Monday, April 30, 2012

Paper Piecing Course

People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself.  But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates. 
 ~Thomas Szasz, "Personal Conduct," The Second Sin, 1973

Saturday ended up busier than we thought it would be.  We ran several errands and I still had to come home and order a couple of things online I need for an upcoming workshop.  Sunday morning we did spend some time enjoying the beautiful spring morning while reading the paper and sipping our morning coffee.  Then it was labor time in the backyard repairing the drip line in the flower bed and under the trees.  Luckily it wasn't too warm yet making the chore not as bad as a could be.  I'm ready to start a new week and getting back to sewing.  What are your plans for the week?



The sun is something we take for granted.  We know it will rise in the east and set in the west.  It provides both warmth and light.  I'm not so much a warm weather kind of person but here are some facts I found about the sun:
The Sun is a star found at the center of the Solar System
* At around 1,392,000 kilometres (865,000 miles) wide, the Sun’s diameter is about 110 times wider than Earth’s.
Light from the Sun reaches Earth in around 8 minutes.
The Sun’s surface temperature is around 5500 degrees Celsius (9941 degrees Fahrenheit)
The reaction taking place in Sun is nuclear fusion, same as a Hydrogen bomb.
The Sun rotates about it's own axis once every 25.38 days.
The Sun orbits around the center of our Milky Way galaxy once every 240 million years.
In addition to heat and light, the Sun also emits electrons and protons, known as the solar wind which travels at a speed of 450 km/sec.
Solar flares are violent explosions taking place in the Sun's atmosphere occasionally. Solar flares can reach more than 100,000 miles away from the sun.
Every eleven years, the magnetic poles of the Sun switch. This cycle is called "Solarmax"
The luminosity of the Sun is equivalent to the luminosity of 4 trillion trillion light bulbs of 100 watt.
At one time of the year, for 186 days you can not see the Sun in the North Pole of Earth.
No Total solar eclipse can last longer than 7 minutes and 40 seconds.
The expected life time of Sun is another 5 billion years or so



A few weeks ago I started taking an online class from Craftsy.  This class is called Quick Strip Paper Piecing and is taught by Peggy Martin.  The first section is a project call Polka Dot Pinwheels.  Well, I didn't do mine in polka dot but in this....

I call this Pinwheels and Flowers.  Would you believe I picked out the fabric for this wall hanging totally backwards?  I started with the border fabric and went from there.  

Here is a close up of the quilting.  I did some small meandering in both the blue and white areas.  In the border I outlined each of the larger flowers and connected them with just a wavy sort of line.  By the end of the border, I was getting pretty good at outlining those flowers - lol!
If you've never taken a class on Craftsy, I highly recommend it.  The classes are videos that you can watch as many times as you like and go back to refer to something you didn't quite get.  Once you pay for the class, you get to keep it forever - no time limits.  I've taken other online courses and they always had a time limit on how many days they were available after taking the course.  I'm looking forward to the next section of Quick Strip Paper Piecing and making another project. did not ask me to review them, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy taking their classes.  If you receive their emails or follow them on Facebook, you can sometimes get classes at 50% off!



Today I will continue working on the Loving Hands quilts



Tricia's Craft Box is having a giveaway.  You could win three dishcloths and some cotton wool.  This giveaway ends Friday, May 4.

The Peony Teacup is having a giveaway.  You could win a pair of flannel fat quarters.  This giveaway ends Friday, May 4 (Aussie time).

Mary Jane's Tearoom is having a giveaway.  You could win fabric and ribbons or yarn and buttons.  The winner will be announced Friday, May 11.

It's Sew Kiki is having a giveaway.  You could win a complete set of Lark Crafts and Needlearts Stash Happy series.  This giveaway ends Thursday, May 3.

Hawthorne Threads is having a giveaway.  You could win a Cloud 9 Alegria fat quarter bundle.  This giveaway ends Wednesday, May 2.

Sew Bitter Sweet Designs is having a giveaway.  You could win a copy of Ties That Bind.  This giveaway ends Wednesday, May 2.

Cat Patches is having her weekly Fun Fact Friday Freebie.  You could win a fat quarter.  The winner will be announced Friday, May 4.



Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday's Here

Promises are like crying babies in a theater, they should be carried out at once.  
~Norman Vincent Peale

Mother Nature struck again this week.  We went from almost 100 degrees on Sunday to a high of 68 degrees yesterday.  Wednesday night she provided a brief light show followed by rolling thunder and a couple of wonderful spring showers.  I would love if we could have one of these storms roll through here at least once a week!  Our weekend looks to be a lot calmer than last weekend.  Maybe we will finally get around to checking on the drip system in the garden (some of it's not working).  At least with the temporary cooler weather we won't feel like we are melting to a puddle while working outside.  I have to make a couple of small purchases in preparation for the next workshop I'm attending next month and, of course, we will be making our weekly run to the Farmer's Market.  Oh, and we will be visiting the local SPCA's book sale and hope to find some future reading material.  What are plans for the weekend?




With spring definitely having arrived, I'm seeing more and more butterflies in my garden.  These delicate creatures come in so many colors and fly so gracefully.  I love the tickle of the their feet when they land on my skin.  Here are some interesting facts about butterflies:
Butterflies range in size from a tiny 1/8 inch to a huge almost 12 inches.
* Butterflies can see red, green, and yellow.
The top butterfly flight speed is 12 miles per hour. Some moths can fly 25 miles per hour!
Monarch butterflies journey from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of about 2,000 miles, and return to the north again in the spring.
* Butterflies cannot fly if their body temperature is less than 86 degrees.
* Representations of butterflies are seen in Egyptian frescoes at Thebes, which are 3,500 years old.
There are about 24,000 species of butterflies. The moths are even more numerous: about 140,000 species of them were counted all over the world.
* The Brimstone butterfly (Gonepterix rhamni) has the longest lifetime of the adult butterflies: 9-10 months.
Many butterflies can taste with their feet to find out whether the leaf they sit on is good to lay eggs on to be their caterpillars' food or not.
Butterfly wings are transparent. How can that be? We know butterflies as perhaps the most colorful, vibrant insects around! A butterfly wing is actually formed by layers of chitin, the protein that makes up an insect's exoskeleton. These layers are so thin you can see right through them. Thousands of tiny scales cover the transparent chitin, and these scales reflect light in different colors. As a butterfly ages, scales fall off the wings, leaving spots of transparency where the chitin layer is exposed.
To supplement its diet of nectar, a butterfly will occasionally sip from mud puddles, which are rich in minerals and salts.
* Butterflies don’t have lungs. They breathe through openings in their abdomens called Spiracles.



Last night while watching SMASH (yes, we DVR everything!) my sweet DH said to me "You really have me brainwashed with quilting.  Here we are watching a musical dance section of the show and I notice the design on the floor and I think 'that would make a cool quilt design'.  It reminds me of the quilt that one Best In Show up in Lindsay."   I've told you before that he really enjoys attending quilt shows and this sure proves it.  He was referring to the quilt "Floral Fantasy".  The design painted on the floor definitely resembled one of the flowers in that quilt.  I just love my husband!! 



As you can tell, I was able to get some stitching in this week.  This is right before I had to roll my scroll up again.  I just love the colors in the sky and the lightening strike coming down.  The tree is done in Treasure Braid and I'm not thrilled with the results - the stitches are much to open for my liking.  The picture doesn't show the glitter from it or the gold or silver stitched into the side units.

Design:  Desert Mandala
Designer:  Martina Weber / Chatelaine Designs
Fabric:  Antique White Belfast (linen - for those of you who do not stitch)
Stitched:  2 strands of DMC floss over 2 threads
1 strand of Treasure Braid over 2 threads



I was recently contacted by a small cross stitch shop owner in the United Kingdom, Yiota's XStitch, to do a review of one of her products.  Yiota sent me the kit of my choice, Forest Scene, to review and enjoy.  

The cross stitch kit arrived quite quickly in my mailbox.  What a wonderful cross stitch kit!!!

