Thursday, September 27, 2012

Starting a New Project

I know, I know... I still have 2 September 2012 goals to get to before I should be starting a new project. But, I'm resigned to the fact that they aren't going to get done. I have to do the tie wreath for my door yet (that one I should get done) and finish the quilt top that I started in High School. Well, that WiP is going to remain a WiP for a little bit longer.

Right now I'm turning my attention to the Leafs Me Happy blog hop. My day to post is Wednesday, October 3rd, so I've really got to get cookin'! This time around I'm just making one block design, but again I'm going to make a whole quilt out of it. Here's a sneak of the fabrics I'm using. I'm pretty excited to get this quilt going. Our apartment is decorated in these colors so now we'll finally have a quilt to match. It should also be big enough for us to use on our bed since my double Irish chain quilt is still a WiP too...

I've already got all the strips cut, so they're ready to be cut into squares and rectangles for all of the blocks. I have 36 blocks to do, but thankfully they each only have 18 half square triangles instead of 28 like my dots on dots quilt! That will make squaring up a lot faster and I should be able to sew the blocks together quicker. I know I'll have at least one done by next week Wednesday for my post, but I'm looking to have the whole quilt done sometime in October so we can actually use it while it's still fall.

So, come on back next week and see what I'm planning to complete for October and what my Leafs Me Happy block looks like. :) Happy crafting!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dots on Dots Quilt Finished!

Yay, I've got my first September goal finishes! I guess the first one was to sew together all of the blocks from the hop and the second was to finish the quilt.

I did end up putting the left over pieces on the quilt as a scrappy squared border. There's a funny story about how those pieces came to be. (Well, funny now but very frustrating when it happened...)

I was cutting all of my pieces for this quilt, some needed to be pieces to make into half square triangles and others were just going to be regular squares. I cut the HST pieces first because there were more of them, so I needed to cut those to be 2 7/8ths inches square for a finished square of 2 inches. Somehow I had it in my head that my regular squares then needed to be cut to 2 inches square, so of course that's what I started cutting. Much to my horror, I realized as I was cutting the last strip apart into squares and looking at all of the pieces together that I had cut all of the regular squares a half inch too small. I didn't even have enough fabric to re-cut them all either.

I quickly ran to JoAnn Fabrics to see if I could get more of the pink, green and center blue and teal colors. Yes - I had to find more of 6 fabrics! I searched and searched for the teal color that wasn't a batik. I couldn't find it. I looked through all of the fat quarter cuts twice, then went through all of the bolts, nothing. So, I decided maybe I was going to have to find another teal fabric to complete the quilt. So, I looked through all of the bolts again and wasn't finding anything that I really liked or that matched the quilt.

So, I said a little prayer (literally), and went to check the fat quarter cuts one more time before heading home defeated. Lo and behold, I found the fabric I was looking for! I think I actually let out a little squeal in the store I was so elated. It surprises me the power of prayer sometimes, especially because all I needed was a little bit more fabric. So, I happily went home to re-cut those 6 fabric colors into 2 1/2 inch squares. I saved the ill-cut 2 inch squares and figured I'd do something with them.

I started sewing them together into a strip thinking I might use them on the back of the quilt, but when I put it up next to the quilt I realized it was the perfect length for a border on the long sides. I had 4 piles of those 2 inch squares that I made into 4 long strips that became the borders of the quilt. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the whole situation turned out! Thank you Lord for having a plan for my mistake!

I made the back scrappy out of the left over polka dot prints I had from the quilt. I haven't had much practice making a pieced backing before and I had a couple puckering issues on the backside while I was free-motion quilting this. Those weren't fun to rip out, but at least I caught them before they were huge issues There's still one little bubble on the back where I couldn't quite ease the back into the FMQ, but it's not too bad. I notice it, but I'm not sure my husband would notice it if I hadn't pointed it out. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

For the FMQ pattern I did a spiky swirl design. I got the idea from Bea who did something similar on her latest quilt. Mine didn't turn out as beautiful as hers, but this is the first time I've done a swirly pattern. I've done loop-de-loops and stippling, but this one was different. I really like how free you can be with FMQ. Straight lines look really crisp and clean, but FMQ is just so much fun! I'm not sure I ever want to go back, haha! Anyway, that's my finished dots quilt. I hope you've enjoyed seeing it come together. :) On to the next project! Happy crafting!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dots on Dots Quilt Top

I've been busy the last few days. I finally finished sewing together all of the blocks from the Dots on Dots hop. I also got them sewn up into a flimsy.

Sorry for the bad indoor lighting. I finished sewing this together around 11:00pm, so there wasn't really time to get a picture outside.

I'm still debating whether I'll put a border on it yet. Right now I'm sewing together some of the scraps from the fabrics in the quilt to include on the back. But, the squares of fabric I had left over are long enough to make a border all the way around. So, we'll see what I decide. I hope to be quilting and binding this weekend, but we'll see how distracted I get.

Here's a picture with my cat Sasha enjoying the quilt - for scale references. It is about 48" x 60". I still have to figure out what kind of quilt design I'm going to do on this thing... Thoughts??  Happy crafting!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bed and Breakfast Weekend #2 and Giveaway Winner

Hello again! We're home now from our weekend excursion, so it's time to announce the winner of my Dots on Dots Giveaway. Drum roll please...

I had 144 comments that counted, and the winner is #26! Which was Beaquilter who said "cool blocks and you had a lot of dotted fabric! I don't- so I'd love to win some :-)"

Well - you've got your wish! I'll be contacting you by email to get your address and send off your winnings. :)

Now, to get to the rest of this posting - which I will warn you will be picture heavy...

We did some nice things on our weekend away for my husband's birthday, so I wanted to share them with you. We did everything pretty much in one day, so Saturday was a very long but happy day.

In the morning we went out to the Shihata Orchard just outside of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. They have one of the only pick your own orchards in the area where we were, so we picked some apples.

They had a bunch of different types, but we went for the Honey Crisp apples. They always taste the best! (We were almost swayed by some Galas, but stayed true to our first instincts.)

There were quite a few to choose from on the trees, so we had to inspect them first before picking.

Some were picked and taken home. Others fell to the ground as we searched for good apples (no, we didn't pick apples and then toss them on the ground, some just fell off while we were grabbing different apples...).

We ended up with about 10 pounds of apples, or a 1/4 bushel, which is plenty of apples for us. We ate some that same day, and I have plenty to eat over the next few weeks, or maybe make into a pie! I love that it's cooler outside now so I can have my oven going for an hour without roasting in my apartment! Plus, who doesn't love the smell of a freshly baked apple pie?

We could have taken home more, but a lot of the apples that looked good were too high up for us to pick.

So, in lieu of taking home some of those, we bought apples in different forms and other goodies from the store.

We bought a gallon of apple cider (yum!), 2 honey sticks, garlic/dill cheese curds and a very sticky, very delicious caramel apple. I was happy to find out that they used a Honey Crisp apple for the caramel apple instead of a Granny Smith. I liked that it wasn't so tart. Most of those things were very easy to eat in the car - cheese curds, honey sticks - but the caramel apple was probably something we should have saved until after we were to our next destination.

Speaking of our next destination... We drove from the orchard over to Iowa's Pike's Peak State Park. I had planned for us to have a picnic lunch there. I used the picnic basket we got for our wedding almost 3 years ago for the first time and it was super handy. It came with dishes, napkins, silverware and glasses inside all ready to go, so all I had to do was add the food and bring the blanket.

We got a trail map from the park and headed off on our way! The park was gorgeous. There were some gravel paths, some wooden plank paths and some wood chip paths, all very well marked and kept up.

There were a few places where you could look out over the Mississippi River. The view was gorgeous - something we definitely don't get to see in Madison every day. We couldn't have asked for better weather either.

Once we walked for a little while we found a flat clearing a little bit off the trail to have our picnic.

I packed way too much food - something I inherited from my mom. We never run out of food at family gatherings, and I guess I planned for a week-long excursion with this picnic.

I had 2 different types of crackers, jalapeno-cheddar snack sticks, beef summer sausage, garlic cheese spread and jalapeno cheese spread, Ritz crackers, flat-bread crackers, apples, pretzels, honey roasted peanuts and sparkling apple juice. I guess I just wanted to make sure we had a variety of snacks! :) At least my picnic basket was a little lighter after our picnic... We didn't even open 1/2 of the things I brought along, but we're enjoying them at home.

After our snacking was complete, we just laid back and relaxed on the blanket. It was so nice not to have to rush off to be somewhere else and to just enjoy being outside in a beautiful place.

