Category Archives: our other hobbies

Many of us enjoy other hobbies as well as quilting. Here’s our collection of other fun past times.

Are they done?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Although that title could be about quilt projects, it’s actually about the maple helicopters, whirligigs, schizocarps or whatever you call them. It seems that this year’s crop is at least twice the size of a usual spring. Every garden bed needs another cleaning from them, both those just dry and dead and those that are starting to sprout. The pathways are loaded too–I’ve got work to do before the mulch can go down. In the middle of summer I love those lush maples, but now I hate them. And I haven’t even mentioned cleaning the gutters and the flat roof!!

I’ve been enjoying a new quilt book that just arrived. The Farmer’s Wife sampler (this is the 2nd book-using 30’s fabrics this time) is a project that intrigues me. I haven’t been enticed in the past to do any of the block compilation type quilts-Dear Jane quilts are well-known examples. Maybe some of you who like Jennifer Chiaverini’s books has been drawn to Sylvia’s wedding quilt. Have any of you made any of these types of quilts? How do you keep yourself motivated after 20 blocks or so when you’re not even half way to the goal?

Currently I’m working on a paper piecing project. Have you seen Alex Anderson’s paper piecing book? There’s a lovely sampler in it which uses some of my favorite blocks. One I have not paper pieced before, the New York Beauty, is included as well. The only really daunting part is the border of flying geese all the way around. I believe it’s 84 flying geese. I’ve been sewing a few in between the other blocks so I don’t get too overwhelmed by that number! Sometimes it’s better for me not to know how many pieces or parts I need for a project. I just jump in and start stitching them a bit at a time, adding them to a design wall. Then the fun of seeing the quilt emerge keeps me going on what might seem like drudgery.

Do you do more or less quilting during the summer months? Busy with too many baseball games, sailing races or garden beds? Or do the longer days with plenty of natural light keep you motivated, stitching on the porch with a nice grown up beverage?

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Filed under foundation paper piecing, our other hobbies, Uncategorized

Hello stranger…. (and a tiny surprise at the end, so read on! )

…and that would be ME! 😦

Hello everyone,

sorry to be MIA for so long from our blog!! What can I say… just life in general! New job, too much fun with my granddaughter, summertime… excuses, excuses!!

But early this morning, while it was pouring outside and I couldn’t go for a walk with Marley, I was browsing quilty blogosphere of course, with my morning coffee…and thought that this particular new book (and the fun Blog Hop that goes with it), could be interesting for you all too! IRISH CHAIN QUILTS by Melissa Corry

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The subtitle is what I really, really LOVE – contemporary twists on a classic design!! And lets just say it from the start – I have no affiliations of course, I don’t even have the book YET! I just love the idea, love the quilts I saw so far and thought to share for inspiration. 🙂 I really LOVE the block that is on schedule today, by Lee from Freshly Pieced!

Anyway… If you like Blog Hops like I do, this book’s release has one and I find a lot of great inspirations on it – you can find it HERE. You will have a list of blogs and dates when to visit and yes some chances to win in there too…hey you never know! Just fun stuff!

So what are you up to these days? Lots of gardening?

In my garden this year, Clematis seems to be a “star” – huge blooms and lots of them!!

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Oh but we also have FRUIT!!! The peach tree my husband planted in honor of our new granddaughter (who we all lovingly called Peaches, before she was born) now has peaches!! So exciting!!

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Some new quilting and sewing?

In my sewing room…some new fabric to play with, to re-do and re-vamp some old patterns of mine… what do you think? Like?IMG_0599Can we chat about it? (oh, here comes that little surprise….)

Let us all know what you are up to these days in comments!! Everyone that comments will be entered to win a little prize from me!!!

So what is the prize? Hmmm…well that is a surprise too!!! (hey, but I promise it will be good!) Lets try to do this quick and I can even bring the prize to the guild meeting on Thursday!!!

