Sunday, May 31, 2009

Getting more done

I have gotten a good bit done on my scrappy, No Rules quilt. This is probably NOT the layout I will use. But it shows the progress I have made and all the work I have completed so far.

Okay here are the pictures:
From one side:
Scrappy quilt 1

Then the other:
Scrappy quilt 2

There is a big variety of fabric in there. I think I see some Kaffe Fassett - or is that Martha Negley mums? They both use such vivid colors and y'all know I love some vivid color. There are also pieces from a Connecting Threads line or two (or three?) I have pieces of old shirts in it. Bits from just about every other project I have ever done - if there was a scrap I saved it is probably in here. Plus, those orphan, and experimental blocks now have a home.

Since I will do this "quilt as you go" fashion, there will be some sashing and borders. I am as yet undecided what I will use for that. Batik? Solids? another print? And what oh what will I back it with??? Stay tuned and we will find out. I am sure I will be as surprised as you are.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Big and Scrappy

I am still working on that surprise quilt and I expect I will be for a while yet. I thought I would show you some blocks for another section of the quilt.

First is the HUGE block. I just kept adding pieces to this until it was large enough. It is 18.5 and will finish out at 18 inches. This means that I will be doing lots of work in multiples of NINE.

Scrap Block 1
(you can click on these pictures to go to my Flickr photos and see them larger)

I decided to be "less ambitious" (ha ha) and just make 9.5 squares. After all, I have a square ruler in that size. It makes life easier. PLUS the string squares are also that size so it will all fit together for a really "busy" patchwork quilt.

So here are a couple of 18.5 blocks made from the smaller units.

Scrap Blocks

As you probably noticed, there are some smaller blocks incorporated into the units. There is a paper-pieced tulip block that I messed up on. Hey it works fine in this!
There is also some curved piecing that was made just playing around. I cut it down. Don't be surprised if the other pieces of it show up later.

To photograph these I made a temporary "design wall" by hanging some batting over a door. That is why my squares don't look square. I promise that they are. But even if they aren't -wonky is definitely allowed in this quilt.

This is a NO RULES quilt and it is a lot of fun. You should try it. If you do, let me know and be sure you post a picture of it somewhere so I can see it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What's it?

Before we get started a small apology. I didnt' drag out the camera to make these pictures..they are phone pics. Sorry!

I made a little project this evening. (Like I really had the time to spare.)

I saw one of these on a friend's Flickr photos. He had provided a link to the pattern. Yaay! I just had to make my own

Now the question is; What is it? or
What's it? ha ha

Well maybe this next picture will make it clearer.

It is a nice little quilted pouch for my Kindle - That is an electronic book for those of you who may have been hiding under a rock and missed's big seller. I got the Kindle as a birthday gift and I do love this device. I have read lots of books on in. I didn't have to buy all of them as there are free books both on the internet AND from Amazon. Now I love it more since I have a quilty case for it.

Oh, this will be no surprise to you. I didn't exactly follow the directions. I changed it a bit. LOL. I can't help myself.

Gee....I am getting nearer and nearer to having 200 posts. Whatever could that mean?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Strip Surprise

I assume you have discovered Quiltville, Bonnie Hunter's website. I find lots of inspiration there, as well as anywhere I can find it. After seeing all that Bonnie does with Strips, Crumbs and other small dabs of fabric, I saw somewhere else about strip piecing on a foundation. So I made a lot of squares (also here) Now I am putting them together. I am planning a surprise quilt - unless the surprise-ee is watching my blog. (I don't think so, I think she will be very surprised!) Anyway, I sewed sixteen of the strip blocks into this piece. Wow, I have impressed myself!

Strip twist quilt top

I am planning to do this "quilt as you go" style. I will make this the WIDTH of the quilt then add backing and batting and quilt it. I am thinking that this will be the UPPER MIDDLE of the quilt to make a big band of diagonal motion there.

I have more of the diagonal strip blocks left so they will work in there somehow. I also have the crumb blocks I posted earlier.
Crumb Blocks

I have a number of them made now also - not enough but I have more "scraps" to keep on making them. Those will go into this quilt too. This will be a very scrappy and colorful quilt. (imagine that! Ha ha, I don't know how to do muted) I am hoping it comes together into a lovely, artsy quilt for someone very special.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A nice guy

I don't know how many of you are familiar with Mark Lipinski. He has a magazine, Quilter's Home and his own website . He also has lines of fabric made by Northcott. Mark is a super nice guy with a great sense of humor. If he lived next door we would hang out, I just know it. He also has a blog - that you get to from his website . I have him in my "Blogs I Read" on the sidebar. Bless him, he is so busy that he doesn't post as often as I would like so it may not be on there just now.

Y'all check out this fine fellow. If you already know and love him, spread the good news.

Giveaway Alert

I just found out, from another blogger of course, that Pat at Silver Thimble Talk is having a giveaway. She has a number of great things in this giveaway. For us fabric junkies, there is a Jelly Roll and a Layer Cake. That should be enough to get you there...but there are other prizes too. Go enter and remember, I am your friend, cause I really want to win and I told you about it and lessened my chances.

Wish me luck! (oh yeah, good luck to you too!)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Made this Morning

Aa friend sent me a link to a website with a FREE pattern for a purse. So I went to Made By Rae's post to check it out. There is a link to the pattern on this post as well as a VERY HANDY link to a Word document with DIAGRAMS.
Now I confess that I would never have finished without the diagrams. So get that file too.

Now, confession time! Y'all know that I don't follow patterns well. So this took longer than if I had made up something. Also, I changed a couple of things. The pattern tells you to sew on the strap last. I said "nuh uhh!" and proceeded to layer it with the top and lining when I sewed them together. (it helped me to turn it also - hint hint!) She didn't mention it (or else I read right over it) but you NEED to have a free arm machine to make this easy. I didn't have a snap and wanted to FINISH so I used a velcro strip fastener.

Another "warning" - there is no pattern piece for a pocket, but it tells you when to put it in (and how) in the directions. So read ahead before you cut and plan to add the pocket. I put one in mine but I had to run back and cut it after I was on a roll sewing.

Now..what you been waiting for (right???) The PICTURES!

Purse from a pattern

Purse from a pattern

Sorry about the finger in the pic, but I couldn't get a picture of the pocket without holding it open.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wonky piece - Crumb "Square"

Wonky piece2

These are some pieces I did just to be making something last night. I am using up some small scraps by making crumb squares. Even though they are not square they will be used for something later. I love to keep you guessing.
The truth is: I actually haven't decided where they will land.

Wonky piece

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Afternoon project

journal cover
Originally uploaded by GeneBlack
This afternoon, while the laundry was running, I made the cover for this little journal. It was requested that it be "wonky and scrappy." I am not sure that it is wonky...well only slightly, but it is truly scrappy. All of the fabric is from my scrap stash. There is a bit of a border print that I used in making my pillowcases. There are some scraps from my bed quilt in there. And there is a bit of the dotted black that my niece used to make a journal for her friend.

You may see this again on another blog..but that is all I will say about it for now.

Journal front journal inside

Tips for New Quilters

One of my online acquaintances, Serena at Young Appalachian Quilter posted tips for a new quilter asking "please post something that you wish someone had told you about quilting."

Here is what I said:

Perfection is less important than creativity.

If you like it and enjoyed making it, it is a sucess!

Don't try to free motion quilt a full size or larger quilt until you had tried it on smaller pieces. (24 by 36 inches is a nice "try it" size)

Make friends with other quilters, even if only by internet. However local friends are very valuable, they may share tools and even give you gadgets they decided they didn't need. I got a BIG cutting mat that way.

Share things. Didn't you learn that as a small child? The universe (God or whatever you believe in) will repay you in ways you never expected.
Now I had another idea so I am adding this:

Don't be afraid to make your own design - the only failure is NOT trying.

Now, please comment with your hints/tips for a new quilter.
(Thanks Serena, I hope you don't mind that I "borrowed" your idea!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Nana Called

Tulip Purse
Originally uploaded by GeneBlack

While I was at lunch today, the Nana called. I had given her this purse that I made. She absolutely loved it when I gave it to her (as part of her Christmas gift.) Apparently she still loves it. She told me that she takes it everywhere with her.

Now this is a woman that has real Coach purses as well as Dooney & Burke. So I feel like I did pretty good.

She has made a request that I am going to try to honor. She asked if I have any of the batik fabric that I used as the accent at the top and as the background for the tulip. I really didn't know if I did or not. Further I didn't know how much.

Lucky me, I have almost 3/4's of a yard left. She wants a hatband that will tie into a bow and have streamers hanging down the back of this fabric, to match her purse. I am thinking just a long "scarf" neatly hemmed will work. I really don't have a clue what I am doing. She is now living in Florida and I won't get there till July. So I will "make and send"

Any suggestions? Ideas? Thoughts?

In other words "HELP!!!!"

I also have a question. Do you think my purses and jewelry would sell on

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Crumb Blocks

Thanks to Linda at Fiber Fabrications I was reminded to look again at Quiltville for some inspiration. I had visited Quiltville in the past when I first started learning to quilt. Part of the idea I had for String Blocks came from Quiltville. Today, I confess, I was sitting at the computer thinking "what can I look at next." I remembered that Linda had emailed me to tell me about Quiltville. I told her that I had been there and thanked her for thinking of me. Now, I am thanking Linda again. I went back there because I was just looking to see what I could see. (honestly I think the muse was trying to hit me and found a sneaky way in!)
I found this post on Crumb Blocks. As you well know, following directions is NOT my strong point when I am creating. So I am sure I didn't do it "right" Ha ha. Like Frankie said "I did it my way." I think they look pretty good. They wonkiness in places is allowed in this method. I don't know what I will do with these blocks, but I will use them eventually.They are 9 and a half inches because I have a 9.5 inch square ruler - and it was handy.

