Wednesday, July 30, 2008

4SQS Summer Quilt Received!

It's been great fun getting so much crafty mail the past few weeks. The latest addition to my growing collection is this gorgeous little quilt that I received as part of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. This quilt came to North Carolina all the way from Germany (!), where Gabriele designed it especially for me. I think this picture captures the quilt in all its summery goodness, but let me assure you that it is even more beautiful in person and the workmanship on it is enviable. Am I lucky or what?

She even put a sleeve on the back for hanging it. I must learn how to do that!

Thanks SO much, Gabriele! This quilt will be cherished.

Gabriele also sent 3 big bags of authentic German gummi bears, one for each of my kids. What a great treat! Ummm, they didn't last long enough to get a picture. Little did she know that anything gummi is a favorite at our house.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rocketship Fabric

A lot of people have asked where they can find the rocketship fabric that I used in this quilt. Seems it's pretty hard to find. But I just came across a fat quarter bundle (very similar to the ones I used to make the quilt) for sale on Spool's website.

Looks like a great store -- check it out!

ALQS Quilt Received!

I just realized that it's been a couple of weeks since I received this beautiful little quilt from Kate's Another Little Quilt Swap and I've been remiss in publicly thanking Solidia for making it for me (I did thank her privately as soon as I received it). ALQS was my first quilt swap and everyone welcomed me with open arms. You might even say it was my "gateway drug" into the world of swapping.

I had a great time and hope to participate in the second round. It hasn't been announced yet, but if you want to play be sure to bookmark this site.

Thanks again for this great little quilt, Solidia. It will have a very happy home here!

Monday, July 28, 2008

My Craftster Group

I had been checking Craftster out for the past few months but never actively participated in any of the swaps. In particular, I enjoyed following the Lap Quilt Swap group. In this swap, participants select and purchase their own fabrics for a full-sized quilt and send cut pieces of it up to 11 other people in their group to make blocks out of. At the same time, you receive packets of fabrics from all of those people to make a block for them -- you get to choose whatever block pattern you want to make, based on any preferences that the swapper provides. It's kind of like those great virtual quilting bees (like this one and this one) that I love to follow.

I was lucky enough to see that the latest incarnation, Lap Quilt Swap III, was open a few weeks back. Without much hesitation I jumped right in. I wanted 2 of the 36 slots, putting me in 2 groups of 12 people each, and I think I got the last two spots (or close to it!).

So when all is said and done, I will be receiving 22 blocks made of the fabric I picked out (Amy Butler's Midwest Modern in greens and blues along with some of her new coordinating solids) ... and along with 2 I will make myself, I'll have enough to make a 24-block quilt. And at the same time, I'll be making 22 blocks for other people.

Our deadline for mailing out our own fabrics isn't even until August 1st, but my fellow swappers wasted no time in getting started! Almost immediately following the email containing the names and addresses of my fellow swappers, packages of fantastically selected fabrics started showing up at my door.

Here's some of what I've been up to ...

Block 1 for SewHelpMe:

You may recognize the pattern as the Designer Mystery Block pattern I blogged about a few posts back. I really like that pattern because of the way it can showcase several different fabrics.

Block 2 for SewHelpMe:

I got this pattern off of Quilter's Cache. It's called "Box Quilt".

The thing I really enjoy about this swap is being able to work with so many different fabrics. I've always admired the "City Girl" line of fabrics but never bit the bullet to buy some. That's why I loved making SewHelpMe's two blocks above.

Here's a block for glittergirl94:

I gave her a hard time about having to work with fabric that had bras all over it. I guess people are still getting used to having a guy around! ; )

Here's a block for BertaBerta:

I couldn't resist using a lantern pattern to highlight that great koi fabric.

And here are two blocks that I've already received back from the swap. Like I said, these girls are fast. And good. There's a lot of paper piecing going on in this group (which I don't do, but may be inspired to try). Check out how beautiful these blocks are:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Quilt-a-Long | Almost Done!

Crazy Mom Amanda Jean's star quilt-a-long is coming to an end! I'm glad that I was able to keep up (most of the time) and I'm really happy with how all of my blocks came out, but I am sad to see it come to an end. I am not sure what Amanda Jean has up her sleeve, but I sure hope this isn't the last group activity. I've learned and accomplished so much, and I can't wait to see what's next. If you missed out this time, or you've been sitting on the fence (like I did for the first quilt-a-long), I encourage you to jump right in next time!

I've been catching up on some blocks:

Week 12's block:

Week 13's block:

And week 5's block from the first quilt-a-long:

This brings my grand total to 24 blocks ... just one more to make before I begin assembling the top! I haven't decided what my last block will be. I may repeat one of the stars ... or pick one of the 2 blocks that I haven't made yet from QAL1 ... or I might even go "off the grid" and make a rogue block of my own choosing. Stay tuned to see what I decide ... ... ..

