Monday, October 7, 2013

Check Out This Haul!

Last month I had the pleasure of participating in this years Maricopa County Independent Quilt Shop Association Shop Hop.  Five of us 'quilty gals' loaded up in a van and spent a couple of days traveling around Maricopa County visiting the 14 shops that were participating in the event.  We got to touch LOTS of fabric and see a notion or 2, or 3, or 4... demo'd in each shop.  And, of course, we all came home with bags of fabric and STUFF.  This is a pic of my haul for the two days.  I was doing stash building so I picked up some solids, some prints that read as solids and a few prints that spoke to me or promised to play well with others.  The first day I was shopping blindly... as in, I had NO IDEA what I wanted or needed to replenish my stash, that's the day I bought the prints.  That evening, once I returned home, I did an inventory of the stash to determine WHAT I should be focused on the next day.  I had almost NO solids and was shy on darks in every bucket.  It's been a couple of weeks since the shopping event hop and I'm just now pulling it all out of the bags.  I think I did okay.  Now on to the washing and ironing phase.  YUCK!  I don't know why I ever started doing this task but how do I stop?  Then I would have pieces that were washed and pieces that weren't.  Wouldn't the Quilt Police take all of my beloved fabric away if they found it in such a state?!
 I did have a GREAT time with the gals but it's a good thing this only happens once a year!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I'm Just Talkin' About... Ironing

Pressing cloth smooth ( has been an activity of humans all over the world for a very long time. Over the years cloth pressing instruments have gone through many different forms to get to what we use today.

When I was a kid ironing was an event that happened alot at my house.  My mom took in ironing to earn a few extra dollars for the household (does anyone still IRON for money other than a dry cleaning company?).  She would sprinkle water on each item,  roll each piece up in a tight little roll and then wrap it all together in a bath towel.  It would sit that way for awhile, maybe even overnight, until she ironed it.  Bet she would have liked a steam iron!

Do you iron anything?  I do, more than I wished.  I think it's one of those mothers curses my mother left me!  I iron my husbands jeans, Dockers, polo shirts & button-up shirts.  He likes cotton, none of this permanent press no iron stuff for him!  I must admit I also prefer cotton and can't bring myself to wear something wrinkled (I'm convinced this is also a mothers curse). I also iron things like pillowcases.

How often do you replace your ironing board cover and iron?  Needless to say because of this CURSE to IRON I'm kinda hard on an ironing board and iron.  The surface of the ironing board cover becomes scorched, stained and torn.  Recently while ironing a piece of white fabric (Oh Yeah, I iron a LOT of fabric too) the fabric picked up the dark discoloration caused by scorching. Grrr....  It was time for a new cover!  I seem to replace a cover every 3-5 years and irons vary.
Do you have a particular brand of iron or cover you prefer?   I always buy Rowenta brand irons which used to last me about the same length of time as the cover but lately it seem like I've had to replace them every year or two.  This doesn't make my checkbook happy ( that word 'checkbook' probably dates me, huh?) I've tried some different kinds f ironing board covers that promise to make the job easier because they reflect the heat up to fabric.  I find they also reflect heat to fingers and I end up with burns on them,  OUCH!  This time I just visited my local Target store and was successful in my mission to NOT spend a LOT of MONEY.  I snagged a whimsical polka dot cover on the clearance rack (8 bucks!)


Are you old school?  And then there's board clips.  Back in the day an ironing person had to use board clips (another term that dates me) to keep the cover on the ironing board.  Then they started making covers with a draw string, I didn't find they worked very good so I continued to use clips.  These days they make covers with an elastic band.  Now... being old school when I approached the task of replacing my cover I also went searching for new clips since mine were worn out.  But I couldn't find them in any store.  So went to Amazon (they have everything and it usually arrives next day!) 

So now I'm ready for another couple years of that dreaded chore.... IRONING.



Sunday, August 11, 2013

Charity Fabric Donation Mission Complete

The fabric from my Midnight Caper got to its final destination recently.  It was delivered to the Peace by Piece Quilters during their latest bee.  This was 154 yards of fabric on display for a room full of quilting volunteers.

It got admired...
and fondled...

and hugged...

