Saturday, July 31, 2010

Clamshell Club!

As if I didn't have enough projects in the works, when I found out there was a Clamshell Club, I just had to join!  I've been intrigued by Clamshell quilts for awhile and the club spurred me to start!  Good thing I waited  - instructions on how to make a clamshell quilt are quite scarce!  I still can't believe it, in this internet age, but it is sadly true.  Luckily, the wonderful ladies in the Clamshell Club have been a wealth of information as I start this journey. I first found out about the club from Sue-Ann's Buddy & Me blog.  Jossie of Cybele's Patch is the hostess for this club.  She's from the Netherlands and her blog is in Dutch and English.  I feel so international! We are to post on our progress the day of each month.  So, after researching a number of different methods, I determined that using these freezer paper clamshell templates from Over the Edge Designs were the best way to go for me.  I found them on Cindi Edgerton's A Very Special Collection site.  Cindi's a doll, I ordered three packs - she sent me four.  On purpose!  Now, that's customer service!  She's got all kinds of paper foundations on her site.  I really like the idea of the iron-on freezer paper and they are economical!  It takes a lot of clamshells to make a quilt!  Each package comes with 160 templates.  Only catch is you have to cut them out. I'm doing a sheet of 8 at a time and it's not bad at all. My next decision was what fabrics to use.  I decided to go with a soft palette and realized that Charm Packs fit the bill!  I could get lots of different fabrics and there's not too much waste.  So far, my Clamshell stash includes (all Moda by the way) Martinique, Astor Manor, Park Avenue, Garden Party, Rural Jardin, Lumiere de Noel, Luna Notte and Beach Cottage. 

Here is one of the cut out templates fused to a charm square that I cut to 3-1/2".  I then made a plastic template 1/4" larger all around so I can trace my seam allowance.  Then, using my round lazy susan mat and a small  rotary cutter, I can cut out my clamshell.  So far, so good.  Then I had another dilemma.  How to baste.  I know this is a long-term project, but I'd like to finish in this lifetime, so I thought glue stick was the way to go.  I had a washable purple glue stick and began to use that.  Worked pretty good but then I thought, isn't this supposed to be permanent, so how was I going to get the papers out after the clamshells were stitched together?  So, I thought maybe I better hand-baste them.  I did about 4 (see below) and then said nope, not doing that! After some more research I found a basting glue stick that I'm going to try.  So, we'll see how that goes!

Here are the glue-basted clamshells I've finished so far...

and the hand-basted ones...

and since I couldn't wait to see how they would look sewn together I stitched a few.  The guidelines on the back of the paper templates make it easy to line them up!  This is too much fun!!

I plan to cut out a whole bunch before our vacation later this month so I can glue baste and stitch some together while we're away. I think they'll let me take glue stick on the plane o:)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

An unexpected day off /JRS #11 and Schnibbles!

I got a 7am phone call this morning from my boss - of course my stomach immediately fell as I thought, oh no, who died (even though our families are friendly, he doesn't generally give me good morning wake-up calls!).  Luckily, the first thing he said was "nobody died."  Then he said "the good news is you don't have to go into work today."  Since it was only a blown transformer (meaning we'll have no a/c, servers, phones, or lights all day) and nothing bad happened to the building, it's a bonus day off for me!  So, I'm declaring this Quilting Day at Denise's house!  Wish you could join me o:)

So, I thought I'd take the time to get a little blogging in.  Here's is the next to last Jelly  Roll Sampler block - number 11.  One more to go.  When it's finished, I think I'm going to donate this very colorful quilt to one of the children's charities.

I have to say something about the jelly roll I used for this quilt.  Last year I made these as Christmas gifts...

I was a fabric basket-making fool for a couple of months last Fall.  They were fun, but I was basketed-out by the time I was finished-LOL!  I decided I wasn't going to spend the money to purchase the "good" Jelly Rolls for these, but I found the chain craft stores carried generic jelly rolls and with your 40 or 50% off coupons, I could get them for about $6.  Sweet!  So, I stocked up.  Now, they were fine for basket making, but as I found out when making this quilt, they are not all cut precisely at 2-1/2", not even in one strip.  I was wondering why some of my JRS blocks weren't coming out right.  I've been piecing for more than 16 years, I am a fairly good piecer, not perfect, but I know I'm not THAT bad!  I finally decided to measure the strips and, my oh my, quality control is really missing there!  I have a few of those jelly rolls left over and I think I'll just keep them for basket making!  Or, I guess I could cut them down to 1.5" strips.  Anyway, just a warning!

I also finished my Joy Luck, the July "A Year of Schnibbles", quilt.  Not very creative of me and it looks just like the cover...

since I used the same fabric.  I really liked the original, so decided to be a lemming again and just follow along o:) since I had a FQ bundle of Verna.  So, I just cut my own charm squares.  Now, originally, I was planning on using just two different Asian prints from stash along with a background, but when I pulled out what I had, I wasn't feeling it.  Since I didn't want to buy new fabric, I just decided to go ahead with the Verna.  And I'm glad I did!  I'm still deciding how I want to quilt it.  I'd like to do some sort of Asian design, but I'm not sure what that is yet!  I've got to get some backing for this and I think I'm going to do a Kona solid for the binding.  Maybe a hot pink.

Now, I'm off to quilt for the day - - Yippee!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Christmas in July

Doing all of these Snowbound blocks got me thinking about Christmas (we do love the Holidays here at our house) and since I thought maybe thinking Christmas-sy thoughts might make me forget about the 90-100 degree temps we've been having here near Philadelphia (didn't work by the way), I thought I'd show a few photos of some holiday items I've made in the past.

Two friends at work and I always go out for a Christmas lunch near the holiday and exchange holiday-themed items.  They love getting handmade gifts from me, (both of the food and quilty type), so two years ago, I made them each a wallhanging.  This Santa for Chris and and the Snowman for Sandy.  I made them using Tammy Carlson patterns using a preprinted fusible grid purchased from Keepsake Quilting.  They are so adorable, but they were a pain in the you-know-what to do!  I was never so glad to finish two projects in my life- LOL!

This next one is my own design. I had some beautiful poinsettia fabric that I decided to use to do a broderie perse-style wallhanging for my Mom for Christmas a couple of years ago. She has a small quilt hanger in her dining room and I like to make hangings for the different seasons for her. She loved it!

This cute little table runner is made from a charm pack of Holly Jolly by Sandy Gervais for Moda.  I first saw it on Lisa Boyer's Dorky Homemade Quilts blog.  It's a free pattern from the Happy Zombie called Jingle Jolly Table Runner.  I made two - one for me and one for my daughter-in-law. 

This applique piece hangs over the piano in my living room every Christmas season.  I love it.  Each of the ladies in my small bee made a version of this wall hanging.  It's well over 10 years old by now.  I have no idea what pattern it is or even where I got it, it's been that long.

Of course, I have more holiday quilts in the queue to make.  We got to see little teases of what I believe is going to a fabulous holiday quilt designed by Wendy Sheppard on her blog.  She's calling it Peppermint Parcels and it will be published in the December 2010 issue of Quilter's World magazine.  Wendy said "You might want to grab the fabrics as soon as they come out..."  so I did....they are from the Henry Glass Hip Holidays Line.  I hope I bought enough (I think I did-LOL!).  I'm all ready to go!

This next pile of fabrics was supposed to be a quilt made for last Christmas.  I purchased the Figgy Pudding fabrics to make the Figgy Pudding Christmas tree quilt at the PA Quilt Extravaganza last year.  They are still looking cute in the little bag they came in (I admired them again when I took them all out to take the photo)...maybe this year?!

Then, Hubby did great with his flea marketing this weekend (and it's only great when he comes home with quilty stuff for me, other than that it's only so much junk, but I digress)...he came home with a box full of quilting fabric scraps, some patterns, a roll of batting, an 18x24" turntable for cutting, and these cute cuts of Christmas fabric.  They are about two yards each .  He spent all of $8 for the whole lot.  Now, the first one is most bizzare - among the Christmas tree ornaments we found hot air balloons and moons and stars.  But, it's colorful!

This motifs on this next piece are so sweet. I think I'll use this one for a backing for a holiday wall hanging. I can't bear to cut it up...

That's it. Now, back to our regularly scheduled summer...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Quilts I almost didn't finish

I was listening to Sandy's (of Quilting for the Rest of Us) newest podcast and she told the story of a quilt she almost gave up on.  I was fascinated listening to her story and she posted photos of the quilt on her blog.  Wow, I'm sure glad she finished it - the quilt is spectacular.  She asked listeners to share stories of quilts they almost didn't finish.  It got me thinking and I decided the subject would make a good blog post!  Here are the stories of two (well, four really), projects that didn't get finished!

