Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

I'm busily running around today trying to finish up the last odds and ends for the big day tomorrow. I have birthday cake baking (today is the husband's birthday), lasagna for tomorrow's dinner in prep stages, 8 presents left to wrap (and I'm thankful that the last of them arrived in yesterday's post!), and at some point I need to clean up a bit around here.

I was up at 7 this morning to get to the grocery store as it opened. I pulled into the parking lot and laughed out loud! Apparently I'm not as smart as I think I am--everyone in town had the same idea! It took me a half hour to grab a dozen items and get through the check-out.

This evening, I'm off-duty. The madman and I are going to see my folks and brother for supper and presents, and all I have to do is show up with a bag of presents. My mother, bless her, is feeding us tonight, then doing it all over again tomorrow for my grandmother, dad, and cousins. I'm having 8 people for lasagna and cake tomorrow afternoon, so this is MUCH more relaxed than feeding 14 people on Thanksgiving, at least less stressful in the sense of fewer people to cram into my house and feed a huge meal.

I'm delighted to have the weekend after the big day off, too. That means I should finally be able to finish the blue and green coins quilt for my friend's daughter, which is awesome, since her wedding is a week from Saturday--being able to cross one last giant UFO off my list will make the New Year that much sweeter to ring in.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, and I'm sure to post pictures of the finished quilt next week--see you then!

Friday, December 18, 2009

My own early Xmas present

Some may know about Moda's Fabricmatcher site. It's a really cool site that lets you look at and design with different patterns and pretty much any Moda fabric in recent memory. Some folks in the blogosphere happened to mention it, and a contest that they run most months (December is an off month) where you pick a pattern by a particular designer, and using virtual swatches of Moda fabrics, design a quilt. And the pattern designer looks through all the entries for the month and chooses a winner.

I went ahead and messed with it last month, and in the end wound up with several entries. And promptly forgot about it.

Until I got an email late Wednesday saying that I had won November's contest.

...

WHAT?!

No lie. I won a fabric bundle and autographed patterns from Cozy Quilt Designs. How epically cool is that?? Little old me. *shakes head* I'm still in shock, to be perfectly honest. Many thanks to Daniela Stout of Cozy Quilt Designs for choosing me, and to Moda Fabricmatcher for hosting the constest!

At last check, it's not updated with the other winners from previous months, but you can see the project I submitted here. Click the projects tab, and the winner was Cozy Quilt 5. :D

Hope everyone else is having a happy holiday season!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

I have been a very good little quilter this year. I have made many gifts, bee blocks, mini swap quilts and have tried to use up some stash (to make room for new fabrics, of course!). If there was one thing from the Fat Quarter Shop that I would really, REALLY love to have under the tree this year, it would be a fat quarter bundle of Wiscasset by Minick & Simpson. I fell in love with the line when I saw previews of it this past summer, and would love the opportunity to work with it.

Thank you, Santa!!

Signed,
Meg

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A productive day!

I finally stopped dragging my feet (about time, with 3 weeks left til their wedding) and put together the top for my friend's daughter's wedding. I'd had the coin strips pieced for over a month, and they just sat on the table. Why? Because I HATE cutting sashing strips. I've learned that I am not good at cutting straight lines, so I have to cut bigger strips and trim them smaller to make sure everything's square and even. The natural fabric was straight off the bolt (yup, finally gave in and bought an entire bolt of fabric), and my cutting was cockeyed. I've also figured out that part of my cutting problem has to do with my lack of space to spread out. Santa, this year, I'd like some help redoing my office/sewing room so that I can actually WORK in it!!

In any case, here's the finished top, held by my lovely assistant, the madman of the house.


You name it, it's in there. Denyse Schmidt, Lizzy House, Amy Butler, Joel Dewberry, I think even some Heather Ross and Kaffe Fassett. The madman and I will be on the floor tomorrow night, basting it--really. He is the best helper--and at 6 foot 6, he has much better wingspan than I do! :) He sweeps, helps me tape and fold and press (I'm spray basting) and smooth and fold and clean up. Yup, I do know how lucky I am. Hell, he held my purse when I went sewing machine shopping last year.

Just, um, don't tell him I told you, ok?

Next weekend, among all of the wrapping and such, I'm hoping to get this bad boy quilted, so that I can bind it the weekend after Xmas and have it ready to wrap and hand over just after the first of the year. Think I can do it??

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Quilters love giveaways!

And Judi, from Green Fairy Quilts, is no exception. Pop on over to see the awesome package she's got under her tree for one lucky quilter!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day!

Once again, the weatherpeople were way off-base. Instead of the sleet and rain we were supposed to get overnight, I woke up to this:


Which is about 5 inches of snow. Which then turned over to freezing rain late this morning. Being the brain-trust that I am, I decided that perhaps my 30 minute commute in this wouldn't be such a good idea. My husband proved me right by calling me just after I woke up to tell me that he, in his 4-wheel drive, had almost slid off the road three times in the three miles between us and the nearest highway on-ramp, but that there was a spin-out two exits down that was slowing things down even more.

The hell with it. So I'm home being productive instead. I baked brownies this morning for the annual book club Xmas party being held tomorrow morning. I also caught up with my blocks for December for my bees--technically, my new bee, the Coast 2 Coast bee, doesn't start until next month, but Katie was a bit busy and figured she'd go ahead and give us some extra time to get our January blocks started. Thank you, Katie!

Katie sent out pink and purple fabrics, and asked for 6.5" stars:


A little glare-y, given the cloudy conditions today. I hope she doesn't mind the Maverick star to go with the Friendship star!

And I went ahead and made some speed-pieced Flying Geese for Jo, for my Beehive bee this month.


Jo also wanted Circle of Geese blocks, but I don't paper piece well, so I made one set with fabric she sent (the blue) and made a second set with some brown Katie Jump Rope stripes I had--her colors are awesome, blue and brown and white. I had a great time making them, learned a lot and love the tutorial for the quick geese blocks, which you can find here.

I also thought I'd share some of my swaps since my last post.

From my 4 Seasons Quilt Swap, I got this great little applique quilt from Leah. I can't applique, and I have a profound respect for those who can. Isn't this adorable?



And rounding out my end of a swap for Swap til you Drop (STUD) on Flickr, I sent Julie this little mini, made with some of the Frolic by Sandy Gervais I got in the Moda Sampler Box from FQS's giveaway this fall.

It was my second attempt--my first had too many points, and they didn't match up terribly well, so I scrapped it and started over.

From Julie, I received a sweet little quilt made of Joel Dewberry fabrics. The picture she posted on Flickr, here, is better than any I've managed to take so far.

Now, off to work on this month's STUD swap quilt. I was going to take December off, but this month's theme, Minis Go Green, was too good to pass up. We're recycling, using scraps, and have to use something that is not "standard" quilt fabric. We're not allowed to use anything new, and since I have hella scraps to use, I figured this would be a great little opportunity.

Hope everyone else is enjoying their Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm grounded

I have officially grounded myself. I am in big trouble.

See, I made up some blocks awhile back, based on no particular pattern. And then I put them together into a top a week ago, also based on no particular pattern. But it worked and I liked it.

And I pin-basted it.

And then I started quilting. I have not had the cojones to try FMQ yet, an I've been doing a lot of straight-ish line quilting. I decided to riff off of that for this project.

I unpicked it all twice, because it would bunch and twist and pucker.

It's the same pin-basting method I've used on smaller projects (this one is only about 40 x 60, so crib quilt sized), and it's worked perfectly for them. Just. NOT. For this one. At all. I can't even make myself show pictures of it, I'm so embarassed.

It's a mess. Every time I look at it I want to cry. Because I feel like I wasted time and materials and effort. And the thought of unpicking it all a third time makes me want to be sick. Seriously.

So I'm grounded. I'm back to square one, basics. I have no worries on my piecing, really. But I'm going to have to spend a nice long time and a few very simple projects getting to know more about quilting on my machine, because I'm not sure I can handle disappointing myself like that again.

Make me feel better. Does anyone else have a project like mine, one where the best of intentions went horribly, sickeningly awry?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Photo landslide post

I've been busy! HONEST! And I finally was home while the sun was shining, to show you that I can actually finish projects!



I was on vacation a week ago, and I sat down and watched scary movies and bound my table runner--now it's ready for the Thanksgiving table! It's 4 wonky square-in-a-square blocks from John's quilt-along round of the ORBC quilt alongs. It's bound in dark olive, and quilted in cream/amber variegated thread. I'm actually quite pleased with the whimsy of it.


Then there's this:

My Christmassy swap quilt for the 4SQS autumn group. It's getting mailed out to its recipient this week. YAY! I'm actually really happy with the result. Just the tiniest bits of wonk. There IS a story to this, but that would totally give away who the recipient is, so I'll hold back on that just a bit longer.




And I have coin sets!

These are going together for a friend's daughter's wedding quilt--less than 2 months, and I want this one off my plate well in advance of the big day. Especially since it takes me about a year to hand-tack binding to the back of a quilt... >.< Hoping to have the top finished this week. We'll see.

And then the mail-lady came today, and brought me presents!!


I finally caved and snagged a charm pack of MoMo's Odyssea, since I have such a love-affair with Wonderland. I thought maybe I'd use it for a baby quilt. And then, since I was thinking baby quilts (I have several friends who are either expecting or trying), I saw the charm pack of Love U by Deb Strain, who I LOVE, and snagged that, too.

And I timed it just right, and Fat Quarter Shop agreed to ship them with my prize from their give-away last month...

You ready for this?

I won one of the Moda Sampler Boxes! Here it is, all nice and tidy, before I get my grubby hands into it. 12 mini charm packs of 2.5" squares, for 12 of the new spring lines from Moda. Can I just tell you how freaking excited I was to win this? I giggled and squealed and flailed like a little kid.

And these will be perfect, since I just committed to another mini quilt swap. (We won't talk about the new bee I joined that starts in January, ok?)

I think I need an intervention. :D

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Are you sick of me pointing yet?

Yup, that's right. Go check out Julie at Jaybird Quilts for a Spring Fever giveaway, complete with secksy market swag!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The coolest folks, and a giveaway!

If you're not familiar with The Block Party, you're missing something. Not only are they an amazing group of quilters, each in their own right, but what they're doing with the blog now is extraordinary. What was originally a site for their bee is now being opened to us all, with the intent of holding quilt-alongs AND helping quilters to network for more online bees. I'm in the throes of my first bee, and loving every second--it's a great opportunity to stretch and grow as a quilter. They've also put together a quilt-along flickr group over here, where you can see what everyone's doing as part of the quilt-alongs, but also it has threads where you can connect with other quilters interested in joining new bees.

Brilliant work, ladies!

(Oh, and to celebrate, they're holding a give-away with some FAB fabrics. Go check out the blog already!)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Give-away news

Go see Jackie at her blog! All sorts of sexy market shwag is being shared over there! Think...sampler boxes, charm packs, etc.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A working "vacation"

It's the second full day of my week off, and BOY have I been getting a lot accomplished! (Even if I do sleep in til almost 9am. *ahem*) Yesterday I finished off the top for one of the 2 mini quilt swaps I'm involved in--this one for 4SQS. When my plans for last night fell through, I opened up Pandora.com (SneakerPimps radio!) and got to work. I basted and quilted the whole thing in just a couple of hours. Currently, I'm auditioning binding fabrics both for it and for the table runner I made a week or so ago. With a bit of luck I'll spend part of Wednesday watching monster movies and hand-stitching the bindings for those.

Today, the madman and I went out to the PO to ship off the last of my fabrics for my Beehive girls, as November will be my month "off". Then we drove down the valley to have brunch at the local diner (mmmm, French toast!!), and then down to the orchard for apples, pie, a Xmas gift or two, and some homemade Tahitian vanilla ice cream. YUM! A quick trip home to put away the ice cream and then we were off to Home Depot. I finally picked up more painters tape for laying quilts out for basting, as well as setting quilting lines, and finally found some shellac and finishing paste wax for a couple of decoupage projects lying around (gogo Xmas gifts!).

We originally went to HD to look at replacements for the vanity cabinet in our hall bathroom, which is original to the house and SAD as all hell. They wanted a nauseating amount of $ for a cabinet, minus the sink and counter top, and we just couldn't do it. Then yours truly had the brilliant idea of going to IKEA (we did our whole kitchen out of IKEA last summer for less than a third what had been quoted us if we had anyone else do it) for a couple of white kitchen cabinets, one for the vanity and one for over the toilet for storage. The madman agreed it was a good idea, so now we have another chore for tomorrow afternoon, once we're done at the dentist's. (Yay?)

Finally, I have a few hours this afternoon (BTW, most gorgeous day of the month so far today. STUNNING!) before I go to watch scary movies and eat pie with the madman, so I'm finally ready to cut into some of this:


for a quilt for a wedding gift--I've got about 2 months. I actually started a different quilt for this gift over the summer, and then came to the conclusion that it doesn't suit the recipients at all. So that will likely be finished in the future for a donation to Project Linus or Margaret's Hope Chest.

I'm going with coins. The couple's favorite colors are blue and green. Being up north, normally I'd shift and do more dark colors, but they'll be moving down to North Carolina just after the wedding into off-base housing (he's in Afghanistan at the moment), and wanted something a bit more fresh. They're also only 20, so it needed to be a bit more hip and mod. Now, to sit down and weed out some of the flower prints from this stack! The trouble with boys--not so big on the flowers, as a general rule. *sigh* Go figure. :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fabric Co-op?

I heard about Fabfanatic through Jacquie over at her blog, and of course, I had to go and check it out. It is a fabric co-op that allows quilters and other fabric lovers to purchase fabric at a reduced price. They have some great stuff, Amy Butler & Denyse Schmidt just to name a couple, available for what amounts to wholesale. I went ahead and signed up, and omg, how excited am I?

It's pretty simple. You apply for membership, then once approved, you gaze adoringly at fabric. You reserve your yardage in advance, so that the wonderful ladies running the show (sisters Stacey and Tracey) know how much they will be ordering to fill the reserves. When the order goes out, they send out invoices, you pay, and then you get fabric. Brilliant!

(ps--Lotus by Amy Butler is being discontinued, except the 10 most popular prints, and there's a high demand for those. Fabfanatic is taking reserves, however, to be filled early next year.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Right this way...

I suppose you could say I'm a bit of a fabric junkie. I peruse a number of blogs by other quilters and crafters, as well as fabric designers. One blog that I cannot remember how I did without is True Up. Sale alerts, news about up and coming designers and new lines of fabric, as well as the occasional awesome giveaway. If you haven't been there before, I can't recommend it highly enough!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The good, the bad, and the owie.

First, the good. I was one of the winners of a new Moda Sampler Box (due in shops next month) from FQS.com's Jolly Jabber blog! SO excited. For those who haven't seen it yet, it's like 12 mini charm packs--2.5" squares of the full ranges of 12 different collections coming out in the spring. I got word yesterday, and there was much squealing and flailing.

The good and the bad-ish. Got a good start on my 4SQS mini quilt for the holiday swap. 3 of 4 little blocks are done, and I love them. Only, by the time I started the 4th block, which is bigger than the others, it was after 11 and I wasn't at my best anymore. I miscut the middle strip twice before I chucked it in for the night and went to bed. Frustrating!

And this morning, the owie. Went to the dermatologist this morning to have a lump on my shoulder looked at. I hadn't expected to come out with stitches!! Ouch! A little cranky and sorer by the minute as the local wears off. :( May not be any sewing for a day or two til my shoulder feels a bit more like itself. Hopefully then I'll be able to cut straight again!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Giveaway winner!

I bet you thought I'd forgotten all about this, right? Not so! I took a couple days off away from the computer to baby my back before a long week at work.

Congrats to Tooznie of Wishflower Studios! I've sent you an email, go check your inbox!

I'd like to thank everyone who took part, and a special thanks to those who are planning to help out over at Margaret's Hope Chest.

I got NO quilting done this weekend, no sewing, nothing. I read, watched a bunch of horror films with the madman (who was also home most of Saturday with a bad back episode), and was generally a lazy girl. I was practicing for my upcoming stay-cation!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A rare flash of brilliance

I've mentioned it in an entry or two that I've been sweating the design for my 4SQS mini quilt swap--this one has a holiday theme. Tomorrow starts the beginning of the 1 month window to get our quilts and their accompanying package-y bits finished and sent out. So I've been KILLING myself on this, stalking my poor swapee's flickr and blog, getting a feel for her style, and also thinking constantly about design elements for the approximate dimensions we were given in the guidelines.

What about stars? How Christmassy should I go with the fabrics? Most of my Christmas fabrics are a bit...muddy?--deep reds and greens, dark golds--but my recipient favors bright colors. How crazy do I go with this? Can I just go with Christmassy colors and not worry too much if there isn't holly or snowflakes or trees on every print? What about simple 9-patches? She does like improv-piecing and wonky blocks, I can do that, should I go with that? Can I come up with fabric that screams holiday enough to make that work?? *clutches head and cries*

On my lunch hour, I was perusing a flickr group on quilts, of course, and it suddenly came to me like I'd been struck. I knew EXACTLY what I was going to do. I knew dimensions, layout, colors, block styles, absolutely everything in a sudden flash. I dropped everything, grabbed my pencil and a ruler and some scrap paper and got it all down before it was gone. I can't wait to get home and pull fabrics for it. I wish I could share, but a) I'm at work and my camera isn't, and b) I think I'd like to keep this something of a surprise, just in case she reads my blog. I doubt it, but better safe than sorry. :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

A busy, bloggy Monday

I love Columbus Day--who doesn't love a Monday off?? This one is particularly special. This time last year, I ruptured a disc in my back so badly, I couldn't work (for 4 months), lost most of the feeling and use of my left leg, and wound up needing surgery. A year later, here I am. I still have some bad days. I still have some loss of feeling in my foot. But I am otherwise ok, and so very thankful for it.

That aside, I got quite a bit accomplished! I woke this morning to find out that the thermostat for our main floor has crapped out and won't call for heat. The madman of the house is currently on the case--I'm lucky he's so handy. I was quite tempted to spend the day snuggled up in bed with my book and a cup of hot tea, surrounded by kitties. But I had THINGS to accomplish!

Firstly, a 9.5" log cabin-y block from the scraps of the courthouse steps block I made yesterday, for Belinda since it's her month in the Beehive. The middle looks a bit wonky in this light--it's cloudy here today, and consequently all of my photos are a bit...meh. :P


I also had my runner to be quilted.


I went with a random series of loosely wavy lines, done in variegated thread that runs amber to cream and back. The pattern is reminiscent of leaves in the wind, keeping with the season.


This was really a test, both for me and my little Janome. It has been...a very long time since I've machine quilted anything. Most of my work in the past has been hand quilted, which I enjoy, but is time consuming and hard on my hands. I have done a few things which were quilted on my old Singer (which, by the way, will be home at the end of this week--after over 4 months out for repair... >.<), but this was my first time trying anything with the Janome. I had a heck of a time getting the walking foot ON in the first place, but ultimately it worked out ok. It was a small enough project that I wound up with no puckering on the back (HURRAY!) and a couple of small puckers in front, which I attribute to using a slightly crumpled old scrap of batting. Note to self--roll batting scraps instead of folding! The whole process took some getting used to, and I know that I've learned quite a bit, so the next one will go more smoothly. Here's to hoping, anyway. The best news is that my little Janome tackled it like a champ!

I haven't decided what I'm going to bind this in yet. I'm thinking perhaps I'll piece the binding with more of the scraps that made up the blocks. We'll see. I may find something appropriate when I go to the quilt shop to pick up my machine on Friday.

Happy week, kids. Remember, you have until midnight EST on Wednesday, 10/14 to enter for my giveaway over here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

As promised, photos. Also, a busy day!

Ok, first things first. As promised, some photos! DH was nice enough to hook the cord for my camera back up when he got home from work this afternoon.



This is the illustrious Tiny Tidings jelly roll for my giveaway--go here now and leave a comment to be entered once. For a second chance, go blog about it!


I came home yesterday to oodles of sexy fabric after hitting Sew Mama Sew's sale last week with some of my birthday cash. Some bits of Denyse Schmidt and Amy Butler, as well as some American Retro, a bit of Mingle and Joel Dewberry. Such fun, and so inspiring--I can hardly stand it. Also, Kristen rocks my socks--she ships at the speed of light!!




So, this morning, I got my butt moving on my Beehive block for Belinda, and had all sorts of fun!



I played with her request for courthouse steps. Hopefully I didn't go too far!

And then, since I was on a roll, I took the 4 wonky square-in-a-square blocks I'd made for John's quilt-along for Old Red Barn Co., sucked it up and sashed them. Threw on a couple of borders. Then, my friends, the unthinkable happened.

I actually decided to push off having dinner so that I could sit down and baste the runner I'd made!



I know, my batting is messy. Sue me. It's an old scrap that JUST fit, so I ran with it rather than chopping into my new bits. This will, with a bit of luck, be quilted tomorrow--bless the day off!! Then it should get bound...um, someday? :P Sooner rather than later, I hope--I'm hoping to use this runner when I host my first Thanksgiving this year.

So there you are, kids. My promised photos. Glad to have my camera ready to go again!

Frustration, and giveaway update

So, my husband borrowed my camera and computer cord. And very nicely returned them to me. Except with the way my computer is situated and hooked up, I cannot (thanks to my back) maneuver to hook the cord back up without hurting myself. Badly.

So I do have photos of my birthday splurge from Sew Mama Sew. And I do have photos of the world's saddest giveaway--why is it sad? Because no one's shown any interest. Why is that? I'm guessing the lack of photo isn't helping. The giveaway was supposed to end today, but I'm extending it to give more folks a shot at it. You'll get one entry for commenting on that post. Then go blog about it for a second chance at it.

What is it? Ok, fine. To be updated with a picture, but it's a Tiny Tidings Jelly Roll, from Sentimental Studios. Check the link to get a look at the fabrics. I can see this being a gorgeous, cozy quilt, combined with maybe a Moda Basic Jelly roll like this to really set off the deep colors of the prints. What can I say? It was hovering around 40 this morning, and we have our first frost warning already posted for tonight. It puts me in a Christmassy, giving mood.

Now, go enter!! Photo post later, I promise.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A worthy cause, and a giveaway

Since I began blogging this year, I have often said that quilters are among the most generous people in the world. Between give-aways, charity projects and programs, and just the simple act of putting time and effort into making something beautiful to bring joy to another person--the quilting community is full of random acts of kindness.

This is why I'm sharing this with you.



Hope built on tragedy. I donate quilts to several organizations in my neck of the woods, but this is a wonderful opportunity to help in another community. It doesn't even require you make anything. Donate fabric, thread, batting.

In the spirit of giving (for quilters, Christmas never ends, but lasts all year), once you've stopped over there, leave me a comment--blog about it for a second chance to enter. I might just have a little something to share with my readers--I'll pick a winner this weekend. (PS--please make sure you have your email contact available--I hate to have to pass up someone simply because I can't get in touch with them).

ETA: I'm extending this to give all the bloggers currently in Houston some time to catch up. I'll take entries til midnight EST Wednesday, 10/14.

And the little something? It's a Tiny Tidings jelly roll--I know I'm starting to think Xmas--thought you might be, too... :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Birthday goodies!

So, technically tomorrow is my birthday. However, since I will be spending the evening working, getting home close to 9pm, I am celebrating early. Last night was dinner and cake with my parents, brother, husband and grandmother. Tonight is sushi and JoAnn's with my husband, to put the gift card from my parents to good use! Not one to let grass grow beneath my feet, don't you know?

I knew as soon as I got it, what I wanted to use it toward.

BATTING!

I have enough fabric to sink a small ship (perhaps a large ship. I'm not sure I want to dwell on that. :D ), and have blocks finished for two large lap quilts right now. I have plenty of fabric set aside for bindings and backs, but I realized this weekend--oops. Out of batting.

I look forward to remedying that this evening!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yes, I'm still here

I realize I've been a bit quiet lately. The problem, really, is that my pictures and I never seem to be in the same place when I have a few moments to blog. I've been working in fits and starts on several things, so I figured I'd tell you about them, and post pics when I'm a) home and b) remember!! The mind is a terrible thing to lose, kids. :)

I finished the blocks for my Simple Abundance lap quilt. I need to find a day to either set up my design wall or lay it out on the dining room table to get a feel for design. Then I'll put it together and I'll have a flimsy ready to go!

I've also been working sporadically on my 2 quilt-alongs. I have perhaps 30 or so blocks done for AmandaJean's 9-patch quilt-along (only 40 or so behind. *sigh*), and a bunch of wonky log-cabin blocks done for John's quilt-along for Old Red Barn Co.--his is the third in their series of quilt-alongs, and you can see the rewards here.

I'm anxiously awaiting the parcel of fabric for my next block for The Beehive, for Belinda. The lucky Aussie girls all have theirs and are busily working already! And since next month will be my month, and my fabric will need to be posted the week before Halloween, I'm finalizing the fabric choices for my blocks. Once I'm sure (like, really REALLY sure), I'll take a deep breath, and then chop it up to send out to the other girls in the bee. They are so darn talented, I cannot wait to see what I get!

Finally, I have scrapped the initial blocks for a gift quilt for a friend's daughter's wedding this winter. I was just terribly unhappy with how the blocks were turning out, and was ready to tear my hair out. NOT the best way to create! I have no doubt that I will revisit these blocks in some other capacity sometime in the future, perhaps put together for Project Linus? But for now, I cannot stand to look at them anymore. Have you ever started a project and then changed enough or learned enough or found something out about the intended recipients that just made it no longer seem appropriate? Yeah, it's like that--all three. So, I'm daydreaming in the meantime. I have until January to get it done, and yes, I DO know it will be here before I can blink. But I have a couple of great, quick ideas that I think will be suitably groovy for a couple in their early 20s, gearing up to move to off-base housing as soon as he's done with his tour in Afghanistan this winter.

Now all I need is TIME!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

First Swap = SCARY!

So, I joined the autumn swap over at 4SQS, which is actually a winter/holiday mini-quilt swap. It's my first swap.

And I am absolutely stumped.

I've got just about a month until I need to start thinking about mailing it out to my partner. I know just what else will go along with the quilt.

I just haven't got a clue what to do for the quilt itself.

Her style is MUCH different than mine. Do I follow my style? Hers? Meet somewhere in the middle?

Every time I think I have it figured out, I start second-guessing myself. She'd like something Christmassy, and I have lots and lots of Xmas fabrics. No bigger than 20"x20". Stars? Coins? Improv piecing? Something more traditional?

Something tells me I may have several to give as gifts to other people as I work through this, trial and error. In the meantime, I'm back to overthinking. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

More giveaway goodness

You need to go over to the Missouri Quilt Co. blog. Now. Why?

Dude.

A chance to win a free jelly roll of your choice. (Yes, I said dude.)

Also, it's Jelly Roll Week over there, so there are tutorials and sales as well as the giveaway.

You're still here? GO!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Giveaway!

Yup, another giveaway. Melanie of The Fabric Shopper is doing a giveaway of 8 fat quarters from the My Happy Garden by Michelle Engel Bencsko for Cloud9 Organic Fabrics line to celebrate the opening of her new Etsy shop, Modern Organic Fabrics.

So go over here and check it out!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bee blocks, Quilt Along Blocks...

I spent an afternoon of quality time with my sewing machine today.


I got a great feel for the wonky log cabin blocks for the Old Red Barn Co.'s quilt-along (sorry the pic is a little dark, fall is officially here in the northeast and the sun goes down early!). It was SO much fun to whip these up, very free and soothing. I can see this coming together very quickly.

Once I got on a roll with these, I decided it was time to step it up a bit and tackle my Beehive blocks for Mel. She had such awesome fabric, and wanted traditional-ish (read, not totally traditional, but not wonky) log cabin blocks. So once I got over the terror of cutting into someone else's fabric...


I made this. And I really rather liked it. And there was so much fabric left over (Mel, if you're reading this, you were VERY generous!), that I went ahead made this:


Can you see the little owls? I love the little owls. And my husband loves them. Aaand now he wants me to find them so that I can make HIM a quilt with little owls. Anyone know where I might find some??

Oh, BUT there was still some fabric left, and I didn't want to short poor Mel, AND I was having such fun, that suddenly I had this:


I was running low on blues, so I added in that dark blue print at the top--it has a tiny cream geometric print in stitch-like dashes on it. It seemed to blend well with what Mel had sent me, so I went with it.

Aaaand then this happened:


And then I was really and truly done--there are only little schnibbles left of what Mel sent me, so I feel better that she has some to pick and choose from.



My husband wants to keep them, so I see something like this somewhere in my future work. ONE more thing to the list, yes?

All in all, I feel really good about the bee blocks for Mel, and I hope she likes them, too. I'll have them ready to ship on Tuesday morning.

Busy, with bees!

I have been a very busy bee the last week or so. Work, of course, has been insanity, between interviewing to fill a position, training two new staff members, AND the whole back-to-school/end-of-summer-reading cross over. When I can stop worrying long enough, I actually sleep like the dead, and really, no wonder!

But on the more interesting, crafty side of things, here's what I've been up to...



I got my greedy little mitts on a charm pack and a honey bun of Bonnie & Camille's new line, Simple Abundance. I must tell you that this line is the only one I really spent the entire summer on tenterhooks waiting for. So it wasn't long after they arrived that I just had to dip into them and start playing. Really, the fabrics are so beautiful, I went with simple charms framed with honey bun strips to show off the colors and prints. They come together quickly, and it has felt VERY much like playtime. YAY!



A bit of a sad yay for me--one of the few remaining LQS's in my area is going out. The owner is retiring, so it's not as sad as some closings in this economy. She is down to the last week or so, and everything in the store is 75-90% off. Above is some Kona Pearl Pink cotton, some Amy Butler (I snagged the last yard of it, and literally had to pull it away from someone who tried to take it out of my stack for herself. People are nervy when it comes to sales!!), some Kaffe Fassett dots. All for less than $2 a yard. Craziness.



I also managed to snatch up some gorgeous Hoffman and Bali batiks and hand-dyes. That dark green, I actually took the end of the bolt for an additional 10% off, so I have 4 yards. I have plans for that--keep your eyes peeled in coming months. You WILL see it again! But all of the yardage (I believe it wound up being about 26 yards total. EEK!) wound up costing under $60. How completely insane is that? I cannot tell you guys how shocked I was that there was even anything good LEFT there, let alone such amazing fabric at jaw-dropping prices.



And finally, I've joined in with Quilt Dad and Old Red Barn Co. for their third quilt-along (this is John's first time leading, and he is doing a GREAT job!) of Wonky Log Cabins. John's directions (suggestions, really) are to have strips from 1.5" to 3.5" for your blocks. I snagged 3 Moda Scrap Bags over the summer, and they are anywhere from 2-4" wide without their selvages. I have everything from Holly Taylor to Kansas Troubles Quilters to Polly Minick & Lauri Simpson's new Wicasset line from my bags, so with a few leftover honey bun strips of Bonnie & Camille's Simple Abundance, I think I'm ready to rock! Er, as soon as I've done some trimming and ironing, that is. I am very pleased with the variety of scraps that I got, and even more thrilled that all three actually worked together quite well, color wise. As it dips into the 40s and 50s here at night in New England (don't worry, it's still 80 during the day!), and I start to see the first peeks of fall color on the trees, it makes me think that a wonky log cabin quilt in rich fall colors may be just the thing to snuggle in by the end of the quilt along.

Coming up this weekend, my first bee blocks for The Beehive, and we'll see if I ever manage to iron anything so it's presentable!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Curses!

My mother is a firm believer that our family is cursed: whenever we make plans to entertain outside, even if the forecast is predicting sun, it will rain.

Apparently, the curse is rearing its ugly head this week. Tomorrow, my grandmother and parents were supposed to come up to have dinner on our back deck. As of this morning, the forecast is now saying showers for the area tomorrow. Which means that my parents will come up, and my grandmother will, most likely, stay home. Oh, she's not afraid of the rain.

No.

She's afraid of my cats. My little furbaby children who pile on the bed in the morning when I wake up so that they can get snuggles before I get up to go to work. My little monkeys who meet me at the door when I get home at the end of the day. She thinks they are creepy and is scared they will jump on her and eat her. She has built this up into such a huge ordeal in her mind that she cannot fathom having to go into my house.

This is also, mind you, the woman who has held a grudge until now because she has not been invited to my house for dinner. Now you can see why. She won't venture in to use the bathroom unless my mother is in attendance, because she needs protection from my cats.

I can't wait to see what Thanksgiving at my house is like this year. *sigh* If she can't manage dinner inside now, I can't think this is going to get any better.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Christmas! Again!

One thing I'm learning about quilters--Christmas comes every day of the year. Give-aways galore, and I have another one to send you to. Go check out FQS's Jolly Jabber for a chance to win a GORGEOUS charming jelly cake of Wicasset (I've seen these fabrics in person, folks, and they are absolutely drool-worthy!). They're also using this fabric for their new BOM, and as I'm starting my no-buy period (now to October 1), I am sitting on my hands. Well, you know. Not literally...

What are you still reading for?! Go!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Long past due post

It has been another wildly busy week. Had guests for dinner last Monday, my in-laws and friends of theirs from out of town. It has been miserably hot and humid here all week, so barbecuing (that doesn't look like it's spelled right, but oh well) outside was both smart and still blisteringly hot. It was a somewhat subdued evening--we had a great time, and the flourless chocolate cake was a huge success (Tyler Florence's recipe, btw), but we got word that morning that my husband's best friends' dad passed away. We attended the funeral Wednesday morning, then wound up going to see my parents, grandmother, brother and aunt that evening to celebrate my brother's 29th. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster.

Work also has me racing nonstop. Between my regular tasks, I've been drafting policy posts for our in-house blog, interviewing candidates for a part-time position that is opening, AND preparing to train two high school kids who will start working with us in the coming weeks.

So, the (very) long and the short of it is that I have barely even had time to LOOK at my sewing machine, let along sit down and sew at it. However, I do have a few photos to share...


A very sweet hand-sewn postcard made of lovely selvages, by the winner of my July give-away, Anya of Hills Creek Quilter. That was incredibly thoughtful, and so pretty! It's shown above on my desk (and yes, that IS my World of Warcraft mousepad. If you don't know I'm a dork by now, people...), but has taken up permanent residence on my bulletin board in my sewing room/office, where I keep my other pieces of inspiration. (We just happen to have a thunderstorm rolling in and there's not a whole lot of good light to be had at the moment.)

Speaking of taking up permanent residence... I went to the dining room to take a photo of the fabrics I've selected to send out for my month in my virtual sewing bee, The Beehive, when I discovered this:


This is one of my other monkeys, Taylor. She has decided that since I've cleaned off the dining room table and she can't sleep on my fabric anymore, that this decorative bowl will be her new bed.


"Look, Mama, is perfect size, and ergonomic, too!"

*sigh* Such is my life.

Oh, the fabrics? What do you think?


There will be a couple of solids going out with these, and I'm looking for for some mosaic-inspired blocks. I'm planning on sashing with unbleached muslin, and having this be a summery, tranquil, beachy-feeling quilt. I'm hoping that there's enough contrast within the group itself--I want it to have a sort of monochromatic feel, like cool blue tile. I'll post more as the project moves along, and I believe I get to start my first blocks next month. Eep!

ETA: OMG, I almost forgot the most exciting part! I finally won a give-away! Judi, over at Green Fairy Quilts, was giving away a layer cake of Sandy Gervais's Tranquility *love and drool*, and I won! Yay!! Thanks, Judi!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You need to go...

...over to visit Green Fairy Quilts for her giveaway!! A layer-cake of Sandy Gervais's Tranquility, which I ADORE, by the way. Go see!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

When it's too hot to sew...

Yes, even with the AC right next to the sewing machine, it's too hot to sew. I've done a little here and there, but the bulk of this past week has been spent cleaning and prepping the house and menu, because I'm having guests tomorrow night. 7 people, grilling out on the back deck, so not TOO stressful, but these are "grownups" (as opposed to kids like Jay and myself, haha), my in-laws and out-of-town friends of theirs. And then there's the dietary restrictions to take into consideration: diabetes, vegetarians, gluten allergy... So we're having hamburgers and hot dogs, grilled portabellas for my husband and I. Potato salad and green salad. Veggies, chips and dip to snack on while I cook. And flourless chocolate cake and berries for dessert. With a bit of luck, the cake, which is a birthday cake for my father-in-law and also a bit of an experiment, will at least be edible. If it is, THEN I'll share the recipe. :)

Last on the to-do list is the cake and the dip, and I'm getting up early tomorrow morning to get the baking out of the way before it gets hot again. 90 and humid every day is starting to wear a little thin. I have a couple of window AC units, so I can be a bit more comfortable as long as I stay in one room. Sadly, the larger spaces (living room, dining room, kitchen) are not air-conditioned, and those would of course be the places that needed the most cleaning. *sigh* Oh well, the worst of it's done.

But it's also WAY too hot to iron, and I have a bunch of seams which need pressing before I can can finish the next 12 blocks for AmandaJean's 9-patch quilt-along. I'm staying fairly close to where I should be, and having a ball with it.

Speaking of having a ball... Have I mentioned how excited I am to be taking part in swaps and bees? I have? Because I am absolutely giddy. I have my fabrics and inspiration board done for my bee, The Beehive, which starts next month, and I am waiting with baited breath to get my swapp-ee for the Holiday mini quilt swap over at 4SQS. So much to look forward to! Especially when it cools off enough for me to work a bit more comfortably!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Issues...

So, Blogger is giving me fits. Has it deleted anyone else's list of blogs they read? It's not even showing me a full list in my side-bar, so some of the blogs I've added more recently are missing. I don't know whether to hold off and see if they fix it, or start trying to recreate the list from scratch. I've only been blogging for a few months, but maybe it's the librarian in me--I'm a voracious reader, and easily was keeping up with 30+ quilt/craft/fabric blogs. *scowls* I'll give them a day, then I'm starting over...

In other news...

I got accepted into Sheridan's (aka Chaletgirl) new bee! It's my first experience with block-swapping, and it's something I've been dying to hop in on. I'm so excited, I honestly have no words. It's scary and exhilarating at the same time. I know, I know, it's just fabric, chill out, right? Wrong. I've never had the opportunity to work with other quilters before--I'm entirely self-taught/book-taught. This, in and of itself, is daunting. Sheridan assured me that there are some vets and some beginners, so I won't stick out as too big of a noob (I hope she's right!). The opportunity to work with other quilters is just thrilling. Hoping for more info soon, provided I pass the essay portion of the test. :D

Monday, August 10, 2009

Janome passes the test!

I spent most of yesterday cheerfully ironing, cutting and sewing. And am just over half-way caught up with AmandaJean's 9-patch a day quilt along!





I'm doing all oriental-inspired prints, a lot of Hoffman I've had for about 8 years, with a few others thrown in. I also chose to do a third print for the center, light, because I'm planning on sashing this in a dark color, likely navy blue or dark olive green. So I want the blocks to kind of glow, and so far I am absolutely in love with these little blocks. I did decide that some of them were getting a little busy, so I sat down for another hour or so last night and cut some green and rust tone-on-tone and marble-y fabrics from my stash to give the eye someplace to rest for some of the busier blocks.

Beyond that, the Janome totally passed the test yesterday. Smooth, quiet, not a broken thread or skipped stitch anywhere. I am so thrilled, I cannot even express this in words. After struggling with the Singer for months, and then being without it for 6 weeks now, I was at my wits end. This is such a blessing. Now, onward to more piecing!!

ETA: I have a half-dozen more 9-patches ready to have their final stitching to be finished blocks, which brings me to 14. Today makes 22 blocks to keep up with the quilt-along. I thought I was 2 weeks behind, but apparently I can't count (or was in denial) and am 3 weeks behind. Will be staying in my air-conditioned sewing room/office (95 and 95% humidity? no thanks!) and finishing up on that this afternoon.

Oh, AND...



Isn't she pretty?!

Friday, August 7, 2009

More pics coming soon!

This week has NOT been productive, but it HAS been eventful! My Singer is still living with the repair folks, so I said the hell with it and went to go and get another machine. I am now the proud owner of a cute little Janome electric. I will post pics once I am home with access to my camera. (I'm on break at work, at the moment.)

I have been insanely busy since the machine purchase on Monday, so at most I've gotten a little hand-piecing done on the interminable white and blue HSTs for my pinwheel blocks. Enough for three or four more blocks, perhaps.

I'm also working this Saturday, which cuts me to one day to be really productive. My goal for Sunday is to get caught up on my 9-patch one-a-day challenge, since I'm now about 2 weeks behind. 14 blocks should be easy, right? Famous last words... If I'm fast and it's not too hot, I may try and tackle sashing blocks for a couple of baby quilts, one for Project Linus and the other for a friend's little girl.

I also signed up for a swap! It's a miniature quilt swap that will have a ship-date in mid autumn. I don't even have any information for my swap-ee yet, so I am sort of aimlessly brainstorming. I AM hoping that I have a fellow blogger, so I can go and stalk them to find out some preferences! :)

So, pictures over the weekend, some catching up to do. And a bit more sad news--another local quilt shop is getting ready to close their doors. So if you're near Fairfield County, CT, stop over at Jigglestitch in Monroe to check out their clearance. I haven't heard yet whether their intention is to move (again) or whether they're closing for good. I'm very much hoping it's the former and not the latter.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Headache-inducing machine woes

So, I called the shop that I brought my sewing machine to for service umpteen weeks ago to see if it's come in yet. Initially, they'd said a week. Then it was two. Today makes three weeks.

I called just as the repair guy came in. No, he didn't bring it. Apparently the Singer Merritt I have was a very limited run, with a number of unique parts. He's done the service, but it needs a new presser foot, and is having trouble tracking one down. I told them that I have a walking foot for it--I really don't "need" a new presser foot for it, because I don't use it for anything (now that I've found the walking foot). So the upshot is that if that's the case, I may have my machine back sooner than next year, just, you know, not today. *big sigh*

Ultimately, if the machine is going to be this hard to get parts for, I may work to save up for a new one, and have the Singer be my backup machine. In any case, I'm off to look up sewing machines in Consumer Reports.

But let me ask you, dear readers. What machine do you use? What do you like about it? What don't you like about it? What would you have done differently when buying, if anything? Any words of advice?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Guilty pleasures...

If there is anything better than finding something absolutely delicious that thrills you to your very core, I'm not sure I know what that is. Except, perhaps, getting those things for an insanely good price.

This past week, I was browsing through some sales from some of my favorite vendors. I'm not sure how many people keep on top of fabric trends and news (I'll admit, I'm a great big noob on this, but I'm learning), but there has been a lot of hype lately in the quilt blog-o-sphere about the new Kaufman solids. I found them at a great price, so went ahead and bought a few of the ones which had caught my eye...


From left to right these are Everglade (which in reality is a bit brighter than this photo), Lemon, Green Tea and Cloud. I also snagged a half-yard of Pepper, which is darker than charcoal gray, but the tiniest bit grayer than black. It just photographs as plain black.

And as I continued browsing, I came across the Reflections collection by Hoffman, also on sale. The line has such a vintage-sheet feel, I was immediately a kid in the late 70s again, when my favorite sheets were yellow and covered in orange butterflies.


I threw in an extra couple of vintage feeling fabrics from other lines. I feel a summer quilt brewing from these. Not coincidentally, the solids I'd picked out go REALLY well with this selection.

Also, you'll recall me talking a little while ago of seeing a coworker's shirt and immediately being inspired to make a quilt. Well, that, of course, turned into shopping, which resulted in these:


I get a distinctly cool tile impression from a lot of these, and think that's likely the way I'll go when designing the quilt with these.

And of course, in all of this shopping, a few odds and ends slipped through...


Took this one three times and it's still blurry. You can see I'm slowly pushing myself out of my comfort zone--more brights and geometrics, which would SO not have been anything I'd touch, oh, a year ago? I'm mellowing in my old age, I suppose. :)

And to top off my gluttony this week, I snagged a new purse at Target for $10.


It's very bohemian, and should be a nice bag to transition into fall with.

Now, to begin the daunting task of washing and ironing my new haul. (Yes, I pre-wash, yes, I am insane.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Surprises abound...

I knew when we moved in *mumbledy* years ago that it might be awhile before I unearthed all of my stash. And a few months ago, with my husband's help, we went through my boxes of craft stuff (I also embroider and crochet, and knit a little) and I thought I'd found, sorted and stored the last of it.

I was wrong.

In my cleaning today, I found a box innocently labeled "Office, Fabric". Oh, really?

Really.

Another whole big box of stash that I had utterly forgotten about. Well, scratch that. I remembered some of the fabrics, and wondered whatever happened to them. I didn't realize that my husband had simply stacked a bunch of stuff on this box while I was laid up this past winter, as he went through things in the office. (Long story short--we redid our kitchen ourselves last summer. The end of it, the new counter, was put in the day after I ruptured a lumbar disc and promptly lost feeling and much of the use of my left leg. Therefore, I didn't have a whole lot to do with the filling of cabinets from storage boxes--nearly a year later, I am STILL reorganizing things in there... BUT, some of the kitchen stuff had been stashed in my office while we were renovating.)

I sorted through the first layer or so, and was so immediately overwhelmed, I just closed it right back up. It was either shift the box and keep cleaning, or spend the rest of the day re-sorting stash, which will be done soon enough, once the office/sewing room is cleaned and organized.

And I did take a few before pics this morning, so that on the other side of this, you can see the progress, much to my shame and chagrin. I suppose the best news of all of this is that I'm now worn out from cleaning, and wouldn't be able to accomplish much in front of the sewing machine today even if I did have it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Frustrated!

So, the one week turnaround on sewing machine maintenance? Is now going to be a minimum of three weeks. So instead of getting caught up on my 9-patch block-a-day quilt-along, and perhaps finishing a flimsy this weekend, I will be handpiecing, and cutting stash. Because it will be NEXT Thursday at the earliest before I get my machine.

Seriously? Any longer and I'll be looking to purchase a new machine, and keep the old Singer for backup. I'm going through horrible withdrawal. Also, yes, I have looked into sewing machine rental, and there isn't anyplace nearby that does rentals. The good news is that I found out that one of the quilt shops that was near where I work, and had been flooded out in the Nor'Easter of 2007, re-opened about 6 months ago in a new location, under a new name. How cool! Now I actually can do a bit of fabric-shopping in person without having to drive through 2 counties to get there!

Which, of course, is neither here nor there if I have no machine. *headdesk*

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Christmas in July continues!

Y'all quilting bloggers are crazy! How many give-aways are there? A LOT!

Go check out Elaine's Quilters Stimulus package... What an awesome idea!

And a sweet Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton Solids color chart give-away at True Up. (Seriously took me a second to decide whether I'd share this one, it is that cool. :) )

AND check out Jodi's give-away for a chance to win her table runner, table topper and pillow recently featured at the Moda Bake Shop! I saw them over there before I found out about the give-away, and oogled them, and drooled. So cute!!

ETA: GO and check out Julie's give-away!! I saw her giant pincushion tutorial on the Moda Bake Shop site this morning, and immediately went: I HAVE TO MAKE THOSE! Well, she's giving a few away! Woohoo!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Time for some lovely, um, photos...

Ok, so a day late, but y'all should be used to that from me by now...

First, I have to show off the present that Jay got for me at Target this week...




It's a turquoise, black and white argyle mug, with lime green lines...and a skull and crossbones on it! I literally squealed and hopped around the kitchen like a moron for a full minute after he gave it to me. It is officially my new favorite coffee mug! *grins dopily*

And of course, drinking a whole mess of coffee to test-drive my new mug, I managed to get a smidge of fabric cutting done...



I'm doing double-duty as I cut. The squares are 2.5" for AmandaJean's 9-patch quilt-along. (It's not too late to join, sign up over here.) I've noticed a new trend of 9-patches being done with a light or dark square in the center, different from the other fabrics in the block. I decided to do light squares in the center of my blocks for this go-around, and we'll see if I like it. Those have all been cut now, for all 70 blocks. I'm about a third of the way through the other, darker fabrics for this project.



I love this particular fabric. It's about 8 years old, and I honestly have no idea who made it. It came as a part of a FQ bundle of oriental fabrics, several of which are showing up in this quilt. I just love the tesselating pattern.

So, as I cut the squares, I'm also cutting triangles...


For my eventual flying geese quilt. Since I've long-planned to do this in oriental-themed fabrics, I figured I might as well kill two, ahem, birds with one stone... Don't know just why this decided to turn on it's side, but I'm too lazy to change it. :)

In other news, I have gotten "official" confirmation that my machine "should" be back on Thursday, meaning I "should" be able to go and pick it up on Friday. We'll see, at any rate. I'm anxious, but trying not to be hopeful. Nothing worse than a crestfallen quilter with three days off and no machine, am I right?

Also, has this ever happened to you? A coworker came into my office the other day, wearing the most striking blouse. Navy, aqua and white in this vaguely floral, large-scale swirling pattern. I was instantly smitten with the colors and the design. I have a quilt based on the color combo brewing in my little brain, and I'm not sure it's one I can ignore. We'll see what unfolds.

For now, however... Sleep.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Steamy Saturday

I got home last night to find that we had no power. It was warm and very humid, and no fans made it even more uncomfortable. My husband came home and took a nap, and I chilled out on the couch and read while it was still light. We finally got power back a little after 7pm. We went around and turned on fans, Jay disappeared down into the Man Cave, and I made some dinner--sandwiches, cuz there was no way I was turning the stove on in that heat.

Overnight, even with the fan, it was uncomfortably warm and sticky--when I got up at 7am today, it was still over 70. ewwwww! You know, the kind of morning when you try to put makeup on, and it just melts right off your face? Yeah. While I normally am not a huge fan of working on Saturdays (I work them on a one-on, two-off rotation), I actually looked forward to coming into the AC today!

The warmer weather makes everyone irritable. Me, my hubby, our cats, the public in general. Speaking of the cats, there is nothing worse than a warm cat who wants to snuggle at 4am when it's 75 degrees and sticky. Zoe would NOT take no for an answer last night, and kept me up for about an hour, constantly trying to wedge herself between me and my husband. Granted, she was trying to make up for the fact that she freaked out and clawed my foot last night (no one's fault, these things happen in a house with *mumbledy* cats), but snuggle-time was overrated!

So, I have a confession to make... I joined AmandaJean's one-a-day 9-patch quilt along. I missed out on the last one she did, and looked on with envy the whole time. When I read that she was starting another one, I jumped in with both feet, because I knew if I stopped to think about it, I'd find an excuse not to do it. Like, oh, I dunno, my machine is in the shop til next Friday at the earliest, and I'll start out the challenge a week behind? Yeah, like that. The kickoff for her challenge is this Monday, so I suppose I ought to dip into my scrap bag and do a bit of cutting to at least have some blocks ready to sew, then I can catch up next weekend. At least it means I can do some stash-busting at the same time!

Tomorrow, I have the day off, so I'll do the cutting while it's (hopefully) cool in the AM, and you know what that means? Pic post! See you then!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Feedback Friday

This week has been one of my least productive in terms of...well, just about everything. It's consisted of work, sleep, more work... End of the fiscal year reports and statistics take up my days, until I'm dreaming in Excel every night. Ick.

What I have been doing in my off-time, however, is dreaming. Brainstorming. Reading the blogs of other quilters, learning, getting new ideas for techniques, color palettes, designs. (All the while praying that my machine will be ready for pickup...someday! Just checked, it won't be back til next week at the earliest. *headdesk*)

One of the things I realized is that a number of us really work in a vacuum. It's part of the reason so many quilters do blog about what they're doing. So, go find your favorite quilt or craft blogger. See what they're working on right now. Leave them a comment, let them know you're reading, and what you think. You can stop at one, sure, but why not make some rounds? Check out two or three, a half-dozen. If something catches your eye, leave them some feedback! I promise, it makes a difference. :)

Where have my rounds taken me so far today? Go see what AmandaJean, Mushyhed, Wanda and Jackie are up to!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Progress, or something like it

Got quite a bit accomplished in my cutting frenzy yesterday, but not nearly as much as I'd originally planned. I set out my stack of oriental themed fabrics,


but never cut a single one.


However, I am down to just a few last novelty prints to cut squares from.

What I started with yesterday:



And what I have left to cut from today:


Several of these, like the two fish prints, will be fussy-cuts, which takes a bit more time. But the end result of yesterday's "cut it up" was this:

Nice stacks of 4", 5" and 6" squares, perfect for kids charm quilts, simple one-patches, or I-Spy quilts. I figure I have enough here for three or four toddler-size quilts, easily.

ETA: Barbara asked what the squares were for. Basically, it got some of these 10-year-old novelty prints out of my stash, and into a usable format. The one-patches or I-Spy quilts I have earmarked these for will most likely go to Project Linus this fall/winter.

On today's agenda? Not so much. I have my favorite mug, full of coffee...

Yes, it really is that ginormous. 30oz, and heavy. I love it. :) I figure I may dork around on the computer a bit, maybe read a little--it's turning out to be a lovely day, so I might as well enjoy it before heading into a 6-day week at work starting tomorrow. I figure, if I'm lucky and my sewing machine comes back in time, it will still be next Sunday before I have time to drive out to pick it up. *sigh* Such is life. In the meantime... We'll see.