Monday, June 28, 2010

Orange they great?

I have one friend who tells me that orange is her favorite color.  Another swears she hates the color.  My sister gravitates toward any shade of the color so much that I practically associate peach with her name! I know how this Baltimore Oriole likes the orange I put out for him to eat everyday. Well, no matter what your opinion of the 'not to be ignored' color, I'm sure you will agree that these last two quilts for New Hope Homes are lovely indeed!
Vicki and her 11 year old daughter, Kayla, worked together on this winner!  Vicki is a fairly new quilter and this was her first attempt at paper-piecing.  The butterflies are so incredible  and her color combination of chocolate, aqua and yellow-orange is striking. This is also Vicki's first attempt at machine quilting and what a fabulous job she did.  The binding was sewn together by Kayla from short scraps leftover from the blocks.  C-U-T-E! I'd say Vicki has another budding quilter living under her roof!
Lula even wore her orange crocs to help me get a picture of this modern sampler made by Joni. There are some fabulous fabrics in this quilt in corals, brown, sage, teal and gold.  The backing fabric of birds and nests is very, very wonderful. 

I've had fun photographing each and every quilt going to the children at the orphanage.  What a privilege it has been to spend time sewing with these quilting buddies.  I wish that I could hop on the plane and hand deliver the quilts to the kids along with a hug. Instead, I'll say a prayer for them and hope that they feel loved when they wrap themselves in these gifts.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Susan's Quilts

Whew!  That's a big pile of quilted love!  And they are almost ready to be packed into a trunk and flown to some sweet children in Rwanda. But before they go, I want to show you the quilts that Susan and her mom, Roberta, made for the New Hope Homes.
Susan used some black/bright four patch blocks that she had on hand from a block swap to  make this bundle of scrap loveliness. This is one of those quilts that you can just sit and stare at for a long time, taking in all the fabrics!
With more of those black/bright four patches to use up, Susan did a simple quilt by adding  a cute yellow polka dot, It's amazing how different it looks from the first quilt.
 Sick of the four patch blocks, she found a fun animal print and paired it with other brights and lime green rectangles for her third lap quilt. What kid wouldn't love getting such fun!
Susan and her mom, who lives in California,  share a love of quilting. Whenever they get together you can be certain that a quilt top is going to be in the works.  When Roberta heard about our effort to make quilts for the orphanage, she sent this darling quilt home with Susan on her last visit.
Tomorrow, I plan to show you the last two quilts for New Hope Homes. And then on Wednesday, a special posting of all the quilts "hanging out" together. I'm so excited to show you.....stay tuned!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Print, Peel, Stick

Thirty quilt labels is quite a few to make and sew on.  What to do?.  What to do? I need something quick, easy and durable. Something with three easy steps would be good!  Linda posted about making computer generated labels recently.  I decided to give it a try. Here's what I did...................... 
Armed with a 40% off coupon, I visited my local JoAnn Etc. for some Printed Treasures products as Linda suggested on her blog, Flourishing Palms. I found several kinds available. She suggested a sew in variety I discovered when I got back home.  Oops!  I got the wrong kind.  Well, I decided to try it anyway even though the instructions inside said NOT Machine Washable! I reasoned that was only because the variety I purchased was not meant to be sewn on like I was wanting to do. 
Not having the computer program that Linda suggested, I next surfed the Net for a clip art image that I thought would work for my purposes.  I chose a watermark image that I could put words on top of.  Because I couldn't figure out how to make multiples of the image onto one page, I just taped 6 copies together and used that as my original to photocopy. Hey, whatever works, right!
I was a little worried that the fabric covered sheets might not go through my printer very well. But, had no problems there.  So far, so good.  Then I discovered that I didn't have enough sheets to make all 30 labels.  Back to JoAnn's with another coupon. I decided this time to get the sew in kind that Linda suggested.  Back home again, I found that my printer hated this type and refused to do anything buy flash "error" at me.  Back at the store for the third time, I was able to exchange the package out for the "wrong kind"  and print out more labels.
Ok.  So, I printed, peeled and stuck a label on one quilt to test my theory that they really were  machine washable as long as I also top stitched around the outside. (Guess I really should have done that before I printed off all the labels, huh?)  Here's the final result after a run through the washer and dryer. Whew!  It worked. Today we will be labeling all the quilts for the kids.
Here's the front side of the labeled quilt.  It is the first mystery quilt that I made with Bonnie Hunter. It got me hooked on those online mystery quilts for several years.  I'm happy to share it with one of the kids at New Hope Homes.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Robin's Quilts

