Monday, 19 December 2011

Shopping and a Little Finish

All those tempting sales that have been going on for the past month have just been too much for me!


Fig Tree put together this lovely package of Christmas colored prints . . . I couldn’t resist.


And then there was the scrap bags that she had put on sale – those just sent me over the top and I had to have a few of those bags.  There are some of the strike-offs from California Girl and pieces of Buttercup and all kinds of other big and little lovely prints from other collections.  The nice thing about buying scrap bags from the designer is that all the scraps blend . . . bonus, or what?!?!?


I finished another little miniature quilt for a present – tick another one off the list.


The finished measurement on this one was 10” x 10” and the corner blocks were 1” square finished.  That makes the other ones about 3/4” finished.  Talk about using up scraps . . . now I know why I have been putting all the scraps from previous quilts into baggies!


Oh, and then The Fat Quarter Shop had a 50% off sale on Reindeer Games a few weeks ago . . . couldn’t resist that one.  I also ordered the background cream and the two border fabrics on spec.  Not sure which quilt to make with this line, but I do have my eye on this free pattern over at the Moda Website 

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from the Basic Grey Jovial collection or maybe this one . . .


All Wrapped Up made with 

 Flurry by Kate Spain.

(click on the red link for the pdf pattern pages)

If you haven’t been over to the Moda site for a while (or ever) – head over and have a look at the collections and some of the free patterns they have to offer.  I found a couple new ones that I have added to my collection – just what I need!

Have a great week.

Friday, 9 December 2011

I’m still here . . .

The days have certainly gotten away from me.

I know I’m not the only one that is stressing over this but  as long as we are all participating in this full blown holiday season we will muddle through.  Why don’t I just start sooner?!?!!?  It sounds so simple.

How come we can think of great gift ideas during the year for people, but once December hits the brain goes blank.  I know . . . make a list.  Easier said than done sometimes.  There are already too many other lists on the go!

I really do enjoy getting the house in order and all the preparation that goes into the season.  This will be the weekend that we try and get all of the decorations done up and hopefully finish off the shopping, wrapping and other organizing.  Need to get some parcels in the mail early next week . . . I better put that on a list.


I am longing for some down time to quilt and create but maybe there will be a snowday to take care of that wish.   I sure hope so, because I’d like to make a few more of these little cards to use as tags – they are so simple and easy to make – once you get the graphics done up.

Here are some links to find the letters to use . . . some free, some not . . .

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Alphabet Photos


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are great places to start looking at how you might like to use these alphabet letters in gifts.  Be warned though – this is time consuming, but hopefully a very appreciated Christmas gift.


I have managed to make a couple of big mittens to give as gifts . . . and I’m just in the process of getting my ingredients together to make up a few gift jars.

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from Paula Deen


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from Tip Junkie

and then maybe make up a batch of these to wrap up and put in the mitten also -

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Budding Baketress

For some other great ideas for Christmas gifts head on over to My Pinterest and take a look around at my pins as well as cruise around and see what everyone else is up to as well.


I’m just finishing off this little miniature quilt (10” x 10”) for my MIL’s Christmas present.  She downsized this year and moved into a very small apartment so I thought this would be the perfect “little” giftie that would fit just about anywhere.


Plus these pieces make great conversation generators and I think she’ll really enjoy it.

I’m also trying to work on a couple of techie gifts that are very time consuming and I’ve also started another miniature quilt for a friend who may be moving in the next while.

Always something going on . . . have a great weekend.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Super Sleuth Soiree

So . . . as hard as it is for me to believe . . . it has now been three weeks since we held our Super Sleuth Soiree Mystery Quilt Workshop.

I know I had some recuperating and adjustments to make because of my age . . . but really – three weeks!?!?!

Well let’s get started here and get everyone up to speed on what our little “Soiree” was all about . . .


First of all it was optional to come “dressed up” and we had some amazing outfits make an appearance for sure!

