Sunday, July 31, 2011

Daisies & Yellow Roses

I'm waxing nostalgic this morning.   29 years ago this morning my world was about Daisies & Yellow Roses, Polyester Tuxedos and Lace,

Best friends who let me dress them in yellow and ruffles (What can I say it was 1982 and I liked Gunne Sax ~ before it was considered vintage).

...and then my world expanded...  The adventure began, and I've enjoyed the ride from the back of his motorcycle to the passenger seat of his truck, holding his hand while having our babies, and handing him tools while he built additions on our house.  Standing with him on ball fields and camping trips, and sitting with him at graduations and funerals, while working hard to playing together with our grandchildren...I'm loving the trip and feel so blessed :)

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

PS ~ Don't forget to leave a comment on my Previous Post and get in on the QuiltAlbum software Give Away!  Deadline is Thursday morning!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Quilt Album Review & A Give Away!

How many quilts have you made in your years of quilting?  Any idea?  What year did you make that favorite cuddle quilt?  What kind of batting did you use in that baby quilt you gave as a gift to your niece three years ago?  These are all typical of questions that I've asked myself in the past.  Of course I've had good intentions to keep track of these things, but...well actually I've been so busy making quilts that I haven't much concerned myself with documenting them.  And even though I know the importance of quilt labels, I have to admit I don't always get one made for every quilt.

Well now along comes Quilt Album!  I was introduced to Quilt Album software by Pat Sloan a few weeks ago.  She asked me to try it, and give my opinions, and I have to say so far I'm loving it!  Quilt Album is a very user friendly computer program that allows you to fill in all the pertinent information onto a page for each quilt that you make.  It keeps an electronic record of all of your quilts, and you can print out album pages to keep a scrapbook style notebook to flip through (something I've been intending to do ~ and well you know about good intentions....). 

This is a computer screen shot of one of my quilt pages (you can click on the pictures to enlarge them and see them better).  I like how they have included a place to tell the story of each quilt, and I can assign categories for my quilts.  So I've set up separate categories for quilts I've made as gifts, quilts I've made for publication, Quilts I've made/repaired for customers, Antique quilts that I've collected, and quilts that I've made just for me to keep.  You can personalize the categories to meet your own needs very easily :)

This is the screen shot of my Dad's quilt that I blogged about the other day in This Post.  One of the things I like the most about this program is how easy it has been to download and use.  They have kept it simple enough that it's been very easy to just jump in and get started even for a non-IT person like me :)  Sometimes I find computer stuff so complicated that I don't have the time or the energy needed to learn it ~ I'm happy to say that's not so with Quilt Album!

This is a scan (so it's a little faded) of the printed Album page for my Dad's quilt.  I'm sliding them into page protectors and starting a notebook of my quilts.  This page is full size, but you can also print out half size pages for smaller notebooks for easier carrying along like to guild meetings and such. 

You can personalize your cover page.  I'm going to look for another color notebook to slide my cover page into, but right now I have a blue one ~ it's ok, but doesn't speak to me :)

The Quilt Album people have also thought of a summery page that you can print for your notebook that can serve like a table of contents.  The summaries can be set up any way you like ie: alphabetically, by date, or category...  Notice that I still have to go back and fill in some of my quilt sizes (I was adding some of them by memory, but can go back and follow up on the facts that I didn't know off the top of my head at any time, and just reprint the summary page).

And remember those quilt labels that I'm so bad about!  This is a sample of a quilt label that I printed out right from the quilt record in the software.  In the print screen I can choose what information from the record I want to include or leave off of the label, and if I want a picture or not on the label.  Then I can just print the label right onto printable fabric ~ This is going to make it so easy to go back and label some of my past quilts!

And just for fun, you can easily print out other goodies like these note cards (in several sizes and formats) that are personalized on the back with your quilt's information.  I love this added bonus...probably a little more than I should :)

In a matter of minutes I had note cards, business cards, and return address labels :)  So cool!

I've decided to work with Quilt Album as one of their Ambassadors, and of the most important things I like about this program is that it's also very affordable!  You can download a copy from Quilt Album for $29.95, (or purchase a disc for $39.95) and my readers can receive a $5.00 discount on your purchase if you enter the discount code of BCC-BG at the check out!

And Exciting News:  The nice people at Quilt Album are offering a Give Away of a Free Quilt Album Software Program for one lucky reader of my blog this week!  Just leave a comment on this post and let me know how you'd use Quilt Album.  Become a follower of my blog (or let me know that you already are if you are) for an extra entry.  I'll draw one name randomly on Thursday,  August 4th at 6:00 am EST.  Good Luck!

You've worked so hard to touch others through your quilts, you owe it to yourself to document them.  Quilt Album makes that very doable :)

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Why Do You Quilt?"

