Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
And a sleek band of black binding to finish it off. Sweet. Yes, I pieced another back - I bought this pink ribbon fabric one day, thinking I would do something different with it, but realized that I was never going to get to that project. There wasn't quite enough for this, though. Then I thought about using just the white for the back, but I really don't much like a plain white backing. Isn't it pretty with the pink, though? I'm happy, and this quilt is now strutting her stuff at the quilt shop, tempting everyone in sight to sign up for my Strip class in two weeks. And to buy some jelly rolls so I can bring her back home and enjoy snuggling on the couch. This one might be a keeper! We'll see!
For more of the 52 week challenge check out Fabric Fascination!
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Today I taught a class on binding at Threads That Bind - I work part time here and teach classes occasionally. To tell you the truth I don't think I'm an awesome teacher, but I'm a pretty good encourager. I try to help my students make the best of their current abilities and give them tips and helps to do better. Even though I value accuracy and perfection in my own work, I have a hard time holding my students to that. I would rather they enjoy the process and finish their project than do everything perfectly. I always say, you won't notice from the back of a galloping horse, but if it bothers you, I will help you do it better! I also say practice, practice, practice a lot. Really repetition is the key to learning a lot of things. Like mitering binding corners. Once you've done 20 of them, you've got it down, but the first 12 or so might not look quite like you want. Anyway, I hope they learned a little something today and go on to do more on their own!
Now I am off to do some blanket stitching on a customer quilt. Only two more blocks and it's ready to go together. I am not too fond of machine applique, so I will be glad when I get this one finished and can go on to a more "fun" project! I have an original design that's ready for quilting and pattern writing, so I really want to get moving on that, and have another quilt to be quilted and finished. Always something, right?
I hope all your bindings have nice corners and your ends line up nicely!
Friday, January 21, 2011
I found a nice long red print that was long enough, but not near wide enough. I added the small amount left after adding the borders - it was wide enough to make up the difference but only about half long enough. Then I found a piece of the same print in the blue as the red. This was not wide enough, but I cut and pieced it to make a strip that was wide enough, but still lacked a few inches in length. This was the perfect opportunity to add a strip of the fabric that I had used as the focus fabric when choosing my fabrics for the original top that the triangles came from. (The guitar print). I admit, it did take me a little time to get everything together and ready to use, but it wasn't that much time, and I got some odd pieces of fabric out of my stash and into a quilt!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
We had Pizza for an early dinner. I think this was at the Boston airport. Our flight to Newark was just a small plane, the thing I remember most about that one was the family on board - there was a little boy shouting at his papa in what we think was Italian! That was a short flight, just a bit over an hour and a half. Then we grabbed our bags, found our gate and boarded for the long flight to Paris! I was so excited, and a bit nervous - our plan was a red-eye flight, so we would be arriving at Paris at 7:30 in the morning. Our check-in at the hotel wasn't until early afternoon, but we were hoping to be able to check in early so we could proceed on to see Versailles that afternoon without carting our luggage :)
I had wondered if we would be able to see the Statue of Liberty as we began our flight, and sure enough, we flew by this great landmark (which also has a french origin!). She was only about 2 inches tall from our perspective, but there was no mistaking that famous profile and Verdigris color! In fact we were also able to see the Boston area from the plane as we retraced our previous flight - I was rather surprised to see our flight path on the onboard system - we flew right along the Atlantic Seaboard then over the North Atlantic Ocean, over Great Britain and on to Paris.
As soon as we were at altitude the flight crew brought us dinner, speedily whisked away the garbage and dimmed the lights. We had a cup of Chamomile Tea, then leaned back and made ourselves comfortable for a short night's rest - what little there was of either! There was a group of rather talkative teens who spent most of the night chatting and laughing, and getting shushed by various passengers and the flight crew! About an hour before we landed, the lights came on, we were given our first croissants of our trip, and I drank a cup of rather bad coffee, but was glad for the lift it gave me - my daughter never fails to remark that she does not know how I wasn't dying of exhaustion all day.
We arrived at Charles De Gaulle airport, wheeled our bags out and braved the unknown. We were very hopeful that we would be able to find our way to the Train station and from there make our way to our hotel. We passed through customs, got our passports stamped and traversed various interesting walkways and passages and voila - found the train station with little stress. Of course at that point we had to buy train tickets, and I struggled to get my phone to access the French network. Somehow I had success and was able to let my husband know we arrived safe and sound, but for the next few days had little luck with my phone calls!
