Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Too Much Snow, Too Much Cold

We ended up with a five day break due to bad weather.  First freezing rain, then lots of snow.  And it's bitterly cold outside.  I don't get anything done when everyone is home.  Somehow I managed to get everything off my to-do list done last week; probably because I got most of it done prior to Friday. This week is not looking good.

Here's what I've accomplished in the creativity department.

I finished one mini quilt's worth of blocks for Bubblegum Kisses.
I am working on the second group of blocks.
I needed some more design boards.  These are made using Lori Holt's instructions.  I used all batting scraps.  I bought some inexpensive fabric for the bindings.  I measured, sewed, cut....and still ended up about three inches too short.  😞  I really don't know how this could happen.  The other crazy thing about these is the amount of hot glue I went through.  My last stick is in the glue gun and I'm not convinced it's even enough to tack down the binding on the last board.  I used more than 10 sticks on these eight boards.  That's more than a stick a board.  CRAZY!
I'm making a small amount of progress on the cross stitch.
We made a decent amount of progress on the puzzle this week.
Have a happy, productive week.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Clean Start to the New Year

My kids are back to school, my husband has been back at work for a week, and I am starting to get more things accomplished.  

My big project right now is deep cleaning the house.  I was really embarrassed when I saw how dirty my windows were last week, and looking around, everything needed help.  We are basically done with the drywall sanding now, so I feel like I can give everything a super-good, thorough cleaning and it won't immediately be covered in drywall dust (even though the registers downstairs are blocked off and the stairwell is taped off with plastic sheeting as well).  

As a side note, the drywaller rep came back last week to patch the mess they made and asked me to walk around the basement with him because he couldn't see why so many things were marked and that he couldn't see anything wrong with any of it.  He had the nerve to tell me that visible seam ridges at the joints are just how drywall is.  By visible seam ridge I mean a protruding line about 1/8" tall and 1/8" wide sticking out of the tape at the joint. Anyway, he had to call his boss (father), get more materials, and get a helper, but most of the things were fixed.  I truly don't feel we got our money's worth on this job based on how much labor we also put into it.  :(

Anyway, back to the cleaning. So I am doing one room per day and really cleaning every nook and cranny.  It's not fun, but it sure looks wonderful when I am finished.  And one room per day feels manageable and still leaves time for other, more fun things.  

In sewing news, I finished piecing the Pixie Noel blocks I was working on for the last month or so.  That leaves five more blocks to piece, then top and border assembly.  I find this one a bit tedious, so I had to move on to a new project in between blocks.

I started working on the Bubblegum Kisses Lori Holt mini that I'd been saving.  I didn't like how the original pattern wasted a lot of background fabric and also had cut off points when assembling the blocks.  So I attempted to use math to figure out how to cut squares into triangles that would solve both issues.  The first attempt was too small--I'll blame my husband since he was the one who told me what size.  You can see that block below. I got the correct size, 3.25",  worked out.  This leaves a little bit of trimming to square up the block afterward and also makes the block a bit larger than the pattern called for.  But it avoids the cut off points, which would have driven me crazy.
I had seen a post on Instagram of someone's finished product, along with a table runner, mini mini, and a rope bowl too that they had made from the original kit.  Cutting carefully, you can make double the amount of blocks plus have some scraps to make a basic mini mini.  Using my background fabric carefully and purchasing an additional 1/2 yard means I have plenty to make two minis from the original pattern.  I used a different binding fabric and then just purchased another fabric for the second binding along with some backing fabrics.  I am waiting on my extra background, binding, and backing fabrics to arrive before I completely finish.  I made it a week into the new year before purchasing fabric!  Ha ha.  But it's to finish a work in progress, so it's all good.

I finished most of this cross stitch.  I still have to attach all the beads, but can't remember how to do it.  This one will be turned into an ornament.  It was supposed to be done for Christmas, but now I'm just ahead for this year's gifts!
Since I haven't gotten anything quilted and have nothing to bind due to drywall and paint, I started another cross stitch for my evening project.  Any guesses as to what it is? 
I gave three quilts as gifts for Christmas.  I think my sister-in-law was most appreciative.  She sent me this photo of the quilt on their guest bed.  It made me feel good.  I was also surprised it fit on a bed since I thought of it as a throw quilt.
My guild is starting a WIP/UFO challenge this week.  It runs until June.  I would love to finish up many of my WIPs.  Reality, probably won't, but at least it's sort of a goal/competition to maybe motivate me.

Oh, and we made a small amount of progress on the puzzle.  :)
Finally, I found a good recipe for healthier mashed potatoes.  I used three of the large, bulk produce baking potatoes for this.  They turned out really well.
Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Random School Break Stuff

I hope your new year is off to a great start.  Are you making any resolutions for the year?  Or perhaps selecting a word of the year?  I don't select a word of the year or make resolutions per se, but I usually set some goals for myself.  I usually don't end up accomplishing said goals, which makes me feel bad, even when I accomplish other things I didn't plan for.  So this year I am just going to go with the flow.

I rarely accomplish much during school breaks, especially when my husband takes leave at the same time.  We did get the new drywall in the basement primed.  Then we went back and spot-lighted it to mark all the bad spots.  Depressing.  I tried to tell the drywall guy that it was really horrible and he refused to fix it before a layer of paint was on.  Well, now it's even worse because we had a bunch of seams pop up and a bunch of nail pops too.  This on top of the horrible waves and dents they left everywhere.  So now we can't progress until they come back and fix everything.  (Hopefully they actually return--and soon.  😔)

It's been super cold for a good week now--too cold to spend any time outside.  Some of my windows are iced up.  Then it gets a little warmer or the sun shines on it and the ice melts and floods out the trim. Closely inspecting the windows to make sure I've cleaned up all the water tells me that I really need to spend time doing detail cleaning on them.  No pictures of this because I am too embarrassed.

Santa brought the kids several 1000 piece puzzles.  I think we selected the very hardest one to start.  Manufactured by Ravensburger, it is a panoramic picture of London at night. It is about three feet wide!
This sewing project has been spread out on my cutting table for the better part of a week with nothing happening.
I spent some of my Christmas money on some longarm rulers from The Quilted Pineapple.  They arrived yesterday.  Now I just need a better ruler table for the Juki and some time to play with them.  I also need to finish peeling the paper off of them!

Finally, new year, new planner.  This year I (with a lot of help from my husband) made my own pages.  He set up Excel files for each month.  I decided I wanted a week on one page layout this year and made my own simple ones using a table in Word.  Today I need to cut and punch them to go into my Arc half-size.
I am in love with the new space sets from American Girl!  I will definitely have to add some to my collection.

I will leave you with a recipe recommendation this week.  Last night I made this potato soup and it was soooooo good!  And pretty low-calorie for a cream-type soup.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2017 In Review

This year I wanted to finish more quilts.  I didn't do as well as last year, but I had more responsibilities outside my sewing bubble.

I finished nine large quilts and six minis.  I gave away nine of the 15 quilts I finished this year.  I also finished several cross stitch projects (and gave away one) and one knitting project.

I had also hoped my sewing room would be finished, and it's not, although it's definitely further along than at the start of the year. We are hoping to start priming this week.

My big accomplishment for the year was losing 25 pounds.  I'd like to go another 15.  We'll see how it goes.

Goals for 2018:  finish the sewing room, finish more half-done projects, start a long arm quilting business, lose a few more pounds.

I hope your holiday season was nice and that your 2018 is filled with peace & prosperity.
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

My Son's First Quilt

My elementary-aged son decided that he wanted to do all the sewing for his teacher's gift.  I did a little bit of the rotary cutting--he tried, but couldn't make the cuts.  I guided him on what to do for each step, but he did the drawing, scissor cutting, most of the ironing, and the sewing.  I helped him attach the binding, but he ran the sewing machine.  I think he did a great job!  I did sew the label on the back because he didn't want to try hand sewing.  The finished product is about 7" x 9".  The pattern is based on one by Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts.
I'm in a lot better place this week than last.  Everything is ready for the holidays.  My wonderful husband helped me set up the shirts to be embroidered, so it took just over four hours with both of us working on them.  I finished up the fish quilt and am just waiting for a sunny day (between now and Sunday!) to get a finished picture.  It's been so dark and gloomy lately.
 I finished up this Kaffe top too.  I'm considering trying to get quilted today.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Guild Mug Rug/Coaster Swap

My guild met last week and we exchanged the coasters/mug rugs.  Here's the one I made for my partner.  It definitely fell into the large mug rug category.  I used Cotton Way's Bobbin Box pattern as a base and used Bonnie & Camille Basics for the fabrics.

I received the cutest hexie-shaped coaster.  It's perfect because the fabrics and colors are all ones I love and it's also something I would never make for myself.  
We also had the gift exchange.  Here's most of what I included in my gift.  Not pictured is one more pattern and a pin.
Here's what I received.

I was quite happy that the mug and my mug rug match.  Nice coincidence.
In other news,  I'm so relieved that Alabama came through.  I feel a small amount of hope from this.

Also, I finished up the fish quilt top and quilted it yesterday.  I had a moment (or ten) of panic when I thought I broke my bobbin case with a row and a half left to go.  I thought the bobbin was empty, so I went to pull it out of the case and the check spring fell out too.  After reading posts in the FB group about it, I finally found a description of how to reinsert it that made sense.  Whew! Disaster averted.  I started binding last night and only have about 380 inches left to go.  I have 10 days.  No sweat, right?

I was feeling good about it until I realized that I still have to embroider 10 shirts and make a teacher gift in that time or less.  I can do this.  I can do this.  I can do this.

At least the decorating and wrapping is done.
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Finally, Some Breathing Room

We have now officially ended our FLL season.  The boys won the Innovative Solution award at the Southern state competition, but were not selected to move forward with the Global Innovation Award.  They were in the top 13 teams in the state, and one of the youngest.  So it's an honor, but we're still disappointed that no reason was given why they weren't selected.  I am proud of this year's team because the kids did the work.  We also had the opportunity to do a little outreach in our community last night.  It was a lot of fun and we're hoping to do more.

This is the first free Wednesday night we've had since July.  I almost don't know what to do with my time.  Ha ha.  Of course I jest because I have a to-do list a mile long.

My quilt guild meets this week and we will be exchanging our mug rugs and also having a gift exchange.  This leads me down a path a bit...the intent of the exchange is for each person to bring one nice gift and then we exchange them by drawing a number and selecting a gift from the pile. Each person after number one has the option to draw a new gift or take someone else's already opened gift.  

What do you call this kind of exchange?  It was labeled first as "Dirty Santa" but someone said that's usually done with risqué gifts.  It was then relabeled as "White Elephant."  To me, White Elephant indicates a tacky but useful gift.  However, I have lived in several regions of the country and it seems to mean something a little different in each place.  

So it should be interesting.  Nice gifts, tacky gifts, something in between?  Here's what I have so far ($20 limit).
I've also been very sloooowwwllly working on the fish quilt.  I have two of the six seams for the main top done.  Then there are two sets of borders, quilting, and binding remaining.  18 days to finish it.  😬

Can you find the "oopsie"?  Poor fabric cutting?  ha ha
I am hoping to start priming the basement this weekend.  Although painting isn't my favorite thing, I'm ready to get the show on the road.