Saturday, April 19, 2014

Caution, Construction Zone Ahead

Welcome to the April installment of The Country Homecoming Quilt Along!
Instigated and Hosted by Kim of Kim's Big Quilting Adventure.
It's been a busy week so I'm a bit delayed, as are others, in posting my progress.  But, Ta-Da!  Here they are!
The Doxie pups are healed from their spay/neuter trip and barely missed a beat. 
Tess's staples were removed just over a week ago so now it's safe to bathe her without the risk of having her rust!
I'm working on another quilt that's slightly secret at the moment.
But here we are half way through construction of the houses for our quilts already!
Quilty Buddy and I headed for the Wallowas again, this time to Halfway, OR.  We did just a small amount of shop hopping to select shops that we love and rarely get to because of distance.  Halfway is a small mountain town amidst a cattle ranchers paradise.  
Besides an annual rodeo and an awesome quilt shop, 
the community's claim to fame is that of being the setting for the movie, Paint Your Wagon.
Besides, we're both April babies and we had 25% off birthday coupons burning holes in our pockets, not just for one item mind our entire purchase at Quilt's Plus! 
(Fuel expense is not a concern when you have a discount and gorgeous views waiting for you on the other end!) 
Besides that they always have the yummiest Rice Crispy Treats
 and the nicest little giveaways for hoppers! 
One time it was much appreciated, adorable, little Fairy Scissors, another time it was a bundle of hexies, this time it was our choice of mini jigsaw puzzles...
mine is Floating Over Sisters by Diane Phalen! 
How appropriate to go to a place with snowcapped Oregon views and return with a puzzle depicting another of my favorite views in the whole world!
We had fun, a much needed outing away from work and home and we spent a good portion of our paychecks and enjoyed every minute of it!
I am always awestruck by the beauty of the Wallowas, particularly when the peaks are still capped in snow.  These are the views that touch my soul...Oregon is full of them.  The view from the Joseph side is even more spectacular and rugged.
This wonderful old farmhouse has had a For Sale sign in front of it every time we've been up until this trip.  It's so good to see that it is once again occupied and hopefully being appreciated for it's history and for being just darn cute!  I'm not sure why we never pulled into the driveway and pressed our noses against the glass because it's been a topic of conversation every time we've passed it on our way to the quilt shop.  Million Dollar View isn't it?
It's unfortunate that I can't share the fragrance coming from the blossoms on our Choke Cherry Tree today.  The yard is filled with it's sweetness.  The bees are loving it!

It's Easter Weekend, a time to reflect, a time for renewal. A time for new beginnings...
There is a young man I love with all my heart who has a lovely ring in his pocket and plans to get on bended knee this weekend and ask his beautiful Princess to be part our family.  Just a formality, she's already part of us, as is the little arrival they are expecting in September.  Tomorrow we spend the afternoon picnicking & celebrating new beginnings at her Grandmothers home.  Next weekend, we find out whether we're planning a pink nursery or a blue one!

May you also find the spirit of love and renewal in your heart~

Nancie Anne

Monday, April 14, 2014

Quilting With Kids...Hatching A Plan!

Zig Zag heisted from the Internet for illustration purposes only! (wink!)

For the past two years or sew, I've been thinking about ways to share quilting with my 4 year old Grandson.  I've taken him into Craft Warehouse with me, safely in a cart to keep little hands off the crafty décor & breakables as we rapidly proceed to the back of the store and the fabric department.  At that point the aisles of bolts are narrow and the fat quarters are right at shopping cart seat level.  His little hands happily snatch up fat quarters right and left!  When he was about 3 we made a special trip just to pick out fat quarters for a quilt top just for him, mostly from pieces that had made it to the clearance table. One that he could drag around.  He was involved in making the selections. Thomas the Tank Engine, Clifford, Peanuts, Dr. Seuss, Spot & The Little Engine That Could were combined with juvenile prints I already had at home, and polka dots, stripes, stars, a cool red diamond plate print that went great with the emergency vehicle design he liked.

As he started preschool I began thinking about my own kids at that age, playing with manipulatives in the classroom which introduced them to math and geometry.  What a great way to share quilting with the Grandkids and enhance their math skills and creativity.  We have some great plastic puzzles that my kids loved playing with and creating different designs within a hexagon tray, but they're not for small kids who tend to put things in their mouths or where chewing pups might ingest one that accidently, or not so accidently, hit the floor!  I've thought about taking scraps of fabric and laminating them or fusing them to wood blocks, but that's a lot of work and detracts from the discovery of how lovely it is to touch fabric and really be able to manipulate it into a block without it clunking around or slipping on a slick surface...

Last fall, Lynn Wilder produced her book, Patchwork Math Using Quilting Design Components, and I thought again, how can I incorporate this to put together something kids can play with while hanging with Gramma?

