Monday, October 28, 2013

ZenDoodling with Zentangle!

Several of the girls in my Little Bits group were interested in trying out Zentangle so Sherida made us aware of a Zen Doodling class offered at a local art store called The Artist's Haven.  A few of us went last Tuesday night and had a grand time!

Here Max and Sherida show off some of their work.  Sherida had done some before with her grandson and had a basic book which gave us some great ideas.

Here is Eleanor showing off her work.  I had so much fun in this class!  It's just doodling but in a creative, cool way.  We worked on sketch paper this night, but I do want to try some on fabric with pen, and also on fabric with thread.   The possibilities are limitless!
 Another student Shelby and teacher Alex (standing) show some of their work.  Shelby's work is very intricate and artistic.  Alex's is of course as well - she drew the elephant freehand and zentangled inside of it, then added colored pencil. In our next class we will be adding colored pencil to our work.
I pretty much had all the supplies I needed at home.  I bought a couple of different sized pens but other than that, this is something you can just pick up and do, just about anywhere.  And it is FUN!

Here is the beginning of mine.  Alex just had us make four dots on our paper, connect them to form the outside borders, then start making shapes inside and filling them in with doodles.  She taught us several "types" of doodles but really anything goes - whatever you like!
Try it, you'll like it!  I can hardly wait to do some more!

On a side note we drove back over to Utah this weekend to go to a BYU football game with our kids.  We got stuck behind this HUGE, slow moving building of some kind.  You can see even the oncoming traffic is driving on the shoulder because this thing was gigantic.  So we got to drive about 40 mph in a 65 mph zone for about 30 minutes until we had an opportunity to pass it.  Phew!  Then.... a short while later, we came upon the other half and got to do it all over again!

Here it is taking up two lanes.
 I learned what "photo bombing" is!  I was trying to take this "selfie" of my daughter and I at the game and the guy behind us, who was routing for the other team, stood up so we could get his Boise State Bronco shirt in the picture!  He made sure to tell us that he did it on purpose :)  My son explained that is called "photo bombing".  I had never heard of that before!
The great news is the BYU Cougars won!
I am taking a blogging break for a couple of days, as my good friend Michelle and I are heading to Houston for the International Quilt Festival!  Hurray!  I am sure I will have a lot to write about when I get home :)  Have a great week!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hi Fashion Hosts the Crows!

Hi Fashion hosted The Quilted Crow Girls from Tasmania, Australia for a trunk show and workshops!  They are on their way to Houston for Quilt Market and came by here on their way. It was great fun to meet them and their trunk show was wonderful.

They combine wool with cotton to create fabulous quilts, scarves, pin cushions and many other projects, many of which they brought with them all the way from Australia!

In the biography on their blog,, Leonie and Deirdre describe themselves as "two Aussie girls with the same love of all thing old, textiles, stitching, fabric, wool, reproduction fabrics, antique quilts and chocolate!  Through our love of quilting we now share a quilt store, design patterns together, travel the country sharing our wares and ever increasing knowledge.

One technique you will see a lot in their work is this type of reverse appliqué, using cotton prints on the bottom with a wool appliqué layer on top.  You will also notice that they machine quilt, usually with an all over design and just go right over the wool appliqué - and it looks great!  The stitching on their wool appliqué is very tiny and neat.  They use a smaller weight Aurafil thread and stitch by hand or machine, versus a thicker Pearl Cotton or Valdani thread.

They brought some fun Fall and Halloween designs.  The Jack O Lantern and Black Cat on the right are kids' backpacks.  The yellow piece is a scarf with hand pockets!

I think these wooly holiday cones for treats or gifts is a fun idea too.

They have a book out "Elegant Quilts, Country Charm" published by Martingale & Company (That Patchwork Place).  Many of their designs are in their book, plus they have a line of patterns available too. You can check out their online store on their website at

I believe a second book is in the works too!

It was amazing to see how many quilts they brought!  They just kept pulling out more and more to show and they told wonderful stories. They were excited to be in the USA and particularly in the "Wild West" as Deirdra loves cowboys!  (She would get along well with my daughter :)
You can read more of their adventures on their blog!

Stacks and stacks of quilts to drool over.  Hi Fashion did a wonderful job of hosting this event too.  I did not take a workshop but those who did had a wonderful time.

I really like this quilt!

The quilt above was the project in one of the workshops - the one on the right made by the Crows and the one on the left is Heather's version in black and brights.  I hope I get to see some of the others' quilts who took the workshop.

I really like the colors on this quilt too!  The blue-green leaves really pop out with the reds and yellows.

And here are Deirdre and Leonie - two wonderful ladies from half way round the world!
Pleasure to meet them :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Little Bits of Fun!

Our Little Bits miniature quilt group is a ton of fun!  We met again this month to work on projects, have show and tell (always a must), and eat some snacks.  I took a few pictures of show and tell because these gals have been hard at work and their projects are amazing!

Here is Max, who we sometimes fondly refer to as "The Bag Lady" because she makes a lot of bags, showing off another gorgeous creation.  She also taught us all how to make the pretty flower on the front.

Mary has also been busy making bags!

....  and a couple of miniature quilt tops using the "twist it ruler".  She did a much better job of contrasting the fabrics than I did when I made mine a year ago.  In miniature quilts in particular, it's all about contrasting fabrics!  Well maybe it is not ALL about that, but that is important!

