Friday, June 16, 2017

My First Vendor Show!

 Well, hello dear friends,

How the heck are you?  Things are good in my little corner of the universe.  I've got lots to share from our recent quilt show.  But first, I wanted to share this great way to make tiny applique circles.  Dana D had shown us this method at one of our TAS meetings awhile ago.  I'm here to tell you, it's fantastic!  I went to ACE and bought about 35 tiny washers and bought a pkg of TINY plastic ponytail holders at Dollar General.  Pick the fabric of your choice, slip in the washer and wrap tightly with the band.  Make sure you smooth out any obvious wrinkles.  Now drown it in starch and walk away.  When completely dry, you just cut off the circle just under the washer but above the band.  It stays perfectly round and ready to applique.  As you can see from this half of my apple tree.  Now trust me, these are the best circles I've ever done.  The wonkiness is completely my own stitching.  I thought I had a pic of the complete block but I'll have to share that next time.
The biggest news is that On The Brighter Side Fabrics had it's first Vendor opportunity!  And, it was very successful!  Yay!  Thanks to all my friends for their support, you're awesome!!  I did fix my uneven table cloth before opening, by the way...  So successful in fact, I have already committed to 2 more shows.  I'll be in Peoria Aug 26 & 27.  And, Champaign on Oct 6 & 7.  I've also got some things in the works for Sept and Nov!  Very exciting.  I'm also interested in a show in Batavia, IL but no one I spoke with could say they'd heard of it.  If you have any info, let me know.
 This is the display our crazy quilt group put together to highlight crazy quilting.  Everyone did a great job!  Several of the girls had not done it before.  Way to go ladies!
 A close up of my entry.  I was trying for a French Lavender vibe.
 A bunch of guild members contributed blocks for the Under the Sea display.  Another fantastic job done by everyone.  We were provided with the background fabric and we could basically do whatever we wanted with it.  With that many people being involved, I was skeptical but it really turned out amazing.  Mind you , his is really, really tall...
 A close up of my contributions.  I've shared these before.  I was contacted by a reporter from the Belleville news paper that she loved my Mermaid and sent me a link to the article she wrote about the display.  No, mention of me or the mermaid in the article.  Soooo, there's that.
 Terrible zoom photo from my phone... it was a long way up.
 I entered my State Flowers quilt into the show.  It didn't place but many people commented on how they loved it.  It's also one of Bethany's favorite quilts that I've done to date, so that works for me.  It took forever.  I think maybe 5 years to finish.
 My lace cottage. 
 Hearts and Tulips got a 3rd place ribbon!  That particular category had some stiff competition.  However, I did work with the NACQJ (formerly NQA) before the quilt show.  We hired her to come do a judging session independent of the regular show.  You paid a small fee and she came in and told you what was good and what could use some improvement.  We also had ribbons.  Anyways, after her very long session, we showed her around the rest of the show.  When she came up to this quilt, she gasped out loud.  Not knowing who had made it, she said "Why wasn't this one being judged?"  Well, I hugged her and said that was all I needed.  I thought I'd just lay that out there, you know, brag a little.  Maybe next time, I'll have the nerve to have a professional give me a critique of my work.  But, for now, I'll take what I got, and gladly!!
 Now, Frostie's Enchanted Garden placed second.  But, it's important to note that there were only 2 entries in his catagory...  Yeah.  You may remember that he was published in the Crazy Quilting Quarterly Calendar 2017.  However, the general public of O'Fallon, IL was less impressed.  It's a little too reminiscent of my 3rd grade track meet for my comfort.  Yes, it's second place but it's also last...  So there you have it, life forever keeping me humble.
I'm sorry I didn't get more pictures of other people's work.  I had to rush to get these as I was tied to my booth all weekend.  Hearts n' Hands Quilt Guild is amazing.  The people are not only super talented but super nice as well!

Hope you all have a wonderful father in your life to help celebrate Father's Day!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

So, I thought I'd taken a bunch of pictures of things as I went but apparently, I have not...  Maybe I'll remember to come back to that later.  I finished the borders of the QOV from last month.  It's decent but not spectacular.  I thought I had to have it done by the quilt show but they don't need it after all.  Naturally, I haven't touched it since I found out I wasn't in a hurry.  Also, Art Nouveau got pieced and borders.  It looks fantastic!  Why did I pack it away before taking a picture??  My brain is fried.  I also finished the ribbon rose bouquet.  No picture.

Last week, I made it to Crazy Quilt group.  I was sick with an ear infection but it was so nice to see friends and hang out.  They inspired me to go home that night and dig out my needle & thread.