The kit comes with a very easy to read black and white chart, evenweave fabric (or you may select Aida cloth), needle, and the necessary threads pre-wound on card bobbins.  This kit came with Madeira threads but has a conversions for DMC floss colors.  I've never used a kit with the threads already sorted and wound.  All patterns are designed with full stitches only.
I spent at least a couple of hours browsing through counted cross stitch patterns and kits available from Yiotas-XStitch.  There are so many to choose from.  She also carries stamped cross stitch, latch hook, fabrics, needles, threads, and accessories.  There are also some wonderful free patterns available on her site.  The prices are very reasonable and if you don't want to pay the over seas shipping, most of her patterns are available to download for a very reasonable price.  Thank you for allowing me to do this review, Yiota.  I look forward to stitching this up some time in the near future.
Visit Yiotas-XStitch!!



Today I plan on starting the two little Loving Hands quilts for my May donation.



AccuQuilt is having a giveaway.  You could win a GO! Baby Starter Kit.  This giveaway ends ?

Sewing Miles of Smiles is having a giveaway.  You could win 2 finger puppet patterns from Floral Blossom. This giveaway ends Thursday, May 3.

FaveQuilts is having a giveaway.  You could win a copy of Kaleidoscope Kreator 3.  This giveaway ends Tuesday, May 1.

Quilting Gallery Blog is having a giveaway.  You could win a copy of the Garden Dance Party pattern from Studio 180 Designs.  This giveaway ends Wednesday, May 2.

One Piece At A Time is having a giveaway.  You could win a copy of Ties That Bind by Marie Bostwick.  This giveaway ends Wednesday, May 2.

Fish Creek Studio is having a giveaway.  You could win a charm pack of Vintage Modern.  This giveaway ends Sunday, April 29, at 9:00 pm EST.

Doodles and Designs is having a giveaway.  You could win a copy of Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen.  This giveaway ends Monday, April 30.

The Jolly Jabber is having a giveaway.  You could win 4 mini charm packs of Seasonal Little Gatherings.  This giveaway ends Tuesday, May 1.

Bitter Sweet Designs is having a giveaway.  You could win a fat quarter bundle of Flock from Fat Quarter Shop.  This giveaway ends Tuesday, May 1, at 9:00 pm PDT.

Quilt Taffy is having a giveaway.  You could win a Vintage Baby charm pack.  This giveaway ends Saturday, April 28.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Flowers and Blocks

Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go and do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.  
~Attributed to Howard Thurman

Wednesday's just keep rolling around rather consistently, don't they.  Wednesday's keep my weeks balanced.  Two work days before and two after.  Wednesday either finds me tearing my hair out because I have to have something finished by the end of the week or simply enjoying the fact it's the middle of the week.  This week I'm simply enjoying the day.  What's Wednesday usually mean for you?



American Badger

I honestly didn't know much about the badger until doing my research for today's blog.  Here's what I found out:
Badgers are large nocturnal retiring creatures, which are normally shy and live in social or family groups.
* They are closely related to stoats, otters, weasels, polecats and pine martens.
* Badgers have a strong sense of smell and search for food by constantly sniffing the ground ahead of them, with the help of their snouts.
* These animals have typical underground homes called setts, which are complete with a labyrinth of tunnels.
* An adult badger can grow up to a maximum of 36” long and have a weight of around 22 to 27 lbs.
* They are omnivorous animals, depending on a wide variety of foods for their diet. However, their staple food consists of earthworms, with a per day consumption of around 200 worms.
Badgers have powerful non-retractable claws that are very useful in digging and looking for food.
* Although these animals do not hibernate, they are less active in the winter season.
* The cubs are normally born in the month of February and are usually 1 to 3 in number. These cubs emerge around the month of May, after spending the first 8 to 10 weeks of their life underground.
* Badgers have excellent hearing and smelling sense, which proves very useful in searching for their food. However, they have very poor eyesight.
The name badger possibly derives from the French word bêcheur meaning digger or from the word badge in reference to the white mark on its forehead.



Two more flowers were made this week for my GFG/Eye Spy quilt.....

Earth Day (last Sunday) always makes me think of the days of hippies and peace symbols - and, yes, I'm definitely old enough to remember those days - so what better way to wax nostalgia than with this hexie flower.  Don't you just love the peace symbols on the cars' wheels?

