Monday, March 26, 2012

The Newest Quilter on Our Block

For years, I've been saving the little scrabbles from my quilting and filling an onion bag with the pieces much too small for a seam.  The bag goes outside in the spring so there is plenty of nesting material available for the birds. About this time of year, the birds snitch little bits every day to construct their new homes--we have robins that nest in our rose bush faithfully every year.

This year, the squirrels have decided to use my fabric for their new nest in our willow tree!!

Can you see the fabric strips in the nest?  Pretty colorful!  Bet all the other squirrels are jealous, but hope they don't entertain notions of moving into our willow, too.  We already have an assortment of giant rabbits, a slew of chipmunks and a few ground hogs, in spite of having a dog.  They apparently pay her some sort of extortion to allow them to stay--she typically looks at them and then goes in a different direction.

Do you have a special way you recycle your scraps?  Would appreciate you sharing your best idea in the comment section so everyone can read it and give it a try--thanks so much!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

True Confessions

As I'm sure you do, I enjoy perusing lots of blogs, in particular, quilt blogs.  Some of them have narratives about trips, tutorials, free patterns, recipes or any combination of the aforementioned items.  Each blog reveals a little bit of the writer and I get to know them better.  So, rather than have you sift through my posts to find my quilty skeletons, I've decided to list my top ten quilting quirks:

1.  My husband purchased my first quilt class. (So, it's all his fault!)  We were married in the Spring of 1992 and for Christmas that year, I was gifted a hand-piecing class at Temple University.  When I asked him how he knew I would like to learn how to quilt, he replied he noticed I admired a quilt once.  (That was when life was simpler and we were able to give each other our undivided attention--in other words, before children.)  I gained two lifelong loves that year--my dear sweet husband and quilting!
April 11, 1992--seems like yesterday!
 2.  There are eight sewing machines, two embroidery machines, one serger and one longarm in my house.  And most of them have names.

3.  My husband build an addition onto our house to accommodate my longarm.

4.  My sewing space is only big enough for one person.  We finished half the basement and the kids got a majority of the space.  The Container Store and I managed to squash a sizable stash, sewing table, build-in cutting surface/cabinets, two bookcases, design wall and ironing board into a ten foot by nearly twelve foot space.  (Huh!  I thought my little corner of the basement was quite small, but when looking at the numbers, it's not too bad!  Wonder why it seems so very, very tiny......?)
Looking in from the kids' area..

Looking at my cutting surface...

The stash and bookcases....

Batting and trims storage......
5.  I have a raging quilt magazine addiction!  The current list of periodicals coming to our home is Quiltmaker, Irish Quilting, The Quilt Life and am a charter member of American Patchwork and Quilting (that's 20 years of magazines!).

6.  I have no more room on the walls to hang quilts and am pretty sure my dear husband is unwilling to put a second addition on our house.
With a bit of rearranging, am hoping to get "Sedona Delight" on a wall somewhere in here!

7.  Both of our daughters can sew and have made quilts.  One would sew all the time and the other would rather not.  In fact, the older non-sewer was heard to say as a six year old, "Why can't you be like other mothers and not sew?"  On the other end of the spectrum, the younger loves to go to The Village Quilter to buy fat quarters.  When I asked if she had a project in mind, she didn't hesitate in her response--"Do I need to have a project in mind in order to buy a fat quarter?"  Hearing your own quilty words coming out of your daughter's mouth.....priceless!

8.  My four year old nephew already has four quilts.

9.  Every vacation includes a visit to a local quilt shop.  There is only one quilt store in South America and I've been there. 
Santiago, Chile:  These ladies are lovely!!

10.  There are quilt blocks on my mailbox because I put them there.  Save yourself some time and don't paint your mailbox.  Use the new duct tape sheets--they are far less work and don't fade.
Sort of glows, doesn't it?
There you have it--all my quilty skeletons!  Well, maybe most of them.  Do you have any quilty quirks that you'd be willing to share?  Do you wait until it's dark outside before bringing in the bags from the quilt store so your significant other/children/neighbors don't see how much fabric you've purchased?  Did you build a shed in the backyard or rent a storage space for your stash?

To me, quilting does so much to benefit our psyche and to spread good will to those around us, all our quirks work together for the greater good--sort of like the patchwork we enjoy so much!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Fantasy Flowers" Goes Across the Pond!

Do you remember my earlier post about the fifth grade art festival project, Fantasy Flowers?  Well, it's going for a trip across the pond!!  Fantasy Flowers is entered in Twisted Thread's Festival of Quilts August 16-19!

To say Marlton Elementary School is thrilled is an understatement!  Last night, Mrs. Randi Gordon, art teacher extraordinaire, was kind enough to present me with a certificate of appreciate in front of the PTA.

I'm thankful to have worked on this project with such a creative teacher and talented students!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Quilting Essentials

Welcome to our series on Quilting Essentials!  I was chatting with my dear husband about doing interviews with various tools associated with quilting and his response was, "If anyone can pull that off, it's you!"  Not quite sure how to respond to that comment, so I got to work setting up an interview with my rotary cutter.

Now, not everyone talks their quilting tools and even fewer hear their responses (the jury is still out on the social acceptability on this issue), so you're in for a special treat!

