Monday, December 29, 2008

Mini Christmas Quilt

I thought that today I'd show you a little quilt I made for Christmas, with - gasp - applique! It really is cute, and easy to make with all your little scraps. I have a thing for lime green, so that's what made it into my mini-quilt:)
Some appliqued holly and berries topped it off, and it's still sitting on the shelf it lived on all December. I don't think I want to take it down! I have a Spring one pieced, so I suppose I should finish that one up.

We had a lovely relaxing Christmas, and I hope yours was wonderful too. I will be blogging about it over at my family blog later today. Edited to add that I have done the Christmas blog post - you can go read it here!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And the winner is.....

Rhonda said: "Oh, oh pick me, pick me! I love the pink one." So Rhonda, the pink one, and the 2 girly cuffs are yours:)

And just because I had a poor lonely blue polka dot one left over, I thought I'd get hubby to pull another name. I was hoping it would be someone who actually wanted the blue one, and as the random-pulling-out-of-a-box gods would have it, it was! So Sherri, the blue one will be coming your way:)

Ladies, send me your details asap and I'll get these out to you.

To everyone else, I wish I had 24 to give away - I appreciate so much that you stopped by and took the time to write kind words. Thank you all so much!

Oh, and don't you love that I woke up hubby to pull the names??? Just to make this post quilt-related, there is a quilt on top of him!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I won, and so can you... (Giveaway time!)

I have been lucky enough to win a couple of giveaways recently and only now have got around to blogging about them. I don't have any excuse for not blogging about the first one, which was about a month ago, but the last one I just received at the end of last week, and then we had the big ice-storm you may have heard about, (if not, I blogged about it here) and we were without power for a day, and just got the internet back yesterday. Sounds like a good excuse to me!!

Anyway, enough rambling, onto the business at hand. And just a might want to read right to the end of this post:)

First I won this wonderful lot from Late Bloomer Quilts. Included was a great tea towel from Moda, this pretty cool stuff called 'Lickity Grip', and I got to choose one of her patterns. I chose the bag pattern because I think I have a good chance of getting it made, perhaps even this year. Plus I have seen it made up in real life, and it is just lovely! So thank you so much Elizabeth! I love it all!

Secondly, I won this adorable makeup bag from Lisa at Musings from the Mama Bear during the Sew Mama Sew big giveaway day. Well Lisa must have known how badly I needed this. My makeup is already in it, and my old one was immediately taken over by my 8 year old girl who has dreams of wearing makeup. And for now, that's all they are. Dreams! Thank you soooooo much Lisa! I really truely love it!

Now, since I have been the recipient of some goodies of late, it's my turn to return the gesture. Just leave a comment on this post by tomorrow night, Wednesday night, and I'll randomly pick a name to win a little purse which I made. They were quite popular at the craft fair I vended recently, and just the right size to put your change in, or even your cell phone. Yes mine fits, I tried:) And you have a choice....
The blue polka dot one is made with batting, so is soft, and the Amy Butler fabric one is made with Craft Fuse, so is firmer. And if a little purse isn't enough of a girly fix for you, I'll add a couple of girly cuffs. They fit my 8 year old Sofia perfectly and she LOVES to wear them. The pink one even has vintage ric rac. They would make a great stocking stuffer for a little girl. There will be a whole bunch in Sofia's stocking this year. I might tell her Mrs Claus sews just like Mum does!

Just leave a comment, and say which purse you would choose, (you get both the cuffs)and it could be on the way to you in time for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Family Blog

I told you in the last post that I would keep you posted (yes pun totally intended) on the new family blog, and I went ahead and did it. If you would like to check it out, you are most welcome, even if you aren't family or known friends. If you are reading this blog, and haven't left a nasty comment, then I consider you a friend!!

It is called, "Martinez Family Journal" and you can get to it here.

Craft Fair Fun

Our kids' school had a craft fair this last Saturday, put on by the PTO to raise money for the school. My neighbor is the PTO president and since she knows that I do quilty and crafty stuff, she asked me if I'd do a table. Of course I would! So I have been making things for the past few weeks for the craft fair. I posted a bit about it here and here. I didn't end up doing anything with the cute little houses - they are still on my design wall waiting for inspiration to strike!

I did make this wallhanging though... ...and I am terrible because I fell in love with it and just couldn't sell it! It came home with me and lives on our living room wall:) How do you people who make and sell your wonderful creations bear to part with them?!