These little piggies can't wait to dive into that watermelon in the center of the flower.  When I saw the pig fabric, I knew instantly that it would be made into hexies.
To check out more flowers for One Flower Wednesday, Karen has graciously provided a linky for one stop browsing.  Hop on over and take a look by clicking on the link above.



I recently received two squishies in my mailbox.  I just love receiving swap blocks....

First I received this beautiful block from Rachelle in Michigan.  I just love all the different fabrics she used to create this braid block.  Rachelle was my March swap partner for Block Swap Adventure.  Thank you so very much, Rachelle.

Then I received this adorable block from Ann Mc in Canada.  This block says Christmas and I especially like the little bird in his winter hat!  Ann was my December swap partner for Quilting Block Swaps Australia.  Thank you so very much, Ann!  Better late than never :)



I'm having trouble with the new blogger.  Each time I use the scheduled posting it doesn't work.  Can someone tell me what I'm doing wrong?



Today I have a Bee block to make.



Cat Patches is having a giveaway.  You could win an assortment of goodies from Colonial Needles.  This giveaway ends Thursday, April 26.

World of Charity Stitching is having a giveaway.  You could win a $50 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop.  This giveaway ends Thursday, May 3.

A Stitch In Time is having a giveaway.  You could win two fat quarters with a beach theme.  This giveaway ends Saturday, April 28, at 11:00 pm EST.

Canton Village Quilt Works is having a giveaway.  You could win a copy of Marie Bostwick's newest book,  Ties That Bind.  This giveaway ends Wednesday, May 2.

Quilting By The River is having a giveaway.  You could win a charm pack of Vintage Modern.  This giveaway ends Thursday, April 26, at midnight CST.

Crafty Imaginings by Jen is having a giveaway.  You could win a $15 gift certificate to either Fat Quarter Shop or  This giveaway ends Monday, April 30.

Annie's Ruby Slipperz is having her weekly Mystery Monday Tuesday.  You could win 5 fat quarters.  This giveaway ends Saturday, April 28, at midnight.

Woolie Mammoth is having a giveaway.  You could win a little used pattern from Bird Brain Designs and some fabric to get you started.  This giveaway ends Sunday, April 29.



Monday, April 23, 2012

Learning Something New

The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.  
~Ivy Baker Priest

Whew!  Such a busy weekend - well, really only Saturday.  Saturday we were out the door at 9:00 headed to the farmer's market before I was to attend a quilting workshop.  While I was at the workshop, DH worked in the yard, made a run to Lowe's, and attended a garden fair up at the local college.  After he picked me up we made a stop at Petsmart for dog food.  Next we headed to the library to return and pickup a couple books on CD, and a final stop at Joann's where I purchased some flannel at more than 50% off (for Loving Hands quilts) and some spray adhesive that was half off.  We finally returned home just after 5:00.  It was a long day and a hot one, too!  Sunday was more subdued with only wash and general pick-up around the house.  I'm ready for today - a new week!  I have several quilting projects planned for the week.  What's your week look like?




Eggs!  They come in a variety of colors and sizes.  You can use them to cook with or throw at someone you don't like (I hope you don't do that, though).  They protect the unborn and are available worldwide.  Here are some fun facts about eggs:
The color of the egg shell is not related to quality, nutrients, flavor, or cooking characteristics. White shelled eggs are produced by hens with white feathers and white ear lobes. Brown shelled eggs are produced by hens with red feathers and red ear lobes. Araucana chickens lay blue eggs.
China produces the most eggs, at about 160 billion per year. In the US, about 65 billion eggs per year.
There are 150 species of chicken. A rooster is a male, a hen is a female, and they are both chickens.
A hen can lay about 250 eggs per year.
Eggs usually can last six to 8 weeks if refrigerated. To find out if eggs are bad, you can always use the "float" test. If they float in salt water, they are bad, or crack one open and the smell will tell.
* The ostrich lays the largest egg
Eggs contain the highest quality protein with just the right mix of essential amino acids needed by humans to build tissues,  second only to mother’s milk for human nutrition. There are about 70 calories in an uncooked egg and 77 calories in a cooked egg.
In France, the bride breaks an egg on the threshold of their new home before stepping in,  for luck and healthy babies.
Chicken are descendants of the red jungle fowl (gallus gallus spadiceus) that lives in Asia. The chicken is one of the first domestic animals, appearing in China around 1400 BC.



