Thanks for dropping by to take a look at some of my thoughts and ideals. Hope you will let me know if this has been helpful, useful, inspiring or whatever, and remember to come back soon.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

This and that and some of my favorite things

This is a night for reflection.  Looking back on my past projects and things I have really enjoyed and things I have learned.  When I started quilting many years ago people did not have computers in their homes.   One of the places where I had worked had a "computer" and let me tell you it did not resemble what we call computers today at all.  Any patterns we had were those that were published in the local paper or when a friend passed us a pattern, usually pieces cut out of an old newpaper which we would use.  I feel really privileged that I have some of these old patterns still on the old newpaper.  I have a "Dutch Doll, girl and boy, that my aunt had and they were lovingly saved and put in an envelope for safe keeping.  I have inherited several old patterns from different people and I cherish those.  Today's quilters really have a wealth of information they can retrieve at will on the internet.  I have several sites that I really like and go to often to get ideals and look for new items or new gadgets for my sewing room.  I want to take the time to share a few of these with you. 

"Missouri Star Quilts" is a real favorite since they have videos showing you how to make different patterns.  Their videos are really a great tool and they have some quilts that are really quick and easy to make and you can look at the things of their site and your mind will just take off as you see possibilities galore for the things they are teaching.  It is really wonderful to have this resource at your fingertips.  This is a great place to search for new ideals when you just don't know what you want to do next.  Check them out at http://www.missouriquiltco.com/  a really great place to browse.

Another great site if you are hunting a block pattern of any kind is http://www.quilterscache.com/  Check this site out for free quilt patterns for you to use in making your next quilt.  It is so neat to go on this site and then you can just take off with blocks of whatever size you want and make yourself a sampler quilt or just a quilt with all the blocks the same.  There are even patterns where they start with one pattern and then show different patterns that build off of the first one and add additional elements.  Check out the Go Alone Star #1 and #2 and then the other patterns designed by some of her friends and hostesses of the Arizona Quilting retreat.  Just think of the possibilities!!  Martha gives cutting instructions and tells you how much of each fabric you will need to complete the block.  I really think a quilt using all of these star patterns would be fab and a real eye catcher if you lined up the large stars and then used the smaller stars as a secondary pattern running through the quilt.  I see another project for 2013 on the drawing board.

Now you all know I have a longarm quilting machine.  One of my favorite longarm quilters is Linda Taylor.  You can visit her website at http://www.lequilters.com/ and even if you don't have a longarm machine she has lots of tools and gadgets that work for everyone.  I know she sells a large square up ruler on her site that unfolds so you can cut large pieces of fabric and get the perfectly square.  She is an awesome quilter.  I have taken several classes from her and really love her work, which can be very modern and quirky, but always beautiful.  She is another of those awesome women who support other women in their quest to do something they love and make money.  She has helped people get started by carrying their items in her store and selling them at her shows.  There are people in Texas who now make an adequate living due to selling their things to Linda for her to resale.  Some of these women are older women who are trying to live on inadequate social security checks and some are ladies who for some reason are limited in the time they can be away from home so they can work in their home and get paid.  Now Linda doesn't toot her own horn, but I have heard the stories from reliable sources and I find this an admirable trait in a business woman.

Another wonderful woman is El.  http://www.quiltinaday.com/ will take you to El's site.  You can find anything you want here and if you are like me much more than you can afford and El is another woman who tries to help her fellow women by helping then get their ideals up and running and then by being a distributor for their products.  My bud (Peggy) and I call El out bathroom buddy.  We were in Paducah, KY and we went out to the fairgrounds to take a class with El and of course had to take a bathroom break and we were in the bathroom, Peg in one stall and me in another carrying on a conversation about the upcoming quilting cruise she was advertising and we didn't know she was also in the bathroom and listening to us!!  Too funny for words.  She admitted that she really wanted to know what people thought about the cruise and if they were saying it was too expensive and exactly what their reaction was to the posters.  Well she found out because Peg and I were talking about the pricing, etc and how we needed to see if we could save enough money to go on a cruise and how much we would love to go.  We even have a picture of Peggy and I with El standing in front of the bathroom door!! lol

Now I want to share another site with those of you who have a desire to use up all those scraps you have saved and you just don't know what to do with them!!  There are so many things and I found this one quite by accident. http://www.quiltville.com/ is Bonnie Hunter and I really love her site.  If you want to use up all those scraps, this is the gal who can tell you how to go about doing it!  Most of us quilters really hate to waste things and our fabic is not something that we just want to toss out.  Our greatest thrill is when we can cobble all of those little pieces together to make something really great and we feel like we got a quilt or potholder or whatever for free because we didn't go out and spend any additional money for the fabric.  What can I say, there is a streak of our pioneer ancestress' in all of us quilters.  Everything had to be used completely.  The only thing that was thrown away was the things that could not be used for any useful purpose, and there aren't many things that fit that catagory.  I think Bonnie and I both got a double dose from those women from our past who were thrifty and imaginative, well maybe Bonnie got a triple dose and I got the double.  I know I really have learned several things from her that I didn't know before I started looking at her site.

There are many more sites that I love to visit just to get new ideals or when my mind just seems like so much mush.  They never fail to plant new seeds in this old brain that just seem to sprout and grow until I have so many ideals I know I will never complete half of them.  I hope you enjoy checking out some of these sites. 

Now next on my list of things is that I am reflecting about is the fact that I feel we are here to help our brethren and sisters.  Now that help can take many forms but one of the forms that I particularly like is being able to quilt, which I love doing, and being able to share that quilting with others.  When the tornado hit Ringgold last year, many people were left without homes, and many more were left with damaged homes and had to seek shelter with friends and family while repairs were made and those friends and family didn't always have things they needed to make the opening of their homes to those less fortunate and easy thing.  Many quilts were donated to families who were sheltering others, and those quilts then went with the families who had lost so much of their material goods.  If you could have seen the love some of those quilts were given by children who suddenly didn't have their home and were thrown into strange surroundings with strange "things" and they didn't have their blankies anymore, I know it would have spurred you on to run right home and sew up more quilts to give.  If you spent a day in a chemo room and watched these people who are fighting for their lives come in and sit for hours in a chair, wrapped up in their snuggle blankets and quilts it will pull at the heart strings in ways you can't really imagine.  If you visit a large medical center and go to the pediatric oncology wing and see how those kids love getting their own quilt you will want to sit up all night sewing for them so you can finish that quilt before it's too late for them.  If you happen to be on the scene of a fire that totally destroys a home and see a firefighter or policeman pull out a quilt to wrap up a child, or a suddenly displaced adult and see them clinging to that scrap of material you know that scrap of fabric that someone quilted will be a huge piece of their lives from that point forward.  If you see a child that has had to be removed from their family and put into foster care and when they leave the shelter they are given a quilt to take with them that becomes their quilt and see them cling to that little quilt.  Well all I can say is there are so many worthy ways to give back to our communities that none of us should be able to say I don't know what I can do that would help anyone.  Just look.  Opportunities abound!!  Sew up those scraps and give back some of what we have been so blessed to receive.  If you don't know what to do then ask.  If you don't have a charity feel free to ask me and I'll point you to several, local, state and national!!  There are people hurting everywhere, they really aren't hard to find! 

I hope you have a wonderful day quilting and sharing!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year Everyone

Well it isn't quite New Year's Day yet, but the hours are counting down.  This is the time that everyone wants to make a bunch of "resolutions" about how much they want to improve themselves the coming year.  Me, I'm fluffy, and I figured out some years ago that I could stress about my weight, or learn to live with the few extra pounds I have added over the years.  My life is so much happier since I decided to live with what I have.  Now if you want to stress, or if "God forbid" weight is damaging your health, then by all means you may want to try to get a few of those pounds off and I am right there cheering you on.  However, my "resolutions", which I actually like to think of as things I wish to do in the year 2012, for the most part are attainable goals, that have an actual end in sight.  No, I'm not talking about finishing my UFO's, which is a worthy never-ending task, or getting my sewing room in order, which is another worthy never-ending task, but more in the line of I want to make 3 quilts this year to donate to a charity org. of which I am fond.  Now the last is something I can accomplish!!

Lord deliver me from "I'm going to be sweeter this year" and instead I want to be able to say, at the end of this year that I have 3 new friends to add to my old friends who I cherish so very much.

Instead of saying I want to save more this year, I would like to be able to know at the end of the year that I have shared more of my knowledge, and been able to share some of those tangible assets that God has seen fit to place in my care.  A wonderful person at one point in my life shared his thoughts to giving to the poor. Me, I really would stress over people asking for help and my desire was that any monies that I was able to share went to people who were deserving of my help and not neverdowells who would just waste what I had worked hard to earn and was willing to share.  He said to me one day when I was vocal about who I felt qualified to be the recepient of my benevolence, "Anna, it's all God's money, and He can take much better care of it than anyone."  He went on to explain that yes, we are required to be good stewards of what He has given to us, but if someone was being untruthful to obtain money the crime lay at their door, but on the other hand, if my brethren was in need and came to me and I turned them away when I had the resources to help, the crime lay at my door.  This opened my heart up to receive many more blessings as I was able to share more because I wasn't as intent in making sure everyone is deserving.  Now I give, as I see fit, and as the Lord has blessed me and I'm a much happier person in my giving.

Now on to quilting.  I've got tons of projects that have been started and I do plan to pull out at least 2 to finish this year.  Everyone needs to keep me accountable on this and be sure and ask me as the year progresses about my progress!!

Currently I am working on a new mystery quilt and it has lots of cutting and sewing and I'm really hoping that I will be able to get that completed.  Also I have on my quilting maching a quilt for my nephew and his new wife that I think is going to turn out really well.  I'll be posting pictures when it's finished but here is a peek.

Chad & Kellie's quilt.

As you can see the pattern is large pinwheels.  These are sooooo easy to make and you can make them in any size and then just sew them together and put on a border and wonderful quilt.  Emily at quilt guild showed us how to make this block and I just love the easy quick stuff that's hard to mess up!  Just 2 blocks of contrasting colors (I got these Oriental prints at a great price when the local quilt shop was selling stuff after the tornado took their shop away.)  Cut the two blocks in any size you want.  I used 10" squares for this quilt.  A really good ideal is to measure the width of the fabric and then divide it by 4--5--or 6 or whatever number you choose to be sure and get the most out of your fabric.  This was 42" of useable material.  Now I really didn't want to mess up a bunch of fabric so I gave myself the 2" leaway and cut the squares at 10" so I got 4 squares across a width of material.  I could as easily have done 5" squares but then I would have had a lot more cutting and sewing.  I took those 10" squares with right sides together and sewed my 1/4" seam around all of the edges.  Next I laid that 10" block down and cut across the diagonals both ways.  (Just a big X really) and then pressed those 4 pieces and laid them out in the pinwheel pattern.  There are several different ways you can lay out the 4 pieces just play with them and see what you like!

This quilt went together as easy as pie!!  Now when I finish the quilting I plan to use a maroon binding.  I think it makes the colors really pop!  I just had to lay a piece of the binding fabric down beside the quilt so you could see the colors together.  Simple quilting is the order of the day but I wonder if they will ever find the little surprize I put in when I quilted their names into the quilt and the year.  Maybe I'll just have to show them! 

At any rate I hope you all have a wonderful New Year full of love and quilts.