Saturday, December 17, 2011

Drumroll, Please!!

It's official - we have winners!  Before I announce the winners, I just want to again thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for stopping by my blog and entering my giveaway.  What a week!  I had so much fun reading through everyone's comments.  I responded to everyone that had an email address (at least I'm 99.9% sure I did...there were a lot of comments!).  If you didn't get a note back from me, you might want to check your settings to be sure you aren't a no-reply blogger/commenter. 

We had some great big dreams - everything from long arm machines and sergers to maids and cooks, and from trips and cruises to iPads and cameras (plus tons of other great ideas).  So fun!  I hope everyone gets at least one thing they wish for over the holidays.  I won't be getting my cook, but mostly all I want is to see my kids have a great Christmas.  Nothing compares to the magic of the holidays with kids.

Ok, I stole this next idea from a new bloggy friend, M-R of Quilt Matters. Thanks, M-R!  Since I can't give everyone a prize, even though I wish I could, I'd like to at least give you a recipe to maybe try over the holidays.  I'm sharing a classic cookie recipe that tastes oh-so-Christmasy to me:

Chocolate Crinkles

makes 72 cookies

1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Baking Directions
  • In large bowl, mix oil, chocolate, granulated sugar and vanilla. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover; refrigerate at least 3 hours.
  • Heat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet with shortening or cooking spray.
  • Scoop dough by teaspoonful and shape into balls. Drop balls into powdered sugar and roll around to coat. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
  • Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no imprint remains when touched lightly in center. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.
Let me know if you make them...they are so delicious - like a cookie and brownie all wrapped into one.  Does it get better?  Not in my book!

Ok, here's what y'all are waiting for!!  The winner of the set of 6 fat quarters and the 4 notecards is:
#24 - Robyn...who said "What I want most is for my laundry room I asked for last year to get built. All I need is a all to cut off the end of my garage. It's on the books for Jan 8, so hopefully nothing happens so I have to push it back! Thanks for the giveaway!"

And, the winner of the bonus set of notecards is:

#181 - Heather...who said "Hmm...well I just got myself a new Christmas present of a Janome a few weeks ago. I just look forward to spending time with my family!"

Congratulations, ladies - I will email you both shortly to get your mailing information.

Thanks to everyone who became a follower, too!  When I have a few minutes I'm going to check out all of your blogs and I promise I'll follow you back!  I have found so many fab blogs through the Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Days.

Be sure to check back soon and peek in on my sewing adventures.  I'm finishing up a surprise present and I've also been working on lots of blocks and whatnot for various swaps.  It might be fun to come back and see what I've been up to!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wow - I'm Blown Away!

I want to thank everyone who has stopped by my blog and entered my giveaway.  I knew the Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day Week was big, but I never in a zillion years expected so many wonderful comments!  So, a HUGE thank you to you all!

I wish I could give each and every one of you a prize.  If only I had that much fabric!  To show my gratitude, though, I have decided to giveaway a second set of embellished "Hello Betty" notecards.  I will choose the second winner from the comments in the giveaway postI'll post a picture of the new set of notecards as soon as I have a smidge of'd dreary today in New Hampshire.  Here's an OK picture of the 2nd set of  notecards...indoor pictures at not my strong suit!

Don't forget - you have until tomorrow at 5pm PST to enter all of the fabulous Sew, Mama, Sew giveaways - so go check them out!

I've had so much fun with this giveaway that I know I'll be doing more in the be sure to check back for more fun.  I love to share!

Thank you again for all of your wonderful comments - I love that everyone is dreaming big for the holidays!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sew, Mama, Sew - Giveaway Day

If you're looking for my giveaway, you've landed in the right place.  Thanks for stopping by!

To say that I have a lot of fabric is an understatement.  By some measures, maybe it's not that much.  But for the amount of storage space I have in my house, it seems a bit extreme.  I just can't help myself.  It's all so pretty and lovely.  Leaving it in the fabric store seems such a shame, even if I don't have plans for it yet.  Maybe it's a problem...I think not.  BUT, since I seem to be busting at the seams with fabric I thought I'd share some with one of you! 

I'm giving away 6 fat quarters of Denyse Schmidt's fabulous Picnics & Fairgrounds fabric.  Fun, right?

PLUS, I'm going to include 4 notecards I embellished with Hello Betty fabric from Chloe's Closet for Moda.  I started making cards like these to give with handmade gifts and it's a really fun way to use up scraps, don't you think?  I really love how these all coordinate, too!

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here, telling me what you want most for Christmas (or your birthday, or whatever).  It can be something realistic or a super-luxurious-never-gonna-happen-in-a-million-years gift.  I'm fairly practical at heart, but if we had the money to indulge, I'd love someone to cook for my family for a year (who am I kidding...for maybe ever).  That would be heaven!  I don't necessarily HATE's just really not my favorite thing to do.  And I always feel bad because my poor husband loves variety but I could eat pasta every day so I tend to not be very inspired in the kitchen.  I try!

Follow me if you'd like (I'd love it!) but it's not a requirement to win.  Just be sure I have a way to contact you, ok?  You don't want to miss out because I couldn't find you!  The winner will be randomly chosen on December 16th and announced on the 17th.

Thanks for playing and enjoy your holidays!

PS... I've been trying to reply to all of your comments, but I've had at least half a dozen "no reply" commenters.  If you aren't sure if you're a "no reply" commenter, please be sure to leave your email address in your comment so I can get a hold of you!  Thanks!!

PPS - Thank you all so very much for stopping by and commenting on my lil old blog.  I am blown away by the response.  And thank you to all of my new followers.  I will follow you back (once I have a minute to check y'all out!).  And, last, PLEASE make sure I can contact you!  I have gotten tons of fab comments but I feel so bad for those I can't get in touch with.  If I can't get in touch with you, I can't send you the prize if you win.  Here's a great post that explains how to make sure you're not a no-reply commenter.  I was one for a while and didn't even know it...check it out:

One last thing!  Check out my newest post...I'm giving away another set of notecards!  No need to comment on the other post.  Your comment on THIS post automatically enters you for both prizes.  Good luck!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dreaming of Fabric

So, I get a lot of newsletters from various fabric shops. I LOVE getting them. I love to know what fun things are arriving at shops, what's going on sale, and what's coming soon. The only trouble with this is that I inevitably want everything I see. Those pretty, pretty pictures of all of that pretty, pretty fabric. Even fabrics I wouldn't normally be drawn to seem just perfect when sent to my inbox from one of the many shops I frequent (to purchase or just to drool).

I thought it'd be fun to share some of our favorites...either things you really want to buy or plan on buying, things you just bought and are totally smitten by, or just lovlies that you dream of...

These are a few of the things I'm looking forward to -

Pezzy Print Charm Pack American Jane for Moda Fabrics

Half Moon Modern Fat Quarter Bundle

Of course, there are about 50+ other lines I'm smitten by, but these are the ones calling my name at the moment.  What about you?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A First!

I have been wanting to post this for a while, but, well, I had to FINISH it first.  I did first big quilt is done!  It began as a stack of charm packs and white yardage.  After sewing here and there for months and taking long breaks because I was terrified to baste the thing and then quilt it and then bind it - yikes!  It is now done.  And I love it and I'm pretty proud of myself.  Yes, it's ok to toot your own horn when you accomplish something fantastic!  I present to you White Diamonds in Bliss:

Here's the back...almost as fun as the front!

I thought with the gorgeous sunshine I'd be able to get awesome pictures.  I was, however, reminded once again that I am no photographer.  Even in great daylight I can't capture the beautiful colors.  You get the idea, though, right??

