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Monday, December 17, 2012

The joys of the season, the sadness of reality...

...and as the life goes on, the giveaway winner too! :)

This is the season with so many additional joys in our lives, we count our blessings a bit more carefully, we think of distant friends, we cook, decorate, shop, wrap presents....and then last Friday happened.
 I just can't stop thinking about it all and whatever I go on to do in this busy holiday season, I feel somehow guilty that I am doing it...I feel incredibly blessed to have my family and so very helpless in effort to DO something for those families in Newtown that feel that unimaginable pain now. I know all of you share these feelings too and here is few good links with information:

Help for victims of Sandy Hook Shooting

And something closer to our, stitching hearts, here is a blog entry of creative Maureen Cracknell of Maureen Cracknell Handmade with instructions and information on making pillowcases for kinds in Sandy Hook Elementary. Hope to finish and mail mine by tomorrow.

But as so many said on TV during these few sad days - life must and will go on and we can not let these events define us - lets honor all those amazing lives with getting to be better society

It was the weekend to decorate the tree in our neck of the woods. We have this little family tradition: my obsession and job is lots and lots of lights on the tree  - takes me about 3 hours to wrap it nicely with total of about 8-9 strings of lights - then we all decorate it (kids doing the most part) and at the end dad gets to put the top on. With our children being all grown, I feel so grateful and lucky that they still indulge me with making an effort to all gather and do this, continuing the tradition. This year we even had couple of old friends joining - such fun! Here they are, caught by me in the midst of hard work:

Oh, forgot the bow under the top!:
And here we are:
Camera wasn't quite cooperating this time (must have set something wrong..) and pictures were a bit blurry, but from left to right it is: our wonderful, beautiful daughter-in-law Lauren with her husband, our oldest son, Stefan, the youngest son Vuk, the love of my life, my husband (probably caught talking but we all agreed he looks so cute!), me and our amazing, beautiful daughter, Jelena. Did I mentioned how lucky and blessed I am? :)

Speaking of lucky - yes, it is also a time to see who is the lucky giveaway winner, isn't it?
First - I have to express my deep and profound gratitude for all of you visiting my blog, following and leaving all these beautiful comments! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH! I feel really humbled that you find the time in your busy lives to visit and get in touch and I hope and promise to keep sharing all my creative adventures with you! Some of you said how very generous is my giveaway - thank you! - but I also want to let you know that I am only sharing the abundance:

 See all this? That would be a bin full of Cherrywood fabrics, three different, beautiful shades of gray yardage and in front - not one or two, but THREE new grab bags I just got!! 

How can not share some! :)

By the way - I am still dreaming and doodling potential ideas and projects to do with these...stay tuned for results!





So just to remind you and just because I took a better photo, here is the giveaway Grab bag with ALL the fabric showing:

    And the Random Number Generator says that lucky winner is:

COMMENT NUMBER 188: Mary Marcotte!!!!!

I haven't purchased these fabrics, but I've drooled over them a few times. I love to applique and would use them for appliqued flowers on a small AAQI quilt. 

CONGRATULATIONS MARY!!! I hope you will have lots of fun creating!

Once again - thank you so very much to all who visited, commented and are following my blog - here is to many fun, creative gatherings in the future and wishing you all a joyful, peaceful holiday season and a New year full of good health, happiness and fun!







Monday, December 10, 2012

Let's gear up for the holidays! (blog-hop party and a giveaway to start!)

