Sunday, January 29, 2012

A week of surgery, beginning recovery and as always a little applique . . .

I live in Glen Carbon, Illinois, USA, which is just a short distance from St. Louis, MO, USA.  Every time my husband and I go into the city we are greeted by the St. Louis Arch, one of my favorite landmarks. 

This past Monday, January 23rd, we drove into St. Louis because I was scheduled for surgery at Barnes Jewish Hospital (BJH) on Tuesday, January 24th.  We only live about 20 minutes outside of the city but decided to spend the night as I had to be at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. CST for a total hip replacement. 

Like a loyal friend, the beautiful Arch greeted us as we drove past it on our way to the hospital. 

I arrived at BJH on time the next day and was taken back to the presurgical holding area and prepped for surgery.  I don't think anyone looks forward to surgery.  There is always a little apprehension no matter what you are having done.    So, I was a little nervous but once I got back into the preop area, my nerves were put at ease by a very friendly, caring staff who more than reassured me about everything.  BJH is a huge hospital and the campus is also home to Washington University. 

Barnes Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
The building on the left is South Campus, and it is where I had my surgery. 

The entrance to the hospital is shown to the right.  When stepping inside, you would think that you were visiting a nice hotel as there is a beautiful water fountain and you are greeted by the aroma of freshly ground Starbuck's coffee.  It really is a gorgeous campus with a staff that, in my opinion, is second to none.

Dr. Robert Barrack is the surgeon who completed my surgery, and it was a great success.  I cannot say enough for Dr. Barrack and his entire staff.  They were very thorough from start to finish and everything proceeded exactly as planned. 

Do I let a little thing like surgery get in the way of my applique ~ never!!  The day after surgery I got out the first block for my Roseville Album quilt and worked on it.  My progress to date is that I am about half way finished with the first block.  The basket is finished and I am now looking forward to stitching the stems, flowers and leaves.  It is such fun working with Kaffe Fasset fabrics and this really is turning out to be the pefect project for me to focus on during my recuperation.  Hopefully by next Sunday, I will have this block complete and will have already begun my second Roseville Album block.
Thanks for stopping by and may you always find a little time every day to work on something or experience something that brings you joy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The journey begins . . .

In the past couple of days I received my Roseville Album pattern and background fabric as well as various Kaffe fabrics I ordered for the blocks.  To say I am excited about this project is an understatement!!  I immediately started pressing my fabrics and cutting background squares for the blocks.

 I decided to start my Roseville jouney with this block: 

I am using Kim's Roseville Album quilt as a guide in selecting my fabrics.  My quilt will not be identical to hers but close.  So far, I have the left and right basket handles finished on the above block and today will start on the basket weave pieces, flower stems and hopefully some flowers. 

As I said in past posts, these fabrics and this pattern are really going outside the box for me and I am loving it so far!  In the past months I have been using a lot of Civil War reproduction fabrics in my projects as well as vintage-looking pastels in other projects.  So, the wonderful, bright, bold designs of Kaffe Fassett's fabrics is a welcomed change and just might be the beginning of a entire new direction for me and my quilts.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The 15 Minute Challenge

Since I've entered the world of blogging, I have been reading other blogs and ran across the 15 Minute Challenge on a blog called 'Life in Pieces.'  The idea is to spend 15 minutes a day sewing on a project and then keep track of your results.  If you set this as your goal and do your best to stick-to-it, you will probably be surprised by how much you can actually get done.  I like this idea, and I am planning to try it.

Setting goals for ourselves is a good thing, and seeing WIPs and UFOs getting smaller is even better.  You will see the button for this challenge on the left side of my blog.  If you click on it, you will be taken to the 'Life in Pieces' blog where the code for the button is available.  I hope you will join me with this challenge and vow to spend at least 15 minutes a day sewing or working on your projects.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Roseville Album

Roseville Album by Kim McLean
In the last few weeks I have been more and more drawn to Kim McLean's designs, and her pattern Roseville Album is no exception.  Why?  Because it not only uses the beautiful Kaffe Fassett fabrics creatively but it is also a challenging design.  I need a challenge.  I need a change.  I have become very bored with working with the vintage-looking fabrics that I am using for my Vintage Valentine quilt.  Don't get me wrong . . . I enjoy using these fabrics and can't think of any kind of fabric that would better suit my Vintage Valentine quilt.  I am just at a point where I feel I need a  break from it.  So, a couple of days ago I ordered Kim's Roseville Album quilt for the reasons stated above and one other reason.

