Thursday, December 28, 2017

Creative Journey of 2017 and What's Ahead in 2018

Oh my what a creative journey 2017 has been!!
How about a little look at some of my favorites in no particular order...and some thoughts on the creative journey for 2018!!

Island Ways are Winding has to be my favorite post because of the photos. My hydrangea bushes were just beginning to bloom and they were the perfect accent to the scrappy colored little quilt.

Included in this post has to be my favorite make of the year. What fun was had at a retreat with Edyta Sitar for the teacher!!!

Being part of a blog hop for the release of Christa Watson's new book was one of many new exciting creative adventures for me this year!!!

Frosty Times Four has multiple reasons to be included in my list of favorites!! It has had the most views. Once again--I am loving the photographs in this post. And it is the first pattern I put for sale on my Craftsy page!!

Having an original quilt block--Adventure Seeker--published in Quiltmakers 100 Blocks was a super exciting adventure!! Add to that being part of the Road Rally blog Tour with other designers--well life is good!!!

My most favorite of the year is the camping/motorcycle adventure my husband and I took to Yellowstone this summer. Hands down the B.E.S.T. rides we have ever taken!! The country side that can be experienced from the bike is just beyond words to explain!! Check out the post for how this adventure inspired some creative block designing!!

The cycle ride through Shell Canyon in the Big Horn Mountains was so inspiring that I was so busy experiencing it in the moment that I forgot to take any photos--but the experience inspired this quilt block that I entered into the AccuQuilt Barn Quilt contest this past fall--and it was the runner-up!! This design now hangs in their corporate office for a year!! Super exciting!!!

So what doors will be knocked on and opened in 2018?!?

I will be having a few quilts/patterns available through the Island Batik Spring/Summer 2018 catalog. Super excited about this opportunity. Looking into ways to expand the pattern designing side of my business.

I want to stay more organized and on top of my customer quilts in the coming year. They have been so understanding this past year and I am very grateful to each and every one of them!!!

I need to start an exercise program that works for me. I am very active during the 6 months of the year where my husband and I  do a lot of sort and loading of hogs--but the other 6 months are a bit stagnant in the physical activity department.

I am linking up with Meadow Mist Designs and Quilting Jet Girl. Check them out for more reflections on 2017 and thoughts to 2018!!!

Click here to find Meadow Mist Designs.

2018 Planning Party

Click photo above to go to Quilting Jet Girl

Wishing you beautiful moments, treasured memories, and all the blessings a heart can know!!
Happy New Year!!

Follow me on Instagram to see what crazy adventures I do in 2018!!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Frosty Times Four...December Assignment

Frosty Times Four is my answer to the Table Scraps assignment for the Island Batik Ambassadors
this month. Find this quick and easy pattern on my Crafty account here.

These deep saturated colors of Mountain's Majesty were provided to me by Island Batik. Aren't they
just soooo pretty together.
Since the assignment was scrappy--I decided to make each block in the runner a different color. This worked out very easy by choosing 2 strips from each of 4 colors in the strip pack.

I am sure you have heard of chain piecing---but how about chain cutting??? I stacked my strips on the cutting mat. Then with only 4 passes with the rotary--all 64 pieces were cut out--Chain Cutting!! Works great!!

Then for some chain piecing!!!

I just love a good fabric closeup, don't you?!?
And how about that awesome cloud reflection on my sewing table insert?!?! Just love the majesty of the Lord!!!

Then there is the reality of those pretty closeup photos. Stacks of fabric needing to be turned into quilts, quilts hanging over the long arm frame needing to be quilted, piles of papers needing to be written into patterns!!! The real snapshot of my life!

And the occasional needing to unsew a seam or two!!!

487 Superior Threads So Fine! was just the right color for quilting. I quilted it with a free hand allover windy swirl. Just a nice generic background design.

All ready for Christmas!!

Our cute little 4 year old evergreen trees don't provide much wind protection yet--but they sure are great photo props!!

We don't have any snow yet--that is supposed to be coming on Thursday!! Thanks again to Island Batik for this great assignment. If you want to make this quick and easy Frosty Times Four table runner for yourself--get the pattern here on Craftsy!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Sky Diamonds on the Quiltmaker Road Rally

Welcome to my stop on the Quiltmaker Road Rally Tour. I am delighted to be a part of the 100 Blocks Winter 2017 Issue. You will want to go right out--after reading all the blog posts--and get your copy. You can read about my block in the last issue here.

Or read to the end of the post to find out how to win one!!

I wanted to get some pretty sparkling pictures of my little town to the east of us. A small rural town with 500 people--yet still has a grocery store, gas station, lumber yard, a few manufacturing business, and 2 grain elevators. The lights from town sparkle so beautifully at night. You will just have to imagine them shining between the two groves of trees. Trust me they are pretty!!

Here is my view to the west. Look at all the wide open space. The sunsets are amazing. And the stars at night--well sometimes I will just sit and look at them!! Which is what inspired this block.

All the sparkling stars--Like diamonds in the sky!!!

The instructions are written for foundation paper piecing, but if you have the right AccuQuilt dies-- 2" Triangle in a Square and 4" Triangle in a Square--or for 4" you could use the new Companion Angles 8" Qube-- it is very easy to construct with regular piecing also. Fan folding the fabric helps to reduce waste--and for the time savings that die cutting provides--the trade off is so worth it!!

Super easy--super fast!!

I suggest laying out your pieces before stitching them together--as they are directional!!

Stitch a 1/4" seam.

Press seams open.

And look at those nice sharp sparkly points!!!

