Friday, December 30, 2011

blogger's choice fq bundle contest

There's a cool contest over at Quokka Quilts. I chose a dream fabric bundle from Fat Quarter Shop, and then I made a mosaic over at Big Huge Labs. I've been enthralled lately with grey + turquoise, so I started with the top left fabric from Violet Craft's Peacock Lane range. I actually picked up a HY of this at my lqs the day after Thanksgiving, and I've been playing around with different bundles in my own stash.

If you'd like the chance to win your own bundle, head on over to enter.

My creation

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

one good deed

In late October, my friend Val posted on her blog that she was making a charity quilt for an auction benefiting the Heroes Foundation, which is a cancer support service based in Indianapolis. She got the most amazingly enthusiastic response from the quilt-blogging community, and I'm happy to be a small part of it. Here's my block, done in paper-pieced string style using a tutorial from Ashley at Film in the Fridge.
hero block

At the last count I saw, Val had received 33 blocks. Her (our!) quilt will be the spotlight item at the auction this spring.

If you haven't made a string block before, consider yourself warned: they are majorly addicting. I made Val's block during my weekly sewing circle. It was so incredibly fun, quick, and easy, that I just HAD to have another go. Just to make sure. So I scurried home and squirreled away into my studio to plot. The next day, this happened.
One good deed

You see, we got this new sofa, and it was just begging for a bright pop of color in our otherwise neutral family room. (the family room is dark, so this is in the sunnier living room. use your imagination.)
One good deed

And I happen to be a fabric hoarder have a lucky stash of Garden Party. And then.
One good deed

It actually feels pretty good to cut into it. Even if just a few strips here and there. For the back of both pillows I used a blue print from the same fabric line.
One good deed

The best part is, these pillows match my Urban Amish quilt - the first quilt I ever made! the straight strips work well together, even though the patterns are different. I KNEW there was a good reason for hoarding hanging onto that fabric!
One good deed

The pillows are rather petite at 15" square. I have a feeling there's an oversized version in my future! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

winner winner!

Thank you to everyone who commented on my giveaway. And the winner is...

Paula! She said, I love the Little boys and girls crayon roll-up with the green giraffe, so cute!
Thanks for the chance!

You're very welcome, Paula. I'll email you to coordinate. 

Thanks again to everyone. Happy holidays!

Friday, December 9, 2011

blog hop giveaway

It's the most wonderful time of the year! It's the Quilting Gallery Giveaway Blog Hop! More than 150 240 quilting bloggers are giving away their wares in the spirit of making your holidays a bit more exciting.

Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways

The giveaways run from through December 17th. Pop over to the Quilting Gallery Blog Hop Party page on Saturday to see the entire list of bloggers participating in the giveaway and enter as many giveaways as you like. 

I'm joining in the holiday spirit and participating in the giveaway! One lucky winner will receive an item of their choice from my etsy shop, Cosmic Thimble. Just visit my shop and then leave a comment below telling me which type of item you'd love to win. 

Here are some super stocking stuffers we have in stock.

First up, pincushion rings! Perfect for giving or keeping. 

Next, my shop partner Val's amazingly adorable personalized tooth fairy pillows. 

We also have crayon rolls in stock, which are perfect for keeping little ones busy in the car as you're darting to and fro, crossing things off your list. 

And something for everyone, Sassy Keychains. These are perfect for teens and tweens as well as coworkers, classmates, and everyone in between.

Val and I will be posting many more items for sale in the coming days, so don't fret about wasting your "choose" now. 

This giveaway will remain open until December 17th at 9PM Eastern, at which time I'll pick a winner using a random number generator. If you'd like another chance to win items from my shop, stop by Val's blog and enter there as well.  Make sure there's a way for me to get in touch with you when you enter. 

And don't forget to hop on over to the Quilting Gallery page on Saturday for a complete list of giveaways. 

Good luck! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

the neverending [quilt] story

i solemnly swear that this is the last time i will write about this quilt. until then...

yay! it's done! and it's superfantastic!
habitat challenge - done! front

here's a quick recap for first time readers. this quilt is part of The Modern Quilt Guild's participation in the Habitat Challenge, wherein masochistic quilters signed up to make something [the IMQG chose quilts] using a random selection of the fabrics. I outlined the rules, which I totally broke, in this post. We won't dwell on that.

the size of these blocks ended up really manageable. I cut 8.5" squares of all of my print and solid fabrics, and then used my #1 favorite HST making technique from Missouri Star Quilt Company. In case you missed it last time around, here it is. Watch, and be amazed.


