Archive for January, 2012

Nina here to give everyone an update on some deliveries we received late last week and some other news.  The first delivery arrived on Thursday. I gave it an initial inspection and let mom know that at least 5 doggies had contact with that package.  They seemed to be small of stature and elongated in build.  Mom said I did very well because the box was from Agnes (What’s her name) from Dachsies With Moxie and that they had 5 dachshunds.

Mom was a bit concerned that only one package arrived that day because she said she was expecting two boxes and when it didn’t show up on Friday either she emailed What’s Her Name to see if she could track it down.  A short while later WHN replied and said the tracking information showed it was in Nashua, New Hampshire!

Path of the Wayward Box

Click on the image to see it bigger to see just how far off the mark they were. Fortunately that wayward box appeared on our doorstep the next day.  I helped mom inspect the contents of this box too.  Here is a little video of the action.

Charlie helped me take a good look at the second box. It had more pink fabric and a big pillow thing.

Delivery from What's Her Name

Mom explained that the big “pillow” is the batting that goes in between the quilt and the fabric on the back of the quilt.  The big piece of solid pink fabric is the fabric that will go on the back of the quilt and the other fabrics are the Fearless Five fabrics.   When the first box arrived with the backing fabric, Mom took it to the washing machine and let the machine eat the fabric.  She said she needed to wash and dry the fabric to let it shrink before using it.

That's a lot of Fabric!

The pretty fabrics will be cut into long strips and sewn back together to make the binding for the quilt.  I am sure I will be helping her with that.  Mom can’t wait to get the binding ready so she can add it to the quilt when she is done with the quilting it.

In other news Mom has been telling me about the Valentines Day Pawty that is coming up and I thought it would be fun to go.  Now being a mature doggie, I don’t think I will be doing any of that dancing and swinging from the chandeliers I have heard about, but I thought I would make a nice chaperone to try to keep some of the younger pups from doing anything they might regret the next day.  Of course it would be real nice if I could have an escort to the pawty too.

Nina in her Valentine Bandana

Mom has told me about a couple of boy dogs that would make great companions for me.  I’m looking for a mature male doggie, athletic (but not too wild), and maybe one that shares an interest in quilting too.  I wonder who could fit that bill?  I suppose he doesn’t have to be into quilting as long as he is a sweet, gentle doggie.  I’m not much of a dress up doggie, but I have been known to sport a pretty bandana now and then and I thought my Valentine’s Day bandana mom made for me would be perfect for the pawty.

Well that is all the news for now.  I am looking forward to helping mom with her projects and I can’t wait to meet everyone at the pawty!  See you then.



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I recently discovered a new quilting blog and they are having a huge give away that I could not resist.  Even though I just looked and there are over 400 entries I figured why not up my chances just a bit by doing a post about it.  Thanks to Very Berry Handmade all I have to do is do a post about what I hope to accomplish this year in sewing and I get a second entry in the drawing.

Well many of my followers already know that I will soon have a wonderful quilt to work on, the memory quilt for the Fearless Five and I am not starting anything big until that is completed.

Dragonfly Summer Quilt before basting

In addition to that I have a king sized quilt top that is basted and just waiting to be quilted.  At first I thought I might take this to a local quilt shop that has longarm quilting machines you can rent, but since I plan on doing quite a bit of custom quilting and not just do an overall quilt motif it would be too big a project for that.  After reading some of Leah Day’s posts about how she uses her domestic machine to quilt everything I decided I would give it a go. My friends at the Genesee Valley Quilt Club helped me baste it in November so I hope to start quilting this soon.

Quilt basting on a frame

Some of my other sewing goals for this coming year are to make more bags.  I would like to try my hand at selling on Etsy or in local shops.  There will be a variety of items from clutches, totes and purses as well as accessories for knitters like the project bags and needle roll I made for my sister.

The only other thing I have on my agenda for this year is to work on an applique quilt I have a years (12 months) worth of kits for.  It is a beautiful quilt with baskets of flowers and I can’t wait to start now that I have gotten my feet wet with applique.

Those of us that are blogging about this give away get to choose our preferred prize and I think the fabrics in the Fat quarter bundle (10 FQ) from Erin McMorris’s Summersault are delish although I would be more than happy to win any of the prizes.

