Thursday, October 31, 2013

October NewFO - A Puzzleer

Wow, it's the end of October already.  Just two more months left in 2013.  I've already started my Christmas shopping, so I've got a leg up there.  Still have lots of reports due at work, but progress is being made.  

On the quilting front, it's been a pretty good year so far.  I've used more fabric than ever before.  Five quilts were completed and I'm likely to get at least one more completed before the end of the year.  My UFO pile has only grown by 6 quilts, so I'm up to a total of 10 UFOs, but more than half of those were projects started in 2012.  The increase in UFOs wasn't really deliberate, but I realized last year that I don't finish quilts if I don't start them.  That sounds like a "duh" statement.  Let me explain.  Once my UFO total was down to 3 in 2011, I'd only start one project and work on that one start to finish thinking that was the way to finish a lot of quilts.  But in 2012, I finished just 3 quilts.  Down from finishing 7 quilts in each of the previous 2 years when finishing UFOs took priority. What happened?  There was no pipeline of projects.  I've found over the last year that it's actually more efficient if I work on more than one quilt at a time.  Cat Patches' 2012 NewFO challenge was what helped me realize that.  So this year I made it a priority to participate in Barbara's 2013 NewFO challenge.

So for, I'm 10 for 10.  That's one new project for each month in 2013.  (It has absolutely nothing to do with the needle nannies, she's giving away each month).  So what's the new project this month? It's another one off my PIGS list.  Drama Teen had picked out a quilt pattern almost 2 years ago that she wanted for her room.  She wanted it made with batiks and she wanted it to look like a "rainbow".  Over the last two years, she's been picking out batiks for this quilt.  I finally got around to scanning in all the fabrics she's acquired and working up a preliminary lay out in EQ. 

Pattern is Jigsaw by Alyssa Clancy for Lehmann Quilting

Once she blessed this lay out, I starting laying out the fabrics to make sure they worked and played well with each other in real life. From some reason my scanner doesn't work well with purples, I usually have to edit the scans in Photoshop to get the color even close.  Since the each block incorporates pieces of the fabrics from adjacent blocks, you need to be sure of your lay out before you start sewing.  The first pass at a lay out looked much like the EQ mock up. 

The lower left hand corner needed some tweaking because the blues didn't flow right.  Then we decided that the lower right corner needed to be tweaked as well.  That dark burgundy in the corner didn't look right.  Plus DT wasn't trilled with a couple of the red violet fabrics in this layout.  So after a week of playing around with the layout on my cutting table.  This is the final color map for the quilt. 

Not much different than the first map, but the bottom edge fades better and the DT likes the red violet fabrics better in this version. So with this as my map, I've started cutting and piecing the blocks.  Only three done so far.   

Pattern is Jigsaw by Alyssa Clancy for Lehmann Quilting

You have to keep up with all the little "puzzle piece tabs".  Which ones go in which blocks.  I've developed a system of sticky notes and sandwich bags to keep all the block parts together with labels on where the block goes in the layout.  These blocks go together quickly.  It will be fun to see the puzzle pieces fit together as this one progresses.  

That's my NewFO for October.  Check out all the other new stuff going on over at Cat Patches

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

15 Minute Challenge - An Abbreviated Post

Drama Teen has 6 AM swim practice today.  Guess who forgot that she'd have to be out of the house by 5:45 this morning?
Consequently this will be a very brief 15 minute post this morning.
I had a really good week, finding at least 15 minutes to stitch (or in some cases play with a fabric layout) for seven out of the last seven days. 

No breaks for me this week, I've felt really energized about being in the sewing room.  There's not a lot of changes up on the design wall, but I can see the evidence of progress with all the little pieces piling up by the sewing machine.  We've been taking about taking breaks this month as part of the discussion on fostering creativity.  Sometime we need short breaks to energize ourselves when we are lucky enough to get a few hours to spend stitching.  Even during shorter stitching sessions stretching is a good idea to keep one from getting stiff and keep the blood moving.  If we've been stitching a complicated project or have just finished a project that had a deadline, sometimes a longer break is needed.  We go do other things for a day, two, a week or sometimes even a month, until our stitching mojo comes back.

So take a break, write a post about how you are doing finding 15 minutes to stitch.  Or are you on a more extended mojo building break?  

1. Julie in GA

2. Lesley A

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Design Wall Monday - October 28, 2013

We had a nice quiet weekend. No place we had to be, which meant we pretty much just hung out at home.  I did get to spend quite a bit of time in the sewing room, but you couldn't tell if from the design walls.  A lot of what I'm stitching is sub-units of blocks. At some point I'll lots of new stuff to show.   But for now, progress is best judged by what's pinned and waiting by the machine for stitching. There's been good progress on the second set of log cabin blocks for Back to Square One clue 9.  

I had hoped to catch up on Judy's mystery this month, but with just 4 days left in the month, that's not going to happen.  So not a lot of change to the design walls.  I did get the 4th border sewn together and attached to the rest of the quilt earlier this month.   

Back to Square One
by Judy Laquidara (pattern available here)

Back to Square One takes up most of the primary design wall.  There's enough room for a single row of Scrappy Star blocks.  Those are coming along nicely too this month.  Soon, I'll have enough of those to start setting that quilt together.  

So not much going on with my design wall.  Hopefully next week I'll have a few blocks of a new project up on the design wall to liven things up.  I'm linking up with Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.  Hop over to Judy's to see what pretties are gracing other design walls. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Stash Report - Week 43 of 2013

It was a hectic week, but we've had a lazy weekend so far.  Dress clothes shopping was on mine and Drama Teen's schedule yesterday.  She's part of the school newspaper staff and they have a workshop/competition at one of the major universities in the state the first week in November.  Professional attire is required.  Since DT lives in jeans, prefers to wear only  t-shirts, owns only tennis shoes and outgrew the slacks we bought before she went to state science fair last year, a shopping trip was pretty much mandatory. Thankfully we found all she needed at one store.  She has little patience with clothes shopping, one session in the dressing room is all I usually get out of her per expedition.  So I grab and make exchanges on the fly, because if she leaves the dressing room, we're done. 

Not a lot of stitching this week.  What time that was spent in the sewing room was spent refining the fabric selection for Drama Teen's new quilt.  She wants a rainbow of colors that morph into each other for this quilt.  After several refinements, we got something that looked right using just my stash fabrics.  Which is good because my busy fingers pushed a lot of buttons last week.  So what fun packages did I get this week?  Connecting Threads had a fabric sale last week, so I ordered large cuts of three tone on tones because I never seem to have enough large pieces for projects. 

Then Craftsy had a sale last week and Moda's line of Midwinter Reds was on sale.  I'd been eyeing that collection since it came out.  I finally just broke down and ordered it.  

In addition to the fat quarters, I bought some yardage of  red, tan and beige.  I'm not sorry for the purchases.  Stashes need to be refreshed.  I've used more this year than I've used any of the previous three years.  I already have a pattern in mind for the Midwinter Reds, so hopefully, they won't stay in the stash for long.  So whats the damage?  It's not pretty.  

Used last week: 0.19 yards
Added last week:  40.5 yards

Used for 2013:  60.26 yards
Added for 2013:  198.33 yards

Net stashed for 2013: 138.07 yards

So much for my goal to keep the net stashed to under 100 yards.  I'll make some gains on that before the end of the year, but using more then 38 yards in the next two months isn't real likely.  

That's it for my stash report.  For more fab fabric reports, check out Patchwork Times.  

Friday, October 25, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Fall 2013 Edition


The crisp fall days have arrived in this part of the country, which means fall is here and so is the fall version of the Blogger's Quilt festival over at Amy's Creative Side.  

It's so hard to pick just one favorite quilt to show for the festival. After quite a bit of dithering, I finally decided to post my version of Judy Laquidara's Sweet Treats pattern. Judy posted the first picture of the pattern on May 2nd 2012.  I just fell in love with it, but I already had so much going in the sewing room, I told myself starting a new project was just not an option.   (Yeah right, you probably already see where this is going).  I'd been working on getting the stash closet organized.  Every time I pressed and folded a new bit of yardage, I'd put it in the closet and have to move one of the two stacks of the 1930 reproduction fat quarters in the process.  