One week from today I am undergoing a surgery that usually happens to people in their late 70s or early 80s.  I am in my 50s and had my first total hip replacement when I turned 50 which was 4 years ago.  I am now having my right hip replaced ~ ugh!  I know it will be worth it in the end not having to deal with the daily pain but the recuperation process is about 12 weeks.  Having said that, I need a hand project that uses bright, cheery colors to brighten my days following surgery.
Kaffe Fassett Reds
Kaffe Fassett Best Sellers
Of course after purchasing a new pattern, I have yet another excuse to go fabric shopping : )  Since my hip keeps me rather grounded, I could not go to my local quilt shop so did some fabric shopping on the Internet.  I am just loving looking at all of the beautiful Kaffe fabrics and so far have chosen these FQ packs.
Kaffe Fassett Blues
Then I had to choose a background fabric, which wasn't easy.  The pattern calls for 9-1/2 yards of background fabric ~ yikes!  Every time I would find a fabric I liked, there wasn't enough of it left on the bolt.  So I searched . . . and searched . . . and searched.  Luck was on my side when I found the original fabric Kim used in her quilt ~ Kaffe Spots in Sprout ~ and you'll never guess where! 
Kaffe Fassett Spots ~ Sprout
At Jimmy Beans Wool of all places!  This is my 'go-to' place for all of my knitting supplies, and I had no idea that they also carry fabric ~ mainly Kaffe Fassett.  Jimmy Beans Wool is located in Reno, NV, and they have the best customer service ever.  I usually get my order a day or two after placing it.

I am hoping that this holds true this time for sure because I want to get some blocks prepped so they will be waiting for me after my surgery.

While I'm not too excited about my upcoming surgery, I am very excited about beginning this new project and will share my progress with you along the way.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Finishing Projects

Last night I took the last stitches in the binding of the T-shirt quilt I am making for a friend.  The quilt is pictured in my post titled "Quilt Bindings" below.  It's always a great feeling of accomplishment to finish an entire quilt.  So now I'm ready to get back to an applique project that I really want to finish this year.

I fell in love with Verna Mosquera's Vintage Valentine quilt in the Summer of 2004 . . . yes, I just said 2004!  When I first started this quilt, I purchased fabrics that were similar to Verna's but also wanted to add a little black.  As I started stitching the blocks, I wasn't liking it as much as I thought I would.  Prior to coming to this realization I had already completed 5 blocks!!  These will now become a wallhanging or pillows.  In the Winter of 2008, I saw another version of Verna's quilt at Shabby Fabrics and really liked their color choices as well as the way they handled the white flowers ~ using wool felt with a blanket stitch in dusty rose silk instead of just fabric.  To me, this gives the quilt more dimension.  My husband, Tom, was nice enough to get the entire fabric kit for me for Christmas that year and I started making my blocks.

My Block 1
I now have almost 9 blocks complete and presently finishing up block 12.  This will leave me with only 2 blocks and the medallion to finish.  My eyes have already started wandering to other projects as I expressed below in my "Changing Directions" post, and I am trying very hard to stay focused and finish my Vintage Valentine quilt. 

My Block 3
Here are 3 of my blocks showing the different backgrounds that I am using. 

My Block 11
The other neat thing that Shabby Fabrics had going on in 2008 was an embellishment kit to go along with the fabric.  In the embellishment kit were fabric covered buttons for the middle of each flower, pearls to add to some of the flower's leaves as well as beads to use for the bird's eyes.  Once again, this gives the quilt more dimension and in my opinion makes it a little more special.

On January 24th, I am having hip surgery and afterwards will have a good 6 weeks of downtown so I am hoping that I can use this time to finish up the other 2 blocks and medallion.  Remember, I do have quilters ADD so staying focused on this will be a huge accomplishment for me because there's a little voice in my brain that keeps repeating  . . . "You know you really want to start a Kim McLean pattern."

Stay tuned . . .

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Changing Directions

Flower Basket Medallion by Kim McLean
I have a Yahoo group that is dedicated to applique called The Applique Boutique.  It is a small group of cyber friends that I have gotten to know over the years, and we all share a passion for applique.  I enjoy my group so much for many reasons.  One reason being the fact that while we have many similarities, we also have differences in fabric tastes, styles, etc. 

When I first discovered Kaffe Fassett fabrics, I didn't know what to think.  I really liked the vibrant colors but wasn't so crazy about the large prints of his fabrics.  Even though I liked the vibrant colors, I didn't think that I would ever want to use them in my quilts because I was a more conservative, traditional quilter.  Well thanks to Kim McLean's patterns and seeing the work of those who use Kaffe's fabrics in my applique group, that is changing.  The picture above is from Kim's quilt called Flower Basket Medallion.  I keep going back to the Glorious Color website, to revisit this quilt.  It speaks to me.  And I have a feeling that before this month is over, I will be ordering it!

At the 1933 World's Fair, Anne Orr won 4th place for her quilt, Autumn Leaves, in the Sears Roebuck & Co. National Quilt Contest. Kim McLean made her version of Anne's quilt in Kaffe's fabrics, which is very striking. Both of these quilts are pictured below . . . which one is your favorite?

Autumn Leaves by Anne Orr, 1933 World's Fair
Leaves Quilt by Kim McLean

While I really love Anne's quilt, I am more drawn to Kim's version.  A few years ago, my choice whold have been the opposite.  So, today, I've been thinking about how I have evolved as a quilter, and I'm pretty sure that quilts in my future will have brighter, more vivid colors ala Kaffe Fassett!

Wishing all of you a great day full of creative visions : )

Monday, January 9, 2012

Quilt Bindings

I've finished quilting a T-shirt quilt that I am making for a friend and am now stiching down the binding and so looking forward to having it finished.

I enjoy everything about quilting with one exception . . . bindings! I don't mind sewing the binding to the top with my sewing machine but having to stitch the binding to the back is another story. You would think that since I love applique and hand stitching that I would enjoy this process. I guess for me it takes me forever and it is just so boring because neither the shape nor the fabrics change. I don't care for bindings that are machine stitched to the back because, IMO, a hand stitched finish gives a much cleaner finish. With that being said, I will have to find a way to enjoy this process a little more than I currently do!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Quilting Plans for 2012

Happy New Year everyone! This is my very first blog post, and I decided to start out by sharing my sewing plans for the new year. Every year I think that I have to at least finish one UFO and, unforutnately, this doesn't happen. What does happen is that I start a lot of new projects and my ongoing projects from the year before are added to my over-growing UFO collection. While I can't promise that I am going to dig through my old UFOs and finish one of them, I can say that I am going to finish things that were started in 2011.
I started the Greetings from Elm Creek Manor BOM in April 2011. I was lucky to find a lot of the fabrics that Jennifer Chiaverini used in hers which is pictured here. Only 3 more blocks to make and I'll have them finished.
Another quilt that I look forward to completing this year is my Sylvia's Bridal Sampler. I began this quilt in 2007 and since beginning changed my mind about fabric selection so a lot of the blocks were done over. I am using all Jinny Beyer fabrics and took colors from one of her border fabrics called Monticello. It is a pretty fabric line that is now retired. Here's a quilt that Jinny designed using these fabrics:
All of my SBS blocks are done using the above colors, and I will be using the same inner and outer borders as pictured above. I'm hoping it turns out as nice as Jinny's Monticello!
I have a passion for hand applique and also planning to finish Vintage Valentine, a Verna Mosquera pattern. For this one, I have to finish 3 more blocks plus the medallion, which is pretty big and will definitely take awhile!
So, it looks like my quilting plate is full!! I hope I can stay on track and finish these quilts before starting something new . . . time will tell!
Thanks for sharing part of your day with me : )