Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Twilight Quilt: Edward's Diamond Heart

You are the only one who has ever touched my heart. It will always be yours. –Edward Cullen, Eclipse, page 195

[Edward] pulled my left wrist away from my leg, and touched the silver bracelet for just a moment. Then he gave me my arm back.

I examined it cautiously. On the opposite side of the chain from the wolf, there now hung a brilliant heart-shaped crystal. It was cut in a million facets, so that even in the subdued light shining from the lamp, it sparkled. I inhaled a low gasp.

“It was my mother’s.” He shrugged deprecatingly. “I inherited quite a few baubles like this. I’ve given some to Esme and Alice both. So, clearly, this is not a big deal in any way.”

I smiled ruefully at his assurance.

“But I thought it was a good representation,” he continued. “It’s hard and cold.” He laughed. “And it throws rainbows in the sunlight.”

“You forgot the most important similarity,” I murmured. “It’s beautiful.”

“My heart is just as silent,” he mused. “And it, too, is yours.”

I twisted my wrist so the heart would glimmer. “Thank you. For both.” –Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, Eclipse, page 438–439

In Eclipse, Jacob gives Bella a charm bracelet with a little wolf charm he's carved himself. Edward, wanting to be represented also, adds a heart-shaped 'crystal.' So, I thought Edward's heart should be represented in my Twilight quilt.

I've been following Cat's Twilight Mystery Block of the Month, although I'm a little behind. I just finished up the May blocks. I decided to do all of her beginner's blocks {which were new designs specifically for the BOM} and put them together in a wall hanging {you can see my May beginner's block here}. Some of her designs for the advanced blocks have been around for a while and I incorporated them into my quilt layout {which went through several different revisions before I finally settled on this one}. Others were new for the BOM, so I decided that I'd do her advanced blocks during their months in the BOM if they were in my layout {and if I hadn't done them already :wink:} or if I had already chosen {or made} another pattern, then I would do that instead. Edward's diamond heart is one that I'd already spent a bit of time tweaking a pattern so that it was just right for my quilt before Cat did her design.

I used Shae Merritt's Legend of Zelda Heart Container pattern as a starting point for my block. I enlarged it, drew in lines to create facets and then placed a full, flat heart on top similar to a heart-shaped cut diamond. I did the paper piecing first, completing the entire block before appliquéing the heart in the center. Behind the appliqué, I cut away the center of the block where the seams intersected to eliminate bulk. I used three different sparkly fabrics; white with sliver glitter, white with iridescent glitter and grey with silver glitter {Platinum Fairy Frost}. And the background is my trusty Civil War reproduction fabric {which always makes me think of Jasper} that will be used throughout the quilt.

Here is my layout, with one more block filled in :clap:.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Guy and Eva: A Sponsor Giveaway

Jewelry takes people's minds off your wrinkles. –Sonja Henie

I am so excited to announce a really great giveaway for a pretty bit of bling. And who doesn't need a little bit of bling, right? JaiCi at Just JaiCi's Crafts sent me two pretty pairs of earrings, one for me and one to give away. The only trouble is, I can't decide which pair I like best, so I'm leaving it up to the winner of this giveaway. You'll receive your choice of either these pretty pressed gunmetal earrings:

or these delicate sparkly silver beads:

As with all of my giveaways, non-blogging and international entrants are welcome. If you do not have a Google account, use the name/url or anonymous commenting options and make sure you leave me a way to contact you if you win.

You have three opportunities to enter. Please leave a separate comment for each entry.
1. Leave a comment telling me which earrings you'd like if you win.
2. Become a follower at JaiCi's blog and then leave a comment telling me you did.
3. Check out the Guy and Eva catalog and then come back and tell me what your favorite piece of jewelry is.

For anyone who would like to book a party {in-home or catalog}, JaiCi is also offering a jewelry credit for free piece of jewelry from her in stock merchandise {in addition to all the great free merchandise and discounts you get from hosting a party} if you mention that you saw her giveaway on my blog. You can contact her via e-mail and she'll give you all the details.

