Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wonderland Garden...It Could Be Yours

The 'Wonderland Garden' quilt is finished. The quilt was a collaborative effort between myself (the design, the piecing, the back), my mom (the redwork), and Jackie of Canton Village Quilt Works (the quilting.)
The quilt has 12 redwork flower blocks that are framed in rich red kona cotton. The redwork flowers are interspersed with improvisationally pieced house top blocks and off set with panels of red and white polka dots. The fabric in the house top blocks includes prints with reds, aqua blues and pinks. The borders are rich red kona cotton and the quilt is bound with the red and white polka dots. The back is primarily a rich aqua with a large log cabin block with a redwork flower center. The quilt has been expertly machine quilted by Jackie with an edge to edge design with creamy white thread. (Jackie, help me with the name of the quilting design.) The quilting pattern is called Lisa's lace. It has little flowers, leaves and swirly shapes. It's beautiful and perfect for the quilt. The quilting recedes in the redwork blocks, but shows beautifully to add interest to the wide borders. The quilt is queen sized. You can see the piecing and the fabrics close up in this post.

I have to say a big thank you to Jackie for helping me finish this quilt on time and for doing such a fabulous job with it.

Here is the fabric that is in the housetop blocks.

Here it is before it was quilted.

For those of you who are interested, this quilt is being donated to my mom's church for the annual quilt raffle. The raffle is the primary fundraiser for the United Methodist Women. The proceeds will support mission work of the Methodist church. The ladies of the church have given permission for me to open up the raffle to readers of my blog, so you could win this quilt. The church is in a small town in Kansas and there are probably more readers of this blog than people in the town, so you might have a pretty good chance. The donation requested for the raffle is $1.oo a chance or 6 chances for $5.00. I would say that's a quilty bargain!

So, here's how it works for you. Download this page of tickets. They are in a pdf file. Print out however many pages of tickets you would like to purchase. There are 6 tickets on each page. If you only want one chance, just cut off one and use that. If you buy one page that would be $5.00. Fill out your name and phone number (make sure you include the area code or country code if you're international). The ladies have to be able to contact you if (when) you win. Print legibly too. I'm a teacher and I'm pretty good at deciphering hand writing, but most of the ladies are pretty old so let's give them a break!

Mail your filled out tickets and your money to the address on the bottom of the page of tickets...NOT to my home address. I will deliver the tickets to the jar and the money to the ladies. Please, cash only. I don't want to mess with checks.

The drawing will be June 27th at Old Settler's Days in Oskaloosa. I'll let you know the winner on my blog as soon as I find out. You will need to have your filled out tickets and your money to me by JUNE 20th so I can get them to the ladies of the church to be included in the drawing. I won't be responsible for lost mail or tickets that arrive late. Be early, do it now and it won't be a problem.

I would love for the church to raise more money than they ever have before. This is a special quilt. I know I would like to have it back, but I'm not entering. It doesn't seem right. I've said goodbye and I'm good with it. In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that my mom is buying tickets and guilting my brothers into buying tickets too. Thanks in advance for supporting the church and good luck! If my mom doesn't win, I sure hope it will be one of you.

If you have any questions about the quilt or the raffle, feel free to drop me an email. If you'd like to post about it on your blog and send folks over...feel free. Thanks everyone and good luck!

***International folks...maybe I didn't think this through well enough for you...any suggestions would be welcome. How can I make this work for you? HERE ARE A FEW IDEAS:
1. have a friend in the states sponsor you and then set up a swap with them.
2. use my paypal account for your donation. contact me by email and we'll work this out.
3. I can fill out tickets for you here if that's easier for you. when your money arrives through paypal, i'll do the tickets here. we may want to put email addresses for the contact info...that would be cheaper for the ladies.

SPRING TO FINISH participants. We're coming to the's what you need to do. Midnight April 30th is the deadline. Whatever you have finished by that time counts. So count up your finishes and come back and comment on FRIDAY's post...tell me how many finishes you've had since the challenge started. Your number of finishes is your number of entries. I'll close the comments Sunday morning and start counting. The winner will be announced Monday. I'm hoping for one more finish. How about you?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sewing Therapy...Mini Quilt Monday

When you're sad, do what makes you happy, so sewing it was. It was also a concerted effort to stay indoors and protect the local not traumatize children who might have had a chance encounter.

