Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Show & Tell Tuesday: Poppy

At a sewing days at my good friend Becky's house last fall, we were doing a little show & tell and again, I had a bit of Becky-quilt-envy.  She made the Poppy quilt from the Simply Fat Quarters book by the It's So Emma gals.  It's fabulous and I wanted one (go take a look - here - I'll wait).  Then I thought I can have one!  I have that book!  I think it was the next day I chose a stack of random FQs in salmons and greens I'd picked up somewhere last year and got started...
I love this color combo...
I didn't get a chance to quilt it yet because I had to move right on to deadline sewing after I got this out of my system, but it's coming up to the top of the stack soon!!

Again, I'm linking up to Randi's Show & Tell Tuesdays.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Downton Abbey Quilt Retreat - the Recap

It's hard to believe it's been a week since the Downton Abbey Quilt Retreat.  What a blast.  I'm going to recap here - it might be a long one.  I'm pretty long-winded with blog posts to begin with, but I want to relive all the fun here - so get a cup of coffee, or maybe wine - I'll wait.  Because there was drama.  Not quilt retreat drama, but hotel drama.

So, I left work last Thursday to stay overnight at my mom and step-dad's house.  They are only 15 minutes from the retreat hotel. I get to my mom's in time for us to go out to dinner and we had a nice visit.  Friday morning dawns and I decide I'll leave about 815am - plenty of time to make the 15 minute drive.  I look outside and my car appears to need scraping.  I talk to the hubby at home (in PA, I'm in NJ) who assures me the roads are just fine at home and he's sure my car doesn't need scraping.  So, I go outside.  The car is encased in ice.  Mmmm, think I need to scrape.  I get going and  get out to the main road (a major highway) and the traffic is going about 10MPH  Oh my.  As I'm going, (very slowly), I'm passing accident after accident.  The black ice was horrendous.  But, I'm about halfway there - no point turning around as that would be even more dangerous.  I was a nervous wreck, but everything was fine until I'm just about to make the left hand turn into the hotel.  My car loses traction and I'm all over the road.  Luckily (and God was with me), no other cars were behind, to the side or in front of my (and I'm going about 10MPH anyway), and I'm able to get to car to the left hand lane and make my turn into the hotel.  Where I park and immediately lose it and call hubby, who calms me down and feels terrible that he told me the roads where okay (they were...where he was in PA!!),  But, I'm there and safe, so I haul all my stuff inside and commence my Downton Abbey weekend.  Where I will not move my car until Sunday!  Drama, No. 1!

The hotel was lovely, my room was very nice and comfortable and our sewing space was spacious and comfortable.  The staff at the hotel couldn't be beat.

While going to my room, I noticed large industrial blowers in the hallway, the trim on the walls by the rug ripped off and rooms with open doors and furniture moved into the middle of the room.  Unfortunately, apparently, the night before a guest had gone into his room, run a bath and promptly feel asleep on the bed and managed to flood 4 rooms!  Yikes!  What a mess.  I felt really bad for the hotel and staff.  That was drama #2.  But, my room was fabulous.   Except I still feel like a dummy for not knowing how to work the Kuerig coffee maker and actually asking for a replacement, which I now realize was user error.  I'm sure they are stilling rolling their eyes at me, but were very kind about replacing the *broken* coffee maker.

So, for the retreat itself...these were the projects - should you choose to make them....

The Ladies of Downton Abbey Quilt and the Manhattan Bag

I was making both... here's my set-up....
We watched Downton Abbey on the big TV starting from season one all weekend - that was so much fun!
On Saturday, we had scones and tea...

I have to share this funny story...on Friday, dinner was included, which was a lovely Italian buffet.  I went up to the bar to get a glass of wine to have with dinner, and the bartender asked if I had ID.  I laughed and said "ha ha ha, very funny" and he said, no really, do you have ID?  I said "really?", he said "do you want a drink?"   LOLOL!  I showed him my DL and still am not sure if he was serious or just being cute.  Not really drama, but funny anyway.

On Saturday night, though, drama #3 played out.  A wedding party was staying at the hotel.  Now, I'm used to this as the hotel where my guild usually holds retreats always has at least one wedding party during our weekends and I'm always on Bride Lookout.  So, of course, I was determined to see the Bride this weekend too!  Except, she wasn't coming out!!  We heard she was to leave at 4:15pm - at 4:45 she was no where to be found.  Even a call to her room elicted no reponse.  Yikes!  What was going on??  Was she getting cold feet?  Was she mad because it was pouring down rain outside?  Finally, at 5:15, a whole hour late, she emerged.  Lovely but nervous.  She did stop and let us looky-loos take photos.  I went up to her and told her how beautiful she looked and mentioned that at my wedding it poured all day and I've been married almost 30 years, so don't worry one bit about the rain.  She thanked me and went off in her limo.  I saw her and the (very handsome) groom the next morning at breakfast.  The wedding did take place - whew!

So, I went back to my sewing and while I got all of the blocks done for my quilt (but didn't get it put together), I did get my Downton Abbey bag done!!  