The giveaway closes on October 6th at 10:00 pm MDST. The winner will be announced by noon on October 7th.

You might like to check out my other giveaways:
Zelda's Fancy Hat Giveaway {closed; congratulations to the winner, JaiCi}
Cutting with the Go! Giveaway {closed; congratulations to the winners, Marcia and Deb}

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cat's Twilight Block of the Month: Block 4

He ... touched the silver bracelet for just a moment. ... On [it] there now hung a brilliant heart-shaped crystal.

"... I thought it was a good representation. ... It's hard and cold." He laughed. "And it throws rainbows in the sunlight."

"You forgot the most important similarity," I murmured. "It's beautiful."

"My heart is just as silent," he mused. "And it, too, is yours."

–Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, Eclipse, pages 438-439

I have my May beginner's block done. Both the beginner's and the advanced blocks are representations of the crystal {that we all know is really a 5-carat diamond. Well, all us us except for Bella, who wouldn't let Edward give her something that extravagant :rolleyes:. She's a little ridiculous sometimes} heart Edward gave her. I used this really cool iridescent sparkle fabric that is hard to get a good photograph of and just looks speckled in a scan. The fabric is called Crystalline Solid and I got it at JoAnn's. They have it in pink and purple all the time, but the white is only in stock occasionally. I found it in ivory one time, but that must have been a special run because I haven't seen it since. But I digress. Sorry. The shiny fabrics distracted me.

I love the simplicity of the beginner's blocks. I'm doing them all at 3" {pattern reduced to 60%} and I'm going to make a wall hanging of them.

The advanced block is a faceted 'crystal' heart. I am putting a crystal heart in my quilt, but I'd already put a bit of work into a pattern for my own version before Cat had hers finished, so I'm working on that now, and I'll post it separately. I'd seen all of Cat's designs and her layouts before she started her Block of the Month, but by that time I had finalized the layout for my quilt and didn't want to change it. Again. So I decided that if her pattern was one that I was using in my quilt, I'd work on it during the month it was the BOM if I hadn't already done it, and if I wasn't going to use hers {although, I have to say they are all very good! I love Cat's work}, then I'd do my own version of whatever was the BOM. I felt like I needed a little break from paper piecing. It is very time consuming, and I wanted to feel like I was making progress on a few things. But I'm really in a Twilighty mood these days and want to get a few more blocks for my quilt finished, and hopefully catch up on the BOM before my quilting mood changes.

Click on the BOM button to go to the May blocks post.

Cat's Twilight Block of the Month: Block 3

It didn't matter to me that we were surrounded by our extraordinarily dangerous enemies. As the clock began to toll out the hour, vibrating under the soles of my sluggish feet, I knew I was too late – and I was glad something bloodthirsty waited in the wings. For in failing at this, I forfeited any desire to live.

The clock tolled again, and the sun beat down from the exact center point of the sky.

–Bella Swan, New Moon, pages 1-2

I haven't worked on anything Twilighty in a while. I've been listening to the audio books lately while I have been working on other things, so I thought I'd dust my paper piecing skills off and see what I could get done. The April blocks {yes, I know I'm waayyy behind} are representations of the New Moon book cover. Everybody is scratching their heads over the parrot tulip that graces the cover. It is a really far stretch to relate it to anything in the book, so I won't even go into that.

I'm doing all my beginner's blocks at 3" {I reduced the pattern to 60%} and I want all the images to really pop, so I'm using my stash of Fairy Frost. I scanned the block, so some of the shimmer is lost. I used Hollyberry for the red {I also used it in the apple for my beginner's block one} and Snow for the white. I really like this stylized version of the tulip. The pattern is really fast and easy, too. I finished it in about an hour.

The advanced block is a more literal recreation of the book cover. I got to be Cat's pattern tester for this block. You can see my first block here. The finished block comes out at 5". The dots {while awesome for other stuff} are a little distracting and my seams pull just a little. Then I reduced the pattern to 80% {see also: ideas-that-sound-great-in-my-head-but-are-a-little-tricky-in-the-execution :crazy:} and made four more of these to use in our quilt for Stephenie Meyer. I did three other parrot tulips blocks {enlarged to 120% for a 6" finished block}; one for a book cover banner, and two more for my own twin Twilight Quilts {have I mentioned ideas that sound good in my head but are a little crazy in real life?}.

I know I've posted about this block before, but since it's been a while since I've done anything Twilighty, a re-run will have to do.

Here is a little index {mostly for me} of each of the blocks that have been released to date. I've got a little catching up to do :lol:.
Block 1, February: Twilight Book Cover
Block 2, March: Charlie
Block 3, April: New Moon Book Cover
Block 4, May: Edward
Block 5, June: Bella {with bonus pattern}
Block 6, July: Jacob
Block 7, August: Edward & Bella
Block 8, September: Edward, Bella & Jacob

Monday, September 27, 2010

Woody's Quilt of Many Colors

A baby is an angel whose wings decrease as his legs increase.

Remember my adorable niece, Pixie? Well, she's now a big sister. Her little brother was born on September 1, 2010. Isn't he sweet? He's a little version of his daddy.

I had a hard time coming up with a name for the little guy. All the good bug names were taken. We were down to Millipede and Billbug and those certainly wouldn't do for such a sweet boy. I decided that if he was anything like his big sister, he'd probably be more of a magical creature than your ordinary, garden variety bug. So, I decided to call him Woodland Sprite; Woody for short.

And, of course, little Woody needed a new quilt. Remember those robes of many colors I made for the Little Bugs? And the Buggy Quilt of Many Colors I made from the scraps? Well, I had some more scraps left just waiting for the right baby to be made into a quilt for. Even before we knew if Woody was a boy or a girl, I was getting ready to make this quilt. It wasn't long after my brother and his wife announced that they were expecting that I was at JoAnn's with my trusty 50% off coupons to get some minkee for the back, and re-stock on solid flannel {on sale for $1.99 yard. Yes, I love a good deal} so that I could get this quilt together for the new baby.

This quilt is really nothing in the way of technique or design. But it was fun to put together because it is so soft and snuggly. I used the smaller scraps from the last quilt to make some four-patch blocks, and I used the left-over blue minkee from the robes and put in a few squares of red minkee from the back. I also bound this quilt with minkee, which turned out to be another of my sounds-good-in-my-head-but-is-a-little-tricky-in-the-execution ideas :crazy:. I'd planned to quilt this myself, but as the time got close for the baby to be born, I found myself procrastinating getting the quilt together. I was afraid that with minkee on the back and flannel and minkee blocks on the front that it would just be too bulky and heavy for me to do a good job. And then fate intervened.

Remember that streak of good luck I was having a while back with blog giveaways {I'm having you do a lot of remembering today, aren't I :lol:}? One of the giveaways I won was 50% off machine quilting on a small quilt {up to 45" x 60"} from Karen's Quilting Service! It was a perfect fit! I contacted Karen and she was really nice to work with. She replied to my e-mails quickly and answered all my questions and pretty soon, I had my top in the mail to her to be quilted {I actually put it in the mail on the day that Woody was born, but before I knew that was his birthday}. Not too long after that {it was like a week}, it was back at my house, all quilted and ready for binding. Thank you, Karen, for your generosity and for sharing your talents! I so much appreciate you quilting this for me.

As always, the artsy shots are fun, but I, personally, like to get a good look at the whole quilt, so for those of you who are a little like me, here it is, bound and ready to be delivered to little Woodland Sprite.