There is so many things I could write about tonight - but first things fist:
It's time for another BLOG-HOP PARTY AND A GIVEAWAY!!
Yes Michelle at the wonderful Quilting Gallery is celebrating the 5th birthday and we all get to celebrate and have fun blog-hopping, commenting and of course winning some awesome giveaways! Speaking of giveaways - here is mine:
It is a bag of real quilter's candy - phenomenal Cherrywood Fabrics grab bag! If you ever tried it and touched it, you know what I mean, and if you didn't - well, you really should! :) It is amazing, hand dyed cotton in beautiful colors and this grab bag is  awesome mix of over 50 7"x10" pieces in so many different colors -just yummy! As a little spice to the mix, I am adding couple of spools of my favorite thread - Aurifil!
So, what do these colors inspire you to do? Do you love to use lots of colors in your quilts or just a few? Is applique your favorite thing to do? Let's talk! - leave me a comment in this post and any next post until next Sunday, December 16th for a chance to win! Of course, if you follow this little blog of mine or my Facebook page, let me know for additional entry and chance. Let the fun begin and good luck everyone!

OK - of course I am planning to have some fun too - tutorials and ideas coming, so stay tuned! (hey, I wasn't kidding when I said there is so much to talk about!)

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season,


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It only takes a moment to feed the soul...

Here I am in the rare moment to spare this busy week...finished with work in the lab and waiting for a hubby to finish so we can go home and continue with the "schedule" of dinner, holiday preps, nursing the old cat and few other know that drill.
I often use these kind of moments to catch up on my emails, quilty groups, blogs and other things that bring me little joys. :) This time, through the amazing quilt-art group, that brings me so much inspiration, learning and support, I found a series of YouTube videos by amazing Luana Rubin (owner of on-line fabric paradise called and champion of quilt art), about International Quilt Festival in Houston. Yes, we have seen pictures, read some great reviews and admired it all, but there is something about Luana's descriptions, choices, music in the background that made it all special.
That was IT! A moment to feed the soul, just few minutes that spark the inspiration - unexpected, treasured and so important. YAY!
So, just in case you did not see them yet, I have to share!
Here is one about Luana's favorite quilts: IQF 2012, Houston, TX - QUILTS
One from Luana's beautiful daughter, Sophie: IQF 2012 - Kid's Eye View
And this one is my favorite - seasons in nature are my everlasting inspiration too: IQF 2012-SAQA Exibit Seasonal Palette

In this time when we, more than usual, think about what we are thankful for - these kind of moments are some of the important ones on my list.
Hope you have this kind of moments too!
Here are few photos I took on one of the lovely walks with our dogs during this glorious autum, enjoy!
They just love the road trip! :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Good morning my forgotten blog...

...actually not really fogotten - better word is neglected I guess.
Yes, here I go again, and not even sure if anyone cares to read? :) Truth is - I think about my blog and all that I would love to say or show, pretty much every day - and then somehow everything else takes over and nothing gets written. Then - if I do that long enough, I am overwhelmed by what should I say first... and the cycle never ends! Crazy, I know.
So, this morning, while everyone still sleeps, I decided - nothing will take over, my blog is first! After making that first cup of coffee and having cuddling session with Marko, of course. Marko - did you ever meet our cat, Marko?
He is a beautiful, silver tabby cat, now 18 years old! Yeah - he is almost asleep here, that is what he does the most these days. He is an old guy now, but still doing quite good except his kidneys need a bit of help these days - yes, I play a nurse now, giving him subcutaneous fluids every day (with help from my son who keeps him busy and happy during that, feeding him tuna, his favorite treat). Marko has been with us since he was 8 weeks old, in 1994. We came to America in 1992 - so I feel as if we grew-up together here..becoming Americans. :) He is very special fur baby and I hope he lives for many more years.

That is another big news from me - I did become an official American!! After 20 amazing years here, just about a month ago I (and my husband) got sworn in, got beautiful certificate, a little flag and of course - voters registration form! :)  Here is me and the judge who swore us in, in a very moving and beautiful ceremony.

