Monday, December 31, 2012

Lil Twister

My holidays have been a mix of quiet and busy - just as I like it. I found a few minutes here and there to do some hand and machine stitching. On the machine I completed my Lil Twister quilt top made of 2 charm packs and some extra yardage.

You start out piecing the 5" squares into a grid and adding a 3" border-

Every time I use these-  Tag-a-Quilt by Quilt Dance I think I should share them with you. They help me keep my blocks in the correct order.

Use the Lil Twister ruler to cut out little squares by matching the lines on the ruler to the intersections of the stitched squares. There are lots of tutorials online, but I have a few non-quilters who read my blog so I wanted to show a few steps. This is one of those tricks available to quilters where it is easier to do than it looks.

After cutting out two squares, tilt them to the right, match up, and stitch. Then go to the next two and so on.

I think I'm going to use this ruler again to make a baby quilt for my nephew's baby. It'll be pinks and greys.

I have two observations to share. When using this ruler make sure you keep the rotary cutter as perpendicular to the cutting surface as possible. The ruler has feet that grips the fabric, but they also raise the ruler just a smidge off the fabric. I found some of my cuts weren't as straight as they could have been because my blade was finding space below the ruler. Also, as with many of these specialty rulers, it wastes a lot of fabric. Here is what I have left over-
enough for a little quilt.  80 -2 1/2" squares.

The week before Christmas I helped my niece get started on a t-shirt quilt. We have a big family so it was fun spending some one on one time with her. She is a nursing student at the University of Maryland. She went to Texas to celebrate the holidays with her mother's family and hopes to finish up the quilt with another aunt who quilts.

This past year has been a good one and I'm looking forward to January. My youngest went off to college this past summer and it seems like I have much more free time now. I'm doing things around the house that needed attention long ago. It feels good. No quilting resolutions for me this year. Only a crisis would keep me from stitching for long. Happily, stitching has become an almost daily habit. What gets done, gets done! ; c ) With that, I want to wish you all time in the new year to be creative. Cheers!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Decorations

I've so enjoyed seeing your holiday decorations in blogland so I decided to do my own holiday home tour. My DH took the photos for me. He sweetly said the problems I was having with my DSLR camera were not due to my abilities. It was a hand me down from him and he said he always had problems with it too.

Click to enlarge. Enjoy!

It's a fake tree. My son is allergic to the real thing.

This ornament came from my grandmother. 

I remember this ornament on the tree when I was a kid.
This one too-

My mom gave me this one a few years ago.

Love that these old ceramic trees are making a comeback. 

Happy Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What To Do?

After finishing a quilt I typically have a period of time when I pull out a few to several projects. I might sew a little on one, put parts of another on the design board or pull some fabrics. Last week was like that and here are some possibilities of things for me to work on over the holidays.

Quilting my quilt show committee challenge has a deadline. I took my Bernina in for a cleaning so this one is will have to wait.

These are some of the half square triangles left over from my challenges with the challenge quilt. I have enough to make a small quilt. Not showing all of the hsts here. I just wanted to get an idea of what I will do and how big I can make it with what I have.

Sharon over at Indigo Threads is making a low volume quilt. I admired it and she invited me to join her in making one. I've wanted to do one of these for a long time.

So I pulled out my baggie of waste traiangles from this quilt made with the Square in a Square Ruler-

and started making half square triangles.

Not sure this qualifies as a low volume quilt. It is mostly lights and certainly is low contrast. I wonder how big of a quilt I'll get out of that pile of triangles. Maybe I will make it bigger with other additions, but that will wait for another day.

I've decided to pull out my Lil' Twister ruler and a couple of charm packs I've owned for far too long. 
If you have any tips, I'd love to hear them. The directions are very brief. I don't want to own this holiday charm pack through yet another holiday. Time to sew them up!

