Sunday, September 4, 2016

Synchronized Swimming!

A Lovely Labor Day Weekend, Sunday Morning, to all my Quilty Friends!

I received a comment from my sweet bloggy friend, Huggy Helen, requesting a close up of the quilting in my Christmas Country Charmer Quilt, so I've gone back to the vault and am sharing this link to one of my posts about my trip to HandiQuilter HQ last year.

If you would like to see close ups of the darling digital design in progress which was selected from the overstuffed notebook kept by the HQ Educators, they're all there!  There's also a very accurate close up of the thread on the spool, which I'm glad of because the photos don't do the actual stitched on thread colors justice.  The second I saw that spool, there was no going back.  Oh yes, the group insisted on auditioning others, but they finally agreed that I had already found The One!  Unfortunately, in my photos, it just looks all silver, and in person it's not!

Anyhoo...last time I posted I said the Mermaid quilt top would likely be finished the following day, which it was...except for one tweak of one flying goose whose pointy bits were not pointy enough and making it fly a with a bit of a right sided list. 
Yeah, my husband stood over it with me and said, "Nobody's gonna notice it but you...but it's gonna drive you crazy, so fix it if you must!"
I spent two-ish days cutting leftover scraps into nice straight rectangles and assembling a very cute back for my happy little mermaids!
So it was the day after, the day after, when I ripped that little bugger out and ripped it apart and put it back together and #!*#?! ripped it back out and put it back in from the opposite end that time and could breathe again, knowing that now, all was finally flying straight in my little world.  Deep Sigh!

I know that my little Granddaughter, about to celebrate her 2nd Birthday, won't have a clue about the time and love I've crammed into this little quilt for her at this point, I just hope to see her wrap her little self up in it like she did when she tried to snitch Auntie's Flutterby quilt with that grin last year!

Here are some pics of HER little mermaids swimming in synchronicity in my Italian Prune tree!

Did you miss me?  I just went out and reshot pictures after opening up the ones I took with the wrong camera the other day and kicking myself for doing such a silly thing!  Every time I use that camera to photograph anything with red, pink or peach in it the photos coming out flaming!  They're painful to look at and that's not the impression I want anyone to have of this cute little quilt...especially when people other than me put my photos up on Pinterest occasionally!  A week ago it was nearly 100 degrees outside and this morning it's slightly chilly and overcast!  Autumn is upon us!

So here are some pictures from nearly worn out old reliable...

Synchronized Swimmers
I added an inch to the white side sashing pieces so that I could stick another flying goose unit in to maintain a continuous line of "waves" rather than having each one broken up.  I likewise, added an inch to the horizontal sashing pieces too so that spacing would be the same. 
Then I did some math, (and then the teeny tiniest seam allowance adjustment) to adjust the outer border squares.
These are my husbands two favorite to his Granddaughter, of course!
I am super partial to this sweet little polka dot and the aqua print made me imagine plant life floating in water, so I decided it could be wonderful mermaid hair! 
Here's the back made from leftovers from the numerous fat quarters & 1/2 yards used in the top.
I found these 2 bluer, unrelated prints when contemplating ideas for the back and brought home FQ's to audition.  I was glad I had them, otherwise I'd have been back at the quilt shop buying more of the Coral, Queen of the Sea prints!
Here's a picture taken with the bad camera the other day, when it was brighter outside...I couldn't resist taking this photo and sharing the back with the light shining through it and the stained glass effect.
See how harsh the camera makes the foliage background look though? 
Stupid's going to have to go bye-bye, so I'll stop wasting my time using it then trying to manually adjust on the computer after I download!
~Nancie Anne

Friday, September 2, 2016

Seeing Stars & Ribbons Of Blue!!!

