Dec 9, 2013

Black and White Quilt

Why, oh why, do I do this to myself? I have started another quilting project with a short deadline! In fact, I have three projects to make between now and Christmas. Let's see if I can do this! 

I have always liked black and white quilts, so I have collected black and white fabrics for years. I made a black and white quilt for my oldest son several years ago. It was a king size quilt, so it made a dent in my stash, but didn't deplete it. :)

Even after I finished making this quilt I continued to pick up a new black and white fabric from time to time. There were some really cute ones that just spoke to me. Now I have found a new quilt to make with them. 

I have all the fabric cut for my new project. All 810 pieces! Ninety blocks. Ninety elongated nine-patch blocks. Now I just need to start a chain piecing marathon. 

This is going to be a race against the clock. I think I can do it. I have my house decorated for Christmas and I'm almost finished with my shopping. So I have "time on my hands"-haha! I'll keep you posted of my progress.

Happy Quilting and Happy Holidays!

Dec 4, 2013

Chevron Quilt

I am about a week late with this post and I am so sorry I didn't get it out sooner. We had no internet connection last weekend and it threw me for a loop.

My precious new daughter-in-law's birthday was this past Sunday and I decided that since she is officially new to the family this year I wanted to make her a quilt. When I saw University of Tennessee fabrics at my local quilt shop, I was inspired to make her a quilt with it. She is a HUGE football fan and loves everything about her alma mater. 

I wanted a simple pattern. Something that would showcase the fabric, and be fun at the same time. I decided to do a chevron-they are so popular right now and it just seemed right. 

I picked the UT fabric that had an orange background as my focus fabric, a white with orange polka dots, and a black on black. I thought these would make a great chevron pattern. 

Two hundred and fifty two half square triangles! It went fast. I cut larger pieces of fabric and marked it so that I could stitch this way and that and then when I cut it all apart I had made 32 blocks at a time. 

In no time at all, I had all the blocks made and was sewing the rows together. 

I quilted it with loops and swirls to counter-balance the lines and angles of the chevrons. 

Here it is all finished and bound!! I had two hours to shower and get to my sister-in-law's house for Thanksgiving dinner~where we were going to celebrate Elise's birthday and I was going to give her the quilt.

I used another UT fabric for backing and I was sooooo happy with the final results!

Here is Elise on Thanksgiving when she opened her gift. You can tell by the big smile on her face that she was happy. It made me feel so good!

The next day my son texted me this picture of Elise, at home, all snuggled under her quilt. Again-this is the reason I quilt. My heart is happy. And I think Elise's is too. 

Nov 25, 2013

Chevron Teaser

I have started another quilt with a short deadline! Why do I always put things off to the last minute???

I have decided to try my hand at a quick Chevron quilt. Since it is all half square triangle blocks and I love making HST, it should go quickly. Please---let it go quickly!!!!

I have all 252 blocks made, but I need to square up about 100 of them and then the assembly begins. I need to have it finished by Thursday! Oh, wish me luck!

Here is a sneak peek--and no, it's not a Halloween quilt. I'll show you more pics when I'm finished.

Nov 21, 2013

Progress on The Ornamental Kale Block

I have been stitching in the evenings and making good progress on my Ornamental Kale block. I did have to re-arrange my pieces more times than I liked to get the balance just right on both sides-there are a LOT of pieces to fit on this block! This is definitely the hardest block on this quilt! 

If I keep up this pace I will have this block done before Christmas and just may be able to start another.

Last week my friend Pam came to visit. Since she is also making the When The Cold Wind Blows quilt, she brought her blocks and we spread both of ours out in the guest bedroom. She put hers on the bed and I spread mine on the floor. The pics are not good because it was night, I used my cell phone, and I had to stand in a chair to get the whole quilt in the picture-but I wanted to show you what we have gotten done. 

