Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'm a NEW'BEE Player!

Isn't the quilt below just lovely??? I spied this picture out in blogland, after the Sisters, Oregon, quilt show (where this pic was taken). NOTE TO SELF: MUST attend this show someday! I LOVE the combination of piecing and applique, in combination with my favorite colors! Plus, the use of grays in the background gives it a fresh look. Sort of a new twist on a traditional idea.


So - an idea was born! I am a member of an online bee block exchange group, the NEW'BEE Players, over at 15 minutes play (see the icon on my side bar). We get to ask for a block from our 11 fellow bee players, and I got to be first! We describe what type block we want, and how to make it, then wait for lovely packages to arrive in the mail. See my post here.



My inspiration quilt: Growing Up, by Wendy Williams. You can see her website here. I asked her permission to use the photo (always the right thing to do), and she graciously agreed.

To make my requested 9-patch block: Using scraps of all one color group (I used oranges), "make fabric" (a la Victoria over at 15 minutes play) to measure around 12" square. See the quilt photo above for color choices: I will be using pinks, fuscias, blues, greens, purples, and oranges. No tomato reds, yellows, blacks, or whites. From the piece of made fabric, cut 5 squares at 3" x 3".

Then, from a different color, cut 4 squares at 3" x 3". This fabric should contrast with the first, and also from the color choices listed above. It may be a print, or something like the batik shown, preferably not a solid.

Arrange the squares to form a 9-patch block. Sew the horizontal rows together, pressing seams to the darker fabric. Sew the 3 rows together, and press to finish.


Finished 9-patch block, ta da! I can't wait to see the blocks that arrive in my mailbox! And I am also looking forward to a year with these bee ladies, making a new block for one of them each month. Fun stuff!






Music as a Mission

Last week, Hannah, Genevieve, and I had the treat of a lifetime. We went to a Chicago Symphony concert FOR FREE, at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago. Witnessing this concert, led by the wonderful Ricardo Mutti, as truly a special experience. The CSO is beyond compare, to be sure - but seeing them in the beautiful sanctuary, surrounded by the rapt audience...it was so intimate, so special, so...Mutti even said, this is a holy place. Mutti sees his job as much more than a music maker - he sees it as a mission, and this evening was one small way to bring music to the people who might not otherwise experience it. It was a very special evening.



We were not allowed to take flash photos - this picture was from the review, in the Tribune, which you can read here.


Beyond the wonderful concert, I was never more warmly welcomed in a church in my entire life. The entire evening was something we will never forget.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Weekend Getaway!

We don't get do this very often - but Scott and I took a little weekend trip for our anniversary. 33 years go by very quickly, I'm telling you!


We found a cute bed and breakfast called Isabella's, in West Bend, Wisconsin. It was just lovely, in every way.



This is the view of the front porch, including the fountain. Their gardens were as lovely as the house!
This was the view as we opened the door to our room. How could you NOT have sweet dreams in a room like this? And the fun thing is, this was very similar to the B&B we stayed in on our honeymoon.



Scott enjoying his delicious breakfast! We were served Strawberry Puff, Vegetable Quiche, Glazed Bacon, fruit garnish, juice and coffee.





Most of our daytime hours were spent exploring nearby Cedarburg, Wisconsin, a very old and charming town just north of Milwaukee. Totally accidentally, it was their Wine and Harvest Festival the same weekend! In addition to enjoying food and wine at their festival, we also visited their new Wisconsin Quilt Museum, which we got to by a hay ride. Only in Wisconsin!


Above, you can see the Pumpkin Race! They took 500 lb. (!) pumpkins, decorated and carved them out, then they CLIMBED INTO THEM, and raced them down their little river!!! Totally fun stuff!


Can you tell, we had a great weekend!!!








Thursday, September 15, 2011

What inspires me?

The amazing and talented Victoria, over at 15 Minutes Play has dubbed this as Inspiration Week. All week long, fellow quilters have been posting what it is that inspires them to create!


As a matter of fact, I posted about one of my projects yesterday!


A big source of inspiration for me is people - people that I know and love. This is about our friend, John.



John calls himself Gypsy John when he is performing at open mics around the area. Word has it that he might even be thinking about making a cd soon - cool!


Well, over a year ago, John had a terrible motorcycle accident. He was in the hospital a long time, and his road to recovery was looking difficult.


John did recover - fully! He has been at home for over a year, he is back at work, and performing too!


We were given these t-shirts at his recent backyard music festival/birthday party. As soon as I felt the shirt in my hands, I knew I wanted to make a quilt out of it.


I went to pull fabrics that said "John" to me, something like shirting plaids and the like. I was surprised to have quite a few in my stash! But then, what to do with them?


Enter another wonderful quilter who I have met in blogland - Mary over at fiberliscious.
She was posting about one of her projects, and I just LOVED all of her stripped fabric rectangles. I knew instantly I wanted to use this techique for my Gypsy John quilt.