Last Thursday evening I attended my guild meeting (Cotton Patch Quilters of Kern County).  We were honored with a trunk show from Molly Hamilton McNally, one of our very talented members.  Molly is well known for her reverse applique and has won numerous awards both locally and nationally. Here are a few of the quilts Molly shared with us...

Sorry for the bad angle but I was sitting off to the side.  Molly's work is so detailed and amazingly beautiful. I don't remember what she called this one.

This one is called "China".  Molly was raised in China but that is not why this one has that name.  She told us a story of how the Red Soldiers came into her house and burned her mother's beautiful china.  So she made this quilt with herself as the bird guarding her mother's china.

Blurry picture - sorry.  Molly created this one after a deer came visiting in her yard.  This is called "My Deer".

Can I remember the name of this one?  No.  Maybe I should start writing down things when the speakers are giving us information.  I do remember Molly saying that the birds depicted the changing seasons.

I just loved these two small wall hangings.  Simple but so exquisite.  Molly practiced her fmq on these and you should see the pebbling she did in the borders.

Yet to be quilted, but Molly wanted to show us that you can mix piecing and reverse quilting.  Gorgeous!

This quilt is simply stunning.  Molly did all of the reverse quilting and the machine quilting was done by Cindy Seitz-Krug.  

Here is Molly in front of  her quilt, "Peony Dream Melody".  She told us about the process she went through to pick the hair color.  She has quite a sense of humor and it was so much fun to have her share her beauties with us.

Saturday, Molly gave a workshop on reverse applique that I attended.  Through her excellent teaching abilities we all started to attempt some reverse applique.....

This is the piece we worked on.  The top red petal was the my first attempt.  It was also my first time trying needle turn.  My stitches were a little too tight so there is a slight ridge at the edge.  The lower petal, only partially finished was much smoother.  Molly even complimented my point :) 

This is what our pattern is.  I don't know that I will ever complete the project but it was fun to learn something new.  I even picked up some good hints that will work for regular hand applique.  It was a nice day spent with fellow guild members.



Today I will continue to work on the doll quilt



Quilting Gallery is having a giveaway.  You could win a Sashiko Collection of threads.  This giveaway ends Wednesday, April 25.

Hawthorne Threads is having a giveaway.  You could win a Carolyn Gavin Soul Garden fat quarter bundle.  This giveaway ends Wednesday, April 25.

The Jolly Jabber is having a giveaway.  You could win one of  Amy Webb's Blogger Choice Fat Quarter Bundles.  This giveaway ends Wednesday, April 25.

Sew Bitter Sweet Designs is having a giveaway.  You could win a prize pack of assorted Colonial Needle products.  This giveaway ends Wednesday, April 25, at 9:00 pm PDT.

Stitch This! is having a giveaway.  You could win a copy of  Scrap-Appliqué Playground eBook.  This giveaway ends Thursday, April 26.

It's Sew Kiki is having a giveaway.  You could win an assortment of Colonial Needle products, 4 books, a set of Tri Tec rulers, and some Aurifil.  This giveaway ends Wednesday, April 25.

Little Miss Shabby is having a giveaway.  You could win a fat quarter bundle of Brrr!  This giveaway ends Friday, April 27.

Cat Patches is having her Fun Fact Friday Freebie.  You could win a fat quarter for answering her question of the week.  The winner will be announced next week.



Friday, April 20, 2012

Quilting Community Love

When life throws you lemons, make orange juice.  It will leave them wondering how the hell you did that. 
~Author Unknown

It's Friday!  Another weekend is just a few hours away.  I will be spending most of Saturday at a reverse applique workshop.  That means DH gets some free hours to do with as he pleases - I hope he has at least a little bit of fun since I know I will be.  We also have to squeeze a trip in a trip to Petsmart and the local library.  Sunday will be spent doing wash and hopefully a bit of stitching.  We are supposed to reach up into the 90's for the first time this season - something I'm definitely not looking forward to.  What are your plans for the weekend?




