Tuesday, October 30, 2012

10 Minute Block - Bright Baby Quilt

Here is a baby quilt that I made for my cousin Michael and his wife, Kristen:

As you can tell by the colors, they do not know what they are having.  So I decided to make a bright and neutral baby quilt for them.  This is the same quilt block that I used to make the pillow from this post, but I folded the edges over for a curved edge or cathedral window look.  I hand sewn the inside edge to help it lay flat (yes, I used a needle and thread ~ no sewing machine).  I placed the blocks so the center of the quilt was focusing on the yellow squares.  I really liked how this came out!

Quilting this quilt stumped me!  Usually, I stitch in the ditch along the block squares making a grid but I could not do that with this quilt pattern.  So I went through my supplies and pulled out some quilting stencils that I bought in Lancaster, PA two years ago.  Perfect!  Here is a close up of the center:

Here is the quilting stencil that I used for the border:

Using stencils was much easier than I thought!  I think next time I will not use the walking foot but I would use the stimpling foot and drop the feet on my sewing machine to do it more freely.  Also, I used a washable marker to mark my stencils so I had to wash the quilt after it was done to remove it.  My neighbor, Denise, told me about a marker that she bought at the quilt store in town that comes off with heat from the iron.  I bought one on my way to dinner on Sunday!  I can't wait to try it!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Short-Straw Bride - Karen Witemeyer

Summary from GoodReads: No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.

Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.

Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?

Meredith Hayes warns the Archers of impending danger to their property.  When her uncle discovers that she is there due to an injury she incurred, he insists that one of the Archer men must marry her to save her reputation.  The Archer men have only been living on their property since their father passed away and do not leave it, ever.  So as rugged men would make a decision, they draw straws to see how marries her.  Meredith has been in love with Travis since he rescued her back when she was younger.  It would be a dream come true to marry him.  Will she marry Travis?  Will he grow to love her the way that she loves him?  Will this ever become a real marriage?

I totally enjoyed this book by Karen Witemeyer!  The characters are well defined and believable.  I could feel the emotions of Meredith and could not help but fall for Travis myself!  According to Karen, this is not the last we have seen of the Archer family.  I am looking forward to reading more about them, especially of Crockett and Jim and Cassie!  Thanks Karen for a very enjoyable read!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Transportation Quilt

Here is a quilt that was a special order:

A co-worker ordered it for her 7 year old nephew.  I did something different and made it sort of scrappy.  All the block have the same colors but different fabrics.  I used the leftover fat quarters to piece a scrappy binding and the bigger pieces of fabric were pieced for the backing.  I love how it came out, nice and bright!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Remember - Karen Kingsbury

Summary from GoodReads: The Redemption series won "Christian Retailing"'s 2005 Retailer's Choice Award for Best Series Convinced she could make it on her own, Ashley Baxter has kept the most important people in her life at a distance-her family, the man who loves her, and the God she is sure can never forgive her. Now, just as she begins to open her heart, the events of September 11 rip into Ashley's world and she is led to heartbreaking and hope-filled decisions that will forever change her life. This story vividly illustrates that we must value others more than ourselves, and it drives home one of Gary Smalley's key messages: Honor one another.

"Remember" is second in the five-book Redemption series by Gary Smalley and Karen Kingsbury that centers around the Baxter family. As readers follow the hopes and struggles of the family, they will explore key relationship themes as well as the larger theme of redemption, both in characters' spiritual lives and in their relationships. Each book includes study questions for individual and small-group use as well as a "teaser" chapter of the next book in the series.

In this book, the story's main focus is on Ashley.  She learns a lot about herself, her son, Landon, her family and her love for God in this book.  I am glad that we learned about what happened in Paris with her and how her life changed after telling someone.  The affect of September 11th on this family also was a key topic, especially with Ashley and Luke.

I am really enjoying getting to know the Baxter family!  I am looking forward to continuing in book #3, Return, which I will be getting to soon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Long Lost Pillow

I was searching through my craft closet on Sunday looking for some fabric for a baby quilt when I came across a long lost project.  Back when my niece, Miranda, was 9 (she is 17 now), I bought her a small sewing machine for Christmas so we could quilt together.  We made the top to this pillow together and I put it away with coordinating fabric for the back to make it into a pillow.  So I finished it:

I always loved how the top came out!  I love the bright colors, odd shapes and decorative stitches around each piece.  I was going to put it on my couch my Jay told me to put it aside to give to Miranda.  So I did!  I wonder if she will remember it??!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

More Projects from Quilting Retreat

Here are some demonstration projects and smaller (and quicker) projects that I completed at the retreat and after.

This is a 10-minute quilt block with the envelope pillow cover.  I love the colors and fabrics!

