Saturday, January 31, 2015

Closing out January

January is drawing to a close and I'm feeling pretty good about what I accomplished this month.  I'm still hoping to make some serious dents in my stash and my unfinished projects this year. This is a respectable beginning.  My January goals were . . .
  • RSC15 sampler blocks - blue blocks are done
  • guild round robin section for January - added my round to Connie's quilt 
  • 2 blue 30s elephant blocks - Yes!
  • hand quilt another section of Beach-theme wedding quilt - NOT EVEN TOUCHED! 
  • 10 blue/green Trip Around The World blocks - NOPE! but strips are cut & organized into sets
  • 3 mini Valentine table runners - Yes!
  • Sew Vintage heart challenge mug rug Yes!
  • sew rows together for RSC14 Pigtail quilt - Yes!
  • finish hand applique of red Hawaiian table topper Yes & has borders added!
  • bind Paris baby quilt - Yes & it's all ready to gift to the new mom!

And what else did I do that wasn't on my goal list?  
  • made 3 pillowcases
  • finished my autumn Mystery Quilt (quilted & bound) 
  • signed up to do a new Saturday Sampler program
  • joined a friendship block swap with 13 blocks due in June
  • began tracking my fabric "in and out" for the year
  • sewed 1 Batik Star block for another UFO - 3 more to do
  • made 4 pinwheel blocks to test a pattern size (10" blocks)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Batik star block

OK - one more block with blue in it for RSC15. This is one of 4 unfinished blocks from a past Saturday Sampler.  Now there are only 3 of them left to do.

I'm not absolutely sure why these got set aside because I love star blocks and I love sewing on batiks.  It was probably because there was an applique snowman block that went with each of these and I wasn't too fond of applique at the time. I'm getting better at it.

The snowman blocks are not done either, but are now destined to become something separate from this star block project. I can deal with making a smaller quilt out of the 12 star blocks and doing something else with the appliqued snowmen later.  So 1 UFO has become 2 smaller UFOs.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Quick Strippee baby quilt

I forgot to post a photo this weekend of the finished baby quilt for a BFF of my younger daughter.

The pattern is called Quick Strippee and is from one of my favorite quilt bloggers: .  It's a great fast pattern that lets you showcase a fun print that you don't want to cut into little pieces.  There are 5 rows of the cute Paris print separated by the pink and black strips.  The Paris print was selected because it's pink (baby girl) and because the mom's nickname is "Frenchie".

The baby girl is due in April and this is ready for the baby shower the friends are planning. Hope she likes it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Block Swap

My coordinating fabrics are selected and last night I made a decision on the block design.  During my lunch break today I laid out these fabrics to determine the location of each color in my block. I think I have a plan.

Now - I have 6 months to make my 13 blocks, but I hope to get them done by the end of February so that I don't end up procrastinating and run out of time.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A new block swap

This beautiful brown floral is the focus fabric for a new friendship block exchange that I'm doing. There are 12 of us participating - some via long distance even.  We don't even all know each other - YET. But it will be fun getting to know everyone and working towards that exchange of blocks.  

The rule is that we must select a block design and then use this fabric to make 13 of that block. When we meet in June to exchange, we'll each end up with 12 unique blocks - 1 from each of us.  The 13th set will become a donation quilt that we'll make for a local group. Right now we are leaning toward donating it to the local scholarship auction. 

I've purchased some coordinating fabrics to start working on blocks over the weekend. There are some really lovely shades of aqua and pink in this focus fabric, along with creams and golds and browns.  I'm ready to go . . . except I haven't made a final decision on the block design yet.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Retreat sewing

Heartland Quilt Guild held a "Let it Snow" retreat on Friday night and all day Saturday.  I was only able to attend on Saturday, but that time allowed me to get a couple of big tasks checked off my list. First, I got all 36 pigtail blocks sewn together into a flimsy. 

After adding the last 2 rows I laid it out and realized that I had goofed and didn't have the white sections meeting. So I "un-sewed" those rows and fixed the problem.  And I cut enough strips to make another 10 blocks for my Trip Around the World. 

I'm linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday at: 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Stash Report

I can report a good dent in my stash this week although I already know there will be some purchases next week since I need to choose some coordinating pieces for a new project that I'll blog about later in the week.

In this week:  0 yards
In this year:  21.75 yds
Out this week:  11.75 yds
Out this yeear:  12.5  yds
Net for 2015:  -9.25  yds   (stash is still winnning)

I finished 2 pillowcases today, and 2 quilts this week.  The fall mystery quilt gave me 7 yards used  and  today I finished the Paris baby quilt which was another 2.75 yards used. I'll post a photo of the baby quilt this week..

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The rocking chair

This photo was taken near Whitehall, Wisconsin in about 1928. The little girl in the wooden rocking chair is my mother and the baby that my grandfather is sitting by is probably my aunt June or maybe even the younger sister Lois.  Mom would have been about 4 in this picture.  My mother told me that her father made this rocking chair himself, and since he was a cabinet maker/carpenter/farmer I'm not surprised. It's a very sturdy, but simple chair from very common wood (pine probably).

That rocking chair is one of the few pieces of furniture that made the move to Minnesota with the family in 1930.  And it was always in our house when I was growing up. Years later my own children sat in that rocker at my mom's house. When she died in 1991 there was no doubt in my mind that the rocking chair was coming home with me.  And right now that little wooden rocker lives in my basement office/family room area where I can enjoy it every day. 

The quilt draped over it is one my paternal grandmother made for me in about 1958 or 59.  And my grandchildren can rock in a chair made by my grandfather for his children almost a hundred years ago.  So 5 generations of my family have touched this small piece of furniture. I'm so glad it is still in the family and that I can feel the connections with my ancestors.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Another finish

I'm excited to have a quilt finished already in January. It's all bound and ready to use.  The sun was shining bright when I got home from work yesterday so I made my husband stand on the deck with this one so I could get a picture.

This was the mystery quilt from Saturday Sampler last fall - and I chose an autumn theme. This pattern is one that I think I would use again when I have fabrics that I want to use in large pieces rather than cut into small pieces.  And it is a nice size for a sofa quilt to cuddle up in.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

What is this?

Can you guess what this is?  It's a secret - something added to a round robin project for guild. The suspense is building month by month.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Playing around

I couldn't resist playing around just a little with a few of the scraps left over from the buffalo pillowcase fabric and some of the other scraps I got from a friend.  And I ended up with this 17" square that is big enough to use as a pillow front or maybe will continue to grow and become something totally different.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The quilting adds so much

It is always amazing to me when an average quilt is transformed by special quilting.  Can you see the word "autumn" showing up along with the leaves?  

I'm in the process of binding this mystery quilt from last fall, which was one of those quilts that I liked, but didn't LOVE.  But when I picked it up from The Pin Cushion after the gals quilted it, the stitching just blew me away!  It's transformed.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sunday sewing

I spent a couple of hours sewing on Sunday and a bit more time doing a little organizing.  This pillowcase is done and it was made from some of the fabric I got from my friend on Saturday.  The only thing pulled from my stash was the yellow accent strip. 

I also made a couple of bindings for quilts that are ready to bind, and I got the green binding attached to it's quilt. So that will give me some hand work this week.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Fabric in and fabric out

I haven't kept track of fabric purchases vs fabric used in past years, but have been kind of curious about how big my addition may really be. So - at least for awhile - I'm going to keep track.  And I added to the stash BIG TIME on Saturday morning, although there is no guilt attached, which I'll explain.  

First of all - this was all free.  A good friend decided to downsize her stash by getting rid of everything she had lost interest in making or finishing.  She invited friends over for coffee and shopping her stash. This is what I came home with: a whole kit and pattern for a baby quilt, a couple of small panels, and some odds and ends of other fabrics that will fit right in with mine.  There are also 3 blocks that may just become a pillow right away. And there is a 4 yard cut of floral that I'm going to donate to the church quilting group to use as backing.  So I brought home about 15.5 yards of fabric total.  4 is going out immediately to the church. And the baby quilt kit totals about 7 out of the remaining 11.5.  I need to make 2 baby quilts by mid-summer so this is perfect.

