Saturday, June 30, 2018

June One Monthly Goal - Progress but no Shooting Stars

It's the last day of June, the end of the first half of 2018.  Really?  I'm not sure where the first half of the year went. Even so, today's the last day to post on the June One Monthly Goal.  

My track record for the OMG hasn't been so good in 2018.  Unfortunately, that trend continues for June, so I will not be linking up with Elm Street Quilts for the end of the month linky party. But it's not all gloom and doom, I did make some good progress this month.  

The monthly projects for 2018 were selected back in December and documented in my Quilt Plan for the year.  June's project was my oldest UFO, the Red, White and Blue Stars.  Before setting the goal for the month, I pulled out the project box and did an evaluation.  I looked at the quilt layout drafted in EQ last year.  Then measured the fabric left in the project box.  Found that there was not enough of the background fabric to make that layout. In fact, the background fabric remaining was pretty limited.  So that meant a new quilt layout was needed.  This was the result of that effort. 

So now there is a workable quilt design that needs 12 blocks. Back to the project box, there were 7 blocks finished. 

So the June OMG was to make the five blocks needed for the new layout.  Easy, peasy right?  Well apparently not, there's just one finished block as of today. 

These star blocks are a bit fiddly, so getting the first one done took me longer than I expected.  There are 2 more blocks at the sewing machine in various stages of assembly.  But they won't join this one on the design wall today as we've got family plans, so there's no sewing time in the schedule for today other than maybe a little handwork while we are visiting.  

So another month with good progress, but not enough to actually reach my OMG.  Looking back over the last three months of unmet OMG there is a pattern. It's more late hours at work and more working from home in the evenings that are leaving less stitching time.  I moved into a position with more responsibility last June and the time commitment has reduced my evening stitching to pretty much just 15 minutes most nights.  My weekend time hasn't been severely impacted, but it's rare for me not to spend a couple hours on work most weekends. So I'm going to have to figure out how to structure my monthly ambitions to fit my new reality.  

Hope you met all your monthly goals.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Weekend Stitching: A Few Finished Blocks

As usual the weekend seem to fly by.  I'm definitely not ready for Monday morning, but I'm reminding myself that it's a short week. My Guy and I are taking a few days off before the 4th of July holiday to get a few things done around the house and just generally goof off.  There will definitely be some sewing time in there too. 

I did get in some significant time in the sewing room this weekend.  All the pieced borders for Christmas Angels are assembled and attached to the quilt. 

What looks black in the photo is actually dark green.  This quilt has 3 more borders to be added, but those will not be pieced.  I just need to decide if the final border is going to be red or green.  

This month's OMG is to complete the blocks for the Red, White and Blue Stars quilt.  I finished one of the five this weekend. 

Now that I've made one and remembered how to assemble these, I've picked up the pace on the rest.  The next two blocks are in progress over at the sewing machine. 

I'm still playing catch up with the sampler blocks that are this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge project.  The third pink block is in progress, the first two are done.  

Squared Away Sampler
designed by Mari (The Academic Quilter) and Angela (Soscrappy)

The instructions for this month's teal blocks are printed off and I got as far as selecting the fabrics for June's blocks. 

If I can get these blocks done this week, I'll be all caught up and ready for July's color. 

Hard to believe that Saturday will mark the halfway point in 2018.  I'm not as far along on finishes as I would have liked, but there's been a lot of progress. It's all good.  

Linking up with:
Monday Making
Main Crush Monday
Monday Design Wall 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Week 25 of Stitching and De-stashing

Happy weekend. Mine has been fairly low key, though I have some homework that needs to get done by Monday.  Still, I was able to to get in a bit more than my 15 minutes of stitching time during the afternoon yesterday. 

Actually, the whole week turned out to be a pretty good one for finding time to stitch.

15 minutes stitching days/week = 7/7 days
15 minutes stitching days/June = 23/23 days
15 minutes stitching days/2018 = 164/174
Success rate = 94.25%

How did your stitching week go? 

It was also a good week for the stash report as I actually did enough stitching to be able to count a bit out. 

