Thursday, March 31, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - March 31st


It's Friday down under, so it's time for Favorite Things Friday hosted by Shay over at Quilting in My Pyjamas.  This week my favorite thing became obvious while I was sitting waiting for kiddo to finish showering and dressing after swim practice (Which recently has become a pretty significant wait for some reason).  I was in the car and idly playing with my necklace while I listened to NPR on the radio.  The necklace I wore to work today is almost 20 years old, but it's one of my favorites. 

No it's not real gem stones, but I love the contrast of the red and white crystals. And it's so sparkly!   This is probably the loudest "bling" in my jewelry box.  

Then there is my favorite conservative gold necklace (which works both as a toy to reduce boredom and/or worry beads depending upon the meeting).  

Then there is the silver and gold necklace my sister gave me for Christmas one year.  It's a common default when I'm not quite awake and I don't want to contemplate if today's outfit needs gold or silver.   This one covers both bases.   

My most favorite necklace is the one that was my Grandmother's.

This isn't a great photo of it, you can't tell that this one just glitters in the light.   I wasn't able to attend my Grandmother's funeral, but Mom saved this necklace for me.   When I was a kid, my sister and I would spend hours playing with all of Grandma's "pretties".  I'm glad I have this one to remind me of those times. 

That's it for me this week.  What's your favorite thing?  Run over to Shay's and share it. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - March 29th Update

Just two more days in March.  Have you checked how you are doing on meeting any goals you've set for yourself this year?   I took a peak at that last month, which is one reason why I started challenging myself to spend at least 15 minutes every day working on quilt related activities.  How did I do this week? 

Last week was a good week, I managed at least 15 minutes every day.  I'm getting close to finishing up one of my UFOs, which is also listed as one of my "wanna finishes" for Myra's PhD Challenge.  I know how I want to set another pending PhD, plus I've started working on a completely new quilt.  So I'm feeling pretty good about how the challenge is working for me. 

How did you do on projects last week?  Have you challenged yourself to get more done?  You don't have to promise every night, if one or two is all you can manage that's great.  Here's the Mr. Linky, tell us how you are doing in your own personal time management challenge. 

1. Shay
2. kirsten
3. Thea
4. Amanda, Seabreeze Quilts
5. P.
6. Jill

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Design Wall Monday - March 28, 2011

Do you ever to get to Monday and wonder what you did all week?  I spent time in my sewing room, but I started cutting the fabric for a new quilt, so not all the time was spent sewing.  It's been a while since I've started a completely new quilt that isn't a BOM.  Cutting fabric is probably my least favorite part of the quilting process, that must be why it seems to take forever! 

What's up on the design wall?  The same project that has been there the last two weeks, the Brown Bag BOM. 

I finished framing all the blocks and have 2 of the 4 planned borders attached.  I'm happy with how it's coming together.  I'm hoping to have all the borders attached by the end of the week. 

Check out Judy's blog for more design wall updates. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stash Report - March 27th

Wow, it's the last weekend in March.  So this is the last stash report for the 1st quarter of 2011.  Also means I have some deadlines this week at work since a few things are supposed to be done by the end of 1st quarter.  May not get much sewing done next week.  How did this week go?  Here's the stash report:

Used this week: 0.93 yards
Added this week:  0 yards

Used year to date:  10.43 yards 
Added year to date:  7 yards

Net Used for 2011: 3.43 yards

Fabric Budget:  10 yards for Jan to March
Bought/Budget:  7/10 yards

Nothing in this week and a little used.  A check of the spreadsheet, shows about the same yardage going out as this time last year, but less than a tenth of what was bought last year has been added in.   Feels like progress. 

Last week the stash report included the purchase of two fabrics, blue and green Dimples yardage.  Which I fully intended to use in the Buck-A-Block quilt.  After playing with them in EQ, nothing seemed to work.  So I did something drastic and added black.  That  worked.  So all the yardage from last week will get added to the stash, though something from the stash will end up going out.   

