Shop Hops Revisited

I am joining Val's Tuesday Archives with today's theme of Shop Hops.
Instead of linking each of my shop hop posts individually at Val's Quilting Studio, I am going to give you the links in this post.

My husband and I have taken a few trips south to warmer places for a little while in the winter. My husband doesn't mind stopping for me to have a short visit to some quilt shops along the way. But for some serious quilt shop hopping I have taken a yearly bus trip for four years that is filled with lots of stops at quilt shops in many of the states as well as seeing the sites as we travel. These bus trips have satisfied my desire to travel to places that my husband isn't really interested in.

So here are the posts that tell about the shops I have visited. Let me know if you have been to any of the same shops, or know of one that no one should miss.

Front Porch Quilt Shop

JEllen's House of Fabrics 

Cleveland ...By Way of Quilt Shops

Bolts of Fabric

Bus Trip During Row by Row

Robert's Quilt Shop So Many Fabrics

Missouri Star Quilt Company

New Mexico Quilt Shop

One Last Shop in New Mexico


Appreciating Sewing Time

With our daughter's wedding and then my hip replacement surgery, most of my sewing was put on hold for the last 1-1/2 months. The happy couple are settled after their honeymoon. My recovery is going very well four weeks after surgery. I am walking much better and got the O.K. to drive. I am able to walk downstairs (carefully) and I was able to do a bit of sewing.

I finished sewing a sample of my row for the Christmas Caroling Row Along coming in September, hosted by Marian at Seams To Be Sew. I am sorry I can't show you what it is; but I will say it is a pieced row that measures 10" x 30" and has so many possibilities for it's use.

I made one sample of a child-sized bucket hat for The Yellow Window Boutique and Consignment Shop. I have so many children's fabrics I can use. It was very satisfying to sew a non-quilt project. I'm going to make more in various sizes. More quilt-related items are on my daily schedule.

I am so happy to be at my sewing machine again! There will be more photos to post soon.

FABRIC, here I come!


Giveaway Winner Selected

 Just a few moments ago I pressed the Rafflecopter button to select 
a random winner for last week's giveaway. 

I am happy to announce that it is Quilting Tangent! 

I emailed Quilting Tangent for a mailing address 
and will be sending out the leftover Island Batik fabrics (about a yard or so)
from the Funky Friends Factory patterns I made very soon!
I took a tally of the patterns that people said they liked. 
The pattern listed the most was the Hedgehog.
There was a tie for second place between Raff the Giraffe and the Bear. 

Thank you to all who visited my blog and Facebook page and entered the giveaway. 
I wish you happy sewing!


Funky Friends Photos Found and Giveaway

My last blog post was about the Funky Friends Factory stuffed animals made by Island Batik Ambassadors for the Island Batik display at Quilt Market this past week. I wasn't able to find any photos of my stuffies and the other IB Ambassadors' stuffies on social media.

Thanks to Pamela, from Pamela Quilts, I was able to see photos of my two stuffies on display, along with many other Funky Friends. You can see the photos HERE on Canton Village Quilt Works.

I enjoyed making the stuffies. If you are interested in sewing something a bit different, visit Funky Friends Factory HERE. Sign up for the newsletter and Pauline has a free pattern for Honey Teddy.
Follow her blog to see the new patterns and other activities she has going on. While you are there, grab one or more of the free patterns on her blog (Felt Cupcake Pattern, Christmas Hat Sewing Pattern, Knitted Sheep Pattern, Gingerbread Man) and watch video tutorials showing how to easily make these patterns. Gaining confidence by using a free pattern will help you choose a pattern to purchase to make for a gift or donation. The next pattern I want to try is Hannah Hedgehog.

I have Island Batik fabrics left from the Funky Friends Factory stuffies I made. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. There are 2 entry chances. I will choose the winner on June 5, 2017. Unfortunately, I can only mail to United States addresses. If your name is selected and you live outside of the United States,  I will email 2 of my PDF quilt patterns to you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Funky Friends at Quilt Market

While reading blogs this morning, I came upon Bea's post about Funky Friends at Quilt Market. While the snow was still flying, the Island Batik Ambassadors were asked if we would like to sew some stuffed animals for Quilt Market 2017 using Island Batik fabrics and Funky Friends Factory patterns. I said I would sew two, Stu the Sea Turtle and Dilby Duckling. I sent the finished animals to Island Batik in March.

The patterns were fairly easy to sew. The size of the stuffies were larger than I thought they would be. And that was helpful in sewing all the pieces together. In fact, I haven't sewn anything like these in a YEARS! And it was fun.

With all the things going on in life, I completely forgot about the Funky Friends until I saw this photo on Bea's post. There in the front was Stu the Sea Turtle, that I sewed! I tried searching for other photos of Funky Friends to see others that were made. I found a few, but not my Dilby Duckling,.

So, I will post the pictures I took before mailing the stuffies. If you spot one of my Funky Friends out there on the internet, let me know!


Design While Recovering

As I recover from hip replacement surgery, I had to find something creative to do. I received an email that mentioned Design Seeds, a blog I haven't visited in months! I thought this might be just the activity for me because I am suppose to lay pretty much flat or low with a pillow propping me slightly. Once each hour I am to use the walker to get 10 minutes of exercise on the main floor of the house.

It doesn't surprise me that I can't find the email I read last evening. I did a Google search but could not find the photo that inspired me. I did save a copy of the photo from Design Seeds.

Along with the photo, color cards (showing colors found in the photo) are provided. This is the quilt I designed.

Using EQStitch, I drew the 12" x 12" block for paper piecing. Some of the blocks were flipped. I will put this in my file to work on once I am able to get up and sit and sew. 

Check out Design Seeds and create a quilt for yourself. You can find photos on the blog listed by color or seasons in the atlas tab.


Half of May-Gone?

It is the middle of May and I liked looking back at the photo gallery on my phone. Sometimes I get so involved with the things of life that I forget what I have accomplished in crafting. The first part of this post is about those things of life that took precedence over crafting and sewing.

The last weekend of April was our youngest daughter's wedding. It was wonderful to have all my siblings and nieces and nephews attend, since most of them live out of state! I had time to visit with my brother and his wife from New Mexico. We don't see them all that much. It was fun to see all the cousins dancing together that night. They come from Washington, Florida, Tennessee and Michigan. I was so pleased with my dress and hairstyle. And I was able to do some walking without my cane (no dancing). Hip surgery is coming in May!

As any good parents would, my husband and I made the card box our daughter wanted. My husband built the box (18" x 12" x 12") with a lid that locked! I painted it. I found and painted the frame and made a chalkboard inside of it. I gave my daughter a few chalkboard inserts with font styles and some blank chalkboard inserts. I was very pleased that she figured out how to get the font she wanted chalked onto the insert! Yeah! A budding crafter.

After returning home from a long wedding weekend, I found some lovely tulips in bloom in the garden. I decided to cut them to enjoy in the house. I wanted to get them before the deer got them as they did last year. The donut was a nice treat for me, too.

I took photos of the centers of the tulips. I think I will try using my Kaleidoscope Kreator program to turn them into fabric shapes for projects and add the filigree embroideries to them.

I finished two honey bee blocks for the Queen Bee of the Gridsters before I left for the wedding. This is one of them. Rachel is a beekeeper and has a tutorial to make these blocks HERE if you are interested in making any.

I received all of my Queen Bee blocks from my fellow Gridsters by the first week of May. I am working on a design for a pattern, so I am not revealing all of the block. But just a peek for you now. 
I can tell you that the blocks on my design wall look spectacular together. 

The builder arrived the second week of May to begin putting vinyl siding on our house along with replacement windows on the south side! It really looks nice, I have to admit. And as we age, my husband and I will be happy we don't have to stain the house every 2 years or hire it out. I have to say the hardest part was trying to find the color we both liked!

I put some of that life aside and got busy sewing. I made two placemats with hedgehog fabric for a gift. I had a fat quarter, so the fronts have strips of stash fabric that worked with the print which you can see on the backs of the placemats. 

I used the embroidery from EmbroideryIt to make some more coasters. I found with felt, it is best to use a large needle (size 14) for little thread breakage, atleast with my machine,

I skipped a few stitches and added some letters to make this dish towel. 

I used another embroidery for the applique on this potholder. 

A little basket I found at a thrift store became a pincushion. 

I sewed a sample row of my pattern for the Christmas Caroling Row Along coming this fall. I can't show the row yet, but it did sew up easily. I have to work on writing the pattern to submit in early June. 

So thankful I have sewing as a stress reliever as well as satisfying my creative tendencies. How about you? 



Four-in-Art Reveal

I couldn't be happier that I finished this quarter's reveal early.
Our group of art quilters has a yearly theme (light) and quarterly sub-themes (light in the darkness).

I had a few ideas for this small quilt...the night sky with stars, the moon - or both, light in the windows of city buildings on a dark night, a flashlight held under a person's chin, a dark room with a partially opened door, the light from a house window shining on the dark ground outside as well as a dark flower with white streaks in the petals.

The design I created for "Light in the Darkness:" 

I had a roll of 2-1/2" fabric strips gradations of white through black. I thought of a beginning point of light spreading out as it shines and how the brightness diminishes the further it goes-like the distance one can see with headlights while driving a car at night, or a flashlight in the dark. 

I was able to make the wedges using the gradations of the fabric strips from white to dark gray on a mottled black background. I quilted white lines only in the wedges of light to indicate the direction of the light. I see nothing in the darkness outside of the shining light.

The quilt measures 12-1/2" square. I sewed folded triangles into the corners which allows me to put a wooden skewer into each pocket, allowing it to hang on a single picture hook on the wall. 

Be sure to look at the reveals from the other members of Four-in-Art 
to see their interpretations of the theme for May 2. 

Betty        Sun Shimmer, Filtered
Camilla         http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/
Catherine         http://www.knottedcotton.com
Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com
Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com (That's me!)
All of our blocks are on our blog, Four-in-Art.


April Sewing Projects

My primary focus for the past few weeks has been on the upcoming wedding of our daughter! Since we were having guests staying, my husband suggested we get the spare room painted. I bought paint a year ago when the local hardware had buy one get one can free! He recruited a friend's high school daughter to help paint. (I am scheduled for hip replacement in May, so no climbing or bending right now.) She did a fine job and earned some money over spring vacation. The guests have a lovely, fresh room to stay in.

A new place for my "Love" quilt in the room.

Sewing has not taken the back seat. I am posting a photo tour of the items I have worked on this month, with a brief caption under each. 

This wall hanging was finished and sent to my aunt in Wisconsin. 
It hangs in her room at the assisted living home.
I used Island Batik fabrics with her favorite color--purple.

Another set of Michigan coasters and

 a pincushion basket to sell at The Yellow Window.

A pillowcase for donation.

Michigan Potholders

A test of the bee pattern for the Gridsters Bee block exchange selected by the Queen Bee for May.

Last month I forgot to post the 2 piggy blocks I sewed for the Gridsters March's Queen Bee.
Check Elizabeth's blog to see the quilt top she made with all her piggies.

I am April's Queen Bee and the blocks are arriving. I designed the block pattern. They are beautiful. 
I can't show them yet; they are for a special project. 

I am also working on the finish for the Four-in-Art Reveal for May 2. Be sure to check back then to see how each of the members interpreted the theme of "Light in the Darkness" for this quarter. Here is a little section of the quilt.


I have been working on my row submission for the Christmas Caroling Row Along - sponsored by Seams to be Sew. It begins September 5, 2017. Over 40 pattern designers are participating! This should be a spectacular event. Put it on your calendar to row along with us. You can find more details HERE.

I wish you a happy ending to the month of April and hope it includes many things you like to do.


Did A Little Sewing This Week

Last week was a busy week. My major goal was putting together the final details of the bridal shower I was hosting for our youngest daughter on April 1. It was out-of-town, so I couldn't forget anything.

I began the week on March 25, at an All Day Sew hosted by Creative Loop. I sewed 10-Minute Table Runners that day and finished more at home. These were for the guests who attended the shower. We let each person choose the runner they liked.

The All Day Sew was a fun day at a hotel conference room with lunch and dinner served. I finished the Compass Fire Star quilt top I began at the AQS Show in Grand Rapids, MI in August 2017. Nancy McNally taught the class using her pattern and special templates. I like the purple and yellow Island Batik fabrics I was able to use.

Friday I packed the car. I drove 30 miles north to pick up 4 dozen of these luscious and beautiful mini cupcakes from The Pie Hole. (This picture was taken after some were eaten.)

The bridal shower was very nice. The luncheon (which I ordered from a local grocery chain) was very good. I was happy I didn't have to do all the preparation. We ate, played 3 games and watched the soon-to-be bride open gifts; and the two hours were over. I was on the road heading home within the hour. 

I got home exhausted; but, I found happy mail on the table that excited me! I got 2 blocks from Mary for the April Gridsters Bee (Instagram #gridsterbee) block exchange, for my month as Queen Bee. They are so pretty and fun! I can't wait to get those from the other beemates this month. I can show only a bit right now, as I am using them in a special quilt.
Tomorrow will be a rainy day and I have a high school helper coming to assist in painting our guest room. I am excited to move on with the decorating after the paint dries. And a new quilt is in the works!


