Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Blog Address

Ok Bloglanders...It's official! My Blog has just joined the Mother Ship and has a new address. Here's the link. Come on over for a visit...See y'all soon!

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's Coming Soon!

Yahoo! The living and breathing Willow Creek Quilts website is about to launch in just a few days. My apologies to you if the link from here is temporarily down. It's all part of the birthing process! Once the site is up the link will work again and hopefully we won't have too many labor and delivery issues! Thank you in advance for your patience.
This is exciting!
Chat with y'all soon!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Binding Tutorial with "The Binding Gizmo"

Someone suggested I share one of my favorite tools, "The Binding Gizmo" by writing a Tutorial. This tool was shown to me a few years ago by Thea Jirak, the gal who designed it. I was in strong like with it from the moment she demo-ed it. WOW! The idea of having a binding turn out perfect everytime with no scrunched or gaping closures was ever so appealing to me. Now many, many, many quilts, table runners, placemats and demonstrations later it is still my favorite tool...well, really my Bernina is first and then my rotary cutter,mat, ruler & thimble are next...but then "The Binding Gizmo" is Primo!
So, here we go. "The Binding Gizmo" tool is the clear acrylic piece that comes with the spiral booklet you see next to the tool. Thea did a fantastic job giving you 26 pages of great information about binding fabric requirements & how to cut straight & bias binding in a way that gives you the longest strips. The booklet is filled with step-by-step instructions that gives you a fantastic visual presentation.
Once you've prepped your binding (I usually use 2 1/2" wide bias strips that are pressed to 1 1/4" and then roll them "jelly roll" fashion and stick the roll in a sandwich bag to keep it from unrolling), lay it on your quilt edge, matching its raw edges with the quilt's raw edges. Next, lay the Gizmo on top, lining up its dark line with the end of the binding. Put a pin through the binding and the quilt at the end of the Gizmo....notice the purple flower pin at the left side of the Gizmo. The pin marks where you'll start sewing the binding to the quilt. Now with a pencil, mark the binding in the slot that corresponds to the width of your binding. (She has several slots for different sizes)
Next, using the Gizmo ruler, measure 3" above the end of the binding and put another pin to mark the spot where you'll stop sewing after you've attached the binding all the way around the quilt.
Here's the "jelly roll" of binding all rolled up and kept under control in a sandwich bag.
Time to sew! Begin stitching at the first purple flower pin. (I like a 3/8" seam allowance so that my binded edge is full and not hollow feeling)
Here's my bagged binding on the floor coming out of the little zip locked opening.
Here I've sewn all around the quilt and I've arrived at that second purple flower pin...the stopping spot.
Time to take the quilt away from the machine and re-measure & mark for the closure. Lay the binding you just were sewing on top of the beginning section. By pulling the starting end out a little from the edge of the quilt you can once again lay the Gizmo on top, lining up the dark line with that sticking out end. Now mark the top binding section in the correct slot.
Now, open up the ending section, right side up. I've put a pin on the line I made through the slot.
Open up the beginning section of the binding and place it face down to the right of your last drawn line...or on the side closest to the quilt using a right angle. (Sorry I used batiks in the photo!) You'll sew a diagonal seam joining these 2 sections together...the seam will be parallel to the edge of the quilt...the same direction as the white marking pencil.
Another view:

Once sewn I like to let it lie back in position to make sure everything rests where it should. Time to trim the seam. I trim it to 1/2" so that the bulk is distributed nicely.
Press open the seam.
Voila! Time to finish attaching the perfectly closed binding. You too will love this tool!
One other helpful hint: Whether I'm doing square or rounded corners, I always press my binding open on the front side to help it turn nicely to the back. I also always "make-up" all the corners, press them and then pop some binding clips on them before I ever start hand stitching the binding in place. I find that when I do this, the corners are nicely "pressed" in position when I get to them to sew and it makes fiddling with the corners effortless.
Hope someone finds this helpful.
Now I really do have to go clear some flat surfaces!! Happy stitchin' for the soul!

New Color! New Pattern! June?

Almost 2 weeks & 3 Dr. visits later & it's still "a wrap" but in a new color! They say it's finally healing after a horrific strept infection...hopefully it will have an unveiling next Friday. I'm ready for it to be normal again. I don't just "sit" and watch TV very well. I'm really missing my evening hand stitching time so during TV baseball games I'm cleaning out a boat load of magazines. I subscribe to several and enjoy them for a along time but there does come a time when they begin to take over! I need to find those ever elusive cleared "flat surfaces" again!
Look at this mess that landed on our deck last Tuesday, 6/9! We ended up with 2" of 1/2" size hail that attacked everything green with a vengence...poor tomatoes, squash, beans, peppers and everything floral and leafed. Such a mess and so very sad. Downtown Bend ended up with about 4" of the stuff and caused a lot of flooded streets and traffic jams...yeah, JUNE!
At last the "Let-Us-Tote" aka Lattice Tote pattern came back from the printer and made its debut at Sew Many Quilts, a great shop here in Bend.
Gotta run for now...those "not-so-cleared flat surfaces" are begging me to help them out so I can focus on a new baby quilt pattern....Sweet baby girl will be here in just a few weeks! Have a great day stitchin' for your soul.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Issues? A Big Owie!

How did it happen? When did you do it? You did what? Now, I ask you...how many of you have ever stuck yourself with a pin/needle while stitching? I do it nightly when I'm hand stitching. Papa Toad's always commenting..."Got yourself again?" So yesterday when I saw my doctor with my obviously infected finger and she asked the data questions, my answer was...."maybe Saturday or Sunday". I just knew that by Sunday night my finger was a little tender like when you have a splinter so I just picked up another pin and tried to poke it and squeeze! Ok, call that stupid but it'd always worked before! By Monday morning it blew up and I called to see the doctor on Tuesday. Oh yeah, and I had a fever and by night I could feel every heart throb. By the time I arrived at her office I had red lines running to my armpit. Dr. B took one look and said "I do NOT like that....I'm sending you NOW to the hand surgeon." Ok then, I guess this is serious. Two hours later I had my new numb purple finger and sat at my Safeway Pharmacy with my iced mocha waiting for my antibiotic.
This morning the numbness is finally gone, I think the redlines are nearly gone and I'll wait for the culture results to see if I'm on the right antibiotic. Medicine is awesome...so is God! Yes, I'm right handed so for now I guess I'll get a lot of machine work & designing done. Meanwhile y'all be careful out there!
I did finish 3 more totes up last week while I was proofing my new pattern "Let-Us-Tote aka Lattice Tote". I'm picking the patterns up from the printer today. Yahoo!
Moda's "Portobella Market" line:
Moda's "Objects of Desire" line:
Moda's "Charisma" line:
And I'm current with Karen's BOM. I love working with wool!
Ok friends...have a Happy Wednesday and watch those pins!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Are we having fun yet?

Wow...Thursday already! We had a glorious Memorial Day weekend here in Central Oregon. Papa Toad and I went to 3 nurseries on Saturday to load up on plants and supplies. The rest of the weekend we planted our 11 planters and 4 hanging pots. We'd also built a 5x12' raised bed recently so we got that loaded with a few veggies. Living in the "High Desert" (at the foot of the Cascade Mtn. range) brings with it a few challenges. The biggest test is how to keep the veggies warm enough at night when our clear air releases all the heat gained during the day. I'm trying "water walls" around tomatoes this year that are supposed to solve that problem. I'll let you check out the results as the summer progresses. Our day temps are in the 80s now and in the 40s at night.
Having so much fun outside was awesome! Trying to be somewhat disciplined, I tried to go up to The Ark every afternoon to focus on Willow Creek Quilts stuff.....and every time I got up there, I looked around and promptly turned around and went back out to the deck to look at our handiwork. R & R time is good for the soul too...............
It was back to real life on Tuesday when Son called to remind me that we're focusing on getting the website "living". The WCQ site has been languishing in deadsville, poor thing. Now the fun has begun....decisions, decisions, decisions....all in an area that I don't know diddly about. But I'm trying to learn. Am I having fun yet? Hmmm, I think not....I'd rather be sewing!

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm Baaaaaack and Reconnecting!

