Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Not much news to report!

I haven't accomplished a whole lot on the quilting front the last few days.  Friday was Bunco - I was hostess this month and it went really well.  And it's great to have the whole house clean at one time! 

Then on Saturday we went over to a friend's house and helped put up some new mini blinds.  We bought some inexpensive ones at Walmart and I was surprised that they no longer have long cords for opening and closing them - you just lift them up from the bottom or pull them down!  Pretty nifty!
When we got done with that, I went in my sewing room and played with making a little mug rug for my Project Quilting challenge!  This is what I came up with.  There are some milestones happening this year, so this was a great way to celebrate them!

Monday was a strange day.  Our homeowners insurance denied our claim for the damage from our leaky roof before Christmas because the leak was not caused by storm damage.  So now we have to hope the roofer is going to make good on those repairs.  It sounds like they will, so we are choosing to try to be positive, while making sure we are treated fairly.  Hopefully something can be done soon, I'm so ready to get that room back to normal!

Today was a work day, and I wanted to set some sewing goals for the week. 

1)  Recover cushions for customer.
2)  Hem sweat pants for hubby.
3)  Take in pants and repair shirt for a customer.
4)  Hem pants for my friend.  (Yes, I am a quilter who does not mind hemming pants!)
5)  Work on quilting Peaks quilt.
6)  Continue to make progress on Drunkard's Path.

I've been working on this for way too long!  Poor Melinda is probably wondering if I'll ever get this finished!  I've been stitching on it for an hour or two every evening.  I'm getting close to finishing all the stitch in the ditch, so am inspired to push on and get it done - and I have one of my own quilts that I want to hand quilt next.

Despite a discouraging start to the week, I am determined that I am going to keep a good attitude and do some quilting.  It always makes me feel better!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Playing with Scraps

I am really enjoying working on my January challenge for Island Batik!  Scrappy quilts are really my thing, and I always enjoy seeing what comes out of the scrap pile.  Island Batik has generously provided me with lots of fabric over the last few years of being an Ambassador, and I have saved every scrap because I love every little bit!
I knew I wanted to make a quilt with blue, and it took me a while to decide on the block I wanted to make.  In the end this pretty block caught my eye!  This is from the Go! Qube Mix and Match book that came with the Ready Set GO! system that AccuQuilt provided for the Island Batik Ambassadors last year.

Of course, I had to get slightly distracted and made a mug rug with some blue scraps - so pretty!  I had enough scraps for several of these, so they'll be listed in my Etsy Shop soon.  (I had a whole bunch of mis-cut four patches from a pattern I wrote several years ago)  Mug rugs are a great scrappy project and I like to have a few on hand for small gifts.  I need to make some red and white ones for Valentine's day!

That's about it for my week of sewing - I got the bridesmaid dress finished and it was picked up, and I have a large cushion that needs to be recovered, so I have that project on my schedule for next week.  I want to work on my Crazy Jane over the weekend - I did a little hand sewing this week on the next block:
This one needs some pieced corners that I have to figure out how to add.  I should finish it tomorrow, I haven't made much progress this week!

Hope you are sewing this weekend, too!

Linking up with:

Quilting is more fun than Housework
Slow Sunday Stitching

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

I'm an Island Batik Ambassador for 2020

I was holding my breath last month waiting for the announcement of the 2020 Island Batik Ambassadors.  They were cutting down from around 50 last year to only 25 this year, so I wasn't sure whether I would make the cut or not - happily, it's now official that I did!
Yes, I am very happy!  It's for sure going to be a banner year!

Here is the list of all this year's ambassadors. - you'll want to follow all of these talented quilters!

Carolina Asmussen ~ Carolina Asmussen
Megan Best ~ Best Quilter
Pamela Boatright ~ Pamela Quilts
Jennifer Fulton ~ Inquiring Quilter
Vasudha Govindan ~ Storied Quilts
Joanne Hart ~ Unicorn Harts
Mania Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for Quilts
Carla Henton ~ Create in the Sticks
Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs
Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood
Denise Looney ~ For the Love of Geese
Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights
Sally Manke ~ Sally Manke
Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack's Blog
Kathleen McCormick ~ Kathleen McMusing
Carol Moellers ~ Carol Moellers Designs
Gail Renna ~ Quilt Haven Threads
Sharon Riley ~ Sew Riley Designs
Michelle Roberts ~ Creative Blonde
Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail
Jennifer Strauser ~ Dizzy Quilter
Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations
Alison Vermilya ~ Little Bunny Quilts
Sandra Walker ~ mmm! quilts
Janet Yamamoto ~ Whispers of Yore

Looking forward to lots of fun working with the beautiful fabrics - can't wait to show you!

Monday, January 06, 2020

Monday Motivation and Musing 2020-1

Here I am, ready to start the first full week of 2020!  On my list for this week is hemming and taking in a bridesmaid dress, and working on two quilts made from baby clothes.  I also have an appointment for a T-shirt quilt that won't be needed until later this year.  Those are my "work" projects for the week.

For fun, I am chasing away the "Winter Blues" by making a scrappy quilt from my Island Batik Stash!
Here is a peek at what I'm working on!  So fun - I just love playing with blue fabrics!  I'm enjoying seeing the blocks as they multiply on my design wall.  I cut them all out using the Accuquilt Go! cutter and 2 1/2 inch square and triangle dies from the 8 inch Qube set.  I just love how accurately they are sewing together.

I plan on spending 15 minutes a day on my Crazy Jane blocks, and want to do some quilting on my Peaks quilt as well.  Oh, and the Project Quilting Challenge for this week!  I have an idea brewing for a small project...so I plan on getting that done before the deadline on Sunday.

I'm also working at cleaning up my house now that all the Christmas stuff is put away.  I've got stacks of fabric and magazines that need to be put away, plus other random clutter that grew over the last month.  January is a great month for tidying up!  It's a little tough with my guest room out of commission, but we'll get it figured out.

Looks to be a good week, and I am looking forward to getting back to a more normal schedule!

Linking up with:
 Pretty Piney Quilts for What I Made Monday
Love Laugh Quilts for Monday Making
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts for Design Wall Monday

Sunday, January 05, 2020

First Quilt of 2020

It's not a big quilt, but I am quite pleased with my first quit of 2020!  This project was commissioned by my husband as a gift for his boss.  Truthfully I was a bit nervous about it, but I think it came out pretty well for a person with admittedly few artistic skills.

Meet Gala!  She is one of the horses at the farm my husband works at a few days a week!  My husband took a picture and asked if I could make a quilt out of it, and of course I said I would try.  I ended up using a different picture to make the horse pattern from since his wasn't very clear and didn't show her running like he wanted.  His biggest request was that her tail would need to be up since that's how Arabian's run, so I had to figure that part out.

I traced a picture on EQ8 and was able to print out templates to use for the horse and went from there.  I strip pieced the fence (the gray strip is the road on the other side of the fence) and found the perfect fabrics for grass and forest backgrounds.  I even found a satisfactory shade of reddish brown for her coat!
So everything up to this point was pretty straightforward and not too difficult.  The quilting and detailing were the scary parts!
I was super nervous that I would mess up and spoil the whole thing, but I had to get it done, so pulled up those big girl pants and got to work yesterday!  I started out with using a reddish brown Aurifil thread to outline the entire horse applique.  Once that was done I used black Aurifil 50 wt to thread paint the lower legs, muzzle and ears.  I started the tail, but definitely needed a heavier thread to get that part filled in enough.  I found a black upholstery thread, and that was just the ticket to make the main and tail stand out.  Once those were done, I added the white star on her forhead, stitched an eye and inside the ears.  I also did a little contouring in the body.  I'm happy with it for the most part, especially with the face and neck.
 I even like the back!  It almost looks like a drawing - you can see the background quilting really well - back and forth wavy lines in the grass, stitch in the ditch around the fence and some random outlining for the forest.  I added a hanging sleeve to make it easier for hanging.

I loved the look of the forest fabric in the background!
This little quilt measures about 12 inches high and 20 inches wide.  I can't wait to hear what the recipient thinks of it!  It's good to have this off my list, now I can get on to some less stressful and more fun projects!

Thursday, January 02, 2020

PHD in 2020

I am not the only one with way too many UFO's (UnFinished Objects) as I have seen many of you fess up to your stacks of projects that were started with good intentions, but never completed.  I do know a few quilters who are great at only working on a limited number of projects at one time and they always finish them up, but I have to say, this is a small but very admired group!  I am not a member of this group, in case you didn't realize this before.  But that doesn't mean that I don't intend to finish up all these projects.  As a matter of fact, I really love most of them and am excited about getting them done.  I'm just a little distracted...a lot distracted, I admit!

In order to bring down the level of madness I am committing to achieving my PHD in 2020 with Gail.  So in short, I am committing to finishing these 12 quilts during the year, plus not adding any new UFO's to the list.  I have many more than this, so I can probably participate for at least 3 years, but I am not going to worry about that - next year I'll just pick more to work on!  Besides these quilts here will be shop samples, Island Batik Challenges, plus project quilting challenges.  Plus those pesky squirrels that show up and you just have to start a fun project just because.  Here is the list:

1.  Crazy Jane

 I am committing to this with my friend, Lee.  2020, baby - we are getting this done!  I made this block yesterday, spent my 15 minutes prepping the applique.  Then my husband wanted to watch a movie, so bingo!  1 block done!  I'll be working on this one throughout the year, with a finish by Dec. 31.  The remaining projects will be assigned a month and I'll knock them off the list as I go.

2.  Peaks

For January I plan on finishing this Peaks quilt.  It only needs more quilting and binding...so that is totally do-able!  This is also my One Monthly Goal for January, so double incentive!

The rest don't have months assigned yet, I think I will just see what I feel like working on and just decide as I go.

3.  Metro Rings

This one is Metro Rings.  I got as far as sewing the strip sets together and have everything but the backing and batting for it.  I love the pretty spring colors, so this one will probably be sooner than later.

4. Patisserie

I think this one is called double starburst.  It's from the Jelly Roll book that my Candy Hearts quilt was published in.  The fabric I just love, it's Patisserie by Fig Tree Quilts.  I also have strip sets sewn for this one.  I think what was hanging me up was that I wasn't sure that my background has enough contrast for the star to show up.  So, I will revisit that and go ahead and choose something different if I still feel concerned.  I can always use the first fabric for the back, or for another project.  Sometimes it's hard to actually use fabric that I love because of a fear of ruining it.  Well, if I don't make this quilt, the fabric will be wasted anyway, so it's time to just do it!

5.  Queen's Garden

Aren't these pretty?  This is for a pattern I need to write up - Queen's Garden.  So this is like two goals in one.  Write the pattern and make the quilt.  Win, win.  I'm thinking spring for this one as well!


6.  Solstice

This is the top for the Soltice display at the quilt shop.  I have backing and binding, just need to quilt it up and it'll be finished.  I want to get this done soon!

7.  Daisy Chain Mystery

This is the top from last years Daisy Chain Mystery  I just need to decide if I want to add a border and quilt and bind it.  This would be great for a super busy month because it's a small quilt and could be finished in a weekend.

8.  Lavendula Lover's Kiss

This is a Lavendula Strip pack and yardage from a 2018 Island Batik Ambassador box.  I just love these fabrics and think it would be fabulous in my Lover's Kiss pattern.  That goes together really fast, so it would also be great for a busy month.  I'll need to find some backing for this one, but have enough fabric for binding.  Whew!

9.  Flirtation

Another set of fabrics for a potential pattern.  This will also help with my goal of writing 12 new patterns this year!  I think I must like florals :)

10.  Seashell

And these fabrics are also a potential pattern idea.  This one's been marinating for a while...time to get it over the finish line!  Not sure what it is with having three piles of potential patterns other than it's just been a super busy year.  Still love the colors and ideas.  Just no time to work with them last year.

11.  2019 Color Challenge

I finished all of Jen's 2019 color challenge blocks and am ready to put the top together.  I ran out of black for the sashing, but as soon as I have more I'll get to work on finishing this one up.  She's starting a new 2020 color challenge, and I'm excited to play with that, too.  I don't think it's a requirement that I finish that one up by the end of 2020 since it's a mystery - but maybe I'll get that done, too!

12.  Chicken Salad

Last, but not least is my Chicken Salad Quilt (that's the name of the border fabric!).  This was the original Stepping Stones Sampler quilt!  You will be seeing more of this through the course of the year, and especially this month as I'll be talking about choosing colors for making the quilt.  You can still sign up - the link is in my sidebar.  

It's a bit wrinkled because it's been on the bottom of the pile for too long.  I'm not sure how I want to quilt this one.  I'm looking forward to finishing this for sure!  I have backing and binding for it as well, so just some batting and I'm set.  Maybe I'll just quilt it section by section....I guess I'll have to think on it for a bit.
Screen Shot 2019-12-06 at 11.47.00 AM
That's it - 12 UFO's and no new ones for 2020!  PHD in 2020 or bust!  And linking up with One Monthly Goal for even more incentive to finish!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2020 Planning Party!

With a New Year looming, it's time to sit down and think about what I would like it to look and see how I did on my goals for last year.  This is something I usually enjoy, but this year it's been a little harder because of the other stuff going on.  I did set some pretty lofty goals last year, and I did not take into account the mental energy that having two weddings this year would consume so I kind of felt like I didn't do as well as I wanted to.  So this year I am hoping to set some more realistic goals and accomplish them!  I'm linking up with Yvonne at Quilting Jet Girl with a bunch more people so I'm in good company!

My word for 2019 was Reduce.  I didn't do very well at that - but it will still be on ongoing effort to reduce weight, stress, possessions and distractions!  For 2020, I chose Vision.  Yes, it's corny, but if you know me I do embrace my goofiness!  I want to look to the future and all the wonderful things it holds for me and not look behind at the things that drag me down.  I want to see clearly what I need to change and look optimistically at the future, and feel free to dream a little bit about what can happen this year.

What do I envision for 2020?  Continuing on with designing quilts and making them.  And writing the patterns!  I'm a little behind on this and would like to write one new pattern each month this year.  I am looking forward to this as I do enjoy the process.

UFOs.  Time to get busy on these.  I haven't really added any more to my list, but I also haven't completed many of those that have been on my list.  I'll be signing up for my PHD this year and plan to work on this specifically!

I don't plan on doing any teaching this year.  I'll also be letting another person take on the BOM duties at guild after this year is over.  It's been fun, but it's time to pass the torch!  I still want to be active in Guild, but I don't think I'll participate in any long term commitments at this time.

A non sewing goal is to repaint most of the interior of my house.  That's a big job, but it's time after living here for 25 years!  We also need to do some more updating and repair in the bathrooms and kitchen.

Specific goals for 2020:

1.  Continue blogging at least three times a week and doing the same on Instagram, and Facebook.  I've been a little spotty this year, but I hope to do better with a specific goal, and plan to work on a social media calendar for myself.  It's not that I don't have anything to say, it's mostly that I have a hard time making plans on when and where!

2. Finish my Crazy Jane quilt!  My friend Lee and I are both going to work on this, so I am excited to make some progress.  My SMART goal for this project is as follows:

S - Specific:  Crazy Jane to be pieced, quilted and bound by Dec 31.
M - Measurable:  Make two blocks every week.  Add each row as it is complete.
A - Attainable:  Set aside 2 hours every week to work on this - Sunday afternoon will be set aside if I don't have time during the week to work on this.  This works out to just over 15 minutes a day of stitching.  I can do this!
R - Relevant:  This will help me reach my goal of getting those UFO projects finished!
T - Time bound:  Dec 31, 2020 is the goal - If I can I'd love to be able to show this in my guild's show in September, but I'm giving myself the whole year.  I'm planning on participating in 15 Minutes to Stitch 2020 on Life in Pieces to help me be accountable for this project.

3.  Complete writing one pattern each month.  I have a backlog of projects, so I already have enough for half the year - I just need to make the time to work on them.  So the plan is that two evenings a month I will work on pattern writing.

4.  Complete 12 UFO projects.  That means it's time to go sit down with my planner and pick out some projects!  I love this step.  It's making time for them that can be hard, but my schedule of doing paid work has been working super well for me, so I know that I can work on my own projects 3 days every week now.  I'm excited to see some of these quilts get done after sitting for several years!  I can do this!  To help I am going to sign up with Quilting Gail to attain my PHD in 2020!
Screen Shot 2019-12-06 at 11.47.00 AM

If you have a lot of projects you would like to see finished you should join too, you know it's always more fun to do these things with friends.

2019 was a busy year, and a happy and fun one!  We had a little rain, but overall the good way outweighed the bad.  I think 2020 will be a little less busy, but hopefully just as happy and filled with great memories.  I wish you a wonderful 2020 as well!

December 2019 Island Batik Ambassador Challenge - 3 D Quilt

Well - I actually got my December challenge finished and on time!  Actually, this was a great project to get my mind off the issue with our roof leak - simple sewing and fun playing with fabric arrangement.  My favorite!  Just so you know, Island Batik provided the fabric for this challenge, and I did love playing with it!  Here is my finished quilt:
Can you see the 3 D effect in this?  It's a little subtle, but I am happy with it!  The fabrics were a strip set in Mermaid Cove.  So pretty! 

Island Batik Mermaid Cove 2.5" Strips - 40 pieces
Aren't the colors just so lovely?  I had a hard time photographing them, but you can see here how pretty they are!  I looked at ideas for quite a while on pinterest, and finally found something fun I could use this strip set for.  And that was the biggest challenge of this challenge, all the rest was easy and fun and very gratifying!

The first step was to sort the strips into half lights and half darks.  There were a lot of medium shades, so it was a little tricky, but I used my camera on my phone to look at the black and white images so that helped quite a bit.

After you sew the strips together, you cut squares and then cut them in half diagonally, then you sew the triangles into pairs to make all the blocks.  Then the fun starts with arranging them!  

When I got the center done I added a skinny border using Butter - (such a pretty yellow, and it's a basic so always available!) then an outer border (and binding) in Sherbet swirls.  I could not get the color to show correctly in the picture above - it's really a lovely coral color, not as brown as this looks, the picture below is more accurate.

I decided to quilt it in large swirls.  You can see it quite well here on the back - I used the last of the Butter and Sherbet Swirls to piece my backing, and even had to add the two leftover blocks for those last few inches I needed.  I used a yellow variegated Aurifil thread in 50 wt for the quilting.

Don't you just love all the pretty colors in this line?  Just so fun and happy!  I wish I had been able to capture the lovely colors a little better, sometimes it's so hard to do them justice, and this is one of those times for me.  

If you'd like to try out the tutorial, I found it here:  Oh Sew Tempting.  It is a fun and easy quilt to make, and I'm really happy with the results!

This is our last challenge as 2019 Ambassadors, and it was a great one.  Make sure you take the time to check out the great quilts and other projects that were made this month!