I made caramel corn Sunday afternoon (Hail to the Redskins!) for my DH to take to work on Monday. This stuff cannot sit around my house or I WILL EAT IT!!! It is a Southern Living recipe from 1992. I give you this recipe with a warning - it is SO GOOD.  Make it before a party or give it away quickly or you will be tempted even if you have willpower of steel.  ; c )

Nutty Caramel Corn
6 quarts freshly popped corn (about 1 cup unpopped corn)
1 cup pecans (we chop ours, but not too fine)
1 cup cashews (we use almonds, also a quick chop)
1 cup butter or margarine (we use butter)
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large roasting pan; set aside.
Melt butter in a large saucepan; stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes, without stirring (temperature will register about 250 degrees). I find the 5 minutes to be accurate and don't mess with my inaccurate candy thermometer. Remove from heat; stir in soda and vanilla. Pour over popped corn and nuts; stir well. Bake at 225 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool and break into pieces, if desired. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 5 quarts. Attributed to Marion Hall of  Knoxville, Tennessee

I love vintage ornaments-

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Winners Are-

Just taking a break from decorating the Christmas tree to announce my giveaway winners.


Barb of Fun With Barb


Both ladies have already been notified. Doniene picked the quilt with stars (no surprise there, she loves star blocks), libbyQ chose the green and tan strippy, Barb chose the pumpkin pie strippy and Pat gets the black strippy.  Congrats again to all the winners. I hope you enjoy your little quilts. I really enjoyed making these little quilts and having the giveaway. I’ve been so lucky in some of these giveaways and felt it was my time to give back. I also so appreciate our online friendships.

This is a photo of my sister’s mantel. A couple of weeks ago we went to a tag sale at Elizabeth & Co. and my sister found all these decorations. I made her the quilt years ago using the pattern in the book Little Quilts All Through The House by Alice Berg, Mary Ellen Von Holt and Sylvia Johnson.

My big purchase was this Little Golden Book. Do any of you remember this book? I still have the same book from when I was a kid though it is falling apart. Of course, inside is a quilt-

Since I’ve been painting furniture I started looking at furniture painting and home blogs. I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration and information doing this, but sometimes I start feeling like my home is a little shabby and not in a good way. Do you ever feel that way? I keep reminding myself that these rooms are often more like design sets and if they are in real homes they probably don’t stay like this day to day. Same thing happens when looking at home magazines and watching HGTV – I have to bring myself back to earth and be thankful for what I have.

Since I last posted I’ve been busily sewing on this quilt. It’s a big twin – 72”x96” (folded over here on the back of the couch). I used a big bundle of brushed cottons I purchased years ago. I can now shut my flannel bin! I purchased a blue tone on tone flannel for the back from Joann's. I think the quality of their $7.99 a yard fabric is fine - just not paying the extra for a well know fabric designer. Yes, I had a coupon ; c ). I didn’t use batting. It felt very thin as I basted it, but not once I started moving it through the machine to quilt it. It’s heavy! I'm sending it to Timeless Treasures Fabrics in Roselle, New Jersey. I just need to finish up the binding, label and wash it. They are collecting quilts for victims of Super Storm Sandy.

Enjoy your week!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Time for a Giveaway

October Surprise 38" x 50"

Next week most of us in the U.S. will celebrate Thanksgiving. For my family this involves a trip around the Capital Beltway into Maryland to my parents’ house where we enjoy good company and a wonderful dinner of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, corn, cole slaw and pies (pumpkin, pecan and apple). I also want to celebrate here. Your encouraging comments and cyber friendships mean a lot to me. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, respond to my questions, follow and lurk. I also realized it has been almost 2 years since I started this blog. It’s been fun and I’ve learned so much from you. So it’s time for a giveaway! Your chances are good - I'll have four winners.

I made four little quilts with the leftover flying geese from October Surprise. I’m being a little sneaky here – I already picked two winners from those who commented two posts ago. I wanted to thank those of you who often or always comment on my posts. My method is to write your names on slips of paper and blindly pull them out of a bowl. I haven't tried the random number generator. The old fashioned way seems more fun to me.

