Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Family Vacation & American Girl Denver

We enjoyed a week's vacation in South Dakota and Denver a few weeks ago.  We flew into Denver and then made the six hour drive to Rapid City.  On the way there, the GPS took us through Colorado and Nebraska and on the way back we went the more direct route of Wyoming into Colorado.  We spent about three days in South Dakota and then four days in Denver before returning home.

Bear with me while I show a few of the highlights.  :)
Devils Tower, Wyoming--the first national park!
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota--see those dark clouds?
We got caught in a hail storm!
Dinosaur Park, Rapid City, SD--a WPA project!
The Badlands, SD
Denver Museum of Nature & Science 
Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
Alberta Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park
BTW, it's our 20th anniversary today!
Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Manitou Cliff Dwellings, CO
Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO
Garden of the Gods with Pike's Peak in the background
I like to buy artsy postcards for souvenirs.
My daughter's souvenirs minus her junior ranger badges.
My son's souvenirs--we did five junior ranger programs!
We also visited the Journey Museum and Reptile Gardens in Rapid City, Wall Drug, the Minuteman Missile site, Custer State Park, and Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota, Hammond's Candy, IKEA, American Girl, Lego, the US Mint (no photos allowed), the Federal Reserve, and the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum around Denver.

My son wanted to go to the Lego store and American Girl is at the same location in Denver, so we had to go there too!  It's a pretty small shop, but they had a decent selection of things.  I found the layout a bit odd and the checkout was not where I expected it to be, but I got what I went in for, so that's okay.  It was not busy at all when we went.  Here are my American Girl souvenirs.
I always buy the souvenir shirt.  And yes, the neckline does look a bit yellow.
I love pink flamingos, so made this unplanned purchase of Maryellen's Flamingo Swim Outfit.
It is adorable!
This is the Kamratlig heart pillow mini from IKEA, a steal at $.75!
With arms extended, it's about 12" wide.  The heart part is around 4".
I found this Life Science set at Target--haven't seen it in stock since before Christmas.
Even though we've been home for a week, I feel like I still haven't caught up on anything except laundry.  I'm now three weeks behind in the Sewcial Bee Sampler.  I did get my mini made for the B&C mini barn quilt swap; I just have to finish binding it.  I've made close to zero progress on my cross stitch.  I haven't touched the long arm since we've been home although I do have a quilt loaded on it.  My to-do list keeps growing and growing.  I suppose that's a typical summer!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

This is Finally the Year

I will finish this cross stitch this year if it kills me!

I've worked on it off and on for the past 11 years.  The cross stitching itself is almost done, but then there's almost as much back stitching and french knots to do.  I just want it to be done.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

S'mores Quilt

I finished tucking in all those stray thread ends!  The quilt top was made around eight years ago.  A few years after that I found some more of the fabric that I purchased for the backing, along with a pillow(?) panel.  I guess I never actually measured at the time of purchase, because I had just enough to squeeze out the backing.

Other than that, I made my daughter two tank tops, fixed some shorts, and worked on ideas for the barn quilt swap this past week.  We also had our first lettuce harvest, which seems kind of late, but there we are.  We lost our broccoli rabe harvest because it bolted super fast and we didn't realize.  So we'll try again in the fall.  The beans are coming in okay and the cucumber (only one plant this year) looks pretty good.
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Just a Little Cross Stitch

I have gotten pretty much nothing done in the last week what with the end of school and Memorial Day weekend.  We traveled home to see family over the weekend and I took the bluebird cross stitch with me to work on.  I didn't have time to do much, but I've made a solid start.

I have the S'mores quilt fully bound, but have to still tuck in what feels like a thousand thread ends.  Hopefully I can share that by next week.  We'll see how ambitious I feel--it is summer vacation after all!  ha ha

I also need to make two #sewcialbeesampler blocks, finish putting on the borders of the mystery quilt I've been talking about for the last few weeks, get the Valentine's quilt onto the frame now that the magnets are ready, make some tank tops for my daughter (this one is the highest priority), and start on my B&C Barn Quilt swap now that I've received my partner assignment.

Once I decide on a design, I plan to make a PDF instruction sheet for it and will share it on here for free eventually.  I'll announce when it's ready, and it will show up in the "Free Patterns" tab above as a link to download, along with my other freebies.

I'm down 15 pounds now!  :)
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What I'm Up To

Last weekend I spent a day sewing with some of my quilting friends.  I didn't want to arrive empty handed, so I made pincushions for each of them using some of my scraps.  I was inspired by Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts.  I adore her blog.  Go check it out!  The top center pincushion below was made using one of her tutorials.  I was inspired by some of her other pincushion pictures to make a few of the others.  I used some previously made HST on a few and tried improv piecing (or as close as I ever care to get) on another.