Stay tuned for the outcome!





Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hannah's 21st!

I have no idea how this happened, but little Hannah is now 21! Born 21 years ago, on September 3rd - Labor Day!


Hannah shares her birthday with our dear friend, Diane Hires. In honor of the occasion, we decorated Diane's guard lions with balloons!
Of course, Emily came out to celebrate Hannah's birthday with her. I couldn't be prouder of these two lovely girls.



Group shot with the all-important marble birthday cake. Left to right, Lindsay Prerost, Scott, Hannah, Emily, and Tom Gilbert.


The September 3rd birthday buddies, Hannah and Diane. I'll never forget, 21 years ago, we had celebrated Diane's birthday with her and her late husband, John, on the evening of September 2nd. I hadn't realized that I was in labor at the time. Hannah was born at 4 am on the 3rd. John was very surprised when I called at 7 am, to tell them that Hannah had arrived!

Happy 21st, Hannah!







Saturday, September 10, 2011

T-Shirt Quilt Tutorial Part 2

So - I know some of these pictures aren't the best - but I promise some better ones in Part 3!


Step 6 - After the quilt top center is completed - all of the shirt sections are sewn together, and it is "square" (corners square, opposite sides are even), you are ready to add borders. Hannah found this really fun green dotty fabric, which blended beautifully with all of the colors in Katie's shirts. Decide on a width, and cut your borders to size, sewing first on the two sides, then the top and bottom.


Step 7 - Prepare the backing. We found an awesome penguins fabric at Joann's. We had actually given up on finding penguin fabric, after looking at 3 different stores. But then it magically appeared, on the top-most shelf at Joann's - they had to use a ladder to get it - but it is PERFECT! Cut and sew your backing together - it should measure at least 2" larger than your quilt top on all sides.


Step 8 - Now - find a LARGE space (we moved the furniture in the family room), and layer: first the quilt back - face down. We secured it to the carpeting with some blue painters tape. Then smooth out the batting, then the quilt top. Then we safety-pinned all layers together. This turned out to be a mistake. Read on.



Step 9 - Secure the layers together with by tying with embroidery thread. Our mistake (see above) was not thinking ahead. We decided we wanted the tie ends on the BACK of the quilt - so we had to transfer the pins to the back of the quilt! We also repinned in a grid, rather than following the pattern of the piecing on the front. Oh well, live and learn! Do you think I'll remember next time???




Actually, the repinning/typing process didn't take that long - and we got to do it while sitting around a table in my studio - much easier than crawling around on the family room floor - right, Hannah?

This shows how the ties look on the front of the quilt. So glad we did it this way! We didn't want the thread ends to interfere with the piecing design on the front. It turned out great!



Step 10 - Prepare the binding. We chose a bright aqua blue print for the binding, as it would look good with the green dotty print on the front, as well as with the penquins fabric on the back. Cut strips 2-1/2" wide, on the crossgrain, from selvedge to selvedge, joining them at right angles (see picture). Trim, and press. Then press the long strip of binding in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.


Step 11 - Sew the binding to the quilt - use a walking foot for this step. The next part was a first for me. I sewed the binding to the WRONG side of the quilt, using a 3/8" seam, leaving a 12" tail unsewed where you start. Miter the corners as you go, sewing all around the four sides. When you get back to almost where you started, join the two loose ends of the binding in a diagonal seam, just like you did for the rest of the binding. Then sew that remaining length to the quilt. Turn the binding around to the front side of the quilt, and top-stitch into place. Like I said, I have never done it this way before - I usually hand stitch the binding into place - but it worked like a dream, and I know it will wear well. Done!


Finished binding - shows front and back. Those penguins are so cute!


Stay tuned for better pictures of the finished quilt!










Friday, September 2, 2011

Cherish

I discovered a great blog yesterday - The Blue Hare, link here .


She (the blogger and quilter, Deborah) incorporated a wonderful poem called "Dust if You Must" into her beautiful quilt, entitled "Cherish" (taken from a word in the poem). I am including the words to the poem below, as it is a little hard to read all of it on the picture, at least for me. I contacted Deborah to ask permission to link to her quilt (always a good idea), and she was gracious in her response - as I am finding most quilters to be.


This is why I blog - finding beautiful blogs, quilts, and quilters, the world over. Deborah is from the U.K. Enjoy!


"Dust if You Must"

by Rose Milligan


Dust if you must, but wouldn't it better

To paint a picture, or write a letter;

Bake a cake, or plant a seed,

Ponder the difference between want and need.


Dust if you must, but there's not much time,

With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;

Music to hear, and books to read,

Friends to cherish, and life to lead.


Dust if you must, but the world's out there,

With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,

A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,

This day will not come around again.


Dust if you must, but bear in mind,

Old age will come, and it's not kind;

And when you go, and go you must,

You yourself will make more dust.