It all started when I caught the quilting bug last spring and started messing around with different quilt blocks and styles.  I'd find a block I wanted to try, figure out what to do with LOTS of trial and error, seam ripping, and probably cursing along the way make it, and stuff it in my "in progress" drawer, thinking that I'd get back to them someday...they're still in the drawer.  In June I decided to take the plunge and make something sizeable - I thought if I was going to spend money and time stitching away, I should probably make something I could use.  This is definitely sizable!  Look at how I had to take my pics:

Yup, I had to stand on my kids' slide to get pics from above  (don't be jealous of my fab, very professional photo studio)...this thing is big!  I still have to measure it, but I used batting for a full size quilt and there wasn't a whole lot left over.  No wonder this thing took me ages to finish!
I wanted a simple, modern design that didn't take a lot of cutting and difficult piecing.  It was scary enough to make a quilt this big.  This pattern was just the ticket (inspired by this quilt).  I used 5 (or maybe 6) charm packs of Bonnie & Camille's Bliss and cut 5" white squares to make the "diamonds".  I also had some Bliss flannel that I cut into 5" squares and mixed in.  I thought about making it a bit smaller, but didn't feel like cutting up the that and the pattern dictated the size.  I love that it's big, though...better to snuggle on the couch with the boys!

I used Mod Buds in aqua from Liz Scott's Sugar Pop line for the back, pieced together with leftover charms and some more of the flannel.  I just want to say that I cannot wait for Liz's Domestic Bliss line to arrive in stores - I am going to buy it all!

The binding is Sarah Jane's Dot to Dot in red from her Children at Play collection.  I think it works perfectly and, in my opinion, they are the PERFECT sized dots!

So, there you have it - my first big quilt finish.  I'm linking to Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday...go check it out!

Fresh Poppy Design

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sew, Mama, Sew - Giveaway Day!

Who doesn't love a giveaway?  Come on, y'all know you do!  Well, Sew, Mama, Sew is having their Giveaway Day starting December 12th.  This is a HUGE event with tons of fabulous giveaways.  Don't let the name fool you...this giveaway lasts ALL WEEK - there are so many giveaways that it'd be impossible to do it all in just one day.  The basic rundown is you visit the Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway page and from there you follow links all over the web where bloggers and shops are giving away prizes.  The catergories include:

  • Handmade for the Home (quilts, hot pads, pillows, etc.)
  • Handmade Bags
  • Handmade Baby + Kid Items
  • Sewing Supplies (fabric, patterns, buttons, trims)
  • Other Craft Supplies
  • Handmade Accessories (hats, scarves, belts, adult clothes, etc.)

Last round I found lots of really great blogs and shops, signed up for tons of giveaways, and even won one!  This time around I want in on the giveaway fun - I have a special bundle put together, so check back here on the 12th to see what goodies I'm giving away!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Swappy Goodness

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I was working on three secret projects.  I felt very important to be working on things I couldn't show I was so sneaky!  I've since finished all three projects - and I can share two of them with you right now.  Don't you feel lucky?

I'm smitten with flickr swaps and bees these days.  They're just so fun!  I've met a lot of great people who also love sewing and quilting.  Then we make things for each other.  How great is that?

First I made a mini quilt for the Christmas edition of the Little Quilt Swap.  If you remember my other mini (how could you forget...I only posted about it like a zillion times!), the new mini I made is part of the same swap.  It's such a fun swap.  We have quilters from all over the world making mini quilts in all different styles.  No one knows who made what.  Then we vote on them, send out our quilt to a secret recipient, and get a surprise quilt in the mail.  Um, can you say F.U.N?

Here's the one I made:

Do you like it?  I used some of my favorite Christmas fabrics and I personally love it.  I was inspired by a tutorial from Elizabeth of Don't Call Me Betsy.  She did a block for the 12 Days Of Christmas Sampler QAL.  I took her idea and kind of ran with it.  I'll be sending this out to its new home today...hope they like it!

The second project I was working on is for the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap.  This one was a little challenging for me.  I'd never made a mug rug before.  And, this was my first time making a whole project for a partner (instead of just a block or two).  I was so nervous about getting it right.  I stalked my partner for a bit and then came up with this:

It's probably a little big for a mug rug (8x10, I think?), but I'm really happy with how it turned out.  More importantly, my partner seems to like it, too!!

