Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My First Flower!

"When life throws you scraps, make a quilt!"
                                                           ~author unknown

It's the first day of September!  Can you believe the summer months have gone by so fast?  I know the hot temps still linger, but at least there is now hope for cooler things to come.

Today I will share one of my favorite birds to enter my yard - the Western Scrub Jay

The Jay comes into my yard to eat the unsalted peanuts that I place out daily for him and his friends.  Researchers have studied the ability of scrub jays to hide and remember seeds.  I constantly find peanuts hidden in my garden and also in places you wouldn't think that they would use - a bag of potting soil, an empty watering can, between two bricks, and more.  My two mini doxies also find these hidden peanuts and are quite talented at removing the shell so they can eat the peanut inside.  This species of Jays are known to feed on parasites on the body of mule deers (something we don't have around her), hopping over the head and body of the deer to get them.  A group of Jays are known as a "band", "cast", "party", and "scold" of Jays.  They certainly are one of the few colorful birds we have around here.

Yesterday I was able to sew my previously finished row to the rest of the top and finish 2 more blocks on my Minnesota Stars Quilt.  Only 3 more to go and I will have a completed quilt top! 

I recently joined a blogging group called One Flower Wednesday.  The only requirement is to complete at least one hexagon flower every Wednesday and to post your progress at least once a month.  You can join this group by either clicking on the link above or on the button on my side bar. 

I am so excited to be starting my first Flower Garden quilt.  My inspiration came from my Grandmother's quilt that I shared in a previous blog.  But here is a picture of it again in case you missed it the first time around.

My favorite quilt made by my paternal Grandmother

I have been following the excellent tutorial, Hand Sewing Hexagons, presented by Jaybird Quilts.  Julie Herman does a wonderful job of explaining the step by step process of hand sewing hexagons and has clear, precise photos to aid in the learning process.  Julie does such a fantastic job that I'm not even going to try and match her tutorial with one of my own.

I have only created one flower so far.  I am trying to resist the urge to sit down every afternoon to create more and more flowers until the SIL's Christmas Stocking is finished.  I know that if I quit working on the stocking now, it may well be several more Christmases that he will have to use the ugly store bought stocking he has had to use for the last several years.  This hasn't stopped me from going through my stash of fat quarters and scraps picking out fabrics for future flowers.  I am going away from the traditional by selecting bright colors and also creating single petal flowers instead of double row flowers.  My goal is to have no two flowers be the same. 

I purchased Quilt Patis as suggested by Julie in her tutorial.  This saves from having to cut out paper templates and they really don't cost that much considering they can be used repeatedly.  I had ordered them through a quilt store up the valley but they were back ordered.  After a 10 day wait they called and said that they were unsure of when they would get a new supply.  So, I just ordered straight from the home source at The Home Of The Original Quilt Patis.  I called and talked to a very nice person who completed my order in no time.  I received the templates 4 days later! 

I selected the 1" hexagon templates for my flowers.  My grandmother's are 1 1/4"  hexagon finished size, so I went with the smaller instead of the larger 1 1/2".  Besides, the 1 1/2" hexagon templates were on back order (they aren't any longer according the website) and I didn't want to wait any longer.  The day I received the templates, I immediately pulled out a couple scraps, traced around the templates and cut away.  I even did a little fussy cutting!  Following Julie's directions, the flower went together easily.  Here is my first ever hand sewn hexagon flower...............

Can you see that there is a ladybug in the center of each petal?

Next I need to decide what color of fabric to use for the hexagons separating the flowers.  Green?  Blue?  Yellow? ???????  I couldn't decide so I have ordered a collection of Light Solid Sampler, Light Samplers, Mirage Muted Samplers, Tone on Tone Charms, and Sugar Coated Charms all from my favorite online store, Connecting Threads.  I figured this would give me a good idea of what was available and I would be working with the real thing and would not have to guess if my computer was showing me the true color.  Those should arrive some time this week. 

Here is just a sampling of some of the bright scraps I will be working with:

"Not again, Mom!"  says Snickerdoodle

These are my "babies" Snickerdoodle and Weasley, long-haired mini daschaunds being covered with just the beginning of the scraps I started throwing in their direction for future flowers.  I have a very large stack now along with numerous fat quarters that I pulled from my enormous  somewhat large stash.

As you can tell, I am very excited about starting this project.  So each Wednesday, you will be able to view at least one new flower I have created (or maybe more than one).  This will definitely take me some time to complete, but I'm in no rush.  I figure it won't get boring working with a different fabric for each flower, and with the bright colors it will certainly be cheerful.

Have you heard of any new giveaways?  Or, perhaps, you are having a giveaway that you would like me to include in my blog.  If so, drop me a line and I will include it (and sign up for a chance too!). 


Lacquer Wear For Tips And Toes is having a birthday giveaway.  She is giving a way lots, and lots, and lots of great stuff.  Check it out.  This ends September 30th.


We've made it to the middle of the week and now it's a downhill slide to the three day weekend.  If you have a giveaway that you would like me to post, please contact me.  Remember, when I reach 50 Stitching Companions (followers) I will host my second giveaway!  Have a wonderful Wednesday!


Megan Harmeyer said...

I really like that first flower! Poor pups - they're gonna get buried. LOL

Becky said...

Your first flower looks great. Wonderful fabric choice. Thanks for the info on the Western Scrub Jay. Are they the only birds that enjoy peanuts?

Lynda said...

My Mom made one of my daughters a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt probably over 35 years ago. I remember my Dad tracing all those hexagons and helping her cut them out and then the hours and hours of sewing. It is a treasure to us. I do love the fabrics you have chosen to use.

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