Thursday, July 3, 2014

July Goal for ALYOF - Butterflies

Yes butterflies!  Butterflies and more butterflies!!  I've posted about them here, here, and here.  I have to have it finished by July 25th for the MQG Michael Miller fabric challenge and I'm going to if I have to not do anything but sew for the next 20 days.
I'm working on my last butterfly, then I'll piece the top, the back, sandwich and quilt then bind.  That is my goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes - July.  I am going to finish my butterfly quilt because I've worked so hard on it and I really want it entered in the challenge. 

I've checked out some of the quilts entered over on the MQG community forums and they are great.  Really good uses of the fabric.  But I've got my fingers crossed because I'm hoping mine turns out really good too.
And one last thing, we went on vacation last week and I got my very first pedicure ever.  I mean I've done my own and polished my own toes my whole life but having someone else do it was so awesome. 
Thanks for dropping by!
**Linking up to Sew Bittersweet Designs for A Lovely Year of Finishes**

Friday, June 20, 2014

My Husband's New Car - The Midlife Crisis Years

On Tuesday of this week, I dropped my hubby of at the Ford dealership so that he could sign the papers on his new car.  Normally, getting a new car isn't something I would share on my blog because really who cares?

But this is a special car.  This is my husband's midlife crisis car.
He has wanted this car for years but never bought it even with my urging  ("just buy the car so you'll shut up about it already").  But now, my 15 year old son is taking driver's ed and will need a car to practice on.  In October when he turns 16 and once he finally finishes driver's ed, he will need a car.  So, we had already decided that since I have the newer car, it is my husbands turn to buy one and my son will get his handed down SUV which is only about 5 years old so that's pretty good.

So, dear hubby went looking far and wide at cars.  He decided that he should buy something practical like a pickup.  I think he had settled on the Honda pickup - whatever it's called.

Then one day he came home from work early and said he had gone and test drove the Mustang.  It wasn't exactly the model he wanted but at least he got a good feel for the car.  He knew exactly which one he wanted since he had dreamed about it for so long.  The 2014 Ford Mustang's have a very retro feel to them.  They even look similar to the Mustangs from the 60's - at least they do to me.

The fellow at the dealership (wanting to make a sale and having his target customer right there in his grasp - men in their 50's) got on the horn (internet) and found the exact car my husband wanted and got it here about 2 weeks later.  Then he called my hubby and told him they had just what he wanted and he was willing to make a deal. 
This is my father in law who liked it just about as much as my sweet hubby.

I'm so glad he got what he wanted.  He works so hard and takes care of his family and put's up with me.  He's a good husband and daddy.  Happy Belated Father's Day David!  We love you - so much.  I'm so glad you finally got your dream car.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wip Wednesday - The Butterflies Continue

I did a post here about my butterfly quilt that I'm working on.  It is for the Michael Miller fabric challenge for the Modern Quilt Guild.  The deadline is July 25th so I'm furiously working on finishing it.  I know exactly how I want to quilt it.

Take a look at what I have so far:

The painters tape on the floor outlines the size of the quilt top.  It's going to be about 43 inches by 53 inches. 

I'm done with 4 and 1/2 butterflies and still have 1 and 1/2 to go.  I'm getting pretty fast at making them though so I'd like to finish them this week. 

The space between the butterflies will be filled in with Kona White or a Michael Miller white Mirror Ball Dot which I love.
These butterflies are paper pieced and each one has 97 pieces.  I'm really loving this so far.

And of course, being a quilter, I'm also working on a separate project at the same time.  It's a secret project because it's for someones birthday.  I'm running late with it as her birthday has passed but that's ok.  I think she's going to love it.  Here is a small piece of it's awesomeness:
My secret WIP

**Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.**

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Local Quilt Show Recap - Why YOU Should Enter Your Quilts in Your Local Show

Back in March, my local quilt guild held our annual quilt show.  Just like for most guilds, the quilt shows raise a lot of money.  Some of the money is given to charity, some is used to fund the guild, pay for speakers and basically pay the bills the rest of the year.  It's a really important fundraiser.

The theme for our show this past year was "Not Your Grandma's Quilt" - so basically a modern theme.  I've only been quilting for about 2 years and I've only been a member of the guild for 1 year.  Most of the members of our guild have been involved in it for many years and have loads of quilting experience including hand quilting, applique and whatever else.  Their quilts are gorgeous and most stitches are perfect, or at least they seem to be perfect to a newbie like me.

Therefore, I had not planned on entering any quilts until the chairperson spoke with me.  She had heard that I was interested in modern quilting and wanted me to enter something in the show.  She is a dear, sweet lady and I could not turn her down.  I think she had guessed - accurately as it turned out, that most of the ladies in our guild didn't embrace her theme.  They didn't want to step outside of their box - they like their boxes.  Don't get me wrong, there were a handful of people who completely embraced the modern theme and their quilts were awesome.  Of course, I didn't get pictures of any of them. :(

I didn't win any awards for the 4 quilts I entered, but then I didn't really expect to.  I entered the show so that people could see my quilts, so that they could see something different than they had been seeing.  There were over 250 quilts entered and I'd have to say that I would have classified about 15 of them as modern.  That doesn't include the art quilts.  We had a few art quilts and they were lovely but in my mind, they are in a separate category.
That's why I'm making this call out.  To all modern quilters, or modern traditionalist, or traditional modern, or improv or whatever you want to call yourself.  


Let the world see something else other than traditional quilts, civil war quilts, Baltimore applique quilts and all the other stuff we've been looking at for years.  I want something different  and you shouldn't be afraid to show your work.

Hear are the reasons I used (and probably the same ones you are using) to not enter a quilt in a quilt show:
1.  my piecing isn't perfect.  I don't always meet my seams up
2. my binding isn't perfect.  I sew it on by machine and they will want hand sewn.
3.  my quilting isn't perfect.  I can't afford to send my quilts out to be long armed.  
4.  my quilting is too simple, the judges will want complicated motifs with feathers and blah blah
5.  I do improv piecing, the judges won't understand it
6. I'm afraid to enter.

Entering my quilts in our local show helped me to just GET OVER IT.  Our quilts are different, they are made with solid colors, or bold prints.  We mix colors that people might not normally see together.  We may not always follow all the quilting "rules" and are afraid that the quilt police will come take our fabric stash away.

But guess what?  When I took a chance and showed my quilts that were by no means, perfect, I felt better about my work and having it judged.  The judge was a nationally accredited judge and she really tried hard to say nice things about all my quilts.  Even my Giant Starburst quilt which I knew was a hot mess, she gave me a + for visual impact.  

But what really got me excited was that on all 3 of my other quilts, I got a + for precision of work on my piecing.  I almost cried.  I think that was the highest compliment I could have been paid at this point.  It's what I've been striving for since I started quilting.  It's the OCD in me :)

I hate this picture of me.  My smile is so forced and I look creepy.  Focus on the quilt :)

So, that is the rant for today.  This is the same rant I have recently given a friend who got discouraged and didn't think she was good enough to enter the Houston Quilt Festival.  How do you know until you try?  If they reject your quilt, then make another one and try again next year.  In the mean time, lets start entering all the small quilt shows around us.  The local ones and the ones in the next county.  Let's show them what Modern Quilting is, that it's important to us.  We can love traditional quilts and respect the love and workmanship that went into them and still have our modern quilts too.  There is room for all of us.  But first we have to try.

Deadlines to remember:  If you are a member of the MQG and are doing the Michael Miller Fabric challenge, the deadline has been moved to July 25.

The MQG is asking any members interested in displaying in the Modern Quilt Showcase at the Houston Quilt Festival 2014, the deadline to enter is June 27, 2014.  Click here for details.

The Houston Quilt Festival has a lot of special exhibits and the deadlines run through the summer.  Please check out their call for entries in their special exhibits by clicking here.

I'd love to hear your comments about entering local shows or any shows.  Did you feel the judge was fair?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

And one last thing.  We are starting a modern quilting group/bee in the Tyler, Texas area.  Anyone who is interested and lives close enough to Tyler to make it feasible, please email me at  You do not have to be a member of the local quilt guild to join our modern sewing group although it is perfectly awesome if you are.  Thanks!

**Special thanks to Robyn for sending me the pics to use in this post.

**Linking up to Anything Goes Mondays and Sew Many Ways**

Friday, May 30, 2014

2013 Saturday Sampler Finished Quilt Top

One of our local quilt shops does a free (sort of) block of the month program.  One Saturday out of every month, a bunch (over 100) of local quilters fill the classroom of the shop for Saturday Sampler.  The owner shows us some of her new merchandise, talks about upcoming classes and shows samples made for those classes, we have Show and Tell and then we all go shopping.  
There is always some kind of "sale" that is just for the Saturday Sampler crowd such as an extra percentage off clearance, a percentage off books or precuts, etc.  You get the idea.  It's a fun hour or so that everyone enjoys.  You pay $5 at the January meeting to join in on the BOM - the fabric is included in that cost.  So, technically, by the end of the year you will have (12) 12 inch quilt blocks that only cost $5.

The blocks are usually very traditional blocks as is the fabric chosen.  Sometimes I like the fabric and sometimes I don't.  When I don't, I change out what I don't like with something from my stash.
For the 2013 quilt, the fabrics were batiks and I used the muslin background fabric that was provided.

I finally finished up my quilt top from the 2013 Saturday Sampler blocks in April but I'm just now getting around to showing it.  I haven't quilted it yet so it is still in my UFO pile but I decided to give it to my FIL for Christmas and I'll need to get it quilted soon so that I'm not waiting until the last minute.

Inspired by the book - Vintage Quilt Revival, I wanted to arrange my blocks in an unusual way that would show them off but still be modern.  The arrangement that I had in my head didn't really work.  I think I just had trouble converting it from my head to my quilt.
(it was too tall to hang on my fence and my tall quilt holders weren't home)

The gray fabric surrounding the blocks is Kona Graphite.  I think it looks really masculine and I hope he likes it.  It measures 60 x 72 approximately.  I used white 50 wt. Aurifil thread to piece it.  I have a dark gray Aurifil #1246 that I was planning to use to quilt it because it blends well with the gray fabric.  There is so much negative space that's all gray and it kind of scares me to quilt it.  I'm not sure how I'm going to do it yet.  I think this will be the perfect snuggle size for him when he sits in his recliner and reads or watches TV and it was made with love - and fabric :)

And here are the four Saturday Sampler blocks that I have made so far this year.  I have the May block but I haven't made it yet.  I've been too busy working on my butterflies.
This year we were able to pick a category of fabric for our blocks - modern, batiks, or traditional/civil war.  I chose modern.  Also, for my background I am using Allison Glass' text in black.  I'm trying really hard to use the fabrics given to me but sometimes I just have to swap some out.  I think my idea of modern and the shop owners idea of modern are different.

That's all for now!  Have a great weekend!
**Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Butterfly Pattern - Paper Piecing - How to Separate Pattern Sections

Wow!  I can't believe that I've gotten so many nice posts about my butterflies.  Thank you all so much for your nice comments.  You've really made my day.

Several people have asked where I got the pattern.  It came from a book called 365 Foundation Quilt Blocks by Linda Causee.  I can't remember if I bought this book used from Half Price Books or if I got it new from Amazon.
 You can see that I have lots of pages marked with sticky notes.  How long will it take me to get through those plus all the other things on my to do list?  Lol

This author has lots of books out on paper piecing or foundation piecing (same thing).  Some of the patterns in the book above are really easy and some are harder - like the butterfly.  Well, not harder really, just more time consuming.

Here is my butterfly:
As you can see, all the parts are shown together.  It has 5 sections and you have to make a copy of the pattern you want and then cut each section apart.  Then I taped the sections to a piece of computer paper.
And then I drew the 1/4 inch seam allowances around each piece.  I have to draw my seam allowances or I will forget about them or mess them up in some way.

Once you have that done, you can make copies in any size you want.
It's not any harder to do the small patterns than it is to do the big ones.  It just uses little bitty pieces of fabric.  I save all my scraps from the larger butterflies to use on the smaller ones.  Some of the pieces are tiny but I wanted a detailed butterfly.  There are patterns out there with less detailed ones.

I've taken several paper piecing classes so that I could learn different ways of paper piecing.  I want to be able to do the easiest one - :)
I think my way is the easiest that I've seen so far although I didn't make it up or anything.  I learned in a class at a local quilt shop and she used a Carol Doak pattern of a heart to teach the class.  Our teacher was great and gave us lots of tips.  Ironically, she was not a quilter.  She just loved paper piecing and used her blocks in other ways.  She had a tiny pin on the day of the class - it was about 1.5 inches square of the American flag.  It was incredible how tiny it was.

Would anyone be interested in a paper piecing tutorial?  I think I'll try to get one going this week.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday SewJo - My Big WIP

Hi all!

I mentioned in my last post, 3 WEEKS ago, that I'm doing the Modern Quilt Guild fabric challenge.  I have been diligently working on my project for all of those weeks plus and even though I can see the fruits of my labor it still feels like I'm spinning my wheels.

I'm doing a paper piecing project that involves butterflies.  Butterflies with lots of pieces.  97 to be exact - per butterfly.  Each butterfly has 5 sections.

Anywho, here are some peaks at my finished works and my in progress ones too.  I'm hoping to get some work done this weekend but I don't seem to be able to accurately guess how much sewing time I'm going to have. LOL
I've been working on this project so much that I don't know if I'll finish my goal this month for ALYOF.  Ugg!

**Personal note - My rheumatologist increased the dosage for my chemotherapy drug that I'm taking for my Lupus and it has made me completely exhausted.  I mean sleep all day exhausted, have trouble staying awake on the 7 minute drive to my house after taking my son to school, exhausted.  Hence, my lack of blogging.  I have tons of stuff to share including a couple of tutorials but I just need the time - while I'm awake - to write it all down.  Good news though, I managed to stay awake most of this past week and went to the pool to exercise 3 times - YAY!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone!  And if you are in the military (or married to someone who is) or are a veteran, thank you so much for your service.  That includes military spouses and families who are also serving right along with their soldiers.

**Linking up to SewJo at My Go-Go Life!