On the train we hopped, afterward realizing that we had got on the train that stops at every station instead of the direct one. It was interesting looking out the train windows and seeing various people get on and off as the train made it's way into the center of town. I was a little nervous about being robbed or something, but we never experienced any even remotely unsettling circumstances during our entire trip. It was raining (we had been watching the weather and were prepared for this) and it didn't really look that much different from any suburban area. As we got into the city itself the train goes underground, so not much of a view there - we knew which station to look for and were ready to brave the subway system!
Luckily my daughter is very familiar with using a subway, so we weren't very nervous about that. She knew how to read the maps! We were off the train, and two transfers later were outside the metro station a few blocks from our hotel. Now is where we ran into our fist major hurdle of our trip. It really was quite rainy, and we knew our hotel was to the north of the Metro stop, but we had neglected to print out directions, and because it was so heavily overcast we had no clue which way North was! We did have the address of the hotel, but unfortunately the only person we saw nearby was an elderly man who spoke no English. He was very concerned about helping us out, though. He pointed us in the direction our street was, so we bravely set off to see if we could find it. I think we must have walked the long way, but we did find our street, and eventually the hotel. We must have looked like drowned rats (did I say it was raining?) as we pulled our luggage into the lobby, and after waiting for another group to check in, was informed that our room was ready - hurrah!
We were enchanted by our lovely little room, very cozy and quaint, unpacked a bit, then made our action plan for the afternoon. We decided to walk to the nearby train station, get our tickets to Versailles, and have lunch there before seeing the Palace. We also needed to find a bank to get some French money, hopefully one of the banks that partners with our bank at home so we could save ourselves the fees!
On the train, we were both feeling a bit weary and groggy, but were determined to carry on and enjoy the afternoon. I remarked that it didn't really feel like we were in Paris yet, when the train came above ground, and there out the window was that most Parisian of landmarks, the Eiffel Tower! What a thrill to see it for the first time! This excitement of this moment energized me and carried me throughout the next several hours, I was probably grinning like a fool!
We got into Versailles and according to the guidebook we were to turn right out of the train station and then left at the first boulevard, so at least we had instructions to get there. As it turns out you don't really need instruction, just go with the mass of people getting out of the train - they are all headed where you are, too. We got through the mass of umbrella salesmen (cheap umbrellas, and you could tell by the drifts of them you find discarded after they break!) and headed downstream with all the other tourists. With a bit of searching we actually found the bank we wanted, stocked up on cash and headed to a sandwich shop to fortify our bodies. Jambon and fromage sandwiches and wonderful strong coffee with cream were the perfect lunch! We just relaxed and pinched ourselves, ready for afternoon of sightseeing in one of the most beautiful places we've ever seen.
Au revoir to those brave enough to read all of this for now and I will continue with a review of Versailles next week!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I am so much enjoying this 52 week challenge, and feel pretty good to have actually finished something 3 weeks in a row - thanks, Kym!
I always say there is nothing like a little positive attention to get a person going, and the nice comments on my leftover triangle quilt really inspired me to go ahead and finish that up. After laying out all of my blocks and fussing over what was too close to what for a good while I just piled them all up and started to sew pairs. I knew I had an odd number of columns so I saved out 6 single blocks for that and just started sewing. If I didn't like two together, I just grabbed the next one and kept sewing. After I had the pairs done I sewed those into 4 patches. Then I started the laying out process once again and it was much easier - just six of the 4 patches, then the six singles, so a lot fewer choices to make!
After getting the blocks together and the border on it was tempting to just fold it up and put it in the drawer with all the other UFO's, but then I realized that this would be the perfect project to finish up for the 52 week challenge! Plus that, it gives me another frugal quilting topic for later this week - but you will have to wait for the details on that one :)
I decided to just do a meander all over this as the quilt is so busy that the quilting itself doesn't really show. I chose a dark blue thread, and in an afternoon had a finished quilt to show - pretty nice! One of my favorite things is that everything for this quilt came out of my stash - no running to the quilt shop for anything at all. I will be adding this beauty to my Etsy shop later today, think I will call it Waste Not, Want Not! Thanks for the encouragement to finish this up!
Yours in Scraps!
Monday, January 17, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
Here on the right I have a pile of triangles left from making my mother and father's 50th anniversary quilt. There are a lot of triangles here! They are made with batiks, so I know they will be beautiful when I use them, but I haven't even pressed them yet. I still have some of the blue fabric that makes up one half of the triangles, so I think I will combine that with them to make a larger quilt or maybe a dramatic wall-hanging.
