Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Little Penguin Quilts Through the Year

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Little Hand Quilting

This week, I layered and basted my Rainbow Log Cabin quilt top.  Having discovered that I can use my dining room table, and some clamps from the garage, for this job makes it much easier to face my least favorite part of quilting!

This quilt is only about 48 x 48, too, so that also made basting it pretty quick and painless.

Here is the backing of this quilt - a fun find from Hobby Lobby!  I thought these little guys would be perfect for a scrappy rainbow quilt!

I decided to try hand quilting this quilt, so with a little advice from friends and after watching a Jen Kingwell YouTube video, I got started on that and have made a little progress.  

Right now, my stitches are a little wobbly and irregular, but I know they'll get better with practice.  There's no deadline on this quilt, nor is it really meant for anyone in particular, so I'm planning to take my time and enjoy the process.

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and are enjoying the weekend!  I'll be sharing at ScrapHappy Saturday today and Oh Scrap! tomorrow.  See you there!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

I like Thursday #6 - Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is the perfect day for an "I like" post, isn't it?!  So many things to be thankful for!

Last week, I went and read to a classroom of first graders at a school where I volunteer.  It was Read-Aloud Day here in the town where I live, and all the schools were full of volunteer readers.  This is the second year I've done this, and it is something that I really like to do, since reading aloud is one of the things I truly miss from my teaching career.

Yesterday, I received a packet of thank you notes from the first graders, and they just warmed my heart! Can you see the smiley face down by the little guy's name?  So fun!

Along with the new refrigerator, we also got a new dishwasher. (with a new stove also on order!)  Lucky me!  The dishwasher started off all of the new purchases because it started to leak, and we decided it was old enough that it should really be replaced.

Boy, is it nice!  The part I like the most - it is so quiet!  We can now run the dishwasher and be watching TV at the same time.  That wasn't possible with the old one.

I roasted my Thanksgiving turkey this past Sunday.  I have done that for several years now because our tradition is to package up the leftovers and take a road trip to see our sons who live in neighboring states. They are both single and work for the newspapers in their towns, and newspaper publishing doesn't stop for the holidays. My husband and I are retired, with plenty of time for a road trip, so off we go, packages of turkey in the cooler!

I always like to roast my turkey in an oven bag.  For me, it took all of the guesswork out of cooking a turkey, and turns out moist and delicious.  Along with turkey leftovers to share with our kids, we have already made turkey soup and sandwiches.  Yum!

This morning I had a chance to have coffee with two of my retired-teacher friends.  We had so much fun, and wonderful conversation.  I'm very thankful for the women in my life (both local and all of you out there who might read this post), that's for sure!

I've told you before that I love birds.  It is especially fun for a bird-lover to get to see a new bird, or one you haven't seen often.  Last Sunday, it was a beautiful, warm, and sunny day here, and we noticed there were tons of birds flitting in and out of a tree in our yard and one close by in a neighbor's yard.  They were eating the seeds and berries that are still on the trees.  My husband worked and worked on getting a photo of some Cedar Waxwings that we saw.  They live around here, but we sure don't see them often.  What a treat!

Well, Happy Thanksgiving from Nebraska, which is where we are today!  Hope you have a lovely day, however you spend it!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Better Late than Never!

At the beginning of  October, Tisha at Quilty Therapy announced her Charming Plus QAL, and I decided I wanted to join in.  I had an idea to use some Christmas fabric I had stashed away along with low volume scraps for the backgrounds.

Then I started cutting the pieces for it!  Oops!  My main Christmas fabric to use was a charm pack of North Woods by Kate Spain for Moda.  I had cut up all of the charm squares into 4 - 2 1/2 inch squares before I realized that it takes 5 squares to make the plus part of the block and then 4 background squares.

Thanks to some encouragement from Cynthia at Quilting is More Fun than Housework, and from Tisha, I decided to keep going with one modification.  I am making my pluses out of the low volume scraps I have, and the Kate Spain Christmas charm pack has become the background.

This week, I really got going on piecing this quilt.  I sorted all of the squares by light and dark so that I could put the lighter pluses with darker Christmas fabric, and vice versa.

Then the squares for every row were laid out in their places, and I've been chain piecing them together, one block at a time.  

I've stitched up a few complete blocks, to see what they would look like, and I think it's all going to work out!

I love this one, below!  I've had this cat fabric in my stash for quite awhile.  I used it for the backing of my Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt way back in 2013.  It's so fun to find other uses for the bits and pieces of it that I still have.

Just for fun, I laid out the four blocks I've completely sewn together to see what would happen.  I like this!

