Today was our daughter’s birthday.  Although she has moved out on her own, she still wanted to come home for her birthday celebration.  When our kids were growing up, it was tradition that the birthday person got to pick the menu.  Some of the menus that the kids came up with may have been a bit strange with things that you wouldn’t normally put together in the same meal, but because it was their day, they were allowed to make up any combination that they wanted.  So, today, according to our family tradition, our daughter got to pick the menu:  tacos, orange fluff salad, cold cuts, lemonade, and carrot cake.

I guess it doesn’t matter how old they get, kids still gravitate back to their roots and traditions and the comforts of home.  Happy Birthday DD!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

This is a picture of my Mom, taken last Wednesday on her birthday.  I can’t tell you how old she is, but I can tell you it was a milestone birthday and she doesn’t look her age!  The flowers were from my brother and his family.  I wanted to get both the flowers and my Mom in the same picture so Mom crouched down behind the kitchen counter for the picture.

Our weather has not been very spring-like.  The only flowers that will survive right now are flowers inside the house.  I made my Mom this daffodil table runner and matching hot pad.  On my Mom’s birthday, she got to see the table runner as a flimsy.  I finished the quilting today and delivered it to her today as a finished table runner. 

The table runner finishes at 17″ x 43.5″.  The pattern is,  “#144 – It’s Fast, It’s Easy” by Canadian designer Ursula Riegel of Designs to Share With You.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Popsicle Sticks and the Fifth FAB Birthday PAR-TAY of 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to my quilting friends south of the border in the U.S.A!
Today is my birthday.  I am the fifth and last FAB to be celebrating my birthday this year.  We have postponed the PAR-TAY until the new year–either January or February.  With 5 busy people’s schedules to organize, Thanksgiving celebrations, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, we have all agreed that we will have more time to relax and celebrate after the New Year.
In the meantime, I have picked the quilt pattern that I want to work on during my PAR-TAY day.  I have chosen Popsicle Sticks from Atkinson Designs.
This is my test block.  I am glad I spent the time to put together a test block ahead of the quilting day as I now know that I will make the most efficient use of my fabric if I use WOF strips rather than FQ’s.
I still have many fall coloured / themed fabrics in my stash to pull from so this will be another quilt from my stash.  I am planning to make my quilt King sized – 112″ x 112″.  I will need 49 of these 16 inch blocks made from 2.5 inch strips of fabric.
Terry Atkinson mentions on the pattern jacket that you will need 4 jelly rolls (2.5 inch strips, 42″ long) or 50 fat quarters.  She goes on to say that if your fat quarters are smaller than 18″ x 21″, you will have to allow extra yardage.  When I was making my test block, I found that fat quarters did not work for me–too much waste.
This is a copy of the quilt from the pattern jacket.  This quilt is simple but effective–a take off from the traditional Rail Fence quilt pattern.  I have my strips cut and I am ready to PAR-TAY!

Fourth FAB Birthday PAR-TAY of 2011

Yesterday, we celebrated the fourth FAB Birthday PAR-TAY of 2011.  This time it was Pat’s turn to be honored in the celebration.
We started the party in the morning with Pat opening the gifts sent through the mail to her.  I was in such a hurry to get my parcel mailed off to Pat before my holiday that I forgot to snap a picture of it.  So, the picture below has been “borrowed” from Pat’s site. 
I made Pat this bag/purse from a pattern called, the Cross Town Carry – Regan’s Bag by Marlous Designs.
This is a fat quarter friendly pattern which can be made from 7 fat quarters.  This was a pattern introduced to our Monday night quilting group by Leslie.  Thanks for sharing your talents Leslie and leading us in successful completion of our bags!
I included a package of Coffee Crisp Bites in with Pat’s gift.  It has become a tradition this year for me to include something Coffee Crisp in with the birthday packages I send.  We love Coffee Crisp in our house and I have been sharing this not-available-across-the-border treat with my friends. 
After Pat was done opening her birthday presents, we started working on our quilts.  Pat’s choice of pattern was Minnesota Hot Dish by Atkinson Designs. 
This is one of my blocks.  You would never suspect that this log cabin inspired block would become the spiral design of the finished quilt.

I didn’t have time before Saturday to cut my strips so I only finished a few blocks–enough though, that I could see the design emerge when you placed the blocks together in a quilt. 

All the fabrics in my quilt were 2.5 inch strips cut from my stash.  Shop the stash first!

Third FAB Birthday PAR-TAY of 2011

Saturday we celebrated Linda’s birthday.  Linda is the 3rd FAB to celebrate her birthday this year.  Linda’s “actual” birthday is August 10th but finding a date that 5 busy people can get together on line always proves to be a challenge.  It almost always has to be a Saturday if we want to sew, and we WANTED TO SEW!  So a date was picked–August 13 and everyone agreed to be there.
Instead of exchanging challenge projects this year, we have elected to honor the birthday girl and surprise her with something handmade. Gifts were made and mailed to Linda in advance of her party.  Saturday morning, the party kicked off with Linda taking opening each of her parcels–in the order they were received.  You can take a closer look at all the loot received by Linda by visiting her blog here:
Linda is a lover of 30’s reproduction fabrics so I knew whatever I made, it had to be made from 30’s fabrics.   I decided to make some things for Linda that I use a lot myself. 
The first thing I made was a mug organizer/pinafore.  I have one of these organizers attached to a mug on my sewing desk that is jammed full of all those little items you can’t sew without that are easy to loose in a mass of fabric when you are sewing like, a seam ripper, ruler, marking pens, pencil, wooden iron, etc.  The pattern was from a kit that I received during a local quilt shop hop some years ago.
The second item I made was a bag for Linda to take her mug to class or guild with her.  Our guild charges a quarter for a Styrofoam coffee cup if you forget to bring your own ceramic mug with you to guild as we are trying to promote the green option.  I thought Linda’s guild might have a similar practice.  I told Linda that my mug gets washed when I get home from the guild meeting and it is put right back into its bag along with my name badge so I am ready for the next meeting–just grab my bag and go.  I think Linda is going to adopt this process as well.  The outside of the bag has a number of pockets–designed to hold a spoon, tea bag, sugar packet, etc.  The pattern for the mug tote is from an Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine some years ago. 

The pattern that Linda picked for us each to work on after the gift opening was first featured in the Winter 2010 issue of Quilts & More.  The pattern was called Line Art in that magazine, with a picture here: has featured a second colourway called, Skinny Strips, with a picture here:

In true challenge fashion, I was having difficulty trying to decide on what “collection” of strips to use to make my version of this quilt. All I knew for sure was that I wanted to use existing stash–no additional purchases.  I cycled through ideas including something patriotic–just red and white, something Hawaiian–using some of my Hawaiian-themed fabrics purchased in Hawaii, and something chicken related–using some of my extensive collection of chicken/rooster fabrics.  I finally decided on a fall-themed version on Saturday morning.  Nothing like leaving the decision to the last minute!  Because I was late in making the decision on which fabrics to use, I was not 100% ready to start sewing when everyone else was ready to sew.  Some of my strips were pulled from my totes of pre-cut strips.  I did have to cut a few more background pieces and a few more reds, yellows, and browns to complement the strips I already had cut.

Once your strips are cut, this pattern is definitely doable in a weekend.  I was able to finish my version of Line Art, aka Skinny Strips Sunday night to the flimsy stage.  Here it is:

It was another great day sewing with the FABs.  The chatter/conversation that takes place while we sew probably keeps us from performing at peak production since we need to take time out from pushing the fabric through the machine to type-talk, but it is worth it.  Another great day enjoyed by all.