Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - A Review from the Quilters Perpsective

Happy New Year's Eve!   Are you staying in or going out to celebrate?  We'll stay in, eat cheese and crackers, drink some wine and hang out till midnight.  Kiddo has a sleep over tonight, so it will just be my guy and I.

How did we get to the last day of 2010?  I'm always amazed that another year has gone by.  It seems that time has sped up as I've gotten older, each year seems to pass faster then the year before.     My baby girl will turn 12 next week.  How did that happen?  When did my adorable Spiderman T-shirt clad toddler turn into this long legged, skinny jeans and boots attired pre-teen?  She'll probably pass her mother in height this next year, at least that's her goal for 2011! 

Looking back at the quilty part of my life, 2010 was a pretty good year. I met all but one of my goals.  So here's my "Annual Quilting Accomplishment Report" complete with graphics. 

Record number of quilts completed, 75% increase over previous best year. 

A 44% reduction in UFOs for the year.  Includes completion of the two oldest UFOs on the list.

*Red text indicates UFOs, defined as unfinished quilts over 1 year old. 
Stash reduction performance was poor, with over a 600% increase in stash yardage. 

Going forward, the goals for 2011 are on target to produce equal performance in both quilt completions and UFO reductions.  Stash management goals have been refined to address under performance in this area. 

I hope you enjoyed my tongue in cheek report on how my quilty life went in 2010.  How did you do on your 2010 quilting goals?  Are you willing to share the good, the bad and the ugly?  If so use Mr. Linky to share your highs and lows for 2010. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An Old Fahsioned Mystery - Solved

Finally, a finish to celebrate.  This afternoon I managed to get the label sewn onto the mystery quilt from last year!  So one more quilt off the UFO list!

I really wanted to try a mystery quilt.  I was just discovering the quilting community on the Internet last year,  but had not really discovered blogs.  I came across a shop in Monument, CO during an afternoon of Internet shop hopping on FabShopHopThe Homespun Hearth sponsors Agatha & Sherlock's Mystery of the Week, with new mysteries every quarter. So I signed up.  I got my packet of floral fabric, the first couple of clues and I was off sewing.   

The shop called this mystery "Parties at My Place".  When I got the fabric packet, my husband commented that it looked like "old time" fabric.  So I  named my completed quilt "Old Fashioned Mystery".  The pattern is by Debbie's Creative Moments, INC. I didn't get a good picture of the quilting, but it's a lovely floral pattern done by Trudy Lindemann of Keepn' You In Stitches.

I enjoyed getting the clues each week and trying to guess what the final quilt would look like.  It did get a bit nerve wracking a couple of times because you really only get enough fabric to finish the quilt.  There is not much extra if you mess up, which thankfully I didn't. 

If you've never done a mystery quilt you should give it a try.  I've since learned that Bonnie Hunter also posts mystery quilt alongs, as has Judy over at Patchwork Times and Planet Patchwork will be doing it's annual New Year's Day mystery again this year.  I did Planet Patchwork's summer mystery quilt and it was a lot of fun.  Though I did find that I can't sew and instant message at the same time!

Thanks for stopping by and helping me celebrate my 7th finish of the year.  I'm still hoping to bind and label two more quilts, but with just two more days of 2010 to go, I'll be lucky to get just one finished!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Design Wall Monday - December 27th

The last design wall of the year.  Hard to believe 2010 is almost over and 2011 is just around the corner.  I haven't missed a Monday post since I started blogging in September.  No matter how busy life is, I do start thinking in the middle of the week that I've got to have something for the next Monday, so it's been a good driving force to get me into the sewing room for even just a few minutes every single week.  So thanks to Judy over at Patchwork Times for hosting the Design Wall Monday!  Not only is it very motivating, I really enjoy all the eye candy.  Also thanks to all who stop by to comment.  The encouragement and support is very much appreciated. 

What's on the design wall this week?  Not much.  Christmas preparations really ruled most of the week and the holiday weekend was spent with family.  I did finish the center block for the 2010 Seeing Stars BOM (Thank you Quilter Kathy for pointing out the turned HST!).  Once I get all the Christmas debris cleaned off my sewing table I hope to get to the flying geese for the final border, then get the quilt all assembled. 

I'm off work the rest of the week and have all kinds of plans to finish up a few things before New Years gets here.  I still need to sew the label to the 2009 mystery quilt, plus have two other quilts that just need binding and labels before they will be finished.  If I can finish up those 3, I'll have completed 9 quilts this year.  That's a record for me (5 more quilts then my best year ever)!

What's on your design wall?  I'll be jumping over to Judy's blog to see what you've got going on. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Stash Report - December 26th

Happy day after Christmas!  Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.  My family definitely did.  I've pretty much eaten my way through Christmas and across two states.  Oh well, that's what New Year's resolutions are for!

I'm not ready for the last stash report of 2010.  Not much sewing last week since I had Christmas stuff to finish up.  My cutting table is covered with gift tags, ribbons, bows and paper rather than fabric.  I did get a bit done before I had to get serious on the gift wrapping.  So here's the final report:

Used this Week = 0.62 yards
Added this Week = 0 yards
Used year to Date = 48.4 yards
Added year to Date = 356 yards
Net Used for 2010 =  (307.7) yards

I didn't make my revised goal of using 50 yards, but I was only a little over a yard and a half short.  However, my stint on the NO FABRIC wagon continued.  This completes 9 weeks of no fabric purchases!  So I did make that goal.  So over all, not too bad on meeting my revised goals.  I failed miserably on meeting my original goal of using more fabric than I buy.  I would like to use more than I buy next year, so I'm going to have to come up with some strategies to guide my fabric purchases.  I'm considering a number of different approaches, a fabric budget (maybe tied to how much sewing I do), drawing up a fabric buying plan and limiting purchases to just that list.  Any other suggestions on things that have worked for you or things you are going to try? 

Hop over to Judy's Patchwork Times to check out how everyone did on their 2010 goals. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Little Christmas in the Sewing Room

Actually, it's not a little it's a lot!  For about 2 weeks, my sewing room becomes gift wrap central and my normal calm and soothing retreat is invaded on a regular basis by the rest of the family.  That's what I get for having such a nice cutting table.  It's so much better than the kitchen or dining room tables for wrapping gifts (especially for my guy who is on the tall side). 

So rather than folds of fabric, there are rolls of wrapping paper.

No quilt binding and labels, but ribbons and bows.

I've hidden my sewing scissors (Because scissors are scissors right?  They all cut paper.) and covered the sewing machine.  What's now community property won't revert to sole occupant status until next week.  Sanity breaks will have to be limited to hand work or blog hopping. 

Hope your holiday preparations are going smoothly.  Ours are on the typical track, hopelessly behind and reaching fever pitch! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Design Wall Monday - December 20th

I'm slowly but surely getting all the Christmas stuff done.  I learned the value of backing up my computer files yesterday.  A couple of years ago I put our Christmas card address list into an Access data base.  From that I can then use print merge with Publisher and print out address labels for all our cards.  It saves a lot of time as I don't have to write out each address.  Well somehow my Access files got corrupted and as I'm trying to salvage that situation, I deleted one of the files, after I had backed up what I thought  I needed.  No, I backed up the wrong thing!  So I was going to have to start from scratch.  Then my guy asked if I had ever used the terabyte drive he bought me for backing up my files.  I actually had and was able in about 2 minutes to recover an uncorrupted file and print the labels.   I still ended up spending most of the afternoon on the Christmas cards.  But I guess it could have been worse! 

You can probably guess that I've not been in my sewing room very much  So not much progress to report for the last week.  I did complete cutting out all the parts for the Seeing Star BOM center block and have it  partially assembled. 

I'm on vacation all this week, but I still have Christmas stuff that needs to get done, so I'm not sure how much sewing I'll get to do this week.  I should have a better chance at getting some sewing done next week. 

