Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Halfway (Sort Of, But Not Really)

With the completion of this block, I am now halfway through the 169 center blocks of my Dear Jane quilt. It's taken me about 7 months to get this far...I have a long way to go yet, but it's coming along. After the center is finished, there will still be the outer triangles to worry about...

This is "K-3 Seven Sisters", a beginner-level block that I chose to paper piece.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Welcome To My Exhibit

I know it's a little too early for April Fool's Day, but this is way too much fun!

Monday, December 29, 2008

More Dear Jane

I have many projects that I'd like to work on, but I hope to concentrate mainly on my Dear Jane blocks in 2009. I'm getting down to the end of the easy paper-pieced blocks and need to work more on the applique blocks.

This is "K-2 Grandpa's Chickens", a beginner-level block that I chose to paper piece. It could easily be rotary cut as well, which is probably what I should have done. But it works anyway.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Every Creature Loves A Quilt

Perhaps you've seen this on other blogs, but in case you haven't, just click here for more photos to put a smile on your face.

Yes, our quilts are loved!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dear Jane Again

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas. We don't travel this time of year if we can help it, so it was a nice quiet family time for us at home.

I'm determined to keep going with the DJ quilt, so here is another block. It's "J-6 Granny Weaver", a beginner-level block that I chose to paper piece. A bit wonky, but it will do.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas To Me!

My Christmas present to myself this year is teaching myself how to do reverse applique. This is my very first attempt and it worked! Not perfect, of course, but very least for me.

With my Dear Jane project I have tried all sorts of applique techniques -- needle-turn, fusible interfacing, freezer paper on top, freezer paper on bottom, invisible machine applique, and now reverse applique. I still haven't done raw-edge applique on this quilt because I'm worried that the edges will be a bit too messy-looking for my taste.

No matter how much I try, I do not love to do applique and I doubt I ever will. But I LOVE to admire the applique work of others. I suspect once my DJ quilt is finished, I won't be in a hurry to work on any more projects that require applique...

Anyway, this is "B-1 Batchelor Buttons", a beginner-level appliqued block.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

No Dear Jane Block Today

I thought that 3 days in a row of DJ blocks would be too boring, so instead I'm posting a photo of a baby quilt that I made in March 2004 for my husband's grand-niece. It was made of scraps leftover from the Jewel Box quilt I talked about here. It was quilted using monofilament thread on my sewing machine (I still had almost 2 years to go before I bought my HQ16).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Two Days in a Row

I guess you could say I'm on a roll. This is the second DJ block in two days. No promises for tomorrow... This is "C-13 Lakota Sioux", an intermediate-level paper-pieced block. Those triangles are really, really teeny.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dear Baby Jane Lives!

I'm so happy to hear that the Dear Baby Jane blog will continue. The site has been so valuable to quilters like me who are attempting to make the blocks without a lot of instruction from the book or the software. The instructions and photos on the site are absolutely the best I've seen anywhere. So if you're making a DJ quilt, or if you're planning one, or even if you just want to see what is possible, check out the site and you'll be inspired.

I definitely need some inspiration now, because too many of the difficult (for me) applique blocks are looming ahead...

In the meantime, this is "L-4 St George's Cross", a beginner-level paper-pieced block. This makes #80.

Friday, December 19, 2008

St Nicholas

A bit of a religion lesson today...but no preaching.

Today is St Nicholas Day in the Russian Orthodox Church, which uses the Julian calendar instead of the more-commonly used Gregorian calendar. The Julian calendar is 13 days behind the Gregorian, so that means that Christmas is celebrated on January 7th instead of December 25th. And that's why today is St Nicholas Day instead of December 6th.

Some Orthodox churches have adopted the newer calendar and celebrate their holidays at the same time as the rest of the Christian world, but the church in which I was raised and in which my son was baptized still follows the old calendar.

All members of the church must be named after a saint in order to be baptized. Traditionally, a baby is named after a saint whose holy day is the day of the child's birth. However, many Orthodox church members no longer follow that...some of the names would be quite unusual for the 21st century...and that's why my son is named Nicholas even though he was born in July. Today is his "saint's day", so in honor of that, I'm posting a photo of the various St Nicholas's that my husband has carved over the years.

I bet that's more than you ever wanted to know about the Russian Orthodox Church...but you never know when this kind of info might come in handy for Jeopardy...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Awards and More Awards

I've received a couple of blogger awards recently, so I need to pass them on...I'll try not to award both to any of those listed because I know this requires some work on their part...and we're all busy with the holidays. No obligation ...just pass them on if you like.
Susan awarded me the Blogging Friends Forever Award

The rules are as follows:

1. 5 people are allowed to receive this award
2. 4 dedicated followers
3. 1 new follower to your blog who lives in another part of the world
4. Please link back to the person who gave you this award.

I will give the BFF award to:

The Butterfly Award was given to me by are the rules.
A. Put the logo on your blog.
B. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
C. Nominate ten other blogs, add links to those blogs, and leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.
Wow, 10 blogs...well, here goes...some of you know me and others are just blogs that I visit often...forgive me if you have already received this award from another blogger...don't feel obligated to award this to 10 others...
Susan, Barb, mom and daughter on this blog, Wanda, Bree, Mary Anne, Diane, Margaret, I think that's enough...

The recipients will be getting emails from me announcing this ...

I'm At It Again

The dear friend that I talked about in the post from last week has been busy again. I forgot to mention that not only does she make quilts for her children and grandchildren, she has now started to make them for her grandsons' girlfriends!