I haven't got a tag on it yet. I'm considering doing a hand embroidered tag for it {see above reference to ideas that sound good in my head :crazy:} and if I do that, it certainly won't be on a 2" block this time and I'm counting it as a whole other separate finish because it will take me as long to do that as it did to put the whole quilt to together.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sabbath Songs: More Holiness Give Me

Life is perfect for none of us. Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. –Thomas S. Monson

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Baby Frolic: A Quilty Finish

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

–Ruth Hamilton, Song for a 5th Child

This sweet quilt is for a wonderful friend and very special new baby. I think for you to appreciate this, it requires a little backstory. This friend of mine is, in a word, amazing. She just gave birth to her 11th baby. And all the other ones before the new little one are well taken care of and loved, disciplined, polite, clean, hard working, helpful {her third son is my Lawn Boy}, kind to each other and others,
respectful, wonderful people. I would like them to adopt me. When ever I stop by, their house is clean and everybody is busy. When he's not at work, the father of this family is doing dishes or working in the garden or playing with the children or cleaning the giant tub in the master bath, and the kids are doing homework or helping out with the chores or playing nicely with each other, and my friend is making delicious meals or bottling tomatoes or doing laundry. With each baby, my friend experiences complications that are more than just an annoyance. But she keeps on doing what she should be doing, getting up early to make lunches and pancakes from scratch, and keeping her home a nice place for her family. If it were me, I'd just lay down and have a nap. All. the. time.

This amazing and sweet friend of mine is always first to offer a helping hand to anyone who needs it, but the only way to get her to accept any help is to thrust it upon her. So a few weeks ago I showed up on her doorstep, sleeves rolled up to help with whatever it was she needed doing at the time. She gets really nesty when she's expecting and likes to have the blinds cleaned and the windows washed and the chandelier in the front hall dusted. I rattled off every chore I could think of from washing dishes to vacuuming to scrubbing toilets and she told me that the blinds and windows and chandelier had already been done, the laundry was under control and the day was well in hand. She invited me in, though, and we visited for an hour before she had to go pick up kids from the high school. Near the end of our visit, I noticed that she had dinner ingredients on the counter. I could have been putting her dinner together for her while we chatted. As I was getting ready to leave, she loaded me up with tomatoes and zucchini from her garden and a really great recipe for zucchini soup. She opened the fridge to offer me the left-overs of her soup {which I flatly refused} and said, don't look at the fridge. It is kind of a mess. And I was like, 'clean the fridge' :wall:. I forgot to say :wall: 'clean the fridge' :wall:. I left feeling like my plan to help out had completely backfired. Not only had I not helped her out at all, I had gotten in the way of her getting her dinner put together and she helped me out with a new recipe to try, plus ingredients.

I arrived at home, feeling discouraged at my complete ineptness and I let the Little Bugs talk me into letting them have frozen pizza for dinner {do you see the irony here :crazy:?}. About 45 minutes later, the oldest girl {who, by the way, is a fabulous babysitter} showed up with the biggest casserole I've ever seen {seriously, it fed us for four meals} with fresh green beans and homemade mashed potatoes and lots of cheese on top. I realized that the ingredients in this casserole were the ones I saw sitting on her counter, that I should have been assembling for her while we talked. I deduced that she had planned to make two casseroles and freeze one for after the baby came, but instead she gave the second one to us. I wanted to crawl under the couch and never come out. I made plans to pay her back the next week {I took her Chicken Pot Pie and Peach Pudding Cake} and then got to work on a quilt for the new baby, while her delicious casserole baked in my oven.

I'd been wanting to do something with the leftover bits from my Frolic jelly roll, so I pulled them out and counted them up. I had just enough to make 12 nine-patches, with a few left over squares {which I combined with some cut yardage to make a 13th nine-patch for the tag on the back}. I also had enough of the not-quite-solid green in my stash to sash the nine-patches and then I went on-line to see if I could find any Frolic yardage. I hadn't seen it at any of the LQS's and even if it had been available locally, it had been long enough since it came out that the pickings would have been slim. The planets aligned just right because I found some on a Labor Day special at 40% over at the Piece n' Quilt Store {she's still got a few pieces left on sale, but not quite at 40% off} that went perfectly with what I had to make an adorable baby quilt. As it happens, Natalia's shop and studio is about 40 minutes away from my house, so I took a little drive and picked up my fabrics {I also enjoyed seeing all her work up close and personal}.