I played around in Electric Quilt 7 to find some blocks to set with Sky Diamonds. Here I have it set
with a 50/40 type star. The reason this one works is because it has a similar vibe going on--both are 9-patches. Both corner blocks are split into smaller 4-patch units. Keeping the scale similar but not exactly the same to create some interest.

Here I replaced the corner 4-patch units with plain squares and replaced the plain center square with a pinwheel unit. With careful coloring the spikes look like the giant electrical wind turbines that are all across the state of Iowa. One day this fall it was so windy and the turbines produced so much electricity that the electric company did not even need to make it!! Too cool!!

Here I kept the center element and the colors from the side diamonds the same in each block for repetition. It has a lot of happy movement to it.

Sundance fabric line from Andover seemed like a happy collection to use in this mock up. It has a wild and free, boho feel going on!!

I will end with the quote that was on my Cinnamon Berry Tea by Yogi this morning. This past year has been filled with new experiences for me--winning the AccuQuilt Barn Quilt Contest in 2016 has given me the confidence to go outside my comfort zone and try new--sometimes--scary things!!

What is something you would like to try--but just need the boost in confidence to go for it?

Tell me about it in the comments. On November 19 at 5 pm CST,  I will randomly pick 2 names.
One will receive a copy of the Winter 2017 issue directly from Quiltmaker.
The other will receive a copy from me--along with a small surprise or two.

Thanks for stopping by--be sure to check with all the other Road Rally blog posts and Quiltmaker's blog for other great block ideas and a giveaway or two!!!

Have sparkly diamonds in the sky kind of day!!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Resting Place...creative borders

 I had just the right project in mind for  the Creative Borders and Bindings Island Batik Ambassador assignment this month!!

This 20" block was designed this summer as a result of our motorcycle trip to Yellowstone National Park. You can read about that here.

But the actual feeling or inspiration has been in the making for many years. We were married over 30 years ago and started our life together on the place my husbands' family has farmed for over 60 years and are still farming it today. They do not own the actual farm, but have cared for it as their own for all these years.

Our children were raised with lots of love and laughter in this old farmhouse! So many memories were made here. But one frigid winter night the water in our toilet was frozen solid. It was the ONLY toilet in the house I might add--the bathroom window is in this picture. That was the last winter we would spend in this drafty old house on the farm. We contacted a builder, located a building site and by Thanksgiving were living in a new draft-free house!!

 Now, what does all this have to do with quilting you might ask?? Well, I am very much a homebody. Being a homemaker and specifically a farm wife and been my joy and privilege. I loved living ON the farm place and watching all the activities that go on during the day.

Seeing all the day to day activities came to a stop when we built the new house as the building site we choose was 1 1/2 miles away from the farm place. It is a beautiful place in the country on a hill. We can see for miles in every direction, the river to the east and often have wildlife cross our lawn. 

 But it has taken my heart a few years to feel at peace with not being able to see all the daily activities on the farm!!!

 This year will be our third Thanksgiving in the new house. Three years of finding the new normal daily activities. And my heart is finally at peace with it. My heart has found it's new resting place!!
The place where new memories can be made. The place that my grandchildren know as "Farm Grandma's House"!! What more could I need?

 So, come on inside. Find the place where your heart can rest and memories made!!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Zen....back to school

Welcome to my stop on the Island Batik Back to School blog hop!!

I was assigned the Zen fabric collection--a super assortment of blues from light to dark with a few zingers of green thrown in!! Such deep saturation of colors. They were a joy to work with!! Ask your local quilt shop to carry it!!

When planning what to design with this collection--the thoughts of those calming sand gardens came to mind--flowing circular lines drawn in the sand. I have the AccuQuilt -- Local Color -- die but have never used it yet. ZEN seemed the perfect fit to me!!

The pieces were cut quickly and accurately!! Sewing curves has been on my list of things to learn. 

The colors in this collection were the perfect range of darks and lights to acheive the "Yin Yang" effect.
Say hello to our farm dog--Roxy--who refused to move so I could get a clear full photo!!

Back to school time on the farm means the start of harvest is near!! A time of hard work and anxious worry trying to bring in all the crop before the winter season arrives. Not a very ZEN time in my farmer's life!

How about a little back to school lesson on soybeans!?!

Here is the combine with bean head attached that my husband will use to harvest the soybeans we grow on our farm. The combine will take the soybeans off the plant. Then transfer them into a wagon.

This big auger will be pulled from its' summer holding area and set over a grain bin. It will be used to move the grain from a wagon into a bin.

The grain is stored in bins like the one pictured here. It is kept safe and dry until the right market prices are met. Then the grain will be taken back out of the bins, loaded onto a truck, and hauled to the elevator in a nearby town to be sold. 

The soybean is such a versatile crop. 
The oil is processed out to make many things for our everyday life. The oil can be refined for edible products--cooking oil, margarine, and salad dressings to name a few. Some non-edible uses for the oil include, bio diesel fuel, industrial cleaning solvents, paints, and even non toxic crayons!!  How cool is that!

The protein is processed out and turned into soybean meal an animal food product. It is also processed into multiple human edibles such as soy milk, soy flour, tofu, and many retail food products. 

Wow, that was a lot of information--let's all pray that some of the ZEN from these gorgeous fabrics works it way into the harvest season this fall!!

I am offering a set of 2 1/2" x 34" strips from all 20 pieces in the ZEN collection. Plus an additional assortment of 2 1/2" squares. Just leave me a comment with anything you learned from this Back to School lesson on soybeans today.

Island Batik is also having some great giveaways on their blog--head over there and enter!!

Find all the other ambassador blog posts on the Island Batik Blog post here.