Wednesday, January 30, 2013

learning is fun

I was recently contacted by a representative of Fons and Porter Magazine about reviewing their online publication about log cabin quilts.  So that is what I have done!  I didn't just turn around and put this up and announce that you should all read it and use it.  No, I read it all very carefully, and decided it was a good recommendation.  Because even though it is FREE, it still has to be worthy of your time.  And yes, it is more than worthy of your time!

It is well written, beautifully illustrated, and in a very nice format that you can save with your documents for future reference.  It contains historical notes as well as contemporary ideas for using the classic log cabin block and a couple of variations.  I like the tables of information that are included, so you can have an easier time with cutting pieces to the right size.

I also wanted to test out a couple of the techniques that are included.  These are nice little bonuses that add to the value of this ebook.  One section covers binding application, and a good way to complete the connection between the first and last sections of the binding strip.  I have used my own system for making that 45-degree angle seam for a long time, and it works very well for me.  I thought I would try out their directions and see how it worked.  It has just a couple of variances from what I am used to doing, like leaving a little gap and a different way of marking.  I made a little sample piece and it worked slick!  It is on pages 23 and 24 of the booklet.

I also tried out the Binding with Piping instructions on page 22.  I got the basics to work right, but I only did a little bitty sample and I think it is going to take a little more practice for me to get it to line up correctly and neatly.  The directions and illustrations made it pretty easy to figure out what I needed to do.  I have never done piping in a binding before, and this might be just what I need to apply it to a whole project.

So, click here to get your own copy of this publication, and let me know what you think!  And thanks to Fons and Porter for another great learning tool.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

deer safety

Yesterday morning I was able to sew the borders onto the applique picture I had started earlier in the week.  And onto the border I placed the little deer and flowers that were part of the pattern.  Then we got into a little digression, and ended up inserting a little sign to help the deer.  If this seems odd to you, and if "Donna the Deer Lady" holds no meaning, then you need to pop over to YouTube and listen to her concerns about deer safety.
I will make the sign a temporary feature of the picture, until the crossing is moved to a safer place.  And this is my public service announcement for the year!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

comfy and happy

One of the key things about this type of vacation is comfort.  Relaxed clothing, no schedule, casual meals and companions who do likewise.  Leisl caught me late last night --

I was happy to accomplish putting together all of the blocks for this fun new quilt.  It is a pattern by Bee In My Bonnet.

I also got some work done on this "pinwheel flower" quilt that I am making for a class to be presented this winter at Bear Patch.  I am writing the pattern as I go.  It will have a row of green grass all around the outside, but I don't have enough of the green fabric here to finish it all, so that will happen after I get back home.  Fortunately, there is still a bit of that fabric left at the store and tucked away waiting for me.  Otherwise, we would be on Plan B.  Always good to have a backup plan!

 And I have spent time tracing, fusing and cutting pieces for this picture that will go out to Montana when it is completed.  It is designed by McKenna Ryan, one of her many Pine Needles patterns.

I purchased the pattern when shopping at the Backdoor General Store in Whitefish, MT.  They are a combo gift shop/quilt shop, featuring many of the Pine Needles patterns and samples because McKenna Ryan has lived (or currently lives?) there.  I had a very nice chat with the shop owners and hope I can return.
The Backdoor General Store in Whitefish, MT.
And that wraps up all of the excitement for me today at Causeway on Gull resort.

Monday, January 7, 2013

sew time

I am livin' the good life right now, away for a week of sewing with my gal pals, Nancy and Leisl.  We are staying at Causeway on Gull near Nisswa, MN.  It is a comfy condo that got a quick makeover to turn it into our home sweet sewing home.  And the best part is that I am recovering from a nasty cold that had me speechless for about 4 days.  I have never lost my voice to that degree before, barely able to whisper!  So my raspy voice now is wonderful, although still not back to normal.  It did kind of wipe me out for a couple days, I even wondered for a moment if I would be able to take this trip, but we toughed it out and it's good that we did.  As my brother-in-law, Larry, would say, any ordinary person would have been overcome!

We have been working on a variety of projects, some old, some new.  It's always a question of whether to tackle the least desirable first or treat yourself to whatever is new and most appealing first.  Both Nancy and Leisl had made these flowerpot applique panels, and last night they got framed up--

There was quite a tussle with some gorilla tape to hold the fabric to the foam core, but the girls won that fight and they turned out great!

Nancy put the finishing stitches on both of these little wool/embroidery projects--

Leisl has been hoarding a bunch of border prints and started making a pile of tablerunners using the 60 degree triangle ruler.  Still a little work to do on these, stay tuned for results!

Leisl is finishing up a quilt for a customer that made these star blocks.  The lady needed help with putting it all together so Leisl has added the sashing and borders.  It's much bigger than what is shown here, I think maybe queen size.

This is a new project that I started yesterday and now have the 9 giant scissors pieced together--

They are fun in a sort of wacky way!  I will be putting them together with more blocks in between and all around.

All of this plus food, wine, movies and plenty of good talk (now that my voice is back!).  And don't forget the chocolate!  As an indicator of how lousy I had been feeling, I don't think I had M&M's in a whole week!  Honestly didn't care if I ever saw an M again!  But now I'm back on track, so we can all breath easily.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

the year of Ian

This is the time of year for a lot of reflection on life and what has happened during the past year.  2012 brought a whole new dynamic into our family life with the arrival last March of little Ian Benjamin.  He just turned 10 months old yesterday.  Experiencing the shift in roles when your kids have kids has brought a different perspective to many things.  Bob and I find that we now often reflect back to when our 2 kids were babies, trying to remember what we went through at that time.  And you can't help but make many comparisons to what was considered the right thing to do back then compared to now.  

It has been a time of growing and learning for all of us.  There is so much that has to be learned by experience, not by textbook.  I think each baby rewrites the book!  We are lucky to live near this little guy, and be able to offer a helping hand to his mom and dad when needed.  They have become such a team, working through all those first weeks and months and the bumps along the way.  I recently realized that we had not had an actual family photo taken since Ben joined the family, and with Dan living at a distance our opportunities to get everyone together are limited.  So last Friday we were able to squeeze in a little time with a local photographer, Kelley Conley Reiter.  It was reasonably warm that day, so we went ahead with outdoor pictures.  Here are a couple of the sneak peeks that Kelley already prepared, with more to come.

It was very rewarding to see this come together, and these pictures are wonderful.  Little Ian loved riding in his little wooden sled, which was loaned to us by my friend, Leisl.  Her boys used it about 25 years ago and it is perfect for this little guy.

Happy New Year!