Tuesday, June 28, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - June 28th

It's an especially nice Tuesday today.   My Guy and I are off work for the day.  We work what they call a 19/30 schedule.  If you work 8.5 hours a day on the roughly 19 working days per month, you can take the 20th day off.  You pick the date.  Other then running a car or two in for oil changes and tires, no plans.  So I'm hoping to sew most of the rest of the day.  My favorite type of day off.  

It's Tuesday, which means coming clean on how you managed your sewing time the last 7 days.  My week wasn't bad, I managed probably at least an hour in the sewing room for 6 of the last 7 days. 

I was just too tired to sew on Wednesday, which happens sometimes.  Most of this week has been spent on sewing the 4 borders for the Buck-a-Block quilt.  I should be able to finish that top today. 

Only 2 more days left in June.  On Friday the year will be half over (Why am I always shocked at how fast that happens? Are you?)   One of the reasons I started the 15 Minute Challenge was to help me meet some of my quilting goals, which I was getting way behind on back in March.  I'm actually in pretty good shape on most of my goals.   How are you doing on your goals for the year?  Is the 15 Minute Challenge helping or is it a drag on your creativity?   If you want to share your success (or rail about the evil stuff that keeps you from the sewing room), link up.  

1. Jill

2. 501quiltblocks

3. Marti

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Design Wall Monday - June 27th

It was a good weekend for laundry and sewing.  For the moment at least, I'm caught up on laundry.  I know it won't last, but you have to celebrate even the small, short lived victories in household management. 

Significant sewing happened too.  Three of the four planned borders for the Buck-a-Block quilt have been added. 

I'm happy with how this quilt is coming along. I had planned to use a print for the last border, but when I previewed that last night, it didn't work with the rest of the quilt.  So I'm going to use the blue in the last border.  I may be able to finish the top this week. 

That's it for my design "wall" update.  Check out other design walls over at Patchwork Times

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stash Report - June 26th

Wow it's the last weekend in June!  The year is just about half over.  I've been looking over my quilting goals the last week or so.  I'm not too far off target on most of those objectives.  The stash busting is probably ahead of target.  It's not going out fast, but it is going out.  

Used this week: 1.01 yards
Added this week:  0 yards

Used year to date:  28.07 yards
Added year to date:  16 yards

Net Used for 2011:  12.07 yards

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

Most of what went out went towards the borders on the Buck-A-Block quilt.  I'm hoping to get those all on this afternoon.  Then it will be time to piece the back.

How's your stash busting going?  Check out Patchwork Times for the latest and greatest on stash busting efforts. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Foto Finish - Something Blue

I have peace and quiet this morning.  My Guy is off taking wildlife photos (I choose not to brave the ticks and other creepy crawlies).  Kiddo is upstairs asleep.  So I'm quite content sitting here with my first cup of coffee while I read a few blogs, and pick out a photo for this week's Foto Finish. 

This "something blue" continues my floral and Barb's June wedding theme from last week.  But these lovely blue hydrangea aren't mine, but live far away in Savannah, Georgia.  That was last year's summer vacation.  These lovelies lived in the beautiful park that was across the street from our hotel. 

Check out other "blues" by sliding your mouse over to Cat Patches. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Favorite Things Firday - June 24th

It's not quite Friday here.  Just one more 8 and half hour day, then it will be the weekend.  It's been one of those work weeks.  My best laid plans were hijacked by multiple meetings that weren't on my calendar Monday morning.  Well, there is always next week right?

On to more gratifying topics, such as Favorite Things Friday.  Our hostess, Shay of Quilting in My Pyjamas, wrote about her new found appreciation of hand stitching this week.  Shay has some lovely hand work projects underway.  Looking at her work brought to mind my first forays into handwork, which my Grandmother called embroidery.   My Grandmother was not only an incredible seamstress, she did a lot of handwork at night while she and Grandpa watched TV.  

Her project of choice was quilt blocks.  When I was a kid, you could pick up preprinted quilt blocks to embroidery at the local Five and Dime store.  She taught me to stitch and gave me my first set of quilt blocks to work on.  Over the years I finished 3 sets of quilt blocks that she set together for me and hand quilted.  Of all the grand kids, I was the only one to follow in her footsteps there.  Grandma embroidered blocks and made quilts for all her kids and their kids.  But she never made one for me.  I can't complain, she did set together those 3 of mine.  Right before she went into the nursing home she was cleaning out the house and was looking for homes for a few of her quilts that she'd kept for herself.  I begged for one (her quilts were very popular gifts within the family).  She never realized that I didn't have one she made.  So I was lucky enough to get one of her last quilts. 

I love the setting she used for this quilt.  Since this quilt is hand quilted it doesn't get a lot of use, but I love having something Grandma did for herself because she liked it.  There was a second quilt that was in the box with this one.  Along with it was a hand written note asking me to keep this quilt in trust for Kiddo.  She didn't trust it to anyone else in the family because they were all  Republicans and might be tempted to burn it. 

My Grandmother was a staunch Democrat all of her life.  There was a running joke in the family about her love of donkeys (she had quite the collection).  In the note she said this was her "Democrat Quilt".  It's hard to see in this picture, but the border is red and blue stars on a white background. 

The donkeys are pretty cute.  This one is also hand quilted.  It's being stored until Kiddo is old enough to appreciate her family history.  

I feel very blessed to have shared a love of sewing with my Grandmother, to have been young enough and old enough to take the time to learn from her.  Grandma passed on to be with her Lord about 5 years ago.  I still miss her.  

That's it for my favorite things this week.  Thanks to Shay for reminding me of my "quilting roots".  Check out Quilting in My Pyjamas to see Shay's beautiful stitchery and other cool favorite things. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - June 21st

It's Tuesday morning and a very nice one here in Oklahoma.  It was almost cool this morning when I headed out for my walk.  We had some pretty magnificent storms last night.  Just strong wind and lots of lightening.  No tornadoes like Nebraska was hit with yesterday.  So just maybe I'll make to my car this morning without melting. 

Since it is Tuesday, it's time to review last week's sewing opportunities, or lack there of as the case may be.  I did really well last week, managing to make it into the sewing for at least 15 minutes 7 out of the last 7 days.  

There were a couple of nights I only did the minimum15 minutes.  But it still counts.  I usually try to get in an hour of sewing every night, but sometimes that's just unrealistic. 

I'm lucky that I have a dedicated sewing space.  My projects can be left in whatever state, so I can walk in and pick them up where ever they were.   Though I did discover an area where an improvement would help me make better use of my sewing time.  The week before I spent a number of evenings working on binding the Castle quilt.  When I started back on the Buck-A-Block quilt this week, my memory of what dimensions to cut the sashing strips was gone.  I do keep a notebook where all those calculations are recorded, but with all calculations scrawled across the page and it wasn't clear to me what numbers I'd actually settled on.  I finally ended up redoing the calculations again and then clearly marked the final measurements.  So I need to do a better job of documenting my cutting instructions when I'm doing my own thing.  It wasn't a lot of time lost, but this was the second set of sashing strips.  I cut the first set wrong because my calculations were off.  So it would have been nice to be sure which set of calculations were the "right" ones and not risk doing the recalculations wrong. 

How did you do this week?   Do you have any sewing habits that you need to improve that would help you make better use of your sewing time?   Link up and tell all. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Design Wall Monday - June 20th

How was your weekend?  Ours was pretty relaxed.  My Guy and I did dress up Saturday night to attend a concert.  Joshua Bell (violinist) was in Oklahoma as part of the OK Mozart concert series.  Not my typical musical fare, but it was a very nice evening. 

Significant sewing did happen this weekend in between naps.  The sashing strips for the Buck-A-Block quilt were fixed, I'd cut them too short (not sure what I was thinking).  Plus, all the setting triangles got made.   The rows were all sewn together yesterday afternoon. The setting triangles were a bit of a challenge.  This is only the second quilt I've done with an on point setting and the first with pieced setting triangles.  But the triangles fit, the top lays flat, so I'm feeling pretty good about that exercise.

I like how this one is turning out.  Now I just need to add the 4 borders.  I might actually get this one done in time for Christmas. 

That's what's up on my design wall this week.  Check out Judy's Patchwork Times to see what's up on design walls across blog land. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stash Report - June 19th

Is everyone ready for Father's Day?  I need to go gift bag up My Guy's haul for this year.  He's out on a bike ride this morning, so I have time to do my stash report first. 

Used this week: 1 yard
Added this week: 0 yards

Used year to date:  27.06 yards
Added year to date:  16 yards

Net Used for 2011:  11.06 yards

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

Most of the yardage out was used in the setting triangles for the Buck-A-Block quilt, but two blocks for the Purple and Yellow scrap quilt were completed as well.  So slow but steady process on moving fabric out of the stash. 

Check out Patchwork Times for more stash stories with Judy. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Foto Finish - Something New

It's Saturday, so it's time for this week's Foto Finish post.  I had a hard time with this one for some reason.  Barb is using the common wedding planning adage:

Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

as the theme for this month's Foto Finishes. So I did some Internet sleuthing to get some inspiration.  The  "something new" is supposed to represent optimism and hope for the bride's new life after marriage. 

After giving the "new life" part some consideration, this is the image that seemed to fit best. 

This pretty pink hydrangea grows in our kitchen under the loving care of My Guy.  Which is where the "new life" part of the story comes in.  This lovely hydrangea was gifted to me a couple of years ago on Mother's Day.  It is one of my favorite flowers.  But I have black thumbs, I kill anything potted and green within a couple of weeks. This plant was no different and it looked set to curl up it's roots and give up it's botanical spirit.  My Guy took over and nursed it back to health, so I can again enjoy the lovely blooms.   This shot was taken last week when I realized a number of his our potted flowers were blooming. 

Hop over to Cat Patches to check out other "something new" shots. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - June 17th

Another work week in the bag, almost anyway.  No plans this weekend, so time in the sewing room is a definite possibility.   Which that in and of itself is a pretty favorite thing, but I pretty much cover that in most posts.  So what is this week's favorite thing?  Have you ever gotten a gift from your guy that when you opened it you weren't real sure that you'd really use it?  I got one of those on Mother's Day this year.

This is a single cup coffee maker, which was intended to reside in my office at work.  I had been walking over to cafeteria to get my second cup of morning coffee.  Some really rough mornings, I might make that trek twice.  Mother's Day this year happened to be after a particularly bad week where the folks at the cafeteria saw me 3 times in one day for coffee and then commented about it to My Guy when we were in for lunch later that week.  So he decided I needed to be able to make coffee in my office.  Hence the one cup coffee maker.  I like the walk to the cafeteria, it's a good break about mid morning and it clears my head.  But being the good wife that I am, a home was found for My Guy's thoughtful gift in my office.  Note that My Guy's office is at the opposite end of the building from mine, so he is a frequent visitor in my office and he'd know if it never made it out of the box. 

But you know what I discovered.  Along with the coffee maker, he bought me these cartridges too.

These two little cartridges make this.

Foamy, frothy lattes.  My absolute favorite form of coffee.  I can't get that from the cafeteria.   So I guess I really have two favorites this week, My Guy and my new one cup latte maker. 

Click on over to Quilting in my Pyjamas for more favorite things. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - June 14th

I love summer.  Though I still have to work, Kiddo's schedule is a lot more relaxed.  No homework in the evenings, no basketball or volley ball games.  So in a way I get a summer break too.  I used my "extra" time well this week.  I managed to get some sewing done every day. 

Most of the effort was on finishing the Castle quilt.  A few nights I managed only the minimum 15 minutes, but that still counts.  It's all progress.   This week makes up for my slacker week last week where I ventured into the sewing room for 3 days.  

For me, the 15 Minute Challenge has been all about making a conscious choice to work on a sewing project of some sort a little bit every day.  I really do love the whole quilt making process (well maybe not the cutting fabric part), but often operating the sewing machine seems beyond me after a day at work and the evening errands.  It's so easy to park it in the recliner with the computer and cruse around blog land looking at all the cool stuff everyone else is doing.  Which is gratifying in it's own way.  But that won't help me use up the closet full of fabric that Kiddo assures me will go on eBay as soon as I kick the bucket.  

How did you do this week?   

Monday, June 13, 2011

Design Wall Monday - June 13th

It was a relaxed weekend.  It was a nice change to not have too much going on.  I did get into the sewing room both Saturday and Sunday.  The Buck-A-Block BOM is still up on the design wall.  I made some progress, but realized that I had cut all the sashing strips wrong, they are all too short.  So I started fixing those this weekend.  So not much to show on that front. 

However, I do have something to show from the alternate design space, the design floor.  I finished sewing the binding to the Castle quilt this weekend.  

This quilt is for Nora, the daughter of a friend from work.  Nora was diagnosed back in April with an aggressive form of brain cancer.  She will finish round one of radiation therapy this week.  Thankfully, the tumors have disappeared.  She will still have to undergo chemotherapy starting in late July.  Hopefully this quilt will keep her warm and give her something fun to look at while she has to undergo her treatments. 

I used the pink polka dot for the binding.  It looked good with both the front and the back.

The center panel in the back includes a digitally enhanced image of one of the castles from the front.  A picture of Nora has been added so that she appears to be looking out from one of the upper windows.  The other half of the center panel has short fairy tale written by Kiddo about a sick princess who gets well.   Kiddo wanted to do something too, so that was her contribution. 

Isn't the quilting fun?  I love the swirly hearts with the loopy flowers.  Trudy  (Keepin You in Stitches) did a beautiful job, as she always does, with the quilting. 

That's it from my design spaces.  What's up on your design wall or down on the floor.  check out Judy's Patchwork Times for more quilty goodies. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Stash Report - June 12th

This week wasn't any slower than last week, but I was able to get more done, at least on the sewing front anyway.  I'm trying not to think about what's waiting on my desk at work nor pay any attention to the piles of sorted laundry.  Work can wait till tomorrow, the laundry can sit for another hour so I can finish this week's stash report.  

Used this week:  1.05 yards
Added this week:  0 yards

Used year to date:  26.06 yards
Added year to date:  16 yards

Net Used for 2011:  10.06 yards

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

Nothing in and just a little out.  The out included the binding for the Castle quilt and some of the setting triangles for the Buck -A-Block quilt.  

That's my report for this week.  Click on over to Patchwork Times for more stash stories. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Foto Finish - Something Old

One of the things I enjoy most about coming up with a photo for the week's Foto finish post is looking through my photographs.  Sometimes when I see the week's topic, I know exactly what shot I want to post.  Other weeks, I haven't a clue and have to go foraging through the files.  It's amazing the shots you forget about, well at least that I forget about.  I suppose it's just as amazing as the shots you remember taking, even years later you know exactly where to find those few. 

This week's post required a search through the files to come up with the "Something Old".  

This is the cupola on my in-law's barn.  The barn used to be a house, but is now used to store the tractor and lawn mower.  The barn itself is over 100 years old, the weather vane is a lot newer.  I've always liked how this building catches the light.  In this shot, I especially like the contrast of the red barn against the blue sky.   

Click over to Cat Patches to see more of "Something Old".   Better yet, find your own "Something Old" shot and share it. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - June 10th

Just 8.5 hours left in the work week.  No plans this weekend, so I'm hoping for some quality sewing time and I'm pretty sure a quilt finish.  So it should be a good weekend. 

Doesn't he make you smile?  This was a Mother's Day gift from Kiddo this year.  It has pride of place on the bookcase in my sewing room.  I smile every time I look at it.  It reminds me just how lucky I am to be a mom.  It's so easy to loose that wonder in the day to day scuffle of being a working mom.  When they are little, it's getting the diaper bag ready for daycare along with getting your hair and makeup done, hopefully while they are still asleep in bed.  As they get older, it's sitting at the dining room table helping with them with "new" math that looks nothing like the old math you learned.  How many ways can you add, subtract, multiply and divide anyway? 

My baby at 3
 In the middle of the madness that is life, it's easy to forget that big hug and sloppy kiss you got when you picked them up from daycare.  To forget all the refrigerator drawings you've collected over the years (that still need to be scrap booked).  Now it's more about finding the time to just talk about whatever. About being there for her without being in her way. 

Kiddo now
 My favorite thing this week is being Kiddo's mom. 

For more great faves, check out Quilting in my Pyjamas

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - June 7th

The weatherman is saying highs yesterday were in the low 90's, but the car thermometer said it was 100 F when I got off work yesterday.  Summer has definitely arrived in Oklahoma. 

I sunk to new lows this week on spending 15 minutes each day in my sewing room. 

Only 3 days where time was spent on sewing activities.  This was a week where life did get in the way.  The biggest deal breaker was probably the two day "never ending" headache.  I can usually work through one of these periods, but in the evening all I want to do is go to bed, which is pretty much where I spent Tuesday and Wednesday evening. 

I have high hopes for this week.  The binding is made for the Castle quilt.  It just needs to be pressed and sewn on.  The young lady who is the future owner of that quilt will finish up the radiation treatments next week and be coming home for a month to rest before she has to go back for chemotherapy treatments.   Thankfully, the treatments have been working and the brain tumors are gone. 