What was i saying? oh, yes - the blocks. They came together quickly and easily.
habitat challenge - done! front

For the back, I used 2 of my favorite prints from the collection, picked up at a new local fabric shop, The French Seam.
habitat challenge - done! back

I quilted it with straight lines in three directions, set 1/4" from the inside of all three sides of the print triangles, so that all of the solid squares remain blank.
habitat challenge - done! front detail

I'd like to pause for a moment and tell you something hilarious. My friend katie affectionately calls one of the prints in the above photo the "bears" print. Two points if you ID which one and tell me why she calls it that.

And, oh look! how fancy on the back!
habitat challenge - done! back

For the binding I selected yet another high-impact print from the collection. I added that narrow bit of kona charcoal sashing to the front to help this print really pop.
habitat challenge - done! binding

Tomorrow this one is winging its way to Glenwood Springs, CO in time for a wedding on Saturday.
habitat challenge - done! front at twilight

I'm sad to see it go, but happy it has such a special purpose.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

the golden hour

I realize I run the risk of becoming boring if I post multiples about one project. I TRY to limit each one to 2 posts, and so far I've succeeded.

That ends here. But I'll keep it short. I skipped town last weekend with some girlfriends, and Saturday was beYOUtiful. Like any insane quilter, I brought along my latest completed quilt top and my big-girl camera just in case a brilliant photo opp presented itself.

ta da.
habitat challenge

I know, right!? this is the Habitat quilt that I'm finishing up for the Modern Quilt Guild's latest challenge project. note: pay no attention to seams pressed every which way. my type-A is selective. 
habitat challenge

I wrote about this same quilt last week, so I'll keep it short. Really, this one's about the photos.
habitat challenge

don't you just love it when you perfectly catch the golden hour? everything looks so vibrant. In this quilt's case, it IS quite vibrant. Still.
habitat challenge

perfect lighting does not, however, cover flaws of gross misconduct. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Article A. (hi!):
habitat challenge

thanks to my pal, Jill, for being a good sport about traipsing around, holding up the quilt top, teetering on the edge of first the sea wall, and then the pier, and then "run with it, like a cape!" (which didn't work. at. all.) All this while the rest of the gang peered on with mild interest.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

challenge, indeed

The Indianapolis Modern Quilt Guild is taking part in The Modern Quilt Guild's Habitat Challenge, where we were each given a selection of fabrics from Jay McCarroll's "Habitat" collection of quilting cottons for FreeSpirit. Here's the palette:

Quilts were due at the end of August, so I'm on par with my usual schedule.

The rules were as follows:
* use some of every print.
* add up to 3 solids if you like

Part of what took me long to get this one wrapped up...and make no mistake, it's not done yet! that I couldn't figure out where to start. I haven't seen a quilt made with this line that I really love. And yet I loooove the fabric. There aren't a ton of completed quilts in the flickr group, so I suspect others are still in design stage as well. A challenge, indeed.

I knew I wanted the Habitat fabrics to be as abundant as the solids (in other words, I didn't want to use tons and tons of solids and just a smattering of Habitat), and I knew I wanted to do something sleek and modern, yet chunky enough to showcase the bold prints.

So a few weeks ago I decided to grab a handful of potential solids and drag everything to my weekly sewing group. We hemmed and hawed. Finally I decided I would do something with HSTs. I love HSTs. I can't get enough HSTs.

HSTs are my life. (two points if you know where I got that and can replace "HSTs" with the real item that is her life.)

After a quick comb through flickr, I landed on this one, inspired by this one.  yes! that's it!

Of course I gave it my own twist. I couldn't decide if I liked ash, stone, snow, medium grey, or charcoal for the solid, so in the end, and with the help and encouragement of my sewing group, I picked three (charcoal, ash, and snow.)

habitat challenge - in progress

And then because I can't seem to make any quilt without adding a splash of teal and eggplant, I broke the three-solids rule and added those as well. But in the "print" bucket, so they don't count, right? RIGHT?
habitat challenge - in progress

here's where I am today. Well, as of last night, really. I'm really pleased with how this has turned out so far. It's very modern, as I'd hoped, and I love how the three solids seem to add some movement. Or intrigue. Or something. I used all but a 2" strip of all of the FEs -- even the duplicates -- and an equal amount of solids. And I now have a perfect throw-sized quilt.
habitat challenge - in progress

Well, I have a quilt top, anyway. I seem to make a lot of those.

Bonus: all of the solids came from my stash.

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced, where you can see lots of other lovely goodness from around the quilt-o-sphere.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Thursday, September 1, 2011

King's Cross

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

Today is September 1st. It's 11:00, and I'm not on the Hogwarts Express.


However, I did have the opportunity to visit the UK for work in March, and I stayed a couple of extra days to tool around London with a pal. After walking 7.5 miles from Victoria station to and fro and down to the Tower Bridge, we hopped on a train and went to King's Cross.

Please brace yourself. The photos I'm about to show you will stir the inner depths of your 11-year-old soul.

On our way!
King's Cross

Platform 9 and three-quarters, this way!  "I'm coming, Mrs. Weasley! I'm coming!"
Kings Cross platforms

And then.

Platforms 9 & 10

Seriously? I've said it before and I'll say it again.


I've seen photos all over the google-verse of this, which is allegedly at King's Cross.

There was construction when we were there, which may explain the situation. Still.

Oh, well. There's always next year, right?  And I've got my early entry into Pottermore, so there's that.

Happy Hogwarts Day.

Friday, July 29, 2011

homegrown dinner

I hate that we have had a dry, dry July. Lawns are brown and parched, and people are shut up inside their houses, seeking a cool respite from the stifling oven that has been the great outdoors. If there's one bright side to all of this heat, it's...tomatoes. I was a few weeks late getting my garden in, so my tomato plants have positively exploded these past few weeks. The lettuce is still hanging in there, too. Soon-to-be-red-and-yellow peppers are growing, but still green. Carrots and beets are starting to look more like carrots and beets.

And tonight. Tonight!  Finally.  Dinner. 

Home grown dinner

Notice the brown grass. blech. 

The next month will be a an exercise in creativity and persistence as we reap the bounty of nine (NINE! but three volunteered.) tomato plants. I've got compost stockpiled for feeding if it's ever cool enough to actually do any sort of physical labor outdoors.  I've been preparing for the onslaught by trying my hand at making mozzarella and home made bread.  With mixed success.  But there's plenty of time and opportunity to practice. As an added bonus, my inner eye was working properly the day I planted, because I've got three different kinds of basil thriving as well. To top it all off, my sister-in-law was kind enough to bring me two bottles of the. most. amazing. balsamic vinegar from Oilerie a couple of weeks ago. 

I must pause here and tell you that if you have not been lucky enough to try this vinegar, you must MUST make it a priority. It's life altering. Warning: all other balsamic vinegar will be ruined for the rest of your life once you taste this. Trust. 

Meanwhile, after a palmful of false thunder alarms over the past few weeks, it's finally raining. My patio is steaming. And I prefer to imagine the plants in my window boxes are singing Golden Afternoon.  Or they will be tomorrow. 

What's happening in your garden? 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

just sayin'

Look what's on sale for $1.95 today at

You're welcome.

Or maybe "I'm sorry" is more appropriate.

ps - the color is "prune." PRUNE.

Monday, July 4, 2011

indiana corn report

If you're from Indiana, you know what "knee high by the fourth of July" means. For those of you not from Indiana, it's about corn and how tall it should be by July 4. Pretty straightforward.

So today is July 4 and in my one 5-mile trip from the cottage I passed roughly 111 corn fields. Here's the report: we're ahead of schedule! My very scientific from-the-car measurement has corn today at navel-height.

There will be no fireworks on the lake tonight. The official fireworks display was Saturday night, but I was otherwise occupied.

it could have been worse

Don't worry. We're fine. If you'd like a play-by-play account, head on over to flickr where I uploaded a ton of photos with lots of commentary. They're in a set here.

Anyway, I missed the fireworks Saturday night because I was on the phone with family and insurance and tree service and restoration service. Not all at once.

Astute readers will be wondering right now what caused the tree to fall onto the house. If it was a storm, how would there be fireworks? It was a storm, and I live in Indiana where the weather changes hourly.

