Thursday, April 26, 2012

Quilt Retreat Lil' Gifts

Starfish Charms 'cuz I'm SeeingStars

Bags are packed.  Van is loaded with sewing supplies.  It's time for a quilting retreat!  I've worked on these little friendship bags in my "spare" time to share with my friends.  It was fun to use 3 quilting patterns for each tote.

I found these fabrics online and on sale.  Aren't they cheerful with those gleaming cherries!  By the way, I found the pattern for these cuties at p. s. I quilt: friendship bag tutorial  I modified her directions slightly, not because they were bad directions, but because I'm persnickity.

These quilters surprised me in the Fall by blessing me with a lovely, huge basket of hand made Christmas ornaments.  It was their outpouring of love and concern for me after they heard our home was beat up by last Spring's tornadoes.  I was so touched by their generosity, especially in the time it took to make each ornament. 

My tree in the quilting studio was the prettiest tree ever!  Even though it started out a bit on the scruffy side, discounted once it's needles began to fall.  

Well, it's time to go.  Just a few more last minute packing items and I'll dash down to Magnolia Park!

Enjoy your weekend!
- SeeingStars

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I won a give-away!

These lovely items showed up in my mail box after I learned I was a winner on Gene Black an Alabama Artist and Quilter 's blog.  Gene works in several mediums.  You'll notice the card and a postcard with his bold colors and designs on both.  The postcard with tulips is really pretty. 

There's also a bookmark made with his embroidery machine.  This is so lovely!  He's made several recently and I'm thrilled to receive one of these! 

And finally, he included a package of Colonial between needles.  I'm always looking for a handy needle!  These might stay in my purse for times when I bring a quilt to bind with me.

It's fun to get a gift in the mail.  I think I'll have to send a little ~just because~  package to my sister!

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Liebster Award ... Pass It On!

I'm so honored today to have received the Liebster Award from FarahLin.  What a generous and delightful surprise to find.  My thanks shout out to her for her encouraging words about my blog.  I'm smiling extra wide as I type.

I'm thrilled that I get to pass this on to 5 more bloggers.  Please take time to visit each of them and leave them a comment.  We all love reading comments and those kind words prompt us to share more of our techniques and inspiration with others.

The Liebster award (German for favourite/dearest) is to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.  Upon accepting the award the recipient must then pass it on to five more blogs of note. A way of introducing other bloggers to the blogs they enjoy.

The Liebster Conventions says that :
1. Thank your award presenter on your blog and link back to him/her
2. Copy and paste the award to your blog
3. Present the Liebster Award to 5 blogs that you think deserve to be recognized
4. Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog
5. Have faith that your follower will spread the love too!

It was so difficult to pick just 5, how I wish I could choose more! There are so many great blogs out there but here are a few of my favorite bloggers whom I think you should hop over when you have the time.

1.  Kim Stotsenburg at SewNSewQuilting.  As a longarm quilting national teacher, Kim shares her techniques through a video page and also offers a PDF book on quilting.  I love to see her amazing quilting as she works on customer quilts.  Kim also knits, so don't skip over her blog just because you don't have a longarm machine.  Her blog is definitely worth the visit!

2.  Jenny's Doodling Needle.  Another longarm quilter with many hours of practice which has led to (near) perfection.  I love the precision work she does.  This quilter is extremely patient and her work leaves you gazing with mouth wide open.  I really like that she takes each quilt top and decides what compliments it.  As a result, her style from quilt to quilt is very flexible.  At the risk of sounding repetitive, you'll love her blog and agree that it worth the time to click over there.

3.  Removed at this blogger's request.

4.  Joan at Leschenault barely comes in under the wire with 194 followers at the time of this post.  Joan has made some stunning and incredible whole cloth quilts.  I have no doubt she'll be teaching internationally soon, if she desires to do so.  Another quilter with patience and precision, who not only plays, but practices to improve her skills.  She has ripped out quilting stitches that weren't up to her standards, but I would have been happy to keep and display!  Joan's work is done with a domestic sewing machine, not a longarm.  Grab a cup of coffee and scroll through her past posts.  You'll be amazed.

5.  Debbie at Stitchin' Therapy .  Debbie gets extra time to pass on this award for reasons you'll read about in her blog.  You'll want to see Debbie's watercolor quilts by clicking on a tab near the top of her blog.  She also is a free motion quilter.  You'll notice her working with Mrs. Claus to make small quilts for doll cradles and she'll accept your donations.  Hint: a doll quilt is a perfect size for trying out a new technique!  One of the reasons I like Debbie's blog is that her writing style makes you feel like you've been friends for years.

