Friday, September 21, 2018

Sewing for my son, remembering my grandpa

My weekend goal is to cut into this richly colored, outdoor-inspired collection of fat quarters. I’m making a quilt for our son Luke, who graduates from college this December. Luke is a smart, outgoing, adventurous young man. He continually amazes me by his can-do attitude, his perseverance against obstacles, and his enthusiasm for life. While he may be ready to take his next step in the world, I remember every step he’s taken along the way. My heart is full thinking about him and the road ahead.

I collected most these fat quarters at two area quilt shops: Quilts on Broadway in Foley, MN and Country Caboose Quilts in Waukon, MN. I also pulled a few pieces from my stash. My plan is to make a simple half-square triangle quilt with an Around the World layout. I’m not using a pattern, but I’ll take notes about my steps and share them with you when I’m done. These are the colors that Luke chose. He also asked that I make his quilt really, really big! 

I know that for most of us, quilt making is very personal. We sew from the heart. That is never truer than when we sew for family. I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic at our new home on the lake. As I pulled out Luke’s fabrics, I started thinking about my Grandpa Ed, the avid fisherman. He’s been gone many years now, but I would give anything to have him set up his ice house in our bay this winter. I would love to have him walk up for supper and tell me how he caught a few crappies, bluegills, or maybe even an elusive walleye. My grandpa had a ready smile and a twinkle in his eye.  I miss him.

Luke and his Great Grandpa Ed

The lures and wooden bobber in the photos belonged to Grandpa Ed. I’ll leave them sitting out in my sewing room while I work on Luke’s quilt. I’ll be thinking about two men I love as I cut and sew.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today and putting up with my sentimental ramblings. I hope you find time to get carried away quilting too!


Friday, September 14, 2018

Autumn brings a new adventure

Hello quilting friends!  I’m happy to say that our move is complete!  We've settled into a home on a small lake just a few miles north of the town where my husband now works. We are centrally located to most of our family and friends, which is wonderful. We are so excited to begin this next adventure. 

My husband is a fisherman, and our whole family enjoys spending time on the water. It’s my dream that we’ll live here for many years, and one day there will be grandkids playing on our little beach.

Most of the boxes have been unpacked, and the house is slowly becoming our home. The kitchen is organized, the beds are made, and all of the furniture is set up in a way that feels right. When I haven’t been unpacking or working, I’ve stolen a few moments to discover the spaces in our new yard. There are several pretty shade-loving perennials in the landscape, but I’m eager to add some more color in the sunny spots ~ Stella Daylilies, Black Eyed Susans, and Blue Salvia top my list. My mom will be coming this weekend to help me with that.

There hasn’t been much time for quilting or decorating, but I did add some fall flair to our new dining room. This little bit of decorating was just enough to make me happy and inspire me to find the energy to work on the other rooms . . . eventually. I've hung my Pumpkin Sky wall hanging and set the coordinating pillow in the corner on an old wooden chair I repainted a while ago.

On the black side table are a few of my fall favorites, including a brand new piece of original art by Haley B Designs.  I follow Haley on Instagram and love her work. When she posted pictures of new autumn art she was releasing, I quickly ordered this "grateful" painting. I love supporting other individual makers! The newsprint covered pumpkin in the second picture was a find at a local occasional shop a few years back.

This probably doesn’t count as decorating, but I did throw my much-loved Canned Pears quilt (pattern and fabric by Fig Tree & Company) over the upstairs railing. The rest of my autumn quilts are tucked away for now. Next year I’ll bring them out in full force!

Doesn’t autumn make us more reflective, more thoughtful about life? In the midst of the stress that comes with packing and moving and unpacking and organizing, I’ve been reminding myself to keep my head up and my eyes outward. There is so much to be thankful for . . . like the two small apple trees we didn’t even notice when we first viewed the house as potential buyers! One of the young trees is bearing fruit. What a sweet find!