Pam's background fabric is much darker than mine and really makes her applique "pop". Each block's fabric is different and they are all sampler pattern fabrics by MInnick and Simpson. I love the way it looks--so old fashioned and yummy!!! As you can tell-Pam is on the very last block-she is very driven and gets more done in a day than I do in an entire week.

These are my blocks. I still have two more to go when I finish this one. But I am really excited about getting this quilt done. As I work on each block I think about how I want to quilt it. I'm coming up with fun ideas and hope that I'm able to pull it off when the time comes!

Nov 11, 2013

Staircase Make-over

I have been in a wild and crazy decorating mood for the past few months. I get these spurts of energy..... or creativity..... or desire.....I'm not really sure what to call them. But every now and then I just need a little change and then I'm satisfied with the status quo for a bit longer.

I am also a Pinterest fanatic and I found some inspirational pics there for my next project. Something to fill the blank wall going up my stairs. 

I think you can see where I am going with this. I showed my husband the pictures and he really liked the idea of the judge's paneling on the wall too (in the first two pics) so we each had a part on this project. After looking at lots of pictures I decided that I wanted to use all black frames with white, black or no matting and do all of my pictures in black and white. 

I started collecting frames of different sizes and shapes while my husband went to work on the wall. I couldn't do my project until he finished his. His part came out great!!! Now it was my turn to add the frames and complete the wall.

When it was time to hang the frames I used this method, which I saw on several blogs and Pinterest posts. It worked great!

The only problem with my end of this project is that I don't have pictures in the frames yet! I keep saying that I need to get on my daughters' computers and download a bunch of pics of the grandkids that they have taken.  But there just doesn't ever seem to be a good time to do it! I really want this finished before I decorate for Christmas-so I guess that just gives me a few weeks! I need to get busy!!

Here is my semi-finished project..a wall of frames and only one picture!! Can you spot the real photo?

And this is how the whole wall looks now. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out that it was pretty plain along this wall before we did all this work. A little eye candy goes a long way.


My friend Hope sent me a picture that she took when she was visiting earlier this year. She said it's my before picture, so I had to share with you. 

Nov 5, 2013

The Holly Leaf block

I have FINALLY finished the sixth block of my When The Cold Wind Blows (Love Letters) quilt. This one took me seven months-but not because it was all that hard or time consuming, but because I put it down for about five months and didn't work on it at all! That is not the way to get a quilt block done in a timely manner. 

This block didn't offer a lot a challenge-it was pretty much the same shape over and over again. But that's okay because by the time you have appliqued that many holly leaves down, you have pretty much perfected the shape. There are 73 pieces of fabric to applique in this block-the most of any block in the quilt. And that is a LOT of applique to go into a 28" square. 

The circles were a lot of fun to make.  I used Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles to make them. They were the easiest circles I have ever done-at 7/8" each they were small, but not tiny. And Perfect Circles makes them so easy to do. I not only made the 34 I needed for my block, I made another 34 circles and mailed them to a friend that was working on the same block! If you haven't tried Perfect Circles, I highly recommend them. You can see tutorials and instructions for them online-just give them a Google. 

Here is a close up of some of the circles that I made for this block. They are about as perfectly round as I can get an applique circle. 

The next block I am making is called the Ornamental Kale. It has 71 pieces to it, which seems like it would be a snap after the 73 on the Holly Leaf, but these are layered flowers, which is always a bit more work. Here is a picture of the finished block from the book.

And here is a picture of the placement diagram. It gives you a better idea of exactly how many pieces are in each of those flowers! 

I have all of my pieces cut out and I'm ready to place them on my background today. I hope to start working on it tonight while I'm watching Grey's Anatomy. I have set a goal to have this block finished by the end of the year. We have Thanksgiving at my sister-in-law's house, so that frees up some time for me since I'm not hosting here. So, I just have Christmas gifts to make, shopping, decorating, wrapping, cooking.........

Yeah, maybe I need to rethink that self-imposed goal.

