Friday, July 25, 2014

Introducing......"Diana"

Hi Quilty Friends!

A few weeks ago I volunteered and was chosen to test an upcoming quilt pattern for Cora’s Quilts. I have never tested a pattern before and really loved it! Cora’s Quilts will be releasing six new patterns this fall. The pattern I tested was “Diana” featuring a the Broken Dishes block made using the “pinless” construction method. One FQ (fat quarter) of background material and 1 FQ of print fabric is enough to make 2 of the Diana blocks.

This block was designed to be sewn without the use of pins. When placing the fabrics right-sides-together, the seams of each block will nest right up against each other and stay in place without using pins when sewing. Hmmmm…..I was skeptical as I am a HUGE pinner! I want to get my seams matched the 1st time and not have to unsew…EVER…(which of course is not always the case).



I purchased these two Denyse Schmidt Quilters Quarters from Joann’s a year or more ago. Four FQs were included in 1 yard of fabric and you cut on the dotted line to separate the quarters. There were 4 different color-ways and I may or may not have some of each of them. :o) Unfortunately they are out of print and I can no longer find them anywhere so I was a bit hesitant to cut into them, but I am sooo glad I did as my blocks are beautiful! And isn’t fabric supposed to be used and created into something beautiful and not sit in your stash!? Use your fabric stashes people! Ok…moving on….



The instructions are very clear with good illustrations and easy-to-follow steps. Started with two squares – 1 background (white) and 1 print – drawing diagonal lines corner to corner on the wrong side of the white square, then sewing along both sides of the line, in both directions.


You then cut the square into quarters first –  NOT on the diagonal pencil line (don’t ask me how I know this) and THEN in half on the diagonal line yielding 8 HST (half square triangles). The instructions clearly state the correct way to cut them (ahem). Fortunately when I did cut them the wrong way it worked out and I still got my HST…whew. But I had a brief moment of panic. 



Pressed and trimmed each HST. There were 192 for my 12 blocks. Trust me – this was not my most favorite part of the construction. It took forever!

Now came the fun part – constructing the block. Very clear instruction on which way to stitch and press the HST. Pressing the pieces in the correct direction was critical for the pinless construction to work. 



Using the pinless construction method and nesting the seams right up against each other and aligning the edges of the blocks, I sewed my first 2 HSTs and OH MY GOODNESS! 
My points lined up PERFECT! Every.single.time. 
I squealed so loud and startled my dog lying on the floor! Ha!



I have to admit however, that when it came time to sew the 2 larger halves of the first block together, I did insert a couple of pins as the seam was a bit longer and I wanted my seams to match, but all the seams still nested with each other and matched very well. As I sewed the rest of the blocks I realized I didn't need the extra pins after all! 


The block construction is very quick and easy and I chain pieced each block. 

I’ve made 12 blocks so far, but haven’t completed the sashing. I did add other fabrics in similar colors (April Showers and Happy Go Lucky by Bonnie and Camille). I am very happy with the pattern, the design and the blocks and look forward to finishing the top.





You can view the pattern release post at Cora’s Quilts here . You can see her version and the versions of the other pattern testers too
They will also be offering a coupon code for 25% off the pattern when purchased through their Etsy shop until August 1, 2014.

Use Coupon Code:  ANNEandDIANA.

This was a fun project and I highly recommend this pattern! It was easy to follow with wonderful results and you will LOVE the pinless construction! I know I did! 

This quilt would be pretty in Christmas fabrics, red and white fabrics, solids with a darker background fabric, reproduction prints….whatever. I also think the block is substantial enough to just make a few for a table runner or topper too.

Happy Quilting!

Friday, February 14, 2014

X and O

Happy Valentine's Day!

This isn't usually a holiday where I decorate, but found this cute little table topper kit at Sew Lux Fabrics and thought it was fun! If you haven't been to their website, check them out. They have great sales and they are quick fulfilling orders, which come wrapped in cute brown and pink polka-dot paper and tied with ribbon!



I think it turned out pretty cute too.  The kit included a mini charm pack, background, backing and binding fabric of "Surrounded by Love" by Deb Strain for Moda. 
It's adorable fabric - bright and cheery!

It's not large - 15 x 21 - but it will look cute on a side table with the little dish I found at the grocery store.  I'm into the mini quilts lately. They are quick and easy and turn out very cute! Sorry the pictures are a bit dark. It was a gloomy day when I took the picture. 


Here is the back. Isn't it cute!? Little heart flowers.  I added two corner pockets in case I  also wanted to use it as a wall hanging.  And what's not to love about the chevron binding! 
Then some basic straight-line stitching and it was done!



Have a happy day and be sure and hug everyone you love today and everyday!
xoxo

Monday, February 3, 2014

"She Who Sews" Blog Hop!



Welcome to the "She Who Sews" Blog Hop!  Sorry for the delay in posting. I had MAJOR problems getting my post to load today! Very frustrating but it's done!
Today is my day to show you my loverly sewing accessories. 

Thank you to Madame Samm and Carla from Creatin' in the Sticks for being great cheerleaders! All of the projects so far have been wonderful!

The challenge of this blog hop was to sew something using a specific fabric series and sew items for our sewing rooms. What a great opportunity this was for me to help organize and decorate!

We used the "She Who Sews" Collection of Handmaids by Quilting Treasures.




This fabric is so fun! I only purchased a few pieces but they are all lovely. And they feel wonderful! 

I made these lovely hanging organizers.  They are from a McCall's Kwik Sew Pattern #K3900. They came in 4 sizes. I made the large, extra small and medium. I still need to make the small one. Very easy peasy pattern. I love the way they turned out!  I used 2 of the smaller panels on 2 of the bags and the flowers on the small one and the ruler fabric lines all of them and very heavyweight interfacing so they will not be floppy. I'm not really sure what I'm going to store in them, but I'm sure I'll think of something! I have a TON of stuff!




I also made this AWESOME Pins & Snips Stay Put pincushion and thread catcher! I LOVE 
it! Again I used one of the panels for the top. I almost don't want to stick pins in her!  It was designed by my wonderful Chica friend, Karen at SewMuch2Luv. You NEED to check out her awesome project bags and aprons. They are the bomb! And she's also participating in today's blog hop so be sure to go to her blog and check out her project!

 The top. I love the panels!

The thread catcher.  Nice and big. Gotta love jumbo rick-rack!



I also made this machine table rug so my scissors and seam ripper and other accessories don't slide or get banged around when I'm sewing. I love the paper dolls and the buttons fabric is so stinkin' cute! And doesn't it look cute next to my Maggie! (I call my Janome Magnolia "Maggie". My husband thinks I'm weird.)



These were very fun projects and I love the way they turned out. They are a wonderful addition to my sewing room.


If you are excited to see what the other hoppers (listed below) have made from the same fabric collection, hop on over to their blogs! Leave a comment and you'll make their day!

My Whittle Adventures (Me! I'm sew glad you stopped by!)

Thanks for visiting and Happy Quilting!

Friday, January 31, 2014

I'm Baaaack!

Hi there! Miss me?! I've been very bad about blogging as you can see. I haven't blogged since last June! Sheesh!  It's not like I didn't do anything - we traveled to Austin, Texas for a world-wide karate event, we went camping, I went to a couple of quilt shows, we worked, we played, we had fun with friends and grandkids, but life just got in the way most of the time and blogging moved to the end of the priority "need to do" list.  

Last year wasn't a very creative year for me either.  I just lost my creative mojo and couldn't get into it.  Like all of us I had a gazillion ideas for projects, bought MORE fabric and kits because I knew I was going to get to them, but it just didn't happen.  Then came Christmas and I decided to make reusable grocery bags for my sisters and mom and they turned out wonderful and were loved by all!

So....my mojo has returned and I'm having fun using up scraps, fat quarters and charm packs that I've had for a while and creating things.  My goal for 2014 is to finish up WIPs from last year (or the year before that.....) and work on kits that I've also had for quite some time.  My poor husband has been waiting for his flannel log cabin quilt since I purchased the kit in September 2012.  Don't worry honey - it's on my 2014 "Git er Done" list!  I promise!

Here are a couple of things I've worked on so far this year:

Happy Camping Quilt using Turnovers from American Jane Happy Campers fabric.  I used our pool table my design board for the layout. It's all sewn together now with a border but I can't decide on the outer boarder so it sits....And my husband wasn't too happy about me using the pool table either! Haha!



24 Dresden plates.  I love the cheerfulness of the retro-inspired fabrics, but let me tell you - by the time I was finished sewing the final one I was.over.them. I'm NOT kidding.  There are 500 blades and they were pretty boring to sew, flip, turn and iron.  Not sure what fabric I will be using in the centers, but leaning toward a variety of similar fabrics as the blades. They will make a very pretty quilt eventually.  :o)




A couple years ago I participated in a Christmas Charm Swap. I made a table runner from some of them and had the rest lying around so I sewed them into happy pinwheels. Have no idea what I'm going to do with them now! haha!



Like many other people in the quilting world I fell in love with Camille Roskelley's Swoon Quilt. I bought the pattern and promptly put it in my "to do" pile. Camille recently created mini versions of the larger versions of some of her patterns, including Swoon and Spools.  I bought both patterns and here is my mini Swoon! LOVE IT! It finishes at 8" and has the tiniest squares. By far the smallest pieces I've ever worked with, but a fairly easy pattern. I can't wait to make some more!


And here is my Mini Spools version. All made from scraps too. I LOVE THIS ONE! The spools are 3.5 x 4.5 (I think).  I am going to do a dark blue boarder and make it a bit larger but it will hang in my sewing room. Both of them need to be sandwiched and quilted yet. Will probably do a straight line quilting on the spools.  You can buy both of these patterns here.



I used this tutorial from Ruby Blue Quilting Studio for this table runner using an Odds & Ends charm pack I've had for a while.  It's a fun, easy project. When I was through with it I decided I wanted it larger to fit my 8-foot dining room table. I've ordered another charm pack and 2 mini charm packs in the same line to increase the size of the runner.




It's been a productive month so far! Check back Tuesday, February 4th to see my projects (and many others) for the "She Who Sews" blog hop!  It's sure to be exciting!




Friday, June 28, 2013

Le Tour de France


Hi beautiful people!  I am completely excited that the Tour de France will be starting tomorrow, June 29th and will continue for three weeks.  My husband and I are huge cycling fans and love every minute of the Tour.  We follow other cycling races throughout the cycling season, but this one is our favorite.  We even traveled to Solvang in 2011 to attend the Time Trial stage of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California.  It was so awesome to stand at the start line and watch the riders head out of the starting gate for the time trial. 
At the end of the race I even got autographs from Dave Zabriski and Levi Leipheimer - two of the winners of the trials that day.


 The Leader Board for 2011 Tour of California

 American George Hincapie in the start gate....

...and he's off!
The Tour de France is a multiple stage race mostly held in France, but occasionally the race stages will visit other countries nearby. The race has been held annually since 1903 except for when it was stopped for the two World Wars and this year is the 100th year of the Tour!
They ride through beautiful country in Europe and it’s great fun to see the spectators, some of which may spend weeks along a stage route to get the best view or follow the Tour for the entire three weeks. They are crazy! Some wear goofy costumes and wild wigs. We've seen Elvis, men in Speedos that have no business wearing a Speedo, clowns, and lots of super heros. It's one big party.  We would like to go to Europe one year and see it in person - its definately on our bucket list!
The race route changes each year, but usually has at least two time trials, several strenuous mountain climbs in the Pyrenees and the Alps, and the finish on the Champs-Élysėes in Paris

The Tour is a 21 day-long stage race and each day the length of the ride is about 100 or so miles and covers about 2,200 miles total. The number of teams usually varies between 20 and 22, with nine riders on each team. Not all riders finish the race. Some crash, some don't finish the days stage in the alloted amount of time, some get sick and some just can't continue at the gruelling pace they need to ride.

Climbing in the mountains!

All of the stages are timed. After finishing the days stage,  the riders' times are added to their previous stage times. The rider with the lowest combined time is the leader of the race and gets to wear the coveted yellow jersey.  And not everyone is out to win the overall classification. Some team members are riding to set the pace and to help the team leader. Some are better at the sprints and others are best at climbing the mountains.
There are other races within the race and colored jerseys awarded for them also.
For the sprinters (green jersey), the mountains classification for the climbers (red polka-dots jersey), the young rider classification for the riders under the age of 26 (white jersey), and the team classification for the fastest teams.

The first rider to cross the stage finish line wins the stage for the day, but that doesn't always mean they receive the yellow jersey.  It's VERY complicated and confusing and I have a hard time keeping track.  My husband knows all the rules and statistics and who needs to win what in order to remain in or receive the jerseys.

2012 Tour winners left to right:
Best Young Rider: American Tejay van Garderen
Best Overall:  Britian Bradley Wiggins
Best Sprinter:  Slovakian Peter Sagan
Best King of the Mountains:  Frenchman Thomas Voeckler

The leader in the first Tour de France was awarded a yellow armband. The color yellow was chosen because the magazine that created the Tour, printed its newspapers on yellow paper. The yellow jersey was added to the race in 1919  and it has since become a symbol of the
Tour de France.

On the Champs-Élysėes in Paris.
2012 winner, Bradley Wiggins from the UK

My husband is also a HUGE cyclist. He loves his bike and rides it every.single.day.  In all kinds of weather. He can’t get enough and his bike is "the other woman."   I tease him that when I go on my annual Chicas weekend with the girls, his bike sleeps on my side of the bed. :o)
Chris has participated in several of his own bicycle events/fundraisers where he's ridden 60+ miles including the Bike MS Waves to Wine and Livestrong Foundation Challenge.  And in 2010 we both rode the Tour of the Unknown Coast in Northern California.  I rode and finished the 25-mile ride and Chris rode and finished the 65-mile ride through the giant Redwoods.
It was great fun!
Tour of the Unknown Coast

Livestrong Challenge - 2012


My favorite cyclist, Fabian Cancellara of Team RadioShack, will not be participating in the Tour this year. He wanted to focus on the Swiss National Time Trial race, which he won in June for a record eighth time! I will miss cheering for him this year. He is the rider to wear the most yellow jerseys and not win the general classification overall. 
 I am not sure who I will be cheering for this year.  
There are many cyclists that I follow, but he is my favorite.
Fabian Cancellara when he rode for Team SaxoBank.
He is now riding for Team Leopard-Trek.


We usually record the Tour because they are a day ahead of us in Europe, and watch a stage or two at a time when we get a chance. I have a few hand embroidery projects ready and a couple projects I can cut while I watch the Tour.
Looking foward to see who takes it in Paris!

Happy Cycling, Sewing and Quilting!




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