So – GO! Comment away – we are nosy and want to know what are you up to this summer!!!

here is one of the things I was up to recently…making a bunny skirt!! Yes, I know…going a bit baby crazy… but LOVING IT!! 🙂

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Wishing you all a lovely day and week ahead, see you Thursday too,

Marija

PS – I just realized that I need to be fair to ALL readers of this blog, not only AQG members – so ALL of you are welcome to comment and there will be one prize for AQG member (you all have till Thursday!) and one for non-member, reader at large – you have till the end of the week (just say in your comment you are not a member). PHEW! glad I got this fixed… 🙂

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Filed under blog candy, books, Giveaways

I’m back!

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

I’m back from my trip to Disney with the godsons and family. I am so glad for this WNY weather. The heat and humidity in Florida were beastly in my opinion. Temps in the low 90’s and humidity around 60-70%. That is not for me, thank you very much. Of course both kids and adults got a bit cranky from the heat, so we would return to the hotel pool each afternoon for a cool off. But I must say the Disney crew sure has everything under control; everything so well-organized and running like clockwork, as we said in the old days. Now with everyone relying on phones instead of clocks for keeping time, what new saying will arise? Running like phone-work just doesn’t have as nice a ring to it.

Before I left on my trip, I asked for comments to my post about my 250 milestone.  A prize would be given to a commenter chosen at random. There were a total of 14 comments to the two posts where I  said you would be in the running, so I have a random number chosen from 1-14 by the computer.

randomCommenter number 12 is Kathy T, our former guild president. She’ll get her prize from me at the June guild meeting next week. Thanks to all of you readers, and especially to the commenters. It helps a bit to know I’m not just talking to myself. Although I do that a lot too!

After being gone for a week, when the weather was great for growing here in WNY, the weeds have the upper hand in my garden. Last year’s cleome and morning glories spewed seeds which have rooted everywhere in the flower beds. Mulch is coming next week so the weeds have to be gone soon. Guess what I’ll be doing in my free moments instead of sewing.  TTFN!

 

 

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What to write about today?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

How do I find something to write about nearly everyday? Strange how the mind works. Usually I’m just commenting on something I got in my e-mail or that has recently happened in “life”. For example…

In today’s e-mail I got my blurb from “The Quilt Show”, the Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims adventure. When they first put the show up to the web, I paid for a subscription so I could watch the videos like I used to enjoy Alex’s Simply Quilts show on HGTV. Now though I just do the free stuff, since there are so many free videos available all over the web. Today in the e-mail there is a slideshow of free patterns from Bonnie Hunter. In it you’ll see 2 of the blocks Bonnie will be teaching at the fall seminar for us: Boxy Stars and Pineapple Blossom. Also shown is the block I demoed at our recent quilt show: easy delectable mountains. Bonnie calls it scrappy Mountain Majesty. click here for the slideshow

Last night we had the Jim(?) and Wally show at guild meeting–two machine mechanics from a local quilt store talking about machine maintenance. I was amazed at how many of our members own featherweights! When Jim called  ladies up to show how to free motion quilt on a featherweight, nearly the entire audience went up! They took questions from the audience on a variety of machine care concerns. One member asked about having magnets near our machines. Both fellows said to keep the magnets away! Interesting because I had just read information to the contrary in the past day or two. This exact question came up on the message board at The Quilting Board.com and all of those who had chimed in said magnets today are not a problem. This is the link that one of the responders included to support her claim. click here for the opposing view  Just goes to show that even the “experts” don’t always agree. I keep the magnets in my sewing room (pin dishes mostly) away from the machine. Better safe than sorry I’m thinking. Another question of note: how often to change the needle? The answer boiled down to: more often than most of us do. You can usually hear it when the needle needs changing. Popping sounds as it pierces the fabric. Or you can see it when it needs to be changed. Poor stitch formation or skipped stitches.