That's it for me this week.  Check out Patchwork Times for more stash management drama. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Foto Finish Saturday - Pink

It's a stormy Saturday morning where I'm at.  So it's a bit dreary. One of those days you'd just like to stay in bed or curl up with a good book in the recliner. (Or play hooky in your sewing room maybe?)  I'm glad Barb picked pink for this week's Foto Finish subject, I needed something to brighten up this damp morning.

We spent a week at Lake Chelan, WA a couple of years ago for vacation.  The resort we stayed at had gorgeous flowers all over the place.  My guy and I got up really early one morning to watch the sun rise over the lake and take a few pictures.  The early morning sun is great light for photographing the flowers, so we took a fair number of floral portraits that morning.  I know this image isn't strictly pink, but my thought when I choose it is that it has all the pink tints from red at the center to palest pink, almost white, at the tips.  

Check out the other pink Foto Finishes over at Cat Patches.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - March 25th

Contemplating what will be the subject of any given week's Favorite Things Friday always gives me that little pick me up in attitude that helps so much to get from Thursday night to end of the work day on Friday.  It's nice to contemplate all the good things in my life, plus get the opportunity to read and see all the cool stuff going on with those who post about their favorite things.  So thanks to Shay who hosts Favorite Things Friday for making the transition from the week to the weekend just a little bit easier. 

Having just said all that, I have to admit that my brain was mush last night due to a bit of insomnia on Wednesday.  So my attempts to contemplate anything resulted in my eyes drifting shut and very little contemplation actually happening.  So I'm being obvious, my Favorite Things this week are the beautiful flowers of spring that have started to brighten the still brown lawns and fields.  

What's your favorite thing this week?  Hop over to Quilting in my Pyjamas for more inspiring Favorite Things.    

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Year of the PIGS - Encouraging Creativity

Jill over at The Ramblings of a Fabric and Yarn Obsessor is hosting the Year of the PIGS.  Which is a support group for those of us with more fabric, kits, UFOs, and Projects in Grocery Sacks (PIGS) then we know what to do with.  This week's question is:

"Is there anything you can do or change in your sewing room to encourage your creativity?" 

Actually, I made a change to my sewing room about two weeks ago with that thought in mind.  I didn't think to take before pictures, but here's the after picture.

What did I change?  I switched the location of the bookcase and the secretary desk.  Why?  Mainly because the little nook that ends with the window seat is a bit cramped.  It was just hard to get into that corner and work at the desk.  Secondly, I couldn't see the TV from the desk, due to my fabric bins (I'm working to make those go away, but I'd rather sew than iron and fold fabric).  Thirdly, it moves the desk to a location just behind my sewing machine, making it easier to check layouts (and blogs and email) on the computer while I'm sewing.  I like this layout a lot better.  The other half of the room has the sewing machine, cutting table and both design walls.  (A picture of that half is posted here.) 

To be honest,  the biggest challenge to my creativity isn't the organization of my sewing room, it's getting myself into it to actually work on something! 

Check out today's Year of the Pig post over at Jill's to see other thoughts on jump starting your quilty creativity. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - March 22nd Update

It's Tuesday again.  I'm glad to have Monday over.  It always seems that the Monday back to work after a vacation is a Monday squared. A weeks worth of email to get through, phone calls to return and just trying to remember where was I on this project or that project. 

Enough on Monday, it's Tuesday.  Was I disciplined enough over Spring Break to spend 15 minutes sewing every day?  Well, here's the report.

I did pretty well last week, but I missed Friday.  That was the last day of vacation in Hot Springs and I just ran out of day and energy before I found time to work on the GFG blocks. I made up for it on Sunday.  Since I missed National Quilting Day on Saturday, I celebrated Sunday by spending most of the day in my sewing room. 

So how did you do last week?  Were you able to eek out a few minutes here and there to work on your projects?   If you are willing to share, link up below. 