Earlier this week I brought Christmas Country Charmer, Housewarming & The Great I Am home from the Western Idaho Fair.  All three had been awarded blue ribbons, 100/100 scores and some very kind comments from the judge(s).   I know these quilts better than anyone...I know what we've been through together to get into the finished category, and knowing what I know, I never expected blue ribbons!  I got up the morning after returning from the Baby Shower in California, threw the required sleeves on the back of these quilts and dropped them off at the fairgrounds in the early evening!  I waved goodbye and didn't return til the fair was over.  I never saw them displayed. I never saw the other entries.  Shame on me!  The day we thought we might go to the fairgrounds was the day we decided Maecee needed to go have a once over at the Vet's instead.
My Husband's Housewarming Quilt
 I used up leftover scraps from special quilts previously finished to back this quilt with memories that I knew my husband would enjoy.  Not sure my poor dear quilter still loves me! But it was worth it!
The judge commented that she loved the fun back!
I had enough time to throw a sleeve on the back of The Great I Am.  Since I was making the trip across the valley to enter the other 2 quilts, I decided this fun little Christmas Novelty Quilt might entertain some younger fairgoers.
and...TA DAAAAA!!!!!!
Christmas Country Charmer was also the recipient of beautiful rosette for Best Of Division. Included with this award was an extra bit of premium money and a large Mountain Mist quilt batt!
On the bottom of the scorecard was written, "Perfect! Great quilt. Thanks for sharing! (You made my job easy)"
Considering that I'm still scratching my head over one fair judges comment a year or two ago, I'm pretty tickled with that note!
Thank you again & again & again, to Lynn Wilder, who sits by calmly when I go messing around with her designs!
To think that this quilt started out as a naughty secret surprise for the end of the Country Charmer QuiltAlong between Sue Abrey and I, and the places it's gotten me to!  My dear, HRH Sue is always in the back of my mind challenging me, with a bob of her head & her Yorkshire accent, to perfect my "Pointy Bits".  I've told her that, when I'm having a really challenging time achieving perfection & about to give up, she appears on my right shoulder, wearing her wings, lopsided halo and starts poking at me with her pitchfork!
 The center tree portion of this quilt, is called A Tree For All Seasons, by Julia Ziegler at Room To Learn.
I've also let the HandiQuilter Educators know that the quilt we decided to quilt with metallic thread & sweated bullets over in the classroom a year ago this month has sparkled its way to these sweet little awards!

I'm winding down from my Happy Dance now...

~Nancie Anne

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Oooh Baby, Baby!

As always, there's a lot going on in my little corner of the world! 

In this past month I've finished projects, ripped apart projects, adjusted projects and was away a few days to attend my daughters baby shower in California.  The intensity to finish baby shower quilts really ramped up earlier this month!  The shower was well attended by family, co-workers and friends.  My daughters worked along with Daddy-To-Be's family to decorate and provide a really yummy shower luncheon.  The Spanish Fortress style clubhouse in their subdivision was the setting, complete with rock walls, forged hinges and huge paintings of Spanish Galleons!

My 2 local daughters and I went and had our nails done for the Monsters Inc. themed celebration prior to leaving.