This morning, I was inspired by Melissa at Happy Quilting who recently shared her love of quilting with a class of High School girls.  She presented her quilts, shared some designs in new modern prints, and most importantly, put fabric in the girls hands in the form of precut triangles, 16 light ~ 16 med/dark and turned them lose to discover their own designs.  You can check out her post HERE.

Then came the lightning bolt!!!!  (I think I smelled a little smoke)

When Life Gives You Scraps, Cut Triangles!  (or squares or rectangles or even hexies and half hexies!) Put them in a bin or two...or least designating one for Lights/Solids and another for Med/ Darks.  When the kiddos come over, let them dig through the containers and pick 16 from each bin and create their own block. 

And then another little lightning strike! (Ouch!  That one hurt!) 

There's a tutorial by Lori Holt over at Bee In My Bonnet to make these lovely little design if made with flannel on one side to reduce slippage, sandwiched with batting and I left out the foamcore, added ties to the sides, they could be rolled up and tied to keep blocks in order if we don't get around to the sewing portion of that days visit with Gramma! 

Over time, kids can design their own blocks with their own fabric choices, pick a sashing print and before you know it, they have their own sampler quilt, pillow, doll quilt, even pillowcase, that they designed & Gramma sewed together, unless they're tall enough to reach the pedal to sew themselves with Grammas watchful guidance and seam ripper close at hand.

In my most Arthur Treacher-ish accent...By George, I think I've got it!  I've got to get to work!  Grandson #1 is almost 5, Step Sister just turned 4, the next new edition in our family story is due in September...and has two cute little cousins on the other side who are rapidly becoming part of our family too!  Oh what fun this could be!  And now my busy brain is coming up with baby shower/wedding gift/retirement gift ideas spun off this!  Oh imagination is going so fast I can't keep up!  Quilting Fairy Help Me!!!!!

How do You include your kids and grandkids and stray kids off the street into your world of quilting and pass your obsession, ~ love on to future generations?

Happy Monday!

~Nancie Anne

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Someone's Feeling A Litte TESTY...& The Names Not Crawley...

Although it could be Scowley…

These faces have scowled at me from a trunk containing a rather large collection of The Ghastlies prints for a couple of years...daring me to find the perfect pattern to cut them up and reassemble them into some sort of fashion without cutting them into unrecognizable bits. 
They can Scowl their Disapproval all day...The more they Scowl the more they make me Smile...much like the Addams Family who lives the next block over, and The Munsters who live across town.
I sometimes drag the Trunk...thump, thump, thump...up from the Dungeon...just to have a Nice Creepy Family Reunion.
Even my Wicked October Child once brought a Fiend...I mean, Friend, over and requested that they have an Audience with The Ghastlies...
Now it's YOUR turn...If You Dare...



Welcome To
Frownton Abbey…

Another Foray into the Never Dismal Pattern Testing World for 
HRH Sue of Quilt Times
the title of this soon to be Published Creation is Colour Boxes...
Little did she know where I would take it!!!
Bwah Ha Ha!


The Majority of this Album, as it were, was taken from a print of Individual Portraits called Ghastlie Family Reunion

with a few fill-ins from another piece which shared the same
Perfectly Putrid Shade of Pea Green.
The Hang up was Maintaining Order
Whilst Waiting for the Background to Fly In.
Would you Believe me if I told you I'd Sewn the entire thing together
 with Threads I collected from Cobwebs
while we waited for the Postman's arrival???
I learned a Great Deal about how one Effectively Taps Ones Toe during this Tenuous Wait, from Mathilde Ghastlie & her Sisters Three.
And Daria could be heard ordering husband, Sebastian, and their "Horrid" Twins to "Check the Post at least Thrice a Day!" until she could take it no longer and, trunks packed, stated she must be "Anywhere, but here!"

Sebastian nearly clawed through the Post that the Mail Receptacle sits upon, before it arrived.

Rumour has it, that Sebastian's current state

 is due to being caught Tom-Catting's quite a Predicament, as it seems the Poor Fellow is Terrified of Mice!

Each Dealt with the Wait in Their Own Way...


