June 27, 2011

What's Up & A Fun Day In Chicago

What's up?  I haven't had the chance to sew on a quilting project lately, but this is what I worked on last week.  I am called Mom #2 by a sweet young lady by the name of Stephanie who was in a wedding this past weekend. She needed a hem put in her dress - all three layers, and the tulle layers cut.  Her usual choice of seamstresses weren't available so I said I would be happy to help out.  Let me tell you - hemming a dress for a wedding is sure a lot more stressful then making a quilt!  LOL 
I was very nervous when I had to cut into the fabric to shorten it. I am not afraid when I cut into cotton fabric for a quilt but this was a different story for sure!  Stephanie was very patient with me. I have a feeling she had to try the dress on a lot more times for me then she has ever had to for a real seamstress who knows what she is doing!  If I cross my fingers maybe she will let me post a photo of her wearing it.  :) She looks beautiful in the dress!

Warning: This is a long post with many photos.  In fact, this might be my longest post ever! If long posts aren't your thing, then you may just want to scroll down to the very last paragraph. When you get there you will see why I said to scroll down to it.:)

Last week I also celebrated my birthday. It was a biggie too!  I celebrated being on this earth for 50 years!  I say celebrate because that is just how I look at it, not a time to be sad about how old I am, but to be happy that I am 50. I have had some health issues in the past that if it weren't for God and His healing mercies I would not be here today. I felt like I celebrated all week long even though that wasn't quite the case. 

While my husband helped to make my celebration a special one, my friend Char helped me celebrate by giving me a fun gift. She picked me up the day after my birthday at 6:00 a.m. and it was a big secret as to what we were going to do that day. Neither one of us is what you would call morning person so the early pick up time was a surprise in itself. I was told what to wear and that was about it.  To make a long story short we went to downtown Chicago on the 
South Shore Train. 
When we were standing in front of Chicago's ABC Television Station Char turned to me and said, "We have tickets to be in the audience of the Windy City Live show!"  How cool was that!  If you aren't from the Chicago area you will have no clue what I am talking about here, but this is the show that replaced Oprah's time slot in the Chicago area. The show was in it's third week of shooting and it was so much fun to watch everything that went on. The audience members received a free ticket to attend a ballet with the Joffrey Ballet company next Fall that day too! 
How fun is that?

The day was filled with too much fun to share it all with you, but I wanted to share some highlights. After the Windy City Live show we walked around Chicago and took in some sights and of course had some great food! Our first stop was the new Disney store. There is merchandise there that you won't find on Disney property. 
I think I need some of this!
Shirts with Mickey and his friends with the Chicago skyline...
Chicago glasses with Mickey....
And my friend Char holding a Chicago autograph book with Mickey on it. Yep, I think I need some of this!
We walked down to Millennium Park and saw "The Bean" The real name of this 110 ton elliptical sculpture is  "Cloud Gate", but the locals refer to it as "The Bean" because that is just want it looks like - a big silver bean. 
The way it reflects Chicago's skyline is wonderful, and of course everyone wants a photo of their reflection in The Bean too.
 This was our reflection. :)
One of the places we stopped for a bite to eat was at a little cupcake shop called Sugar Bliss. The name describes the cupcakes perfectly.  They have little mini cupcakes that are just like the bigger ones for purchase. We got the mini ones so we could try more then one flavor. Yum! To say that I had a wonderful birthday celebration with Char feels like an understatement. We had a fantastic time!

Thanks for reading this looooong post today, and a word to the wise, be on the lookout for a giveaway here soon!

June 9, 2011

Orange Peel Table Runner

My quilt guild had a challenge. The challenge was to make a red, white, and blue table runner and there were two weeks left for me to make it. I wanted to participate, but I really didn't want to have to buy more fabric. I wanted needed to use what I had in my stash. I looked through my patriotic bin and was a little surprised.  I favor cream or beige tones to go along with the red and blue, but I didn't realize the only real white fabric I had was this flag panel that I had in the bin for what seems like forever. It looked like a win win to me, as it was going to be taken out my my stash and I could start on it right way since I was in a time crunch.  Ok, what was I going to do with it?  I had just taken a class at guild with Caron Carlson in which we learned how to draft and hand sew Orange Peel blocks.With that in mind I ended up drafting a template in which the blue star area would be the center of the blocks. This is what the fabric looked like starting out.
And this is what I ended up with! Yes, it is for a small table, but it is still a table runner. (Don't tell anyone but it might end up on my wall instead of the table some day!)
In the class we learned how to draft a block using a 7 inch circle, and you can see how far along I got with the class sample as it is in the 30's fabric in the top right corner. I pieced the table runner using a 4 1/2" circle.
This was the first time that I attached a curved binding, and it wasn't as hard as it looks. I like the way it turned out, and you may be seeing more curved or scalloped edges in the future. You never know! I am left with a quite a bit of  the red and white striped sections in the fabric.  Now what do I do with it??? Cutting it up for a string quilt sounds good to me right now.  I don't want to put it back in the patriotic fabric bin! :)