Meanwhile back in the sewing room, I was spending way to much time trying to achieve
purr-fection with this goofy little flannel cat quilt. 
I love that the majority of these kittens are little boys, as my Veterinarian SIL is fond of cats, and that with the brown and blue plaid makes it more gender neutral, since we don't know if we're having a boy or girl.
I had purchased this as a kit and held onto it for several years waiting for THIS baby.  It reaffirmed my feelings about buying kits.  The amount of yardage to be able to match plaids and be able to adjust the directions and make the same width border all the way around was lacking.  The amount of backing needed to extend the width to be able to load it on the long arm was also lacking, so those sides were extended with unrelated flannel that was later removed when I trimmed it for binding.
This flannel in the top piecing just wanted to pucker and retrospect, I should've just starched the heck out of it and saved myself a bunch of time and frustration.
Then, Horrors upon Horrors!  A little cluster of holes was found in the backing fabric!  This weren't very visible from the right side, but from the back were blackened almost like little cigarette burns.  Since the kit had been carefully stored and sealed, I know this wasn't moth damage.
Upon further inspection, I discovered the damage was located just about where one traditionally applies their quilt label...problem solved!
This is Lyra, Vet Girl adopted her as a rescue while in Vet School.
I'm not sure they've told her she's going to have a younger, less furry sibling yet.
We spent a lovely day re-bonding and watching Olympics together!
"What do you mean, "No! It's for the baby?!"
I AM the baby!"
They've been instructed to enjoy this quilt, use it up and wear it out, and they are complying, there was a photo of their little niece and their itty bitty dog playing on it together on FB the other day! 
Then there's the Apple Quilt.
My daughter was nicknamed "Apple" by the Newborn Nursery staff when she was born,
then she went to school "Up North" and became addicted to their delectable northern raised Honey Crisp apples, and then she moved "Down South" and lives near an area of Placerville, CA called Apple Hill that is a delight to visit.  There are many fruit stands along the scenic drive as well as picnic spots, tree farms, vineyards and crafters & yummy pies and other treats to enjoy.
Given all that, I decided the time had come to make this Eleanor Burns design.
 I went stash busting and pulled everything from what I had on hand for this one.
The border print is really old, but so appropriate for my critter loving kids.  There was only so much of it and it's directional to boot, so I had to do some creative reconfiguring and decided to add some tumbler shaped keystones to the border.  I tried the red plaid, but that was simply horrible.
So...I added brown apple tree trunks instead to match all the little brown apple tree limbs in the print.
In the process of making this quilt, you wind up with an extra apple block, so I slapped some scraps on around it, played with the different decorative stitches on my machine and quilted it.  I used the template from Thimble Blossoms Charming Bibs pattern then strayed from the directions!
Yes, it's a BIG bib! 
My daughter popped open the Velcro closure and had my SIL model it briefly at the shower. 
It fit quite well actually!
This is supposed to be a quilt it, THEN back it and turn it right side out project.  I backed it then quilted and bound it!  Don't look too closely at the puckers on the neckline.  The leftover scraps weren't large enough to allow me to cut the binding on the bias! 
When I had it all together I was surprised that I had fussy cut those bottom corners without even attempting to!  Look how that little dog and kitty are placed, looking right at each other!
It was stuffed in my carry on with all the little clippys on it and Lyra Kitty helped me finish it during our day of Olympics watching together!
The other little project that traveled with me was my N block for Let It Snow.  Upon reviewing the photo I had posted in my last post, I realized that I'd forgotten to add the fringe to the snowman's muffler!  Oops!  That has now been rectified with two contrasting strands of Valdani and a series of little Colonial Knots with long clipped off ends!
The current project under construction is still the Mermaid quilt.
We've had a meeting of the minds regarding nice "Pointy Bits"
and nice straight Concave Bits too!
It's further along than this now but here's where it was at the point when I shifted gears and made some adjustments, in addition to having already changed it from a 9 mermaid quilt to a 12 mermaid quilt. 
I've changed the sashing to accommodate another flying goose "wave" to the ocean!
The original sashing leaves a gap between sets of waves & I wanted my ocean to flow a little more smoothly. 
Maecee is snugged in her usual spot, in the chair, napping behind me as and is recovering from one of her rounds of stomach upset, that includes a hard tummy, burping, rumbling, no sleep and most distressing, anorexia.
  It got bad enough for an office visit this time, as it was accompanied by a cough that sounded like she was trying to clear something out of her throat. 
Bless her nervous little gut, at least she ate almost all of her kibble this morning, with the exception of the new sensitive stomach stuff that we collectively decided to try.
All I could get down her yesterday was her burger and rice and some cottage cheese.
She spent a couple of days snubbing me after Dad got home, she's been mad at me about the famotidine and cough syrup! 
So with my miniature assistant at my (back)side and some luck, the mermaids should be a finished flimsy this evening!
Have a Great Tuesday!
~Nancie Anne

Saturday, July 30, 2016

When Life Gives You 100 Degree Days...

LET   IT   S-N-OW!
only 2 letters left!
Thank you Miss Stacy West of Buttermilk Basin for this wonderful free BOM!
He's done and July isn't even over yet!  I'm so proud of me!
This months background fabric is from a kit that Stacy sent me after winning one of her drawings on Facebook!  I'd already made the block that the kit was originally assembled for, so I've been using it here and there in the construction of subsequent blocks.
~Nancie Anne

Monday, July 18, 2016

July Doin's!

