Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Memory Tree

My goodness! I slept almost 10 hours last night. Went to bed at 8:30 and slept right through 'til 6:30. Usually a good night's sleep consists of 6 hours, so this is heavenly!  I think my body is just preparing for the arrival of family. It begins today with our son, followed tomorrow with my in-laws, and then on Christmas Day our daughter, her significant other and my Grand Kitty (IG @copper_kitty) will arrive via air. Fun, fun!

I can't wait! But in the mean time, there has been lots to do, and I still don't know what we're having for Christmas Dinner. Or Christmas Eve dinner. Or breakfasts. Or lunches. See, I'm not exactly the world's finest cook, and so that part stresses me out. Plus I have Special Needs Eaters: one diabetic, one vegetarian, one picky eater, one allergic to dairy. I need to make an app so I can figure out what to fix to please everyone!

So in these quiet moments, I'd like to wish all my Internet friends a very warm, heart-felt Happy Holidays, no matter which way you choose to celebrate the season!  Thanks for following along on my quilty journey - it's been quite a ride!  I have learned so much from following you and my success at quilting would not have been possible without learning through the Internet. Thanks!

Here's a quick pic of our tree this year. It's a conglomeration of nearly 40 years of collecting ornaments, and I love them all! There is a little one in the corner - see it hiding out? It's the shape of Idaho and I hang it for my daughter who would like to live here again. And there's the 1977 Hallmark ornament - it cost $3.50 at the time, which was HUGE money. We bought that and a box of 12 plain blue balls, a bottle of Elmer's glue, some glitter, and went to town making our own decorations that year we were married. I have a good hubby. And down below are photo ornaments the kids made in Sunday School when they were little. I guess rather than a Christmas Tree, it's a Memory Tree!

And here's a pic of the dismal amount of snow that we have accumulated this winter. It looks like a fair amount, but for a ski resort area, it has been melting way too fast, so the net effect is minimal in the valley. Thankfully the snow is sticking around higher up the mountains.

At any rate, I'll stop rambling. Merry Christmas!!!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Sew Sweet Simplicity Block 3 and Giveaway

Block 3 and Bonus Block 1 are being released today for the Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM. We're half way finished!  It's been fun for me to see the different variations Jacquelynne Steves has come with on these blocks. All are a bit different and yet go together so well.

Enough of the suspense.  Here's my version of Block 3:

I have to tell you, because it's in my DNA and I just can't help myself, I messed up on this block.  If I didn't point this out, you may not recognize it. But I just feel obligated to point out all my flaws, lol!

What is it, you might ask? Well, if I had followed the pattern correctly, I believe the points in all the corners should have been the dark fabric.  But some way or another I pulled the wrong squares, sewed them up, laid them out, stitched them together, and came up with what I have here.  In my desire to get through this so I could get my Christmas cards sent out, I did not relish the idea of picking out stitches. Besides - I liked the way it looked! So I left it.

And then I worked on Bonus Block 1:

I think I got all the colors where they are supposed to be, but with me, you never can be too certain, lol!  Here are both of this month's blocks side by side.

And here are all four blocks:

It's coming along quite nicely!  And I'm getting some ideas for quilting inside the centers once I have it all together. Stay tuned!

Jump on over to Jacquelynne's page to download the latest two patterns.  We will be having a "Catching Up" event in January- this will be a Sew Along Day for those of you who haven't started yet, have fallen behind, or maybe are all caught up but would just like to make some extra blocks for other projects. More details to follow, but it should be lots of fun!! 

Now we're having another Giveaway!  This time one lucky reader will receive a pattern for Jacquelynne's Nantucket Quilt and her Sun Blossom Tote. These are downloadable pdf patterns open to US and International entrants.

To enter, leave a comment below and let me know whether you are a Summer or Winter person and why. I live near a ski resort and so winter is a big deal around here. You either learn to do lots of outdoor things, or you hibernate. And when you hibernate, you pack on the pounds and get grumpy, so that's not much of an option. I can't downhill ski any more, but I love to cross country and ice skate. There is hardly anything more beautiful than gliding through the woods and listening to its silence. 

For another chance, I'd love to have you follow along on my blog or Facebook - just mention how you follow. This giveaway will be open until January 2. Good luck!
And last, but not least, have a happy and safe holiday season!


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Quilty Goodness and Giveaway Winners

My goodness, the days are just flying by. Oh, yea, that's because it's December!  Duh.

Here's a little peak at what I have been working on this week.  I'm still trying to get customer's quilts done up for them in time for Christmas gift-giving, and I'm almost done!

This quilt is nearly king sized and exquisitely pieced. 

The center of each block is different.

A very traditional quilt with a light cream/almost yellowish colored background.

All custom quilted.  I changed thread colors in the maroon sashing and triangles.

I had fun quilting large symmetrical  flowers in the center of each different block.

Smaller flowers for the center stones of the large X blocks.

A sea of quilty goodness!

I've asked Santa for a new camera for Christmas. He just scoffs at me.  Maybe I just need to take a photography class to sharpen my skills :(

At any rate, this was a fun quilt to do!  My client had me quilt up a large piece of the border fabric. She'll cut it up to make matching pillow shams. She also has a bed skirt in the works to coordinate with this quilt. What a wonderful bedroom that will be to walk into!

And lest I forget, I'd like to announce the winner of my Giveaway Day drawing.  Thank you to all 131 one of you who took the time to read my blog and comment. I appreciate it!  I polled the Random Generator and lucky Sandra (sandit1) will receive the two Moda charm packs. Congratulations, Sandi!

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday

Monday, December 8, 2014

Giveaway Day 2014 - Jump Right in!

While it's nice to receive, it's awfully fun to give!  And that's what I'm doing today. How about taking a chance at the Random Generator picking your name as the recipient of my Christmas Giveaway for Giveaway Day 2014!

My thanks to Sew Mama Sew for hosting this fun blogging event!  Before I get to the giveaway, let me quickly introduce myself.  I'm Barb, and I'm glad you stopped by. If you can spare a moment, take a look around my blog and you'll soon discover I'm pretty much absorbed in quilting these days.

I have a part-time Day Job, so other my part-time job is quilting for others and selling fun things in my Etsy Shop, Mountain Quiltworks.  My microwavable hot/cold packs made with rice or flax seed inserts are washable, and you can choose to have lavender scent in them - perfect for those days when your body just isn't cooperating with you! And I have a nice selection of quilts and table runners which are great if you just don't have time to make one yourself!

As you take a look around, you'll notice my shop is all decked out for Christmas - just love Red and Green. There's just something cozy, warm and special about red and green that always brings a smile to my face. Guess it reminds me of my mom :)

SO, on that note, I'd like to give away not one, but two charm packs to one lucky quilter!  I have one charm pack of Sweet Pea and another of Fellowship, both from Moda.  I just haven't been able to use them and I'd love to see somebody create something special with them. Could it be you?

Entering is easy - just leave a comment and let me know if you lean toward reds and greens for the holiday season? Or are you more a blues person?  Or maybe you like all things sparkly and your home reverberates with silver and gold? Just tell me your favorite holiday colors.

Followers here, or over at my Facebook page, are always welcome. The more the merrier!

Entries are, unfortunately,  open only to U.S. residents.  Some of you are No-Reply bloggers, so just in case, leave your email so I can get in touch with you if you win! Giveaway closes at 5p.m. PST on Dec. 12, 2014.

If you follow my blog, you already know about another great giveaway for a Wiggle Time quilt patten I have going on through Wednesday. Read all about it here.

But most importantly, my wish for you is to be able to take a few minutes for yourself this month, just long enough to re-energize and enjoy the holidays. You are worth it!

Quilting with a smile,

Friday, December 5, 2014

ALYOF December 2014 Goal

I adore the fall, but my work schedule for my Day Job is so busy with travel and, well, just taking care of business that my quilting efforts hit an all-time low. Especially this year.

But I want to finish the year out strong and participate for the December A Lovely Year of Finishes with Melissa and Shanna.  And I have a good reason - Christmas is just around the corner, and so my long-desired Christmas Tree Skirt simply must be finished this year!

