Thursday, January 30, 2014

ALYof F Jan: Story Quilt Finish

As described here  I set out to quilt, bind and embellish my Anniv. Story Quilt for my Jan. ALYofF goal. Here it is, finished & hung in it's new home on a wall in our Master Bedroom.
(PS: Click HERE for my Grow Your Blog Give-Away.)
I was kinda unsure how to quilt an applique top. Yet, since I chose that this is going to be the year that I quiet my inner critic and play more with my quilt projects, I just started. I learned two major things while quilting this project: 1. I have  A LOT to learn. 2. Quilting is pretty forgiving! I was inspired to create a collage while visiting Karen's Blog: Laugh Yourself Into Stitches. of a few close-ups that show how I was able to use quilting to personalize and add whimsy to this finish:
  1. These are original wedding rings. We both love that they are a part of the quilt. 
  2. I had so much quilting this "action swirl" of me metaphorically "throwing my books out the window". See I was in my last semester of school before student teacher, and well, we used the $500.00 I would have bought my textbooks with to buy our wedding rings. (Let's just say I spent many hours at the library using their class copy...oh life before the internet!) 
  3. "Our Song" is Together Forever by Rick Astley. I had fun quilting all those little music notes. I used Purple Chimp Print & Iron Cotton Fabric Sheets and literally copied our original cassette tape! I was able to just iron the "cassette tape" right onto the quilt. I used iron-on letters for the words.
  4. Having grown up in Arizona, we loved our sunset picnics. I had fun quilting swirls in a variegated thread on the the sun.
  5. Our picnic basket, filled with champagne, port-wine cheese, and those ol' big jugs of cheap wine was a staple item in my husband's Nissan King Cab. I quilted "Bubby", "Wine" and "Picnic" on these. I also like the "floppy" red checkered tablecloth peeking out of the basket. (We still have this picnic basket and that is a champagne cork saved from one of our first dates!!)  I quilted the bed of the truck in hopes to add some density and dimension.
  6. The little "Mile Post" sign: I put heart eyelets on it  before quilting. I sewed the words using a lettering feature on my viking machine. I used a variegated brown thread to quilt a "woodgrain design" on the post. (I quilted the larger sign the same way. This "Road Sign" details all our weekend get-aways during our days of dating.)
  7. I couldn't resist quilted bubbles coming out of the champagne bottle. (I think you can see the "Bubbly" word a little better in this picture.)
  8. My favorite: quilted and button hearts dancing out of the tail pipe. I also quilted hearts on the bumper!
  9. The tires: I quilted a 1/4 inch spiral  and found these cute metal pieces in my "left-over" scrapbooking supplies! I love that they say: happiness and friendship.
Many thread changes later, this is definitely a "lovely finish" for me!
I love that it now hangs in our master bedroom, behind our favorite cozy chair that often finds me cuddled up, making hexagons, watching TV or quietly reading a book. 
And yes, my quilt finish pictures never seem complete without Jackson lately.
With smiles!
Click to check out everyone else's January Finishes:
My Button

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What sewing machine would you recommend?

A co-worker stopped me in the hall yesterday to ask me a personal question:

What sewing machine do you use?

Thirty minutes later we were still chatting away about quilting, daughters moving off to college, and the desire to find something we could be passionate about outside of work. Funny how you can pass someone in the hall ever day, sit through numerous meetings together and one little question can change everything! (I love it!(PS: Click HERE for my Grow Your Blog Give-Away.)

So here's my beloved sewing machine:
I just realized she was three years old this past Christmas.
I especially love her touch panel and array of decorative stitches as used here.
There's really nothing I don't like about her.
Note: I do not quilt on her. So this has worked perfectly for me when it comes to piecing.
My choice of purchase was also influenced by these factors:  I wanted to be able to get it easily cleaned and serviced, repaired if needed and take classes to learn more about using it. So I bought from our local sewing machine store. 

So what would you recommend to someone who is upgrading their machine to start this wonderful hobby of ours? (I've seen mention of Janome often??)
PS: I gave my co-worker my blog address so she can read your comments and guidance. 

Thanks guys!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Baby Girl Receiving Blanket

Our kindergarten teacher at school is having a baby in March.
Wednesday is her baby shower and I was able to make this extra large, extra soft receiving blanket real quick this weekend:
(PS: Click HERE for my Grow Your Blog Give-Away.)

You just take two pieces of adorable flannel fabric (I buy a 1 1/4 yards of each fabric). Then, with right sides  together, stitch, leaving a 5 inch hole to reverse. Once reversed, add a decorative stitch around the perimeter and TaDa! you have a quick, cuddly baby gift. This one measures 36" x 38"...that's the size give or take an inch. My daughter loves hers, especially because they are larger than store bought and thicker too! (Plus grandma made them!) 

I'm a grandma!!! (10/13)

Our new little guy bundled up! (10/13)
Here's links to others I've made:
Dinosaur Receiving Blanket
With smiles!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Jan. RSC: My Final Blue Blocks

Here they are:

I've decided for this project I'm going to let my right brain take over and really do some "out of the box" piecing!   Yep! You'll find me just "playing" on these Scrappy Saturdays this year and I'm enjoying sharing my creative process with you.  Out of all the projects I have planned this year, I already know this one is going to be my favorite! And so far, this challenge has provided just the amount play I've needed in my life.  I love that I was not only able to use scraps from my daughter's picnic quilt, but I spontaneously found myself incorporating pieces of their old denim jeans from when they were young. You can check out that post here. I'm thinking of creating a neighborhood of sorts...but we'll see how things evolve. I am so inspired by everyone's work so far in the RSC and am grateful to all who stop by.   Happy blue scrappy fun everyone!
With smiles,

PS: Click HERE for my Grow Your Blog Give-Away.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Grow Your Blog Event & Give-Away


If you're already a regular around here, I'm happy you stopped by. 
If you are new to my blog, well Hello! I'm Val and that's my little "selfy" pic over on the right.  This is a quilting/sewing hobby blog. By day, I'm a veteran teacher, to a class of energetic Second Graders in Oregon, (USA). I started quilting in the Fall of 2009 and blogging last summer to document my projects and growth as a quilter. (So it's safe to say I'm still pretty new to all of this). With that said, I'm so grateful for this event and the opportunity to network and meet others of like interests. 
There's almost 600 bloggers in this meet and greet party. Crazy amazing!
Click this pic for a quick shortcut to check things out:
 2 Bags Full
I have found blogging to very motivating in my completion of projects and love the "virtual quilting guild" it has created for me. I enjoy linky parties and blog hops and find the inspiration and support received from fellow bloggers to be priceless.

  Quilting and blogging are a way for me to truly play with my creative side!

You'll find I'm a pretty eclectic sewer who dabbles in applique, English Paper Piecing, (love my hexagons) traditional and out-of-the box piecing, long-arm quilting, quilt/sewing area organizing (See my Sunday Organizing Series). And, as if that's not enough, 2014 will find me exploring wool by participating in Sue Spargo's BOM. I usually have many W.I.P. but let's not talk about that! (wink! wink!

Feel welcome to check out my "pages" at the top of the blog and/or my "labels" over on the right. Maybe something will spark your interest! If so, become a "follower" and I can return the visit and follow your blog as well. I look forward to meeting you.
Hey, I've always been a great multi-tasker

Today's 2014 Grow Your Blog Give-Away:
This Give-Away is closed. The winner was announced here.
Everyone has two chances to win this little kit to make a spectacle case.

First, comment if you are a new or already a follower and let me know how ya follow. (thanks!)
Second, just for fun: comment with a quilting acronym. IE: WIP: Work In Progress. Try to make it a new one..but if you can't think of one, comment with your most used abbreviation. (LOL: Laugh Out Loud...would be mine!) I'm still learning the quilting "language" myself, so thanks for the help. I'm going to put these together in a February 15th post, when I'll also announce the give-away winner. (So be sure to return to see the collection).

I'm glad ya stopped by!
With Smiles!

FYI:    I'll choose the winners using Mr. Random Number Generator.
I will announce the winner and highlight their blog here at Val's Quilting Studio on February 15th.  I will also email the winner, so make sure you are not a no-reply blogger. Everyone is welcome to enter as I'm happy to post internationally.  Good Luck! I hope ya enjoy this meet and greet event!  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Stop by for a Give-Away Saturday!

Having just started blogging last summer, I've been so inspired by all the creative people I have met. This Saturday I will be participating in a Grow Your Blog event held by Vicki at 2 Bags Full.
2 Bags Full
Sign-ups are closed, but there will be about 500 blogs to visit!! WOW!!! Check it out! Meet new  friends, and I know many blogs will be having give-aways. I WILL BE!!! So be sure to add me to your: "blogs to visit over the weekend" list.
With smiles!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January Happy Mail

My Monthly Fat Quarters have arrived:
I realized today, I do not have many purples in my stash. So these will make a great addition!!! (Isn't that purple wood grain, fifth from the left, awesome!) Anyhooo...some of you have inquired about my Monthly delivery and they are from Pink Castle's:
Pink Castle Fabrics
I'm not able to frequent quilt stores very often. So this is perfect for me! I have never been disappointed. My daughters Picnic Quilt was actually made from my Yellow and Blue Monthly deliveries!

Speaking of my youngest daughter, who can pull colors and patterns together so well. She gave me these: 
I looked on the salvage and they are part of the Scrumptious Line by Bonnie & Camille for Moda. I have no idea what I'm going to do with them...but I love them! 
Any suggestions for a quick and easy quilt top??

And finally, I ordered these hand-dyes from Kathy at  KathyintheOzarks
to use in my applique work. (My picture does NOT do them justice! Please check out her ETSY shop to see them at their best.)  I love their variegation of tones. I'm really excited to incorporate these into my wool play this year!!!
I do apologize for my poor quality of pictures this post. I was a little frustrated myself and went through many pictures...but you know the weather we are having.... and it's already evening...well...just thanks for being cool about it! I love getting my monthly fat quarters in the mail and just had to share!!! 

With smiles!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Results of my At-Home "Retreat"

Our never ending inversion of freezing fog continues
and I get one more day of the "weekend". 
 (my poor roses
So what have I been doing?? Well...
I've been puttering. (I seem to do this very well sometimes)
I've been visiting your blogs. (Isn't it amazing how this can suddenly turn into hours!)
I watched football! (Note: I never watch football. But our son-in-law is a die-hard Seahawks fan...and I have to admit it was a good game.)
And finally, I saved this long standing WIP from being sent to the scrap basket. I sat myself down at the sewing machine with the resolve to finish! I chain pieced wonky star-log cabin blocks all afternoon yesterday.

Here's what they look like on my design "floor":
Notice who was not far from being center of the picture. I kept telling Jackson to move as I was taking this picture to see how the large stars would "fit" thrown in with the others. I found these leftover from a workshop I had taken a few years ago. This quilt needs to be queen size and I kinda think the large stars look good? Share your thoughts. I welcome your input as this is a WIP. (Note: I will not being sashing them together.)
Andddd...this will continue to a WIP for a bit longer because I discovered that 24 of the blocks need one more layer of piecing in order to grow into 12 1/2" squares.
This top is sewn with the same fabric I made my Scrappy Bed Quilt and is being made for our second guest room, both rooms being decorative in a primitive style kind of way.
So my to do list for today:
1. Quilt our anniv. quilt for my Jan. ALYof Finishes. Prepare binding and be set to use the weekday evenings to applique finishing touches.( Quilting half way done...I may have done a bit more puttering than anticipated today...haha!). So this is what I will continue to work on this week after work, before dinner.
2. Cut strips for my wonky star blocks, (Done!) Now I  can chain piece whenever I have dabbles of time in-between everything else.   
3. Maybe...pull 12 fat quarters and join Lorna's:   Sew Fresh Quilts
                                      (Nope! Not smart to take on a new project right now.)
(I mean I do have this stack of dots just sitting around gathering dust)                                                                                                                        4. I need to vacume the stairs leading to the studio.(Done! Along with two loads of laundry.)  So as I end my little at-home winter, three day retreat, tomorrow means back to work and all the routines of daily life.                                                                                                      My two WIP this week include piecing my wonky log cabin star quilt and quilting my Anniv. Quilt. Sounds good to me! Thanks to everyone for their helps so much!!  V:)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Weekend At-Home "Retreat"

Freezing Fog means a three day weekend of sewing:

Yep! It's been easy to stay inside and spend all my extra time sewing. The fog that rolled in Thursday night, has turned into an inversion of freezing fog.
Here's a close-up of the ice forming on the school yard fence:

No worries, I'll be cozy and warm here:
This is a picture of my basement studio lite up at night. (I love the reflection of the light on the snow.) Now just imagine me in my polka dot pajamas, Lifetime movies on in the background, just busy as a bee sewing away down there. It's like my own little retreat! I say: "Let it freeze"! 
Click here to see what I got done.
With smiles,

