Monday, April 28, 2014

Mini Swoon

This month for the "Schnibbles" parade, we didn't actually do a Schnibbles quilt!  We were challenged to make one of Thimble Blossoms mini quilts.  That was fine by me, since I love minis.  I own a couple of the mini patterns and had been looking forward to making another one.  You might remember the Mini Spools quilt I made back in January.  

I decided on the "Mini Swoon" pattern.  Each block is 8" and the quilt finishes at 19" x 19".  It's actually a lot bigger than I thought it would be!

I struggled with the corner stone fabrics of all things!  I now wish I used all one fabric and not gone "scrappy."   JoAnne of Patriotic Quilter had the brilliant idea to fussy cut flags for each little 1" square....I just didn't have the right size/color fabric with flags.  :(  Oh well...it is done and I'm happy with it!


This red star fabric is probably from the 90's and even though it was prewashed, it bled just a tiny bit when I washed the finished quilt.  I even had a color catcher in there with it!

It really doesn't show up in these pictures...but the background fabric is just a little pink-ish around some of the edges of the star... 

After seeing these pics, I'm realizing that it's light enough that no one will likely ever notice. :) 

Be sure to check out the Parade of quilts at Pink Pincusion and A Quilting Life.

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle


Book Review




Another thing I had a chance to do while on vacation was READ!  yay!  I finished two books during the long airplane flights and longer train trips.  One of the books was this one called "A Shining Light," by Judith Miller.  It was a sweet story about a young mother, Andrea, and how she finds herself living among the people of the Amana Colonies after her husband is killed at sea.  

The story has a lot of unexpected twists as things seemingly keep turning for the worst for Andrea and her young son...but all the while her faith in God grows and she soon discovers what the future holds for her and her son.

I really enjoyed reading about the people of West Amana and these "outsiders" that came to live with them.  It's definitely a story of grace, compassion, and forgiveness.

I was given this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

I would love to pass this book on to another reader!  If you would like to have this book, please leave a comment and I will contact you for your address.  The first person to comment that they'd like to have it, will be chosen.  (USA addresses only, please)

Happy Quilting (and reading!)
~Michelle


Friday, April 25, 2014

this and that


We're home from a lovely trip to London, England!  We spent 8 days with our daughter who is studying abroad.  It was an amazing trip with perfect weather.  We've all heard how it -always- rains in England...well, we didn't have a single drop the whole week!  We spent most of the days walking, walking, walking, and more walking to see all the sights in the city.  I do have to say that their "Underground" is super efficient and easy to use.  We definitely spent our fair share of time on the "tube" and on buses, but still, you can't see a city like this without plenty of walking!

I took a gazillion pictures, but these are just a couple of my favorites.  This little river was on the grounds of Buckingham Palace.  I love the view of the London Eye from this bridge...

The grounds of Windsor Castle were just gorgeous...everything, everywhere was so GREEN!

This is one of the older style buses, which we didn't get a chance to ride, but I was happy to get a picture of it!  My husband always rode on the top level right at the front window.  LOL  It's an experience, let me tell you!

I love the Tower Bridge...

And of course, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

We also spent some time in the town of Hull where Megan is going to school.  It was great to see where she has been living, the buildings where her classes are held, the cafe where she likes to hang out, etc.

It was just a wonderful trip!  I loved seeing Westminster Abbey and the other cathedrals with all the beautiful architecture.  It's hard to grasp how long those buildings have been standing and to think of all the history that has happened there.  Just amazing and beautiful!

Of course, with the long flights, etc, I couldn't resist taking little project.  This is a little candle mat from a block of the month from a couple of years ago.  Since we were gone over Easter, I decided this was a good one to work on!  One of the flight attendants was really interested in it.  Every time she walked past, she made a nice comment.  :)

With these tiny pieces, I'm happier with doing just a little primitive stitch. 

I now have 5 of the 12 mats made!  yay me! 

Before leaving, I got this little top assembled...now to decide how to quilt it.

As much as I love traveling and seeing new things, it's always nice to be back home!  We've been home for four days and I'm finally feeling like I'm over the jet lag...it was a little rough there for a couple of days!

Hope you all have a great weekend!!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Makenzie

This is my niece Makenzie...she is a sweet, happy little girl and she recently turned 8 years old!!  She is my sister, Jennifer's, youngest daughter.

She sings and claps and loves Dora the Explorer...

Last fall she began to take horse back riding lessons and this is definitely one of her all time favorite activities!


Makenzie is autistic and does not speak verbally, but she does communicate, especially with her mom!

Life has been challenging for my sister and her family, but they continue to amaze me every day with their strength, faith, and love for each other.  Makenzie has brought so much joy to all of our lives and we know that she is a special gift from God and we love her very much!

It's been my goal this year to make each of the nieces and nephews a new quilt for their birthdays, so as Makenzie's birthday approached, I was ready.  A couple of years ago Riley Blake released a line of fabric called "Pieces of Hope," which helped to raise awareness about autism and the organization Autism Speaks.  I immediately bought a bundle of the fabric and knew one day I would make a special quilt for Makenzie.  This was the time!

I used the pattern "Snapshot," from the book "Happy Hour."  I wanted something that would showcase the prints and not cut them up too small.

The outdoor lighting makes the colors a little washed out, so back inside for more pics.  This picture shows the colors pretty true to real life.  :)

Love the fabrics and colors...down to the stripe for the binding!

I used "Puzzle Pieces" for the quilting...how could I not? 