It's been fun to make, so far.  I'm using a 10-degree ruler and pattern from Phillips Fiber Art. And I do like the way it is taking shape.

So help cheer me on - I want to have it finished - pieced, quilted and bound - by December 10. Yikes - that's only a week away.  I can do this, I will do this, I MUST do this.  I've wanted to get this done for five years. I do believe Christmas 2014 is the year for it!

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up with ALYOF,

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wiggle Time Quilt and Giveaway, plus Sew Sweet Simplicity Winner!

December is in full swing and I'm certainly getting lots of sewing, quilting and decorating done. It's all good, because then I don't have so much time to mindlessly snack, lol!

I've got a winner to announce in the Sew Sweet Simplicity Giveaway for Block 2, but first, I'm so excited to show you a quilt that I have made up using the Wiggle Time pattern designed by Cynthia Brunz. You know Cynthia - she blogs over at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. With a blog name like that, who wouldn't remember her, right? And this week she is giving away a Wiggle Time pattern to one lucky winner!

This is a fun quilt to put together and it makes the perfect sized lap quilt. It wouldn't be too hard to cut a few more pieces to make it larger size if you'd wish.

The pattern calls for five fat quarters, so it was fun to go shopping and pull some fabrics together that blended.  I used Kona Teal for the background, and the backside is a very fun light-colored fabric with butterflies flitting around and about.

I'm awfully proud of myself because I made this quilt as a gift for Christmas, and here I have it done at the first of December - how did that ever happen?  I don't question it too much - I'm just happy I don't have to stitch down the binding on Christmas Eve!

Because of all that wonderful, solid background fabric, I had a great amount of negative space to play with.  I used a combination of swirls and paisley designs to wind my way through the background.  For each row, I chose a different quilting motiff.  In the dark pattern row (above), the quilting isn't very visible, so I chose straight lines to give a 'fan' appearance.

A nice, symmetrical floral motif worked well in the light-colored blocks above.

And the light polka dot blocks were quilted with a fun floral design, too.

Over all, I'd highly recommend Wiggle Time if you need a quick, fast, easy project. And if you're still looking for a last-minute gift idea, this pattern would serve you well.

You can find Wiggle Time on Craftsy or in her Etsy Shop.  And if you'd like to enter to win a downloadable pattern, there are 3 ways to enter:

1.  Leave a comment here and tell me what colors you can see working for Wiggle Time.
2.  Visit Cynthia Brunz Designs and her follow her via her blog. Come back and let me know you did.
3.  I love followers, too! Follow my Mountain Quiltworks blog, Facebook, or Favorite my Etsy Shop, Mountain Quiltworks. Let me know how you follow for another entry.

A winner will be chosen at random. Deadline for entries is midnight Pacific Time on Wednesday, Dec. 10.  Contest is open to international entries as well!

And speaking of winners, I'd like to thank all of you who responded to the Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM Block 2 Giveaway that I hosted last week.  After a random drawing, my winner of a pattern set by Jacquelynne Steves is:  Denise P who said, "Barb, your fabric choices are wonderful -- perfect for these blocks! I can't wait to see what quilty stuff you do in the centers!! Usually, when I'm crafting something for a large group, the first one is a prototype -- and I keep that one -- and learn from my mistakes on the subsequent reproductions!! ;)"  WTG, Denise!

Quilting with a smile,

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sew Sweet Simplicity Giveaway and Block #2

How are you enjoying the Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM so far? I've been having such a good time with it, and it's especially fun to be one of the first quilters to get the pattern so I can put together a sample block to give you some ideas for yours!

Jacquelynne Steves is releasing her pattern for the second block today, and to celebrate, I'm having another giveaway! But more on that later.

Here is Block #2 pieced in the fabrics I chose, Soho Chic.  Winter has decended upon us and we've been dealing with snow and poor weather, and so I apologize for the low light in this photo. It really looks so much better in person!

I have chosen to leave the center blank rather than embroider inside. One I get all six blocks constructed and pieced together, I'm going to come up with a nice free motion quilting design inside. I have no idea what that will be just yet,  but I still have time to think about it.

Here is how Block 1 and 2 look together. Pretty sharp when they are put together, eh?

Fun, fun!  I've taken a look at some of the blocks that you participants are posting on the Pinterest Group Board for the Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM, and they are fabulous! I love all the different fabrics being used, and how that affects the way the blocks look. This is what makes quilting so much fun - so much variety and creativity come together!  Take a look yourself at http://www.pinterest.com/jacquelynnes/free-sew-sweet-simplicity-bom/.  You can also check blocks out on Jacquelynne's Facebook page.  If you do post your block, be sure to use #SewSweetSimplicity so we can find you!

And if you'd like to hop on board this BOM - did I mention it's FREE? - it's not too late.  We're just starting with the second block. You have options to do four or six blocks - whatever you have time for.  When you sign up you'll receive a welcome email from Jacquelynne with the previous month's pattern, so you can still participate, and even forward/share the patterns with your friends.

Hmmm....can't forget about the giveaway!

The winner of this giveaway will receive the Wool Snowflake Penny Rug Pattern and Grandma's Pantry Quilt Pattern.  International entries are welcome as these patterns are downloaded as pdf files. Awesome, right?

There are two ways to enter:
1.  Leave a comment and let me know if you take time to make some type of Christmas decoration for yourself in December, or if you are too busy making gifts for everyone else.
2.  For a second entry, let me know if you follow along on my Facebook page, Instagram, or my Blog.  I love reading other quilters' blogs, and I'd hope you might like to follow me along as well!

Most importantly, make certain I have a way to contact you if Mr. Random draws your name.  Leave me your email address in the comment, or make certain you are NOT a No-Reply Blogger.  I was astounded at how many comments last month were from no-reply bloggers, which doesn't give me any way to reply to you or contact you should you win!

The contest is open through midnight Mountain Time on Sunday, November 30   extending the deadline to Dec. 3rd!  And for a chance to look at what the other guest bloggers have made for Block 2, I've included links to their blogs below. They're having giveaways, too! Can you believe how many 'Barb's' are in the list?  And two Sandy/Sandie's.

Good luck, and I can't wait to see your blocks.

Quilting with a smile,

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pillow Pizzazz

My goodness. I am SO glad that we are nearing the end of November. It's a very hectic time of year for my Day Job and I'm always glad to see Thanksgiving on the horizon.

This year was a special treat because after I finished hosting my accounting seminars in Boise, I hopped on a plane and flew up to Seattle to spend a few days of quality Girl Time with my daughter.  And since I didn't want to go empty handed, and since her birthday is next week, I rushed around and whipped up a couple of pillows to add some color to her apartment.  Plus, I squeezed them into my carry-on bag so I wouldn't have to pay postage or checked bag fees. What a clever person I am, eh? Of course, my suitcase literally flew open when unzipped, but that just added to the surprise.

In June we were together in Redmond, Oregon, and so of course we had to make a trip up to Sisters to browse the quilt shop there. Jessica had recently moved into her new apartment and so we she picked out fabrics for some pillows.

I told her to pick out 6 of her favorite fabrics and I'd worry about patterns later (time was crucial as the boys were waiting outside for us).  OMG, this is what she came up with.  She designs fine jewelry and has a good eye for color, but this was such an eclectic array! How was I going to use all these prints, flannels and linens together?

I have wanted to make her something since forever, but she had that leariness about mom making things for her. So this is the first thing I've made for her. And with these colors/prints/designs to work with, I was stymied.  This stack of fabric has been sitting on my cutting table all summer and fall. Staring at me. Taunting me to come up with a plan. Finally, with her birthday coming up, I just dove in and created something.

And she loved them!  She has a bright pink couch, and so the colors in the fabrics tone it down some.  The first pillow I made was the Deer Pillow.  I found a pattern online at Sew Homegrown. It's inspired by a pillow the blogger saw at Anthropologie with an amazing price tag. Of course you can make your own for a fraction of the cost.

The background fabric is Gloxinia by Phillip Jacobs and I simply satin stitched the deer silhouette which was cut from a solid Kona fabric.  The envelope backing is a neutral linen. No quilting involved on this one!

