Tuesday, May 31, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - May 31st

Wow, how did it get to be the end of May?   It seems the busier the month, the faster it goes (maybe not at the speed of light, but it sure seems fast).   

It's Tuesday, time to report on how well I stuck to my challenge to spend at least 15 minutes a day working on quilt projects.  I can't say that the last week has been a dismal failure, but I definitely struggled a few days. 

TX BOM = BAB BOM = Buck-A-Block BOM
 Three days last week I struggled with getting much of anything done.  Part of it was the weather.  It was a stormy week here in Oklahoma, which is not conducive to sewing or computer time due to the risk of lightening strikes.  The other part was just needing a break I think.   One night I read a book, one night Kiddo had a thing, and I have no memory of what I did the third night (no wine was involved, I've just slept since then). 

But 4 out of 7 days isn't bad.  I started the 15 minute challenge to help me take the time to sew.  I like sewing, it's a great source of stress reduction and gratification.  But it's not my job and I don't want it to become a job.  For all the quilting goals and tracking spreadsheets (I'm an Excel geek), it's really about doing something that engages me on another level.  Sitting at my sewing machine with beautiful fabrics and seeing something come together on the design wall energizes me.  It's that feeling that I'm going for. The excitement of seeing how all the pieces fit together, the challenge of solving the assembly problems to make the vision work, the feeling of accomplishment that all that activity brings.  It's not about finishing quilts, though that is a nice side benefit.  

I'm not usually so philosophical.  Quilting in My Pyjamas posted some interesting  meditations on crafty mojo yesterday and that got me to thinking about why I want to spend 15 minutes every day at my sewing machine.  Check out Shay's Monday post.  Lots of food for thought. 

Why do spend time in your sewing room?  Why did you challenge yourself to spend 15 minutes a day sewing?  There is no wrong answer.  Share your thoughts in your blog and link up below.  

Monday, May 30, 2011

Design Wall Monday - May 30th

Happy Memorial Day.  Today my family is remembering my father-in-law who served in WWII and one of his brothers who was a prisoner of war during the Korean war.  If it wasn't for their sacrifices and those of all who've served this country, we might not enjoy the freedom of speech that allows us to express ourselves regularly in our blogs.  So thank you to all who have served and the home front families that share those sacrifices. 

It's also design wall Monday and I actually have some progress to show on the Buck-a-Block quilt. 

The setting blocks and part of the sashing are done.  I'm hoping to finish the setting triangles today and maybe get a start on the rest of the sashing. 

With all the piecing for the Buck-a-Block, progress was also made on the leaders and enders project, the purple and yellow scrap quilt.

Row 7 is finished.  This quilt just needs 2 more rows of blocks before it's ready for assembly.  Rows 1 through 3 are stashed in one of my project boxes. Rows 4 and 5 will have to join them so I have room to put up the last 2 rows on the design wall.  I'm looking foward to laying out the whole quilt to see how it looks. 

Thanks for stopping by today.  Click over to Judy's Patchwork Times for more design walls. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Stash Repot - May 29th

Happy Memorial Day weekend to all, hope it's been relaxing and fun.  We are using this as a "fix stuff around the house weekend".  I did get in some sewing time yesterday, which is a good thing or I'd have nothing to put in the stash report.  The storms earlier this week kept me out of the sewing room, too much lightening to feel like it was safe to turn on the machine.  So how did  I do?

Used this week:  1.06
Added this week:  0 yards

Used year to date:  23.8
Added year to date:  16 yards

Net used for 2011:  7.8

Fabric Budget:  13 yards for April to June
Bought/Budget:  9/13 yards

So my stash busting is going, just really slowly.  I had hoped to get more done on the Buck-A-Block quilt, but that just didn't happen this week. 

So how did your stash busting go this week?  Check out Patchwork Times for more stash busting tales.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Foto Finish - My Mother's Garden

Before I get to Foto Finish this week, I wanted to thank all of you for the prayers and best wishes sent yesterday for my brother.  My Mom reported yesterday that he's pretty much back to his normal growling bear self. All indications are that he'll be released from the hospital this morning.  The doctors expect him to have a 100% recovery pretty quickly.  So it's all good news on that front. 