The pile on the left is a set of blocks I've made using the leftover triangles from a queen size quilt I made several years ago. This is how I am contemplating putting them together. With borders it will make a nice small lap quilt.
Save those scraps!
Thursday, January 13, 2011
One of the fun things I wanted to do besides seeing all the usual tourist places like Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre was to visit a real Paris Quilt Shop. I did some research and found just the thing, right across the Seine from Notre Dame. We had planned to visit there on Tuesday during our exploration of Notre Dame, but ran out of time. So after a full morning at the Louvre on Wednesday we sat on a bench and decided to go have lunch near Notre Dame and visit the Cluny Museum, the Conciergerie and Le Rouvray - the one quilt shop in Paris!
We stopped by the shop first thing after lunch, but it was closed, so we popped over to the Cluny museum, admired the gorgeous Tapestries there, and the historic ruins and exhibits, then headed back to the (now open) quilt shop! Le Rouvray is a delightful place - not at all large, but full of lovely fabrics and patterns. I had set myself a fabric budget, but it did not go very far here - we are lucky to pay the prices we do here in the United States, fabric is much more dear in other places. I chose to buy some pre-cut pieces in a variety of rich colors, then set my budget aside when I found a wonderful french quilt book!
tout ce qui est Petit est Joli or Itsy Bitsy Pretty Quilts was just too perfect for me to pass up! I love miniature quilts, and it was just way too great that the book is written in french and english. It was more than I ordinarily like to spend on a book, but I figured it did double duty as a souvenir as well as a quilting book! I haven't made any quilts from the book yet, but I'm sure I will be pulling it out as soon as I have some free time. I love the colors and the patterns in this book which are different from my usual choices, and definitely have a french flair to them. They will be a lot of fun to make and a great way to remember my trip. I very much enjoyed my short visit to Le Rouvrey - I would love to visit again sometime, hopefully with a larger money stash (and suitcase!)
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Friday, January 07, 2011
At any rate, I am going to try to come up with something fabric related and frugal on Fridays - so today I wanted to show you this awesome Tote bag I won in a blog give-away! This was from my friend Emma's blog "Quilties". I knew it would be nice, but I was totally delighted when I opened up the package today! It is so well made and attractive, I'm sure I will use it all the time! I absolutely love the little embroidered patch on it - so cute. How nice to have such a practical bag that also makes me smile - I'm sure it will help me to be better about using my fabric bags instead of the plastic ones.
So, working backwards, exactly what is "frugal"? I think of it as being thrifty (or cheap as I have been called by members of my family!). But there is more to being frugal than just watching your money, according the the Mirriam - Webster Dictionary the definition of frugal is: characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources. This means not only our monetary resources, but all other resources in our life. So I want to explore that idea and how it relates to quilting and sewing as well as other aspects of our lives.
By not using plastic grocery bags I am doing a small part in eliminating the need for making the plastic, and the waste that it produces. I don't have to store more bags, or even worse, throw them away. It might not actually save me money, but it does save on resources so this is definitely a change I want to make in my life.
Many thanks to Emma for the great bag, I will use it proudly! If you are interested in one for yourself you can check out her Etsy shop - Quilties. She does beautiful work and I am sure you would be happy with anything she has made.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
My friend Kym has started a 52 week challenge on her blog - the idea is to actually finish something once a week and show it. It does not have to be a big item, or something totally done in one week, so it should be fairly easy for me to follow along, and hopefully will force me to come up with some kind of a blog post once a week!
This is a journal cover I finished this week. It was made as a custom item for Etsy. Isn't it sweet? I have a few other panels from the line and plan on making them up as journals also. I used my journal cover pattern, centering the little bird on the front. I used pink and green fabrics to go with this as well as a stripe made of blue floral on the back to bring in the colors of the bird.
I free motion quilted around the bird and the twig, and it really looks nice. I really love making these journals and am always on the lookout for a cute small panel that would like nice as a cover. They are also really pretty using just strips of batik or other fabrics. I bought enough composition books this summer to make one a week for a year, but I promise I won't show you a journal every week for this challenge!
I suppose I'd better get going, after all, I did make a resolution to start getting to work on time, and if I don't hustle I'll mess that one up on the very first day!
Off to the races, or rather the quilt shop!