Blogger's Quilt Festival 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010
Welcome all Festival Attendees!

I'm thrilled that you have taken a minute to visit my little blog. I'm Norma and I love to quilt, sew, cook, take pictures, exercise and blog. Right now I'm running 3 blogs! This one, my Quilt Guild blog, and the new Quilty Giveaways blog. Throw a husband, 2 kids and 2 dogs into the mix and I stay pretty busy. Somehow I manage to squeeze in a few quilts here and there. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and stay a while!

This year has seemed pretty busy and so my completed quilts have all been on a much smaller scale. I have plenty of large quilts in several stages of completion, but my finishes have all been small quilts for swaps. I'm glad I've found online flickr swaps, particularly the Doll Quilt Swap, because these small projects give me a sense of accomplishment.

Here is my favorite quilt of the year:

"Garden in Paradise"
Size: 19"x19"
Style: Trapunto Whole Cloth Quilt
Colors: Golden Yellow, Teal, Yellow Green
Fabrics: Kona Cotton, and Flutterby (binding)

Now before you ask, I'll answer a few questions.

- I have a tutorial on color tinting fabric here.
- This particular design is by Irena Bluhm, but I discovered color tinting before I knew who she was.
- The process pretty much goes like this: 1) Transfer design to quilt top. 2) Do a faux trapunto (somehow I managed to do more work than I had to for this step.)  3) Quilt completely. 4) Soak quilt top and let dry. 5) Add color. 6) Bind and add label.

Here are a few more pictures for you:

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Norma

Click on over to Amy's for more Festival Fun.

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

What's for dinner? Kabobs

Thursday, October 28, 2010
It's been a while since I have done of these posts and I actually have several pictures that I never blogged about so if you've been in a dinner slump try some of these super yummy kabobs. I'll let you in on a little secret, I made these on my George Foreman Grill. I love my George, if I could marry it I would, but I'm already taken. Those grill marks would fool anyone!

You can find the recipe here. I added some pineapple to my bobs because nothing says kabobs like pineapple. I also added some onion because I love grilled onion.

... and just because I love fresh veggies, and because I'm sick right now and I don't feel like cooking, I'll just drool over a healthy meal I cooked a few months ago!

~ Norma

MTQB August and September

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I finally finished up my September blocks, only a month late. I really don't know what has happened to my time lately. Well here are September's blocks, a modern take on the churn dash block. (Instructions here)

I also realized I never posted pictures of my August MTQB blocks, a Quatrefoil block. (Instructions here)

I'm loving those Luna moths, especially after seeing a real live Luna moth on my rafting trip back in August.

~ Norma

These are for the Modern Tradition Quilt Bee group (Flickr)

Georgia Quilt Show

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
A week and a half ago I was lucky enough to impose myself upon my BFF from high school. I had a super fun time catching up with my long time friend of 18 years. My lucky friend happens to live in Atlanta, a mere 1.5 hours from me. We ate {I stuffed myself}, we shopped, and we hit the Georgia Quilt Show where we saw some amazing quilts:


These were just a few of my favorites. Other highlights included the vendor mall. I may have gone a little crazy since I've been deprived of quilt quality stuff since our LQS closed it's doors last April. I got to meet the infamous Scissors Man, who in real life is quite charming and I think looks like Anderson Cooper {I"m not the only one who thinks so.} He talked me into these scissors for cutting out applique and for cutting away batting for trapunto. In fact he rounded out the edge for me on the spot so it would be less pointy. Hopefully this will minimize the chances of me poking or cutting the quilt top during trapunto!
I also picked up the Sew Line ceramic pencil with regular and yellow lead. Now that I think about it I should just have bought the refills and found my own .9 mm pencil to use with them. The lady that sold these to me said there is nothing special about the erasers on these things.

I finally got my hands on these:

I've already popped them in and they work just like they're supposed to. I feel like the "drag" that I used to feel is gone when I'm free motion quilting especially when I would change directions. I wanted to order these for a long time but the $3-$4 shipping charge kept holding me back, especially when these could ship for a regular stamp.

I found this Recess fabric bundle for $30. Those are 1yd cuts!

Oh, and I bought some tea towels to have on hand as easy gifts.

The one item that I really wanted was bought out right from under my nose. But that's ok because I found it online for $12

Have you gone to any shows lately? Are you lucky enough to go to Houston? I'm so excited because my in laws have just moved to Houston and I have already warned them that I will be visiting next year!
~ Norma

One {Wo}Man's Trash...

Thursday, October 21, 2010
I spent the better part of 2 mornings this week raking up pine straw off my lawn. Now if you don't live in the south then you are not familiar with the natural phenomenon of pine straw. You see the south has really tall skinny pine trees. No, not at all like the pretty pines of the west, you know the real pretty fluffy ones that look like Christmas trees. No ours look like scraggly toothpicks. Well once autumn rolls around they drop their needles like crazy! They fall already dried out and brown and this my friends is what we southerners refer to as "pine straw."

this pile was at least 25 feet in length and 2.5 feet tall, and that's only form 2/3 of my front lawn

Like I said I spent the better part of two mornings raking it all up into piles, then loading those piles into the wheel barrow and dumping it at the curb. That's what you do in my neck of the woods, you pile your yard debris and large trash items on your front lawn. I've been known to pull over and grab rescue picture frames, chairs, etc. from the curb. Eventually, about once a week, a big dump truck will drive by and take it all away to the dump. Don't worry this is all in addition to regular trash pick up day. We're not barbarians down here, we do have trash cans!

Some "crazy" people, like me {probably all transplants/non-natives} can't stand the sight of pine straw. Then there are other "crazy" people {everyone but me! LOL} who pay for this stuff by the bale {just like straw} and use it in their landscaping just like mulch.

Yesterday I came home to find a nice man raking up all my pine straw into the back of his pick up truck. "I hope you don't mind," he yelled at me as I got out of the car. I told him that I didn't mind, but in my head I was thinking "why in the world would I mind? But I would mind it a whole lot less if you would come and do the raking next time!"

~ Norma

Heather Ross Winner - take 2

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Can you believe it? The first winner did not come forth and claim her prize. That means it's time for a second drawing! Who could the lucky person be?


tong said...
wow, that's a lot of milestones to celebrate! i love autumn, mostly for the beautiful colours the season brings. my friend and i just drove out into the country side last week and see the leaves. thanks for the giveaway!

You really need to go check out Tong's blog and see the amazing Zelda quilt she's working on!

~ Norma

I've turned into...

Monday, October 18, 2010
The other day I realized I had turned into...

a soccer mom. Next thing you know I'll be driving a swagger wagon. {where my kids at?}

This would explain my lack of posts in the last few weeks. Between games, practices, and other commitments I've been pretty busy. It's been fun to see both of my children progress over time. Sadly it will all be over this Saturday. I really have enjoyed watching the games, snacking on the picnic blanket, cheering, giving pep talks and yelling {encouragement, give me some credit, I'm not one of "those" parents!} I can't wait for spring soccer!

Are your kiddos into sports? How do you manage your schedule and get it all accomplished, especially the homework?


Heather Ross Winner

Sunday, October 17, 2010
 Lucky #84 (mchambers) who said:

Anonymous said...
I LOVE those little fish! :)
I will contact the winner by email but if I don't hear back I will draw a second winner. Thank you for playing along! 

Stay tuned because there just might be another giveaway next week!


Awesome New Site

Friday, October 15, 2010
I've been absent here because I have been working hard the last 2 weeks to bring you an awesome new site.

... of course I'm going to say it's awesome, I created it!

Go check out my new Quilty Giveaways site. You won't regret it! While you're there make sure you follow or bookmark the site because you'll want to visit often. Grab a button and help us grow to be the best directory of free quilt stuff on the web.

quilty giveaways free stuff and more

The site is almost 2 weeks old so feedback, suggestions, etc would be highly appreciated.


Fabric Artichoke Pinecone Thingy

Saturday, October 2, 2010
I promised I would show you what to make with all those little 2.5" squares and I'm making good on that promise even if I have to go to bed at midnight! I forgot I was going to be mighty busy today and just now (8:36 pm) have a moment to sit and write.

I'm going to teach you how to make this lovely fabric decorator ball that can double as an artichoke or pine cone depending on how you look at it.

A bunch of these in a bowl or large vase will give you a beautiful home decor piece. Plus you can make them in all sorts of colors depending on the season/occasion/holiday and add a punch of texture to your decor.

You will need:
- a styrofoam ball (I used a green 3" floral ball, they're cheaper than the white styrofoam)
- flat head pins
- 48 2.5" fabric squares in your choice of color (you can use more if you like)
- a thimble is very handy for pushing in those pins


I'm going to start by showing you 3 different ways to fold your fabric. Take your pick as to which you want to use.  Feel free to experiment with each method to see which ball you like better. Making one of each will add variety to your bowl/vase but will still feel coherent because they are similar but different.

These are the 3 ways you can fold your fabric:
(I used method B)

Method A:
1) Lay your fabric square right side down.  2) Fold corner "1" over to corner "3."  3) Fold corner "2" over to corner "4"

 Method B:

1) Lay your fabric square right side down.  2) Fold side "2" down to side "1."  3) Fold side "a" over to side "b."

Method 3:

 1)  Lay your fabric square right side down.  2) Fold side "1" down to side "2."  3) Fold corner "a" down to the half way point.  4) Fold corner "b" down to the half way point to meet corner "a."

How to Make the Ball:

1) Start by placing one fabric square on the top of the ball. Place a pin at each corner.

2) Place another fabric square directly opposite the first square on the bottom of the ball. This will be the bottom of the ball. (Note: this second square is not in any of my pictures because I did it after the fact.)

3) Take one of your folded fabric pieces and pin it to the ball towards the top of the ball. Pin it on the left hand corner only. You want to make sure you have the folded edges towards the top and not the cut edges. The cut edges will be covered by subsequent layers. (Note: I fold as I go as I did not want to have to iron these ahead of time, I just finger press)


4) Now take your next folded piece of fabric and pin it to the folded piece of fabric you just pinned down. This time place the pin so that you tack down the unpinned right hand corner of your first fabric while at the same time (with the same pin) pinning down the left hand corner of your current piece of fabric. Clear as mud? Continue on in this manner until you form a ring of fabric all the way around the ball.

It doesn't really matter how many pieces of fabric you use. I used 7 in the picture to go all the way around.
5) Start the next row in the same manner but a little bit lower on the ball. This time stagger the "points" of your folded fabrics so that there is a "point" in between each of the points from the previous row. Continue adding folded fabrics until you finish the row.


6) Continue on adding rows until you get close to the bottom of the ball. I ended up making 6 rows. Once you reach the bottom of the ball you can use any remaining squares to cover up any gaps as best you can.


If any of your pieces are being unruly and sticking up all over the place you can tuck a pin into the folds to help keep them in place. Like so:

and Voila!
 Have fun making these. You can even string em up and hang them on your Christmas tree this year.


PS if you make any of these I'd love to see them. You can add them to the Petit Design Co. Flickr pool

Lickety Split (an Accuquilt Go! review, tutorial and giveaway)

Friday, October 1, 2010
No I am NOT giving away a Go! but if you read the entire post you may find it's worth your time!

I know there are lots of Accuquilt Go! giveaways going on all over blog land. I know it may seem impossible to win one when each giveaway has hundreds if not thousands of entries. Well I'm here to tell you Don't. Give. Up. You never know whether you will be the lucky duck as I was a few weeks ago. I'm going to share with you my honest opinion on this little gadget.

I've had my Go! for about 2 weeks now. So far I give it 2 thumbs up! Here is a quick run down of my assessment:

- cuts quickly
- cuts accurately
- cuts corners off triangles
- dog ears on some shapes for easy curved piecing
- cuts several layers at once (I've successfully cut  6 layers of quilt shop quality fabric, if you are cutting something thick like flannel you'll won't be able to cut as many layers)
- easy to use
- it's pretty
- practically fool proof
- it's folds up nicely for storage (it takes up a mere 13"x5" of floor space)

not really enough of a negative to make me dislike the Go! but things you should be aware of

- weighs 15 lbs (my scale actually said 15.4lbs) Am I the only one who thinks 15 lbs is not light weight? Light weight would be something like 10lbs or less in my mind. My heavy Kenmore sewing machine weighs 20 lbs so if I were taking both to a class or retreat I would make sure I'm not carrying these too far.

- dies can be awkward to store (the longest dies are around 24" in length) If you plan on taking the Go! with you to retreats or classes remember you have to bring the dies too! A cart of some sort would be handy. (Accuquilt makes a rolling tote)

- mats should be stored flat so that they don't warp, making it hard to find a spot for them (the longest one measures 10"x24") and you really don't want to put anything on top because you'll be using it often!

- it takes a bit of muscle to crank the dies through and gets harder with more layers. Maybe my kids are weaklings but my 4 year old can't crank it past the halfway mark and my 6 year old can do it if he uses both hands. Keep this in mind if you are elderly and were hoping this would be super easy. It's kind of like churning Ice cream when it's at that semi-solid state, there's resistance. Every review I have read says it's 'so easy' and 'even my kids could do it.'

- you need a pretty big, clean, stable work surface to use it. I had not seen anywhere the dimensions of the Go! once it is open. Be aware that it's pretty big, not huge but not tiny (about the size of an adult torso when it is closed.) Your space also needs to be flat and clean or the dies might not go through properly. When open the Go! measures 18.5"wide by 30.5"

- there is a small learning curve as with any gadget/notion out on the market. You have to learn how to place fabric to minimize waste, and you have to pay attention to the grain of the fabric(as with rotary cutting.)

- if you happen to mess up a cut you'll end up messing up all the layers (but I haven't messed up yet! I'm sure it's bound to happen sooner or later though.) However I've made mistakes with my rotary cutter before too.

- Price, the MSRP is $349.00 and includes 1 die and 1 mat. The value die cuts a 4 1/2" (4" finished) square, a 2 1/2" (2" finished) square, and cuts four  2" finished triangles (Half square triangles.) You can find the Go! for around $200-$250 through various retailers. Please note that all of the Go!s include the free value die and mat. Some retailers make it sound like they are throwing in this extra bonus when it comes packaged that way from Accuquilt.

- Price of the dies. Actually the smaller dies are pretty affordable ($20-$40) through various retailers. It's the larger and more intricate dies that will cost $50-$80. As a manufacturing minor I understand the cost that goes into making a intricate designs and making larger dies and blades. Keep this in mind as you decide whether this gadget will fit in your budget. I have no idea how long the dies will last as I've only had mine for 2 weeks. With proper care I would hoe to get several years of use out of a single die. The trick is to purchase dies that can be used for several other cuts. For example, a strip die can be used to cut strips, squares, and diamonds! There are lots of tutorials popping up showing  how to use the dies creatively!

On to the tutorial!

How to cut 100 2.5" squares in the blink of an eye:

{ok I may be exaggerating but I thought it was a catchy title}

You will need:
your Go!
the 2.5" strip die
the 10"x24" mat
a black sharpie
and 1/4 yard of fabric

1) The first thing you need to do, if you haven't already, is to mark your die. You take that sharpie and stick it down into the foam and run it along the blade. This is so you can see where you have to place your fabric. The next mark you want to make is a perpendicular line (the dotted line) at the end of the cutting blades. Do this on both ends of the die. Then make a solid perpendicular line a 1/2" in from the dotted line. Mark this on both ends of the die. This solid line is where you will line up your fabric so that your strips will be cut all the way through the width of the fabric.

2)Next take your pressed  fabric and fold it in half selvages together. Just like with rotary cutting you'll get better results if there are no folds or wrinkles in your fabric. Place the fabric on the die. You are going to take your folded edge and line it up along your solid line (the one next to the dotted line)

3) Make sure that all layers of the cut edge of the fabric cover the first blade. This step is like squaring up your fabric using a rotary cutter. If there is one layer that does not cover the entire length of the blade then that strip will not be perfectly straight.

 4) Now place the die on the Go! Place your cutting mat on top of the fabric being careful not to shift your fabric and run it through your Go! 

Crank, crank crank, and you end up with:

3 strips of fabric 2.5" wide, a slightly narrower strip that can go in your scrap pile, and the only waste are those little strips that you would have wasted with a rotary cutter as well.

5) Now take your first strip (still folded in half and keeping the cut edges lined up)  and lay it back on your die with the cut edges lined up against the solid line that is perpendicular to the blades. Make sure that the folded edge of of the strip sits just below the first blade other wise you'll end up with 1 rectangle amongst your squares. Now accordion fold the strip until the entire length fits on the die. As you accordion fold, make sure that the folds of the fabric are either just below the bottom blade and just above the top blade. Repeat with the other 2 strips making sure that you line up the cut edges with the cut edges of the previous strip.
Carefully place the cutting mat on top of the die and run it back through your Go! Guess what? You can leave the die on the Go! as you are rearranging fabric and then crank it through the other way. It works both ways so you can be even more productive!

again, crank crank crank and you get:

a nice pile of perfectly squared 2.5" squares and minimal waste or just as much waste as your rotary cutter. I got 48, yes 48! 2.5" squares in about 3 minutes (not including pressing time.) It would have taken me about 10-15 minutes with my rotary cutter and ruler. The really cool thing is that I could have easy fit another 6 strips of fabric on the die and sent them all through at the same time and ended up with 144 2.5" squares in the same amount of time!!! {yes that deserves 3 exclamation marks}

I know that there have been lots of questions as to how to store the dies. I've seen a lot of bloggers using those wire  organizers used for pot and pan lids. My problem with those is that I don't have a lot of empty table space to have the dies sitting out on my desk especially for the 24" long dies. So I found this nifty wire basket at the thrift store for $0.75

It's a metal hanging folder organizer and I know I've seen them at office supply stores. I like that I can tuck it in an out of the way corner of the floor. I just make sure that the die stickers are facing out for easy choosing.

Now on to the giveaway!

I'm sorry I'm not giving away a Go! ...but my friend Gene is! Head on over to his blog and leave a comment for a chance to win a Go!

For those of you still reading I have a giveaway of my own. I've been very bad about celebrating blogiversaries, post milestones, and even my new blog. I thought now would be a good time to celebrate
a) 284 posts!!!
b) 2 years of blogging (technically the blog has existed for 3 years but there was a year long gap in there)
c) my new blog
d) the fact that it's starting to cool down in the south!
e) my official business start
f) the fact that I actually won a Go! (still over the moon excited on that one!)

lots of things to celebrate!

So leave me a comment telling me something other than "pick me." What will you celebrate this month? what do you like about Autumn? What are you working on? Something interesting about where you live.

You can have 1 additional entry if you do one of the following: follow my blog (I don't' care if it's in a reader), follow on twitter, or hit "like" on my FB page.

Leave a comment for each entry (maximum 2 per person) and make sure you leave an email if you don't have your blogger profile set to receive emails. If I can't contact you then I will pick someone else.

Comments will remain open until October 15th at midnight. I will pick a winner via RNG on Saturday morning. International entries are welcome!

Oh yeah, what am I giving away? How about 2 highly sought after Out Of Print Heather Ross Lightning Bugs fish FQ's! One lucky winner will get these 2 fun FQ's.

And please remember to come back tomorrow  for a fun tutorial on what to do with all those 2.5" squares!

ok Go!

PS this post was written before the announcement of the new Go! Baby. Now that I would consider lightweight!
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