Hopefully you can tell this is supposed to be a spool of Aurifil.  I should have quilted diagonal lines on it to make it look more realistic though.
This one is all made from Lori Holt fabric.  The HST finished at 1/2".  I may be crazy.  Ha ha!  It didn't seem so bad when they were 1" squares before sewing.  These HST were all trimmings from previous blocks.  Any time I trim off triangles, I sew the extra seam in to make new HST.  I'm happy to have used some of them.
Last week I mentioned I'd pulled out a project from 2005 (designed by Kimberly Einmo).    I think every block was a different size!  Since my piecing wasn't the best, I decided not to worry overmuch if things didn't line up just so, and just went for it.  So now the bulk of the top is assembled.  I have the first row of the borders assembled and partially sewn on.  Then there are three more borders after that.  

I also have been spending a lot of time this week trimming the blocks I sewed over the weekend.  I'm quite thankful for the rotating cutting mat and the Bloc-Loc ruler on these!  It felt like the never ending cutting job.  In reality there are around 240 of them.  Next up on this project is deciding on a layout.
I'm more than halfway done with the binding on the S'mores quilt, so I decided I needed a new handwork project.  I'm planning to work on this cross stitch kit.  I think I previously put in about 30 stitches before setting it aside a good number of years ago.

I'd also mentioned that we bought a bunch of magnets from Harbor Freight to assist me in putting quilts onto the longarm frame.  We purchased three of the magnetic tool holders (free this week with coupons!  Boo, missed that one!  Those things are like $12 a piece) and also some rectangular magnets.  We found a 3D printed magnet holder pattern on Thingiverse, and I wanted pink, so we ordered some filament from Monoprice.  It finally came last Friday and it took a good day to print four handles.  Here they are, mostly ready, but probably needing another coat of clear over the magnets since they were giving off black smears and I don't want that on my fabric.  By the way, these puppies are STRONG!!!  I was trying to set them near each other and they snapped together like this.  So if you choose to go this route, please exercise caution!

Oh, and I signed up for round 4 of the BC Barn Quilt Swap and should receive my partner assignment soon.  This is my favorite swap, and the only one I seem to sign up for at all anymore, with the exception of my guild swap.  I'd be open to a private swap of mini minis as well.  Follow my Instagram feed (over at the right---->) to see my progress on the barn quilt swap.  

Enjoy your long weekend!  Our school summer starts this weekend and right now it's looking like it will be a whirlwind of activities, appointments, and, unfortunately, jury duty for me. :(

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sewcial Bee Sampler Update & More

I've been keeping busy lately, although I haven't really worked on anything much; not sure where the time has gone.  The end of the school year always feels that way.

I finished the horse cross stitch last night, pulled out the frame, and noticed this:
What in the heck am I going to do?  The frame is a little too small for the stitching.  How annoying. Maybe this is a good time to start working on my unfinished-for-more-than-10-years-cross stitch houses project.

I also pulled out this Kimberly Einmo mystery quilt from 2005.  It was published in the AQS magazine.  I think I quit working on it because I noticed I'd sewn part of the blocks wrong.  Looking at it now, I really don't think it will matter much.  I re-pressed the seams so that the blocks are a little flatter.  It should be interesting piecing this one together.  My seams weren't especially good/consistent back then.  I've improved a lot in 12 years!  I'm hoping to get this top put together in the near future.  I think it will be a good one to practice quilting from the front of the frame. Here are the two blocks that make up the majority of the top:
I'm having a sewing date with some of my friends this weekend.  I'm going to work on this project:
I haven't updated my progress on the #sewcialbeesampler in a while, so I thought I'd share the 15 blocks I've completed so far.  I took all these photos at the same time in the same conditions.  I find it weird how different they all appear in regards to exposure, etc.  Plus Blogger is fighting with me on how they will be displayed.  Sorry they're in such a long string.
block 1
block 2
block 3
block 4
block 5
block 6
block 7--I think this may be my favorite.

block 8
block 9--this one turns out dull no matter how many times I photo it.  :(
block 10
block 11
block 12
block 13
block 14
block 15
Registration for MQX Midwest opened Monday and I signed up for three classes--one lecture/demo, one hands-on class, and one trunk show/lecture.  I also signed up as a volunteer in my off-time. I'm a little nervous, but it should be fun.  I have four months or so to stew over it!  Ha!

I was looking for a video about using Leader Grips and found an excellent one by Seder Quilts.  You can search on You Tube and find the video.  As a result of watching, we bought lots of magnets over the weekend!

Have a great week.