Is she a wonderful grandma, or what?

This is the latest one, and once again she has allowed me to quilt it. I had great fun!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Still In A Pink Mood

To continue with yesterday's theme, I made this block. The light fabric is really a very pale pink, but it looks almost white on my screen. Anyway, this is "L-5 Chattanooga Charlie", labeled by the software as an intermediate-level block. I chose to paper piece it and it wasn't too hard -- just a few seams to match.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pretty and Pink

Martha Stewart, eat your heart out! Yes, even I can make homemade marshmallows! I found this great recipe for peppermint marshmallows here. The site has great instructions and photos. The only thing that I would change in this recipe is that I would leave out the cornstarch and use only powdered sugar for the coating. I have seen other recipes where only the powdered sugar is used, so I'm sure it works just fine. I think I can taste the corn starch a bit, but my son says he can't tell. And he's been gobbling these up like crazy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Now, That's a Lot of Fabric!

Gas Station "Remodel" --

I had read about this earlier this year, but was recently reminded about it when reading another quilter's blog. I wish I had known about this project while it was in progress -- it would have been a great way to use up some of my stash!

Check it out at this site -- there's a video and more photos, as well as more info on the whole idea. I'm thinking of joining them in their new project -- how about you?
I have a few awards/tags that I need to post...will do that soon...

P.S. Yes, I've been playing around with the design of my I don't have enough to do already...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Contrast Is Important

I've been trying to semi-regularly post photos of my past quilt projects, starting with the blog entry dated June 6, 2008. You can see them all if you click on the label "my quilts" down at the bottom of this post.

This was a fun flannel throw I made in late 2003. Although I love the colors in it, there isn't enough contrast to make the design more noticeable. There are small pinwheels in there, but they are hard to see. I loved making the scrappy binding.

I was brave enough to quilt this on my DSM using variegated thread rather than monofilament. It was great practice, but proved again my need for a better quilting setup.

Although the design is so-so and the quilting is tolerable, this quilt is used quite a bit. My son seems to especially like it after he's had a bowl of ice cream these cold winter evenings.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snowed In

We woke up to 10 inches of snow on Friday morning, so I spent some time making another DJ block... This is "L-1 Widow's Pane", a beginner-level paper-pieced block. The colors are really washed out in this photo.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More Christmas Napkins

I liked the way my first two napkins turned out (see yesterday's post), so I decided to make 8 more using different fabric.

One of my quilting friends showed me a slightly different version that uses less fabric (and makes a smaller napkin), so I tried that as well. I used some gold thread to sew a fancy stitch to look like garland on that one. I think it looks more like a tree than the larger ones.

We decided that the small ones can be used as luncheon napkins and the larger ones can be used for dinner.

I really need to stop sewing house needs cleaning!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Latest Christmas Project

This is my latest sewing project -- Christmas tree napkins. I've seen them all over the internet lately, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. These will be included in a gift basket that I'm putting together for a friend of mine.

Now on to make some more...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Are Friends For?

I have a dear friend who often asks me to quilt her tops for her. This is the latest one. I love quilting her tops because she is always so understanding that I'm not a professional at this and that she won't get heirloom quilting from me. I just love trying free-motion quilting on my HQ16 and my friend lets me play.

This friend mades oodles of quilts, and I mean oodles, mostly for her children (7) and grandchildren (13 at last count). You can see more of them here and here. But she rarely shows them off...I can't seem to convince her that our guild members would love to see them during our show and tell each month.

Little does she know that I'm showing them off for the whole world to see by posting photos on my blog...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pay It Forward

Here is a wonderful idea that I got from Bree at Me and My 2 Guys. She is making something for me (yeah!), so in return, I pledge to Pay It Forward (loved the movie!).

If you are one of the first 3 fellow bloggers who reply to this post, you will receive a cute handmade gift from me. What you have to then do in turn is make a Pay it Forward post on your blog and then make a gift for each of your first 3 respondees (or is it responder?).

You must have a blog to be eligible, so if you don't have one and want to sign up for a free handmade gift from me...create a blog! It's really quite simple (and free). Mine is done using Google's Blogger, but there are other ways to do it, too. Try it, you'll get hooked.

Once you sign up by commenting on this post, I will then have 365 days to make and post the gifts I make for the 3 respondees. Once they get their 3 respondees, they will then have 365 days to make and post the gifts they make for them. And so on, and so get the picture...

So in the spirit of Christmas and Pay it Forward, who would like a little gift from me?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Too Frozen To Think of a Title

I spent a good part of the day yesterday at Wellsboro's Dickens Festival and froze my little you-know-what off. And I was just a visitor, not a vendor. I certainly hope they were prepared for the cold day, but I'll bet those who were selling anything hot to eat or drink did a brisk business. The thermometer at my house read 18 degrees when I left at 9:30, and I don't think it reached the freezing mark all day. But the weather didn't seem to deter the crowds, both locals and out-of-towners. I counted at least 13 buses in one of the parking lots! Sorry I don't have any pictures of my day, but my hands froze too much every time I took off my gloves to take a picture. You'll just have to check out the Wellsboro link above to get a glimpse of what Dickens is like.

After a hot bubble bath to warm myself up, I got back to Dear Jane.

I found another easy one. This is "K-4 Thea's Turn", labeled as an intermediate-level block that I chose to paper piece. I think a beginner paper-piecer could handle it fairly easily.