Some quilters just have a knack for putting colors together effortlessly.  My friend, Robin Askins, is the gal to call when you are stumped with fabric selection. And that is just what you can do if you happen by Harpers Fabric and Quilt Company in downtown Overland Park, Kansas where Robin is a teacher and quilt designer. Her friendly manner and fabric sense will lead you to ask for her every time you enter the store. What a thrill that Robin has graciously donated five of her lovely creations to our New Hope Home effort! Take a look before they fly off to Africa...............
                                   Wowsers!  Sensational Spots!!!!
                                       Oh, my!  Cute as a Button Squares!!
                         I love a Bug In a Jar and Few Lizards, too!  Ooops....Some escaped!
                                             Hot Ziggity Zag, this is lovely!
Circles of Love for a baby girl!

Thank you, Robin, for sharing your beautiful quilts around the world!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lolly's House

There's always a lot of quilting going on at Lolly's house. But lately, it has been so crazy, I admit it might be over the top.  It's enough to make even the best grandchildren cringe at the word QUILT! There seems to be a blanket on every available surface, just waiting to be shipped off to Africa.
Like today, on the rocker out by the sandbox...............What's this?  Oh, that's just the  mystery quilt that I made 10 years ago with my friend, Jan.  She made one just like it.  Wonder where hers is?  Mine has never been used so I decided to include it in the stack destined for New Hope Homes. I thought Jan might never speak to me again after all those tiny flying geese.  But she did.  And we've made many "friendship" quilts since. (I'll show them to you sometime.)
Oh, my goodness. Is that what I think it is draped on Grandad's trailer? Yep, that's the quilt that Megan put together using four patches that I got in a Quilt Guild swap about 5 years ago! It's going to the orphanage as well.
A quilt on a canoe? No wonder the kids are making faces! But wait.....It looks so cute draped there.  I couldn't resist.  Vicki made this wonderful, bright lap quilt using a pattern from a magazine. She machine quilted it herself.  As a new quilter, she told me that she is learning something new with every project she does.  Isn't that what we all hope for?

Well, I better get back to the kids.  You never know what kind of mischief they can get into when Lolly is preoccupied with quilts!
                                          Ooops!  Was I supposed to be watching them?
                                                                 Better go now!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Deb's Eye Candy!

Deb is a school nurse who loves to quilt with some of her friends.  It's been fun to get to know her during our Quilts4Hope sewing days, creating quilts to send to Rwanda.  Deb was able to finish two bright and colorful quilts that I know the children are going to adore.  Working with scraps she had on hand (some from her grandmother) and some lively additions, she not only pieced the quilts but machine quilted them as well, using her friend's Pfaff with a built in walking foot. These are her first attempts at machine sweet of her to share the great results with kids she's never met!  Take a look at these fun creations.................
 I love the way she added the solid orange squares among the bars to make a place for your eyes to land.  The bright colors are bordered in a dark blue which frames everything well.

When I look at this quilt I think of Starburst candy, don't you?

Can you even believe that she tackled an Ocean Waves pattern for donation?
I love it when quilters do their best work for someone in need! I'm such a believer in that.
I keep imagining a child's eyes just lighting up when they receive this colorful quilt!

Somebody else's eyes are looking  pretty bright as well! Sorry, it's not a horse blanket, Blackie!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blueberry Bars

Mmm.....blueberries.  So good, and so good for you!
I finished this bar quilt yesterday....destined for New Hope Homes.  I've been working on it a while as a Leader/Ender project using scraps from my stash.

The quilting went fast; doing loops in the bars and a squiggle down each white strip. I bound it in an orange stripe that I had in my stash.  Did you notice the few orange slices scattered among the blueberries?

I have a special helper today. We're feeling sorta hungry now for some blueberry dessert!  Here's an easy recipe that you just gotta try...........

1 can crushed pineapple (20 oz)
3 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 box dry yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup pecans
1/4 cup sugar
Layer ingredients in order into a 13X9 pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Yummy topped with ice cream or cool whip.....or not!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Charm Pack Quilt

I love a great charm pack, don't you? At usually around $8 each, they are a cheap thrill for me to indulge in some material obsession , get the entire designer's line, and start a quilt project with some of the cutting already done! There are whole quilt books dedicated to clever ways to use the 5 inch squares. In Megan's simple quilt, the charms get the attention they deserve, surrounded by 2 inch strips in a "Square in a Square" pattern. There are so many fun ways that "Square in a Square" can be interpreted making it an easy quilt for the beginning quilter and a way for the expert to have a quick design challenge as well.
Last night, I finished up the binding on both of these quilts destined for  New Hope Homes.
I do love, love, love a stripy binding.  Megan's quilt is bound in an Amy Butler stripe I've had in my stash for a while.  The pink and black quilt is bound in a fun Brother and Sister stripe that I found at Hobby Lobby.  I like the way that the lime and grey in the stripe accent all the pink and black loveliness.
Have you tried pre-wound bobbins? I love them for machine quilting. You know how much thread it takes up and these pre-wound babies help relieve the annoying need to change out the bobbin so often. I was running low on my favorite brand (Admiral) and so gave these MasterPiece bobbins a try.  The sales clerk at a LQS told me that these were the cream of the crop and I went home so excited. Maybe it's just my machine, but I've never had bobbin thread shred until using these: Big disappointment. I think I will try to return the rest of the 20 bobbins I purchased. If you use pre-wound bobbins, I'd love to hear about your favorite brand.

I decided to change it up a bit yesterday  and catch up on my virtual sewing bee blocks  instead of working entirely on donation quilts. Kelly sent some fabric scraps and invited us to add in some of our own to make these 10.5 inch blocks plus a siggy block. Here's her inspiration. I may have to try one of these myself using Leaders/Enders sometime.
Last, but not least, while shopping for the bobbins I couldn't resist this cutie pie.  I'm such a sucker for birds! I'm envisioning a little summer sundress for one of my granddaughters, with scraps left over for.......whatever!!
*edited in embarrassment because due to "operator error" the real reason that the MasterPiece bobbins were such a disappointment is all my own fault!  I got to thinking about it and decided that maybe I should try just putting the entire bobbin with the cardboard sides and all into the bobbin case to see what happened.  Voila! It worked like a charm!  With the other bobbins, I have been removing the cardboard sides for the best tension. Okay, maybe these really are the "cream of the crop"!  I stand corrected.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Next Generation

When my daughter, Megan, was a little girl we sometimes did sewing projects together. She was quick to learn to use the sewing machine, actually pushing the foot pedal to the floor.  Her normal speed was "fast"! At eleven, Megan made her first quilt, picking out Amish colored solids to fashion a simple nine patch.  The second quilt came a good ten years later, in college......a plaid flannel rag quilt. Now a mommy, expecting her second child in a few months, Megan is proving herself to be "her mother's daughter"....the next generation of quilter. Megan has designed and pieced a twin quilt for little Lula to use when she moves to a "big girl" bed. Yesterday, guess who was learning to machine quilt?
I use a Juki machine on a Grace quilting frame to quilt most of my quilts.  Today Megan practiced on one of the Rwanda Quilts (which she also pieced). She still loves to put the pedal to the floor (or hand, in this case)!
The "cursive e" design is something Megan thought of and I think it is a wonderful first pattern for machine quilting.  It was smooth and easy and really cute when finished. I'll have to add this to my list of overall quilting designs. 
I love having my daughter as my quilting buddy!  It makes me really happy!!  Great job, Meg!