This week's Foto Finish is acutally supposed to be "My Garden".  Well, being the black thumb that I am, I don't even attempt a garden.  So I pulled an image from my Mom's garden. 

I'm not sure what kind of flower this is, but Mom has an abundance of them every year.   Her back yard is full of color and I love to sit out on the back porch in the summer and just take it all in.  

If you want to see more garden grandeur, click on over to Cat Patches.  

Friday, May 27, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - May 27th

There are weeks where I really feel like the name of my blog fits, this has really been a week of living life-in-pieces, really good pieces, really stressful pieces, and really scary pieces.   Last night the really scary piece brought home to me just how favorite certain things in life are. 

This week my favorite thing is my baby brother.

This isn't the greatest shot of him and it's about 3 years old, but it's all I had in my vast collection of photographs.  Well, he's in our wedding pictures, but he looks like Lurch (from the Adams Family).  He towers over everybody.   He and I used to get to stay up late and watch Creature Feature (monster movies) when he was little.  He was too scared to watch them by himself, so I'd have to sit with him.  Just how many Godzilla movies are there?  

When he was 3 years old he started carrying around one of my Dad's motorcycle magazines because it had an add for this little Indain motorcycle that was just his size.  Dad finally brought one home.  He learned to ride that little motorcycle before he learned to ride a bicycle.  He still rides motocycles, every chance he gets.

He's got a wicked sense of humor, he'll have us all rolling when he gets going (not that it takes much with my family).   I'm amazed Mom didn't kill him somewhere along the way.  He'd make all kinds of faces when she was getting on to him about something (to be honest, he still does that).   It was hard not to laugh.  Now that I'm a parent, I understand that strategy, as I'm sure he did. 

We almost lost him yesterday.  He's fine, resting in the hospital.  I'm a bit shaken, sounds like more then he is, which would be typical. 

For those in the US, happy Memorial weekend.  Enjoy the time with your family and friends, appreciate every moment. 

To check out more favorite things, click over to Quilting in my Pyjamas.    

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - May 24th

It's spring in the Midwest, which means thunderstorms and tornadoes.  My Guy and I followed the news on the aftermath of the tornado in Joplin with very heavy hearts.  Though he no longer has family that lives there, he spent a lot of time there when he was younger and Joplin is a frequent stop on any drive to my in-laws. Our hearts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones and must find the courage to rebuild. 

Not much sewing going on last week, it took me several nights of working with Electric Quilt and digging in my stash to work out a setting for the Buck-a-Block quilt.  But if I count those efforts, I spent at least 15 minutes on quilting related activities all 7 days last week. 

Not sure how this week will go.  Today is Kiddo's last day of school.  We have a holiday weekend coming up, so we'll do some fun stuff as a family, but there may be some time for sewing in there too.  The storm (and tornado) risk is very high for our area over the next 2 days, which may limit both sewing and computer time.  I can hear thunder and see lightening, which means it's time to get off the computer. 

How did your sewing efforts go last week?  Link up and share your successes, failures, or your experience with mojo stealing gremlins. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Design Wall Monday - May 23rd

It's the last full week of May.  For Kiddo today is the next to last day of school.  She was saying at dinner last night, it didn't feel like the end of the school year.  As much as I'm ready for the warmer weather, I'm not sure I'm ready for summer either.  I am ready to get past the worst of the spring storm season. 

What's up on the design wall?  Not much. 

The blue and black are the setting blocks for the Buck-A-Block quilt, on the right are the next two blocks for the purple and yellow leaders and enders project.  I've got several more rounds of strips to add to the setting blocks.  The two purple and yellow blocks will complete row 7 of the planned 9 rows.  So progress, even if it seems to be moving a bit slow. 