A whoops!  I wanted to nominate this blog, but realized she's already received the award.  However, if you're looking for one more blog to visit,  try Multicolored Pieces.  An artist living abroad with several mediums, quilting is just one.  Her love of color and design shine through in all her work.  I definitely want to make a mosaic tile planter (or maybe a dozen) like one of hers!  Her photos of artwork and gardens will make you smile.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Monday, April 23, 2012

Distractions Part Two

So after a few more seams, my mug rug looked like this.

The orange pointer is showing you a large bubble in the fabrics.  With the help of Jack (the seam ripper), I split the seam, cut away a little blue fabric and stitched it back.  Now it lies flat.

Only 1 problem.  This isn't a set of 4 mug rugs.  Oh wow!  I was having so much fun, I guess I forgot the goal.  This looks like a table runner.   I think I'll cut the sides curvy too.  Distractions.  They happen so often in life don't they?

Since there was more fabric left, I started slicing more curves.  Here's one mug rug in progress.
This one really became a mug rug

The backs are pieced and ready to load on the frame.  So when they're all finished, I share another photo.

BTW, it only took a few minutes to add the extra storage space, even though they tell you to wait 24 hrs.  If you're just starting out in the blogging world, consider your storage space and whether you might prefer to save photos at a lower resolution.  I wish I had do so from the beginning to keep from paying to add more.  It's not expensive, but still....

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Sunday, April 22, 2012


So I purchased these mugs a few months ago at a discount store.  Of course, I had the latest craze of mug rugs on my mind and thought I'd give it a try.

First, I picked out fabrics from the stash which coordinated with each mug.  Then I decided to add a light green to the mix.  There wasn't a nice balance of values, plus another color adds more interest.  And I like any colors which reside on the cool side of the color wheel.

It was a perfect time to try those improvisational loose curves that have been on my to-do list since I began to notice them on other blogs.  Here's a shot once I started piecing some of those curves.  Notice my lovely design floor.  I do have a design wall, but we aren't speaking right now.  I designed the design wall with a design flaw and as a result, it will not hang on the wall.  So, I've banished it to the dining room until I purchase more wood and make a nice frame for it.

Mug Rugs in progress...on the design floor

After a few more seams, I had this.

Whoops!  I guess there will be a part deux to this post.  I ran out of photo space and will have to wait 24 hours for Google to add more.  Who knew you only had 1 Gig?  I've uploaded lots of photos which I didn't even use in my posts.   From now on, I'll be more careful and perhaps even trim them down in resolution.

So I'll post more when I can.

Enjoy your evening!
- SeeingStars

Friday, April 20, 2012

Playtime on the Frame

I cannot leave you with those awful images of spiders all day long!  I couldn't stand the idea of them taking over my studio.  Everything seems a little brighter and cleaner after the vacuum treatment.

So to cleanse the palette of icky images, I'll share the latest practice I'm doing to prepare for a customer quilt.  The quilt top has hand embroidered scenes of children.  My plan is to encircle each picture with a feathered wreath.  However, the wreath needs to be 7.5" , which does not match any of my circle templates.

Here's a sample wreath on some leftover fabric used for a jacket lining.  It should show up as a light pink.  The finished block size was 10.25 inches.  I wanted to make absolutely sure there would be enough room to make those feathers look graceful and not to stubby.

And here's my makeshift template.
Of course, I'd have to warn anyone who wants to try this to be very safety aware.  I swapped to a template hopping foot and dropped the foot as low as I thought I could manage.   For a Tin Lizzie 18, the screw loosens and the hopping foot can slide up or down on the post.  I also put the template base on my machine.

Working slowly, I was able to trace around the plastic circle.  The inner metal spring was left inside to add stability.  When I had to stop to move my hands and fingers, I rotated the metal spring around so the 2 ends weren't in the way for the remainder of the circle.

It's not a perfect template, but it works for me.  I'm glad to have found a solution, so I can get this quilt top quilted.  It is my preference not to simply trace the circle and try to follow it.  That would be an easier solution, but might have more wiggles in the final circle.

Even though it's just practice and I don't have plans for it, I just had to play a little bit inside that large circle.  Maybe I'll make a second one and turn it into a pouch.  Wish I'd used the same variegated thread for the wreath.  The pale blue was leftover from last night's quilting-with-the-spiders.  It was fine for busy fabrics, but looks bland here.

I have Jamie Wallen's DVDs for longarm quilting, but haven't watched the advanced one all the way through yet.  But I still decided to try a little dragonfly, just for fun.  Shhhh.  Don't tell him that I haven't tried all the exercises in order.  Don't want to be labelled as a Rebel.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

A New Problem in the Studio

Here's a sneak peek of what I've been working on.

There's a terrible problem, but it's hard to see.  Come a little closer.

And here's a sister to the problem.
They are everywhere.  Dangling from the ceiling above my machine.  Running over the fabrics and batting.  I just start itching when I think about it.  I thought spiders were supposed to be at the ceiling and leave us alone on the ground level.  This herd didn't get that memo.

At first, I started quilting last night and flicked one or two out of the way.  Then I began to see that they have taken over.  Ugh!  Guess I'll call the pest control service today.  My husband suggested that I vacuum them, which I'll do.  But I'm wondering if I'll overcome since they're very very small and there are so many of them.

The ladybugs were a little annoying because they were attracted to the bright warm light on my longarm.  But these spiders simply must go.  Ewwwww and yuck!

One of our teens went to St. Louis with the high school Show Choir.  The brand new phone won't hold a charge, so she's borrowed a friend's phone a couple of times to send a text.   The cheap replacement phone might not be so cheap if we have to buy new pieces to get it to work.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Time Travel Tuesday

A big welcome to my new blog followers!  Thanks for joining me and for your comments.  We all love comments!

Here's a baby quilt that I made three years ago for Jessica.  Her theme was jungle animals.  I think I love it so much because it's so bright and funny.

The quilting details didn't photo well.  I'm learning how shadows can help show off those stitches.  The yellow border is quilted with verbs like : run, play, sleep, pounce, munch, swing ... you get the idea.

The lion is my favorite, but all of these animals were fun to make.  Many of the fabrics were leftover pieces from a block of the month project.

 The pattern is available at Olivia Ann Designs

So Saturday, I made 4 cute gift bags for 4 friends.  While I was working, I thought about posting photos on my blog.  And then we all got busy, as families tend to do on a Saturday.  So I realized the next day that I didn't even snap one single photo of those bags.  Eye roll.  (or, as my teens say, "Face Palm!")

I do have another project that I can't wait to share, but it's also sort of a surprise.  So next week, I'll pinky promise to take photos BEFORE I give this one away.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Time Travel Tuesday

My Red Galoshes

Here's another blast from the past.  It came about as a Paint Chip Challenge quilt.  At our local quilt shop, the each participant drew 4 paint chips from a paint can.  They laid their chips in a row and wondered for a few moments how to make these 4 colors coordinate.  Then, with some shopping advice from the owner, they found a set of fabrics for their challenge quilt.

I didn't take a photo of the paint chips, but here's the quilt I made.  I gave it away as a baby quilt after the challenge.  For fun, I wrote a short poem about this zebra dancing in the rain, but I didn't preserve the poem either. (Guess I'm learning a lesson about how little space it takes to save digital items.)

My current works in progress are a surprise for an upcoming quilting retreat.  I'll be able to share them at the end of this month.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

Friday, April 6, 2012

Beginning Quilting Class

Yesterday, we filled the Quilter's Combo classroom with friends.  I've never taught such a large class!  Everyone cracked jokes as they worked on their free motion.  Linda had a very creative tale for how I broke my toe a few weeks ago.  Joan quickly decided that since I brought scones (to ensure that everyone likes me), she would slip me little gifts all day long (to ensure that she was the teacher's pet).

I promised these ladies and a gent that I'd put our class posters on this blog, so they could refer to it later.  It's easier for me to give everyone an idea of what we hope to accomplish.  Then, those who move faster can try the next pattern without waiting for my cue.
Page 1
Page 2

Not everyone finished their sampler.  Those who didn't had some machine troubles - mostly learning to change feet.   Since every machine brand is a little different, this took more time than I'd hoped. 

We also played with a template and quilt pounce.  Liz tried a cute pattern from one of the books I brought to recommend. 

Earlier this week, we had a double rainbow over our city.  I've seen lots of Facebook photos from various vantage points.  The absolute best was one published in the newspaper.  Since I enjoyed it so much, I'll share my view with you.  The outer rainbow is very faint, but it's over the treeline.

Double Rainbow
And a zoom of the inner rainbow ....

Rainbow over the steeple

Enjoy the fulfilled promise of this weekend.  The tomb is empty.
- SeeingStars