Monday, May 31, 2010

Project update - mini Irish chain challenge

"Flowers in the Garden." 
The "finished" wall-hanging measures 19"x19" and has been a whoooole lot of fun to put together, except for stabbing myself in the finger and thumb a number of times :) The front is what I would consider a traditional layout and is all hand quilted. The back has a somewhat more "retro" look to it and is machine appliqued. Picture 2 is a "sneak peek" of part of it. I have to finish embroidering the flowers.
Most of my small quilts are double sided and I can usually come up with a way of either adding a label or signing it somewhere. This one I'm stumped so any suggestions would be appreciated.
I have a new quilt design in the works that I am really excited about. It's been twirling around in my brain for a while now and this morning it gelled so I sketched it up quickly and now just have to "formalize" the design. I'm not going to be able to use my fat quarter collection for some of it which means ............ fabric buying....... or begging ...... or swapping !!!!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tennessee - the volunteer state - thanks :) To everyone that has helped in any way since the flood you are much appreciated.

Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day week-end and take time to honor those who are serving or have served to maintain our freedom and bring peace to others.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Taking a short break for a few days.

I'm taking a break from posting for a few days. School finishes for the summer in a couple of days so new schedules need to be created. Projects need finished and mailed out. My brain is slightly fried and needs time to "kick back" :)

A gift from my garden to each of you.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Blog of the week - Bloggers Quilt Festival - Spring 2010

Have you ever gone to a quilt festival and spent so much time admiring the quilts that you forgot you had a camera with you and could have taken pictures ? Said pictures being to help remind you how to make a specific quilt or learn a new detail or just be awed by what you saw?
Well that's what happened with me only it was the Bloggers Quilt Festival and after a lot of looking and being impressed by many I realized I can "download" photos and share some of my favorites (hope the owners don't mind. I will remove if they do.)
So here are a few that I remembered to "photograph" and I will add some more later because I will have to go round the "arena"again :)
Some are familiar patterns. Some are brand new. Some are simple. Some are complex. All are made and shared with love by their owners.
All were made for a variety of reasons. Each has a heart and a story. 

I absolutely love the stories. That, more than anything else, is what makes this festival so special.

Some quilts were prize winners. some were first time attempts. Some followed patterns, many did not. They range from brand new, to "well loved", to antique, from small through large.
Each unique in their own special way. Thank you all for sharing a small piece of your world.
If you have not had an opportunity to visit all the blogs click on Amy's link in my sidebar. Take your time, there is much to see, with hopefully more to come. (the back)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Spring 2010

Greetings to those of you visiting from Amy's Creative Side, home to the semi annual Blogger's Quilt Festival. This is the 3rd event and my 3rd time participating :)
This small wall hanging incorporates my two loves - cross stitch and hand quilting. The only machine sewing was for the internal seams. It was a joy to create right from the start and I use it for the header at my other stitching blog.
The project was originally just going to be a basic "learn how to use linen floss for Valentines Day" cross stitch but it morphed into a small quilt when I found some fabric in my drawer that "begged" to be used with it. I never did use the linen floss and the cotton floss that matched the fabric so perfectly was left over from another project :)

Some other details. Finished size approx 131/2"x133/4". Center approx. 63/4"x63/8". Hand turned  binding from back to front on 3 sides with prairie points along the bottom. Hand quilting done with DMC Ecru. Cross-stitch done on 14 ct. Aida with DMC color 3712 - 2 over 1. Cross stitch pattern called Letters Heart/Couer de Lettres by DMC.

Thank you for taking the time to visit. I hope you are enjoying the festival. I know I am. Lots of wonderful quilts to see and fabulous stories to read.

Project update - mini Irish chain challenge

I like making small quilts and wall hangings but decided a few months ago that I needed to join a group that specializes in that. I found Small Quilt Talk at yahoo and I am learning a goodly amount. The group is moderated by Kathy Tracy author of "American Doll Quilts", "Prairie Children and Their Quilts" and "Remembering Adelia".
Learning challenge #9 is mini-Irish chain and is my first project with the group. I like using bright colors but decided to go with a more muted palette of browns and cream for this one. The basic top is done and I am now doing things to it :) The finished quilt will be two sided.

Project update - crochet

I have overcome my irrational attitude toward crochet:) I made a doily. My very first. I am thrilled and have bought more yarn.

Michaels is open again so I went in yesterday and found a really nice book "I Can't Believe I'm Crocheting! updated edition" (which about sums up how I am feeling) that shows how to do both right and left hand crocheting.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Local Life - Chihuly

The Chihuly "takeover" of Nashville is unfolding. The exhibit and talks at the Frist are already set up, Bluebeard at TPAC is this weekend and Cheekwood opens their part later this month.
I am sooo excited  that this multi location event has finally arrived. I'm holding off on the Frist so I can take the kids. Hubbie and I are going to see Bluebeard :)
Head on over to to see some of the stunning works of art.
(photograph taken from the Frist site.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's an Interior Thing - definitely an attitude of mind

I think I am unnecessarily intimidated about learning to crochet and so with some of my "fun money" I bought these
Then I watched a few You-Tube videos because I still don't understand some of my written patterns.
I like the series "Art of Crochet by Teresa" and her demonstration of a half granny square seems very simple.
I also like her - Crochet V-stitch Granny Square

Here's some of my "aspiring too" pieces from my antique crochet collection. All were made by my great-aunts and grandmothers. Some still have to be put together.

I have used all of the above at some point. My favorite is the green doily.

During the lifetime of my grandmothers and great-aunts it was fairly common to see crocheted items used round the homes as dresser sets, under vases, to edge napkins, as plate covers, teapot warmers, table runners etc. Surprisingly I have no granny square items in my collection but I do know my grandmother made at least one blanket in her lifetime.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Scots Corner - Scottish Country Dancing

Have you ever danced to accordion and fiddle music? Have you ever collapsed on the floor after a really good reel and wondered why you had not gone into training before hand?
Would you believe SCD was taught as part of P.E. when I was in high school. We had dances at the end of each school year and our teachers nagged us into perfection. They took groups of reluctant "we don't want to hold hands with each other" students and honed them into respectable, fun loving dancers. Eye contact was still a blushing issue but at least the rest of the bodies looked good attired in kilts or dresses.

(photo - Inspiration Holidays)

I did have a problem with the whole process in that I was one of the taller, lankier, girls which meant ........ I learned the men's part because we were usually short of boys. So I had to learn everything backwards first and right ways second ...... no wonder I get confused :) (Gay Gordons being the worst.)
My favorite tune to dance to was The Lewis Bridal Song. Ironically I have a cousin Mairi and she played this at her wedding.
Here's a rather elderly but fun version of the dance played by the legendary Jimmy Shand Band.

(photo - Highland Wedding Musicians)

The adult version of the school dance is a Ceilidh. In other words, same dances but you can get boozy too :) I'm a purist - I can trip over my tootsies in style without the addition of alcohol. I have witnessed gentleman manage to dance their way through without spilling a drop from their beer mugs. Now that's definitely a talent !!!

(photo - Thornhill Country Dancers )

So here's a fun site that goes through the basic steps and then shows you a number of the different reels.
For whatever reason The Dashing White Sergeant and The Military Two-step are the ones most typically danced and merrily botched up at parties and weddings :) Tons of fun and great ice-breakers. Lots of "twirling and whirling." If you really want to tax your brain learn the Eightsome Reel in short order.

(photo - Dance Scottish Week 2008, London edition.)

In preparation for Dance Scottish Week 2010 - 17th-25th September - RSCDS is running a photography competition. All you have to do is photograph country dancers jigging away in front of a recognizable landmark, monument or country symbol and submit your entires by June 30th.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blog of the Week - Sew Many Ways

A goodly number of people are familiar with Karen at Sew Many Ways. If you are not here's one of the reasons why - her regular Tooltime Tuesday feature. It's great. She takes objects you might not necessarily think about for solutions to household/quilting problems. Most of them are so simple that I for one usually say "Duh, why did I not think of that?"

What is that dangly bit?
What's coming next?
Darn, I should have held onto my buttons :) Speaking of which, Karen is currently doing a button giveaway. I want them you cann't have them !!!!

She did what with this!!!!

Go for a stroll through her blog and find out more. Karen has a very entertaining way of drawing you into her projects and you always come away feeling as if you have learned something.
Check out the photographs she took at the MQX, Machine Quilters Expo. Amazing. (Sunday April 25, 2010). Will my own machine quilting ever get that good? Highly unlikely because I prefer to hand quilt - BUT - they are good ......... very...... very ......... good :)
So thanks Karen for thinking outside of the box and giving us such entertaining ideas for very simple daily items. and as she says "The happiest of people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have."