I think the pluses will stand out in some blocks, but the background fabric in others.  It may turn out to be a Christmas quilt that can be out all year round!  Guess I'd better get back to work, so that I can make the link-ups Tisha has planned for finished tops and quilts in December!

Sharing at Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun than Housework today.  

Friday, November 18, 2016

A Little Monkey Business

Just for fun, I've been stitching up a few more Monkey blocks to add to my collection this week.

I think this one has something to say -

"This is for the birds," he may be thinking.

And here's the whole gang, just hanging out, hopefully not causing any trouble!

Who-o-o-o me?!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I Like Thursday #5 - the Magnetic Edition

We just got a new refrigerator.  Of course that means you have to clean out the old one before they can haul it away, and for me that also means cleaning everything off of the outside of the refrigerator, too!  My fridge is always covered pretty much from top to bottom with family photos, important info we might "need," calendars, things cut out of the newspaper, and on and on.

So I have a pretty good sized collection of magnets!  After the new refrigerator arrived, it was fun to look through my magnet collection and arrange them on the fridge again.  Here are a few of them -

I have had fun over the years collecting magnets from places we visit.  One of my favorite places is Sonoma,  California.

I also brought a lot of magnets home from my 5th grade classroom when I retired.  I've even kept my magnetic name badge!  And you can see over on the right the magnet that says "Kevin is proud of this!"  Kevin is my 30-something son.  He probably would laugh to know that I've kept this one.

This next one might be my most favorite of all.  It came with an issue of "100 Blocks" magazine that I won from Quiltmaker last spring.  I love it because it is so true!

Right now, my magnets are just artistically decorating the new refrigerator, but I imagine it won't be long before they are hard at work holding up all the important stuff that needs to be seen in my house!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

My inspiration for the I Like Thursday posts come from LeeAnna over at Not Afraid of Color.  Visit her I Like Thursday post HERE.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Bonus Triangles

Earlier this week, after finishing up this quilt -

I was tidying up in my sewing room and realized that there were quite a few leftover bits of fabric that I might be able to turn into something little and fun!

I have a ton of bonus triangles, so I sewed together a few of them, using the focus fabric, the gray background, and some of the swirly gray binding and backing fabric.  These HSTs trimmed up to 1 1/2 inches.  I have a lot of the white on white fabric left, and there was just enough of the already made binding to end up with this little place mat - 

It measures 9 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches.

I love these little HSTs, surrounded by white and bound in the swirly gray!

Look at the fun gray and turquoise batik I found in my stash to cut the backing out of!

So fun with my Fiesta Ware!

Sharing at Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun than Housework today!

Friday, November 11, 2016

More with Rainbow Log Cabins

Earlier this year, I started making log cabin blocks with the idea of using up some of my string scraps, but without needing to do a lot of cutting and measuring.  I had broken my wrist, but still wanted to sew so I thought these would be easy blocks to make.  

The only measuring I really did was to square each block up to 12 1/2 inches when it was big enough.  I made nine of these blocks, in all the colors of the rainbow, as well as pink, turquoise, and a black and white one.  

Then they sat for awhile!

This week I decided it was time to do something with these blocks, so I stitched them together and began to add a 6 inch border all the way around to bring up the size of this quilt to about 48 inches square.

Of course, then came the "Hmmm, what if???"  What if I added 6 inch cornerstone log cabins in each corner before finishing up the border?

So, I made four smaller log cabin blocks - 

added them to each end of the top and bottom borders - 

and finished it up!

I love the scrappiness of this little quilt top!  It has birds, leaves, bicycles, Christmas fabric, and batiks. Flowers, stripes, apples, polka dots.  Grapes, stars, and spools of thread.  You name it!  It will make a fun "I Spy" quilt for a little one somewhere!   

I'm hoping to venture into the world of hand quilting with this quilt.  I haven't done much of that, and I know there are many ways to approach it.  I'm off to watch some YouTube videos that will show me how to get started!

Sharing over at SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I Like Thursday #4 (on Wednesday) - It's the Little Things!

Today seems like a day to celebrate the little things that make life good, in spite of what's happening out there in the world!  So, I'm thinking of the little things that I like (or Love, really!) that make a difference for me.

1.  Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, in shirtsleeves, in November, under the most amazing blue sky!

There's nothing like it!

2.  Little stitching projects - I don't do a lot of hand stitching, but this little wool penny rug was a lot of fun!  Thanks to Carole at From My Carolina Home for the tutorial!

Perfect for my Thanksgiving angel!

3.  Little stitching projects sent to you by quilty friends - these are from Vera at Negligent Style.  I won them in a giveaway over at her blog, and I love them!  The sweet little rainbow, the stitched letters, the quilting. Love!

Thank you so much, Vera!

4.  Little tiny marigolds still blooming in my garden -

We are having unseasonably warm and dry weather for November, but I'm not complaining!

5.  These adorable owls found at Hobby Lobby today!  Don't they just make you smile?

They're going to become the backing for a smallish quilt I'm working on right now, just for fun!

6.  Little quotes that raise your spirits and help you realize that we are going to be okay and there is always light and hope, no matter what!

May we never lose sight of the little things.   Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, November 6, 2016


I started this quilt back in February or so.  All of the fabric was purchased from gifts I was given when I retired from teaching in 2015, so it is a celebration, of sorts, of my retirement from teaching!  I love retirement, and I love this quilt!

The pattern is called Nighttime Blossoms, created by my quilty friend, Cynthia Brunz, and published in the Fall 2015 edition of "Easy Quilts."  I used the teal, pink, and lime green fabrics from the Good Neighbors collection by Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts from Connecting Threads for the focus fabrics and a gray solid from Connecting Threads for the background fabric.  The white on white  (the triangles) is from my LQS.

I ended up deciding to quilt my Beautiful Blossoms with edge to edge straight line quilting that went diagonally from corner to corner.  As a walking foot quilter, sometimes this simple quilting works the best on bigger quilts, and I really do like the kind of pattern it creates on the quilt.

The backing for this quilt is a pretty gray swirl that came from Hobby Lobby, and I like it so much I decided to use it for the binding as well.  But a scrappy quilter has to mix it up a bit, so I added a few pops of color (scraps from the quilt) to my binding! 

I'm about half way finished stitching down the binding, and I expect that will be done this afternoon, while football is on TV at my house.  Perfect for some Sunday stitching!

I'm looking forward to sticking this in the washer and dryer, and taking some finished photos of it.  Then I will be snuggling up under it to read my next Book Club book this coming week.  My favorite use of a quilt!

Sharing at Oh Scrap! over at Quilting is More Fun than Housework today!

Friday, November 4, 2016

RSC 2016 - November

This week, I've been rummaging around in my scrap baskets to find little bits of all the fabrics I used in my Scrap Jar Star blocks to cut into 2 inch squares for the cornerstone pieces, as well as cutting lots of 12 1/2 inch sashing pieces so that I can start to put my blocks together.

Laying these pieces out actually takes a little more thinking than I realized it would at first, because I want them to be balanced color-wise throughout the quilt, and I don't want them right next to a star with that same fabric.

To make that easy to achieve, I have started laying the stars out on flannel sheet on the floor so I can look at two rows at a time and then move the little squares around as needed.  So far so good!  And I think I'm ready to sew some blocks together and add the next row.

But that brings up another question!  Should the 2 inch cornerstones go out into the sashing (or border) that I'm planning to have go around all of the stars?  That would look like this below - and looking at this photo again, I'm thinking the squares would land in each of the corners as well - top left and right, and bottom left and right.

I think I know my answer to that question, but I'm curious to know yours!  

Happy ScrapHappy Saturday, friends!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

I LIke Thursday #3 - the Birds Edition

At the beginning of 2013, when I was starting this blog, I happened to be looking around my house as I was trying to think of a name for the blog, and my eyes landed on this little wall-hanging I had made not long before that.

"Aha!" I thought.  "My little penguins!"  And so was born, Little Penguin Quilts!  I do like - really Love - birds of all kinds, so that name is very appropriate for my blog!

Both my husband and I like birdwatching.  It started with putting up feeders in our yard, and then wanting to identify what birds we saw.

Here's my favorite photo that he has taken at one of our feeders.

We get lots of house finches at our feeders, but we always feel REALLY lucky when we see goldfinches!

Another favorite bird is the downy woodpecker.  They like our suet!

We even like birds of prey who visit our yard even though they chase away the songbirds.  The last couple of years we've had a family of Cooper's Hawks who have their babies and raise them in our neighborhood. They will always come to the bird bath right after we've filled it with clean water!

We're always looking for birds when we're on vacation.  When we visited Oregon in 2015, I took this picture in Newport.  I think these sea gulls were posing just for me!

Of course, this love of birds extends to my quilting, and I have fun looking for bird fabric!

Last year, a friend gave me a fat quarter bundle of Charley Harper's bird collection, and I made this quilt out of my favorite piece from that collection.  I love both the bright red cardinals and the little birds on the teal fabric with babies in their nests!

One last thing I like - little penguin fabric!

Maybe one of these days, I will have enough to make an entire quilt out of penguins!  Wouldn't that be fun?!