I did indulge in one bit of fabric shopping during this crazy transition time!  I ordered these cute fat quarters from My Timeless Day. The collection is called Calico Crow by Lauren Nash for Riley Blake Designs. I haven’t decided what I’ll make yet, but I’m thinking maybe some kitchen towels.

My mind is a bit tired, but my heart is full. I’m wishing autumn blessings for all of you. Thank you for your continued support and quilting friendship.

Today I’ll close by saying that I hope “I” will get carried away quilting real soon! I miss the sound of my own machine whirring!


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Winners: "Christmas Figs" book giveaway with Fat Quarter Shop

It's time to announce our "Christmas Figs" book giveaway winners!  I certainly enjoyed reading your enthusiastic comments about this lovely book. So many of us share a passion for Joanna Figueroa's patterns and fabrics. I am very thankful to Fat Quarter Shop for providing this generous giveaway.

If you haven't entered one of my giveaways before, my scientific method for selecting a winner is to copy and paste all of the comments into an Excel spreadsheet.  Then I do several sorts to rearrange the entries. Then I ask a family member to “pick a number.” Today I called my mom, Brenda, for eight winning numbers and she was happy to oblige. Thanks, Mom!

The winners are: Deb Silva, LG Patrizia, Rhonda Campbell, Sally C., Terry McCarthy, Jen the Smitten Chicken 2, Little Quiltsong and Annette Ellis! I will contact each of you via email and the lovely folks at Fat Quarter Shop will ship your new book to you!

Congratulations to Joanna Figueroa and It's Sew Emma / Fat Quarter Shop on another wonderful quilt pattern book. I can't wait to get started on my next project from "Christmas Figs."


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

"Christmas Figs" book giveaway with Fat Quarter Shop

Last year in late fall, I was let in on a little secret . . .

~ Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree & Company would be releasing a new Christmas fabric collection for Moda in the spring of 2018. (Yippee!)
~ AND, the talented folks at It’s Sew Emma, Fat Quarter Shop’s pattern company, were working with Joanna to write a pattern book featuring this new Christmas collection. (Another Yippee!)
~AND, I was asked to make one of the project samples for the book! (A HUGE Yippee and also a Woo Hoo!)

Looking back, I realize that this wasn’t a little secret.  It was a whopping, wonderful, fabulous, hard-to-keep secret. But I managed to keep my lips zipped and went to work, sewing the Christmas Lilies wall hanging for Joanna’s book and relishing the chance to play with the new Christmas Figs collection well before it was announced. 

Joanna's book and fabric collection were released this spring to rave reviews, and my sample quilt is back home with me awaiting her chance to shine this holiday season! Here she is:

Since this wall hanging included a bit of applique, I wanted the finished quilting to be light and soft. The loop-de-loop machine quilting was done by my friend and local quilt shop owner, Barb Erickson of Quilts on Broadway in Foley, MN. I think the pattern we chose is the perfect finishing touch, whimsical and sweet.

Christmas Figs” is a beautiful pattern book, filled with inspiring photographs and detailed, full color illustrations. The book contains a gorgeous sampler quilt and 10 additional quilting projects: quilts, wall hangings, a bedrunner, a tree skirt and even pillows! All of the samples were sewn with the Christmas Figs collection by Fig Tree & Co., and all of the patterns have Joanna’s signature style. This is definitely a book you will want to add to your collection!

I am always drawn to quilt books that include inspiring photographs of quilts and how they are displayed or used in the home. It’s Sew Emma really went the extra mile to stage and photograph these Christmas quilts beautifully. “Christmas Figs” is more than a great pattern book, it is also a wonderful armchair book to enjoy in the evenings! Here are some photographs from the book:

There are so many projects I want to make from this book; I’m not even sure where to start! The Christmas Tree Farm Bedrunner is absolutely gorgeous. Wouldn't that be a festive addition to a guest room? 

I am also really drawn to the simple but striking beauty of the Holiday Homespun Quilt.  I love flying geese, don’t you?

My current plan is to keep this book near my coziest chair and let it inspire me in the evenings as summer fades into fall and I begin thinking about Christmas.