I've always wanted to be one of those women who cry "pretty." You know the type, they sob quietly, dab their eyes and glisten beautifully with the residue of gentle tears. Nope, that's not me...I'm a blubber gal...I sob with nose running and with each tear my face swells and my eyes and nose redden so I look pretty much like Chucky in that horror movie. Now there's an image to start your Monday.

So, I sewed and sewed...I tried my best to let my mind fill with ideas and keep myself occupied. In the spirit of Spring to Finish I worked small and told myself that I was going to finish everything I started.'s mini quilt Monday at A Stitch in Dye, Malka's blog. Malka dyes fabulous fabric and makes awesome quilts. I have some of her fabric. Haven't cut into it yet. I need to do that. If you don't know her or her blog, you should go. No lack of talent or inspiration on A Stitch in Dye!

So here is my series of "On the Line" quilts. I think they will make great little gifts for some quilty friends. I used all my thrifted linen. I love being thrifty.

I wanted to try and loosen up like Amber does with her thread painting. I'm not sure I was very 'loose.' I need to work on that. I was inspired by Kajsa's interactive quilt. I loved her quilt on the
#1 three sheets to the wind
#2 red, black and blue
#3 dotty
#4 hot stuff
#5 after a swim
Thursday ends the Spring to Finish challenge. A few more days to get some more items crossed off your list. I have the label left to do on the "wonderland garden' quilt. I should have it ready to post and the instructions for entering the raffle for Wednesday's post. See you then.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Bleeding Heart

There is beauty in a bleeding heart.
Thank you for the thoughts, prayers and kind words for me and for Fudge. I tried to answer your comments to let you know how much I appreciated you taking the time to help me through a hard time, but I couldn't.

Many of you have emailed and asked about her. Fudgie died quietly on Saturday morning.

The challenge now is to focus on the love and joy she added to my days and the special place she has in my heart.

I hope you understand...I closed the comments for this post.

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's So Hard

It's so hard when your buddy is getting old, frail, and unhappy. Look at that face. Who could resist those soft eyes and that gentle gaze. She's the best dog. Fudge had her worse day yet. She couldn't get up this morning. When she finally got on her feet, she simply looked at me and didn't move. I coaxed her outside and helped her back in. She snuck upstairs to be with me in the studio. She stayed all day and didn't move. She didn't move when I left or when I came back. She shouldn't have tackled those stairs, but she did. I kept thinking, hoping she'd snap out of it. At dinner I coaxed her down. She took it one section at a time and then rested. We made it outside, and she sat in the grass next to me, leaning on me for support. We sat for a long time and then I coaxed her into the house. She threw up and stood again with her tail between her legs and looked at me with sad eyes.

She's sleeping now. We're heading for the vet in the morning. She hates to go to the vet. I don't want morning to come. I don't want to go either. It's so hard.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

7 More Days

There are 7 more days in the Spring to Finish Challenge. Remember, you decide what a finish is for you and come back here on April 30th and report your number of finishes. One entry for each finish. For me, a quilt has to be done, totally done, to count. This one isn't totally done, but it's moved from 5 blocks to a completed top. That's progress.
This is my scrappy cabin that I started way back in March 2008. Originally I was going to make all of these fit together in some way without sashing, but since each block is a different size, it was more than I wanted to tackle right now. I decided to use the leftover linen from Jon's graduation quilt to set these blocks.
So I made another 15 blocks and made this top. There isn't any color theme to the blocks...they're simply scrappy. I think a scrappy binding would look cute with this top. One more top added to the list of quilts to be quilted around here. I have 10 tops hanging in the closet...waiting. I have some basting to do and more backs to make.
There is one quilt that is sooooo close to a finish. Remember this quilt? It's the 'Wonderland Garden' quilt...the one I'm making to donate for the church raffle. I have this big roll of binding to hand sew on to the back and then a label to make.
Here's a peek. Stay tuned for the big reveal and find out how YOU might WIN this quilt. The ladies of the church have given me permission to open up the raffle to my blog friends.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Resisiting the Temptation

Oh, I am not good at not starting new projects. My head is swirling with ideas itching to get out. I wonder how long this self imposed ban on starting projects will last?
For today...two more finishes. First, this table topper. It was simply a block that I was experimenting with...I hope a bunch of these ovals will make their appearance in a quilt someday. I've learned from Tonya, not to toss these experiments, but to make them into something useful instead. This one appears to be meant to be paired with my lime green vase. Flowers would be a nice addition.

The quilting on this one was inspired by Victoria's work. It was definitely harder than it looked. I do like how it gives the center of the piece some interest.
Finished my coin quilt too. I should make more baby much easier to quilt. This has my fav color scheme and so many of my very favorite fabrics.
I love the additional row of coins on the top and bottom.
The quilting is a ribbon like quilting...sort of the same as this quilt.
The back is pink with another row of coins. Love this's going into the show this summer. Hopefully someone will buy it for a sweet little baby girl.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blogger's Quilt Festival

This is my entry in Amy's Quilt Festival. If you haven't heard about the festival, click the button on my sidebar and check it out. Lots of great prizes and more importantly, loads of great quilts to see and read about.

When Amy first suggested the idea I knew right away which quilt I would post. It's not my best, or the most complex, but it has the most meaning and significance to the quilts I am making today.

The is 'Square Motion.' It was finished last January and was my first foray into improvisation. I figured how how to do this on my own. I love so much about this quilt...the movement, the colors, the aesthetic, the hand quilting. This quilt was the piece that gave me the confidence to step out on my own and create. It was the first time I believed I was an artist.

I think often about what it means to be an artist. For a long time I didn't believe I was or that I could be. I have a good friend who taught with me for many years. She taught art and would have discussions with her students around the question, "what is art?" She inspired children to understand that they were all artists because they had ideas and a point of view that was their own. Her words have lingered in the back of my mind for years, but it wasn't until I made this quilt that I believed them.

I read this the other day.
"What is art? . . . art is the deliberate creation of aesthetic sensations. Art is a work of a human being, not of nature. It is not accidental. It produces something that is perceived through the senses and results in a personal emotional experience. . . .

". . . it is the conscious, deliberate production of an event or object of beauty (or emotional import) by a human being, employing not only the skill of the craftsman, but in addition, an element of creativity--original, inventive, instinctive, genius. An art object is an aesthetic artifact, deliberately created.
Art actually lies in the act of creation, not in its result."--G. Ellis Burcaw, Introduction to Museum Work, page 66

There are words in this that I respond to...sensations, personal, deliberate, skill, original, instinctive....
I'm not sure I agree with all of this, but it's food for thought. Thinking about art and being an artist stretches me as I work to create quilts I love. The act of creating simply makes me happy. Thanks for letting me share my work with you.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Springing to Finish...I Am

Here is the first big finish. I'm so proud.
Free motion meander quilted by little old me. This is my 'Seeing Stars' quilt from AmandaJean's second quilt-a-long. I was last year. But it's done, it's fab and I love it.
I used Katie Jump Rope, Amy Butler and Urban Chicks Swell for this one. This is my favorite block. I made the original setting blocks but decided not to use them and to set the star blocks off kilter. It's so fun.
The back is a soft green with this off set extra block.
Been working on my spiderweb selvedge quilt too. 10 blocks done...20 to go. Thanks to Aneela and Nichole for sending selvedges. Can you see them in there, girls? I have no idea if I have enough to make the 30 blocks I'm planning, but I'm taking it one block at a time.

Are you springing to finish? Hope you've gotten something crossed off your list too. Feels pretty good! Stay tuned for more prize reveals. Off to sew...

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Invasion

This is the state of my living room at 7 a.m. this morning. My oldest (19 going on 20) is moving in with us for a few months. We will be moving out in June...he'll be renting this from us...the problem...a two month overlap and trying to fit all of his possessions (junk, crap, etc) and him into our little townhome in the meantime. Allow me a bit of whining...
... how long can you stretch out a move...days, weeks... had to rain..which means wet shoes and mud... many times can you bump into a wall carrying a dresser?
...i know those sheets he brought over stuffed into a box haven't been washed since he moved out... many t shirts does one boy need?
...i'm biting my tongue trying not to say those 'mom' things I promised him I wouldn't say...
wish me luck.
In the midst of this I did manage one small finish. A very late birthday present for a friend. She picked the colors the fabrics and even requested the quilting. Made it easy for me. I'm happy to have it done for her. It's a combination of vintage sheets and Kona cotton in pink and pomegranate.

I made this block for Project Improv from some leftover Lush. I haven't contributed to the blue/green colorway yet, so I did.
The final deadline for me to receive your blocks is Friday. Please make sure they arrive here by then. After that I can't guarantee that they will be in a quilt. I've finished one more red/aqua, two more orange/pink and one more blue/green top. (I'll take pictures when the sun comes out!) There will be 3 more tops (one in each colorway). To make it all come out even, I have a group of quilters who have volunteered to make blocks to fill in the last 3 tops. I will contact them on Friday. Volunteers: look for an email or a flickr mail from me on Friday.

Meanwhile these blocks have arrived. Do they belong to you? The first are from Oregon...this quilter made 4 great blocks. I need your first name. Please drop me a comment or an email.
This one is from Minnesota...your last name starts with a K. I need your first name. Help!
Other blocks that arrived:
Jill NY - 2 blocks and the cutest little pin. Thanks!
Jessica B OR - 1 block
Liz T - AZ 1 block

Overall I've been pretty fortunate...I've only had a few block incidents, a crazy cat ate two blocks, and I punctured a couple with my trimming scissors. I think we may have had one lost in the mail. Karen, I have searched high and low for your block. It's not in a quilt and I can't find it. I'm so sorry. Drop me an email and we can talk about what to do.

Please check your name in the sidebar....if I have your block you have a star by your name. Drop me an email if it's not right. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Top of the List and a Tutorial

I was visiting a few of the folks who are joining in on the Spring to Finish challenge and I've seen some goal lists. Love that!

This one is at the top of my list, Jon's graduation quilt. Jon asked for minimal, modern and masculine. He chose the fabrics and I gave the challenge to my Common Threads virtual quilting bee buddies. They have made some fabulous blocks for me to work with.

They are each a work of art in themselves, so I decided to frame them and display them like paintings on a gallery wall. The blue and cream are both linen. I have one more row of blocks to add and then more blue linen for the bottom. (I'm still waiting for a few blocks to arrive.)

It's an oversized twin. I've gone as far as I can go on this one until I get more blocks. Due date to finish: May 23rd. I want him to unwrap a finished quilt.

So, want to see one of the prizes for all of you who have accepted the Spring to Finish challenge? Here it is:
14" pillow cover made from Orla Kiely dishtowels

If you'd like to make a pillow like this for yourself, I did a tutorial just for you. Just click here to download the pdf. If you'd like to join in on the challenge, check out this post.

Want to see your block in a quilt top? Instead of loading 30 pictures and 17 sets of names I'm trying something different.

Here is a pdf with a list of all the quilts and their contributors. Download the pdf, then find your name and the quilt's color/number (e.g. red/aqua #3) and head to the Project Improv flickr group and find the pictures for that quilt. You should be able to find your block in the quilts. I uploaded 3 pictures of each quilt. 17 quilt tops: 6 quilted, 11 more in progress and more blocks are still waiting to be made into tops. You can also click on the flickr badge in the sidebar and go to my Project Improv flickr set.

10 more tops are on the way to Jackie and Pam for quilting....the first 6 tops have arrived at my house...all quilted and beautiful. Can't wait to show you...I'm working on pictures. I will tell you all should buy a plane ticket right this very minute and come and visit just so you can see these gorgeous quilts in person. When I unpacked the box, I had to call Jackie right away and tell her thank you. She and Pam did a phenomenal job on these quilts. There are a couple of pictures up on flickr, but they don't come close to the beauty of these quilts in person.

Project Improv arrivals:
Patty MI - 1 block
Michelle B CA - 1 block (the fabric is divine!)
Barbara S TX - 1 block
Erin UT - 1 block
josie NY - 1 block
Solidia IN - 3 blocks
Britt NC - 1 block
Rebecca - 1 block
Annie - 1 block and more fabulous chocolate! thanks!!
Meagan AL - 2 blocks and stamps. thanks for the stamps...postage is adding up and everything helps!
Summer NV - 2 blocks

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring to Finish!

I need a little you? Maybe we can motivate each other. I have 17 projects in some state of progress as I write this post. I'm dedicating the remaining days of the month of April to getting at least some of those projects moved from works in progress to finishes. Want to join me? Here's how it works. Grab the 'spring to finish' button and put it on your blog. (Email me if you need the code.) Dig those projects out of the closet and work like the dickens during the month of April to get things finished. The least one finish. You might want to record your finishes on your blog.

Then come back here on April 30 and leave a comment telling how many finishes you achieved from today thru the 30th. You keep's the honor system. I know you are honorable. Then on April 30th we'll celebrate. I'll be putting together a slam bang package of goodies...fabric of course and maybe some surprises. I'll preview the prize later for some more motivation. The more finishes, the more entries you receive. Simple enough. So, let's get sewing.

Isn't the button cute? Made it myself. (insert picture of me beaming and patting myself on the back!)

Project Improv arrivals:
Staci NY - 1 block
Sheree TX - 3 blocks and fabric...thanks sheree! the stripes are sweeet! (i need to think of something special for those!)
Someone from Midland MI - 2 red/aqua blocks...who are you????
Jenifer TX - 1 block
Amy UT - 1 block
Kristin WA - 2 blocks
Jenn TN - 1 block
Ralitza Bulgaria - 2 blocks

Friday, April 3, 2009

I Love My Mailman

First, because he's a nice guy and he puts your packages up on the porch to keep them dry and protected and second because he delivers things like this! Feast your eyes...oogle it for a long time...look closely at the piecing and quilting. It's all mine and I didn't have to make it. This is the work of Jackie, of Canton Village Quilt Works (she's one of our project improv longarm quilters). Aren't we fortunate to have her!
I signed up for a Pay It Forward a year ago on Jackie's blog. Wasn't that sneaky of her to wait a whole year....I'd forgotten all about it and it sure made for a nice surprise. She sent a beautiful pin too, and chocolate. The pin is downstairs on my coat. Jackie, I adore this quilt. It's so me and it's perfect in every way. I can't tell you how it made my day. Thank you doesn't seem enough. I'll treasure this and make sure it has a special place in my house.
My mailman has also delivered all the scraps in this bag. This is my magic 'Scraps to Treasure' bag. So far it contains treasures from Stacey, Emily, Anna M., Lolly, Anna K. and Penny. Nine of us are sharing scraps and each of us has committed to making a project (or two), and the only requirement, we have to use all of the scraps. Our goal to finish projects is October. Penny is our fearless leader. Thanks everyone! I love what you've sent and my mind is churning with ideas to put them to use. You can see everyone's contributions and projects here.
I have been doing a few things besides the project improv tops...drinking lots of coffee and I made a cover for Bernie...dust is the enemy you know. (pattern is free from Spool)
...and more spidey many more to do.

Project Improv arrivals:
....they're coming like crazy now...thanks everyone...keep'em coming. Thanks for the emails letting me know when blocks will be arriving. You all are the best. CHECK THE SIDEBAR TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR STAR.
Amanda KY - 2 blocks and cash for postage...thanks!
Beth KS - 1 block
Cheryl A Canada - 2 blocks (thanks for the fabric...yours finally made it to the post office. thanks for the CD too...the boy disappeared downstairs with it...)
Anna PA - 2 blocks
Carla MO - 1 block (great binding, Carla thanks! the pen will help for all those labels!)
Kat NC - 2 blocks (thanks so much for the fabric...i adore those letters and you know I love the color!)
Priscilla MI - 2 blocks (thanks for the tea...perfect! and the money will go right to postage...thanks!)
Amory TX - 1 block
Kajsa Finland - 2 blocks (thanks my made my day!)
Kate IL - 3 blocks (thanks for everything Kate...the fabric is perfect and I think a pillow for an auction quilt will be perfect (how about orange/pink?)
Carol T WI - 4 blocks (thank for the cash, sweet of you!)
Melanie WI - 1 block
Nani CA - 2 blocks
Gerrie - GA - 2 blocks
Stephanie HI - 1 block
AmandaJean WI - 1 block
Ashley VT - 2 blocks
Julie R VT - 2 blocks (thanks for the fabric's gorgeous...great binding for an orange/pink quilt!)
Mel UT - w blocks
Saranya Thailand - 3 blocks
Jean MD - 1 block
Jennifer F TN 2 blocks
Natalie Washington, DC - 1 block
Andrea WA - 3 blocks and money for coffee! thanks, you know i need that!
Heleen Netherlands - 2 blocks ( and a special heart from these two dutch gals!)
Corry Netherlands - 2 blocks
Iva KS - 6 blocks (thanks...Kansas represents!)
Jill D NY - 3 blocks
Melinda MO - 3 blocks (thanks for the cash...we'll put it to good use!)

We have some sun today to I'll try to get a photo shoot of all the quilt tops today. 10 more tops are done...that makes 17 total so far....more in the works!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

sew crazy!!!!

This is blue green #3, #4, red/aqua #3, #4, pink/orange #3, #4, #5...more to's SEW CRAZY around here. Stay tuned for complete pictures and more to come...