Tuesday, September 27, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - September 27th

It's the last Tuesday in September.  Friday will be the last day in the 3rd quarter, leaving just 3 months left in the year.  Every year it seems this time of year comes faster and faster.  It's time to get really serious about finishing (starting?) quilts intended for Christmas gifts.  I have 4 more I'd like to finish.   I'm going to have meet my goal of spending at least 15 minutes in the sewing room every day between now and Christmas to get all of those 4 quilts finished.  How about you?  Have some quilts or other crafty gift ideas you want to finish up for Christmas?   Interested in participating in a Count Down to Christmas version of the 15 Minute Challenge?  Leave me a comment and let me know.  

So how did this week go?  I did the same as last week, 5 days where I managed to spend at least 15 minutes in the sewing room.

Vanessa over at the Whirling Butterfly inspired me to try something a bit different this week for my 15 minute challenge report.  She has some amazing digital scrapbook pages on her blog. 

I got going on the binding for the Buck-a-Block quilt.  I'm in the process of hand sewing the binding to the back.  It's such a big quilt, that's going to take me a while.  I also fussy cut all the 5.5" squares needed for the Geisha quilt and got started on piecing that one.  I've made a little progress on the purple and yellow quilt, but not much.  I spent the same time in the sewing room this week as last week, but this week feels like it was more productive. 

How did you do this week on finding time for your crafty endeavors?  Link up and let us know. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Design Wall Monday - September 26th

It's Monday again.  Which like most things that happen every week, it has it's good points and it's bad points.  It's back to work for many of us.  This Monday is also "The Big Day" at Chili's Restaurants.  Today the chain will donate 100% of it's profits to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  A friend's 4 year old daughter has been at St. Jude's for the last several months undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer.  She started her last round of chemo yesterday.  If you aren't aware, at St. Jude's no child is ever denied medical treatment because of a family's inability to pay.  The hospital covers what insurance doesn't.  So if you are eating out today, considering feeding both yourself and helping St. Jude's continue the treatment of and research into children's cancer by eating at Chili's.  Kiddo and I are headed there this evening after volleyball practice.

Moving on to today's topic, the design wall.  I didn't have anything up on the design wall last week.  That's not quite true, the purple and yellow quilt is up, but it hasn't changed much since the last time I showed it.  I did start on a new project last week.  The first step was fussy cutting 29 squares.  Yesterday I was finally able to start piecing. 

I didn't get very far, but it's a start at least.  This project is one of my PIGS (projects in grocery sacks).  I've had the focus fabric for this quilt for several years, it has just taken me a while to come up with a pattern that I liked that would showcase it. 

That's it for me this week.  To see more design walls, check out Patchwork Times

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Stash Report - September 25th

Our crazy schedule has hijacked my sewing time this month.  Kiddo's schedule is lighter this week, but I'm still wrestling with deadlines at work, so it may not help much.  I have been sewing just a bit, but I've already counted the yardage as out.  So my stash report is not that exciting this week. 

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

Used year to date:  47.05 yards
Added year to date:  60.25 yards

Net stashed for 2011:  13.2 yards

I have started working on a new project, but I'm still in the fabric cutting stages, so nothing to count yet.  September may turn out to be a bit of a bust, but I can hope that October will look better.  On the positive side, nothing in.  So at least I'm not loosing ground. 

Bounce over to Patchwork Times to see who is busting and who is stashing. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Foto Finish - Autumn

I'm kicked back in the recliner this morning, a quilt over my legs (yeah, it's cool enough to need one) and a cup of coffee within reach.  Kiddo has a swim thing this morning, but not until 10:00.  So Mom has a chance to catch her breath this morning before getting in gear for the day. 

Autumn is the theme for this week's Foto Finish.  The temps have definitely fallen here over the last couple of weeks, so it feels like fall.  But the leaves don't usually start changing until the first or second week in October.  It was so dry this summer, it's not likely we'll have a beautiful fall this year.  Last year we spent fall break in Missouri at my in-laws.  It was beautiful there, the trees were spectacular.  So spectacular that sometimes you feel disappointed when you look at your photos because you can't quite capture the grandeur of it all.  But this shot came close. 

I love the all the golden yellow with just the hint of the blue sky in the background.  One of my favorite things about fall is the bright blue skies we often get.  Not at all like the washed out pale blue skies the color of old washed denim we get in the summer. 

To see more of Autumn, check out the links over at Cat Patches

Friday, September 23, 2011

Favorite Things Friday

TGIF!!!!  I am so ready for it to be Friday.  Though with deadlines looming, I'm going to have to work some this weekend.  Even so, I should be able to make time for some R&R and hopefully a little sewing.  In fact, I've already fixed when my sewing time will be this weekend as I do most weekends, during Sunday's NASCAR race. 


Why NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing)? My Dad didn't watch a lot of TV, but he as a big time motor sports guy.  Given the chance, he'd watch Indy car, stock car, motorcycle dirt track, or motorcycle cross country.  If it had at least 2 wheels and an engine, he'd watch.  Since I was a big time daddy's girl when I was little, I'd sit and watch the races with him.  It was our hang out time for about as long as I can remember. 

I quit watching once I started working during the high school years, weekend time was money making time.  But I discovered when I was in graduate school that a NASCAR race was something I could put on the TV that would allow me to drown out my noisy neighbors but would play in the background so I could still study, well at least until someone crashed.   I've watched on and off over the years.  When I started quilting, I got interested again.  It's something I can turn on the TV, let it hover in the background and sew until something interesting happens. 

The NASCAR Sprint cup race has become known in this house as Mom's sewing time.   So how can that not be a favorite thing? 

For more favorites things, check out whose linked up over at Quilting in My Pyjamas

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - September 20th

I believe in living life to the fullest, but having a full schedule can be draining.  The 15 Minute Challenge came about as a way to help me find time to sew in a busy schedule and it's worked pretty well.  However, with the current demands on my time due to work projects, Kiddo's schedule, and absence of the guy I usually share the load with, it's been too easy to say I'm too tired and just not make the effort.  I did better this week then last week in finding the time to spend in my sewing room, even though my stash report and design wall don't really support that. 

A total of 5 out of 7 days is pretty good.  Thursday's are going to be hard due to Kiddo's volleyball games.  This Friday won't be as busy as last Friday and I'll be more motivated over the weekend to get some new stuff going in the sewing room.  So maybe I'll manage 6 days next week. 

How did you do on your personal sewing challenge?  Link up and let us know. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Design Wall Monday - September 19th

It's Monday, the start of another busy week.  Sunday was a day of rest around here, well at least it was once laundry was done.  I did spend some time up in my sewing room,  but not much got done.  Flurry has been sent off for quilting, I'm still working on assembling the blocks into rows for the purple and yellow scrap quilt and trying to square up the Buck-a-Block quilt so I can put the binding on it.  So nothing is up on the design wall. 

I decided to join in the Fat Quarter Stars Quilt Along being hosted by Moose on the Porch Quilts.  I like BOMs, especially if they have a deadline.  I'm more time efficient if I know it has to be done by a certain date.  The fabric requirements call for 16 fat quarters and some yardage for sashing and borders.  Checking my stash, this acquisition from last year seem to fit the bill. 

This is After Hours from Connecting Threads.  I really like the red fabric with the white flowers, which will be the border.  I've not made anything in this color palette, so it will be fun to play with these and see what comes together. 

I also found that Jackie over at Canton Village Quilt Works is doing a BOM.  I haven't decided if I'm going to do that one or not.  It's supposed to be a scarp quilt with pieced 8.5 inch blocks.  I've not done a BOM with smaller blocks, so it's tempting.  I may wait and check out the first couple of blocks before I decide yeah or nay, then just catch up if I decide yeah. 

Hopefully my blank design wall won't be that way for long.  If you want to see full design walls, check out Patchwork Times

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pieces of the Week - A Rainy Day

The week in images

Stash Report - September 18th

Another fast week.  I know that time does not change, but it sure seems like it speeds up when we get to this time of year.  Maybe it's because the daylight doesn't last as long. 

I'm looking forward to just being home today, we've done a lot of running this week.  Consequently, not much sewing going on.   I did finish the binding for the Buck-A-Block quilt and that's all I was able to count as going out this week.

Used this week: 0.57 yards
Added this week:  0 yards

Used year to date:  47.05
Added year to date:  60.25 yard

Net stashed for 2011:  13.2 yards

Nothing in though, which is good.  Still, I'm going to have to get in the sewing room more if I want to get back to the black.  August and so far, September, have been pretty dismal in terms of fabric going out. 

Happy Sewing this week.  Check out Patchwork Times for more adventures in stash busting. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Photo Finish - Look Up

I have just a few minutes to post this morning.  Kiddo has a volleyball tournament today.   I've been MIA in blog land this week in terms reading and commenting on everyone's posts.  Kiddo's volleyball/swim schedules and deadlines at work that are requiring some overtime are keeping me from checking out how everyone is doing.  It should get better next week (I hope).  So my apologies.  I hope everyone had a great week.  

Barbara has picked "Look Up" for this weeks Foto Finish theme.  Any photography how too book will tell you to change your perspective and camera angle.  I very often just don't think to do that.  But one night Kiddo remarked how much she liked looking up at this building, so I looked up too. 


I walk by this building at least 3 times a week.  But it took Kiddo's remark to make me to look up, walk back to the car to get my camera and take the shot.  The sky that day was overcast, so it looks like the building just ends in nothingness (that's not Photoshopped, it really looked that way). 

That's it for me today.  I need to go fix sandwiches and the like since we won't have time to go hunt for lunch during the tournament today.  Have a wonderful Saturday.  Check out all the other shifts in perspective over at Cat Patches. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - September 16th

I know it's Friday, but it sure doesn't feel like Friday.  I guess that's because we have a busy weekend in front of us.  I'm hoping to get to sew some on Sunday.  Keep your fingers crossed there, with My Guy out of pocket and out of the country, there is just more to do than usual. 

Enough gloom and doom, it's time for Favorite Things Friday.  Numerous posts over the summer lamented our extreme summer time highs.  For example, just a little over 2 weeks ago:

We had weeks of high temperatures like that.  Here's the forecast for the rest of this week:

Yesterday's high was 63 F.  It was so cool compared to the most recent highs, they couldn't regulate the building temperature fast enough and I had to use my space heater in the office.  It seems like forever since you could walk from the door of my office building across the parking to the car and not feel like you'd melted (complete with little puddles of water which pooled at your feet if you quit moving for very long).  Not to mention, having to open the car door for a full 3 minutes to let all the hot air out just so you wouldn't burn your lungs from the first breath you took inside the car.   I visited parts of my closet yesterday that haven't seen my face since June, I needed long sleeves.  Kiddo says it's not fall till the leaves fall off the trees (that actually happened in July for some of the trees around here), but it sure felt like fall yesterday.   

So my favorite thing this week is fall weather.  What's yours?  Check out all the other favorites this week over at Quilting in My Pyjamas

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - September 13th

I'm not sure where the last week went.  But it is Tuesday.  Time to look back over the last week and contemplate how many times I climbed the stairs to spend some time in the sewing room.  Before I do that, there is a another item that needs to be addressed, the winners of the blogiversary give away.  I pulled up the good old random number generator and the lucky two are:

Melinda of Melinda Quilts ETC

Congratulations to both of the winners.  Thanks to everyone for all the good wishes and fun comments on blogging. 

Moving on to this week's 15 Minute Challenge report. 

I was thinking that this week was pretty bad in terms of sticking with the challenge, but 4 out of 7 days isn't too bad.  I didn't do a lot of sewing this week, but I did spend quite a bit of time working on organizing my fabric stash.  I've had fabric stuck in totes all over the place.  It's hard to see what you have when you it's stored that way.  I got a shelving unit for the closet and have been able to get rid of the totes.  I'm now working on folding all the fabric consistently so it fits better on the shelving.  It is a lot easier to see what I have, plus I won't make as big a mess when I'm looking for things.   The organizing is a work in progress at the moment, it's going to take me a bit to get it all sorted out, but it will be worth it once it's done. 

So how did you do on spending time in a crafty manner this week?  If you feel like sharing, here's Mr. Linky.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Design Wall Monday - September 12th

It was a busy weekend.  Kiddo had two volleyball games.  Plus My Guy had to pack for his 4 week trip to the UK, which meant laundry needed to be pretty much done by Sunday mid morning.  Add in a bad case of lethargy for most of the week and the result is not much going on in the sewing room. 

I did finish the backing for the Flurry quilt.  Typically I don't pay much attention to the back of any quilt,  but a couple of weeks ago Marg (Sunshine?Paradise?) was lamenting that she didn't have enough backing fabric for her Flurry top.  That started a whole email exchange of ideas of what could be done to remedy that without buying any new fabric.  The idea of making the back look like one big Christmas present came out of that exchange.  Turns out my choice for backing fabric was a bit short as well, so I used EQ to see if that design idea would work with the fabric I had in the stash.  This is the result:

I like how it turned out, though I wish I'd had enough white to switch the red and white in the "ribbon" and "bow" parts.  This quilt is intended to be a Christmas gift for someone, so I think I'm going to make the quilt label look like a gift tag. 

The Flurry project was done as a quilt along with Marg (Sunshine?Paradise?), Larri (Seams Inspired) and Shay (Quilting in My Pyjamas).  It was a lot of fun seeing how the different fabrics in each quilt gave a different dynamic.  That's one of the things I've missed the most about not being able to take quilt classes, being able to see how others interpret the project.  So thanks Marg, Larri, and Shay for the inspiration, the fun and for letting me play along. 

For more design wall goodies, check out Judy's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pieces of the Week - Sun Rise

The week in images

Stash Report - September 11th

It's been a fast week.  I did work in my sewing room a lot this week, but most of it was organizing my stash not sewing with it.  What sewing I did do was on projects where the fabric has already been counted as outgoing.  The Flurry back is done and I've been working on sewing together the blocks for the purple and yellow scrap quilt.  So the report looks about the same as last week.

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

Used year to date:  46.48 yards
Added year to date:  60.25 yards

Net stashed for 2011:  13.77 yards

I will have fabric out this week, I've already got the binding cut for one quilt.  Now that Flurry is ready for quilting, I can get busy with another project.  Not sure which one that will be as yet.  I could start work on the one Kiddo wants or the one for my niece.  Either way I need to get busy if I want them done for Christmas.

Pop over to Judy's Patchwork Times for more stash talk. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Foto Finish - Yellow

I've been sipping my first cup of coffee and screening images for today's Foto Finish post.  Once I've got my image for the day,  I'll open up Barbara's page to confirm I've got the right theme and then write my post.  So today's photo was selected before I saw Barbara's. 

Obviously Barbara and I have similar preferences in our choice of subjects.  These Black Eyed Susans were part of the landscaping in the park that circles Lake Chelan, our vacation destination a couple of years ago. Usually I go for a close up shot of a single flower, but these flowers just begged to be part of  group shot.

To see Barbara's sister image and other sun colored images, check out Cat Patches

Friday, September 9, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - September 9th

It's been a long week, even though I only worked 3 days of it.  Why are those short weeks are so much worse then a regular work week?  So TGIF (squared).  

It's time for Favorite Things Friday.  Upon reflection, I concluded that my last few FTF posts have been rather materialistic. I do like my pretty things, but there are some other favorites that you can't buy.  In no particular order, things such as: 

  • A freely offered hug from Kiddo just because Mom had a bad day.
  • Having lunch with just My Guy. 
  • Being able to watch the sun come up from my office window.
  • A fresh, hot cup of coffee brewed and delivered to my sewing room by My Guy just because I asked. 
  • Having dinner out on the patio. 
  • Stopping for cherry cokes because Kiddo has had a rough day and seeing her smile come back as we sip and talk.  
It's a simple list, but any one of the above can make my day.   

Have a wonderful weekend.  To check out more favorites, check out Quilting in My Pyjamas

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

15 Minute Challenge - September 6th

It's Tuesday and I'm off work today.  My Guy and I decided to extend our Labor Day weekend by taking our 19/30 day today.  Since he's leaving for the UK on Sunday for at least 4 weeks, it was either use the day off or lose it.  We've got stuff to do this morning, but I'm hoping to be able to sew some this afternoon. 

Did you get any sewing in over the last week?  I did a fair amount on Saturday with my personal sew-in.  That kinda makes up for the 3 days I didn't spend any time in the sewing room. 

I am counting the time I spent yesterday organizing the sewing room.  It needs some more work, but I at least got rid of all the bins I had been using and got everything moved to shelves or drawers.  I was getting tired of moving all the bins around trying to find my fabric.  So I finally went to Lowes yesterday and bought a new shelving unit for the closet.  Much better.  Now I just need to fold all the fabric neatly so it all stacks nicely.  I'll probably work on that some this afternoon. 

That's my effort for the week.  How did you do last week?  You can count whatever time you what to count, it's all about what you think is important to you in getting the crafty things done that you want to get done.  Here's Mr. Linky, link up and let us know how it went. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Design Wall Monday - September 5th

Happy Labor Day to those in the United States.  Hope you've been able to celebrate the official end of summer with family and/or with a little sewing over this three day weekend.  I've done both over the weekend, so today will be my "labor day" as I've put laundry off for as long as I could. 

I took Saturday as a personal quilt retreat day and managed to get quite a bit done once I tidied up the sewing room a bit.  The yellow and purple quilt (pattern by J. Turner and M. Rolf) is being sewn into rows.  I'm almost half way done with that. 

I've also been working on the backing for Flurry (by Kate Spain), but no pictures of that project just yet.   

I'm going to enjoy one more cup of coffee before I get going on my labors for the day.  While I do that I'm going to check out all the other design walls over at Judy's Patchwork Times

P.S.  Please help me celebrate my 1st Blogiversary by clicking here. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pieces of the Week - The Blues

The week in images

Stash Report - September 4th

I was a total delinquent yesterday and spent most of my day in the sewing room.  (Well I did wash one load of jeans because My Guy asked very nicely if I would).   I did some much needed organizing and quite a bit of sewing.  Though it doesn't look like much on the stash report. 

Used this week:  3.39 yards
Added this week:  0 yards

Used year to date: 46.48 yards
Added year to date:  60.25 yards

Net stashed for 2011: 13.77 yards

I'm almost done with the back for Flurry and the rows for the purple and yellow scrap quilt are going together pretty quickly. I've been piecing the scrap quilt rows as leaders and enders.  It does go fast, probably because there are no seams to match between blocks. I may just finish the scrap quilt this month.  I've already counted all the fabric as used, but making the back will but another dent in the stash when I get that far.

I'm going to go get my second cup of coffee and wander over to Judy's Patchwork Times blog to see how everyone else is doing on their stash busting efforts. 

PS. Today is the 1st Blogiversary for Life in Pieces, you can help me celebrate by clicking here

Life In Pieces Blogiversary

Today is my first blogiversary!  Wow, it's been a year since I typed a few words in this little window in Blogger and hit the publish button for the first time.  Since then, I've met the most amazingly talented group of women.  Women who quilt, knit, take breathtaking photographs, and are willing each week to share of themselves in their blogs.  Women who have challenged me to become a better quilter, photographer, writer, and person.  Women who have also supported and encouraged me when the getting better part didn't happen.  Thank you.    

So now for the fun stuff, a blogiversary give away.  Just leave a comment on what you like best about writing your blog or reading other blogs.  I'll use a random number generator to select two winners.  Each will get one fat quarter bundle containing 18 Connecting Threads Batik fat quarters. 

Here's a better picture of the fabrics in each bundle. 

I'll run the random number on Monday the 12th and will post the winners on the September 13th's 15 Minute Challenge post.  If you have the 15 Minute Challenge button on your blog, leave me a comment stating that for a second chance to win. 

Thanks for making the first year of Life in Pieces so much fun. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Foto Finish - Things on Four Legs

When I first saw Cat Patches' topic for this week's Foto Finish, no picture came to mind.  Since we have no pets (I'm allergic to animal dander), I wasn't sure my selection of photos of things with four legs would be very extensive.  Thankfully Kiddo has always enjoyed the zoo, so we make the trek in that direction fairly frequently.

His/Her four legs may be short, but these guys can move when they want to.  This one was gracious enough to strike a nice pose for the camera.  

When I saw this week's theme, my thoughts first went to 4 legged animals.  As I was writing this, it came to me that there are other things with four legs, such as chairs, tables, cars (Tires are their legs. OK maybe that one stretches it a bit).  What do you think of first when you hear "things on four legs"? 

Wander over to Cat Patches for more things on four legs. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Favorite Things Friday - September 1st

Occasionally, I get the urge to shake up things for myself.  It's easy to get into a rut.  I'm not usually into jewelry.  I have some very nice conservative pieces that I typically wear to work as part of my "professional" look.  When Kiddo and I were shopping for Grandma (my Mom) for Mother's day last May, a pair of earrings caught my eye.  Not my typical style, that's for sure.  When I picked them up to take a closer look, Kiddo said those would be really cool for Aunt LP (my sister).  "What's wrong with Mom buying them for herself?".  Kiddo's eyes were the size of plates, "No way Mom. Those earrings are not you at all.  They are too colorful. You should stick to the boring stuff you've been wearing."  Wouldn't you take that as a challenge? 

These bright, bold flowers made their way to the counter and into my shopping bag.  They certainly brightened up my attitude and my wardrobe this summer.  I liked these so much, that I asked for "fun" necklaces for my birthday.  Nothing expensive, just fun, colorful stuff to wear to work.  My family certainly obliged. 

From my (my more colorful according to Kiddo) sister:

From Kiddo

  From My Guy

He apparently thought this one was too tame and that he needed to come up with something even more fun.

I haven't quite found the outfit that goes with this one yet.  It's very sparkly, very big and very heavy. 

So my favorite thing this week is fun, colorful jewelry.  Can't wait to see what ends up under the tree at Christmas. 

For more favorites, check out Quilting in my Pyjamas