So in adding up my actual purchases with this acquisition:

Fabric in since Jan 1:  about 21.75 yards
Fabric out since Jan 1: about .75 yard
So - the stash is winning by 21 yards

But part of my purchases was backing for 2 quilts that are now quilted and ready for binding so as soon as those are done I'll add that yardage to my "out" column.

I owe my friend lunch - at least - in return for all of this great fabric.  And she feels "lighter" and has a less cluttered sewing room to enjoy.  Plus what's more fun and relaxing than coffee with friends and a couple of hours of conversation!!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Elephants in the room

Two blue elephants are now hanging out with the green ones, lavender ones, and yellow ones.  I'm making these from 30s fabrics from my stash and have lots of fun colors to choose from.  Brown and pink may be the next ones. That would give me 12 blocks.

I'm not exactly sure yet what I'm going to do with these elephants. My younger daughter really wanted an elephant quilt after I made one for her sister a couple years back.  So maybe that is the ultimate goal. Or they would make a really cute baby quilt.  My goal is to make enough to actually do something with them.  So depending on what I do I'll probably need more than 12 elephants.

This block pattern is one I found online several years ago at the Milk and Honey Quilts blog. I've linked to her pattern because it is so well written.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

January goals in progress

I totally forgot to post my January goals and now the month is half over. Of course I was out of town for a week of this month so I'm going to forgive myself.
  • RSC15 sampler blocks - 2 are done already
  • guild round robin section for January  
  • 2 blue 30s elephant blocks
  • hand quilt another section of Beach-theme wedding quilt
  • 10 blue/green Trip Around The World blocks
  • 3 mini Valentine table runners - Yes!
  • Sew Vintage heart challenge mug rug Yes!
  • sew rows together for RSC14 Pigtail quilt
  • finish hand applique of red Hawaiian table topper Yes!
  • bind Paris baby quilt
I think that is probably enough for January.  I'll need a couple of blizzard days in order to get this all done and I don't really want to shovel any more snow.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

5 minute table runners

I just couldn't resist making some of these little table runners.  And they really do only take about 5 minutes to make.  

These 3 were kits that I bought at The Pin Cushion last weekend.  So the cutting was already done, although that probably would have only added another minute to each since they were cut from fat quarters. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

RSC15 block 2

The second sampler block for RSC15 (Rainbow Scrap Challenge) has a Card Trick block is the center of the star.  The centers of these sampler blocks are all 6.5" unfinished and I think they will probably be mostly traditional block patterns which I really like.

Blue is a color that I use a lot so there were quite a few choices in my stash.

Now I need to get back to work on the blue Trip Around the World blocks.  Some evening sewing planned this week should give me a chance to finish at least a couple more of them.

Monday, January 12, 2015

First finish of 2015

At Sew Vintage Club on Saturday, we were given a pattern for this little mug rug that uses 2.5" squares such as Moda Candies.  And we were challenged to make one before our February meeting. Well, I had a Moda Candy pack called Double Chocolate in my stash, and I used half it to make my mug rug.  So cute - and it already looks great on my desk. 

 Notice the large rick rack peeking out around the edges.  I had a leftover piece of a beige in my scrap bin that I used for the back.  And the quilting was just a simple serpentine stitch on my machine.  A yo-yo made from the backing fabric and a heart shaped button finished it off.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Saturday sewing

Just a little glimpse of a small project that is nearly done.  I hadn't done any sewing other than handwork for a whole week because I went with my husband on a business trip. We finally got home last night after plenty of airline delays, and today I spent focused on quilting.

We had Saturday Sampler this morning and it was the reveal of finished mystery quilts plus the introduction of the new 2015 program.  Show 'n Tell took over an hour but it was fun to see how everyone's mystery quilt turned out.  Not an ugly one in the whole bunch! 

Had coffee with one of my best friends and then went to Sew Vintage Club this afternoon.  One of the best parts of quilting is the social aspect.  That is why I belong to the Heartland Guild, participate in Saturday Sampler and the Sew Vintage group. Quilters are just the best people.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Preserving my sense of humor

This is my souvenir from 2 overnight layovers in Minneapolis in the past 6 days.  We have had delays, missed connections, cancelled flights, and more delays.  

When the airlines call it a weather event (even when the de-icing truck breaks down), they do offer you an overnight "kit" - toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, and deodorant.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Portable projects

Working some hexies while waiting for my flight home. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

One step closer

I just needed a couple of road trips to finish the appliqué on this. It is about 18 inches square. So it might make a good center for a wall hanging.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lost and found

If you read my goals for 2015 you know that one of my major goals is to continue to declutter my house from top to bottom.  DH and I have begun with the basement and it has been amazing what treasures we've been finding buried in boxes. I thought I was pretty well organized when we moved into this house 9 years ago, but obviously I was not because we've found some odd things packed together in boxes in our basement storage room. And I'm ashamed that any boxes have remained unpacked after 9 years. Shame on me!

There are 4 of these candle-wick on muslin blocks.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet, but I think they need to go into a quilt of some kind. And the doll quilt needs a bit of repair.  I'm not sure who made this, but it was in with some doll clothes so I believe it was probably a gift for the girls when they were little.  The binding is done with a technique that I have never used, but the quilting is all done by hand with red thread.  A little repair and it will go into the doll bed with the dollies for the grandchildren to play with when they visit.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Blue UFO project

Since the January color for RSC15 (Rainbow Scrap Challenge) is blue, I decided the first UFO I would tackle is this blue and green Trip Around the World.  It has lots of blue in it.

I had 16 blocks done already and the fabrics gathered for more.  On New Years Day I made 3 more blocks (along with some other sewing) and sewed the strip sets for 3 more.  I'm not sure how big I want this quilt to be, but should have enough fabric gathered for at least 36 blocks, maybe 42. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

RSC15 has begun

I really enjoy getting involved in some online communities to see what other quilters are working on, and also to "play" along with some of the online projects. 

So I'm joining in on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge again this year and am looking forward (RSC15) to playing along with The whole idea is that we are challenged each month use up our scraps to make something - anything - using the color of the month. January 2015 is blue.

The host of RSC15 has also designed a sampler quilt for the year that will incorporate a whole lot of 6.5" blocks framed by a sawtooth star.  And I'm going to work on the sampler as well as other projects of my own.  She plans to post 2 or 3 block tutorials each month for this sampler.

Sampler block #1 is called Whirling Geese and used the partial seam technique to make those flying geese whirl around the center. And the host has a great tutorial full of pictures of every step.  I used some blue batik scraps and a white background, but I haven't really decided yet whether or not I'll stick with batiks or use up other blue scraps. The background - I think that will be scrappy too, using whites, creams, shirtings, etc. We'll see how it shakes out.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Making the most of 2015

Wow! It's a new year and time to set some new goals for myself. 2014 was a pretty good year and of course I'm expecting 2015 to be fabulous!  I'm not going to make any resolutions because I don't stick with them very long, but I am going to work on some broad goals.

Last June I finally managed to gather some will power and focus on getting healthier. My husband and I began walking - a lot - and trying to eat better. We both lost 30+ pounds, but the holidays have been tough. So Goal #1 is to get back on track with exercise and cut the self-destructive eating habits. I'm not going to focus on a specific weight loss, but think that will gradually happen with healthier habits.

Goal #2 is aimed at continuing the decluttering of my house.  I have too much "stuff" and the clutter is stressful.  I inherited some of the clutter from other family members, but have added to the problem steadily. I definitely inherited the pack-rat gene that makes it difficult to part with things. This will be a tough goal to reach, but every empty box or drawer will give me a huge feeling of satisfaction.  In addition to getting rid of stuff, I am going to better organize what I keep (like photos).  

And Goal #3 deals with the activities that make me happy.  I am promising myself that I will take more time to spend with friends and family, to read more good books, to play more golf, and to spend lots of time at my sewing machine. Life is too short NOT to have some fun, spend time with the people I love, and spend some time being creative. 

So, here's to making the most of 2015!  Happy New Year!!!