Contrary to what you might think based on the size of those two stacks, I'm not a big fan of that style of fabric.  These fat quarters are left over from a quilt shop BOM that required everyone to use 1930 reproductions to participate.  Every time I had to move those left overs, I'd think they needed to be moved out of the stash completely.  Hmm, a new project I was dying to start and fabric that needed to be used. What better reason to start a brand new project? 

Sweet Treats
Pattern by Judy Laquidara

Definitely not a traditional quilt using 1930 reproductions, but somehow it works. Trudy quilted lazy daisies across the whole quilt.

When I made the 1930's BOM, I ended up buying yardage of a couple of different blues for the borders, but only used one of the prints.  I had enough of of the border reject to use on the back.  Even better in terms of stash reduction.  

The red binding echoes the middle red border and adds a nice bright frame for the quilt. 

It was a fun quilt to make.  And it did make a significant dent in my 1930 reproduction stash.  There is still probably enough left to make at least one more quilt.  I'm thinking about making a quilt of valor from what's left over.  That will have to wait till next year though.  I really do have to much going on to start anything new now.  

Elements (aka Sweet Treats)
Pattern by Judy Laquidara

This quilt became a retirement gift for Drama Teen's middle school science teacher.  DT spent three years in Mrs. B's class and made two trips to state science fair with her, as well as, a week long school trip to Colorado one summer.   DT just adored her.  DT decided that the boxes looked a bit like a periodic table, so the name was changed from "Sweet Treats" to  "Elements".  Mrs. B. loved the quilt.  

I've never blogged about that original BOM that was the reason for the scraps and left over fat quarters.  If you want to see what that quilt looked like, there is a picture of it posted on my Flickr account (click here).  

That's my scrappy entry for the Fall Blogger's Quilt Festival. Thanks for stopping by Life in Pieces.  Go check out all the entries, though you'll have to pace yourself, there's a bunch.   

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

15 Minute Challenge - Breaking for an Energy Fix

Thank you to all who've left notes expressing sympathy for Drama Teen.  I'm happy to report she is mostly back to her normal teenage self. Apparently it was the pain medication and not the antibiotic that caused the digestive problems.  I knew she was getting back to normal when I got the text at 5 PM yesterday asking when I was coming home, which was quickly followed by a text asking if would I pick up tacos for her on my way home. 

Since I took off a couple of days to be home with DT after the wisdom teeth came out, I did get a lot done.  Not all of it was in the sewing room, but that's good too.  Even spending most of one day on some paperwork, I still managed to spend 6 days out of the last seven working on quilting related projects.

I've been doing a lot of stitching recently, so it was nice to take some time to work on a new project.  Drama Teen and I have just about decided on the fabric layout for her new quilt.  I hope to be able to start cutting out the pieces by the weekend. 

Changing things up in the sewing room occasionally is a good thing.  As much as I'd like to finish up the older projects, it's energizing to be working on a new project, especially one that has an aspect to it I've never tried before.   We've been exploring the idea of taking breaks to enhance your creativity this month.  Even when doing something you really enjoy, you sometimes start to flag a bit. Especially if you discover you have to "unsew" something or you are working on a project that takes a lot of focus and attention.  WebMD had some interesting ideas on how to boost your energy in just 10 minute increments.  Some of their suggestions included:  
  • take a walk in the sunshine
  • have a coffee break
  • stretch (we covered that last week)
  • write in a journal
  • laugh
  • drink some green tea
  • splash cold water on your face
  • listen to music
  • have some chocolate (my personal favorite)
  • organize your sewing space

Did you find time to stitch for 15 minutes most days this week or were you on a break from the sewing room?

1. Lesley A
2. Julie in GA
3. Melanie J.
4. Kate @katiemaequilts

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Design Wall Monday - October 21st Edition

It's back to work today after a 4 day weekend.  Unfortunately it doesn't look like Drama Teen is making it back to school.  She's either come down with a stomach bug or the antibiotics she was given after her were wisdom teeth were extracted are playing havoc with her digestive system.  She didn't get much sleep, so neither did I.  I'm hoping that she's feeling better when she wakes up in a bit. 

I spent quite a bit of time in the sewing room this weekend, but didn't do a lot of stitching.  Drama Teen has been asking for a new quilt for her room.  We found a pattern and I started collecting the fabrics more than a year ago.  DT wants a bright rainbow effect in the quilt, so I've been slowly scanning the fabrics into EQ.  I finished that this weekend and starting playing with fabric placement.  You don't always capture the "true" color of the fabric when you scan it, so once I worked out a preliminary layout, I went to the cutting table and laid out the fabrics.  The EQ layout was a good start, but I've had to move a few fabrics and then substitute in others.  This is where I left it as of Sunday afternoon.

I still have some fiddling to do in the bottom half of the layout.  It doesn't quite go from lightest to darkest, but it's definitely getting close.  Hopefully by next weekend I'll be able to start cutting out the pieces.  The pattern DT picked out requires you to know the fabric placement in the quilt before you cut out the blocks, so I need to get that completely worked out before I can start.  

As far as the design walls, Neutral Gems and Back to Square One haven't changed much from last week, so I didn't see the point of posting those this week. So that's what's going on in my sewing room.  I'm linking up with Judy over at Patchwork Times.  Check out her blog for more design walls.  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Stash Report - Week 42 of 2013

Judy at Patchwork Times so helpfully pointed out that we only have 10 weeks in the year.  That's a bit mind numbing.  Are we really that close to the end of 2013?  We had our first freeze this weekend.  The colder temperatures and the change in light as the sun sets are the biggest indicators that fall is here, as the leaves on the trees are still green for the most part.  But the hay's been baled and the cloudless skies of summer have given way to the pink, purple and blue clouds so typical of autumn here.   

It's so pretty outside that it would be hard to get in stitching time in the evening if it wasn't for the fact it does get dark a lot earlier now.  Last week was pretty productive.  I finished the Economy Blocks for the 4th border on Back to Square One and a few other odds and ends this week.  So happily there is a bit to report as going out.  

 Used last week:  0.69 yards
Added last week: 0 yards

Used for 2013: 60.07
Added for 2013: 157.83 yards

Net stashed for 2013:  97.76 yards

Even better is that this week's report shows I've broken my personal record for fabric usage in one year.  In 2011, I used 60.01 yards.  I'm just a bit above that now.  But, we've still got 10 weeks in the year, I can probably add another yard or two to that record before we get to 2014.  I've already celebrated this achievement.  How?   By buying more fabric of course.  Next next couple of weeks are going to be a bit painful when it comes to reporting the "added" numbers.  

That's it on the state of my stash.  I'm going to grab a cup of hot chocolate and check out all the other reports posted over at Patchwork Times.  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Day Off

As many know, I took a couple of days off work to stay home with the Drama Teen who had her wisdom teeth out Thursday.  Not the most glamorous use of vacation, but we figured we would at least get some rest, if not relaxation from staying home with a sleepy girl. Thursday was the day she needed the most babysitting, as she wasn't supposed to go anywhere without assistance   We kept her downstairs as the doctor warned us that stairs would be tricky that first day.   By Friday morning Drama Teen was almost back to normal, though still hurting just a bit.  

She doesn't look thrilled, but she is looking so much better than she did Thursday morning.   Her face is still a bit swollen but she's able to pull off her "really Mom" look again.   She discovered that she could manage marshmallows if she had luke warm "hot" chocolate to wash them down (the luke warm part was the doctor's orders).  It was cold and rainy in the afternoon, just right for luke warm "hot" chocolate.  (The luke warm part wasn't ideal, but she was determined to just deal with it).  She watched movies while I used my camera in an attempt to capture the rain drops on the kitchen window.  

The rain drops are kinda sparkly in this image.  Not really what I was after, but it conveys the mood pretty well.  

I've started a Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt, but wasn't thrilled with the first block.  Rather than make more, I took a step back trying to decide what I wanted to do with it.  So while DT and I were hanging out, I decided to play around with an idea to use just two colors of scraps using a third contrasting color as the  diagonal in each block.  I have a lot of yellow and purple scraps left over from my first yellow and purple scrap quilt, so I played with around with that thought and came up with this. 

It's just 9 blocks, but it gives me a sense of how that concept would work out.  I may go this way.  I just didn't like the completely scrappy version.  

This morning it's laundry and a bit of housework.  I'm hoping to get DT out and about a bit this afternoon.  Hopefully I can get into the sewing room and play some more with my scraps this evening.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Oh, It Does Work

Its cold and rainy today.  I'm supposed to be off today, but I ventured into work to be sure My Guy didn't have to face today's lunch time trivia competition on his own.  The rest of our 4 person team is off today and he'd have been on his own.  We didn't win, but we held our own, hopefully we are still in second place after today's round. 

I've spent the rest of the day watching over Drama Teen who had her wisdom teeth out yesterday.  She's doing pretty well.  I was going to post a picture of her from yesterday showing how out of it she was, and then decided that really wasn't fair.  She's hurting more today then she did yesterday, so I brought home some new movies for this afternoon to help her keep her mind off of it.  So far she's taken a couple of Tylenol tablets, but none of the pain medication the doctor prescribed for her.  Thanks for all the well wishes 

In between reminding DT to take her antibiotic and making sure she has something that she can actually eat without really eating, I've been upstairs stitching.  Last year one of my goals was to make a quilt using one of my specialty rulers.  I've got a whole rack of those "special" rulers that pretty much just gather dust. I have good intentions, but for some reason, I never get around to learning how to use any of them. Well that was true up until last month.  The blocks in my Christmas Angels quilt use 4.5 inch Triangle in a Square blocks.  I was contemplating making all 48 blocks I needed by paper piecing them, but that didn't sound like a lot of fun.  I was reorganizing the sewing room one afternoon and found this.  

I struggle with templates, so I wasn't sure these rulers would work.  But I gave it a go.  I cut out my triangles using the ruler on the right and made the side triangles from 3" x 6" rectangles.

Then starting assembling the blocks.

You line up the cut off tip of the equilateral triangle with the first right triangle.  Stitch and then line up the second right triangle with the the tip created by the first.

Finally you use the ruler with the triangle traced on it to trim the block. 

Repeat that 48 times and one has all the Triangle in a Square blocks needed for a whole quilt.

I like these two little rulers.  I have no clue where I came across this ruler set, but the The Quilt in a Day web page shows they are available for order .  So not quite a year later, I finally met my 2012  goal of using at least one of my specialty rulers.  Maybe I need to pick out another one from the rack and design a quilt using it.  Sounds like a goal for next year.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October - Progress on Monthly Goals

This is my last work day for the week.  We'll spend tomorrow morning at the oral surgeon since Drama Teen is getting her wisdom teeth out.  I'm hoping to get some stitching in as we've been told she'll mainly sleep tomorrow. I'm sure the rest of the weekend will be spent trying to keep her comfortable.  It's a miserable way to spend Fall Break, but she's looking forward to having it all done. She's being pragmatic about it. Get them out now and she won't have to worry about it later when she's trying to deal with college prep tests.  Plus if she does it now, she'll have Mom to fuss over her.  

Yesterday was the 15th (already!).  I've been setting monthly goals as part of Lynn's ( at Never to Hot to Stitch) Year of the Finished Project challenge.  Reviewing my progress at mid-month helps me stay on track.  So here's what's done and what's not.  

Mon Ami
     Ready to take to the post office for shipping

Back to Square One
     Clue 7 Done
     Still need to finish Clues 8, 9 and 10

Neutral Gems
    Three of six blocks completed

Christmas Angels
     Completed 29 Triangle in a Square block, so this one is done. 

Road to Brenham
     Finished 14 of 18 black/white HSTs
     Finished  2 of 18 white/white HSTs
     Finished 2 of 36 quarter square triangles

Scrappy Stars
     Finished 1 of 5 blocks

Scrappy Trip Around the World
     No progress on making at least 5 blocks.  

Not bad for mid month.  My main goal is to get caught up on Back to Square One.  Not sure I'll get all the way to completing clue 10, but I get closer each month to getting caught up.  I need to get busy on both Scrappy Stars and the Scrappy Trip blocks, so those may make their way to the top of my "to do" list this weekend.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

15 Minute Challenge - Stretching Your Breaks

When you are a child, you think your parents decide what gets down when.   When you are the parent, you realize just how much your parents had to make adjustments to deal with your school/activity schedule.  Drama Teen finished up with high school volleyball last Tuesday and on Wednesday started attending practice for the high school swim team.  Volleyball was relatively easy, she rode the bus from the mid-high to the high school for practice, then I picked her up there once I got off work.  Swim practice is going to take some adjustment as she has practice at 6 AM on two days of the week, then 7 PM practice on two other days.  My Guy took her to 6 AM practice this morning.  We've been scrabbling since 5 AM to get lunches made, breakfast eaten and trash out so they could get out the door.  It's going to be a long 4 months.  

I'm not going to think about that madness any more.  Moving on to the more fun stuff, this month's fostering creativity theme is taking breaks.  Last week I talked about taking breaks from the sewing room and doing something else for a bit to bring back your sewing mojo.  Taking breaks while you in the midst of a sewing frenzy is important too.  Most of us don't get often get the chance to sew for hours on end, but when we do, mini breaks are a great way to keep your energy levels high.  Stretching can help get your blood moving and keep you from getting stiff if you are planning to sit at the machine for several hours.  There are all kinds of sites that have stretches for quilters.  Here a few of my favorites.  

American Quilters Society
Sandi Quilts
Parkway Physiothearpy

Hopefully you'll find a few stretches from the above that help you get the blood moving and re-energize you during your longer sewing sessions.  

If you've not been able to wrangle an hours long session, have you been able to find just 15 minutes a day to sew?  I did pretty well on that front last week. 

Tuesday was DT's last volleyball game of the regular season, so I didn't get home in time to sew.  I ended up asleep in the recliner on Friday and just didn't make it upstairs to the sewing room.  Still, 5 out of 7 days isn't bad.  

If you'd like to share how your sewing week went, write a post and link up below.  

1. Julie in GA

2. Kate @katiemaequilts

3. Newsurfiegirl

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Design Wall Monday - October 14th

It was a nice weekend.  No place we had to be, so a bit of housework got done as well as a bit of stitching.  This will be a short week for me as I'm taking Thursday and Friday off.  Drama Teen has to have her wisdom teeth out on Thursday, so I'll be nursing her most of that time.  Still I hope to get in some time for stitching those two days.  

This weekend was a productive one in the sewing room, though all that got accomplished doesn't show up on the design wall.  But there are enough changes there to make it worth while to show both design walls today.  On design wall number one is Back to Square One. 

Back to Square One
by Judy Laquidara (pattern available here)

All the Economy Blocks are finished.  Now I just have to sew them together along with the Log Cabins.  I'm really happy with the colors I chose for this project.  

On design wall number two is Neutral Gems.

  Neutral Gems
Pattern is "Gems" by Donna Lynn Thomas
found in the book Patchwork Palette

The first four rows are made and all sewn together.  So that's half way for this project.  I've been sewing the blocks together in groups of 4 rather then sewing them together in rows and sewing the rows together. With all the matching seams, that just seemed to be a better way to put this one together.  

That's it for this Monday.  I'm linking up with Patchwork Times today as usual.  Check out all the other eye candy posted for Design Wall Monday.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Stash Report - Week 41 of 2013

It's cloudy and cool outside this morning.  The high temperatures have dropped to the low 80's, so it's definitely fall in Oklahoma. The sunflowers have been blooming.  

It's been nice to stand in kitchen and see those little bits of bright color in the backyard.  

There's been a lot going on in the sewing room, but not much that I can really count as yet.  I finished up the 6" Log Cabin blocks for Back to Square One last Sunday, plus a couple of blocks for other projects.  That's all that I can count as out for last week. 

Used last week:  0.93 yards
Added last week:  0 yards

Used for 2013:  59.38 yards
Add for 2013:  157.83 yards

Net stashed for 2013:  98.45 yards

So almost a yard out and nothing in.  Not a bad week.  So far I've been able to resist pushing any buttons and have kept my net stashed for the year below 100 yards. 

I'm linking up with Patchwork Times.  Then I'm going to grab some breakfast while I check out the other stash reports.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Busy Autumn Bee

15 Minute Challenge - Cleaning the Palette

Autumn is my favorite season.  The cooler temperatures invite one to spend more time outside.  Plus at our latitude, the late afternoon light becomes incredible.  It's a prime time to get out with a camera.  The only fly in the ointment, is that fall plays havoc with my sinuses.  I appreciate all the well wishes over the last couple of days.  I'm still dealing with a low grade headache, hopefully this one will be like the one yesterday and it will fade once I get busy with work stuff.  

Autumn must energize me, it's been easy to find at least 15 minutes to sew most days.  

Six out of seven days isn't bad.  Scheduling conflicts kept me out of the sewing room last Tuesday.  These were last minute conflicts due to a lack of planning by the other two people who live with me. Like other things in life, that happens occasionally. 

This month we are talking about how taking breaks can foster your creativity.  Earlier this year I was madly trying to finish up 5 quilts as gifts for some amazing teachers that Drama Teen had in middle school.  There was definite motivation there to get them done before the school year ended.  I had a lot of 7 days in a row in the sewing room.   Looking back I had 3 months where I managed to spend 7 days in the sewing room 3 weeks out of the month. After school ended, I dropped from 7 days to 3 days during that next week.  It was time for a break.  As much as I love quilting, sewing to a deadline is not fun.   

I switched from sewing every night to taking it easy in the recliner with reading some books I just hadn't had time to read.  It was a relaxing week.  Kevin the Quilter was just talking about the need to have a "palette cleanser" while working on intricate quilts with a deadline.  The need to start something new and fun in midst of all those projects with deadlines was just overpowering.  But what a great way to re-energize yourself!  Doing something completely different like reading, knitting, and gardening; or starting something fun and different while you are working on deadlines or tough projects are both ways to take a break.  Other suggestions I found for taking a break to refresh your creativity include cleaning your sewing room, buying new inspiring fabric, or reviewing all your quilting books.  

How do you take a break when you get overwhelmed or just tired of sewing?  Have you been taking a break recently or does your sewing machine have you in its thrall.  Link up below and share how your quilty/crafty life is going.  

1. Julie in GA

2. Kate

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Design Wall - Oct 7th

The weekend passed way to quickly.  A cold front came through Friday night/Saturday morning so we had wonderfully comfortable temperatures.  The cold front brought something else with it that gave all three of us sinus headaches.  My Guy's morphed into a migraine, so he was out of commission most of yesterday. Thankfully he is feeling better this morning. My headache is getting worse.  It will be a long day if the Tylenol doesn't knock it back a bit.  

On the stitching front, it's been a pretty good week.  I finished all the Log Cabin blocks for Back to Square One.  

Back to Square One
pattern by Judy Laquidara
(available here)
Now I've got to make the Economy blocks that go in between the Log Cabin blocks.  I like how this quilt is turning out.  Drama Teen has been asking if she can have this one.  She calls it the Japanese Pond quilt.

That's it for my design wall today.  I'm linking up with the Patchwork Times.  Check out her post to see the latest and greatest design walls around.  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Stash Report - Week 40 of 2013

It's been a mixed bag of a weekend so far.  Yesterday all three of us woke up with sinus headaches.  After a dose of Tylenol we were all feeling well enough to jump in the car and head to Tulsa for My Guy's promised birthday lunch.  My Guy's favorite restaurant was closed for remodeling, which was a disappointment till he remembered there was a place on Cherry Street that he had seen in passing and wanted to try.  So we headed in that direction. He ordered the fried green tomatoes stuffed with crab.

