Tuesday, January 24, 2012

WIP Wednesday

 I keep telling myself I'm going to join in on the WIP and finally managed to do just that!  So here it is - my first WIP link up:

Swoon Quilt
  I am so excited to get started on this quilt!  This one will be for my bed so it's doubly exciting. I have the pieces all cut and ready to go for quilt retreat this weekend, so we'll see how many blocks I can make. 

  I joined two swaps this month - my first ones ever online - and so far so good.  I've sent off my charm squares for Ellison Lane Quilts I Spy Charm Swap already so my part is finished.
  I also joined the Japanese X and + block swap on flickr and have 15 blocks made for that.  I just need to get it together and mail those out stat!

This started out as a mug rug gift for a friend and quickly became a mini quilt size.  Also headed to retreat to finish the top & quilt it.

Star Dots
This will also be a mini wall quilt. It's inspired by In Color Order's Giant Vintage star quilt and scaled down to the size I want.  I'm using all polka dot fabrics in different colors for this - can't wait to see it come together.

some of the ones I made
Mug Rugs
As part of the retreat, each person gets little favors at each meal and I was drafted asked to help make enough for the group. These have been a lot of fun to make as they are small and ideal for trying out new ideas or using up scraps.  I finished the last one up tonight, just in time to pack it in the suitcase.

Other assorted WIPs at the moment:
Summer Sampler quilt - top completed. borders, backing & binding are ready to go
Girl Scout quilt - top completed, but needs to be ripped & trimmed & then re-sewn.  
Hawaiian Applique block - started.  usually picked up as the mood strikes
Sunflower applique - partially stitched, see above.

Linking up at Freshly Pieced - be sure to check out all the other great WIPs today!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Snapshot #8

It seems you can't read through a quilt blog these days without running into the stunning Swoon pattern by thimble blossoms.  I finally got it for Christmas and found just the right fabrics from my stash to use for this!  It's a mix of fabrics I got as a gift & some I bought as a birthday gift for myself.  They play so well together and I added in a blue & green solid (Konas, but not sure which colors now) to help round it out.  I so wanted to use something other than white for the background, but everything else I auditioned just drowned out the other colors.  
So I went with Kona Snow - it's not exactly white, right? Right. ;)

ready, cut, sew!

Anyways, as you can see, I have all the pieces cut out - no easy feat for all 9 blocks - but here they all are cut, labelled, bagged and ready to go to quilt retreat!  Can't wait to start putting these blocks together!  I've joined the Swoon Along on Flickr and there are some wonderful blocks already up - go check it out if you haven't yet!

Monday, January 16, 2012

the future: part II

the continuing New Year's adventures of Bumblebee Tortuga!

We last saw our adventurers as they headed west out of Nashville - en route to Paducah and the 2nd state for the weekend.  It was fun to play tour guide on Saturday as we explored and it was a gorgeous day for New Year's eve - sunny & warm (upper 50s).  We stopped in at Hancock's so I could show off their fabrics [happy sigh] and continued onto the Quilt Museum. Yay!  Snaps was dutifully impressed with the quilts and it's nice to show-off my awesome place of work.  :)  She left a note on my office whiteboard - which I then found a couple days later. Thanks pal!

We continued the tour of downtown with a stop by the flood wall and hung around the river for some photos.  The water was fairly high - almost up to the bottom of the stage which was cool.  Most of the time there's a couple people sitting out (or in their cars) feeding bread to the seagulls.  That combined with the higher water made for a huge flock of 'em just hanging out.  We enjoyed laughing at the birds sitting in the river - the current was pretty strong so they ended up floating downstream and then flew back up to the start. rinse & repeat.  ha.   There was lunch at Kirchoff's deli and some free cookies as well as exploration of the wall murals.

super-sized Superman!
Then we hit the road for Illinois and the 3rd state of our trek.  There's not much going on in Metropolis aside from the casino, but who can resist a giant statue of Superman? Complete with souvenir shop?  No one - that's who!  Snaps & I had fun posing with the statue and afterwards crossed back over the Ohio.  We did our normal New Year's: snacks, movies, games, poppers and watching the ball drop in Times Square. 

Of course, since we're in Central time, it wasn't really 2012 for us yet.  Which, as Snaps pointed out was a bit anti-climatic.  true that.  We caught a couple minutes of coverage from Nashville as they celebrated midnight by dropping a huge music note above the stage.  

 It was a fantastic visit and  awesome to be out adventuring with a good friend.   I'm glad I had Monday off to get my head back into work mode.  (almost).  I watched the Winter Classic hockey game and thoroughly enjoyed my last day of vacation.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Blogger's Choice Bundle

I love shopping for quilt fabric.  I mean, what quilter doesn't?  There's something exciting about walking into a quilt shop, scanning the shelves for great prints and working with them to create just the right medley of prints and colors.  Usually, I need a space to lay out the bolts and un wrap them a bit to see how the prints play together, debating this one or that one based on color or scale or what I think might evoke the right feel for the quilt.  Obviously, this can turn out to be a long process because of all the wonderful choices at any given shop!  Sometimes I just like to combine fabrics without any specific quilt in mind.  

So imagine the thrill when I found out that Quokka Quilts was hosting a Blogger's Choice Fat Bundle contest!  In conjunction with the Fat Quarter Shop, we had to choose 12 fabrics + 3 coordinating solids to create our own bundles and enter them in the contest.  I kept seeing this pop up on several blogs and finally sat down to do it this afternoon. So glad I didn't miss the deadline which is tomorrow.

Here's my bundle, with the fabrics used below:

Kona Cotton Cerise
Good Fortune Reflection Dragonfly
Froggin' Yellow Water Vines
Lemon Grove Blue Starburst
Kona Cotton Canary
Crazy Daisy Turquoise Tile
Grand Bazaar Jewel Sun Dot
Sketch Purple Screen Texture
Bella Solids Turquoise
Morning Tides Yellow Water
Impressions Grape Taj
Terrain Berry Lichen
Terrain Berry Fern
Oval Elements Blue Lagoon
Good Fortune Reflection Yoshino

It took me about an hour or so to create - so many gorgeous fabrics!  So many that started me thinking of other color palettes and sidetracked my focus.  :)   I started with the Dragonfly print and let it grow from that.  I love the berry/cerise color and it fit so well with the purple & turquoise. I added the yellows for an added pop!  I learned how to use the online mosaic maker (which was awesome!) and it's my first link up too.  I plan to look through the other bundles in the next few weeks - what great inspiration for new quilts!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

handmade giftings

Here's a quick catch-up on the Christmas finishes and projects I made for this year.  

Thundercats - Ho!
First up are the awesome coasters I made for my brother.  These were a spur of the moment kind of inspiration and it didn't take too long to figure out how to make them either!  I found an image of the Thundercats! logo online, printed it out and cut out the outline.  Then I traced it onto black fabric, cut it out and then cut out a circle of red for it to fit into.  From there it was steady, but slow work to machine applique the layers together.  The coasters are finished with a simple pillow turn and top stitch.  I was so happy with how these turned out and J loved them! Success!  :)

For mom I made a sewing machine cover that would bring some more color pop! to her sewing room.  She's been wanting to bring more orangey-yellows in since her walls are painted turquoisey-blue.  It was a sneaky project because I asked dad to measure the machine for me so I could make it fit right!  It's also reversible with a blue & white print on the back.  Mom really liked this gift (right?!) and when she's not sewing I'm sure her machine will be dust protected and cute!

are you a fan of delicious flavor?
I found a neat picture on flickr of a pineapple block and was inspired to make a mug rug for Snaps since she was visiting for New Year's.  The first one I started has ended up more of a mini quilt size (18" x 20").  oops!  I have it set aside to finish up for my wall at quilt retreat this year.  Then I refigured my sizing and managed to get it down to mug rug size.  We both watch Psych and there's always a pineapple in the episode somewhere.  So now she has a pineapple of her own.

I'm also working on more mug rugs and my Japanese X + blocks for the swap hosted by Isabella the Cat on flickr here.  I'm so excited to get my blocks shipped off as they have been so much fun to make! They look awesome with scrap fabrics and I look forward to what kind of blocks I'll get back in the swap.  I'll certainly be making these blocks again and again [and again....]. 

So that's what I've been up to on the quilting front.  I got a couple of patterns for Christmas - including Swoon!  Hooray!  I love this pattern and am currently deciding which fabrics I want to use for it. I also got a 'jelly roll' set of batiks - which are a gorgeous blend of blues, yellows, turquoises.  Perfect for feeling summery now that it has turned wintery here!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

welcome to the future: part I

Happy New Year dear readers!  It certainly doesn't feel like a brand new year at the moment - but it's still taken a few days to get used to seeing 2012 written everywhere.  After coming back to my little apartment post-Christmas it was time to go adventuring with Snaps!  So excited to have a non-family visitor come to play out here in KY.

Opry House

Together, Snaps and I hit 3 states in 3 days- Tennessee, Kentucky & Illinois - and did a little time travel as we celebrated the start of 2012!  We started out in Nashville on Thursday and went to see the Grand Old Opry House at night.  They don't give tours in December (just our luck) but we still managed to get a few pictures and that was good enough.  We also went and watched 'We Bought a Zoo' while out at the Opryland area.  Based on a true story about buying & running a zoo & it stars Matt Damon- it was a fantastic movie!  I got the book for Christmas and now I can't wait to start reading.

me @ the Parthenon
  Friday we headed into downtown which was full of people!  That night the Music City Bowl (college football) was going on so there were lots of Mississippi & Wake Forest fans everywhere.  Beautiful day with some scattered sunshine, a large dose of wind and warmish temperatures in the mid 50s.  We learned all about Nashville on the trolley tour and hopped on & off at several places to explore.  First up was the Parthenon replica from the Tennessee Centennial Expo back in 1897.  We hopped off the trolley, wandered the art gallery in the lower level and stared in awe at the 42 foot tall statue of Athena, visited the gift shop and on the way out saw the trolley just puling away from the curb.  Oops.  So we spent some more time taking photos while waiting for the trolley to come back again so we could continue our tour.

RCA studio B
We drove through Music Row and around Bicentennial Park where we stopped for photos with the capitol in the background.  Then it was onto the Country Music Hall of Fame.  As a museum professional, it's always fun to go to other museums and, in addition to the artifacts & exhibit, take in how they mounted labels, or objects, lighting, signage, etc.  I am not a country music fan per se (even living here in KY), but was still interested in some of the history of the genre and the way it developed.  There were some great [note: interesting...] outfits worn by stars through the years along with some fancy objects - Elvis' gold piano, a car with guns for door handles and more.  It was the first time I've been to any Hall of Fame.

Studio B [ignore the road signs] is where Elvis, the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton & many more recorded.  It closed after Elvis died and has since been reopened as a museum in conjunction with the Hall of Fame.  Of course, the best part was running around town with Snaps!