3/28/2017

Quilting Mat Extraordinaire

I've been rotary cutting since the early 1980s. I would have to say today's UPS arrival has brought me new excitement in rotary cutting!

My new 24" x 36" Calibre Art Premium Self-Healing Cutting Mat arrived. Yes, that's a mouthful, but it describes almost all about this mat.

I first heard of these mats about 2 years ago when I participated in a Row-Along hosted by Marian at Seams To Be Sew. I have been wanting one of these mats ever since. My first stroke of luck came when my name was chosen before Christmas during another of Marian's blog hops. I won a 13" Calibre Art rotating mat. It is absolutely wonderful! (Mind you, I have a rotating mat from another company that worked well enough for me, until I tried the new one.) Calibre Art's is like butter when cutting and rotating. I now had a taste of what their mats were like.

During Marian's 2017 Quilt Qwazy Queen blog hop, she noted that Calibre Art was offering a discount code only for the hop days - 1/2 off the price if ordered through AmazonPrime! This was a deal I "hopped" on immediately. I chose 10-day delivery to get free shipping without adding something else to my cart. And, I used AmazonSmile and a charity of my choice received a donation.

The quality of the mat is superb. It is 1/8" thick. It DOES NOT SMELL! This is the best part of it for me. Other mats I have bought in the past smell like skunks -- for months.

I have seldom used mat lines to align fabric when cutting, but the accurate markings and angles on this mat will definitely have me learning some new cutting tricks! Inches are marked on one side and centimeters on the other side.

I am also very happy to know that these mats are free of harmful heavy metals and chemicals. The company also recycles their "waste cuttings" during manufacturing.

The mat came a bit curved from what I think was standing the box on its short end during delivery. The instructions said that if there were bends in delivery to set it in the sun to warm and lay books on it. I put it in the sun on the dining room linoleum for 10 minutes and it had flattened itself--no books involved.

I am not affiliated with Calibre Art, nor am I getting any compensation for this blog post. I just want to share with others a product I think is amazing and well worth it's price.





3/23/2017

Spring Forth with Sewing

Oh, the spring-like weather has been lovely. Chilly, but expected in Michigan. Today I refilled the bird feeders. The other day a pileated woodpecker stopped for some suet. There have been two of them at the feeder off and on over the winter. I just think they look so pre-historic. Their call is loud as is there drumming on trees! Yet, they are amazing to watch.

My sewing projects have been smaller items this week. I am thinking of things to give to friends at Easter time.

I found some great pattern tutorials from Stitched by Crystal that I thought even the adults might like.  I made these carrot treat bags into stuffed decor for the house. Not sure how I will display them. I think I might have to purchase a basket. Cyrstal's tutorial is HERE.


These bunny treat bags were so quick and easy to sew. I used permanent markers to draw the faces instead of embroidering them. I also left off the tail on the back. I decided they would be great as a table centerpiece filled with candies for the kids and adults, too. HERE is the tutorial.


I am hosting the Bridal Shower for our 2nd daughter in April. I wanted to have some unique prizes for the winners of a few games we will play. I made some Michigan potholders!


And I am having fun embroidering these Michigan coasters. I bought the pattern from Embroider_It.



I like her embroideries because they are simple enough for me as a beginner and versatile to use for a number of projects. Below, I used the state outline to make these 4-patch potholders. 


I got a new hairstyle this week....in preparation for the wedding. Styling it on my own has been easy, which was my aim. 
















3/20/2017

Spring Sewing

Today is officially the  First Day of Spring!

Yesterday afternoon I sat on the deck with the sun shining, a little breeze that wasn't too cold, and read part of the newspaper. Off in the woods I could hear a pileated woodpecker hammering on a tree, some turkeys purring as they walked through the underbrush, and a symphony of smaller birds at the feeders around the corner from my seat.

When I came in the house, I was amazed what the sun and that short time outdoors did for my energy and enthusiasm. I decided sew!

Two nights ago I read a tutorial by Crystal of Stitched by Crystal on how to sew a Carrot Treat Bag for Easter. You can find it HERE. I wanted to make some of these carrots. I had plenty of scraps and the directions were very clear. They were easy to make and I sewed 8 in a short time. I won't fill them with candy. I stuffed them with polyfil to decorate the living room for the season.



Do you have a project on your sewing list for Springtime or Easter decor? 


3/04/2017

Late Winter Trip

My husband and I went on a trip to Florida, leaving the wacky winter in Michigan for a little bit. We were glad to have been able to go, especially me with so much coming up in the next few months. We had nice weather on our travels during this trip. (Two years ago we went to Texas and New Mexico and the winter weather followed us with sleet, ice, snow, freezing fog and COLD!)

So here is my long overdue blog.

We spent four nights at The Waterscape Resort in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Friends Rick and Deb were spending a month there, so we made reservations for the four nights. It was great! I used the pool, went to the beach boardwalk, the sunsets were lovely, and enjoyed the warmth.
Our balcony view. 

The pier.

Sunset with hubby, Rick and Deb.

The four of us met up with some colleagues we haven't seen in years and had a great lunch at the Hurricane Grill in Orange Beach, Alabama. Rick said we had to stop at FloraBama, a building sitting on the beach front, half in Florida and half in Alabama, on the Perdido Key. They had a great many shirts and items for the tourists to buy. 
 I believe the dividing line between the states is shown on the sign above 
and the left and right half of the table below where car license plates are
attached to appropriate sides of the table. 

We left our "condo" setting and headed to the Lakeland area to stay with my good friend and quilting buddy, Marilyn and her husband.  We took in a Detroit Tiger game one afternoon in the newly remodeled stadium. 


!
We went to Plant City the next day. Marilyn wanted to take me to a wonderful quilt shop there called Inspire! Quilting & Sewing. The shop had many fabrics I haven't seen in Michigan, more so for the beachy theme of the area. I bought a few light gray fat quarters. The guys, including Marilyn's dad, went to the train museum down the block. We all went into a few antiques stores and finished with lunch at The Corner Store.

Our three-night stay ended and we headed toward Nashville, TN via Alabama (to avoid Atlanta traffic). The hotel we stayed at in Alabama was less than 30 minutes from the Front Porch Quilt Shop in Ozark, Alabama. After stopping at Gander Mountain for my husband's shopping, we headed to the quilt shop. 


I am so pleased I was able to shop here. It had all the bright and whimsical fabrics I like. I was the first customer, waiting in the car as Melanie drove up to open the store. 

Here are just some of the wonderful rooms I was able to peruse in the 45 minutes I spent there. (We were on a schedule, you know.)




I was very happy with my purchases.

Fat quarters for fun mug rugs and such. 

 Just because they are my favorite colors. 

A different kind of Halloween design.

Hedgehogs, my favorite cute animal these days. 

A kit for hand sewing little felt bunnies! 
If you see on the back, Heidi Boyd has kits for hedgehogs, too.

Back in Michigan, with a variety of weather for the coming Spring, 
I have some new projects to look forward to with my Southern
quilt shop purchases and a bit of relaxation from warmer climes.

What do you have planned for Spring projects?




















2/13/2017

10 Days of Quilting

Since I last blogged (10 days ago), I have been able to work on quite a few sewing projects--even some that were not quilting related. It really does energize me when I get some sewing completed. And I cherish each day I can sew, as I have hip replacement scheduled for later this spring and I never know how long I can sit comfortably.

Rachel, who is also a member of the Gridster Bee, began making the monthly block for each Queen Bee, and one for herself, too. This way she'll have 12 Gridster bee blocks for her own quilt. I decided that I would do this as well. I completed the pineapple block for myself as well as Sherri, who requested them. Pat Sloan has a tutorial HERE.

 Sherri's is on the left. Mine is on the right. On mine, I tried the leaf patchwork that Elizabeth used for her pineapple HERE. I am not sure which one I like better. 

I will make my own New York Beauty (Susan requested them in January). But it is a block I have not done until now. I found the curved piecing on the machine to be nerve-wracking. But I was please with the 2 I sent Susan. 

I spent about 3 days finishing my niece's T-Shirt quilt using her sorority shirts. I put it together in January. I quilted it on Feb. 2 using the Sweet 16 at the art studio I go to once every so often. This week I put the binding on it. One shirt had a pocket. I printed a photo on fabric of her and her dad at the Dad's Day event. I fused it to a thicker fabric, stitched around the raw edges and tucked it into the pocket. A nice memory. I forgot to take a photo of the finished quilt before I mailed it out. So you here it is trimmed and ready for binding. 



I finished my sister's birthday present. The center panel was 1/4th of a table cover our mother had in the 1950s or 60s. It was one of the things I saved after she passed away (many years ago). I have now made each of my siblings a table topper with one of the pieces. I have mine yet to make.
I was very pleased with the mitered corners. 

I had happy mail one day. I received the rotating Calibre Arts Cutting mat I won from the Sunbonnet Sue and Sam Travel The World BOM at Seams To Be Sew. I have wanted to get a mat from this company because of what I have read about their products. 

The mat does rotate very smoothly and I am pleased that I don't smell an odor in the room like I have when I have purchased mats from the stores. If I put my nose right up to it I smell a little odor, but my sewing area doesn't smell!

On the same day, my order from Missouri Star Quilt Co. arrived. I am going to make a quilt for the Modern Quilt Guild Challenge with Riley Blake fabrics. I tried to find Riley Blake fabric locally, but to no avail. MSQC had the best selection, so I placed the order. 

I saw these Island Batik Stamp packs and couldn't pass them up. So they went on the order, too. 

One final project that I sewed yesterday was Dilby Duck from Funky Friends Factory. I am sewing it for Island Batik Fabrics with some of their new fabrics. I have not sewn any stuffed animal this involved before. It wasn't too hard. I thought 4 hours total wasn't bad for my first time. I stuffed it while watching TV that evening. I don't know if I can show a photo of it yet, but here is the photo from the Funky Friends Factory site. You'll have to believe me, I made him much more colorful!

So that is a summary of the past 10 days.