Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Sweet Slice!

I am taking a bit of a risk here, but what the heck. I like to live on the edge and I love to show off so hopefully I am not giving my identity away to my Secret Pal.... In my quilt guild, Procrastinating Quilters, we do the "Secret Pal" thing. It is the first time I have ever done this, and I am having such fun with it! I am hoping my secret pal doesn't read my blog because I simply have to share what I made for her for her birthday. Her birthday is today, Easter Sunday.

MY secret pal found me the most recent issue of Quilts and More, Spring 2009, and in it was a pattern for this pincushion called Sweet Slice. It was "easy peasie lemon squeezie" to make and what a wonderful thing it is! It is filled with "Ground English Walnut Shells" which I bought at PetSmart (never even heard of the stuff, since my husband and I don't have a need for reptile bedding....). This is what the directions called for and I was totally amazed at what a wonderful, perfect, filler it is. The natural oils in the walnut shells keep the pins from rusting and it makes a very stable pincushion. I am going to make myself one next. And probably another for a special quilter I know...

Also, if MY Secret Pal is reading my blog, I have to tell you that you are wonderful! I love everything you have given to me! When you gave me the most recent issue of Quilts and More, I was ecstatic. I had just gone to JoAnns and this issue was sold out and I thought I was going to have to buy one on ebay because this would have been my first missing issue in years and years! Also, I love the pattern and fabric, and everything else you have gifted me with and I especially LOVE Mary Ellen's Best Press. I am way too cheap to treat myself to that and now I am hooked! Love it! Thanks so much...


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Stepping Outside of My Box - Hand Applique

I belong to a wonderful quilt guild, The Procrastinating Quilters. Our president, Cathy Starman, has come up with a challenge she titled "The 2008 Presidents Paint Chip Challenge." I was so excited to get involved. Each member who accepts the challenge is given a closed envelope with three paint chips in it - you don't get to choose the colors. My paint chips are shown above, but the color in the photo isn't true. The real colors are a very warm grey, a pretty pink and a very light blue grey. Not seeing the colors before you choose your envelope allows us to step outside our comfort zones in the choice of fabric colors. There are also size restrictions. The perimeter of the quilt can not exceed 100 inches and must be no smaller than 60 inches. In the spirit of stepping outside our comfort zones, I decided that after all these years of quilting it was high time for me to try hand applique. As you can see in the photo above, I have started the project. I based my challenge on an applique quilt pattern I had saved for years from an old magazine. Thankfully, I had to modify the pattern because it was for a bed quilt and that didn't fall into the size limitations. Thank goodness I didn't have to make it bed size because my grandchildren would be out of college and I would still be working on the hand appliqued flowers! What you see above is the first of four flowers. It took me longer to sew that one flower down than it did for me to piece and cut the entire top. The flower isn't even done, as the center circle hasn't been applied yet. My goodness, do I have new respect for hand appliquers. I have machine appliqued hundreds of designs, and I must say, this IS quite the challenge for me. I am using the freezer paper method where you iron the freezer paper template onto the right side of the fabric and then turn the seam allowance under using the needle. What a sadistic process! I will post photos of the finished project or the entrance to the insane asylum I am residing in, whichever comes first....

There has been some fun and excitement in my life recently. My Grandtots came down to sunny Florida to visit Grandma and Grandpa with their parents. They stayed for 2 and a half weeks and it was glorious! Above is Little Lucy, who took quite well to the beach life. Below is Madelyn who, as you can see from the photo below, loves the water. That photo was taken at the Florida Aquarium's little water park for the kids. What a great place that it! The Aquarium is in Tampa and if you are ever in the area, I highly recommend a visit. There is something there for everyone!