Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Stencil Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the free Stencil Company stencils -
  • Cityquilter Grace from Maine
  • Susannah from Finger Lakes, NY
  • Rosa from Spain
  • Maribeth Schmit from Cedarburg, WI
Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway. Winners, please e-mail me your addresses so we can know where to send your free little stencils.

Again, I wish all of you could have won the free stencil. Those of you who did not win,  remember that you can order this stencil and quite a few more if you go to  the Stencil Company's website. We'll do another stencil giveaway next month.

I will announce the quilt for August sometime tomorrow. Remember, it's from my book Remembering Adelia.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Another Stencil Giveaway

It was a lot of fun showing you a hand quilting demo and a stencil last month and then giving away free stencils. The Stencil Company is letting me do it again this month and next. This time there will be FOUR winners.

Look what I whipped up yesterday to give you an idea of how to use this month's cute little stencil.

I often talk about using mostly small blocks in my small quilts but who's to say you can't also use larger ones to make a small quilt? Large blocks can often easily be turned into perfect small quilts by adding a few borders. I was trying to decide what to make to showcase this little flower design on a quilt and when I went through my stack of orphan blocks, BIG ones, there she was - a 12-inch Crow's Foot block. The stencil fits perfectly in the center squares. Sure saved me a lot of time. It had been sitting there in the drawer for quite awhile in anticipation of being used in a quilt someday. It had no idea it was in fact going to BE the quilt, LOL.

Here's the stencil we're giving away this time -

Just place the stencil on your block and trace the design with your favorite marking pen or pencil. Then stitch on the lines. I decided to go with a dark red thread for contrast (made by YLI, my favorite quilting thread).

Very sweet.

The borders? The fabric is from a line called Cynthia's Scrap Bag by Carrie Quinn of Blue Hill Fabrics (Carrie owns the  Pieceful Gathering Quilt Shop in Illinois, right near where my "historical friend" Adelia lived when she wrote her diary in 1861. Yes, that would be Adelia from the book. I think I will be choosing a quilt from that book - Remembering Adelia - in a few days for our Small Quilt a Month Challenge for August).

Contact Carrie at the Pieceful Gathering Quilt shop (above) to see if she has more of this fabric available.

So leave me a comment again and early next week I will choose 4 stencil winners. Also, please remember to leave me an e-mail address or blog link where I can reach you if you win. Good luck.

I'll have to quilt a little something in the other blocks too. This is really such an interesting block, isn't it? I love the contrast.

You can find more lovely stencils for quilting your small quilts here. Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Make a Sweet Doll Pillow

The quilt for this month has a matching pillow and I always get asked about the pattern when I show it with the quilt during trunk shows. No, sorry to say, it is not in the book we're using this month. I just made it up to go along with that quilt after the book was published. All doll quilts need a pillow but especially this one.

I used ticking fabric for the actual pillow and some extra border fabric for the pillowcase. 

First, cut a 6"  x   9"  rectangle from ticking or striped fabric for the pillow.

I couldn't find any more of the ticking I used in the original pillow so I substituted this pretty Jo Morton stripe. Fold the rectangle in half, right sides together, and stitch a 1/4 inch seam along the 3 raw edges, leaving a 2" opening for turning. Turn the pillow right side out and fold and press the opening 1/4 inch under, which I think makes it easier to stitch it closed later. Stuff with polyfil and close the opening with a simple slip stitch like this.

Or, you can use a pin like I did to make it easier to slip stitch the pieces together.

Next, cut a 7"  x  10" rectangle from your pillowcase fabric.

Fold one long edge under 1/4 inch and press, then fold 1/4 inch under again so there is no raw edge. Stitch along the folded edge to make a hem. Try to do a better job than I did, LOL. I rushed a little.

Before you sew the pillow case together you can stitch a little line of decorative stitches in a darker or contrasting thread about an inch or more away from the hemmed edge. Sew a length of matching ribbon for decoration as well if you wish.

Then, fold this piece in half, right sides together, and stitch 1/4 away from the edge along 2 sides. Do NOT get carried away and sew the hemmed opening shut. Turn right side out and your pillow case is finished. The case should be slightly larger than the pillow so you can easily slip it inside.

Add a bow if you like.

This is a very cute little project isn't it?  And so easy to adjust the size to match either a larger or smaller quilt. There is a similar pincushion project in The Civil War Sewing Circle based on this little pillow, with an eyelet or lace edge. This one is made a little differently, pillow and case all in one piece, and the directions are in the book.

 I KNOW! These are just the cutest little things.

So now you have something else to try this week as you also finish up putting the borders on your little blue and white quilt. Don't you love making quick little projects? Early Christmas gifts perhaps??

We're closing in on the end of another month and, on Friday, I hope to have another Stencil GIVEAWAY on the blog. (Yay! you all say.) But first I have to make something I can use the stencil on to demonstrate to you how cute the one we're giving away is. There will be FOUR lucky stencil winners this time.

-  x  -  x  -  x  -  x

A heads up for all of you quilters in or near Illinois - I will have a small booth at the Galesburg Quilt Show on August 11-12, put on by the Piecemakers Quilt Guild of Galesburg, IL I will be signing books and showing some of my quilts.

Quilt show hrs - Saturday, 10:00 am - 4:00 PM, Sunday 11:00 am - 4:00 PM
  Over 250 quilts on display. National Quilting Association judging and Viewer's Choice Awards. Featured Author/Quilter: Kathleen Tracy

Carl Sandburg College, 2232 S. Lake Storey Road, Bldg D, Galesburg IL

Maybe I will see some of you there??

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pretty in Pictures

"In all forms of collecting the hunt for bargains adds zest to the game."
~ Edward James Nankivell,
19th century English journalist

It's been a bit of a blue and white month for me. I get this way in  the summer, tending toward blue to cool me off I guess. Lately, everywhere I turn, I seem to find and fall in love with something blue and white. Yesterday, for instance, I was driving home from the library and saw a sign that said "VINTAGE SALE." What?? I thought it was just a new, fancy name for "Garage Sale" and tried to keep going straight but my turn signal suddenly started flashing right and the car went to auto pilot and there I was, turning in front of an old house with actual old stuff for sale.

My kids and I used to love to rummage through garage sales and come up with neat toys and games, sports equipment, etc.  I gave up on garage sales quite a few years ago when we no longer needed toys. And, anyway, all everyone seemed to be selling was baby stuff or junk and do I really need any more junk? No THANK you, I have enough of my own that I need to get rid of. Once, I found a lovely silk Ralph Lauren scarf for $1.00. I still wear it and I still get compliments, LOL. No one knows.

The Vintage Sale house (and stuff inside) belonged to a lady who seemed to love blue. Linens, dishes and other household things for sale, all blue and white. A teal blue area rug. A beautiful white iron bed lined with blue and white pillows. A blue lamp. Oh my. I wish I had brought my camera. Most of it was furnishings and other things I did not need so I only bought a few small items because as it turned out, all I had was $10 cash on me, LOL. (Imagine, if I hadn't just paid my $2.50 library fine I would have had a whole $12.50 to splurge.  . . . )

I ended up choosing a small blue and white pitcher and a china serving platter, also in blue and white. They don't match anything I own, I just had to have them, you know?


Seriously, how could I NOT buy this plate?? Sentimentalist that I am, I almost tear up just looking at it, it's so delicate and beautiful.

I also bought the sweetest little doll chair (I do love my doll chairs), not in blue and white, but perfect to set on a shelf or even on a blue and white doll quilt. Maybe I'll make a small blue and white pillow for it.

You'll be pleased to know I got change back from my $10.00 too. My husband just shook his head when he came home and looked at my finds. What, I said? WHAT's wrong with loving blue?? Tell me.  

Even if I end up not actually using any of it, you have to admit, it sure looks pretty in pictures . . .  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July Challenge - Blue & White Quilt

Still working on your little blue and white quilt for July? Two weeks left until the end of the month if you're intent on making one quilt a month with us. Plenty of time to start and finish before we move on to the quilt for August. Although I've already made 2 of these quilts, I put some more blocks together yesterday, just to show you how simple it is. Break it up -  spend an hour or two this week and your blocks will be done. Then you can sew the borders on next week. You need six of these blocks to make the quilt  (each block contains 4 hourglass units, for a total of 24. Check out the pattern in American Doll Quilts for instructions).

