Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Friday, December 26, 2014

Mug Rug Fun

Our Christmas Eve was pretty quiet.  We celebrated with our two grown sons last weekend, and were having other family over for Christmas dinner the next day.  So I needed a little project to work on while my husband and I watched movies and hung out together.  That morning I saw this post on Crazy Mom Quilts and right away I knew what I wanted to do!

I got a new mug from a student in my class, and it needed a mug rug!  I used a granny square block that I had already made and hand quilted it to make this fun mini quilt.  

I love making granny square blocks out of scraps, and someday hope to have enough to make a lap sized quilt.  This one, though, went perfectly with the new mug and gave me some perfect hand sewing to do on a quiet day.  

Thanks for the inspiration, Amanda Jean!  Linking up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Play

Finishing up some small projects for friends today.  It is fun to just play with the Christmas fabric I have in my stash!

My quilt group always does a gift exchange for our December meeting.  Some years, we have a theme.  Other years, like this year, we can make whatever strikes our fancy.  I decided to make a table topper from a place mat tutorial from a blog called Love by Hand.  I wanted to add a link to that blog, but am unable to find it again!   I added a bread basket with a matching napkin to make a set.  I love how the flying geese turn into trees.  And I was able to add some little penguins to it!  My scrappy quilter's soul loves how this came together!

At work we have Secret Santa going on right now.  We give little gifts to a colleague during the weeks leading up to Christmas, and then something special this last week.  I have been working on a candle mat for my Secret Santa person.  I got a pretty dark green, pine-scented candle to go with this mini-quilt.  I hope she likes it!  Just need to finish sewing the binding and it will be ready!

Linking up with one of my favorite places - Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.  Cyndy is starting a new link-up featuring scrappy quilts.   

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2014

10 Minutes of Sewing

With being out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday and then needing to get ready to go back to work this morning, there hasn't been much sewing going on in my life the last few days.  But, as often as I can, I try to get down to my sewing room and do a little bit of something.  Last night's 10 minutes of sewing resulted in a couple of reversible cloth napkins to go with the penguin table runner I finished up last week.

They are made from this tutorial from Made with Moxie, out of two fat quarters.  So simple!  It's always nice to have a chance to play with some fabric for a quick finish!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

UFOs and Other Stuff

I recently pulled out a very old UFO that I have been wanting to get finished for Christmas.  The
quilting group I belong to did a number of Bee-type projects where we made blocks for each other a few years ago.  This one was 12 inch blocks, and my theme was Christmas.  Shortly after the blocks were all completed, I put the top together, and since then it has been sitting, draped on a quilt rack, waiting to be completed!

It is a much more traditional quilt than I have been making recently, but it is very special to me because most of the blocks were made by special friends in the group.  Each block is different from any other.  I can't choose which one is my favorite, but here are a few close-ups:

I managed to get the quilt sandwiched and basted so that I can machine quilt through the black sashing and the border.  Because it is a huge quilt, and becoming quite heavy, I'm going to add some hand quilting inside the blocks instead of trying to wrestle it around through my little machine.  At least I am making a little progress on it!

But because I always need some instant gratification, I had to put together something small for my weekend project.  JoAnn's had its Christmas fabric on sale a few weeks ago, and my husband showed me that there were some "Little Penguins" included in the flyer!  Of course, I had to have some!  So I cut some 6 inch squares out of the different fabrics and created a simple patchwork table topper with them.

That peppermint fabric is fun, too!  Penguins on the back - so cute!

I'll be finishing up the binding this afternoon during the football game, and then I will be all set to bring it out after Thanksgiving dinner.

Those are my first set of Wonder Clips!  I saw one of those amazing Daily Deals from Missouri Star Quilt Company recently - a set of 10 for 22 cents! They are definitely wonderful!  

Happy Thanksgiving, all!  I am thankful to be a part of the online quilting community!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Back to Work!

It seems like forever since I have been able to write about something new here.  The end of September through the end of October have been crazy with two trips out of town and tons to do at work.  I haven't even had the chance to sew much, but I have been building up my stash and finished a couple of small projects.  The little finishes help me keep my sanity when nothing else is doable!

I have gotten some happy mail recently!  I won a giveaway from Blossom Heart Quilts in connection with Alyce's Bright Sky QAL.  The prize:  a fat quarter bundle of my choice from anything in the Art Gallery Fabrics line through the Fat Quarter Shop.  Wow!  What a treat!  My choice was Gleeful by Sew Caroline, and was I ever "gleeful" when it arrived!  I am enjoying looking at this stack of fat quarters sitting on my cutting table!

This happy bundle of fabric will be fun to work with.  My plan is to use it for a Bright Sky quilt, so thank you, Alyce!

