Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sew Sweet Simplicity Giveaway and Block #2

How are you enjoying the Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM so far? I've been having such a good time with it, and it's especially fun to be one of the first quilters to get the pattern so I can put together a sample block to give you some ideas for yours!

Jacquelynne Steves is releasing her pattern for the second block today, and to celebrate, I'm having another giveaway! But more on that later.

Here is Block #2 pieced in the fabrics I chose, Soho Chic.  Winter has decended upon us and we've been dealing with snow and poor weather, and so I apologize for the low light in this photo. It really looks so much better in person!

I have chosen to leave the center blank rather than embroider inside. One I get all six blocks constructed and pieced together, I'm going to come up with a nice free motion quilting design inside. I have no idea what that will be just yet,  but I still have time to think about it.

Here is how Block 1 and 2 look together. Pretty sharp when they are put together, eh?

Fun, fun!  I've taken a look at some of the blocks that you participants are posting on the Pinterest Group Board for the Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM, and they are fabulous! I love all the different fabrics being used, and how that affects the way the blocks look. This is what makes quilting so much fun - so much variety and creativity come together!  Take a look yourself at  You can also check blocks out on Jacquelynne's Facebook page.  If you do post your block, be sure to use #SewSweetSimplicity so we can find you!

And if you'd like to hop on board this BOM - did I mention it's FREE? - it's not too late.  We're just starting with the second block. You have options to do four or six blocks - whatever you have time for.  When you sign up you'll receive a welcome email from Jacquelynne with the previous month's pattern, so you can still participate, and even forward/share the patterns with your friends.

Hmmm....can't forget about the giveaway!

The winner of this giveaway will receive the Wool Snowflake Penny Rug Pattern and Grandma's Pantry Quilt Pattern.  International entries are welcome as these patterns are downloaded as pdf files. Awesome, right?

There are two ways to enter:
1.  Leave a comment and let me know if you take time to make some type of Christmas decoration for yourself in December, or if you are too busy making gifts for everyone else.
2.  For a second entry, let me know if you follow along on my Facebook page, Instagram, or my Blog.  I love reading other quilters' blogs, and I'd hope you might like to follow me along as well!

Most importantly, make certain I have a way to contact you if Mr. Random draws your name.  Leave me your email address in the comment, or make certain you are NOT a No-Reply Blogger.  I was astounded at how many comments last month were from no-reply bloggers, which doesn't give me any way to reply to you or contact you should you win!

The contest is open through midnight Mountain Time on Sunday, November 30.  And for a chance to look at what the other guest bloggers have made for Block 2, I've included links to their blogs below. They're having giveaways, too! Can you believe how many 'Barb's' are in the list?  And two Sandy/Sandie's.

Good luck, and I can't wait to see your blocks.

Quilting with a smile,

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pillow Pizzazz

My goodness. I am SO glad that we are nearing the end of November. It's a very hectic time of year for my Day Job and I'm always glad to see Thanksgiving on the horizon.

This year was a special treat because after I finished hosting my accounting seminars in Boise, I hopped on a plane and flew up to Seattle to spend a few days of quality Girl Time with my daughter.  And since I didn't want to go empty handed, and since her birthday is next week, I rushed around and whipped up a couple of pillows to add some color to her apartment.  Plus, I squeezed them into my carry-on bag so I wouldn't have to pay postage or checked bag fees. What a clever person I am, eh? Of course, my suitcase literally flew open when unzipped, but that just added to the surprise.

In June we were together in Redmond, Oregon, and so of course we had to make a trip up to Sisters to browse the quilt shop there. Jessica had recently moved into her new apartment and so we she picked out fabrics for some pillows.

I told her to pick out 6 of her favorite fabrics and I'd worry about patterns later (time was crucial as the boys were waiting outside for us).  OMG, this is what she came up with.  She designs fine jewelry and has a good eye for color, but this was such an eclectic array! How was I going to use all these prints, flannels and linens together?

I have wanted to make her something since forever, but she had that leariness about mom making things for her. So this is the first thing I've made for her. And with these colors/prints/designs to work with, I was stymied.  This stack of fabric has been sitting on my cutting table all summer and fall. Staring at me. Taunting me to come up with a plan. Finally, with her birthday coming up, I just dove in and created something.

