Monday, January 31, 2011

And she's buying a stairway to....

"Cat" Heaven
(I'm posting for and linking to Quiltstory's, Fabric Tuesday...button on my sidebar!)
Finally, I can post this finish. Intended as a Christmas present for my middle son, Erik and his honey Leslie, I didn't get it sent until a week or so after the new year.  So what happens when your Christmas present is 2 weeks late? It becomes an early Valentine's Day gift.  <3 

When I saw this pattern, I knew it was perfect for Erik & Leslie and their little mini zoo!  Their cats, Butch and Bruce share their home with an assortment of the moment Steve, the snake and (oops, I can't remember the name) a cute little gecko.  Erik loves his kitties and well, Leslie is working on her Wildlife Biology degree at Oregeon State University (go beavers!!).  A former pet shop employee, she had the tendency to bring work home with her.   ; )

Anyway, the pattern is by McCalls and is called Stairway to Cat Heaven.  The cats are hand appliqued and the moon is machine appliqued.  (Machine applique was way too stressful for me so I am sticking with the hand sewing.)

Here's the blocks in the stairway showing those things cats love....

Yarn, or any kind of stringy toy...
Gold fish for toying with...and what's left of dinner fish....
And in their world...geckos....
 And of course leaving their love prints all over everything!
Anyway, they love the quilt and are supposed to be sending me pics of them with it....and the whole brood....we'll see!!  In the meantime, here's a few more shots.  Too bad you can't see all the colors in person.  I was SO pleased with how it turned out!!
The backing fabric is cat paw prints...
And the binding is made from the starry night sky fabric.

I had a great time choosing the fabric and putting it all together. A fun project that I'm very proud of!

Hope you are having a FANTASTIC  fabric tuesday!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What happened to January?

First of all, I'm in shock that Monday is the last day in January.  Seems like yesterday was the first.  As always it's been nonstop at work. I was SO looking forward to this weekend with plans for sewing and a nice dinner with friends to celebrate my birthday.  So OF COURSE, I wake up saturday morning with a killer sore throat and headache. From then on, nothing seemed to go as planned. Dinner was postponed and even though I had lots of home alone time to sew, the quilt I started working on just isn't turning the way I saw it in my head.  So, no great progress photos.

Instead, I'll finally do a  follow up to the 2  block swaps I'm in.  Below are the sneak peeks of my January blocks I posted before I mailed them..  The swaps have been fun and I'm glad I joined. 

Now that they've been received, here's the completed blocks with their names and source.  The block on the left was created from fabric sent to all members for our Let's Bee Together swap by Linda.  I just needed to come up with a suitable block pattern.  The block on the right was made for my partner Robin, in Block Swap Adventure. She asked for the colors aqua, red and white so I used my Bliss fabric and this pinwheel type block I found in a book I had.  I think they were both happy with them..

Borrow & Lend
Quilter's Cache

Whirling Star
By Beth Donaldson

And here's the block I received from my partner in BSA.  I asked for ocean colors and a specific pinwheel block from quilter's cache.  Robin did an awesome job.  I love the teal blue and aren't those turtles cute?

I did manage to work on my lighthouse embroidery a bit last night but I'll wait to show photos when they're a bit further along. 

In the meantime....tomorrow's monday...again....hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Happy Slam

Most of you know I'm a tennis fan and if you aren't, you may not know that the tennis "season" runs pretty much all year with many tournaments around the world.

The 4 major tournaments are called 'slams'.  The Australian Open in January, the French Open in May, Wimbledon in June, and the US Open in August. 

So, currently play is winding down to the final rounds in the Australian Open, commonly referred to as the "happy slam" due to the colorful, wild and crazy OZ fans and heated fun of the Australian summer.  In keeping with my love of "themes", I dedicate this One Flower Wednesday to the HAPPY SLAM.
 Roger, as always, coordinating attire with tournament colors!
Even the towels look happy!

On a closing note, Roger Federer is definitely my favorite player, but there ARE others I enjoy watching.  It is a fun sport (with a lot of geometry just like in quilting) and I can't wait til the sun returns and I can get back out there on the court!  I've always loved it and have fond memories of friends and family and good times hittin' a few balls around. 

Hope you're having a Happy Wednesday!

P.S.  Almost forgot, ...caught one of my Calculus students working on a project for another class with these cute little foam animal stickers...she wanted me to have one...look what I chose.... orange kangaroo! Perfect for my Happy Slam!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Busy B

Literally, I've been busy sewing and have finishes for my online bee and swap.  I posted these sneak peeks on both sites, since one is in the mail and the other will go out tomorrow.  Will have full pics by the end of the week. 

