Saturday, April 30, 2011

Foto Finish - Wildlife

This week's Foto Finish theme is wildlife.  I briefly considered posting a picture of my daughters bedroom because you'd definitely think that something wild lived there (I'm still not sure how she sleeps there).  But I decided that really fit more into a wildlife habitat theme.  So I decided to go with this one instead:

This little guy is a horned toad.  It's amazing how well he blends into the surrounding landscape.  If I hadn't hard the rustling of the dry grasses, I'd have missed him.  The shot was taken in Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo, TX. 

A very long time ago, I attended a physics conference with My Guy (Who at the time was just My Boyfriend.  Must have been true love don't you think?  What else would drive one to sit through an entire day of talks on physics?).  The conference was at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX.  One of the first things that we saw on campus was this statue of some spiky creature.  Looking at the plaque on the statue, it said this was a horned toad, TCU's mascot.  Struck me as a bit weird for a school mascot, so it stuck with me.  When I saw this little guy it was like, wow, they do exist.  I think he's cuter in person than his TCU likeness. 

To see other wildlife, check out Cat Patches

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - April 28th

I can't quite say TGIF yet, but it's closer to Friday than Thursday right?  I'm sure a really good lawyer (which I'm not) could argue that point and make it stick.  

Not sure where I was going with that, but lets move on to FTF!  It's been a wet and dreary couple of weeks.  But all the rain has paid off.  I walked out the door this morning to the glorious smell of a multitude of roses. 

Flowers are really one of my most favorite things and these not only look lovely, they just smelled so good.  They don't have a real strong, overpowering smell, it's very subtle.  These rose bushes could use a good trim, but they look so glorious with all the roses, it's been hard to cut them back.  As it is the clemantis are barely visible.  But you can see them really well when you walk out the front door. 

The yellow roses on the other side of the house aren't blooming yet, but there are buds all over them. 

In the next week or so there will be big fluffy yellow blooms all over the place.

So that's it for my FTF this week.  What's yours?  Check out Quilting in My Pyjamas for more cool favorite stuff! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - April 26th

I can't say we had any less going on at home this week, but I did a better job of coping with it than last week.  It didn't hurt that I was off work Thursday and had time to sew.  We went to the visit My Guy's family for Easter, so not a lot of sewing this weekend.  But I did get two sides of binding sewn down on the Brown Bag BOM

So how does the report look this week?  A lot better than last week, at least 15 minutes of sewing happened 6 out of the last 7 days. 

Much better than last week's 3 out of 7 days!  I really made an effort this week to get upstairs to my sewing room.  Some nights it's so easy to convince myself that I'm too tired to sew.   On those nights staying in front of the computer and reading blogs or answering emails just seems easier.  I guess there is something to Newton's First Law of Motion, "A body in motion tends to stay in motion.  A body at rest, tends to stay at rest".  (I'm married to a physicist, occasionally something rubs off).  Once I get parked in the recliner with the computer on my lap, staying at rest is really, really easy! 

Did you find some time to sew over the holiday weekend or was it just too jammed with other festivities?  Write a post about your quilting time and add your link below. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Design Wall Monday - April 25th

Looks like we are in for a rough day weather wise.  We have the possibility for strong storms all day today.  It would be a good day to hang out in the sewing room with the Weather Channel on TV, but it's Monday, so back to work for me. 

What's up on the design wall?  I finished block 11 and 12 of the Layer Cake Quilt Along that Moose on the Porch Quilts was sponsoring. 

The "blue" in both these blocks isn't really the same, the second block is really more green than blue, but for some reason the colors read the same photographically.  My block 11 isn't made according to the pattern, I made some changes there.  For block 12, I stuck with just two colors.  The layer cake I worked with had a lot of busy fabrics.  I had a hard time putting more than 3 fabrics together in a block.  Any more than 3 and pattern overload was the result.   

I'm still playing with the layout of the blocks, but here's the last possibility that I was considering. 

I need to break up the row that has all the green in it and spread those blocks out more.   

I did make some progress on the Castle quilt, but with the Easter holiday, haven't had time to get a photo of it. 

So that's it for my design wall.  Check out Judy's Patchwork Times for other design walls. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter and a Stash Report - April 24th

Happy Easter!  It will be a rainy day here today, the kids are probably going to have to hunt the Easter eggs in the house rather than the yard.  I'm sure they won't care. 