One BOM - Two Quilts
I am a BOM fiend.  Love 'em.  I pick up (or get in the mail) my block for the month, spend an hour and I feel that I've accomplished something!  A number of years ago, my LQS had a sweet BOM using 30s fabrics.  30s had never been my thing up to that point, but seeing the finished quilt I just had to do it.  So, I dutifully picked up my package every month and made the blocks.  And then they sat, and sat, and sat.  In 2008 I decided that I was going to plow through those UFOs and get them done!  I'd made a resolution that I'd have to finish at least two UFOs before I could start something new (that worked up until this year, but that's a whole other story).  So, I pulled out the blocks for the 30s BOM.  The quilt was made up of log cabin and basket blocks.  Now, I said I made the blocks a number of years ago.  Apparently, I've become a much better piecer since then because the basket blocks were smaller than the log cabin blocks - and not just a smidge.  By like 1/2 inch!!  Oh boy, I almost put the whole thing away again.  Squaring them all up to be the same size wouldn't work, I'd lose too much off the baskets.  But, I really didn't want to just give up.  A.  I'd spent a lot of money on this quilt already and B. the blocks were pretty!  After much thought (sometimes it takes me a while o:)  I hit on the perfect solution.  I'd make two quilts!  The original quilt was gi-normous and I realized If I made two quilts - one log cabin and one basket quilt, I'd still have two good size quilts.  So, that's what I did.  So I got a two-for-one!  I love them both.

The Baskets...

The Log Cabin (sorry about the creases):

The second didn't start out life as a quilt.  I took a class to make a quilted vest.  It was a fun class and I enjoyed the technique.  But..I don't make clothes.  I always say, I don't sew, I make quilts.  I even took private garment sewing lessons about 20 years ago.  I didn't like it and didn't get good at it at all.  So, in class I got the panels for the vest done.  Then, it sat and sat for years.  I was going to make the vest for my grandmother.  She passed away in 2006, and the panels still sat.  They were too pretty to throw away, so I thought - I'll make wall hangings!  So, another project I got a two-fer out of!  I now have two of these.   At least one is going into my Etsy shop.

Thanks, Sandy, for this food for thought!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

It's Snowing in July!

I've decided to "catch-up" on the Snowbound blocks of the month by making 4 this month and the next 4 in August - then I'll be on track!  Here are the remaining three I finished.....

I mentioned some of the pieces are pretty small and trying to keep the Steam-a-Seam on and cut them out at the same time with my regular sized pins was a little difficult.  I decided it was time to invest in some applique pins.  Look how small these babies are...

I think they'll be just the ticket!  Unfortunately, they didn't arrive until after I finished my 4 blocks, but I can't wait to try to them out next month!

We just returned from meeting a lovely couple out near Lancaster to whom I sold my Pfaff Tiptronic sewing machine.  The Pfaff was my first "good" machine.  I bought it in the late 90s - not too long after I started quilting.  I decided I was a Bernina girl a couple of years after that and the poor Pfaff was just sitting around collecting dust.  I was hoping that either my daughter or daughter-in-law might be bitten by the quilting bug and I could give it one of them, but so far no go.  I finally decided it needed a good home and listed it on Craigslist to try to sell it.  After months of getting either no bites or people emailing once and then never responding again, this lovely lady and I corresponded back and forth for a while.  They are from Ohio but were coming into the Lancaster area for a wedding this weekend.  That's only about an hour and change from us so we took the trip out and met them.  I sure hope she's happy with it!

Bye old friend....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm a Charming Girl!

I was thrilled to find that Kelly of Cotton Charm Quilts was opening up membership in

I had learned of The Charming Girls Club  a few months ago and eagerly read all of the members' updates.  It was fun and I wanted to be a "Charming Girl", but membership was closed and I had to be content to just be on the outside looking in.  But I knew I was a Charming Girl at heart and when I read that the club was opened to new members for its second year, I jumped!  I commented on Kelly's post and asked to join and she said yes!  I can now proudly display the button on blog.

This year, Kelly made a few changes to the club.  Not only will we post our quilting goals, but some life goals as well!  I like that.  There are things that I've been wanting to do, meaning to do and should be doing that are not quilt related and this will help me be somewhat more accountable.

Each month will have a different theme.  This month's theme is

So, here are my self-care and quilting goals for the month:

1.  I've been trying to be better about exercise.  I feel better when I do it and at my age, I really need it!
And, since I sit at a desk all day, I get just about no exercise if I don't really make an effort.  The problem is it is a time-sucker!  And I so hate to waste good quilting time.  But, it is necessary for my health so I can quilt for many years to come (and also so I can wear more than the 5 pairs of stretch pant in my closet that fit!). So, my goal is to do weight training 3 days a week and at least two days of aerobic exercise.  I have no excuse, I have a treadmill, weights, a step, videos, bands, etc. at home.  I just need to get my butt out of bed in the mornings and do it!!

