Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blackbird Designs Stockings

I have been a bit under the weather this week.  It started a week ago and by the weekend I was feeling pretty bad.  On Monday I went to the doctor's and he said I had pneumonia!!  Who the heck gets pneumonia in June??  I got a good antibiotic and after hours and hours of sleep and rest  (when I could sleep, that is - the coughing kept me up a few nights) I am finally feeling better.  I missed almost a whole week of work.  I would much rather use my time off in a better way.

Yesterday I finally decided I felt good enough to so something besides watch TV Land and reruns of Law and Order so I finished up these:

They are the April Blackbird Stockings.  I am working my way through the year.  Here is January:

Good grief, did I really start this project in 2009??? This is embarrassing.  Here is February:

After seeing Siobhan's stockings, I decided to redo the alphabet one.  It is the only one I have done so far in overdyed threads (the rest are DMC) and wouldn't you know that is the one I dropped in the snow and the threads ran. I liked her purple version so much better so I used a strand of two different purples.  My new one is on the left - I still have to sew it with the backing fabric, that's why you see so much linen around the stitched area.

And then here is March:

Back in April, I was pretty smug, thinking I was on track!  Where did May go?  This afternoon I pulled the floss for May and want to get busy on that month,  Do you think I can catch up?  LOL  We'll have to see!

Here they are all on a little feather tree that I have had for a zillion years:

I do believe I will have to find a different way to display them.  And just for fun, here are two more that I did a couple of years ago:

I'd like to do a few more of these!

Summer is now in full swing around here.  Hannah has started swimming lessons, it is nice and hot, I have a class reunion this weekend (hello, Class of 1972!!), and the 4th of July is right around the corner.  I have a trip planned to go see one of my favorite cousins, and we have a camping weekend or two planned.  I hope I can keep myself  healthy for the rest of the summer, I don't have time to be sick.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ring The Bell!!

My sewing group has a tradition of 'ringing the bell' when we have completed a project at a sew day or retreat.  It started years ago and when someone shouts it out or actually does ring a bell, we all know to stop and ooohh and aaah over that person's finish!  We are our own biggest fans!

Since I work well under pressure, I have finished Hannah's gift to her 3rd grade teacher tonight.  Her last day is tomorrow and I wanted to get this done so she can give it to her.  The temperatures here have been over 80 for several days and my sewing room is upstairs and has no air conditioning!  Last night, I went up and sewed for 15 - 20 minutes, came down in the air conditioning for a while, ran back up and did some more... you get the idea.   But tonight it is done.  I hope Mrs. L likes it - she has been an awesome teacher for Hannah and our whole family loves her!  (By the way... here is a real taste of small town living - I have known Hannah's teacher all her life as her parents are my husband's and my best friends!  So you can see that she is more than just a teacher, she is family.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bonnie Hunter

Yesterday afternoon, while the rest of the family was golfing, I went to a lecture sponsored by my quilt guild. Bonnie Hunter gave a great talk and showed tons of beautiful quilts.  She had a lot of advice and hints to help manage your scraps and turn them into unbelievably gorgeous quilts. You have to go check out her website.  She has so many free patterns and ideas for quilt making.  This gal has the most incredible amount of energy too!  So here are some of my many favorites:

This one was made with very tiny log cabin blocks - they are either 5" or 6" blocks.

 This one was just the way I like them, lots of pieces and really scrappy. 

 The lattice colors of green and black were really unique and set these blocks so well.

 This one is on my to-do list for sure.

 I love blue and brown together.  

 A close up - bow tie blocks with 4 patches.

 This one was absolutely a show stopper.  

 And a close up of it:

 But THIS one was my favorite.  I love blue and beige together.  One really good hint was that she sorts her fabrics by whether they are a 'color' or a 'neutral'.  You can see her range of 'neutrals' in these pictures.  She said when she is using background fabrics, she goes from very light to 'paper bag brown'.  I tell you, she surely knows how to play with color and value.

 See how gorgeous this is up close.  I would love to do this one also!

 Some of them lined up afterwards:

She gave so many tips as to cutting your scraps into usable widths, how to sort your scraps so they are ready to use, color and value tips, and gave me a new appreciation for my left-overs!  Her philosophy regarding quilt making was very inspirational.   It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon and  if you get the chance to hear her speak or are lucky enough to take a class, please don't pass up the opportunity.  Check out her website and her blog too!  I am thankful that our guild brought her to visit.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

First off, Happy Father's Day to everyone out there!  I'm not able to spend it with my Dad but not a day goes by without thinking of him.  One day again I will see him again - that I am sure of!

The kids are taking Ron golfing this afternoon.  I am no golfer so I am left behind.  We will meet up afterwards for a burger and a beverage at a local place that has the best food.  It is all about casual with my family!  That is just fine with me as I will be going to a lecture by Bonnie Hunter.  I am so excited - our quilt guild has brought her in for a visit.  She will have some amazing things to show I am sure.  I was not able to take a class from her due to working (that darn thing gets in the way of most of my fun!) but I am looking forward to her lecture.  Pictures will follow...

This is where I have been spending much of my time lately.

Just reading and watching the world go by.  We have had some great weather lately and it is so hard to be in the house.  I have got some sewing done (that hour a day thing is working well) and I am coming right along on my stash quilt.

I also have done a row for my group's row by row challenge. This one is for Nancy Z. Here is a sneak peak:

I recently got a new camera and I took some pictures one day when I was eating lunch outside at work (like I said, it has been beautiful weather here).  

These are the views from my spot in the courtyard outside my office.  The sky was gorgeous that day and the sun and shadows were so pretty.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

An Hour a Day

Like a lot of people, I often say "I wish there were more hours in the day".  What I really mean is that I wish I had better control of the hours that I do have.  The other day, Nicole posted about the same dilemma regarding sewing time.  Like her, I have a lot of things on my plate but her idea of finding just one hour a day to sew really hit home with me.  I am going to try it and see how much I can accomplish.   I have several projects either started or I want to start and sometimes I feel like I am walking in circles.  I am going to make a list and get busy, one hour a day!

The first thing I want to finish up is the stash buster quilt.  My quilt group has issued a challenge to make a quilt top using your stash - you are not allowed to purchase anything for the top.  I will probably have to buy a backing but I am going to use something out of my stash for the binding.  Here are the components for it that I have finished so far:

I think I have enough for two quilts actually!  (Isn't it amazing what can be pulled out of our drawers and off our shelves - I think I probably could get 10 or more just out of my stash!)

So thank you, Nicole for inspiring me to at least get in one hour a day of sewing.  What with the busy days of summer activities and working full time, it will be a challenge but I am up to it.  Will you take the challenge with me?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hug Your Babies

I started this blog with the intention to chronicle my projects, my reading and the blessings in my life.  So with that said, I just want to tell you to hug the ones you love tonight.  The teenage nephew of a good friend was killed tragically in a car crash this past weekend.  It was such an awful, senseless accident - but aren't they all?  I just cannot fathom the grief and sadness that is enveloping this family.  My daughter lost a good friend in college to an automobile accident.  Another dear friend of mine lost her son as a teenager when he fell asleep at the wheel.  All of these were so sad.  So please, drive carefully; watch out for 'the other guy'; be aware.  Hug and kiss your babies and tell them you love them.  And God bless the Bartchak family.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Inspiration, Admiration and Contemplation

This weekend was a quilt show put on by a local guild.  Today, Melissa (my sister in law) and I went to it.  We were inspired, we admired and we contemplated the beautiful works of art that were displayed.  Here are pictures of some of our favorites.  

This was a beautiful quilt made with 6" blocks using Civil War reproduction fabrics.
And a close up of it:
I believe it was all hand quilted.  Her piecing was perfect.

I found that I was attracted to the blue quilts - this one had two of my favorite blocks, a star and a log cabin.

And a close up:

This one was made of several different aqua prints.  It was such a calm, peaceful quilt. 

And another close up:

Another two color quilt.  This one was so simple and calming also.  I can see this on a white chippy wicker love seat on my front porch!!  Maybe a similar one will be in my future...

This was probably my favorite one.  It was made by a dear friend of mine and is called Carolina Christmas.  The pattern is by Bonnie Hunter.  I love scrap quilts but the best ones are 'controlled scrap quilts'.  This one was wonderful.
I took close ups of a lot of the quilts I liked and of course I took a close up of this one too!

One more made by my friend from another one of Bonnie Hunter's patterns:  Roll Roll Cotton Bowl.  There are a lot of half square triangles in this!

We were in awe of the creativity and the beautiful quilts we saw.  These are just a small portion of the show but every single one of them displayed was beautiful in it's own way.  I admire the handiwork of the ladies who shared their beautiful quilts with us.  

I have just got a new camera and am still learning how to use it...  so I apologize that my pictures do not give these quilts their due.  I hope that you all are able to go to a quilt show at some point, whether it is a small local one or a larger regional or national one.  It is well worth your time!!