Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Year in Review

12 quilts in 2012! Coincidence? I think not!

 I cut back a little on Swaps this year. 

Pinterest took my crafting in a crazy direction! There are so many things I want to try!

--> 1. guitar strap for Julia, 2. crochet wreath with flowers, 3. vinyl album bowls, 4. 1-mats, 5. party decorations, 6. iPhone Sleeve, 7. Pencil Pouch, 8. laptop case, 9. Dorm room pillows, 10. dorm room bulletin board, 11. tie dresden pillow, 12. ukulele gig bag, 13. guitar strap, 14. princess bags

Well, my special year is almost over. Here we come, Lucky 2013!

Craft Buds

Friday, December 28, 2012

Wedding Ring Star II

There's a cartoon going around the internet that asks, "How long does it take to finish a quilt you aren't working on?" My answer is, "Two and a half years!" You know how it goes. You need to work up the courage to cut into the fabric. Then you need to work up the courage to tweek the design. Then you think you need to find a big chunk of time to make real progress. Then you start setting deadlines for yourself that slip. Well, here you go. It is finally done!

The quilting was done by my friend and award-winning machine quilter, Pat Harrison of Ocean Waves Quilting. Isn't it spectacular?!

 I was really nervous about the scalloped edge. I knew it was the right thing to do (thank you, Maria!), but it was a new technique that I needed to learn. Sharon Schamber to the rescue! I watched her curved binding tutorials over and over again until I got it right.

The day after Christmas was binding day. I started cutting the scallops at 10am and took the last hand stitch at 11pm. I wasn't sure if I had enough green fabric left for the binding, but it turns out I made almost twice as much as I needed!

I added the labels on Thursday and delivered the quilt on Friday.

Last step: labels.

The happy couple!

Wedding Ring Star II
Judy Niemeyer pattern: Bali Wedding Star
Assorted flower appliques: Erin Russek
Fabric: Fandango by Kate Spain and Kona Snow
Finished size: 84" X 96"
Started: May 2010
Completed: December 27, 2012

Christmas Crafts

 I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! This was our Christmas card photo that we took in two takes a few days before Christmas. Much easier than when the kids were little and it took all afternoon to get a shot with everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time!

Here's a rundown of the gifts I made this year. The first is a pillow I made for my mother from my dad's ties and a shirt. The ties were really tricky to work with, and I wish I had taken the time to add interfacing before cutting the Dresden blades. They were stretchy and slippery and wonky! But my mother loves it anyway!

The back of the pillow is the front of the shirt, buttons, stains and all! If she ever needs to remove the cover, she can just unbutton the shirt.

Next up was a gig bag for the new ukulele Pete got for his birthday. I had seen a bag on Pinterest, but had to come up with my own pattern. I used the box it came in as a guide. I pre-quilted the outside before assembly with two layers of fleece and a layer of polyester batting. It is really cushiony!

I knew he would love the Marine Corps fabric on the outside. The Hawaiian print on the inside has been in my stash for at least 15 years! Bill bought it for me on one of his business trips. Pete is happy to have something to carry his new instrument in.  He's been teaching himself to play and has performed a few times at open mic nights at school. He totally rocks!

Speaking of rocking, my husband needed an new guitar strap. I made this one from my stash of African fat quarters. Bill spent a year in Liberia with his family when his father was a visiting professor there. It instilled in him an appreciation for African culture. He can't wait to show off his new strap at choir rehearsal! (One Shabby Chick tutorial)

Last but not least, these two adorable tote bags are for my two adorable grand-nieces. I saw some on Pinterest (of course!). Here's the tutorial, although I stitched them instead of gluing.

This bag is for Anna who is devoted to Cinderella.

And this one is for Lily who loves the princess of the hour, in this case, Merida from Brave.  They love putting stuff in bags!

The biggest Christmas finish will get its own post tomorrow. Stay tuned for the completed double wedding ring quilt!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


This is the day I've been waiting my entire life for.
This is the day I've been waiting for for my entire life. 
This is the day for which I have been waiting my entire life!

You see, today is my birthday. The best birthday ever!

Being born on December 12th means that the number twelve has always been my lucky number. Remember this pinball animation from Sesame Street? I was convinced it was made for me!

My twelfth birthday was a pretty big deal. It was my only sleepover party. I think I was allowed to invite twelve girls. We sang the 12 Days of Christmas, and each girl picked a number out of a hat. I must have fixed it so I could sing "Five Golden Rings."
Crafty people, can you see the carolers that my mother made out of rolled polyester batting?

As fun as that party was, I always dreamed of what 12-12-12 would be like. How boring to be turning 40-something.  A few years ago, I was at the pharmacy in line to drop off a prescription. You know how you have to include your birth date on prescriptions? I overheard the mother in front of me say December twelfth. Her son has the same birthday as me. Amazingly, he was born in 2000, so he is turning twelve on 12-12-12! How cool is that?! Happy Birthday, kid from the CVS line!

Whose big idea was it to put my special day in the middle of the week? Wednesday is not exactly a big party night.  My guild has a meeting/holiday party tonight (built in party!), but my boys decided they are taking me out for dinner and a movie.  I'll have lunch with my mother and do some Christmas shopping. I hope Julia can squeeze in some Skype time between final exams.

Now off you go to read a dozen fun facts about twelve!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Catch-up Monday

 It's been so long since I've done a real blog post, I feel like I need to catch up before I can move forward. Please bear with me!

I finished two small quilts on Veteran's Day. I'm really happy to be enjoying both of them this Christmas.

Quilt #1 is the Red & White quilt from Sew Many Ways' red & white charm swap. It's living on the back of the couch, and I've cuddled up with it a few times already. It doesn't have a cute name yet. Any suggestions?

Quilt #2 was a Pat Sloan quilt along that started with a charm pack, and is now hanging on the kitchen wall. I call this one Charming Christmas.

Debbie convinced me to try making donuts, so when I saw a donut pan for 50% off online somewhere, I had to buy it! They were yummy, but really just donut-shaped muffins.  I'll need to try again.

 I was taking pics of something else and spied this little Dresden ornament that my mother made many years ago. Cute, huh?

It's hanging on our very first artificial tree that we picked out at Home Depot on Black Friday. I always used to take pics of the kids at the tree farm, standing next to the tree we had chosen, so I felt like I had to continue the tradition!

Pete turned 17 last week and immediately enlisted in the United States Marine Corps! We are so proud of him for making this commitment to serve our country. His birthday gift from his recruiter was the 19-page SF-86 form!

In this "Only in Rhode Island" story, Pete and his friend, Ryan, met James Woods backstage at a Dr. John concert. The kids mostly know him from his voice role on Family Guy. 

"Oo! Piece of candy!"
 I'm not sure if I've mentioned that I'm on Threadbias now. You can follow me here. I was motivated to finish those two quilts because I joined a UFO group. Thank you, Threadbias friends!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Craft Fair Weekend

If you've been wondering where I've been for the last 2 weeks, I've been chained to my sewing machine, preparing for two craft shows this weekend! I've never done two shows in one weekend before, so I'm a little nervous about having enough stuff. I'm sure I'll be stitching on Saturday night to fill in!

I'll show you more next week as the leftovers are loaded to my Etsy shop.

Paper pieced lapel pins (my signature item)
Table runners and table toppers
Pin cushions with beaded pins (inspired by Karen Griska)
Key Fobs (on the little tree)
Felted wool flower pins (left over from last year)
Zippered Pouches (Noodlehead pattern)
Infinity scarves (Anna Maria Horner velveteen and voile and plaid flannel)

See you on Monday!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Finish - Janet's Table Topper

 I'm calling this a Friday Finish, but it was actually a Thursday project. I started about 10am and finished the binding before 8pm. Of course, there were several breaks in between.

My Friend, Janet, saw this pattern in a magazine two years ago and knew it would be perfect for her Thanksgiving table. We shopped together for the fabric and I assured her she could make it herself. Then life got in the way, so she asked if I would make it for her. She's going to make some delicious party mix in exchange.  Works for me!

When I posted it to Facebook yesterday, Pat was surprised to see that I was appliqueing. I will only applique for family and my very best friends!

 Source: Seasonal Splendor, Fons & Porter's Quilting Celebrations, Winter 2010.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Twine Tree

A Pinterest success story! The Twinery posted several fun projects using baker's twine. I pinned these trees and kept the idea in the back of my mind. I scooped up a package of tiny styrofoam trees the last time I was in a craft store. I already had the twine and a stash of tiny spools (my spin on the original idea).

It was super easy to cover the tree with the twine. I started at the top and secured the end with a 2" long floral pin. Any cute pin will do. The twine actually sticks to the foam, but I added 2 vertical lines of glue for durability. After a few rounds, I found the right dowel for the trunk which gave me a handle to spin the tree as I coiled on the twine.

I thought I could cover the bottom with twine, but it just wasn't happening, so I used a circle of felt. 

I can't wait to make more with my assortment of twine colors!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Random Craftiness

 I'm gearing up for local craft shows at the beginning of December. My goal is to make something I can sell each day. Yesterday was a very productive day! I stitched up a bunch of infinity scarves that are waiting for the openings to be closed by hand. That's a nighttime TV watching project!

Earlier in the week, I had stitched up a bunch of key fobs. They were just waiting for the hardware to arrive from GotLux Crafts. The 1" webbing is from Ryco, and the orange Kaffe ribbon is from Jackie's shop. I'm trying to decide if I should buy more hardware. They are quick and fun to make and will be an inexpensive gift item.

When I should have been finishing the scarves last night, I started playing with felt instead! I've loved this Betz White tutorial for years.  She used 2" foam balls, but I had 3" handy. They take many more rosettes! I put the 2" balls on my shopping list.


My friend and machine quilter, Pat Harrison, posted a sneak peak of my wedding ring star in progress. Isn't that fan motif stunning?

Have a crafty, quilty day!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Swap Top is Done!

 The top of Swap Soup is done! Well, I'm actually thinking about adding one more border to bring it up to twin size and to control the bias edges on those string blocks. Boy, do they stretch!

I listed the swaps and WIPs that are included in this quilt yesterday. Yes, I added the polka dot blocks, too! Those borders were a bit too long. What to do? Chop the ends off! Did I lose the points? Yes. Do I care? Nope!

 My husband and son really like this quilt. My mother knew I did a lot of swapping, but had no idea how many other quilters were involved. The whole family enjoyed reading the names and cities on the siggy blocks.

I'm hoping to get this puppy quilted next weekend at an all day sew-in. It's actually a craft weekend at a local hotel, but I can only make it on Sunday. I'll bring this and my unfinished scrapbook of Italy vacation photos. Think I can get both done in one day?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Scrappy Fun is now Swap Soup

 I'm back to my sewing machine after three days without power. It's nice to be creating again!

I joined Threadbias recently and immediately joined a UFO group. One of the projects I hope to finish was originally titled Scrappy Fun. I was hoping to use up stacks of random swap blocks from several different swaps.

The project was on hold temporarily while I waited for round 2 of the siggy swap blocks to come home. They arrived this week and I started playing!

Last night, I had this arrangement. 

After adding borders to each paper pieced block, I now have this! And a new name:
Swap Soup!

Blocks included (center out):
Teeny Weeny Paper Piecing Bee (3 months)
Basket Weave string blocks (Bonnie Hunter workshop- not swaps)

This will get four (count 'em, 4!) items off my WIP list. Woohoo!!

I love how this is coming together! I'm compiling a list of all the quilters who made blocks for the label. Unfortunately, the TWPP group has been taken down from Flickr, and not everyone labeled their string blocks.

I just remembered that I have a box full of hourglass blocks that I made from polka dot charms that I swapped for. I wonder if there are enough to go all the way around the outside border.  Hmmm...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival and Sandy

Thank you to Amy for sending a reminder email about the Bloggers' Quilt Festival! I've been connecting to the internet sporadically since Hurricane Sandy blew through our coastal Rhode Island town. We have been without electricity since about 2:30 Monday afternoon. Fortunately, we still have running water and a gas stove, so we can shower and cook a little. My mother's building never lost power, so I moved some food to her refrigerator.  We are so grateful that all our friends are safe and sound. Restaurants and friends with power and wifi are so helpful! I'm posting this from a Staples hot spot.

It is heartbreaking to see the damage that has been inflicted on our beloved beaches, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to the devastation in New York and New Jersey.  Our prayers are with all of you who have lost so much.

On to the quilt!  Almost two years ago, my Girl Scout troop had an idea to make a traveling quilt for when they would all head off to college.  (Like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but with a quilt!) Each girl chose her own fabrics from my stash and a pile of Girl Scout prints that I was hoarding for just such an occasion.  We also dyed our own fabric with Kool Aid in the microwave, so some of that fabric was used, too. The girls all chose their own block patterns, some from books or online sources, and others were original creations designed on graph paper.  The hexie block is mine!

Since the blocks were all different sizes, I "sashed" two sides of each block with Girl Scout prints to make them all the same size.  I was happy to have enough of the green cookie print for the border, but I wish I had not used that same print to sash Maia's pretty paper pieced block in the top row.

The quilt was completed in time to hang from the rafters in the South County Museum quilt show.

I named the quilt Girl Scout Sisterhood! It is currently keeping Liz cozy at the University of Richmond. It will soon travel to Emily at the University of Maine. I can't remember the exact order after that, but here's the rest of the list:
Julia at Siena College in Loudonville, NY
Ashley at University of Massachusetts in Fitchburg
Genevieve and Ashley at Rhode Island College
Catherine at the University of Rhode Island
And back to Maia for her Gold Award ceremony in June.

Thanks again, Amy, for hosting the festival. I can't wait to have power restored so I can visit all the inspirational entries!

Blogger's Quilt Festival Stats
Girl Scout Sisterhood by Girl Scout Troop 554

Completed size: 60 X 75"
 Techniques used: paper piecing, fabric dying
Best Category: Group or Bee Quilt, Throw Quilt
Home Quilted by: Tina Craig, troop leader

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mother's birthday. We're happy to have here here at our house, riding out the storm. At this time, Hurricane Sandy is battering the north east coast of the US. Praying that our family and friends are all safe and sound.

Birthday bouquet from my cousin.

We celebrated mom's birthday all weekend, with my sister and Julia in town! I did a lot of cooking, so I didn't have time to take pictures. Here are the Pinterest recipes I tried for the first time.

Apple Crisp
This was perfect for after the football game.

Butternut Squash Gratin
Yum! We would have liked it better without the onion. My grandmother made a delicious butternut squash. This wasn't it, but it was good anyway.

Autumn Chopped Salad
We all needed seconds (and thirds)! I'm glad I have enough ingredients leftover to make it again.

Pistachio Cake
Pistachio is my mother's favorite ice cream, so I figured she'd like the cake. She loved it! She was wishing there was pistachio ice cream, too, but we thought that would be overkill. Vanilla was fine.

Oh, look! There is one slice left!  I'll stick a candle in it later so we can sing Happy Birthday!