Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Final Finish of 2015 - Helen’s Garden

With the weather being snowy and snuggly over the last week, it was so perfect to spend time in my studio sewing and playing with fabric. It was no surprise that this quilt was whipped out before I realized it!

Helen’s Garden finished at 68 x 84”. I used the Intersections quilt pattern (tutorial on their YouTube Channel and also published in their Block magazine) because it had large pieces that would best show off the gorgeous patterns and colors in this fabric line.  The fabric is also called Helen’s Garden and is by Tamara Kate, one of my favorite designers. She named it after her mother Helen, who loved to garden. My mother was Helen, too, so this quilt was meant to be. It is for ME, to curl up with on the couch when I read or watch TV or whatever. It is the first quilt I have made for myself (well, not counting the bed quilt, Rainbow Orbs).

As it was cold and snowy (as it has been for days - but no complaints here), after snapping the picture above, we came indoors and I just laid it out in the living room.

The back is a vintage sheet in lavender and white check, that I extended with bits of leftover fabric.  The binding was also one of the lighter prints in the line that I didn’t use in the squares because I didn’t feel it contrasted enough with the cream sashing. Quilting was a simple stipple design, and I find that my quilting is getting better. Practice really does help!!

So, all this quarter I have been linking up my finishes to my goals that I published at the beginning of the quarter here.  But it turns out I had two #6’s !!!  Anyway, I actually set 11 goals, and this finish (which was #5 on the list) makes the 8th of 11.  Not bad, since the goals were meant to be pie-in-the-sky.  Soon we will be linking our 4th quarter finishes up to Adrienne on the Windy Side’s linky party in hopes of winning prizes from great sponsors.

In 2016, the Finish Along will have several hosts, because it has grown in popularity. And no wonder - a great motivator to finish things as well as visiting new blogs and seeing great eye candy. This is NOT limited to quilting; embroiderers, crazy quilters and crafters take note.  You can go HERE to read about the 2016 Finish Along.

My next post will be a sort of recap of the year. I hope you’ll be around!

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Catch-up Post and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Are you all ready for Christmas yet?  If so, congrats! If not, why are you sitting there reading this when you still have things to do?  LOL

We are ready here at the Kizerian Love Shack. I may still make a pie or some cookies so I have sweets when the families swing by. But since we are feeding some of them brunch and some of them dinner, and Bruce and don’t generally keep a lot of junk food around the house (because I would eat it), that is a maybe.....

Anyway, I wanted to show you a few things I have finished up in the last two weeks or so. So let’s begin.

First is the Cozy Cottage pillow I made. It is a Lori Holt pattern from her Farm Girl Vintage Calendar for 2016 (which you can buy at the Fat Quarter Shop. It has lots of cute ideas and patterns in it besides the calendar part).  I want to make another one next year in Christmas colors.

Next we have the Milk Cow Block. I have embroidered the eyes, but need to redo them because they are hardly visible. I had a lot of trouble with this pattern and even discovered a couple errors in the directions, so had to recut some pieces. Not my most fun block.

Barn Cat went together smoothly, but I don’t like my fabric choices. Oh well. In the big, busy quilt, these tame fabrics might be a nice place to rest the eyes. Obviously, I still need to embroider eyes, nose and whiskers. Because, what is a cat without whiskers?

All I need now is to finish up the blocks I will use for pillow shams;  the tractor for Bruce and who-knows-what for me.  This will probably begin coming together before the year is out.

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In the past I used to supply vintage Victorian postcard images having to do with each respective holiday. This year I decided to show a few decorating vignettes around our house instead.

The first is on our antique sideboard. I love the traditional Christmas colors of red and green and gold. Sometimes other colors appear (orange, blue), but for the most part, this old gal sticks with what she loves.  By the way, in the background you see part of one (of a pair) of carved griffins on this sideboard. The furniture is part of a set that my ex husband and I bought for our larger home with a formal dining room. This is the small sideboard; he took the big one. I got the vitrine (china hutch) and we sold the dining room set with chairs. It was all a matching set that had been imported from Europe. It is circa 1860’s, Dutch. Maybe I will show more pictures sometime.