Crumb Blocks
((( click the pic to see it larger on Flickr)))

I think they are fun. I can see making a journal cover out of them or just using them in a scrappy quilt. Some of the pieces are trimmings from a quilt top that I made that is still not quilted. Other pieces are from the quilt on my bed and various other projects. Leftover strips from a jelly roll work well in this too.

OOPS Boy oh boy did I mess up. I gave all that credit to Linda when actually it was Barbara at Pineland Patches that sent me the email. She told me how much she laughed about it, and I got a chuckle too. I think I am getting "old and forgetful" - or maybe it is just that the patchwork in my head is as Wonky as these blocks!

Barbara, Thanks for finding the humor in my mistake.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Tiger Egret

On our Mexico trip, I saw this interesting egret that I had never seen before. Luckily our tour guide knew exactly what this guy is. He is a Tiger Egret.
I just thought you might like to see him. (well it could be a her, I didn't know how to tell, do you? NO! I am not going to lift the tail feathers and look either!)

Tiger Egret

In the courtyard there was this lovely pink Hibiscus. I couldn't resist sharing it.
Pink Hibiscus

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

More Mexico - The Bus Stop?

While riding down the road on the way to Celestun, we saw what appears to be a bus stop. (If you know different, let me know) Anyway, it is out in the middle of nowhere. But there were these three guys there waiting. I do know that the bus travels this road. So I really do think this is the bus stop.

Now...the next picture is an enlarged piece of that picture. I was home before I noticed the man in the middle. What is he doing?

Yes, believe it or not, he is on the cell phone. Dave had his phone and we actually had service everywhere. He checked while on this road - he had a full signal. Now in Alabama, there are places where you get no signal...but in the back forty in Mexico, we had a full signal. I am wondering which country is backward.

Oh, and just so you know, we saw lots of fields like the following one. The plant is agave. The part used to make tequila is the "pineapple" part at the bottom. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Mexico: Gray-necked wood rail

As promised I am posting another picture from Mexico. While there we went on a delightful eco tour. We drove to Celestun from Merida. Celestun is also in the state of Yucatan. There we went on a boat tour that took us to see flamingoes and other waterfowl. This is a gray necked wood rail. He was quite the interesting little fellow. He didn't seem afraid of the people but he didn't bother them either.

Oh...would you like to see the Flamingoes too? Here they are.


Go see what My Friends are giving away!

My friend Chris is having a giveaway but I am not entering. I want YOU to go enter and maybe, just maybe you will win. The We Love Quilting giveaway is Here

She has a great small book Altered Surfaces by Chris Cozen. If you like to embellish, or make painted fabric or just want to learn a new technique, this book sounds interesting. Go and see.

And tell Chris that "Gene sent me" okay?

#2 My friend Barb is having a giveaway also. She is on vacation in Hawaii. (I am jealous) So she is calling this her vacation giveaway So go on over and enter I confess that I am entering Barb's giveaway, cause I am a fabric junkie!
Oh yes...tell her "Gene sent me" okay?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

A quick Little Video

On our last full day in Mexico we got a treat and I decided to do a bit of video. It is on youtube, and if this works will be embedded here. If not, here is the link.

I also posted a video about our iguana encounter.

Update-The secret revealed

Okay. I am ready to tell you "why" I was being quiet. Are you ready for this? I have slipped the secret to a couple of friends, I confess. BUT---- most of you are still wondering (or maybe couldn't care less ha ha)

I went on an excursion. A trip. An adventure. My friend, Dave, and I have been looking forward to retirement and making a few plans. One place that has our serious consideration is Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. It is tropical -and our old bones don't like the cold. It is less expensive than Florida- we will both have to watch pennies to survive if we live long. The people are mostly friendly and accepting.

This was our second trip to the Yucatan. We stayed in the same place as on the last trip. It is a lovely little guesthouse called Las Arecas (the palms.) On this trip we had the one room that has a small refrigerator. However, we had access to the kitchen and could have used the refrigerator there as we did last trip. It was nice to have the place to keep some water cold and not have to walk out of the room for it.

We made a day trip to Celestun to go on an eco tour; because even though this was a scouting expedition, it was also a vacation. I will be posting pictures later.

After a "delightful" two and a half hours (or more) negotiating the Atlanta airport (customs, TSA, and having to reclaim baggage twice --yes not just once but twice!) We got in last night about 11:30 p.m. A hard day of travel left us exhausted. It was over 3 hours driving to the airport, then 2 hours in the terminal (including a screening for influenza), slightly over two hours flight and then the absurdity of the airport and a two hour drive home.

I am still tired!