Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Fun Weekend and a Winner!

I spent most of this past weekend here.  We had beautiful weather, although the heat started rolling in yesterday, but it was still pretty. 

We worked on our latest garden project.  It started earlier this Spring from these humble beginnings.  First we had cleared away the pea gravel around the front corner of the gazebo (This area had started out about 20 years ago as the bed for the kids' outdoor play set, and now it has my gazebo sitting on it). 

...Then after a lot of digging, and some very particular arranging of stone, 
 ...and arranging of plants, and some more arranging of stone,

 We now have a little garden pond :)

The pond liner was my latest Freecycle indulgence this Spring.  Hubby had dug it into the ground while I was away in Paducah, and my son gave me some fish for Mother's Day, so this weekend was about adding the waterfall and rock edging...Next, maybe a little accent planting around it :)

And thank you to all for the well wishes for my 450th post.  The winner for my little Give Away was randomly chosen using Random.org today...
Happy Cottage Quilter!
I'll be sending you an email to get your address to send out your goodies!  Thank you everyone for participating, you added smiles to my weekend :)

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Smile and a Little Give Away

While doing one of the most mundane things that I do in my life ~ walking into the grocery store, I was greeted by this little guy.  Sitting among a huge mass of orange and pink Gerber Daisies, this one little bloom decided to be half orange and half yellow!

...So happy and Summery, it made me smile :)  It just goes to show you that being different, and maybe a little more "creative" than others is a good thing!

...And as promised, to celebrate our 450th blog post, I'm having a little Giveaway!  Pictured here is a Moda bundle of 4 Fat Eighths of Meadow Waltz fabric from Kansas Troubles (an all-time favorite of mine that's hard to find any more), a package of Thangles to make 2.5" Half Square Triangles, and a little tin box (decorated with a picture of buttons on the lid) that's perfect for carrying along little dittys, and who knows what other little extas I might include in the box... 
To win, just leave a comment on this post, and Followers of my blog will get an extra entry so let me know if you are already a follower, or just became one!  One winner will be randomly picked on Tuesday, so spread the word ~ all are welcome. 

Finally, whether you are enjoying this weekend at a cookout, graduation party, playing in the garden, laying on the beach, jumping in the pool, or watching the Indy 500...take a moment to say a prayer of thanks, and fly the American flag in honor of the ones who have given the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our nation and keep us safe.  Have a Happy and Safe Memorial Day weekend :)

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Just in Time for Summer...

Summer has arrived here on the East Coast, and with that comes picnics, days at the pool, the beach and the ball field.  I needed a cute new Summer bag that could carry all my stuff, so I designed The Madras Summer Tote. 

It's a roomy 15" x 20" bag that has two large outside pockets, and one handy pocket inside.  Perfect for holding sunscreen, sunglasses, ipod, and camera...among other necessities. 

It's very easy to make, and is completely AccuQuilt Go! Cutter friendly!
...And now for the big announcement:  I'm so excited to share that I've been working with the people at AccuQuilt, and the Madras Summer Tote is now available as a Downloadable e-Pattern at the AccuQuilt Website!   ...And you can earn AccuQuilt Reward Points both from the purchase, and review of the pattern :)

You can also purchase the Downloadable e-Pattern from the Spring Water Designs website.  Once purchased, the pattern will be emailed to you as a pdf attachment, saving you time and shipping costs!

The pattern also includes instructions for this little darling ~ a coordinating Bonus Water Resistant Vinyl-lined Pouch for keeping valuables dry!
(I've also been told that the tote is a perfect diaper bag, and the ensemble makes a great Baby Shower gift!)

And it just so happens that this is my 449th post...so come back tomorrow for a fun little Bloggy Giveaway in honor of #450!! (Become a follower so you don't miss out on anything!)

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Quick Little Flower Project

I've been spending any free moments I have outside in my garden lately, but today I decided to stay inside and instead "grow" a few flowers indoors.  I was in need of a new Summertime hand towel for my powder room, so I got out my Accuquilt Go and started cutting out some flowers. 

I used the Rose of Sharon die #55045, and the Heart die #55029.  First I ironed Heat-n-Bond Lite fusible to the back of some scraps ~ This is a great project for small scraps.  Then just lay multiple scraps of fabric over the shapes that you want to cut.  I cut a variety of large and small flowers, leaves, dots and one of the smallest 2" hearts.  (Free hand cutting some shapes would work fine too, just take a little longer.)
You can cut out any combination of shapes that you wish, and then play with a layout that pleases you.  I centered the pieces on the bottom half of a purchased cotton T towel.  (I have a few of these towels available for sale here.)  Using a washable blue marker, mark where the flower stems will go.

Using a coordinating thread, top-stitch narrow ric rac stems over the lines, leaving them hanging about a half inch over each end.  The stems should be about a half inch up from the bottom of the towel. 

Then I cut a 3" strip of a coordinating fabric scrap to become a trim strip, layed it across the towel (from side to side ~ it just has to be longer than the towel is wide, you can see in this picture that I literally used scraps of every shape), and I marked where the edge of the towel is.  This line is where I turned the ends under, pressed and top-stitched to give the coordinating trim strip finished ends.
Fold the strip wrong sides together and stitch along the long raw edges.

Center the seam, and press it open.  This becomes the back side of your coordinating trim strip (which now has finished sides too).   Pin the strip along the bottom of the T towel, and top-stitch close to each long edge.  (This should cover the bottoms of your ric rac stems.)

Tuck the ends of an accent ribbon (about an inch) into the "sleeve" that you just created.

Press, and pin down the accent ribbon to the coordinating trim strip.  Stitch in place (using a decorative stitch if you want).

Then fuse all of the flowers and leaves to the towel, making sure to cover the top ends of the stems.  Machine blanket stitch the edges of all the applique shapes using coordinating colored threads.

Next, add some buttons...because buttons make everything better!

And if you have a hubby like mine who really doesn't understand the decorative towel thing,  appease him by hanging it over another "real" towel ~ my little tip for a long and happy marriage :)

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Favorite Quilt Inspiration

Sorry I haven't been blogging regularly lately, I've been away from the computer for a bit.  Right after getting home from my trip to the Paducah Quilt Show, my husband's grandmother died.  So last week was spent mostly with family, and whenever I did have a spare moment to myself I stole it away in the garden or at my sewing machine.  Things are getting back to normal here now, so I'm catching up on some blog reading...And I saw that Amy's Blogger Quilt Festival is going on this week!  What better therapy is there than looking at, and reading about quilts, right?

So I thought I'd jump in and share my favorite quilt that I made this past year.  This is my Abby's Owl Quilt.  If you're a follower of my blog, you've seen this quilt already ~ but it's my favorite for this year because it was inspired by my second granddaughter, Abigail Mae who is 8 months old now. (Can you believe that 8 months already!)  

This quilt then went on to become a pattern, and a kit on my website, and it hung in the Quiltwoman booth at last Fall's Quilt Market ~ that's a lot of getting around for one quilt, but it is hanging on the wall in Abby's room now :)  

And I've since made three more of these quilts as custom orders for other people.  I love the happy fabrics (Summer Song from Riley Blake Designs), so I think that's why I still like this quilt even after making it several times (I'm usually not one to enjoy making the same quilt over and over). 

...And this is Abby enjoying a warm afternoon this past week...pretty sweet inspiration for a quilt :)

Thanks to Amy for hosting the Blogger's Quilt Festival, and to all of the sponsors who are offering prizes.  Go to Amy's Blog to check out all of the other quilts in this week's virtual blog quilt show!

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Surprises

While wondering around the streets of Paducah during Quilt Week we found many nice surprises tucked here and there, but one of the most delightful was Caryl Bryer Fallert's Bryerpatch Studio.  I wasn't previously familiar with Caryl's work, but we saw in one of the show booklets that her studio was open to tour sooo... not knowing what we would find, we sought it out and were totally wowed!  ~ Don't you love it when that happens :)

Now I'm a more traditional quilter at heart and I love my cozy reproduction fabrics, but I also love color and texture, and the way that Caryl uses both just blew me away.  We had found ourselves a wonderful Creative Excursion :)

In her spacious classroom there was a gallery of quilts set up, and around every corner there was another happy surprise. 

We were permitted to snap photos, and Caryl has graciously given me permission to share some of them here.  You can click on these pictures to get a little better view of the quilts, they were just awesome in person, and my humble pictures don't really do them justice.

Caryl hand dyes some of her own fabrics, and has designed some beautiful fabric lines for Benartex Fabrics.
And her quilting is amazing.  I love how she quilts secondary shadow figures on many of her quilts.

The secondary shadows along with the curves and movement in her pieces add so much interest.  

Along with the Gallery/Classroom and the Dying Studio, Bryerpatch Studio has a store in the front and an entire upstairs where Caryl lives, creates, and hosts Workshop and Retreat guests.   All were open to tour along with the gardens and lovely little courtyard complete with water feature.  If you visit Paducah, make Bryerpatch Studio a "Must See" on your list.  

Whether you make it to Paducah or not, check out the Bryerpatch Studios website for many more wonderful pictures (Make sure you click on the Articles Button for information, how-tos, and free pattern!).

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


The Ohio was rising and the flood gates were closed, but Quilt Week in Paducah, Kentucky went on as planned!  The AQS Show organizers are to be commended for all their efforts this year to keep the annual Quilt Show going.  They had to drop personal and family plans on Easter Sunday to scramble for new venues to replace the Expo Center which they could suddenly not use as it's located outside the now closed flood gates!  This year was This quilter's first trek to the Paducah Show, and I for one am very grateful for their efforts.  It was a little more spread out than usual with some of the show quilts and vendors located in a large bubble pavilion, some moved to empty retail facilities, and the classes and some quilts moved to a large Baptist Church campus.  The shuttle bus operators were a little flustered but did their best, most people kept good spirits about it all, and we explored the entire town. 

From the time my Mom picked me up at the airport in Louisville, where I visited with her and family in the surrounding area for a few days, until we drove into Paducah, it rained and sometimes stormed (I even woke to tornado sirens in Shelbyville where my Mom lives...a new experience for this Maryland girl.  Thankfully none materialized close to us, but they were devastating in some areas as I'm sure you know).   But the sun came out for a few days for the Quilt Show, and here are some sights we enjoyed as we walked the town.  

The flood wall murals are really cool.

 Quilts can be spotted just about anywhere :)

 Fabric sales are tucked in all over!

 A little jazz, some artists, and a dancing "statue" in a town square added to the festivities.

Quaint streets with great restaurants.  We had a wonderful lunch at Max's on this cute little street (They were somewhere near the Kentucky Ave quilt vendors ~ sorry I'm not more exact, we were just meandering and enjoying the day when we happened upon them)

 Quilters could be spotted all over town, and we were very welcomed!

And there were lots of cool antique shops and cute little things could be spotted everywhere :) 

This was my Mom's first ever visit to any quilt show, and my first visit to the Paducah Show and I think we were a little bit overwhelmed...it's kind of like Disney World for quilters :)  But I think we did ok ~ as a matter of fact, I have a box shipping home because I was flying and limited to one suitcase.
...And I've already booked our room for next year's show,  hopefully the start of a great annual tradition for my Mom and me :)

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn