Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Getting Caught Up: Another Little Project Done

Over the weekend, I finished another little project.  I thought this one would be quick, and it was!

A friend of mine--the same one who I kitted up the Vintage Christmas quilt for--went to a local quilt show in November and bought a small standing frame and a little kit.  She showed me what she'd purchased, and when I went to the same quilt show the next day, I bought the same standing frame, but I bought a different kit--a snowman.

She and I are so dangerous for one another; I'm sure each of us would have a lot more money in our bank accounts if the other one wasn't always finding such great treasures!  The two of us together make a very strong economic stimulus package.

This little guy is the January pattern of a BOM by Buttermilk Basin called "Sew" Simple

I tried to find the stand online so I could give you a link in case you "need" it, but I didn't have any luck.  I didn't see it listed at the Buttermilk Basin site, but you could probably contact them to find a source or call the Fabric Garden quilt shop here in Sacramento and ask them--they are the quilt show vendor we purchased ours from.  If you come across a source, please post the info in a comment so anyone else looking for one can purchase it.

As this will be my last post of 2013, I want to thank all of you for stopping by to visit this past year and to wish all of you a happy, quilty, and prosperous New Year! 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Kitting Up

I love it when someone asks me a question.  Why?  Because I never really know when I'm writing a blog post whether I'm giving you too much information, not enough information, or talking about stuff nobody but me is interested in.  So when someone asks a question, I know I'm touching on something that's of interest, and I can explain without feeling like I'm wasting everyone's time.

The other day I mentioned I had kitted up the Vintage Christmas block of the month pattern by Bunny Hill.  Here's what the finished quilt will look like:

Bella Pink asked me about the "kitting up" process, so I thought I'd write a post about it.  Bella Pink said she has a lot of fabric set aside for specific projects, and she feels that if she could kit up those projects, it should free up some of that fabric for other uses.

I think block of the month ("BOM") projects, and specifically applique projects, truly lend themselves to kitting.  In the past, I've participated in a couple of BOM quilts through the Fat Quarter Shop and other shops, and for those, I would receive an envelope each month that contained the fabrics I needed for that month's section.  What I often do is much like that.

A friend of mine wanted to make the Vintage Christmas quilt and it was one I liked too, so for her birthday about a year ago, I surprised her with a kit containing the fabrics she'd need--and she almost always likes her quilts to be made from the "original fabrics," so I searched the internet for the right ones.  Once I gathered what I needed, I started putting the kits together.

Because the pattern is broken down into blocks, I took the instructions for the first block--the house block in the upper left hand corner of the finished quilt--and figured out how much fabric I would need to piece the background.  I then roughly cut what was needed, cutting the fabric a little bit larger so we would have plenty.  Then I pulled out my rulers and calculated from the drawings what sizes of fabric squares were needed for each of the applique pieces.  Once I had all of the fabric cut for the first block, I put it into plastic pattern bags and marked them "Vintage Christmas #1."

I then went on with kitting up the rest of the blocks in the same fashion. Each little packet is complete in itself--for example, I think you can see in the photo above that a piece of pinkish fabric appears in the first packet, as well as the second packet, and the third packet; I decided it was easier to do it this way, for this project, than to figure the total amount of a specific fabric that was needed to complete the entire quilt.  But keep in mind that when you're kitting up a pieced quilt, it might be best to calculate the amount of fabric you need for the whole thing--it just depends on the project. 

When I finished kitting up the individual blocks, I then made a final packet containing all of the border fabrics, including the applique.

For my own kitted quilts, I often put everything I need in a giant binder.  I prefer these with the clear front sheet so I can slip a picture of the quilt into it and know right away what's in the binder.

I then use sheet protectors and zippered pockets for the instructions, pattern, and fabrics for each block.  And when I finish a quilt, I "recycle" the sheet protectors, zippered pockets, and binder for the next project.

By the way, how often do you start a BOM project and then fall behind somewhere along the way? When that happens to me, I also use the binders in a similar way--I start putting each block's fabrics and directions into a binder so it all stays together.  And I usually keep the finished blocks on a cardboard tube covered with batting.  (See HERE.)  If I didn't keep things organized this way, I'm sure I'd misplace some of the monthly envelopes and never finish the projects!

If your New Year's resolution is to get more organized, perhaps this, or something similar, could help you accomplish your goal!  Happy stitching!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hey, Two Posts in Two Days!

I'm on a roll!