Lise absolutely blew me away with her hippie outfit . . . anyone who knows Lise, knows that this is sooooooo not her – but ended up just perfect.


We had gals in housecoats, Super Sleuth attire, old women, old men . . . the list went on and on.  It was amazing to have everyone come out prepared for a good time.


After everyone got settled in and a “wicked” cackle and poem greeted the forty-seven participants we started with the clues.

Clue #1 was in a painted pumpkin tin with tissue paper and the ladies headed off to start their project.


The community centre that we were able to rent ended up just a little tight on space when it came time to “hide” our clues, so the newly renovated Men’s Bathroom ended up being Clue Central.  Have you ever tried decorating a Men’s bathroom before?  Very interesting concept – at least there was no urinal to deal with!


Another clue was attached to the back of these scary little skeletons.  Some people may have needed glasses to read the details on this one!  It was really just a guide for putting on the first borders, so not a big deal – I didn’t hear of any eye-strain accidents anyway!


Of course you can’t host a workshop without having lots and lots of food.  This is a quick shot of the one corner of the dessert table.  Before everyone got to this part they had pulled beef on a bun, cheese, pickles and coleslaw and . . .


. . . hot apple cider and hot apple/cranberry cider with creepy heads floating in the brine.


Decorated sugar cookies,


Mummy cookies, more decorated sugar cookies and candy corn cookies,


and three different cheesecakes – this is a photo of just the one, but there were two others that were just as gorgeous.  Seemed a shame to cut into them!  After all was said and done, there was about 1/2 a slice leftover and a few crumbs – tasted as good as it looked I think.  I didn’t get a piece!


Here are a couple of more clues.  Everyone got a treat inside the cello bag clue and everyone got a specially designed charm square inside the envelope clue.  A “subway” style  design was created with the names of all the towns that workshop participants came from.  This was then uploaded to Spoonflower and the fabric was ordered.  A small mug rug pattern was also included with the clue and the charm square in this package.


The clue inside these little boxes was rolled up and put on a spider ring along with another little piece of chocolate.  We didn’t want anyone to go home hungry.


The final clue was put into this little fabric goodie bags all decked out in Halloween prints.  Boy that was fun putting together 50 of these little creations!  Thank goodness for amazing helpers that dug right in and got ‘er done.


Here is everyone hard at work – we really did have an excellent space to work in.  Before everyone got there for the day we were able to get a few quilts hung up on the walls to make it a bit cozier and provide some eye candy as well.


Before everyone left for the day we had them take their partially finished quilts up on the stage so that we could get some photos of their projects.  We also discussed some of the finishing ideas – yo-yos in those centre squares or maybe some appliqu├ęd flowers; in some of the outer borders we discussed adding vines and flowers or crows and bats like in some of the ones from the previous post.  Lots of ideas to make this quilt their own.


As you can see from the photos, everyone was able to get the centre and first borders put on.


Plus you can see the different impact that the fabric choices are making.     The only instructions they had for choosing fabrics was that they had to choose 12 fat quarters that they loved.


I would have loved to get a photo of each individual quilt up close . . . they seem so far away, but at least we can see the different color values and how much they got done.


There is one lady there that has another border put on . . . that’s looking good too!


Quite surprising to me is that the gal on the far right hand side there used the same fabrics as my original quilt that was in the magazine.  So she knew exactly how her quilt would look when she was all done just by looking at mine.  All the fabric lines that are available out there and we used the same one!  I bought my package of fat quarters over a year ago so I know we weren’t shopping in the same place.


There is a Christmas print one on the right and a “make mine pink” one on the left.  There was pastels and brights and hand-dyes and flannels – it was so much fun to see the combinations.


And then we had a table of gals that obviously were drinking way too much coffee . . . they all had their second borders on and that really bright colored one even has her third border on.  Amazing!