Once I finish this post, I'm going to get a fresh cup of coffee and cruise over to Judy's Patchwork Times to check this week's design walls. But before I do that, I want to wish all my Design Wall Monday and Stash Report blog buddies a Happy Holiday season!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stash Report - December 19th

The Christmas shopping is done, but I still need to wrap stuff.  Christmas cards are on tap for today (no I've not done mine yet).  Not much sewing going on the last couple of weeks, too much other stuff that needed to get done.  I am hoping to get to my sewing room for a bit today.  Not much out this week.  Finished one block for the scrap quilt.  Still trying to get the center block done for the Seeing Stars BOM, so I can't count that fabric yet. But I did use some fabric to test out a new technique for making part of the center, so I'm going to count that.  Those two blocks will get added to my orphan block stash that I'll do something with some day.   I'm still firmly on the NO FABRIC wagon, nothing in this week.  So here's this weeks report:

Used this week = 0.16 yards
Added this week = 0 yards
Used year to date = 47.8yards
Added year to date = 356 yards
Net Used for 2010 = (308.4)

I'm going to have to get busy this week if I want to make my revised stash goal of 50 yards out.  How's your stash busting going?  Hop over to Judy's to check out how everyone else is doing.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Foto Finish Saturday - Red

Christmas is a week from today!  My shopping is pretty much done, but I need to spend some significant time with wrapping paper and bows in the next couple of days.  So I guess it's not surprising that my foto finish is focused on the holiday. 

I don't remember where we got this ornament, it's probably one kiddo picked out.  When she was a toddler, she would want to buy every Christmas ornament she saw, the more bright and shiny the better.  She's almost 12 now, but she still likes to look at ornaments, though she seems content to look more than buy these days.  She and I both like the all trappings of Christmas.  My guy, not so much.  In fact, his nickname for much of December is "The Grinch".   

So I'm off to check out all the other foto finishes over at Cat Patches

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Last Favorite Things Friday for 2010

It just doesn't seem possible that we are so close to the end of 2010.  The year has had it's ups and downs, I guess every year does.  I've enjoyed Favorite Things Friday which Mrs. Pyjamas so kindly hosts each week.   Since the US is so far behind, I'm usually doing my posts on Thursday night.  But it's a nice way to go into Friday, thinking about all the great things I could post about.  I've enjoyed visiting Australia and other foreign climes, seeing favorite books on other posts, admiring beautiful photography, and reading great stories, some funny, some sweet.  So thanks so much for sharing such great FTFs. 

For the last FTF, I'm going to be predicable and  share some of our favorite Christmas ornaments.  My sister started working for Hallmark when we were both in high school.  She worked for Hallmark for many, many years.  So needless to say, I have quite a collection of Hallmark ornaments (It's a sickness in my family shared by all female members of the clan, including my kiddo who already has her own small, but growing collection).  Here are some of my family's favorite Hallmark ornaments.  Can you guess which ones are mine, my guys, and kiddo's?



Happy FTF! 

Check out all the finial FTF's for 2010 over at Quilting in My Pyjamas

Christmas Vacation

Just 2 more days of work and then I'm off work for the rest of the year!   Lots of Christmas stuff to finish up, but there will be time for quilting, especially the week after Christmas.  What's on the top of my list?

Sew the quilt label to the 2009 mystery quilt (No I still haven't managed to get that done!).

Finish block 4 in the Layer Cake Quilt Along

Finish the center block and assemble the Seeing Stars BOM.  It also needs a back pieced so it can be sent out for quilting.

Bind the 2008 BOM and the 2010 mystery quilt.


I've also been working on my quilting goals for next year.  I'm down to 5 UFO's, also known as PhDs (projects half done).  I'd like to get all 5 of those done next year.   Last year I participated in monthly UFO challenges on Connecting Threads Quilt With Us community and that helped keep me motivated.  For next year, I looked at participating in Judy's UFO challenge, which looks like lots of fun.  But I was afraid that trying to finish any one of these UFO's in a month would just frustrate me.  Mrs. Pyjamas over at Quilting in My Pyjamas had linked up to Myra's PhD Challenge.  I'll have till June to finish up the 3 projects I selected.  This challenge looks more my speed.  My challenge projects are posted here

So the UFO's (PhDs) are under control.  I'm going to look at stash management plans for next year (Note I did not say stash reduction).  Plus, 2011 may be the time to look at my PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks).  You know those projects you bought the fabric or the kit, have a pattern, but just never started.  At least that's my definition.  I'm not sure how many of those I have.  So that may be my after Christmas assignment, find the PIGS and decide if I want to work on any of them for next year. 

So what are your quilty plans for the holiday?  How are your 2011 quilting plans coming along?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Design Wall Monday - December 13th

I don't have much to show today.  Kiddo and I did get some ornaments on the Christmas tree this week.  All the wrapping paper, bows, gift bags, and ribbon has been moved from the attic to my sewing room, which becomes gift wrap central during the holidays.  My sewing room is more cluttered than normal, but I should still be able to sew. 

On to the design wall stuff.  I did finally finish the binding for last year's mystery quilt.

The quilt label has been printed, rinsed and is now dry.  Maybe I'll get it sewn to the back today.  Then I'll take the "finish" photos. 

Unfortunately, not much progress on the center block for the Seeing Star BOM.

I did get the corners cut and finished sewing everything together.  This isn't completed yet, there is another pieced border that needs to go on. 

I'm off on vacation today. My guy and I have a few things we need to take care of, but I may get to spend a couple of hours with my sewing machine.  I could use the sanity break! 

How are things progressing on your design wall?  Check out Judy's Patchwork Times for other in progress eye candy. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stash Report - December 12th

It's Sunday again and I'm trying to figure out where the rest of the week went.  Just about done with Christmas shopping, I just need to wrap it all.  I'm off work tomorrow, so maybe I can get back into the sewing room for a bit.  Today kiddo has day two of a swim meet, so I won't get much sewing done today.  I was able to get away long enough yesterday to pick up my Bernina 830 at the shop.  They tell me not only is it fixed, it's been upgraded.  I might get it set back up this afternoon.  I was sorely tempted at the quilt shop to fall off the NO FABRIC wagon, they had Christmas fabric for 40% off.  But I resisted temptation and came home only with the 830 and a new pattern.  Which is good, because there was not much out this week.  I did finish a purple and yellow scrap block.  I've made a good start on the Seeing Stars BOM center, but it's not far enough along for me to count the fabric.  Here's the weekly report:

Used this week = 0.08 yards
Added this week = 0 yards
Used year to date = 47.6
Added year to date = 356 yards
Net used for 2010 = (308.5)

Not sure I'm going to make my revised goal of using at least 50 yards of fabric by year's end.  I have the week after Christmas off, so there is still hope.  I've managed to stay on the NO FABRIC wagon for 7 weeks, only 2 more weeks till the end of the year.  I'd originally said no new fabric till at least January.  I'm still deciding what 2011's stash goals are.  Maybe I'll challenge myself to stay on the NO FABRIC wagon for a while longer. Wonder how long I can hold off temptation and stay on the wagon?  Do you have your 2011 stash busing goals figured out?

Head over to Judy's Patchwork Times to check out how stash busting efforts went across the blog sphere. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Foto Finish Saturday - Trees

I contemplated all week what "tree" I wanted to photograph.  It wasn't until Friday at lunch that I decided on what I wanted to play with.  The Christmas tree with all it's lights and ornaments would have been easy, but I wanted to try something different.  So here's a much, much smaller Christmas tree. 

Check out what else took root over at Cat Patches' Foto Finish Saturday.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Favorite Things Friday - December 10th

TGIF!!!!  On the other hand, Christmas is only 2 weeks from tomorrow!  How did that happen!  For the moment, let's forget all the holiday stress and concentrate on Favorite Things Friday over at Quilting in My Pyjamas.  I could definitely use a coffee break and a brain break to check out all the cool Favorite Things everyone has posted. 