Wish me luck as I tackle these projects in the coming year.

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I am very excited to be participating in the creation of the Fearless Five Memory Quilt as it is such a labor of love from all of blogville.  Just as the pet blogging community has come together in the past to support each other during difficult times the creation of this quilt with bits and pieces from all over the world is yet another example of that.  It is also an example of what I like to call community quilting.  Even though in this case one person, Agnes Bullock (What’s Her Name) from Dachsies With Moxie, is sewing together the top and I will be adding the quilting there have been many hands involved with its creation.

I belong to two quilting groups, the Genesee Valley Quilt Club (GVQC) and the Perinton Quilt Guild (PQG) and currently I am involved in group quilting projects for both of them.  This year the town of Perinton New York is celebrating its bicentennial and as part of the celebration the PQG is making a quilt depicting places around the town.  A couple of the guild members planned out the quilt and put together kits with backing fabric and some information about what should be on the block.

I volunteered to make two of these blocks.  Each quilter was allowed to use whatever method they liked to create the block.  I chose to create mine by fused applique as did many of the other guild members making blocks. The only applique I have ever done was in a class I took this past fall so I was a little nervous about doing one that will eventually be on display in the town hall.

South Perinton United Methodist Church

One of the blocks I chose was of the South Perinton United Methodist Church.  I chose this block to make because I liked the architecture of the church and thought it was something I could do.  I was given the image above and used Photoshop to trace the lines of the church to create a template for the pieces of fabric I would need to cut out. This block is fairly large at 15″ x 12″ so I printed the outline using two pages and taped them together.  This was required so that the pieces I cut out were the exact size I needed for the block.

Applique pattern of church

After auditioning various fabrics from my stash I applied Steam a Seam to the back of the fabric and then cut out all the pieces I needed.  I traced the church outline onto the background fabric using my sewing extension table as a light table and started placing the applique pieces to the background.  I only attached the basic building pieces first because I wanted to embellish the white sides of the building with stitching to look like the clapboard on the building.  Then I added the pieces for the windows, door, stairs and railings.  After that I added the trees and shrubbery by just cutting pieces free-hand. When it was all glued in place I started by zigzagging the edges of each piece of the building and then added free-motion embroidery over the trees and shrubs.  Here is the finished block. You can click on the block to see the full-sized image.

South Perinton United Methodist Church Block

Here is a close up view showing some of the detail including the sign I created for the front of the church by printing the words on printable fabric.  My husband, Charlie came up with that idea because there wasn’t any other way to put words that small on fabric then I added fusible to the back and just cut out the shape I wanted.

Detail of church block

The other block I chose to do was of Powder Mills Park.  This park is primarily known for the fish hatchery so that is what I decided to depict in my block.  I found a couple of images to use for inspiration and through the magic of Photoshop created one image using elements from both of them.

Inspirational images for Powder Mills Park block

Here is a colored in version of the pattern I created using those images.

Powder Mills Park block layout

And here is the completed block.  As always you can click on the image to see the details.

Powder Mills Park Block

I added the people to the block to bring this scene to life.  To create the people images I just found some images I liked and reduced the pictures down to just a few colors using Photoshop. Then I printed them on the fabric just like I did for the signs.

I love how both of these blocks turned out and I can’t wait to see all the blocks put together in a quilt.  I will post pictures of the progress of this quilt as they show it at our meetings.

The final project I am involved with is for the GVQC. The GVQC creates a quilt to raise money in a raffle for the club every two years.  A couple of months ago the president of the club asked my mother, Claire, and I if we would be willing to create a design and organize the creation of the quilt.  The quilt needs to be completed by January 2013 so we have some time to get this done.  It is a very daunting task, but mom and I are confident we can pull this off.  One of the things that will help is my recent acquisition of Electric Quilt 7 software.  The box arrived yesterday and Nina helped me open it.

Nina checking for contraband

First she inspected it to determine how many people touched it before it reached our house.  I think her count was about 87 people.  When I got the box open she made sure the contents were correct for what I ordered.

Looks like you got the right thing Mom!

The software is loaded on my computer so now I just need some time to figure out how to use it and then come up with a design.

I know this has been a bit of a long post, but I wanted to show those that might be interested how I created my blocks.  I will keep you all posted on my work on all of these projects.

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Hi everyone, it’s me Nina!  First I want to say thank you to all of you for welcoming my mom and I to blogville.  Especially the lovely comments about how sweet I am {blushing}.

The purpose of this post is to throw my hat in the ring of the prestigious Mango Minster in the Working Stiffs category.  At first I thought I might enter into the Too Darn Cute category, but seeing the competition I would be up against I thought I might have a better chance as a working stiff.

My credentials might not be as impressive as Clive or even Bert (who recently retired from his search dog duties), but it takes a lot of work to keep this house safe and running smoothly.  I’m not much of an alarm clock as many of my fellow canines often are, but once the day gets started I make sure that the day progresses without missing any regular scheduled event.  Mainly these are the parents meals, my meals and my regularly scheduled snacks.

Here is the schedule I like to stick to on a daily basis.  After the breakfast routine is completed there is the 10 a.m. peanut butter stuffed kong snack.  If this doesn’t happen automatically I usually go tell Dad what time it is and he yells down to Mom to tell her what time it is and she prepares the kong for me.  Around Noon, but no later than 1 p.m. the parents must have lunch and I get a Dentastix to chew.  If they are getting behind on the schedule I start pacing back and forth between them until they realize it is time to get to it.  Mind you I don’t get fed, but there is always food prep assistance and plate licking when the meal is done.  At 4 p.m. it is time for my dinner.  No matter what is going on (and usually it is an afternoon nap for all of us) I make sure everyone is aware that it is time for my dinner.  About an hour later it is time for the parents dinner.  Here I do the same pacing routine as earlier at lunch.  Once dinner is completed I make sure that the dinner prep dishes have been properly pre-cleaned before they get put in the dishwasher.  That is how I keep the meals flowing throughout the day.  You might think that would be enough of a job, but there is more to my duties to keep this home running.

Nina Keeping Watch

When I am not directing meal prep I am on guard duty.  Our house sits on 5 acres and is about 300 feet from the road so it isn’t often we see traffic up our driveway.  If anything comes up the driveway I make sure Mom and Dad know about it.  These intruders range from feral neighborhood cats, deer, a leaf blowing across the yard, or any number of dangerous beasts.  Most of the time by the time my parents get to the front door to see what all the fuss is about the danger has passed.

Nina Helping Charlie in the Garden

My protection duties also are needed outside as well especially when the weather is nice and my Dad is doing his gardening. As you can see in this video I have to make sure nothing sneaks up on him while he is busy planting and weeding.

But wait there is more! As I previously stated our home is a long way from the road so every day I help my Dad (or Mom, but usually Dad) go get the mail or newspaper.  Just like the mail delivery goes on through rain, snow, sleet or hail, so does my retrieval duties as you can see in this picture from yesterday.

Nina and Charlie get the mail

I also like to help Mom when she is working in her sewing room.  I am no Dave as my Mom isn’t color blind like his is, but just like protecting Dad when he is working in the yard, I keep Mom safe from anyone trying to sneak up behind her.  When that sewing machine gets humming, especially when she is running the embroidery unit, anyone could sneak up behind her and surprise her.  I make sure that never happens.

Nina sleeping in sewing room

Nina sleeping in sewing room

Um…I know it doesn’t look like I am doing a very good job of protecting her, but I am situated right at the door so nobody could get into the room without getting past me.  Of course since I am a senior doggie and my hearing isn’t so good if I am sound asleep I guess Mom is on her own.

Oh yeah, just one more thing to add to my working duties.  When Mom gets in bed I am usually laying on her side of the bed at the foot of the bed.  Since she is not very tall this is ok since we both fit, but she also likes it because she slips her toes underneath me and I warm up her feet for her.

I am telling you it is no wonder I sleep so well at night.  It is hard work to keep this house running and safe.  I am honored to be part of this year’s Mango Minster and competing against so many worthy opponents.  May the best dog (or cat) win!

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Most of our Christmas decorations have been packed away for another year, but a few things will stay out for a little longer.  Back in July of 2010 I was working on a sampler quilt along and won a jellyroll in one of the drawings.

Mary Englebreit - The Caroler Jelly Roll

For those of you who are not quilters, a jellyroll is a set of fabric cut in 2 1/2 inch strips.  The jellyroll I won was a Mary Englebreit Caroler jellyroll.  It is an interesting group of fabric that you wouldn’t think of as Christmas themed at first glance.  I looked around for a pattern to use that was designed for jellyrolls and decided to use the Gift Boxes pattern from Cozy Quilts.  I added a couple of additional fabrics so I would have more white fabric in the quilt and I also added some red for the border.  It is quilted with a green variegated thread in a meandering holly and berries pattern.

Christmas Gifts Quilt

I finished this quilt in May of 2011 and showed it in the Genesee Valley Quilt Club (GVQC) show in June.  There were a few bits left over so I made a set of pillow covers for our sectional.  I always make my pillow covers with zippers in the back so I can change them depending on the season.  Since this fabric doesn’t scream Christmas we plan on keeping them out at least until spring.  I use the quilt to keep warm while watching television.  Here is a picture of the pillows and quilt and also the other quilt I want to tell you about.

Christmas Quilts and Pillows

The wall hanging above the sectional is also a new quilt.  I finished around Thanksgiving so we could put it up for this season.  I plan on swapping it with the Autumn Leaves quilt I made that is now hanging in our hallway up stairs.

Christmas Tree Quilt

This quilt is the first original design I have created.  It was inspired by the fabric which is from the Laurel Burch Holiday Celebrations line.  Charlie and I saw it at Patricia’s Fabric House during their August quilt show (when they also have a great sale) and he kept saying, ” I love that fabric…you should make something with that.” I hung around to view the show for a while and he went home.  Before I left I picked up about a yard of each of the fabrics and some additional of the black.  I based the design on 4″ squares (finished) and planned it out on graph paper first.  Then I started fussy cutting and pinning things to my design wall until I had the look I wanted.

The pattern for snowflakes is from the book Paper Piece the Quick-Strip Way by Peggy Martin.  She was one of the speakers and taught a workshop I attended for the GVQC this fall.  I had to scale them down a bit to fit within my 4″ x 4″ scheme.  With fill pieces to make them square they measured 8″ x 8″ when finished.  I had to draw out another map to figure out how to piece this all together.  Mainly I pieced together rectangle sections and then pieced those together to make a strip that went from top to bottom.  I quilted the tree with a matching green embroidery thread on the front and back and used a gold embroidery thread on the black background.  If you click on the image you might be able to see the quilt motifs I used.  I did a stitch in the ditch on all the seams on the snowflakes, a meandering snowflake like motif in the black background and over the tree it is like small connecting arcs.  Kind of hard to describe, but maybe you can see in the bigger version.

Since this quilt also doesn’t scream Christmas, but to me rather just winter I plan on keeping it up until March or whenever our snow stops falling.


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When my sister was visiting just before Thanksgiving this past November I asked her if there was something I could make for her for Christmas.  Since I am currently unemployed I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on gifts and she came back with a swift answer, “How about some more knitting project bags, but this time make them bigger!”  Back in February of 2010 I made a knitting tote bag with accessories for her birthday.  She never leaves home without her knitting projects and loves the project bags most.

Like any good crafter my sister is never working on just one project and wanted more bags to store them in so I obliged her.  Of course I couldn’t just make some plain old bags so I found some machine embroidery to add to them.  She was quite happy with them and when she visited her local yarn shop with one, the owner of the shop thought the bag was awesome and asked if she could contact me to see about selling them at her shop (in Grosse Pointe, MI).

Knitters Project Bags

I stuffed them full of batting to photograph them so you could see the shape.  They have a circular bottom and a drawstring at the top. I lined them with complementary light-colored fabric.  I chose fabric that was used in the previous tote bag or that matched some of the fabrics in it.

In addition to the project bags I also embroidered a t-shirt with a cute knitting motif on it.

Knitting Polar Bear T-shirt

The three embroideries I did on the project bags came from Urban Threads and the knitting polar bear if from Embroidery Library (my go to sites for embroidery files).  Here is a close up view of the embroideries.

Knitters Embroideries

I love the one with the sheep knitting herself a sweater after being sheered.  I think the detail of the band-aid is funny.

The other gifts I made were zippered clutch bags and key fobs/wristlets.  I made a couple out of cotton that I did a simple quilting motif on for each of my sisters daughters and the report is that they love them.  I am always nervous making things for the youngsters since I am not one myself any more.  I worry that the fabric I choose won’t be something they will like, but these two were big hits!

Clutches for my Nieces

Clutches for my Nieces

I also made a couple of these bags out of faux suede with embroideries on each side.  I made one in black for my hair dresser and the blue one with the wristlet was for my mother.  Both of the embroideries were also from Urban Threads and are snowflake designs. The black one for my hairdresser uses scissors for the snowflake design and the blue one has a button, thread spool and needle with thread for the snowflake.  It took a while for the hair dresser and some of her colleagues to make out the scissors.

Faux Suede Clutches

I love using the faux suede for bags.  It is more durable than cottons so the corners don’t wear out.  In February I will be giving a short seminar on how to make the clutch bags at the Genesee Valley Quilt Club, one of the quilt clubs I belong to.  Apparently many quilters are intimidated with putting zippers in bags and requested a seminar on this subject.  Being a sewer all my life and having made plenty of clothes with zippers I am very comfortable adding them to projects and love to show others how simple it is.

Well, those are my most recent projects.  I had fun working on them and will let you know what is next in line.

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I decided to try to get back into the swing of blogging again.  Hopefully this will be more than just a one shot wonder of a post and if I stay away from those computer games that should be possible.  One of the main reasons I want to get back to blogging is so I can come out of the shadows ( I will explain later).

Most of the posts I have done on this blog have been about the wildlife around our house and my quilting and crafting.  I don’t write much about our dog Nina as she is almost 14 years old now and really HATES the flash on the camera.  She is the only dog we have ever had that was not afraid of the sound of thunder, but rather the flashing of the lightning.  The few pictures I have taken of her recently have been with my phone since it doesn’t have a flash.

Nina watching me work in sewing room

Nina watching me work in sewing room

One of my pasttimes, besides sewing, is to read blogs.  I have two groups of blogs that I follow, one for quilting and another made up of various pet blogs (mostly dogs).  I would love to write more about our dog, but not being able to take pictures of her and at her age life is a bit too routine, it would make for some boring posts.  The pet blogging community is one of the most caring group of people I have ever known.  I love the posts that everyone puts up (some of them daily).  They are humorous, informational, and make you realize that anything you may have encountered in pet ownership has happened to one of them too.

Recently a tragedy occurred to one of the blogs I follow.  I won’t go into the details but you can read the first post I read about it at Mayzie’s Dog Blog.  I can’t imagine how devestating this was for this family and my heart ached for them.  As a quilter my first reaction was to do something for them, but they asked for only monetary help since currently space is an issue so making a quilt was out of the question…or was it.

Shortly after this event many of the pet bloggers came together and started a chip-in page to help the family get back on their feet.  Another blogger that happens to be a quilter felt the same way I did about making a quilt for the family.  After discussions with other bloggers she decided to make a quilt and have any and all of blogville contribute to the quilt.  She posted about it on her blog, the Dachsies With Moxie and I quickly sent her an email offering to help.

In addition to sending her some fabric to add to the quilt I offered to do the quilting for it as well and she accepted my offer.  I have been watching the progress of the quilt top and all the fabric that she has received to add to it through her blog and I’m really excited to participate in its creation.  Check out the posts on the Dachsies With Moxie blog to see all the contributions. Just scroll back to some of the older posts to see.  Today Agnes (the Dachsies With Moxie momma) wrote on her blog about me so I wanted to introduce myself to the blogging community.  I promise to post about any work I do on the quilt.

Baby Quilt, Diaper Bag and Changing pad

Baby Quilt and Accessories

Well I guess that sums up my getting back to blogging.  I plan to post about all the quilting and crafting I am doing and will be adding a gallery of the quilts I have created so far (some of which can be found in this blogs archives). I hope to get to know some of my fellow bloggers a bit better by sharing on this blog and commenting on yours as well.

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