Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 29: New Experience and More

I went to a professional photo shoot today.  Items being photographed included a number of Kevin's woodworking projects, my hall table, and the wedding quilt.  No wonder my photos look like an amateur took them.  Amanda was great!  Can't share anything because she will have to give us the CD in a few days, but it was really worth seeing.  Got lots of pointers, as well.

Pattern is Simple Day at the Lake from
Threaded Pear Studio
Yesterday and this morning I made two quilt tops.  The smaller one is a comfort quilt that will be going to a young woman I know.  The other does not have a home yet, but at some point I will know just who needs it.  The quilts are each made from matching fat quarter bundles and a yard of the red/pink that is also part of the line.  The fabric has been lurking in my stash waiting for the right moment.  They each have their own personalities, but the one made of half square triangles used a little less fabric just because I could not cut the squares any larger.  They will both be bound with the red/pink fabric.

Jamie called this one "Totally Random"

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 28: Comfort Quilt in Progress

Approximately 40x48
Woke up Sunday morning thinking about a very sweet young woman I know.  The fabrics reminded me of the young woman who will receive it. Like every comfort quilt I have ever made this one is made with fabric, stitches, and many, many prayers.  Just wanted her to know that I have her in my thoughts and prayers. 
I am making this comfort quilt from a line of fabric. The last couple days I have been immersed in cutting and piece this quilt top from a fat quarter bundle and yardage for the binding and back.   Even though the red/pink seems to jump out, in person it is not quite so overpowering, the binding is going to be the same red/pink color, so I think it will tie together.  Might still need to rearrange a few of the greens and golds, but it going to be finished today and quilted tomorrow.

February 28: Sunday Company

We had friends from the school over to meet my longarm, play on the Wii, fly our little helicopters, and eat.
I loved the fact that each one of them was willing to try their hand at continuous line drawing on the HQ. It is so much fun to see their expressions as they start to figure out how to move the machine. Today it was ladies' day since other invited guests got involved with outdoor activities and did make over. They missed some real fun, great laughs, and tasty food.

Terre's cityscape with sailboat and "batman" car
Uko's aquarium

Alycia's helo flying over the trees - former Army pilot

I framed Connie's because she was so nervous about attempting
this activity.  It is  a cat, but she took a lot of ribbing about her
kangaroo or dragon, etc. 

Next there was a rousing game of Wii bowling. Finding what works is always a challenge, but Kevin is patient about showing and encouraging.   I was watching from the peanut (heckling) gallery.
Everyone who played broke 100.
While some bowled, Uko discovered carving.  She was not distracted by the game going on.  She just keep working.  She took her carving with her to finish at the school. 

We moved from all this fun to indulging in potato soup, chili, beer batter biscuits, jackfruit barbecue with coleslaw (courtesy of Connie, the vegan),veggies, delicious oranges, and cookies.  As we sat eating and talking we experimented on my Bosu ball.  Obviously it looks easier than it is.  Lots of laughter and unbalance people.
Obviously posed - balance should be questioned!

February 28: Sunday Photo Op

After church on Saturday, Kevin and I did some cleaning and just kicked back.  First real evening Kevin has taken in a couple of weeks.  Got up early on Sunday to make several pots of soup: potato soup and chili.  Also did a wrapped brie and lots of dishes.
We followed that up with a quick photo op of the snow.  This creek is on the dirt road that we have walked several times.  Note that there is open water. 

This is the blanket/quilt chest that Kevin finished a couple of weeks ago.  I had not been to the school to take photos, so we went there after our snow photos.  This is a gorgeous piece with cedar lining on the inside the bottom.  The hinges are made to hold the lid up without that fear of clunking me in the head, but as the lid is closer to closing, it does it very slowly by itself.   I love that I will be the recipient of another fine piece of furniture.

February 28: Have Not Left the Planet.............

I woke up yesterday with the intentions onf making one last comfort quilt before the HQ is packed away.  I have lots to share, but will have to wait until the top is finished.  Maybe later today I will find some time.  Got to sew!!!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

February 25: Guess What I Saw

We had about 5-6 inches of snow today.  Have not really had much to talk about all season, so imagine my surprise as I looked out the window at church this evening and saw my first robins of the season.  THREE robins sitting in the tree watching the goings on.

