Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Moonlighting Duckies

Here I am working away at my computer having a few Dove chocolates. I happened to notice that there is writing inside the wrappers. Sayings. The chocolate spin on fortune cookies I suppose. Can you believe that I'd notice this when I have this one in my hand?

Has to be the work of my duckies. I suspect the one on the left is the culprit! This one:


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hooray for Spoonflower!

I don't know when I have last been so excited. I arrived home from Des Moines to find the package I had been anticipating from an online company called Spoonflower. To say that I tore into it is an understatement.

But let me start at the beginning.

Several weeks ago I squeezed some time out of my day to use my Sunbonnet Sue Rubber Duckie designs to create designs to be printed on fabric. I had heard about Spoonflower over a month before, and was invited to participate in their beta stage. I simply had to try it. I've been using Corel Draw for years, so I created a design to fit yardage for duckie cheater cloth and possible border designs. My design spans an entire yard; most designs can be tiled, so you only need a small part of the design for the final yardage. (There's lots of helpful info on the Spoonflower site to explain all of this.)

I then logged into Spoonflower, uploaded the TIFF file I had saved in Corel Draw, and paid for my yardage. Two yards for $36 plus $3 shipping. A deal!

Isn't this amazing how it turned out? And best yet, it is printed on high quality 100% Kona® cotton from Robert Kaufman Fabrics.
To see other fabrics Spoonflower designers have created go to their Explore function and click your way through, or visit the Flickr site. I'm blown away by the designs I see! The idea is that someday we can buy other people's yardage.
Spoonflower changes everything. Designers are having their fabric designs printed and then are sewing the fabric up into true original pieces. I'm excited about what this means for books and patterns. Oh so Web 2.0, Spoonflower makes anyone a fabric designer. It's a beautiful world!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Rubber Duckie Applique Class

What fun to see my Sunbonnet Sue Rubber Duckies come to life!

I taught an invisible applique class at the inaugural Georgia Quilt Show a few weeks ago.

In just four hours most of my students had all but completed their blocks. Wow!

Nothing is better than the sound of a classroom full of humming sewing machines.

Now I'm super-excited about pitching a book to a publisher. The patterns were a great success. Duckie Fever!

Kimberly also took my Soup to Nuts Paper Piecing Class. A hat and eyes and this duckie is done.

My Quilting Rubber Duckie approves of this message.

P.S. You can get on the list to keep up on the duckie patterns by going to my web site and signing up for my newsletter. When I get time, I design new ones and make them available for free for a limited time.

Sunbonnet Sue Rubber Duckie in Invisible Applique

The Sunbonnet Sue Rubber Duckies are a blast to sew up!
In getting ready to teach a class in invisible applique, I'm stitching up the four blocks I've designed. I've enlarged them to double the size from those I designed for satin stitch applique. The larger size makes it easier to turn the edges under. Plus, the larger size makes a nice size block for many projects. In my book I think I'll offer both sizes. As I design them I'm offering them for you to try for free. Sign up for my newsletter and you'll know when new ones are available.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Artist Rubber Duckie Applique Pattern

The Sunbonnet Sue applique pattern collection is growing with a new character; an artist. She's all dressed up and has her palette of paints ready. Bet she paints great bubbles!
You can find this pattern at Jodie and Company.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Quilted Rubber Duckie for Bernina

What do you make for the president of your favorite sewing machine company when you are off to Switzerland to film a show at his factory? A quilted rubber duckie of course!

The sign is a take off on Bernina's ad for their revolutionary machine with BSR: a stitch regulator for free motion sewing.
The waves are quilted, and she's swimming on white cotton pom poms.

So what was the reaction? "Is there meaning here, like lame duck?
P.S. We won a Telly award for the show! Members of QNNtv can watch the show here.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Paper Pieced Rubber Duckie Quilt

This evening after dinner I turned my attention to binding a little paper pieced wall hanging that's been waiting in the Finish me!" queue. It's a simple consisting of three paper pieced rubber duckie blocks. cut fabric strips, stitched them together, pressed them in half, and sewed them to the edges of this little quilt top Here's the quilted quilt and the strips I just cut.

And the finished bound quilt.
The waves are inserted into the blocks so they are 3-dimensional as are the duckies' beaks.
The result is rather cute. I think it will bring on a few smiles--which is the intention!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Rubber Duckie Brewery

Naturally, when we moved my brewing hobby out of the kitchen into its own space in the basement, complete with a fabulous new state-of-the art system from More Beer, the brewery needed a name. Guess how long it took to come up with one?

It's a ten-gallon capacity Ranco-controlled brewery, with automatic recirculation so I can maintain temps within two degrees. And those glorious pumps have eliminated all that lifting. Five gallons of beer weighs a lot!

The hood (can't see it in the picture) is ten times the hood we currently have in the kitchen. Talking about priorities! That will all change with our new house. And the brewery will be close to the kitchen. Yeah!

Making beer is a fascinating process. I started with the cake mix approach, pouring a dry malt extract into a soup pot on the kitchen stove, bringing it to a boil and adding pelleted hops per a particular schedule depending upon the bittering andflavoring profile I was after. (i.e according to a recipe)

For better flavor--not so boxed tasting as a in the cake mix comparison--I started steeping my grain and doing partial mashes, adding the steeped grains to the boil kettle.

Then I went whole grain. I bought Gott coolers retrofitted with spigots. I turned out some great beers with this setup. But was making a mess of the kitchen and having to lug equipment and beer up and down stairs and outside.

Brewing beer is magic. Here's a simplified play-by-play:

Crush some whole grain (malted barley mostly) and steep it in a pot of water at temperature x. This is called "mashing" and smells incredibly wonderful. We used to make bran mashes for our horses, so this reminds me of those cold evenings when the horses would slurp the steamy stuff.

Drain the resultant sweet liquor into the brew pot. Bring it to a boil. Add hops at different times. (The scent of hops is so wonderful I'm tempted to market hop perfume!) Essentailly the early ones add bitterness and the latter ones flowery notes, a citrusy tang, depending upon hope variety. At the end of the boil (one hour usually) cool the wort through a chiller into the frementing vessel. Add yeast.

The next morning the thing will be bubbling up a storm. When it has finished fermenting (a gadget called a "hydrometer" assures no bottles will explode) you bottle or keg the beer. Give it a little time to condition, then a few days to chill, and enjoy!

I've been super busy in the last two years so haven't entered many competitions, but I did win a best of show and always enter the Queen of Beer--and manage to always get a ribbon. Go girls!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Cook Rubber Duckie Applique Pattern

The Cook Rubber Duckie

Second in our series is a duckie who is quite the connoisseur of gourmet food--make that gum drops, of course. With her chef's hat and jacket on, she is whipping up a batch of every rubber duckie's favorite; Gum Drop Cookies.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Life in My Rubber Duckie Bathroom

I'm not the only one who enjoys spending time in the rubber duckie bathroom. After he has coerced me into letting the faucet drip so he can have a nice drink, Matanzas Creek aka Manny the Maine Coon enjoys a nap in the other sink. He agrees with the duckies that cleanliness is the highest of virtues. Although he goes about it sans bubble bath thank you very much.