"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Monday, May 25, 2009

My latest project - Emmaline

I have been wanting to make the Emmaline Reversible Apron from SewLiberated.com for a long time. (My 16 year old daughter is modeling it for these pictures.) Thankfully, our local quilt shop contest for June is aprons, so I had the incentive to get it finished. I think it turned out great! I went with brown and turquoise fabrics, as you can see, and I think it suits me perfectly. This wasn't a difficult project, but it took longer than I expected, due to all the hand sewing. The directions call for hand stitching the strap, and I always have better luck with gathering using hand stitching with clear thread (the stuff that looks like fishing line). I usually just use my ruffler, which creates pleats rather than gathers, but I thought the gathers would look better here. I'm very pleased with the results. Now I just have to deliver it to the shop and hope I win this time. I love that the shop has these contests. It really motivates me to get projects finished, and the prize money is good too!

Update - I WON!!! I got a $25 gift certificate, which means I made this incredible apron for free! YIPPEEE

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A New Blankie

I did a little sewing today and made our 5 month old a new blankie. I knew he would like it because he always picks up his stuffed animals by the tags. But he loves it even more than I expected. He hasn't put it down yet. This was very easy to make. I just bought a quarter yard of each of two fabrics - super soft blue and brown dots and stripes, then sewed one long seam to join the two pieces together. Then I cut the piece in quarters and matched them together for front and back pieces. So, the front and back side of the blanket are identical. I bought one yard each of 10 different ribbons, but had way more than I needed. It was a little more time consuming than I expected because I had to pin all the ribbons in place before sewing, and typically I don't use pins much at all. But even with that, I had this done in less than an hour. It was well worth the time. It's worth it to get a smile like this, don't you think?
And as for that pincushion contest...
Well, I didn't win. As you can see, the chicken put me out to roost. Oh well, I still ended up with a $5 store credit, and I really like my little hedgehog, which did manage to come in second. I'm considering putting him on a wristband. Ironically, I nearly made a chicken pincushion out of this same pattern. I was going to use a fabric that had chicken wire print. I ultimately decided the hedgehog would be cuter, and I'm really not a chicken person anyway. I would have lost either way though, because it wouldn't have occurred to me to use beads or to put him on a nest. The one that won is very clever. Anyway, next month the contest is on aprons, so I'm trying to figure out what I want to make for that. If nothing else, these contests sure help me get projects finished, and at $5 an entry, I'll soon have enough for a pattern book I've had my eye on.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Military Enlistment, Quilt Shop Hop & a Cattle Branding

Okay, you're probably thinking I couldn't have come up with three more unrelated topics, but nevertheless, they are connected. Mostly they are connected by the fact that we have done all three within the past two days. First, Friday morning, May 1, my 18 year old son joined the Air Force Reserve. He's always wanted to be in the military, and this seems like a perfect fit for him. He plans to be career military, but joined the reserve so he could finish college first. We've homeschooled him since 1st grade and couldn't be prouder.

Now, on to the shop hop. The same day my son enlisted, I drove all over Wyoming and Idaho participating in a quilt shop hop. If you are not familiar with a shop hop, the point is to visit all the participating stores getting your “passport” stamped and collecting instructions and patterns for a different quilt block from every shop. Collecting stamps from all the shops makes you eligible for drawings for a quilt weekend with 8 friends, or several other pricey giveaways. Each store has lots of other goodies to give away or for you to try to win, and great sales. It was the first one I have ever done, but it definitely won’t be the last! I had such fun – despite having only the company of my 5 year old and 5 month old sons. Not the easiest way to shop hop, I know, but it was what I had, so we made a fun day of it. I figure we must have driven over 400 miles in the process, but as I had to meet my son in Idaho to pick him up from enlisting anyway, why not have fun in the process? (His recruiter came to pick him up and we had to meet in Idaho anyway, so it wasn’t just a drive for the fun of it. He had to go clear to Salt Lake City, Utah to join). Anyway, I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Wyoming and Idaho, but there is a lot of driving through wide open, empty spaces between towns. I had a goal of hitting 11 of the 12 stores in one day, and I just barely made it. Of course I did have to stop and nurse the baby along the way and have dinner at a place with a playground so the 5 year old could run off some energy, so I’m sure I travelled slower than most shop hoppers would. Either way, I had a great time.

I was most impressed with how every shop had done something completely different with the same quilt blocks, and no two finish projects looked the same. Some were remarkably different. The most unique was at the shop in Jackson Hole, WY (pictured above). They used all black, white and red fabric and set their blocks on point.

I also really liked the quilt made by the shop in Driggs, ID. They used Thimbleberries prints. I never really thought of myself as a the Thimbleberries fan, but I love the way their quilt turned out. It was very pretty.

My favorite, though, was from Heritage Quilt Shoppe in Pinedale, WY. They used brighter colors and I loved their center block. Of course the center block was for sale separately, but it really fits my style and I will probably buy it later. (They sold out quickly).

So, where does the branding fit it? That’s what we did Saturday. My husband’s aunt and uncle were branding cattle on their ranch yesterday, so we went out to help. We made it through 400 calves in 4-5 hours.

So as you can see, I’ve had a very busy and exhausting couple of days. But they’ve also been very rewarding.