I told you yesterday that I wanted to work on my scrap basket project this weekend.  Perhaps you recall that the pattern is called Pie in the Sky and it's from one of Kim Diehl's books, Simple Graces.  Well, here it is so far:

The last time I posted a photo, it looked much the same, but only about half of the blocks and sashing rows were sewn together; now everything you see here is sewn together.  Good progress, but I want to add one more row and two more columns--my design wall just isn't large enough to hold all of the quilt components I need.  So I have a little more piecing to do on this one.  Unfortunately the weekend is over, so it's going to have to wait until I get a little more free time.  But I'll get back to it as soon as I can because I like this one a lot so far!

Thanks for stopping in for a visit.  I hope you had a lovely weekend too!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ah, Now that THAT's Over . . .

Christmas is past and the weekend is here.  Finally I have a little time for quilting!  I think one of the things I'm going to work on is my Scrap Basket Sunday project.  At the end of this post, I'll include the Mister Linky sign-up in case any of you are ready to join in too.  All that's required is that you work on a scrappy project this weekend, post your progress on your blog, and link from Mister Linky to your blog so we can visit to see what you've been doing.

Have you started to think about your "quilting resolutions" for 2014 yet?  I usually try to come up with a goal for the year, and I'm thinking this year my goal might be to finish some of the unquilted quilt tops I've piled up.  I'm thinking about a goal of one a month, but I might need to scale that back a little bit so I have time for a few other things.  But I'll think about it and let you know.  How about you?

I've also signed up through the Fat Quarter shop for the Bertie's Year BOM.  Are any of you working on that project, either through a shop or on your own?  Here's what it looks like:

It's a series of 12 stand-alone little projects but I've also seen these set into one quilt and it's awfully cute!  The Fat Quarter Shop kits use flannel, but it would be lovely in wool or cotton, too.

Speaking of Block of the Month projects, this is the perfect time to think about selecting one for the coming year.  You may recall that last year I worked on the Buttermilk Basin sheep blankets.  I thought I'd show you December's blanket--which I also finished just a day or two before Christmas!

If you're interested in beginning this one, the pattern set is available through the Buttermilk Basin website HERE.   Priced around $24, it's really a bargain for the 12 monthly patterns and it includes instructions for making the sheep too.  I used an old chenille bedspread I found at Goodwill to make mine along with some black wool for the face and ears. I picked up a package of doll eyes at Hobby Lobby or JoAnn's, I believe.  (The sheep is also a nice gift for a child!)

I have several Bunny Hill BOM patterns that I'd like to make.  In fact, I've kitted up one called A Vintage Christmas--

When I kitted mine, I made up a couple extra kits, all with most of the original fabrics; this might be a good time to list them for sale in my Etsy shop.  I'll try to remember to post a "heads up" if I list them in case any of you are interested.  But this is one I'm thinking about working on this year.  The applique is fairly simple and the fact that I have all of the materials assembled will make it fairly fast . . . I HOPE!

Many of the fabrics Anne Sutton used in A Vintage Christmas are by Renee Nanneman of Need'l Love--I love her Itsy Bits lines.  She's having a sale now on fat quarter bundles, and since I've already safely put in my order, I'll share the link--click HERE.  She has a couple of bundles of 24 fabrics for sale at $48--that's just $2 a fat quarter and they blend with a lot of different fabrics.

So, have I helped you spend your Christmas money now?!  I'm sorry if I tempted you--if you need to explain to anyone, tell them it was my fault!  Okay, then, let's offset the indulgences I've led you toward and be thrifty by using some leftover scraps.  Here's Mister Linky:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Yes, I'm still alive and kicking!  I've just been busy like most of you, getting ready for Christmas.  Now that the day is here, I hope things slow down a bit and I'll have a little more time for sewing and chatting with you.  I can't believe I haven't posted anything since December 9th!  Yikes!

Really, the only thing I've gotten done lately of a quilty nature is Comfort and Joy.

Finished on Monday, with two days to spare!

Brunch is in the oven, Soccer Son and his Lovely Wife will be here in a couple of minutes, and Christmas celebrations will be under way.  I hope you and your family have a lovely holiday!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Let's Start at the Beginning

I'm back to show you my living room, the first room you see as you enter the house through the front door.

I was in a very traditional country mood this year.  I'm not quite done with the tree--I'd like to add some large white jingle bell ornaments and I haven't been able to find what I wanted locally so I ordered a couple off the internet.  Hubby also purchased some white blown glass ornaments to be added--when I've unwrapped the present they're in.  But that's another story.

We have a couple of gold mercury glass ornaments for our tree that I often use, but I felt they were too "dressy" for this year's tree.  Hubby suggested we hang one of our favorites in front of the entryway mirror, so that's what we did.