In two days I had the quilt top nearly finished. And then Grace needed some serious maintenance. I had a bit of thinking time on my hands. I laid the quilt out on the living room floor design wall to see how it was coming, and as nice as the green sashing was, it just wasn't sweet enough for a baby girl. So I reworked my plan. As I mentioned, the planets had really aligned when I got my Frolic yardage from Natalia. It worked out nicely because although she unfortunately did not have quite enough of the pretty coral plaid fabric I'd picked for the back and binding, she did have the not-quite-solid coral fabric that went so nicely with it. I had a little over a yard of the plaid and I took two yards of the coral knowing that I'd have a ton of coral fabric left, but she only sells in yard increments and I didn't want to piece the strips of it that I was going use on the back to frame the plaid fabric. After I cut the pieces for my quilt back I had more than enough of the coral fabric to do the sashings around the nine-patches in that. I pulled out my seam ripper {thanks, Iris} did a little {or a lot} of frog stitching. And then I waited for Grace to come back home.

While I waited, the baby was born, so I decided to get the tag done for the quilt back. I was originally going to use a fabric pen to write the information on the tag, but since I had a little time on my hands {never mind all the chores I was going to do while Grace was away}, I decided to embroider it. On a 2" square. Pure madness :crazy:. Click on the photo to see it in better detail. Trust me. You don't want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, because a tag like this will never happen again. I'd been using Baby Frolic as a working title for this quilt, and when it came time to make the tag I didn't have anything better so, I kept it. It seems a rather unfortunate name now, though. As I was stitching it in, I realized it sounded awfully close to baby colic. I hope it doesn't jinx the baby.

When Grace got back from the spa, this quilt was the first thing on my list of priorities to finish. I got the top and back together and decided that I was going to quilt it with loopy flowers. I'd been admiring them since I did the quilting on my sister's Snowball Quilt. In preparation, I stayed up one night when I was too tired to do anything else but too listless to sleep, and doodled out about 16 notebook pages of loopy flowers in pencil while I watched re-runs of The Ghost Whisperer. I've heard from several experts that doodling it out beforehand really helps with the quality of the quilting. It felt pretty awkward the first six pages or so, but then I got the hang of it and started to refine the flowers, making the petals longer and more graceful, instead of small and squat. Then I got to work. I had a few spacing issues as I worked, so about half-way through I re-pinned the quilt so the pins would be markers for the center of each flower. I used little paper 'spacers' I cut about the size of the flowers I was quilting to make the spacing and placement more even. It may not have been the best idea, because half the quilt is evenly spaced with uniform sized flowers and the other half is a crazy, over-grown cottage garden :lol:.

The quilt is all finished and ready to be delivered to the new baby {I hope I get to hold her when I drop it off}. I even washed it. Up until now, I wasn't sure how I felt about washing a quilt after it is finished. But I've formed my opinion. While I was sewing the binding on, I realized that this quilt was too stiff to use to cuddle a baby in and it needed washing, so it would be all crinkly and soft and cuddly {and so that all the quilting imperfections would magically disappear}. Quilts that are going to be used {and/or quilted by me} need to be washed before they get used. But pretty, artsy quilts {like the Dragonfly quilt} that I take to the professional machine quilter's and am going to display are quilts that I'm most likely not going to wash.

Here is the full quilt {for those of you who aren't satisfied with the artsy photos}:

And here is the back:

This might just be my opinion, but I think this quilt makes a great September finish! Click here and on the buttons below to see some other great finishes.

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Friday, September 24, 2010

Favourite Things Friday: Dr. Who

He's like fire and ice and rage. He's like the night and the storm and the heart of the sun. He's ancient and forever. He burns at the center of time and he can see the turn of the universe. And he's wonderful.Doctor Who, season 3, episode 9, The Family of Blood, Paul Cornell

I love Dr. Who. Time travel fascinates me. Time travel in a little blue police call box that is bigger on the inside with the most brilliant alien ever captivates me.

I'll admit to having a little crush on The Doctor {his hair needs its own zip code :faint:}. I used to have Dr. Who wallpaper up on my computer. Mr. Bug didn't like it too much when he saw it and he wanted to know how I'd feel about him wallpapering his computer with a bikni babe. I pointed out that The Doctor was fully clothed – wearing a suit and tie no less :lol:. I took down the wallpaper and when Dr. Who moved from the Sci-Fi channel to BBC America, Mr. Bug upgraded our Dish subscription so I could continue to drool over watch Dr. Who.

