Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review of Fruit Basket Tutorial

About three years ago I posted a tutorial on how to create a gift basket.  I still use this method for making gift baskets and try to keep the supplies on hand so that when I need a quick gift, 
this go-to idea is ready.  Of course, it means I have to pick up the items that will go into the basket, but that's just a quick trip to the grocery store for fruit and something for contrast, such as chips, crackers, or cheese.  

I thought it would be useful to you, as well.  It's easy to pull the items together and you can use the basket idea to make many other gifts.  For example, load the basket with gourmet coffees for a coffee connoisseur; wine and cheese for a wine aficionado; loofah, scrubbers, oils and lotions for a spa lover; or books with a reading light and pretty bookmark for your favorite reader.  Really, you're limited only by your imagination and the size of your basket.

Now is a good time to pick up baskets.  I like to have a few extra on hand and don't worry too much about buying the fancy, expensive ones.  I think the items in the basket are what count in this case. The dollar stores are great places to pick up a few cheap plastic ones. Of course, I've been known to give beautiful baskets to those who really appreciate a decorative basket.  Perhaps most important is that this is a great way to show that you know the recipient well.

Teenagers gift basket with a movie pass. This site has many gift basket ideas!
After all, you are choosing items especially for that person and so it makes sense that you'd pick up some things that he/she really wants or needs.  Additional baskets ideas may include

    Great gift basket idea - board games, cards, and snacks!
  • ribbons, bows and pretty papers for someone who loves to wrap beautiful gifts\
  • games and snacks for a family with children
  • favorite cookies, cupcakes, etc. for a snack-aholic
  • DVD, microwave popcorn, drinks and candy for a movie buff
  • paper, washi tape, punches, and stamps for the paper crafter
  • lighter and many scented candles 
  • whisk, spatula, mixes and frosting for the baker
Great alternative to flowers to help out new mom or get well.  Taco Soup in a Bag (Great Gift Idea under $10!)
  • craft paints, small canvases, brushes, etc. for the crafter
  • fat quarters, thread, needles, small scissors for the quilter
  • embroidery thread, hoop, canvas or fabric for the needlewoman
  • all of the ingredients for someone's favorite soup or casserole

Pinterest is full of ideas...just search gift basket ideas.

Here's hoping you find my build a basket tutorial useful now that the holidays are upon us.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Send me a card....

I have a place to put it!  Today I made a Christmas card holder.  I purchased some Christmas fabric at Quilts Bayou, a cute little quilt shop in Lake Charles, on our way home from Texas several months ago.  

I didn't realize it before but I've been hooked on this soft ice blue for some time.  I noticed it today when I decided to use the fabric. It has the same blue in it that I chose to use on this year's tree.  It's probably not a coincidence but it sort of feels that way.  

I decided to use the focus fabric separately to make a top for the holder.  Then used the other three fabrics for the back and the envelopes.

The olive is sort of unusual for a Christmas color but it contrasts nicely with the blue.  I love that one of the blue has the titles of Christmas songs on it.  Had I paid attention to that I may have used it for the back piece. However, it's a bit late for that now. 

Regardless, I really like my little holder and am looking forward to our first Christmas card.  I am fairly sure my mother-in-law will hand me one in a day or two....she is faithful to her traditions and giving out Christmas cards is definitely one.

I've decided this bird is a partridge.  Since I like it so much, I chose to quilt the bird by quilting around it and following some of the lines on it for detailing.  The end result is that the bird pops forward and the detailed lines really add to the look.  

I just wish I hadn't cut off the little guy's beak.  It's just a tiny little bit but still, it bothers me.  

For the rest of the quilt, I practiced some quilting designs that I learned in an Angela Waters Craftsy class.  The top block is quilted in squares, the second in shells, and the third in circles.  I really need to practice some more, but in a few days the quilting will be covered by cards and next year I will be laughing that I did such a poor job of it.  

What Christmas sewing have you been doing?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Winner Winner Christmas Dinner

I know, I know. Thanksgiving hasn't even happened yet.  Well, maybe not, but I'm already getting into the Christmas spirit.  Last night Richard and grandson Lane pulled the tree and boxes of ornaments down from the attic.  Then they shook out and stood up the tree, leaving the decorating for me.  I did that today, then realized that I'll need new ribbon since the old ones were puppy shredded last year.

I haven't decorated the tree in a couple of years--Richard usually does it all while I'm at work. However, I insisted that we be the first ones in the family to have the tree up.  We've NEVER been first for this honor.  That's because Richard's mom generally kicks everyone out of her house on Thanksgiving afternoon so she can put up her tree.  She buys and wraps gifts all through the year, so by this time, most of her gifts are bought, wrapped and ready to display.  She's just about impossible to outdo. 

Not this year.  This year it's our turn.  Oh, I'm not really thrilled, mind you.  I don't have to be first and Richard usually is the last one in a line.  I just wanted to be first one time.

Turns out it's not all that.  No one is singing my praises or congratulating me, or even saying, "Hey, you win."  Why not?  Really, why the heck not?  I worked hard to get two big men into the attic.  I had to promise cheesecake to make it happen.  I also had to put the decorations on the tree, and chances are pretty good that now I'll have to undecorate after Christmas.  (I tell Rich you made the mess, you clean the mess.  I fear he will use my words in about a month.)

So much for saying "nanny-nanny boo-boo" to everyone I know.  Next year we may not even put the tree up.  After all, if this is the big to-do for getting the tree up first, there's no reason for bothering, is there?  

I'll just open presents and smile my happy smile knowing I don't have to con a man or two.  

Mrs. Claus must have to work really hard to get Santa out into the middle of a cold, frosty night.

Birthday....Bust :-(

Have you ever known a 4-year-old to have a birthday party in which several other children were invited and no one showed up?  That's what's happened to Fleur de Lis Quilts.  It's sad and disheartening, but I've decided to move on.  

Much of what I write about is for myself: a way of recording my ideas, my quilting story, and events, So in a way it makes sense that I continue in that vein and not let my lack of interested, engaged readers affect who I am or what I write.  People will either read or not.  

On the other hand, I have to admit that it stings.  After all, there were a few people who visited.  They, apparently, just chose not to enter the giveaway.  

Regardless, I have one faithful follower: Kaja, who visits a couple of times each week and leaves her sweet comments.  Since she is the only one to comment on the giveaway, she wins by default!  Congratulations Kaja!  I'll send the New Orleans recipe book and the fabric, in yellow, once I hear from you.

I've already sent you an email and it would be best to respond to that so that I'm sure to get your note.

I hope you enjoy your prizes!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Four Years of Blogging CELEBRATION and GIVEAWAY

I've really enjoyed blogging.  I like writing and having an outlet for some of my work.  I also enjoy reading other blogs, keeping up with what is going on in the quilting/blogging world and, mostly, I love meeting new people.  

This outlet is just as much an inlet for me.  FOUR fun years!

So enough celebrating, let's give something away!  First I have this sweet little recipe book that Richard and I picked up on our last trip to the Big Easy.  The title is Favorite Recipes from New Orleans, the recipes are from some of its famous restaurants and everyone looks and reads absolutely delicious.  Well, I mean, the one or two that I looked at. 

Just take at look at Cherries Jubilee.

And there are beautiful photos of some of those restaurants.  The photos alone would be worth the price of the book. 

And so what about the quilting part of the blog?  Well, there's something for that, too.  I've been taking advantage of the very generous sale at Sew Fresh Fabrics which is eventually closing it's online store.  To that end, they are giving 30% off of all purchases of whatever is left on their shelves.  I've decided to cut some of the fat quarters into 4 1/2 inch squares so that I can play with a few ideas (eventually) and, of course, I thought you'd like a few of the squares.  Since I've barely started cutting on the Studio cutter, I thought I'd let the winner choose a color or two.  It really doesn't matter to me, since I can play with whatever color I happen to have.  
This means we'll have two winners: the first name chosen by Mr. Random Number will win the recipe book, the second will win some 4 1/2 inch squares.

These are the pieces that came in this week, but again, you don't have to choose yellow or green: I have plenty of other colors, patterns, and prints.  If you'd like to do something really scrappy, or modern, or "everything and the kitchen sink," I can do that, too. Four years of blogging should mean, oh, 40 squares, don't you agree?

So what do you have to do?  
Well, heck we're celebrating four years, so let's give you four chances:
                               1. like Fleur de Lis Quilts on Facebook
                               2. follow Fleur de Lis Quilts blog, 
                               3. follow Fleur de Lis Quilts on 3rd Revolution
                        and 4. tell us which color, print or type of fabric you'd prefer (solids, prints, modern, mix it up).

Surely you know that you'll need to leave a comment for each chance...please do.  And don't forget your email address so I can contact you on Friday, which will be the final day of the giveaway.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Modern Monday Material

Glossary of pattern names - Cute DecorNot really...it's fabric, but you know that alliteration just had to be!

I do remember my mom and so many other seamstresses of her day calling it material.  I must have been in my 30's before the word fabric stayed in my head. Now when I hear a little lady of a certain age say material, I can't help but smile.

For starters, here's a really nice little glossary of fabric patterns. 

I'm betting that if you know fabric, most of them are likely familiar with the terms, but look all the way down.  What is vermicular, I've only ever known as loops or stipples. I seems I could be wrong: vermicular is the correct name, but only because that is the scientific word for worms.  Hmm, I think I'll stick with loops.  

These photos are all from the same Pinterest board by Modern Quilts Unlimited.  

Mama.Said.Sew.by.Sweetwater  We are lucky to have the quilt shop near us!

I Love orange!!

Pink chalk fabrics...love this website! Awesome fabric you can't find at JoAnn's or Hancock!
Pink chalk fabrics

Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt
Chicopee by Denyse Schmitt

Jenn Ski: My new abstract fabric!
Jenn Ski

From Modern Quilts Unlimited Winter 2014 Camelot Fabrics Mint to Be, a fresh new collection from Camelot Design Studio, features an array of mint, orange, turquoise and navy hues. The 21 warm, vibrant prints in the collection include pretty florals, as well as ombre, ikat and madala patterns.
Camelot Fabrics Mint to Be

From Modern Quilts Unlimited Winter 2014 Art Gallery Fabrics Geometry is back with a bang in the new Minimalista collection by the Art Gallery Fabrics in-house design team. The four tonal color stories—Noir, Watermelon, Honeycomb and Turquoise are each made up of seven eye-catching patterns that range from innovative textures to graphic florals.
Minimalista collection by the Art Gallery Fabrics

Modern Quilts Unlimited Magazine offers quilt, accessory and home decoration patterns and publishes quarterly, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.

Fact: The most popular post of all time is LSU Rural Life Museum published in July of 2011.

Hint: modern material

Memories: The cutest little sewing machine I'd ever seen is at the Rural Life Museum and put me on track to getting my very own. 

I'll see you tomorrow for the giveaway announcement...let's celebrate Fleur de Lis Quilts' four years of blogging together!