Does anyone else notice that coming home from a time away makes you want to run away again? We were visiting our daughter and her family in Canada for a couple weeks. We enjoy "road trips" so we take a couple days to drive there and a couple more to drive back. The country is beautiful (sorry, no pictures...the camera was buried!) so it's a fun trip. When we left to come home it was 27 degrees at 5:30 a.m. and we drove through snow showers for 4 hours. By the time we arrived in Sand Pointe, ID that afternoon it was 83 degrees! I love Sand Pointe. Coldwater Creek clothing has their headquarters there so I always pay a visit. This time we also visited their upstairs Wine Bar and had an awesome panini sandwich and a couple Blue Moon beers. Great atmosphere, food & service...so perfect after a long drive.
Then reality smacks you in the face when you get home: Unloading a very full Explorer, laundry, mowing, 2 weeks of MAIL, messages, & then Safeway & Costco. Oh, is it time to cook again? And our next time away is?
Grandaughter Jordan loved her bonnet and immediately decided she needed the rest of Laura Ingels' outfit...a prairie dress, apron & purse. So "Grammy" has her assignment that I need to add to my Focus List! Her brother was happy enough with his remote truck! Daughter Allison liked her batik tote and began using it right away. It didn't come as much of a surprise though because she'd seen the totes I'd shown y'all here on my blog and phoned with: "So, which one's mine?" She guessed the green batik one immediately! (Note to self: Do not show surprise gifties on blog.) Guess I'm not used to anyone actually reading this.
Going and coming I worked on my Wool Garden BOM that Karen (isn't the Lakehouse beautiful?) at Farmhouse Woolens offered. I'm loving it! Whenever we're on a road trip I'm stitching away (witness the pins in my car sun visor!). It's during these times that my design mode kicks in big time so I always have my design journal ready. I sketched a new baby quilt for a new grandaughter coming in July and wrote down some ideas for a couple other projects. One is a monthly project I'd like to offer free here once I get that process figured out.
Time to focus and do some more Stitchin' for the Soul!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Blubbering - Yahoo - Cute Little Kitty

What's with the wind? I really dislike wind with a capital D! Yesterday and last night we had a bunch of it...blew a patio chair off our deck and must've blown some mood swings in with it! When Papa Toad (DH) got the mail he called me down from The Ark (sew room, so named because I'm sure I have 2 of everything!) to open a package I got from my Aunt Shirl.
Opening it, I found things from Aunt Jean's stash and there I stood in my kitchen, blubbering as I opened each bag and had a flood of memories. You see, Aunt Jean died November 2003 from Multiple Myeloma and she was my true Soul Mate. She was only 10-12 years older than me and we'd always had a connection...beliefs, dreams, humor, gardening, cooking and Quilting! Although were were always separated by many miles, we kept tabs on our families, what we were working on and what we just "had" to have! And now 6 years later I could feel her spirit stronger than ever in each little piece of fabric she'd cut and stitched...and yes, even in the "First Saturday Club" packets that were UFOs. Yes, we were true Soul Mates...and I still miss her.

After all that blubbering I knew I had to re-focus so I dove into the "Let-Us-Tote" pattern instructions I'd been writing. Could this pile of notes turn into something I could finally send to the printer?
The magic wind did blow all my handwritten, computer and sticky pad notes together and I think they're finally ready to send off. Yahoo! Then I finished the little kitty purse to match the bonnet. The pattern is "#45 Cat Purrses" from "The City Stitcher Design Collection" by Janet Miller. Isn't it a cutie? Kind of little but so is my grandaughter!
Happy Stitchin' for the Soul....enjoy making all those memories,


Monday, May 4, 2009

Bonnet to Go!

The "Little House on the Prairie" DVD series is a huge favorite of my 7 1/2 yr. old grandaughter (& of course her mother!) So when a bonnet was requested I knew exactly what she wanted. It was easy and came out pretty cute, don't you think? My only concern is that although it's a Girl's size Small, she's such a tiny munchkin that I might have to add some tucks here and there so that it fits her....we'll see.

I decided I also needed to share some other things I've designed and made other than Totes! This is "Aunt Elsie"s Apron", a true repro design from the 40's & 50's that has complete coverage for those times when the sauces are flying and the mixer becomes overactive.

These are my "Summer Pillow Trio" pillows that were shown in "Quilt Sampler" magazine Spring 2008 in their review of "Sew Many Quilts", a Top 10 Shop in Bend, OR.

"All Squared Out" was designed for a monthly sewing group I taught to them teach machine applique one month. Those are pointsettias in the corners but it would look good with Sunflowers in the corners and all yellows/oranges/browns.

Last picture of the day...."County Fair Picnic Plates", another Willow Creek Quilts design that shows my love of 30's repro fabrics. Good thing I have a good stash of those to "use up" so I don't have to "make do or do without!"