Some of it even got extra special attention...

and it (the fabric that is) made everyone HAPPY.

This fabric will go on to become quilts for seriously ill and traumatized children within the communities of these dedicated volunteers.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Remember This Quilt?

This is a quilt I made last year.  If you are interested in more info on it you can check it's story out in this POST.
As all quilters know, when ya make a quilt ya also make leftovers (scraps).  The pattern, Tokyo, can be found in the Fons and Porter Easy Quilts Scrap Quilts Fall 2011 magazine. Once the project was complete my leftovers included nine blocks (cuz I made my quilt smaller than the pattern called for).  This quilt was so FUN to make I just had to do something with the leftovers!

So I drug out my graph paper (yes I am one of those kind of people that draws it out first).  I decided I needed to make a few more block and an alternating block to make a nice size quilt.

An easy and quick to assemble alternate block was a must.  I dug through my stash and found a white on white fabric with a polka dot pattern.  But an exhaustive search did not find a coordinating fabric that worked so a trip to the fabric shop was needed (shucks, hehe). The picture above show all the blocks made and displayed on the design wall.  I always take a picture at this point in the process because it helps me see the overall placement for a visually pleasing end result.
Here's the finished quilt!  A dark brown resting strip and the same fabric used in the alternate block tied it all together.  It finished to be 72 inches square.

The back was more difficult than the front.  The best laid plans... I loaded it on the longarm and began quilting.  About half way through the quilting I ran out of backing!  WHAT THE...   Determined to use fabric I already had I made MORE alternating blocks and sewed them together with BIG squares of leftover fabric from the original blocks.  It whole thing looks a little odd but it works.
Since I am faithful to the Rules of the Quilt Police all my quilts have a label.  This quilts label is sewn into the back just like a block.  It reads:

The thirteen colorful blocks on the front of
this quilt were leftover from a quilt made as
a wedding gift for a friend.  The twelve
squares matching the ones on the back of the
quilt were added to the collection to make a
useable size quilt.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Carrot

Yesterday morning I awoke with not only a husband and a cat in bed with me but also a CARROT.  This may sound like an unusual scene to most but at my house it is a common sight.

A little later in the morning I noticed CARROT was hanging out by the cat bowls.

Then I found CARROT in the hall.
I often spend morning hours in my sewing room.  As I was leaving the room I discovered CARROT had perched itself in the doorway.  

Later I found CARROT laying by a cabinet in the dining room. 
Then CARROT found a soft spot on the rug in front of the kitchen sink. 

 In the afternoon I found CARROT taking a nap with the cat. 
 Here CARROT is hanging out by the dining room table.  CARROT must know it's dinner time.
After dinner I went to watch a little TV and there was CARROT hanging out in my chair.
When I went to get ready for bed I found CARROT laying on the bathroom vanity. 
 Sometime in the middle of the night I got up to get a drink of water and found CARROT sleeping on the step in the living room.
 CARROT is housebound but does get plenty of exercise and manages to keep itself entertained.  CARROT also enjoys social time spent with the best buddies a CARROT could hop for, Jazz and Rose (they are much better to have around than a bunny, which one finds in most CARROT stories).

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sharon Schamber Trunk Show

Yesterday I attended the monthly meeting of the Phoenix Modern Quilt Guild.  It was held at Scrapbooks ECT, in Mesa and it was a meeting not to be missed.  The guest speaker of the day was none other than quilt extraordinaire, Sharon Schamber.  Sharon brought with her several BIG suitcases filled with her quilts.  These aren't JUST QUILTS, these are BEST OF SHOW award winning quilts that have hung in national shows all over the country. Many of her quilts have also been published in national quilting magazines.  I just gotta say... the woman makes some AWESOME quilts!

This is the third time I have been privileged enough to see her trunk show.  Her skill and talent is such that you just don't get tired of seeing her stuff.  AND she is one of most down to earth people you'll ever meet.  She is very engaging, funny and sharing.  She has developed several techniques for accomplishing exquisite workmanship in time saving ways and she shares all of her tips and tricks with the audience.  If you ever get a chance to view her trunk show DO IT!