February 25: Not Part of Today's POD

Showing pictures of the finished carvings is not part of my Plan Of the Day, but they are done and I thought it would be good to share the unfinished and finished side by side. I have dusting/polishing, laundry, quilting, church, and binding on the POD for today.


Friday, February 24, 2012

February 24: Carving

No quilting this morning. Finished my whole list yesterday and took the morning off to carve. I enjoy the process and hope to one day be good at it. For now, I am learning and having fun. The moon is ready except for the finish. The shamrock is done as it is going to be. There were issues with the wood grain, the gouge, and mostly the operator, but it was such a unique experience discovering how to work with the organic nature of wood. Next carving is hopefully going to look like a train engine, but I am done for the day. See how nicely my bench is cleaned up and ready for the next go around.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

February 23: Plan of the Day

As the wife of a retired Navy guy, there has always been a POD.  Sometimes I follow it, and sometimes the creative juices win.  Today, I have a plan and aside from my earlier snow walk, I am on track and feel focused.  As usual, I started the morning with prayers and then planned out what I really intend to do with the day.  (updated at 2:00)
  • Walking - building up my number of steps and stairs (Ultimate Goal is 12,000 steps a day.) (over half way to today's  goal)
  • Cobweb removal from all rooms - why is it that winter means more spiders? (10 min)
  • Cut out the other 2 memory bears (35 min)
  • Clean the nooks and crannies of the studio (30 min, so far)
  • Clean and oil machines
  • Begin a realistic list of what quilt UFOs will stay here to be worked on for the last 2 months of our time in Vermont (10 min, so far)
  • Load muslin onto the HQ so that it is ready for friends to try more of the continuous line drawing this weekend
  • Wipe down the shelves and mop boards in the laundry area, wash the rugs and vacuum (20 min)
  • Make grocery list for next week and for our "open house" soup party
  • Finish binding on wedding quilt (3/4 of a long side left to stitch)
As you can see, I do intend to give a large chunk of the day to my quilting or at least thoughts of quilting.  Tomorrow's POD is simple.  I am carving and adding more steps to my walking plan.

February 23: A Little Heavy Snow

Just got back from a short walk in the neighborhood.  Actually, I went back of the house into the field.  I did hope to take a photo of some of the mountains but there is just enough snow in the air to block any shot worth taking. I was told that last year the snow amounts were extreme. This year it is the opposite. The sound of the snow was something I was enjoying, so I trekked further than planned.  Fortunately I wore my real winter boots rather than snow clogs, but my pant cuffs are still quite damp.  lol

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 22: Finishes and Starts

I attached the label to Jim's 60th b-day quilt and finished the binding.  I attached the label to my niece's wedding quilt and started the binding.  These are evening projects, so today I am going to do the actual quilting of my "Very Hungry" quilt and start working on the first of three stuffed bears.

I am making these bears for a friend in honor of her brother.  I will use pieces of his clothing - fabric and buttons to create these memory bears.  I have done it a number of times in the past and have found myself throughout the process  praying and hoping that each of these bears will bring some small sense of peace and comfort to family members.

I don't sew bears every day, but I always love creating this particular guy.  He is gangly and a little odd, but I think that is what makes him lovable.  I will share more details when I am finished.  With all the other things built into the next few weeks I am guessing it will be a couple of weeks before I have the finishing touches on all three.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 21: Fun Scheduled

The wedding quilt has its binding attached and two sides are hand stitched down. The backing remnants have been cut into 6"square and strips and put away.  The embroidered label is designed and ready to go into my machine.  Therefore, it is time for a day of fun.

I am finishing my Very Hungry quilt over the next few days.  Last night I remembered that I have some glow-in-the-dark thread, so I am going to stitch all the lightning bugs tails before I quilt it.  This is going to be a quilt that stays at my house but can be used by whoever feels the need.  Hope the grandkids are tickled by the little surprise.

I am looking forward to this day of play - no rush, just doing what I want.  Love it!

