Sunday, July 29, 2007

Meandering Around My Studio

I was watching one of the design shows yesterday afternoon on HGTV. The designer was redoing the living room of a woman who quilts, knits and does bead work. At one point during the show when they were looking through the woman's UFOs the designer said, "You should never have more than 3 projects to be work on at one time. Any more than 3 projects and you will feel bogged down." I wanted to jump through the TV screen and ask the designer if she has spent any amount of with quilters! Obviously not. I know many quilters have many, many more than 3 projects in their UFO pile, and yes, sometimes we do feel overwhelmed by the amount of UFOs we have, but I can't imagine only having 3 projects to work on at any one time. I like the freedom that comes with having many UFOs to choose from on any given day.

Take yesterday afternoon and this morning for example. Yesterday DH left at 2 PM to play poker so I had time for myself. I took a short nap and when I woke up I wandered into my studio. I started to straighten up so it was clean when we leave on vacation later this week. I put a few items away, but while going through one of my baskets I decided to make some 1.5 inch HSTs for a Challenge I'm working on. So I took out my Triangles on a Roll, cut some fabric squares and proceeded to make 128 1.5 inch HSTs while listening to Jesus Christ Superstar. I got them sewed, cut apart and the paper torn off. I also pressed about 32 of them.

I thought I was done in the room for the day and spent some time catching up on email, blogs and internet surfing. I've had this entry by Karen at Sew Primitive marked since she posted it earlier this month. I finally got tired of seeing the post so I closed up the computer, went back into my sewing room and pulled out my Siggie blocks from our Blogger Siggie Swap earlier this year. In 45 minutes I had the blocks sewn together and now the top is ready to finish. If you participated in the swap, can you find your block?

This morning I entered my studio with the same intent to straighten it up. While I'm on vacation and shopping I want to collect some purple, lavender and gray fabrics for a quilt for my MIL. I pulled the few fabrics I have so far and then remembered I have a BOM quilt I started for her 2 years ago packed away and unfinished. I started digging through my closet and found the container with the fabric and some of the blocks in it. I sorted out what was done and realized that with sewing borders on one block I would have four blocks done and I could make a table topper or baby quilt from them. So I did it. Not sure what to do for border, but someday I'll get around to it.

Since I was digging through my UFO containers I kept at it. I found the half-made blocks for a Snail's Trail quilt. This was a mystery quilt from 2 years that I got bogged down on because my block halves weren't matching up well. I put the quilt away and had forgotten I even had it. I started pinning the halves together and ended up with 20 decent blocks. So I sewed those blocks together and now I have another top ready for a border. But I am really stumped on how to proceed with the top. I'm not thrilled with how much white is on the quilt, but I'm sure I will take the quilt to my long armer and she will be able to fill in the white nicely with quilting. But what about the borders? Any suggestions for the borders? Help me please! This quilt would be a great gift for SIL and DIL.

Now I am done playing in my studio for the day and won't be back in there for three weeks. So tell me, if I had disposed of these 3 UFOs because I have more than 3 projects what would I have done this weekend?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Giveaway

DH and I use a one gallon Sangria jar for tossing our loose change into when we empty our pockets. We save the money to use on our vacations. Since we are going on vacation next week it was time to cash in the change. So in honor of emptying the jar, going on vacation and just because I can, I'm having a contest.

Can you guess how much money is in the jar? Send me your guesses and the person with the closest guess will win a goodie bag from me. I will take guesses until Wednesday, August 1 and will post the winner on Thursday, August 2. Let's see if anyone can guess how much extra "fun" money we get for vacation.

In other news Carole sent me these wonderful goodies and cute pattern. She is sharing her Australian chocolates and I'm so thrilled. The chocolates are/were yummy. The snowman pattern has earned a place in line on my To Make list.

I have emailed out the swap partners for the Stitchery Swap. Let me know if you signed up and didn't get your partner. Feel free to post your progress on your stitchery project. But let's keep our partners secret, OK?

I'm extra excited today because the New England Patriots started training camp. I LOVE football and soon the games will start. Football season finds me spending all day Sunday watching games so I must start working on building up my hand work projects. Now that I do stitcheries I bet I'll get lots of projects done this season.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Doll Quilt Swap Arrived

I arrived home from work tonight after driving through the rain to find a package waiting for me at the top of my stairs. No, it wasn't Harry Potter - that was sent to my office for my son and he picked it up today. Instead it was my Doll Quilt Swap Quilt. Tami at Lemon Tree Tales sent me this stunning quilt appropriately called Purple Rain.

The quilt is jaw dropping gorgeous. I was speechless as I took time to admire the choice of fabrics, the quilting and even the embroidery she included on the front. How did she know I love to dream in the rain?

The back of the quilt is just as beautiful as the front. The color in the photo doesn't do the quilt justice. The batik is a deep purple highlighted with lavenders. The quilting is done with a variegated thread and adds a fantastic finishing touch to the quilt.

For now the quilt is on my design wall until I decide what to do with it. I don't have any dolls so the quilt will most likely stay on display somewhere in my studio.

Thanks for a gorgeous quilt Tami!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Weekend of Finishes

Sandra, you signed up for the Stitchery Swap today and I tried to send you an email twice and it bounced back. Please send me your snail mail address so I can include you on the list.

I had a weekend of finishes. Yesterday I finished the binding on my Pink Finity Quilt. Today I finished the binding on my last Pay It Forward gift. They will be going out in the mail this week.

I finished the stiching on my F is for Fairy block from Bobby Socks this morning. This is the first month I'll be able to start the block for that month. I have the G is for Gingerbread block prepped and ready so I can start working on it tomorrow morning on the way to work.

Since I've had 5 finishes on projects this past week I treated myself to a quick project and made myself a small purse using some of the charms from one of the Connecting Threads new fabric packs. I liked working with the fabric. It's soft, sews up nice and looks wicked cool as a purse.

The purse got a quick workout tonight. I think it needs a closure of some kind. DH, being the smart man he is, says I need to find a magnetic snap for it. So now I have an excuse to go to Joanne's this week.

Only nine more work days and one weekend left before vacation. I'm getting so excited. I can't wait to get to Oregon!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Saturday Morning and Golf

We are watching the British Open golf tournament this morning. This is one of those weekends where DH doesn't sleep in, but is up early and watching golf. The sun is shining and we are expecting a glorious weekend. Later today we will be having a surprise birthday party for my in-laws. Both of them turn 65 this coming week.

I had a mixed-up week. On Thursday I got a call from my brother that my mom was being rushed to the hospital with chest pains. Add that to a work day filled with deadlines and I was absolutely miserable Thursday night. It didn't help that DH was gone on an overnight trip.

Friday was an extremely better day. The work load was lighter. My mom was diagnosed with a fibromyalgia attack and was released from the hospital. And then my boss (AKA my FIL) surprised me with a significant raise that I will get over the next 6 months. Life is good!

So far there are 13 swappers in the Stitchery Swap. Five from the US. Five from Australia. One each from Canada, Norway and the U.K. Anymore takers? You still have a week to sign up. Come on and join the fun!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Quick Project and Thunderstorms

Before DH came home this early afternoon I made this travel pocket from Leanne Beasley's Romancing The Road Trip book. I didn't do any stitchery on it because I love this fabric. I got it in a Summer Solstice package a few weeks ago. I haven't decided how I'm going to use it, but it will definitely get used on my upcoming vacation.

This afternoon during five separate thunderstorms I was able to finish the binding on my DIL's quilt. She'll be happy. She's been waiting for several months for me to finish the binding. The quilt was the first one she made. I don't have any photos of her with the quilt so I'll take one when she comes over to pick it up.

During the fourth thunderstorm there was a lightening strike on the building across the street from us. The fire alarm went off in the building and I called the fire department. Luckily there was no fire and damage done to the building.

Next up on my list is to finish my Pay It Forward gifts and get them out in the mail. I should be able to do that this week. Then it's on to the binding on my Pink Finity quilt.

I slept under Wicked Girlie last night and it must be a pretty good quilt since I slept until 8:15 am. I never sleep until 8:15, not even when I'm sick. I always wake up by 7 am at the latest. I hope it's not a continuing trend. I'd hate to have start using an alarm clock when I sleep with Wicked Girlie.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Wicked Girlie Quilt is Here!

I picked up my Wicked Girlie quilt from my long arm quilter this morning. She did a truly superb job on the quilt. I spread the quilt on my bed and I'm so excited that it more than fits the bed. Of course, I have to get some new sheets and bed skirt to match the quilt, but I'll do that later.
Here is a close up of the quilting. Susan chose a flowery template and used a dark pink thread.
The backing is the real "fun" part of the quilt. I had purchased this fabric for pajama pants, but decided it was the perfect backing for a Wicked Girlie quilt. Don't you agree?
Since this quilt is meant for me to use when DH is traveling and since he is traveling tonight, I am going to sleep under the quilt even though the binding is not on yet.

I started the binding on my DIL's quilt today, but I'm having some upper back pain so I didn't get too much done. I guess it's time to go see my PT for my "annual tune-up." I was hoping to make it through a whole year without having to see him, but no luck. Oh well, at least I know a few trips to see him and I'll be better soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Doll Quilt Arrived

My doll quilt that was sent to the U.K. has arrived. Elizabeth took much better pictures than I did of the quilt. I'm glad she likes it.

I'm without a camera this week. DH decided to take it with him for once. So I can't show you photos of the charms I bought from Connecting Threads. I purchased one charm pack of each of their new fabric lines. The fabric is adorable, but the I'll wait to play with it until I finish a quilt or two.

I've been working long hours at work this week. Nothing new for this time of quarter. We'll be busy for the next three weeks, right up to our vacation in Oregon in August.

I've posted the list of Stitchery Swappers so far. Check out their blogs. Sign-up is still open if you want to join. The guidelines are below.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Swap Update

Just a quick update on the swaps mentioned in my previous post. I have enough people for the Pay It Forward. I took four names since the last two were in my mail box this morning. I'll be sending out my gifts in the next couple weeks.

There is more interest in the Stitchery Swap. I will add the names to my side bar later today.

If you've signed up for either swap, please mention it on your blog too. I'd like to get more people in the stitchery swap.

It's time to go to work. UGH! I wish I could have more time off.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Anniversary Weekend

DH and I spent the weekend in Manchester, NH for our 6th wedding anniversary. What's the appeal of staying in a city that is only an hour from our house? Well, the hotel we stayed at is in the left field of the minor league baseball park and we had a room with a great view.

Friday was our anniversary and we had a full day of fun. First up was a golf game for DH at Crotched Mountain golf course. Unfortunately, a thunderstorm rolled in and they closed the course when he was on the 15th hole so he didn't get a complete round in.

Next stop was a new-to-me quilt shop - Apple Tree Fabrics. I bought backing for my Autumn Stairstepper quilt, one yard of fabric that DH says, "This will look good in my house", a collection of sewing notion bluework patterns and this cute little hand painted box with fat eighths in it.

For dinner we went to a Brazilian steak house. Yummy! All you can you eat salad and meat dinner topped with scrumptious carrot cake and cappuccino for dessert.

Saturday I got to pick up my Pink Finity quilt from my quilter. She did an outstanding job quilting it and I can't wait to sew the binding on and enjoy the quilt. I dropped of my Wicked Girlie quilt and she will have it ready for me next Saturday. That will be two of my finishes this month. Hooray.

I'm in the swapping mood and have one swap announcement and a Pay It Forward exchange. You can sign up for one or both if you'd like.

Three people have expressed an interest in the stitchery swap. I thought up these guidelines if that helps you decide to join:
  • We will swap one-on-one a stitchery item no larger than 12 x 12 inches. It could be a pin cushion, a needle case or a small wall hanging.
  • The item can be redwork, bluework or embroidery. But there must be some type of stitchery in the project.
  • I will gather the names and addresses of people willing to participate and swap out the names and addresses. You will mail to your swap partner.
  • Deadline for sign-ups is July 28th and you will have until September 1 to mail your stitchery.
  • International swappers can play too. So if you sign up let me know if you don't mind sending international packages.
  • If you'd like to join the swap send me an email and let me know. I will send you my email address and then you can send me your snail mail address.
Floribunda posted a Pay It Forward exchange and I signed up. I will send the first 3 people who want to join the fun a handmade gift as long as you promise to Pay It Forward to 3 more people. So, if you'd like to join in the fun, let me know.

I just got home from dropping off DH at the airport. He is gone until Friday and then next weekend he is visiting his best friend so I'm home alone for the week. I came home to find the new Rachel Ray magazine and two quilting books in the mail so I'm off to take a bubble bath to relax and read.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Anyone Interested in a Stitchery Swap?

Everywhere I look I see another blogger has decided to start making stitcheries. I admit at first I couldn't understand what made stitcheries so much fun. But after I tried it, I love it.

I'm wondering if any you would be interested in having a stitchery swap? Perhaps a small item that includes a stitchery like a pin cushion or a needle case or a small book cover?

If you're interested let me know. I'll set up some guidelines and be the swap mama. Come on and join the fun! Think how cool it would be to get a stitchery from someone else.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Month of Lasts

This past weekend may have been a weekend of firsts - but I've decided this month will be a month of "lasts", as in finishing some quilts.

Here is my Last list for the month:
  1. I will be picking up my Pink Finity quilt from my quilter on Saturday. It will be ready for binding.
  2. I will be dropping off my Wicked Girlie quilt at the same time and it should be quilted by the end of the month.
  3. I've decided to tie my Don't Touch Me quilt and then that one will be ready for completion.
  4. Since I successfuly machine quilted my doll quilt I'm hoping I will have the courage to machine quilt my Tea Time Splash and my Autumn Stairstepper quilt and finish them.
  5. I have a pincushion to make for a swap.
Will I be able to get the "lasts" done? Stay tuned. I'm hoping my listing them here I'll feel obligated to get them done. Wouldn't it be grand to have 4 adult quilts done for football season? Since there are 4 of us get together to watch football that's one quilt for each person. The Don't Touch Me quilt will go into the Grandchild Hope Chest. When those projects are done it will be time to start working on projects for others.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Weekend of Firsts

I had another weekend with the pleasure of spending lots of time quilting and stitching and lots of first-time projects for me.

I started and finished my first doll quilt. All of the fabric came from my stash. It is the first project I machine quilted and the first time I've made french fold binding with strips only 1 3/4 inch wide. Wow! Talk about skinny binding. I'm going to save photos until my swap partner receives it.

I've seen many bloggers who are working on one of Leanne Beasley's projects and couldn't wait any longer to make one for myself. I took out my scraps from my Wicked Girlie quilt I made a couple weeks ago and made a block from her Romancing the Road Trip block. My first for this project was I traced one of the postcard patterns onto paper and then traced the project onto the fabric using my light box. It was also a first because I used interfacing behind the muslin. I haven't decided what I'm going to stitch in the second muslin block.

Does anyone have a pattern for making a 15 inch pillow cover? I think that's what I want to make with this block.

Another first was I decided to make a series of small quilts with the Bobby Socks alphabet blocks instead of waiting 2 years to make a bed-sized quilt. I put the first four blocks together today with burgundy sashing strips. I think this little quilt needs something else, but I'm not sure what. Any suggestions?

Short work week this week. We have to work Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday we're off for the holiday. Thursday we have to work. Friday we are taking off for our wedding anniversary. I'm taking DH golfing and, of course, we will stop at a new to me quilt shop. We are spending the weekend at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manchester, NH. The hotel is the right field part of the minor league baseball park. We will have a room with a view. On Saturday I get to pick up my Pink Finity quilt from my long arm quilter and I'll be dropping off my Wicked Girlie quilt for her to quilt.

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans!