Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Slice Of Country Charmer

Well here we are!  One whole month of 2013 is already in the history books!
January has been nothing short of frigid in my little corner of the planet.  It's been a perfect time to hide myself away and plan, and cut and sew.  And sew I have.  I took my time making my fabric selection.  I mentioned during my quandry about what color arrangement to go with for Country Charmer, that I might pull some Autumn fabric from the Underground Stash Storage Facility.  I did...I hauled it up and I hauled it back down...and two days later...I hauled it up again.  I love Autumn and Harvest and Pumpkins and Changing Colors. I loved the distraction those warm colors gave me when it was so cold that I had become convinced that my face would have frozen off had the 3 minute walk from the back door at work out to my car parked in the Frozen North Forty been 2 steps further.  It also seemed appropriate that I honor my first face to face meeting with Lynn Wilder last September by selecting an Autumn theme for this Sew'n Wild Oaks design of hers.
So, I filled my fancy schmancy pizza box with bits and pieces...1272 of them to be exact...carefully stacked and double checked to be sure that they filled the lines of Lynns perfect piecing layout template exactly.  I spent hours upon hours picking, auditioning and laying out fabric selections to be as close as possible to true love as one can be with 24 scrappy autumnal, but not too matchy-matchy blocks.  There are some the center block...and yet, time will reveal that there will be some changes here as well.  My background is also the same cream crackle print throughout.
Photography became a little bit of a challenge as my autumn oranges wanted to glare like a clown streaking across a circus tent with his frizzy wig on fire!  Trust me...that orange is not as flaming as it looks! 
Then I began to sew. I wanted to make a test block, just to be certain I was on the right track.  The first block went together like a dream.  I was soooo proud of myself that I nearly dislocated my shoulder patting myself on the back!  Like a bag of potato chips...I just had to make one more to see how cute it was gonna be!  Karma!  Block 2 became an exercise in seam ripping.  I spent 3 hours trying to whip that little 9-patch into perfection.  I finished it...for now...still gonna rip it out and try and get closer to 8.5 inches square, rather than the 8.25 inches that it seems determined to want to matter how many times I squash it!  I swear, that block is as obstinant as that little patch of my bangs that, even with my best blowdrying techniques, wants to stick straight out in front, shading my left eye for the remainder of the day!
Anyhow,  I've decided not to attack block 2 again...yet...I'm going into serious mental and physical training before going there again.   For now, I'm distracting myself with a little chain piecing therapy.
I also gave up on pretty new cameras ability to take a non-glare photo.  I went back to old black reliable with the sticky retractable lens cover, until I've had more opportunity to become familiar with the settings on the cute new fashionably burgundy one.
Just one more note of importance.  I am blessed with a husband who doesn't mind accompanying me to quilt shops and shows, he appreciates and admires our Works of Heart.
He laughed as hard as I did, maybe harder, through one of Mary Ellen Hopkins lectures in Sisters many, many years ago.
He puts up with my quilting obsession floating in and around nearly every room in our home and patiently listens to me chatter about new quilts and techniques.  He doesn't mind it when I shove my tablet under his nose to share pictures of the many wonderful quilts that inspire me out there in blogland
When we are traveling, it is often he who has my 7 lb. long coat miniature Doxie, Maecee, draped contentedly in his arms, while I'm perusing bolts, books, fat quarters and patterns or juggling my camera...and it is he who scrambles to hang onto her when she has decided that Mom has gotten too far away for comfort.
Often I turn around to find him surrounded by quilty women
in all shapes sizes and ages, cooing over my little red headed baby girl...
maybe that's what's in it for him...
hmmm...I'll have to consider that a bit more carefully in the future
Oh Never Mind, Blessed I Am...
Happy Birthday Dear Husband...
Happy February All!
Nancie Anne


Monday, January 21, 2013

How Old Is Your Oldest UFO???

I woke this morning with an inspiration, nearly 25 years in the making, for putting finishing touches on a super sweet, girly girl, hand pieced wall hanging from the 80's.  For all the time I've spent rolling it around, taking it out, putting it away, mulling...ruminating even, the thing should be a priceless pearl by now!
I started this quilt as a project in a quiltmaking class in the tiny upstairs classroom in the original Quilt Crossing Store in Boise...the store has relocated 3 times since then.
There are some solid color (peach) blocks in it that have been like the elephant in the room all these years. I've never found anything that I felt would replace them well without becoming too busy and I have declined to put another stitch into it without having a solution that I was comfortable with...I have constantly had to repeat Less is More, Less Is More under my breath.
I have rejected applique, trapunto and the Jean Wells-ish idea of layering up lacey hearts with yo-yos, buttons and couched ribbons.
I believe I've finally come up with the simply simple, why didn't I think of that before, solution. Hexi flowers. Cute and will fill the void, without as much risk of overwhelming the pieced & embroidered blocks.
Sometimes the solution is right in your face!  You just need to wake up at the right time!
The amazing thing is, with all the years gone by, that the prints don't feel so dated and I still love it.
Maybe it will come out of it's little basket with all the extra scraps sooner rather than later!  It would be fun to have it finished for Easter.
For Me Mama???
Back to Cutting Country Charmer Blocks before Lynn catches me!
Nancie Anne & Maecee

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Country Charmer & Pizza...Is This A Good Mix? You Decide.

This would be the lovely layout page that Lynn so generously provided to help us stay organized whilst working on Country Charmer.  I used the iron and flattened out the creases.
This would be same layout page with a layer of freezer paper over it.  Lightly...and I do mean lightly, fuse the freezer paper, shiny side down, to the original.
Using a permanant marker and a light touch...and a window or light box if needed...trace the shapes onto the freezer paper as accurately as you can.  Make sure to transfer the letters for those shapes too. Once your tracing is done gently peel the freezer paper copy from the original...your original will be a little worse for wear but as long as you used a light touch with your iron earlier, you should be fine. 
Just go slowly.'ve worked hard...PIZZA BREAK!!!
And then, after you've eaten your pizza...
yep...the entire thing in one sitting...
No, not really, just checking to make sure you're still with me...
Let's do a little flashback!
Actually, while you're on the phone ordering your know that point when they ask you if there's anything else you'd like to order? a keg of soda?...
That's your opportunity to ask sweetly if you could purchase a couple of their largest size pizza boxes.
The teenager/college student on the other end of the line will almost certainly go silent for a brief moment...clear his throat then stammer...
"Well...I-I think we could just Give you a long as you're ordering pizza...'
" long as you order a pizza I'm pretty sure we could just give you a couple" he repeats.
which of course, you've already was your plan the entire time.

Surely you've figured out the method to my madness
by now.
So put down that greasy hunk of pizza and trim your freezer paper template down so that it fits in the box.  (The pretty clean ungreasy one)
 Then adhere it in there using your trusty iron. 
Freezer paper is amazing stuff...iron it on, peel it off, iron it on again! 
Yes, I'm easily entertained...
my cat has caught me swatting at his string on more than one occasion.
And TADA!  You have a nice little box to keep template and all those pieces all cozy and together.
Now remember...I asked for a couple of those nice pristine, greaseless boxes????
Number two will contain the blocks as they're completed, keeping them nice and flat and organized...unlost.
Sew empty...
Sew until then...I'll keep a stash of the good stuff in it. 
You know...For emergencies???
My name is Nancie Anne and I am a Choco-holic!

Country Charmer...Deux...Choices Schmoices!

My copy of the Country Charmer pattern arrived in the mail Wednesday.  Just in time for me to spend some time getting acquainted with the directions and getting more serious about fabric selection for this Quilt Along which is hosted by Lynn from Sew'n Wild Oaks and Lesley The Cuddle Quilter.
Right on "Q"...along came Lynn with the first tutorial.  Just when I was trying to figure out the process of working on this project so I could be prompt in posting, but also be in the right place at the right time.  Everything seems to be falling into place...including the dates for our posts.  The majority fall at the end of the month right when I have time away from work to be able to make sure I'm uploading my progress in a timely manner.
I have yet to cut or sewn a stitch...but I've been sorting, washing, pressing and folding up a storm!
I've also been organizing...
This is my sparkly silver notebook...wish the sparkles showed up for you better, it's purtyful!  However, as Mama always says, "It's What's On The Inside That Counts, Darlin'" 
And Here's the "Whats Inside"...
                                          Treasure for sure!
I pulled the pattern from it's envelope and inserted each page in a plastic sleeve creating a book that I can flip through in a organized fashion and protect my pattern from rips, spills or getting lost and from constanting flipping pages around trying to find where it was that I read that. 
The original pattern zipper bag is inserted in the sleeve that also holds the pattern layout page that is a stroke of genious on Lynns part.  That way, when I'm done, it will have survived my nomadic sewing habits and all go back into it's orginal envelope to be filed amongst the other
"Patterns I Actually Got Done"
Also included is Lesley The Cuddle Quilter's Agenda that I copied and pasted from her blog to help me stay on track...and then, hopefully Lynn won't mind this, I've printed her first tutorial and added it to the book for quick reference.  I don't know about ya'll, but this girl still digests written information better when it's on the printed page and handy and I can sink into a big comfy chair to read it. 
I'm working on that...I bought an e-reader just over a year ago, read a book or two on it...use it more for surfing the net and checking email these days...and for entertaining Oh So Precious Grandson with puzzles.  Love that little gadget...definately have gotten my moneys worth out of it!
Any hoozles, I digress...that seems to happen frequently...good topic for another day.
So, There I was, Leanin' Against The Sewing Machine Wheel, being careful not to make it Tilt...
and still debating the fabric selection...
Do We Go Elegant & Feminine?
Fun and Christmas-y?
Or Toss It All Up In The Air Like Fireworks On The Fourth Of July?
(Great excuse to go buy that cute little patriotic sheep print I saw last week!)
I think I have one more necessary trip back to the cave...aka Stash Storage Facility.  
 I'm very partial to the colors of Autumn and I'm sure there is at least one bushel basketful of prints the colors of fallen leaves down there. 
Hmmm...Autumn would be appropriate, in honor of the memorable September day I first got to meet and hug my friend Lynn, and her awesome sister Gail at the Needle Nellies Quilt Show in Georgetown, CA.
It is at least comforting to know that I'm not the only Country Charmer participant who is sharing the quandry of which way to jump...
My name is Nancie Anne & I suffer from Quiltus Addictus...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

For My Daughter, who knows the joy and heartache of what it means to be a Tech & the grunt work that goes into it. They don't clean up diarrhea and vomit & help us say goodbye to our beloved furry family members for the paycheck.......Now after obtaining her BS followed by 4 years of Vet School, many thousands of dollars in student loans & a year of Internship, she's the Doc, who so appreciates the work her A Team does alongside her.
Yes, I am a proud Mom,
In Awe of An Amazing Young Woman who still is simply,
My Little Girl.
Nancie Anne

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I'm So Excited!

And I just can't hide it!
A little birdie told me a couple of months ago that a Quilt Along featuring Lynn Wilders gorgeous Country Charmer pattern was in the discussion stages and I've been waiting for the big announcement ever since. 
Two days ago on Lynns Blog, Sew'n Wild Oaks, it became official!
I am completely enamored with the Christmas Version of Country Charmer, especially in the pictures she snapped of it sparkling in the beautifully decorated window at In Between Stitches in Livermore, CA. where Lynn works and teaches and is loved by her co-staff members and students.
I'm contemplating the need to make two versions of Country Charmer.  One, because it is absolutely the perfect Heirloom Christmas Quilt to create memories around with the Grands, but Two, to watch it emerge in a completely different manner when made up in a different and maybe unexpected colorway.
If you too, would like to stitch along, check out Sew'n Wild Oaks & The Cuddle Quilter blogs and visit In Between Stitches website to order the pattern!
(Sorry, I'm not proficient in adding links to my blog...yet!) 
As Usual, I'm just a little Loosely Stitched!
Nancie Anne