Monday, February 20, 2012

February 20: Quilter vs Non-Quilter

I have a very good friend who spent some time laughing at me yesterday, and I decided that I would take some time to share what was going on.  Connie has made at least a few quilts but is not a quilter by her own admission.  This is the first time she has ever been over, so I gave her the grand 2 minute tour of the apartment.  She made the appropriate comments about it being homey or comfortable or something on that order.  Then we went into my studio.  She started with a gasp and a chuckle.  Then she said, "Bob has to see this."  When asked about it she kind of rolled her eyes.

We sat in the kitchen and had some tea.  We talked about lots of things, but the part I am sharing is her reaction to the amount of fabric I have.  I will say that there is a large amount, but it is neatly organized by color in totes.  I work from my stash more often than not, so a large stash is expected in my mind.  I do not think she understood.  I wanted to shout, "I AM NOT A HOARDER!" but was afraid she would roll on the floor laughing at me.  I never real have done anything in a small way, so I guess that when I am following my passion I don't really see things like someone who is not passionate about the same things.  When I taught I had lots of teaching materials and I used them all.  The carving tools I have purchased have all been used numerous times and I am just learning - no investments planned in the near future - more learning first.  BUT................................... my stash is something only another quilter could understand and appreciate. 

Do you ever feel you need to defend your fabric?

February 20: Quilting Is Done - Binding Will Be Tondight

WHEW!!! The wedding quilt is quilted and ready for binding to be attached.  Not everyone goes with simple meandering but most times I think it is just right and in this case I actually perfer it over the panto I started using.  Thank goodness I when with my gut.  Of course, since it is a wedding quilt I did hide two hearts in the design. When Kevin gets home, I will have him help with manhandling the quilt for trimming.  Then when he goes back to school tonight I will attach the binding and set up the machine for doing to embroidered labels - one for this quilt and one for Jim's.  I am feeling very upbeat about all of this.

Just one more quilt to quilt this week.  Then it is time to decide exacting what stays and what goes into storage to wait our arrival in South Dakota.  Time is moving far too fast!

February 20: Progress

I had decided to do a newer quilting design on my niece's wedding quilt.  I did about 1 full run and decided it just was not cutting it.  Soooooooo.....................  It has been picked clean of those stitches and I am now about half way through with my fallback.  The quilt does not need the fancy stitching to make it work for me.  I want the piecing to be the focus.  Back to work, just wanted to update and rest for a moment.

February 20: Wedding Quilt is Loaded and Calling My Name

I am still on track with the wedding quilt, so hopefully by Wednesday I will be attaching the binding and then doing one last quilting job before I pack up the HQ for storage.  I will let you know if I can really part with it for 3-4 months.  Withdrawal will be tempered with the fact that I will still have a number of UFO tops to work on and there is always the carving to practice.
For those that really know me, they know I have a think for crockpot meals and crockpots.  Most of ours are in storage because we were trying to travel to Vermont with the minimums.  However, I had already acquired a 2 qt and a 4 qt, before we made this weekend's purchase.  We are having a party at our place on Sunday and I am making chili and potato soups, so I either needed to buy pans or another crockpot.  This time, I bought a new generation of crockpots/slow cooker and love it.  Technically, crockpot is a trade name, but all of my slow cookers will always be called that.  This one is energy efficient, has a gasket around the lid to truly seal in the flavors, and a locking lid for transporting.  I tried it out with a turkey breast that cooked on low for 10 hours.  It was absolutely the moistest turkey I have ever had.  I do not consider my thing for crockpots to be hoarding because I love and use each one.  hehe

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February 19: Can't Share the Quilt, but...

I have all the borders cut and several are on the wedding quilt, so I think I am on track.  However, this is another kind of "quilty" sharing.  My husband has been looking for an evening hobby that he can do while I am binding or doing hand stitching.  He IS NOT interested in me sharing these activities, but he does love quilts.  So, he just started working with wood veneers to create quilt patterns. Aren't these tumbling blocks very 3-D in appearance?   My favorite part of the experimenting stage is that I get to keep the first project or in this case his next "learning" box.  I have no idea what the box will look like but the lid is going to be fabulous.