To begin to explain and describe all that this means and how it feels is a whole another post, and I am not even sure I can do it properly. Lets just say that I hope every born American feels at least a part of it and more importantly - does NOT take it for granted. Yes, we can complain about many, many things - daily, but the freedom to do so is what we often take for granted, right? :)

Another very important fact to me is - I wish I can also explain and describe how important in this whole journey was - quilting. It may sound silly or trivial, but it is really not.
 Did you know that I never saw a quilt before I came to US? Quilts do not exist (well at least they DID not exist) in my home country. Women do all other beautiful hand-made fiber things in former Yugoslavia - garment sewing, embroidery, weaving, knitting, lots of crocheting...but not quilting (at least not when I was growing up - hope it is slowly changing now!). So there I was - sewing clothes since I was 9, always having way more fabric for it than I can use (now that was a sign!) and - not knowing about quilting at all! Can you believe it? :)  I guess it was meant to be - when I came to US and when my now best friend, Martha, introduced me to quilting - my creative soul finally found a home. It really did.

 Oh but much more important was this: through quilting I met so many wonderful people, made beautiful friendships, learned so much about American way of life, to know American soul. That was, and still is the most beautiful welcome gift I got. A gift that keeps on giving.

OK, lets not go too far in my sentimental journey. :) I could go on, and on you know - but I want to get back to quilting!
Here is another exciting thing going on now in my sewing room: I decided to "jump right in", "bite the bullet" and...(whatever other frightening phrase you can think of!), and participate in a great event here in Buffalo, called Artists in Buffalo Holiday Open House! I will have my own table to exhibit and yes, sell (oh my!) my work, amidst so many amazing local artists.

WAIT! - artist? who is an artist here? ME? Well, I do have many, many doubts about that, I always hesitated to call myself that and I know so many of you know exactly what I mean.
But lets be clear: I do think that EVERYONE is an artist when they create something beautiful just because their heart tells them to do so - it can be tonight's dinner, quilt for a baby that will drag it all over the place or paint on canvas. I really do believe that. Now, to call yourself an artist is a whole another issue....At least for me, but I am working on it! ;)
BUT - whatever the philosophy is in my head, we'll leave it for another time to ponder - now is time to QUILT!
I have a lot (and I mean A LOT!) of pieces that are almost done, half way done...ideas and experiments in color, design, theme that got interrupted by life and not finished. It is time for them to "come out" into the light of day! So here we are:
This might look like just a messy room to you - but it is actually piles of tops, quilts, ideas started...All laid out in plain sight, in some kind of groups. Yes, there are some completed quilts too.

My wonderful daughter, my biggest cheerleader and helper in all this, helped me to dig them all out (oh my, was that a journey!), sort them and organize piles, make some kind of plan what can I finish. Do you see now what I mean saying it is time to quilt, ha, ha!

Here is the one I finished recently:

And a table runner too:
This one still needs to be trimmed and bound - thinking of that deep blue for binding...what do you think?

And here is another experiment in watercolor quilt that needed borders. These were a "midnight strike" of inspiration (yes, literally midnight!) and now I am not sure if I am that happy with it...Needs some small intervention, don't you think? Let me know if you have an idea! :)

Maybe few roses tossed in some places of the border? Some good quilting of leaves and vines? We'll see...

OK - this early morning writing turned into late morning now and my doggies are becoming inpatient, waiting for their morning walk. It is a beautiful autumn day here in western New York and I am off to breathe in all the smells of falling leaves and autumn breezes - a whole another wave of inspiration! After that - quilt, of course! Will report back on my progress and please feel free to nag me and ask what have I done! :)

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend,
PS - pardon all my rambling in this post, but I decided that I am just going to do it - start blogging again, share whatever I have! I am grateful, humbled and amazed if anyone cares to read and delighted if you care to comment - connecting with all of you is truly a beautiful gift.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Time to celebrate! Blog Hop winner and few more things

Good Tuesday everyone!

Oh and it IS such a good one too!! Before making it even better for one lucky winner, I fist have to say how thrilled I am with all your great comments, with so many new followers of my blog and Facebook page - I am truly humbled and happy to share my creative wanderings with all of you - THANK YOU!!

And without further delay, the magical Random Number Generator says:
 BLOG COMMENT #127!!! And that is:

PJ !!!!!!!!!!!!  

I've not seen that book either. Looks like fun.

Congratulations PJ - I will be emailing you for your address and book will be coming to your sewing room shortly!

To all the rest of you who visited my blog during this fun event - huge THANK YOU and please come again - there will be more fun, inspiration, tutorials, giveaways and just chatting, I promise!

I know I promised to share with you my creative adventures from Susan's Accent on Angles
and I deifnitely will - only I was hoping to have more done by know how that goes! :) First, I had a hard time choosing a project to start - so many inspirations and so many good ones in the book! Just look at the back of the book:
What I love in this book is that you can make all kinds of quilts - bed size, wall hangings, very scrappy, with limited colors...Dragon Bones quilt is definitely on top of my list, and I have some yummy, yummy Cherrywood Fabrics for that:
(sorry about the orientation - this one just wouldn't cooperate, no matter what I did! But you can see the quilt!)
However, I decided to start small first! So framing a lovely panel with some of these blocks is what I will do first! Susan has one like that in her book:

I pulled out one of the most recent lovely panels I couldn't resist at my local quilt shop (and some fabrics that go with it of course) - it is Robert Kaufman's Imperial Collection-Hyacinth Colorstory :

I spent some time late last night cutting all the strips, playing with picking what strips/colors will go into strip sets - that was such fun! I was that close to sitting and sewing till the wee hours of the night, but reason prevailed this time and I went to that I can get up and go to work! :)

So - here I am, late lunch break over and off to continue work! Will be sewing tonight and will report back - stay tuned!
Congrats to PJ once more, have a wonderful Tuesday (and first day of school for many!),


Saturday, August 25, 2012

It is that time again - Blog Hop Party and a giveaway!!

Good morning!

It is a gorgeous Saturday morning here and I am soon off to do one of my favorite things - teach a quilt class! But not before we start some fun party here - it is time for another Blog Hop Party and a giveaway - hooray!

Hosted by wonderful Michele, over at Quilting Gallery, many great blogs to visit, learn new things and of course win some great prizes - lots of fun to start off the new school, fall, cooler-weather-more-quilting season! :)
So what's my prize? Recently I found this lovely book in my favorite quilt shop:
 It is "Accent on Angles" by Susan Purney-Mark! I have no idea how I missed it before, but I just love, love LOVE this book! Susan is a well known quilt artist and teacher and I love her work. You can find much more about it on Susan's web site.
So - for the fun during this party week, I will show you different things I will be doing from Susan's book and one of you lucky quilters will get a copy of her own at the end! Just leave me a comment, starting today - on this post or any other post during the week (until September 3rd), and you will be eligible to win! You can increase your chances by  joining me on Facebook, following my blog, or following Susan's blog or her Facebook page! Just let me know in a separate comment (you know the drill!) :) This giveaway is open to anyone - yes I will ship internationally too! Good luck!

I am off to have some fun with Angles and this great book and promise to report on it here!
Have a wonderful weekend,

Friday, August 24, 2012

This summer... slowly turning into fall. Fresh, almost chilly mornings are here (regardless of how hot it becomes during the day), and I love it!Speaking of turning...I turned big 50 this July!! Whoa! But all is good here - I don't have any dark or sad thoughts about it, I am grateful to be healthy, to have an amazing family, great job and my passion for self-expression through quilting and photography...Really, how could anyone complain and think sad with all that?!
Speaking of photography, here is 50-year-old me at my wonderful, so full of love, family birthday party, with the love of my life - my dear hubby and the beat of my heart - our amazing kids.I really am soooo lucky and soooo grateful!
 Needles to say, this photo is going into a nice frame and in the new family photo gallery, in our newly renovated family room. That was one of the house projects this summer that kept us pretty busy over the long 4th of July weekend...Lots of work, but it was worth it - now that kids are all grown up, family room needed to grow up too! New wall color, out with the carpeting (was good for all the sleep-overs!) and in with the nice laminate floor and of course - new and improved family photo gallery!
It went from this:
To this:
And did I mention that I really, really like our family photo gallery? :)
It has parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and nephews, our kids growing, graduating, getting married...everything that makes me smile every day when I look at it. :) When all our loved ones live so far away (in Europe) and some are no longer with us, this is important. Not to mention that kids  love to look at some funny old photos when we were babies, ha, ha!
Now onto some other parts of the house that need renovating...
Well, not quite renovating, but my sewing room is really small and often gets soooo messy that one can't move in there! Summer was really hot, but some quilting, sewing, creating and teaching was still going on! Mix that with everyday work, garden, dog time for keeping organized and tidy! At one point I was really frustrated with I got up very early one morning and changed this:

