Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quilter's Connection Excitement and a Giveaway

Hi everyone:

Yesterday I told you that I had some exciting news coming up and I've been bursting at the seams to tell you. Now, I finally can! I'm in the Summer issue of Quilter's Connection Magazine, or rather, my quilt, Blossoming is. And, even better, I'm right on the front page. Actually, Blossoming is the front page! 

I was so excited when I was given the opportunity to have one of my patterns featured in this great Canadian magazine and absolutely thrilled to see my little wall hanging on the front cover. Wow! Talk about make my day! 

If you're a subscriber, you should be receiving your issue soon, barring a strike by Canada Post, of course. You can also pick this up in Chapters and other major booksellers in Canada in early June. If you haven't seen this publication yet, you can find out all about it here. celebrate my first pattern in a magazine, I'm holding a giveaway. I'm offering 3 of my Chatterbox Quilts patterns to one of my readers (Canadian and U.S. addresses only, please) and you get to pick the patterns that you like the most. This giveaway is open until May Tuesday, May 31, 2011 (my mother's birthday) at 6:00 p.m MST. You'll have four opportunities to enter this giveaway; five opportunities if you are a blogger, as below:

1. Visit my Etsy store (see tab at top of blog page) and let me know which 3 patterns you'd choose if you won and leave a comment below.

2. Become a follower of my blog by entering your email address on the top right side of my blog page and leave a separate comment below indicating this. If you're already a follower, please leave me a separate comment below indicating this.

3. Become a follower of Chatterbox Quilts on Facebook (see blog page sidebar) and leave me a separate comment below indicating this. If you're already a Facebook fan, please leave me a separate comment below indicating this.

4. Become a follower of CB Quilts on Twitter (see blog page sidebar) and leave me a separate comment below indicating this. If you already follow me on Twitter, please leave me a separate comment below indicating this.

5. If you are a blogger and blog about this giveaway, leave me a separate comment below with the link to the blog post to be entered for an additional chance. 

You have five opportunities to win, so be sure that you leave a separate comment for each entry so they will all be eligible.

Good luck to everyone and hope you're enjoying a blooming week!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WIWOW May 25, 2011

Hi everyone:

Not as much quilting this week. 4 day week-end with some shopping and lots of gardening. Weeding, planting, pruning, thank goodness the weather cooperated on Saturday so we were able to get it all done. I did manage to finish quilting Chock a Block, although it took me a little longer than I would've hoped.
Chock a Block by Chatterbox Quilts
I'm still practising pantographs and, due to some issues with my laser set-up (I won't even go into the details here), my quilting became off track and I ended up stitching over part of the previous row. Not good! Of course this meant that I had some un-stitching to do, which takes much longer on a frame than you'd think to accomplish. I ended up having to adjust my quilting several times along the last row and finally finished up at about 11:30 on Saturday evening. Not my idea of an ideal evening!
Chock a Block quilted detail

Chock a Block overview
I think I'm going to stop quilting on the frame this week (really, nothing to do with the frustrating Saturday evening I had) and get back to some sewing. I have a few projects in the works that I haven't been able to work on lately. I still have to do another prototype of my Hootie owl, so hopefully I'll get back to that too.

Of course I have to review my stash and books to see what I should be looking for this upcoming week-end at the Festival of Quilts at Heritage Park in Calgary. Over 500 quilts will be covering the park this week-end and, for the first time, there will be quilts available for sale. I'm quite interested to see how many of these there will be and how they will be priced. If you're there and see me, make sure you say hi. I'll also be at the dinner on Saturday evening to hear Diane McGregor of Castilleja Cotton speak. 
Twirling Whirlies at the 2010 Festival of Quilts
Notice the winter jacket - it was cold!
I also have some exciting information that I'll let you know about in my next blog post. I've been holding this under my hat for several months now and can finally let you in on the big news.

I hope you've enjoying warm weather and have some quilt shows upcoming in your area.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WIWOW May 18, 2011

Hi everyone:

Another week has come and gone and I've actually finished some more things. Remember that quilt that I has just started quilting last week?  Well, it's done! Yes, and it even turned out quite well. 
Finished 5 and Dime quilt with soft flannel backing
It was my first pantograph quilt and I'm pleased with the results. My husband wondered who this quilt was for. I told him it was for me to cuddle up with while watching tv. He was concerned that the cats would also enjoy it and that this lovely quilt would become too "furry". I don't think the idea of washing it when needed occurred to him since I usually make wall hangings that don't get washed. Not to worry as it's a lap quilt and that's exactly how it's going to be used. Snuggled into, cuddled up with and used. I know I'm really going to enjoy it since it has a soft flannel backing.
Back detail
Now I have another quilt loaded on the frame and started  - one of my own designs, Chock a Block. I'm using another pantograph on it called Cherry Blossoms and I think it suits the oriental fabrics in the quilt. It seems to be going well so far and I hope to have it finished by next week.  
Chock a Block loaded and partially quilted
I know I said that I was trying to finish up existing projects and I really am, but... sometimes a girl just has to try something new! I have been working on some owl stuffies lately, trying to simplify my Hootie pattern. I finally figured out how to make 3-D wings and now am playing around with different eye types. I've almost finished one prototype and am now working on a few others. Maybe these little guys will find their way into my Etsy shop... just saying!
Prototype #1
In between last week and today, we celebrated my son, Jamie's 12th birthday with a shopping spree for him, as well as dinner out and a cake, of course. How long does it take a 12-year old boy to spend all his birthday money? About an hour, leaving him several hours afterwards to play his new wii games. 
Jamie with one of his new video games
Tonight I'm off to our quilt guild wind-up party. Lots of food and chatting; it's sure to be a fun evening.
Peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips and
a hint of cinnamon for the guild dessert table
Hope you're enjoying a productive, quilty week!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Never enough fabric

Hi everyone:

Recently I've been trying to use up my existing stash - and have been doing quite well at this I think. But using up stash means that there are some holes available that need to be filled with new fabric. I've also rearranged (notice, I didn't say weeded out) my quilt and craft books and there appears to be a bit of space available there as well for some new volumes. 
So, what's a girl to do? Well, shop, of course! But not at any fabric store. Oh no, I'm really loving going to the Goodwill store to pick up wool clothes and use the fabric in small projects. This is great, but a few weeks back I hit the motherlode! Yes, a great fabric and craft sale with all proceeds going to a good cause. I'm talking about the annual Ujamaa Grandmas fabric sale here in Calgary.

Did I buy too much? This is a rhetorical question!
I've never seen so much fabric in one place at one time. And the prices! Well, let's just say my money went a long way that day! Besides all types of fabric, which is sorted according to type and colour, there are books, magazines, yarn, craft items, well, if it has to do with sewing or crafting you'll find it there. The variety was overwhelming - almost!
Some of the wool pieces I purchased.
Luckily I brought along my daughter, Sarah, as my quilt sherpa. Between the two of us we managed to find everything from wool to Creative Circle craft kits. Our buying had to stop when we couldn't carry any more items. 
Creative Circles kits at $.50 for my "collection".
I even bought one I already have!
The best part of all this (besides the look on my husband's face when he saw all our purchases) was that the money goes to help grandmothers raising their grandchildren, orphaned by AIDS, in Africa. 
Some of my fabric and pattern finds.
Batiks, fabric, patterns, anyone?
More books - great for design inspiration
I was so impressed by the ladies volunteering there that I joined our local Calgary chapter. They are a hard working, positive, fun group of ladies. In addition to their fabric sale in April each year, they hold a Bags, Babies and Beyond sale in October. These are their two primary fundraising events and this year they raised $20,000 through the fabric sale alone. Wow, that's a lot of fabric! 

The Ujamaa Grandmas are a Stephen Lewis initiative and you can read more about their work here

Now I just have to figure out where to put all these new purchases...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WIWOW May 11, 2011

Hi everyone:

Wow, I can't believe it's Wednesday again already. It seems like only a week ago that I was telling you about my current projects. Wait a minute - that was only a week ago! The days seem to be flying lately, but I have been accomplishing lots of things. 

Last week I was working on a project from Chisel Chase and I'm happy to report that I've finished the quilt top. Yeah for me! It looks great and I was pleased at how all the seams lined up. Cutting the pieces with the AccuQuilt Go! really seemed to help. I love the accuracy of cutting with the dies. It certainly makes my projects look good.

Quilt tops pressed and ready to go.
The top from Chisel Chase is peeking out at the bottom.

