Machine Quilting: Watermelon Fun

If this quilt doesn't scream picnic quilt, I don't know what will!
 Anne made this really fun watermelon quilt with a bunch of scraps of the perfect reddish pinks and soft lime greens for the backgrounds. Then she added in just enough "perfect prints" to finish off this quilt, I'll show you in a bit.
 Her request was to play up the background and do something fun in each watermelon. With a design like this, I try to keep the quilting fun yet simple so it doesn't overwhelm the quilt. I have a belief that the quilt should take center stage and the quilting should be an accent, not the first thing you see. It should enhance a quilt.
 To soften the design, swirls were quilted into the borders. Notice those "perfect prints" I was talking about? The watermelon fabric and those ants?! I don't think she could have chosen anything better!
Those ants were so much fun, Anne put them on the back too! Oh, and I hear she did a faux piped binding using both the ants and the watermelon fabrics. I bet it turned out adorable.

Thanks Anne, your quilts are always so much fun to work on!


Machine Quilting: Cactus Rose

Doris is at it again! I tell you, this woman means business!
 In true Doris fashion, this quilt wasn't meant to be this large, but a few borders can grow it to the size you want! And it's in the usual colors of blue, purple and green for her quilts.
 She told me to "do my thing" and so I started playing. I've been playing recently with more ruler work and I couldn't get enough on this quilt. This is how it started. I outlined the compass and applique filling in the smaller areas as I went.
 Then I filled in the compass and most of the center.
 Then I moved to add swirls outside of each compass. Notice that really cool pickle dish type border towards the left of the picture? Yeah, a little more ruler work there...
 Then I switched to a bit darker thread and finished the center of the compass.
 And finished the borders. Sometimes if a border is too thin, I may combine them with another border like I did here with the purple and green thin borders.
 This quilt is definitely one that makes a statement and I can only hope my quilting did it enough justice.
Here's a better shot of the various borders. I added in these neat feathers to separate the pickle dish border from the square borders. Doris is a fan of feathers, so I knew this little touch would be something she'd like. It was really fun to play with the design and come up with new treatments for new shapes. Quilts like this one always present new challenges like that for me.

Thanks, Doris! As usual you did a beautiful job!

This pattern is the Cactus Rose by Quiltworx (Judy Niemeyer). It also comes smaller if you don't want to tackle that much applique :)

If you have a quilt you'd like me to long arm for you, please email me at rubybluequilts (at) gmail (dot) com for more information!


Calendar Winner

Sorry for the delay in this post, I forgot to look at the calendar when I cut off the entries and I didn't want to interrupt the fun with the Fun-Size Quilts Blog Hop.

So, the winner of the 2015 Calendar is:

Thanks for the great opportunity to win the 2015 calendar.
Liz, please e-mail me at rubybluequilts (at) gmail (dot) com with your snail mail address so I can get your calendar into the mail!

Thank you to everyone that commented and don't forget you still have time to win copies of Fun-Size Quilts, just go to the post here to enter. 

Have a great weekend!


Fun-Size Quilts - A new book & A GIVEAWAY!!!

Phew! There's been so much excitement over here, I can hardly contain myself! But, today I don't have to :)
Today I am excited to announce the arrival of this adorable book, Fun-Size Quilts. I have been so excited for this book and if you've seen me talk to a group in the last year or so, this is the book I told y'all about.

Why is this book so much fun? Well, all of the quilts are small. As in they fit on a fat quarter small. But don't worry, there's a ton of projects from applique to paper piecing and everything in between. There's something for everyone! Hop on the mini quilt bandwagon with us and make your own fun-size quilt.
This is my little gem, Woven Stars. I couldn't wait to get working on this quilt and bust into my Civil War stash. Then to top it off, I hand quilted it with a bit of a modern vibe. But it's hand quilted... It's small, I figured I could handle it and get it done quickly. I'm thinking I need to make another one. Not sure which colors yet. I kept the pieces simple yet large enough so you wouldn't want to tear your hair out. That's not fun...

But let's get to the fun part. Did I mention that Martingale is hosting this blog hop and there's 16 eBook copies of Fun-Size Quilts up for grabs? Head on over to Martingale's blog to see the complete list of participants so you can head on over to each blog and enter to win. 

So how do you enter to win a copy here? It's simple. This book is called Fun-Size Quilts. What else comes fun-size? 

Tell me in a comment what your favorite fun-size candy is to enter for a chance to win an eBook copy of Fun-Size Quilts

Oh heck, I can't let Martingale have all the fun. I'll also throw in a signed copy of Fun-Size Quilts to one lucky winner :)

You have until Wednesday, July 30th to enter. Good luck!


Final Paris Post: The Sights

Oh, Paris... Seriously, if you ever have the chance to go, GO!!! There's so much history and detail and truth in this city. This city is a celebration and they know it and do it well. What I really miss right about now are the amazing baked goods and baguettes. I'm a carb kinda girl and having good crusty bread all the time? Sign me up!
 One of the semi-unexpected favorites that Ben and I visited was Sainte Chapelle. I cannot repeat how the history is amazing in this city. This church was getting ready to celebrate it's 800th anniversary! Anywho, I had seen pictures and kinda knew what to expect, but when we walked in and saw this, I was perplexed. It was not what I was expecting...
 You really can't see much of the church from the sidewalk. It's actually housed in the courtyard of the current courthouse for Paris. This is about all you can see.
 But we kept wandering and looking around. The colors in this area were so rich and royal looking.
 Then we spotted it! This teeny tiny spiral staircase led us up to what I was looking for...
 The most gorgeous and tall stained glass windows I had ever seen! This ceiling is massive and to think, this is the second floor of the church! They are currently renovating the glass to restore it and give it a proper cleaning (hence the construction barrier wall in the left of the photo).
 The colors and the ceiling and the lights shining in and the stories depicted in the windows! I could spend a ton of time here. The floors were really neat too and who am I kidding?! This whole building and every single detail about it was mesmerizing!
 This is a view of the outside of the church, but while still in the courtyard of the courthouse.
 From there, Ben and I strolled along and took more and more pictures of the outside of the Louvre.
 Did you know there's a mall underneath the gardens of the Louvre? Here's one of the entrances.
 Inside you can find this scale model of the grounds of the Louvre and everything that's housed underground. Aside from the mall where this model is kept, there's parking garages, a road, theaters, and much much more. It's crazy to think of how much of this city is actually under the city.
 But that's where you can see the upside down pyramid. And shop. And eat. And stroll around with your hubby :)
  Here's another shot of the Opera Garnier that I spoke about here. LOVE this place. Would love to go see a show here some day...
Just behind the Opera Garnier is the Gallerie Lafayette. This is a huge mall comprised of three different buildings, one of which has this amazing glass ceiling. That's the whole reason we went inside. Just so I could take this picture :)
 Then down the way a bit, at the end of the Champs Elysees, is the Arc de Triomphe. Ben and I made the horrible mistake the first time we came to Paris to go to the top of the Arc within hours of entering the country. I blame it on the lack of sleep.