Jan. RSC:Blue Denim Doll & House

As I continue to work on my RSC Blue Blocks I was inspired to incorporate my daughters jeans that I had "saved" from their grade school days. The first pair belonged to our youngest. This is the bottom from her favorite  Capri  jeans she wore weekly until she outgrew them. (Who can blame her when they had these beautiful embellishments): 

So how could I resist making a "wonky" girl for my RSC quilt out of these. Here she is: 

I made the yoyo "flower" for the hat with the remainder of my scraps:

I also had in my stash, another pair of denim jeans from our oldest daughter. 
 Oh man, she loved these "rhinestone" jeans when she was young. She literally wore them out.  (Evident by the big hole I found in the knee! )

Working with the denim against the cotton was "heavy". But with a little cutting, and resewing, I was able to create an adorable roof top for the "denim" girl's house. 

I love that a little bit of each of our girl's childhood has been incorporated into these blocks. What a wonderful way to preserve memories. I guarantee each daughter will immediately recognize their jeans and be sent down a happy memory lane!

Here's how all my blues are coming together so far:
(I couldn't resist adding a "spot" of red to each.)

Happy Scrappy Saturday everyone!
I'm off to check out your progress.
With smiles!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Picnic Quilt Finished

Whew! Jackson is proud to exclaim: "Hey guys check out the quilt my mom finished."
Especially since I started this picnic quilt in September with my daughter and it has literally been and off the quilt frame three times!!! Sometimes, it's so weird to think about how a quilt starts. My  youngest daughter was home on summer break and she wanted me to make her a quilt to go with her new picnic basket!! Then it turned into she wants to learn how to sew!  (OMG! Do you hear the hark angels THAT not a quilters dream: to have their daughter WANT to learn to quilt.) Well, she soon returned to school and I was left to complete the quilt (I'm okay. Really I am. LOL!) We really did have a lot of fun! And she's such a natural when it comes to picking and combining fabrics. I love that this quilt is filled with all those summer memories. it is finished:

Truth be told, I rented a good chick flick and  finished sewing the left side of the binding down last night. (Hey, what's a working girl to do?) The fog was rolling in when I got home. It's was very cold out. So I quickly snapped some pictures after work. We went to our favorite Mexican Restaurant around the corner for dinner, and afterwards, I plugged that movie in and finished the binding.  Jackson also wanted to show you the cute backing my daughter chose for this quilt! (Before he took off after that squirrel ...)
 (Personally, I just adore these little mushrooms!!)

Wishing everyone a wonderful Friday! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Early Morning Binding

I skipped the treadmill this morning, poured a cup of coffee, and completed a side of binding instead! I'm working towards a Friday Finish."I think I can, I think I can." 
Stop by tomorrow to see my daughter's picnic quilt finished!
(Why does it always feel sooo good to type that word finished!??)
Hope your day is off to a great start as well.
I'm off to work.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Play! My word for 2014!

My "word" for 2014 is:
This little sampler measures 12" x 20". I need to make more sampler quilts as this was fun!!  
Play (verb) is defined as: 

 to engage in an activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.  Synonyms: amuse oneself, entertain oneself, enjoy oneself, have fun.

    Double Thumbs Up!
Looks like I'm off to a good start as I made this little sampler over the weekend and realized that I truly got caught up in "playing" when my husband came home from work Sunday and said: "You still playing with that thing?"

This little sampler represents everything I want to incorporate into my quilts this year: perle cotton, wool, ribbon, "made fabric", scraps, creative stitching, charms, long-arm quilting, fun binding, dimensional pieces, 3-D flowers. I'm sure there will be more, but ya get the picture.

So what do you find yourself wanting to play with as you quilt this year? For more "word" inspiration, click this "share" picture. Curious if you have a "word" this year? Is so, do share!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Organizing: Safety Pin Storage

It's been awhile since I created a Sunday Organizing post. Yet last night as I proceeded to pin my word of the year sampler quilt, I smiled in reflection of my use of  old "pill bottles".  They really do make the perfect safety pin holder... safe and secure from children and easy to throw in your sewing bag. 

 I also found my childhood needles stored in an empty staple box.
(Guess I've always been thrifty and organized! LOL!!)

Comment to share your nifty safety pin storage idea.
With smiles!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Jan RSC: Having Blue Fun!

Happy Scrappy Saturday everyone!

I've been  having fun with my blue scraps.
Thinking of creating another house today for my " blue" neighborhood.
Off to see what everyone else is up to at: RSC14.

With smiles,

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