Friday, December 30, 2016

Best of 2016

When I first heard that Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs was hosting a Best of 2016 Linky Party, I wasn't going to participate because I didn't think I had much to talk about this year.  But I couldn't resist joining in the fun so here I am.  It seems we were just doing this not too long ago.  Can't believe that a year has gone by already.  Thank you Cheryl for hosting this linky party again.

Life in 2016 has been great and I'm looking forward to an even better 2017.  This year I learned not only about being a giver but a receiver.  It's hard to receive help sometimes because we may think we can do it all ourselves.  Being on the receiving end is not a sign of weakness but a testimony that guardian angels are real among ordinary people.  I've always valued my family and friends but after what happened to me this year, they are much more precious to me.  I've gained some new friends who I've met and whom I haven't yet met.  

I haven't yet met Julie Cefalu @ thecraftyquilter.com, Stephanie Palmer @ latenightquilter.com, Amy Smart @ diaryofaquilter.com and Julie Stocker @ pinkdoxies.com , but they were so gracious and generous in spending their time to review my book and helped me to promote it.  Their willingness to help out a new blogger/quilter touched my heart more than anything.  Thank you ladies.  I hope that one day I'll have an honor to meet you.


Best finished gift - Finished an UFO.







 

During my recovery, I didn't feel like doing any thing but the doctor said to ease back to my normal activities.  I tried to get back to sewing and reading but couldn't.  I would shy away from anything that required concentration.  For 5 months I didn't sew even one stitch and then slowly and gradually, I started to sew again.  I started this quilt for a dear friend's first baby before my health issue in January.  It was finished in late July and delivered to her in August.  

Truthful confession - So many projects, so little energy

This post showed a few of my projects for 2016 and the one I am most proud of is 'Square Dance'.  I learned to quilt with a walking foot and did the quilting myself.  Working on this quilt taught me about patience.  No matter how often the thread broke, you just have to recheck your machine and re-thread that needle!!  And a very important lesson, don't do thing at the last minute.  Loosing sleep is not a good thing.  :)



Even though it's a reject (from a competition), I love everything about this quilt.

This post also showed the new blocks I made for Kat @ Covered in Love.



I love participating in this project.  She always has fun block designs for us to make. Check out her blog to learn more about her project.  It's amazing!

Before ending I would like to mention about my tutorial post called Handbag Tutorial.  Even though I posted this in December of 2015, it still gets views even recently.  This post has over 750 page views.  It's the highest number I've got to date.  I plan to do more tutorial posts in the future.  The quilting community is amazing and I'm glad to be part of it.  I'll continue to strive and to find my voice. 






Happy New Year
Embrace and celebrate Life

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Setting goals for 2017

I'm an admirer of Yvonne Fuchs's work for a while now.  When I found out that she's having a '2017 Planning Linky Party', I thought what a great idea and decided to join in.  In order to set goals for the new year, I have to look back to see how far I've come this year.  I hope to bring you along and celebrate life with me.

Reflections of 2016


2016 started out great.  I was excited and looked forward to my book with AQS that scheduled to come out in March.  Then on January 25th at 1:30am., I had a Subarachnoid hemorrhage caused by ruptured aneurysm.  At that time, I didn’t really know what happened to me.  Thank God that my husband was home, he called 911 and the paramedics got me to the nearby hospital right away.  I was transferred to Cedar Sinai Hospital at 5 am. and was immediately put into a medically induced coma while waiting to have brain surgery which would be at 4 pm.  The neuro surgeon went in and clamped the ruptured ends of the blood vessel with tiny titanium clips which will permanently stay inside my brain, then he closed up my skull with more titanium plates and screws.  I wonder when I go to the airport, if the alarms will go off because of all the heavy metal inside my head.  Haven’t tried it yet even though the surgeon said it should not.  No, the titanium is not really a heavy metal, but I just have to say that.

My surgery was a success because here I am back in great condition and I continue to do all the things that I loved.  Although not yet 100% like before, it may never be 100%, but I am grateful that I am still here with my dear family and friends.   