I ended up making colored pencil rolls, coin purses, bracelet cuffs, and taking orders for the monogram framed letters I make. We didn't have many people come to the craft fair, and the school is quite disappointed. Usually there are a lot of people and the school makes a good amount of money, but I think they barely covered costs. The lady vending next to me does a lot of craft fairs and told me that it's been very slow at every fair. I guess the state of the economy has even trickled down to the humble craft fair! Having said all that, I still made out OK, and sold enough to cover my booth fees and costs of what I sold plus extra, so I was happy. Happier still was my girl Sofia. I found about 15 headbands that I had made last year, and told her that if she sold them she could keep the money. So she sat with me at our little table and desperately hoped that someone would buy them. She was left with about 5, so she was a very happy camper:)

I absolutely fell in love with my little coin purses. My heart broke a little every time I sold one, as I just wanted to keep them all! Especially when I put my cellphone in one and discovered that it's a perfect fit. Luckily I have some left over. So tell me, is it wrong to have two in my bag? One for my cellphone and one for my change?!! I'm sure I could find something to put in a third...and a fourth... And I should say, I was greatly inspired by Kathy Mack at Pink Chalk Studio and her cute little purses. Adorable! And notice the little tags on my purses? Great tutorial at SewTakeAHike.

Did you notice my banner hanging behind us? I decided last minute that I just had to make one, so at 3am the night before the fair, I whipped it up, and I am in love with it! I chose all my favorite fabrics for the triangles and just fused simple black letters. No fancy applique going on here, but hey, it WAS 3am! A few months ago I thought of the name 'Quilt Relish' and it's stuck with me since then. I even registered an Etsy store with the name - I don't have anything in there yet, but I'm working on it;) I just liked the idea of using the word 'Relish', as there are so many meanings to it. As quilters we 'relish' what we do, and like relish in a jar, quilting is made up of all sorts of bits and pieces...a bit of this, a bit of that, and we add whatever we have around to our quilts! Hence the name.

We have had a lot of fun family things go on this last week including birthdays and a baptism. I think I am going to start up a new blog, one where I will post about family happenings. I really want to keep this one more about quilting, but I don't want to stop posting about home life. This way I can keep both going. I'll keep you posted for sure!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Candy Cane Holder

This is my tutorial for some cute Candy Cane Holders I have been making for the "Last Minute Gift Countdown" over at Cotton Spice. Head on over there for some more great ideas, plus more to come!

CANDY CANE HOLDER INSTRUCTIONSThese are cute little Candy Cane Holders that you can use to decorate your tree, or give as a small gift to friends and loved ones.


Various long scraps of red fabrics
Various long scraps of white fabrics
Scraps for backing and front pocket
Scrap of thin batting
Candy Canes of course!

Make a Candy Cane piece of fabricThis is where you cut up perfectly good fabric to make a new piece of fabric!

1) Cut strips of red and white fabrics in various widths. I cut my strips at 1 inch and 1 ¼ inch.
2) Sew together using ¼ inch seams, alternating red and white fabrics until you have a new piece of fabric.

Make a Template

1) Place a real candy cane on a piece of paper and draw the outline.
2) Draw another line outside of first line, adding approx. ½ inch all around, except at the very bottom of the cane.
3) Cut out template.

Cut Layers

1) Using the template you made, draw pattern on the wrong side of the backing fabric. This is your sewing line. Add a generous allowance when you cut it out.
2) Using this backing fabric as a pattern, cut out matching pieces from your red/white stripe fabric and batting.
3) Cut one piece for the pocket. Use only the bottom half of your template, and fold your pocket fabric in half so the folded edge will be the top edge of the pocket.

Sew Candy Cane Holder together

1) Place your layers in the following order from the bottom up:
a) Batting
b) Red/white stripe
c) Pocket
d) Backing
2) Sew layers together following your drawn line, leaving an opening approx. 1 inch for turning. Make sure you back-tack at beginning and end of stitching.
3) Trim excess allowance to ¼ inch of sewing line.
4) Clip inside curves.
5) Turn your Candy Cane Holder right-side-out through the opening. This will be quite tight to turn, but hang in there – it WILL work! (You could always buy the larger size candy canes for your pattern. This will make the holder larger and give you more room when you turn.


1) Sew around entire candy cane through all layers approx. 1/8th inch from edge. Be sure to fold in opening and catch it with your stitching.
2) Put your real candy cane in the pocket. It will want to fall forward as it is top heavy, so...
3) Cut a piece of ribbon approx. 10 inches long and tie it in a bow, leaving a loop at one end.
4) Place loop under the 'hook' of both the real and fabric candy canes.
You and done and now that you have the candy cane fever, go and make another one. And just to live dangerously, flip the template over and make your Candy Cane Holder face the opposite way!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving done easy

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I hope it was as lazy and easy as mine. Just to give you a clue to how wonderfully relaxed it was, I am STILL, at 8.30 at night, in my PJ's. The same ones I wore to bed last night. Is that bad??!

It started off with waffles for breakfast. My hubby wins 'perk' points at his work which we can exchange for goods online. With this latest lot of perk points we decided to get a waffle maker, perfume for each of us, and an animatronic lion for our son's birthday on Sunday. The box full of goodies arrived yesterday, and we could hardly wait to use the waffle maker this morning.It's one of those fancy schmancy ones (we are NOT fancy schmancy people!) that rotates - you know, just like the ones you make for breakfast when you stay in a hotel, and I swear, I don't know how we lived without it! They were so delicious and such a nice start to our Thanksgiving day.We then sat to watch the Macy's Parade on TV. The kids got bored with that pretty quickly, so they grabbed some books and read to each other. It was just so cute I had to sneak a photo...And this next one was when they saw the Hello Kitty balloon at the parade...
Then I think hubby and I napped in the living room on and off. Don't ask me what the kids did - but the house was still standing at least! Can you tell I wasn't in any hurry to make Thanksgiving dinner? I had heard somewhere that the correct time to have your Thanksgiving dinner was 2.30. Now remember, I'm not American and didn't grown up with this strange holiday, so how would I know the 'correct' time?! But it sounded good so that's what I thought I'd aim for.

Finally, around 11 I put the still half-frozen turkey in the oven, and went and played in my quilt room for a couple of hours. I am making my daughter, Sofia, a doll for her birthday which happens to be tomorrow. Yes it is a busy week for us!

Around 1.30 I started the rest of the dinner - and somehow, we were actually eating at 2.30. Still in my PJ's. I guess 2.30 really IS the correct time! The turkey was perfectly cooked - I might do that half-frozen thing again next year lol! The highlight for me was the asparagus. I did it Pioneer Woman style, and I swear it was the best way I've ever had the stuff! Delicious, and so super easy.

So here's a picture of us about to begin... Now do you notice how laid back we were?! Sofia still her her PJ's, no tablecloth or placemats, or centerpiece. This was just about the food!
And notice the papers taped all over the walls? Sofia had written out, "I am thankful for..." on papers in the morning, and asked us all to name something. I thought they would make great wall decorations for a few days.

But the best thing about today? It was the first time since we've been married that hubby hasn't had to work. Usually we've had to delay the dinner, and sometimes even done it on a different day, but it was just lovely to have him around and have a real Thanksgiving. The only way it could have been better is if we were closer to family and friends, his and mine. So here I am, hubby is snoring next to me in bed, the kids are asleep, and I still have clothes to make for the above mentioned doll. We have had one excited girl here today.

Make sure you check back tomorrow as I will be posting a tutorial for Cotton Spice's "Last Minute Gift Countdown". One involves the red/white striped fabric I made in my last post :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More sewing goodness

I have been in my quilt room every night this week. I think it's a record! Maybe because it's in the basement I don't go in as much as I would like. But it's been getting colder here in NH the last couple of weeks, and I happen to have a heating vent in my quilt room, and it's always warm and cozy in there. What other reason do I need?!

Last night I worked a little more on some houses... I think I might just keep these. Too cute! And I did what us quilters do best - cut up perfectly good fabric and sewed it up into a new piece of fabric! Stay tuned to see what this will become...

Today I actually have a free day, so I am going to get off this computer and head down to the basement and dare myself to cut up the Katie Jump Rope fabrics. Think I can do it?!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sewing and winning

What a great week I've had. I won a blog giveaway at Karen Gray Design, 34 fat eighths of Katie Jump Rope fabrics! I hadn't jumped on the Katie Jump Rope bandwagon, at least I didn't think I had, until I looked through my stash last night and found 5 fat quarters. I suppose I had jumped on it, only I didn't know it!
So last night I was sewing my little heart out in my quilt room. It was about 10pm and the thought came to me to go check the mail. Yes at 10pm. So out I go, in the rain, and it was well worth the trip in the rain. Karen had sent the fabrics and they had arrived!! I can't tell you how excited I was. I clutched that package and ran to my quilt room, opened it and took photos of the whole process of course! Karen's packaging was just so lovely and it was truly like opening a present at Christmas! I love her stickers and business cards. Thank you SO MUCH Karen!