2.  Along with the exercise, a good diet is also key.  I don't have too much trouble with that - I'd say that I've been able to overhaul my diet over the years to be about 75% healthy/25% really yummy.  Fortunately, I love fruits and veggies.  I've pretty much got breakfast and lunch down - but dinner can be a downfall.  I eat lots of whole grains cereals, greens, no soda, chips or snacky type foods for the most part.  My big problem is portion control. I can eat a lot of food. And, I hate to be hungry.  I also have a love affair with pasta and rice.  I am trying to learn to love whole-grain pasta and brown rice.  So, I'll be watching even more carefully what I eat this month.

3. A big quilty goal is to finish my Lady Madonna applique quilt.  It's huge, the biggest applique I've done and the pieces just need to be fused and then I can do the machine applique.  I like the machine applique part, but I'm procrastinating about getting the fusing done.  If I don't make myself do it, it will just keep getting put on the back burner.  So, I'm putting it out there so I'll have to hang my head in shame if I don't get it done!

4.  I've also decided to participate in A Year of Schnibbles for July - I've just ordered my Joy Luck pattern and will get that done (Schnibbles are so fun and quick, I don't think that will be a problem).
[photo courtesy of Fat Quarter Shop]

Thanks, Kelly, for letting me be charming!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm Finally Snowbound! And JRS Block #10

Well, I think it's already 8 months in, but I've finally started the Snowbound blocks!!  Yay!  (I am blaming my late start all on the store I tried to purchase the fabric from on-line.  I really, really wanted to use this Rural Jardin fabric for the background along with some others in the line and it was on backorder for what seemed like months. I finally gave up and ordered it from somewhere else. (I think I whined about this before). Anyway, I started last week.  The blocks are so very cute.  Some of the pieces are quite small though, so even though my favorite fusible is Steam-a-Seam 2, it can be a little fidgety to work with on the smaller pieces.  So, I thought, I'll try using the WonderUnder I bought for my large Lady Madonna applique project (because is was soooo much cheaper than S-a-S).  Bad move.  Trying to remove the Wonderunder paper from the back of a teeny tiny carrot nose was next to impossible.  I decided that the rest would be satin-stitched!  Here's the first one...

And, we're still rolling along with the Jelly Roll Sampler - here's block 10 - this one was fun and really quick.  I like it!

I particularly love what one of the gals, Kim, is doing with her Jelly Roll Blocks - a Halloween theme and is embellishing them stitchery.  Her blocks are so cool - she made a Frankenstein face out of Block 5, a pumpkin out of Block 9, and tombstone with Block 10.  So creative!

I looked at my cutting table the other night and was amazed at how messy it was!  I usually keep my work area very neat (I find it hard to work in a mess), but with Snowbounding, Jelly Rolling and this and that...I walked into this...

I had to take 5 minutes to get organized again and all was right in my sewing room o:)

I'm almost embarrassed to post this, but I am on a roll with the giveaways!  Last week, I found out I won a gift certificate from Cottage Quilts   for my June Schnibble in A Year of Schnibbles AND this cute embroidery ornament from Brye Lynn at Sew Stitch Create!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Now, I think I'll go play the lottery....

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th!!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

[clipart courtesy of]
Today, I thought I'd show you some of the patriotic themed quilts I've made over the years.

This was the first patriotic quilt I ever made.   This small wallhanging is pretty old now.  I remember it was the weekend before the 4th of July and I wanted something red, white and blue and made this to hang for the holiday.  I remember it being a lot of fun to make and superquick!  I quilted a spiral in the blue and squiggly lines across the red/white.

This next one didn't really start out as a "patriotic" quilt, but it sure looks that way - lol!  This was one of those quilts where you play with values - all the blocks are the same star but depending on your fabric choices sometimes you can't even tell!

This one was made for my grandson's birthday - who happened to be born on the 4th of July (so, of course, he thinks all the hoopla is for him-haha!).  He wanted a flag quilt for his birthday a few years ago, so I used some artistic license and came up with this...
His uncle is in the First Cavelry in the Army so I used this fabric on the back to honor him...

And I found this fun label....

This was my 2nd quilt for Quilts of Valor (I guess I didn't take a photo of the first one o:( ).  This was made from Mary's (of Making Scrap Quilts from Stash) pattern at her site.  It's called Patriotic Rail Fence.  I love, love, love Mary's blog and she so generously shares many great patterns at the MaryQuilts site.  She is a very big supporter of the HeartStrings quilt charity.  She is extremely prolific!
I've been reminiscing about some of the great places we've spent the holiday.  We've seen fireworks in New York City in Battery Park, in Disney World and (my favorite) on the Mall in Washington, D.C.  We'll be at home this year (celebrating the grand-kiddo's 12th birthday and our independence), which is pretty darn good too!!  Happy 4th all - I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend!