A Different Kind of January

 

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The sand is so white and fine – just beautiful!

 

Tried something new this year – came to Florida for the month of January. How lucky that the first week was one of the coldest on record (major sarcasm here).  It was, however, much colder back home.  We knew it wouldn’t be warm beach weather here in Pensacola, but jackets, hats, and gloves for our beach walks?! That’s okay – I came prepared with sewing machine and a project.  Hah! First week and the machine is out of order.  Looks like the screw that holds the needle is broken and won’t hold the needle. Thank goodness for the handwork and books to read I brought!

Had a great visit to a well known fabric shop here – A & E.  It is loaded to the brim with the latest fabrics.  And there were five rows of Christmas fabrics! They have an interesting way of conducting their sale.  The fabric with the color of the month (and it can be just a teeny dot of that color) is 15 percent off, half yard minimum cut.  Color for January:  white! Boy did I luck out!

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Everyone there was so friendly and the cuts were quite generous.  So much so that I may have gone back a second time. (It’s been cold and somewhat rainy, remember?)

We’ve had some good weather days too.  Lots of bicycyling at the State Park and even sat on the beach for a couple of hours one morning. And lots and lots of walking. I haven’t slept this good in ages!

Downtown Pensacola is a lovely city with beautiful old buildings. They had their Mardi Gras kick-off one evening when they bless the floats for the February parade. It was such a fun and festive event. I always thought that Mardi Gras was just in the New Orleans area, but apparently it is regional and a pretty big deal around here too. Even with the weather and sewing machine glitches, it’s been a great vacation and maybe, just maybe, we’ll try again next year.

The Island Batik Blog Hop and Giveaways continue! (mine will be January 24)

January 15 – Densyende himmel  ~  Inspired Layers

January 16 – Yellow Cat Quilt Designs  ~  Quiltologist Treasures

January 17 – Quilt’n Party  ~  Desert Bloom Quilting

January 18 – Inchworm Fabrics ~ Kauffman Designs

I’ll post the remainder of the schedule next week – stay tuned!

 

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My Island Batik Adventure

ISo thrilled to have been chosen an Island Batik Ambassador for 2018!!

It all started in February 2017 when I received a box full of amazing batik fabrics and threads from Island Batik. Each month the ambassadors were challenged with a new project that were all fun and creatively gratifying. Here’s a recap with the January 2018 project, blog hop and giveaway to be posted soon!

 

 

 

 

Thank you for coming on this fun and learning adventure with me! We’re not done yet, though – join the Island Batik Ambassadors on their Fall/Winter 2017 Collections Blog Hop. And there’s also a giveaway from Island Batik!

Here is week one:

Monday, January 8Blue Moon
Inquiring QuilterCheryl Lynch Quilts
Tuesday, January 9Mountain’s Majesty
Fun Thread Designs Little Bunny Quilts
Quilting Affection Designs
Wednesday, January 10Alpine Ice
Freemotion by the River  •Slice of Pi Quilts

Seams Like a Dream Kissed Quilts
Thursday, January 11 – Alpine Jungle
Purrfect Spots Designs  •Bejeweled Quilts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sew Much Thread!

The first of the year when I loaded a bobbin, the thread spool emptied. Hmmm, I wondered, “just how many spools will I empty this year?” As each spool emptied, I saved it. No, they weren’t all full. As a matter of fact, many were close to being emptied. Nevertheless, it is amazing to see just how much thread I use!

Large spools (Large)

Two of the large spools had a fine bobbin thread on them – completely used, start to finish in two years! I especially love the bobbin thread because the bobbins hold twice as much as regular thread.

Spools (Large)

28 Empty Spools!! Yes, I still have lots of threads, but some to need to be replenished. Thankfully Santa read my wish list and made it come true on Christmas morning!

Spools 2 (Large)

My Newest Obsession

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Have you heard the expression, “Give me enough rope and I’ll hang myself?” Well…I discovered rope! At Fall retreat I visited The Mountain Thread Company in Blowing Rock. It is a quilt shop that also specializes in ready made rope bowls and coasters. She also sells kits and I bought the coaster kit. It had complete instructions, rope, a few scraps of fabric and a size 16 needle. Also at Fall retreat, Tina graciously demonstrated how she makes fabric covered rope bowls. After watching her demo, I knew I was hooked.

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When I got home I quickly sewed up the kit into two hot pads instead of coasters. I’ve now made many more. These make great hostess gifts and gifts for guild gift exchanges.