I ended up with pork tacos.  

Drama Teen ordered lamb sliders.  Since she typically doesn't eat breakfast on the weekends until lunch time, she was so hungry that she dived right in, so no picture.  My Guy's not fond of cake, so he ordered the bread pudding with ice cream and caramel sauce as his "birthday cake".  

Oh I forgot to mention the bacon bits on the top.  Needless to say we were all pretty stuffed after all of that. After lunch we lucked into an art show and browsed that for a while.  We found a couple of Christmas presents (yes it is unfortunately that just about that time of year).  My Guy's headache came back full force, so we made one more quick stop and headed home.  All of us took naps when we got home and all felt better for it.  But My Guy got up this morning with what is now a full blown migraine headache.  So I'm being really quiet so he can sleep.

With all of our doings yesterday, not much stitching happened.  I did get some stitching done earlier in the week.  I'm now starting to complete the Log Cabin blocks for clue 7 on the Back to Square One quilt, so there is a little bit to report as going out. 

Used last week:  0.38 yards
Added last week:  0 yards

Used for 2013:  58.45 yards
Added for 2013:  157.83 yards

Net stashed for 2013:  99.38 yards

Even better, there was nothing in last week, so I'm still under my limit of 100 yards of stash added for the rest of 2013.  

That's it for my stash report.  Check out other reports over at Judy's Patchwork Times.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October Report - The Year of the Finished Project

Hard to believe that we are already three days into October.  I have a feeling that from now until Christmas, the days are going to fly. October is wrap up time at work, I've got a number of reports that need to be completed by the end of the month.  Though I have deadlines at work, not so much with my sewing.  I'm not trying to have anything done for Christmas this year.  However, since it is the first Thursday of the month, it is time to see what progress was made on September's sewing goals.  I'm linking up with Lynn over at Never to Hot to Stitch for her 2013 the Year of the Finished Project.

Never Too Hot to Stitch!

My September goals were pretty ambitious.  Not sure what I was thinking when they ended up on the blog. But all in all, I didn't do too bad.  

Mon Ami
     Make backing          Done
     Send out for quilting

Back to Square One
     Finish Clue 5          Done
     Finish Clue 6          Done
     Finish Clue 7
     Finish Clue 8
     Finish Clue 9

Neutral Gems
     Make 5 blocks          Done

Scrappy Stars
     Make 5  blocks          Only 3 completed

Christmas Angels
     Make 9 4-patch blocks         Done

       Additional progress:  Finished 14 Triangle in a Square Blocks

Road to Brenham
     Make 32 red/black HST's          Done

     Additional progress:  Finished 32 black/white HST's

I need to take the time to press out Mon Ami and it's back so I can send it out for quilting.  I just haven't wanted to spend the time with the iron.  Back to Square one was 5 clues behind in September.  Looks like it will be just 4 clues behind in October, so I'm gaining some ground there.  It's fun to see the progress with Neutral Gems.  The only goal I didn't make this month was making 5 of the Scrappy Stars, but the addition of 3 more is still progress.  Both Christmas Angels and Road to Brenham are ahead of plan.  I like making a few of the HSTs and Triangle in a Square blocks at a time, that way I don't have to stand at the cutting table and trim dozens of them before moving on to the next step.  Making a couple every time I stitch on the other projects makes those blocks a lot more palatable to me.  

So what's the plan for October?  

Mon Ami
      Press, package and send out for quilting

Back to Square One
     Finish Clue 7
     Finish Clue 8
     Finish Clue 9
     Finish Clue 10

Neutral Gems
     Make 6 blocks

Scrappy Stars
     Make 5 blocks

Christmas Angels
     Make 32 Triangle in a Square blocks

Road to Brenham
     Make 18 black/white HST
     Make 18 white/white HST
     Make 32 quarter square triangles

Scrappy Trip Around the World
     Make 5 blocks  

Another ambitious list for October.  I think this one is doable, but I'll probably have to scale back for November since holiday activities will start showing up on the calender.  

That's it for my efforts this month.  Check out all the other project progress over at Never Too Hot To Stitch.