(OMG, it does look horrible!)

into THIS:
Better, much better. Now we can get to some sewing!
So, I am going to show you the end product - see what you think?! Maybe we can do another tutorial? More about that soon, together with a little surprise...:)
Here is a cheerful runner, made all out of Bow tie blocks:

Bow tie blocks are really cute and easy to make - no odd shapes or Y seams here! - only squares! Have you ever tried it?

And then there is another summer-happy, "flying" quilt, made all from those easy, one-seam, 3D Flying Geese:
Let me know what you think!
Time to say good night now, but I will be back tomorrow morning with some great news! :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Away for too long...(again), but redeeming myself with summer flower wreath tutorial! :)

I really have to get away from starting my blog so often with "been away too long..." bla, bla...REALLY.
Summer does beckon us all more to the outdoors, so I am only hoping all of you are also less by the computer and internet too...LOL!
Time to garden, walk, have outdoor cookouts and -in my case, do some house remodeling! Trouble is - after doing all that, mainly physical stuff, once I go to bed thinking I will have my laptop and do some blogging...I fall asleep before it even boots-up! :)
Do it first thing in the morning? Do it when making a break? When do you all do your blogging? How do you stay regular in your postings? Any advice? I sure need some, and thanks!

OK, now lets get back to some sewing. Remember this wall hanging I shared some time ago?

It is a very color-versatile wreath done with only two simple, paper-pieced blocks! I use this as a project when I teach paper-piecing as a technique to beginners and it really works well. I did promise a tutorial here for this wall hanging and I am so sorry you had to wait this long!! I hope the joy of making this and using it later over and over (it can be done in colors for ANY season - see bellow!) will make you all forgive me! :)
I call this one above SUMMER SONG. So lets get started!

SUMMER SONG - Wall hanging, 32"x32" (with borders) or 24"x24" (without borders)

Fabric requirements:
- Background fabric –(it could be light or dark!) - 2/3 yard (go for a whole yard if using it for binding too)
- Flower color fabric (red, pink, blue, whatever color you like your flowers) – ¼ yard (or a Fat Quarter)
- Leaves fabric (green) – ¼ yard (or Fat Quarter)
- flower centers (yellow/gold…usually) – 1/8 yard (or scraps enough to cut twenty 2” squares
- Border fabric (optional, but it could serve as your inspiration point to choose all other colors!) – ½ yard
-Accent (narrow) border and binding (optional, you can skip narrow border and do the binding in Border fabric too) -  1/2 yard

Getting ready for paper-piecing:
For all of you who do paper-piecing as a technique, you may or may not pre-cut all your fabric pieces. You certainly don't have to, that is the advantage of this technique, but I find that if I do pre-cut, work is faster, more organized and I do waste a bit less fabric. So bellow is a cutting chart for the blocks needed in this wall hanging: you will need 16 of the small flower blocks (4" finished) and 4 of the large flower blocks (6" finished) to complete the wall hanging. Cutting chart is organized by fabric, it shows you how many pieces you need for 1 block or for 16 (or 4) blocks that are needed for this project. It also has the same designation for each piece as it is marked on the paper foundation. This is how small flower block and large flower block look like:

large flower

small flower

Cutting chart

SMALL FLOWER BLOCK (4” finished)
                                                            For 1 block                             For whole wreath
                                                                                                            (16 blocks total)         
Background fabric
            2” square (A1)                                     1                                              16
            2”x3” rect. (A3)                                  1                                              16
         1 1/2”x 2 1/2” (A5,7,9,11)                     4                                              64
Flower center
            2” square (A2)                                     1                                              16
Flower fabric:
            2”x 3” rect. (A4)                                 1                                              16
            2” x4” rect. (A6)                                 1                                              16
Leaves fabric:
            2” x4” rect. (A8)                                 1                                              16
            2” x5” rect. (A10)                               1                                              16
LARGE FLOWER BLOCK (6” finished)
                                                                                                            (4 blocks total)
Background fabric:
            2” square (A1)                                     1                                              4
            2” x3” rect. (A3)                                 1                                              4
            2” x4” rect. (A6)                                 1                                              4
            2” x 5” rect. (A7)                                1                                              4
 1 1/2” x 2 1/2” rect. (A9,11,13, 15)               4                                              16

Flower center:
            2” square (A2)                                     1                                              4
Flower fabric:
            2”x 3” rect. (A4)                                 1                                              4
            2”x 4” rect. (A5)                                 1                                              4
            2”x 5” rect. (A8)                                 1                                              4
            2”x 6” rect. (A10)                               1                                              4
Leaves fabric:
            2”x 6” rect. (A12)                               1                                              4
            2”x 7” rect. (A14)                               1                                              4

Additional pieces needed to complete the wall hanging:

from Background fabric: ONE 8 1/2" square
                                      FOUR  2 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles
                                      FOUR  2 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangles

My suggestion to you, if you are pre-cutting, is to organize all pieces by their block designation (A1, A2...) and either pin them with a post-it note or put them in zip-lock bags (specially if not sewing right away). That way, once you are ready to sew, you can line them up from A1 to A11 and get on with your paper-piecing!
You can find the PDF file with your paper foundation for the small flower HERE and for the large flower HERE. Since small flower has two blocks on one sheet pf paper, you will need to print 8 papers (total of 16 flowers) and large flower can only fit one per sheet, you will need to print 4 of these.

Once you completed all your paper-pieced flowers, here is how to put the wreath together:


           1. Arrange four small flower blocks in a larger unit as shown bellow (this unit will measure 8 1/2”):

Note the orientation of the flowers! It does look wrong here but it will work in the wreath! :) Make total of 4 of these larger units. 

           2. Next, take the large flower block  and add two strips of background fabric to the right side and the top of it, as shown on the diagram bellow:

NOTE the position of the background strips - they need to be on the right side and top side of the block! Repeat this for all 4 large flower blocks.
Once you have these done, together with 4 for larger units you made in previous step - you have eight blocks that are all 8 1/2" . Take the plain, 8 1/2" square of background fabric you cut before and with the other 8 blocks you just completed, lay out the wreath as shown bellow:
This is now one large 9-patch! Therefore, join three units in each row together and then join three rows together - just like you would any 9-patch unit - and TA-DAH!! your wreath is done! YAY!! 

 At this point wall hanging measures 24 1/2". You can choose not to add any borders, but if you want it as mine above, you will need:
- 4 strips that are 1 1/2" wide and  33" long (I just cut them by the whole width of fabric) - from accent color (teal in my wreath)
- 4 strips that are 4 1/2" wide and 33" long (again, you can cut them from the whole width of fabric)- from your border fabric.
To have narrow and wide border with mitered corners you need to:
- join each narrow strip to one wide strip, lengthwise, into a border strip-set - make 4 of these.
- attach each border strip-set to one side of the wall hanging, making sure you centered them (so that you have same length "tail" of the borders on each side of the wreath)
- miter the corners! You can find my tutorial on mitering the corners HERE .

Here are Christmas and Fall colorings for the wreath, as well as some other ideas how you can use these flower blocks:

 I hope you will like making this! Let me know what you think, if you have questions or share your ideas and projects - I would LOVE to see them!