Happy Dance

Last Sunday, I set three goals that I wanted to reach by today.
My three goals were : exercise; complete the 130 house blocks; and have fun.
Put a by exercise. I started Zumba classes this week and I. Love. It! My Meemaw friends and I danced and laughed through the sessions. It felt like a party, and not exercise. A bit sweaty, but fun just the same.
Put a by House Blocks. I completed all 130 houses. I may choose to make the quilt into a throw size and not use all of the house blocks. The leftovers can always be used in another project.
Put a fun. It has been a FUN week.

130 House Blocks

Also, I had a great time with family and friends at a baby shower for my daughter-in-law. My granddaughter told me that I was present on Grandparents day because she took the Flat Grammy I made. Apparently, I had a great time in third grade. I helped her with her spelling test, had fun in PE, and got a cookie for being there. The time spent in the back pack left Flat Grammy in a bit of disarray, but there was no permanent injury.
Another great piece of news is that my eldest son has moved back to the Austin area. I now have all three sons close to home.
I think this calls for a Happy Dance!
I hope you have had a great week also.
Thanks to all who have encouraged me to stick with the house quilt. It really helped me get this done.
The next two weeks will be very busy for me. My plan tomorrow is to clean and reorganize my sewing room before I shut it down for the next two weeks. It will be good to get away for a bit and re-energize.

Focus

Next week, I plan to be away from my sewing room. This made me determined to do as much piecing as possible on the Village quilt. My goal today was to piece 52 house blocks, so I had to work on focusing and staying on task.
The pattern calls for cutting four pieces for each of the houses, minus the roof. My friend, Diane, showed me a short cut. I cut a 5″square that would be for the two side panels. I chained stitched the door and door tops first. Then I chain stitched one side of the 5″ square to one side of the door/top piece. The next step involved folding the remaining side of the 5″ square to the first end side of the door/top piece that I had just sewn.  This forms a type of tunnel. Then I matched the two side door seams, held the house square fabric taunt, and cut. The end result is the 4.5″ x 5.5″ house… with a little less hassle.
I have three more houses to make. I plan to make a house with  story book characters my sister,
Emma Virjan, created. I need to get a new ink cartridge for my printer before I can make these.

I am having fun with this project again. I love the different characters in the doorway. This is quite a scrap buster project. My friends and I pooled our scraps and remnants and then chose what we needed. We also shared character fabric. Diane had a treasure trove of character fabric that she graciously shared.

The fabric for the triangle roof has already been cut. I just need to sub-cut the white fabric for the corners. I already have the fabric cut to the required measurement for the strips. I need to divide the 52 house blocks into two groups. One group will have chimneys, the other will not. Or, depending on how I feel at the time, they might all be without chimneys.

House Quilt

In July, two of my friends and I had our own quilt retreat in Fayetteville, Texas. We were each making the Village quilt, from Jumble. What were we thinking? This is a labor intensive quilt.
I managed to make a few when we were together in July. Since then, I have only opened the box to cut more houses and roofs. Today, I managed to make some more houses. I now have 70 houses…ONLY 30 more to go.
In order to see an end in sight, I placed some of my finished blocks onto my design wall. They are not arranged in any particular order at this time. It made me feel a little better to see that I was actually getting somewhere with this quilt. In fact, it actually made me happy. My two friends will be working on their house quilt when they go to a quilting retreat this week. I opted out of the retreat since I had already had plans for something else on these dates. They will probably finish theirs while at the retreat.
My plan is to make the thirty house all at one time. Then, I will make the 30 roofs. Followed by attaching the roofs to the houses.
I still have to cut the sashing and borders, but I will do that when the houses are completed.

Since I had all the materials needed for making the fabric dolls for Flat Grammy, I decided to make the fabric dolls for the Meemaws. I had already made Flat Kaye, and the other two Meemaws wanted their own fabric flat doll.
Flat Kaye…based on the Flat Stanley Project. Flat Grammy

Now, the Flat Meemaws are ready to travel.

Christmas in July

It is a hot and humid 94 degrees, and I was inside making Christmas house blocks for the Village quilt.
I do not know what my friends and I were thinking when we decided to make this quilt. It is cute, but there are so many pieces!
If I am going to ever complete this quilt, I knew I needed to come up with a system. A lot of the house pieces are cut, but I have cut some more in order to add variety. It makes it easier to “build” a house when there are many possible fabric combination. All of the character and chimney pieces were cut before we went on our retreat. I find it easier to pull the fabric needed for each house on one morning.
Then, I chain-sew the house and door portions. This is followed by chain-sewing the roof and chimneys. Finally, the roofs and houses are chain sewn.
I may have made too many Christmas houses for this quilt. When it is time for placing them on the design wall, I will decide if I will use all of the Christmas houses or not. My friend, Marti, suggested I make an Advent Calendar by adding a door that opens. Cute idea, but I am not going there. 😉

My favorite Christmas houses.

57 house blocks
75 more to go

Super Hero Avenue

As I was pulling fabrics to donate, I found a remnant of a super hero fabric that I had used to make pillow cases. They characters were the perfect size for fussy cutting and using in the Village quilt that I am making.

The Greater San Antonio Quilt Guild has a Storybooks and Quilts to Go program. I have the number of the contact person, because I may be interested in participating. The kits have quilt themed story books.
Or, I might just do something on my own. When my granddaughter was in kindergarten, I went to be a guest reader in her class. I read Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. Bear and his friends all sat on a quilt for story time. As part of the after reading activity I planned, each student made a paper block to build a classroom quilt.
I am thinking of making my own story-quilt kit for the Village quilt. I have friends who are still teaching, and it would be fun to write some lesson plans for them to use after I read the story. It would not be a quilt themed story, but I think the children would enjoy sitting on the quilt to hear the story. Then they could spend time looking and talking about the characters who live in each house.There are quite a few books on homes, community, and maps and it would be easy to create lesson plans based on these books.
I will have to finish this quilt before I even think of building a story kit. The idea is still on my Maybe List.

Fayetteville Fun

Today I am trying to recover from four days of fun in Fayetteville. My friend, Marti, arranged for us to have a quilting retreat in Fayetteville, Texas. It gave me the opportunity to spend time with Diane, a friend I met through Marti. Diane creates beautiful quilts, and I spent the four days learning so much from her. The clown car was packed to capacity, and we said we would have no room for any new purchases…😉 We found the room!
Our plan was for each of us to make the Village quilt. In preparation for this trip, we pooled our fabric remnants and scraps. We also had cut a lot of the pieces needed for this quilt. Marti had seen a variation of this Village pattern, where the doorway piece had a character fabric. We thought it was so cute, so we gathered all of the fabric characters we had in our stashes. Diane donated so much of her fabric to this project.

Before Marti and I met Diane in Fayetteville, we stopped in Luling. Diane had told us about her friend, Denise, who owns the Holly Dee Quilts Shop. The shop has a great selection of Marcia Derse fabric. There was a quilt made of Derse fabric on display, and I just loved it. Denise was so helpful in providing helpful hints on making this curved log cabin quilt. I added to my Derse stash by buying some more of the Treasure Hunt and Art History fat quarters. At this early stage of our retreat, I already had a new project on my list.
We stayed at Wisteria Bend Cottage, a bed and breakfast in Fayetteville. The owner provided such a personal touch and many amenities that made our stay cozy and comfortable. She even had two ironing boards set up for us. The lighting in the house was perfect for our sewing sessions. It was enjoyable drinking my morning coffee on one of the front porch rocking chairs.

Work Stations

After productive morning sessions, we would head out to eat lunch and explore the beauty of Central Texas. On our first outing, we visited La Grange, Texas. Bistro 108 has a menu that is worth visiting more than once. We visited the Texas Quilt Barn in search of background fabric for the Village quilt that Diane is making for one of our Meemaw friends. Diane is so generous with her time and skills. The Texas Quilt Barn will be a year old this August. It had a nice variety of fabric.

These are the results for my first morning session. Diane showed us fabulous short cuts for piecing, measuring, cutting, and so much more.
On the third day of our retreat, we drove to Giddings, Texas. We have had so much rain, so the landscape is filled with every variation of green you can imagine. We were lucky that the weather was still cool-ish in the morning and in the evening.

Diane had told us about a quilt shop in Giddings that had quality fabric at great prices. We drove over 30 miles, on country roads, in the middle of nowhere, to get to Meme’s. After forty minutes, we arrived at our destination, and I could not  believe the amount of cars that were parked on the lawn surrounding the house/shop. Inside, we found a crowd of women, dropping off quilts to be long armed, and carrying bolts of fabric to be cut or purchased. I was able to find $13 dollar Christmas fabric by Moda at half-off prices. We each walked out with a load of fabric.
Meme’s
This adventure was followed by a trip to Round Top, Texas. This is a 610 acre  town in Fayettville County. The 2010 census reported a population of 90. Round Top hosts an antique show twice a year. After lunch at Garden Co., we visited the artisan shops in this scenic shopping area.
After Round Top, we visited the Spoiled Quilter in the town square in Fayetteville. It had been closed on the first two days of our visit. The shop has a unique way of displaying the fabric, making it easy to view and visualize its use.
When we returned to our cozy house in Fayetteville, we would spend our time walking the town square and neighborhoods. Marti provided us with musical DVD’s to watch and made Cosmopolitans for beverage. We managed to get a bit of sewing, and more cutting done in the evenings.

After four days of sewing, cutting, laughing, and friendship, I could barely get up this morning. I need to relax from my retreat before I get started again.
This is what I was able to get done at our retreat:

35 Blocks…only 100 more to go!😉               Close up

Tuesday

I spent some of my sewing time fussy cutting fabric for a quilt that I will be making this summer. Three, maybe four, of my friends and I are renting a B &B in La Grange, Texas sometime in July for our own quilt retreat. We are each making the same quilt, The Village, by Jumble patterns. I have been wanting to make a house quilt and we ran across this pattern. We are fussy cutting fabrics with characters to put in the doorway of the house.  We will be pooling our fabric stash for this project. So I started cutting the characters for the doorway this morning.
I also got to work on my gypsy wife quilt for bit. The filler blocks that I made today range from 4″ blocks to 8″ blocks. They are very basic blocks that were quick and easy to complete.
This 7″ flamingo block is my favorite.

The third block in this row has some Aunty Acid fabric that I got when I attended the spring shop hop.
Since I had fussy cut some characters for the house quilt, I decided to use three for the gypsy wife quilt. I don’t know if the character fabric I used in these filler blocks will look right in the quilt. I will redo them if they take away or just don’t look right.
I also made an Aunty Acid pillow cover for myself.