Well the question for today–sewing or gardening? Gardening in light rain is not a bad thing. The transplants love it–no need for me to water them. The weeds come right out without a fight. Anybody else find that all of your garden edging heaved up this past winter and had to be completely redone this spring? I’m about 3/4 of the way around the yard and I must say the edges are looking better. I’m thinking though that it’s time to find a permanent sort of edging–river rocks or something. Of course if it rains as hard today as it has the past few days, the sewing machine will win. Actually I’m working on a second wreath sample for my seminar class, and it requires more hot glue than stitches. Tangled with some hot glue yesterday and have a blister to prove it. Maybe I’ll find some stitching to do instead. There’s always another project in the queue.

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Filed under antique machines, free motion quilting, free patterns, gardening, scrap quilting, Uncategorized

Sneak preview and true confession

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

You all know that Bonnie Hunter is coming to our seminar this fall. (You do know that, don’t you?) She has a brand new book about to be released and is showing sneak previews of the quilts in it over at her blog. If you leave a comment over there,  you have a chance to win a signed copy from Bonnie. click here

Now for a true confession. A few posts back I put out a challenge to join in Bonnie’s challenge quilt for this year, called Lozenges. I had said I had a plan to use up my stash of 2 1/2″ strips. Well that was before I thought it all the way through to needing to cut a whole bunch of 1 1/2″ squares to use as the flippy corners. I fess up that the cutting of all those triangles is not a task I want to take on right now. So…I’m going to use a different one of Bonnie’s patterns for my scrap quilt. I have made her Scrappy Bargello before (that’s the one my pup is sleeping on in the photo), but I’m going to see about a “string” quilt to dig into my stash of novelty scraps from my days of making kids’ Eye Spy quilts. I’ll report back soon on the pattern I settle on. Perhaps you would want to join me on this side trip from Lozenges. We’d still have quilts to share with Bonnie in the fall.

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Filed under antique quilts, free patterns, quilt books, seminar, stash reduction

Are you up for a challenge?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Bonnie Hunter, our upcoming fall seminar national teacher, has just begun a quilt challenge at her blog. Bonnie is a scrap quilter. She doesn’t just collect scraps; she actually makes things with them. (a novel concept to me!). I’m going to try joining in this challenge so I’ll use up some of my scraps too. I might have to tweak the math a bit because I have so many 2.5″ strips that I’d like to use up–hers is going to use 3.5″ strips. Wouldn’t it be great (hint, hint, hint!) if a few of us joined in so we could show her our progress when she comes to seminar in September? I’m going to set aside a sewing day soon to get a bunch of pieces ready so I can use them as “leaders and enders” while working on projects for my classes.

Here’s a link to the challenge: click here.

And here’s a link to an explanation of  the whys and hows of Leaders and Enders: click here.

Are you in?!! If we admit to joining the challenge, it might help keep us on track, knowing others will be asking us about it. I’ll post my progress periodically. Now that I’ve put it in writing, on-line, I have to follow through…right?

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Filed under free patterns, quilt books, scrap quilting, seminar, stash reduction, tips and tricks, tutorials, Uncategorized

Modern Applique

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

What can be changed in applique to make it modern? I’ve seen a new book, The Modern Applique Workbook, talked up quite a bit in “the blogs” of late. And I’ve wondered what’s new under the sun in applique land? I’ll be honest up front. I’m not a big applique fan. I’m more of a piecer. I do fusible raw edge applique sometimes, but I am not a hand stitcher, needle turner. But one thing I am is curious. So I’ve been looking for some peaks into this new book that is getting a lot of press.

Here’s a peek for you: click here.   At the end of the post to which I’ve linked you up, there is a list of bloggers participating in a blog hop for the book. I must say I found the close-ups of the quilting on the projects more interesting than their comments about the applique. The photos of the projects are intriguing too-they surely have a “modern” feel.   I suspect this book will be joining my library before too long.

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looks too good to resist

Hello all, Mary Ellen again.

