Material Obsession Block 1

My DS, the racer above, broke his leg last February when he was skiing. Luckily, it was a closed spiral fracture of the tibia and didn't require surgery. It did, however, require quite a bit of physical therapy.  He had a full-length cast for 6 weeks, followed by a below-knee cast for 6 weeks and started therapy before the last cast was off. We found out that his crutches were too short which caused him to have an odd gait when he was allowed to put weight on the cast. Also, his hip and ankle were extremely weak. Therapy just ended this week and I'm happy that he is now walking well with only a slight limp when he's tired. He isn't allowed to run for four more weeks and then we'll have a final orthopedist visit. When racing season starts next December, he'll be all set to ski again.

I started this block before he broke his leg, but finished it while he was in therapy. It was very peaceful to sit and hand-piece while he was engaged in varying exercises with Michelle, his therapist. The block itself has a story: I went to the Sisters Quilt Show in Oregon last year and was enthralled with quilts hanging from one building. The fabrics sang to me and the color choices were something that I would never pick, but loved. As I was gushing over one quilt - a woman came up to me and told me I could make the same quilt as it was a block-of-the-month designed by Sue Ross from a shop in Australia. (Maybe it was Sue Ross I was talking too. Can't remember) I signed up as soon as I got home and packages with pretty stamps started arriving. The blocks were put on the back burner, as I was working on a bunch of other things, but now they are coming out and challenging me with fussy cutting, hand-piecing and curved lines. It's been fun so far and I'll share other blocks as they are completed. The blocks are from the shop Material Obsession in Drummoyne, Australia. Kathy Doughty, the owner has written amazing books with wonderful patterns and also has a blog.

I love how the stripes radiate out from the block's center. It's a bit wrinkly right now, but lays flat.

 Doesn't this center just make you smile?


Pat Sloan wall hanging

Many years ago, my quilting guild sponsored Pat Sloan to teach at my LQS. My LQS has changed locations twice since then, so you know it's been taking me a while to finish this. LOL! The pattern is dated 2006, so it's not too bad, timewise. Here's her original. Pat had us make the entire background first and then applique over the large background. Since I'm not much of an applique girl, it took me a while. And then, since I'm not much of a hand-quilter, it took even longer!

I love some of these fabrics - who can go wrong with gingham and I love how the striped binding came out.
The blue William Morris print is one of my favorites and makes an interesting cone-flower.
There are bees! I have a small bathroom done in bees, but that's another blog post for the future.


Laptop Bag!

School starts in a few weeks and I wanted to make a padded laptop bag to replace my old neoprene bag. The neoprene bag was ok, but had its flaws. It was bright red - not my color, too big- forgot to measure before I bought it, and didn't have straps or a way to attach a strap.

I used the tutorial from Pechy as a guide. Be sure to read all directions first, so you don't have to unsew. LOL. I forgot to leave a hole in the lining and had to do a bit of ripping out. The only modifications I made were adding batting to the main body and attaching the Dresden plate applique over the top.

The lining is a very old Waverly sample from when I worked at a fabric store many years ago. It was BK (before kids) and my oldest is 18.

Isn't this 1930's applique fun? Found it a yard sale BK and have many, many more. I folded under the Dresden plate rounded areas and just top stitched it down. I think it adds a lot. The center circle is more subtle than the color shown in the photo.

I'm happy with my new case!


Dwayne's quilt - after a fire.

My husband is a volunteer firefighter who trains weekly, attends classes and goes out at all hours of the night to try and save people's homes. Most fire calls are false alarms - the carbon monoxide detector is going off for no reason (did you know you should vacuum the dust out periodically?), or someone burned some food, or an old person leaned on the alarm at the nursing home. Sometimes though - maybe once or twice a year - there's a large and devastating fire. My town had one last week where three women and one child lost everything from three apartments, probably from someone smoking on the porch. Anyway, one of our firefighters lost all of his belongings in a apartment building fire a few weeks ago. A neighbor was smoking in bed, fell asleep, and destroyed the belongings of many people. For the record - I HATE SMOKING - not only because fires can start, but because of the butts people throw all over the road that end up in our streams and ocean, and because of all the resulting cancers and health issues. Really, what is good about smoking? Enough of that rant.

Dwayne's belongings were ruined from smoke and water damage. This quilt, another Bonnie Hunter (Fourth of July) was already in progress, but I finished it for Dwayne's new apartment.

Isn't this an easy pattern? Using Bonnie's scrap system, I pulled out my blue and red 3 1/2" squares and added the cream background from stash.

The stars were fun to quilt using variegated thread. I used navy on the back and you can see some thread points which didn't really pop through, but are still visible in the cream.

Soon the sparkly millennium fabric will be gone! It's not getting any younger in my stash!

The stars on the back and front border were gifted from my step-mother. The selvedge says 1985, but this is still being made and I saw it in my LQS last week. The fabric on the left is now gone!

The pinwheels are made from the leftover triangles cut off from piecing the front.

This should keep Dwayne warm.


Star Struck for a baby boy

It's been a busy summer of finishing up tops and creating new quilts. I keep trying to use stash before buying anything new and this baby quilt is almost completely from stash. It's another Bonnie Hunter pattern - Star Struck - check out Quiltville.com for the pattern. I love orange and blue together and hope it will work for a boy, who is due next month.

I've been using Bonnie's scrap system for a while, so just had to pull out strips and start cutting. 
 In the borders I tried pebble quilting, also known as bubble quilting, which was easy, but uses a ton of thread. Still working on keeping my stitch length even and smaller. The orange border was purchased new for this quilt. Can you see the tiny green and blue border with gold stars? It was part of a fat quarter.
The backing was given to me and probably has a bit of polyester in it, but it has the colors that are supposed to appeal to new babies.
 This is such an easy pattern that can be made in any size. Give it a try!


Look what UPS just delivered!

Wow - a large box just arrived from the UPS delivery guy. The Warm Company had contacted me as a representative of my quilt guild to see if they could send samples. I was expecting small pieces of each of their products stapled together - but they sent full-size pieces! - Well, mostly crib size, but these will be awesome to raffle off as door prizes at our next meeting after everyone fondles the different battings and other supplies.

Look at all these goodies!

I've never tried this - just use my potatoes on a plate covered with a wet paper towel. Maybe this works better?

With this you can line your grocery store bags or lunch bags.

This one is just the metallic shine with a batting. A suggested use is covering a headboard for the shiny look. 
Never tried these either - but could see many uses.
Thanks, Warm Company! Our guild appreciates your donations.


Taming the umbrellas

Boys can be very hard on things! Our last umbrella holder was pottery and purchased at a very nice price at the local thrift store. Unfortunately, slamming umbrellas into pottery soon makes for a broken bottom - discovered when I was vacuuming one day. Of course, no one would "fess" up, and it didn't really matter anyway. I looked online for a metal holder, but they are quite pricy, and checked every thrift and antique store I went into. I the meantime, I used my tallest basket, which was ok, but the contents had to lean on the wall to stay in the basket.

After dropping my oldest boy at college orientation in June, I found this at a country antique store. Not sure what it is - someone thought it could be a military shell casing? This metal tube has a lip on the top and the inside bottom is rounded. It was painted dull black with decals of eagles, very much late 1970 decorating style. My hubbie used his grinder to get the paint and decals off. We found a patented mark from 1928 on the side and some other words.


Some black spray paint - Krylon hammered style

The finished product - with umbrellas and lacrosse sticks - unbreakable!


Baby Quilt for Scarlet!

Scarlet Justine was born a couple days ago to one of my cousins. As the oldest of all the cousins, I've got boys heading off to college while my young cousins are still having babies. To keep up with the babies, I like to have a supply of boy and girl quilts ready to go, especially since some new mamas want to be surprised with the sex.

Bonnie Hunter came to my guild recently and taught a class using odd sized strings and strips - but I had just finished her mystery quilt and had few strings left! Isn't that a sad problem? So, I just pulled from the pre-cut 2 1/2" drawer for greens and creams and made up this rail-fence style.

Bonnie's idea was to use the leftover pieced strips and cut the border out of them. I think it worked out great. The strips are all leftovers from projects, or culled from donation tables at get-aways, or won at our guild's monthly ways and means table. There's some oldies in there such as a few calicos and some bug fabrics from when I first started quilting!

 On the back, I put a piece of pink flannel that I inherited from my Mom's stash many years ago.

The outer border has free-form daisies, the inner polka-dot border has free-form leaves and the main body of the quilt is cross-hatched. Look at those two green calicos! Yikes - I'm glad to see them go.