Seriously, we just landed, we've been in the country maybe four hours, we hadn't slept in almost two days and we decide to climb this thing. There's tons of signs warning you it's 284 steps to the top. Yeah yeah yeah, no biggie. WHATEVER!!! I made it about 3/4 of the way to the top and thought I was going to die. I hadn't eaten, hadn't slept, really needed a shower now, and thought a lung might pop out at any moment. We made it to the top and it was a gorgeous view, but now this sight is a been there - done that kinda sight.
 Seriously, it's 284 steps to the top. See all the people at the top. Yeah, all of those specs are people... It is pretty though. And if you're in shape, you're well hydrated and don't have claustrophobia, you should try it. Just don't do it within hours of arriving in the country, please. Take my word for it.
 And then it wouldn't be Paris without the Eiffel Tower. I have only seen it from the ground. No I do not want to stand in line to go to the top or even the first level. And yes I watched several people climbing the steps to get to the first level to take a cart to the top. No, it didn't look like fun. I'll just take tons of pictures from the ground thank you very much.
 And then there's the carousels. They are mostly these elaborate double decker huge carousels and this one just happens to be across the street from the Eiffel Tower. I really like the one outside of Hotel de Ville too.
 And then there's this cool building across the Seine from the Louvre. It's next to the bridge that Ben and I put our lover's lock on. I have no clue what it is, but it's pretty!
 And then after all the walking and sight seeing, Ben and I would come back to our hotel room and crash and listen to the music being played in the courtyard here. Oh, and the traffic. It's kinda loud and crazy, but not irritating (as long as you're not driving in it, I don't have the guts to try it, no thank you!). It was so nice being able to just lay down with the breeze blowing through the window and listen to the city.
But before you knew it, our time in Paris was up and it was time to come home. The sunsets here were amazing and much different than what I'm used to at home. Granted I don't live in tall buildings that are practically on top of eachother, so that could have something to do with it :) That concludes my tour of Paris and I hope you liked it. I started a list before we even left of what to do and what to see the next time we make it back. Do you have anything you'd recommend?

Also, I had this wonderful wine from this little grocery store you can kinda see in the last picture. It's a rose wine with orange in it. It was sooo good and I can't get it here. If anyone is going to Paris, find it for me and send me some, pretty pretty please!!!!!! I'm serious, it was that good. Okay, now back to reality and quilts, although this has been fun to go back down memory lane since I didn't post about this trip right away. Toodles!


Paris Part 3: The Louvre

Ben and I set aside an entire day to check out the Louvre. The museum is HUGE and you could probably spend a couple days there.
 Ben and I started in the statue garden. It's this wonderfully magical place indoors, but feels outdoors. Actually, most of the lighting for the museum comes from filtered natural light. However, this was mid-April and it was a cool 60 degrees or so outside. Inside with all of this light, it felt like 90 degrees in this room and just as hot in several areas of the museum that had more light streaming in.
 We continued on and strolled through relics of eras past...
 And then we stumbled upon something new to us... Napoleon III's apartments!
 This door was massive! I would guess it was atleast 14' tall.
 There were tons of chandeliers, each room had a different style. This was just a plain hallway, nothing too fancy here (Psyeah!)
 More chandeliers and wallpapers and pictures and ceiling treatments. There was not a single place for your eye to rest.
 This is the family room. One of many actually. but this was the largest family room.
 And this was the dining room. I think this is the largest table I have ever seen. Ben and I both counted and double checked and this table seats 46! Comfortably too!
 These curvy chairs were spotted in several rooms, but the burgundy velvet and gold theme was found in just about every room.
 I LOVE these staircase corridors that can be found in corners of the Louvre. It has such an M.C. Escher vibe!
 From some of the higher levels, like in the Napoleon apartments, you get some incredible views, like this one of the pyramid outside to the other side of the Louvre.
 This is the statue garden from above.
 And this was a neat view of the city to the Eiffel Tower, a mere 2.5 miles away or so.
 You actually enter the museum under the large pyramid and then enter the many wings from there, this is looking up under one of the smaller glass pyramids.
 We weren't able to see much more of the museum on this trip because they were doing extensive renovations (plus it was soooo hot and we were moving quickly to get to what we wanted to see so we could get out quickly) but we had to stop by and see the Mona Lisa. See it, there in the middle of the giant wall. (look at the arrow)
That's it. It's the most popular exhibit in the museum, hence the glass, double thick railings to keep people at bay and the eight or so security personnel in this room alone. It's so much smaller than most people realize. It is neat to see though. So, once we spotted Mona Lisa, we waltzed through some other areas of the museum and then strolled out in the cooler air of the outdoors to see more sights.

I'll be back with one last post tomorrow to show you the main sites and attractions we saw. I hope you're enjoying this little tour!
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