A friend visited New York City recently, and I told her she had to get to the City Quilter while she was there.  Well, she did, and she brought me something back!  

A little bundle of Charlie Harper bird fabric, including my favorite cardinals! Love this fabric!  It is also sitting on the side of my cutting table, just fun to look at!

I have wanted to try making some fabric baskets from this tutorial by Seaside Stitches.  I found some fat quarters of Elementary by Sweetwater for Moda, and went to work.  This is a quick and fun project which is great for gifts.  This one was a birthday gift for my teaching partner, so the perfect choice of fabric!  I love how it turned out!  I filled it with tea, chocolate, and cozy socks.  I think she liked it, too.

Finally, I ordered some charm packs of Best. Day. Ever by April Rosenthal for Moda from the Missouri Star Quilt Company, and used my favorite squares out of one to make a tote bag for myself from their YouTube video tutorial.  Another fast, easy project that makes you feel like you have accomplished something and gives you a chance to play with fabric for awhile!

Teachers always need a new bag to carry all their stuff in, right?!  I am going to love having one out of my favorite fabric.  This one is the perfect size for taking a pile of grading to Starbucks, which is exactly what I did today!  

So, I'm back to work on my favorite things.  Happy sewing, all!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival Scrappy Quilts entry

This year I have enjoyed following along with Cyndy at Quilting is More Fun than Housework, as she sews her way through her scraps.  I love scrappy quilts so much, and have managed to make three different quilts from her inspiration.  My favorite that I've made is called Rainbow Scrappy Bars:

I've written about this quilt a lot here on the blog because I enjoyed the process of making it so much.  I am especially proud of the quilting!  I am mostly a walking foot quilter which ends up with most of my quilts being quilted with straight lines.  For this quilt I decided to try concentric circles, and it worked!   Love how it turned out!  This quilt is baby quilt sized - about 36" by 48."

I am entering this quilt into the Blogger's Quilt Festival in the Scrappy Quilts category!

Monday, September 29, 2014

100 Quilts for Kids

This summer I made several baby sized quilts without a baby in my life to give one to!  Then when I was telling this to a friend, she suggested I donate one to the Baby Foundation's annual Silent Auction.  This is a local organization in my town which raises money for families who find themselves in tough situations after the birth of a baby with big medical needs.  So I am planning to donate this quilt, along with a basketful of baby supplies to this wonderful event.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

I was nominated by Tanya Quilts in CO to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop this week.   Thanks, Tanya!  It has been fun getting to know you through our shared love of quilting and both being teachers in Colorado.  I bet we could really have a conversation about that!  LOL!

What am I working on right now?
I spent a lot of time this summer sewing scrappy quilts out of my stash that were inspired by Quilting is more fun than Housework's Scrap-a-Palooza series.  That has been so fun, because I love scrappy quilts and feel a great sense of accomplishment making them out of my stash.  Here is my favorite:

I just started a jelly roll quilt called "Summer in the Park" based on a tutorial by Missouri Star Quilt Company, using a jelly roll of Into the Woods by Lella Boutique for Moda and a jelly roll of Kona Snow.

Not much progress to show on that yet, but I'm hoping it will be beautiful!  I love the pink, dark red, teal, and brown in that line of fabric!

How does your work differ from others?

Well, that is probably the hardest question to answer!  I get so much inspiration and so many ideas from the online quilting community.  On my iPad, I have saved at least 100 different tutorials of projects I want to try. I follow way-y-y-y too many quilt bloggers and spend a lot of my "free" time reading blogs.  So, I might tell you instead about how my quilting is different than it used to be when I first started 15  or so years ago.  For the longest time, I bought only kits to work from, or did other people's patterns.  That was a great way to get started as a quilter, as long as I could figure out the directions!  

Now, I am more able to take an idea and make it my own.  A good example of that is my latest Scrap-a-Palooza finish of the summer.  I started with Cyndy's idea, but let the fabric guide my design a little more, and ended up with something completely different than I initially set out to do.  And I am so pleased with the result:

Why do I write/create?

I have been sewing/quilting for a long time, but just recently realized that it is what I do to stay sane! My job is very demanding these days, and those demands can be stressful at times.  I have found that stepping away from the work I need to do, and going into my sewing room for even just a few minutes can make all the difference!

For a long time, I have been interested in doing something with writing, but never did much until I discovered blogging.  It has been great fun to learn how to make a blog, and all the techie skills that are needed to figure everything out, but also a great way to document what I have been doing as a quilter.  Again, I get lots of inspiration for my blog from other quilt bloggers that I follow.

How does my writing/creating process work?

I'm not sure I have an actual process!  I decided that my quilting hobby should be fun, a "want to", but never a "have to," so that is how I approach writing about it and creating quilts.  I enjoy reading other blogs to see how people choose words to describe their work, and I "stand on their shoulders" as we say in 5th grade when we are learning to write in different genres.  And I have learned a lot that way!

Due to a busy, work and family-filled week, I have not contacted anyone else about carrying on with the next round of Around the World, but here are some bloggers I enjoy for you to check out, if you haven't already:

Weekend Doings - amazing photography!
The Bored Zombie - a fun voice and all kinds of different projects!
Wasn't Quilt in a Day - such a happy blogger, you can't help but be happy, too!

Enjoy your week!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Study in Green

Back in July, I started  a scrappy quilt inspired by Cyndy at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.  I have been following her Scrap-a-Palooza series all year, and this is the third quilt I have made based on her ideas.

I love scrappy quilts and was looking for better ways to have my scrappy quilts come together with a theme. Although I have a lot of scraps, they don't come in great big chunks, so designing a scrappy quilt around a theme seemed challenging at first.  But, it has been great fun and also a chance to practice different kinds of quilting.

My Rainbow Bars Quilt:

Then Honey Honey Bricks:

And, finally a finish for a Study in Green:

This quilt is inspired by Cyndy's July quilt, although it really evolved from my original idea, and looks nothing like what her finished quilt looks like!  I started by sorting through my green scraps and figuring out a gradation from dark to light.

I also added some Kona Maize to break up all the green and then cut each large block in half lengthwise.  In the process of trying different layouts for these long, thin blocks, I ended up putting them all together, without any sashing, and ended up with this:

It took awhile for me to get back to this quilt, but as I kept looking at it, I felt like it needed "something" to perk it up.  I ended up adding borders from my stash of Hello Sunshine from Connecting Threads.  The blue background with leaves of orange, white, and green  really made a difference and I have ended up being really happy with the outcome.

To quilt this one, I used an idea from Petit Design Co's 31 Days of Walking Foot Quilting series called Topography.  It turns out that this quilt really reminds me of beautiful, green fields, and the quilting I added made me think of a topographical map!  Fun!

The backing and binding is a marble-y green from Hobby Lobby in a pretty shade that I thought really added to the finish.  The finished quilt measures about 32 1/2" by 41."

Thanks, again, Cyndy, for your inspiration!  I'm having so much fun trying different color combinations, design ideas, and ways of quilting.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Orange Peel Finish

This summer I have had a ton of fun making mini and baby sized quilts, mostly so that I could try some different techniques and enjoy designing my own quilts.  An added bonus has been making most of these projects out of fabric from my stash!

I think my most favorite finish is my orange peel mini which I just completed this afternoon.

The orange peels are made out of several fat quarters of Mimi by Chez Moi for Moda.  I have had them since last fall and I was just waiting for the perfect project to showcase this beautiful material!  The background squares are low volume fabrics that I have been collecting.  For the backing I used a fun multi-colored polka dot fat quarter from my stash, and I used the leftovers from the orange peels to make the binding.  This mini finished at 18 1/2 inches by 18 1/2 inches.

To quilt this mini, I stitched around each orange peel and then used this idea from Crazy Old Ladies quilts to add echoing lines in the space between the orange peels.  I love the pattern the quilting created!

I am linking up this week with Quilty Habit for the Orange Peel QAL, as well as Sew Cute Tuesday and Needle and Thread Thursday.  Have a happy week!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Quilty Flashback Friday

This is a quilt I made for my mom to celebrate her 80th birthday.  I was just visiting her in Arizona earlier this week, and realized I had never gotten a good picture of it since she hung it up on her bedroom wall.  It's still not a very good picture because of the lighting, but it's the best "official" picture I've got!  :)

I made this quilt in 2011, right before I started blogging, and I am really proud of it for many reasons.  My quilt group was doing a medallion project where we learned how to put on various sizes of borders, and to do the math correctly for the borders!  And, by golly, I did the math right on these borders!

The center block is called "Sharon's Star" and I found it on Quilter's Cache.  I chose that block because my mom's name is Sharon.  I didn't keep track of the particular fabrics I chose for it, but I am still enjoying them because the scraps keep finding their way into my current projects!

I'm linking up with Don't Call Me Betsy for Quilty Flashback Friday, a fun new linky party I just discovered. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Back to School!

It always seems like the beginning of August means it is time to think about school again.  Even though teachers in our district don't officially report back until August 14th, there are many trainings scheduled for this first week of August.  It will seriously cut into my sewing time!  Oh well...

For a back to school gift for my teaching partners, I made these fabric lanyards for our keys and name tags.  I used this tutorial by Gemini Stitches.  It was super easy and I made three of these lanyards in less than an hour!

I chose a couple of fat quarters of text fabric I had in my stash that seemed perfect for teachers.  Both of them have letters of the alphabet in fun fonts and colors.

For the third lanyard, I made a patchwork of both of the fabrics.  At the bottom of each lanyard, where the hook goes, I stitched across a couple of times so that the hook will stay in place. 
Hope my teaching partners will enjoy these and get a lot of use out of them!  I know I will!  Linking up this week with Sew Cute Tuesday and Needle and Thread Thursday.  Go check out all of the fun projects!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Orange Peels Midway

I made a bunch of orange peel blocks so I could join in with the QAL at Quilty Habit, and here they are!

The backgrounds are 5 inch blocks cut from my stash of low volume fabrics.  The orange peels are cut from a stack of fat quarters that a friend gave me for my birthday last year.  The fabric line is called Mimi by Chez Moi for Moda.  I love the large florals in oranges, greens, teals, and pinks!

My plan so far is to make a table topper from these orange peels.  But that remains to be seen!
Linking up for the Midway Linky Party.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Different Design Idea!

Somehow, this:

And this:

Turned into this:

I spent some time over the last few days arranging and rearranging the eight 4 inch x 22 inch strips of various greens from my stash, and ended up sewing them all together without any sashing.  It made an interesting pattern because I started with four strips and cut each of them in half.  I really like the gradation of color from light to dark that you see when they are sewn together this way!
Right now this quilt is 24 inches wide, so just about perfect for a table topper or a mini.  I just have to decide if I want to add a border to make it bigger or not.  This will be a good size project to try some FMQ on.  I definitely need the practice!
This quilt is inspired by Quilting is More Fun than Houseworks's Scrap-a-Palooza series, Quilt #7. (Even though I really took off on a completely different tangent!)  It has been fun to experiment with color!

A New Favorite

Right now,  I am definitely affected by Quilter's ADD!  I have multiple projects to work on, but I just needed to start a new one.  So, I found this stack of fabric:

And turned it into this:

Yes, it is a Noodlehead 241 Tote!  And I love it!  I had been wanting to make one ever since I first saw the pattern, probably a year ago.  It turned out to be pretty straightforward to put together, with clear directions, and I didn't make too many mistakes.  Just a few places where my seam ripper was needed!  I even installed a magnetic snap, which was easy as can be.  It is the perfect size to tote around what I need on a daily basis.

So glad I gave it a try!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Finish and a WiP

Last night I finished a quilt I started in February!  I decided I wanted to make a Jelly Roll Race quilt, so I watched this video from Missouri Star Quilt Company to see how it was done.  I bought a jelly roll of Road 15 by Sweetwater for Moda and I thought it might make a fun quilt for my youngest son who turned 30 yesterday.  I loved many of the fabrics because they made me think of the small town in Kansas where he lives, and also the trip he is taking next week to Las Vegas for the Star Trek Convention.  He is so excited!

It has been really fun to look at all the fabrics in this line as I stitched them together!  Since it was February when I made the basic quilt itself, I couldn't take it outside to lay out all 1600 (or however many it is!) inches when they were sewn together end to end, so I had to run up and down the stairs with all it night long!  I told my friends at work the next day that I now have proof that quilting is an aerobic activity! 

Unfortunately, I think I missed one important part of the video in my haste to sew all the strips together:  I forgot to cut off part of the very first strip to offset the seams.  That caused me to end up with a lot of seams close together in rows that touch.  Probably not a huge mistake, but noticeable to people who have made this quilt before!
I decided to add a border to make the quilt bigger for my son, so I used a gray solid.  I backed and bound it in a marbled dark gray fabric I found at Hobby Lobby.  I liked the way my quilting showed up on the dark gray on the back and the way it framed the lighter gray solid on the front.

In spite of my mistakes, I really do like how this quilt turned out, and I hope he will, too!  I'll be seeing him next week to give it to him.
This week, I also got started on some orange peels so that I can quilt along with Jessica of Quilty Habit!  They were fun to make, and I'm loving how they look.  My plan is to make a table topper wiith them, and I think they're going to work great for that purpose.

The backgrounds are 5 inch squares cut from my Low Volume stash that I have been collecting recently, and the orange peels are from a fat quarter stack that a friend gave me last fall for my birthday, a fabric line called Mimi by Chez Moi for Moda.  They are beautiful larger florals in greens, pinks, oranges, and teal.  Fun to sew with!  Can't wait to put the whole thing together and see how it turns out!

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday and Needle and Thread Thursday this week!