Saturday, October 29, 2011

Flirty Apron Swap - Reversible Table Runner

Flirty Apron Swap Mistress Shawnee stepped out of the "apron mode" for a Table Runner Swap, and I'm sure glad she did! Not that I don't like aprons - I LOVE them! But it was fun to make a table runner for a change. I found this lovely book at one of my local LQSs: Table Talk - Runners, Toppers and Family Treats by Gudrun Erla for Kansas City Star Quilts. I found several patterns I want to make, but decided on Scrappy Daisies, designed to use up leftover scraps of Jelly Rolls. When I got down to making the runner top, I wound up using FQs rather than a Jelly Roll. 

One thing I've been doing differently for awhile - long ago, I learned to press my seams to one side when doing patchwork. But I've noticed a trend on some blogs to press seams open. Sometimes when I'm making up my own designs and don't have the luxury of always knowing beforehand whether it's going to work to have the seams pressed one way or another, pressing them open would just work better, so I jumped on the "press open" bandwagon. I found with this project that it was so much easier to get all my pieces lined up nicely with the seams pressed open, so I guess I'm a convert!

Here's the top - it went together soooo fast and easy! I used September Light by In The Beginning (plus a few other stray fabrics to fill in). This is the "fall" side of the runner, which my partner wanted.

But I had soooo much fun piecing this pattern that I decided to continue it on the flip side. I used Countdown to Christmas by Sweetwater for Moda for the reverse, so my partner would have a "two-fer" runner. This time, I did use a Jelly Roll I had just gotten in the mail. Now, I had no illusions that I would be able to successfully machine-quilt both sides at once and keep the quilting lines absolutely the same, so I chose to quilt each side to its own batting and then put the sides together.

Also, I knew I was "quilting myself into a corner" by using such vastly different fabrics on the two sides, but forged ahead anyways. So I had to search for a fabric for the binding that would look good with both fabric lines. My son, Ben, helped me narrow it down to Masterworks by Kathy Hall for Andover Fabrics - a fabulous, rich pattern that blended well with both sides. Thanks, Ben!

I also made two potholders, one to match each side. I tucked in a magazine, some candy, Starbuck's Toasted Coconut cocoa, and some smelly potpourri. And a Shoop-Shoop Bag I made from the Countdown to Christmas fabric, with the suggestion to my partner that she consider using it for all her Christmas shopping receipts, like I do - I hope she'll be pleased with this idea.

Off in the mail it went today - thanks, Shawnee for another great swap! Now I just have to wait patiently for MY package to come in the mail :-)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Swaps and Stuff

Boy, I'm way behind on posting some of the swaps I've been in lately. First up, here's what I sent in Country Pleasure's Apron Swap:
I used the Four Corners apron pattern (again!) in fall colors. When I make this apron, I usually add ruffles to the foldover at the apron top and the pocket - I think this makes it more "girlie."
I added sweet vintage buttons to both flaps - hard to see in this pic, but they are a grape color with a rhinestone in the center. They were the only two of those style in my vintage button collection, so it worked out perfectly.
I added two ruffled potholders...
...and an embellished dishtowel.
Also, this sweet little basket that I thought my partner could use for tea packets or other small goodies.

Some yummy Seattle Chocolates completed the swap!

Here's one side of the tote bag. I added a floofy flower just for fun. I used a small panel cut from Scribble Monsters II, and in addition to more of that line, I threw in some Eerie Alley and other fabrics - whatever I had on hand in my Halloween stash.

Here's the other side of the tote. I also put some little ties on both sides to cinch the bag in just a bit at the top. I think it added a cute detail.
I put a cute pumpkin pocket on the inside!
Here's the front of the Mug Rug. I love this potato monster (well, that's what I've dubbed him), and I added a "flat" ruffle to the bottom - it's pressed quite flat so it won't upset the coffee cup.
I strip-pieced the back just for fun.
I found this adorable Candy Can Scissor Holder in the latest issue of Simple Quilts, just in time to whip one up for the swap!
I added the required three FQs and some thread, and I also created a 12-strip Mini-Jelly Roll of the fabrics I'd used. My partner said she is going to use it right now!
I also made a Halloween paper wreath.

A rubber scraper, cookie cutter, some candy, and a fun little scuttlebug spider rounded out the goodies.

I added one of my Shoop-Shoop Bags so she could start using it for all her Christmas gift receipts. And then.....
I stuffed everything into a black witches' cauldron, topped it with some eerie green tissue, tied it onto a magic broom, and sent it winging its way to my partner...Bwwahhhhh!

Here's what I received from that same swap, from my partner, Donna! She really spoiled me!
Look at this cute tote! I love the little ghostie she appliqued on the front!
And here's the back...I just love the fabrics she used.
The Mug Rug is adorable, with the same little ghosie, and one of the FQs she included was Scribble Monsters - like minds or what!
She fabulously altered a notebook, and her card was "Priceless." She also included some stickers, and the absolutly cutest candy corn buttons I've ever seen, along with a witches' hat hair clip with floofy purple trim. I used the tote bag and wore the hair clip yesterday! Thank you sooo much, Donna! And thanks to both the swap mommas for more fun swaps!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Fungus Amungus

I love this time of year here in the Pacific Northwest! Yes, the leaves are always beautiful, but there are also some incredible fungi that pop up at this time. These appear on the same old dead tree each year.

I love this shot, with the dew drops clinging in suspension...looks like syrup running off a pancake!

This 'shroom popped up next to our driveway overnight - nature certainly has some beautiful designs!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Country Pleasures Apron Swap

I was in Sue's Country Pleasures Fall Apron Swap, and my partner was Sue, herself! Here's what she sent me. First, a picture of all the loot! How exciting to get such a wonderful swap package!

I've never received a "clothespin apron" so I was excited that Sue chose that particular style to make for me. Makes me wanna put up a clothesline :-)

I think maybe my favorite item she sent is this package of pumpkin-shaped doilies - I've never seen doilies like these! How cute are they! I have a recipe for some yummy pumpkin cookies that would look perfect on these!

But I don't know...I really, really love this clipboard, too! Maybe they are BOTH my favorites :-)

Oh wait! I love love love this package of embroidery transfers! I could SO use a couple of these in the quilt I'm making for Ben and Autumn, since they are all coffee motifs! Yup, THIS is my favorite item. Ah, heck...EVERYthing is my favorite, I guess ;-)

And look at the pretty card she sent with the swap - how adorable! She also included a little framed fall saying, a potholder and dishtowel, and some packets of delicious tea. Thank you soooo much, Sue - for having the swap AND for being  my wonderful partner!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Working on a quilt I'm going to name "Coffee Dreams" for Ben and Autumn.  Now, I'll drink brewed dirty socks, but Ben and Autumn TRULY LOVE good coffee! I think they would bathe in it if it weren't so expensive. They have practically developed a personal relationship with Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters, and Ben has even taken their coffee course as part of his new job working for a food service company, ARAMARK, at The Evergreen State College. So it was fate that we discovered some great coffee-themed fabrics for this quilt! I have to admit they picked out some of the fabrics at least a year ago, but I'm just now getting going on it. In my defense, I have been able to find some more terrific fabrics for it in that time. Yeah. That's my excuse for procrastinating. More fabric. Uh huh. You understand, don't you? :-) Yes, I thought so!

I am using primarly the coffee motif fabrics I was able to find, but a few blocks will just be various coffee prints. I really don't have a plan, other than I'm thinking I'll need 30 blocks. I cut a bunch of different width strips and just jumped in. Here are a few of the blocks I've completed. So grabba cuppa and see what I've done :-)

Recently, I asked everyone to start working on their Christmas lists...all Ben seems to want is an espresso machine. Boy, am I sorry I asked! Those suckers are expensive! I'm thinking just getting the quilt done in time for Christmas *should* be enough ;-)  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Apple Dodge"

When you reside in the Big City, you have your theater events, art gallery openings, celebrity cocktail parties, etc. When ya live in the country, ya gotta make your own fun. Every year, we eagerly look forward to a few weeks of what we call "Apple Dodge" on Apple Valley Road.
There's an apple tree that hangs over the road. Most of the apples had fallen off by the time I remembered to bring the camera, but you get the idea.'s how the game is played: The apples fall off the tree and some fall onto the road.
Car comes up or down the road. Car tries to squash the apple. The "dodge" part of the game is where the apple is supposed to dodge the car. Ok, maybe it's not exactly sporting, but a lot of the apples DO wind up in the ditch, unsquashed, so at least they have a fighting chance :-)

Success! Adam's GF, Katie, scored a point - her third this week, I think!

I'm quite sure some of these older "hits" are mine :-)

Here are the clever little apples who managed to dodge the cars - unharmed in the ditch!

So there you have it - New York City's got nothin' on us! Sadly, "Apple Dodge" is almost over for this year. The next exciting activity is "Leaf Scatter," followed by "Can We Make It Up the Last Part of the Long, Steep Hill?" during snow season - extra points for drive-by laughing at the cars who didn't.

Disclaimer: Apples WERE harmed in the making of this blog post however, these apples are sour and wormy and only the crows eat them, so it's not like actual food was wasted.