Gift Bags From Afar

Last year, Mary-Jeanine and I exchanged emails about gift bags. She had already put her Christmas ornaments away when we had the conversation, but she promised to send me one of her bags this year. I also sent her one of mine.

Mary-Jeanine’s are about the same size and proportion as mine. I am sure hers vary depending on the size of the gift, though.

She serges the inside of her bags, which, I am sure, makes the construction go a lot faster.

M-J also does a little different closure construction. She puts a grommet in on each side and makes a casing, so the wrapper can pull the top tight

I really like seeing different takes on these gift bags, especially on the closures.

Thanks for sharing Mary-Jeanine!

A Different Bullseye

Originally uploaded by bluecottagegardens

I always like to see different people’s interpretations of blocks. The Bullseye design is no exception.

I am still working my way through the DS Pool on Flickr. There are a lot of great quilts and projects in that group. Part of the reason is that the the DS fabrics are pretty great. Here is a bullseye, which I came across. It is a different looking Bullseye than the ones that the Julie and AJA and I have done. I like it.

Perhaps My Favorite Color is Really Blue??

I have, as you know, been thinking about turquoise A LOT lately. I have, at the same I think about colors in and for quilts, been thinking about what color to paint my bedroom. So far I have been leaning towards some type of periwinkle. Truly I am actually thinking of painting my bedroom the same color TFQ painted her bedroom. Partially, because it is a very restful color and partially because the decision is already made.

Yesterday, however, all that changed. I am thinking that all the trouble I have had for years identifying my very favorite color is because I haven’t wanted to acknowledge that my favorite color is blue. I am still not willing to acknowledge the humble blue as my favorite color, but progress on self improvement is always slow.

copyright Anna Maria 2008
copyright Anna Maria 2008

When I saw this picture on Anna Maria Horner’s blog yesterday, it occurred to me that I need to rethink my thoughts on color. I like the whole look that Anna Maria has created here. And part of the issue for me is the whole look. I can just plop that lovely (if a bit dark) blue onto my bedroom walls and call it good. However, there is a look here and I will be disappointed if I don’t do something about the rest of the parts. I would have to think about what could realistically translate from here into my bedroom.

Anyway, Anna Maria has a bunch of photos of her Houston booth so go take a look. All the photos I saw on her blog are wonderful. Sigh. I have a ways to go in that department.

Any suggestions on dealing with a look, especially on a budget, are welcome.

Quilt History/Pattern Site

I linked to this site from somewhere else and found it to be interesting. I see that the owner, Judy, has posted some history of quilt blocks, with references. This makes my librarian heart sing!

women sharing patterns

Free Quilt Patterns
From History

Here you will find quilt patterns like the ones that women shared with each other in days gone by. I’ve used Electric Quilt 6 software to design these free patterns for you. With each one you will discover a bit of history that will give you a sense of what the pattern meant to quilters of the past.
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Holiday Spirit?

Aren’t these cupcakes gorgeous? I delighted in the artistry the bakers exhibited and it made me think of the human need to create. Some of us make quilts, some knit or crochet; some people create with wood, glass or metal. I think all of us have an innate need to create. I think these bakers are lucky that they get to create something like this as a job.

What do you create?

Winter Stillness

Lisa Call had a lovely post on her blog yesterday. It was all about stillness and things that winter is good for (resting, regrouping, being quiet). Nice to remember.

As an aside, Lisa and I have Internet-known each other since about 1992 or 1993. We were on the original quilt listserv, QuiltNet and I was in a block swap that Lisa organized.

clipped from



Today was gray and cloudy and bitter cold. It was the first day it really felt like winter this year. Driving to work in the snow, not seeing the sun all day. Too cold to be outside.

It was fabulous! I loved it. Winter is a time to take stock in where we are and rest. To sit for a while and just let things be with needing to go muck with them. It’s such a great time to get quiet and enjoy a bit of stillness. Nothing ever seems as silent as watching the snow fall.

The short days, the cold cold nights, the sunless colorless sky – to me these are all signs of really amazing things to come. Without this quietness the brightness of spring wouldn’t feel so wonderful.

I found great joy in being in the stillness today and am reminded of the growth that will come as a result of this rest.

Happy Winter everyone!

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Getting to Know Lizzie B Cre8ive

I was listening to the Quilting Stash podcast today and Annie was interviewing Elizabeth Hawkins x2. Yes, that’s right, the owners of Lizzie B Cre8ive are both named Elizabeth Anne Hawkins. I am generally interested in hearing interviews with designers and these ladies seem to have their act together in the business end of things. Later I went and looked at their website, blog and subscribed to their podcast. I wasn’t able to find their Facebook group, so that will have to wait. Perhaps I am going overboard a bit, but I am feeling a lack of creative stimulation lately. It doesn’t seem to be bothering my production as the Eye Spy is coming along nicely.

Lizzie B is essentially a pattern company. I usually don’t do patterns, so I probably won’t buy anything from them, but they do have some nice bag patterns. If I can figure out how to make them useful, perhaps I will make one. In the meantime, I will just admire. I did find that the photos and text on their website and blog were rather small and hard for me to see. Perhaps it is time for a trip to the eye doctor!

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Denyse Schmidt Pattern / Black & White Quilt

Black & White Quilt
Originally uploaded by Andy 1167

I thought this quilt was a great use of Black and white fabrics (white on black and black on white), AND a great and different use of the Denyse Schmidt pattern from her book Denyse Schmidt Quilts. I like the very graphic nature of the fabric choices.

Clever Holiday Gifts

CraftSanity Napkin
CraftSanity Napkin

I am mulling over hostess and cousin gifts as the holiday season officially arrives with little to no inspiration. I really just want to sit around and work on what I want to work on. Fortunately, Jennifer Haywood- Ackerman, creator of the CraftSanity podcast, also has a great blog. Today she is talking about these fun napkins. The folding is the key to making these look great and she includes the directions for this and another project.

Various and Sundry Late November 2008

It is entirely possible, though kind of unbelievable to me, that I haven’t breathed a word of the Cross Blocks (Flowering Snowball) since September.

This is the block that I finished this week. it is the first one where I took the Child’s advice and used some calmer fabrics.

The two above were taken on 9/29, but I didn’t see them posted. There are some calmer fabrics in them and I like the layout of the block on the right better than the the layout of the block above. It looks more balanced to me. How do you like that handbag black and white fabric I found?

And on another topic….

Following up on the longarm demo CQFA had earlier this month, my mom came over and showed me what she had done. She went to a friend’s house. The friend has a Handiquilter and they worked on the HandiQuilter.

This is the quilt top Mom quilted. She has no idea where she got it, but it has a wide variety of fabrics. Some of them are not 100% cotton. There is a lot of interesting texture. I ended up sewing part of hte binding on for her on Pie Day.

Here is some of the quilting she did. Mom said that she spent all week, while on public transportation, doodling and that really helped her feel comfortable with the motions of the machine.

Flower motif.
Little house. She had some issues with the tension here, but was able to figure out what the problem was. Mom said that she is not going to take the longarm class at Always Quilting; that she is just going to use her friend’s machine. I am still taking the class on Jan 9.

Puzzling Through the Eye Spy; Progress

The first order of business this week (after all the cooking and tidying, of course) was to, once and for all, decide how I was going to put the quilt together. Below, you can see I have arranged the ‘blocks’ (two equilateral triangles and a hexagon) two different ways.

On the right the blocks were oriented with the triangles on the top and the bottom of the hexagons (Option A). On the left, the blocks are arranged with one triangle in the upper right hand corner and one triangle in the lower left hand corner (Option B).

I discussed previously that I thought the edge would be a problem. I finally decided that I would go with Option A. Mostly, I decided that I could better figure out how to make the edges straight using the diamonds. With Option B, the side edges seemed like they would really be a problem and I would end up hacking them off, which I didn’t really want to do. You can see the edge that seemed to be a problem on the photo above left.

I stood staring at the above piece for a long time trying to figure out what do next and how to deal with the edges. I decided that I would only hack parts off as a last resort and I was looking at pieces for the edges to see which motifs wouldn’t be compromised if I cut them in half. That still left me with the problem of how to finish the edges so that they could be bound in some normal manner. As the picture above shows, those points on the top and bottom don’t qualify as easy to bind. As an aside, I have no problem with doing difficult bindings, but there has to be a design purpose as in Pink Spider Looking at the Stars from my early days of quiltmaking.

This is a close up of one section so you can better see the connections between the pieces.

This is one unit. After finally deciding on a plan to put the blocks together, I began to look at a unit and see what it needed to create a flat top edge. One thing I did with a hexagon was to sew one triangle to the bottom only. That creates one unit with a flat edge.

Having successfully created one flat top piece, I sewed a triangle on to the bottom of another. It wouldn’t butt up to the unit I already created, so I sewed a triangle to the side. Doing this made me realize that I needed to decide on which angle I would be sewing the units together. Once I made that decision I would have to strive to sew triangles to the top pieces to make straight lines to match that angle.

By sewing the black and beige unit to the larger diamond unit, I was able to to make the flat top longer and keep the straight line angle for sewing additional units together in place.

My challenges didn’t end there, though. I had to work out the next section. The way I started (above) obviously wouldn’t work if I wanted to avoid set in seams.

In the overall scheme, the above depiction might work, depending on the way I sewed the piece together and how the rows lined up.

I sewed another red triangle on to the opposite side. This gave me a straight line. With this succeeding, I started to realize that I only needed to sew a triangle on to the bottom and the left side of each top piece. You can see how the black and beige piece fits with the tropical drinks patch.

Above you can see the macro view of how I will sew the lines of the units together. I will sew from left to right.

I still have to make the rest of the top and that is what I am working on now. Stay tuned!