Friday, December 30, 2016

The quilt isn't finished yet, but I've finished all the blocks for the Block of the Month I am hosting this year!  Quilter's Recipe Box.  I haven't really explained the name for it yet, but I was inspired by one of my quilting friends who said that quilt patterns are like recipes.  

I just love how this is coming out, and I think it is because I chose fabrics that make me happy!  I think it would be wonderful in many other color stories as well, but these colors just make me smile.

Plus those rays of sunshine streaming into my sewing room don't hurt, either!

Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
Linking up with Finished or Not Friday on Busy Hands Quilts - come see what everyone else is working on!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

How to Entertain Yourself While Sewing

Although I am perfectly capable of sewing by myself with no distractions, I often find it very enjoyable to watch (or listen to, actually) various television shows.  I've been through all the seasons of various television shows, Downton Abbey being one of my favorites.  This week I have tried something different, I started watching Dr Who and am loving it!  Although I often have to stop and backtrack to figure out what's going on - it's a little tricky sometimes in the plot lines.  I don't know how I have waited all this time to start watching!
Here's another block from the Quilter's Recipe Box block of the month!  If you want to join in, just sign up for my Newsletter.  I will be presenting one new block unit a month with a block pattern, plus will show you a new block each week that can be made with the block unit.  So you can make a small quilt (about 45 x 56) with 12 blocks, or make a total of 48 blocks for a quilt that measures about 75 x 99.  The smaller quilt will require 1 yard each of a focus fabric, sashing fabric and background plus a fat quarter of three supporting fabrics.  It's going to be a lot of fun - I'll be sharing lots of tips for sewing the units each month with a strong focus on accuracy!

The quilts I am making for Island Batik are coming along nicely!  I am really excited about them, and hope to finish the quilting tomorrow so I can send them out.  Then I can quilt my sample for the Quilter's Recipe Box and get started on the quilt for the blog hop next week.  Phew.  At least the end is in sight.

I made a great find at the Dollar Tree the other day.  I have a rather thick dining room table and have been on the lookout for clamps to hold my backing down for basting quilts.  I found a set of 7 Jumbo Clothespins that I think are going to be perfect:
Can't lose for just a dollar!  (That's one of the quilts for Island Batik in the background...)

Last, but not least I only need three more sales on Etsy to hit 1500 and I would LOVE to make it before the New Year!  I've created a coupon code for 25% off - and it's good on anything in my shop, even the items that are already marked down (patterns are still 1/2 price...)  I'm planning a gift for the person that buys that lucky item #1500 and will also be having a giveaway this weekend to celebrate, so if you feel so inclined, it would sure make my day!  The embedded facebook post below has all the details for the coupon.  Feel free to share!

Have a wonderful Friday!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2017 Planning Party

I just love the start of a new year.  New calendars, a shiny new planner, lots of aspirations and a sense of a fresh start!  Today I got out my Quilter's Planner for 2017 out of the box and wrote my name in the front, time to start planning.  I bought a set of colored gel pens to go with it - I am in love!  In high school I loved colored paper and pens, but my teachers always wanted my assignments in blue or black ink on regular white paper.  Now I can let my love of color shine forth as I fill in the pages of my planner and I feel like a kid again!

I need to transfer all my unfinished UFO's to the new book, the list will be significantly shorter than it started out in September, and hopefully by June will be almost down to nothing.  (Of course, I will probably have new projects to add as well as I work on some tops and ideas for future patterns.)

Then I plan to add some ideas for blog topics.  Hopefully I will be chosen to continue as an Island Batik Ambassador for 2017 and will have projects for that role to add in!  I want to enter a few shows this year, so I'll need to see where I want to submit my quilts and add those deadlines.   And of course, the Quilter's Recipe Box block of the month will be on my schedule as well.

My work schedule at Threads That Bind will need to be added.  Hopefully a nice vacation this summer - another road trip for us seeing some new sights and visiting my parents.  

I really want to push myself to work on creating new patterns this year, so I'll be using my planner to schedule in some design time.  I love the grids that are spaced through the months so hope to fill those up!  I love the free motion quilting designs in each week's layout so definitely plan on using some of those in my projects as well!  

Last, but not least, I hope to make good use of the planner as a journal as well.  I can jot a few sentences each day about the things that go on and my thoughts and feelings.  I love that there is enough space in each column to add lots of notes, inspirations, quotations that I enjoy.  I plan on making this a book that not only keeps me on track, but that will also show anyone who looks at it how I lived my life, and what inspired me on a daily basis.  

I'm super excited for 2017 and looking forward to how my planner will keep me organized and on track!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Quiet House

My husband reached out for my hand from the couch yesterday and said sadly, "It's all over."  Our house is quiet again, everyone is either back home or on their way and we are back to just ourselves and the kitty again.  We had a wonderful Christmas Celebration, which was actual multiple celebrations in various households.

I joked that our car was Santa's Magnum Sleigh - we took presents here and there for all of the families to enjoy!  The Christmas PJ's were all a huge hit - I did well this year picking the right fabrics!  My grand sons loved their fleece PJ pants - they said that they were the coziest pajamas ever - the oldest got Seahawks in blue and the youngest, Seahawks in green.  I was thrilled that they were so happy with them!  The little grand daughters were happy with the nightgowns I made, and all the big girls liked their PJ pants.  My middle daughter got kitty cat faces in pink and she was so happy - that was my favorite gift I gave for sure!  (She works in a veterinarian's office and loves cats.)

We had a small crisis when some soda got spilled on the watercolor paintings that my youngest daughter made, but she was able to fix them up again good as new the next day, so it wasn't the end of the world.  I'll show you mine when I get my sewing room cleaned up and re-organized - right now it's a disaster area!

 I didn't remember to take as many pictures as I should have, but I left my laptop at home and didn't spend much time on my phone as I enjoyed my family wholeheartedly.  It was definitely a good choice as there were many heartfelt conversations, laughter and just all around good times.

Here's the view from my spot on the loveseat!  The quilt above the archway is up all year long because I love it so much.  It's cross-stitch combined with quilting.  Here is a bad picture zoomed in:
Peace.  My wish for all of you for the coming year.  May you have peace in your heart no matter what is going on around you.  I hope that I can be a person who spreads peace, as well as knowing peace.

This year I am going to try to slow down a bit.  To be in the moment and fully aware of the days as they pass.  To recognize all the small blessings in my life and to smile more. I like to choose a word for each year, I haven't chosen for 2017 yet, but plan to spend some time thinking on what I would like to focus on.  I think this last week of the year is always a good one to spend time thinking and reflecting on the year past as well as the year ahead.

Another thing that is good to do this time of year is tie up loose ends.  I have a few of those that need my attention, so I suppose it's time to end my reflection and go do some work!  I'll be spending the next few days on some quilting projects, so I'll post some teasers during the week.  You still have time to sign up for my e-mail newsletter.  That will include my Quilter's Recipe Box quilt block of the month!

Let's start the New Year off with a party!  I will be doing a big giveaway this weekend - my Etsy shop is closing in on 1500 sales!  Woohoo!  I want to celebrate, so am cooking up something special - I am not sure what right now, but stay tuned.  Then, the Island Batik Hop for the Fall and Winter 2016 fabrics is starts off on January 4.

You won't want to miss it.  Lots of awesome fabrics to check out, prizes, projects, and just the fun of hanging out with all of the Island Batik Ambassadors!  I love this group of awesome creative quilters, and you will, too!

Ha - I just sat down to write a quick post to let you know I haven't vanished off the face of the earth and I wrote a Novella.  Now it's off the sewing room/disaster area/happy place to make all this great stuff happen.  Quilt on!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Madness

Yes, I am quickly growing crazy with all the Christmas madness going on!  I have Christmas presents to get finished today - so will be frantically sewing for the rest of the day.  I also have a load of projects that need to be done directly after the holidays, so am prepping for that as well.  I don't quite know how this happens to be, but am just trying to breathe and keep on swimming!

One of the best things about this year has been serving as an Island Batik Ambassador - I love working with their beautiful projects, and the monthly challenges have been so inspiring for me creatively.  If you are a blogger and are interested, they are taking applications through the end of this week.  Apply here! 

Don't worry if you don't hear from me for a few day!  We plan to do some traveling and family celebrating.  And of couse, sewing every chance I get to get all these projects done...

Friday, December 16, 2016

Tissue Paper Patterns

I am happy to report that I found my PJ patterns without too much fuss yesterday.  And once again I pulled out that wad of tissue paper patterns that sits at the back of the box I store them in.  You know, the ones that are left over from a project, but didn't get put back in the envelope.  Or you don't know if you still have the rest of the pattern, but don't want to throw them away.  For about 5 or 6 years.  I was just going to toss them, then found this on pinterest -
Lord, help me - I can always find an excuse to not throw away certain things!  But I do think it would be fun to make some roses out of them, so maybe after the first of the year.  The image came from this blog, so you can be inspired yourself!

Back to the sewing room.  Those PJ's are waiting to be finished!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Santa's Workshop is Now Open!

Time to start my annual holiday sewing marathon!  I finished up my laundry on Monday, then washed all the flannel for the Christmas PJ's.  I am up to nine pairs now, so it was a big load!  You want to see how much fuzz in my dryer?  Here you go:
My whole filter was full up to about an inch thick!  Now the flannels are all soft and fuzzy and pre-shrunk.  I just have to go find my pattern, get the serger out and get sewing.  I'll put on some Christmas music, sip some tea and have a wonderful couple of days making Christmas happen :)  I have to be done early this year, but I am getting a good start, so should be done and wrapped in plenty of time!  I'd love to show the cute fabrics I picked, but I know the girls read my blog, so I have to keep them under wraps for now.

Speaking of under wraps, I am working on several quilts that I can't show right now and it's killing me!  I am excited about all of them and it's so hard not to post my pictures.  Plus that, all I have to show for the moment is dryer ling - so boring (and a little trashy!).

So I'll leave you with a shot from a quilt I made earlier this year.
This is a shop sample from Threads That Bind, made from my Nine by Nine pattern.  By the way - I have all my PDF quilt patterns marked down to half price on Etsy for December!  You can see them all here.  

Hope your holiday preparations are going well!  Have a wonderful day :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Laundry Failure

Sad to say I experienced a very unhappy laundry failure today.  I think I've previously noted my tendency to start a load of laundry and let it sit forgotten in the washer until I need to rewash it.  Well, I did that over my busy weekend with two quilts.  One had previously been washed and the other hadn't.  I gave the quilts an extra rinse to refresh them, then tossed them into the dryer without a glance.  Big mistake!

Apparently this blue is a problem.  I don't think I would have had this issue had I remembered to dry the quilts as soon as they were done washing.  I am hoping that I haven't set the dye into the surrounding area now.  Maybe a good soak in OxyClean can restore it.  The good news is that none of the dye transferred onto the second quilt.

This is the quilt I received for being president of my quilt guild.  It washed up beautifully, not a mark on it!
It features stars in the middle and strips with signatures around the edges.  I am sure glad I didn't ruin this one. I'll let you know how I deal with the other one.

Speaking of news - I am ready to launch my newsletter!  I'll be including lots of fun stuff, including my Quilter's Recipe Box Block of the Month!  If you want to sign up, you can click the link or just go to the tab at the top of my blog.  I sure would love it if you would join.  I promise not to share your information, and will only be sending out once a month, so I won't overwhelm you with a bunch of junk.  Thanks a ton!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Whirlwind Weekend Activities

Whew, life really got busy there for a few days! I hosted my Bunco group on Friday, so that took care of a couple of days with preparations - but we had a terrific time.  I wish I would have remembered to take some pictures, but I totally forgot.  I prepared a main dish of roasted vegetables that was a big hit!  I used red potatoes, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, broccoli, cauliflower, red onion, red peppers, then added salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic lover's seasoning.  Out of two large baking trays all that was left was a small bowl of leftovers!  I added a Polska kielbasa sausage to one of the trays.  I made a simple salad of baby spinach with pomegranate seeds, walnuts and feta cheese with Balsamic Vinegar to dress it.  Yummy!

Then I turned around and had to help prepare for a large gathering at our church!  We had a lovely good-bye party for our pastor and his wife (my quilting buddy!).  They will be leaving here at the first of the year for a new position.  Luckily they are moving close to where some of our kids live, so we will be able to visit occasionally.  Anyway - that was Saturday, and I was wiped out after all of that social activity and spent the rest of the day on the couch exhausted.

Sunday was a day to relax.  Hubby and I went to see The Polar Express at the downtown theater. What a deal!  Two movie tickets, popcorn and soda for $15.50!  We had a great time and it was nice to spend my day just taking it easy and not doing anything important!
I got this pillow out today.  I have tons of 5 inch squares and want to make some more of these, they are super cute!  No quilting again today - I did take in a couple of skirts for one of my favorite ladies.  I did go to JoAnn's and buy the flannel to make the annual Christmas PJ's.  I'll start washing it up tomorrow morning and get busy sewing.  Hopefully I can squeeze in some quilting as well - I have some projects that need to get done.  There's another Island Batik blog hop coming up right after he start of the year and I have a project for that to work on.  The fabrics are so fun - you are going to love seeing them!

It's nice that my house is decorated and ready for the holidays!  Hubby wants some goodies, but I'll try to space them out a bit.  Fudge sounds really good though!  Holidays are definitely different without kids at home any more, but I think we are getting into some new routines and learning how to enjoy the season in different ways.  This year we'll have three different celebrations in three different places, but I know we will have a wonderful time and get to spend time with all of our children, and that is what is important.  We'll have new traditions and new experiences and enjoy whatever it happens to be each day.  I'm learning to let go and not worry so much about making everyone else happy and just have fun myself and relax.  I'ts actually kind of nice!3

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

A few Minutes for Piecing

Although this week isn't shaping up to include a lot of sewing time, I've been taking a few minutes a day to work on Bonnie Hunter's Mystery quilt from three (I think) years ago - Celtic Solstice.  I started it back then, but ended up putting it away when other things intervened.  Instead of working on this year's mystery I decided to pull this older one out and work on it.  I'm almost done with step one now - but I ended up doing a little air sewing.  The bobbin ran out early on in this line of chain piecing.  Sad.

Oh well.  I'll get these finished up tomorrow and see what the next step hold for me!

Tomorrow is shopping, cleaning house and getting ready to host Bunco on Friday.  Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Deck the Halls

And all that good stuff!  It's beginning to look a bit like Christmas around here...

Monday, December 05, 2016

Christmas Mug Rugs

I wasn't very productive today, but I did manage to make a couple of Christmas Mug Rugs.  I've been wanting to do this since I got the fabric, but finally decided that today was the day!  They came out cute, and I just had to use the last bit of this cute Christmas print.

Here is the other one:

So fun!  I have several more pieces cut out to play with.  Notice that I didn't make a lot of progress in cleaning the sewing room today, but I figure if I can sew something out of the piles that are just sitting I really am cleaning...

I also made a custom monogrammed journal cover for an order on Etsy.  I'll take a picture tomorrow to show.  They are fun to make - I am thinking about a different color way I can try out.  Maybe something in blues and greens?  Or maybe I can use some of my vast collection of selvages if I can get enough contrast with the monogram.  Hmmm.  Definitely something to think about.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Tis' the Season for Giving and Happy Birthday, Catie!

Today is a happy day - a birthday to celebrate!  We got to celebrate the day our Catie girl was born with her.  Can't believe that was such a long time ago - 32 years.  She is definitely a joy in our lives, and we are glad she still likes to spend some time with us on her special day.  After having a fun brunch with her and her boyfriend and his parents we came home to relax for a bit.  I had thought about putting the  Christmas decorations up, but decided to wait until tomorrow.  I made it a tradition while Catie was growing up not to decorate until after her birthday, so I know that tomorrow I will really be ready to get everything dolled up for the holidays!

I was ready to work on the Island Batik Challenge for this month.  Tis the Season for Giving.
Catie actually gave me the idea!  She was telling us about the tree that the Veterinary Clinic she works for was decorating, then gifting to the animal shelter.  They are collecting all sorts of goodies, so I decided to make some cat toys to donate!  I got out my Island Batik Scraps, a baggie of catnip and some fiber fill.

I cut and stuffed and sewed.  I made some long "cigar"s, some small and large kick sticks, some cute little kitty ravioli and a few primitive mice!  I used up all of my catnip and most of my fiberfill.  I still have a lot of scraps left, though!

I decided that Scamper deserved to have some new toys (after all, charity begins at home, right?) and pulled out one of the long orange cigars and mouse for him.

He approves!

I will have to get some more supplies and work on some more of these - they are fun to make and I know the kitties at the shelter will enjoy them!  We are a small town, and our animal shelter gets a lot of its support from the volunteers in our community.  They often are in need of food and other basic supplies for the animals.  Morgan's Veterinary Clinic (where my daughter works) often works with the shelter to provide needed medical care for sick and injured animals there.  If you love animals, you can like their Facebook Page and see what's going on there!  I hope you support your own local shelter when you can, it really makes a difference for the poor animals that end up there.

Make sure you take the time to do some giving this month - it will make you feel good!

Saturday, December 03, 2016

What the World Would be Like if Yard Work Didn't Exist

Well, in my case, there would be more quilting and Christmas decorating going on!  Maybe even some baking.  But there are outdoor chores and this time of year when the sun shines you have got to get out there and get the jobs done.

I started out with good intentions this morning of cleaning up my sewing room, but didn't get too far before I got distracted by a couple of 1/3 yard pieces of cute children's fabric.  I decided it was perfect for a little boy quilt, so I did some strip sewing and cutting, then realized that I wasn't supposed to be making new projects.  Oops.   I put the start of the new project away and went back to putting things back in their places.  When I got to the gigantic pile of battingscraps I separated out some strips that I could cut up for my flannel rag quilt project.  Then I realized that I can't find my 6 1/2 inch square ruler.  So those are still sittin in a pile for later.  At that point my husband came in and suggested we do the YARD WORK.  Ok.

I let my husband go mow our daughters lawn while I stayed home to do our yard work. That involved a little bit of raking leaves, pruning 9 rose bushes, and raking some moss out of the lawn on the east side of the house.  I worked outside most of the afternoon.   Boy, did that ever make me tired, but the results were worth it!  And the weather was really pleasant to be outside in as well.
The roses look great now, and when it starts raining again I can quilt in peace.  I'm hoping to get my Christmas decorations out tomorrow and hopefully get the inside of the house ready for the festivities ahead.  Should be fun!  Maybe that ruler will show up so I can get that batting taken care of, too.

Friday, December 02, 2016

It takes a long time to quilt a queen size quilt!

Yes, it does!  This quilt took me quite a bit longer to quilt than it took me to piece the top - but I think it was worth it - beware, more badly lit pictures ahead.
This is on a full (or double) bed.  Isn't it colorful?  I really liked the mix of fabrics in this.  I used a mixed fat quarter bundle and added some vintage fabrics and some fun paisleys.  There are some solid squares, and some really pretty prints in this quilt.  It is available in my Etsy shop.  The piecing is simple, so it's a great price!
I did all the quilting on my Juki - and discovered to my delight that when I had it serviced last month they even got the needle threader working!  Now I am spoiled because it's so easy to thread the needle - I'm so happy I've been telling random people I talk to about!

The back is a scrappy blend of blues and greens - I enjoy making the back of a quilt a little more fun and interesting.

I need to spend some time tomorrow cleaning up the sewing room disaster, and then I want to start getting out my Christmas decorations.  I think I'll work on some of those Farmer's Wife blocks and see how far I can get toward my goal of getting all my blocks done before Christmas. I'm starting to feel in the mood :)

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts for Finished or Not Friday - join in the fun and see what everyone is working on!

Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Thursday, December 01, 2016

December Rainbows

One of the things I say about the frequent rain in our area is that it sure makes you appreciate a nice sunny day!  Even a couple of sunny hours are enough to put a smile on your face and boost your spirits.  Often those sunny afternoons bring out a few rainbows as the clouds come back in.

As we were coming out of the store after running some errands this afternoon we saw this rainbow - it was much brighter in person and looked like it came down in the road ahead of us!  No pot of gold, though.

Tonight was Quilt Guild and I presented the Block of the Month for next month - I chose Snowball and Ninepatch.  In blue and white (of course).  I love it because it's a quick block, and easy to piece, so it will be perfect for the busy month of December.  The good news is that my block is already done, so no big rush the day of quilt guild to sew a block, which is my usual method of operation!

I've made several quilts with this pattern in various sizes.  Here is one of my favorites:
In other news, I decided to participate in the 31 day blog writing challenge again this year!  I have not been writing as much as I would like to and I hope this will spur me to do more of that.  I hope you will check it out and see who else is participating, or maybe even join in.
Plus that it will blast me out of my perfectionism and get me to just show up and do it, whether or not I have a lot to say - or to show!

The next couple of weeks I'll also be participating in the MyCreative2016 Instagram hop - check out the blog post and join in!  I've really enjoyed Instagram - it's a great positive place to be.

That's it for today, it's late and I should get some rest, it's going to be a busy month!