I have grand plans for these fabrics. I've been inspired by this and this. Thanks girls!

Now, I must tell you that the day after I won Karen's giveaway, I won another one! Yes when it rains it pours :) Elizabeth, The Late Bloomer, had a giveaway, and thanks to a lucky guinea pig, I won!! I had so much fun choosing a pattern. Elizabeth has some beautiful ones.
I decided to go with something I might actually get done in a day. I'll show you what I chose when it arrives...

Now, onto actual sewing. I have actually dusted off my machine, and as you saw in my before and after photos in previous posts, even swept away the literal cobwebs from my poor machine. She is much happier now. Well you would be too if you had cobwebs swept off you! These are some (mostly unfinished)things I'm working on for our school's craft fair coming up in December...
Ornaments will be cut out of this...

No the girl won't be for sale, but the craft apron with pockets will be...

Our PTO president, who happens to be my neighbor, asked me if I wanted a table. I said sure, why not. So now I have to think of things to sell. I have a few ideas in my head and if I buckle down I might actually have things to sell. It's a fine line between making quality things that take a lot of time to make, hence needing a higher price-tag, and making faster things that can be sold cheaply. We don't live in the poor part of town, but we definitely don't live in the rich part either! The customers will be normal average Moms looking for something lovely but affordable. Just like me! If you have any great ideas, PLEASE feel free to let me know!

The best part of all this is that I KNOW I will have quilty things to blog about for the next few weeks:)

Oh, before I go, I must show you a couple of pics from Halloween. It was a perfect night here in New Hampshire. People were sitting on lawn chairs in their front yards handing out the candy. Most had tables with food and drinks - it was just a big party around here! We have the best neighbors - don't you wish your neighbors looked like this? As for me, we had a Halloween party at church the night before Halloween and this was my costume. I was dressed in red head to toe - even my shoes and bag. Can you guess what I was?! And no, I didn't go as myself when I wake up in the morning....

Blogging guilt

Do you ever have blogging guilt? I have a massive dose of it right now. I know it's been far too long since I blogged. I wanted to, but then a few days turned into a couple of weeks and the guilt started, and a couple of weeks turned into more, and so the cycle goes.

I have also been feeling guilty when I blog about anything other than quilting and applique, as that is the title of my blog! And since I haven't done either of the above for a few weeks, the guilt piled on. Sigh... I have even considered making another blog with just family stuff on it and having this one purely for quilting. But then I'm afraid there would be even less to blog about on here. I think I'm rambling now - just telling you all my thoughts.

I think I should get a 'Blogging Without Obligation' button like Jackie from Tallgrass Praire Studio has on her blog...she talks about it here.

OK enough of the pity party. I have actually been sewing the last couple of days, so I will finish this photo-less post and do another happy one with photos above!

Friday, October 24, 2008

CLEAN quilt room!

I did it - I cleaned it!
Much better, yes?! It took about 1.5 hours, but I also did a few loads of laundry and stopped to read magazines and books as I put them away in that time. Now it feels much better and there and I don't dread going in. However I think I should start putting the cover on my sewing machine - look what I found...

I also wanted to show you these fabulous boxes.
You ladies in UT will probably have seen them. They were all over the place when I was there this Summer. All the shops there were packing their kits in them and tying them up with pretty bows. My MIL, Carmen, and I went to Xpedex and they had hundreds of them. I had to think hard about how many to get since I knew I'd have to bring them all the way back to NH. I got 3 of each of the 2 sizes. Don't ask my MIL how many she got. It might be rather embarrassing for her lol! But she loves them and is making wonderful use of them. I'd love to find a local source. They're just so handy to have around, expecially because they stack wonderfully.

I'd encourage you to read one of my MIL's blogs, Quilt Stories Become Me. She is writing about the stories behind the quilts she makes, and it's so interesting. A real treasure for our family. You should in particular read this one - I make a starring role in it! The particular project she is talking about is the cleaning out of her living room which we took on this Summer when I stayed with her. My MIL is a quilter of unparalled proportions. You have NEVER seen a stash like hers. But I swear, she knows where every little scrap lays hidden. She mostly uses it to make charity quilts. That woman has a heart of gold and I really lucked out in the Mother In Law department:)