 A guy in our IT department at work came to me a few months ago with a picture from the internet of this project telling me he'd found my next project.  A week later, another guy from IT was like, "Hey, you remember that picture?  How much will it cost me?"  It was really fun to make.  My kids' all thought is was funny, too.  SnarkyArtCompany on Etsy has a ton of very fun patterns, if you've got an interest!
 I finally took the plunge and started my first Baltimore Album quilt!  I think around Easter, I just got a hankering for it.  I'm using Ellie Sienkiewicz's Beloved Baltimore Album Quilts.  I'm also using her 3D flower methods.  This first one is hand dyed silk ribbon. 
 This next one is fabric flowers and satin buds.  At first I found the colors kind of boring.  After working on color bombs like the Hungarian Heritage and Art Nouveau, the cream background had me a little freaked out.   When I saw a few of them together on the design wall, I started to like them more.
 The third one is all fabic with an embroidered M in the center.  The M is filled with chain stitch, I may need to go fill in some gaps because the picture makes them look like sparkles.  No sequins, just gaps in my stitching.
 I did this one this weekend.  It's yellow yo-yos and pearls.  The tiny blossoms are a variegated ribbon that is rouched in the center.  It has a special name that I'm always forgetting.   BTW, these are 8" blocks.
And, there you have it.  I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day.  I know I did!  Rich got me the Bond 50 collection of James Bond movies.  Lots of stitching/ movie marathon time in my future!  Talk to you soon!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Happy Easter!

Well, Happy Spring to everyone.  I hope you're enjoying nice weather where you're at.  Here in Central Illinois, it wants to be nice but it also wants to rain.  Our weather can never make up it's mind.  Not that I'd notice, we're smack in the middle of prom season and I don't see the light of day much right now.  Although I did do some planting the other weekend.  Yep, I went outside AND I got my hands dirty.  I know, I know, it's been a few years.  Don't tell Rich, but I enjoyed it.  A little.

Most of my time home is spent inside with my projects, as God intended.  This is going to be the bouquet for my anniversary party.  I'm making ribbon rose bouquets for me and the girls.  I'm pretty happy with the way it's turning out.  What you see here is 3 rolls of satin ribbon.  I thought that would be plenty for mine.  HAHAHA, no.  I have SO MANY more roses to make!  Good thing I have until December.  I can only make so many in 1 sitting because I always manage to burn the crap out of my fingers with the glue gun.
 I made another block for the Hungarian Quilt.  It doesn't show but I have done all the stitching as well on the 3 blocks I have so far.  I decided to match the thread with the piece.  There was too many decisions to make otherwise. Sorry about more crappy photos.  I swear they look great in the view finder but terrible once I've cropped them.
 This next project has a time frame.  I'm trying to get it done before the June quilt show.  We're having a Quilt of Valor presentation during the show and I'd like to have this done for that.  I had a bunch of brown flying geese left over from my FIL's Christmas present and some tiny 9 patches left over from a civil war quilt I made years ago.  I was able to mash them together for the fillers on this quilt.  It's not perfect, but I'm pretty happy with it.  I've got a gold fabric for the inner border and a blue and gold star fabric for the outer.  I hope it looks as good in reality as it does in my imagination. Then, to quilt it and get it bound.
 I've been limiting myself on how much hand work I do because my Carpel Tunnel gets really bad this time of year with all the extra typing but I FINALLY finished my Art Neuveau quilt!!!!!  Okay, so finished might be over stating it but the blocks are all done.  This first block is the carnation.  I was a litttle frustrated with this one.  I wish I'd switched the violet as the main color and the pink as the secondary but once I decided that, I was too far in.  Then all those points!  Oi!  It was a killer!
 I love the Fleur De Lis.  Large, round pieces go together pretty easily.
 And for the finale, I did the Peach Blossom!
 Now, to put it all together.  I think I've decided on a green piping and then just solid black borders with some cool quilting.  I'm excited!
Now, time for bed.  Tomorrow will be another long day!  Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Are You Going To Eat All That?

Well, here we are.  Prom Season is so close I can almost smell it.  **heavy sigh**. This was my last weekend off until sometime in May.  I tried really hard to enjoy it but reality has a way of forcing it's way into my brain constantly.  I did catch up on laundry, so that's something.

My Caron Collection threads got their own holder this week.  And, now I've almost completely sold out of the threads.  Good problem to have!  The next shipment is already on it's way & I can't wait to get my hands on it.

