Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012 New FO Challenge - January

Barbara over at Cat Patches found herself UFOless at the beginning of 2012 and decided to create at least 12 more (one per month) so she could enjoy all the UFO challenges in 2013.  Hence the 2012 New FO Challenge.  I wasn't as brave as Barbara, my New FO plan only includes 4 new quilts in 2012. 

The Mystery Quilt published in the Dec/Jan edition of McCall's Quilting Magazine caught my eye and I decided to make that my first new project for 2012.  I had fun picking out fabrics from my stash and starting on the first clue.  

I picked the yellow floral fabric as my theme fabric and pulled the other 3 to go with it.  I've finished the first clue and am about half way finished with clue #2.

So far, no instructions for fabrics A and D.  I'm curious to see how this quilt is going to come together, but I have to wait till March for the next (last) clue! 

Check out all the New FO projects over at Cat Patches

15 Minute Challenge - January 31st

My Guy and I were off yesterday.  Most of the day was spent on sewing, with a few loads of laundry here and there thrown in.  So it was a nice day.  Today it's back to work.  Today is also Tuesday so it's time to look back and see how well you did at finding time to quilt or do some other art/craft activity over the last 7 days.  I didn't have a bad week, considering we had an away swim meet over the weekend.

I need to figure out how to fit in some hand piecing at the meets. It's hard on Saturdays because the stands are usually pretty crowded.  Even so, I managed to find at least 15 minutes to sew 5 out of the last 7 days.  I guess technically last Tuesday wasn't sewing, but I did drive to Tulsa to take a quilting class. Since it will help me with finishing up quilts, I'm counting it. 

I mentioned a give away for the end of February in my last post.  I'm still refining the details of that.  I hope to have all the logistics worked out by next week's post. I don't mean to be a tease, but what I had wanted to do isn't easily managed, so I need to rethink a few things.   

So how did you do last week on finding time to exercise your creativity muscles?  Write a post and link up. 

1. Amanda
2. libbyQ
3. Pat
4. Pat
5. Darla
6. Shay
7. Kate
8. PJ off Avondale Rd.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Design Wall Monday - January 30th

January is almost over.  For some reason this month out of all the others seems to move the slowest.  I noticed that last year.  It just seemed like January drifted by, while the other 11 months just flew.  Maybe it's just me. 

Today is the last Design Wall of January.  It hasn't been a bad month, there are 3 projects up on the two design walls.  The Fat Quarter Stars Quilt along hasn't changed from last  week, so I'm not posting a picture of it.  I spent a lot of time cutting out the new lighter backgrounds for the Scrappy Stars quilt (UFO #5) and not as much time sewing on it, but I did finish one block. 

The March/April issue of McCall's Quilting Magazine showed up this week with clue #2 for the Mystery quilt. Most of clue #2 is cutting the fabric, but I did get the yellow bricks cut and added to the half hourglass blocks. 

Next I have to add the bricks to the hourglass blocks.  I'll start on that today. 

So nothing terribly exciting on the design wall this week, just bits and pieces of progress.  What's up on your design wall?  I'm going to check out what everyone has been up too over at Judy's Patchwork Times.  But first I'm going to get my second cup of coffee so I can just hang out there a while. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Stash Report - January 29th

Not much sewing going on this weekend, but that's typical for swim meet weekends.  I did manage to get into the sewing room most evenings this last week.  I've been working on the McCall's Quilting Magazine Mystery quilt and that has used a bit of fabric. 

Used last week: 1.42 yards
Added last week:  0 yards

Used for 2012:  3.02 yards
Added for 2012: 22.5 yards

Net stashed for 2012:  19.48 yards

On the down side, I'm still in the red.  But on the up side, I've used more fabric than I did in January 2011, plus the net stashed has dropped below 20 yards.  So more good than bad going on with the report. 

Check out Patchwork Times to see how the rest of the world is doing with stash management. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Foto Finish - White

It's another swim meet weekend, so not much time to write a post this morning.  Warm up starts at 7:30 and Drama Teen has to report to her coach 15 minutes before the team is scheduled to be in the water.  Add in time to shower, eat, get DT up, and I really do need to get moving into today's topic. 

Barbara over at Cat Patches has proposed "white" as today's topic for Foto Finish.  My first thought was maybe to go for a snow shot.  We've not had much white stuff this year, but about this time last year, we had plenty.    

It's now late afternoon and I'm just now getting back to this post.  The fire alarms went off in the hotel at about 6 AM.  Evacuation was required.  We got DT up,  grabbed what we could carry and left.  They couldn't find the source of the alarm so we couldn't go back in.  The only option seemed to be proceed to DT's swim meet.    Ten hours later we are back and since the hotel seems undamaged I would assume it must have been a false alarm. 

So what did I plan to post for Foto Finish?  A white ...

... rose.  Roses are such beautiful flowers and they are so photogenic.  Never found one yet that looked "bad" in a photo. 

Check out Cat Patches for more Foto Finishes

Friday, January 27, 2012

Favorite Thing Friday - January 27th

Happy Friday!  I've only got 4 hours in the office this morning and then I'm off until Tuesday.  It's a swim meet weekend, so we'll be busy the better part of Saturday and Sunday, but at least My Guy and I will be off on Monday.  My plan is to spend most of that day in my sewing room.  We'll see how that works. 

Days off are definitely a favorite thing, but I actually had another favorite I wanted to share.   My poor workhorse FujiFilm Finepix Z point  and shoot camera is dying.  Once the subject of a another FTF post, the little thing has been used so much that the slider off/on switch doesn't always turn the camera on.  Several black mail candid photographs of Drama Teen have been missed recently.  My Guy was becoming very concerned with my reputation (cursing under your breath at school functions is rather frowned upon at DT's school);  so for Christmas this year he gifted me with a new point and shoot. 

It's a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V.  It takes 16.2 mega pixel pictures, has one of the best optical zooms available plus all kind of cool functions. 

I've been so happy with it that the DSLR hasn't been out of the camera bag much since Christmas.  In fact, it hadn't seen the light of day until I pulled it out and set it up to take the pictures for this post.  This Sony now resides in my purse so I have a camera with me where ever I go, because you never know when you'll see that "perfect for a post" photograph.  I just need to work on stopping to take said photo rather than just driving on by.  

Have a wonderful weekend.  Brighten up your Friday by checking out all the other favorite things posted over at Quilting in My Pyjamas

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

15 Minute Challenge - January 24th

Life was calmer at Life in Pieces last week, so more sewing happened.  It was a really good week.

Sewing happened 7 out of the last 7 days.  Usually for at least 30 minutes.  Yesterday's design wall post shows all the progress.  I'm caught up on both the FQS quilt along and the McCall's Quilting Mystery Quilt, and made some progress on UFO #5.  I've already used more fabric this month than I did all of January last year.  So even though sewing for at least 15 minutes each night hasn't always happened, it's happened enough to result in good progress on all this year's goals. 

Turning off the computer by 8:30 each evening has helped me get up the stairs to the sewing room most nights.  I'm working to make that a habit (along with exercising and eating right).  Did you know it can take someone 18 to 254 days to form a habit, with the average for most people being about 66 days (based on the results of one scientific study found here).  You can miss one day and not affect your success, miss more and it's harder.  If you can stick with your plan to sew/craft 15 minutes per day till the end of February, that's 60 days.  Check back next week, there will be details about a give away at the end of February that might motivate you to stick to your plan to find your "creative" time each day.  

So how did you do this week?  Write up how you did or didn't do for the last 7 days at finding time in your day to exercise the creative part of your brain. 

1. Liz
2. libbyQ
3. Pat
4. Marti
5. Thea
6. PJ - off Avondale Rd
7. Kate
8. Kari @ The Purple Quiltapotamus

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Design Wall Monday - January 23rd

It was a productive weekend in the sewing room for a change.  A little laundry and housework was worked in as well.  Drama Teen was allowed to sleep in till 10 AM, which had been her most fervent wish for the weekend.  My Guy got in a bike ride in spite of the strong winds.  So overall a very relaxing weekend here at Life in Pieces. 

So what's up on the design wall?  Blocks 8 and 9 of Moose on the Porch's Fat Quarter Stars have been completed and are up on the big design wall.

I'm enjoying playing with the red, white and black palette.  Just 3 more blocks and it will be time to figure out how to set this one together.  

Progress was also made on UFO #5, the Scrappy Stars quilt. 

After mocking this one up in EQ, several of the original patterned backgrounds have been removed and replaced with lighter tone on tone tans and beiges.   I may need to pull one or two other lighter neutrals to go with the lightest neutral.  It looks a little out of place all by itself and the EQ mock up clearly showed that lighter backgrounds make the quilt look less busy. 

The McCall's Quilting Mystery Quilt was started during Friday Night Sew In.  Last night I finished up all the blocks from clue #1. 

Now I have to wait for the March/April issue of McCall's Quilting  to do anymore on this project.  And since I'm caught up with the Fat Quarter Stars blocks, that leaves UFO #5 as the only ongoing project for the rest of January that I can make additional progress with. 

That's it for my design wall.  If you haven't yet, check out the other design walls over at Patchwork Times

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stash Report - January 22nd

It's been a nice weekend here at Life in Pieces.  Other than church and a pizza run last night, I've not been out of the house.  The sewing room saw some action yesterday, so the stash report shows a bit going out. 

Used last week: 1.32 yards
Added last week:  0 yards

Used for 2012: 1.6 yards
Added for 2012:  22.5 yards

Net stashed for 2012:  20.9 yards

Still way in the red, but the goal this year isn't stash reduction.  This year the goal is to balance the stash, add in the blenders and mixers so that it's easier to shop the stash and come up with fabrics for a complete quilt.  The other half of the stash management strategy is to use more fabric.  I've already used more fabric than last January.  So not too bad for the third report of 2012. 

Jump over to Patchwork Times for more tales of the stash. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

FNSI Progress

Handmade by Heidi

Friday Night Sew In was actually possible at my house this week, so I took the opportunity to participate. I'm caught up on the Fat Quarter Stars Quilt along and the fabrics for UFO#5 are cut, ready to be assembled as a leaders and enders project.  Fabrics had been selected for the McCall's Mystery quilt, but they needed to be pressed and cut in order to start working on the first clue. 

All the squares for Clue #1 were cut.

Then I was ready to start piecing.

I finished the first 10 of  40 hourglass blocks called for in the first clue.  Not a bad start considering I didn't get to the sewing machine until almost 8 PM.

Check out Crafty Vegas Mom to see how everyone else did this weekend. 

Foto Finish - Where I Live

The "no place to go weekend" has been wonderful so far.  We all slept in a bit this morning.  So my Foto Finish post is a bit later than normal.  The very talented sponsor of Foto Finish, Barbara over at Cat Patches, has graciously decided to reintroduce the weekly themes for those of us who can't pick out a photo to post without some guidance.  But the themes are optional.  Works for me.  Thank you Barbara. 

This week's optional theme is "Where I Live".  In searching through my images, I cam across this one from a few years ago.

This is the empty field at the end of our street.  Our neighborhood is on the very edge of town.  Past this point it is all prairie and farms.  Oklahoma is for the most part flat and doesn't have the most beautiful landscape in terms of hills, trees, and forests.  But the prairie does show off the endless sky to great advantage.   I like the dark background created by the clouds and the gold tones of the field and tree. The sun provides the most beautiful golden light on many late winter afternoons.  I just have to convince myself to bundle up and deal with the bitterly cold winds that usually come with winter so I can go take photographs.  I usually end up staying home in my cozy, heated sewing room. 

Check out all the other Foto Finishes over at Cat Patches

Friday, January 20, 2012

Favorite Things Friday - January 20th

Wow, it's Friday again.  This week was much calmer than last week.  A lot of that may have to do with the fact that I spent the better part of two days this week in bed sick.  But even without that, the week was slower on a lot of different fronts. 

Since it's Friday, it's time to link up with Shay over at Quilting in my Pyjamas for Favorite Thing Friday.   I didn't have to think too hard about what my favorite thing is this week.  

It's the days in the circled in red.  There's nothing on the calender for that Friday, Saturday and the Sunday that didn't get included, but is also blank.  So this weekend, I have no place I have to be.  No coolers to fill, no swim bags to pack, no getting Drama Teen up and moving at 6:00 AM.  I'll be able to drink my first cup of coffee in the recliner.  Maybe I'll actually get a chance to read a few blog posts and sew a bit.  My kind of weekend!  

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

An Opportunity to Play-the Friday Night Sew In

Thanks for all the get well wishes.  I'm feeling much better, so it's back to work for me today.  I've been so fuzzy brained this week with whatever it was that was making me feel miserable, that I was completely out of touch with what the rest of the Life in Pieces crew had scheduled this week.  But last night it became clear that Friday night I'm on my own for most of the evening.  Drama Teen has a church youth group thing and My Guy will be out of town.  So I'll be home, with no distractions for several hours.  So I'll be playing along with Crafty Vegas Mom during the Friday Night Sew In. 

Handmade by Heidi

I'm caught up on the Fat Quarter Stars Quilt Along, have fabric cut ready to piece UFO #5 as a leaders and enders project.  What I haven't made progress on this month is the McCall's Mystery Quilt. 

The fabric for that project has been just setting on the self.  So I'll get it pressed, cut and hopefully get to the sewing stage before the evening is out.  If you can play along, the sign up this month is over at Crafty Vegas Mom's blog. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

15 Minute Challenge - January 17th

What a difference a week makes.  I did really well last week finding 15 minutes to sew most nights, but not this week. 

Only 3 nights out of 7 saw any activity in my sewing room.  Tuesday and Wednesday night were taken up with helping Drama Teen get her science fair project ready.  Thursday night was busy with science fair parent night and stuff for the swim meet.  Friday we all volunteered at the swim meet.  It was so late when we got home from dinner we all went straight to bed. I did find some time over the weekend and last night to finish up block 7 for the FQS quilt along and get block 8 almost cut out.  Some nights I'm just not going to be able to find those 15 minutes due to other commitments.  Unfortunately last week had 3 of those nights.  How do you manage to find your "me time" on nights where you have other commitments? 

This week should be much calmer.  Especially since I seem to have come down with a nasty cold and plan to head back to bed once I'm done with this post. 

So how did you do with finding time to sew, knit, embroider, scrapbook, or other art/craft fetish over the last 7 days?  Please share your success or set backs by linking up below. 

1. Pat
2. Liz
3. libbyQ
4. Amanda, Seabreeze Quilts
5. Shay
6. Jay
7. Michelle
8. Thea
9. Kate
10. PJ - off Avondale Rd

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Design Wall Monday - January 16th

It's Monday already?  Last week was really busy, hopefully things will slow down some this week.  The volleyball tournament was over in the early afternoon yesterday, so there was time for some laundry and some sewing. 

So what's up on the design wall?  Block 7 from the Fat Quarter Stars Quilt along

It's not perfect, but it's done!  I'm not a big fan of sewing with templates.  Thankfully the directions were pretty clear and the block went together pretty smoothly.  I had hoped to get to block 8 but that didn't happen.  All that's up on the design wall is the first 7 FQS blocks. 

The red, black and white color scheme is one I've never worked with before.  It certainly makes for bold blocks. 

That's if for my design wall.  I'm hoping to make some progress on both the Scrappy Stars and the McCall's Mystery quilt this week, in addition to completing blocks 8 and 9 of the FQS.  Probably won't get to all of that this week, but it should be a more productive week than last week was. 

Have a great week.  Check out Patchwork Times for more inspiration. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Stash Report - January 15th

Not much playing with fabric this week at Life in Pieces.  Though I did get into the sewing room long enough to finish cutting out block 6 for the Fat Quarter Stars Quilt Along.  Maybe I'll actually get that block sewn together tonight.  That would be nice as block 9 comes out on Tuesday. 

The stash report for 2012 is starting off in the wrong direction.  We had some time after the volleyball tournament to stop by one of the quilt shops yesterday so I could pick up some lighter neutrals for the Scrappy Stars UFO.  Several suggested last week that I try lighter backgrounds to reduce the business of the quilt and that worked really well (Thanks, Liz, Trudy, Kate and Melanie).  Unfortunately,  There are almost no neutrals in my stash, so I bought extra so there will be some to put back into the stash when the project is over.  So the stash report took another hit. 

Used last week:  0 yards
Added last week:  12 yards

Used for 2012:  0.28 yards
Added for 2012:  22.5 yards

Net stashed for 2012:  22.22 yards

Here's what came home yesterday.

Not a great start to the new year, but I had decided that this year wasn't going to be about stash reduction, but about adding the fabrics I needed to finish projects. 

It's time to go wake up Drama Teen for day two of the volleyball tournament.  Check out what's going on with stash management this week by jumping over to Patchwork Times

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Foto Finish - Reading

It's volleyball tournament weekend and I have just a few minutes before I need to head to the kitchen to make sandwiches and cut strawberries for lunch.  I've not been on the computer much, just long enough to write a few posts, but there's not been much time to read posts.  I miss seeing what everyone is up to.  Hopefully I can fix that tomorrow afternoon, when things should slow down a bit. 

Today is Foto Finish over at Cat Patches.  I've been struggling a bit to decide on photos to post.  So I was looking for a way to come up with my own themes each week.  I checked out the word of the day over at Dictionary.com.  Sorry, but coming up with an image for "desinence" was beyond my capabilities.  But I checked out the quote of the day and found inspiration from that. 

"Go three days without reading and your speech will become tasteless."  Chinese proverb. 

There was one rainy day during last summer's vacation where we hung out at the local coffee shop, drank coffee, read, and played around with the cameras.  I borrowed My Guy's Lens Baby and was just playing around to see what kind of images it made and this was one of the shots that resulted. 

Kitchen duty calls, so it's time to go.  Check out all the other great Foto Finishes over at Cat Patches.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Favorite Thing Friday - January 13th

TGIF squared!  Not that things will slow down any this weekend, but I have high hopes that next week will be much slower paced.  However between now and then, there is a swim meet tonight and a volleyball tournament the rest of the weekend. 

One activity has been checked off the list this week, Drama Teen's school science fair was yesterday.  Thankfully DT has a science teacher that actually requires that parts of the project be turned in at regular intervals well in advance of the fair, which means that the periods of frantic and panicked work are well spaced throughout the first and second second semester.  By Christmas all the work, except for putting the board together was done.  However, no matter how much I nagged, DT wouldn't just get that part done. Finally, last Sunday, she finally consented to at least start getting the information into the right format ready to print out.  Tuesday night, she fixed all the errors on her report and slides for the poster and printed all that out.  But decided to wait on printing out the photos-all two of them. 

Wednesday night was crunch time.  All her evidence cards had to be organized,  pictures printed, and everything glued down to the poster.  All was well until she went to print the pictures at about 9 PM, the color printer finally choose to give up the ghost.  After one scene in which DT showed that I'd chosen her "teen" name appropriately, she realized that it was black and white photos or nothing.  Poster done and we were in bed by 11.  (One mother confided last night that they were up with their daughter until 3 AM). 

Was it worth it?

See the big smile on DT's face?  She finished 1st in the chemistry division for her grade.  

So what's my favorite thing this week?  It's that my kitchen table no longer holds 6 lasagna pans with soaking and drying knives.  It's that there is no more running back to school to pick up the science notebook the night before an assignment is due.  It's that there are no more 5:30  PM on Sunday runs to Staples for whatever because that part has to be done before Monday morning.  It's that my job as copy editor and printer operator is over for one more year.  The biggest favorite is seeing the big smile on DT's face when she realized that all the work had paid off and she'd won a blue ribbon.

Have a wonderful weekend.  Hook up with Shay over at Quilting in my Pyjamas for more favorite things. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

15 Minute Challenge - January 10th

How are your quilty resolutions going this second week of January?  I've made good progress on all but the stash management and even there I'm not doing too bad.  But I made the mistake of looking at Hancock Fabric's new catalog on line last night.  Oooh, there are lots of pretty, pretty fabrics for spring.  I may be in big trouble on that front.

I've done pretty well with finding a few minutes each day to sew, ending the week with 6 out of 7 days with at least 15 minutes spent on quilt related projects. 

No sewing on Friday as we celebrated Drama Teen's birthday in Tulsa.  I was just too tired when we got home and ended up going straight to bed.  Still not a bad week.  I've been making myself turn off the computer no later than 8:30 PM and head upstairs to the sewing room.  So that's been working for me. 

I've been starting up new projects and fine tuning older ones.  One big time soak has been my stash organization or maybe I should say lack there of.  I finally got most of the stash out of plastic bins where I can see it, but most if it's not folded to to fit on the shelves and it's not sorted by color.  Trying to see if  the stash has something that will work in a project has been an exercise in frustration.  It would take significant time to stop and do nothing but organize, but maybe that's what I should do.  Of course, there's not much time to do that either.   Since January is the month of new beginnings, maybe it's time to challenge myself to spend a couple of nights a week folding and sorting the stash closet.  That will take me away from sewing, but I think I'd benefit from not spending hours looking to see what I really have in any given color.  I'm going to try that this week, see how it works. 

Now it's your turn.  Write a post about what you did last week on the crafty front and include anything that's keeping you from making the most of your craft time.  Use Mr. Linky to share it here. 

1. Liz
2. Thea
3. Pat
4. Shay
5. Darla
6. Kate
7. Amanda
8. Jay

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Design Wall Monday - January 9th

Not much up on the design wall this week, as most of my time went towards figuring out what to do with UFO #5.  I posted yesterday that I realized the originally selected patterned background fabric wasn't going to work.  I bought new fabric to replace those, but still didn't like how it was working out.  Thanks to all who suggested using more of the lighter background fabric, that made a huge difference. 

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of light neutrals in my stash, so it's back to the quilt shop.   This pattern is derived from Folk Art Christmas Stars by Robyn Pandolph for Moda Fabrics.  The pattern I'm working from was adapted by Vicki McGowan, who taught the class where this quilt was started. 

The only other sewing room activity that occurred this week was prepping the templates and cutting out the pieces for block 7 of the Moose on the Porch Fat Quarter Stars Quilt Along.

The background pieces still need to be cut out.  I really hate working with templates, which is why this block is still not done.  Hopefully by next week both block 7 and 8 will be up on the design wall with the previous blocks.  

That's it for my design wall this week.  For more design walls, check out Patchwork Times

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Stash Report - January 8th

How did your first week of 2012 go?   I can't say that ours was laid back, everyone is back to work, school, and practice.  It's actually good.  Vacation is fun and relaxing, but having a known schedule tends to focus me on what I need/want to get done each day. 

Some sewing happened this week, but not much.  Here's this week's stash report.

Used last week:  0.28 yards
Added last week:  10.5 yards

Used for 2012: 0.28 yards
Added for 2012: 10.5 yards

Net stashed for 2012:  10.22 yards

If you want to know why behind the addition of the 10 plus yards, read on.  But be warned that it's a long, sad tale of woe that is still hoping for a happy ending. 

Most of the sewing room time this week was spent wrestling with the Scrappy Stars UFO.  This is the oldest UFO on the list and was started when I was still pretty much a newbie to quilting.  The first shock when I opened the box was that the pattern had no picture of the quilt.  I've slept quite a bit in the last 9 years, but I do have a fuzzy memory of the instructor's demo quilt.  Or is it my fabric placement plan that I'm seeing in my head?  Either way, I decided to scan the fabrics into the computer and do a mock up of the quilt in EQ.  Oh boy, what a mess!   

Three of the original background fabrics for the stars are prints, with a lot of red in them.  They look fine with the fabric used in the stars, but make for a very busy quilt.  Bottom line they aren't good backgrounds, that red just pops off the quilt in inappropriate places.  So the first order of business was to replace those patterned backgrounds with tone on tone neutrals.  So yesterday these came home:  

Plus a few more florals to use in the stars since I wanted to make this a queen sized quilt. 

After plugging all of the new fabrics into the EQ draft, 2 of the new neutrals and the roses with the beige background were dropped from the layout.  The last result looks like this:

Which is infinitely better than the original mock up.  I may drop out the lightest background fabric and see how that looks.  The layout isn't exactly balanced and you have to be careful because the fabric swatches in EQ don't always translate well (since you scan such a limited repeat).  But this looks promising enough that I'm going to proceed with making the stars. I played a little with other blocks to alternate with the star blocks which would add in more neutral space and reduce the large blocks of print. That approach will lessen the business a bit.  Any other suggestions? 

That's it for my stash report.  Not exactly the direction I wanted to go at the beginning of the year, but I do want to finish up this UFO into a nice quilt as it's intended to be my Mom's when it's finished.  To check out how other stashes fared this first week in 2012, check out Patchwork Times

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Foto Finish - January 7th

The first week of 2012 is almost past.  It was back to work for me this week, back to school for the Drama Teen (the new alias for Kiddo).  Life is settling into it's familiar pattern of work deadlines and priority shifts on projects for me.  Swim practice, volleyball practice and looming on the horizon the dreaded science fair poster due Thursday for poor D.T. 

This morning, I'm  sitting in the recliner contemplating what to post for Foto Finish and reflecting very positively on D.T.'s move into the teen ranks.  We're off to a swim meet today, but D.T. has now aged up into the senior ranks. Warm ups aren't until 12 noon.  No running around in the wee hours to get bags packed, snacks made, get it all into the car and on the road at 0 dark thirty.   I actually have time to contemplate and browse images at my leisure.  Which I've done and came up with this one from the fall.

On one of our "free" weekends last September, we decided to make the trek to Tulsa and spend the day at the Philbrook Museum.  In addition to an exceptional art collection, the grounds are beautiful.  That time of year the Monarch's are plentiful as they migrate south to their winter homes.  I didn't have the DSLR with me that day, so this shot comes from the point and shoot.  It does pretty well for a little camera.  It was windy that day, but thankfully the butterflies weren't all the skittish, so you could get up close and wait for a break in the wind. 

That's it for me this week.  Grap your next cup of coffee and check out all the other Foto Finishes over at Cat Patches.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Favorite Things Friday - 1st Edition 2012

It's been awhile since I joined Mrs. P over at Quilting in My Pyjamas for Favorite Things Friday.  Sadly, the last couple of months in 2011 were scheduling nightmares, and favorite things got lost in all the shuffling.  But 2012 is a new year and I've been stockpiling favorite things (actually pictures of the favorite things) over the holiday.  So I'm good to go for a few Fridays anyway. 

My family was very good to me over the holidays and gave me lots of new favorite things.  One of the most special were two gifts from my sister. 

I know this looks like a frame with buttons and it is that.  But the buttons are very special.  They come from my Grandmother's button stash.  This extensive collection, as my sister tells it anyway,  made it's way into the trunk of her car via a well meaning uncle (meaning she didn't find the stash until she got home).  I learned embroidery from my Grandmother, who also quilted and sewed gorgeous clothing.  I had forgotten all the jackets/blazers Grandma made until I opened this part of my gift. 

All those shiny, coppery buttons just right for that fire engine red (Grandma's favorite color) jacket she wore over the white blouse, with the black skirt for Sunday services. 

For now both decorate the bookcase in my sewing room where I can see them from the machine.  Thanks Sis!   

(By the way, the well meaning uncle got an ornament too, along with a note  "Bet you thought you'd never see these again."  I have a very cool sister by the way, but that's probably another post entirely.)

Check out more favorite things over at Quilting in my Pyjamas.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

15 Minute Challenge - Welcome to 2012

It's back to work for me today.  The first week of vacation was really rushed with all the holiday preparations.  The second week was much more relaxed with lots of time for sewing.  So I did really well this week in finding time to sew. 

I did more than just 15 minutes each day, but that's going to be harder this week with work and Kiddo's practice schedule.  There is a swim meet this next weekend and a volleyball tournament the weekend after.  Thankfully both events are local, so at least there is no out of town travel.  But finding time on the weekends is going to be a challenge for a few weeks.   

If I'm honest, the biggest impediment to getting to my sewing room is the computer.  It's so easy once I get home to just sit in the recliner, read blogs and answer email.  Then I convince myself I'm too tired to sew and spend more time on the computer.  So the computer is going off at 8 PM leaving me at least an hour to sew each night.   

So what keeps you out of the sewing room?   Link up and share your thoughts on that, as well as how much crafting time you were able to carve out for yourself over the last week. 

1. Pat
2. Marti
3. Thea
4. Ramblings of an Empty Mind (linky)
5. Kate
6. Liz
7. landscapelady

Powered by... Mister Linky's Magical Widgets.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 - Life in Pieces Final Report

I've been tying up loose ends for 2011, cleaning up the sewing room, putting up left over yardage and cutting up scraps in addition to getting started on 2012 projects.  In the same spirit, I've been cleaning up the blog, updating pages and other blog house keeping chores.  I was getting ready to update the Goals tab for 2012 and realized I hadn't really taken stock of how well I did on meeting the 2011 goals.  So here goes:

1.  Finish 4 UFOs - 50% (finished 2)

2.  Start 4 new quilts - 100% (started 4)

3.  Catalog Pigs, Finish One, Start Another - 100%

4.  Stash Management - 29%
          Use 2 stash fabrics in each quilt - 86%
          New fabric budget of 40 yards - 0%
          Use more fabric than I buy - 0%

Finished Quilts - 7

Works in Progress - 5

Not a bad year.  I did really well on getting quilts started and so-so on finishing UFOs.  In terms of stash reduction, at first glance I didn't do really well.   I did use at least one stash fabric in each project I finished, so a good job there. But even though I bought more than I used, I did much better on keeping the stash enhancement reasonable.  If you compare 2011 to 2010, I did really well. In 2010 I enhanced the stash by over 300 yards, in 2011 the enhancement dropped to just under 50 yards.  I am proud of that achievement, even though I didn't meet my original goals. 

More starts, more UFO finishes coupled with selective buying for finishes and a budget for "must have fabric" is the core of my 2012 goals.  I'm looking forward to a fun year.  Hope you are too. 

Design Wall Monday - January 2nd

New Year's Day was quiet around here.  Most of the day was spent in my PJ's in the sewing room.  It took a bit to get going, after all madness of the holidays and finishing up three projects, it seemed strange to be moving on. 

So what's up on the design wall after the one day "sew in"?   Block 6 of Moose on the Porch Fat Quarter Stars Quilt along was finished. 

Block 8 comes out soon, so block 7 needs to be stitched today or I'll be behind again. 

The first NewFO project is the McCall's Quilting Mystery quilt.  Part one was in the Jan/Feb issue of the magazine.   After much auditioning of fabric, here's the palette for that quilt.

All 4 pieces came from the stash.  I've had the yellow with the tea cups and strawberries on it for a while.  It's actually a bit brighter than shows in the photo.  Hopefully the blocks for part 1 will be up on the design wall next week. 

I also pulled out the box that contains UFO #5 for Judy's 2012 UFO challenge.  Scrappy Stars dates from 2003.  I don't think I've touched it since then.  So it took me a while to reread the pattern, sort through the fabrics and decide what direction I was going in.  No pictures this week, but hopefully this one will also be up on the design wall next week.  I'm going to try to piece it as a leaders and enders project while I'm working on the stars and mystery blocks. 

That's it for my design wall.  I'm going to grab a second cup of coffee and check out what's on yours over at Patchwork Times

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Stash Report - End of 2011

Happy New Year!  We made it till the ball dropped, then all three of us sleep walked through our bed time rituals and were pretty much asleep by 12:30 AM. 

I spent much of the evening in my sewing room. It was supposed to have been most of the afternoon as well, but a sudden headache put an end to that.  I didn't get much sewing done, but I took some time to put up fabric from some completed projects, deal with the scraps, etc.  Now I'm ready to start some new projects as well as work on my four remaining UFOs. 

Judy has her stash report labeled as Week #1, but I'd rather keep my tally by calender year, so this report will cover the last 2 weeks of 2011 (due to holiday travel, I wasn't able to report last week).  So how did I end up for 2011? 

Used last 2 weeks: 7.21 yards
Added last 2 weeks: 34 yards

Used for 2011: 60.79 yards
Added for 2011: 104.12 yards

Net stashed for 2011:  43.33 yards

Not a bad year all in all.  I used just over 60 yards, which is more than I used in 2010.  I bought about a third of what was purchased in 2010 and in the end enhanced the stash by less than 50 yards.  Not bad for a year where stash reduction was the goal.  I'm happy with the stash management of the last year.  Not a reduction as planned, but not a huge increase either. 

I did add 34 yards this last week.  Mainly because as I contemplated my list of new projects for 2012, I realized I had some holes in my stash.  I'm really short on large cuts of tone on tones to use with all the gorgeous focus fabrics I tend to buy.  So I used the sales going on the week after Christmas to fill that gap. 

Pretty purples.  Which may get used to finish the purple and yellow scrap quilt or may get used with the scraps from that project. 

Sale tone on tones to help fill the gaps in my stash.  These were all on sale.

Added to the Christmas fabric stash too.  Hard to resist 50% off. 

This last year was about stash reduction and limiting purchases.  For 2012, the focus will be on using fabric, completing projects rather than limiting purchases.  Though I've set a target of no more than 100 yards of "just because I like it fabric".   Fabric needed to complete UFOs, WIPs or quilts on my 2012 project list will not be counted in that 100 yards.  We'll see how that approach works for the next year. 

How did you do in 2011?  Did you get a good start on 2012?  Check out Judy's Patchwork times for more stash talk.