I’ve often been asked why I quilt.  It’s a legitimate question.  After all, historically quilting was a utilitarian craft.  People needed to make quilts to keep warm at night.  Generally, resources were scarce so the small pieces from used fabrics were sewn together to make a larger piece of fabric to create a quilt.  
Well resources aren’t scarce anymore (remember my fabric stash pictures), and I can just buy perfectly warm blankets already made ~ cheaper than I can make them myself in many cases. 
…So why do I quilt?  Why do I cut up perfectly good fabric, just to sew it back together? And why do I like to do it so much? I’ve made a bunch of quilts.  Complicated quilts and simple quilts, large quilts and small quilts.  I enjoy picking the colors and fabric textures, and the serenity I get from stitching them together (In that I feel a kinship with women of long ago).   I enjoy the creative process, and how that fulfills me.  I enjoy giving quilts as gifts... 
I own quilts that were made by my Great Grandmother, and I cherish them ~ I somehow feel a connection to this woman I never met through these quilts, and hope that someday someone will feel that connection to me through a quilt I’ve made. 

Even after my Dad really couldn’t recognize me as his daughter any more because of his dementia, he asked me one day as I sat stitching while visiting him at the  nursing home, “Don’t you ever get tired of doing that?” …He made me chuckle.
...I smiled because he asked me that question while this quilt was draped over his legs.  This simple quilt started out as a sample for the quilt shop, but when I was making it I thought of my Dad, so it became a Christmas gift for him in 2007.  You would have thought I had given him gold bars.  Even though it was a throw size quilt, it always laid over his full size bed and he used it nightly.  Then it followed with him to the nursing home as one of those cherished familiar treasures from home.   This humble quilt gave warmth, comfort, and I believe connections when those connections were both fleeting and precious.    
...So no Dad, I don't ever get tired of doing that :)
Why do you quilt?  I’d love to hear!  
Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Springy Sneak Peek

I've finally been able to get into the sewing room lately ~ I even got to sew all afternoon Sunday!  A great way to pass these super hot days we've had here in the Mid-Atlantic.  I got these fun fabrics in the mail last week, and here's a sneak peek at their cuteness :)

How fun and Springy are these!  This line is called Spring Spectacular by Fabri-Quilt.  Look for it in Quilt Shops soon :)

I cut a bunch of these...

And I cut more of these...I can't show you what I'm making just yet, but come Spring...

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sew In Results & A Winner

Last night was the Friday Night Sew In.  I like to curl up in my recliner, put on some TV and hand stitch in the evenings.  So this is what I worked on last night. 

I pulled out an old project that I had started years ago at a class in Hershey PA with Lisa Schiller.  This project is from the book Baskets and Blossoms published by Indygo Junction.  I started mine years ago, but decided to make some changes to it. 

These layered roses were what we had learned to do in class, and I had them already finished.

So now I've finished the basket edge, and I'm going to applique a star medallion on the front of the basket.

 Then last night I finished a couple of these little baskets that are going in the quilt...someday.

And I used some different thread than I usually do ~ usually I use 60 wt Mettler or YLI Silk thread for hand applique...

But my longarmer friend Sheri gave me some left over bobbin threads from Superior Threads.  These are called SuperBobs that are prewound, and well less than full bobbins are not fun for longarmers to work with, so she gave me some of her extras for hand applique.  The colors are great and the thread is really fine and easy to applique with ~ Thanks Sheri!

To do some blog hopping and see some of the other Friday Night Sew In results just go to Heidi's blog.  Plan on spending some time hopping around, there were lots of participants!

And I've drawn the name of the winner from my little Christmas in July drawing from Thursday's post ~ and the winner is SoSarahSew!  I'm emailing you Sarah to get your address :) 

Keep posted ~ later this week I'll be having a really fun GiveAway of a neat new item that I've been reviewing :)   In the meantime...

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's a Friday Night Sew In!

Handmade by Heidi

Join me tonight for the Friday Night Sew In! Check out Heidi's blog for all the details, and come have some fun!

Also, don't forget to leave a comment on my post from yesterday for a chance to win these two Prairie Schooler Santa Cross Stitch Patterns!

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Controlled Chaos is Your Gain

Tuesday, I took a little time out from cutting fabric and went on a Creative Excursion with Heather.  She's participating in a mystery project at our most local cross stitch shop, The Stitching Post in Catonsville, MD.  This is a lovely shop, and it's right next door to Seminole Sampler Quilt Shop, which is right next door to Cloverhill Yarn Shop ~ It's kind of the little strip mall from Heaven :) 

So of course I had to bring some goodies home.  I didn't partake in any yarn this time, and I was good and only bought one 2 yard cut of fabric that I needed.  But I did buy some cross stitch items.  Do I have time to be cross stitching right now you might, I really don't ~ but that didn't stop me!

Even though I'm not actively cross stitching right now, I'm thoroughly enjoying this copy of Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly that I picked up.  This is a new magazine to me, and I LOVE IT!

And I'm salivating over this leaflet from Blackbird Designs.  I follow their blog, and I think I love everything they do!

And I picked up two more of the Prairie Schooler Santas patterns.  This is my current collection (they come out with one of them every year).  If you look closely at the first picture, you'll see that the ones I just purchased were 2005 & 2006...and yes, I already had them in my collection.  (Remember those pictures of my stash the other day...the same kind of "controlled chaos" applies to my books and patterns too). 