And as if....I needed another project, after noticing quite a bit of embroidery going on around the blogs I visit, I decided to stitch up some lighthouse blocks. Hoping to coordinate with some of the ocean colored blocks I requested from my Block Swap Adventure partners.

Here is a rough draft (emphasis on "rough") of what I'll be doing. I have to practice my embroidery as I am quite rusty! For this practice swatch I quickly traced one of the patterns onto a scrap of muslin and dove in.

Now I am ready for the real deal.  And better yet, I got my mom involved.  She does awesome, meticulous embroidery and I'm excited to see how her lighthouses turn out too.

And finally, I will start cutting into this ....

to begin my next gift quilt...I found the perfect pattern this morning!!

Happy sewing!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rally for Relief - Australian Open

Been looking forward to the Australian Open to see Roger Federer and many other favorite tennis players in the coming week.
But before it gets started, as always Roger reaches out to get involved in an effort to raise money for the flood victims there, called Rally for Relief. Here's a link with some details.
I'll be watching on the Tennis Channel tonight and donating online when I get more details.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mad Hatter Hexie

Have you seen the movie Alice in Wonderland? The one with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter? I finally watched it one evening while on winter break and although it's not my usual genre, I really enjoyed it. A fun (quirky & wierd) adventure!  I really loved the Mad Hatter's character creating the hats, trying to please the Red Queen with her huge oversized head.  In one scene he's sewing on an old crank machine and it looks like his fingers either have thimbles on them or are taped up from being poked.  Awww...  Anyway, the reason I bring it up here is, sometimes I run out of creative ideas so I use my random interests to guide me.  (Especially after my last post...10 hexies, needed some more inspiration!)

So this week when I sat down to choose colors for my flower I decided to use the Mad Hatter as my focus. And here's what I came up with.  (Of course, the colors in real life reflect the picture a bit more closely!)

I like it and the fact it will always remind me of my favorite parts of that movie.  Oh, in the end of the movie The Hatter is involved in a sword fight and gets a little tangled face to face with the enemy.  So he quickly pulls a pin from his finger pincusion  to poke the opposition in the eye. (OWEEE!)

Anyway,  the sewing references made it all the more entertaining for me.

Happy One Flower Wednesday!
-Til next time,

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back in the Swing

First day back at work today was pretty exhausting although it went fairly smoothly.  I know it has to be, but I sure miss the life of leisure I had for the 2 week winter break.  Not only that, the temperature dropped suddenly and it was freezing out there this morning...and all day. Ugh, not used to that here in Cali. But, I'm wrapped up in my Mint Chip quilt now and am enjoying the evening with my feet up thinking about all the prospects the new year brings.

First off, as I was thinking about New Year's resolutions, I ran across this over at Charming Chatter.  The idea is to come up with a focus word for the year.  Interestingly enough, it wasn't difficult for me to select a word because I have the same resolve as last year and that is to keep BALANCE in my life.  I always feel better if I keep a healthy balance between work and home.  And balance goes hand in hand with variety.  I have an obsessive personality and tend to get too focused on one thing and let it drown out everything else. So I have to work at filling my time with a variety of activities and balance out the time I spend with them.  So my resolution is to continue to find variety and
On the quilting front, I'm taking on some bee's and swaps and BOM's (links on my sidebar), in addition to my ongoing quilting projects.

Roger Federer

 I'm still following my favorite tennis pro and will get back out on the tennis court myself once the weather permits. 

I plan to travel to Oregon to visit my boys sometime in February, maybe take a ride over to the coast while I'm there (haven't seen the beach in a while) ...

...and my friend and I will be taking a piano class through our local junior college community education program soon. 

I'm back to reading a little every night and enjoying favorite T.V. shows and movies here and there!!

That's where I'm starting my year and will continue to add to it as I go.  2011 is off to a great start. Hope yours is too.
P.S.  So even if you're not linking to Word Up, leave me a comment and tell me your WORD!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Day of Firsts!

What a way to start the New Year.  I DID IT!  For the first time EVER, I did some free motion quilting on a real quilt (not for practice this time)!  And I'm feeling pretty proud of myself, especially for a first try.  It was a bit stressful at first but I decided to dive right in to the New Year with a new technique.  Of course, I'm posting some sneak peeks so you can see what I'm so excited about.
 So basically, it's a meandering  looping  doodle!
Around and between the kitties (above and below).
Not too bad for a beginner, eh?
Oh and below is the back.  (Like the paw print fabric?)
And the best thing about all this is...I can FINALLY bind it and it will be FINISHED.  I'm going to try to have it all done by tonight so it will count as my first quilt of 2011, finished on 01/01/11.  Cheers!