This was a HUGE undertaking, but so very satisfying and tons of fun.  We have now started our idea files for the May, 2012 workshop and we’re pretty sure it will be just as much fun and the projects will be just as amazing.  We have not made the announcement yet as to who we have coming as teachers, but we have people registering anyway . . . they say they don’t care who’s coming as long as they are on the list!!! No pressure there . . .

Monday, 7 November 2011

So . . .

I’m told it is now time to move on . . . it’s been a week . . . a birthday is a birthday . . . get over it!!!


It may take some time though to get over the state I’ve currently found myself in . . . although it still looks like I’m smiling!!!  Must be the Bud Smile

click here to view sample pages

This may be some old news for some, and some new news for others.  This is the Fall Issue of  A Needle Pulling Thread and two of my quilts are in there.  Actually it is the same quilt . . . sorta . . . one is a smaller version of the bigger one.

This red and brown quilt is called “The Crows Have Flipped” and as you can see – there is the flipped crow!


The pattern (for either version) uses 12 fat quarters and some background yardage and every quilt looks different because of the fabric choices – you’ll see more of that in my next post.

Shadow's Cross & The Crows Have Flipped - Marlene Biles

Here is another photo of the quilts in the magazine.  The teal and pink version is called “Shadows Cross” as it was the last quilt that Shadow, my 18 year old Tortoiseshell, helped me work on before she died.  The yo-yos form a cross across the entire quilt.


Here is my Halloween version using the Trick or Treat line by Deb Strain.  I’ve changed the borders on this one because the background yardage ended up being less than it was supposed to be.  The pattern calls for a zig-zag border as you can see in the first photograph – I like both.  My husband says there are too many bats but I’m arguing that usually you don’t see them all at once anyway and this way it doesn’t matter how I fold it, everyone will see a bat.


My quilter (Terry Whitman, Estevan, Saskatchewan) once again did an amazing job on all of the quilts . . . love the spiders and the webs that she’s done on this version.


I’m also in the process of finishing the quilting on the fourth version of this same pattern and I hope to be able to show that to you in the next couple of weeks.  It looks completely different than these three as well.

We are hoping that we’ll have this pattern available to purchase as a PDF download sometime in the New Year. I’ll keep you posted.


The reason I’ve been keeping quiet on the magazine and the quilts is because this is also the pattern that we used for the Super Sleuth Soiree workshop that we held on Saturday, October 29th.  Take a gander at that mouth watering menu!

The “we” I keep mentioning is my cohort in crime – Sheila M. and the two of us make up “As The Crow Flies Quilting Workshops” which explains our little crow references here and there.  We’ve been having a blast planning and delivering workshops for local quilters with the help of Val T. and Sheryl S.

I have lots and lots of pictures of the workshop and they will be in my next post – way too many pictures for today.

Hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Big, Big Birthday!

Gotta hate those birthdays . . . they just keep coming and coming.

Most people say that’s a good thing as the alternative isn’t all that great!


I was surrounded, two days before my birthday, with 50 quilting friends who surprised me with this fabulous quilt cake.  And yes it does taste as good as it looks!


I also had some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket and “just happened” to be in close proximity to a wonderful vendor opportunity.


Mama Bear’s Quilt Shop (no website) from Ashern, Manitoba set up shop for the workshop October 29th and Pauline brought some fabulous lines of fabric for us all to shuffle through.


In cases like this if you don’t buy it when you see it – it’s gone!  Although Pauline assured us all that more was back home in the store.  ‘ehm, maybe some of that Little Gatherings line would still look good in my collection . . . might have to give her a call.


I did get a couple of those prints, plus a few more.  Love the Christmas lines that are coming out right now – Merry and Bright by Buggy Barn and The Great I Am by Leanne Anderson – both lines are by Henry Glass.  They certainly do not go together but the designs and rich colors are amazing.

I hope everyone had a fabulous Halloween (I know I did!) and that November is treating everyone kindly so far.

Quilting this weekend?  Sure hope so!