I also did a little off-quilt sewing this week.  I have shared in far too many posts about cold feet, so when we were in Joann's, Kevin offered to buy some heavier tie-dyed blue fleece if I wanted to make something for my feet.  I think he was thinking of slippers for walking around the house, etc. Blue is my favorite color and I love a challenge, so I did something like that but only for when I am sitting doing hand work.  I made double thick booties but they have no non-skid bottoms so I plan to stay planted when wearing them.  Tested them last night and did not go to bed with cold feet.  I made up the pattern, so they are a bit chunky yet every so cozy. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

February 17: Computer Problems Equals More Quilting Time

Computer was acting up because of an automatic download.  My cursor was frozen and the only solution was to go in and have someone with more computer know-how fix it.  Amazingly I was correct about it being caused by the automatic download, but more amazingly the guy fixed it for FREE!

If I did not use the computer for so many things (Skyping with grandkids being the MOST important), I would have left it broken.  I quilted a good chunk of yesterday and almost all day today.  I am very close to finishing the wedding quilt top.  It is going together so nicely and if it was not going to a niece, I would have claimed it for myself.  Guess I will have to make another one, huh?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February 15: This and That

I just spent an hour reading and commenting on my niece's scholarship essay.  She is a very good writer so it was a pleasure to read.  The only frustration was using the google documents and figuring out how to save and send it back.  Finally, success! It is done and now I can move on to other things.

Last night after his tasty tuna casserole and Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream we did dishes.  Then  Kevin went back to school to work on the blanket/quilt chest that he is making for me.  It is almost finished.  It will have cedar planks lining it.  He thinks it will be ready for photographing at the end of the week.  He is also working on two other school projects - a Windsor rocker and a wall cabinet with glass doors for all of his planes. 

While he was out working I finished about 2/3 of the binding on my HeartStrings comfort quilt.  I am finishing that off this morning so that I can get it washed.  After a short workout, I will work on the last 8 strips of the wedding quilt.  I plan to be quilting it by the end of the week or at least have it mounted and read to go.

Just so you know, I am not telling you that I workout so that anyone feels guilty if they don't.  It is more that if I write it here, I feel obligated to follow through.  I STILL have about 10 more pounds to lose, and those pounds are screaming to stay and new wrinkles that need to be toned.  I never would have imagined what an emotional thing it is to get rid of these last few pounds.  Even so, I know that I am in so much better shape health-wise, so I am still pushing myself to make the needed changes.  The first 80 pounds seemed so easy in comparison.  Finally decided that I had to make a better effort to be more active.  Quilting and carving are not really physically active sports/hobbies, so I am working to incorporate other things to get me moving more.  DON"T PLAN TO GIVE UP EITHER HOBBY BUT STILL NEED TO FIND A DAILY SPORT THAT I REALLY LOVE (My stationary bike is on loan in Iowa until we move to SD, so I need something for now that is not dependent on weather or going to a gym). 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February 14: Could Not Add This to My Valentine's Day Post

I am giving my husband a gift this year.  If you know me, you will truly appreciate it.  I am making him Tuna CasseroleIf that does not say love, nothing will.  hehe

February 14: Do you ACTUALLY celebrate Valentine's Day?

I can remember a few times going out for dinner, but we are not fans of big crowds.

I can remember receiving flowers a few times, but I DO have allergies.

I can remember receiving mushy and silly cards, but they never seem to last because we move and move.

I can remember getting an overseas call when my husband was deployed, and still think it was one of most touching memories I have of the actual day.

I am not a things person and I don't mark my emotions by the calendar.  I am one of the very lucky ones who has a husband who is my best friend, confidant, supporter, cheerleader, helper, laugh maker, sweetheart, fun lover, calm in any storm, builder, organizer, all-around good guy, and the one I share children and grandchildren with.  That stuff is 24/7 so although a card, flower, jewelry, or plant is okay, I am glad I have my version of love and it seems to continue and grown year after year.  36+ and counting.

February 14: Quilted and Ready to Attach Binding

I tried a new design, or at least one I have only practiced a little on paper and a table topper.  It was so much more relaxing doing it on this quilt.  I photographed parts of the front and back hoping you could see the design, but I will have to tell you that it is one of Dawn Ramirez's designs called Fern Ziggles so you can actually see what it is.  Mary has used it on several quilts and I decided that it was time for me to step up and actually use it myself.  I used light colored thread just in case it did not work too well on the back, but it looks great.  Once the quilt is laundered it will have LOTS of texture.

Thanks Dawn and Mary for inspiring me to try it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

February 13: Basted!

It is so good to be feeling healthy and full of energy, again. Why is it that colds can drag me down so far? Oh well, into each life some stresses must come so you can appreciate the more abundant blessings that sometimes are taken for granted, right?

My first priority of the day was to get my "travel" quilt basted.  I put on some old Carol King songs and cranked up the volume.  It worked.  I am done and ready to move on to loading a quilt into my machine and hopefully getting the binding ironed, as well, before dinner. 

Of course, first I want to put the living room back to normal, which includes major dusting and vacuuming.  Then I have a "date" with the Wii and "My Fitness Coach".  After that I need to make one more pillow case for a Quilt of Valor and get them packaged for mailing.  Then I can work on loading that quilt. 

February 13: Still Basting and Piecing

Before the morning is over and I allow myself to sit down for lunch, I WILL finish basting this twin-size quilt.  I don't baste much of anything because I use my HQ for almost every quilt, so I am a bit surprised at how long it is taking.  When I use my domestic I pin.  I am doing this for the experience and to build up my skills. There is another part of me that is just looking forward to the whole idea of completely hand stitching the whole quilt.  The process is so much different that machine piecing and longarming.   I also have another larger quilt that I did both hand applique and machine piecing and really want to hand quilt if I can get through this other one without tearing out my stitches over and over again. 
I went to a quilt show, this Fall, where a lady was quilting on a floor frame made of pvc pipes with adjustable legs.  I spent some time talking to her and observing.  A month ago, I was in Joann's and asked if I could use my 50% off coupon on this frame.  The rest is history.  For about $50 I am going to see exactly what I can do.  Then when it is time to move, I will break down the frame and put in back in its cardboard box for moving. 
However, in the meantime, I do have a HeartStrings comfort quilt to be quilted and bound this week and the wedding quilt that will be loaded in the frame no later than Sunday.  Should be a very busy and hopefully very productive week.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

February 12: Procrastination

I do not usually blog on the weekend, and here I am back again today.  Why?  Partly to avoid basting my "travel" quilt in prep for hand quilting.  This part seems to have taken on a life of its own.  But the big reason is to show my finished HeartStrings comfort quilt top.  I have the backing and plan to quilt, bind, and deliver it this week.  However, the basting must be finished first so I can claim back the living room for relaxing and exercising with my Wii fitness trainer, and so I can do some finish trimming on the last few rows of the wedding quilt.

As always there is too much I want to do in a single day, but I guess I will get back to basting now.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

February 11: I Don't Blog on the Weekend Very Often

Thought this was a good idea to share, so I am making an exception to my weekend posting.  Could work for any glasses if you play with the size.
Safety glasses are important to carvers and other woodworkers, but the glasses don't always come with a glass case.  At least that has been Kevin and my experience.  Maybe it is because we don't spend an arm and a leg on designer ones.  hehe  Anyway, I have been hanging my glasses from a loop on my carving bench and then carefully placing them in my box when I head off for my carving class.  That worked okay because I try to be careful, but yesterday, I had an "orphan" strings block and decided to pad it and stitch it and make an oversized glass case.  Worked like a charm and was actually big enough to hold the glasses comfortably.  Safety glasses are a little big for regular cases, so I shared my case with Terre, my carving instructor.  She laughed and showed me her storage place....the cardboard box he glasses came in.  She also said she could use a case like mine.  So this morning, I pulled out some of the ugliest strings I had and made 3 more glass cases.  One is for Terre and the others will go on my other pairs of safety glasses.  Probably will make Kevin a couple of more manly ones later.

Quick project with a very practical use!

I started with a 10" square foundation and then placed the center strip diagonally. My "orphan" block was leftover from this week's HeartStrings comfort quilt.   It was a matter of adding a strip and sewing, pressing, sewing, pressing nd then trimming to a 9 1/2" square.  I layered the fabric on top of a 10" square of foundation and then added a 9 1/2" square of foundation on the top.  I sewed a 1/4" seam around the edge leaving a 3-4" opening so I could turn the fabric right side out.  I pushed out the corners and sewed a narrow seam across the open section. (At this point I could have quilted the block but did not take the time.) Then I folded the stripped side face to face and stitched down one long side and the bottom.  I started the stitching about 1" from the top opening.  Remember to back stitch to make sure the seam does not open up.  I also back stitched at the bottom  When I turned it inside out the corners were a bit bulky, but that is okay since it will offer a bit more padding to the glasses.  I used a blunt turning stick to push out the corners.  Total sewing time for the 3 cases made today was 40 minutes. 

****Bonus:  This size works well to use on your rotary cutter.

Friday, February 10, 2012

February 10: Mostly Carving and Antiquing with a Small Side of Basting

Today was carving class.  However, before class, I went on a journey with Kevin to look for some real samples of Windsor rocking chairs.  We found ONE.  The guys at the shop allowed us to take all the measurements and photos we needed for Kevin to build his own rocker in class.  I did some sketches and recorded the measurements for him.  Then he treated me to lunch before class.
During class, Terre and I experimented with most of the bits for my Dremel and a couple of hers.  We talked about about some issues I was having with rounding edges and undercutting.  Basically, we explored possibilities.  I also started working on a Celtic heart.  As Kevin will "Happily" tell you, "After a class with Terre I always seem to want a few more tools.  I bought 4 new bits and a sanding flap.  It could have been more expensive, but we did not use chisels or gouges today, so.............. It was wonderful to be out and laughing after a week of having that miserable cold that always brings on a bit of sad, poor-pitiful-me attitude.
Tonight I am doing some more basting on the travel quilt and prewashing the back for my HeartStrings comfort quilt.  Want to be able to load it tomorrow.  Deb, wanted to let you go crazy with the idea that I am using a yellow background fabric for the backing.  I thought of you when Kevin said it was one he really liked.  hehehehehehe

Thursday, February 9, 2012

February 9: Headache, Runny Nose, But Still Quilting =0)

Can't believe that the cold is still messing with me, but it is what it is, so I cancelled my time with Sandi and slept in again today.  When I go up I thought about just reading a book and maybe even napping in my chair, but I checked my goal sheet and decided that there were things that needed to be done and decided to pace myself.  As I am typing, I can honestly say that my head hurts no more or no less than earlier, so I will be back to the quilting again after lunch.  I am not good at just sitting.
After my very long, hot shower, I decided to go ahead and just finish the last 16 blocks for my HeartStrings comfort quilt.  They are laid out on the bed waiting for me to decide whether they need to be rearranged yet again.  I will put them together tonight and quilt it before craft group next week.

Yesterday, I did a little more on the wedding quilt and am excited about how it is coming together.  I would love to show you, but it is a surprise, so.....

I also decided that it was time to baste and hand quilt simply because it is now February and it is on my goal sheet.  So I laid out my "travel quilt" which is really a BOM from Joann's that is called Mystic Blues.  As I told you previously, it is a quilt that I have been working on since 2004, but only when we were out on the pontoon or traveling in the car.  That is my excuse when something just does not seem to lay as flat as I want, but I am pleased with how the basting is going.  Hand quilting is the only way to go because there will be some areas that need extra TLC to lay well.  This is a twin size quilt and could be done with fancy quilting, but I have decided to keep it simple and forget the swirls.  I have only hand quilted a few pillows, so this is my practice piece.  I will love it no matter how it goes, but I will also be learning a lot.  The actual quilting will probably wait until March after the wedding quilt is delivered, but the basting will be finished over the next few days.  A quilting bee could have been helpful, but this way I am able to see and adjust where needed.  I am looking forward to the challenge.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February 8: Just Noticed

There are quite a few people who view my blog without commenting or signing in, and that is fine.  However, today I noticed that a few more people have joined me as regular viewers.  Thank you. 