My biggest supporter is my dear husband.  He was with me all 30 days in the hospital through every step of the way.  Being in bed in the hospital that long is very bad for your muscles.  I pretty much lost all my muscle mass and had to exercise to gain it back.  I had to relearn to walk and to do many things that we all take for granted.  Since my aneurysm happened in the front part of my brain, my memory was affected.  The Neuro Psychiatrist helped me with my short term memory lost.  We played memory games with words and he had me copy pictures by drawing free hand.  All the physical and occupational therapists were very good and they helped me tremendously and that’s why I’m doing so well.  After being released from the hospital, I continued to have physical therapy for 3 more months at my local hospital and that also was a great help.  I regained the usage of my hands and legs which I'm very thankful.  My dear husband took time off work to be with me and helped me for 9 months.  He made sure that I rested and didn't over extend myself which I tend to do.  I'm so used to doing a lot of things such as volunteering both at church and in local communities and schools.   I slowed down and stopped some of my volunteer work. 

Most of 2016 was devoted to getting better.  My brain surgeon said I should slowly get back to my normal activities but do not stress or over exert myself.  Two restrictions he also gave me; no roller coasters and no chiropractors.  I had to laugh when I heard that because I don't like either of them.  I had a lot of time to think deeply about what is important in life.  One day I may know why I survived this ordeal, but I do know that by the grace of God that I am still here.  So many prayers were said on my behalf for which I am very grateful.  Heavenly Father has blessed me and my family beyond measure.  Some people who knew what happened to me in January, couldn't believe their eyes when they saw me.  The only thing that still bugs me is that I get tired so easily.  That's the way things are when we get older too, I was told.

By the fourth quarter, I slowly got back to sewing and blogging.  My book came out right on schedule and I had a promotion give away with lots of great prizes from various companies.  You can read about it here.

Now what's in 2017
 
 
It's like a new beginning, in fact everyday is a new beginning.  Here goes, my goals for 2017.

Quilting goals:
  1. Finish my son's new quilt.
  2. Learn to do free motion quilting.
  3. Planning for another book, either by myself or co-author with other quilters.  Publishing a book is a lot of work but it gave me a great sense of accomplishment.  
  4. Design and make more quilts and eventually publish some patterns.
  5. Finish at least 3 UFO's.  There are several quilt tops that I made for class samples when I taught at my local quilt shop.  I need to quilt them and put binding on.
 Personal progress goals:
  1. Take photography classes.  Learn to use my digital camera and take better pictures.
  2. Participate more in on-line group events.  I had a lot of fun and learned a lot from being part of on-line groups in 2015 and would like to do that again.
  3. Be more active in blogging and post more regularly.  
  4. Improve the over all design of my blog.
  5. I would love to take more trips.  We are empty-nesters turned dog sitters.
  6. Do more gardening.  This year, I let it go due to my health issue.  Can't wait for 2017 to get back into my garden.
There they are for the public to see.  A bit scary for me to put my goals out in the open.  As the year progresses, I'll give update on completion of these goals.

Visit Yvonne at Quiltingjetgirl.com for some wonderful read and to check out more of the 2017 Planning Linky Party.




Have a great day!


Thursday, December 15, 2016

QuiltCon Reject

Today I got a reject email from QuiltCon.  Yes, I'm disappointed but not bitter.  It's a learning experience for me.  A dear friend said I should adjust the top of the quilt better, it looked crooked.  It doesn't have sleeve in the back so I used pins to hold the quilt on my design wall to take this picture.  Lesson learned!!


I love this quilt and proud of the work in it. 




Enjoy your family 
and 
Have a great day!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

So many projects, so little energy

I took a long break from blogging and have been busy with some projects in between Thanksgiving feast and other celebrations.  I finished two blankets pictured below using the Faux Rag Quilting technique.






I've been playing with a jigsaw puzzle app on my iPad because I heard that it's good for the brain.  And that's the inspiration behind the above blanket.

I think I've mentioned before that I was working on a Michael Miller challenge.  I finished it in time to submit it to QuiltCon.  Here it is.



I'm very happy with the way it turned out and loved every minute of making it.  The quilt measures 42.5 x 58 inches.  I used a walking foot on Juki TL98 to quilt the whole thing. 

A week before Thanksgiving, my son turned 26 and I asked him if he wanted a new quilt.  I got a yes and a big smile!  I made him a quilt when he went to college and that was 8 years ago.  It's time for a new one.  He picked the color theme and he likes the HST design.  I put in couple printed fabric to try them out.  In the end, I might do all solids, maybe.