Table Runner #1 - Snowmen

I bought this fabric and the fabric from the next table runner from Keepsake Quilting on our way up to the retreat.  Denise had the pattern and shared it with me.  Here is the website for the 20-minute table runner.

Table Runner #2 - Pointsettas

I love how the pointsettas and holly are outlined in gold.  This will make for one classy Christmas table runner.

Table Runner #3 - Pumpkins

I found this fabric in the sale room at Quilted Threads in Henniker, NH on our way home from the retreat.  I was bummed because nothing hit me in the store so I went to use the bathroom before heading back on the road.  This store had fabric blots in the bathroom.  That is where I found the pumpkin fabric and I found some black confetti fabric to match it.  I bought enough to make 3 table runner for only $15!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Choice - Robert Whitlow

Summary from Book Sneeze: One Young Woman. Two Very Different Roads.

The Choice will Change Everything.

Even as a pregnant, unwed teen in 1974, Sandy Lincoln wanted to do the right thing. But when an ancient woman approached her in a convenience store with a mysterious prophecy and a warning, doing the right thing became even more unclear. She made the best choice she could. But now, thirty-four years later, another pregnant, unwed teen has come into her life, and Sandy’s long-ago decision has come back to haunt her. The stakes rise quickly, leaving Sandy with split seconds to choose once more. But will her spur-of-the-moment decision bring life . . . or death?

Sandy Lincoln is a seventeen year old high school senior who finds out she is pregnant.  After talking with family and friends, she has a decision to make.  Will she keep the baby?  Put the baby up for adoption?  Or will she have an abortion?  How does that play out later on in Sandy's life?

Thirty-four years later, Sandy is a teacher helping a Mexican student named Maria with the same situation.  Along the way, there are problems and Maria is very confused about who to listen to and what to do.  Will Maria make the right choice with Sandy's guidance?

This was a great story about making the right decision for yourself and your unborn child.  In 1974, abortions just became legal but pregnant students were sent away.  Sandy's choice not only affected her future but the future of her unborn child.  I loved how they continued the story 34 years later showing how Sandy's life was and how she could use her personal experience to help make a decision for another person and their unborn child.  I love how the story went and the discoveries along the way.

A special thanks to Book Sneeze for allowing me to review this book for them.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Quilting Retreat Projects

Here are some project pictures from my quilting retreat weekend in NH.

Here is Joanne's first quilt top.  She was able to finish it this weekend.  I love how it is one big quilt block!

And here is her second one which was a quilt kit from Connecting Threads.

This is Denise's quilt top which needs two more borders.  These are 24" blocks so it went together very quickly for her.  I love the big Ohio Star it makes!  It is for her daughter Kimmie who only know the colors of the quilt!

Susan's quilt top is laid out on the design wall.  She finally calculated how many 4" x 6" (-ish) squares she would need to make her duvet cover.  She needs 300 so she is about a third done.  She said that next time she will make bigger squares!  Here is her progress:

This is Mary's quilt top.  She won a package of charm fabric from the last retreat and she is using them as the centers of the blocks.

This is Kathie's competition quilt.  She is entering this to be judged next year at American Quilters Society (AQS).  I though it was simply amazing and so detailed!

Finally, here is my quilt top.  I still need to add a border of black and then one of yellow to finish it.  It is for my Dad for Christmas so I have plenty of time.  This is only my second quilt using half square triangles.  These came out awesome!  I think it helps that they are 15" squares!  LOL!

I will have pictures of the demonstation projects and 20-minute table runners soon!

Monday, October 1, 2012

My First Quilting Retreat in Waterville Valley, NH

This past weekend, I went to Waterville Valley, NH for my first quilting retreat at The Valley Inn, sponsored by Little Pups Designs.  I went with my neighbor Denise and my co-worker and old boss, Joanne.

Denise and I left 7 am on Friday to head up to meet Joanne at Keepsake Quilting and Patternworks (for me) which was on the way.  OMG, these places were wonderfully overwhelming!   I only bought enough material to make only two 20-minute table runners that Denise taught me and some yarn for a few more smaller monsters.  We arrived at the hotel about 2:15 and got set up for a weekend of non-stop quilting.

I could not get over the small group, a total of eight people.  We had plenty of time to get to know everyone, get some assistance and get some work done.  Denise and I were even rebels and stayed up until 11:30 on Friday night and were up and quilting at 7:15 on Saturday morning.

The food was wonderful!  There was a suite were Michelle and Connie were sleeping that also had a full living roon, dining room and kitchen.  Connie prepared all the meals for us.  We never left hungry!

Here are some pictures of us working:

 That is Joanne!  And here is Denise, yeah she found her glasses:

Here is a group of all the retreat attendees:

This was the whole group of  us.  They are (from left to right in the back): Susan, Mary, Connie, Denise, Me, Michelle and in the sled: Joanne and Kathie.
I'll post some pictures of some projects in a couple of days!