Monday, September 29, 2014

Design Wall Monday - Still Bordering

It was a wonderfully relaxing three day weekend.  Though I'm still not ready for it to be Monday.  Last Friday, Drama Teen was told by her physical therapist that she could dump the last crutch and walk on her own.  Which she did on Saturday by attending an all day picnic with her friends.  She paid for all the walking she did at the picnic since she was almost too sore to walk yesterday.  DT still has some work to do to get herself back to full strength, but she's made some really good gains.  She's thrilled to be off the crutches.  

Since I took Friday off as a mental health day, there was a lot of time spent in the sewing room.  Not all of the time there was spent on stitching.  I've got a pile of washed fabrics to press and then there are scraps to cut up into usable sizes.  I did both some ironing and cutting in addition to working on the borders for Scrappy Stars.  
Pattern is Folk Art Christmas Stars
by Robyn Pandolph

The first two borders are done and I made a start on the third.  The plans call for a total of 5 borders to make it large enough to fit a queen size bed.   This quilt was started in 2003, it's my oldest UFO.  When I pulled it out of the box and starting working on it again, I wasn't sure I'd like the finished quilt.  I typically prefer brights, but this project has grown on me, especially once the blocks were all sewn together.  

That's it for me this week.  There are more design wall's linked up over at Patchwork Times

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Stash Report - Week 39 of 2014

Wednesday will start the last quarter of 2014.  That means I will soon have to wrap up my accomplishments for the year at work.  Since my thoughts are already headed in that direction, I've been doing some thinking about my quilting accomplishments for the year and what I might want to change.  Starting with the stash report as that's what's on my mind this morning.  

I've been tracking my stash additions and subtractions for 4 years.  

It's a pretty simple graphic, what was bought, what was used, and the difference.  My job requires me to analyze a lot of data and make draw conclusions from it.  This one is pretty easy. 

I don't think that's going to change any time soon.  Obviously 2015 needs to look more like 2011 than 2014.  On the other hand, a lot of my purchases this year have been of tone on tone blacks and whites to use as backgrounds.  I've also filled in some of the colors I don't have much of.  Finally, most of my purchases this year have been made when fabric has been on sale.  Retirement is looming and it's hard to think that I'll regret having made these purchases when I'm living on retirement savings.  

Still, a bit of moderation next year is definitely called for. I could also do a better job of using up fabric.  That's really what I want to focus on in the future.  That probably means the 15 Minute Challenge is coming back next year, but probably not in the same format.  The challenge helped me get into the sewing room on a more regular basis and I definitely need some motivation in that area for 2015.  

So here's my plan for the rest of 2014.  Focus on fabric out, so that's all I'm going to report on my weekly stash reports.  The large incoming has become a big distraction for me, so though I'll continue to track it, I'm not going to focus on it.  Second, I'm going to work to find 15 minutes most days to get in some stitching time.  From experience that will help with using more fabric.  So starting on October 1st, I'm going to work on that goal. I'll report back on the 16th of October as to how it's going. 

Is anyone interested trying this experiment with me?  It would be a great way to get and stay focused on any holiday stitching you need to do now rather than having to find time closer to Christmas to finish all those gifts.  Let me know if you want to give it a try by leaving a comment.  If there is enough interest, I'll host a linky party so we can encourage each other. 

Oh yeah, the stash report.  

Used the last 3 weeks:  1.23 yards
Used in September:  1.23 yards
Used year to date:  20.49 yards

Let's see if I can make it to 40 yards out by the end of the year. For more stash stories, check out Patchwork Times.  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - A Little Orange Finally

It's been a month since my last Rainbow Scrap Challenge Post.  I knew I was behind, but hadn't realized by just how much.  My mental health day yesterday was pretty productive.  All the orange scraps were dug up, cut up and sewn back together until two of the blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler were finished.

 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler
By Angela Feldbush of Soscrappy

The third orange block is partially assembled and I've gotten a start on this month's orange Inverted Star.  As for the butterfly block, orange was the one color that got made as part of last year's challenge. 

Scrappy Butterflies
Block is available in EQ 7 Block Library

I'm hoping to finish all the other orange blocks today.  Hard to believe it's almost October. I've not spent much time with this month's color, but still I'm looking forward to seeing what color we'll be playing with next month.  

Check out all the fun orange projects posted at Soscrappy.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Much Needed Mental Health Day

August and September have been stressful months around the Life in Pieces homestead.  Things are starting to calm down a bit, though we are far from being back to what passes for normal around here.  Our work schedule allows us to take one day of our choosing off each month.  I've got a lot that needs doing at work, but My Guy suggested that I was probably in need of a sanity day.  If he's suggesting I need one that means it's probably past time.  So I'm home today with plans to do nothing but putter in the sewing room and hang out on line for a bit.  So that's my something to "whoop, whoop" over. 