And she loved them!  She has a bright pink couch, and so the colors in the fabrics tone it down some.  The first pillow I made was the Deer Pillow.  I found a pattern online at Sew Homegrown. It's inspired by a pillow the blogger saw at Anthropologie with an amazing price tag. Of course you can make your own for a fraction of the cost.

The background fabric is Gloxinia by Phillip Jacobs and I simply satin stitched the deer silhouette which was cut from a solid Kona fabric.  The envelope backing is a neutral linen. No quilting involved on this one!

For the second pillow, I pulled some fabric from my stash from the Pretty Potent line by Anna Marie Horner and blended it with some from Moonshine by Tula Pink. The arrow flannel on the side is a fabric she chose, as well as the other flannel on the back. I did some easy straight stitching on the side and top and bottom of the deer panel. To add the true Quilty feel that she was looking for, I loaded the pillow on my long arm, used a teal green thread and outline stitched the deer and filled it in with swirls and echoes.  You can't really see the quilting in this photo - taken with my cell phone camera on the fly!

All in all, a great visit.  Here's a pic of me without my sunglasses on as we were having breakfast one chilly morning at a nearby cafe.

And here's the most cutest, most adorable Grandkitty you will ever see, and she's all mine! She's a very animated kitty, and if you'd like to see more of her and her clever daily quips, she has her own Instagram account over at Copper_Kitty. She's a sweetheart!

So glad to be back and have some time to catch up with my quilting clients and to do some quilting of my own. Life is good!

Quilting again with a smile,

Linking up with Show Off Saturday 

Monday, October 27, 2014

First Block Finished for Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM

This week is the week you've been waiting for! Jacquelynne Steves is releasing instructions today for the first block in the Sew Sweet Simplicity Block of the Month #SewSweetSimplicity.

She's having several bloggers construct the blocks so you can see what a difference fabric selection makes in finishing the blocks. Here's my take on Block #1:

I chose to leave the center without applique or embroidery because when it's time to piece the blocks together and quilt it, I want to do some nice free motion quilting in the center of the blocks. They make such a great focal point.

Plus, I was having a hard time deciding what I wanted to applique or embroider in the blocks. I'm a very visual person, so once all the blocks are complete, I'm confident I'll know what to include as my focal points. At least, I hope so!

The fabric I used is from the Soho Chic collection by Moda with a Kona Snow for the background.

Quilting Tip:  Jacquelynne's instructions say to press the seams open, rather than to the side. This is a little more time consuming, but results in a block that lays flat with no worries about which direction your seams are going when you sew the sections together.  As a longarm quilter, I usually don't like seams that are pressed flat. If I need to stitch in the ditch, the density of the longarm stitches can cut right through those threads that are essentially 'exposed' when the seams are pressed open. However, with this design, I don't forsee having to do any ditch work, so it's not a problem for me!

You can visit these other quilters to see how their blocks are turning out:

This was a fun block to construct and I look forward to seeing what everyone else is making. If you post pictures of your blocks, be sure to use #SewSweetSimplicity so we can all see them!


Linking up with Linky Tuesday,

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Vote For Sparkly Things

I normally wouldn't do this, but my daughter - my very talented daughter, I might add - is a jewelry designer in Seattle and trying to make a name for herself in the jewelry world. She has entered an international competition and her design is one of the finalists.

The winner is one who receives the most votes, much like our Bloggers Quilt Festival.  So I am asking, if you have just a wee minute, to check out her entry and vote for her, but only if you think it's striking and the best! 

It's a joy to see your kids make their way in life. This is just a small part of her journey. Thanks for helping her along! Oh - her name is Jessica Neiwert and her entry is the second one down. It's also interesting to read the story behind the creation of the pieces.

In Jessica's words:  "Voting is now open for the 2014 MJSA Journal Design Challenge! I, along with a number of other fine jewelry designers, conceptualized a special piece of jewelry using a spectacular padparadscha sapphire from Omi Gems. If you like my design, I'd appreciate you voting for it!! Please vote at:…/online_design_challenge_…/voting_form/

Voting ends on October 31, so vote today - thanks!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sew Sweet Simplicity Winner

Thank you for all the great comments about your participation in other Block of the Month programs. It was very interesting to see that many of you (like myself in days gone by) have not completed some of your BOMs.  Life gets in the way sometimes, what more can I say?