Fabric used this week:  0.88 y
Fabric used in 2018: 24.46 y
Fabric added in 2018: 18.91 y
Net fabric out for 2018: 5.55 y

I'm still in the black as we approach the mid year mark.  It certainly seems like I've not used as much fabric this year as last.  Maybe that's because most of my projects this year are UFOs where the blocks were mainly done and all that's left is getting the blocks set together. That doesn't seem to use as much fabric. Linking up with Quiltpaintcreate for the weekly stash report. 

I've also got a bit of slow stitching going on this week.  

En Provence is finally getting bound.  I'm hoping to get this one finished up before the end of the month. Getting in the sewing room for 15 minutes each day and using the One Monthly Goal to set my priorities has meant that I've made  progress on each project, but I'm not getting them all the way to finished. So I've been tweaking my work flow process to see if I can do better on that front.  Linking up with Kathy's Quilts for slow stitching Sunday this week. 

So how are you doing on making time to stitch each day? 

1. Melissa G
2. maggie f
3. Marti at Plain Stitches
4. Julie in GA
5. Meloney
6. Jennifer in Indy
7. Aileen K
8. Deana
9. Christina's Handicrafts

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Quilt Labels from Digital Media: A Tutorial

There have been a couple of requests for a tutorial on how I make my quilt labels.  I've contemplated doing that.  The dilemma has been what would the tutorial include?  I use a commercially available digital scrap booking program to create my labels, but I don't think you want to see how the program works.  So I'm going to take the approach of showing you my thought process in putting together my quilt labels.  Along the way, I'll try to explain the digital elements available, where you can get them, and how to use them in your own programs.  

I use My Memory Suite software to create my labels.  (This is not an affiliate link, I'm just sharing the link as this is the software I use).  

But you can use other programs.  I published a tutorial last year about creating printable panels and labels using Microsoft Word.  When I first started making labels, I used Microsoft Publisher as it has more tools for working with photographs than Word had at the time.  Photoshop Elements is another place you can create labels, but I'm not very well versed on that part of the program. For this tutorial, I'm going to stick with My Memories Suite and Microsoft Publisher. 

I've created a My Memory Suites file that I use as a template for my labels, mainly as it is already set up to the right size (4" X 5").  So I open the program, then open that file. Here's the starting screen:

So now I have a blank canvas.  Where to next?

Step 1:  Concept/Color

Since I haven't started on a label for this month's UFO, the Red, White and Blue Stars, that's going to be my example.  This is definitely a patriotic quilt, so I'm sticking with red, white and blue as my color palette.  Now that I have a rough theme and color scheme, what next? 

Step 2:  Select a background

I search the program library for the backgrounds I've purchased. Lighter colors usually work best, so I searched my digital paper files to find something white and came up this:

You can check Pinterest or Google for places that offer free downloadable digital papers used for digital scrap booking. Or you can find sites that sell digital scrap booking kits, that have background papers and digital elements to play with. My Memory Suite has a large number of these kits.  Prices can range from less than a dollar for a set of backgrounds to $20 for a kit by a well known digital element artist.  You do not have to have the program to use these items, you can download them as .jpg or .png files, then use them like photos in any program that supports graphics.  Or you can create your own backgrounds and elements by scanning/photographing wrapping papers, magazine papers, etc.  If I download the background papers from the My Memory Suite kit used above, this is what it looks like in File Explorer. The file was downloaded as "General".  

Step 3:  Add the text  

Once I've  decided on a background, I add the text boxes, decide on a font, and add the text.

I'll come back later and play with the font, text size and color once I've selected the other digital elements.   

Step 4.  Add the digital elements.

This is the fun part of the process.  I add and subtract elements until I like what I've got.  Very often, I'll search my element library and add all the elements I can find.  Then I'll duplicate the page then start removing and rearranging the elements.  

All the different pages created are shown along the bottom of the screen.  The first page has all the digital elements, the following pages were duplicates where I got rid of all but the elements I wanted to play with.  Here's what some of those elements look like in my File Explorer after being downloaded from My Memory Suite using the "General" file format. 

So with the backgrounds from above and these elements, I can create a label in Microsoft Publisher that looks like one from the program.  

Here's the My Memory Suite version.