We've spent the weekend with family so not much sewing going on.  But I did make last week count.  Here's the stash report:

Used this week:  1.9 yards
Added this week: 0 yards

Used year to date:  18.59 yards
Added year to date:  16 yards

Net Used for 2011:  2.59 yards

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

I'm starting to recover from last week's fabric splurge.  I've made a lot of progress on the Castle quilt, got caught up on the LCQA, and made the binding for the Brown Bag BOM

How's your stash management going?  Check out other stash reports over at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Foto Finish Saturday - Spring Blossoms

Another cold, wet and stormy Saturday.  Well it is spring, and we need the rain.  Though I could do without the thunder, lightning, and tornadoes.  One thing about rainy weather is that the light can be just amazing and if you can handle a bit of the wet, you can get some interesting photographs.  My Guy and I, with one eye on the threatening sky, took a quick walk in the woods yesterday because the Dogwoods are blooming. 

My Guy picked this shot out of yesterday's photos for today's post.  It's not a technically great photo due to the narrow focus, but I like the "painting like" feel of this one.  My Guy liked it because it's a bit different. (I had other blooms in the line up; roses, clematis and tulips.  But as I mentioned last week, My Guy has a real soft spot for Dogwoods). 

Check out Cat Patches for more spring blooms. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where Do PIGS Come From - April 2oth

Jill over at Ramblings of a Fabric and Yarn Obsessor started a support group for those with chronic UFOism and PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks) tendencies.  This week's questions: 

  • What part (or parts) of the process of making a quilt are your least favorite?
  • The part (or parts) that you just dread and that make you throw your projects back into the dark recesses of your stash closet?
  • Have you found any tricks to break the cycle of being held up on the parts that aren't your favorite?

I've mentioned before that I really have a lack of enthusiasm for the fabric cutting part of quilting.  I have a couple of UFOs that have stayed UFOs because they need a lot of pieces cut. It's this tendency that drives me to choose BOMs.  It's a lot easier to convince myself to cut out the fabric needed for just one block each month, rather then cutting 20 strips of a single fabric, then 20 more of another just so you can make whatever.    

Do I have any tricks to break the cycle?  The simple answer is no.  I have tried using 15 minutes of most every sewing session to cut fabric for a project that needs to be finished (or even started).  That helps some, but it is a slow process.  No magic fabric cutter at my house.  How do you convince yourself to cut all the fabric for a project? 

If you want to learn more about the origin of PIGS, check out Jill's post. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - April 19th

Life happens and there was a lot happening around our place last week.  Kiddo had some evening stuff that pulled us out of the house for a couple of nights, then the out of town swim meet pretty much took up the weekend.  So as my challenge report shows, quilting happened only 3 of the last 7 days. 
 For some reason it was just hard to get motivated to do much sewing last week.  Things should be slower this week, so I should be able to get back on track.  At least, I'm going to make the effort.  I should have plenty of motivation. A quilt is ready for binding (once I pick it up from the Post Office).  I'm behind on the Layer Cake Quilt Along.  Block 11 was completed last night, block 12 is on tap for tonight.  Plus there is a new project in the works, the Castle quilt for Nora. 

I've been really motivated to finish up projects, but I'm having a hard time getting motivated to start new projects.  Which seems a bit out of sync with the rest of the quilting blog world.  Maybe it's that I really, really don't like the fabric cutting part which is the first step?  Maybe the deadline on getting Nora's quilt done will help get me jump started so I can clear that hurdle.  

How did you do on finding 15 minutes to sew?  Write it up and link it up with Mr. Linky.   

Monday, April 18, 2011

Design Wall Monday - April 18th

Despite good intentions, my sewing room didn't see much action last week.  Yard work and Kiddo's schedule are a couple of reasons.  So no changes in the design wall to share.  This next week should be better as I have Thursday off and am planning on sewing most of that day.  

I did come up with a design for the Castle quilt that is intended for a friend's daughter who was recently found to be suffering from a very aggressive type of brain cancer. 

Please pray for this little girl and her family.  Her name is Nora and she's only 4 years old.  The cancer is going to require very aggressive radiation and chemotherapy over the next 6 months. 

Check out Patchwork Times for more design walls. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stash Repot - April 17th

Last week's great numbers didn't carry over to this week.  Almost no sewing this week. Other things in life just took priority this last week.  I did order some fabric this week, I'll explain why in a bit.  Here's the numbers.

