Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What a week so far!

Well I am finally home!

Where did I got you ask?

As you might know on Thanksgiving night I had to be rushed my ambulance to the ER (no I didn't eat too much at dinner). I felt like I was having a heart attack, which was thankfully ruled out within 10 minutes of arriving. Then after a few more tests they said I had gallstones and would need them out. I have no idea why they didn't do that immediately, but maybe the holiday made then short staffed people (I am choosing not to dwell on that).

So I toughed it out over the weekend waiting patiently till Monday morning to call the surgeon I used for my hernia a few years ago. I was so upset that he couldn't fit me in this week and mostly likely not even the next week. So he sent me to the ER and said he would call down there to explain the situation. I had the best staff in the ER and after they took another ex ray and sonogram they called in a surgeon. The surgeon did an exam and asked me tons of questions and said that I would be having the gallbladder out right away. Within an hour I was in the OR. Whoever said its an easy surgery and a quick was wrong. I was out for almost 2 hours and although I had the 4 little scars, 3 are about 1 " and the 4th (by the belly button) is almost 3". Evidently it was abnormal and harder to get out. But what about me is ever 'normal'? That was all on Monday so I should have been able to go home early Tuesday morning, since its usually a day operation.

Tuesday brought its own problems, my Blood Oxygen was in the 70s so I had to wear a full mask all the time. It was getting harder for me to breathe. Then the doctor did some gross thing, he stuck a tube down my nose into my my lung or stomache area to relieve the pocket of whatever gasses and goo was there. This finally helped me breathe. Plus they kept me pretty drugged up last night since I couldn't sleep at all the night before.
I woke up today and by 10:00 the doctor had been in and said I could go home! All I remember is trying to call Tim and falling asleep before he answered, but I guess he got the hint anyway.
So that's my story of this week so far.

Plus its also my son Eric's birthday. We had 1 week with him before he was taken from us, but I have to believe that Eric was in heaven watching over me and helped make me better. Its almost like I could feel him with me. As a matter of fact in one of my dreams last night I was hugging him, which to me was a wonderful gift from him.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Craizee Kids

How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was nice, quiet as usual, which is how I like it. We have quality family time, and with the kids out on their own or in college these days are way to few and far between. After the meal I rounded the kids up and took a few pics. My kids are such goofballs, they all love getting their pics taken. Here's a nice pic of them (Tyler, Meagan and Bryan)

Here's them getting a bit Craizee

The last pic was followed by my real Muscle Men coming out!

So that was the fun portion of Thanksgiving. The not fun part came at night when I had to be rushed by ambulance to the ER. I thought I was having a heart attack! I am a first aid and CPR teacher and know the warning signs very well. Luckily they ruled out a heart attack and sent me for a sonogram to see my gallbladder. Ends up that I have several gallstones and need my gallbladder removed. Its been a hard weekend dealing with the pain, it figures this would happen to me on a long weekend where the doctors don't have office hours. Tomorrow morning I will be calling the surgeon and my family doctor to get this taken care of.

So if you don't see me for a while you will know why.
I wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season and new years!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Reptile Quilt For My Reptile Man

Have any of your kids ever become so enthralled by something that it's all they ever talk about. My oldest son, Bryan, was like that in 3rd grade. I was nuts for snakes, lizards, snakes, frogs and did I mention snakes? You get the jist of it right? All he talked about were these animals, every report for school was done on snakes or lizards, which he then read on the loudspeaker at the school. I spent many afternoons in the herpertarium with him so he could see the snakes they had there.

So when I saw Meadow Friends by Deb Strain I knew that I had to make Bryan a quilt with it. I used the Boy Jelly Roll for the Key to Friendship Quilt Along. Earlier this week I basted, quilted and bound it so I had it to give Bryan when he came home for Thanksgiving.

I had no trouble figuring out how to quilt spoke to me right away. I quilted around the key part of each block. I just had no idea how difficult it would be to do the quilting that way. I was turning the quilt every 2" - 5". Here's a closeup of the back to show you the quilting.

And Bryan loved it! As a matter of fact Tyler liked it too, I guess I forgot how much he loved frogs when he was younger. I have a big quilt planned for Tyler so he will not be forgotten :)

Here's a pic of Bryan snuggling with the quilt a few minutes ago.

Have you finished anything lately?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving snack

Happy Turkey Day!

This year is the first year one of our kids isn't in college, our oldest, Bryan, is a working man now so he doesn't have the long weekend off from school. So our plans are a little different this year since he won't get here till between 5:00 - 6:00, which means dinner will be later than normal.

When we used to have Thanksgiving at my MILs, her husband Santo used to make a huge antipasto platter for later in the evening for us to munch on. I decided to keep that tradition alive, but a lil twist. I made it at noon  as a snack and the family demolished it!

Whats on the antipasto platter? Usually meats such as different salamis and dried ham and a few different cheeses. Plus lettuce, tomatoes, olives, roasted bell peppers, artichoke hearts, peppercinos and anything else you want to include. And a few different oil and vinegars to choose from. I used cappocola, mustard seed salami and a hot picante salami for the meat. The cheeses were sharp cheddar, asiago and greyere. The secret to cheeses is to get a semi soft one, a sharp one and something in between. The oils I used were a basil oil, olive oil, red wine vinegar and a really good aged balsamic. Here's a pic of the one I just made.

They liked it so much that a new family tradition has been born. I really think that if I don't make one of these from now on for Thanksgiving snack there will be a revolt.

Now I have about 30 minutes till its time to get the turkey in the oven. My Thanksgiving dinner is very simple...Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, gravy and cranberry sauce, nothing fancy. The best part of making this dinner is that Meagan and I have been doing it for so long together we can whip it out in a flash, we have such symmetry in the kitchen we don't even have to talk about the cooking. The hardest part of the meal is making my family wait till we are all seated before they start digging in.

And for the first time I made a homemade pie! I was nervous, but the friends who live in my IPad helped me thru it and it looks great!

Here's wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nifty Notions Cut For The Cure Winners!!!

I know I was suppose to post this yesterday but life got in the way. So the 2 winners of the HST and QST rulers that my Mr Random picked are:

Amy and Marcia W!

I have email both of you!

I hope you enjoyed this series. If you didn't win you can still get one of these great rulers from The Berry Patch (tell them Sharon sent you) or from Kaye Englands site. I'd love to hear how you like these rulers, I promise they will change your quilting life forever!

Thanks to Brewer for their sponsor love and for helping me share my love of these rulers.

Next month I will show you how to use the Quarter Square triangle ruler and how these 2 rulers work together.

If you missed the HST tutorial you can find it here for the post or can get a PDF version here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

UnNamed Block

If you are looking for the Nifty Notion Rulers giveaway click here.

A few weeks ago I was asked by Jane of QuiltJane to share a new block I had designed. I said yes and was very excited. Then confusion settled in and for some reason I got this mixed up with another upcoming blog hop I am in. So I am sorry if you came here earlier to see this block post. Between my confusion and not knowing the time difference (plus internet problems this a.m.) this is a bit (well maybe more than a bit) late. 

If you are visiting from QuiltJane please have a look around.
I am excited to be part of the Desperate Houswives Quilt. Jane is showing us 100 quilt blocks, 2 every week.

Today I have a block that was used in my first pattern, which was published last week. I call the table runner Countdown to Christmas

I have yet to decide on a block name. So I need your help in naming it. What do you think?
The table runner is made with 12" squares, but I am going to make the block a little smaller with directions for an 8" square to fit into the Desperate Housewives Quilt if you are making it. See the original pattern for the 12" version.

Note - I have linked back to other tutorials I have posted on my blog. You can follow these directions or make the HSTs by your preferred method. The finished squares will be 2".
You will need

¼ yard red fabric
¼ yard white fabric
¼ yard green fabric

Cut 4 - 2½” squares and 8 – 1½” squares out of the green fabric.

Following the directions found here make 12 red/white Half Square Triangles from 2½” strips. Note - If you use an alternate way to make HSTs make sure they are 2 1/2" after squaring up.
On 8 of the red/white HSTs you will be sewing the green 1½” square onto the white part. See this tutorial to learn to sew on connectors.
8 of your red/white HSTs will now look like this.

You will now have 3 different type of blocks.
A.      4 - Green 2 ½” squares,
B.      4 - Red/white HSTs
C and D. 8 - Red/white HSTs with a green connector.

Make a 4 patch using this pattern, repeat to make 4 – 4 patch blocks.

Sew the 4 – 4 patch blocks together according to the diagram below.
Note - C and D are the same block.

This block will measure 8 1/2" unfinished.

Thanks Jane for letting take part in the Desperate Housewives Quilt Block Show

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stepping Stones over the Terrain

If you are looking for the Nifty Notions Ruler giveaway click here.

Today I have another quilt top to show you that used half square triangles (HSTs). I started this quilt in October during the Kate Spain Designer Select Month. I just finished it this past Saturday night at Sit and Sew at The Berry Patch. It was fun letting the gals there help me get the layout just right. Then I took the top 2 rows off the design wall to sew together and made a big mistake. I sewed the top row under the bottom row (no turning it over didn't help) so we had even more fun figuring out how to fix it.

Even though I used a different technique to make the HSTs it still worked with the layer cake pieces. Instead of a 4 7/8" strip I used a 4 1/2" strip. This quilt was just scrappy enough for me to feel comfortable and still experiment with different fabrics. This quilt only had 64 HST, 4 for each block, so it went pretty fast. I found that making 1 or 2 blocks at a time was the best way to approach this pattern.

What I love about this pattern is that the white squares are the pronounced part so the HSTs are kinda in the background, even though they are there...does that make sense? Sometimes I think my brain is scary.

I have seen the project sheet for Good Fortune and the quilt has a similar play on squares so I will be making a sister to this one eventually.

Tomorrow I am guest blogging at QuiltJane...Want It, Need It Quilt! Be sure to check that out! I need help naming the block I posted about so please help me.

Have you tried using a HST ruler yet or are you waiting to see who the winners are of the ruler sets before you get one? You have till Saturday, November 19th to enter. (Click here).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Broken Broken Dishes

If you are looking for the Nifty Notions Cut For The Cure Ruler giveaway click here.

Yesterday I showed you how to make half square triangles with the Nifty Notions Cut For The Cure ruler. Today I have a quilt to show you that had 256 HSTs all made with this technique. Its not a quilted top, but will be soon (I promise). It seemed like it might have taken very long to sew that many HSTs together, but I pulled this one together in less than a week!

Here is my Broken Broken Dishes Quilt. I used 8 different print from Central Park and white solid for the background.

The Broken Dish block is a very traditional block, which I have used in a more modern way. To make a Broken Dish block you will need 4 HSTs of your choice. I made each block with 4 of the same HSTs.

Pressing is always important when putting HSTs together in a block. On some of the more complicated blocks you may have to lay the block pieces out and figure out what directions to press the HSTs. But with the Broken Dish block the pressing is very easy. You press all the HSTs in the same direction. I pressed all of my HSTs towards the print. This will make all the diagonals lock together no matter what piece you are sewing together.

To make a Broken Dish block the HSTs go together like so...

I havent quilted this one yet because I am trying to get my nerve up to free motion quilt this one. Otherwise I need to figure out how to straightline quilt this wonky quilt. If you have any suggestions please let me know.

Come back tomorrow to see my newest Terrain project that I finished this past Saturday.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Call me The Craizee Ruler Lady!

Welcome to the first installment of the Craizee Corners Specialty Ruler Series! This monthly series will feature a new Nifty Notions Cut For The Cure Ruler and will have a tutorial on how to use the ruler, patterns, projects and other info about the ruler. Plus Brewer Sewing will be sponsoring this series and will be giving away 2 sets of rulers a month!

How this came about...
Anyone who tweets with me knows that I love love love half square triangles (HSTs). I think one of the reasons I love them so much is that I have a fool proof way to make them very easily, in any size and without having to trim. After all who wants to add another step to quilt making. After I started using the HST I moved onto other Nifty Notion Rulers. I was amazed at how easy all of these rulers were and how the worked perfectly together.

While at Fall Market last month I met Kaye England who is the designer of the Nifty Notion Cut For The Cure Rulers. The next day I had a meeting with Brewer Sewing and pitched this series. They were very quick to jump on board and a new friendship was formed. So now I get to share my love of these rulers with you! Plus I love the added bonus of a donation made to the Susan G Komen For The Cure Foundation for every ruler sold. always I will be very honest in my review of the monthly ruler. I would not have started this series if I was not head over heals Craizee about these rulers. I have tried many other ways to make these triangles and this is by far the easiest and most accurate I have found. Plus since there is no need to trim it saves you lots of time! Who doesn't want that when piecing?

This month we will start with HSTs. They are the most basic and most widely used triangle in quilting. For those of you that don't know what a HST is here's a pic. These were made using a HST ruler with no trimming at all. One of the great things about this technique is that where the dog ears are shows you there the ¼” seam allowance is.

Here's how to use the HST Ruler. PDF file available here)

Step 1: Look at your pattern and see what the finished square will be. If the block is 12” finished that means the unfinished block will be 12½” It’s the same for these squares. If the finished square will be 3”, simply add ½” to the finished size to get your strip size. In other words, the square will be 3½” which will finish to 3” once sewn into the block.

Step 2: Cut 2 strips of fabric, right sides together, the size of the strips needed.

Step 3: Cut the selvage off of the 2 strips or even them up if the selvage is already cut off.

Step 4: Place the Nifty Notions HST ruler on the fabric so that you can read the logo. Line up the left straight edge with the size of the strip. Notice the flat notch at the top. Cut along the right diagonal of the ruler.

Step 5: Flip the ruler over so that the diagonal line of the ruler is aligned with the diagonal line you just cut. Cut along the straight side of the ruler.

Step 6: Continue until you have the correct number of HSTs cut.

Step 7: Start sewing at the flat tab of the HST. This is your ¼” seam line. Put the needle in right at the top left corner and sew down the diagonal using a ¼” seam allowance. Repeat for all HSTs. Do not pull the fabric, just let your machine feed it thru.

Step 8: Press in the direction needed. I find it best to set the seam by pressing the seam with the right sides together with the top part being the direction you want the seam pressed. Then flip the top half open and press the seam open. The square should measure the same size as the strips, in this case 3 ½”, which is 3” finished. There is no need to trim these at all and there will only be 1 set of dog ears to trim if you want to.

What do you think about this technique? This meets 2 of my 'rules'...1. I will do anything to not have to draw on a piece of fabric without compromising quality. 2. I don't believe in trimming, if it's done correctly there's no reason to have to trim. 
If you are wondering where you can buy a Nifty Notions Cut For The Cure Ruler check with your Local Quilting Store (these are exclusive and not found in the bog box stores), Kaye Englands store or The Berry Patch. We will have a comprehensive list soon.
Now for the FUN part! Brewer Quilting and Sewing Supplies is giving away 2 sets of rulers. The rulers in the set are the Half Square Triangle and the Quarter Square Triangle (QST). With these 2 rulers you can make flying geese and many other things. The QST series will be next month so you will be all set to try that one too.

To enter Novembers Nifty Notions giveaway you do not have to be a follower, but it would be great if you did.

For entry #1 go to the Brewer Nifty Notions page and tell me which ruler you would like to learn about.

For entry #2 go to Brewer's Facebook page and Like them.

There you go, as usual not more than 2 ways to enter!

Mr. Random will draw a winner on Saturday, Nov 19, 2011! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Winner Alert!

Thanks to everyone who entered to win the Ruby Designer Select FQ kit. As you know these specific kits are only available at The Fat Quarter Shop. These kits can be purchased individually or thru the Designer Select FQ Club. I highly recommend the club since you get a discount, but the best part is having a package show up without ordering it. Its always brightens my day! As always a big thanks to The Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring this series.

The number My Mr. Random picked is #14!

Mom2RyanandSis said

Lots to choose from in the coming soon, but I think today I am most looking forward to Apple of my eye!!

Congrats! I have emailed you!

Starting tomorrow I will be doing a new series on speciality rulers. To get ready for it I'd love to know the following things...
1. Do you like making Half Square triangles (HST)? If not why
2. Do you trim your HSTs?
3. What method are you using right now?

Please come back tomorrow, this week promised to be both informative and fun!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Big Ruby Bag

If you are looking for the Ruby Designer Select Fat Quarter kit from the Fat Quarter Shop giveaway click here.

Today's guest is Jennie from Clover and Violet. Jennie and her Mom Clara  have the cutest blog.I first found their site when they were hosting the Embroidery 101 Stitch and Quilt Along. I did a few of the squares with the cutest embroidery patterns and plan on making them into pillows. If you haven't been to their blog yet you should, its among my favs.

Hi there, I'm Jennie from Clover & Violet and I am excited to share my Ruby market tote with all of you today.  In addition to blogging, I have a small pattern shop with my mom.  Our designs mostly consist of original quilted bag patterns, and so far we've used every line of Bonnie & Camille fabric for a different bag.

But, this post is really about my current project, the Ruby market tote.  I'm hosting a Stitch & Quilt Along on my blog, making this bag:

Over the next month we'll be working on embroidering the design on the pocket and constructing the bag {which is not your average bag pattern, but one designed with the quilter in mind!}.  My size inspiration was a medium sized paper bag I got at a market. It is a generous size, has room for everything, but isn't overly large {in my opinion}. Since it is a market tote, it seemed like it should be large enough to actually carry a small load of groceries. It measures about 17" tall, 10" wide, 6" deep, and the handles have an 8" drop. Here's a comparison photo:


The size ties can be tied tight or loose to adjust the bag to a slightly smaller size when in use {or just for a cute, decorative touch}.


The bag also features two large interior pockets, a small cell phone pocket, a key loop {you're welcome to add a metal key fob if you choose, I just prefer not to}, and a tie in the center. The tie can be used to keep the bag closed when in use or to compact it down when not in use. While it doesn't fold up tiny, it does fold small enough to bring along and not have to carry the entire bag until you're ready.


Just in case embroidery is not your thing, here's a picture of the back, and what the entire bag would look like without the front pocket:


One of my favorite things about making bags is that they don't really require a ton of supplies.  For this bag you'll need:

6 printed fat quarters, 1 solid fat quarter, and 1 yard for lining.  I'm using Ruby by Bonnie & Camille for Moda.  We're working with the wonderful ladies at Sew Lux Fabric & Gifts and we've put together a few bundles to help you narrow down the choosing process, if you wish {believe me, it was rough!}.

Photo by Sew Lux Fabric & Gifts

Each kit has the six printed fat quarters, plus a fat quarter of Moda Bella Solid in Gray.  They're available in Sherbet, Aqua, and RubyPlease note: the kits do not contain the 1 yard of fabric for lining.  This is the opportunity for you to select a favorite print from the Ruby collection, coordinating solid, or even use something from your stash to make each and every bag unique!  Another option is to select your own fat quarters from Ruby, other collections, or even shop your stash.

Photo by Sew Lux Fabric & Gifts

Since this bag has an embroidery design {my new favorite thing!}, here are the nine thread colors I've carefully selected for this project.  Shown above are the Finca Perle Cotton size 8 that coordinate with the Ruby line of fabric.  Click here to read my full post on choosing thread types.  If you'd like to use these exact threads {which I highly recommend, they're wonderful!} without purchasing the entire ball of thread, sampler kits are available.

Photo by Sew Lux Fabric & Gifts

Each kit contains 10 yards of each color, which should be ample thread for completing the embroidery design.  Note: a 10" embroidery hoop will work best for the size of the embroidery piece.

In addition to fabric and thread, you'll need 3/4 yard {of 44" wide}of Fusible Fleece {or, you're welcome to substitute another interfacing}.  I've chosen to use Fusible Fleece because it will give some shape and texture to the quilting, without making the bag too stiff, so it can still be easily transported when not being used.  You'll also need 1/3 yard of a medium to heavy fusible interfacing, this will be for the backing on your embroidery piece.  And a piece of sturdy plastic canvas.

If you're interested, there is still plenty of time to join in, and, of course, you don't have to make the bag out of Ruby, but I really couldn't resist it!

Thanks again to Sha for having me share a little of something I love with all of you. Happy sewing, quilting, and stitching!

Isn't that bag wonderful! I plan on making a few. definitely 1 for each of my kids to take goodies home with them when they go home after the holidays. I usually fill a grocery bag up of food for them, so this will be a special treat. Of course I will need to make a few for myself also!

Today is the last day to enter the Ruby Designer Select FQ Kit, a Fat Quarter Shop exclusive. Here's the link for the giveaway. At some point tonight I will be posting the winner.

I hope you enjoyed Bonnie and Camille Week.

The next Designer Select week will be either Fig Tree & Co or Bunny Hill Designs (Puttin' on the Ritz, Lily and Will). Let me know what you would like to see next and if you would be willing to guest blog for these weeks.