Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 2013 NewFO

It's already the end of July!  How did that happen?  We had a lot going on this month with trips to my Mom's, My Guy's Mom's and then vacation.  Not a lot of at home time.  I knew at the beginning of the month that if I wanted to link up with Cat Patch's NewFO Challenge, I'd need to plan ahead.  Quilt number 8 on my 2013 NewFO list is Christmas Angels.  This project was also number 3 on my 2012 NewFO list, so I decided it was time to get it started.  I bought the background, red and green fabric for this project in 2012, but that was as far as I had gotten. 

I didn't have a pattern.  Finally after fooling around in EQ for a bit I worked out a two block design that I liked.  I need 60 4 patches to complete all of the  #1 blocks.  I've got about a third of them made.

So not a lot of progress, but it is at least started.  That's the only requirement to participate in the July NewFO Challenge over at Cat Patches, is to have made a start.  If you have something new going on this month, you should link up too.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

15 Minute Challenge - Good Causes Wrap Up

After a week on the road, I'm still trying to get my arms around being back home.  We had a wonderfully relaxing vacation.  Not much sewing for me but I was able to find time most days for some embroidery work before we headed out to do whatever we were going to do.  

Managing 5 out of 7 days isn't bad considering all the other distractions going on with us being on the road.  I do hope to get back in the sewing room tonight, now that the absolutely have to have laundry has been done. 

This is the last Tuesday in July, so it's time to wrap up the this month's fostering creativity challenge of "Get Involved in a Good Cause".  Getting involved in good causes can be a great boost to your creativity.  Charity groups are usually very appreciative of your efforts, which can make you feel really good about yourself, which is always a good boost to creativity.  Research shows that doing good deeds makes us happier, unless your creative muse originates from the darker end of the emotional spectrum, being happy tends to promote creativity. 

If you've never made a donation quilt, check out the links in last week's 15 Minute challenge post for some thoughts on where to find organizations that appreciate your quilts and give it a go.  I'm hoping to get my Quilts of Valor project done in the next couple of months.  I'll let you know how that goes.  In the meantime, link up and share how your efforts at finding time to stitch and be creative are working out. 

1. Pat
2. Thea
3. Marti
4. Amanda

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Design Wall Monday - July 29th

Is it really Monday?  Time flies when you are having fun.  After a week on the road, I'm ready to be home, even if I have up-teen million loads of laundry to do.  Summer vacation was our last trip before school starts.  We've been gone just about every weekend in July for one reason or another.  I'm looking forward to being home most of August.  

Since we have been gone so much, there has not been as much progress on projects as I would have liked.  I had hoped to get caught up on Judy's Back to Square One mystery quilt, but I haven't even finished up step 4.  This is what was up on design wall #2 before vacation.    

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

I've only finished 8 of the 20 square in a square block #1 for the second border.  It will be really hard to catch up now, but I'll see how it goes in August.  I really like how this project is turning out, so I'll keep working on it till it's finished.  

Now that our summer traveling has come to an end, I hope to have something new up on the design wall for next week.  Linking up with Patchwork Times' weekly design wall post as is my habit, check out all the other links to see what other quilters are up too this week.  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Stash Report - Week 30 of 2013

It's been a wonderfully relaxing week.  We finally found time in our work schedules and Drama Teen's volleyball schedule to take our summer vacation.  Where have I been?  Some place completely unlike home. 

Needless to say there has not been a lot of sewing going on this week.  I did manage to get in a bit of stitching before we got on the plane last week, so there is a bit out to report.  Vacation wouldn't be complete without checking out all the new to me quilt shops, so there is "some" incoming as well.    

Used last week:  0.1 yards
Added last week: 17.75 yards

Used for 2013:  49.43 yards
Added for 2013:  148.83 yards

Net stashed for 2013:  99.4 yards

I did a lot of checking out this week!  I found a few fat quarters:

A bit of yardage:  

The black and white tree fabric reminded me of this photo that had been taken earlier in the week.  

And one quilt kit.

This is the first quilt kit that I've ever brought home.  I usually don't like making something exactly like someone else has made, but this pattern in these fabrics was just irresistible.  

A few patterns also made their way into my shopping cart along the way.  

I really don't have plans for any of them at the moment, but with all the fabric that's coming home with me, maybe there should be!

That's it for my vacation stash report.  Hopefully next week will see an up tick in the out number, I'd really like to stay below 100 yards stashed for the year.   For more stash tales, check out Patchwork Times.  

Slow Stitching Sunday - July 28th

All my stitching this last week has been slow stitching.  We've been on vacation at an exotic locale (at least for us anyway).  

Rather than a sewing room, my stitching was done most mornings on the front porch of the cabin. 

Looking out across the fields...... the mountains in the distance.  It's been nice to have time in the mornings to start my day with a bit of handwork with that view.  Amazingly, I still made quite a bit of progress this week even with the distraction of a new place.  

There is still a lot to do, but that means I'll have lots of slow stitching Sundays ahead.  Check out all the other handy work over at Kathy's Quilts.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

15 Minute Challenge - Worthy Causes

I've taken a rare day off work and let myself sleep in this morning, so the 15 minute challenge post is a bit late today.  I tried to write the post last night, but I've been a bit short on shut eye time the last week or so.  All that kept showing up the screen was "mmmmmm"  and "chhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"  because I'd nod off while trying to type.  Hopefully, I'm a bit more lucid this morning, but don't count on it.  I'm still working on my first cup of coffee.  

Drama Teen and I weren't feeling too well the latter part of the week (we're thinking bad tacos), so my effort to sneak in 15 minutes of sewing every night wasn't very successful.  

I did manage to get in one more day this week than last week for a total of 4 days.  Now all the blocks for Mon Ami are made and squared up, so they are all ready to sew together.  Hopefully that means I'll get at least one more quilt finished this year.  Mon Ami is supposed to be a Quilt of Valor.  I've not donated a quilt since Drama Teen was in 4th grade (about 5 years ago), so I'm past due. This month's fostering creativity theme is to get involved with a good cause.  Most of July's posts have been about the benefits of donating a quilt to a good cause, so this week it's time to list some of those good causes:

Some of the best known include:  
     Quilts of Valor (or if you want to deal with a quilter involved
              with this cause try Alycia Quilts)
     Project Linus
     Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative
       Threading Hope - Works directly with non-profits and     
              foundations to provide quilts to families all over the wold.  

Plus there may be local charities that are looking for donations of quilts.  Those include police departments, hospitals, social services.  Your local guilds are probably a good way to find out about those.  Searching the web, you can find people collecting quilts in times of need, such as after the Joplin and Moore tornadoes, the Texas fertilizer plant fire, etc.  Katie Blakesley over at Swim Bike Quilt is doing a "100 quilts for Kids" drive that started July 1st and goes till the end of September.  

After I finish Mon Ami, I'm thinking about making a quilt for Project Linus.  I have some juvenile novelty prints from when Drama Teen was little that she would cringe at now.  Making a quilt or two from them would be a good way to lighten up the stash.  

What have you been up to this week?  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Design Wall Monday - July 22nd

Monday already?  Last week is a bit of a blur.  Both Drama Teen and I weren't feeling well, we think it was something we both had for lunch a few days ago.  We were both pretty much back to normal yesterday.  I did get some stitching in, but that's about all the sewing that got done for the week.  All the Mon Ami blocks are finished and up on the design wall.  

Modified from Mon Ami
by Miss Rosie's Quilt Company

I'm still playing around with the layout, the blocks with the white background especially.  I'm pretty happy with how it's looking.  The blocks have all been squared up, so that they are ready to sew together once the layout is worked out.  

I'm linking up with Patchwork Times today and hope to be able to check out everyone's design wall creations this evening.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Stash Report - Week 29 of 2013

It's raining, I mean really coming down.  We are under flash flood warnings.  That's not atypical for May, but for late July, that is almost unheard of where we live.  We can really use the rain, it's been a hot and dry July.  

I've been MIA for much of this week.  Apparently Drama Teen and I ate something bad for lunch one day last week and neither of us have done well since.  By late yesterday evening, both of us were finally feeling well enough to contemplate doing something besides laying around.  Not a lot of sewing this week as a consequence, but I did get a bit done early in the week.

Used last week:  0.45 yards
Added last week:  0 yards

Used for 2013:  49.33 yards
Added for 2013:  131.08 yards

Net stashed for 2013:  81.75 yards

So at least there is more going out than last week.  Nothing in is always good for the bottom line. The net stashed is getting less negative.  Not by much, but lots of little successes can add up to a big success.

Check out Patchwork Times for the latest and greatest stash reports. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

15 Minute Challenge - The Feel Good Effect

Tuesday came fast this week.  Monday night was more hectic than I had planned for.  Drama Teen had to teach at a volleyball clinic last night across town and will again the next two nights.  My office is having a "Sweet Treat" coffee hour today and everyone was encouraged to bring a favorite dessert.  That meant a trip to grocery store for eggs and flour so I could mix up a chocolate Coke-a-Cola cake.  So needless to say, it was a bit late before I made it upstairs to the sewing room last night.  It would have been so easy to just collapse in the recliner, but that would have made a slacker week even worse.  

Only three days in the sewing room this last week.  I guess the hot temps of last week just crushed my sewing mojo.  I hope to do much better this week, especially since this month's fostering creativity theme is "get involved in a good cause" and I'm so hoping to get my Quilt of Valor quilt to a finished flimsy stage by the end of the month.  

For quilters the most obvious way to get involved in a good cause is to make and donate a quilt or quilt blocks to a good cause.  How does being involved in a good cause help your creativity?  According to the University of California, Berkeley:
     1.  Giving makes us feel happy
     2.  Giving is good for our health
     3.  Giving promotes cooperation and social connections
     4.  Giving evokes gratitude
     5.  Giving is contagious
So how do all these things foster your creativity?   Being healthy and happy are important factors, it's a big leg up if you feel like being creative.  Studies have shown that when you give you are more likely to get back, somewhere along the line your generosity will be rewarded.  Being rewarded for your creative efforts, makes you more likely to be even more creative. Gratitude is integral to good health and happiness, so that feeds back to the first point.  Studies have shown that giving releases oxytocin, a hormone that induces feelings of warmth and euphoria.  At least for me, feeling good and being happy are big energizers, I feel like doing more and am more likely to tackle something out of my comfort zone, i.e. be more willing to take a risk in making something I wouldn't otherwise.  

How creative have you been the last week?  Have you found time to sew a bit, knit a bit or something else that gets your creative juices flowing?   

1. Julie in GA
2. Susanne
3. Amanda
4. Kate
5. Marti

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Design Wall Monday - July 15th

It was a whirlwind weekend.  We spent most of it hanging out with My Guy's family.  We all overdosed on home made ice cream. Drama Teen got her annual dose of bingo (it's a family tradition with My Guy's family).  We spent a slow Sunday morning at the farm before we had to head back home.  So a nice, though busy weekend.  

I didn't get much sewing done this last week.  One night I had a pretty nasty headache and another evening, we celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary.  So there's not a lot new going on with the design walls.  I did finish two more blocks for Mon Ami as well as finished squaring up the blocks so they are ready for sewing into rows. 

Modified from the pattern Mon Ami
by Miss Rosie's Quilt Company

Just two more blocks and this one will be ready to assemble.  I will probably play a little bit with block layout before sewing the rows together.  Hopefully this week will be a bit slower than last week and I'll have some time to stitch.  