This layout is on my design wall right now.  There will be many more blocks to come.

I also had time to make a few blocks for Kat @ Coveredinlove.  This month's block is really fun to make.  In fact all her monthly blocks are fun to make.  Go to the link above and read about her quilt project.  I'm so glad to be part of it even in a small way.


That's it for now.  I still have 2 baby quilts to make for friends who just had their first grandchild.  It's really exciting and I'm very happy for them.









Enjoy the Holiday Season





Sunday, October 23, 2016

A new Challenge from VMQG

I took some time off, away from the computer.  It wasn't planned or anything but I felt that I needed a break to quiet my mind a little.  Sometimes I want to do so many things and I get overwhelmed.  I tend to want to walk faster than I can run.  Does it even make any sense?  I guess what I want to say is I have little patience.  I still have to take it easy and not do too much; doctor's order.  And that's driving me crazy.  There are so many things to do and many places to go.  So a little time off is good.

Last month our Valley MQG announced a challenge - 'Face your fear'.  I've been putting it off, but I have to face it, you know what I mean?  I looked inward and admitted that creepy things, like lizards and sn_kes, give me chill more than anything.  I don't even want to talk about them, but I had to start thinking about them which I hate to do.  I started by drawing some pictures on my note book.


I liked the one on the right and decided that I would do improv piecing.  I had made some improv background blocks a few months ago so now I just have to make my friend(?), right?  That was the plan.....  Here is what I came up with.


Does it look like it had been run over by a car?  My DH suggested that I add tire marks on the quilt.  Ha ha..funny!  I've not decided on the quilting design I'll do for this piece.  Will show it to you when I'm done.  Maybe I'll do a wall hanging piece, but it won't be hanging around here.  I know a few people who're crazy about creeping creatures.  Can't understand how and why....

I also got a few blocks done for the Covered in Love project.  Being a part of this project, even in a small way, makes me feel really good.

I'm not much of a list person but I found myself making one last week.  I was able to check couple more things off today and it gave me such a thrill.  There are still more things on the list, but I'm checking them off one by one.  I'm taking a 'Quilting with Walking Foot' class by Jacquie Gering next month.  I've been a fan of her work for some time now.  Got a few things to get ready before the class and I can't wait.




Have a great day!







Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A new block for Covered in Love Project

When I was in the hospital for 30 days in January-February, I was a recipient of kindness from many people around me.  Friends and strangers offered help and support.  The nurses both in ICU and Recovery area were exceptional.  The physical therapists worked really hard to get me up on my feet again.  My hat is off to all of them.  Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.

I love the idea of paying it forward.  When I found that Kat @ Kat & Cat Quilts has a project called Covered in Love, I immediately wanted to participate.   She's a RN at East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, Texas, where she sees a lot of people nearing the end of their lives.  For various reasons, some patients don't make it to the hospice.   They spend their last days in the hospital.  That's when she gives them, or their family, a quilt from Covered in Love project.  You will find more info about her project through the links above.
 
Each month, she'll have a block design and color theme.  You then make a block, or as many as you like, and send it to her.  You can also send her quilt tops or finished quilts.  For the August block, she wanted a 'Disappearing nine patch'.  Can you believe this was my first disappearing nine patch?  I've always been curious about this block design and now I had a reason to make them.  Thanks Kat!!  I had a lot of fun, can't wait to make more.


I'm also working on a 2017 Michael Miller challenge.  Love, love the fabric.  Don't have good pictures to show at this time, but will soon.



Have a great day!







Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Then and Now Linky Party

Leanne from Devoted Quilter is having a 'Then and Now' Linky Party till the end of the month.   It's for us to look at our works from the past to present. You can link to this Linky party at the end of this post.

In 2008, I made a quilt for my son when he left for college.  I had made quilts before that but had never done machine quilting.   He loves music so I picked fabrics with musical motifs and used the "Yellow Brick Road" pattern. I used free motion quilting, featuring guitars and musical notes. He was pleased with the results. He graduated with a Classical Guitar degree and Business Econ degree. Now the quilt goes everywhere he goes.