 All rolled up.  Don't you love those yellow roses?  So pretty!
 I started a new project.  This is a Hungarian Folk Art quilt.  I'm using all batiks.  I've been dying to use red as a background for a long time now.  I'm really excited about the way it's turning out!  The colors are super yummy!
I have started a 3rd block and did a little buttonhole stitch on it but I didn't get a picture.  So far, I'm using coordinating colors and it looks pretty good.  I may need to use some interesting contrasts and see what happens.  Donna D. suggested variegated.  I'll either love that or it'll make me crazy.  I'm a little worried the variegation won't happen where I want it to.  Not that I'm a control freak but, I kind of am.  The picture above is a better look at the red.  It's a really lush cherry red. LOVE...
 This is my March CQJP block.  It looks a bit fallish but that wasn't my intention.  Sticking with the gold monochromatic theme is really challenging.  I'm struggling to come up with ideas.
 I love the bee in February's block.  It was Heidi S.'s idea.  She saw the gold vine ribbon I had and mentioned how cute it would be as bee wings.  I went straight home and made it happen.  Such a great idea!  The block looks a little naked still, so I'll probably work on it some more when I get a little more inspiration .
  Last but certainly not least, I made Butterfinger Cupcakes tonight.  They are SO good.  I may eat them all myself but I should not have that much peanut butter.  It's bound to kill me.  So, if I show put to work tomorrow, you'll know I didn't eat too many.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Well, That Didn't Go As Planned

Hello, hello, hello.  I'm finishing up a long weekend so I thought I'd check in and tell you all about my wild weekend... 
First things first, I finished my fan flower block.  It's so pretty!  Next is carnations and I settled on pink/ violet.  Looking forward to it but it is very detailed.  It may take me awhile.  Morning Glory Designs has since posted a new block, Fleur de Lis  and it's gorgeous.  That will be after the carnation!  And, I think the Peony will finish it off.  Very exciting.  
 On Saturday night, I stayed up WAY too late watching the end of one of my favorite series, Republic of Doyle.  It's a great show & the end made me a little emotional.  So, I decide to watch something else before I try to sleep.  I chose Hemlock Grove.  In the first episode, a teen girl is disemboweled.  Nice.  I go to sleep around 1am in Bethany's room so I don't wake Rich who has to leave for work REALLY early.  At 4am, there is scratching and banging on the bedroom door.  Someone desperately wants in.  Certain one of my children is in need of my help, I jump out of bed.  I proceed to trip on a million different things on my way to the door.  Yelling, "Hold on, I'm coming.  Hold on!"   My baby needs me.  Alas, it was just Fred the dog.  Son of a B...  Get a handle on it Heather, you should have known it was Fred.  I then decide to use the restroom.  Mostly, because I had almost peed myself in my haste to save a life. As I'm seated, trying to calm my nerves and getting my blood pressure back to normal, the toilet tank starts running  FOR NO REASON AT ALL!  I almost fainted.   OMG!  No more scary shows before bed.  And, Fred ended up in the kennel the next night.  So, that happened.

Despite my near death experience,  Sunday went pretty smoothly and  I finally started quilting my Pucker Up Buttercup quilt.  I was really happy with the lemon wedges!  I used Wonderfil 100 wt cotton thread that Donna D had given me last year some time.  It is wonderful!  My machine loved it.  Not skipped stitches, no broken threads.

 Now, I have to change thread so I decide to save it for another day.  Go back on Monday to finish the other blocks.  Using Aurifil 50 wt and I can't stitch more than 2 minutes at a time before it's skipping stitches and thread is breaking.  I change needles, clean out machine, thread and rethread the machine.  Nothing works.  I go buy a different type of needle, it doesn't work.  Then, I make a practice sandwich to see how that goes.  Everything is perfect.  I finally decide it's the spray I used to baste the quilt.  I still don't know why it worked with one thread and not the other.  Left with little choice, I threw it in the wash to see if I can get some of the sticky out.  I'm really hoping that works and that enough of it is quilted already that it won't fall apart in the wash.  I'm a little afraid to check.
 So, time to move on from that disaster & work on En Provence.  I got 11 of the 16 main blocks finished and decide I'd better download the finishing instructions before Bonnie takes them off the blog. Too late.  As I'm trying to figure out if I can put it together myself, I couldn't  figure out where the block starts and stops in the finished quilt.  Where were her 4 white 3" blocks.  And, why don't I have that much yellow in my pieces?  So, this is what my block looks like.
 And, this is what they're supposed to look like.   Son of a B!  Now I have to rip out 44 white 3" squares from the 11 assembled blocks and insert the yellow.  How did I get that wrong?!  I tried to convince myself that the quilt would look fine without all the yellow but I can't.  Heavy sigh.
Okay, time to take a break from that.  I know, I'll  prepare the bags of walnut shells that I plan to sell .  I spent about an hour or so of spilling crushed walnut shell on the carpet, designing and redesigning the labels.  I finally decide I'm happy with what I've got only to run out of ink and labels.  Son of a B.  Not to mention the labels don't want to stay on the bag.
Then, to top off my day, I managed to wake Rich up.  He was trying to get some sleep before a 16 hour night shift.  Damn.  I'd be super salty if it were me that got woken up.  Do I dare try to bake a cake or should I just call it a day?  I'm almost afraid to see what I do at work tomorrow.  Fun things on the horizon, though.  Guild meeting tomorrow night, Wednesday I'm taking Sandy Kane's Tatting class, Thursday is court but it's time for another Mascoutah retreat next weekend.  Hopefully, I'll have my crap together by then.  In the mean time, Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Dreary February