But I'm glad to announce that the Random Generator has chosen a winner for the great PDF Pattern Bundle that Jacquelynne Steves is graciously giving away.  Congrats to lindawwww!  Check your email for prize verification.

The Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM begins Monday, Oct. 27, so there is still time to sign up if you haven't already.  And remember, it's free! No cost to follow along, and then end result is you might learn some new piecing techniques, and you'll definitely end up with a gorgeous quilt!

Just visit Jacquelynne Steves Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM.  And check back here Monday to see what I've come up with for my first block. 

Always quilt with a smile,

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Back To Nature

I've been very busy with my Day Job and longarm quilting for others this fall.  Truth be known, I'd quit my Day Job in a heartbeat so I could more fully enjoy quilting for others. My clients have such wonderful quilt tops - it's a joy to be able to embellish them with thread!

But even with my calendar filled to the brim, sometimes I think it's good to take a moment to just do something for me.  A month ago I pieced together a background and borders for a fun, fall table runner.  It sat in my sewing room for 30 days and 30 nights until I decided this week to just get 'er done!

The batiks for this runner came from a little kit put together by a nearby quilt shop that has recently gone out of business when the owner retired. The batiks are wonderful! But I didn't care for the leaf pattern that was included. I am not a pen or pencil artist, i.e., I can't draw anything worthy to save my soul! How I can longarm is quite beyond my comprehension.

So therein was my problem: how was I going to find a pattern for a leaf I liked? And then it hit me. Duh. I have four maple trees in my yard - why not just trace a couple of leaves from them?

And it worked! I've ironed them on and now, when I have a few more minutes, I'll machine applique around them, get it sandwiched and quilted, bound, and I'll have a great decoration for this fall and Thanksgiving. It might take me another 30 days and 30 nights to get that much done, but that's just about how long we have 'til Thanksgiving - yikes!

And to leave you on a bright note, we had our first frost two nights ago - that's unheard of for our area in the mountains. Typically we cross our fingers that our gardens will make it through Labor Day! My roses are still blooming, and I have new poppies unfolding and daisies and the lavendar is still fresh. So I clipped these roses so I could enjoy them inside. I'm not quite ready for Old Man Winter this year.

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up with Thursday's Favorite Things Blog HopNeedle and Thread Thursday,

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mountain Quilt Retreat: The Ties That Bind

Two weeks ago our quilt guild had the great opportunity to meet at a mountain lodge for a weekend quilt retreat. The 5 Bee Quilters Guild mustered up two dozen quilters to work on quilt projects, share stories, do some hiking and kayaking, drink more than a little fine wine, and enjoy the solace of the mountain's beauty.


Fog rising from Perkins Lake greeted us each morning on the way to breakfast.

Warning:  The following post is photo heavy.  Notice how a good time was had by all!

Can you believe how much I had to take just for two nights? Note: The dog stayed home :(

Fun times were had by all!

 Janet Houts (standing), co-author of Circle of Nine, Quilting A Circle of Nine, and Log Cabin Quilts: The Basics and Beyond, works on log cabin blocks made from Kaffe Fassett prints for a class she will teach next spring.

Needle, thread, thimble, scissors . . . and some good light make hand quilting a delight - oh, look - that rhymes!

Helping one another is a side benefit of attending a quilt retreat. Loads of ideas and good advice.

Ann Lynn shows off her nifty little basket she made out of 12-inch squares, some batting and some inspiration from the little class I instructed. Sweet!

Here's another example of the quilted basket by our guild president. Is she a jester or a jokester?

Concentration is the name of the game!

Shawn shows off the quilt top she started, and finished, during the retreat. This fun rainbow of scrappiness was put together with foundation paper piecing and went together in a flash! Oh wait - do I see another basket hat?

  Speaking of flash, no flash needed as Ann Lynn snaps a lovely shot of the lake one morning.

 Frost or no frost, Rose is out for a morning stroll around the lake.

 This was Shirley's first quilt ever! I quilted it for her, and she finished it up with the binding this weekend. Way to go, girl!

Fun times indeed, and the gift exchange was especially fun. But darn it all - someone stole this little notebook away from me!  Oh, well. We're already making plans for next year's retreat.

Always quilt with a smile,

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