The time was set and we sat down with a lovely cup of tea for a chat, my rotary cutter and me.  Let me introduce you to Ms. Rotar E. Cutter!
Rotar E. Cutter and a cup of Earl Grey!

TMQ:  Hello, Ms. Cutter!  So glad you could join us today!  May I call you Rotar?

REC:  Actually, it's pronounced "Ro-TAR."  Thank you for having me!

TMQ:  You've created quite a stir in the quilting world for the past, let's see, 33 years!! 

REC:  Yes, it's been quite a ride!  My inventor, Mr. Yoshio Okada, thought scissors made too much of a jagged edge when cutting fabric.  My design is quite ingenious and has been a major time-saving, accuracy building tool for quilters ever since!  Of course, I have to share credit with Acrylic Rulers and Selfhealing Mat because without them, I'd really tear up the place!

TMQ:  It's no secret to those who have the pleasure of knowing you that you have done some damage in your day!  Perhaps you could enlighten us to your needs and wants?

REC:  Ha, ha!!  Yes, it's not my intention to be destructive, just a by-product of what I do best!  First of all, users need to keep their fingers away from my sharp edge.  I know this seems basic, but you'd be surprised at how many stitches people attribute to me (and we're not talking quilting stitches!).  Always use my buddies Acrylic Rulers and Selfhealing Mat--we are inseparable partners.

TMC:  I know I've had my close encounters with your sharp edges!

REC:  Also, my blade is safest when it's closed!!  Get in the habit of covering up my sharp side every time you put me down.  By the way, I enjoy my own case when traveling!

TMC:  Learned that the hard way!  Stopped a class one time when you fell out of my bag, your sharp edge exposed and I caught you.  The teacher had to put me back together so I would stop bleeding on the fabric.

REC:  Ouch!!  Like every other girl, I like to look my best and have a sharp blade, without lint, nicks and free flowing.  I'm not too shy, so feel free to take me apart, remove any fuzzies and add the tiniest bit of sewing machine oil.  I'll be terribly temperamental if I'm not put back properly or if you put in two blades instead of one.  One cut should let you know if I'm not feeling like myself--I wear my emotions on my sleeve.

TMC:  Thank you for all the great information--we quilters know that if Rotar E. Cutter ain't happy, ain't no body happy (and no quiltin' gettin' done!!)!  Now, knowing how busy you've been helping quilters make their quilting dreams come true for the past 33 years, have you had time to settle down and raise a family?

REC:  Funny you should ask!  Why, yes, I do have a family!  Here, let me show you our latest family photo!
From left to right:  Aunt Olfa Cutter, Rotar E. Cutter, Sixty MM. Cutter, Pape R. Cutter, Mini Cutter and Grandma Fluted Cutter.  Our trusty pet Fiskars jumped into the picture at the last minute!

TMQ:  Great looking family!  I noticed you have quite a variety of blade sizes in your gene pool!

REC:  Yes, that's true!  Each of us is specially suited to do a job.  I take after my Aunt Olfa--we're both 45 mm and usually the quilter's first choice.  My husband, Sixty MM, can handle cutting up to eight layers--he's very handy to have around when there's a lot of strip cutting to do!  Pape R. Cutter only helps out with scrapbooking projects around the house.  Grandma Fluted is great for pinking edges or fancy cutting.  (She always wears that bonnet when not hard at work!)  Mini Cutter is our daughter who is 18 mm right now and we're finding that to be quite a challenging age--she only likes to cut around tight curves and small templates on a single layer of fabric.  Fiskars is a wonderful pet to have around the house--able to fill in when one of us isn't up to snuff!  Although, he tends to be quite a camera hound!

TMQ:  Wow!!  You've given us so much to think about in today's interview!  Appreciate your helpful hints and introducing us to your family!  On behalf of the quilting community, thank you for your incredible contribution over the past three decades!

REC:  Thank you, Tuffimom Quilts, for having me!

Well, that wraps up our first interview of Quilting Essentials!  Look for our next post that interviews the most elusive component of quilting--time!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wooly Wishes BOM Posted for March

Is March zipping by for you??  Traditionally, March has felt like the longest month with no days off from school for the girls or holiday get-together for our family, but when you have a block to post, it seems to fly by and suddenly, you're late!

Thanks to those how expressed an opinion on my Lucky Charms sheep--I appreciate your input!  Did post both versions on my website, so you can pick your favorite.  Click here for the templates and placement.

Please send me a picture of your finished blocks ('d love to post them so everyone can "ooh" and "aah" over your fantastic creation!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Decisions, Decisions!

Lucky Ewe  (I can hear the groaning from here!)

Well, the March BOM is getting ready to be posted, but I have a dilemma and I need your input.  "Lucky Charms to Ewe" is pictured in its original form above, but the nagging feeling that she was missing something kept running through my brain.  In my mind, every leprechaun needs a rainbow, so I added one and now she looks like this:

The rainbow adds a little splash of color in that corner of the quilt, but also adds a bit of bulk to the applique. 

My question to you is, which one do you prefer?  Thinking it might be nice to offer the templates for both versions and everyone picks their favorite?  Please post a comment and let me know!