When we got sick of brushing off little bugs that kept coming by, we got up and made our way back to our car. From the park we went to Eagle's Landing Winery in Marquette, Iowa. That town is about 1 minute from McGregor where we were staying. Literally they run into each other, so it took no time to get there. We thought the winery would be farther out in the country, but it was right in the middle of town. So, we did some wine tasting and ended up buying 4 bottles - 1 regular white wine and 3 more fruity wines made out of strawberries, cherries and raspberries. Our wine rack at home is now full again! :)

For dinner we checked out the buffet at the riverboat casino in town. It wasn't that great, but we had to check out the boat, just to say we'd been on it. When we got back to the B&B we had a relaxing evening of reading (me) and watching college football (husband/me). Our team - the Wisconsin Badgers - barely pulled off a win, so it was a good night.

We snuggled off to sleep under that beautiful quilt I posted about earlier. I found out from the B&B owner that she does indeed quilt, and our quilt was the first bed-sized quilt she ever made (and she does hand stitch them all!). I'll post the rest of our experience at the B&B in a future post. This one is long enough, and if you've made it this far you're a real trooper! So, I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the things we did this weekend. If you're ever in the area, McGregor, Iowa and Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin have a lot of things to offer - and plenty of things we didn't get to. So, check it out sometime! :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bed and Breakfast Weekend

Hello everyone! This weekend I whisked my husband away from Madison and out to the Mississippi River to McGregor, Iowa. It's about 2 hours away from us, so not too far, but far enough. We're staying at the Stauer House on Main Street which is right next to the river and gorgeous parks.

The bed and breakfast is so cute! We got in late last night so I just have a few pictures of our room, but I'm going to sneak around later to grab some more.

This is our room - not super large, but it was only $89 per night. For a B&B basically on the river right in downtown by everything, that's fantastic!

This is a little changing room off of the main bedroom. Our bathroom is a private, detached bath down the hall - which is also super cute. :)

Now that we've enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast of spinach quiche, cinnamon-almond pancakes, fresh fruit, coffee cake and all the coffee I can drink, we're going to go pick apples at an orchard across the river back in Wisconsin. Then we'll have a picnic lunch in the bluffs around the river. For our afternoon entertainment we're going wine tasting! There's a winery a few miles north of our B&B that is having a little fall festival this afternoon where there will be live music and free wine tasting. I think that's pretty much perfect.

Lastly, but oh-so-definitely-not-leastly, this B&B is filled (and I mean filled!) with quilts. And, I think all of them have been hand quilted. I am amazed and I am going to photograph each one before I leave and talk to the owner about them. I think she makes them all! I found one in the living room on a quilt frame, 1/2 hand quilted. Whoever is doing this all is soooo talented! Here are some pictures of the quilt on our bed, just as a teaser. I'll be back with more from the weekend later on. Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dots on Dots Blog Hop and a Giveaway!

Hello everyone! Thanks so much for stopping by for the dots on dots hop. I've been looking forward to this hop for a while now, so thank you to Corrie at Quilt Taffy for hosting and to Mdm Samm for all of her work and guidance as well! If you're looking for the full list of participants, you can find it at Corrie's blog (linked above) by clicking on the dots on dots button on the right hand side of her page. Here's the list of everyone sharing the day with me:

The Recipe Bunny --> you are here! :)

I'm sure you're in for a treat with all of these blogs, so please hop along and cheer along as we take off on the second day of the Dots on Dots Hop! Here's what I put together for you:
I had a lot of dots fabric to choose from for my block...

So many that I guess I really couldn't decide which ones to use, so I used pretty much all of them. Those fabrics turned into this design:

Which then turned into all of these half square triangles (all for just one block!):

Which then turned into this layout:

And eventually made its way into being this 12.5" unfinished block:

I have a whole quilt planned of these - 20 blocks - but I only have 8 sewn together. I've been super busy planning a wedding (which just happened this past Sunday), so my time to sew has been non-existent. It's one of my crafty goals this month to have the whole quilt put together, so cross your fingers that I get it done!

Here's what I have so far:

As you can see, the blue squares and the middle orange or yellow squares change from block to block. 1/2 of the quilt will have some form of aqua/orange combo and the other 1/2 will have a darker blue/yellow combo on them. The outer fabrics for each block stay the same. I was hoping to get one more done of the darker blue center, but just ran out of time. :( 

I really like putting these together because the fabrics are so colorful and festive! I also like that the dots are all different sizes. Some are big, some are really small, and on some of the blue pieces the dots form circles. For some reason it reminds me of the circus, which I always loved as a little kid, so that's probably why I like this odd combination of dots and colors so much. I had thought about giving this quilt away when it's all done, but I think I'm going to keep it as a guilty pleasure quilt all for myself and make something else to give away - darn! :) 

Speaking of giving something away... I have a giveaway for all of you! More dots fabric! These are some of the fabrics I was considering using, but didn't. I have 2 fat quarters of the green with white dots fabric, and 1 FQ of the rest: orange with white dots, orange with splotchy orange dots, white with really tine pink dots, and pink with really tiny white dots.

So, now what you need to do to enter is leave a comment on my blog post below. Please, please, please make sure I have your email if you're a no-reply blogger. Otherwise, I won't be able to let you know you've won! I'll pick the winner via random computer drawing on Sunday, September 16th because that's my husband's birthday. So, comments will count until Saturday, September 15th, through 11:59pm central standard time. No pressure to become a follower, but if you'd like to keep tabs on the next set of things I create, please sign up and follow along. When I reach 200 followers, I might just be tempted to have another giveaway just for you!

And now, just to leave you with something fun, here's a picture of my cat Sasha. She decided to lay down on the stack of finished dots blocks while I had my back turned. Never fails - she has the whole rest of the apartment to find a cushy spot to lay down and she always lays on the quilt pieces. Maybe my next quilt will have to be for her... :) Happy hopping everyone!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

September 2012 Crafty Goals

I can't believe it's September already! This summer flew by way too fast. So, that means it's time for another post on crafty goals for this new month. But first, we have to see how I did on my August goals...

Here's my August to do list:

1) Make a tie wreath for my Dad
2) Make a new Kindle case
3) Make my separate Think Christmas Blog Hop blocks into a table runner
4) Make my matching Think Christmas Blog Hop blocks into a quilt top
5) Design blocks for the Dots on Dots Blog Hop for September
6) Try some basic paper piecing
7) Make a scrappy fall table runner for my Mom

So, I think I did really well this month. There was only one goal that I didn't get to, and that was #4 - making a Christmas quilt top. The reason I didn't get that done? I never made any matching Think Christmas Blog Hop blocks. I had every intention to do that in July, but I simply ran out of time. I guess you just can't do it all right? Not with a full time job anyway. But, here's a recap of all of the other projects:

1) Tie wreath - done and delivered!

2) Kindle case - done and I'm enjoying very much!

3) Think Christmas Table Runner - done and will be delivered in October

4) Dots on Dots blocks - designed and I even have the first one sewn together (I think that calls for extra credit)

5) Basic paper piecing - done and I'll be giving that pot holder away later this weekend when I see my sister again.

6) Fall table runner - done and 1/2 delivered. I gave it to my sister who will see my mom before me and will deliver it on my behalf. :)

So, 6 out of 7 is roughly what, 85%? A solid B, but I think I deserve a little extra credit for 2 reasons. I did more than just design the Dots on Dots blocks - I have everything cut, one block sewn together, and 19 more blocks ready to be sewn together.

Then, I also taught my sister how to sew last night. We had a great time, and she sewed her first project on a machine - a tote bag. We actually made 2 and she did all the sewing. They are reversible with one side being a 1970s style print and the other a colorful Indian type print. I love both fabrics and I'm excited to use the tote bag. We even made our own handles out of duck cloth/canvas that is really sturdy.

It was awesome seeing her get so excited about sewing and how much time having a machine was going to save her. She is very thrifty and finds things all the time at Good Will or swap meets or auctions that she fixes up. So, now she doesn't have to mend everything by hand. Plus, she finds a lot of great vintage items, so I can foresee some awesome projects coming up for her. All in all it took us 4 hours to make 2 tote bags, so I'd say that's really great for a first-time project. She went to a swap meet today and took her new tote to show off. So proud of her!

 So, I'd say both of those little extras bring me up to an A- for the month of August. :)

And now, here are my goals for September:

1) Sew the Dots on Dots blocks together
2) Finish the Dots on Dots top and quilt it
3) Make a tie wreath for our door out of my husband's ties
4) Finish the 9 patch quilt top I started in High School

I think I'm just going to focus on those 4 this month. I've been helping my husband's cousin plan her wedding which is on Sunday, September 9th, so I'll be busy making sure everything is set for that over the next week and won't have much time to sew. My husband and I are also starting back up with praise band practice at our church, so I won't have Sunday nights to sew or craft any more either. So, you'll probably see a little less craftiness from me in the coming months, but I promise I'll keep you posted with everything I'm working on. Until next time - happy crafting!
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