Thursday, July 26, 2018

Alphabets and Houses

On Saturday, I completed a few errands, then packed up my sewing stuff and headed to Panther Lake (just about 40 minutes from my home) to my friend's camp. Gail and I make this an annual thing each summer. She has a summer home there and sets up the garage with tables. Add sewing machines, fabric, all the quilting gadgets you can stuff into a carrying case, and quite a few caffeinated beverages, and let the projects 'happen.'

For this trip, I didn't plan too much ahead. No patterns. Just a bunch of fabrics, and a notepad to do some math. 

I pulled this fat quarter pack, that also included an alphabet panel, out of my stash and threw it into my weekend project bag. The illustrations are so clever, and it was time for this to come out of the stash and turn into something.

Bit by bit, I assembled the blocks, sashing, and borders. The challenge was staying within the limits of the fabric quantities I had. Sometimes fat quarters can be challenging that way!

Aaaand, here is the result!

The panel squares cut nicely into 6-1/2" squares, but I had to be really careful with the fabric limitations for the rest of the elements.

A lot of math happened, before any cutting started! I'm pretty pleased with the result, now it just needs quilting!

And yes, those are teeny quarter inch (finished) borders around each block. I did them with the help of the 1/4-3/8" BlocLoc log cabin tool. I love those rulers! Makes nearly impossible piecing easy. The cornerstones were little tiny stitch and flip snowball units.

I guess 'small' was the name of the game for me. I brought along a couple of finished, but not framed yet, cross stitch pieces. Seems appropriate to have little itty bitty cross stitch blocks to frame a cross stitch piece, right? So this happened:

Yep, they're 2" square. (I'm okay, really!)

Here is the result. The cross stitch was a kit I purchased years ago when visiting Mount Vernon, George Washington's home. I went to this historic site while visiting a guild in the DC area.

I finally got around to stitching the piece earlier this year and now it's ready to be quilted, bound, and placed in the front hallway. I think it's quite fun!

It's only about 8x12" in total.

When adding a cross stitch piece to a fabric frame, the aida cloth (or linen) in the seam may fray over time.

To avoid this, I did a regular 1/4" seam to secure the aida and quilting cotton, then added a zigzag stitch along the fabric/aida raw edge on each of the four sides of the cross-stitch edges.

When I sandwich for quilting, I may add a piece of muslin between the cross stitch layer and the batting to keep the batting from migrating through the loose weave cloth over time.  'Course, this isn't a high-use quilt, and as a wall-hanging it may never be washed, but it's just one of those things  . . . why not take the extra step!

This piece challenged me. It's a cross-stitch of The Abbey in Cape May, New Jersey, a vacation destination for Dave and me a few years ago.

I really wanted to add some piecing to this border, but every idea seemed to compete with the delicate stitching. In the end, I opted for three simple borders.

The alphabet panel group had some smaller letters included in a couple of the fat quarters. My niece, her husband, and her two adorable toddler-aged daughters are planning a visit later this year. My two grand-nieces are going to get a little something from Aunt Joan - shh-hh, don't tell! Bird blocks from The FLOCK built into a pillow (one for each niece!) with names added to the scrappy border as a bonus!

While I was punching numbers into a calculator and fussy sewing, Gail pulled out the big stuff and added borders to nearly-finished projects, and clipped along on several other pieced blocks . . .

And being, in the woods, an unexpected visitor can show up from time to time to see what all the fuss is about.

This tiny frog (yes, that's a regular electrical plug so you can see just how small this little critter is!) wanted to play with all the small fabric pieces too!

Now, I just need to quilt and finish each project. Nearly done!

Many thanks to Gail for sharing her space with me for a very fun and productive weekend.

How about you? Do you have any summer sewing getaways planned?

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Little Help from My Friends

(That would be you!)

As I mentioned last week, in late June, I vended at Vermont Quilt Festival. My booth was concentrated on two projects: Your Nest™ Organizers and The FLOCK.

Your Nest Organizers

Maybe you know this already, Your Nest Organizers are manufactured and warehoused in New York State - just down the thruway a bit from me. I don't keep inventory here in my home office.

So, when I drove from Syracuse to Vermont for the show, I stopped by the warehouse and picked up TONS of inventory to have available in my booth.

All well and good, right?

However, at the end of the show, I still had a few left, but only the FLAMINGO and HUMMINGBIRD colors. All the rest that I took with me were sold out! 

They came home with  me in a box. The other day, when I was running some errands, I was thinking about these PINK and GREEN cuties.

I thought: I should send those back to the warehouse. Then the next thought that popped into my head was that I'd rather send them to YOU!

So-o-o-o. It's time for a special offer.

Would you like to have a Flamingo or Hummingbird color YOUR NEST ORGANIZER with FREE SHIPPING? From now until Monday at midnight, I'm making them available from Hummingbird Highway (using THIS LINK) with FREE SHIPPING.

HOWEVER, you hafta use the link below (or the one in the paragraph directly above), or shipping fees will be added to your cart. And the shipping deal is ONLY on the FLAMINGO and HUMMINGBIRD colors ('cause that's what's sitting in my basement waiting for a new home!).

This special ends on Monday July 23rd at Midnight (East coast time)

(Domestic US delivery only.)

Stay cool and . . .

Happy stitching!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Catching Up and Catching a Breath

Since I haven't posted here in the last few weeks, I thought I would give you the whirlwind tour of my adventures. . .

For starters, I finished (that's an odd way to start a sentence!) organizing these two fabric shelves in my work room.

You can follow the steps I took here, if you've not already been following along with the Tidy Fabric Club.

From time to time, I may post some updates or stash-busting project ideas, so feel free to join the Tidy Fabric Club here. But just be aware that the regular monthly posts have ended.

At the end of June, I headed up to Essex Junction, Vermont for the Vermont Quilt Festival.

Last time I wrote, I was in process of making little mini quilts of each of the blocks from The FLOCK, so folks at the show could get an idea what they might look like in a quilt. They were all finished in time for the display!

My display (below) featured Your Nest Organizers and The FLOCK Community membership program. Both were very well received at the show and kept me really busy in the booth.

Two very enthusiastic FLOCK Community members, Patricia and Bonny came by and brought their infectious enthusiasm for the bird blocks. And Martha (I hope I recall her name properly) couldn't wait to take Your Nest Organizers home to get stuff organized in her sewing room!

And of course, there was time to look at a few of the quilts on display. I LOVED this entry in the "Happiness Is" challenge area. I love the way Monique did the shadows on each bird! And of course, they're BIRDS(!), so it automatically gets extra stars from me!

Got home from Vermont, packed up the casual clothes and headed to the beach! Cocoa Beach, Florida, that is.

In Florida, it was hot and steamy, with daily afternoon showers - just enough to make my hair unmanageably lifeless. This trip had a business focus - with plenty of room for a little fun on the side. Two days of masterminding with my marketing coach, Diane Conklin, and fellow business owners, shown below (Diane is second from the left) at a local seafood restaurant. Businesses represented in the group: catering, real estate coaching, personal care products, calligraphy and me (quilty stuff).

Florida highlights: Up before the sun to watch the SpaceX rocket launch (wow!), a trip to the famed Ron-Jon retail complex, sea turtle tracks on the beach - it's egg-laying season!

And then back home again where the water lilies were blooming in the front-yard pond.

In the office, The FLOCK duties were calling. . . . first the July bird was announced - Western Meadowlark! (top photo below) Each bird is officially announced about two weeks after the shipment date to make sure all FLOCK members around the world are likely to have received their kit before I let the bird out of the bag (we don't do 'cats' here).

And the August bird had to be prepped for shipment (middle photo). Envelopes stuffed and ready for 'migration.'

Here's a sneak peek of the resulting block from what's inside the package for August (bottom photo). Not giving it away yet! This is a close-up of one of the defining characteristics of our August bird. Do you know what bird it is?

If you haven't already, join The FLOCK here. The next exceptional bird kit ships on or around August 12th.

Last but not least, I made sure to leave a little extra time for my latest stitching addiction - biscornu - odd-shaped novelties that can be used just for fun or as pin cushions. These involve counted cross stitch or blackwork on linen, but biscornu can be made from a variety of materials.

I'm finding the patterns everywhere - charts on Etsy or Pinterest. . . If you haven't heard of these before (I hadn't until I found this book), just google 'biscornu' and prepare to have your mind blown!

They are great for summer stitching or travel.

For the rest of the summer, I'm looking forward to a little time to catch a breath, be boring, and stitch a little. No more travel on the calendar until September. *Yay!*

Happy Stitching!