Used this week:  0 yards
Added this week:  9 yards

Used year year to date: 16.69 yards
Added year to date: 16 yards

Net Used for 2011: 0.69 yards

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

This is the first week all year that I haven't used some fabric.  My Guy was out of town most of the week which meant I had to pick up some of his manly chores.  That seriously impacted my sewing time for the week. 

I ordered fabric to make a quilt for a friend's daughter.  Two weeks ago she found out that her beautiful 4 year old daughter had a very aggressive brain tumor.  The young lady has since had surgery to remove the tumor, but now faces a long road of chemo and radiation therapy.  I want to make a quilt so she has something pretty to look at while she deals with all her treatments.  This young lady loves pink and is a girly girl.  Since Kiddo is not a fan of pink and tended to love superheros more than princesses, I don't have a lot of girly girl pink fabric.  What did I order?  Castles.


These are part of a striped fabric that also includes a row of geese that I will probably use.

and here are the coordinating fabrics:


I don't have a final design for this quilt yet, but I'm thinking 8" square blocks of the castles with some type of sashing.  I want fast so I can get this to her quickly.  Hopefully next week I'll have a little more time to work on sewing projects and can get this one started. 

To check out how other's are faring on stash management, check out Patchwork Times

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Foto Finish Saturday - Flowering Trees

It's cold, wet, and cloudy this morning.  Pretty typical of spring in Oklahoma.  It was nice this morning to go browsing through my photographs for pictures of flowering trees.   I had a hard time choosing just one shot, so I finally let my guy pick the picture for the post. 

Not surprisingly my guy picked this picture of a dogwood in bloom.  I think it's safe to say it's his favorite flowering tree.  His parents have a farm in Missouri and the dogwoods bloom  throughout the woods around his parent's house.  This picture was taken at Utica Square in Tulsa.  This shopping center has beautiful gardens, the tulips are always gorgeous. 

It's funny how sometimes a photo can bring back a memory that doesn't appear to have anything to do with the photo.  We were actually at Utica Square shopping for a new suitcase for my guy when that photograph was taken.  He had just started doing a lot  of overseas traveling.  During his first out of the country trip to Indonesia, the large suitcase he used for overseas travel was extensively damaged on a bus ride to Sumatra.  So we were out shopping for a suitcase that could handle not only 2 weeks of clothing, but also his steel toed boots, and would still be under the airlines' weight restrictions.  We discovered it's not just furniture that looks bigger when you get it home.  The suitcase looked reasonably small in the store, it looked a lot bigger when we got it home.  The new suitcase has been to Indonesia once, Australia at least twice and is still holding together. 

Have a wonderful Saturday.  Check out other flowering spring beauties over at Cat Patches

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - April 15th

It's spring in Oklahoma.  At 4:16 PM today, the following message popped up on the email at work:

"Severe weather advisories including thunderstorms, tornadoes, and large hail have been issued for the entire NE Oklahoma area.  Please use caution and stay tuned to the weather as you're preparing to leave the office and as you travel home this afternoon/evening."

Of course this sends everyone to Explorer to check out the radar.   I call to check with the mother of Kiddo's best friend to find out if her daughter was at swim practice.  She's not, but the mom tells me there are reports of golf ball sized hail one county over.  OK, that's it.  I packed up my work stuff, pulled Kiddo out of swim practice and headed home to get the newest of our cars into the garage.  Kiddo and I get home, turn on the TV to check out the radar just as the weather radio comes on with a tornado warning for our community, there's one 6 miles south and headed our way.  So this was definitely my favorite thing early this evening:

This is the storm "cellar" which is bolted to the floor of our garage.  It doesn't look like much, but it's rated for a F4 tornado.  It is definitely a nice thing to have when the tornado sirens go off.  

My guy keeps it stocked with what Kiddo and I call his "cranky" toys. The radio and flashlights are hand cranked which eliminates the need to be sure they have working batteries.  It's nice to have the radio, we have a local AM station that does a real good job of keeping up with the local Office of Emergency Planning, so you can follow what's going on. 

We got a bit of hail, strong winds and lots of rain.  Thankfully no tornado.  It even cleared off enough so that the sun came out for a bit before it set. 

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

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - April 12th

Some days finding just 15 minutes to quilt is not in the cards.   I managed to make it to the sewing room only 5 out of the last 7 days.