And guess what: I have the "Let-Us-Tote" instructions 99.9% done! Now to proof and hand them over to friends to see if the directions make sense. Yahoo! And let's see if I can't get the matching Kitty Purse done today...and oh yes, get that baby quilt machine quilted, or at least get it started. Saturday didn't have 33 hours in it afterall :( .......

Have a great week Stitchin' for the Soul,


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Learning! and not getting Cocky!

Quilting is easier than this Blog Stuff! Here I was, starting to get a little cocky thinking "Wow, here I am blogging 2 days in a row!" That feeling left very quickly. I think it just took me 45 min. (or longer!) just to get the baby ticker thingy added! And Anne even told me how to do it! Whew! A huge congratulations to all of you who have become such masters in this area.

Our 4th grandchild will be arriving in California to join her sister (who will be 21 mo. then) in July. That will be a busy household, eh? I haven't begun to design that baby quilt yet. Sister's was pink and brown. This little munchkin's will be lime green and deep purple. Hmmm, better get thinking on this one. Any thoughts out there in Blog Land? Any fabric lines coming to mind?

Today I have to finish the "Let-Us-Tote" instructions, make a Prairie Bonnet for the 7 1/2 yr. old Canadian grandaughter (found a McCalls pattern #9424 that should do it), a matching purse, and start quilting my nephew's baby quilt.....did I tell you that this Saturday has 33 hours in it? Did I make my To Do list too long????? Talk with y'all soon and maybe I'll have some bonnet pictures to show you!

Happy Stitchin' for the Soul,


Friday, May 1, 2009

Use It Up...Make Do...Do Without...

We've heard it before..."I'm using up my Stash." What a concept! When my mom grew up, that was just the norm and the "Use it up, make do, do without" mantra was standard. Earlier this year I decided to give it a try and use up some leftover stuff I had hanging around. It wasn't a struggle since I usually buy more fabric than I know I'll need. I grew up in rural Upstate New York and we always had a pantry that would last us through several snow storms in case we couldn't get to town. I've always had a pantry/freezer like that...even when I lived in California, Ohio, Florida and now Oregon! I guess my Stash is just an extention of that same thought process. What if I get snowed in and don't have any fabric?
Anyway, back to using it up...My nephew and wife are having their first baby next month and I decided to use up the little extra blocks that came on a Michael Miller transportation panel. I'd used the larger blocks for a twin size quilt and pillow for my grandson. These smaller versions of the blocks were just too cute to pitch so I designed a crib quilt around them. Now to get it quilted.
Are these wild and crazy or what? I knit 6 pairs of these Felt Clogs (by Fiber Trends) a year ago as Christmas gifts. They were pretty in 2 colors but I had leftover yarns from each pair. Last week I came across my knitting basket with all the leftover colors and thought, "What the heck. I'll make up a crazy pair for myself." Here they are waiting for the 2nd felting and then they'll be ready for my tootsies...ever so comfy and wacky!
I promised to show you another colorway for my tote pattern. Here it is. Pretty in Pink and Green don't you think? Now to finish the instructions! (Not my favorite part of this designing business....anyone know if there's a way to put a USB stick in my ear and just suck out the info?)
This one was made from a Moda's Woodland Bloom fat pack I bought at Quilt Market last Spring. The darker version (previous post) was from a Moda's Wildflower Seranade II fat pack I purchased the same time. "Using it up!"
Today I need to make a little kitty bag (out of scraps of course!) for my grandaughter in Canada...I'll get to see her soon. Yahoo!
Have a great time playing with your Stash!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hit by a case of Tote-itis!

Another tote? Yes, I decided that I just had to have a few more...and I also decided my family and friends did too!

The one below began with a cute embroidery pattern I'd found in Branson, MO a few years ago. Actually my "Toby" (my name for my wonderful DH) pointed out the pattern (by Jette's Hanging By A Thread) to me when I was looking for something I could make for 3 buddies that Christmas. I did 4 of the stitcheries right away but it wasn't until this February that I decided to design a bag around them and made 4 of these. Then I was on a bit of a roll and made the 3 bags above for my daughter and daughter-in-law's birthday and my daughter's mother-in-law where we stay when we visit them in Canada.
And the roll continues! This one I made for Anne's birthday last week. This one I'm publishing and it should be ready soon.
I'll show you another color version of this last one in a bit. Meanwhile MSG (My Sew Group, so named because it helps "preserve" us!) meets today so I need to go and find some clear flat surfaces that I've lost! Talk with y'all later.............Nadine

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wednesday What's Happenin' Now...