Gunnar Grislie Watched both Day & Night from his

Favorite Vantage Point, High in the Family Plot, for His Beloved Daughters "Miserable Stuff" to Arrive.
The Always Bitter, Widow Ghastlie was Heard Thump-Thumping through the Halls at Night, Repeatedly Moaning, "Bitterly Disappointed, Bitter Cold..." 
Gaspar, as usual, Retreated to the Library for Research & Declared
"The Goods are Obviously Somewhere in the Air Over Guatemala!"
And then he Promptly Ordered that The Car be Brought Around so that He Might Go In Search of the Missing Parcel.
Meanwhile, Sebastian's Brother, Garrick, Prepared to Send Out The Hounds...
Uncle, was as Usual, Stunned and Clueless As To Why His Lovely Wife was Continually Festering About One Thing or Another...
"But If He Were In Confinement For The Second Time In As Many Years He Might Be Festering Too!"
Elsewhere, the other Women of the Household Were Fractious as Usual and Some Began Researching Incantations & Stirring Their Cauldrons & Concocting Their Most Vile Potions to "Administer to the Dear Misguided Postman so that He Might Never Disappoint Us Again."
But then, Just at the Last Possible Moment!
There Came a Lovely Howling Storm
and in Through the Open Window It Blew!


and alas...they are now all joined together...for eternity...
or at least until it's moth-eaten & the rot begins to set in...
it's never really
The End...
Is It?
~Nancie Anne...


Friday, April 4, 2014

In Service To Her Majesty...The Queen

Not Long Ago, in a Land Far, Far Away, 
HRH Sue, Sovereign of the Queendom of Quilt Times, set out on a journey.  Her plan was to design, write and execute her vision and plan, in order to bring forth a more beautiful kingdom.  She called upon her Royal Subjects to aide her in establishing and perfecting her plans to blanket her kingdom in beautifully laid paths, walls and gardens...
even the Village Idiot (insert picture of myself here) was allowed to take part...

Okay!  I'm thinking waaaay too hard here...
Sue made a quilt, and named it Red Sprinkles.

Someone showed interest in making it too and she was challenged to create a pattern.  She posted that she needed some pattern testers and some of her loyal friends jumped at the opportunity to help! 
I had a vision...(that I unmercifully taunted her with)
But I was also struggling with the fear of cutting into an irreplaceable, treasured print without first being certain that all the cutting instructions were correct, so I went in a different direction using fabric in my stash that was cute, but not as "highly esteemed" as the irreplaceable. 
(Oh, I am sooo, ready for a viewing of Mr. Darcy...Whoops!  ADD moment...)
So I set off on my adventure with my tote full of cute little Daisies and Bees and my other larger tote full of cute neutral prints and
Honey Bee Sprinkles was born.  This quilt speaks to me of becoming that quilt that lives on the recliner...the one that kids and grandkids come home and curl up in. 

 Now, somewhat foolishly, (living up to my role as Village Idiot) I just went full steam ahead with cutting fabric as instructed, while another tester was wisely doing the math.  The result was that I had cut my corner triangles about 5 seconds prior to receiving an email telling me that the measurement was too small.  I didn't have enough of my red border print to recut the corners...I knew where more of it was to be had, but I wasn't up for all it would entail to drive across town, pilfer through my friends stash and hope she wouldn't notice that I had cut two good sized squares out of her yardage. 
But then!  Eureka!  I had inspiration and that strong quilters gene that screams "Waste Not, Want Not!"
I had leftover cornerstone squares resulting from my obsession with systematically making sure that no two prints were side by side in my efforts to engineer this sort of scrappy little quilt...I took 3 squares of the interior prints and flanked them with two squares from the border print and attached them to the long side of the "too small" triangles, used my triangle ruler to trim them up and problem solved!
Yes, there is more than one way to skin a cat...
 and save ones self from guilt and pilferation! 
All the while, the treasured, irreplaceable was calling my name...I bought this print about 5 years ago while visiting our daughter at school.  It inspired me, with tales of a beautiful dragon who falls in love with the golden haired princess who comes across him hiding in her garden...not the stuff of Lord of The Rings...something far more romantic...a little too romantic for Disney though...
I initially had the idea for a grand applique...but that would take away from my desire to simply honor this beautiful fabric.  I had at another time found a bit of one of the companion prints that went with it, and then an unrelated print that also fit well...but there was the need to find something to unite them and allow them their own space to shine...then I tripped across some creamy gold metallics and knew I had found my princesses golden hair and robes.  And if my princess were magically transformed into a dragon, wouldn't her scales be creamy and gold as well?
And so...with six prints, The Dragon Princess came to life.
The gold and cream prints that represent the princess's hair and robes and flank the "dragon garden" print are different colorways of  the same design.
The sashing that brings them all together are the scales of the transformed princess.
I don't recall whether I spotted this fabric first or if my husband did, but I do recall that he wanted to be sure that I had seen it in the little shop we found it in.  I remember standing at the cutting table wishing I could afford the entire bolt, deliberating and finally settling for 2 1/2 yards and running out of time when I decided later that I should have purchased more.
All these years later, he watched the progress of this top spread out on the dining table with interest and inquiry as to how it was going.
We both have fallen in love with it.
Now...who's going to accuse me of having an overactive imagination???
Thank You, HRH not only let me play with your pattern and accepted my edits & ideas graciously,
 as any True Sovereign would,
but you provided me with the blank canvas to paint my long held story.
~Nancie Anne