As always, here's the mosaic to show what my quilt top might look like:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Recent Pictures

I realized that my blog has been devoid of any family pictures lately. I decided to bring some humanity back to the blog! Here are some random shots from the past few weeks:

We're off to Charleston, SC to attend a cousin's wedding. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Quilt Mix Playlist

(some of my current faves)

You may remember that as part of my giveaway, I sent the lucky winners a mix CD of some of my current favorite songs to listen to while sewing or otherwise relaxing in the evenings. Some people have asked me to share the playlist, so here it is!

The idea for a CD quickly grew to 3 CD's worth of music once I started picking songs. I ended up editing it down to just 2. Here's what the lucky recipients received:

Disc 1

"Make It Mine" - Jason Mraz
"Pocketful of Sunshine" - Natasha Bedingfield
"Life in a Northern Town (Live)" - Sugarland, Little Big Town, and Jake Owen
"Dreaming With a Broken Heart" - John Mayer
"Only You" - Josh Kelley
"Morningside" - Sara Bareilles
"Coyotes" - Jason Mraz
"Say (All I Need)" - OneRepublic
"Between the Lines" - Sara Bareilles
"New Deep" - John Mayer
"Bubbly" - Colbie Caillat
"1973" - James Blunt
"Live High" - Jason Mraz
"When the Stars Go Blue" - The Corrs
"All We Are" - OneRepublic
"Why Georgia" - John Mayer
"Love Song" - Sara Bareilles
"You Are a Part of Everything" - Josh Kelley
"Apologize" - OneRepublic featuring Timbaland

Disc 2

"If I Never See Your Face Again" - Maroon 5 featuring Rihanna
"Mercy" - Duffy
"I'm Yours" - Jason Mraz
"Many the Miles" - Sara Bareilles
"Lost In This Moment" - Big & Rich
"Baby" - Angie Stone
"Everybody Wants You" - Josh Kelley
"Lucky" - Jason Mraz featuring Colbie Caillat
"Stop and Stare" - OneRepublic
"You Wanted It" - MoZella
"Bring It On Home" - Little Big Town
"Clarity" - John Mayer
"I'm With The Band" - Little Big Town
"Love Me Like the World Is Ending" - Ben Lee
"Realize" - Colbie Caillat
"Butterfly" - Jason Mraz
"Say" - John Mayer
"Love On The Rocks" - Sara Bareilles
"Almost Honest" - Josh Kelley

All songs are available on iTunes. I should know -- I practically sign half of my paycheck over to Apple!

Man, I could have easily kept going.

I hope that by doing this I introduce my winners (and all of you!) to some new music that you might not otherwise have listened to. Enjoy!

So what do you like to listen to while crafting?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New (& Old) Quilt-a-Long Blocks

I finally finished week 10's block (after having to totally redo the interior pinwheel due to a cutting error):

You can't really tell from the picture, but the color of that fish fabric is really great. It's a very vivid aquamarine. I think it will add a nice touch to the finished quilt. And because the terrible pictures from my last post were seriously bothering me, I took some new ones:

Not that they're much better, really.

Here are all of my blocks so far:

Only 4 more blocks to go!

And finally, just because I got a better picture of it, the first week of the Designer Mystery BOM (again):


Check out this upcoming fabric line. Isn't it beautiful? I've never purchased a fat quarter set of an entire line, but this one might just be on my Christmas list.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Some More Blocks

I've been able to work on a few more blocks lately. The first two are from Amanda Jean's quilt-a-long. Here's week 11's block. (In case you're wondering where week 10's block is, I made it but it's back in the shop for some minor repairs and a tune-up. I hope to have it done soon, like today or tomorrow.)

And here's week 9's block from the first quilt-a-long. Boy, these pictures did not come out well at all.

Finally, I made the first block from the Fat Quarter Shop's Designer Mystery Block of the Month. It uses the "Peace on Earth" fabrics by 3 Sisters for Moda. I really like the way this came out -- the block is fairly simple but creates a really nice effect. And the fabrics are great, too. I can't wait to see next month's block.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Another Award! Thanks!

Thanks to Ann, Julia, Katie and Gene for presenting me with the Brillante Weblog award! I really appreciate all of the nice words and thoughts that are generated by having this blog and sharing my creativity with all of you. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

Here are the rules:
1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.
2. Link to the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links to those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you have nominated.

Of course, there are lots of deserving recipients, but for this round I'll nominate my four giveaway winners and three other blogs I enjoy reading:
  1. Rebekah at don't call me becky dot com
  2. Tine at Sodeste
  3. Tracy from Scrap Happy Quilts
  4. Elizabeth from French Village Life (even though it looks like she's won one already!)
  5. LisaJo at the Black Bear Cabin
  6. Dee at BubbaChic
  7. Anina from Twiddletails, who inspired my fabric selections for the quilt-a-long

Disclaimer -- please feel free to participate or not participate, as you so choose! No pressure here. But thanks for reading all the same!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Wow -- 135 entries for my little giveaway! I am truly blown away. To be honest, I was expecting 30, maybe 40 responses. Thanks to all readers, both old and new, who visited my blog and left me such nice comments.