I have a confession to make.  My name is Kate and I'm a quilt book addict. 

I love quilt books (don't ask me if I love quilt books more than fabric, I'd have a hard time choosing between those two).  A cup of  coffee and a few quilt books to ponder over is for me better than a long soak in the tub.  I couldn't pick just one favorite book from my library.  The one book I've probably actually used the most is Sharyn Craig's Setting Solutions. 

It outlines a number of ways to set blocks together.  When I was first starting out and wanting to design my own quilts, this book was a great help.  

I love BOMs.  For the 2008 Brown bag quilt I had to come up with my own blocks (the story of that 2008 BOM is posted here, here and here).  Though I pulled a number off the Internet, I also used a number of "block" books to find blocks for the BOM. 

I also have a number of quilt designer's that I follow fairly religiously.  That includes Carrie L. Nelson, Kaffe Fassett, Judy Laquidara, and Lynette Jensen. 

I also have quite a collection of fat quarter and scrap quilt books.  If I had to force myself to choose a favorite category, this would be it.  I'm working on my first scrap quilt using Bonnie Hunter's Leaders and Enders technique.

I do use my books, though if I were to take stock, only 2 projects have been made from patterns in a book.  Though there are a lot that I would like to make.  So many quilts, so little time!  

Thanks for letting me share some of my favorite quilting books.  Do you have a favorite quilting book?  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Finishing Touches

The binding is finally sewn on the mystery quilt from last year.  But the quilt isn't done until the label is sewn on (so no pictures just yet).  I like elaborate labels.  It's one more place to be creative and do something novel (or not).   I've always done my labels on the computer, first using Print Shop, then Microsoft Publisher and most recently using a digital scrap booking software, Scrapbook Factory. 

I like this software because it gives you all kinds of do-dads you can play with, plus very nice backgrounds so the label can be another color then the off white of the printable fabric. 

It also has really cool photo editing options and lets you use PNG versions of your own photographs as "objects" in your label.  What is a PNG file?  This is my "working" definition.  A PNG file allows me take a single component from a photograph and use it as a independent object in Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, Photoshop Elements and Scrapbook Maker.  As an example:  Here is the original photograph:

Using Photoshop Elements you can "cut" the image out of the original photo and then save it to a new file such that the background is transparent, to keep the transparency the file is saved as a PNG file. 

So to make my labels, I start with a background in Scrapbook Factory that complements the quilt:

I add do-dads or a PNG object from one of my photographs or from  a scanned image of the fabric used in the quilt.  In this case, the object is from a photograph. 

You can play with all kinds of effects, in this one the object is made more transparent.

Which makes it easier to see the text with all the pertinent information. 

You print it on printable fabric (Milliken Printed Treasures or Electric Quilt Inkjet Fabric Sheets), wash it, dry it, and then sew it on.  I know some are concerned that the printing will fade with time or it will wash out.  All of my labels have been printed on fabric.  The only problem I've had is one of the backs was a dark blue and it bled into the label.  That label is still readable, but it's not white as was intended.  One note,  our printer uses archival quality photo inks which are supposed to last for at least 100 years.   I probably won't be around to find out if they actually last that long, but you can't say I didn't try! 

So that's my favorite finishing touch.  Do you have a favorite finish for your quilts?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Design Wall Monday - December 6th

Between Christmas preparations and housework, there was just not much time for sewing this weekend.  The Christmas tree is up, lights and tinsel on but that's it.  Neither kiddo or I felt like dragging out all the ornaments last night. We'll finish it up this week.  How are your holiday preparations going? 

There are a few things up on the design wall, all works in progress.  Block 3 for the Layer Cake Quilt Along was finished Saturday night. 

I like all the blocks, but I'm not sure how they are all going to work when they are set together. 

The next block for my "leaders and enders" purple and yellow quilt is laid out, so I can grab and go when I get back to sewing.

Lastly, I made a start on the center block for the Seeing Stars BOM

I changed the color layout from the pattern and forgot to cut the 3 1/2" corner squares.  Maybe tonight. 