And, well, mum's the word on the third project.  All will be revealed in good time!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Two Quickies, One of Which You DON'T Want to Miss!

I just wanted to pop in and say "hi" for a sec.  First, I'm so excited that I have not one, but TWO dates coming up with my awesome hubs.  Tomorrow we are going to the wedding of a gal I babysat for many, many years ago.  So, we will will go, party it up with the youngsters, and offer sage marriage advice...cuz you know I've got some! 

Then, on Monday...Are You Ready For Some Football?! 

Although I've recently been told they don't to that song anymore, it will be burned in my brain forever as the Monday Night Football jingle.  And, guess who's going THIS Monday night?  Me (and my man)!  The Patriots will hopefully beat the pants off the Chiefs.  Being from New England, even if I'm not a die-hard football fan, I've got to cheer on the home team, right?  This should be fun.  I've gone to a couple of other NFL games over the years (one in Oakland and one in Dallas), but this should be the funnest...yes, not a word, but it seems appropriate.  Anyway, I just had to share.  We don't have a lot of time to go on a lot of dates (I know a lot of you can relate), so I figured I'd announce, for the record, that we have TWO - go us!

My other tidbit is probably more least for a sewing blog.  Have you heard about the giveaway going on over at Lily's Quilts?  It's HUGE and I do mean huge.  I don't want to ruin the surprise, but I'll give you a hint... it rhymes with Mona.  You should run over there RIGHT NOW and check out the giveaway link.  The winner will be drawn November 23rd.  You have been warned.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Let's Just Beat This Poor Dead Horse

How about another post about my mini?  Sick of it yet?  I chatted about it here and here.  I'm just going to go ahead and mention it one.more.time.  Then we'll officially put it to bed (unless there's a reason not to!).

Rachel over at Stitched in Color has been hosting the fabulous Celebrate Color series on her blog all fall long.  She and her pals Emma, Mollie, and Shannon have put together a huge party to inspire us to use color in our lives...and they're even giving away tons of fabulous prizes!  All you have to do is make something (the categories are home decor, wearables, yarn, and needlepoint) and enter it - you know you wanna!  You can find all of the nitty gritty here.  And you can enter here (click on the appropriate Photo Entry Pool).

Celebrate Color

I'm going to go ahead and enter my Autumn Ribbons it?

Now the competition is very tough, but I'm giving it a whirl because it sounds like great fun.  It's the last month of Celebrate Color, so enter while you still have time! (entries are accepted until the 26th).  So go out there and make something!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Studio Catch Up

Told you I'd be back later today!  I know you were refreshing your browsers all day long waiting for my post.  So, without further ado...

Lots going on in the "studio" are a few sneaky peeks:

My November blocks for the Love Circle of do. Good Stitches.  Lee of Freshly Pieced tasked us with making asterisk blocks...any which way we wanted.  I'd never tried this block before but I love them!  They're simple and fun to make.  I even tried to get "fancy" with mine - I hope she likes them!

My November NuBees blocks.  I sketched my design a couple of months ago and decided to try it for this month of the NuBees swap.  Not all of the lines turned out perfectly straight, but I think they turned out nice...especially since my group picked such great color combos!

Now this next one I just could NOT get a decent picture of.  I don't claim to be any kind of photographer...actually I pretty much stink at it and if I get a good snap it's total luck.  So, for my Design Camp [think outside the block] bee, Krystina sent us some fabulous soft colors and asked us to be inspired by the ocean.  OK, I can do that!  I was inspired by Turtle Island in Fiji, where my hubs and I spent our wedding/honeymoon in 2001.  Heaven on earth, I swear.  Here's what I came up with -

I can't show pictures of the next three things I'm working on...they're secret!!  I love that I have a couple of secret projects going on.  Now, I know they're not super fancy, like someone asked me to make a secret quilt for a magazine or anything, but it still feels sneaky and fun to have a couple of things I can't quite reveal yet.  One is for the Christmas edition of the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap.  Suffice it to say it's going to be cute, Christmas-y, and merry & bright!