Bobbi shows off a bag that she bought at a show.  It is made with upholstery fabric and is durable and beautiful.  I had one of similar shape several years ago called a "healthy back bag" because it is supposed to be easier on your back to carry, due to the way it is designed.

Mary also made this miniature quilt out of neckties - using the Drunkard's Path pattern. She even attached a few of the necktie labels on the border.

Our "Bag Lady" Max was EXTRA busy this month!  She made ALL of us a bag (she has done this before too - I have another bag she made me that I use all the time.)  These bags are very pretty and sport a variety of button embellishments.  Mine is the perfect size for my iPad :)

Here we all are showing off our Max Bags.

A close-up of mine!

We can always count on Eleanor for some great show and tells pieces.  Here she shows us a cute wall hanging and a beautiful quilt!

This is a quilt of Eleanor's too, that she completed awhile ago but Annie and I asked her to bring it again because we are working on ours.  Sherida has an antique quilt, called a Postage Stamp quilt that looks very similar to this.  We liked it so much we started trading 5 inch nine-patch blocks so we could each try and replicate the antique quilt.  Eleanor is the first one to finish a version of it and it looks great!  I really want to work on mine too - but I think I am going to quilt those seven quilts first ....  Annie is hard at work on hers though so we should see hers soon!

Leota showed us some Sashiko she has been working on.  We had a little workshop on this several months ago and Leota has really taken it up and made some beautiful pieces.

Sherida always has fun pieces to share!  She and Max are very artsy and creative - inspiring all of us!

Here is Sherida showing off a cute Halloween pillow and a wall hanging.  She said her daughter gets to keep the pillow.

Here is a quilt she made from some blocks she won at CO West Quilt Guild's block of the month activity.  I really like the way this quilt turned out!

At our meeting we discussed plans for activities and workshops we want to do in the New Year and we drew names for our Secret Sister gifts in December.  I love these dear friends!  It is always fun to get together with them :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Quilter's Corner's Last Retreat

A few months ago I signed up for a Quilt Retreat at Quilter's Corner.  Little did I know then that it would be their last one! They announced their store closing in September and have been quickly selling out their inventory ever since.

I had heard their retreats were fun and I wasn't disappointed!  It went from 8:00 AM to midnight on a Saturday and it was a blast.  We were fed breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snacks in between - pretty much all we could eat and drink all day long.  We played some games and had some contests and door prizes.  The best part, as always, was the friendly quilters and the camaraderie.  I rekindled old friendships and made some new ones and just had a really nice time.

This gal put this whole quilt top together at the retreat.  I just think those owls are adorable.
This is where I sat. You can see my little Bernina on the table on the left.  These four women were so much fun to visit and socialize with.  We all accomplished quite a bit too - not just talking!

In the past I have hesitated to sign up for retreats because you have to haul your machine and all your stuff in.  I always felt I could accomplish more if I just stayed home and worked on my projects in my sewing room.  That may be true, but every once in awhile I think  retreat is in order - it's just fun!  I always learn something from others too and get inspired by what they're working on.

We had a big, big space, with plenty of room at our tables and several ironing and cutting stations set up, plus several food and drink stations :)  There was a lot of talking and visiting and laughing all day long.  I have to admit that I only made it until about 9:00 PM - I didn't last until midnight....  But that is still 13 hours of sewing!  More than I usually get in one sitting!
Show and Tell was on the schedule and several women brought in quilts and projects they had finished.

They also had a "bake off".  We were invited to bring a sweet treat, in small portions, to share and then we got to sample them mid morning and mid afternoon.  After all were sampled, we voted for our favorite and that person won a prize!  Well, my caramel brownies won!  I got a cute quilted bag that looks like a piece of candy (with a zipper) and it was filled with taffy!
I voted for the Texas Sheet Cake because I LOVE it, but I'm glad my brownies were enjoyed (they are a family favorite).  My family will faint when they learned I won a cooking contest!  I'm not a great cook, not terrible either - but usually when I make something for someone else it never seems to turn out quite right!  Luckily this time it did.

This woman's quilt was huge, and beautiful.  I have never quilted one quite this big. Someday I will give it a go.

Arlene had a lot of quilts to show.  She has been busy, busy finishing!  Good for her!

I believe these two quilts were results of block exchanges or guild presidents' blocks.
 Caramel Brownie Recipe

1 box German Chocolate Cake Mix
3/4 cup margarine, melted
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 package Kraft caramels
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup finely diced walnuts

Mix the cake mix with the melted margarine and 1/3 cup of the evaporated milk.  Spread half of this mixture into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and top with the chocolate chips and the walnuts.  Melt the caramels and the other 1/3 cup evaporated milk in a double boiler until smooth and pour over the chocolate chips and walnuts.  Carefully pat the remaining cake mixture over the top of this and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Remove and cool for several hours before eating.  Yum!

And Ta Da!  Here is the quilt top I finished at the retreat!  It is a block of the month called "Warm Winter Blessings" - wool appliqué on cotton background fabrics.  I had completed the hand appliqué and embroidery on all of the blocks, I just needed to cut and sew all of the sashing and borders.  This took most of the day, then I did some hand appliqué work later in the evening, on my sheep of the month blocks.  

Now both of those tops are done and in my "to be quilted queue"!  I have SEVEN quilts in my "to be quilted queue"!  Somebody is going to be doing a LOT of machine quilting when she gets back from Houston :)

Have a Happy Day!!