The remaining two little quilts will be selected from commenters on this post (it would be nice if you are a follower) and will be announced December 2nd. I want to give plenty of time for people who are busy traveling for or hosting Thanksgiving to comment. I'm willing and happy to send these little quilts to other countries.

The first two winners are -


I drew Doniene’s name first so she gets first choice. Then libbyQ can choose. 

green and tan strippy 14.5" x 18"

stars and pumpkin pie cornerstones 14.25" square

black strippy 11.25" x 14.5"

pumpkin pie strippy 10.25" x 14.5"

Don't forget to leave a comment for the second drawing!

Here is a closer look at October Surprise-

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Doll Quilt

Thought I would join in and link to Taryn's online quilt show.  I just finished this little quilt using some of the flying geese I had left over from October Surprise. Remember how I thought I needed 192 more flying geese? Well, I don't know how I was so off. I only needed four more. I guess this is why I tend not to figure out how many I need of anything in advance and wait till I get to the end and just make more. I had 188 leftover so I made four little quilt tops and this is the first one finished.

Here it is acting as a lap quilt for Addy. I dug Addy and her bed out of my daughter's closet. I think I'll keep her out for a while. She brings back lots of good memories of reading American Girl books with my daughter who is now on her own adventure in New Zealand. My daughter is working on organic farms and meeting people from all over the world through the WWOOF program. My little girl who has only known suburban living and spent the last couple of years as a vegetarian (though not strict - every once in a while a Chick-fil-A sandwich would call her name) now knows how to pluck a chicken! I get an email or two from her every week and my son showed me photos on her Facebook page. She is having a wonderful time with the Kiwis!

Enjoy the weekend and remember to hop over to Taryn's.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

October Surprise

A finished top-
38" x 50"

I plan to use this Barbara Brackman fabric for the back.

It's Jo Morton's Rhubarb Crisp pattern.

I'll probably just machine quilt diagonal lines.

Guess what!?!  I had lots of flying geese left over. I wonder if there are 192 of them. Maybe it is time for a little giveaway. Stay tuned!

We in Virginia had less damage than we feared from Hurricane Sandy. Lots of rain, howling winds and power outages in my area. Luckily, our power flickered just once and stayed on. My thoughts and prayers go out to those severely affected by the storm.

I have a bit of a cold and it is starting to go to my chest. My favorite remedy is Cold Season Yogi Tea. It takes a little getting used to but I think it helps. I breathe in the steam and try to drink as much of it as I can. I watch a lot of TV when I'm not feeling well. Yesterday, it was mostly HGTV. I like House Hunters and the Property Brothers. This afternoon I think I'll turn on Love it or List it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Flying Geese

I’ve been making flying geese (FG) every chance I get. I thought I had enough and starting sewing them together for the sashing on my 4” stars. With Jo Morton’s method you get four of the same FG unit with each set of squares. She suggested separating them into four piles and using a pile of FG for each quadrant of the quilt. It’s an easy way to vary your geese. I finished sewing together one pile of FG and counted to see if I had enough. No. I redid my math and realized I need 192 more geese! It's back to the cutting mat.

I’ve been hand quilting in the afternoons. It is amazing to me how quickly it goes just by doing a little each day. I’m about a quarter of the way done with this quilt. You may not remember I took out some of the hand quilting because the back was puckering. It started to happen again and I was determined not to have to pick out any more stitching. I super basted that one section using bits of leftover thread on the needles in my needle case, hand quilted it and I’m happy with the result. I also found the direction I quilted in made a big difference. Next time I have a hand quilting project I will do a better job of basting.

Many of us on the east coast of the U.S. are expecting a wicked storm early next week. The pantry is stocked, gutters will be cleared and things on the porch contained today. Let’s hope it packs less of a punch than expected.

Here are a few dog pics. You can tell I'd rather be stitching than doing yard work.
Penny just turned 15 years old. If you are holding a camera, she will NOT look at you. I think it is because she doesn't like the flash.