In the original quilt, I used a variety of indigoes and shirtings for a sort of mild scrappy look. You may want to make it in 2 prints if you don't have a lot of these particular colors in your scrap collection.

I also sewed some of these tiny tiny buttons in the center of each block. Looks like I used up all my blue ones already. You may want to pick up some 1/8 inch dark blue ribbon if you wish to make the little bows in the corners of the borders and on the pillow.

Next week I'll show you how to make the little doll pillow. We'll also have our next Stencil Giveaway at the end of this month. This time there will be 4 winners.

Thanks for all of your positive e-mails in light of the recent drama in the Yahoo small quilt group. I am sorry to say that I just do not have time to answer all of them personally but know that I do appreciate all of the kind sentiments. I'm still on a break from that as I try to figure out the direction I'd like to take it but I will suggest a quilt for the next month's challenge the first week in August.

It's so darn HOT. The garden is not doing very well. I have to admit I just cannot stand to be out there in the heat for longer than a few minutes at a time so I haven't been as attentive as I had planned. My idea that this was the year I could turn it around sort of fell flat. Oh well, maybe next year.

What flowers looked like last week.

How the flowers feel this week, LOL. Guess I'd better get out there and water despite the sprinkling ban in town. Hope the rain that's predicted comes tomorrow.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Little Time for Me

"The time to relax is when you don't have time for it."
- Sydney J. Harris

I've made a little more progress on this piece. I'm not the fastest cross stitcher in the world . . . .

(Cross stitch patterns by Blackbird Designs from - A Schoolgirl's Work, Samplers from the Spencer Museum of Art)

This one may be next. Gotta make them all . . .

(Cross stitch patterns by Blackbird Designs from  - A Schoolgirl's Work, Samplers from the Spencer Museum of Art)

"Live your life from your heart. Share from your heart. And your story will touch and heal people's souls." - Melody Beattie

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Signs That My Daughter Is Home

Our house is no longer our own since my daughter came home from college for the summer . . .

I seem to be spending a lot more time cleaning bathrooms and picking up  : )

Her makeup is everywhere . . .

Suddenly, there are shoes all over the house. Oh, wait, those are actually mine . . . .  LOL. Hers are way cooler and are not from Walmart.  Puhleeze!

My favorite quilt is back home. Like a puppy, it seems to follow her around the house.

Target's profits have increased dramatically over the last several weeks . . . .

I'm making muffins for breakfast again . . . .

Here's the clever recipe! Just add water . . . .

Call me simple but they still taste pretty good.

My ipod speakers keep going missing . . . .

Curious? I may have mentioned them before. Here's where you can find some of these cute ipod speakers for your very own. So cheap, you can buy two. Very cost effective if everyone in the house borrows them without asking and they get lost or broken. My husband once bought me expensive speakers for my ipod but that was a few years ago when we had two teenagers living here and somehow they mysteriously got broken. No one knows how THAT happened, LOL.

Have a good Sunday - I woke up and it was 70 degrees here in Chicago! Much better than the 103 temps we've been having this past week. I might actually get out in the garden today.

*  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *

Oh, yes, you are not imagining things - that IS a hexagon tote bag up there.  I bought it at Borders before they tanked. Hope you are also finding some time to work on these little things now so you will be ready for our hexagon quilt when October rolls along.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Jewelry Kick

I went to a Fine Arts Fair in my town recently. It's always interesting to see what local artists are up to and we try to go every summer.

This year there were more jewelry booths than usual, which was fun for me. There were some very nice pieces and seeing a variety of handmade jewelry always inspires me to take out my bead boxes and make something myself after I get home.

I've been on a turquoise kick for quite awhile.

My daughter had a birthday recently and while I was shopping for her gifts, I noticed some great scrappy beaded jewelry. This also inspired me to spend a little time playing around with my beads, staying inside, trying to keep cool.


Nothing fancy -

Like hand quilting, beading is relaxing and therapeutic.

I sold some jewelry on my Etsy shop a few years ago . . . .

I picked up this cute pendant at a quilt show last year and decided it needed a pretty beaded "chain."

A touch of turquoise mysteriously appears in almost everything I make lately.

Julia made these pretty bracelets for me to wear doubled. Hi, Jules!

My favorite part of the Art Fair was seeing all the dogs. No one told me dogs were allowed! I would have brought mine . . . .