That's it for my design wall this week.  What's up on yours?  Check out Judy's Patchwork Times to see more design walls. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stash Report - May 22nd

Other than Friday night, it was a quiet week for sewing.  After getting one project to the "ready for the quilting stage" and completing the binding on a second, it was time to do some regrouping.   I had to spend some time figuring how to set the next project, plus clean up the sewing room some.  So this week's report reflects that.  

Used this week:  0.29 yards
Added this week:  0 yards

Used year to date:   22.74
Added year to date:  16 yards

Net used for 2011:  6.74

Fabric Budget:  13 yards for April to June
Bought/Budget:  9/13 yards

There should be a big jump in the outgoing pile in next week's report as I start putting the Buck-A-Block project together.   Well, at least there is the potential for a big jump next week. 

For more on stash busting, check out Judy's Patchwork Times

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday Night Sew In Results - May

This month's Friday Night Sew In was more about preparation to sew more than actual sewing, though I did get in a little of that as well.  Overall, it was a good night as I managed to stay up and working till midnight. 

What got done?  Worked out the layout for the Buck-A-Block quilt which would work with the yardage I had on hand.

I had to switch to a lighter blue.  It looks much better with the other blocks in real life then it does in the EQ image.  Once that was decided, it was time to develop the construction strategy and draft up the cutting instructions. 

I worked out what I needed for the courthouse steps filler blocks. While I was working on that, the black fabric took a spin through the washer rinse cycle.  All the other setting fabrics have been washed, so I figured the black needed to be washed too. 

I pulled out some scraps from a recent finish, cut them up and constructed a mock up block to test my cutting and construction instructions.

The mock up block came out at 13", which is what it was supposed to measure.  If I'm doing my own thing on making blocks, I always make a mock up block, it's kept me out of trouble more than once.  I'd hate to cut all my fabric, then discover the calculations were all wrong. 

Today, I've got the blue cut for the blocks and am ironing the black fabric so I can cut those strips.  But since Kiddo has a dance, I need to go paint toe nails and deal with whatever else needs to be done before we run over to school to help with the decorations. 

If you did FNSI, hope it was productive.  If you couldn't make it this time, maybe you can make it next month. 

Foto Finish - Drama in the Sky

Wow, second weekend in a row that we've been home.  With school winding down, the activities are slowing down too, thankfully.  I'm more than ready for a few lazy days of summer. 

The photo for this week's post almost didn't happen.  A few years ago I had to drive to one of the company's other locations on a fairly regular basis.  On these drives, often the sun would be just coming up over the prairie.  Those sunrises can be spectacular, but I'd keep driving, just watching it through my rear view mirror.  There was no time to stop, I'd tell myself, can't be late for the meetings.  Finally, one morning I took the time to stop.  I just stood outside my car in the cool and the quite watching the sun come up. 

Was I late?  No, I always allowed plenty of time for those trips. Now I try to remember, take the 5 minutes, take the picture, even if it's only with my eyes.  

Check out the other sky scapes over at Cat Patches

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - May 20th

It's not quite Friday, but close enough for me to write up this week's Favorite Things Friday post. 

It's been a long week for the inhabitants of this house.  I had a report due this week.  It's in the boss's in-box as of this morning.   I really don't want to see another graph, chart, or bibliography for at least a month. 

My Guy was up and out bight and early this morning for a teleconference.  It's possible he'll be overseas for most of June and July.  Vacation plans are pretty much in tatters at this point.  

Kiddo has 3 days left in the school year and she has end of school-itis.  Can't focus on anything and has her last history test tomorrow.  Can you hear the whining? 

That brings us to today's end of the school/work day routine.  My Guy walked in the door a bit late, looking harried and tired (not unusual).  The first words out of his mouth, "Why is there an electrical box on the dining room table?"

The reply, "It's Kiddo's".  He picks it up and repeats the question, "Why does she have an electrical box?"

My reply, "It's her latest art project."  He turns it every which way and with a very puzzled look on his face turns to me with his next question, "OK, so it's an electrical box with wires on it.  Is it supposed to be something?" 

Kiddo was quite hurt that neither one of us figured out what it was supposed to be.  Can you?  Here's a hint. 

So what was my favorite thing?  (Well, besides Kiddo's incredibly creative modern sculpture.)   Just the end of day nonsense that is fairly typical, but rarely predictable between the three of us.  Keeps life interesting. 

Check out Quilting in My Pyjamas for more favorite things. 

Are you Ready for Friday Night?

Handmade by Heidi

This month I get to participate in the Friday Night Sew-In!  It always seems something else is going on and I have to pass.  Not this week!  I have permission from My Guy and Kiddo to come home on Friday and disappear into my sewing room for a few hours.

What am I going to work on?  The Buck-a-Block quilt that was supposed to have been finished back in March.  It's one of my PhD challenge quilts.  I had a setting all worked out, then realized I didn't have enough blue fabric to do it that way.  This was the original plan:

So now I'm working on tweaking the design.  I have lots of the black, but only two and half yards of the darker blue.  So it's either rework the setting or shop my stash for a different blue.  Hopefully I'll get that all worked out tonight so I can start cutting and sewing Friday night. 

If you want to sew along with 100+ others on Friday night, hop over to Handmade by Heidi and sign up. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - May 17th

It's been a good week here where the wind comes sweeping down the plains.  Well, at least for getting things done in the sewing room.  The rest of the house looks a bit wind blown.  I'll get to that one of these days. 

I did much better this week on getting up to the sewing room for at least 15 minutes. 

Six out of seven days isn't a bad effort.  I was just too tired Friday to convince myself to sew, but I made up for that by taking a mental health day on Saturday and sewing pretty much all day.  My mental health was much improved, espeically since I finished the back for the Castle quilt so it can go off to Trudy for quilting and finished the binding on The Brown Bag quilt

Sunday was clean up day in the sewing room, the afternoon was spent cutting up the scraps left over from the Brown Bag quilt. I'm roughly following Joan Ford's "Cut the Scraps", at least for smaller pieces.  I find that there are a lot of strips left over from my projects and those get trimmed to the closest half inch measurement then stored as strips.  Much less cutting that way (I'll do must anything to delay cutting stuff up!). 

Last night I went looking for a black in my stash so I can finish up the Buck-A-Block BOM that was started last year.  Hopefully I'll start cutting the setting squares tonight.  To be honest, I spent more time on the computer then I intended too and just didn't have much time before heading to bed. 

So how did you do this week on being crafty?  Link up and let us know. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Design Wall Monday - May 16th

Monday, already?  Weekends just seem to speed by, but over all this was a productive one.  I took a mental health day Saturday and worked in my sewing room most of the day.  I finally finished binding the The Brown Bag Quilt. 

So one more quilt off the UFO list.  Yeah!!!  This quilt was the last BOM the local shop offered before it changed it's focus to just offering long arm quilting  I like the play between the darker green and the lighter backgrounds of the alternate blocks.  Trudy quilted this with a beautiful floral pattern which really suits the floral theme of the fabrics. 

Right now this quilt doesn't have a final destination, so it's been folded up and stored in the closet.  I'm sure a good home will come up sometime soon. 

I'm glad to have this one off the UFO list.  Just three UFO's left!  My goal is to have just one UFO left by the end of this year.  I may just make it. 

Check out Patchwork Times to see what everyone else is up too. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Stash Report - May 15th

It's been a good weekend so far, probably because I decided that the house really wasn't complaining about the dirty floors and the dusty furniture (neither was anyone else in the family), so why worry?  I took a mental health day and spent it sewing instead. Definitely a wise decision.   

I've sewn for at least 15 minutes almost every day this week.  The mini sewing retreat yesterday allowed me to finish up a lot of stuff.  The back for the Castle quilt is done.  I also finished binding the Brown Bag BOM, now it just needs the label.  With all that, the stash report looks pretty good this week.

Used this week: 2.25 yards
Added this week: 0 yards

Used year to date:  22.45 yards
Added year to date:  16 yards

Net used for 2011: 6.45 yards

Fabric Budget: 13 yards for April to June
Bought/Budget:  9/13 yards

No fabric in this week, which helps.  I'm slowly climbing up the positive side of the hill after the fabric purchases from last month.  The fabric budget is in good shape, but it is getting hard to resist buying some of the gorgeous new stuff that is coming out.  I really do have to delete the emails from Hancocks and Luana Rubin, it's just too much temptation! 

Check out Judy's Patchwork Times for more stash reports. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Foto Finish - Fun and Games

I missed Foto Finish last week, just too much going on with the kiddo's swim meet and hooking up with family for Mother's Day.  We are home this weekend, it's cold and overcast, so it's a good morning to sit at the computer and look at photos.  As I was looking for a shot to fit this week's theme of "Fun and Games" I decided that Kiddo had it right when last week she said she'd found the perfect T-shirt.  It said "If you think I'm crazy, you should see my friends". 

These two have been partners in crime since first grade.   I have no idea what we were out shopping for on this trip, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't football gear.

To check out all the other fun and games, check out Cat Patches Foto Finish.   

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bloggers Spring Qult Festival - 2011

It's that time of year!  Amy over at Amy's Creative Side has launched the Spring Blogger Quilt Festival! 

Amy's Creative Side

I'm very fortunate that My Guy is a pretty strong supporter of my quilting obsession.  He's tolerant of my requests for frequent stops at quilt shops when we are en route to just about any place.  A couple of years ago we stopped at one quilt shop.  He wandered in with me and poked around while I shopped. After a bit he pointed out a display quilt and asked me if I liked it.  I replied that it was a nice quilt.  About 5 minutes later he asked me the same question about the same quilt.  Then in another 5 minutes he asked again.  Obviously, I was missing something.  I finally asked if he wanted me to buy the pattern and make that quilt.  "Yes" was the response. 

The pattern was "Fractions" by Kari of MoutainPeek Creations.  It looked simple enough.  It was, but blocks had to be assembled just so and pressed just the right direction.  The assembly became a bit tedious.  So the project got put away for a bit.  Every few weeks, My Guy would ask about "his quilt".  I'd made two quilts for our daughter and one for his mother, but not one for him.  So the "guilts" set in and I finally finished it.

The quilting was done by Lesa Foreman.  I'm not sure it's the most "manly" quilting design, but My Guy has never seemed to notice that detail. 

The quilt was finally finished in June of 2010

It is his quilt, but he shares it with me since it resides on our bed.  I love the deep jewel tones he choose for the theme.  It's one of my favorite quilts. 

Thanks for letting me share one of my quilts.  I'm looking forward to checking out all the other lovely quilts at the Festival, hope you do too. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - May 10th

It's been one of those weeks.  You know the kind where your good intentions and the realities of life collide?   Kiddo had an out of town swim meet this weekend, so we weren't home.  Add in that it was Mother's Day and we spent the time she wasn't swimming visiting with family, I just never had the chance to pull out the hand work that made the trip with me.   I managed at least 15 minutes on 4 out of the last 7 days.  So not a complete wash, but not my best effort either.  

 School is winding down, just 2 more weeks.  So we should be done with a lot of the week night stuff for the summer.  That will translate into more time in the evenings to blog and sew (unfortunately yard work will probably have to fit in there too). 

I did finally make up with a button for the 15 Minute Challenge  and a code box.  If you haven't noticed it, it's at the top of the left of the page.

I've heard from a few folks that this last week was as bad for them as it was for me.  Well, I guess they can't all be good.  Here's Mr. Linky, write up the good, the bad, the ugly and link up. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Design Wall Monday - May 9th

It was a whrilwind weekend it seems.  No sewing unfortunately.  Kiddo had an out of town swim meet and it's just too cramped in the bleachers to do hand work.  We did have dinner with my Mom on Saturday, so that was nice.  Hope your Mother's Day was wonderful, mine was very nice.   

Not much up on the main design wall.  The back for the Castle quilt has been started.  Hopefully that will get done this week now that I've worked out how to deal with being short of the backing fabric. The ongoing leader and enders project, the Purple and Yellow quilt, is growing.  It's up on the second design wall. 

The picture shows rows 4 through 7.  I took rows 1 through 3 down so I could fit up more blocks. The original pattern calls for 9 rows, so I'm almost there.

What's up on your design wall?  Check out Patchwork Times to see what's up elsewhere.   

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Stash Report - May 8th

Happy Mother's Day!  I hope everyone had a good day today.  I spent my morning being a good swim mom and watching Kiddo's meet.  But my reward was  lunch at PF Chang with my sister.  So it was a lovely day.  

It's a bit late to be posting the stash report, especially since I don't really have much to report. 

Used this week:  0.26 yards
Added this week:  0 yards

Used year to date: 20.2
Added year to date:  16 yards

Net used for 2011: 4.2 yards

Fabric Budget 13 yards for April to June
Bought/Budget:  9/13 yards

Most of what was used is for the back to the Castle quilt.  I didn't get as far as I would have liked last week.  There wasn't enough fabric to make the back, so plan B had to be worked out. 

You've probably already been to Judy's multiple times.  But if not here's the link to get back to Patchwork Times, the home of the weekly stash report. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - May 6th

It's finally Friday in my corner of the world.  On the one hand I'm ready for a weekend.  On the other, I didn't get near done what I wanted to at work.  So some weeks Friday is a good news/bad news deal.  But I think the good news part of it usually wins out.

Since it is Friday, it's time for Favorite Things Friday over at Quilting in my Pyjamas.  As a child, I loved getting brand new boxes of Crayola crayons, the more crayons in the box the better. A box of 96 was a lot more exciting then a box of 24.  What might you create with colors like aquamarine, apricot, thistle, sea green, robin's egg blue?  If you check out Wikipedia, they have a list of all the current Crayola Crayons (133 of them).   

Fabric has become my new box of crayons.  I love looking at the colors and thinking about what I might make, which ones would work together.  But after last year's major stash acquisition program, this year I'm on a fabric diet.  But there are other ways to play with color. 

It's a good thing digital photography came along.

That's it for FTF.  Hope that all the moms (and mums) have a great Mother's Day this weekend!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - May 3rd

I did really well this last week.   

I managed at least 15 minutes every day this last week, mainly on the Castle quilt.  The top is pieced and I made the story panel for the back last night.  Hopefully I'll finish piecing the back tonight and it can go to Trudy for quilting. 

How did you do this week?  Here's Mr Linky.  Write your tale of success or woe and link up. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Design Wall Monday - May 2nd

Weekends are always too short.  It's hard to get the "have to do" done so you have time for the "want to do".  I did find some time to sew this weekend between housework and stuff I had to do for the day job.  I eked out enough time to finish piecing the Castle quilt. 

I ended up redoing the borders.  I didn't have corner stones in the first version and it just didn't look right.  So I did some unsewing and added the green squares.  This quilt is for a friends daughter who is starting chemotherapy today.  I'm hoping to get the back done tonight so it can off to Trudy for quilting. 

That's all that's up on my design wall.  Check out Patchwork Times to see what's up on other design walls. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Stash Report - May 1st

Wow, it's already the 1st of May!  I'm ready for the warmer weather (remind me I said that when we get to the scorching temperatures of August). 

The week was spent sewing the Castle quilt's blocks and rows together.  Most of that yardage was counted last week.  I did get the borders put on last night, so that could be counted in today's report.   Here's the stash numbers:

Used this week:  1.35 yards
Added this week: 0 yards

Used year to date:  19.94 yards
Added year to date: 16 yards

Net Used for 2011:  3.94 yards

Fabric Budget 13 yards for April to June
Bought/Budget:  9/13 yards

I'm slowly recovering from April's fabric purchase.  My goal for this year is to use more than I buy, so I'm on track there. 

How are you doing on your stash management?  Check out Patchwork Times for more stash reporting.