The leopard is one of the beautiful large cats in the world.  It's so full of grace and power.  Just a totally amazing animal.  Here are a few facts about leopards:
* Leopards are part of the cat family, Felidae. The scientific name for a leopard isPanthera pardus.
* Adult leopards are solitary animals. Each adult leopard has its own territory where it lives and, although they often share parts of it, they try to avoid one another.
A leopard’s body is built for hunting. They have sleek, powerful bodies and can run at speeds of up to 57 kilometres per hour. They are also excellent swimmers and climbers and can leap and jump long distances.
A leopard’s tail is just about as long as its entire body. This helps it with balance and enables it to make sharp turns quickly.
Leopards protect their food from other animals by dragging it high up into the trees.
The Clouded Leopard has the longest canines among cat species.



While I was away on my blog-free vacation I worked a bit on my current cross stitch project and completed another.

This is where I was earlier in the week.  I have actually done more stitching since but this was before I added the Treasure Braid and rolled the fabric up further on the bars.  I'm liking the colors better now that there has been some variety added.

Here is a close up of the raven in the above photo.  As you can see, the stitches are tiny - just stitched with one thread over one thread (32 stitches per inch). You had to complete each cross stitch as you went or some of the threads would slip underneath.  This certainly adds a different dimension to the project.

Design:  Desert Mandala
Designer:  Martina Weber / Chatelaine Designs
Fabric:  Antique White Belfast (linen - for those of you who do not stitch)
Stitched:  2 strands of DMC floss over 2 threads
1 strand of Treasure Braid over 2 threads

I joined the World of Charity Stitching yahoo group awhile ago and recently finished my first project for them...

The theme was hens and roosters.  Doesn't this proud guy remind you for the Kellogg's Corn Flake rooster?  Well, at least for those of you old enough, like me,  to remember him.  If you click on the link above, you can see the other hens and roosters that were stitched.  They will be made up into a quilt and given to a worthy charity.  I am currently signed up for two different projects that I will share in the future.

Design:  Rooster #11
Book:  Stoney Creek "Farm Babies"
Fabric:  Antique White Aida - 16 Ct.
Stitched: 2 strands of DMC floss over 1 thread



Yesterday's mail contained a box full of love for me.  

Leona, of Leona's Quilting Adventure, created this lap quilt from blocks sent to her by other bloggers.  Isn't is just amazing!  Starting from the top left corner and working across, here are the contributors to this creation:
Suzanne, Cheryll, Sharon Matthews (who lost her battle with Gall Bladder Cancer in 2009)
Jessica, Brigitte, Denise K
Crafty Pug, Sharon Matthews, Suzanne H
Suzanne H, Susan, ?
Thank you ladies!!!!!  I am so overwhelmed by your generosity and the love you put into these blocks.  The Community of Online Quilters is truly amazing!  I will think of each of you every time I use this beauty.



Today I am going to start a doll quilt for the May swap.



Cut Up and Sew is having a giveaway.  You could win "The Strip Tube Ruler" and the companion book "Strip Tubing", or a cute stitchery pattern from Lily Anna Stitches and a kit to make the Snow Lady, or six templates to make fabric flowers, or four different packs of 2.5" mini charms.  This giveaway ends Monday, April 23.

Vrooman's Quilts is having a giveaway.  You could win a jelly roll of Deb Strain's 'Meadow Friends' for Moda.  This giveaway ends Thursday, April 26.

Stitch This is having a giveaway.  You could win a copy of the Elegant Quilts, Country Charm eBook.  This giveaway ends Thursday, April 26.

Just One More Stitch is having a giveaway.  You could win a Fat Quarter Bundle of Honey Bee 2 from Fort Worth Fabric Studios.  This giveaway ends Sunday, April 22, at midnight.

Sheila's Quilt World is having a giveaway.  You could win a darling mini table topper that Sheila made from a pattern by Chook Shed Pattern Company.  This giveaway ends Sunday, April 22.

Stitch This! is having a giveaway. You could win an ebook.  This giveaway ends Monday, April 23, at noon PDT.



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