I'm also working on a mini for the Christmas edition of the Little Quilt Swap.  We're doing "mini" minis this round since there's such a tight deadline (we all want to hang them before Xmas!).  They're going to be around 12-ish" square.  I'm about 2/3 done and it's coming along nicely.

My last Secret Project is part of a group effort...and that's all I'm going to say about that ;)

So, I want to finish up a couple of these items this week and hopefully finish up the quilting on my big quilt so I can bind that puppy.  What are you working on?

Late to the Party

So this weekend I was reading one of my favorite blogs, In Color Order, and Jeni mentioned a Mini Quilt Party over at AmyLouWho.  Minis and prizes - how fun is that?


This morning I was all ready to link up my Little Quilt Swap mini that I posted about the other day...

Come to find out, I'm a little late to the party...links are closed and winners are announced today.  Bummer!  I guess I should have read it a little more closely, ya think?

Oh well - you should check it out anyway.  There are a lot of fab mini quilts linked up.

So I missed the party...but I did add my mini quilt to the new Modern Mini Quilts flickr group created by Holly of Bijou Lovely.  Go ahead, add your mini to the group, too!

I'll be back later today to chat about what I've been working on...I know you can't wait!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Little Quilt Swap - Sent and Received

I've been doing a lot of swapping through various groups on flickr lately.  Mainly quilt blocks (like the Nubees, the 3x6 bee and the 4x5 bee)...but I've ventured into deeper waters and just completed my first round in the Little Quilt Swap.  And, while I have a fab time with my block swaps (I've been meeting the greatest people!), I absolutely fell in love with the Little Quilt Swap.  I think it's because I got a finished project out of the deal...nothing that might end up in my "ongoing projects" bin, where it could sit indefinitely. 

This swap is so fun because everyone submits pictures of their mini quilt entries to the hostess and she posts them so no one knows who made which mini.  Then we all vote and Jan (our hostess with the mostess!) tallies them all up and lets us know where to send our quilt.  So, you don't know which quilt you get until it gets to your mailbox!  How fun is that?

This was my entry:

I based it off the Holiday Ribbons Block I found on Ryan Walsh's blog.  I'm really proud of this mini.  It's actually the first "real" quilt I've made.  It's only 19" x 19", but it's the first quilt I've made from beginning to end.  And let me tell you, it feels so good to finish a project!  I've been working on a large quilt since June, and while I love it and can't wait to finish, it's so nice to have a quick-ish project to do and see through to the end.  Anyway...

It was hard to send this off.  I love how it turned out...just like I pictured it in my head...that's a good thing!  But, when I found out I was sending it to this gal, it made sending it off a little easier.  I've been reading her blog for a while and think she's just so cute and talented.  And, I just so happened to choose her mini quilt as my favorite!  (I didn't know it was hers when I voted...I found out a few days later...right before I sent off my mini to her).  Though I was really crossing my fingers for Jess's mini, I didn't figure we'd actually swap with each other.  But, to my surprise, lookie what came in the mail the other day:

THE quilt...Jess's quilt!  Isn't it just so happy and lovely?  I think so!  I think I squealed when I opened my mailbox and saw the return address.  Talk about making my day!

This mini now has a prime spot in my sewing/laundry room.  I'm trying to brighten the room up since it's down in the basement - this mini sure does the trick!  I'm just waiting on a fabric order or two before I start my entry for the Christmas edition of the Little Quilt Swap - fun!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thank you, snow!

We had a snowstorm last weekend...2 days before Halloween.  Two days before Trick-or-Treating.  Our town (as well as many others in our area) decided to postpone Trick-or-Treating until last night.  No boys enjoyed three days off from school last week because of the storm so they weren't complaining too much.  So, my hubs took the boys around the block last night to get their loot...I stayed home to hand out candy.