Detailed free motion quilting

I had a lot of fun quilting this quilt.  I also made a pillow case for him but couldn't find the picture of it.  My son said the pillow case fell apart from laundering after all these years.   I guess I'll have to make another one.  Or may be it's time for a new quilt. :)

Two years later, I picked "Pinto Box" as the pattern for my daughter when she left home for college.  She loves all colors and not wanting her dorm room to be boring, I used a variety of colors.  I used variegated thread to quilt fireworks and shooting star designs.  She and I both loved it.  There was no marking on this quilt.  I randomly quilted fireworks, big and small, all over the quilt with a walking foot.  I also made a matching pillow case too.




Detailed quilting design


That's was 6 years ago since I quilted a traditional quilt.  In between those years, I worked with different techniques and worked mostly with flannels, you can read about it here.

Now in 2016, I made this for my friend's baby.  I used a walking foot to quilt straight lines to echo the shape of the negative space.  I also pieced the back of the quilt too.  I love the way the quilt turned out both front and back.




I always enjoy making crafts, but I fell in love with making quilts.  I've come a long way from my first machine quilting in 2008 and I don't see the ending in sight.  I love this new quilting community that I found, and enjoy sharing with people who have the same interests.  Blogging opens so many doors and offers many chances to learn new things and to do many things that I would never dream of.  What's Next?  I don't know, but I can say that I'm excited to learn to take better photos for my blog.


Have a great day!!

 Then..and Now Linky Party | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com  

Monday, August 15, 2016

Work in progress this week

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether I'm working or playing.  It must be playing because I'm having a lot of fun.  I've been making quite a few of improv pieces.  Improv piecing is fun and intriguing at the same time.  The best part is you never know what the ending piece will look like.  These pieces had been under my needle in the past few days.






I've been working on an EPP project as well.  Last year I started out using only black and white fabric, and used the Hexies to decorate t-shirts for my nieces in Thailand.  You can read about them here and here.  This year, I am using all kinds of colors as you can see here.





It's such a great scrap buster.  Some of this fabric, I've held on to for years.  I have everything ready in zipper bags and take them whenever we are on a road.



I enjoy doing hand work when I'm away from my sewing machine.  It's such a relaxing thing to do. 

 
Have a great day!!




























Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Soft & Cozy Keepsake - Faux Rag Quilting



My first Book, 'Soft & Cozy Keepsakes - Faux Rag Quilting' from AQS, came out in Spring 2016.  This book is about a new technique to make rag quilts with unique designs unlike any rag quilts you've seen before.  If you love the warmth feelings that rag quilts offer but tired of cutting flannels into small squares and reconnect them together, you will love this book.  In this 65-page book, there are 16 original designs of various projects with step by step instructions that will guide you to your very own fabulous rag quilts, decorative pillows and tote bags.

You can find Soft & Cozy Keepsakes - Faux Rag Quilting on

1. Amazon
2. AQS website
3. Any on line distributors such as Checker and Brewer Sewing
4. Target.com and Walmart.com, last checked on 7-27-16


Projects from Soft & Cozy Keepsakes - Faux Rag Quilting range from very easy for beginner quilters to challenging for experienced quilters.  This book is a good resource for new and unique rag quilt designs.







During Christmas time and we love to decorate our home and trim the tree.  This book also has a few Christmas projects to delight you and your home.




If you want a signed copy for $22.50 (taxes included) plus $5.75 shipping through USPS priority flat rate, send me an email at craftheaven09@gmail.com.



Have a fantastic day!!





Finished an UFO

Last January, I started to make a quilt for a friend's daughter who just turned one year old.  They came into our life when the baby was about 5 months old.  After I sewed the top together, I got a surprised life event that slowed me down for 5 months.  Last month, I took a look at my sewing room and decided to get back to sewing. 

I love, love HST design.  It's so versatile and  looks great with any fabric; print and solid.  I got this charm pack from volunteering at the MQG's Quilt Con office in Los Angeles last year.  These fabrics make me so happy when I look at them.  First I laid out lots of different combinations of HST squares, but loved this one the best. 


Then I pieced some flannel pieces together to make the quilt back.  When it was time to do the quilting, I decided to echo the triangle shapes with a walking foot.  I had a lot of fun doing it, just had to take frequent breaks in between.  Lately, I could handle, anything that requires concentration, a little bit at a time.  With all things, I'm so grateful that I have full use of my hands and legs.  I'm glad to say that I'm getting better day by day.  Thanks to my loving husband who took time off to take care of me.  I'm so blessed.



I'm glad to finally got it done.  I'm very happy with the way the quilt looks.  I think it's perfect for a little girl.



Have a great day!!



Monday, July 25, 2016

Quilt blocks for Pulse

The  Orlando Modern Quilt Guild is having QuiltsforPulse Charity Drive.  They are accepting blocks, quilts, and/or donations. Go to the link above for details.  

The Valley MQG is supporting this drive by asking that our members make a 10" heart block and bring it in at our July meeting.  We then will send all the blocks to Orlando. 

This is my block.



The heart fabric is made by piecing several strips of Asian fabric together and cut out to 2 pieces of 3 1/2" x 6 1/2".  Allison of Cluckclucksew has great tutorial for making different size heart blocks.  You can also check out number of quilts for Pulse and heart blocks from Instagram.

I finally finished the baby quilt that I started back in January before my emergency surgery.  It's being washed right now.  After I take some pictures, I'll post them here.  Bye now, have a great day!

Friday, June 24, 2016

It's a beautiful world


I have been a recipient of kindness from people around me; some of whom I've never met. Back in January, when the news of my medical emergency spread, many people immediately said that they would pray for me. Guild member friends sent flowers and get well cards.  Some left messages offering help in any way. They gave me rides when I needed it, and some brought dinner to my house. I'm touched beyond words.  I know I'm blessed to know so many nice and wonderful people.

It's been awhile since my last post.  It's been quite crazy around here after the book promotion and giveaway in May.  Again, I'm so thankful for wonderful quilters/bloggers who volunteered to review my book.  Thanks to Julie Cefalu from thecraftyquilter.com, Stephanie Palmer from latenightquilter.com, Amy Smart from diaryofaquilter.com and Julie Stocker from pinkdoxies.com

Summer vacation is in full swing but we haven't planned to go anywhere this year.  We are just taking it easy around the house but this may change next month, who know?  I took this opportunity to finish some of the quilts that I started sometimes ago and to start some new ones.  My American sister just welcomed her second grandchild and she wanted a whale design.  So I made a whale quilt from the book Soft and Cozy Keepsakes.   It's been shipped to Hawaii yesterday.  Here is the picture.


  
I also finished the VMQG May challenge, using the Faux Rag Quilting technique as well.  I'm behind schedule, shame on me.  The lightening part is  really tricky but fun to sew.  I'm really happy with the way it turned out. 



The pile of Japanese fabric below is from my VMQG friend, Lois.  I've been collecting Asian fabric for some time, but the collection is growing very slowly.  With this pile, my collection is triple in size.  I can't wait to make something out of these fabrics.  Thanks Lois!!!




It's a beautiful world!!!









Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The winner got her prize

I just want to give a quick update to everyone. 

Congratulations to D. Reeves from 'Quilting Tangent'.  She's the winner of the giveaway prizes.  I'm happy to report that she is quite happy with them.  Here is the copy of an email she sent me:

Hi Margo,
Letting you know your very generous, wonderful giveaway arrived today.
THANK YOU! 😊
D. Reeves

I was down about two weeks.  Nothing serious, just didn't have energy to do anything.  The doctor said it's normal for brain surgery patients.  I just have to rest a lot and take it easy, so I did just that.   In those two weeks, while resting, I daydreamed and scribbled a lot about projects that I wanted to do.  On the mend now, I think, and in serious need of creating something.  I'm excited to start sewing and making quilts again.  

Have a great week and Sew on.....



Monday, May 2, 2016

And the winner is.......

Thank you everyone who came to visit and left your kind words here.  Thanks also to our guest bloggers for taking the time to review my book.

I entered all the names, 80 of them, into Excel to make sure that there weren't any duplicates and printed out all the names on paper.  I cut out each name and folded the paper, put them in a box with lid, shook it real good and my DH picked one out with his eyes closed while I took pictures. 


 
The winner is 'Quilting Tangent' who wrote:


Please send me an email to let me know your name and mailing address by Friday May 6th.  If I don't hear from you by then, I will pick another winner.  

Again, thanks everyone for making this giveaway a success.


Have a great week!!