So, my "controlled chaos" is your gain ~ and I decided that I'd have a quick Christmas In July Give Away:  Just leave a comment on this post if you want a chance to win these two counted cross stitch patterns! I'll draw one random name on Saturday. 

Also, if anyone has any Prairie Schooler Santa Patterns dated prior to 1998, or the 1999 Santa that they no longer want...I'd be interested in taking them off your hands :)

Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

True Confessions of a Stashaholic

Yes, I have a fabric stash...and sometimes it seems like my fabric stash has me!  It's actually stashed in several closets, among several rooms of my house.  (Stash is kind of a misnomer, because my fabrics are not just stashed away for some later date, I do use my stash on a daily basis).  Some of it is more organized than other parts...some of the closets are fairly easy to access.

 Some of my stash is sorted and organized in some sort of controllable order.  

 Then there are the days that it's just kind of taking over.  (By the way, this post is definitely NOT part of the Where Bloggers Create Blog Hop!)

 Sometimes it seems to be slowly invading like some sort of pest that needs to be eradicated.

But the very favorite parts of my stash are the small scraps that I have collected and overflowing in various baskets all over.  I think because these fabrics have all been used in some prior project that I made ~ so I must have liked them, right?

I love to root through my baskets looking for just the right little chunk.  I plan on cutting some of these into squares using my Accuquilt Go! to make them easy to sew up some scrap quilts while working on other projects. 
Well the good news is, if you have a stash of any size, Accuquilt is having a "Bust My Stash" Photo Challenge, and you can win these great prizes!  Have you stared at your fabric stash and wished that you had the time and energy to cut up your fabric for future projects?  AccuQuilt has the answer!  Click here to participate, or go to AccuQuilt’s Facebook page and click “Like”.  Then go to the ‘Bust My Stash’ tab under their profile picture and upload a picture of your fabric stash.  Submit your photo by Friday, July 22nd and you’ll be eligible to win a GO! Mix & Match 12” Starter Set.  The photo with the most votes by July 31st wins!  Photos will be voted on by viewers and fans of the AccuQuilt Facebook page using the following criteria: relevance, creativity, and originality.  Share with your friends during the voting period to increase your odds of winning!  Good Luck!
This old picture of Elsie illustrates why my scrap baskets are the favorite part of my stash ~ I think just for fun I'm going to enter this one :)
Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn

Monday, July 18, 2011

Is That Duck Tape?

Well it's not "quilty", but it is crafty, and I do love tote bags!  Have you ever seen a Duck Tape purse?

They make Duck Tape in all kinds of fun colors now (you can find them at Joann's, Michaels, Walmart, and other crafty stores).  And it's so easy to work with.  While Aunt Rita and Uncle Gabe were visiting last week, they showed us how to make these Duck Tape creations, and us girls had a blast making them ~ Lisa was a natural at it :)

Uncle Gabe laid out the tape on the cutting mat and cut 24 inch strips.

Aunt Rita guided us through the making of the totes.  Here Lisa is sticking the strips together overlapping by a tiny bit ~ maybe about an eighth of an inch.  The solid color strip is an accent stripe on the bag.

Here the front of the bag is complete, and can be lifted off of the counter all in one piece.

The bag lining is made up of solid strips stuck to the back side of the front bag unit, again overlapping the strips a tiny bit.

Here Rita is showing us how to fold the body of the bag so that the "seam" is centered on the back.  You can't see it, but before folding they added a bag bottom that was made up of a strip of poster board (roughly 1 inch wide, and 10 inches long) covered with the solid colored Duck Tape and taped to the bottom. And the top edge had a half strip of solid colored duck tape folded over the edge (much like binding along the top of a quilted tote bag). 

The seam on the back is connected together with a piece of Duck Tape of course.

Then to make the handles, Lisa laid a full 24 inch piece of Duck Tape sticky side up.  Then centered a same length piece cut in half long-ways (sticky sides together) on the full handle piece, and then she folded the edges over to eliminate any raw edges.

 Little fasteners were poked through to attach the handles to the bag.

We used the kind that you poke through and then bend the tabs outward.  (A little square of Duck Tape can be added to cover up the bent tabs).  Decorative grommets could also be used, just make sure that any fasteners used can hold whatever weight will be carried in the tote bag.

Lisa then used my AccuQuilt Go! to cut some star shapes to accent the bag with solid colored stars.  (We placed the glossy side of Freezer Paper to the sticky side of the Duck Tape to run it through the cutter, and then carefully pealed off the Freezer Paper like a sticker).

They also made this smaller tote for Elsie using the same method but cutting the strips smaller (18 inches in this case), and making the body of the bag one layered strip shorter.  These bags are completely waterproof and I thought this one would make a cute lunch tote :)

For more Duck Tape fun, check out the Duck Tape website for many project ideas from clothes, accessories, and household projects.  Some of these would make great Summertime crafts for the kiddos who are out of school, and if you used those 40% off coupons, they are pretty economical too :)
Enjoy the day!
~ Dawn