I don't normally have drapes at the window--just a blind--but I wanted to make the room cozier for the holidays so I put some up.  I made these several years ago.  I was able to run an extension cord through the casing for the drapes to light the wreath hanging in the window.

Another closer view of the mantle.

As you come in the front door, straight ahead is a wall where I hang large, seasonal quilts, and this is the one I have up this year--the pattern is Christmas List (you can search my blog for more info on the pattern; I know I've posted it in the past).

I mentioned yesterday that I thought the blue and white transferware with red and white Christmas accents went better with the decorations in the livingroom.  The two rooms aren't completely open to one another, but you can see parts of each room from the other, and the brighter peppermint and candy cane decorations--and definitely the even brighter turquoise, purple, red, and light green decorations I've also used in the past--just seemed to be too much of a contrast from one room to the next.  I'll show you where I've used some brighter decorations on another visit.  Thanks for stopping by!

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P.S.:  The pattern is by Donna Yackey of the Country Loft quilt shop.  Here's a link to the ordering information:


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Of Mice and [Snow]Men

First, I want to apologize for abandoning the Scrap Basket Sunday crew.  I haven't done much in the way of scrap sewing in the last month or so and I don't envision much of that going on between now and Christmas, so I thought I'd just take a little break until after the holidays.  I hope you all don't mind--I suspect most of us are pretty busy this month anyway.

I can't believe how quickly my week off work went--and still it seemed I had no time to blog or sew.  I'm not sure how decorating for Christmas can take a week, but it sure did.  Maybe it's the planning and sorting through the decorations that takes a lot of time, along with untangling light strings and garland.  Or knowing you have something SOMEWHERE that would be perfect if you could only find it amid the rest of the decorations.  Of course, it was always a fun surprise to find a couple "treasures" at the bottom of a box of decorations, but then plans had to be adjusted to incorporate the finds.  And, I admit, there was a day of shopping, and another day spent visiting two local craft fairs, along with a little visiting with friends.  Now, here it is, Sunday evening and it's back to work tomorrow.

In my last post, I showed you the snowmen ornaments I'd made, so I thought I'd show you what I've done with them.

This is my kitchen tree this year--I'm calling it Of Mice and [Snow]Men.  The last couple of years, I've had peppermints and candy canes all over the kitchen, but this year, a photo in a magazine of blue transferware dishes mixed with red and white Christmas decorations called to me, as did Anne Sutton's cute pattern for the snowmen balls.  Yes, I have blue transferware.  Yes, my kitchen has blue wallpaper.  And yes, this color scheme would make for a better transition from the way I've decorated the living room--I'll show you that another day.

Ever since Stitch brought a mouse home a few years ago (which I finally caught and released a month or two later), I've "collected" mouse ornaments when I came across them.  This year I added to that collection with a purpose in mind--they would join the snowmen on the kitchen tree.  Here are a couple of closer views.

And there are other snowmen and mice around the kitchen.  Here are a few more photos:

The old dresser is devoted to Santa although an old plastic light-up snowman flanks the area.

My kitchen hutch is a dark green and sometimes the things I put in it don't show up very well.  To solve that problem, in the past I've used wrapping paper affixed with tape to the back of the hutch.  This year, though, I used fabric--I didn't have wrapping paper to give me the look I wanted, but I sure had plenty of fabric!

At the Wild Child's house, after our Thanksgiving dinner, we decorated gingerbread houses--I brought mine home along with Soccer Son and his Lovely Wife's--you can see both of them in the corner of the counter.

This little tree is the last one I decorated, and it's coming to work with me tomorrow.

I'll be back when I can to show you some of the other decorations.  See you then!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Doing Christmas Stuff

Did I tell you I'm off work this week?  No?  Well, guess what?  I'M OFF WORK THIS WEEK!  WOO-HOO!

Remember I was hoping to get some of my Christmas decorations done before Thanksgiving but didn't really?  I just did some cleaning and clearing instead.  So this week, I'm doing the actual decorating.  And why does it take SOOOOOOO long?  It seems like I get very little done despite working on "stuff" all day!

I guess part of it is the little side projects that eat up time.  Today I painted snowmen.  A bunch of them.

For some reason, my camera's flash wasn't going off, so this is a little darker than I would have liked, but you get the idea, right?  This--the snowmen ornaments--is a free Bunny Hill pattern you can access HERE if you'd like a pile of your own.  Hobby Lobby had the white glass balls.  I played around a bit with the mouths, the directions of the noses, etc.

I should have some decorations to show you in another day or two and maybe I'll even get a little sewing done while I'm off--maybe a little blogging too.  And I'll show you what I did with these little guys.  See you soon!