But, either because people didn't want to bother because Halloween had already come and gone or because Trick-or-Treating was later in the day than we're used to (we used to do it in the afternoon), we had very few trick-or-treaters.  We had a few rushes of kiddos, but for the most part it was a quiet evening.  The only thing that really stuck out was one rude teenager who showed up with some friends and didn't even bother to say anything to me (let alone a "thank you") because he was too busy on his cell phone.  Please tell me I'm raising my boys better than that...basic manners go a long way!

Anyway, where was I going with this?  Oh yes...since my job as candy-hander-outer provided me with a lot of down time, I went shopping online...Christmas fabric shopping!  There were a couple of prints I wanted to restock in my stash...and then I wanted to add a few others.  I have a few Christmas swaps in the works so I felt justified.  Wanna see what I got?

Well, from the Euro Girls Boutique I got a yard of this:
Yule Critters
And a yard of this:
Jingle Dangle

From Trendy Baby Fabrics I got a yard of this:
Yule Trees
These are my three favorite Christmas fabrics from Michael Miller.  I REALLY wanted these, so I'm glad I was able to find them!  Plus, I ordered fat quarters of these prints from Flurry by Kate Spain from Sew Lux Fabrics


So, while the snow postponed our Halloween, it sure worked out for me - pretty new fabric to look forward to and TONS of leftover Halloween candy...yay for snow!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Blog Take 2 & The Gift of Giving

Ok, so I had started a blog a couple of YEARS ago...I think it had 3 or 4 posts (If I Can Craft It)...and, while I fell in love with the process of creating things, I realized that I wasn't cut out for a blogging gig.

But, I think I just might be up for it!  Over the past couple of years I've sewn various things, but last spring I caught the quilting bug.  And I haven't been cured yet!  I'm still quite the novice.  Heck, I haven't even finished a quilt bigger than 19" square yet (but I'm working on it...a post for another day).  But I'm loving everything I'm learning about piecing blocks and the whole quilting process.  It's so much fun!

Recently I've finished up a few projects for charity, which is kind of the catalyst for this post and, well, this blog.  There's just something so satisfying about making something for someone help them out...without expecting anything in return.  I have to be honest - I haven't been a huge "giver".  I mean, yes, I buy gifts and whatnot.  And, I've had good thoughts about helping out...volunteering my time...doing good...all that heart-warming stuff.  But, honestly (and hopefully I'm not the only one!) I have a thousand and one excuses as to why I don't...mostly because I have 3 kiddos at home.  How sad is that?  I'm trying to be a good example to my boys, teaching them about giving and hoping I raise them to be good people...but we haven't actually DONE anything.  So, I was given the opportunity to help a little bit, and all it took is a little of my time and some fabric.  Talk about fun and satisfying!

For the past few months I've been part of a wonderful flickr group called do. Good Stiches.  It's a charity bee with several circles of quilters making blocks and putting together quilts for many different charities.  I felt so lucky when I was accepted into the Love Circle.  These are the blocks I've made so far...

I was also lucky enough to be part of the Stockings for Kids campaign put together by Lyanna of Purple Panda Quilts.  Lyanna works with foster kids in her area and in past years they made stockings from paper and such...stockings they had to throw away after the holidays.  So, Lyanna, sweet as she is, wants to give each child a stocking of their keep!  She put the word out on her blog and the response has been awesome!  I made three cute stockings (if I do say so myself) and I'm so happy they'll be used and loved by kids in need.  Here they are (and it's not too late to get involved!):

And, just the other day I made this block for a quilt going to a family that has experienced some recent tragedy in their lives:

Man, it just feels good to help out!  Now, I know I'm not saving lives by stitching up quilt blocks and stockings...but it's nice to know that I can hopefully bring some joy and comfort to people, even if they're strangers.  I definitely think I'll be looking for more ways to give through sewing!