February 8: 8 More Blocks and Thoughts on the Wedding Quilt

32 done - 16 to go.  Today there were some more clinkers, but I really do like the look of this one.  I will finish the blocks off by Thursday and put them together Thursday evening while Kevin is at school doing work on one of his class projects.  I feel like I am ahead of the game because I have finished binding everything in the pile, except Jim's quilt, and that won't happen until I make an embroidered label.

The wedding quilt is coming along nicely.  I have to admit that I had a few inverted blocks in the first few rows, but hanging it on the wall has made it so easy to see the mistakes and correct them.  Kevin really loves this one, which is kind of amazing since he usually finds batiks less to his taste.  I think it is because of the layout.  Maybe after we settle in South Dakota I will make him a wall version in similar colors.

Break is over.  Back to piecing.  Life is good and the cold is practically a thing of the past.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February 7: House Chores....Then Quilting =0)

Although cleaning the bathroom is one of my least favorite chores, it requires regular effort.  When my hair was short I did not feel the need to mop the floor more than a couple times a week, but longer hair seems to require a swifter much more often.  I do not feel bald so I am thinking that maybe as much came off with short hair but the strands were less noticeable .  I scrub the tub regularly, but today was wall day as well.  Then I decided to wash the shower curtain, the towels, the rugs, and hand scrub the floor.  Maybe I am finally feeling better and just want the activity?  Nope, the cold has changed, but it is definitely hanging in there.  RATS!!  However, the bathroom looks and smells so fresh.

Between loads of laundry, I also sewed my next 8 HeartString blocks.  I mixed them all up and worried that some of the "uglies" would not play well with the rest, but I think the quilt is looking friendly.  Each time I mix them up, lay them out and then just pick them up, but on the last go around I"ll ask Kevin to give it another look and move whatever catches his eye.  In three more hours/days I should have all the blocks made.  An hour a day is not much to spend and I know this quilt will go to someone who needs to know that others care about how they feel.

My brother's 60th birthday quilt is quilted and is going have the binding attached this morning.  Then I plan to sew on the wedding quilt for a good part of the afternoon, or at least as long as my head allows.  The challenge to this quilt is that I feel like it is a big puzzle and needs to be seen visually at all times.  I am going to have to use painter's tape and hang the strips as I go.  No design wall in this little temporary apartment, but I know how to adapt.

Monday, February 6, 2012

February 6: More Strings

Maybe you can not see the changes as well as I can, but the second bag of strips was different than the first.  Wonder how the next bag will change this quilt again?

February 6: Quilting and Piecing

Today is almost all about quilting Jim's quilt and doing more piecing on the wedding quilt.  However, I am also working on a set of HeartString challenge blocks to make a comfort quilt.  Thought I would show you the first 8.  I have several more bags of strings that will probably alter the whole look with the exception of the center strip, but I always find it amazing that even the "ugliest" strips of fabric look at home in this kind of quilt.  It takes me about an hour to do the eight blocks, so I plan to give one hour each day until I am done.  I figure it is a good way to count my blessings, and do something for someone who really could use an warm, long-lasting hug.  (Isn't that what a quilt is meant to do?)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

February 5: Jim's 60th B-Day Quilt

The top is pieced, the back and binding are made, and I plan to quilt it tomorrow.  Love it when I am on schedule. It is 50 x 70.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

February 4: Road Trip

No scenery to share.  It was a beautiful day with the exception of all the salt that seemed to stick to the windows.  Did not want to make you squint through it to see the blue skies and fluffy white clouds hanging so nicely.  Besides that, I was sitting in the back seat which made it even harder to consider photographs.  hehe
We had a great time just visiting as we drove and then had lunch at Panera's in Newington before we shopped. The round trip started at 8:00 and ended at 7:15.  We went to Newington NH with two students from the Vermont Woodworking School to do some shopping at Woodcraft.  Then we drove to Salem NH by way of a quick touch-and-go through Massachusetts to go to Rockler.  The photo shows a few of the things we purchased, but I also bought some dust masks and Kevin bought a burnisher.  Very nice way to spend the day, and look at all the fun stuff we have to help us play better with wood.
I am feeling better, so tomorrow I will be quilting while Kevin goes to school to work on his blanket/quilt chest.  We have no TV so we do not have to even worry about watching the Super Bowl commercials or the game.  