 Because the FQ's in the bundle were a bit small, I couldn't cut the amount of units out of each FQ as the pattern called for.  It worked out because I had plenty of FQ's to use, but that left me with extra strips from each of the FQ's.  Of course I couldn't let them go to waste, so I made her a special pillow.... 

...and I made zipper bags for her mom, nana, sisters, aunties, and cousin.

I was happy to get a couple of pictures of Makenzie enjoying her new quilt!




I hope you like your quilt Makenzie!  Happy birthday!!

Happy Quilting,
Michelle


Thursday, April 10, 2014

What I'm working on...

I feel a bit unfocused lately...and not just when it comes to quilting/sewing.  I've been wandering from task to task all week!  I'm not sure why...but it's getting annoying!  I think when I don't have anything I -have- to do, I don't know -what- to do.  Or maybe it's spring fever...the weather has been improving greatly in this part of the country and I'm enjoying getting outside to walk and enjoy the sunshine.  We're supposed to have more snow on Sunday though, so I'm taking it now while I can get it!

I can't even count the number of different sewing projects I've attempted to work on the last few days.  My brain is just mush!  But I'll show you a few things I have accomplished...

I've decided what project from the Cozy Quilts book I'll work on next, and believe me, it was not a simple task!  I kept changing my mind....but finally I settled on "Timeless Hexagons."

Luckily I had some template plastic on hand and got the hexagons traced and cut.  They aren't perfect by any means...I'm calling them "primitive."  LOL

 I made a few more blocks for my Points of Pride quilt...I have 27 of the 64 blocks completed.  I am loving this project!  It takes forever to layout all the blocks, so I don't know if I'll show them again until ALL the blocks are done.  :)

Yesterday, I made these two zipper bags.  I needed one for a gift, so I thought why not cut two?  There is a great tutorial here for the pattern.  You can see I was being supervised and I think they approve.


Hope you all are having a great week and that you are accomplishing more than I am!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle
Monday, April 07, 2014

Midnight Twinkle

Back in October I showed you a new project I started from this book:


I had signed up for a "block of the month" program, which is more accurately a mini quilt of the month.  And this one called "Midnight Twinkle" was the first kit.  I had every intention of just zipping it out and getting it finished...but as we all know, that doesn't always happen.  LOL  I had issues with the lighting at my "spot" on the living room couch, I wasn't happy with my stitches, etc, etc.  I had it about 1/2 finished and it sat untouched for many months....


 Finally six months later, it's done!!  I love it!  My  blanket stitches aren't perfect around those one inch pieces, but even I don't see those individual imperfections anymore...I just see it as a whole with all it's wooly goodness!

I just did a simple machine quilting...I knew it wouldn't show up much no matter if it was hand quilted or machine quilted.

I think a lot of us go through phases of what we find motivating and enjoyable to work on...and this is an example of that.  I do love to work with wool and I'm itching to start another project!


I think it fits beautifully right there on my wall!  I moved that green and red one down to make room for Midnight Twinkle.

 Now on to the next one...hope it doesn't take me 6 months to finish!  :)

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle

Thursday, April 03, 2014

A new book!

I admit, I'm obsessed with Bonnie Hunter...well, that might sound a little creepy.  I'm not a stalker, just a fan.  LOL  I guess the more accurate description is that I'm obsessed with her quilts and patterns!  I discovered the "Leader and Ender" technique about 7-8 years ago and I was hooked!  Someday I should count how many "Bonnie" quilts I've made.  :)

Imagine my glee when her second "Leader and Ender" book was published and released!  She's published a few others in between, too!  But this is the second one focused specifically on leaders and enders.  You can check them out HERE!

My book arrived on Monday and I spent the next couple of evenings gazing at the wonderful quilts inside and planning which one I'll start next!!

She autographs the books when you buy them directly from her!  I've had my others signed at her workshops.  :)

Right from the second page...oh my.  I was smitten!  I. must. make. this. quilt.  The four patch unit is my favorite...so this is definitely high on the to-do list!!

Then I saw this one!  "Scrap Crystal" is amazing!  I really NEED to make this one! 

Ohhh...and look at "Lucy's Baskets..."  sigh...  Love it!

"Spoolin' Around" is just too cute!

And look at this!  "Easy Street!"  You might remember that I made this quilt when it was offered as a Mystery Quilt a couple years ago.  You can see mine HERE.  I love it!

And there it is!!  "Narragansett Blues!"  Love. Love. Love!

And look at this...I've been sewing 4 patches for a while now, and I've got a nice start for this quilt.  That confirms it...this is the quilt for my 4 patches!  Yay!

 This week I finished a project I can't share just yet, but I will soon after the recipient sees it first!  This morning, I did make this quickie charity quilt.  You'll remember all the charm squares I cut when I was making "Hook" a few weeks ago.  Our retreat Hostess collects baby/toddler quilts each year for their local Crisis Pregnancy Center, and it's almost time for retreat, so I needed to get busy with mine!  It's a simple Disappearing Nine Patch, but it's so bright and cheery.  I thought about adding a border, but I think it'll be cute with just a colorful binding.  It measures 39" x 39", which seems to be a good size for babies.  Now to figure out a backing and get it quilted.  I hope I have something in my stash!

Thanks for all the encouragement and advice about irons.  I know that STEAM is the culprit with the failure of these irons...I'm just too stubborn to change my ways.  The new mini iron is just "okay."  The steam isn't great...but there is a little.  It doesn't hold very much water, so it runs out quickly.  An interesting thing is the water is "stored" in the handle....not near the heating element.  Maybe that is a good thing?  We shall see!  It does heat up pretty well...so I'm happy about that.  I'll keep you posted!  :)

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle