Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fun With The Go! Baby (Lots of Pics)

I have to tell you that I've been having so much fun playing around with my Go! Baby and have managed to crank out a couple projects in short order!  This machine is addicting!

The first project (well really the second project - I'll get to that in a minute) is a fun baby quilt that I made out of Riley Blake Designs, Quite Contrary line.  I used the Go! Baby Tumbler die:

Excuse the folds - I didn't have anyone here to hold it up for me!  This was so much fun and easy to do with the Go! Baby.

Here's a brief tutorial of what I did.  First I placed a layer of fabric on the die (you can layer up to six layers - I was doing a test run):

Placed the cutting board on top:
Then I gave the handle on the side a crank so that the die goes from one side of the Baby Go! to the other,  and look what I ended up with:

And TA-DA!
Simple, huh?  And in about 15 minutes, I had this:

Enough Tumbler blocks for my quilt - about 168 Tumblers!  Amazing!  Do you know how long this would have taken me the "old fashioned way?  Hours of tracing and cutting!

So now it's time to sew and it was so easy!  Because the corners are notched the pieces fit together perfectly:

Which results in such perfect piecing:

You just gotta love when your seams match up so well!

From there it was just making rows:
Sew the rows together, add some borders and you have a great quilt.

I also cut out some repros!  I have a ton of left over fabric from my Farmer's Wife quilt:

I'm not done with the quilt yet, but I couldn't resist putting a few repro tumblers together.  Woo Hoo!  I'm well on my way to the Tumbler quilt that I kept putting off because I didn't want to cut out (by hand) all those Tumblers!  With the Baby Go! it was so fast and I'm well on my way to having the quilt I've wanted for a long time.

The first project I actually did was a pincushion.  I know that you've all seen them here and there.  I did them with the Hexagon Die, and again, it was short work!  Unfortunately, the pictures flew into cyberspace somewhere due to operator error (thank goodness the Go! Baby has no blades that could cut me because I don't do well with some devices sometimes - LOL), so I recreated a little bit of it.  Anyway, here's the pincushion.  I know that if you're a fan of Blackbird Designs you've probably seen them:

Isn't it sweet:  I used the Go Baby! Hexagon die.  The die comes with three different sizes, 2", 3" and 5" - the seam allowances are built in (sorry for the glare in the picture):

For my purposes, I used the middle size - 3".  Using one size out of the three is not hard to do at all.  I simply laid my pieces of fabric over the die area and cut.  There was no shifting of fabric and the pieces came out perfect.  I had some 2-1/2" hexagon papers and turned the edges over the papers and pressed.  You can also baste your seam allowances down in a more traditional way, but for my purposes with this being a smaller project, I just used the papers and pressed my seam allowance to the inside.  Then I zig zagged the edges together:

When I came to the end of the seam I added another hexagon, swiveled the needle and continued on:

It was so quick and easy.  As I mentioned I don't have pictures of the original one due to operator error, but I just continued adding layers to the piece for a total of three rows.  Here's a partial row just set together:

Once your three rows are completely put together, you cut a circle for the back (this is where the Baby Go! Circle die would have come in handy), trim the edges of the hexies to match the circle, sew right sides together - leaving the seam open enough to turn right side out - stuff your piece and you're pretty much done. I added thin twine and a cute vintage button and it's finished:

I think these would be cute using all three of the sizes that come with the die and using different orange fabrics, making some cute pumpkins for the Fall season - make one of each size and stack them.  How cute would that be?

So there you have it!  A couple projects made with the Go! Baby Tumbler and Hexagon dies.  I still have another die to play with and I'm in the process of figuring out what to do with that one - I'll have that to show when I announce the giveaway!!

I can't say enough about how much time this Go! Baby saves.  And you don't have to be a quilter to make use out of this machine.  There are dies for squares - perfect for pin pillow backings, circles for pincushions like the one above, yo-yo's or a circle qult like the one I made a while ago:

Or flowers or stars - all sorts of things that quilters and non-quilters would get a variety of uses from.  The possibilities are endless.  So while you're waiting for the giveaway, take a look at all the dies available for the Go! Baby at Accuquilt and pick out three that you think you'd love.  And who knows, you may even get hit by the quilting bug.  Cutting out all those shapes for a quilt or whatever project you do would be fast work with a Go! Baby!!!

Have a wonderful 4th weekend!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Go! Baby Go!

In my last post, I mentioned that I had something exciting to share.  Well, now's the time to spill the beans! I received an email a week or so ago from Carolyn of Accuquilt telling me that my blog was chosen to receive one of these wonderful machines:

Woo Hoo!  I was so excited!  I've wanted one of these for a while, stalked blogs entering contests hoping to win, but it never happened.  But then luck did happen, and now one has arrived at my door.

In Carolyn's email, she told me that I could pick three dies to go with the machine.  After my head stopped spinning, I finally settled on Tumblers, Hexagons and a Value Die pack with squares and half square triangles.  I'm so excited.  The Tumblers are going to be perfect for using up all that leftover fabric from my Civil War quilts, don't you think?  And is going to save hours upon hours of cutting those little Tumblers out by hand.  Woo Hoo!   And Hexagons - who doesn't love a Hexagon quilt?  But oh, the hours that would be spent on cutting those babies out.  I've given my Go! Baby a test run and I can't even tell you how fast it is to cut these shapes out!  So fast and the shapes are just perfect!!

And what's even more exciting?  I get to give one away - a Go! Baby Cutter and three dies  - to one of you out there in blogland!  I'm so excited about the whole thing.  So while I'm finishing up my cutting and putting a little something together, why don't you check out the Accuquilt site and look at what dies would tickle your fancy!  And while you're at it, sign up for their newsletter at this link - Accuquilt  Newsletter and find out all the exciting information about this great machine!

After I get my project together, I'll announce my giveaway!  So stay tuned!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Stress Relief and Framing (Lots of Pics)

It's been another couple crazy weeks around the old homestead - drama, stress, you name it!  But in times like that, I seem to get things done.  Why is that?  There are times when I don't feel like sleeping as my brain is going 100 mph and having your mind focus on something that you enjoy doing really helps you not think about the stress and drama!   So,  I started two new pieces.  Yes, I know that I should continue with the January Challenge, but after knocking out Sarah (and I did want to knock her out, remember - or burn her?), I pulled out two that I've been wanting to stitch.  Not a lot of progress, but some:

Mary Allen Sampler - Samplers Remembered
32 count French Vanilla
NPI Silk Thread

I've been wanting to start this piece for a long time.  I am having a lot of fun with it being on 32 count.  I wanted it to fit into a specific space on a wall so 32 ct. fabric fit the bill.  Finally, after some back and forth about what sampler to stitch together, my dear friend Loraine and I decided to start on it.  We're going for a page of month (think I'll make it - me who never finishes a SAL?).  Loraine and I met last year at the Shepherd's Bush retreat and she has become a very, very dear friend to me.

Then, when I got tired of playing around with words, I started another A&E (always need to have one of those in the fire):

Sun & Moon Sampler - The Scarlett Letter
36 ct. Edinborough Sand
DMC Threads

This one is working up so quickly - except those pesky frogs came again.  The border is a little bit of a PITA as it's in two colors.  Where my needle is - well, I have to "frog" out all of what I already stitched below because it's one stitch off!  AUGHHH!!  But, as I've said before - I can't stitch a small sampler without those frogs coming to visit.

Then for those nights when I couldn't sleep, I did some slicing and dicing (luckily I stopped before I sliced and diced myself with the rotary cutter):

Oh, those little pieces in the Farmer's Wife quilt are going to be the death of me!!!  But, out of the 15 blocks that I needed to cut out so that I was closer to the Grande Finale, I only have two more to go! Woo Hoo!!  Then I can start putting this baby together.  It's been a fun 18 month journey with this quilt, but I think that I'll be doing a happy dance when I'm finally finished.  I still have the sashing to cut out, but the blocks are what takes so long with all the template cutting.

And I managed to pick up some framing and Mr. Tom the Framer didn't disappoint:

Elizabeth Clayton

I was hesitant about this frame, but Framer Tom assured me that I'd love it - and he was right - I do!!  And I also picked up Sarah:

Sarah Esh

I think the frame is perfect!  

So, why all the stress and drama?  Well, I won't bore you with the drama.  And I guess it wasn't really stress - maybe more apprehension.  I was just being a typical mom and realizing that my son is grown up - my first born.  My baby!  Not such a baby anymore.  He graduated from high school with Honors:

The baby picture is one of my favorites because that huge smile (actually looks like a lion roaring to me) is how I have seen him throughout his life.  Always with a big smile and a great sense of humor.  

I'm so proud of this young man!  He has worked so hard, taken so many AP classes (although the AP Bio about killed him), and he never flinched.  Just kept going and never complained even with all the late nights of homework (but teens are definitely used to late nights - right?  Although I think he'd rather have been playing Xbox).   He set goals and achieved them!  And he has barely given me a bit of trouble over all his 17 years (well...there was that one time........LOL).  As you can imagine, it was one of those emotional days seeing him walk across the stage to receive his diploma.  Then not two weeks later, it was time to put him on a plane to Spain:

All of the students seemed so excited to go - and who can blame them?  Me?  I was so anxious for him, but I survived (obviously if I'm writing this!).  It was hard making sure he had everything he needed especially when he assures me that he only needed to take a t-shirt and shorts - oh, and a change of underwear and deordrant.  For two weeks?  I know that men tend to be minimalists, but that was taking it a little far!  First reports from Spain -  the plane ride was way too long and all the buildings in Madrid are so close to each other!  That's all I got out of him - he's a minimalist when he talks too.  He didn't sleep on the plane and had been up for quite a while and he was ready for a shower and to hit the hay.  He's got a busy couple of weeks ahead of him visiting museums and cathedrals and a five day stay with a family there.  Such a chance in a lifetime!  But all of this is just a precursor to be sending him off to college!  I guess it's time for mom to realize that he's not a baby any more!

Well, I think that's all the news that's fit to report today.  With all the ups and downs of the past coulple weeks, I've also had some exciting news, but I'll share that with you next time!  I think I've posted enough today!  Oh, and before I forget - I'm still having some problems with Blogger and commenting and my wireless cutting out.  Now that all the end of the year stuff and getting my son off to Spain is over with, I guess I'll have to hunt down a new wireless. It only happens when I go into blogs, but this router is getting on in years, so it's time.  It's the only thing I can think of that could be causing my issues - beside the occasional Blogger blips that we all seem to be encountering.  So just so that you know, I have been reading, just unable to comment at times.

Hope that everyone has a great week.  And thank you again for all your wonderful comments and emails!!  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Crazy Time of the Year and Some Finishes

I want to thank every one who left such sweet comments and emails regarding my last post about the Top 55 Blogs for 2011.  I can think of so many other blogs that are much more deserving, but I'll take those 15 minutes of fame - I was just tickled (or gobsmacked, really) and your comments just added the frosting on the cake.  Thank you so, so much!!!

As most of you are experiencing, it's a busy time of the year.  The kids are ending their school year and many are going through proms, graduations, parties and the like.  We've been going through that too (more on that in a moment), but I've actually managed to get some things done.  I can't figure out how, but why question, right?

I finally finished the sampler that I've now named Sarah Esh's Frogs.   I probably should have found a little frog pattern and stitched it sitting on the grass (although that frog would probably look like snake fodder if I did that)!  This little piece just about drove me to distraction.  I don't know why something so small throws me for a loop, but I can't seem to stitch a straight line with these things - frogs all over the place.  Perhaps I have a mindset that since it's small, I don't need to really turn the brain on.  Obviously, I better keep it switched on at all times.  Anyway, here is Sarah:

Sarah Esh 1926
Barrick Samplers
DMC threads and Mystery Fabric (lightly tea stained)

The linen color is better represented by the first picture.  The only change I made to Sarah were the eyes on Adam and Eve.  The chart called for a blue that made them look like some kind of aliens with glowing eyes, so I switched them to brown.  The blue just unnerved me for some reason.  Sarah, along with Elizabeth Clayton are currently visiting Framer Tom and I hope that I'll have them back next week.  