February 4: Happy Birthday, Jodie

Just want you to know that Kevin celebrated your birthday with Ben and Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie ice cream, and I sang.  Hope you had a great day.

Friday, February 3, 2012

February 3: Drip, Snort, Drip

Guess who has a bit of a cold? I am not completely miserable, but I am not going to bend forward too much today.  Fortunately I finished cutting all the pieces for the wedding quilt yesterday and still have bindings that I can work on as I sit back in my chair.

However, as the saying goes this too shall pass!  Road trip tomorrow, so want to rest up today.  I am so blessed to be able to do it this way!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February 2: Thank you Sandi

My friend,Sandi, is great at finding out information for me.  She has seen my sad attempts to photograph the fish tails which I now know are whale tails and are called Reverence.  Check out these sites and see what is so fascinating about these land whales.  I printed the map and it is now on my Spring list of fun activities. Thanks, Sandi!

I know that you have mentioned these tails in your blog a few times and I have meant to tell you the story. I did a search for “Whales Tails + Vermont” and a large number of hits came up. Here are a few.

And this one gives you the directions to walk right to them. You might want to do that on one of your outings this spring with Kevin. I know you have tried getting pictures while driving on the interstate, taking them from the ground would be much easier.

February 2: Wedding Quilt

I am still cutting and getting ready to sew.  This is a queen size so taking 2 days to cut is okay with me.  Measure 3x cut once.  It would be a lot of material to replace if I got off track.

I also pieced most of Jim's birthday quilt, but will wait to show it until it is a complete top.  Each strip of squares I have said something about it being kind of drab, but then I lay the next strip and go, "OHHHHHHH I like this."  Funny how scrappy quilts can do that.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February 1: Motivation

In May, we will be moving back to South Dakota.  We came to Vermont for the year with the truck and trailer.  All of our other things are in storage.  Since we arrived, we have accumulated a few things, but most of it is furniture that Kevin has built and will be building this semester.  Therefore, we have to consider how we are going to get it back to SD without hiring a moving van.  The opportunity to take a truckload has presented itself in March when we are attending a wedding and doing our house hunting.  We will scale back with things and move most of my quilting studio to SD storage then.  THAT IS MY MOTIVATION  TO FINISH THINGS!!!
Adding to the challenge is the fact that I love to be a little spur-of-the-moment when my creative juices are flowing, so I will have fight temptation to sneak other projects in as well. Therefore, last night I made the February Craftsy Blocks of the Month and will finish piecing Jim's quilt today so that I can quilt it this week and set it aside to do the hand stitching of the binding whenever an evening presents itself.
I have not touched my stash to figure out what UFOs I am going to keep with me when all the rest of my sewing supplies move back to SD for storage, but I did let Deb help me decide between the batiks and the Hop quilt. I will keep the batiks here. I am also going to keep my strings and complete the 48 block HeartStrings challenge. That leaves me two or three others I can choose, and I am narrowing them down in my head. Jamie's Christmas BOM and a fat quarter sampler are major contenders.  I will also have my travel quilt in the frame for hand quilting.  So don't be sad for me.  I will still have plenty of fabric to touch.
The big quilt I have planned for this month will be started this afternoon.  The fabrics are purchased and washed and waiting for my rotary blade.  Today is the day that I begin cutting out Amanda and Kyle's wedding quilt.  Their invitation arrived yesterday, so it seems fitting.  Over the next few weeks I will probably mention this quilt often, but it is a gift so the final quilt photos will have to wait until mid March.  They know they are getting a queen sized quilt and that it will be made in batiks, but that is about all.  Since neither of them know a great deal about quilts, I can say that it is made up of HSTs and rectangles, but that is all.
My biggest challenge is making this quilt top in two weeks so that I will have time to quilt and bind it.  Remember, my longarm is being packed away at the end of the month for its trip to storage in my sister's basement for 3-4 months.  I should not even feel sad about this considering that originally it was not even coming to Vermont for the year, but I do spend a lot of time with it!!!!!!

Guess I better get crack-a-lacking and see what I can accomplish today.