Sunday, December 31, 2017

Another UFO to work on

Does it count as a UFO if you had opened the kit, looked at the pattern, and then set it aside?


I think it does count and I've decided that while I'm feeling some enthusiasm for UFOs then I'll work on as many as possible.  This set of puzzle pieces are for 3 pineapple blocks.  The kit is for a pillow, but I think I'm going to make it a wall hanging instead. I bought the kit at Heart and Hand in Sioux City this summer so it is a relatively young UFO. 

I had 3 items on my UFO Challenge list for January. One of them has been dropped off at the long arm quilter, one is ready to be sandwiched with batting and backing to quilt myself, and the third item was a blue Sew Together bag. Well, that bag should have the final stitches put in later today, so I pulled out the pineapple UFO too.  Guess it won't matter which month I work on it as long as it gets finished, right?  



Saturday, December 30, 2017

Ready for quilting

 
This was the most recent Saturday Sampler and was a mystery. I love stars of any kind so this one really appealed to me. Plus it was quite easy to assemble. But I decided that I just didn't want it to be square, so I finally got some plain borders added to the top and the bottom to change it to a rectangle. Plus the added length will make it a better option as a cuddle on the couch type of quilt.
 
I'm having this one professionally quilted as I want a simple edge-to-edge design. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Sewing therapy


I was finally able to spend some time playing in my sewing room yesterday. Now that the Farmhouse Stars top is done I allowed myself to work on a couple of things.  I added borders to a recently past Saturday Sampler, and I made my 2 blocks for the current Saturday Sampler.
 
Each month we're doing 2 variations of a block. I've chosen to use my stash of black and whites and my stash of bright batiks. This month I pulled a couple of purples from the batik drawer. And I'm choosing to make mine a light/dark variation. One block will have more white and the other block will have more black. 
 
When lining them up together, I do notice that the black print I used this month reads a bit more grey than the previous ones. But that's OK. This will be a scrappy project. And now that I see them all together, I'm thinking that next month needs to have orange in it.
 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A small finish

 
This little finish is only 12" x 16".  It's totally made from trimmed half square triangles from the Farmhouse Stars wall hanging.  I still have a few more HST that I could have used, but I just liked the rectangular look of this. It's a good size for a candle mat.
 
Farmhouse Stars is now a flimsy and I found a backing fabric in the stash yesterday. I need to check my batting leftovers to see if I have something big enough to use. If not, then I guess I'll need to buy some batting. I'm planning to begin quilting it over the weekend when the daily high for a couple of days could be below zero. I've challenged myself to finish it completely before I can start any new projects.
 
As for "nearly done" items - I have the fabric to add a couple of borders to a previous Saturday Sampler quilt.  And I have the last 2 blocks to make for our current Saturday Sampler yet.
 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!


I didn't even get any photos of these little people opening gifts - it all happened in a flash. But we did try to get them all to put on their SDSU Jackrabbit shirts and gather in front of the tree. It was like herding cats . . .


Grandpa got to read to 3 of them while we were getting food ready.  And our Christmas Day ended back home with a fire going in the fireplace, and a grumpy cat thinking we came home smelling of kids and dogs.  It was a relaxing day with our family. I hope you all had some wonderful family time too.



Saturday, December 23, 2017

One row to go


There has finally been a little more progress on Farmhouse Stars. I have only 1 row of 3 blocks left to finish.  And the bonus project is made up of the trimmings from the HST corners.



Thursday, December 21, 2017

Let it snow!

 
I used to love "snow days" because it meant I could hunker down and sew. But I work from home now so I get to keep working and just watch the snow fall.  We've had almost 5 inches so far and this is the view from my desk.
 
But my desk has a deep "drift" of invoices so I probably won't see my sewing room at all. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Holiday blues

 
Do you get the blues this time of year too?  I sure do and then I scold myself because I don't really have any major reason. So many people I know are dealing with difficult things in life such as illness or loss of a loved one. I'm not dealing with any of that. So there are no excuses and I'm trying hard to enjoy the little things that make the holidays special.
 
I only put up one tree this year instead of 3.  And I put up the stockings on the fireplace. No one but my cleaning lady with see any of this anyway as we've planned no parties and the kids are not coming here this year.  I do have a Christmas centerpiece on the dining room table, and a couple of Christmas quilts are out to enjoy. But for the most part I didn't get very carried away this year. And it's OK.


I love to collect Christmas ornaments. And unpacking them each year brings back lots of memories of people, places, or events.  So I enjoy decorating the tree - which is good because my husband never helps.  Seeing the stockings on the fireplace is always a cheerful scene for me.  I've tucked the grandkids' stocking stuffers in already, but haven't wrapped any gifts yet. I have a week to get that done.

 
I baked and decorated some Christmas cookies yesterday for a cookie exchange with some card playing friends on Tuesday night. And I mailed most of my Christmas cards on Saturday.  So, let the festivities begin. Oh, that's right, we haven't planned any festivities. Oh well, I'll just enjoy my tree all lit up and eat some Christmas cookies.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

"Piece" and quiet

 
I finally got some time in my sewing room last night.  The hubbie and I were going to watch the Jackrabbit men's basketball game online. However - he turned the TV on to a college football game he wanted to see as well.  He couldn't just mute that football game, so we had to listen to them both. It didn't take me long to leave him to the noise pollution and I headed down to my sewing room. I needed a quieter environment.
 
So while I listened to a double overtime basketball game, I sewed.  All of the star "wings" are done and ready for the neutral HST pieces on 2 corners.  And 2 whole Farmhouse Stars blocks are done. 
 
This morning I pressed everything well and then played a little bit with the trimmings from those corners. This could make a cute little pillow or maybe a mini quilt.  I think there will be one more set of HST all around this. It felt really good to spend some quiet time at my sewing machine.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Lack of focus and the UFO list

 
WARNING: photos of a growing mess to follow.  A lack of focus is really taking its toll on me lately. I am pretty much a task oriented person in my work world - I prefer to finish something before working on something new. So why, why, why doesn't that carry over into my creative world?  That little focus flag on my sewing room bulletin board needs to come out again and take a more prominent position.
 
 
I decided last night to try to make a new list of UFOs for 2018, and was almost immediately overwhelmed by the number of them.  Remember the Christmas stockings I was making a month ago for my daughter's family? On Thanksgiving she said "I don't remember asking you to do that" and of course that gave my little brain PERMISSION to set them aside.  Onto the UFO list they go!
 
 
This little pile above includes 2 unfinished bags that I used to teach a class, a design board with HSTs made of trimmings, a basket (hidden in back) full of kits, and who knows what else. The blue bag has parts for a kid sized Bricks and Stepping Stones quilt, which is a UFO from a couple of years ago. Those items are all going onto that UFO list.

 
Project boxes that have ongoing project pieces all nicely organized. Onto the UFO list!!!!  And fabrics gathered for Bonnie Hunter's new mystery quilt On Ringo Lake.  No cutting allowed until I finish something!! 
 
 
More project boxes!  And there are a few more in the cabinet I use for my cutting station.  How many do I have?  No idea!!  Guess I need to count them and prioritize them.  In the box on the floor is one of the Christmas quilts I've been working on. The basket on the left holds denim and flannel squares. And what is stacked on top? No idea.  Uff da!!!
 
 
And the huge closet in my sewing space is overflowing again.  Several tops ready to quilt are hanging up, along with some rows for this summer's Row By Row Experience.  Onto the UFO list they go!!  And on the floor - my box of black and whites that I'm using for Saturday Sampler, my fat quarter box, and a box with blocks from a rail fence quilt now draped with Halloween leftovers. Yikes!!!
 
I embrace the idea that the process of quilting makes me happy, even when I don't finish something. But I've reached that point - again - where the excess of unfinished "stuff" in that room has slapped me in the face.  Maybe it's that end of the year reflection and next week when I get a couple of days off again I can tackle some of it.
 
GULP - have I officially become a hoarder?  I see a giveaway in my future!



