Saturday, April 30, 2011

Left My Heart in San Francisco

Okay, I know it sounds corny, but it is true.  Just returned from a business trip to the Belmont, CA area and had a few minutes to do some site-seeing.  This pictorial post is not quilt-related, but it really did refresh me.  

Lombard Street - World's Most Crooked Street
Alcatraz from atop Lombard Street

Entrance to Fisherman's Wharf

Pier 39 and a San Francisco Trolley!

Sea Lions on Pier 39

Golden Gate Bridge at Dusk

Beautiful Bay Bridge

Shops at Pier 39

Flowers everywhere!

Ok, travel bug has been appeased for a little while.  Now, where'd I unpack my stitching?


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Don't Look Now but I WON!

What an amazing surprise!  Sitting at my laptop, not quite awake, reading through my favorite quilt blogs when BAM!  There it was!  Kellie Wulfsohn from Don't Look Now had hosted a giveaway for her Family Tree pattern and kit and there was my name! I won! I won! I won! And I REALLY wanted to win this!

Isn't it adorable!?!  It's definitely the "year of the birds" for me - totally addicted to whimsical birds!

I had fallen in love with Kellie's fun patterns - and even bought three of them (you NEED to see the close-up details of her In Spring pattern and Oh Christmas Tree is wonderful!)

Woot!  I'm going to drive my mailman crazy until it comes!

Lucky day for me!

p.s. You need to stop by her blog and see her work.  Even her banner facinates me!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hopping Down Memory Lane

I'm not a perfect quilter... I'm even happy in my mistakes.  
As Henry Ford would say, to paraphrase, "Each one is another opportunity to learn."
Recently went through my quilts and realize I have quite a few older ones not photographed yet.  
So, I thought on this Easter, I would take a few minutes and share some of my happier Spring ones!

Easter Bunny and His Peeps
First project involving embroidery and buttonhole applique.
Obviously need to practice my ironing!

Birth of the Easter Bunny
Calico Quilters Ugly Fat Quarter Exchange
Yes, it's the eggs - not the border - that was considered ugly!

Bunny X-Ing
Realize that after all this time, I still do not like "birthed" quilts.
But isn't he too darn funny?

Happy Easter!
Another from Art to Heart's Count On It book.
Since it's still unfinished, guess I need to learn how to budget my time, eh?

I hope all of you have a blessed Easter with the ones you love!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Different Perspective

Spent the day at the Detroit Zoological Gardens - I only live a half mile or so from there.

Amazing place I have to share!  The animals are amazing (more later) but have you stopped a moment to appreciate the art?  

Does he look familiar?

Peacock Blue!

Blue Peacock!

Creamy blocks!

Vibrant Greens!

Add some bronze!

And browns and blues....

A dab of Easter yellow too!

Here's my pinks!

And Moda white!

A touch of blackish-brown for accent!

Applique some vines....

And embroider some accents!

Colors! Patterns! Textures!

With inspiration like this... who could blame for for coming right home and quilting!

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day in the Life....

Chia Cat Grass is growing now!  So far, kicking my hostas butt!

Traveling to San Francisco soon for work - very, very excited that I have my Stitch-Along monthly blocks to work on! Hours & hours to pass in the air with no laundry, no groceries, no dusting to worry about!  Woot!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Civil War Anniversary Blocks

Came across the coolest site today:

Commemorate the 2011 Sesquicentennial with a block a week from Barbara Brackman

On this site, updated every Saturday, is a story of the Civil War as well as instructions to make a Civil War reproduction block! Too cool! At the end of this major milestone year you will have 52 - 8" sampler blocks. There's even a Flickr group posting their completed blocks.

This has motivates me to pull out my blocks made for a recent Civil War block exchange.

I have a total of 104 of these beauties!

I guess it would be most appropriate to finish this beauty this year!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

April Stitch-Along Blocks are done!

I really had a fun time stitching these over the last few weeks - my fabric choices probably don't make sense to you now, but when you see these with the other 10 blocks - WOW!  You can see my March blocks here.

Tis the Season Block 4
Tis the Season Block 5
The pictures look a little wonky.  In the future, I'll have a nice covered board that will hold them upright and flat so I can snap some decent pictures.  I just have my Birdie Stitches block to complete, and I'm done with April.

Take care!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gadget Time - Sticky Situations

This blog is called "Bits from the Scrap Basket" because I envision it as a place to compile block patterns, useful tips, great tools, shop reviews, quilt humor, tricks of the trade, etc. All those little "bits 'n pieces" that might interest others but might be handy to have stored in one easy place.

Take this next tidbit. I stopped in at Bits 'n Pieces in Wayne, MI today - lovely shop with a friendly staff and a very loyal clientele. I had came back to buy a Sewline fabric glue pen. Last time I was there they had recommended this (dries clear) water soluble pen for a project I am working on (re: the egg with the missing pieces from several posts ago!)

This group of ladies were all excited for another reason. A customer had shared with them the secret of perfect points. Instead of using pins, which can shift, she uses this glue to hold her fabric in place for perfect points. Well, how cool is that! May need to work on that Lone Star quilt I've always wanted.

This reminds me of an interesting tidbit read in one of my magazines. When piecing a bag or tote, ever have one of those tiny areas where you have to pin AND maneuver your sewing machine? Use that 1/4" fusible tape (like Steam-a-Seam or Stitch Witchery) to hold your pieces together and then sew. Cool, eh?

If your interested in other things you can use adhesives in quilting, check out Teresa of Fabric Therapy and her 3-part tutorial on Glue Stick Appliqué:

Thanks for "sticking with me"! (My SIL Robyn, the Pun Queen, would be so proud of that one)

P.s. This is my first post using my iPhone and my new iPad app Blogsy - pretty cool!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gadget Time - Travel Ironing Board

It's been awhile since I shared a favorite thing.

Lately I've been working on my Art to Heart Count On It projects which has involved lots of ironing, starching, and fusing.  This is simple with my small and portable ironing board next to my sewing machine.

Forgive the mess.... for I quilt.
I made this! Woot!  It's a homemade ironing board cover for one of those inexpensive wooden TV trays.  Small, portable, and collapsible.  Love its square surface and fits right next to my sewing machine.
I used the pattern from Avi-Oli Quiltworks but there are SO many free patterns for it in the blogosphere!

My suggestions:
  • It's more cost effective to make it with a friend (one cut of silicon-treated fabric, one package of Thinsulate or Insul-brite batting, and cording is enough to make several trays).
  • Make sure the tray you select (bought mine for $10) is stable - not wobbly.
  • Prior to covering your wooden tray, drill multiple holes in the wood and sand the raw edges down so condensation doesn't get trapped when steam-ironing.
  • I used muslin for the channel for the drawstring - next time I think I may just staple-gun the cover to the board.
  • If you do make a draw-string cover, use a silky cord so it slides easily when you thread it through the channel.
  • Make a generous channel so you don't have to struggle as you feed the drawstring through it because those corners are tight!
  • Great way to use up your cotton batting scraps!
  • I used a thicker, cotton fabric (green flowers) to frame the silicon square on top so it would survive wear-n-tear.  I made this 2 years ago and it still looks new.
Let me know if you decide to make one and share a picture!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Is In The Air!

Dad sent me home with some bamboo shoots today.  He thinks I can grow them.

They said the same thing last year with my sister's hostas...

Which, granted, had more of a chance than the Chia cat grass planter my boss gave me....

Can't I just stick with flowers I understand?

I'll let you know how it goes!
Happy Spring!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

What do you mean, "It doesn't look like an egg"?
Granted, a good portion of it is missing and attached via static to the cat.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ain't Technology Swell?

I'm amazed at how much technology has empowered quilters over the last few years.  Although I couldn't attend the Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts exhibit in New York, I downloaded the iPad app and enjoyed "walking" through the 650 quilts on display.  Although I couldn't attend this year's International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati, a friend emailed pictures.  Although I can't attend the many wonderful Bonnie Hunter workshops,  I can "play along" on her blog.  Instead of carrying swatches of fabric store-to-store, I have digital images in my Fabric Stash app.  Or, when I have a few free moments, I can watch some amazing video tutorials from the Missouri Star Quilt Co.

The geek in me revels in the quilting pleasures found in my Inbox and my Google Reader each day.  Dozens of quilt blogs bringing the newest products and techniques right to my iPad.  These are my latest little joys:

*Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with or compensated by any of the sites mentioned on this blog

i Printable Fusible Web  - It's SO cool and I tried it out this weekend!  Right now I'm making monthly wallhangings from Art To Heart's Count on It book (see "Bunny X-ing" on a previous post).  To save time from transferring shapes onto fusible web (and hoping the end result aren't too squiggly), you can buy Printable Applique Templates from Art To Heart's site.  So, what to do with them?  Download the templates and print them right onto these June Taylor Printable Fusible Web sheets!  Or, if you already have patterns, scan them into your computer and print them out.  SO much time saved! 
i Elmer's 'Disappearing Purple' School Glue Sticks and Roxanne's Glue Baste-It : I've been reading this great blog called Fabric Therapy.  I really enjoy seeing the things Teresa does and the humor in which she does it.  I was particularly fascinated with her All Around Town quilt - great whimsey with her gnome, flamingoes and "hillbilly" clothesline. In the last few days she's posted a multi-part tutorial called Glue Stick Applique where she demonstrates using Elmer's Disappearing Purple School glue and Roxanne's Baste-It.  She makes applique look SO easy that, I fear, I no longer have an excuse in avoiding it.

i Color Printer and PFD Fabric: Geta is a very prolific Romanian quilter - her energy just amazes me!  She did a recent blog post describing how she made the most amazing flower quilt using prepared-for-dying (PFD) fabric and her color printer.  Check it out!

i Fabri-Solvy & Transfer-eze Printable Water-Soluble Transfer Sheets: My final discovery for the week is Fabri-Solvy & Transfer-eze featured on Bird Brain Design's Blog.  Bird Brain Design offers many free (and gorgeous) embroidery designs - most of them displayed on tea towels.  The joy of these water-soluble products allows you to print the design onto the paper and then "transfer" them to towels & darker fabrics (normally products not suitable for transferring using a light box).  I have some on order - I'll post a review soon.

I hope some of these products and techniques inspire you too!

Happy Spring!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Only Rich in Fabric and Friends

Well, let's see.... payday was yesterday.  Winter bills came due, car broke down needing emergency repairs, the last of the funds went for groceries but the refrigerator is not keeping its temperature.  Almost all my family is out of town on glorious road trips, and I can't afford a day trip with the price of gas in Michigan.

What to do?  Go into the quilt room and play among my treasures, my dears!  I may not be the richest person but I'm rich in fabric.  I think that's why we keep stashes... it's a safeguard for leaner times.

This picture makes me smile... some of my "riches".  These are charm packs and most of them were "treats" from friends in New England.  Again, I may not be the richest person.... but I'm rich in friends.  And that's another blessing.  

Ok, I'm feeling better already.  Now.... to get up the nerve to actually cut into these?!?!

Happy Spring (and count your blessings),

p.s. In the "why didn't I think of that" category: another blogger pointed out she never buys charm packs - only layer cakes.  Why?  Because if she needs charms, she can get 4 "charm packs" from 1 layer cake.  Well, huh!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Don't Look Now!

Check out the amazing quilts and patterns from Kellie Wulfson blog called Don't Look Now!  MUST find someplace in the US to buy these!  Amazing quilts using the raw-edge technique.  Don't forget to participate in the Don't Look Now giveaway!

Also check out her free pattern for the Honey Bunny Pillow in time for Easter!  SOO FLUFFY!

So many ideas - so little time!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bunny X-ing is a GO!


With plenty of time for Easter.  This is Bunny X-ing from Art to Heart's Count On It book.

This is my first attempt at machine blanket stitch - lots of hits & misses but I think I'll try it again.

Happy Spring!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

April's Resolutions

Another good friend of mine said she never makes a New YEAR's resolution, but a series of monthly resolutions. They are more manageable that way. So, here are my April quilting resolutions:

+ Bind my Friendship Star quilt

+ Bind my Paths quilt

+ Complete my April Birdie Stitches BOM

+ Complete my 2 Stitch-Along BOM's

+ Make my April bunny calendar quilt

+ Make my "cats rule" wallhanging

+ (Time permitting) Make a new project bag

PHEW! All this work to do and I'm sitting here in my pajamas playing on my iPad! I think a nap is required!

Happy Spring!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Belle Isle: a Detroit Adventure

I know this blog is predominantly quilting, but I thought I'd share today another aspect of my life.  Have I mentioned that I'm pretty fond of my home state Michigan?  Even though we're dealing with record unemployment and uncertainty, Michigan and Detroit has some hidden treasures.

Icy Detroit River and the Detroit/Windsor skyline
Last week, my sister Lorna, my nephew Jon and myself spent some glorious (if not frigid) hours exploring Belle Isle Park.

According to Wikipedia: 
Belle Isle is a 982-acre island park in the Detroit River managed by the Detroit Recreation Department. It is the largest island park in the United States and is connected to the rest of the city by the MacArthur Bridge.
One of many beautiful bridges throughout the island.
It is home to the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory (1904), the Detroit Yacht Club, the Detroit Boat Club, James Scott Memorial Fountain, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, a Coast Guard station, and a municipal golf course. The city maintains a Nature Center where visitors are able to traverse wooded trails and view wildlife natural habitats. The island includes a half-mile swimming beach and a water slide.
This island is so amazing and so sad. You can truly envision Detroit in its heyday - men in hats and women in full skirts riding carriages along the paths. The island has a "casino" for dancing and parties, two yacht clubs, the country's oldest aquarium (now closed), a children's zoo, statues & walking paths & many, many little bridges of all design. Most of it's closed and neglected with remnants of its glory days poking out of the unkempt grass.
Here are some of the pictures from our outing:
90-year old palm in the conservatory

So many flowers already in bloom!

Lovely gardens outside the conservatory

Jon and Lorna at the Koi Pond.  The conservatory connects with the old aquarium.

Can't end a cold day without stopping in at Pizzapapolis in Greektown!

Hope you enjoyed sharing my day!