The other "whoop, whoop" worthy item is that the sewing room has been cleaned up (I even dusted the blades on the ceiling fan).  The roof damage incurred in a storm just after Labor Day weekend required me to move a bunch of stuff out of the sewing room (that post is here).  So it just made sense to do a bit of deep cleaning and rearranging before I moved it all back.  So I'll get to spend my mental health day working in almost spotless conditions.  Since those conditions aren't likely to survive the day, I wanted to show off the space before it started to look more lived in.  

You enter the sewing room from the east, the design wall is set up across from the door on the west wall.  The door to the left of design wall is the closet.  It didn't get included in the clean up, that's a project for another time.  Scrappy Stars is still up on the design wall waiting for me to measure for the first horizontal borders.  

Along the north wall is the shelving that holds all my WIPs and in use fabrics as well as the TV.  The file cabinet holds fat quarters.  Next to it is my computer desk.  There is a little nook to the left of the computer desk, the books cases contain a mix of books from my fiction authors and notebooks filled with quilt patterns. 

The east wall has the door to the sewing room (left) and door on the right leads to Drama Teen's bathroom (the door is closed for good reason).  The bookcase has my quilting book collection.  

The cutting table and smaller second design wall are set up along the south wall.  Hopefully by the end of today there will be something up on the second design wall. The tubs hold fabric that needs to be washed, pressed and put away.  I'll get to that at some point, that's a project for another weekend.  

The sewing machine is in the middle of the room facing the north wall. The desk is one we picked up from Ikea when we lived near Houston, TX.  I had planned to finish it, but it works just fine unfinished.   

It's nice coming to work in a clean space.  Hopefully I can get all the borders on Scrappy Stars today and get caught up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I haven't even had time to get all my red scraps from July put away.  That will have to happen today so I have some place to put all my orange scraps.  

Have a lovely weekend.  I hope you have your own "whoop, whoop" moment today.  You can see more Friday celebrations over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Design Wall Monday - Ready for the Borders

I'm not ready for it to be Monday.  It was a beautiful weekend, but it just went so quickly.  Things are starting to get back to what passes for normal around here.  Drama Teen has started walking without the crutch, but she still has a significant limp.  

The last couple of weeks haven't been very productive on the stitching front.  The sewing room is all cleaned up and put back together after our minor flood. I've not been able to spend a lot of time in it since.  All the rows of Scrappy Stars did manage to get sewn together in spite of my limited stitching time. 

Pattern is Folk Art Christmas Stars
by Robyn Pandolph

The top has been trimmed up since this photo was taken so it's all ready for the borders.  I'm pretty happy with the layout.  The light blocks aren't white, but are a very pale beige.  Those were the most difficult blocks to decide where to place them in the layout.  I finally ended up going with a symmetrical layout for those blocks, random just didn't work well.  

That's what's up on my design wall this week.  Hopefully all the borders will get added this week and I can move on to something new.  To see what's gracing other design walls, check out Patchwork Times.  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sad News

It's been two weeks since I last posted, read a blog or even answered much email. For those who follow my blog routinely, you know that Drama Teen has been recovering from surgery to repair her ACL. That's been a rocky road for her, as function doesn't come back immediately.  It's hard to be young and unable to do such simple tasks such as getting on the bus after school.   

An even harder blow came on the 11th.  My slightly zany, much beloved mother-in-law passed away.  Her funeral was this last Thursday.  Though we all knew her diagnosis was terminal, none of us thought it would happen this quickly.  Everyone had anticipated at least one more holiday season with her. 

My MIL loved tulips, her spring beds always inspired a lot of photographs.  She loved photographs too, we spent a lot of time during our visits passing around everyone's photographs.  I'll miss those times the most.  

It will be awhile before we find a new balance, but we are all working on it.  I've missed seeing what everyone is up too.  I'm slowly catching up reading everyone's blogs, though I'm not commenting much on the older posts.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Design Wall Monday - A Finish Finally

Weekends never seem to be long enough to fit in all that I'd like to get done.  Since the sewing room was deconstructed due to the storm damage last Monday: it seemed like an ideal time to give it a good cleaning and reorganize a bit as it got put back together.  I didn't get all of that done, but made good progress.  

Drama Teen is still recovering from ACL surgery.  She's getting more mobile everyday, but her knee still hurts quite a bit.  She spent a lot of the weekend catching up on homework and with her friends

That's Jigsaw she's covered up with.  I put the last few stitches into the binding and label late Saturday night.  You can't tell from her face, but she was thrilled that it was all finished.  She renamed the quilt Pieces of a Rainbow.  

Pieces of a Rainbow
Pattern is Jigsaw
 by Alyssa Clancy for Lehmann Quilting

It's an apt name.  I have a whole new perspective when I see a quilt that has a rainbow or color fade theme.  You have to demo a lot of fabrics to get something like that right.  It was a fun, though sometimes maddening, challenge to get the colors to flow like I thought they should.  

Trudy Lindemann did a gorgeous job on the quilting.  She matched the quilting thread to the colors in the quilt.  

 Which worked really well on the back.

This is only my second finish for the year.  I hope to finish up Scrappy Stars and maybe one other quilt before the end of the year, which is coming up faster than I'm ready for.  

That's it for what's finally off the design wall and finished.  Check out Patchwork Times for more design wall Monday posts.  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Stash Report - Week 36 of 2014

Life is slowly returning to normal after the chaos of last week.  Drama Teen continues to improve after knee surgery.  Hopefully she'll be able to shed the crutches by the end of this week.   Most of the week was spent trying to find a roofer to either replace the shingles that we lost during the thunderstorms last Monday or at the very least put up a tarp.  We did finally find someone local who was able to come out Friday morning and replace the shingles.  We had heavy rains Friday night, so it was a great relief to have the roof fixed.  

Not a lot of sewing got done this week because my sewing room looked like this. 

The leak was directly over the green trash can in the center of the photo.  We were able to get most of the water out of the carpet and My Guy was able to get into the attic and remove the wet insulation.  Since we were concerned that the drywall in the ceiling  might fall if it kept raining, the sewing machine got moved into the hallway. 

All the fabric storage that could be moved, was also relocated to the hallway.   

It stayed this way until yesterday.  I didn't want to move anything back until we had the roof repaired and knew that it wouldn't leak anymore.  It's not all put back, but I made a start yesterday.  

So the only fabric out this week is the binding for Jigsaw which was sewn on last Sunday.  

Used last week:  0.62 yards
Added last week:  0 yards

Used in 2014:  19.26 yards
Added in 2014:  332.68 yards

Net stashed in 2014:  313.41 yards

That's the state of my stash.  For more on stashes around the world, check out Patchwork Times.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tuesday Archives - Fussy Cuts

It's been an interesting 12 hours at our house.  We had massive thunderstorms roll through last night with 70 mile per hour straight line winds.  This storm did some major damage in our small community.  School is out because there is no power.  They just released everyone from work because there is no water pressure as the city water plant also lost power.  To top that off we lost a couple of rows of shingles off the roof and with the heavy rains this morning, there was a nice puddle of water in my sewing room.  Thankfully it was in the middle of the floor and not over my sewing machine, fabric, or books.  However, now we are scrambling to find a roofer and  are desperately hoping for a few days with no rain. 

So I'm writing a post as we wait for a roofer to call us back.  We've done all we can do till it stops raining.  I think the rest of my day may be spent dealing with wet insulation. 

Today's picks for the Tuesday Archives sponsored by Valerie over at Val's Quilting Studio are Flannel and Fussy Cuts.  I've yet to make a flannel quilt, but I do have a couple of quilts where I fussy cut my center squares.  One is Charming Christmas Cardinals which I blogged about back in May.  But there is another fussy cut quilt that I've never blogged about.  It was my second finished quilt, the first where I adapted a pattern to fit the fabric I was going to use. 

Back when Drama Teen was just a little Kiddo, she loved The Little Mermaid.  She was the only Disney Princess DT liked at all until Mulan came along a few years later.  I had just started quilting  when she asked me for a quilt for her bed.  When the Little Mermaid fabric appeared at one of the quilt shops near my sister, I knew just what to make for her.  

The Little Mermaid
Modified from the pattern Triple Rails
by Ursula Reikes published in the book
"Even More Quilts for Baby"

DT (aka Kiddo) asked for an all blue quilt, but Arial's red hair just begged for for the addition of that narrow red border.  She opened the quilt as one of her presents for her 6th birthday.  

As you can tell from the picture, she was very happy with the new quilt for her bed.  Her love affair with this quilt lasted till she was about 9.  At that point she decided she was ready for something a bit more sophisticated.  For now, The Little Mermaid is put up in the closet waiting for the time in the distant future when DT has her own little tomboy.  

I have about 12 inches of binding to stitch and then the label to add to the second quilt I've made for DT's bed.  Jigsaw should be done today, maybe.  I'll definitely need something soothing to do after wrestling with insulation.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Design Wall Monday - Almost a Finish

Happy Labor Day.  If you are in the US, I hope you are enjoying your three day weekend.  Hard to believe it's the first of September, three quarters of the year is over, just 4 months left.  It will definitely go fast.  

Drama Teen is still working on recovering from ACL surgery on Friday.  It's been a challenge to balance medication doses to control the pain and minimize the associated stomach upset.  She gets a little better each day.  I was able to find some time yesterday evening to get up to the sewing room and the get the binding sewn to the front of Jigsaw and begin the hand stitching to the back. 


The backing is just as bright as the front.  Drama Teen is looking forward to me finishing this up.  It's been three years in the making.  I should be able to finish up the binding today.  

That's it for my design wall today.  I'm linking up with Patchwork Times as usual for Design Wall Monday.