Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Design Dilemma

Yesterday I was finishing up a Christmas quilt that I started working on last week (2 weeks ago?), I forget.  Anyway, at the point when I started working yesterday, I had just 3 blocks left to make.  I decided on the fabric for those last 3 blocks, and got them sewn and the blocks sewn into basic top without borders.  I had already chosen my border fabrics, which I had bought especially for the project.  I cut the strips, sewed them on, and thought I was done.  However, once I looked at the finished top, I wasn't happy with how it looked.  I felt like the focus fabric, the Christmas kittens fabric, looked out of place once the outer border was sewn on.  The picture below shows the original outer border.
I removed the outer border, but left the inner border. 
I was thinking that the outer border was a bit too busy, and that it would look better with a simpler fabric that was closer in color to the green of the focus fabric.  I auditioned some green fabric that I just bought at the quilt shoppe, but I don't think I have enough of it.  Although I'm sure I could go buy more.  But I still wasn't sure.
Then I found some other Christmas fabric that I had that was red and green.  I really like it, and at first I thought I was going to go with it, but now I'm not sure about it either.  I'm afraid it still might be too busy.  I definitely like both of these better than the original black, red and gold holly fabric, though.
What do you think?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Travel Fabric

My husband and I recently traveled to Berkeley, CA for my husband to present a paper at the Western Literature Association's annual conference.  While we were there, we visited a quilt shop - New Pieces Quilt Store and Gallery.  It was a really nice shop with a large selection of fabrics.  The shop staff was also very nice and friendly.  (I know that I drive quilt shop staff everywhere crazy because I wander around the store 3 or 4 times before I even pick anything up, but they are always great about it!)

Above is a picture of the fabric that I bought while I was there.  I bought 1-1/2 yards of the fabric on the left (from Abbey's Garden by Eugene Textiles).  The fabrics on the left I just bought in fat quarters (top - from Serenity by Cheri Strole for Northcott, bottom - from Autumn Bouquet by Denise Urban for Quilting Treasures).  Those were the fabrics that I just kept coming back to as I wandered the store.  They are not for a specific project, and most likely won't get used together, but they are my mementos of fun trip to Berkeley.

Friday, October 04, 2013


For several years now, if I make enough cucumbers in my garden, I make homemade pickles.  This year we had a cool, cloudy, and wet summer, and my garden did terribly!  I didn't have any dill pickles left from last year either.  I had bought a jar of dill chips at the store, and I used them, but they just aren't the same as homemade.  Not only is the flavor different, when I went to Walmart, I couldn't find any normal, round, dill pickle chips.  They were either "ovals", which in some cases means sliced the long way instead of the short way on the pickle, or they were spicy.  I didn't want any of that, so I gave up on store bought pickles, and bought cucumbers instead.

Usually Walmart's either doesn't have pickling cucumbers or else the ones they have are all beaten up and shriveled.  But yesterday they actually had several pounds worth and they actually looked good and fresh.  So I bought them and made homemade pickles with them.  They didn't seem to have any wax on them, so hopefully they will turn out good.  The only problem is, with dill pickles they need to sit for a couple weeks before you use them.  So I still won't have usable pickles for a while, but hopefully it will be worth the wait.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Charming Little Bag

This is an adorable little bag that I made today.  From start to finish it took me maybe 5 hours, and that probably includes my lunch break.  I'm sure it could be made even faster than that, but I was stopping periodically to watch the tutorial on YouTube.  The instructions are available here on YouTube.  It is a great tutorial from The Missouri Star Quilt Company.  I've been watching a lot their tutorials lately and I really wanted to try this one.  I had several charm squares left over from a fall themed charm pack that I bought last fall to use in my row swap quilt.

Oddly enough, when I was making my bag, I used more precuts than Jenny did in the tutorial.  She used yardage for the base, lining and handles of the bag, but I used a fat quarter (or what was left of one actually) for the base, the closure, and part of the handles and some extra charm squares for the the other part of the handles.  I only used yardage for the lining.  Jenny's bag didn't have the closure, but she mentioned that you might want to add one, so I did.