Sunday, November 13, 2016

Practical Magick

My Dark Butterfly quilt is finished!  I love its rich tones with the contrasting aqua and mint. This is a large lap quilt for a friend.  There are two prints with butterflies, a tan and a mint green toile, and the aqua has ruminations about a garden in brown ink.

It must be the influence of all the supernatural shows at the movies right now, or perhaps because Halloween has just passed, but this quilt has a magical quality for me.  Although there is nothing mystical about the prints, the writing on the aqua fabric and the little pictures on the tan and mint prints make me think of Merlin's book of spells. 

I'm hoping its recipient is pleasantly charmed and feels warm and loved as she snuggles under it on cool evenings.  Blessed be.












Saturday, November 12, 2016

2016 Holiday Hop

 I love quilt shop hops and was especially excited to be able to participate in the 2016 Holiday Hop! 

My good friend Rhea fired up her Denali and we were off to begin out adventure in Fresno, California where we visited Kiki's Quilt Shack.  Kiki's is a new addition to our regular group of shops.  This is a beautiful shop that caters to both quilters and embroiderers.  Their friendly staff is very knowledgeable in the quirks and remedies of embroidery machines and offered me free advice on how I might troubleshoot some of the problems my Bernina has been giving me.  The shop is full of beautiful fabric and plenty of patterns.  As we walked in they gave us an adorable faux fur Santa bag filled with recipes and goodies.  Once we finished oogling all the store had to offer, we helped ourselves to hot cocoa and a variety of cookies.  YUM!  We will definitely be coming back to Kiki's!
























 
Next on our itinerary was Quilter's Paradise in Clovis.  This is one of my favorite shops!  Since I am interested in learning how to work with wool, I spent a lot of my time oohing and ahhing over their wonderful selection of wool and flannel.  If anyone has a favorite website featuring wool designs and such, please give me a heads up.

Besides their wool section, Quilter's Paradise has an extension selection of beautiful fabric which is right up my alley.  I love novelty fabric and this shop has plenty, even several bolts of the Ghastlies.  The entire store is full of completed quilts, many of which have available kits. They also have one of the most complete libraries of books and magazines I have ever seen. It's not hard to imagine why this is one of my favorite shops.




 
I thought I showed real constraint by not buying everything I saw.  Rhea ... not so much. 

























The last shop we visited was Thimble Towne in Visalia.  Thimble Towne has opened a branch of their store in Bakersfield, where we live, but the two stores carry different items so it's always a treat to visit this wonderful little shop.  Their staff always comes up with a cute idea for their hops, and this time was no different.  In their goodie bag they included a recipe and a spiral Christmas tree ornament kit. 

I was really looking for a specific type of Christmas fabric and didn't find it at any of the shops we visited, but I did find at Thimble Towne fabric for a couple of other quilts I am thinking of making, so my resolve to watch my budget flew out the window.  But really, what's a shop hop if you can't buy, right?  Rhea says she allows herself to splurge when she shop hops.  I think that will become my motto, too.
 



Sunday, October 23, 2016

Eerie Nights Blog Hop

Welcome to Day 3 of the 
Eerie Nights Blog Hop 
sponsored by 
The Fat Quarter Shop
Timeless Treasures
Aurifil
Quilters Dream
Eerie Nights BH

I am so excited to share with you my EERIE project, but first a big thank you goes out to Marian Pena of Seams to Be Sew for organizing this hop.  And another heart-felt thank you goes to the Amy Warner of Sew Incredibly Crazy for hosting.  And not to be forgotten, a huge thank you to our sponsors for providing the great prizes in our giveway.    

It's no secret Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  I love the weather, the smells, the spooky displays, and of course the spirit of fun. So I was thrilled when Marian announced she was organizing a Halloween Blog Hop and I had to join.

I thought long and hard about my project.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to make a full-size quilt or a wall quilt or just a table runner.  As I was rifling through my Halloween fabric stash, thinking about all the traditional Halloween characters, I wondered what types of quilt each monster slept under.  Voila!  I had my project.


At first I was going to make a wall hanging of four monsters under their quilts, and then it was five, and finally I decided to chuck it and make a full-size quilt of six.


  All of the monsters' quilts are pieced.  
Frankie = Crazy Patchwork Quilt
Dracula = Irish Chain
Mummy = Flying Geese
Skeleton = Pieced Squares
Witch = Spider Web
Wolfie = Wonky Strips


 


The monsters are appliqued onto the quilt using the raw edge applique method.  Because I wanted their features to really stand out, I outlined their faces and hands in black several times. 


To give more of an illusion that my monsters were tucked in for the night, I added a topper with an owl sitting on a branch under a big yellow moon.  To even the quilt out, I added a bottom panel of orange pumpkins against a black background.  These panels used the raw-edged appliqued method as well.


This quilt was a lot of fun for me to make because I made it up as I went.  I drew all of the characters and pieced their individual quilts in a haphazard manner, purposefully making them all a little off-kilter to give them an eerie appearance.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing my quilt as much as I did making it.  Be sure to visit the other bloggers who are revealing their Eerie projects today.

And be sure to enter in the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway





Friday, October 21, 2016

Halloween Candy Bags

What kind of candy do you pass out for Halloween?  I usually opt for the mini chocolate bars and the little boxes of Nerds because they are well received.  I remember one year I had bags of chocolate covered raisins and the kids wouldn't take them.  I happen to like chocolate covered raisins, so more for me.

Unfortunately I never make anything myself, although I would love to.  It was a rule when my kids went trick or treating that they were not allowed to enter anyone's house or to eat anything that wasn't wrapped by the manufacturer.  My homemade goodies are only shared with family and close friends. 
 
Along with choosing the candy I give out, I like to give some thought to how the candy is presented.  We have so few kids here that I can afford to stuff small bags with several pieces.  In the past I have bought vintage bags off ebay, decorated paper bags, and even made cloth bags.  But kids don't care about the bags.  They are only interested in what's inside, so I have learned to show off my creativity elsewhere and stick with the Dollar Store bags. 

And then there are my kids.  Yes, they are grown with kids of their own, but they still expect Halloween goodies, presents from Santa, and baskets from the Easter Bunny.  And because they know their mother is a little on the crazy side, they prepare themselves for anything.

This year for my grandbabies I filled plastic gloves with all kinds of sweet treats and then tied a cute Halloween lunch box joke to the closure.  I found the printable lunch box jokes on Pinterest.  They have lots.  The one I chose was from Artsy Fartsy Mama.  You can find them at http://www.artsyfartsymama.com/2015/09/free-printable-halloween-lunch-box-jokes.html


For my grown kiddos, I made them a Toe Tag Bag. I drew a foot, approximately 12" long by 8" wide, with an exaggerated big toe onto some putrid green fabric, then sewed it onto a square of the same fabric, leaving a wide opening at the top.  I cut around the foot and turned it inside out.  I hemmed the top, then painted and quilted the "toes." 


The toe tag was an invitation I found on Pinterest.  You can see and download it here  http://www.make-your-own-invitations.com/halloween-toe-tag-invitations.html    I reduced it down to about 3" x 2"and printed and tied to the big toe.  I filled the bag with candy and tied the bag closed with a 12" length of green embroidery floss.    

My youngest told me my Toe Tag Bag was disturbing.  What is Halloween without a little creepy, right?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Witch Hazel is Having a Party


Halloween is fast approaching and this year Witch Hazel is celebrating at her house with a party for all her fiendish friends.  She has so much to do to get ready.  The invitations have been sent, but there is the laundry to finish, goodies to bake, and the house needs to be decorated.  What is a witch to do?!?  I thought it would be fun to record in embroidery her silly antics as she makes preparations for her Monster Mash.


Come back soon to see Witch Hazel's progress.  

Friday, October 7, 2016

Harvest Quilt Shop Hop

Today my good friend Rhea and I went on a Quilt Shop Hop.  There were 5 shops participating, but we only made it to 4.  It was a good hop with a couple of side stops just for fun.  Rhea and I always have fun just being together and checking out the new quilt patterns and fabric.

5 Heart Quilts & Fabrics in Tehachapi was our first stop.





















And Debbie's Fabric, Etc., just a block away, was the second shop we visited.  I have to admit that Debbie's is one of favorite shops, and I never make it out of there without buying something.  Today I bought a fall quilt kit I can't wait to start.  If I could just get time to stand still for a couple of hours . . .  








As shown in the picture, Debbie's has loads of sample projects from various books and patterns made up.  I think it helps to see the finished product.

The shop has a wide variety of patterns, kits and books to choose from, like this cute Halloween booklet, Boppity Boo!, that almost made it into my bag.








And of course we had to stop at Murray Family Farms on our way back.  Murray's is full of fresh fruits and veggies, as well as a pumpkin patch for the school children to visit.


The last two shops on our list were Bolts to Binding and the new Cherry Berry Quilts Shop. 

Home by 1 p.m., this was a mini hop, just enough to whet our appetites for next month's Holiday Hop. 

It's October!

It's been a long, hot summer and I am so delighted we are finally in October.  October is welcome for so many reasons:  the weather cools down, winter clothes are unpacked, apple cider and pumpkin treats appear in the stores, and of course Halloween fun.

I am not one to decorate for every holiday, but October, November and December put me in the mood to celebrate.  Halloween is, of course, the most fun, because it can be a little scary and a lot silly.  I look for novel ways to decorate the house and generally pick up a couple of new items each year to add to my collection.  This year I found Thing at Marshall's.  It is animated and crawls across the table when turned on.

 My outside decorations were inspired by posts on Pinterest.  My neighbors have access to a pumpkin patch and brought me a load of pumpkins with which to play.   


The green pumpkin was perfect for a cranky old witch.  To hold the witch's leaf "hair" in place I used straight pins. 

I used black paper and glue to make their faces because I didn't want to cut the pumpkins.  I want them to last as long as they will.  Black acrylic paint would have worked well, too, and I still may paint the pumpkin faces later if the paper doesn't hold up.

The Pumpkin People turned out so well, I thought.  I bought their clothes and accessories at the local Good Will.  My neighbor loaned me Mrs. Pumpkin's pearls.  I like the Pumpkin People so well that they may come back next year.




 I like that the Pumpkin People are more silly than scary.  We have a lot of little ones on Halloween and I don't want them to be frightened. 

So how did you decorate for Halloween?