My husband & I took a little road trip to an event in Twin Falls last week, while everyone else was going the opposite direction to Sisters for the quilt show!
The added bonus was visiting two quilt shops that I hadn't been to before!
I am probably the only living quilter in Idaho, who had never visited The Gathering Place in Rupert, but now I've done it, and guess what, I didn't have to take out a loan!  But spend money, I did, in fact they decided it would be good to double bag my purchases!  Who can resist a back room full of wonderful prints that were on sale for $4.99 a yard!  Backings my friends!!!!  The only reason my bank account didn't need a complete transfusion was because I knew I'd be back that way this coming weekend, plus we still had one more stop to make.  A wedding in Twin Falls this weekend means we're heading south again and has provided me time to mull over some of the other lovelies that didn't make it home with me in the first round! 
After The Gathering Place we went up the hill to Hailey which is a little town just west of Ketchum and Sun Valley.  There we visited the Sun Valley Fabric Granary, which is housed in an old granary building with  brick walls, wonderfully creaky wood floors and beautiful glowing tin inset ceilings.  I was able to lower my bank balance on this visit too!  The vestibule entrance has a wonderful quilty star tile work border which I didn't notice until we were leaving, and nope, I didn't take pictures!  The only picture I took, was not of the banana yellow crop dusting plane buzzing back and forth over the freeway, but this Elk warning sign on the highway just west of Hailey.  I think it's quite effective in getting the message across, "Don't mess with Lincoln County Elk!  They're a cranky bunch!!!"
I love some of the road signs we see in our travels..., the blobby, almost puzzling antelope signs here and there, the bulls with the swishing tails in Southern Oregon, the wild horse signs in the open range of Nevada and the Mama & Bear Cub signs on the NE drive between Lake Tahoe and Carson City!
Now, I haven't shown this anywhere before, 'cuz it's a secret!  I'm counting on you not to tell!
 Our little Granddaughter is turning 2 in September!  ALREADY! 
Her Mama is planning a Mermaid party!
This is the completed test block that, will hopefully become a family of 12 little Mermaids in the very near future!
The original Aloha Mermaid pattern from Red Brolly has 9 Mermaids, but I'm increasing the length so that it will fit her big girl bed!  Fat Quarter Shop listed it as their Sale Pattern of the Month in June, for which I am so grateful, because getting even 1 little pattern shipped from Australia isn't cheap! 
I've decided that Mermaids, being mystical creatures who live amongst other with brightly colored sea creatures, can have any color of hair they want, and when I saw this aqua print, I saw wonderful floaty aqua hair!  Of course not everyone can have aqua hair...or polka dot skin! 
I'm thinking about Mermaid Names too!  Shelly, Finley...
Here's my progress on Buttermilk Basin's Free 2016 BOM!
I finished the last little bits of stitching and embellishment on the S block on Friday, while back Buttermilk Basin Central, Stacy, who was still recovering from the excitement of attending the Sisters Quilt Show, was frantically cutting and stitching up the N block! 
Poor girl!  The 3rd Friday of the month snuck up on her too!  Such a sweet girl!  She could've said, "Sorry, maybe tomorrow" or even, "how about next Friday?" but no...she doesn't want to disappoint!
I haven't named any of the previous snowmen, but I think I'm going to call this little guy "Shiver".
I used this luscious thick furry looking bit of grey wool for the fur on his hat, which reminds me of our Shiver, whose long cashmere-like fiber is still bagged up, waiting for me to dig the spinning wheel back out of storage & get practiced up enough to do something with it.  Shiver was not a large llama, but he had fact he had extra special secret fiber.  Anyone casually looking saw a little guy with long brown fiber, pretty enough, but those who inspected closer found this lovely blue grey, hiding like gold to be mined, under the brown.  Such a funny boy he was.  I never think of him without the mental image of him kushed in his favorite deep puddle of irrigation water with that long fiber elegantly floating on the surface.  It was a picture that always made my day! 
Happy Monday Everyone!
~Nancie Anne

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Birthday America!!!