The difference between the two is the red and blue stars "overlay". It wasn't an element in the kit I downloaded.  Had it been, I could have created the exact same label in Publisher.  If you don't have Publisher, Microsoft Power Point has decent graphic tools as well.  I'm not sure how well this would work in Word.  You could definitely add the background and the text.  Adding in additional elements probably wouldn't work very well.  Though I've not tried that.  If you give Word a go, please share your experience in the comments.  

That's how I create my quilt labels.  I like My Memory Suite, it has some very nice functions that speed up the creation process.  But Publisher was my go to program for many years. Over the years, I've acquired a number of photo scrap booking kits, so I have lots of purchased backgrounds and elements to play with.  I've also created labels using elements created from my own photographs. That takes more time, but it can be worthwhile if I'm after something very specific. Creating your own elements is definitely another tutorial.  

Monday, June 18, 2018

Weekend Stitching: Lots of Little Stuff

The weekend went way to fast.  I didn't spend as much time in the sewing room as I had hoped.  The Scientist in Training needed to do some shopping for her dorm room Saturday, then on Sunday we took My Guy out for ice cream for Father's Day and ended up wandering through a local nursery as he wanted new plants to replace the ones done in by the Oklahoma sun.  Oh, but My Guy did resolve my electrical outlet power problem.  He reset the breaker, so I'm back in business there.  Apparently, I didn't push it completely to the off position. 

There's no big leaps and bounds to show off from the sewing room.  Christmas Angels is still up on the big design wall, not much change there. I'm still assembling the pieced borders.

Christmas Angels Pattern by Kate

Two of the three pink blocks for Squared Away are up on the small design wall. 

  Squared Away Sampler
designed by Mari (The Academic Quilter) and Angela (Soscrappy)
The 2018 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Project

 I changed the orientation of the inner HSTs, I didn't like the original block lay out.  There is one more pink block that needs to be started.  The fabric has been chosen, it's just not cut out yet. 

Everything else is lined up in front of the sewing machine waiting for the next round of chain piecing. 

There's two of the red, white and blue star blocks under construction, segments of the pieced border for Christmas Angels, and then the sawtooth stars for Inverted Star's pieced border.  So there's been progress, just nothing that's really photo worthy.  

Linking up with:
Monday Making
Main Crush Monday
Design Wall Monday

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Week 24 of Stitching and De-Stashing

My Guy is headed out the door for a bike ride, his version of a Happy Father's Day.  The Scientist in Training is still asleep.  She'll head back to school later today.  It's been nice to have her home this weekend.  She and I ended up on an impromptu shopping expedition yesterday afternoon, which was a lot of fun.  Between that and the late afternoon headache, not as much got done in the sewing room as I had planned, but that's OK.  It still was a good week overall in terms of finding at least 15 minutes to stitch each day. 

15 minutes stitching days/week = 7/7 days
15 minutes stitching days/month = 16/16 days
15 minutes stitching days/year = 157/167 days
Success rate = 94.01%

One night wasn't actually spent stitching, but figuring out how to move things around in the sewing room after a storm took out all the power receptacles in it. I'm using electrical outlets from the adjacent bathroom and the hallway. A trip to Lowe's for longer extension cords may be in the cards, depending upon how long it takes us to get an electrician out to the house.  Last time we needed one to redo the wiring the squirrels chewed through, it took us about 4 weeks to get someone here.  

In terms of stash busting, not much of that happened this week.  

Fabric used this week:  0.35 y
Fabric used in 2018:  23.58 y
Fabric added in 2018:  18.91 y
Net fabric out for 2018:  4.67 y

At least there wasn't any incoming stash this week.  Linking up with Quiltpaintcreate for the weekly stash report. 

Hope you had a great week of stitching and stash busting. Here's Mr. Linky so you can share how things went. 

1. Melissa G
2. maggie f
3. Aileen K
4. Julie in GA
5. Susanne
6. Christina's Handicrafts
7. Shasta

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Stitching Scrappy Stars

Happy Saturday!  This week really seemed to drag, I'm glad to have finally made it to the weekend. I'm definitely ready for some sewing room therapy. So it's good that I found a few workarounds to cope with the power problem.  Tuesday morning we had a very severe thunderstorm roll through our area.  It took out a lot of trees and damaged some roofs.  According to co-workers the lightening took out a few TVs and computer routers.  It also took out one of our cable boxes and the power to all the electrical outlets in my  sewing room.  The storm tripped the breaker and apparently caused enough damage that it can't be reset.  I've been waiting on My Guy to get home from a business trip to take a look, but I'm guessing we are going to need an electrician.  Thankfully the lights are on a separate breaker that was unaffected.  There is a power plug just inside the door in the adjacent bathroom, so for now a long extension cord is providing power to the sewing machine and I've set up the old ironing board closer to another outlet in the hall to have power for the iron. Not an optimum set up, but it's at least workable.  

