Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Farewell 2015....

and in just two more days...we'll welcome 2016!!  Just crazy!!  Time just goes by soooo fast!!

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!!  I can show you a quilt I finished a few days before Christmas for our daughter.  She has always loved purple...and I realized I'd never made her a bed sized quilt, so it was time she had a queen size quilt!  The pattern is Scrappy Trips by Bonnie Hunter.  I've made two of these now and I just love this pattern.  I could definitely make another.  I used a mix of cotton prints and batiks.
This picture shows the true colors...
But I like this one with the afternoon sun shining down on it.

I can't take all the credit for this quilt.  Chloe helped sew on the binding...


She also helped with the hand stitching part too!!  :)


I didn't get as many pictures at Christmas as I would have liked...but this was a fun night of cookie decorating.  A tradition the kids have loved since they were little....the more frosting and sprinkles, the better!

We so enjoyed having Zach's girlfriend, Harleigh, this year!

Sunday after Christmas, we all toured Colonial Williamsburg.  We are tiny in this picture, but yes, hubby is wearing shorts...on December 27th.  It was 78 degrees that day!!

I'm caught up on the mystery steps!  Clue 4...

and clue 5!  The last couple years, Bonnie has revealed the full quilt on New Year's Day...will she do it again this year??  I think we need some more pieced units...but who knows!!  She always has something up her sleeve!


I had one customer quilt to do this week...this one was a biggie!  99 inches wide...that's about as big as I'm comfortable with on my frame.

I'm so excited!  The electrician came this week and installed 4 ceiling lights in my sewing room!  It's sooo much brighter in there...it was so dark, even during the day if it is cloudy outside.  Now I have plenty of light, night or day!!  (you can see that BIG quilt on my machine getting the binding sewn on!)

Thank you for all the kind comments on my last post...I do love blogging and "meeting" quilty friends from all over the world.  Some of you are set to "no-reply," so I wasn't able to reply directly.  I hope each of you have a blessed New Year.  I can't wait to see what 2016 will bring!!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle
Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas--December Update!!

It's been forever since my last post...yada, yada, yada...seems like that's my new motto here on the blog.  I've loved this blog over the years, but it just seems like I can't stay motivated to keep posting.  I know I have a few (a couple?) readers out there and even some that have asked why no new posts.  I do plan to stick with blogging though...some days/weeks, I just feel like I don't have a lot to share.  I also haven't been reading/commenting on my favorite blogs either...that needs to change too! 

Anyway...here is an update from the last six weeks.  (of what I can remember anyway...)

The week after Labor Day, I went on a quilt retreat.  This retreat was with my sewing group I was part of when I lived in Delaware.  I was so excited when they invited me back now that I am close enough to join them again.  I can't believe it's been a month ago!!  The retreat is held at the Beacon Motel in Lewes.  What you can't see, to the left of the hotel, is Mare's Bears Quilt Shop.  Not only did we have 5 days of non-stop sewing/quilting...we had daily (or 2-3 times daily) shopping trips to an awesome quilt shop!  Heaven!


Here is my spot...I took my featherweight and she sewed like a dream!

We were all set up in the lobby of the hotel.  It's still an open/functioning hotel...just the end of the season and not many guests.  We stayed in the rooms right up stairs.

Front entrance to the lobby...there were 28 quilters!!


One of our retreat projects was to make a bag/bucket...everyone brings little goodies to share with everyone, and these bags were used to collect all the loot.  I sort of made up my own thing...I'm happy with how it turned out...

We also swapped polka dot strips!   

 After returning home from retreat, I finished this tshirt quilt for a customer.  He was super happy with the end result!

 I finished this super cute baby quilt for our newest great-nephew, Ronan.

This picture shows the truest colors....I found the backing at Mare's Bears while at retreat!

I followed along with Temecula Quilt Company's "We Wish You A Mini Christmas" sew along.  This was so fun...each day for 12 days, they shared a mini quilt block.  Each block took just a few minutes...so even if I didn't have a lot of time to sew one day, I usually could squeeze in 10 minutes to make that day's block.  Each block finishes at 2 1/4".  Now to decide on a setting...but that'll have to wait until after Christmas.

And then of course....there is the Quiltville Mystery.  I've been keeping up with the steps, but I've put off sharing much...because of this...can you see it?

I'm making mine 1/2 size...as in miniature.  I saw someone else do it a couple years ago on another mystery and I loved it.  About 8-10 years ago, I made a couple of BIG Thimbleberries quilts 1/2 size...but I had the whole pattern in front of me when I did it.  My biggest concern with making a mystery half size, is that I'll have done all this work and somehow it won't work out right.

So far, it's all going okay...I just hope it continues!  Stay tuned....  :)  Here are steps 1-3.

