Tropical Pumpkins

A few months ago, Vicki of Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting gave me this little roll of vibrant Island Batik fabrics.

Tropical Pumpkins - Island Batik fabrics - piecefulthoughts.com

I finally came up with an idea. While the fabric made me think I needed to do something with a tropical theme, I realized I could make some fun pumpkins from the pink and orange fabrics.

Today is all about keeping it real, as I show you that sometimes ideas don’t exactly come out like planned. Honestly, I debated about whether to even post on this, but I think it’s okay to show the imperfect too.

My idea was to make improv pumpkins. I just cut a few strips of the pink and orange fabrics and put them together. They are a bit more “cubist” than I had planned, but hey, it’s improv, so it’s all about going with the flow, right??

The stems are made from small improv pieces of the green and blue fabrics from the bundle. The cream background fabric is a piece from my stash (I don’t know what line it is from). Once I made the pumpkins, my plan was to add improve squares/rectangles to the corners to create the rounded pumpkins. That worked until some of the corners disappeared when I put the borders on. Voila! “Cubist” pumpkins.

Tropical Pumpkins - mini quilt - piecefulthoughts.com

Once I put the top together, I was debating the thread color for the quilting. I thought to use this rust-colored thread. It worked okay, although if I were to do it again, I’d go with a lighter thread color. I learn better through trial and error, so I’m okay with this too.

Tropical Pumpkins - quilting detail - piecefulthoughts.com

As long as I was learning things from this quilt, I decided to take my first whack at a flanged binding. I’m not happy with the way it turned out. Not everything lined up and the corners didn’t miter as well as usual. I found it difficult to stitch through the flange and the quilt sandwich, much of which I think is due to the density of batik fabrics, and I wobbled around on my stitching too much.

Tropical Pumpkins - bad flange binding - piecefulthoughts.com

Anyway, I had fun making it, I learned some things, and, in the end, it’ll do. It’s my finish for the week.

Tropical Pumpkins - mini quilt - piecefulthoughts.com

Linking up today with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts and Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wendy

Mainely Quilt Shops

Mainely. I saw that used in several businesses as we trekked around during our stay, so I thought I’d use it in the title in an effort to be clever. Ha.

As I mentioned, I didn’t bring any quilting or sewing with me on the trip. However, I did have one quilt shop that I was determined to see. And I did, along with two more. One is just never enough.

My bucket list shop on this trip was Alewives Fabrics. Kathleen mentioned Alewives in her post here. I knew I had to see the shop.

I was curious about the name. Why Alewives? Imagine my surprise when I found out that an alewife is “a northwestern Atlantic fish of the herring family that swims up rivers to spawn and is also found in the Great Lakes”. Thank you, Mr. Google.

There is a significance to the quilt shop having this fish in their name, but if you want to know what that is, you’ll have to go to their website and find out. Plus, I want you to go there and check it out.

Mainely Quilt Shops - Alewives Fabrics - piecefulthoughts.com

You know it’s going to be a fun visit when you see a sign like this.

Mainely Quilt Shops - Front Door Sign - piecefulthoughts.com

As I walked in the front door, I heard a cheery greeting welcoming me to the shop. I looked to my right and saw this.

Mainely Quilt Shops - View 1 - piecefulthoughts.com

Then to my right.

Mainely Quilt Shops - View 2 - piecefulthoughts.com

Up on the top of those shelves are the cutest little elephants and turtles.  No matter how I tried, I couldn’t get a brighter picture, and I was too short to zoom in on it (BigJ was napping in the car.) The elephant pattern came home with me, so I’ll get one made and you can see the cuteness then.

Mainely Quilt Shops - Elephants - piecefulthoughts.com

There was Kaffe Fassett fabric. All those bright colors!

Mainely Quilt Shops - View 3 - piecefulthoughts.com

There were softer colors with some low volume prints.

Mainely Quilt Shops - View 4 - piecefulthoughts.com

More bright colors, organized by color family. There were several garments on display, as well as bags. A bag pattern came home with me too. I really didn’t need another bag pattern, let alone another bag, but I can’t wait to make it!

Mainely Quilt Shops - View 5 - piecefulthoughts.com

Throughout the store were clever displays.

Mainely Quilt Shops - View 6 - piecefulthoughts.com

That little basket on the bottom left with the blue fabric in front is all Liberty of London. Did I pet that for awhile? Why yes, yes I did. See that green bag up top? That, my friends, was swoon-worthy. I wanted to take that home with me!

In the center of the shop, near the cutting tables, was this center island. It is full of fat quarters. While I was there, several women were gathered at this island, on the hunt for Anna Marie Horner fabrics. There was so much fun and laughter, you couldn’t help but be a part of it.

Mainely Quilt Shops - View 7 - piecefulthoughts.com

There was yarn too, lots of beautiful yarn! About that time, I was getting itchy to do some handwork and considered getting yarn and needles. I thought better of it since (1) I’m a horrible knitter and (2) I have just about every size of knitting needle known to man (thanks, Mom and Grandma) at home.

Mainely Quilt Shops - Yarn - piecefulthoughts.com

That’s what I would consider the main room of the shop. Off to the side was another room that had quilting notions, felt and thread.

The ladies, Rhea and her team, were so friendly and fun. If you’re into EPP, you really need to look at their Lucy Boston kits. Oh my, they are gorgeous!

If you’re ever in the Damariscotta Mills area while in Maine, don’t miss this shop. You’ll leave smiling from ear to ear, a little less cash in your wallet, and a beautiful stash of fabric in your bag!

Quilt Shop Surprise

BigJ knows me all too well. On our drive up to the cabin, we made a stop in Freeport, Maine. He said he needed to find a place to stop to stretch his legs. Usually this is a rest stop, but this time we were winding our way through streets until I finally asked where we were going. He pulled up in front of Cotton Weeds Quilt Shop, a cute little shop snugged into a little group of shops. BigJ is like that — he finds me quilt shops. Gotta love the man.

When you walk in the door, you see the whole store. It’s not very big, but it is filled with lovely displays and fabric. They had a nice variety of fabric; some modern, some traditional. They had a large display of embroidery items and mini quilts.

The ladies were friendly as well. I would’ve taken pictures, but they were a bit frazzled that day because their credit card machine was declining every card. Can you imagine that headache? I decided not to add to the chaos by asking if I could snap pictures. At any rate, it’s a cute shop that is worthy of a stop.

Quilt Shop Serendipity

There was one other shop I really wanted to visit while we were on our trip, but when I looked at the distance to it, I decided it wasn’t going to happen. However —

On our way home from Acadia National Park, BigJ again had to stop to stretch his legs. He pulled up at a parking spot in Belfast, Maine in the downtown area. I looked to my left, and there it was — Fiddlehead Artisan Supply.

Mainely Quilt Shops - Fiddlehead - piecefulthoughts.com

We arrived just shy of closing time, so again, I didn’t snap any pictures. I was the only one in the store and felt like I was holding them up (I really wasn’t). Besides, I was so excited I’m pretty sure the pictures would’ve been even blurrier.

It isn’t a large store. One side of it is art supplies, the other sewing. My kind of shop.

The fabric. Oh my. Little bundles of Alison Glass. Bundles of Kona solids. So many designer lines. And patterns too. Seriously, I could have spent hours in this shop. It had little nooks, stocked full of fat quarters, half yards, and bolts. Farther back in the store was garment fabric and patterns.

I honestly wish we would’ve stumbled into the town of Belfast just a bit earlier. It would be a fun town to explore!

So, there you go! When you head to Maine, if you go to this area, don’t miss these three shops.

Did I buy lots of fabric? Actually, no. I decided to let my carryon luggage determine what I could buy. (Yes, I know I could’ve shipped fabric home.) So I bought a few fat quarters and some patterns. I’ll show you some of that in later posts.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Wendy

Bloggers Quilt Festival

This is my first time joining the Bloggers Quilt Festival hosted by Amy’s Creative Side. If you aren’t familiar with the festival, it is a bit like an online quilt show. Grab a cup of coffee and be ready to enjoy the creativity of fellow quilters from the comfort of your cozy little chair!

The quilt I’d like to share is Halle’s Quilt, newly named for a darling little girl. Halle’s mom and I worked together to choose the fabric and the pattern.

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Quilt Entry 1 - piecefulthoughts.com

The quilt was made using Lella Boutique’s Sugar Pie for the periwinkles and Kona Snow for the background. The pattern is the Mini Periwinkle from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

The construction of the periwinkles was easy to do using MSQC’s tutorial.

The quilting was a meander done on the Kona Snow, to draw attention to the periwinkles. My friend Connie of Turnberry Lane Quilting did the quilting.  The finished size of the quilt is 36″ x 40″.

The backing was a light floral from Sugar Pie. The binding was also from Sugar Pie.

Bloggers Quilt Festival - piecefulthoughts.com

Doesn’t little Halle look adorable napping on the quilt? The quilt was made before Halle was born, and we waited patiently for Halle to arrive. The day finally came, and it was delightful to finally see her on the quilt!

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Halle's Quilt - piecefulthoughts.com

It makes me happy when the quilts bring smiles to the new owners!

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Halle's Quilt - piecefulthoughts.com

Don’t forget to visit the Bloggers Quilt Festival site and take a look at all the beautiful quilts being shared!

Happy Friday!

Wendy

 

Wednesday Wanderings

Hi everyone! We are back from our anniversary trip and we had a wonderful time. Once we got our ducks in a row,

Wednesday Wanderings - Boston Public Gardens - piecefulthoughts.com
Make Way for Ducklings – Boston Public Gardens

we walked all over Boston, finally finding our way to Fenway Park for the game. Red Sox fans, just for one night!

Wednesday Wanderings - Fenway Park - piecefulthoughts.com

We walked over 17,000 steps in Boston and barely covered all there was to see. The next morning, we headed toward Maine. We stopped in Amesbury, MA at this little place called The Noshery for brunch.

Wednesday Wanderings - The Noshery - piecefulthoughts.com

That’s a crepe, filled with scrambled eggs & bacon, topped with maple syrup. It was delicious!

We made a couple of stops (one quilt shop, more about that later) and then we were finally at our home for the next few days.

Wednesday Wanderings - Cabin Life - piecefulthoughts.com

It was a lovely cabin, situated on a point with a beautiful view. We spent quite a bit of time just relaxing on the deck.

Wednesday Wanderings - cabin view - piecefulthoughts.com

Day trips included a drive to White Mountain National Park in New Hampshire and one to Acadia National Park in Maine. Here’s a view from the top of Cadillac Mountain. That little town below is Bar Harbor.

Wednesday Wanderings - Cadillac Mountain - piecefulthoughts.com

We walked through some lovely Maine towns — Boothbay Harbor, Damariscotta, Belfast, Round Pond, Bar Harbor.

I didn’t bring any sewing with me and the only tech item I had was my phone. Most days when we were around the cabin, I read. I’m reading a series by Louise Penny. I brought one book along, and came home with two more.

When I wasn’t reading, I decided to play a bit with watercolor. This picture is another shot off of the deck.

Wednesday Wanderings - Deck view - piecefulthoughts.com

I decided to try making a watercolor of it. I don’t do much watercolor, but it’s very relaxing. It’s just for me anyway, so I’m good with it.

Wednesday Wanderings - watercolor - piecefulthoughts.com

I even left my messy little napkin in the photo to prove I actually did this. Haha. I did just a few paintings to remind me of things we did on the trip.

We ate more lobster than I’ve ever eaten in my life. It was very tasty and very fresh.

Wednesday Wanderings - lobster lunch - piecefulthoughts.com

So of course I had to paint that too.

Wednesday Wanderings - lobster painting - piecefulthoughts.com

If you follow me on Instagram, you also saw that I had my first raw oyster. It was much better than I thought it would be. It was huge, so I had visions of choking on it, but I didn’t. I’m glad I tried it.

I did design some little quilt blocks too, so we’ll see if I get them out of the paper stage!

I visited three quilt shops on the trip. More about those in my next post.

We had a wonderful time on our trip. The people we met were so kind and friendly. Thanks to those of you who gave me advice on places to visit. It made the trip even better! We’re so glad we went, but so happy to be home! (And boy, did I miss my sewing machine!)

Wendy

 

 

Wednesday Wanderings

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go . . . Nope. Does this bag look like it’s ready to go??

Wednesday Wanderings - empty bag - piecefulthoughts.com

The anniversary trip is here! We leave tomorrow. I still have plenty of time to get packed. I should probably make a list. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a Last Minute Lucy when it comes to packing. Hey, at least I’m doing laundry!

You’ll remember that we were wobbling between Hawaii and Boston/Maine. Which did we choose? While Hawaii seemed like a hands down no brainer, we decided to head to Boston/Maine. We want to go to Hawaii as a family someday, so we decided to wait.  We will be spending most of our time at a cabin in mid-coast Maine. Thank you to those of you who have helped me with questions or given tips on places to go, etc. We are pretty excited!

I have a mental list, mind. I kinda know what I need to bring along. Of course, I have what I need to bring related to quilting and sewing all planned out.

Here’s the thing, though. I’m not bringing any sewing along. I’ve decided to make this trip a creative play and designing trip. So here are some of the things coming with me.

Wednesday Wanderings - piecefulthoughts.com

From the left:

The Little Spark by Carrie Bloomston – I’m thoroughly enjoying the creative prompts and nudges she shares in this book. I’m taking my time going through it, so this will be good to have with me. Some of the prompts require some thought, and I’ll be away from the distraction of sewing and able to focus on this. Here’s a video about the book by Carrie Bloomston if you’re interested.

Quilter’s Planner – I have some blank spaces that need filling for the coming months, so it will be a good time to reflect, think and plan what’s coming up this fall and into the end of the year. If you’re not familiar with the planner, you can read about it (and order the 2018 version) here.

Moleskine Notebook – this is used with The LIttle Spark for my notes. If you were to look through it, however, you’ll also see a few little design sketches.

Plein Air Watercolor Kit – This is probably the cutest thing ever (it’s about 4″ x 6″). I want to play a bit with sketching and watercolor while I sit on the dock by our cabin.

The Sketchbook Project – I decided to join in the fun of this project, and I need to decide what I will fill my journal with. You can read more about it here. Join me — doesn’t it look like fun?!

Artist Tiles – these are 4″ tiles that I use when I doodle or zentangle. I haven’t done much in months, so this is perfect for travel.

What you don’t see in the picture are my pens, pencils and larger graph paper Moleskines which I use for designing quilts. I enjoy sketching out quilt designs, so I hope to have plenty of time for that.

I’ll also be doing quite a bit of reading. I’m currently working my way through the Louise Penny mysteries and thoroughly enjoying them. I’m reading Trick of the Light which I’ll likely finish on the plane or shortly thereafter. Which means a bookstore visit will be necessary.

We’ll also be meeting a local author, Van Reid, while we are there. I’ve read Van’s books through the years, so I’m looking forward to meeting him!

We won’t be tucked in at the cabin the whole time. We are planning to visit Acadia National Park, Boothbay Harbor, Damariscotta and some other fun places. Of course, there will be seafood to eat — yum! Oh, and yes, I have a quilt shop on my list too!

I have all my projects that I wanted to have completed before the trip done! Here a little peek at what I made from the leftover scraps of my latest improv project. I’ll be finishing that project once I’m back home, so more on that in a future post. This little lovely finishes at about 8″. The fabrics are Kona Pink Flamingo and Kona Snow. I quilted it with a light dove grey and pink threads.

Wednesday Wanderings - scrap improv mini - piecefulthoughts.com
That little bulge on the left is a binding glitch. Glad it’s just a play piece!

I’m going unplugged (mostly) while I’m gone, so you won’t hear from me for the next 10 days. I won’t be posting on my blog, but I’ll be reading your blogs. I won’t be commenting, since my phone doesn’t seem to want me to. Follow me on Instagram (@piecefulwendy) if you want to see what I’m up to.

Ok, I really better get packing! See you later, my friends!

Wendy

 

Pieceful Monday

Today I hope you are relaxing, enjoying a good book, laughing with family and friends, and soaking up some of the lovely sunshine.

My thoughts and prayers are with those in Texas, Oregon and Montana with flooding and forest fires, for those who have lost homes and belongings and for the safety of the firefighters and rescuers who are selflessly giving their time to help out.

Love those around you today, be generous with your hugs! I’ll see you on Wednesday!

Happy Labor Day!

Wendy

Improv Play

Improv play is my happy place lately. My goal this week was to finish my daughter’s quilt top so I could get it to Connie to quilt. However, just as I was putting on the last border, I ran out of fabric. Ugh. We pulled the quilt together on the fly while in a local quilt shop, and miscalculated on the second border fabric. The quilt shop didn’t have any more of the fabric, but I managed to find some online. Phew!

So, with nothing else to do (hahaha, right), I decided to play around with improv blocks. I have one improv in progress and I’ve been posting little peeks on my Instagram feed. I very excited to see how it — if it — turns out!

In the meantime, I came across a stack of 20 squares in my stash and decided to cut them up. I just grabbed them as they came off the pile.

Improv Play - piecefulthoughts.com

Then I just start to sew them together in sets of two.

Improv Play - piecefulthoughts.com

Then I sew those sets together.  Blocks are starting to form!

Improv Play - piecefulthoughts.com

Pretty soon I have a bunch of colorful blocks and it’s time to trim.

Improv Play - piecefulthoughts.com

After trimming, I begin to play with layout. I got so absorbed in doing that, I forgot to take a picture. Once I’m happy with the layout, I stitch them together. This can be the most challenging part of the project, because my blocks are often different sizes. It’s like fitting a puzzle together.

Once it is sewn together, there are a mess of seams on the back!

Improv Play - piecefulthoughts.com

Now it’s time to quilt it. I’ve decided to use three colors of thread this time. Fun!

Improv Play - piecefulthoughts.com
Thread is Aurifil: turquoise #5005, green #1231 and orange #2145 (not sure of the actual color names).

With the turquoise and green threads, I just did some random straight line quilting in both directions. With the orange thread, I decided to quilt wavy lines, crossing over the other threads if I felt like it.

Improv Play - quilting - piecefulthoughts.com

I had this piece of fabric in my stash, just enough for the back. You can see a bit more of the very random quilting on this side.

I decided on green for the binding. I had one fabric I planned to use, but I would have had to cut several short pieces to make the binding. Who has time for that? I pulled out this fun polka dot. I think it works well.

I’ve named this quilt “Lunch at Frenchy’s”. Before we flew home from Florida after moving our daughter, we drove to Clearwater and ate at Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill. We sat on the deck where we could see all the colorful beach umbrellas while we had our lunch.

Come January, when things are dull, cold and dreary around here, I will pull this out and put it on my table. It will be a good reminder of sunny days!

That’s my Friday finish! I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend! Stay safe, friends!

Linking up today with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Amanda Jean at  Crazy Mom Quilts and Myra at Busy Hands Quilts.

Wendy