I've been trying to get caught up on my Rainbow Scrap stitching.  It's been slow going this week, but I did finally finish off all my yellow sawtooth star blocks from April. 

These blocks will become a pieced border for my Inverted Star project. I've gotten a start on the pink Squared Away sampler blocks from last month, but don't really have anything to show there yet.  No progress on this month's teal blocks at all yet.  

The SIT is home and had friends sleep over last night. Since that rules out getting any housework done, I think I'll go sew.  But first, I'll link up with Soscrappy for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge report. On Sunday, there is Oh Scrap to out check too.  

Monday, June 11, 2018

Weekend Stitching: Empty Nests

It's amazing how quiet the house was after the Scientist in Training left for college.  I know that's the new norm and we'll only see less and less of her from here on out.  Even though we knew it was coming, it's still going to take a while to get used to it.  Thankfully I had plenty to do in the sewing room to keep me busy the rest of the weekend.  

June will be half over by the end of this week, which means the year will soon be half over.  It's been pretty productive year, there has been progress on all the projects on my list.  But there's only been one finish so far this year, the SIT's Geek Chic quilt. I was hoping for at least 8 finishes for 2018.  Obviously a change in strategy is needed if I want more finishes. So this week the focus has been on doing what's needed move a few more quilts closer to finished.  The binding for En Provence is pieced, pressed and ready to be sewn on.  

The label is finished, but needs the framing strips before it's ready to go onto the back.  That should happen this week.  En Provence should be a finish before the end of the month. 

The Magnolia Mystery quilt has been finished since February, but needed to be prepped for quilting.  That's my least favorite step in the whole quilt making process, so no surprise that it's the one easiest to put off.  But I bit the bullet, cleared off cutting table and spread out the flimsy for it's final pressing and de-threading. 

  Magnolia Mystery by Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs

Three hours with the iron, lint brush and the small scissors yielded a back that was clear of any dark green and purple threads that might show through after quilting. 

Now both the flimsy and backing are ready to be boxed for mailing to Trudy for quilting. 

Not the most exciting design wall subjects, but necessary steps in order to move projects along.  I should get at least En Provence finished this month.  The Magnolia Mystery quilt probably won't get finished till July.  That's OK, the goal was for the end of the year.  

Next up?  I'm not sure. Both Vintage Dresses and Christmas Angels need the final borders added and backs pieced.  Since Christmas Angels is still up on the design wall and has pieced borders that are already laid out, it will probably be next on my "get it finished" list. 

You can find more exciting design walls below. 
Monday Making
Design Wall Monday
Main Crush Monday

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Week 23 of Stitching and Destasthing

The Scientist in Training headed back to college yesterday, so we are back to being empty nesters.  It was so quiet in the house after she left.  It takes a bit of getting used to.  The sewing room got quite a work out yesterday as I was adjusting back to the new normal.  Not that it's been completely neglected this week, finding time to stitch wasn't quite the challenge it has been. 

Though once I got there, 15 minutes was about all I had a couple of nights.  Still those 15 minutes add up. 

15 minute stitching days/week = 7/7 days
15 minute stitching days/June = 9/9 days
15 minute stitching days/year = 150/160 days
Success Rate = 93.75%

Scroll to the bottom of the post for this week's linky party.  Hopefully you had a great week too. 

Now the stash report is another thing all together.  Yes I made it to the sewing room and some stitching happened, but nothing made it to the point where I could count any fabric as going out.

Fabric used this week:  0 y
Fabric used in 2018:  23.23 y
Fabric added in 2018: 18.91 y
Net fabric out for 2018:  4.32 y

The local quilt shop tripped me up this week on the other side of the stash busting equation.  They had a sale on end of bolt yardage, so I took advantage and added a few neutrals to the stash. 

The red print is for this month's One Monthly Goal quilt.  There's still more fabric out than in and I'm still under my 20 yard allowance for fabric in for 2018.  Meaning, I'm still on track with the stash busting goals for this year. But I'll have to work hard to stay on track on limiting the incoming fabric.  Linking up with Quiltpaintcreate for the weekly stash report. 

You can link up here for this week's 15 minutes to stitch report. 

1. Meloney
2. Julie in GA
3. Shasta
4. Mary-Kay
5. MartiDIY
6. Aileen K
7. Christina's Handicrafts
8. Shasta

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Saturday Sewing?

So far Saturday has been hanging out with My Guy and a cup of coffee.  Then a second cup of coffee, laundry and a bit of quilty prep for later today.  But first, the Scientist in Training is trying to get her stuff packed and loaded up so she can head back to college for summer school. It wasn't her first choice, but she couldn't find the class she needed offered at any of the local colleges. Going this summer puts her back on sequence with her math classes, so she'll have the requirements for all her science classes next year.  I hate to see her go, so I'm sure there will be lots of sewing time this afternoon to cheer myself up.  

There's a bit of quilty prep needed this morning so I'm ready to go this afternoon.  I finished the binding for En Provence early this week, then realized I hadn't printed out and washed the label.  I've been going back and forth on a different name for En Provence and finally just decided that name is staying.  So decision made, time to print the label.  Well no it wasn't.  I've had working copies of a label made since last October, so you'd think a tweak or two and it would be ready to print.  Not so.  Here's where I left things last October. 

For whatever reason, this label wasn't working for me this morning.  Looking at what else was in the file, the very first effort drew my eye. 

This is really icons of Paris, so yes France, but not related to Provence.  That didn't work for me either.  So what now?  Start from scratch of course.  The backing provided the inspiration for the final label. 

The lighter labels do not fade as badly as the darker ones do, so I tend to be happier with those.  Plus the colors in this label will really stand out from the backing.  Now to print it, soak it in water to remove the excess ink and let it dry.  These labels dry pretty fast.  If I get it done this morning, it should be ready to use this afternoon. 

The other item on the sewing agenda today is to make an attempt to get caught up on the Squared Away blocks, this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge project.  The fabric for last month's three pink blocks is selected. 

I did get a few triangles cut from the background fabric last night.

Hopefully I can get caught up with the pink this weekend so I can get started on this month's color, teal.  

Linking up with Soscrappy for this week's Rainbow Scrap Challenge Post.  

Monday, June 4, 2018

Weekend Stitching and June's OMG

The Scientist in Training is all moved into her dorm room now.  That ended up taking most of the weekend. Due to an inoperable toilet in her room, we ended up having to stay most of Sunday afternoon.  I was glad we found that problem before we left, the SIT would have had a very rude surprise when she showed up next weekend to start classes.  That delay meant there wasn't much stitching going on this weekend as we didn't get home till 7 PM yesterday.  But I did have lots of time on the drive home to think about what June's One Monthly Goal was going to be. 

I knew what the project was going to be as the quilt plan for 2018 was laid out back in December of last year.  The real decision is determining how much I can actually get done on this project during the month.  The plan for June is to work on my oldest UFO, the Red, White and Blue Star blocks. 

These blocks were started as part of a class on constructing them.  So there wasn't a plan at the start, I just started making them.  With no plan, it was hard to determine what the next step was for this project.  So last August I worked out a final setting. 

Turns out there are two problems with this setting.  The first is a design consideration, the star points between the two different blocks do not match up and that bugs me.  Second, there's not enough blue fabric left to make this layout. I had planned to cut off two rows and make a square quilt, but I really prefer my quilts to be longer than they are wide. So while sitting around waiting for the maintenance guy to show up to the SIT's dorm, I played around in EQ and came up with this version.

I've got enough of the blue background fabric to finish this layout and only five more star blocks need to be constructed.  That should be no problem. Before we left on Saturday, I selected the fabrics to make another seven blocks.

Now to pick my favorite five from the set and make those blocks.  All that's left to decide on is what's the goal for June. I've been struggling with making my goals this year. Work has been crazy and life seems to have other plans for me than spending time in the sewing room.  As much as I'd love to get this project to finished flimsy stage, the goal this month is to just finish the five blocks needed for the new layout. If more gets done, then all the better. 

Linking up with the:
One Monthly Goal
Monday Making
Main Crush Monday
Monday Design Wall

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Week 22 of Stitching and De-Stashing

Hard to believe it's already June and almost half way through 2018.  Finding time to stitch has gotten harder for me as the year has progressed.  I'm hoping that that situation gets better soon.  It's amazing how hard it can be some days to find both the time and the energy to get in my 15 minutes of stitching.  

I didn't quite manage it this week.  

15 minute stitching days/week  = 6/7 days
15 minute stitching days/May = 29/31 days
15 minute stitching days/June = 2/2 days
15 minutes stitching days/year = 143/153 days
Success rate = 93.46%

There was one day I couldn't find the energy to climb the stairs to the sewing room after a long day at work.  Still, I'm maintaining a better than 90% success rate. That's the goal for the year, so I'm still on track. How are you doing at finding time to stitch most days?  You can share your success by linking up below.

The stash busting has been a bit slow.  The main goal in May was to get Christmas Angels assembled.  The fabric for those blocks has all been counted.  I did get one of the pieced borders attached to the quilt so that's all I got to count as going out this week. 

Fabric used this week:  0.23 y
Fabric used in 2018:  23.23 y
Fabric added in 2018: 7.25 y
Net fabric out for 2018: 15.98 y

I'm track to use more than I've purchased.  That's the goal for this year, so things are going in the right direction. 

I'm spending the weekend helping the Scientist in Training move into her dorm for the summer semester.  None of her roommates are doing summer classes, so she opted for a dorm room for one. The girls she roomed with during the fall/spring semesters did a great job of dividing up who brought what for the bathrooms and common areas.  So there were a few things we had to pick up for her summer accommodation.  She'll be moving into an apartment with 3 other girls for the fall, so she's tried to think ahead to what will work in that space as well.  I'm hoping to get in some sewing time this afternoon.  We've got one last thing to pick up today and then we'll head back home.  I'm hoping to get some stitching time in this evening.  

Have a great week.  Link you below if to share how well you did at finding time to stitch last week. (I'm still massively behind on emails and blog reading, I hope to catch up on last week's linky party before the SIT is up and around this morning).  

1. Melissa G
2. MartiDIY
3. Aileen K
4. Shasta
5. Mary-Kay
6. Christina's Handicrafts
7. Deana

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Friday, June 1, 2018

May 2018 Wrap Up

Hooray for Friday!  The week back to work after vacation is always a bit of a madhouse, so I'm glad this one is over.  I've had a nice little nap in the recliner this evening.  So hopefully that means I'll have enough energy to go stitch for a bit once I finish this blog post. 

In addition to being the end of the week, it's the start of a new month.  So how did things go in the sewing room last month?   I didn't reach my One Monthly Goal for May.  

So that's a bit of a disappointment.  I really shouldn't be, there was a lot of progress for a month where work took over my evenings one week and we took a family vacation for another week.  The May OMG was to get this stack of blocks into a finished flimsy.

The flimsy not's finished, but all the blocks got sewn together. 

Christmas Angels Pattern by Kate

Plus the one of the pieced border strips is attached and almost all the blocks are made for the rest of the pieced border.  I'm just missing 4. There are two more borders after the pieced one. So the quilt isn't as far along as I had hoped, but it's definitely farther along than at the beginning of the month.  Progress is good.  

There was progress on Vintage Dresses too.

 Vintage Dresses by Charise Randell

All the rows are sewn together. Now that borders have been worked out, it's time to audition some fabrics.  

The last bit of progress was getting the yellow blocks for the Squared Away Sampler finished. 

 Squared Away Sampler designed by Mari (The Academic Quilter) and Angela of Soscrappy

But there's been no progress on the pink blocks for May.  The color for June is teal and turquoise, so now I'm two months behind on this project.  

Considering how crazy May was, it's amazing that anything got moved along.  I'm hoping that June is a lot calmer and provides the opportunity for more stitching time.  Have a great weekend.  I'm off to figure out what's the priority list for June.