1. Shay @ QIMP
2. Thea
3. Amanda, Seabreeze Quilts
4. Peggi
5. P.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Design Wall Monday - March 21, 2011

Last week was Spring Break for Kiddo, so we took some time off and spent the week running around Hot Springs, AR.  I did spend some time working on a hand work project, the Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks, but didn't make a lot of progress.  We really did do a lot of running.   

So what's up on the design wall?  Pretty much what was up last week, the 2008 Brown Bag BOM.  I did make some progress on cutting and sewing the framing strips.  Only 4 blocks left to frame, then I can sew the rows together and add the borders.

Some time was also spent on making a test block for a new project I'm hoping to start later this week. 

The fabrics used in this block were all scraps, the actual quilt is going to use Asian themed prints.  This quilt has been in the design phase for about 2 years, I couldn't come up with something that used the focus fabric well.  Now that the final design has been worked up in EQ, I'm  hoping to finish this project in time to give it to my niece for Christmas.

That's it for me this week.  What's up on your design wall?  Check out Judy's Patchwork Times to see how others celebrated National Quilting Day. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Stash Report - March 20, 2011

I'm back home after spending the week on the road with My Guy and Kiddo.  Not much sewing this week since we weren't home.  However, I did have to check out the local quilt shops in Hot Springs, AR.  And yes, I did end up buying some yardage, but it's all intended to be used for the Buck-a-Block BOM.  Both fabrics are from the Andover "Dimples" line. 

So how does the stash report look this week taking into account my acquisitions?  Here are the numbers:

Used this week: 0.19 yards
Added this week:  5.5 yards

Used year to date: 9.5 yards
Added year to date:  7 yards

Net Used for 2011: 2.5 yards

Fabric Budget:  10 yards for Jan to March
Bought/Budget: 7/10 yards

So I'm still in the black and still under my fabric budget. So I'm still on track with my stash management goals.   I do need to learn to keep fabric swatches with me.  I think the green fabric is going to work, but I think the blue is going to be too bright to use in the Buck-a-Block quilt. Based on an analysis of my buying habits last year, I don't take fabric swatches with me on shopping trips and end up bringing home yardage that won't work for the intended project.  This time it's OK, my stash is really deficient in blender fabrics, so the blue is probably a good idea anyway. 

That's it for me this week.  Check out Patchwork Times to see how others are managing their stashes. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Foto Finish Saturday - Spring

This week got off to a cool start, but the last 3 days the temps have been in the high 70s.  The pink/purple blooms of the red buds are starting to add a hint of color to the drab woodlands.  If you look close you can see some of the trees have leaf buds starting to form.  I like taking photos in the spring because one of my most favorite subjects are flowers.  This week we were lucky enough to spend the better part of a day at the Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, AR.  It's a beautiful place, well worth a visit if you are in the area.  I have about a third of a 4 GB photo card filled with photos of buds and new blooms.  It was hard to choose just one for today. 

The garden had several apple trees which were blooming.  I love the white with the hint of pink in the leaves.  When the Apple trees, the Redbuds, the Bradford Pear, and the Dogwood all start blooming that's a pretty sure sign spring is here. 

Hop over to Cat Patches to see other signs of spring. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - Spring Break

Is it really Friday, already?  I always loose track of the day of the week if I'm not working.  It's Spring Break time in Oklahoma.  So why is Spring Break one of my favorite things?

First, both My Guy and I were able to take the week off work.  That's not always a given.  Second we all agreed that we needed an adventure for Spring Break, not a "fix up home week" or a "let's visit family time", but a "get away from it all trip".  (I don't miss the messy house and piles of laundry one bit!)

We ended up in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  It's someplace none of us have ever been before.  We stayed in a Bed and Breakfast (favorite thing number 3). 

This B&B sits on a lake, allowing us to enjoy spectacular sunrises (favorite thing number 4).

We checked out historic downtown.  Some of the bathhouses originate from the 1800's.  We say lots of beautiful tile and stained glass (favorite thing number 5)  Kiddo and I bonded with a bit of shopping while My Guy went off to do some manly hiking and climbing. 


Then we all did the back to nature thing at the local botanical gardens.  And I got to take lots of pictures of all kinds of these. (favorite thing number 6) 

The highlight of the trip has to be the 1st Ever 8th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. (favorite thing number 7).

The most favorite thing of all?  Hanging out with these two all week.

Thanks for letting me share my favorite stuff with you.  Check out Quilting in My Pyjamas for more favorite things. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - Weekly Update March 15th

It's Tuesday.  Nothing remarkable about Tuesday, not the first day of the work week, not the last and not the weekend.  It's a good day to sit back and look at how well I managed my time last week.  I've challenged myself to spend at least 15 minutes every day working in my sewing room.  So how did last week go?  Here's the report:

I did face a dilemma in assessing this week's report.  For 5 days last week I didn't actually do any sewing, but the activities were necessary in order to make progress on a couple of projects.  Two nights weren't spent in the sewing room, but on the computer with EQ7 working on quilt layouts and cutting instructions.  One night was spent pressing out the "Seeing Stars" top so it could be packaged for shipment to the quilter.  I counted those activities this week as meeting my requirements for quilt related activities.  Would you count that time? 

Here's a Mister Linky thingy if you want to challenge yourself to 15 minutes a day, every other day, once a week, etc and then tell someone how you did. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Design Wall Monday - March 14, 2011

It's Monday, which means it's time to show what's up on the design wall. I didn't do as much sewing as I had wanted this weekend.  I wasn't feeling very well on Saturday and yesterday Kiddo took a turn for the worse.  Ended up taking her to the immediate care center.  Thankfully she doesn't have strep, just some type of respiratory infection.  So she's on antibiotics and was much better by last night.   

So what did get done?  I took some time to clean up the sewing room a bit and switched the location of a bookcase and secretary desk so the space would work better.  I also finished block 10 of the Moose on the Porch Layer Cake Quilt Along.

I like how this block came out.  I need to pull all the blocks out and look at them together, I haven't done that in a few weeks.

So what's next?  Last week I finished up block 12 of the Buck-a-Block BOM, but I don't have a setting yet that I like.  So that one is going to have to simmer a bit while I play with layouts and fabric choices in EQ.   I am going to start a new quilt this month, but I need to tweak the design.  There is not enough fabric for the borders as it's set up now.  Looking over what's left in my UFO pile, I decided to pull out the sister quilt to the 2008 BOM I just finished.  

I've posted several blogs about the two 2008 BOM quilts (Story of 12 Quilts - Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3).  The 2008 BOM was a "brown bag" BOM.  Each participant put fabrics in a grocery sack and each month your sack went home with a different quilter who made a block from only the fabrics that were in the bag.  The only restriction was that the blocks had to be 12.5".  The above blocks include the 9 blocks that were in my brown bag at the end of the 12 months, plus three I made.  The little green stickies in the picture are notes on how big I need to make framing strips for each block.  Not all the blocks finish at 12.5 inches, some are as much as 0.5 inches short.  I'll use the framing strips to get consistent sized blocks before I set them together. 

That's it for me this week.  Check over at Judy's Patchwork Times to see more design walls. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Stash Report - March 13, 2011

It's been a busy week.  I did get a chance to do some sewing, but I also spent quite a bit of time this week pulling fabrics and playing with EQ trying to come up with a final setting for the Buck-a-Block BOM.   Still it's not a bad stash report:

Used this week:  4.2 yards
Added this week: 0 yards

Used year to date:  9.31
Added year to date:  1.5 yards

Net used for 2011:  7.81

Fabric Budget: 10 yards for Jan to March
Bought/Budget:  1.5/10 yards

A large fraction of the fabric out is the back for the Seeing Star quilt.  It has been sent out to be quilted.  It feels good to get that one off the design wall.  

That's it for me this week.  Check out all the other stash reports over at Patchwork Times.    

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Foto Finish - Weather

It's Saturday, finally!  Unfortunately both Kiddo and I appear to have caught nasty colds.  She's more miserable than I am, which is both good and bad.   I hate to see kiddo suffer, but at least I don't feel so bad that I can't take care of her. 

It's Saturday.  Which also means that Barb is hosting this week's Foto feast.  The topic? The weather. 

A couple of years ago we decided to vacation in TX.  My guy had always wanted to go to Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo.  So on this trip we decided to start with that.  Rather than take the major highway, we decided to take state highways and drive out through the OK panhandle into the TX panhandle.  If you live in the plains, you know how impressive those storms can look as the roll in over the flat landscape.  I don't remember the name of the little town where we stopped at this cemetery and snapped a few shots of the incoming storm.  But I do remember the 30 minutes after this shot was taken.   We were in the middle of the storm dealing with golf ball sized hail (which makes a really sickening sound if you are in a car).  We were concerned the windshield was going to break. At the first opportunity we turned south to get out of the center of the storm.  Which was the best idea we'd had all day.  A few miles down the road we met up with a group of storm chasers.  There were 2 or 3 tornadoes that day, we threaded the needle and managed to find a route between the 2 storms that had the worst of the tornadic activity.  Thankfully, it was dry for the rest of the week.   

That's it for me today.  It looks like we'll have spring weather today, which I'm more than ready for.  Check out Cat Patches for more weather stories. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - March 11th

It's almost Friday.  I'm ready!   My Guy and Kiddo are off on a scavenger hunt, so the house is all quiet.  I fixed myself a cup of hot tea a bit ago and I'm sitting in my recliner with the computer on my lap contemplating what might be a worthy topic for FTF this week.  Maybe this is it.  The quiet, the opportunity to collect my thoughts without a "Hon where is...." or "Mom can I....".  

So for tonight, I think I'm going to do more of my favorite thing this week.  Sit here, drink my tea and just appreciate the quiet. 

Check out Quilting in My Pyjama's for other, more exciting FTFs. 

(I'm ready for some of this.  How about you?)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Year of the Pigs - March 9th

Jill over at Ramblings of a Fabric and Yarn Obsessor is hosting the Year of the PIGS support group.  Where we seek and share our thoughts on the process of acquiring, storing and maybe eventually completing our PIGS and UFOs.  This week's questions:

Do I have a separate room all to yourself?

Am I messy or Princess of Tidy?

Are there things that I find a hindrance to my sewing mojo?

I'm very lucky that I do have a sewing space that is all my own.  It's the spare bedroom at the very end of the hall.  I can close the door and shut out most everything else (except for Kiddo's "Mom call"). 

This is pretty much how the room looks most of the time, except I did vacuum it for this picture.  The bookcase in the corner has all my quilting books.  Yardage being used for current projects is folded up and stowed on top of the clear tote under the cutting table (on the left of the picture).  Cut pieces and finished blocks that are in progress but not the center of attention are stored on top of the chest you can just barely see at the right of the picture. 

I usually have several sets of blocks for the different projects up on both design walls, but I was finishing up a large project when this picture was taken so everything was stowed away.  You can just see the top of one of my rulers back behind the totes.  That's where they are stored when not in use.  The white door leads to the closet where my stash is stashed. 

I got in the habit of being organized when I shared my sewing space with My Guy when we lived in TX.  If I didn't put things away when I was done, he'd move them so he had room to do his thing and I'd spend a lot of time having to find all my stuff when I next wanted to sew.  That used to be a big hindrance to my sewing mojo.  Now my biggest challenge is just getting myself into my sewing room to sew.  I've started challenging myself to spend 15 minutes every day in my sewing room, which seems to be helping me keep my motivation up. 

That's it for me this week.  Check out how the other PIGS live over at Jill's

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - Weekly Update 3/8

In mid February, I started challenging myself to get into the sewing room for at least 15 minutes every day.  For 12 days, I made the extra effort and then reported my success on the blog the next morning.  That extra effort made a big difference in getting at least one project finished, one almost ready for quilting and one set of blocks done ready to be set.  So I've decided to keep up the effort.

For me, reporting my success (or the threat of reporting lack thereof) is a big motivator as I have found with the Stash Report and Design Wall Monday over at Patchwork Times.  So starting this week, I'm going to write a weekly report on my "15 minutes".  Here's this week report.

I missed two days last week.  I really don't remember Thursday.  Friday we got an emergency call concerning Kiddo's school dance asking us to come help with the photography they needed for one of the contests they wanted to run.  We stayed to help clean up and it was after 11:00 when we got home.  No excuses, I just didn't realize we'd be gone the whole evening or I'd have tried to fit some time in before we left for the dance. 

How about you?  Interested in challenging yourself to spend some more time in your sewing room?  Do you have a project this week that needs to get done and you need some extra push to get in the groove?  I'm adding a Mr Linky.  If you want to challenge yourself to spend 15 minutes in your sewing room on a regular basis (it doesn't have to be every night, make your own rules).  Do it just for one week, for one month.  Write a post about your goals for spending time in your sewing room and then report on how well you did. 

1. annie aka rubyslipperz
2. JoEllen Cox
3. Lynelle Slade
4. 501quiltblocks
5. Angie in So CA
6. Jay
7. libbyQ

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Design Wall Monday - March 7, 2011

It was a great weekend, a little laundry, a little housework and a little sewing all got accomplished.  Actually, quite a bit of sewing got done this weekend, but there is not much up on my design wall to show for it.   

Block 12 from the Buck-a-Block BOM is done.  Now I have to decide on a final layout before I can finish up this quilt. 

Also finished Block 9 of the Layer Cake Quilt Along.

I spent a lot of sewing time putting away left over yardage and cutting up the fabric scraps for the 2008 BOM quilt, which I finished binding last weekend.  I did also manage to find enough carpet space to lay out the quilt to take it's "finished" picture.

I'm not really into pink, but I like this quilt.  It does look a bit old fashioned with it's faded pinks and greens. Trudy Lindemann did the quilting.  I love the swirly look of the loops and feathers, it really fits the quilt.  

So this quilt project is now all done.  The label is on, the quilt is folded up and stacked in the closet till I figure out where it's going.  

That's it for me this week.  Check out Patchwork Times to see what other cool projects are in the works.    

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stash Report - March 6, 2010

No new fabric this week.  I'm back on my "no fabric" diet, for the time being anyway.  Not much sewing this week, after being so good about sewing for 15 minutes every day the last couple of weeks, I completely blew that this week.  A few unexpected events came up.  I did manage to get a couple of blocks sewn together.  Here are this week's numbers:

Used this week:  0.3 yards
Added this week:  0 yards

Used year to date:  5.11 yards
Added year to date:  1.5 yards

Net used for 2011:  3.61 yards

Fabric Budget:  10 yards for Jan to March
Bought/Budget:  1.5/10 yards

I'm still in the black, just not as much as I'd like to be.  Check out Judy's blog over at Patchwork Times for the rest of this week's reports. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Foto Finish - Stripes

Last week's Foto Finish was dots, this week's is stripes.  In keeping with the nature theme from last week's post, here's my version of "stripes"

It always amazes me the colors and textures that show up in nature if you look for them.  I don't remember what plant this leaf is from, I'm not much of a gardener.  However,  my mother has this giant green thumb.  Her backyard is an oasis of greens and colors in the spring and summer.  When we visit during that time of year, Mom and I usually end up on her back porch.  As we talk, I'll start framing photos in my head.  I usually end up going back in for my camera, then we walk around the yard with me taking pictures and Mom doing some pruning or picking up while we continue our conversation.   I have a lot of pictures from Mom's garden, I hope they'll remind me of all the conversations since it's hard to capture those shared times in megabytes. 

That's it for me this week.  Check out Cat Patches to see what other stripes have been posted. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - March 4th

TGIF!  This week I'm definitely ready for Friday.  For the first time in I don't know how long, we don't have to be anywhere for the weekend.  No basketball games, no swim meets, no anything!   None of this, gulp down a cup of coffee, while madly looking for Kiddo's swim bag to see if that's where she left her team sweats.  No speed reading of blogs while I'm eating a quick bowl of cereal.  Yeah, I'm ready for this weekend.  Mainly because I'll get to spend some significant time with one of my favorite things......

my sewing machine. My Bernina has been with me since 2003.  I had been sewing on an inexpensive New Home machine which would not allow me to lower the feed dogs for free motion quilting (didn't find that out till I took the class).  After that experience, I decided a new machine was really necessary.  The 153 was not top of the line, but it was set up for what I wanted to do - quilt.  I know a lot of you have Berninas, did you gasp the first time you looked at the sticker price?  I still remember being amazed that a sewing machine could cost that much.  But the Bernina has been worth every penny!   I'm sure it has saved me thousands of dollars by allowing me to avoid those expensive therapy sessions and by reducing my stress has also reduced my medical bills.  So it's probably paid for itself by now.   

Another favorite is Foot #37, the 1/4 inch foot.  It's pretty much the only foot I use and I love it.  Using this foot made a big difference in my seam accuracy.  Now if the block is supposed to be 12.5" when it's pieced, I can pretty much get a 12.5" block without having to unsew a couple of seams.  And since my seam ripper is not one of my favorite things, that's a really good thing. 

I don't have a name for my machine, it's just the "Bernina".  Last year I bought a new Bernina 830.  I wanted to be able to use the stitch regulator and I wanted to try some embroidery as well.  The 830 has spent a lot of time in the shop recently, so the older Bernina has been back on my sewing table. In terms of piecing, I'm finding that the 153 is much better at that than the 830 is even with all it's wonderful capabilities.  I wish I had room to keep both machines out, then maybe I'd actually do some embroidery! 

That's it for FTF for me this week.  Hop over to Quilting in My Pyjamas for more favorite things. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Final Day of the 15 Minute Challenge - Day 12

The 15 minute challenge was a success.  For the last 12 days I've managed to find 15 minutes to sew some time during the day.  Last night Kiddo and I had to go shopping for shoes and jewelry to finish off her outfit for the school Mardi Gras party on Friday night.  We were gone a lot longer than I thought we'd be.  So my planned hour or so of sewing ended up being only 15 minutes right before I went to bed.  But in that time, I did manage to get the pieces cut out for Block 9 of the Layer Cake Quilt Along

I started this personal challenge after realizing that I'd gone a whole week without finding the time to sew.  In the last 12 days, I've finished a 3 year old UFO, come close to finishing all the blocks for the Buck-a-Block PIGS, finished block 8 and cut out block 9 for the Layer cake Quilt Along.  I'd have done all those things without the 15 minute challenge, but they are done sooner because I made the effort to get upstairs to sew. 

I did learn a few things:
1.  I have to put limits on computer time and be willing to shut it down at a specified time some evenings.
2.  No matter how tired I am, 15 minutes in the sewing room is doable. 
3.  Knowing that I had to write a blog the next day about my success (or actually lack there of) was a strong motivator to get upstairs whenever my motivation was wavering. 
4.  On days with tight schedules, a bit of preplanning helps. Knowing that I had something simple to do upstairs made it easier to get upstairs and not collapse directly into bed. 
5.  Getting into the sewing room is most of the battle.  Even if I feel tired a few minutes of sewing will usually energize me, so what was supposed to be 15 minutes becomes an hour or more. 

What am I going to do with all this new found knowledge?  I'm going to continue to challenge myself to do at least 15 minutes of sewing every day.  There will be days that it just doesn't happen, but that's OK.  The point is to make the best use of the time I do have, to make that conscious decision to sew when I'm just playing on the computer or think I'm too tired to do anything.  I am going to continue to blog about my progress, since having to report failure is a key motivator for me.  But I'll post an update just once a week, probably on Tuesday to avoid overlapping with the Stash Report and Design Wall Monday. 

Is anyone interested in starting their own personal 15 minute challenge?   Let me know.  If there is enough interest,  I'll set up a Mr. Linky on the Tuesday report and we can all encourage each other.