Hello Fine Friends,
I hope all is well with you.  Things are trucking along on this end.  I'm surviving Grand Jury Duty.  It's emotionally exhausting to realize how many aweful things happen in your county on a regular basis.  I'm looking forward to the end of April when I can crawl back into my tunnel & pretend I live in Fairytale Land.  But, until then, there's butter and sugar.  And, thread and fabric.

Typically, I dislike February.  It's dreary.  It's the month my mom died some 10 years ago.  And, both my parents shared a birthday of Feb 23.  Just a whole lot of reminders of what is lost.  But, I try to keep as busy as possible so I don't fall down that rabbit hole.

Rich got impatient with me to repaint my little mini-fridge.  This was gifted to me by some lovely ladies that were done with it.  I'm so happy they thought of me before sending it to Goodwill.  On a random weekend, Rich set up a space for me to paint & told me I was getting started on it.  Normally, I'd be put out that he was telling me what to do but this time it worked in my favor.  I really LOVE my 50's pink fridge!

 Then, since we were painting, I convinced Bethany to paint a closet door in chalkboard paint.  Then, I traced an embroidery pattern onto it for the motif at the top.  The paint looks pretty good at a distance but up close it's pretty bad.  I really should have bought new brushes & made sure the paint wasn't chunky before I started but then I was too far in to stop.  Bethany is using the door for motivation & a "to do" list.
 I finished the breast cancer t-shirt quilt.  I thought I was going to make it bigger but since I had already quoted a price, I talked with the owner & she wanted to keep it small.  I really like it either way   & I loved working with pink!  I didn't know it at the time I bought the bolt but that batik was the perfect shade for the job.  I was able to keep the year on most of the blocks and the ones that I didn't, I embroidered the year so Denise will always know which one is which.

 I quilted it with wavy horizontal lines.
 All the bits are made on my En Provence quilt.  These are the main 16" (?)blocks.  I've still got several more to go but I can only stand to make about 4 at a time & then I get bored.  I will finish, though!  I keep seeing others' that are finished and it's a beautiful quilt!
 I did get another Art Neauveax block done.  I briefly called it Deco Gardens, like the designer, but a friend in TAS reminded me that Neauveax was the apppropriate period.  It was nice to realize I was on the right track.  So, back to trying to remember how to spell Neauveax all the time...  Isn't the daffodil so sweet?  When, I bought the pattern, apparently I was the first to purchase something with her new market software & she offered me a free pattern if I reviewed the purchasing process.  Nice, right?  She got a glowing review, by the way.  An honest one at that.  Morning Glory Designs.
 I got to 70 Granny Squares and decided to put them together.  I was hoping it would be enough but  Im told no.  It's currently a TV size and needs to be a "napping" size, according to Ethan.
I did get caught up on the BOM with my guild.  It's going to be a Quilt of Valor when I'm done.  I was just considering how difficult it might be to work with that panel in the middle.  There's going to be some strangely sized filler blocks everywhere.  2 more to go.
This one is called Crazy Ann.  Which I've always cracked up at because my mom's name was Anne.  That crazy Anne! Hehehe
 And, bear claw.
 This is Myrtle the Turtle.  She was made as part of the Under the Sea special exhibit our guild is doing at the quilt show this year.  She's the companion of the Mermaid I did earlier.
And, that brings us up to date!  Hope you are all surrounded by love this dreary February.  Happy Stitches!