Well that's it for me this week.  I'm hoping to do spend more time in the sewing room over the next 7 days.  How did you do this week?  Link up below and share your success. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Design Wall - June 6th

Summer is definitely here.  We had temps in the mid 90's all weekend.  Thankfully we were inside most of the weekend.  Kiddo had an out of town swim meet this last weekend.  Couple the out of town trip with the mid week migraine and you get not much progress on the design wall. 

The sashing strips for the Buck-A-Block quilt have been assembled and added to the design wall.  Hopefully I'll get the setting blocks done this week and can finally sew all the rows together. 

That's it for me this week.  This evening I'm going to hop over to Judy's Patchwork Times to check out the other design walls.  Looking forward to seeing everyone's progress. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Stash Report - June 5th

Is it Sunday already?  Somehow I've managed to loose an entire week. Does that ever happen to you?  Do you get to the end of the week and realize you have no clue what you really did the previous 6 days, but whatever it was, it wasn't on your agenda or to do lists. 

Regardless of my temporary (?) memory loss, I do know it's time for the weekly stash report.  It's a good thing I had Memorial day off or this report would really look sad. 

Used this week: 1.21 yards
Added this week:  0 yards

Used year to date:  25.01
Added year to date:  16 yards

Net used for 2011: 9.01 yards

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

The fabric out is for the sashing strips for the Buck-A-Block BOM.  The sashing strips are sewn together, but I still need to cut and assemble the setting triangles.  Hopefully I'll get to that once the binding is finished for the Castle Quilt.  Nora will be home next week after about 8 weeks of radiation treatments.  I'd like to have the quilt ready so she'll have it before she goes back to St. Judes for chemotherapy. 

Click over to Judy's Patchwork Times to check out how everyone else is doing on stash busting. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Foto Finish - Water

Oh boy, it's Saturday.  I'm ready for the weekend!  Why is it that the shortest weeks seem to be the longest?  Is it because we are still trying to cram 5 days worth of work into just 4? 

Oh well, it is Saturday, so it's time for Foto Finish over at Cat Patches.  This week the theme is water.  I briefly considered being very unconventional, but this week has worn down my adventurous spirit, so you get the conventional shot instead. 

This is main waterfall at the Botanical Gardens in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  We visited Hot Springs back in March over Spring Break this year.  It was early spring, but we were there when all the trees were blooming and budding.  It was gorgeous.  When we left for the garden we figured we'd only be there a couple of hours.  After 4 hours we reluctantly left because all three of us were starving. 

That's it for me this week.  Drop in at Catch Patches for more on the world of water. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - June 3rd

TGIF! Even though I had Monday off, this has been a long week. I'm looking forward to a few days off.  Kiddo and I have been trying to sort out her new summer schedule.  Swim practice moved from 3:55 PM to 8 AM.  And she's volunteering as a helper at the local summer camp this year, so that means changing my work hours to accommodate the change in drop off and pick up times.  It's going to take another week or so to get into the summer groove. 

Moving on to more fun topics, it's Favorite Things Friday.  I think I'm going to keep with Shay's theme of food this week.  My Guy has many talents, but one that I appreciate greatly is his love of cooking.  What I see as a chore, he sees as fun and relaxing.  He loves cook books and has about a million of them (his collection may actually be bigger than my quilt book collection). 

All things yeasty is probably his first love.  King Arthur Flour is probably the only blog he follows on any type of a regular basis.  He bakes fresh bread every Sunday.   His second favorite activity is to bake scones.  Having never had a true English scone, I have no idea how close his are to the "real" thing, but they are yummy.  One of his friends is Irish and he's said that My Guy's are pretty close to what he'd get at home.  The scones are a big favorite at work.  Though I don't think the group at work realizes he uses them as taste testers.  He's tried some interesting combinations such as mango, ginger cream, dried cherry and chocolate chip.  My absolute favorites are his date-nut scones, though the ginger cream are a very close second. 

He and Kiddo have made a deal that she has to choose the menu and help with one Sunday dinner a month.  She picks out the recipe, writes up the grocery list and then helps put dinner together.  Last Sunday, it was salmon with teriyaki sauce, sugar snap peas, rice, and fresh bread. 

Hard to complain when I get to quilt while they are cooking dinner.  But I get dish duty after dinner is finished, which works out just fine with me. 

So my favorite thing this week is My Guy's home cooking.  I think I'll keep him around for awhile longer, he's a pretty good guy.  Besides, he also makes excellent pizzas!

Check out other favorites over at Quilting in My Pyjamas