For the second pillow, I pulled some fabric from my stash from the Pretty Potent line by Anna Marie Horner and blended it with some from Moonshine by Tula Pink. The arrow flannel on the side is a fabric she chose, as well as the other flannel on the back. I did some easy straight stitching on the side and top and bottom of the deer panel. To add the true Quilty feel that she was looking for, I loaded the pillow on my long arm, used a teal green thread and outline stitched the deer and filled it in with swirls and echoes.  You can't really see the quilting in this photo - taken with my cell phone camera on the fly!

All in all, a great visit.  Here's a pic of me without my sunglasses on as we were having breakfast one chilly morning at a nearby cafe.

And here's the most cutest, most adorable Grandkitty you will ever see, and she's all mine! She's a very animated kitty, and if you'd like to see more of her and her clever daily quips, she has her own Instagram account over at Copper_Kitty. She's a sweetheart!

So glad to be back and have some time to catch up with my quilting clients and to do some quilting of my own. Life is good!

Quilting again with a smile,

Linking up with Show Off Saturday 

Monday, October 27, 2014

First Block Finished for Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM

This week is the week you've been waiting for! Jacquelynne Steves is releasing instructions today for the first block in the Sew Sweet Simplicity Block of the Month #SewSweetSimplicity.

She's having several bloggers construct the blocks so you can see what a difference fabric selection makes in finishing the blocks. Here's my take on Block #1:

I chose to leave the center without applique or embroidery because when it's time to piece the blocks together and quilt it, I want to do some nice free motion quilting in the center of the blocks. They make such a great focal point.

Plus, I was having a hard time deciding what I wanted to applique or embroider in the blocks. I'm a very visual person, so once all the blocks are complete, I'm confident I'll know what to include as my focal points. At least, I hope so!

The fabric I used is from the Soho Chic collection by Moda with a Kona Snow for the background.

Quilting Tip:  Jacquelynne's instructions say to press the seams open, rather than to the side. This is a little more time consuming, but results in a block that lays flat with no worries about which direction your seams are going when you sew the sections together.  As a longarm quilter, I usually don't like seams that are pressed flat. If I need to stitch in the ditch, the density of the longarm stitches can cut right through those threads that are essentially 'exposed' when the seams are pressed open. However, with this design, I don't forsee having to do any ditch work, so it's not a problem for me!

You can visit these other quilters to see how their blocks are turning out:

This was a fun block to construct and I look forward to seeing what everyone else is making. If you post pictures of your blocks, be sure to use #SewSweetSimplicity so we can all see them!


Linking up with Linky Tuesday,

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Vote For Sparkly Things

I normally wouldn't do this, but my daughter - my very talented daughter, I might add - is a jewelry designer in Seattle and trying to make a name for herself in the jewelry world. She has entered an international competition and her design is one of the finalists.

The winner is one who receives the most votes, much like our Bloggers Quilt Festival.  So I am asking, if you have just a wee minute, to check out her entry and vote for her, but only if you think it's striking and the best! 

It's a joy to see your kids make their way in life. This is just a small part of her journey. Thanks for helping her along! Oh - her name is Jessica Neiwert and her entry is the second one down. It's also interesting to read the story behind the creation of the pieces.

In Jessica's words:  "Voting is now open for the 2014 MJSA Journal Design Challenge! I, along with a number of other fine jewelry designers, conceptualized a special piece of jewelry using a spectacular padparadscha sapphire from Omi Gems. If you like my design, I'd appreciate you voting for it!! Please vote at:

Voting ends on October 31, so vote today - thanks!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sew Sweet Simplicity Winner

Thank you for all the great comments about your participation in other Block of the Month programs. It was very interesting to see that many of you (like myself in days gone by) have not completed some of your BOMs.  Life gets in the way sometimes, what more can I say?

But I'm glad to announce that the Random Generator has chosen a winner for the great PDF Pattern Bundle that Jacquelynne Steves is graciously giving away.  Congrats to lindawwww!  Check your email for prize verification.

The Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM begins Monday, Oct. 27, so there is still time to sign up if you haven't already.  And remember, it's free! No cost to follow along, and then end result is you might learn some new piecing techniques, and you'll definitely end up with a gorgeous quilt!

Just visit Jacquelynne Steves Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM.  And check back here Monday to see what I've come up with for my first block. 

Always quilt with a smile,

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Back To Nature

I've been very busy with my Day Job and longarm quilting for others this fall.  Truth be known, I'd quit my Day Job in a heartbeat so I could more fully enjoy quilting for others. My clients have such wonderful quilt tops - it's a joy to be able to embellish them with thread!

But even with my calendar filled to the brim, sometimes I think it's good to take a moment to just do something for me.  A month ago I pieced together a background and borders for a fun, fall table runner.  It sat in my sewing room for 30 days and 30 nights until I decided this week to just get 'er done!

The batiks for this runner came from a little kit put together by a nearby quilt shop that has recently gone out of business when the owner retired. The batiks are wonderful! But I didn't care for the leaf pattern that was included. I am not a pen or pencil artist, i.e., I can't draw anything worthy to save my soul! How I can longarm is quite beyond my comprehension.

So therein was my problem: how was I going to find a pattern for a leaf I liked? And then it hit me. Duh. I have four maple trees in my yard - why not just trace a couple of leaves from them?

And it worked! I've ironed them on and now, when I have a few more minutes, I'll machine applique around them, get it sandwiched and quilted, bound, and I'll have a great decoration for this fall and Thanksgiving. It might take me another 30 days and 30 nights to get that much done, but that's just about how long we have 'til Thanksgiving - yikes!

And to leave you on a bright note, we had our first frost two nights ago - that's unheard of for our area in the mountains. Typically we cross our fingers that our gardens will make it through Labor Day! My roses are still blooming, and I have new poppies unfolding and daisies and the lavendar is still fresh. So I clipped these roses so I could enjoy them inside. I'm not quite ready for Old Man Winter this year.

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up with Thursday's Favorite Things Blog HopNeedle and Thread Thursday,

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mountain Quilt Retreat: The Ties That Bind

Two weeks ago our quilt guild had the great opportunity to meet at a mountain lodge for a weekend quilt retreat. The 5 Bee Quilters Guild mustered up two dozen quilters to work on quilt projects, share stories, do some hiking and kayaking, drink more than a little fine wine, and enjoy the solace of the mountain's beauty.


Fog rising from Perkins Lake greeted us each morning on the way to breakfast.

Warning:  The following post is photo heavy.  Notice how a good time was had by all!

Can you believe how much I had to take just for two nights? Note: The dog stayed home :(

Fun times were had by all!

 Janet Houts (standing), co-author of Circle of Nine, Quilting A Circle of Nine, and Log Cabin Quilts: The Basics and Beyond, works on log cabin blocks made from Kaffe Fassett prints for a class she will teach next spring.

Needle, thread, thimble, scissors . . . and some good light make hand quilting a delight - oh, look - that rhymes!

Helping one another is a side benefit of attending a quilt retreat. Loads of ideas and good advice.

Ann Lynn shows off her nifty little basket she made out of 12-inch squares, some batting and some inspiration from the little class I instructed. Sweet!

Here's another example of the quilted basket by our guild president. Is she a jester or a jokester?

Concentration is the name of the game!

Shawn shows off the quilt top she started, and finished, during the retreat. This fun rainbow of scrappiness was put together with foundation paper piecing and went together in a flash! Oh wait - do I see another basket hat?

  Speaking of flash, no flash needed as Ann Lynn snaps a lovely shot of the lake one morning.

 Frost or no frost, Rose is out for a morning stroll around the lake.

 This was Shirley's first quilt ever! I quilted it for her, and she finished it up with the binding this weekend. Way to go, girl!

Fun times indeed, and the gift exchange was especially fun. But darn it all - someone stole this little notebook away from me!  Oh, well. We're already making plans for next year's retreat.

Always quilt with a smile,

Remembering All The Little Things

I have let my blog side away in lieu of posting photos and updates over on Instagram. For me, it takes less time, and is a faster way to doc...