Would you like to have your own copy of “Christmas Figs?” I’m happy to share that the Fat Quarter Shop has generously offered a giveaway opportunity to my blog followers!  We have EIGHT copies of “Christmas Figs” to offer in a random drawing!  To enter, simply leave a comment on this post and BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS! The giveaway is open internationally! Comments are open through 1:00 pm (CST) on Wednesday, September 5, 2018. At that time, I will do a random drawing and announce the eight winners. *Only one comment per person/per email address. 

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today.  Good luck!


Monday, August 20, 2018

Perky Posies charm pack pillow featuring Sunnyside Up

Hello quilting friends! Do you remember the sweet dimensional pincushion I made recently using Corey Yoder’s upcoming collection, Sunnyside Up? Well, I had so much fun sewing with that cheery fabric that I whipped up another project . . . my Perky Posies pillow pattern using a combination of Sunnyside Up and Moda’s Cross Weave in black. Here she is:

Perky Posies is a charm pack friendly pattern that finishes at 18 1/2” square.  My pattern includes instructions for making an envelope back pillow, but this would also be a darling wall hanging or table topper.

Perky Posies is a great pattern for showing off your favorite fabrics from a designer’s line. Corey’s Sunnyside Up collection includes a rainbow of warm, sunny prints, and I probably spent as much time choosing my favorites from the charm pack as I did making the pillow top!

Typically, I would lean toward a white or cream background fabric for a fresh, cheerful collection like this.  But I took a risk and used black instead. Doesn’t this charcoal background make Corey’s prints shine?

Have you used Moda’s Cross Weave fabric in any of your quilting or sewing projects? If you’re not familiar with it, Moda’s Cross Weave is a 100% premium cotton woven fabric that has a textured look created by the woven threads. To the touch, it is a little heavier than quilter’s cotton, but it is still supple and soft. I love the “linen like” look it adds to a project. I used Moda Cross Weave Black #12119 53.

To finish off my pillow top, I added just a few diagonal lines of machine quilting and some pretty plum buttons. I pieced my pillow top using black thread, and I fully intended to quilt it with black thread also. But I stitched one test line, and the black thread just seemed to disappear. So I opted instead for Aurifil’s “light sand” in 50 wt (#2000). To my eye it takes on an almost taupe coloring when stitched on the black Cross Weave, and I am really happy with the soft effect.

Sunnyside Up is scheduled to arrive in stores in November, so you’ll want to keep your eye out for that! In the meantime, if you are looking for a fun weekend project, I hope you’ll give Perky Posies a try.

My moving sale is still running, but it ends on Saturday, August 25. All paper patterns are $5. I have a few kits and some fabric left, which are discounted 15% off of already low prices. Thanks for stopping by! 


Friday, August 3, 2018

Moving sale: Paper patterns, fabric and kits marked down!

I’m having a moving sale!  While I haven’t written about it much, a few of you are aware that for the past year my husband and I have been living like college kids once again. When we became empty nesters, my husband found a new job and we sold our much-loved home very quickly—so quickly that we scrambled to find a place to live!  Eventually we found a place to rent, put half our belongings in storage, sold a lot, gave away a lot, and then proceeded to house hunt.  Now one year later, we’ve finally found both the community and the home where we will settle. We’ll be moving in early September and are so excited!

I look forward to pulling out my favorite quilts, wall hangings and table runners and discovering where they should live in our new house. The physical and mental work of moving is daunting, but it will all be worth it. Pulling out the quilts in our new home will be the reward!

That brings me to my sale.  My mom is here this weekend to help me get organized for packing.  Truth be told, I think she’s here mainly for moral support.  Moms are good at that! We’ve decided I should lighten the packing load by offering a good sale on my Etsy Shop. So if you’d like to stock up on patterns, fabric or a kit, now is the time!

Now through August 25, all paper patterns will be $5.  All fabrics and kits, which are already nicely priced, will be discounted 15%.  There is no coupon code necessary.  You’ll see the sale prices already active on my Etsy Shop.