 I have six sets of step 4 done and I'm sewing them when I get a minute in between baking and other Christmas preparations.  Always at this point, I'm anxious to see what the end result will be...but on the other hand...I need the world to slow down, so I'm fine waiting....

Don't forget to check out everyone's progress on the mystery on the Quiltville blog (click here)!

I'm excited for the new year...I joined the local quilt guild and joined their UFO Challenge.  I have a retreat in January and March with some quilty friends, a class with Pat Speth in February, the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival (that is just down the road from me)...plus lots of family stuff...it's going to be a great start to the New Year.

We are going to have both kids home for Christmas and I am so blessed and thankful for that.  It's been a couple years since they've both been home at the same time...I want to cherish every moment of it.  I'm so excited for this week!  My wish for you is for a very Merry Christmas spent with those you love...and maybe a little sewing mixed in too!


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day and a finish!

First off....Happy Veteran's Day and thank you to all the men and woman serving or have served in our armed forces.  I am especially proud of these two Airmen...my husband and my son.  This picture is a few years old now, but I will always treasure it!

Next...I'm happy to share that Garden Party is finished!  Yay!  I'm so happy to finish this...I've been feeling like my quilting mojo has been in slow motion the last couple of months and this really helped me get motivated.  I'm hoping that motivation hangs around for a while!  
This indoor picture captures the colors the best....


The outdoor picture is a little too orange-y...but I love all the leaves!

I love the setting blocks in this quilt and the design it makes...definitely going to have to apply this design to another quilt!

Even a label!!  :)

I copied Irene's idea and had Bonnie sign one of the blocks on the cruise.  :)

Except for the inner border fabric, all of the fabric came from my stash, including the backing.  It is such a good feeling to use up that stash!!  I found the inner border fabric in Florida after the cruise.  It's a beachy print with footprints in the sand, seashells, etc...I thought it would be a fun way to remember all the fun we had on this quilt cruise adventure!

Don't forget to check out how everyone else is doing on their UFO Challenge at Jo's Country Junction.

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

UFO Challenge...Almost finished!

I'm so happy with the progress I made this week on my Garden Party Quilt!  You can see I had plenty of help from the kitties.  I couldn't have done it without their help!  :P



 Here is the center all assembled!  It was a leap of faith to trim all the way around the outer edge...all the squares on the outer edge had to be trimmed down which results in the cool triangle edging...

 Next is the first border.  Next time I'll get a close up of the fabric I used for this border.  It's a beach/sand print I found in Florida after the cruise.  I think it's a great memento of the cruise and where I started this quilt.

Next was the final border and the backing...it sat here on the railing for only a couple days.  I was itchin' to get it quilted! 

I've been having a few "issues" with my longarm...but after a few tweaks...ta-da!  Garden Party is all quilted!!  Now on to the binding...I haven't picked out a fabric for the binding yet.  I hope I have something that will work...stay tuned, I hope to have it all finished next week!! 

I haven't shown an update of my leaders and enders in a while...I'm working on the Spoolin' Around Quilt.  I have almost half of the spool blocks I need so far!  Lisa and I have been swapping "kits" for spools to get more variety...we started swapping about 18 months ago!  Maybe another 18 months and I'll have a finished quilt!  :)

Be sure to head over to Jo's Country Junction to see all the other challenge progress updates!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

UFO Challenge--Garden Party

I made a little progress this week on my Garden Party quilt...I made 25 more of the "flower" blocks.  They look kinda of cool laid out like this too.  This week, I'm going to switch over to making the alternate block for a while....

Until this week, I hadn't really looked at everything since returning home from the cruise.  When I did...look what I found!  These are two of Irene's blocks...and not just any two...they are both autographed by Bonnie Hunter.  Whoops...we have no idea how they ended up in my bag, other than we were sitting next to each other the whole week.  I didn't steal them, I promise!!  They are winging their way to Kentucky...so she'll have them back any day.  :)


Another small finish I have to share...my Bitty Blocks for October.  This month is a 3" tree...quick and easy paper pieced pattern.  Hopefully they play nice with the rest of the scrappy blocks...I hope I don't regret making them all green. 

Joy was the winner of my extra Quiltmaker magazine...it should arrive any day Joy!  Thanks all that commented!

Be sure to check out Jo's Country Junction and see all the "Bonnie UFO" challenge updates.

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

2015 UFO Challenge

When I returned from vacation, I was happy to see that Jo from Jo's Country Junction was hosting her pre-Quiltville Mystery UFO Challenge (whew...say that 5 times fast!) again this year.  I've participated in this challenge the last couple years and it really motivated me to finish a UFO!  In 2014, I finished Narragansett Blues and in 2013, I finished Tumalo Trail

This is year, the UFO I picked is Garden Party...the quilt I started on the cruise.
This is Bonnie's picture/quilt...good motivation for me to see it all finished and beautiful!

