Saturday, March 26, 2016

You CAN Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

The bougainvillea around us is spectacular this year, maybe because we had a fair bit of rain this winter.
That incredible pinky red and neutral sand are the main colours for this post's finish.
As you know, Naala turned 9 years old on March 4, and has had some shoulder issues this past month again, so earlier this week we took them for a shorter walk in a really pretty park our friend John showed us this year.  She still looks pretty amazing for a 9-year-old Rottie. She couldn't jump up on that wall that day, but Rocco, who is 6.5 years old this month, can, and did.  He learned this trick from Brandy, his red-nose pibble friend.  Rocco and Naala, in turn, have been teaching Brandy to enjoy the water:
a fun frolic at the beach a couple of days ago

Old and older dogs can learn new tricks. Pibble love is not a new trick for either Brandy or Rocco...or for their doubles. Check this out!  Just over a week ago, because Naala was on the DL, John and Brandy, Rocco and I went for a walk in our 'hood...
Four "vicious" pibbles -TWINS- meet on the street outside the one pair's house for the first time!
The only difference is that Lulu is a female blue-nose pit, and Danny Boy, their male red-nose pit.  Sweet sweet dogs, all four.  Oh, one other difference:  Rocco had to have his tail amputated from a condition known as "happy tail syndrome", where from wagging so hard and hitting hard objects like corners of walls, or coffee tables, it would bleed, and eventually cause an ulcer that wouldn't heal.

Anyhow I took a short video of them kissing each other and being the happy, lovin'-life type dogs that these sweeties are.  I have a feeling it will get hundreds of views when I put it on Instagram.

So this old dog (moi), learned some stuff this past few weeks too.  In actuality no, I am NOT old, I hate to even say but I guess I'm maybe middle-age, since I plan to live until around 100.  Anyhow, in February, I tried to do the Scrap-a-Palooza quilt, which was improv piecing with a red corner triangle.

The bottom row shows the playing around with layout ideas I had, with nothing grabbing me.  Until the third layout reminded me of the bottom of a heart.  Hmm, maybe a red square in the corner with two improv HSTs to round the edges might work?   You see what I got in the top picture.
So I decided to go with it.  After all, I did want to make a Valentine quilt this year.  See my Q1 FAL list.

Some of the hearts looked a tad gooby, so I pulled apart a few seams and inserted a small triangle to make them flow a little better.
Yep, that's better
Sewed two blocks together with sashing.
Kinda cute!
Bella, as always, supervised.

And once I took the photo, had to test it out.
Liking it, yep, yep, do the other two now.

Finished flimsy:
I'd mistakenly cut 3 extra 1.5" strips of Modern Background Essentials by Zen Chic for my Swoon Mini, because I couldn't find the safe place I'd put the first ones in.  I got to use some for the outside frame here. I like that!
That Kona Cotton patterned strip across the centre?  Um yeah, had it since 2001:
Beautiful fabric but it's got a kind of scotchguard feel to it; not much left now.
The flimsy sat on my design wall until earlier this week, when I posted about the Shadowed Star cushion.  Hello?!  This "Valentine quilt of some kind" is on my Q1 FAL list!!  I can quilt this up next, since I seem to be on a mini quilts roll this year.
Trying out a new design for me, one of Angela's fillers for negative space
I decided to do a different background fill behind each heart.  I have FMQ-ed for 20 years, but I am always game to learn a new motif, or try something new.  This fill turned out really well, and I just drew it once on a paper and then went for it.  Improv is a also a new technique I've been mucking around a bit with this past little while.
Two hearts quilted down; see how the other two poof up?  No worries; they did smoosh down just as nicely as the first two did.
Very pleased with the new-to-me 'Signature design' of Angela's.  I was also very pleased with how square this mini stayed.

Added Susie's Magic Binding.  This is another new trick for this girl, second quilt I've done it on, and I just love it.  I learned of it thanks to my friend Tish.  I used the rest of the inadvertently extra cut 1.5" Zen Chic strips and cut one more, and then used up almost all of my Dear Stella Chevrons pink and white fabric for the flange.
I call it Crazy Hearts

There was a bit of a ripple across the bottom, so I dampened the quilt and blocked it on my sewing room carpet overnight.  Do you see the pink dragonfly patch? I FMQ-ed over it in the same magenta thread I used for the hearts.  The dragonfly comes from labels fabric.  These flitted around between the labels, which have all been used up now.
The back - I like how the pink hearts show up
The label, which had its written information all but obliterated with the pebbling I did.  I went over it though.
I forgot to put two triangles in each of the top corners for a dowel to go through, so it is getting hung using Right Sides Together's Lazy Ass method.
Very close to the Swoon Mini in size
These two quilts both feature the Zen Chic Modern Background Essentials fabric, and that fabulous binding.  Both are heavily quilted.
Trying to get a bit of an angle to show the fabulous texture you get from all this quilting
I'm happy that I have another finish on my list.  I have not done very well this quarter in that regard.  I am most happy that I am wholeheartedly committed to lifelong learning, and that you definitely can teach this 'old dog' new tricks.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  original design, inspired by Scrap-a-Palooza
Size: 19" square
Fabric: stash scraps
Batting: Pellon Nature's Touch 100% cotton
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads: pieced with Gütermann; quilted with Essentials 50 wt 20869 white and 21241 Magenta

If you would like to learn some of these and many more fabulous FMQ techniques, then you might want to check out Craftsy's classes.   I learned so much in Angela Walters' Machine Quilting Negative Space, and her Small Changes, Big Variety classes.  Her Free-Motion Quilting with Feathers class is well worth snagging at this price too.  I reviewed the latter two of those in this post.

Why you might want to consider taking a class if you never have:  I have both of Angela Walters' Quilting books, and the designs you see in both these minis can be found in her books.  However!  I find that SEEING her execute the designs on either a longarm or a domestic really helps me to see how the design is executed.  I also love the fact that I can watch her do this over and over either using the 30-second repeat feature, or I can go back to a design maybe 6 months after I bought and watched the class to review it.  There are many more reasons why I love Craftsy classes, and I go into them in the review post if you are interested, or just email me if you have specific questions.

The newest class I am super-excited about that I just got is Christina Cameli's latest one, Wild Quilting.  It reminds me of Karlee Porter's Grafitti Quilting and the Graffiti quilt I did last summer.  I cannot WAIT to play around with Christina's designs and learn more new tricks which I will share on the blog.

Happy Easter everyone!
Dapper boy
Linking up with:
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Fort Worth Fabric Studio
A Quilted Passion
Cooking Up Quilts 
She Can Quilt for the FAL party!


  1. Wow! Sandra, this mini really, really appeals to me. Love the improv hearts and the low value background. Mostly tho, it's the quilting. Yikes, it is fantastic. You did a gorgeous job with this and when you tire of it hanging on your wall, let me know. I will gladly take it off your hands!! 😉

  2. Hey, between the 'Quilting Negative Space' and 'Small Changes, Big Variety'... Which did you like best? I consider myself pretty new at FMQ still, if that makes a difference. Thanks!

  3. Hi Sandra. Your FMQ is beautiful. I am into improv piecing now. I especially like Christa Watson's style.

  4. They look amazing! Really like the variety of the blocks, just wonderful quilting.

  5. You are definitely on an improv roll. This turned out great and your quilting, as usual, is a knockout. Love that final photo of Rocco.

  6. Hi Sandra fab work as ever. I bought the Kona Bay fabric in blue when my husband and I went to America New Orleans for his 50th...which makes it 2005... I am new to Nd am inspired by your work... What Craftsy classes do you recommend? Hugs Sue x

    1. Hi Sue, I hope hope, you might see this; you are a no-reply blogger (see fix below the comments) and I have no way to find you. I started with Angela's feathers. If you go on the link in this post to the review I show you before and after feathers. And I'd been doing a lot of feathers before her class... I LOVE her Big Changes one too as she not only shows you cool designs and how to do them, but she also combines them to create fabulous designs. There are great handouts in her classes too. My all-time "changed my LIFE" class was her Dot to Dot one. Ya serious crush on Angela.
      I also really like Christina Cameli. I bought her second FMQ book and as I said I just got Wild Quilting. At $19.99 for a $40 class that's a great buy!

    2. Thank you soooo much for the reply Sandra and the info that I am a no reply blogger.. I will try and use my limited IT skills go fix lol. Thanks for the info on the classes, will be exploring today xxxx

    3. Hi again Sandra, I have enrolled on two of Angela's classes through your link. 😀 I have spent ages trying to view my status using the link you gave but it doesn't seem to look the same! Can anyone help? xx

    4. Sorry to be a nuisance😀 think I have changed something, hope it has worked! Perhaps you could try to reply? Many thanks... X

  7. Another mini winner! Love the FMQ it really adds to the piece overall. I am not a big improve quilter, tried it a few times and still have the pieces hiding...

  8. Lovely hearts mini quilt. The piecing looks both challenging and fun; exactly what "old" dogs need! By the way, you know the other proverb, don't you: "You're never too old to learn"! Beautiful quilting too and the binding really is the finishing touch.

  9. The quilting on your hearts mini is fantastic, and the binding adds a perfect touch to it. I have decided that I can never be old. I will always be older than I was yesterday, but I am always going to be the perfect age. Here's to looking forward, being excited for the journey, and to continual learning and growth.

  10. Love your hearts...what a great idea! Thanks for sharing with Oh Scrap and using another Scrap-a-palooza quilt for inspiration! :)

  11. Wow! So amazing! And what a perfect idea for scraps. I'm going to put something like this at the top of my list!

  12. I love the art quilt direction you took with the Crazy Hearts mini. This is the direction I would like to go; however, need the FMQ skills and the improv design eye that you have. Signed up for one of the classes you recommended to get started on the FMQ. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Those are great little heart blocks and the quilting adds such a nice texture! I love the pink flange, it frames the mini quilt so nicely!

  14. Oh no, the happy tail syndrome sounds so unhappy and painful.
    Your little hearts quilt looks like broken hearts that eventually mended but retained some scars and lots of memories, so very enriched by their experiences. You chose the perfect backing fabric.
    The label is so appropriate - Did you use the Pentel Gel pen? Looks like it.
    Thank you for the link to Right Sides Together site. I am going to explore it at leisure when I have two hours to spare ;-)
    And as far as age and learning are concerned, you are a puppy - so full of energy and enthusiasm, that it inspires others.

  15. I love love love your valentine quilt! It has such great texture and makes me want to go quilt right now. However, I probably need sleep more. ;)

  16. Oh too funny, twins!!! Can't get much better than that lol!
    Oh Bella!
    Na, you're not old. Cough ;p

  17. Love all the wonderful texture in your heart quilt!!

  18. I LOVE how this mini turned out!!! So much yummy texture...OMG I want to touch it! The Zen Chic neutrals provided the perfect background for those pink hearts. And of course I am partial to that lovely binding ;) It frames it so nicely. I guess I didn't realize that was why Rocco's tail was docked. The boys still have their tails and they are like brutal whips. Newton has caught me on the back of the calf before and left a bruise. He was just that happy. So I completely get why he would have had the trouble he did. Poor feller :( And how completely crazy that you ran into Rocco and Brandy's doppelganers! I can't wait to see that video...I'm pretty sure I haven't seen it yet.

  19. hearts and crumbs are beautiful together. And you got a Cat-scan so it's all kosher

  20. You and Rocco are the best Pibble ambassadors Sandra. My gosh I never heard of Happy Tail causing such problems for a pup. Love his last cameo with his baseball tie!
    Christina's Wild Quilting class was fantastic! I love the sense of confidence and freedom she gives you in free motion quilting! You have that mastered Sandra - the quilting you do is always beautiful! I love how your hearts and mini swoon look together!

  21. What two books do you have of Angela's; when I look on Amazon about five books come up. I already have Shape by Shape. But... I do take your point on watching the video's - may have to treat myself to a Craftsy class or two. Think I've now fixed my problem with being a 'no-reply' blogger too, thanks! Michelle in Scotland.

  22. Your hearts quilt is gorgeous! Adding yet another quilt to my list.

  23. I love how you changed the quilting design on each heart block! Well done!

  24. This is soooo lovely! I love the scrappy low volume in the background and the quilting and binding are so perfect. Thank you so much for participating in the Finish-A-Long, on behalf of the 2016 hosts!


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