Thursday, April 30, 2009

How'd you like to win ...

this apron?

If you said (screamed?!) YES!, then go to The Apron Goddesses' blog and follow the instructions to enter. But hurry ... contest ends May 6th ... don't say I didn't warn you!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dancing Trains

At my quilt guild's quilt show last September, scraps were being sold by the bag. My girls knew this and they were armed with change, ready to buy! "Yeah, sure, Mom, the quilts are pretty ... but where's the scraps?!" We started at one end of the building and searched for the scrap tables ... the only thing slowing us down was me, trying to actually enjoy the quilts LOL! But, finally, close to the other end of the building (wouldn't ya know it?), the Promised Land ... several tables filled with bags and bags of scraps ... big paper grocery bags for $1, small lunch bags for 50 cents, and a few more small lunch bags filled with really itty bitty scraps for 25 cents. Now for the girls to choose ... "Mom, are you going to get any?" "No, dear, I don't need MORE scraps ... got plenty at home that I don't use anyway."

But, wait, what's that posted on the wall? A challenge? Ooh, I like a challenge ... what's it say? Make a 48"x60" quilt top using only scraps from up to 5 bags and bring it to the next meeting. The next meeting?! ... that's, like, only 4 weeks away ... I can't do that! Hmmm ... it is only a quilt top, doesn't need to be quilted or anything ... hmmm ....

Okay, so I caved, er, rose to the challenge ... I brought 5 bags home with me ... and no small bags for me, no sir, I bought 5 of the big ones ... I was going to give myself plenty to work with! My girls had dance class that afternoon, so I brought the scraps with me, along with some big Ziplock bags for sorting. I separated them by color and thought, "What was I thinking?!?! I'm not a scrap quilter! How am I going to make a pretty quilt out of this stuff?" Now, don't get me wrong, I love scrappy quilts, I make scrappy quilts, but there's a difference. I'm of the variety that likes to work with lots of fabrics ... if the pattern calls for a green fabric, why use one green when you can use 10 different greens. That's my kind of scrappy ... controlled. There was no control with those 5 bags ... just chaos. But I was determined not to give up ... at least not in the first 24 hours!

My next mission was to scour all my quilt magazines for just the right pattern. For the next couple of days, I skimmed through my past issues, pulling aside about a dozen or so that looked promising. I brought them with me to the next dance class and narrowed it down to one that looked easy enough to complete in less than a month ... it's called "Happy Cows" and is in the March/April '08 issue of Quiltmaker (page 46, designed by Roxann O'Hare in Nebraska). A little fiddling with the sizing of the blocks and sashing to fit the scraps I was working with, and I was good to go.

A few days later, I got an email ... several members want to participate, but during the next meeting they'll be at the Houston show. So the challenger agrees to move the challenge to the following meeting ... cool, an extra month to work on it. I just might pull this off! At each dance class, I brought scraps and cut them in strips with a pair of scissors (the pattern was great for this ... I just eyeballed for length and width). Then I'd go home and sew the strips together. Back and forth I went. The scrappy sections were coming together nicely. I found a long strip of train fabric that was the closest thing to a focus fabric that I could find in the bags to use for the center, so I went with it ... it wasn't perfect ... the trains were too big to fussy cut into the small centers, but it looked kind of cool having just small sections of train ... at least they were big enough that one could tell they were trains!Well, not only did I make the top, but because of the extra month, I was able to back, quilt and bind it, too. And, best of all, it all came from the scrap bags! I even made it a quillow using a large piece of prequilted material I found in one of the bags. The only things I added were batting and thread. I named it "Dancing Trains" because of the train fabric for the centers and because I did most of the cutting and planning during my daughters' dance classes (thank goodness that gave me 3 times per week to focus!) My 7 yo claimed it while it was still a work in progress and it now resides on her bed ... well, most of the time LOL! Not bad for $5!Wonder what I'll do with all those leftover scraps ....

Monday, April 27, 2009

Eight months?!?

Yikes!! I knew it'd been awhile since I blogged, but eight months?!? That is just way too darn long ... the sad thing is that I have no real excuse ... one thing just led to another, one day led to another, and now, here I am, wondering where the time went ... can anyone tell me?!

Oh, well, nothing I can do about it now, except to try to post more often instead of just surfing everyone else's blogs LOL! No promises on how often, but I do promise to try to post way more often than once every eight months.

So, what have I been doing for the past eight months? A little stitching, a little quilting, and a whole lot of homeschooling ... ah, now there's an excuse for not having much craftiness to post! But I did finally buckle down this weekend and make something for me ... a new apron! Thanks to Tie One On, I got a bee in my bonnet to make an apron for their latest theme, which is "No $$$" ... meaning make an apron with what you have on hand, no spending allowed. Of course, they posted the theme on March 1st, so I'm doing better on the whole time management thing, right? After all, I did finish it 4 whole days before the May 1st deadline LOL! Anyways, here it is:So, what do you think? I'm pretty happy with it, though I do wish the waist ties were just a tad longer (made a note on the pattern for next time). And, nary a nickel did I spend ... the blue leaf fabric and the green check fabric were old cotton sheets, and the chicken fabric was in my quilting stash (I think I got it at the Chicago quilt show about 3 or 4 years ago). I have no idea where I got the buttons from ... I had 6 of them, so it's possible I cut them off a thrifted shirt or dress, but it's been too long to remember. Even the pattern didn't cost me anything ... I won it recently from Woodland Quilts! Love it!!I did make a couple minor changes, such as making the neck strap longer (I'm long-waisted) and edge-stitching the pieces as I went (makes for a more finished look). I think this will be the one to wear for National Wear Your Apron Day (unless I happen to make another one between now and then ... ha!)

A plus! Because I used old linens to make the apron, I can enter it in EllynAnne Geisel's giveaway ... crossing my fingers real tight!!

Apron Memories: Tie One On - An Apron Of Course !
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