I'm not always successful, but I'd really love to finish a Patriotic Project every year. 
Memorial Day weekend found me making pillow tops that have sat on the back burner since, with all those baby quilts and birthday presents to complete.
So, they're in the same state they were in when I wrote about them, 2 well spaced posts ago,
but we are enjoying them while they're still in their awkward flimsy stage!
Here are some finishes from years past...
some more Patriotic than others. 
Others more flexible in their interpretation!
Liberty Road in Charlevoix prints by Minick & Simpson
Homecoming from the book Primitive Gatherings by Terry Burkhart and Rozan Meacham.
Star Spangled Stripes from Stitch n' Snip Quilt Shop in Garden Valley, Idaho is currently on sabbatical. (At the quilters!)
Housewarming from The Quilt House in Gardnerville, NV was their featured quilt in Best of Quilt Sampler in 2007. 
As far as I know, the shop still carries the pattern and the original quilt is still hanging proudly above their cutting counters.
Here is the view of the fireworks outside as I look past my left shoulder and out the window of my sewing room!
Every day since late last week I've enjoyed the evolution of this annual display and we agree, our Golden Rain Tree has outdone herself this year!
And now for a little levity...'cuz we all really need a good laugh these days!
Long wave our "Ethel Merman's"!!!
May we embrace them, and while we do, may we all be singing
"God Bless America" in our loudest voices!
~Nancie Anne

Friday, July 1, 2016

Bees, Babies & Miss Muffet!

I've been nose to the grindstone on projects in my little part of the world.  All the work on our daughters house appears to have paid off.  She accepted a full price offer last weekend.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it all comes to an end with an uneventful signing.  Meanwhile, I've working on top secret birthday & baby projects. 

Our days are in the 100 degree range here right now, so binding the quilt that just came back is not on my list until cooler weather arrives, but it is cute!  It's one of the quilts I pattern tested for Sue Abrey at QUILT TIMES awhile back.  The pattern is called Red Sprinkles.  We dubbed my version Honey Bee Sprinkles.
Since we have a bee theme going on I requested this panto with bees on it!  I had no idea the motif would be as large as it is, but we're loving it!  My husband likes that there are stingers on the little bee butts! 
It is backed with flannel 'cuz I wanted as much snuggle power as I could get into it without going all Minkee on it.

 Please don't worry about Shooter & Maecee taking an immediate loving to it!  This is going to be a snuggle on the couch quilt, so they're going to be spending a lot more time, doing what Doxies do.  Burrowing under it, cuddling up and napping for extended amounts of time!  Our little dapple guy, Shooter had surgery a couple of days later to remove the Lipoma from his side behind his front leg and had some tooth extractions.  He is aging and along with that come things like lipomas and teeth that get loose.  In addition, he had broken a tooth and had an abscess due to that.

I mentioned somewhere in the last post or two that I had done some recent pattern testing.  It was Charming Pachyderms, a new Quilt Doodles pattern by that Cindy wanted to have ready by Quilt Market.  To see the original pattern, including her cute pudgy little elephant and enter to win the pattern or the fabric to make it with click HERE!  Here's my version.
I haven't decided on the back yet and, since I don't know whether we're having a Grandson or Granddaughter, I'm not in a hurry to finish this one.
I love her little elephant, but since I used fabric I have on hand, that has a bunny theme, I'm thinking the peek a boo applique will wind up being a bunny, rather than the elephant.  It's a quick, easy baby quilt that doesn't come off looking like a quickie!  It can be done in a multitude of fabric themes and I'm contemplating primary colors on a second version.

The top secret baby projects have been sent away to be quilted, as the baby shower date has been moved up into August.  Once those were in the mail, I rushed through getting Miss Butterfly Quilt's 2016 birthday present done.  I did some experimenting on this 3rd version of Tuffet making, and there are some things I would have liked to have redone a little, but time was of the essence and her birthday fell within one of my work weeks so time was at even more a premium!
 She's into Parisian prints and greyscale these days.
I couldn't resist the gorgeous knotted head on the was a must add!
 and I wanted to change from the bun feet I had used on the baby tuffets to something more "shapely".
I spray painted them with black hammered finish paint.
Sorry the picture she texted me is dark, but here's the tuffet, fitting into her little vignette quite nicely!

Now her roommate wants one!

Today is the beginning of my 10 day stretch off and I have to catch up on Buttermilk Basin's "Let It Snow" free BOM.  I did get the 2nd T done, but the S for Snow & Sled have been out a week and I have it traced onto fusible but haven't picked the wool yet. 
I also need to get started on a project for our little Stinkerbelle, who turns 2 in September! 

Grammas work is never done!

Happy Fourth!

~Nancie Anne