Here is it is in progress....

Here are all of us "bag ladies" modeling our DA Manhattan Bags....
Me, third from right.

While most of us were making the Ladies of Downton Abbey quilt....

Not mine, but mine will look just like this o:)
One lady was making the Victory Garden quilt in Downton Abbey fabrics (which is basically the British Flag)!  Genius!  Now, I have this pattern, generously given to me by a blogger-friend and I've been waiting for the perfect fabrics for it.  I haunted this poor woman all weekend taking photos of her blocks in progress...

The Retreat itself was fabulous.  I didn't know any of the Retreaters when I came, but left with lots of new friends!  Susan and her staff at the Village Quilter did a fabulous job and I can't wait to do it again!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Show & Tell Tuesday: Short Story - A Comfort Quilt

I wanted to share this quilt that I finished back in November.  Using the Short Story pattern from Carrie Nelson's Schnibbles Times 2 book, I made the middle of the quilt in the summer of 2012 and then put it aside to tend to more pressing quilt matters.  This was going to be a "just for me" quilt because I love how the pattern and the Sultry by Basic Grey fabrics went together.  It's so bright and girly and cheerful.

In November, I found out my daughter-in-law's step-grandmother (got that?) was battling breast cancer and going through some rough treatments.  I usually see Jacie once or twice a year at DILs' family's get-togethers .  We were even invited to Jacie's (beautiful!) home a couple of times.  I really enjoy her company when we do get together and for some reason or another, it had been about a year since I had seen her and had no idea what she'd been going through for most of 2013.
As soon as I heard the news, I knew I was going to finish this quilt for her.  She's vibrant and fun (my hubby calls her "Sparkles") and I decided she needed this quilt more than I did.  So, I pulled out the box and quickly finished the borders and infused it with loving and healing thoughts while I quilted it.

I pulled this cute and fun fabric from Bunny Hill's Windsor Lane collection from my stash that I'd been hoarding for the backing.

I gave it to my DIL to give to her step-mom to give to Jacie.  I got a lovely note from her telling me how much she appreciated the quilt and the thought and the cheer that it brought her.  I knew I'd made the right decision not to keep this one for myself.

I'm linking up to Randi's Show & Tell Tuesdays.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Downton Abbey - A Quilt Retreat!

Do you Downton?? ? We do.  We love all things Downton Abbey in our house.  We wait with excitement for each episode, we re-watch the shows in between seasons and any other show featuring it (we loved the 20/20 special "Secrets of the Castle" that recently aired), we have countless books on that era.  So, when I got the announcement that The Village Quilter was hosting a Downton Abbey Quilt Retreat, I couldn't sign up fast enough!

The retreat is featuring two projects made with the new Downton Abbey line of fabrics from Andover Fabrics. While you can opt to work on your own projects, I'm going to immerse myself in the lovely Downton-inspired fabrics to make this quilt....

 Here is the lovely stack of FQs that I'm precut for the quilt....
 All laid out...
I'll be using the cream fans for my background and the Downton Abbey logo fabric shown above for the backing...

We'll also be making the Manhattan Bag from the leftovers....not sure what "palette" I'm going to use yet - the Dowager Countess's, Lady Mary's, Lady Edith's or Lady Sybil's.

So, I'm off tomorrow morning for a long weekend of pretending I'm back in early 1900s England (yes, with my rotary cutter and computerized sewing machine).  I can't wait to finish my quilt!  You bet I will be snuggled under it during each episode when it's finished!  And, maybe I'll carry my purse with me, just like the Queen!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Show & Tell Tuesday....My Christmas Sewing

This year wasn't a big hand-made gifting year, but I did make a few things.  I also didn't realize until after everything was given away, that I had a big fat
fail in the picture taking department for the most part.  But, I'll show off what I do have (I worked hard on this stuff!)

I decided very early in the year, I wanted to make a set of Christmas placemats for my brother and new sis-in-law.  Here they are pieced.  I quilted them up with the Holly Berries panto with a gold-ish thread and they were beautiful.  Sis-in-law Cathy thought so yo (brother probably did too, but he's not quite as effusive - LOL!)

This was a big finish for me.  Back in July, I blogged about the 12 Days of Christmas cross stitch panels a very special cousin made back in 2002.  She made them as a gift for her daughter and tried a number of times to have people put them into a quilt for her, only to get them back un-sewn each time.  When she found out I quilted she asked my Mom if she thought I'd put them into a quilt for her and dropped off the panels and the fabric she'd purchased during a trip to made to our area this past summer.  It was very important for me to finish this and get it to her to gift to her daughter for this Christmas.  I made my deadline and sent off the package in early December.  I didn't tell her and what a surprise she got when she opened the box.  She called me and said there were tears shed by both her and her daughter when they saw it.  Warmed my heart and I was so happy to have been able to do this for her.  So, here's the really bad photo of the finished quilt right before I carefully boxed it up to send it on it's way (much better photos here)....

I always like to find a little, quick-to-make gift, for holiday giving.  There are alway those that you just want to give a little something to.  Last year it was the tissue cozies.  This year, it was laminated coasters!  I was driving to work the Tuesday before Thanksgiving listening to Pat Sloan's podcast and she was talking to her buddy Roseann, who mentioned she had given a class at her shop to make these laminated coasters and the instructions were on her blog.  I was intrigued, and needed some little gifts to give to some ladies we were lunching with on Saturday, so looked it up as soon as I made it to the office (priorities!)  One of the supplies needed was some iron-on vinyl.   Mmmm, where can I get iron-on vinyl, like, NOW!  I went on the Joanns website and they had it on-line.  I called my local Joanns where I was told that they didn't have any and after discussion among the staff, was told they didn't understand how you can iron vinyl anyway.  I told them that yes, indeed, there was such a product and it was sold on their website.  Obviously, they were not able to be of help (although I DID find some iron-on vinyl there last week when I visited????).  Anyhoo, not to be deterred, because when I get a think in my head, I need to make it happen).  I found I could get some of this elusive iron-on vinyl from Amazon and could get it by Friday if I joined Prime.  Apparently, I could try out this Prime free for 30 days, so I signed myself up and had this precious stuff by Friday!  I found a great panel with these cute Christmas blocks in my Christmas fabric box and I made about 50 of these things!  These were like potato chips, i couldn't stop making them.  Super cute and very well received!  There were about four other different little "scenes", but here are the ones I was able to manage a photo of.

Another important finish on my list this year was a baby quilt for our office Holiday charity.  We give to the "Christmas Store" run by a local women's shelter where women can go and "shop" for gifts for their children.  I had decided last year I wanted to contribute another quilt.  Except forgot until the week before they were coming to pick up all of the gifts.  Yikes!!  I recalled this great one-block Churn Dash quilt from Camille Roskelly's new book, Simply Retro.  Camille to the rescue!  It came out so cute and I think it look 4 hours start to finish!
I used my zig-zag EZ boards to do the quilting....
And all fabric came from stash!

The last of my Christmas sewing was in the form of Snap Happy Bags.  I made four of them...two from some Little Black Dress by Basic Grey fabrics (gorgeous and sophisticated - again, no photos - just imagine!); my favorite which was bright pink and black for my daughter to give as a Pollyanna (still kicking myself I didn't take a photo) and one for my daughter from some Sugar Skull fabric (real Christmas-sy, huh?!) she picked up at Joanns last summer...that, we did get a photo of.  The Snap Happy Bags, which uses 1" metal tape measure pieces for the "snap", are quick to make and hold a lot.  I love them!!

So, that wraps up Christmas 2013!  I'm linking up to Randi's Show & Tell Tuesdays.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

What Santa Left....

Before we get too far into January, I wanted to show the quilty goodies Santa left under my tree this year!

I'm loving this Modern Patchwork magazine, published bi-annually.  Hard to find, a little spendy, but I really love it and I put it on my list.  Lots of articles and great projects.  

I've been wanting this book since before it was released, but put it on my Christmas list and patiently waited.  Santa didn't disappoint.  Neither did author Cheryl Arkison.  Love this even more than her last book with Amanda Jean Nyberg, Sunday Morning Quilts (not to take anything away from that book - it was great)!

These were a surprise....a FQ stack of Glamping and a beautiful charm pack of Vin du Jour (Santa knows the name "Moda" - LOL)...

A very modern quilt pattern by Zen Chic...Santa apparently picked this up at a yard sale earlier this year.  Pretty cool pattern!

Three new pantographs for machine quilting!

And the gift that gives again - a Gift Certificate for The Round Bobbin!
Sadly, he didn't bring me a good camera (sorry for the bad photos - and I think I had it on the wrong setting).  Maybe next year!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2014!  I decided to start the new year right and get a blog post up!  I've got lots to share...Santa's workshop was busy, busy this holiday season.

First up...I was determined to get a Christmas quilt up on my office wall this year.  I started this "A Pretty Package" pattern done in Countdown to Christmas fabric by Sweetwater at the PMQG Retreat this past Fall (which, again was a total blast!) ....
I put the "bow on the package" after I got home...
I was in such a hurry to get it done in early December that it was on the quilting frame before I realized that OOPS, I forgot to satin stitch around the applique!  
No biggie, I just top-stitched really close around the edges of the bow (after all it's a wall hanging, it's not like it's going to get a lot of hard use).  A black button to hide the ugly middle and it's good!

My plan was to quilt loops in the light sections of the background and then do some straight line and wavy quilting in the green and red areas.  Again, being in too much of a hurry one morning when I had a few minutes to quilt before work, I turn on the machine and loop away only realizing minutes later that I'm looping all over the red and green!  Du-oh!  Well, that couple minutes of looping would have taken at least an hour to unpick so that wasn't happening.  I was feeling a little like this was a fail - but after I got it off the frame I realized it looks fabulous!

And, I've gotten nothing but compliments from the co-workers and I've been enjoying it in my office all month!

 Happy New Year everyone!!