Was trying to catch up on my e-mail and blogs this morning and came across a photo of this recipe at Pat Sloan’s blog (our upcoming seminar teacher). (BTW have you signed up for your class yet? We’ll be mailing supply lists out soon, if you want to get yours the easy way please register this week!) Anyway this recipe really appealed to me. I have loads of fresh basil in the garden waiting for the right recipe, and have been overdosing on fresh spinach in my toss at salad bars. If you made your own bread crumbs from Fiber 1 cereal (click here), this could be a very WW friendly recipe.

Have a look at the photo and see if you can resist. click here. The text in the blog entry that goes with it is amusing too. I think the ingredients will definitely be on this week’s grocery list. Are there any other quilters out there like me, who like to eat more than to cook ? Hate to chop stuff up (that’s why I go nuts at a good salad bar) but love to enjoy the finished product. Let me know if you try this recipe out.

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Filed under gardening, recipes, seminar, Uncategorized

simplify

It’s ME again,

After I finished perusing the book I talked about in yesterday’s post, I went to my other quilt book purchase: Simplify retro by Camille Roskelly. Camille is one of those “modern” quilters who is building a following on a national scale. She and her mom are the team of Moda fabric designers known as bonnie and camille. You might have loved the very popular Moda lines Ruby or Sky or Bliss that they designed. Camille’s premise in this book is using classic blocks, with modern fresh fabrics, often super-sizing the blocks. I’ve been looking for ways to make some of what I think of as the bedrock blocks of quilting, like a churn dash, or a log cabin, more fun for beginners. Generally I’ve liked those classic blocks in a smaller size, like a 4″ or 6″ or even smaller finished size. Seeing them over-sized has given me some new thoughts. We’re talking really big blocks now, 24″ or 36″. I like the focus that puts on the fabric choice(s) and that some of the “nitzy” work of matching the block parts is simplified for rookie quilters when the blocks are bigger. You can easily make a baby quilt or table topper from just one humongous block and a border. Of course not all blocks will work for this idea-for example I can’t imagine a 36″ four patch being much fun, but how about an Ohio star?

What block is your favorite? Maybe you can make something for yourself quickly from one, or maybe 4, of that block done in a very large scale. What block do you think would be fun to try out for this technique?

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Filed under "modern" quilting, quilt books, Uncategorized

“We Love to Sew”

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

How are you this fine rainy day? I just finished marking a set of place mats for quilting. They will be another set of samples for the seminar class I am teaching this fall: Get Out of the Ditch. I borrowed some hand quilting stencils from our guild library and am adapting them for walking foot quilting. I used my favorite marker for this task: Crayola washable markers. That’s right, the ones kids buy for school. I have been using them for this sort of thing for several years and love it. They are very easy to work with, to see while stitching, and to wash out when you’re finished. It’s actually time for me to start watching for them as loss leaders in back to school supplies since some of mine are drying out and/or have worn out tips. Also time to stock up on the Elmer’s washable school glue that I use for so many tasks in the sewing room. Often is a loss leader at school supply time as well and can be purchased so cheaply that it’s almost like stealing it! For you traditionalists, gluing makes mitered borders so easy that you might be tempted to put them on every quilt!

A few posts back I wrote about Annabel Wrigley’s new book for tween sewers called “We Love to Sew”. (BTW thank you to the commenters who gave me some good ideas for projects to do with my sewing buddy. Will definitely be suggesting pajama pants since she seems to live in them!) I ordered a copy of the book and it arrived yesterday. What a great book for kids! It is written for the tween sewer. The photos show kids’ hands, and kid models. It definitely has very cute, kid appealing projects. For the most part it is a girls’ book, but some of the projects could easily be adapted to be made by or for boys. There are 28 projects in the book under the headings Accessorize, Five-Minute Fancies, Wear, Use, Decorate, and Cuddle. It doesn’t talk down to the young reader, but it is written in language they will understand. Appropriate cautions to get adult assistance are included where necessary. I don’t know if I’ll be giving this book to my sewing buddy for her birthday, which was the original plan, or keeping it as a teaching tool. Maybe I should just order another copy. If you have a youngster–maybe grade 4 up to grade 8 or 9–who likes to sew or wants to learn, this would be a great book to use with them.

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