I have also managed, around all the mayhem and fun times lately, to finish up another real problem child.  The pesky Hatchet blocks for the Civil War Chronicles Quilt.  I can't tell you how many times, once again, I wanted to fling these blocks against the wall, run over them with my car, or sacrifice them to the bar-b-que gods!  Or yes, take a Hatchet to them.  I would keep telling myself that I couldn't sew anything else until they were done.  So I'd go down into the sewing cave, look at them and walk out.  Not the way to get anything accomplished.  But I had to get them done - because what appears in the mail - the last installment of the Farmer's Wife Quilt - Woo Hoo!!  Month 17 and 18 just waiting so that the quilt can finally be put together.  That spurred me along.

Farmer's Wife Goodies

So I'm happy to annouce that the Hatchet blocks are done!!  Not absolutely perfect by any means, but they're good enough for me.  After making 16 of these:

I now have four of these:

Civil War Chronicles
Month #2
(shot far enough way so that you hopefully don't see that my points don't all match up)

I can't tell you what a mind burp I had on these blocks which is too bad because I am now four months behind on this quilt.  But they were a royal pain.  Partially because I had to make approximately 138 Half Square Triangles.  And wouldn't you know, that of all 138, I think that only 5 were totally squared when I sewed them together.  So there was a lot of trimming going on.  I have now learned my lesson.  Instead of thinking that I'm invincible and can perfectly piece these little devils by the line method, I will resort to other methods.  Below is the line method:

Line Method - Draw a line from corner to corner, put two squares together right sides facing and stitch 1/4" on both sides of the line and then cut apart on the drawn line.  This just didn't work, so I will now use those tools that are out there on the market.  I was just too lazy to think of ripping off little pieces of paper, but that could have been mindless work in front of the TV, saved me a lot of time trimming all those buggers down and I would happily be working on something.  So in the future I will be using these:

There are a lot of HST's in the entire quilt, so these are going to become my best friends in short order.

I've also managed to start another new sampler, but I'll hold off on showing that this time around because it's just border and borders are boring.  

Now for a little family stuff (and you can exit out if you aren't into the family thing).  My son, as most of you know is a Senior in High School (or should I say was - he graduates tonight).  With the end of his high school years coming to a close, there are a lot of things that go on this time of the year.  One was the Prom.  Here's a picture of the whole group and I show this because I loved the girl's dresses - much fancier then when I went to the Prom:

The whole group (my son is second from the left and his date, Mackenzie, is in front of him).

And the two of them together!  I felt so sorry for them because the weather was absolutely horrible that night - driving rain and it was about 46 degrees, but they didn't let the weather get them down.  The limo came and they were off to a great evening.

Last night, Mackenzie (who is a Junior) came over, saw us outside and asked if she could surprise Nick and decorate his car for his graduation.  Here are a couple pics - not the best as it was getting dark:

Needless to say, Nick was a little taken back to see this all over his car.  LOL

Yesterday, also marked the day that my daughter graduated from middle school.  Time sure flies and it's a little bit hard for me to take it all in.  But here she is before her commencement:

It's hard for me to imagine her at this stage in her life.  I still think of her as sitting on the kitchen floor with a Tupperware bowl on her head.  Her favorite cupboard and the only one she could get into was the one that held the Tupperware!  Now she's off to high school (why does that make me shiver????).

So that's about it for me this time around.  As I mentioned, my son has his graduation commencement tonight, a Senior All Night Party and then next Saturday leaves for Spain.  It's hard for me to imagine him going off to a foreign country at this age.  A friend today emailed me to congratulate me on his graduating and said that she was sure that I would shed a few tears.  I probably will, but I think that I'll be blubbering like a baby when he leaves for Spain.  For some reason that makes the fact that he's growing up hit home all that much more.  I know that he will have a wonderful time and it will be wonderful experience for him.  And he has instructions to bring me back a pair of sewing scissors from Toledo!!!

Once again, thanks to all of you for your wonderful comments on my last post, and I hope that you have a wonderful weekend!