I'm still working on sewing the binding to the back of the mystery quilt from last year.  I only have 2 partial sides to go, so maybe I'll get that one done this week. 

What's up on your design wall?  Check out all the works in progress over at Judy's.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Stash Report - December 5th

Christmas preparations and other miscellaneous outside activities made a pretty big dent in my sewing time this week.  I did manage to get the third block in the Layer Cake Quilt Along done, so have a little that went out.  The new Bernina had to go into the shop yesterday, something funky happened with the bobbin case.  Though I drooled a lot at all the shop samples and over the new fabric, I walked out without buying anything.  So I've maintained my precarious position on the NO FABRIC wagon.  So nothing in.  Here's the details:

Used this week = 0.15
Added this week = 0 yards
Used year to date = 47.5 yards
Added year to date = 356 yards
Net used for 2010 = (308.6) yards

With the 830 in the shop, I had to set up the 9 year old Bernina 153QE to finish the layer cake block.  I've been using the 830 exclusively since March.  It took me forever to get used to using the buttons to raise and lower the pressure foot and to remember to move to the right display screen to have access to the right stitches.   I was a bit concerned that I'd have to fight to relearn the 153.  No, it didn't take any time at all for me to get back into the groove with my old friend.

Besides getting the tree up today, finishing the center block for the Seeing Stars BOM is on the agenda.  I doubt I get it done, but hope to get it started. 

Check out Judy's blog for other great stash busting stories. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Foto Finish Saturday - Snow

Quilt challenges and photo challenges are pretty similar.  They both can help you learn a new skill, allow you to develop a new perspective and they are fun.  I haven't focused as much on my photography as I have my quilting the last few years.  When I first started using a SLR, there were books to read, classes to take and practice shots to get.  I don't do that as much now, mainly because I just don't think of it.  When I found Cat Patches Weekly Foto Finish, it seemed like a good way to help me exercise and grow that skill set. 

This week's challenge was snow.  Oklahoma doesn't get much snow, maybe one a year.  Though there are years we get none at all.  More often we get freezing rain and sleet.  Last year we did get one good snow in January.  The rose bushes outside our dining room window are one of the local bird hang outs pretty much year round, but you can certainly see the little guys better in the winter when all the foliage is gone.

I like the almost black and white tone of this shot.  It's that stark tonal quality that for me, captures the essence of the cold and windy winters we have in Oklahoma. 

Slide over to Catch Patches Foto Finish Saturday to share your favorite snow shot or check out other winter wonderlands. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Favorite Things Friday - December 3rd

Yeah! It's Friday!  Finally!  For some reason it's been a very long week.  Maybe it's because it's been a busy one, not so much at work, but all the other stuff.  On-line Christmas shopping took up one evening, parents meeting with the swim team coach took another, then homework from my training class at work took up two evenings.  So no sewing this week, that always makes for a long week.

So enough on the life happens stuff and on to Favorite Things Friday stuff.   Do you ever stop to think about life before personal computers?  Remember typewriters?  Remember writing letters to family with pen and paper?  How did you plan vacations, book hotels, locate the closest Starbucks to where you were staying without a computer (Remember life without Starbucks? Let's not go there today.)   I think you get my drift.  My favorite thing this week is my computer.

Not only is there email, the Internet, and Blogger, there is other great software that allows me to waste time create fun stuff.   What would I do without Microsoft Excel to track my stash?

Photography wouldn't be the same without digital cameras and PhotoShop Elements (It's amazing how you can spruce up a picture!).

Or make PNG objects from my fabrics to use on my quilt labels.


Add in Scrapbook Fabric Deluxe to do digital scrap booking with my photographs, make Mother's Day Cards, quilt labels, etc..

And I almost forgot, what would I do without Electric Quilt?

That's my favorite thing (or maybe things?) for this Friday.  What's yours?  Check out Mrs. P over at Quilting in My Pyjamas to see other great favorite things.