Anyone remember Flip Wilson's "The Church of What's Happenin' Now"? It was one of his comedy routines on his show in the 1970's or 80's and whenever I hear "what's happenin' " my brain does an instant flashback with a smile. Wednesdays are usually fun-filled happy days at Willow Creek. Being "sort of" retired means that Wednesdays are no longer the "hump" day of the work week since M-F really aren't that different than Saturday and Sunday...other than church on Sunday. But Wednesdays are special. MSG is on Wednesday. My Sew Group meets. So far it's only Anne and Brenda and myself but what a trio we are! From 10-3 that day we handstitch away all our world's problems. Today I'm working on Bunny Hill's "Rabbits Prefer Chocolate" ... 'tis the season you know.

What' happenin' the rest of the week? Well, it's BASEBALL SEASON at last! Steve and I love baseball so in the evening when we're watching a game I'm finishing up "Folk Art Album" ... a glorious wool project designed by Lisa Bongean from Primitive Gatherings. I'm doing "Big Stitch" hand quilting so it's happening quickly. Yesterday I was machine quilting a set of "Slice 'em & Dice 'em Placemats" (Willow Creek Quilts)from Moda's Sanctuary line and a set with some batiks. The pattern has been a great seller for me using 8 fat quarters for a set of 8 placemats. (I don't quite have this "blog add image" stuff down yet so in the photo in between the next 3 is the finished mat from Moda's Hemming House line...and I still can't figure out why it's sideways!)

Wow! I'm feeling a little cocky now because I blogged again before a month went by! Soon I'll tell you about my case of "Tote-itis" I've been dealing with.....Can we ever have too many totes??? Have a wondrous Wednesday!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Mind Will Surely Leave

My mind will surely leave me if I don't try doing this again! Plus I really hate being at the bottom of Anne's blog list...she might de-blog me or the Blog Police might come and rip my page away! So I'm going to attempt this in earnest and do pictures and stuff...just as soon as I learn. But first it's off for a haircut and color. What is it about a haircut that can make us feel like new women? It's so empowering. You know the saying: "When mama's happy, everybody's happy." Well, my version of that is "When my hair's happy, I'm happy and y'all will be happier!"
Talk with you later...but it will be much sooner, I promise.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Learning is Hard!

Every Wednesday Anne, Brenda and I stitch together...and talk a lot. Yesterday I had a Blogging 101 lesson from Anne. So now I know how to "link" within a Post. Very exciting! We tried to bring in some pictures behind my header but CZ (computer zone) was full of mischief. Hence the short post yesterday letting you know that I do have a couple friends! The learning curve is still alive although not speedy. Thanks for your patience. I hope to have this blog become a place of sharing...a friendly place to visit for quilting tips, recipes, and any other thoughts that come to me. Wish me luck as I try to get the picture thing going. Guess I'll need to finish a few things to test my unskill level.
Still not getting the picture thing! For the last 1/2 hr. I played with it....got a picture to move into the header behind the title. Unfortunately it was on its side not its bottom. I think y'all would get tired of turning your head sideways to view it so I'll keep playing!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Anne is still my friend......and so is Karen! And of course Brenda too!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Such a Fowl Beginner!

Yes, I'm such a chicken! And I don't really have a clue about what I'm doing...but it's 2009 and time to dive into this crazy blog world. A year ago I didn't know what a "blog" was and here I am messin' with one! So, be warned...I'll be messin' at a slow pace. If anyone happens upon this, Hi! Please wish me luck and thanks in advance for your patience while I try and figure out how to configure this puppy....where does the date go? or does it just appear? How do I get pics in? Does anyone else rrrrrrrrrrrrreally want to see them? Links? Wonder how that works....and what the heck is Html? I've seen it lots......Hmmmm, wonder how much I can "Google" to get info.......

Yes, I have a lot to learn before I can have a pretty, cute, fun, informative, warm & cozy, a "wanna read" blog like some of my favs.....Cottons 'n Wool, Bunny Tales, My Yellow Farmhouse etc. Oh my, I've a lot to learn and my brain's getting tired already...................