Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Barb and I have entered the Twilight Zone. That's the time of the year when we are rushing to get ready for the Houston Quilt market. Lots to do and so little time. Since Barb works full-time in a dental lab, a lot of her work is done in the evening and weekend hours. Her sewing machine has been in the "powered-on" mode for over a month.

The next Loose Feather pattern is about done....as soon as I get my hands on Barb's portion I will photograph it and get the pattern ready. We are planning to ship out the patterns to the distributors around the 10th of October. I've seen a sneak peek and it's wonderful! Hope you will like it too!


I wanted to show this prize winner to you. Eddie sent these photo's to me of this wonderful quilt....it's from the book Country Inn. Congratulations on your win Eddie!

Eddie writes:  "I thought you might like to see a few pics of my version of Evening Bloom.  It won 2nd place at the county quilt guild's biannual show this week in the applique category.  I was very pleased and wanted to thank you for creating such a beautiful pattern.  It was a joy to create my version from it.  I'm starting my own Winter Garden next, I can't wait to get immersed in it!"
Regards,
Eddie Landreth



The quilting is lovely!

Also, there is a contest here.  Needlework Retailer is giving away one of our cross stitch patterns and Gentle Arts has donated the floss to go with it. So....take a visit and sign up. The contest is over on Friday.

Also, the Moda Country Fair continues. Don't forget to visit these great blog sites!

September 28th Sweetwater
September 29th French General
September 30th Primitive Gatherings
October 1st Kathy Schmitz 
October 2nd Liz Scott
 
Until later dear friends!
Alma





Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Winner and cleaning


I know I was to post the winner on Monday. But I got delayed!!!  First, I thought I would read all of the comments. That was a lot of fun. All of your are lovely! Barb and I are very lucky to belong to this stitching community. We couldn't find nicer people anywhere! I didn't think to use the huswif for my jewelry. I'm always trying to figure out where to put my earrings when I travel. Thank you for the idea! 

 I tried to master the disaster in my studio over the weekend. That task spilled over into Monday.  Sorting and organizing can take me quite a bit of time. No party here...believe me!
To top it off I get distracted. Stacks of magazines can be bad. Major time can be spent on deciding what to do with them. Should I give them to Goodwill or keep them? Do you have that problem too? Hopefully I'm not the only one. The pictures are so nice....and what if I get rid of just the one that has the idea I might need? Finally, I had to quit looking at them and just boxed them up for Goodwill. I just couldn't deal with it anymore.

Next I ran into some of my journals while dusting. I used to keep one every year. I wrote about projects, family, nature and recipes. So I had to sit down again and read about what I did years ago.  I found some pressed flowers, a picture of the Kansas City Quilt Guild's raffle quilt I helped design years ago. It was fun to see it again after all of these years. I wonder who purchased it?


Found a picture of Barb and I at our first quilt market in Houston, TX. We looked so young! The picture was taken in 1999. Do we look nervous? We sure were at first!!! We didn't know how our book would do. We did win a prize for the booth..."Best New Exhibitor." That helped ease our fears!


 This clipping from a magazine gave me the idea of how to label the container gardens in our quilt book, Quilting the Garden. The food shot was saved because those cut-out stars in the soup were just too cute. (I might have to take a look at that picture again!)



I saved some copies of drawings we worked on for our fabric line Sweet Romance for Moda fabrics.

.

I'd made a color copy of one of my favorite pictures of my two oldest boys at the beach....you can begin to see that cleaning a studio can be tricky business.Once you go down memory lane it's hard to find your way back!

 

Saved in the journal was a color copy of the sampler I stitched in memory of my grandmother. I make color copies of each sampler when completed. I then use the images in my journals to record  when they were completed ....but I digress. I've got to get back on task.....We need to find out the winner of the contest!

The winner is:
quilt cookie said...
Blueberry crumb cake is beautiful.

E-mail me at alma@blackbird-designs.com
September 17, 2011 8:54 PM

Don't forget to continue your visit to Moda's Country Fair

Yesterday....September 19th Barbara Brackman
Today...........September 20th Bonnie Olaveson
September 21st Cabbages and Roses
September 22nd Deb Strain
September 23rd Brannock and Patek
September 24th Lauren and Jessi Jung
September 25th Lily Ashbury
September 26th Cosmo Cricket
September 27th Kate Spain
September 28th Sweetwater
September 29th French General
September 30th Primitive Gatherings
October 1st Kathy Schmitz 
October 2nd Liz Scott
 
Until later dear friends!
Alma

Friday, September 16, 2011

Moda Country Fair



I've not been to many country fairs. Just one really. In 1985, I attended my first fair with my grandparents. They never missed the Polk County Fair. My grandfather was on the fair board and he was serious about the fair. Everyone must go and participate. Early in the morning my grandmother and I went out to the garden to select produce to enter. As I searched for the best tomato, my grandmother described the rules for a winning entry. The idea was to find and submit three tomatoes that were very similar in shape, color and size. One fabulous tomato just wouldn't do it.

 

My grandmother won this ribbon for her onions. Just not sure if she got 1st, 2nd or third. Isn't this ribbon a funny thing to save? I've kept this for over 26 years. The weirdest part is I knew exactly where to find it. I've kept it in my jewelry box, of all places, for these many years! Don't even ask my why I thought that was a great place to save this ribbon....must of had ESP it would be essential to me on Sept. 17, 2011. But now, I'm rather attached to this ribbon and don't want to loose it, so back into the jewelry box it will go!



Favorite country fair food?   Kettle Corn. Dave and I made some last night...I used a "Whirley Pop" and their "special mix." I'm not sure what's in the special mix. The orange stuff looks really bad for you! But we tried it out. Honestly, I have to say I don't think I would use their mix again. I was going to add the mix to today's prize....but I don't think anyone would sign up. Use the good and easy recipe that follows.

Close-up of the mix. Believe me, that's not orange sherbet in there!

Kettle Corn Ingredients

1/4 cup vegetable oil 

1/2 cup popcorn kernels 

1/4 cup sugar

 1 teaspoon coarse salt

Directions: In a large pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn. When the oils sizzles, sprinkle the sugar over the kernels. Cover and shake the pan until the popping slows down, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss with the salt. Or if you are using a Whirley Pop use the hand crank and stir the kernels until the popping slows down. Enjoy!

Guilty Pleasure? Sitting on the sofa and watching Mad Men on Netflix.

 This show makes you glad you are in the work force now instead of in the 50's and 60's!

Bucket List?    I want to ride my bike across Missouri on the Katy Trail. I did 170 miles this summer....but still haven't done the whole trail.

What inspires our work?   Nature, color, vintage prints and samplers.

Project?   You bet!





I made a huswife out of the Blueberry Crumb Cake prints. You can make one too! This fabric line will be in shops in November. But if you can't wait, any scraps that coordinate will work well.

Instructions

Cut 2 strips 4 1/2" x 18" for the front and back of the huswif.
Cut 1 piece of lightweight batting 5" x 18 1/2"
Cut 5 pockets 4 1/2" x 7 1/2"  from assorted fabrics.
Cut 1 pocket 4 1/2" x 10 1/2".




Fold the first pocket in half and press. Position it on the right side of the fabric strip. The top of my first pocket is 1 1/4" down from the top edge. Draw a line in pencil where the edge of the selvage will be positioned. Align and sew the pocket to the strip as shown in the picture above. Fold the pocket up and press.


Fold the second pocket in half and press. Position the second pocket. Draw the line where the selvage will align and sew the pocket in place. If you are using a directional print, make sure it isn't upside down when the pocket is folded up!




The pocket is folded up and pressed.
My pockets overlap 3/4"- 1".
Repeat the steps above for 5 pockets.



Fold the last and largest pocket in half. Sew it along the bottom edge using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Baste the pockets in place. Use a 1/8" seam allowance.



Quilt the top of the huswife. You can find the pattern here. After quilting trim away the excess batting.

Pin the front to the back, right sides together. Sew the top to the bottom using a 1/4" seam allowance. Leave a 3" opening along the top edge. Clip the corners and turn to the right side.


Cut a 26" piece of cording or ribbon and sew one edge to the top selvage. Fold the selvage to the inside and blind stitch the opening closed.


 Now you're ready to fill it with your favorite sewing items!


Leave a comment and you could win this bundle of Blueberry Crumb Cake. Just the right size to make your huswif!

Will use the random number generator to find a winner. Contest ends Sunday night. Winner posted on Monday morning!

Don't forget to visit Aneela tomorrow! The Country Fair blog hop continues....

September 18th Aneela Hoey
September 19th Barbara Brackman
September 20th Bonnie Olaveson
September 21st Cabbages and Roses
September 22nd Deb Strain
September 23rd Brannock and Patek
September 24th Lauren and Jessi Jung
September 25th Lily Ashbury
September 26th Cosmo Cricket
September 27th Kate Spain
September 28th Sweetwater
September 29th French General
September 30th Primitive Gatherings
October 1st Kathy Schmitz 
October 2nd Liz Scott


Until later,
Alma










Friday, September 9, 2011

Biking the Katy Trail and Contest winner


 

We have a winner for the bundle of Blueberry Crumb Cake fabric!

#248 Sherry....sheravery said...
Such pretty material. I am starting my Christmas sewing and could come up with many uses. Thanks for the opportunity to enter your give-away.    Sherry

Congratulations Sherry!  E-mail me at alma@blackbird-designs.com with your mailing address. I will send the fabric right out to you! 


Don't forget Moda's Country Fair. Visit Camille today.


September 9th Camille Roskelley
September 10th Laundry Basket Quilts
September 11th Basic Grey
September 12th Minick and Simpson
September 13th American Jane (on the Moda blog)
September 14th Oliver + S
September 15th Fig Tree and Co.
September 16th Kansas Troubles
September 17th Blackbird Designs
September 18th Aneela Hoey
September 19th Barbara Brackman
September 20th Bonnie Olaveson
September 21st Cabbages and Roses
September 22nd Deb Strain
September 23rd Brannock and Patek
September 24th Lauren and Jessi Jung
September 25th Lily Ashbury
September 26th Cosmo Cricket
September 27th Kate Spain
September 28th Sweetwater
September 29th French General
September 30th Primitive Gatherings
October 1st Kathy Schmitz 
October 2nd Liz Scott


Jeff on the trail at Rocheport, MO
 My son, Jeff is visiting from NYC. I'm always trying to figure out a fun way to share time with the kids..... something that we will remember and enjoy together. Jeff and I had talked about taking an overnight trip and riding our bikes along the Katy Trail. Jeff thought it would be fun so we planned to ride about 35 miles each day. The portion of the trail between Columbia, Missouri and Booneville is lovely and was the right distance. It follows the Missouri river and the stops along the way are interesting. Even Lewis and Clark camped along the Katy Trail in 1804!

Rocheport, a small historic town at the halfway point of the ride, is a great place to stop and visit some shops and have dinner. Luckily we were there around 5:00pm when Abigail's opens for dinner. If you are in Rocheport when Abigail's is open make sure to have a meal there. The food is amazing! We were too full to eat desert so carried it with us in our backpack for later at our hotel.

Lobby of the Hotel Fredrick

We had dropped our luggage in Booneville, Missouri, earlier in the day at the Hotel Fredrick. I didn't want to carry the extra weight on my bike. (Believe me, my hips are enough weight to pedal around!) This place is very convenient as it's right on the trail. You can tell from the picture it's older....but it really added to the charm.  So when we came over the Missouri River into Booneville that night, everything was waiting for us at the hotel. We showered and then went to the bar for some much deserved wine....and of course our desert left over from Abigail's.



The perfect finish to a long day....then to bed early.

 

The next morning we were up early and ready for another day of biking. The weather couldn't have been better. It was in the 70's. We had to wear jackets in the early morning but the sun was warm and the breeze cool....we hardly broke a sweat.


Jeff's favorite find was this "man cave."  


Of  course this meant he had to stop and climb up and explore. This happened to be a very small "man cave."
 


I'm left with sweet memories of our hours together. 


Until later,
Alma





Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Blog Hop Continues....

Visit Anne Sutton from Bunny Hill Designs today. She's taking the cutest Chihuahua with her to the fair....what personality gleams through those "bugged out" eyes!  (Chelsea....not Anne!!!) Who could resist "the look"? Anne has a contest for you too. So get yourself over there and sign up to win!

As for me.....I'm off to the Katy Trail today. It's a biking trail that crosses Missouri. My son and I are going to do a trip from Columbia to Booneville this afternoon and then back to Columbia tomorrow, where we will pick up the car and return home.  I won't get to do a blog post tomorrow, but will be back on Friday. Just in time to do the random number generator thing and find a winner for the fabric pictured below. Just leave a comment and you have a chance at this fabric bundle of Blueberry Crumb Cake. The contest ends mid-morning on Friday.

Don't forget to visit Barb and Mary from Me and My Sister Designs on Thursday.

Until Friday!

Alma


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Moda Designers' Blog Hop



                                       

 Today's the first day of Moda's Country Fair. This could be your blue ribbon day! Visit Sandy Gervais and sign up for her great give-away. She has a fun project to download too. Each Moda fabric designer will be taking you to the Country Fair and their date is listed below. There will be projects, contests (which are sure to involve some great fabric prizes) and lots of questions answered!

September 6th Sandy Gervais
September 7th Bunny Hill
September 9th Camille Roskelley
September 10th Laundry Basket Quilts
September 11th Basic Grey
September 12th Minick and Simpson
September 13th American Jane (on the Moda blog)
September 14th Oliver + S
September 15th Fig Tree and Co.
September 16th Kansas Troubles
September 17th Blackbird Designs
September 18th Aneela Hoey
September 19th Barbara Brackman
September 20th Bonnie Olaveson
September 21st Cabbages and Roses
September 22nd Deb Strain
September 23rd Brannock and Patek
September 24th Lauren and Jessi Jung
September 25th Lily Ashbury
September 26th Cosmo Cricket
September 27th Kate Spain
September 28th Sweetwater
September 29th French General
September 30th Primitive Gatherings
October 1st Kathy Schmitz 
October 2nd Liz Scott
I've been meaning to cover one of my journals and thought I would do a small "how to" today. These blank books are readily available at Barnes and Noble or other stores that carry Mole skin products.



Mine has the gridded lines.

 
                                          
The glue I always use for gluing paper is the bookbinding glue from Paper Source. Grab a sponge brush and cover the entire cover with a layer of glue.
 
                                           
 Center and position your paper on the outside cover of the book. Smooth to remove any wrinkles. I used a color copy of a vintage piece of fabric from my collection. I added pieces of another coordinating  paper, a bit of red raffia and a cardboard tag from a purchased shirt. I covered the tag with a scrap of paper and printed out the words Country Fair using a font that seemed to work well. Now I have a place to record all the great ideas from the blog hop.


Jeanette Ross visited me at the cross stitch market in Baltimore, MD and brought her wonderful quilt to share with Barb. Unfortunately, Barb wasn't at the market....but I got to see Jeanette and her striking quilt.
  
Jeanette Ross and her Trick or Treat Quilt

                                               

Here's a close-up of some of the prints Jeanette used. She worked on the applique for quite a while and just finished the quilting.  Jeanette changed the basket pattern a bit. She left out the reverse applique motif in the center of the basket.
Close-up of Barb's original quilt.
When Barb began her quilt she was very particular about coordinating the prints for each block. She took time to choose the to match each basket print with the background print....but after the 200th block she no longer cared as she still had 100 to go. The pattern for this quilt is in our book, When The Cold Wind Blows.

Until later dear friends! Hope you enjoy your visit to the Country Fair!

Alma

Moda Designer