Nov 1, 2013

Chalk Paint Makeovers

I have recently discovered Annie Sloan chalk paint and I am having a fabulous time with it! It really is everything they say it is. You can paint on any surface with no priming or prepping-what more could an impatient painter want? Before I painted anything or even purchased the paint I did a lot of reading about it on the internet and watched some You Tube videos. The best videos I found were from a young lady named Christen who has a blog called Blue Egg, Brown Nest. 

My first project was a chest of drawers in our guest bedroom. This chest, and the bed that goes with it, have been in my family for three generations and they have seen better days! There is no way to refinish it with a stain because there are some rather sizable gouges out of the furniture and some of the chest has a very fine thin veneer on it-and some of that veneer is missing in places. So, I thought a nice coat of chalk paint would be exactly what the doctor ordered. It can cover up some of the battles of time and make it into a new treasure with a fresh start.

This is my "before" shot. I think the dresser has great lines and tons of character! I forgot to take a picture of it until I had taken most of the hardware off~but at least I remembered. I'm not very good at taking pictures as I go through a project. I get so into it that I forget someone else may like to see it along the way. 

First I painted the drawers. The details are just gorgeous with the paint on. I am loving this!

Next was the body of the chest. It was so simple to paint and I was more and more thrilled with my Annie Sloan paint as I progressed. Oh-a little bit goes a long way, too. I bought a quart can and barely scratched the surface for this project. 

The bed was as fun as the dresser! We had one of the side rails go missing in this last move, so I have been waiting a while for my husband to make  a new one for me. But before he could do that, it that meant I needed to find bed hooks-that's how the side rail affixed to the headboard and footboard. I finally found some online on a site that sells antique reproduction hardware. 

After the bed was repaired and assembled, I got busy painting it. It was in worse shape than the dresser and I could tell it was happy to be painted and loved again. This is what one of the posts of the footboard looked like before.

And here is the whole bed-I forgot to take a picture before I started, but at least I had only been painting for a few minutes when I remembered. 

And this is how the dresser looked when finished........just a little sandpaper and wax and it was fabulous! I decided to use the old hardware-it gave it the look I wanted.

And here is the finished bed-ready for company. 

With that painting project under my belt, I decided to see what else in my house could use a good coat of paint. I have a mirror and a pair of very tall candlesticks that have caught my eye. :) But before I even got around to painting them I found myself at A Classy Flea where I picked up a round table that I had just the spot for in my bedroom. I can tell that this painting thing could become an addiction! It was grey when I bought it, and I wanted it to be red-but this time all I needed was a sample size jar of Annie Sloan chalk paint. I picked Emperor's Silk. 

I told you I am really bad with "before" pictures and I forgot to take one of the table before I had it upside down and ready to paint. It's really heavy to be such a small table and I didn't want to turn it back over again! So, here it is-upside down. 

I only put one coat of red paint on, took it outside to sand some of the places I wanted to show through and then put on clear wax, followed by dark wax. I really like the way it came out. 

Some of the grey shows through and so does some of the stain that was under the grey paint. My husband thinks it looks like it needs to be refinished-but I love the results.

The next big project in our house is going to be our bedroom. We are going to rip out the carpet and put down a hardwood floor, add wainscoting, and paint. I am going to make new drapes and we're going to put up new rods for them. So, this little table is just a small first step in our master bedroom make-over.

I had a blank wall in my living room that I decided needed some of my attention. I needed a narrow piece of furniture because this was where we walk through this room to get to other rooms in our house. I found this picture and liked the coziness of the table and small chair on this wall-and it even looked like it could be my house with the stairs there. It was my inspiration.

I found a gorgeous old cabinet in an antique mall and it was perfect in that spot. But, I just needed something else to finish out the area. I found a child's chair at another antique mall and it was perfect......except for the color........

I didn't really mind the red--but it was so shiny! It just wasn't going to work. I bought a small jar of grey and I was in business!! A little wax and I was done!

I found the red metal bucket at Hobby Lobby and I put three old books in it. 