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Now it was time to do a bowl or two (or three, or six)! I did a few little fabric wrapped rope bowls and a couple of larger ones. The blue one is my new bread basket. I also did some that, like the hot pads, have the rope exposed and bits of fabric scattered. These are SO fast to make! There will definitely be many more of these popping out of my studio!

With Christmas just a few days away, I’m pleased that all is bought and wrapped. I’ll return next week, but want to wish you all the most joyous season!

 

Christmas Table Topper

An Island Batik Adventure

Table Top


The Island Batik Ambassador project for December is a scrappy table topper. Oh good – I have been wanting to do a Christmas table runner – perfect opportunity! I wanted something festive yet peaceful. Not the usual red, whites and greens. I pulled out all the blue Island Batiks, mostly from the Blue Moon collection and was taken in with how pretty they all were! And doesn’t the touch of purple compliment it all so well?

This was going to be a project to be sewn at retreat, so it couldn’t be very complicated. A string quilt seemed the perfect answer. I chose to do four large rectangles and used muslin as a base. Then the fun began – First, I cut various size strips, half inch to one and one half inches. I sewed, and sewed and sewed! There are times I just love mindless sewing. I find it so relaxing!

blue Batik strips

After some simple quilting, choosing an applique design was next. Christmas trees, snowflakes, stars, snowmen or ornaments? Nothing seemed right. Snowmen would work, but I was going for peaceful, not cutesy. At Thanksgiving my daughter brainstormed with me, we auditioned fabrics for the applique, and with her help –  Ah ha! White Poinsettias! After fusing all the Poinsettia leaves, I stitched and quilted using silver threads.

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I loved the look. The centers of the poinsettias needed berries. I hunted through all my beads but nothing seemed quite right. After a lot of time at the bead shop, I found the silver disks and Swarovski crystals. Nothing like crystals to brighten up a piece!

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Poinsettia Beads closeup heARTsCreations.com (Medium)

Poinsettia Beads heARTsCreations.com (Medium)

This table runner is now on my dining table and I absolutely love it – a wonderful representation of the Joy and Peace of Christmas.

Poinsettia Table Runner heARTsCreations (Medium)

Not much time left to finish up projects – am really pleased with the progress to date!

December Projects

Linking up with WIPS on Wednesdays

 

 

 

Lucky Thirteen

 

That’s how many quilts will be making it out the door for Hospice next week! Add that to the works of other quilters in our little group, and we are donating 24 quilts this year! A week ago they were dedicated at a church service.

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Blurry pic, but does show how great they all looked together for dedication!

Making quilts for Hospice has been a passion of mine for several years now, but I certainly don’t do it alone. I have incorporated sewing blocks into my quilting retreats.  All attending have the option of making blocks from “kits” that have been prepared.  This fall blocks were sewn for 5 quilts!  During the year I will sew the blocks together and complete the quilts. The old adage “many hands make quick work” is so true!

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Even better, others have jumped on the wagon to help. Last Spring Cindy donated several quilt tops. Beverly has donated several quilt tops and surprised me at Fall retreat with a complete quilt! In the spring Tina was so very generous to take blocks home, sew them together and quilt two quilts. What a great army of generosity!

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I have a bin dedicated to this project.  It holds some backing fabrics, completed blocks to be pieced, a few tops that need borders and several quilt tops that need to be quilted. I love knowing that the completion of some of next year’s donations is not far off.

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Beverly’s Quilt

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The two quilts that Tina Pieced and quilted.

 

A preprinted label is added to the back of all the quilts. Rather than trying to come up with a name for each quilt, I have decided to name each one “Comfort and Prayers” for that is truly what these quilts are all about.

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I strongly encourage any quilter who is presented with the opportunity to work on a donation quilt to do so – the rewards are great for all involved.

Quilt & Sew-In Fall II

For one hour, there was silence in the retreat room on Wednesday and then…the magic began again. Attendees of Fall II arrived! Once again there was so much creativity, productivity, conversation and laughter. For me it was double the fun, double the laughter and a little more exhaustion! For the whole week I even got to meet 8 quilters I had never met before which is just awesome.

What can I say about this one except that it is exceptional! Dolores took scrappy to the next level. Even the back is scrappy strips. That is a LOT of sewing!

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At the Spring 2017 retreat, Tina took some of the charity blocks home, squared them, and put them together for two quilt tops. At this retreat she quilted them. (Both are the same). Won’t this bring joy to someone in Hospice care? Thank you Tina – having to just bind these quilts made life a little bit easier for me and gets these quilts to Hospice a lot sooner.

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Two retreats, Double the fun – thank you all for the memories!