Since I finished this top, I decided that I should get a backing ready for it - sort of the next logical step, isn't it? Well, once I had that backing fabric pressed, measured, cut and pieced together, I decided that I might as well keep going. So... I prepared backings for 5 other quilts. Yes, quilt tops do tend to stack up in my studio. I spent most of Mother's Day working on the backings and now have all of them ready to load onto the long-arm frame.
More tops and backings waiting to be quilted.

Actually I loaded up a quilt on Monday evening and started quilting it yesterday. It's a 5 and Dime top and I'm doing an edge to edge or pantograph design on it. I usually do free motion quilting, but really need to challenge myself by working with pantographs. It always takes me quite a bit of time to set everything up and I'm using a new laser set-up that I've rigged up myself. I've done a bit of quilting with it so far and it seems to be working okay. Now if I could just make my curves a little smoother...

Hope to finish this quilt in the next few days and work on some of the other projects waiting to go on the frame. I also have my son's birthday coming up this week-end, so I think a little present shopping might be in order.

Hope you're enjoying a wonderful Wednesday!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thanks, Mom!

Hi everyone:

It's Mother's Day and I'm being spoiled by my children and husband today. Flowers and a card already today and supper is being cooked by them. They even give me the day to play in my studio. Who could ask for more? I hope that you're being spoiled by your children today too.

I don't think I really realized what being a mother was all about until I became one myself. Is there any other job more important in the whole world? I don't think so. I never really appreciated the motherhood experience until I had my own children. The joys, the heartaches, the worrying, the pride - it's almost overwhelming and it's definitely all consuming. 

As I guide and watch my own children grow towards adulthood, I think I have a bit of an understanding as to what my own mother went though with me when I was younger. 

Mom, Dad, Sarah & Jamie (my guys!)

My mother didn't work when we were younger, only returning to a part-time office job at the local funeral home when my brother and I were in our early teens. Even then she found time to do the housework (our house was always immaculately clean), laundry, help my brother and I with our homework, and have a full meal on the table every night. She gardened in the summer and made all of my grad, prom and special occasion dresses (although she didn't quilt). There were always cookies and baked treats in our home and our friends were always welcome. I admire the organized fashion in which she ran, and still does run, her household.  

She always exercised, in a time when no one even knew what Jazzercise was, and continues to do so today at the age of 77. I credit her healthy lifestyle and mental toughness for allowing her to conquer breast cancer while I was still in high school.

I respect and admire her marriage, of over 50 years, to my father. It is a testament to their love and commitment to one another. It is what allowed them to build a wonderful life together and raise my brother and I to be the adults that we are today. I can only hope that my own children will feel about me the way that I do about my mom when they reach adulthood. 

So, thanks to my Mom, and all the other mothers out there, for the time, effort and sacrifice that you've put into raising your children. Where would we be without you?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

WIWOW May 4, 2011

Hi everyone:

You're probably wondering about the title. Well, it's an acronym for What I'm Working on Wednesday or WIWOW, which sounds kind of neat, doesn't it? 

You haven't heard from me for a week because I've actually been working on the items I posted last week. And... drum roll, please... I actually finished one of the projects. Appliqués fused and stitched down, quilted, sleeve attached, label applied, binding sewn and embellishments added. I think it turned out rather well and I even finished it a day earlier than my deadline. 

My arm is getting a bit sore from patting myself on the back, so without further ado, here is Posh Pets (thanks to Sherry Rose for the name suggestion). 

Posh Pets - a charming project
Yo-yo detail

Cat and yo-yo details

Dog appliqué detail

This project was quick and easy thanks to my AccuQuilt GO! cutter. Now if it would only do the stitching and quilting...

I'm finishing up the little doll that I showed you last week, but the instructions for the embroidery stitcheries are on hold for the moment. 

Now I'm sure that you're dying to know what I'm working on this week. Well, here's what's on the sewing table tonight:

I'm working on a project from Chisel Chase by
Noble Needle Quilting and Sewing

I had to colour the diagram so I'd know where
to put the red and the green fabrics.

First two rows stitched together. Fabric is
Wrap it Up from Connecting Threads

I figure that I might actually have this finished by next Christmas if I keep working on it!

So this week I'm going to finish up the little doll and try to get this topped pieced together. 

Hope you're working on - and finishing - some fun projects.