needlepoint) and enter it - you know you wanna!  You can find all of the nitty gritty here.  And you can enter here (click on the appropriate Photo Entry Pool).

Celebrate Color

I'm going to go ahead and enter my Autumn Ribbons it?

Now the competition is very tough, but I'm giving it a whirl because it sounds like great fun.  It's the last month of Celebrate Color, so enter while you still have time! (entries are accepted until the 26th).  So go out there and make something!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Studio Catch Up

Told you I'd be back later today!  I know you were refreshing your browsers all day long waiting for my post.  So, without further ado...

Lots going on in the "studio" are a few sneaky peeks:

My November blocks for the Love Circle of do. Good Stitches.  Lee of Freshly Pieced tasked us with making asterisk blocks...any which way we wanted.  I'd never tried this block before but I love them!  They're simple and fun to make.  I even tried to get "fancy" with mine - I hope she likes them!

My November NuBees blocks.  I sketched my design a couple of months ago and decided to try it for this month of the NuBees swap.  Not all of the lines turned out perfectly straight, but I think they turned out nice...especially since my group picked such great color combos!

Now this next one I just could NOT get a decent picture of.  I don't claim to be any kind of photographer...actually I pretty much stink at it and if I get a good snap it's total luck.  So, for my Design Camp [think outside the block] bee, Krystina sent us some fabulous soft colors and asked us to be inspired by the ocean.  OK, I can do that!  I was inspired by Turtle Island in Fiji, where my hubs and I spent our wedding/honeymoon in 2001.  Heaven on earth, I swear.  Here's what I came up with -

I can't show pictures of the next three things I'm working on...they're secret!!  I love that I have a couple of secret projects going on.  Now, I know they're not super fancy, like someone asked me to make a secret quilt for a magazine or anything, but it still feels sneaky and fun to have a couple of things I can't quite reveal yet.  One is for the Christmas edition of the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap.  Suffice it to say it's going to be cute, Christmas-y, and merry & bright!

I'm also working on a mini for the Christmas edition of the Little Quilt Swap.  We're doing "mini" minis this round since there's such a tight deadline (we all want to hang them before Xmas!).  They're going to be around 12-ish" square.  I'm about 2/3 done and it's coming along nicely.

My last Secret Project is part of a group effort...and that's all I'm going to say about that ;)

So, I want to finish up a couple of these items this week and hopefully finish up the quilting on my big quilt so I can bind that puppy.  What are you working on?

Late to the Party

So this weekend I was reading one of my favorite blogs, In Color Order, and Jeni mentioned a Mini Quilt Party over at AmyLouWho.  Minis and prizes - how fun is that?


This morning I was all ready to link up my Little Quilt Swap mini that I posted about the other day...

Come to find out, I'm a little late to the party...links are closed and winners are announced today.  Bummer!  I guess I should have read it a little more closely, ya think?

Oh well - you should check it out anyway.  There are a lot of fab mini quilts linked up.

So I missed the party...but I did add my mini quilt to the new Modern Mini Quilts flickr group created by Holly of Bijou Lovely.  Go ahead, add your mini to the group, too!

I'll be back later today to chat about what I've been working on...I know you can't wait!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Little Quilt Swap - Sent and Received

I've been doing a lot of swapping through various groups on flickr lately.  Mainly quilt blocks (like the Nubees, the 3x6 bee and the 4x5 bee)...but I've ventured into deeper waters and just completed my first round in the Little Quilt Swap.  And, while I have a fab time with my block swaps (I've been meeting the greatest people!), I absolutely fell in love with the Little Quilt Swap.  I think it's because I got a finished project out of the deal...nothing that might end up in my "ongoing projects" bin, where it could sit indefinitely. 

This swap is so fun because everyone submits pictures of their mini quilt entries to the hostess and she posts them so no one knows who made which mini.  Then we all vote and Jan (our hostess with the mostess!) tallies them all up and lets us know where to send our quilt.  So, you don't know which quilt you get until it gets to your mailbox!  How fun is that?

This was my entry:

I based it off the Holiday Ribbons Block I found on Ryan Walsh's blog.  I'm really proud of this mini.  It's actually the first "real" quilt I've made.  It's only 19" x 19", but it's the first quilt I've made from beginning to end.  And let me tell you, it feels so good to finish a project!  I've been working on a large quilt since June, and while I love it and can't wait to finish, it's so nice to have a quick-ish project to do and see through to the end.  Anyway...

It was hard to send this off.  I love how it turned out...just like I pictured it in my head...that's a good thing!  But, when I found out I was sending it to this gal, it made sending it off a little easier.  I've been reading her blog for a while and think she's just so cute and talented.  And, I just so happened to choose her mini quilt as my favorite!  (I didn't know it was hers when I voted...I found out a few days later...right before I sent off my mini to her).  Though I was really crossing my fingers for Jess's mini, I didn't figure we'd actually swap with each other.  But, to my surprise, lookie what came in the mail the other day:

THE quilt...Jess's quilt!  Isn't it just so happy and lovely?  I think so!  I think I squealed when I opened my mailbox and saw the return address.  Talk about making my day!

This mini now has a prime spot in my sewing/laundry room.  I'm trying to brighten the room up since it's down in the basement - this mini sure does the trick!  I'm just waiting on a fabric order or two before I start my entry for the Christmas edition of the Little Quilt Swap - fun!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thank you, snow!

We had a snowstorm last weekend...2 days before Halloween.  Two days before Trick-or-Treating.  Our town (as well as many others in our area) decided to postpone Trick-or-Treating until last night.  No boys enjoyed three days off from school last week because of the storm so they weren't complaining too much.  So, my hubs took the boys around the block last night to get their loot...I stayed home to hand out candy.

But, either because people didn't want to bother because Halloween had already come and gone or because Trick-or-Treating was later in the day than we're used to (we used to do it in the afternoon), we had very few trick-or-treaters.  We had a few rushes of kiddos, but for the most part it was a quiet evening.  The only thing that really stuck out was one rude teenager who showed up with some friends and didn't even bother to say anything to me (let alone a "thank you") because he was too busy on his cell phone.  Please tell me I'm raising my boys better than that...basic manners go a long way!

Anyway, where was I going with this?  Oh yes...since my job as candy-hander-outer provided me with a lot of down time, I went shopping online...Christmas fabric shopping!  There were a couple of prints I wanted to restock in my stash...and then I wanted to add a few others.  I have a few Christmas swaps in the works so I felt justified.  Wanna see what I got?

Well, from the Euro Girls Boutique I got a yard of this:
Yule Critters
And a yard of this:
Jingle Dangle

From Trendy Baby Fabrics I got a yard of this:
Yule Trees
These are my three favorite Christmas fabrics from Michael Miller.  I REALLY wanted these, so I'm glad I was able to find them!  Plus, I ordered fat quarters of these prints from Flurry by Kate Spain from Sew Lux Fabrics


So, while the snow postponed our Halloween, it sure worked out for me - pretty new fabric to look forward to and TONS of leftover Halloween candy...yay for snow!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Blog Take 2 & The Gift of Giving

Ok, so I had started a blog a couple of YEARS ago...I think it had 3 or 4 posts (If I Can Craft It)...and, while I fell in love with the process of creating things, I realized that I wasn't cut out for a blogging gig.

But, I think I just might be up for it!  Over the past couple of years I've sewn various things, but last spring I caught the quilting bug.  And I haven't been cured yet!  I'm still quite the novice.  Heck, I haven't even finished a quilt bigger than 19" square yet (but I'm working on it...a post for another day).  But I'm loving everything I'm learning about piecing blocks and the whole quilting process.  It's so much fun!

Recently I've finished up a few projects for charity, which is kind of the catalyst for this post and, well, this blog.  There's just something so satisfying about making something for someone help them out...without expecting anything in return.  I have to be honest - I haven't been a huge "giver".  I mean, yes, I buy gifts and whatnot.  And, I've had good thoughts about helping out...volunteering my time...doing good...all that heart-warming stuff.  But, honestly (and hopefully I'm not the only one!) I have a thousand and one excuses as to why I don't...mostly because I have 3 kiddos at home.  How sad is that?  I'm trying to be a good example to my boys, teaching them about giving and hoping I raise them to be good people...but we haven't actually DONE anything.  So, I was given the opportunity to help a little bit, and all it took is a little of my time and some fabric.  Talk about fun and satisfying!

For the past few months I've been part of a wonderful flickr group called do. Good Stiches.  It's a charity bee with several circles of quilters making blocks and putting together quilts for many different charities.  I felt so lucky when I was accepted into the Love Circle.  These are the blocks I've made so far...

I was also lucky enough to be part of the Stockings for Kids campaign put together by Lyanna of Purple Panda Quilts.  Lyanna works with foster kids in her area and in past years they made stockings from paper and such...stockings they had to throw away after the holidays.  So, Lyanna, sweet as she is, wants to give each child a stocking of their keep!  She put the word out on her blog and the response has been awesome!  I made three cute stockings (if I do say so myself) and I'm so happy they'll be used and loved by kids in need.  Here they are (and it's not too late to get involved!):

And, just the other day I made this block for a quilt going to a family that has experienced some recent tragedy in their lives:

Man, it just feels good to help out!  Now, I know I'm not saving lives by stitching up quilt blocks and stockings...but it's nice to know that I can hopefully bring some joy and comfort to people, even if they're strangers.  I definitely think I'll be looking for more ways to give through sewing!