Below is an antique Father Christmas that my former sister-in-law gifted me one year, back in the 1990’s. It is composite and circa 1900-1915. Father Christmas stays out all year because I love him!

We have 3 bathrooms in our little home. When we remodeled all the bathrooms a few years ago, this main bathroom is the only one where we were able to maintain the original tile (counters, walls and floor). It is usually decorated in a peacock theme (I have shown pictures of that before), but this year I have a few of my older-style ornaments set up here.

In our master bedroom, on the dresser, sits my collection of Willow Tree Angels. At Christmas time, they are graced with two beautiful Christmas-themed postcards, which I bought from one of my favorite crazy quilters, Margreet deReus.

I collect vintage cookie jars, and while this one isn’t vintage (the left one is from the sixties, though), the Fitz & Floyd Snowy Woods Father Christmas jar is one of my favorites. It was produced from 1992-2000 and like all F&F, is highly collectible. What is sweeter than Father Christmas being surrounded by woodland bunnies??

Wow. That makes me want to start collecting again!

Back to sewing, I finished up a spur-of-the-moment idea for the grands; an I-Spy quilt. I had lots of 5” I Spy blocks hanging around since I attended the 2012 Sewing Summit. So, I arranged them, stitched them together, basted, quilted, bound and washed it. Done in two afternoons. It measures 45x45”.  The binding is scrappy leftovers for quilts past.

And finally, I cut and pieced my Helen’s Garden quilt last weekend. Yesterday I basted it, and I plan to get quilting on it this evening perhaps.

As this fabric line has a lot of large-print fabrics, I decided to do this easy pattern from Missouri Star Quilts. I did omit the outer border though, because the vintage sheet I am using for the backing was not large enough, even with the addition of an extra column of leftover fabric. I will show pictures of front and back when complete, since I need to do a post for the 2015 Finish-Along. This is one of my 4th quarter goals I didn’t know if I could really get done.

The dragonfly fabric, below left, is my favorite print in the line. I have another yard of it left over, so I will need to mull on how to use it. This fabric is by one of my favorite designers, Tamara Kate.

And I think that catches us up. So all that’s left is for me to wish you a beautiful and Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.  I will be back after Christmas with a final year-end wrap-up post.

Until then,
Cathy maroon

Monday, December 14, 2015

More Rainbows for a Snowy Day - Finished Euroshams

The weather outside is frightful......  it has been snowing virtually non-stop since before dawn. To say it’s a winter wonderland would be apt if it weren’t Monday. Sure glad it’s a day off for Bruce, and that I am happily retired.

But while it may be cold and snowy outside, it is very cheery and bright in our bedroom! OK, minds out of the gutter, please.  I mean my Rainbow Orbs quilt that I finished last week-ish. I have now also finished the two euroshams and the bedskirt.

Alfalfa (and Darla in other picture) OF COURSE had to be part of the action. Anyway, you can see the completed shams. They measure 24x24” and were each made with four 12.5 inch blocks.  The orbs in the quilt were 16” finished (four 8.5” blocks).  The shams have a slip opening in back for easy laundering.

The bedskirt is a small black dot on white (a Riley Blake fabric) that I used to make long strips which were stapled to the box spring. And I also (see picture) fashioned a pleat on each side.  The idea came from a tutorial I saw online somewhere, but after a week I’ve decided the industrial staples are not a permanent solution. I'll have to sew the skirt to a flat sheet (hello, thrift store).

The pillowshams were Goal #3 on my Finish-Along goals for the 4th quarter of the year, which you can see here.  This is the 7th finish out of my 10 goals. I may be able to squeak another one in before the end of the year.

I had to add the picture of Alfie and Darla above. I didn’t notice their expressions until I was editing and enlarging the pictures. It looks like Alfie is saying something and Darla is just rolling her eyes (“WhatEVer”)!

Continuing along....

I still consider myself a very new/green quilter. And this monster quilt (80x96” approx) was a real challenge to quilt on my Bernina home machine.  I started off doing long rows of alternating loops.  After a couple rows, a heart sneaked in and I rather liked it.

So I tried to include hearts in bright color areas where they would show up. Just because. And it’s kinda cool to search for the random hearts now and then.

The backing was a mixture of white on black and black/white fabrics and the gray thread seemed a happy medium although it looks white in the picture below. The picture proves what a novice I am at quilting. I decided to show it, warts and all because although it’s not perfect, it is certainly good enough. And I am improving.

I’ll be back later in the week with a couple Farm Girl blocks to show you. I just need to photograph them first. And this afternoon I am quilting the I Spy quilt I threw together, so that will be something, too.

Until next time,

Cathy maroon

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Rainbow Orbs Finally Finished!!

It is with great personal fanfare (LOL) that I announce the finish of my Rainbow Orbs quilt!  It’s been a year in the making, and I am so thrilled to have finished it.  This is my finish for the 2015 Rainbow Scrap Challenge. It was a blast, and I can hardly wait to start some projects for 2016.

Please excuse the pictures; I just threw it on the bed and did not stage anything.  I am planning to take some formal pictures with closeups of some of the quilting, etc.

There are 30 18” blocks, and the quilt finishes at 80x96”  The batting is Hobbs 80/20, and I quilted it with loopy lines, with occasional hearts interspersed. Again, I will show that, plus the backing, etc. in a future post when we take the formal pix. Oh, and the binding is a black and white strip (Michael Miller Clown Stripe), which was, to me, the perfect choice.

Come and see what others are doing and/or have finished with their scraps this year; join us at So Scrappy for Scrap Happy Saturday!

This finish completes Goal #2 of my 2015 4th Quarter Finish Along goals.

I will be finishing up the Rainbow Orbs shams this week; just need to sew the backs on. They are another of my Finish Along goals for this quarter. As well, I will get the polka dot dust ruffle on and get some final pictures of the ensemble on the bed.

Until next time,
Cathy maroon

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Groundbreaking: 2 Pantone Colors of the Year

As soon as I hit the “publish” button on yesterday’s post, the Wall Street Journal announced the news that two colors instead of one had been selected as the Pantone ColorS of the Year for 2016.  In light of that, there was no way I was going to miss this morning’s Pantone webinar (free, but “sold out”, and luckily I had my reservation) wherein Pantone explained their choices.

First, I want to say that the images used are with Pantone’s permission.  Secondly, the presentation was made by Laurie Pressman, Vice-President of the Pantone Color Institute. Without further ado:

The first color is Rose Quartz, described as a warm, compassionate and embracing hue. And then there is Serenity, a weightless, airy, cooler color that symbolizes respite and relaxation. Together they symbolize our desire for creating balance, harmony, peace.

At first I was skeptical about the colors. I thought “blue/pink: boy/girl. I get it.”.  But there is so much more to the story.

First of all, the Pantone Color Institute combs the world for influencers: travel, technology, fashion, street art, packaging, trade shows, photography, home furnishings, basically anything and everything. Their selected colors are REFLECTIVE of emerging trends reported.  Pantone showed us slide after slide of products, people, packaging, photography etc. to literally blow our minds with the uses to which these colors have already been put.  

Individually, these colors have their meanings, but together they are synergistic. They fuse together to represent harmony. In most examples, the two colors were used together, often along with their lavender-ish resulting mix.  Lots of light, sky, pastels.

And then Pressman went into a discussion about the current turbulent world events and what it means to all generations - from Boomers to GenX, and others.  We are all desirous of creating balance and harmony in our lives, separate from the world stage. This harmonious color pairing creates tranquility, and is emotionally reflective of the desire for inner peace.  Refuge.

There was also a slide show showing how the “traditional” Pink is for Girls and Blue is for Boys came into being. As recently as the 1920’s, pink was considered the stronger color and was designated for boys. But after WWII, the shift began, and the movie Funny Face and their mantra “think pink” cemented the Pink is for Girls mindset, particularly in the US.  

"Pantone believes the blend reflects a gender neutrality that has strengthened over the last year or so and is sure to carry through to 2016 and beyond", said Pressman.

Yes, we’ve seen it before in the 1960s and 1970s (and beyond) with androgynous styling in pantsuits and then into women’s tailored suits and ties. But it is different this time in that not only are women selecting what was traditionally considered masculine styling, but men are exploring their feminine sides. In combination with not only defining themselves through their jobs, they are taking on more parenting and cooking, and wearing softer colors; lavender, pink, pale shades. Menswear is evolving.

A significant part of the market is recognizing gender neutral styling. An example that hits home to the average person: Target stores have removed their pink Girls and blue Boys signs. Their children’s clothing department allows kids to mix and match the colors and styles that best fit them individually.  In fashion, the trend is to think of the individual as the “canvas”, that can be clothed - without regard to stereotypical colors or styles - a statement that reflects the individual.

So there you have it.  Colors that set a mood: peace, serenity, balance and harmony.  Colors that are blurring the lines of gender identification (in that all colors, like people, are equal). Colors that speak to our desire for inner peace and tranquility.  

They have a lot of hype to live up to.  Personally, I would have taken the easy way: sunshine yellow. 

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Choosing a Color of the Year: Pre-Announcement Chatter

It is always with a lot of fanfare that Pantone announces its Color of the Year. And you can bet that I am registered for the Webinar tomorrow to watch it!

The Spring 2016 palette has been out a couple months, and can be seen below.  The actual color of the year is chosen from this palette. On the Pantone website, you can look at each color to see which designers are using it in their 2016 collections.

The color of the year is not a Commandment, as some people think.  It is a reflection of what designers and reporters from all design-related industries have seen being used, or “trending". It is a prediction based on lots of information-gathering and is always changing. Hence, a new palette every season (twice a year).  Often, if a color grabs hold, you will see it go from clothing/fabrics to home decorating and design, and often into others areas - homes, logos, etc.

2015’s Color was Marsala, a wine-brown. And while there was a lot of grumbling at first, it is easy to see NOW - a year later - that brown has been making a comeback in color choices. There are a lot more fabrics with a brown family color way. Brown leather is hot in boots and furniture. And there are a lot more browns offered in winter clothing this year. A warming trend.

If the warming trend continues, I predict that Buttercup may be the color of the year. However, I am guessing that it may be Snorkel Blue.  In my opinion (which is worth the paper it is printed on - HA!) Rose quartz, Lilac Gray and Serenity are close contenders.

After the seminar, I will do an announcement post.  In the meantime, which color is your favorite???

Cathy maroon

Monday, November 30, 2015

Another Finish and November “Quilt Diet” Results

The last half of November has been crazy for me. You too?  So much preparation for the Holidays (referring to Thanksgiving and Christmas)!   At least my gift sewing is done and I have moved on to other projects. I loved doing the zippy pouches, but the pillowcases were so b.o.r.i.n.g.

Anyway, how about some pictures???

Above are some of the pillowcases I made for stocking stuffers (actually, I guess I could stuff the stockings in THEM). Anyway, I made a total of 17 pillowcases and 20 zip pouches of varying sizes. I have shown some of the pouches before, but the newer ones were cuter. I just didn’t get pictures of them all. In addition, I sewed the two playmats (critters with clothing) for granddaughters and a lingerie case for my DDIL. They have already been shown and counted for my 2015 Finish Along.

But I have another quilty finish from my 4th Quarter Goals for the Finish Along. This is the light-up Christmas wall hanging called Starry Night. It was #10 on my list, but the fifth of my finishes for this quarter.

Yes, I know it looks wonky, but it is even, I promise. It’s just that all the Christmas lights (string of LED lights and battery box on the back side) do not make for an evenly-hanging quilt.

Here is the backside with pocket (bottom) for battery box
It turned out really cute, especially when lit. I do have to add two more holes to accommodate all 20 lights instead of the 18 I did; it will serve to take up some of the light string slack. And next year I will add a rod pocket at the top so we can hang it on a proper rod to move it an inch or two out from the wall.  

I even did some swirly quilting.  With the size of this finishing at 24 x 35” or so, it was a great piece to practice free-motion quilting on.

This final picture shows how you’re advised to stitch around the areas you plan to cut open for light holes. Nothing glamorous, just a small pit stop while you’re FMQ’ing. It doesn’t even show, really.

So that leaves me with 5 more projects to finish by the end of the year, which of course is not going to happen.  However, I will finish Rainbow Orbs. The quilting is 2/3 done, and although I didn’t work on it last week due to Thanksgiving, etc., I will finish it this week. And then the large matching pillow shams are ready to be assembled, so I will be able to check those off for sure. That will bring my total to 7 of the 10 project goals, which is likely where I will end up. But I am thrilled with that.

My farm girl quilt is coming along, but Lori has added several new block patterns this month, so I want to get them in - either into the quilt or on the shams. I have purchased the patterns and pulled the fabrics, so I may get close on those.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Now, let’s talk about my Fabric Diet, LOL.  You may remember that I have decided to make a concerted effort to reduce my stash.  I decided I would not buy any fabric until 2016, with the exception of some basic Kona solids when the end-of-year clearance sales start.

Well, I  didn’t even make it one month!  There were some great Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, so I did buy about 14 yards of solids. However, in my defense, they were PLANNED purchases, just moved up a month. I bought 4 yards of medium gray (future quilt background), 3 maize (to add to the 1 yard already in my stash to be a background for a future 30’s-style quilt); 3 yards of black and 1 yd dark berry to go into a quilt for DS Shane that we are planning for the second half of 2016, and some red and teal.  Plus I had bought 2 FQs of specialty fabrics for the zip pouches. That is a total of 14.5 yards IN for November.

But the OUT (sewn/sold) story is better.  Here is my tally:

17 Pillowcases = 17 yards
20 zip pouches @ .25 yd each = 5 yards
2 Playmats, backing, fabric clothes = 1.5 yards
Pieced backing for Rainbow Orbs = 6 yards
Fabric gift to DGD (to sew Xmas gift for my cousin) = 2.5 yds
Sold on Etsy (I decided to count these after all) = 10.75
Sewn: Lined Lingerie Case = 1 yd
Christmas Wallhanging (incl binding, pockets) = 1.75 yds
Donation to thrift store (flawed embroidered batiste): 2 yds
Total OUT:  47.5 yds

So, with 47.5 yards out and 14.5 yards in, I had a net stash reduction of 33 yards!!  I did not count any scraps used in the making of Farm Girl blocks (which I will show next post) or the Rainbow Orbs shams. Those are scraps, and scraps generated by my sewing or used in my sewing are not counted.

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So, if you are still awake and with me, LOL, I won’t give such a detailed accounting of fabric ins and outs every month, but it was enlightening for me to do it this month. But I will report my month-end tallies so I can see the progress I am making!!

And one final thing. I have started an I SPY quilt of 5” charm squares from a fabric swap way back in 2012 at the Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City that I attended.  Here it is pinned up on my design wall:

I would like to finish it in December to gift to my DDIL Stacy for her kids (and those she babysits). Maybe a good winter pastime to encourage new words. And naps.  :-)

Until next time!

Cathy maroon

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Crazy Quilt Quarterly Calendar Contest

Since I am on the staff of the Crazy Quilt Quarterly magazine, I thought I would let you know of a great new contest coming up. Get your work published in the 2017 calendar!  Details below:

I hope to see a lot of work from my friends, followers and fellow crazy quilters!!

Cathy maroon

Saturday, November 14, 2015

What did the Lime Say?

What did the Lime say to the Lemon?  “You’re appealing!”  (a-peel-ing)   *insert collective groans here*

Well, I do find lime the color (and limes the fruit as well) to be appealing.  And even though I cheated and stitched these blocks a couple months ago, this is the first time I`m showing theme here for Scrappy Saturday with Angela.

Lime is such a lovely SUMMER color, isn’t it?  Where is my Margarita?

By making these ahead (knowing Angela had told us in May to save our light and bright scraps for later and that this color’s turn would come), I have been able to get my Rainbow Orbs quilt pieced.  Actually, I shared the below picture back in mid-October.

Models Darla (top) and Alfalfa (scratching an itch) on Rainbow Orbs

Now the quilt back is pieced and the entire thing is pin basted. I had to order a whole 25-yard roll of batting (Warm and Plush) from JoAnn’s. They had it on sale for 50% off  online (I believe they do that about once per calendar quarter) with free shipping. So it was a great deal. The Plush is a bit thicker than the Warm and Natural or the Warm and White, but like those it is 100% cotton.  I can’t wait to try it. I like a quilt that feels like a quilt. Yeah, you can tell I am an old-timer, LOL.

Anyway, the quilting will begin any day now. I’ve been saying that for a week, but the truth is I am not quite sure how I want to quilt it. It will be simple, though, because it is large (80x96) and I have a Bernina whose throat isn’t giant. And I do not enjoy the quilting part as much as the piecing and binding.

If you have scraps, or love scrappy quilts (or even just great fabric eye candy), why not join us at Scrappy Saturday?

Cathy maroon

Monday, November 9, 2015

Finished Zippy Pouches - Do they Multiply in the Dark?

I have been sewing merrily away on Christmas gifts over the last couple weeks. After completing lots of pouches (I lost count because some have already been gifted or used for other things) I thought I should probably snap a picture or two and declare this goal for my 4th Quarter Finish-Along Challenge completed. Item number 6 on that list was to finish six zip pouches (in addition to the three pictured in that list).

So here (above) are a dozen pouches that have been constructed so far. This does not include the ones I used for gifts already or those that are in progress (another six or so).

My son Shane is an artist who likes to paint cityscapes. I thought this fabric was plenty masculine and so constructed a long pouch for him to carry supplies in. Most of the pouches  will be stocking stuffers and will likely have other small gifts tucked inside.

Two of my daughters are getting these sweet pieced pouches of Lori Holt fabrics (Modern Minis). I love the sentiments on them!!

We have baseball fans and hunters and all sorts of other interests within the men and boys of the family, so all interests were covered. If nothing else, I’ll tell them these make great storage cases for cords and rechargers for tech gear when traveling. In addition to the pouches, I have sewn six individual pillowcases for grandkids. Next up I will start on the pairs of pillowcases for the couples. I started these on a whim to use up fabric (I’ll talk about that in a minute) and they are not on my goal list.

So, the zippy pouches become the 4th finish (of 10 goals) for this quarter. My Rainbow Orbs quilt has been backed and basted and I hope to begin quilting it this week.  It is looking as though that will become finish #5 when it happens.

I have decided to go on a “Fabric Diet” for a few months (with the exception of end-of-year sales where I plan to pick up on some solids for backgrounds).  So far in November, I bought two quarter yards of special interest fabrics to finish four pouches. (+1/2 yard), but have already used 9.5 yards in fabric for the gifts and 6 yards to back Rainbow Orbs. I will do a full accounting of my fabric ins and outs at month-end.

Finally, I am listing some older fabrics in my Etsy shop. No, I will not be counting those listings/sales in my Fabric Diet. They were selected for listing weeks (if not months) ago, and I am finally just getting around to doing it.

I will be back later in the week with a post about my bright green blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge November color of the month, and a progress report on the Rainbow Orbs quilt itself.

Enjoy the lovely autumn!

Cathy maroon