Quilting Mat Extraordinaire

I've been rotary cutting since the early 1980s. I would have to say today's UPS arrival has brought me new excitement in rotary cutting!

My new 24" x 36" Calibre Art Premium Self-Healing Cutting Mat arrived. Yes, that's a mouthful, but it describes almost all about this mat.

I first heard of these mats about 2 years ago when I participated in a Row-Along hosted by Marian at Seams To Be Sew. I have been wanting one of these mats ever since. My first stroke of luck came when my name was chosen before Christmas during another of Marian's blog hops. I won a 13" Calibre Art rotating mat. It is absolutely wonderful! (Mind you, I have a rotating mat from another company that worked well enough for me, until I tried the new one.) Calibre Art's is like butter when cutting and rotating. I now had a taste of what their mats were like.

During Marian's 2017 Quilt Qwazy Queen blog hop, she noted that Calibre Art was offering a discount code only for the hop days - 1/2 off the price if ordered through AmazonPrime! This was a deal I "hopped" on immediately. I chose 10-day delivery to get free shipping without adding something else to my cart. And, I used AmazonSmile and a charity of my choice received a donation.

The quality of the mat is superb. It is 1/8" thick. It DOES NOT SMELL! This is the best part of it for me. Other mats I have bought in the past smell like skunks -- for months.

I have seldom used mat lines to align fabric when cutting, but the accurate markings and angles on this mat will definitely have me learning some new cutting tricks! Inches are marked on one side and centimeters on the other side.

I am also very happy to know that these mats are free of harmful heavy metals and chemicals. The company also recycles their "waste cuttings" during manufacturing.

The mat came a bit curved from what I think was standing the box on its short end during delivery. The instructions said that if there were bends in delivery to set it in the sun to warm and lay books on it. I put it in the sun on the dining room linoleum for 10 minutes and it had flattened itself--no books involved.

I am not affiliated with Calibre Art, nor am I getting any compensation for this blog post. I just want to share with others a product I think is amazing and well worth it's price.


Spring Forth with Sewing

Oh, the spring-like weather has been lovely. Chilly, but expected in Michigan. Today I refilled the bird feeders. The other day a pileated woodpecker stopped for some suet. There have been two of them at the feeder off and on over the winter. I just think they look so pre-historic. Their call is loud as is there drumming on trees! Yet, they are amazing to watch.

My sewing projects have been smaller items this week. I am thinking of things to give to friends at Easter time.

I found some great pattern tutorials from Stitched by Crystal that I thought even the adults might like.  I made these carrot treat bags into stuffed decor for the house. Not sure how I will display them. I think I might have to purchase a basket. Cyrstal's tutorial is HERE.

These bunny treat bags were so quick and easy to sew. I used permanent markers to draw the faces instead of embroidering them. I also left off the tail on the back. I decided they would be great as a table centerpiece filled with candies for the kids and adults, too. HERE is the tutorial.

I am hosting the Bridal Shower for our 2nd daughter in April. I wanted to have some unique prizes for the winners of a few games we will play. I made some Michigan potholders!

And I am having fun embroidering these Michigan coasters. I bought the pattern from Embroider_It.

I like her embroideries because they are simple enough for me as a beginner and versatile to use for a number of projects. Below, I used the state outline to make these 4-patch potholders. 

I got a new hairstyle this week....in preparation for the wedding. Styling it on my own has been easy, which was my aim. 


Spring Sewing

Today is officially the  First Day of Spring!

Yesterday afternoon I sat on the deck with the sun shining, a little breeze that wasn't too cold, and read part of the newspaper. Off in the woods I could hear a pileated woodpecker hammering on a tree, some turkeys purring as they walked through the underbrush, and a symphony of smaller birds at the feeders around the corner from my seat.

When I came in the house, I was amazed what the sun and that short time outdoors did for my energy and enthusiasm. I decided sew!

Two nights ago I read a tutorial by Crystal of Stitched by Crystal on how to sew a Carrot Treat Bag for Easter. You can find it HERE. I wanted to make some of these carrots. I had plenty of scraps and the directions were very clear. They were easy to make and I sewed 8 in a short time. I won't fill them with candy. I stuffed them with polyfil to decorate the living room for the season.

Do you have a project on your sewing list for Springtime or Easter decor?