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The gift of giving

Isn't it fun to participate in a Secret Santa exchange?  I really miss the fun ones we had every year at the school I taught in. Beginning on December 1, every day or so we would leave little goodies in our partner's school mail box or in their classroom or hanging on their door. It might be as simple as quarters for the pop machine, an ornament, or a couple of cookies. Right before Christmas we would have a little celebration after school with yummy snacks and bring a "real" gift for the partner. We had a price limit so no one got too carried away. It was lovely and I think of it fondly every time I hang a particular hand made ornament on my tree that I received from a Secret Santa about 20 years ago.  
 
 
Which brings me to THIS YEAR . . . I belong to a closed Facebook group focused on quilting and other needlework.  Our group facilitator suggested a Secret Santa exchange again this year and I jumped right in. We could do pincushions or needle books. My partner outdid herself with my gift. She made this cute needle book that has elastic bands to hold thread spools, a zipper pocket, a striped parking place for pins, and an elastic closure. She included a spool of grey thread and a pack of needles - PLUS 2 fat quarters and a Moda candy pack (2.5" squares). Wowza!!!  Thank you to Moneik!

 
I sent my partner a pincushion that I made with an origami fabric flower and filled with crushed walnut shells which supposedly keep your pins sharp. Also included was a small quilted Christmas stocking I made and an ornament.  I sincerely feel a little stingy now, because I didn't think to included more goodies when I mailed it.
 
 
The Sew Vintage group that I belong to had a Christmas party last Saturday afternoon. We all brought something tasty to share and our facilitator made soup. It is such a fun, laid-back group and we enjoyed the little celebration together sharing stories of "vintage" Christmas from our childhoods.  We also each brought a small gift, and a game was played to see which package we received. Mine had this very pretty 5-minute table runner.  I love that particular ornament fabric.  As soon as I got home I switched this one for the Thanksgiving themed one on my kitchen baker's rack. My grandmother's recipe box and my favorite vintage pitcher sit there too.  Thank you Carol - it looks perfect there.
 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Canning Jars

 
Another Canning Jar block - only this one was a gift! Our Sew Vintage group has been working our way into Lori Holt's Spelling Bee book, and this was the first block we made.  But the group decided to make 6" blocks, in blue, to give as a thank you gift to Cindy, our group facilitator. She bakes treats for us every month, leads the conversation, and challenges us to try new techniques.  And she takes the time to keep the group fun, interesting, and creative. Thank you Cindy!
 
There were 11 of us at the party, and Cindy added her own block to make an even dozen. They look great together. 
 
 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Design Wall Monday: Farmhouse Stars progress


Sunday morning sewing brought me a step further on Farmhouse Stars.  One star out of 9 is complete. I decided to finish 4 blocks and make one of the stars just to make sure I was doing things correctly.  All of the pieces are laid out for the next 32 blocks (8 stars) and ready to sew the second round of color.  20 of them are here on my cutting board, and the other 12 are on my ironing board. 

This is a Simple Whatnots pattern by Kim Diehl.  I love the look, but it is taking me forever to finish it.  And I've promised myself that I can't start a new project until this top is done. Actually I shouldn't start anything new until I finish SOMETHING!  I realized yesterday that except for pillowcases, I haven't finished anything in over a month.  



Check out what other Design Walls hold:  http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/


Saturday, December 9, 2017

On Ringo Lake

 
The new mystery quilt from Bonnie Hunter is called On Ringo Lake. The color scheme really is pretty with coral, aqua, dark brown, and neutrals. I've been digging in my stash and doing a little shopping to collect the fabrics even though I am not starting this mystery yet.  My stash had almost no corals, cut I did have a couple of aqua scraps, and lots of neutrals. I found some perfect ones at my local quilt shop and I picked up more on last week's Iowa road trip. I have a couple of dark browns to pull from my stash yet, but otherwise I think I have what I need.
 
So far I've only saved and printed the introduction and first 3 clues.  I had promised myself that I couldn't start this until I get one more Simple Whatnots mini quilt finished. And I'm still working on that. If you are interested in the mystery quilt, here is the link to Bonnie's blog page where she will post everything. Once the last clue has been released, then she takes down the access to the free pattern and puts it into her online store for a price. But for now, it's FREE!
 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Lucky gal

 
Last Saturday our guild held its annual Christmas Party. We met at a local restaurant for lunch and games and prizes. It was great fun.
 
The committee members made the snowman mug rugs for each of us. So very cute!!  And I won a pile of 18 fat quarters in a game of Right-Left-Center.  I'm a lucky gal. One aqua one went directly into my stack for the newest Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, which I hope to work on over the next few weeks. I've been collecting coral, aqua, and neutrals from my stash and from shopping. Oops! And a dark brown, which I'm sure I have in my stash. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

AWOL


I've been missing from my blog for a week, and it was a good week.  On Sunday morning I left with a friend to drive 7 hours east to Iowa to visit a dear friend who moved there this past summer. Another girlfriend had planned to go too but was sick and couldn't go. We missed having her with us.

We went to a couple of quilt shops and some other interesting places in Marion and Cedar Rapids. Had lunch on Tuesday at Ramsey's Bistro - YUM! Went to the Amana Colonies. Attended a Lindsey Stirling concert. And relaxed with our feet up and a glass of wine in her living room. It was wonderful to just have time to talk and catch up.  Another road trip needs to happen in the spring.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Simple Whatnots

 
There isn't a lot to show yet for Farmhouse Stars (Kim Diehl Simple Whatnots), but at least I've begun to make a little progress.  There will be 34 more of these blocks. So far I have made 25 of the upper sections with the 3 brown squares.  All of the pieces for all of the blocks are cut and ready.
 
This was the Simple Whatnots project that I've been most excited about in this series. I love the look of this one.  Like all of Kim Diehl's patterns, this one has a zillion little pieces.  But results are worth it. 
 
I don't anticipate getting much more of this done right away because it's going to be a busy week.  We have a wedding to attend Saturday and then Sunday morning I'm leaving with 2 girlfriends to drive to Iowa to visit a friend who moved in August.  We're really looking forward to that road trip and seeing a dear friend that we miss.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Saturday Sampler progress

 
Chasing Fireflies - isn't that a fun name for a block?  This is the second block in our latest Saturday Sampler project which is called Summer Watermelon Sampler.  The first block was Lucky Ladybug. 
 
We chose our own fabrics this time and were encouraged to "shop our stash". Since my stash has a LOT of black and white prints and a LOT of batiks, those were my choices for this one. Each month we do 2 variations of the block.  I've decided that each month I'll try to make one version a darker one and the other a lighter version. Some of the prints have a little black on white, and others are reversed with just a little white on the black.  And I'll switch up the batik colors. This may be a crazy looking quilt.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Distractions abound

Again I've been distracted by something . . .
 
 
I enjoy reading quilting blogs and follow a couple of online quilting groups on Facebook.  And I'm constantly seeing things that I want to make. I bought this book and the paper templates months ago, but just pulled it out this past week. I had done the pink center, the white and a few of the green sections during the week. And then I stopped into The Pin Cushion on Small Business Saturday. Cindy was doing a demo on this very thing!! It was so timely!  I've done some English Paper Piecing hexies and diamonds, and this shape is fun too. The book offers some beautiful layout options.
 
These scraps are out of my bin of (mostly) Civil War reproductions. I've been using them to make the tiny blocks for the Circa 2016 Temecula project. Only a few blocks to go there and then I can put the quilt together. And now I have something else fun to use those fabrics in. I have no idea how many of these I'll make. But at least ONE!
 

I must admit that I'm having a "missing mojo" problem lately.  My sewing room is in the basement, and doing the stairs bothers my Achilles tendon. Plus I've been working more hours each week and am out of mental energy. And I'm feeling a little bogged down by unfinished projects again,  especially because I keep seeing new things I want to start.  My head is spinning - too many projects and not enough time.

Check out Design Wall Monday at:  http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Oops!


I've had to make friends with my seam ripper again. There were actually 2 of these blocks put together wrong.  But it was an easy fix.  There are now 30 blocks, which works out to be a top 5 blocks wide by 6 blocks long.  Not quite big enough for anything more than a small lap quilt. So I'm toying with new layout ideas or borders.  Any ideas would be very welcome!

This is how a UFO is born!  It was looking so promising when I had just a few blocks done. Now it's on hold. 


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Books and pillowcases go together

Something to play with, something to wear, and something to read . . . that has become my motto for buying Christmas gifts for the 5 grandchildren.  This year I decided they each needed a pillowcase with the same theme as the book the receive.  A Friday afternoon off, and those pillowcases are ready to go.
 
 
For 2 year old Jack, I found a book about a train, and it has a little toy train that he can run through the grooves on every page.  His pillowcase has train cars floating all over.


 
Jonah is 4 and he is getting Jan Brett's book The Hat.  And while searching online for other things I came across this fabric with woodland creatures - wearing knit hats just like in the book.  What a lucky find!


 
Mason's tastes are running toward a fascination with dragons now that he is 6.  The book has all kinds of dragon stories, maps, and secret flaps hiding more information. I've hunted high and low for dragon fabric, and finally found some online.  I love that the red dragon is almost a perfect match to the color of the book cover.


 
And both girls - 5 year old Sophia and 4 year old Olivia - are getting Bambi.  The Bambi fabric was a find at Missouri Star Quilt Company this summer.  And the books have beautiful illustrations, similar to my vintage childhood Bambi book. 

Check out what other quilters are working on: Design Wall Monday at http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/2017/11/design-wall-monday-november-20-2017.html

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Selvages are fun

 
Aren't these selvages unique? More and more often it seems like the manufacturers are adding fun design to their selvages.
 
I ordered 3 pieces of yardage recently to make special pillowcases to go with the books I've bought for the grandkids for Christmas.  It was really hard to find dragon fabric to go with Mason's dragon book.  But eventually I did find just want I wanted online for a couple of them.  Notice the flame shapes on the dragon fabric. The train fabric looks like trucks on the selvage rather than trains.
 
Now I need to go shopping locally to find the perfect fabrics to blend in for the pillowcase cuffs.  When I get them done I'll show them off with the companion books. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Design Wall Monday

 
An origami flower that I made awhile ago is set to become "something" as a gift, but I'm just not sold on the background fabric I've chosen for this.  I may need to rethink that background before I hand stitch this down. Possibly a solid background would work better.
 
Check out Design Wall Monday for some inspiration from other quilters - http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 10, 2017

A little progress

 
If I only get 2 blocks a day finished, it will take forever to finish this Christmas quilt. But a little progress is still progress.  I used the light strips with a solid red or green, and I like how that is working out.  So, I have 12 blocks made and hopefully can make another 16. 
 
No sewing today because I'm going out for lunch with my older daughter and then doing some shopping.  We rarely get to spend time together, just the two of us, and I'm so looking forward to it. And this evening my husband and I have a "date night" - SDSU Jackrabbit basketball doubleheader. Life is good!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Ugly is in the eye of the beholder

 
In reality, this is an ugly little crazy quilt. The fabrics are scraps of old (1960s) silky drapery fabrics. The colors and prints are ugly. Polka dot draperies - really?  The batting shrunk more than the top, so the top is very wrinkly. The back is an equally ugly pink silky drapery fabric, and it's bound with wide black bias tape.
 
But - it has it's good points too.  The fabrics all came from my aunt's custom drapery business. She shared leftovers with my mom from the custom drapes and slipcovers she made, and my mom used them in quilts and even clothes. Waste not, want not!! And I spent lots of summers living with that aunt, babysitting or being her fetch and carry girl when she installed draperies. She was my favorite aunt.  
 
Like any good crazy quilt, this one has hand embroidery over all of the seams.  The thread is kind of pink, but that is OK. And best yet, my mom helped me make this quilt in 1969, when I was in 8th or 9th grade. I had totally forgotten this little quilt until I found it in the bottom of a packing box recently.  Actually I had no idea that my mother had even kept this.  But it was carefully folded up in a box with some other "family treasures" that has been unopened - since 1991 when my mother died. 
 
Since this probably qualifies as my first quilt, I have a whole new appreciation for it. It's still ugly, but I like it anyway.