Monday, June 30, 2014

Measure Twice!!

A hard lesson to learn! I bought the background and border fabric for this quilt 4 years ago.  So when I cut one border 1" short, I had to piece it together...boohoo.  Hoping the applique and quilting will disguise my mistake.
Christmas Magic by Kim Diehl.
Good news is that this blockhead project was successful...I met my goals and now I have all the flying geese done! Next step is to complete the applique.  My goal is to complete at least two corners each month. 

I have another Kim Diehl quilt pieced, but I am having a hard time settling on borders.  And I succumbed to the Primitive Gatherings BOW.  Boy, I bit off more than I can chew!  A very labor intensive project.  
Needless to say, I have lost my focus and need to find it again.  No other progress has been made on finishing all my WIPs. I have some other obligations (another mystery quilt and the Simple Whatnots Club) to work on this summer, so I plan to get back to my WIPs in the fall. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Winner and Arizona Block Tutorial

First, I loved reading all the comments and apologize for not responding to each and every one of them, but the response was overwhelming!  It seems visiting the Grand Canyon is high on everyone's list, as well as going to Sedona. I enjoyed the fact that the Indian ruins scored high as well. Thank you for taking an interest in my adopted state...I was born in California and we have retired in AZ.
And the winner of the AMB fat quarter bundle is Abbigail, who has been to AZ and would love to return to see the Anasazi ruins. 
Brenda is the winner of the bundle of my leftover AMB solids.  She has visited the Desert Botanical Gardens near Tucson and enjoyed learning about the Saguaro cactus.
Congratulations ladies!
I have notified you by email. 

And now for the block tutorial...
The background of the block was made by piecing together strips as follows:
1 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip of AMB #34 dark aqua
1 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip of AMB #23 aqua
2 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip of AMB #32 light aqua
1 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip of #10 dark yellow
1 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip of #69 dark gold

I pressed the seams open.
The background should measure 6 1/2" x 12 1/2" after it is pieced together.

Go here to download the pdf of the applique. When I printed the file, the mountain shape was a tad short.  Just extend the shape about 1 1/2" so that you have a 12 1/2" long shape.

 The shapes are reversed for either fusible or the starch & freezer paper method of making applique shapes.  There are plenty of good tutorials for either method. Here is one for the freezer paper method.  Here is one for fusible applique.  Both tutorials are from participants in the tour.  I used the starch & freezer paper method and hand appliqued the shapes to the background, but you can also machine applique it down.  Here is a great tutorial on how to machine applique. 

To make the Saguaro cactus, begin by tracing the shape on to the paper side of a piece of freezer paper.
Iron the shape on to the right side of the olive fabric (AMB #24 olive) and cut it out on the drawn lines.
Repeat 3 times.
Glue all three shapes together.  I used a glue stick.
Place the three layers of olive fabric on the background and secure with a little glue.
Using a fabric marker (I used a Clover white marking pen), draw a line in the middle of the arms and body of the cactus as shown (the arms measure 1" wide, so draw the line at 1/2".)  
Decrease your stitch length to about 20 stitches per inch.
Using a matching cotton thread, stitch down the drawn lines and 1/4" on both sides of the lines.  Note that the stitching of the side arms stops where the arm joins the body of the cactus.
Using a sharp, small pair of scissors, cut the top two layers of the shape between the stitched lines.  Note that I also cut where the arm joins the body of the cactus.
Spray the shape with water and use a chenille brush or other stiff brush to fray the cut edges.  I find it works best to move the brush side to side.
Once you have achieved the desired amount of fraying, trim any long threads.
And there you have it!

Now make the lettering using the reversed shapes on the pdf found here.

 I used AMB#3 black to make the letters.
I applied them using fusible web and then stitched around them with a tiny zigzag stitch and matching thread.

Hope you enjoyed the AMB blog tour as much as I did. 
Thank you to Clothworks for asking me to help promote this wonderful AMB fabric line!

P.S.--if you have difficulty opening the files and wish to make my block, just email me and I will get them to you! 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

AMB Blog Tour Giveaway--Welcome to Arizona!

Welcome to Day 24 of the AMB blog tour. I am Cheryl, your tour guide for the Grand Canyon State, ARIZONA. I hope you have been following along and know that each of the 50 bloggers have designed a license plate block for a quilt that will be displayed at the Fall Quilt Market in Houston. At each stop of the tour, you have had a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of the vibrant solids used to make the blocks, in addition to learning about the states themselves.  So buckle you seat belts and bring your sunblock...let's visit my state!

My block is very similar to an actual license plate design used here in AZ.  I love the out-of-doors and our moderate winter climate makes Arizona the perfect state for tons of outdoor activities. 

In addition to posting a free pattern for my block and a tutorial on how I made the Saguaro Cactus, I will be giving away 2 prizes.  The first prize is a fat quarter bundle of some of the colorful AMB solids, sponsored by Clothworks.  The second prize is a bundle of the solids made up from my left over AMB fabrics, and includes some 'made in Arizona' products.

I live in the southern half of the state in the Valley of the Sun, which is mostly desert. This Sonoran Desert is one of the hottest  in the U.S. and the only place on earth where the Saguaro cactus grows in the wild. The highest temperature ever recorded was 129 degrees F (53 degrees C,) but everyone is a dry heat! The Saguaro cactus, the largest cactus found in the U.S., can grow as high as a five-story building and hold up to 9 tons of water. I love the pale yellow flowers that cover the cactus in late spring.

Arizona is also known as the Grand Canyon State.
The canyon is 1 mile deep, 277 miles long and the Colorado River runs through it.  Two of the most popular activities in the Grand Canyon are hiking from either rim down to the river or taking a river rafting tour.  Our family took a river rafting tour when the kids were in middle school and they still declare it as their favorite trip ever!

One of my favorite places to visit is Sedona.
The red rock formations are truly spectacular to see. And if you hike to the top of Cathedral Mountain, you might experience a vortex! I did...but I don't know if it was a vortex or an endorphin high from the exertion.

Before the Europeans came to this continent, Arizona was the home of the Apache and Navajo husband is a 1/4 breed Apache, but the kids with their blonde hair have trouble convincing anyone of that fact!  Today it has the largest percentage of its land designated as Indian lands or 'reservations.' Some of the best Anasazi ruins can be found in Canyon De Chelly in the northeastern corner of the state. 
 If you go, take a jeep tour with a native Navajo!  Several Navajo families still live in the canyon in much the same manner they have for many years. Navajo National Monument has a wonderful cliff dwelling and Wutpaki National Monument has ruins that are on the plateau.

Although Arizona has its share of big cities and museums, I have tried to share with you the places I like best. It is a little known fact that Arizona has more parks and national monuments that any other state, more mountains than Switzerland and of course, more golf courses than Scotland. It is not a wonder that it is a very popular destination for families over Spring Break! 

***To win either of the 2 prizes, just leave me a comment and tell me what part of my Arizona tour you would like to visit most.  
***If you are a no reply commenter, please leave me an email address where I can contact you if you win!
***You must have a mailing address in the US to enter.

I will select the 2 winners after comments close on Monday the 23rd at midnight.  I'll be back on June 24th to announce the winners; provide a downloadable pattern for the applique and give you a tutorial for the Saguaro cactus.  

Now drive on over to Dora Quilts for your tour of New Mexico!  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

AMB Blog Tour Collage!

I will be back tomorrow to reveal my Arizona block, but I just had to share the collage that Michelle has put together over at Quilts from my Crayon Box.  She has done a fabulous job promoting the tour!  
Make sure you click here and take a will give you a feel for what the entire quilt will look like.

In the meantime, I am working on a few new projects.  I self control! Hopefully, I will make enough progress to share a few photos.  
But, no post should be without a picture, so...
my granddaughter.  She is the one on the right.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Several Road Trips!

Two distractions have kept me from achieving my monthly inspiration and lots of road trips. Besides travelling to Napa to help my Mom move, I have been to Nevada for a baby shower and now I am headed to Missouri for a family wedding.  My granddaughter will be a flower girl and I cannot wait to see how that will turn out!  

The AMB road trip is on a roll. Here are my collages of the recent blocks.  

Such variety and creativity.  Here are the links for the bloggers:

Kentucky is at Simply Sandy and she has some Jim Beam in her prize package!

Heather of Olive and Ollie  made the Ohio star block.

Mary of Fleur de Lis Quilts designed the Louisiana block.

Sarah of No Hats in the House got creative when she made the Indiana block.

Julia made several versions of her Mississippi block before the final design, which can be found at Life as a Quilter.

Connecticut can be found at Jump Cut Arts.

Finally, Missouri was designed by Jenifer over at 42 Quilts.

You can see the Maine block with a great lobster at Quilts of Love and the Illinois block with its prairie points at the Sentimental Quilter.

Since I will be away for awhile, these are my last collages of the blocks.  You can find a list of the bloggers over at the AMB site.

Oh, and that new inspiration...better known as distraction!
Kim Diehl's new book, Simple Appeal, has made it into my collection and I have started both 'Lunch Box Social' and 'Penny Garland.'  Nothing better than a new project.  I'll post pictures when I have made more progress.  One is a pieced project and the other is all wool applique (a take along project for travelling!)

Checking In!

I have been busy since my last post,  but cannot report that I have accomplished any of my sewing goals. I finished quilting both In the Woo...