Wednesday was school basketball season ender, the parents against the 5th and 6th grade girls basketball team.  I played, made a basket,  tripped and fell (ouch).  By the time we'd eaten pizza, finished showers, I was just too tired to sew.  Sunday was tax day at our place (the less said on this topic the better).  Plus Kiddo and I made a 3 hour shopping expedition to the local mall.  It's been in the 80's and 90's here and Kiddo had outgrown all her shorts (Do they ever stop growing?).  I had the best of intentions, but somehow I just never made it upstairs (The margarita at dinner didn't help but it was necessary after finishing the taxes!). 

I did finish up a quilt this week (see it here), so the week was not a total wash.   How did your sewing life go this week?   Here's Mister Linky if you want to share. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Design Wall Monday - April 11th

Didn't get much sewing done this weekend.  Sinus problems put me in bed for most of the day on Saturday (the one downside to spring).  Sunday was tax day at our house, both Federal and state.  I do them using a tax software program then my guy spends the next 4 hours figuring out where every number comes (and I do mean every number) and uses the calculator to check all the math.  You might think I can sew while he's doing this, but that doesn't work.  It seems every 5 to 10 minutes he can't find the specific receipt needed or I have to explain where a number came from.  It's just easier for all concerned if I hang at the dining table with him.  But they are done, e-filed and we can move on! 

So moving on to Monday and the design wall.  All kinds of stuff up on the design wall and you've seen all of it.  No progress on the ongoing projects that are up there.  I did finish binding and labeling the Seeing Stars quilt. 

The pattern is from Country Junk'tionTrudy Lindemann did the quilting. 

I like how the stars are worked into the meander.  This is one of my favorite quilts.   I don't think I'll give this one away.  It may have to hang out in my sewing room.  I don't have a quilt for my window seat. 

Check out Patchwork Times for more design wall goodies. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Stash Report - April 10th

It was a pretty good week for sewing.  I finished the Brown Bag quilt top and also pieced the back for it.  So some significant yardage out this week. 

Used this week: 4.69 yards
Added this week:  0 yards

Used year to date:  16.69 yards
Added year to date: 7 yards

Net used for 2011:  9.69 yards

Fabric Budget:  13 yards for April to June
Bought/Budget:  0/13 yards

Warning:  It gets pretty geeky past this point.  

Last year my reports were all about how much I bought.  Those were some eye opening reports.  I bought a lot of fabric, but didn't use much in comparison.    This year the goal is to manage the stash.  With an ultimate objective of using more of my stash.  Since last week was the end of third quarter, I wanted to assess my progress.  I'm a visual person, so graphs are the best way for me to compare this year to last. 

It's hard to believe I bought over 100 yards of fabric the first 3 months of last year.  What I've bought so for this year is much more in line with how much I'm using.  I'm a little behind last year in fabric usage, but I'll catch up this month. 

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

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Foto Finish Saturday - Family

Family is the the theme of this week's Foto Finish.  As I searched for an image to post this week, I asked "What is a family?".  Most of us have the family that lives in the same house with us, our spouse and children.  Beyond that is the family you grew up with, your parents and siblings, which runs  into the extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.   There is also the family you married into with all the in-laws (and possibly outlaws).  I read somewhere that most of us spend more time with the people we work with then we do our families.  Are you lucky enough to have a work family too?   Then if you have kids, there is the school family of other parents, your child's friends and teachers.  If your kid plays sports, there is another family that you sit with in the bleachers, have breakfast with in strange hotels and have pizza with at least once a season.  

You'd think with all those kinds of family, I'd have a picture or two for this post.  It's amazing how camera shy all my "families" are.  So I'm having to look outside my family and share a shot from a family that was pretty oblivious to my camera.  

These ducks kept us entertained for quite a while.  We were on vacation in Lake Chelan and out for a walk.  Momma duck couldn't seem to decide where she wanted her charges, or maybe she was taking them out for a long walk to wear them out so they'd take their naps. 

For more family portraits check out Cat Patches.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Year of the PIGS - When You Want to Hide in The Bag

Jill over at Ramblings of a Fabric and Yarn Obsessor has asked everyone to help Libby out of her motivational slump.  The questions:

1.  What do you do when you have no desire to sew? 
2.  Do you ever get bored with your fabric and look for a different direction? 

Question 1:  This is one reason why I started challenging myself to spend at least 15 minutes every day in my sewing room.  I find that even if I don't think I feel like sewing, making myself go upstairs and spend 15 minutes at my machine will usually change my mind.  If if doesn't,  I do my 15 minutes then move on. I'll at least make some progress on my projects.    

Question 2:  I don't think I've ever gotten bored of my fabric, but I have had projects where I was just tired of the assembly process.   When I get to that point, there are two options.  I might decide to work on a project for 15 minutes every time I sew.  Or if it is simple enough, I'll try to use Bonnie Hunter's Leader and Ender technique.  I've finished projects using both approaches. 

I also usually have more than one project working at a time.  If I get stuck or tired of a given project, I'll switch to something else on my project list. 

I hope Libby found lots of great motivational ideas from all the posts.  If you are looking for motivation too, check out Jill's Year of the Pigs. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - April 5th Update

It was a good week for sewing at my house.  The weather was cold and dreary most of last week. The weekend was warm, but windy and very smoky outside.  So it wasn't hard to convince myself to get up to my sewing room for at least 15 minutes each day, well most days anyway.
Not a bad report, 6 out of 7 days I managed to fit in some sewing.  I was just too tired Tuesday to do much of anything and ended up going to bed early.  But the rest of the week made up for it.  Did you know that sewing was an energy source?  More than one night I've dragged myself upstairs thinking that even just 15 minutes was going to be hard to manage.  But once I start sewing, it's like drinking a good strong cup of coffee, that draggy feeling just disappears.    

Were you energized last week?  Did the 15 minutes challenge help you get something done?  Link up and let us know. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Design Wall Monday - April 4th

It's going to be a busy week, but I'm ready.  I was able to play in my sewing room a lot this weekend.  Hopefully my sewing induced serenity will survive the parent/student basketball game we have on Tuesday and the Swim Team Banquet on Wednesday. 

There is actually nothing up on the design wall.  However, I did have to use my alternative design space (the floor) to measure the finished 2008 Brown Bag BOM top so I could determine the dimensions needed for the back. 

I finished piecing the back (forgot to get any pictures).  The top and back are packaged ready to send off to Trudy for quilting.  I started piecing the binding for the Seeing Stars Quilt.  I should be able to finish that one up this weekend.  

That's it for my design wall (floor) this week.  For more Design Wall Monday postings, click on Judy's Patchwork Times

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Stash Report - April 3rd

Yesterday was beautiful here, sunny and highs in the 80's.  It will be warm again today, but the winds will be high (gusts to 40 mph)so it won't be as nice as it was yesterday.  Hopefully it won't be long before everyone can enjoy the warmer temps and sunnier skies.  

I did get more sewing done than was projected at the last stash report.  It was busy at work and I did work late a couple of nights.  Even so, I did manage to find a few minutes to sew most evenings.  Here is the effect on the stash:

Used this week: 1.57 yards
Added this week:  0 yards

Used year to date:  12 yards
Added year to date:  7 yards

Net Used for 2011:  5 yards

Fabric Budget:  13 yards for April to June
Bought/Budget:  0/13 yards

My yardage out is typically pretty small each week, but it does add up over time.  The fabric budget is helping me stay on track with fabric purchases.  The budget was set at the beginning of the year to be 10 yards/quarter.   I didn't spend all of the 1st quarter fabric budget, so I rolled the 3 yards left into the second quarter budget. 

That's the stash report for this week.   Now I have to move on to more complex number crunching, our taxes. 

Check out Judy's Patchwork Times for more stash busting tales. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Foto Finish Saturday - Macro

The theme for this week's post is "Macro".  If you were to review my Foto Finish and Favorite Things Friday posts, you'd find a number of flower pictures.  So it's probably not a surprise to learn that flowers are my photographic subject of choice (well Kiddo might be slightly ahead, but not by much). 

We have a number of rose bushes and this single clematis vine that winds it's way up a trellis during the spring and summer.  It's one of my favorites.  Flower centers are often drab compared to the brilliantly colored petals of the flower, but they are often very texturally rich, if you manage to capture them in the right light and angle.  I love the flower within a flower look of the clematis. The little black dots on the "petals" and the "crown" on the center are things you don't notice when you zoom out to appreciate the whole flower.   

To see more close ups, click on Cat Patches and enjoy the views.