Sharon will be at the Rim Country Roundup Quilt Show in Payson, AZ in October this year.  She is teaching five classes (at very affordable fees) in conjunction with the show.  Here's a great opportunity to learn from one of the best.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

It's Embarrassing!

The first KING size quilt I made, way back when I first started quilting over a dozen years ago, had lived on my bed soooo long that it had become faded.  I had made a LOT of quilts but not another kind size one for my bed.   So, I broke down and did an embarrassing thing.... (I am a QUILTER after all!) I bought a quilt from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  That "store bought" quilt lived on my bed until it's edges started to fray!  It was time to do something different.  I dug in my UFO pile and found a KING size quilt top that I had never quilted.  Perfect!  I finished it up and put it on the bed.  I shared a post about finishing it here.  That quilt has been living on my bed since it was finished.  It's a dark quilt and I've been in a BRIGHT mood lately and that's probably why this ad from SteinMart spoke to me. 
They came in MANY colors and a KING size was ONLY $30!  I don't have another king size top in the UFO pile and you can't begin to make a quilt for that price.  So here I went again... off to get a "store bought" quilt.  How embarrassing...
This is the one I came home with:

For me it came down to the ORANGE or GREEN.  The orange one won out because the last "store bought" quilt that lived on my bed was green.

AND... the orange one would go well with the PURPLE and BRIGHT GREEN pillows I already had on hand (past store bought bed products).

What do ya think?  The room has a whole different feel and it only cost me 30 bucks.  Someone once told me that I need to use more PRINTS in my d├ęcor but I never know WHAT print to buy so I play it safe.  As for the cat, Jazz... (my apologies to those that aren't cat lovers) she is always quick to HELP with ANY sort of home improvement task.  I really did try to get a picture without her in it but finally gave up after at least 12 shots. 

So, I'm interested in what you think makes an attractive bed:

Does your bed showcase homemade or 'store bought' stuff? 
I do both but would showoff homemade more if I could get it together to have made more than just TWO king size quilts.

Do you change the bedcovering with the seasons, or just when you get tired of it (or it gets tired and frayed)?
Christmas is the one Holiday beds in my house display a quilt for the season.  Sometimes I'll throw one on the bed that's kinda seasonal, like bright orange for summer.

Do you make your bed everyday?
Huh!  I used to make my bed EVERYDAY.  That was back when I was young and full of energy.  Now I do what my husband calls "making it like a bachelor", I just throw the covers up over the pillows.  It only REALLY gets made when I  know company is coming.

Accent pillows.  What's the perfect amount?
My bed rarely shows off accent pillows.  I tend to lean more towards fewer pillows, I mean really... they spend most of the time stacked up on the floor beside the dresser.

Is your style to have sheets that match the quilt?
The most important thing to me is comfort.  I hate trying to sleep on itchy or rough sheets and I'm kinda fussy about them being clean.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Charity Fabric Donation From a far Away Land

In my last post A Midnight Caper of International Proportion I shared with you a tale about a Peace by Piece Quilters volunteer, Jane, who hatched a plan of International Proportion.  Here's the rest of the story:

Once the Midnight Shopping Caper had taken place the charity fabric then had to make it's way from Korea to the USA and then to the Peace by Piece Quilters stash so it could be made into comfort quilts.  So the ring leader in Korea, Jane's daughter Elizabeth, with her sons DJ and Danny loaded the 154 yards of fabric into their suitcases and began the next phase in their generous project.

The flight alone takes about 14 hours.  We all know anytime a person (or fabric) flies the effort includes a few hours of preflight time along with layover hours and then post flight time, sooo this was a major investment of time.  Once in Arizona the three of them, along with Jane, personally delivered the fabric to the location where the Peace by Piece fabric stash is housed where it was welcomed, fondled, and adored by all.

All 154 yards will be on display at the next Peace by Piece Quilters bee to be held on August 1, 2013.  I am sure at that time it will again be fondled and adored by all who are present. 