That's my design wall for this week.  Check out others by hopping on over to Judy's Patchwork Times.  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Stash Report - Week 28 of 2013

I really didn't forget to post this week's stash report, but it's been a busy weekend.  My Guy's family always has a get together during the ice cream social at the church they used to attend when they were all little.  So we made a quickie trip to Missouri this weekend.  I didn't have a lot of time in the hotel last night or this morning as we needed to get out moving in order to hook up with everyone before we had to head home.  Drama Teen has an on-line class that she needed to be back for this evening (there was no Internet where we were hanging out).  

It's actually a pretty pathetic report.  

Used last week:  0.13 yards
Added last week:  0 yards

Used for 2013:  48.88 yards
Added for 2013:  131.08 yards

Net stashed for 2013:  82.2 yards

At least there was no incoming this week.  That was one good thing about not having a lot of time this weekend, no quilt shop stops. 

I'm linking up with Judy's Patchwork Times and then I'm going to go stitch until Drama Teen has dinner ready.  She's offered to share her mac and cheese with me.  After the huge lunch we had today, that sounds pretty good.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

15 Minute Challenge - Volunteer Projects

It's Tuesday, time to look back at the last week and see how well we did at finding even a few minutes to sew each day.  The 15 Minute Challenge started as a way to get me jump started towards finishing up some UFOs.  No matter how busy, I can usually find a few minutes to do something in the sewing room that will help me make progress on a project.  Sometimes it's no more than trim a block or two before setting them together.  More often than not, if I make it to the sewing room, an hour of productive sewing is usually a result. I just have to resist the lure of the recliner and computer.  

This was a really good week.  

It doesn't get any better than 7 out of 7 days.  Of course, last week was a holiday, so I had more time to play than usual.  

In addition to trying to find time to sew, this year was supposed to be about improving my creativity, well at least inspiring it anyway.  I'm using an Internet article, "A 12-Step Quide to Fostering Your Creativity" to explore that topic.  Step 7 is to get involved in a good cause.  The thought here is by working where you are needed and appreciated helps you feel better about yourself, thus producing better work as a result.  

One of my volunteer quilting efforts was to make a quilt for Drama Teen's school auction.  It turned out to be a real learning experience for me.  My initial vision was simple, easy and fast.  That's not what ended up getting made.  The first requested change was the inclusion of a tree somewhere in the design.  That the first of many deer in the headlights moments with this project. I don't applique and had absolutely zero interest in learning how (No offense to those who love it.  I love the look of applique quilts, just not enough to do it myself.)  After a session with the Internet, I approached the art teacher about the kids making a tree for the center of the quilt. Then I hit the parents up for photos of the kids at school and at school activities to go around the center panel.  When I showed the finished quilt to the kids, there was quite a scramble to find themselves in the pictures.  It ended up getting bought by a the parents of a young lady who was willing to give up her allowance for the next year if she could have that quilt. It didn't raise as much money as I had hoped, but it was definitely a learning experience.  And the reaction of the kids to the quilt was just so worth it. 

Have you ever made a quilt to raise money for one of your kid's activities or to support a local cause?  Was it a good experience or one you've sworn never to repeat?  

Hope the last 7 days have been productive ones for you.  Link up below to share how your sewing went the last week. 

1. Newsurfiegirl
2. Julie in GA
3. Thea
4. Susanne

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Design Wall Monday - July 8th

Our 4 day holiday weekend was relaxing.  We didn't do much, but that was OK with everyone.  But even with the long holiday, Monday comes much too quickly.  It's back to work this morning, which means a full day of meetings.  The rest of the week will be dedicated to wrapping up a major project, which means writing the final report.  Not one of my favorite things to do.  

I did get to spend a lot time on Saturday doing some stitching, which is one of my favorite things.  I had made some progress on Back to Square One, till I realized that the blocks were the wrong size.  I'm still fixing those, so there is nothing to show there.  As I was looking at the two design walls, I realized that Mon Ami was the one in progress project that could be completed without too much more work.  I hadn't really planned to focus on that quilt this month, but I do need to get it off the design wall.  So I decided to change my focus this month and work on getting it done.  Three more blocks made it all the way to the design wall.  

Modified from Mon Ami
by Miss Rosie's Quilt Company
Two of the four blocks needed to finish out the last row are on the sewing machine, partially pieced.  The first 4 rows have been squared up to 9.5" in preparation for sewing the blocks together.  I still need to do that to the last 2 rows.  Depending upon how much time I get during the week, I might get this into a finished top by the end of the month.  Probably wishful thinking on my end as it always takes longer than you think it will. Just getting it closer to finished can't be a bad thing.  

Check out Patchwork Times for more of design wall Monday.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Stash Report - Week 27 in 2013

The 4th of July holiday weekend is just about over.  If you live in the USA, hope you had a wonderful celebration.  We paid a visit to my Mom's.  It was a low key holiday, which is what we all needed. 

Since the rest of July is going to be really busy, I took the opportunity yesterday to camp out in the sewing room.  The fabric for this month's NewFO was washed and pressed, so that took some time away from the stitching, but this was probably the only chance I'd have to get that all done.  Once that was out of the way, the real sewing began, only to be derailed when I realized the square in a square blocks for the second Back to Square One border were all coming out way too big. Thankfully Judy had provided the name of the block in EQ for those who wanted to paper piece it.  I printed off a foundation block and was able to figure out how to fix the 4 blocks I had finished.  It involves some unsewing, but it won't be too bad. So just a bit out this week.  

Used last week:  0.62 yards
Added last week:  2.5 yards

Used for 2013:  48.75 yards
Added for 2013:  131.08 yards

Net stashed for 2013:  82.33 yards

Yeah, I fell off the "no fabric" wagon this week.  My Guy, great person that he is, offered to let me wander around Oklahoma Quiltworks while he went to the bike shop.  How do you pass that up?  I ended up coming home with a few things.

The OSU Quilt has been such a big hit that I'm probably making at least one more of those.  I have plenty of orange left from the last one, but not so much of the OSU print because a lot of what I had was just fat quarters.  So a yard of each of the OSU prints came home with me. The two teal fat quarters are just stash builders.  

I also couldn't resist this stitchery pattern from Meg Hawkey from Crab-apple Hill.  

Barbara over at Cat Patches has stitched up a couple of quilts from stitchery patterns and I've loved her versions.  This is definitely a pattern for the 2014 NewFO challenge as I really need to finish my butterfly stitchery before I start this one.  Which means I really need to get stitching on those butterflies.    

That's my report for week 27. Check out more reports over at Patchwork Times.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July - 2013 Year of the Finished Project

Never Too Hot to Stitch!

It's time to link up with Lynn over at Never Too Hot to Stitch and confess how well things are going with the year of the finished project.  June was a really good month for me on the finishing front.

1.  OSU Quilt                 Done                  

     Finish binding

2.  Sweet Treats             Done
     Make binding
     Sew binding on

3.  Calico Cats               Done
     Make Binding
     Sew Binding On

4.  Neutral Gems
     Make 23 blocks         Only 9 blocks completed

5.  Mon Ami
     Make 12 blocks         Only 3 blocks completed

Three quilts were finished last month, bringing my 2013 total up to five completed quilts.  Only two of those were quilts started last year, three of them were recent starts.  At least that's three quilts that will not be on next year's UFO list.  I'm pretty happy with how the finishes are going.  I hope to get one or two more done by the end of the year, but I'm not going to rush to get them.  

So what are the goals for July?  We have a busy month with a lot of family stuff on the weekends, which is my prime sewing time.  I finished up all of the quilts that I had deadlines on,  I'm thinking that it might be wise to lay back a little bit this month.  So just three goals this month.  

1.  Back to Square One
     Finish Clue 4
     Finish Clue 5
     Finish Clue 6
     Finish Clue 7
2.  Mon Ami
     Make 3 blocks
3.  Neutral Gems
     Make 5 blocks

Number 1 is a pretty ambitious goal, but it's good to have at least one "stretch goal".  Hopefully it will inspire me to keep a regular presence in the sewing room this month.  

So what are planning to work on that might get you closer to a finish on a project?  Link up over at Lynn's if you want to bask in your success or if you need moral support it's a good place for that as well. 

Wordless Wednesday - Colored Sunshine

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

15 Minute Challenge - Does it Help?

After yesterday, we are officially in the second half of the year. I didn't have any goals for the 15 minute challenge, other than to just continue it.  But now that we've passed the mid year mark, I thought I'd take a cue from my employer and do a mid year review to see where I'm at, then check if there are any adjustments to be made.  I'm one of those sick individuals who adores spreadsheets.  I track all kinds of things, like how many days I manage to find my 15 minutes each month. 

So far, I've found 15 minutes to sew a total of 155 days. By this time last year, I'd only managed 92 days.  That translates into finishing 5 quilts, when I only finished 3 all of last year.  If I finish just 2 more, I'll tie my record.  

Fabric usage is up too (which with the stash I have, is really good news).  

So I'm on track for a record year on the fabric usage front.  Now that I've finished those 5 quilts that were on my to do list, there are no firm plans for any finishes.  I'm just going to try to keep getting at least 15 minutes most days and see what happens.  I was a bit lax this week.

Only 5 days out of the last 7 days saw any action in the sewing room.  Which really isn't bad.  I don't remember why I bailed on Friday.  Last night I decided to indulge one of my other creative endeavors, I took a walk with My Guy so we could photograph some of the wildflowers growing in the open fields near us.  

Speaking of creative endeavors, it's a new month.  That means a new fostering creativity theme. The next tip in the 12 Step Guide to Fostering Your Creativity is to get involved in a good cause.  Spending time supporting a worthy cause and working with people who appreciate your efforts can go a long way towards making you feel good about yourself and what you are doing.  I always feel way more productive and am encouraged to try more things when there are positive vibes in my brain.  That's always a nice boost to creativity.  

We'll talk more next week about worthy causes.  But now it's time for you to link up and share your quilty/crafty adventures over the last week. 

1. Pat
2. Julie in GA
3. Susanne
4. Marti
5. Kate @katiemaequilts

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Design Wall Monday - July 1st

It's Monday again.  Weekends really are too short.  Oh well, I can look forward to this week.  Just three days of work and then a 4 day weekend due to the 4th of July holiday.  I'm looking forward to having a few days off.  I'm sure there will be some stitching time in there somewhere.  

Most of this week was spent on getting the binding sewn onto the Calico Cats quilt, so there's not a big change on the design wall.  However, I did get Calico Cats finished off this weekend.  

Calico Cats
Pattern is Fat Cats from the

The Quilter Magazine (July 2006)
by Lucy A. Fazely and Micheal L. Burns 
This quilt has been on my bucket list since I saw it in the July 2006 issue of The Quilter Magazine.  The original pattern was done in black, white and red.  I immediately wanted to make it blue, with delicate florals for the cats.  I'm happy with how it turned out.   Trudy Lindemann did a beautiful job with the quilting.

Drama Teen adores the "meows" that show up randomly in the meander.  The binding is the same dark blue as the outer border.

The backing is a yellow/blue/green wide floral stripe.  It doesn't match the front real well in color, but it works.  

This was finish number 5 for 2013.  Calico Cat's is the last of those 5 quilts I was trying to finish by the end of May.  I was just one month late.  Which was fine.  Even though it was late, it's new owner was still pleased with it.  

That's it for my design wall this week.  Hopefully next week I'll actually have enough new stuff up on the design wall so it's worth posting pictures.  Check out Patchwork Times to see what else is in the works.