Sunday night I started uploading photos and writing the commentary so that i could share the unbelievable tree removal story with my family who are spread out across the US of A.  [For those of you who want the short story here it is: three dudes. two ropes. one chainsaw. a slingshot. and a dozen amazing knots.] And then I turned around and caught sight of the most beautiful Indiana sunset. These photos are straight from the camera with no touch-ups or adjustments.

sunset 7-3-11

sunset 7-3-11

And then... omg.
July 3, 2011 sunset + fireworks

what a beautiful sight after 24 hours of chaos.

Speaking of chaos, I finished my Friday Night Brights quilt for the RK Kona Challenge and finally photographed it today. After much consideration, I decided to stick with my original design.

Friday Night Brights - finished!

That's the Dixie Boat. It's the oldest stern-wheel boat in Indiana.

I quilted the FNB with a zig zag echo and straight lines spaced 1" apart in the sashing.

Friday Night Brights - finished!

The binding is the bright stripe print from Remix by Ann Kelle, which looks so good cut on the bias.
Friday Night Brights - finished!

I've been wanting to do a quilt with rounded corners for a while, and I like how the soft corners work with the zigs and zags and straight quilting lines here. The backing fabric is part of a duvet cover I bought at IKEA a while back.
Friday Night Brights - finished!

No work done yet on the WIPs I wanted to finish this week. There's time yet. I'm hopeful.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

vacation planning: WIP Wednesday

Last Saturday I spent 8 hours cleaning and organizing my sewing room as part of a multi-phase plan to get organized and stay that way.  I don't know when or how it got into such a state, but is was an utter disastrophe. Seriously. 

Now it's better. It's not perfect, but it's better. Way better. Perfect comes later. Anyway, phase I completed. Moving on. 

[note. this is where most people would include the before & after shots. Instead of doing that, I will simply relay one of my favorite quotes from Granda Lola, who will be 103 in November. "Cheryl Ann, when I die, please promise me that you won't tell anyone how many cookie cutters I had."  Interpret as you like.]

Phase II involves a promise I made to my husband in a fit of delirium. I said, "I'm going to concentrate on finishing the projects I have midstream before I start anything else. And until they're done, I'm only going to buy fabric to finish those - nothing else."  This was before Loulouthi, so I deserve some sort of award for making it this long, yes? 

We're leaving for a week's vacation at the family lake house tomorrow, so last night I started packing up my sewing artillery. I'm planning to spend two days sewing, so I selected two quilt tops to back, quilt, and bind. 

Article 1: Game Day Quilt. I started this one late last summer. 

AND I already have everything on hand to finish it.  [does this mean I could rationalize buying 2 or 3 yards of new stuff?!]

Article 2: Lollipatch. 
Lollipatch - WIP

This one is really embarrassing. i started it when my pal Laura was in the hospital having her baby. Well, Baby Maya had her first birthday a few months ago and the quilt top was still neatly folded in my fabric closet. 

I can't find a picture of Maya, so here's a pic of her older brother, Noah, when he was the age she is now. Use your imagination. They're both cutie-smunchkins. 
Not quite sure

I have one more (unphotographed) quilt top at home that I need to back, quilt, and bind, but this one requires a small online fabric purchase (with no add-ons, I swear), so it's not getting done next week. 

Once these three quilts are completed, it's on to the next Phase. And the next. 

Phase V, incidentally, is the really exciting bit. It's where I'm going to paint my sewing room, make new curtains, put up the organizational shelving system I bought at IKEA two years ago, and then smile like a Cheshire cat until my face falls off.    

What are you up to on summer vacation? 

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Linking up with WIP Wednesday on this... follow the link and see what everyone else has going on! 

Friday, June 10, 2011

an absolutely true 18-word book review

Last night I finished listening to a book that I really thought I'd love. Based on the recommendations and the smashing reviews, I was all prepared for a life-altering experience. Here's my official review:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

good, but I didn't love it. i'll let it marinate for a while and maybe i'll grow fonder.

View all my reviews

Does this ever happen to you? You hear about a book, get intrigued, read it, and...meh. I mean, it's not that I didn't like it - I liked it. I just didn't lllooooouuuuurrve it.

Books like these, I like to let them mature a while inside my head. Maybe I revisit. Maybe I just find myself thinking about it in those spaces between other things, and then i think some more, and some more, and then I decide I loved it.

Time will tell.

Have you read this one? What did you think?