Dr. Who has been around for a hundred million years. OK. Maybe not that long. But at least since 1963. I see a few of you scratching your heads wondering how this could be relevant in present day. The beauty of this show is that the main character doesn't die. If he is ever mortally wounded, he simply regenerates himself. This was a clever way for the producers to substitute a new actor for the current one playing the main character and give us a plausible explanation {unlike James Bond's mysterious change in apperance}. We're currently on Doctor № 11.

I only became a fan of Dr. Who with its latest incarnation, in 2005. The first time the Doctor regenerated really shook me up. I had no idea it was coming and although season one was really low-budget, somewhat campy and started out slow, Christopher Eccleston was really quite amazing, and even a little endearing as The Doctor. I couldn't believe it when this scrawny little git who unconvincingly played Barty Crouch Jr. was going to be The Doctor. But it didn't take very long for David Tennant to become my Doctor. Unfortunately, David Tennant wanted to go off and play Shakespeare or some other such nonsense, so The Doctor has regenerated and Matt Smith is now playing the role. I'm not sure how I feel about him yet.

Because The Doctor lives in a world where anything is possible, he does some pretty amazing stuff. I have a huge list of favorite episodes, but in the interest of keeping this short {too late :lol:}, I'll just give a little teaser of the best of Dr. Who. Airing June 9, 2007, the episode called Blink absolutely amazed me. It involved the Weeping Angels. And it was scary. But in a thrill-your-socks-off kind of way and not in a running-around-with-a-chain-saw-and-hacking-everybody-up kind of way. On May 31 and June 7, 2008 the episodes, Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead introduced us to the most amazing character in the history of The Doctor; River Song {played by Alex Kingston}. Along with River, came a complicated but completely do-able {and not so complicated that the writers choked themselves to death with it} time-travel-within-a-time-traveler's-time-line story line. It completely thrilled me with the possibilities and potential that this character, River, had.

And just when you thought it couldn't get better than the Weeping Angels or River Song, the writers came up with the most amazing two-parter called The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone, airing on April 24 and May 1, 2010, with Weeping Angels and River Song and Amy Pond {the new Doctor's brilliant new traveling companion, played by Karen Gillan}.

I'm sure that you are all now very excited about Dr. Who. You can find The Doctor on Netflix as an instant play selection. If you don't have one of those discs that goes into your Wii so you can watch on your TV, may I highly recommend it.

I'll leave you with a little clip from Blink.

Today's post brought to you by:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sneak Peek

A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault. –John Henry Newman

This is just a little peek at what Grace and I are working on this week. I've finished about ¾ of the quilting on my project and had to stop and show you this one pretty loopy flower. Keep in mind, I did not show you the 86 other loopy flowers that are not as pretty-and-loopy-with-nice-even-stitches that it took me to get this one really good loopy flower. I can't wait to get this quilt in the wash so all the imperfections will disappear :lol:.

Free motion quilting is something that I've wanted to learn for a while. I've been following the Free Motion Quilt Along posts, doing the exercises in my head. But with Grace out of action for so long this month, I've got a really long queue of projects that need to be finished {like yesterday :rolleyes:} so I just haven't been able to get to it {although I do have my fabrics for the top all picked out, washed, pressed and ready to be cut :clap:}. One of my top priorities is to work on that as soon as possible. The quilt I'm working on right now was something that had to be finished before I could stop and practice lots of different techniques. As I've been working on it, I have imagined all the fun different things I could have done with it, the designs I could have worked into it, in addition to the loopy flowers. There are so many possibilities, which is really exciting to me. Christina's FM Quilt Along breaks it down into really easy steps and makes it completely do-able.

Hopefully I'll be able to show you a finished quilt soon. It always surprises me how long it takes me to get things done. Either I underestimate the projects that I choose or overestimate my abilities. Yes. I think that :lol:.