As little bits and pieces of these cute, FUN, and child friendly fabrics begin to be sewn into comfort quilts all of the Peace by Piece volunteers will be reminded of this International shopping adventure and the generosity of people like Jane and her husband Sam, Elizabeth and her husband, along with DJ and Danny.  The mission of the Peace by Piece quilters continues to become a reality because of generous and warm hearted people who not only donate fabric but also time, talent and dedication to the tasks involved in making comfort quilts for the many children in need of something to hang onto during difficult times in their young lives.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Midnight Caper of International Proportion

During the Peace by Piece Quilters Charity Bee earlier this month a volunteer (Jane) shared an idea with the other volunteers.  If they could raise the money she had a way to purchase quilt shop quality fabric for our charity quilts for about $3 per yard.  Now, that's a statement that will get the undivided attention of a room full of quilters!  Turns out that over the last few years Jane has purchased literally hundreds of yards of fabric at this price.  It's the going rate for fabric in Korea.  Korea!  So how does that work for those of us living in Arizona... USA???   Well, turns out Jane's daughter has lived in Korea with her family for several years and they were getting ready to make a visit to the good ol' USA.  AND they were willing to purchase and bring some of that $3 per yard fabric with them.  By the end of the bee it was amazing how much money the volunteers had handed over for fabric, $186.

Now Jane really enjoys fabric shopping and she had developed a Korea Fabric Shopping System with her daughter and it goes something like this...

The fabric shoppers (that would be Jane's daughter with her husband and sons) arrive at the 'Fabric Market' (as Jane has affectionately dubbed it).  Dongdaemun is a four story facility dedicated to sewers of all kinds.  There are fabric shops for every need from 100% cotton to all kinds of garment and decorator fabrics. There are shops that just carry threads, buttons, zippers or any other need that should arise.

If the family drives a car to the Fabric Market you would have to use a the Car Elevator to get in the parking garage.  You drive your car in an elevator and up it goes to a floor where parking spots are available.  You get out of the parking garage the same way when your shopping trip is over.  Our family, however, chose to take public transportation.

The subway will get them there in no time.

So the daughter finds the fabrics she thinks we'll like.  Son-in-law takes a picture of it with his cell phone and send it to Jane.  Jane texts back with a YAY or NAY.  If it's a YAY piece of fabric she also let's him know how much she wants.

Just to clarify this shopping adventure took place at about midnight USA time.  Korea is around 16 hours ahead of us.  It took us about two hours to pick 50 t0 60 yards of YAY fabric!

While daughter is finding all the cute fabric and son-in-law is taking pictures and texting, the staff of the Happy Quilter fabric shop are cutting our YAY fabrics.  Check out the rolls and piles of fabric behind them!

The first shopping trip netted 120 yards of fabric.  The cost... was 420,000 Won (translated that's $370).  I did say first trip didn't I?  The second trip netted about 60 yards ( about $180).  Most of that yardage from these two shopping trips will be coming to Peace by Piece Quilters.  Jane couldn't resist owning some of it so that will live in her stash.

This is the HAPPY staff of the Happy Quilter shop.  They loved all the money our shopping team left with them.  Check it out... Happy Quilter Mom still has the calculator in her hand.  It doesn't look like they could get another roll of fabric in their store but I bet they could get a few of those stacks a little higher.

So this is where the job of the sons (and a friend) comes in to play.  They get to help carry some of those 120 yards of fabric through the subway to get back home.

They are going to have to hold onto those bags really tight.  All that fabric has a long trip and a BIG job ahead of it.

They will see lots of vendors in the subway selling their wares but the boys will stay focused on those precious bags of fabric.

Danny is still hanging unto his bag while waiting for the subway train.

And big brother DJ is worn out from all that shopping and carrying his bag.

The family has finally made it onto the subway for the trip back home but there is not a seat to be found.  They will be home with their cargo soon.  But that wasn't the end of their adventure.  Mom, DJ and Danny have personally delivered those 180 yards of fabric to Jane's house here in the USA.

The final player in this Midnight Caper is Jane's husband, Sam.  Jane shared with him the difference in the amount of money those Peace by Piece Quilters volunteers donated ($186) and the amount of money all those yards of fabric cost ($556).  Being the awesome man he is, he offered to pay the difference.  That's a lot a dollars!

I'll let you know when all the YAY fabric makes it to the Peace by Piece Quilters closet.