Here is the most recent picture...though I've made a little more progress.  It seems like I have a long way to go...and I do, but these blocks are pretty quick to assemble.  There is almost more cutting than sewing!  I want to keep the momentum going on this one so that it doesn't end up in the UFO pile and lost forever!  :P


Also...if you didn't see my last post, I'm giving away my extra copy of Quiltmaker magazine.  The pattern for Garden Party is in this issue.

I'm linking up with Jo's Country Junction...can't wait to see what everyone else is working on!

~Michelle

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Cruisin' and Quiltin'!!

I won't bother saying I can't believe it's been more than a month since I last blogged...but okay, I just said it!  Time is just flyin'.....

First off...thanks for all the thoughts and prayers for my family during the Butte fire in California.  Thankfully, all of my immediate family were safe and their homes were saved.  My sister's in-laws lost their home unfortunately, along with at least 600 other homes across the area.  Everyone is super thankful for the firefighters and all the rescue crews that worked to save homes, businesses, domestic and farm animals, etc.  I love this cute pic of my little nephew...it was taken at a parade to thank all of those that came to fight the fires.

So be warned...lots of pics in the rest of this post!    On October 4th, I boarded The Freedom of the Seas for 8 days of fun, sun, and quilting!  This cruise featured the one and only Bonnie Hunter!

My traveling buddy was Tammy...she happens to be my cousin by marriage, but she's also become a great friend and quilting buddy.

 Our ship set sail and headed for the Bahamas...only to discover the water was still unsettled from the recent hurricane.  It was still too dangerous to travel by tender boats from the ship to the shore at Coco Cay, Bahamas, so we had to forego that port altogether.  No worries...that gave us an extra day of relaxation up in the lounge on Deck 14.  Also, in the afternoon, they opened up the sewing room and we got started on our cruise project a day early!  

It was HOT and HUMID outside on the deck, so sometimes we just needed to find a quiet, cool space inside and this spot was perfect!
The next scheduled stop was St. Thomas...it was sooo gorgeous there, especially from this mountain top view.   All the colors of blue and green were just amazing...pictures and words don't do it justice!!
 
selfie time!

more selfies!
There is our ship as we were coming down the mountain...
Irene got the best picture...St. Thomas is part of the US Virgin Islands...so our phones worked!!  Yay...it was a good chance to check in with family.

After the trip back down the mountain, it was time for a swim at this private beach...
The picture does not show how hot and humid it was!!

Another of Irene's pictures...toes in the sand!

 The next day was a stop in St. Maarten...I didn't get too many pictures, and I'll be honest, I wasn't a fan of this location.  Instead of taking an excursion, we headed out on our own to a public beach and a little shopping.  We were constantly hounded by locals wanting to rent us beach chairs, braid our hair, asking us to buy their wares, etc.  It just got old after a while...so after a short visit to the beach, we decided to head back to the ship.  Just in time too...as a storm was rolling in and the rain started just as we were in line to board.


more selfies with our ship in the background...
The next two days at sea, were all about the sewing!  This picture was taken earlier in the week at our bonus sewing day.  Bonnie is getting started talking about the first block unit we'll be making for our Garden Party quilts....


All the machines were provided...there were 50 quilters on board!

Here is my table...I'm sitting between Tammy and Irene on the left.  Gail is across from us (we met her on last year's cruise!), and two new friends, Denise and Kathy, also across from us!

Had to get a picture in front of Bonnie's Garden Party quilt....

I also met Andee....I've been following her blog for a couple years as she's a fellow Bonnie fan.

Here are the blocks I completed on the trip...Bonnie had us bring cut strips ready to go, so we were able to just get started sewing!

Thanks for another great cruise Bonnie!  I hope to go again one day!

me and my blocks...pic borrowed from Bonnie's blog.

This is our dining table-mates...Denise and Kathy both brought their spouses.  I think we all enjoyed the company and the amazing food each night!

Another group pic from Bonnie's blog...so much fun with these gals!

The whole group...so fun!

 Next time I'll share pics of the rest of our time in Florida...Tammy and I stayed a few extra days for a little more fun in the sun!

The pattern for the Garden Party quilt is found in the May/June 2015 issue of Quiltmaker...I had my original issue and then Quiltmaker gifted all of the quilting cruisers with another copy.  I'd like to pass on my extra copy to someone that might like to have it....so leave a comment and I'll pick a name in a few days to one lucky reader!  Good luck!

 Happy Quilting!
~Michelle