I just visited to select the winners. I was planning on showing screen shots, but I can't seem to get the screen shots to work. I promise that this is legit ... Scout's honor! selected the following numbers: 8, 51, 106, and 43. Now let me go see who the lucky winners are ...

#8: Tine
"The bags are beautiful!!! I would be so proud to call one of these my own! So PLEASE enter me in your very very generous giveaway!They are all wonderful, and I think my favourite is the blue and brown..."

Congrats, Tine! The blue and brown bag (my favorite) will be coming to live with you! So the first of my bags will be traveling all the way to Denmark. Where will the next bag go ... ?

#51: Tracy
"WOW! These are amazing! So happy! What a wonderful gift these would be! Hard to say which one is my favorite....please enter me in your giveaway and keep up the inspiring work!"

It's your lucky day, Tracy! Since you didn't specify a preference, would it be OK if the pink bag came to live with you in sunny California?

#106: Elizabeth
"Well, with 104 comments, there cant be much hope of winning your lovely giveaway! I do love the blue flutterby!I'm a quilter in France, how nice to see a male stitcher. I found you through Ann of En belle France, who doesnt live far `away from me, and one day we may meet to swap fabric."

Congratulations, Elizabeth ... o ye of little faith! I'm so happy to see one of my bags flying across the pond to France. Sorry, Elizabeth, but the blue Flutterby bag is already spoken for. How about the blue & green Ginger Blossom bag? P.S. Please say "hi" to Ann for me!
(I know that from her post, it sounds like Elizabeth was comment #105, but if you look at the time stamps, I think Boo just beat her to the "post" button!)

#43: Rebekah
"cute bags! I love them all, but especially the green and blue varieties : )"

OK, Rebekah ... the green Flutterby bag will be on its way to you shortly! From reading your blog, I would have picked this one out for you anyway! : )

Congratulations, ladies! Please email me your mailing addresses at and I'll be sure to send these as soon as I can ... well, as soon as I make those mix CD's!

(Speaking of the mix CD's, I've started pulling songs that I want to put on the CD, and I've already pulled enough music to fill THREE CD's!! Self-editing is always the toughest part.)

Wow, this was a lot of fun. I had a great time reading everyone's comments, and I tried to respond to everyone if you left your email address visible. Hmmmm ... I think I'd better start planning my 100 post giveaway now -- I'll have to top myself!

Finally, because no post is complete without pictures (and because several people have asked), here are the most recent pics of Clancy:

FSQS Progress

First of all, I am overwhelmed (and, quite frankly, shocked!) by the amazing turnout for my giveaway! Thanks to everyone for stopping by and leaving such nice comments. It sounds like the bags are a big hit! I may just have to make some more for a future giveaway. The giveaway is still open -- I'll be picking numbers at about 9PM EST tonight ... that gives people about 9 more hours to enter.

On a separate note, I finished piecing together the top for my Four Seasons Quilt Swap quilt last night. I really like how it came out. Fits the summery theme, don't you think?

The pattern is called "Bay Breeze" and it's in the Summer 2008 issue of "BH&G Quilts and more".

See that striped piping around the border? That was tricky. It's a 3/4" strip of fabric folded in half, sewn on separately to the top, and then the borders sewn on top of it (and you have to cover the seams). Make sense? I've seen them called "peepers" online before.

Anyhow, working on such a small piece was tough. A lot of the piping got lost in the seam allowance.

OK, for all you eagle-eyed "Where's Waldo" fans out there, there is a bit of a blunder in this quilt. Can you spot it? I worried after making the mistake that it would no longer be "swap-worthy", but I think it's still OK. For you other FSQS swappers out there, what do you think?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My First Giveaway!

As I mentioned in my last post, in celebration of my 50th post -- and as a big THANK YOU to everyone for your support, kind words, and assistance when needed -- I've decided to host my first giveaway! People suggested some great ideas for giveaway items (fabric, FQ's, magazines, candy, etc.) but I decided I also wanted to MAKE something as part of the giveaway. And that's why my blog's been so quiet this past week!

Let me start by saying that I am not a bag maker. That is certainly my wife's forte. But I had a stack of fat quarters that I was loving and had been contemplating working them in to one of my swaps this summer that I was instead inspired to turn into a set of small drawstring bags. They are from a great (& quick) Amy Butler pattern and have become our "go-to" gift when we need something quickly.

And here they are!

Hope you like them! And yes, they will be filled with goodies ... which may or may not include a chocolate Tar Heel, Sequana! ; ) I've also been grooving to some great new music while working on these, and was inspired to include a mix CD with each of the bags. (I LOVE making mix CD's, by the way).

So here's how I am going to do this. Simply leave me a comment on this post anytime between now and Thursday 7/10. I'll draw numbers and names at about 9PM EST, so spread the word and tell all of your friends! Oh, and if you have a preference on which of the four is your favorite, let me know ... I can't promise anything, but as I pull the names in order I'll try to honor preferences. Sound OK?

#1: Green Flutterby

#2: Pink Ginger Blossom

#3: Blue Flutterby (my personal favorite)

#4: Blue Ginger Blossom