And here is my finished project. I have a battery operated candle in the lantern and I have added seasonal decorations in with it. (I had seashells during the summer and I have acorns, leaves and pinecones in it right now.) I bought the wall clock at World Market and the rest are things I had around the house. 

I still have paint left over and I am excited about painting something else-I'll post more pics in the future. For now it's back to the sewing machine. 

Oct 22, 2013

Madison's Snoopy Quilt

My seven year old granddaughter, Madison, is a HUGE Snoopy lover. Snoopy was her bedtime stuffed animal of choice from a very young age. She owns multiple Snoopys now and is rarely seen without one under her arm. He goes to the movies with her (she covers his eyes during scenes she feels are inappropriate for him), sits in her chair with her at meals, and even "waits" for her in the car while she is in school all day. 

Madison wears a Snoopy T-shirt every chance she gets-and she has quite a collection of them too. She's all about the Snoopy. 

This cute picture sits on the dresser in Madison's room.

So, when my daughter and son-in-law decided to build a new home I told their three girls that I would make them a quilt or curtains or whatever new that they might like to have for their new room. Madison thought about it for a while and then asked me to make her a Snoopy quilt for her bed. That request came as no surprise to anyone.

But finding Snoopy fabric was not as easy as I thought it would be. I ended up buying most of it from eBay and Etsy. And then when I put all the fabric together I discovered that everything I bought was pinks, reds and blues. That was going to coordinate nicely-happy accident.  :-)

My dilemma was how to use all of these prints in a quilt and make it work, without being overwhelming. There was not a variety in scale, color or subject matter! I decided that the quilt was going to need some white in it to break up the Snoopy and give the eye a place to rest. I found a quilt on Pinterest that was my inspiration. I decided on the finished quilt size, the block and sashing size and I was ready!

On Sept 11 I posted a teaser about a Snoopy quilt. I did great cutting it out and getting all the blocks made in quick order.

I fussy cut some of the fabrics to center Snoopy in the block. 

A narrow sashing of all of the prints tied the blocks together and gave the quilt the cohesion it needed.

I even got all the rows together and the borders on. I mopped the floor, laid out the quilt and got the whole thing layered and pinned. Yes, I was going to have this quilt made in record time..........

Then things came to a screeching halt! My friend Tisha arrived from England for a two week visit. Pam and Anne came to see Tisha too. We went to not one, but two, quilt shows. We visited many quilt shops. We went to Jekyll Island. We were busy every minute of every day.

By the time Tisha left I had a sinus infection, had lost my voice and was coughing like crazy-I was totally worn out!! I spent several days pampering myself (read-I did nothing!!) trying to get well. Then I cleaned house, caught up on laundry and welcomed my mom for a visit. By the time she left that quilt top had been sitting for four weeks. It was time to get quilting!

I decided on a large meandering pattern. Every time I start to meander on a quilt I make it so small that it looks more like I am working on a wallhanging or a table runner. So this time I concentrated on making the pattern larger. I was able to keep a pretty consistent size throughout the quilt-and I was pleased with the results. 

I used this multicolor fabric from a Project Linus line for the backing and I sewed strips of all the fabrics together to use for the binding.

I worked two days straight finishing the quilt. On the first day I quilted for five hours. It was all my back and shoulders could take. On the second day I quilted for three more hours and completed the top. I then trimmed away the excess batting and backing, sewed on the binding (which I had made when I completed the top) and then spent the next six hours that day hand stitching the binding down. I finished at 11:40 that night-but I was determined to be done with it before I went to bed.

The next day I went over to the house when no one was home and I put Madison's new quilt on her bed. 

I confess that I found a new Snoopy for Madison too-he is dressed for Halloween and I just couldn't resist. So there were two surprises waiting for her. 

The family arrived home about 10 minutes later, right after I finished taking a few pictures. 

Madison was over the moon when she saw her new quilt (and new Snoopy). Her sisters were just as excited for her as she was. She happily reported to me the next day that her quilt "slept good".

THIS is the reason I quilt.