Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

The customer quilt is DONE and has left the building! I'm waiting for a photo of the completed quilt from my customer when she has attached the binding, and will post more photos. But oh, what a relief it is to have that thing done!

Friday, October 24, 2014

The making of "Long May it Wave" AND Blogger's Quilt Festival

I didn't post much while making Long May it Wave because its owner, Cindy, reads my blog and I didn't want to risk the chance of her finding out about it--I wanted it to be a surprise. Now that it has been gifted, I can share the process. This is a very long post because I talk about the entire process and I am a process kind of girl, so fair warning. AND I decided to enter this quilt in the Blogger's Quilt Festival that starts today.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A welcome break from the drudgery

So I've been working on my customer quilt which is taking quite some time. It's also a bit monotonous, but that's ok; I try to work on it for an hour each evening after work if I'm not too worn out from the workday. That being said...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Humming along...

In my never ending quest to finish up some UFOs, I happened across this one the other day:
In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a lover of pink.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Finally Finished! Baby Bullseye for Lane

The baby bullseye quilt for Lane, our new grandnephew, was completed and off to its honoree in mid-August. Little Lane spent his first 6 weeks at Texas Children's Hospital, but he's much better now!

Lane with his mommy
Isn't he adorable? I think he favors his mother's side of the family.

And in my haste to ship it off to him I failed to get photos of the entire quilt, so I asked his Aunt Jeannette to take a photo of him on it and I received this photo today!

Yes, it's a photo of a photo--I was too excited to take it to the scanner. And wasn't that sweet that they turned over the corner to show the label?

This is the quilt that I used the Accuquilt dies for exclusively with the exception of the border, and it is 60" x 72" (I like big baby quilts). It was fast and easy, and I believe I'll make another one of these for a future baby quilt.

That completes the list of finishes for August--go quilt!

Friday, September 5, 2014

It's time to quilt

Summer is winding down but the heat is here. School has started, which means the hubster is back to work and we have Will for another school year, his last.

With the senior year, it seems there are more activities (and expenses, of course!). Our schedules are thrown off because home football games are on Thursday nights this season instead of Fridays. The high school's football field has been demolished and a new stadium and field house are being constructed that won't be ready until next year, so the games will be played at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, and the school has to share the use of the field with another high school that has dibs on the field for Friday nights.

And...the hubster took a new job as an evening dispatcher with the school district where he is employed, so that's another change to our routine. His hours have flip flopped and that's an adjustment.

I'm not whining--really! I'm just feeling a bit old to be going through some of this stuff at my age.

I'm starting on a customer quilt next week that I will have to devote all spare time to in order to get it done on time, so I probably won't post for a while. I hope to show you the customer quilt when it's completed.

I'm a bit restless, too, because I'm itching to start a new project. I dove into the fabric cave this evening thinking...finish a UFO, or start a new project? I have finished two UFOs this year and have another one going on the longarm this weekend.

But, it's September! That means a new quilt project! Checked out some of my fabrics:

Then I started looking at all the scrap bins and thought, a scrappy project sounds really good right now:

Then I started looking at some of my books and thought, which project? This one brought me to my knees the first time I saw it, and it still does:
 Same for this one:
 And this one has been on my list for YEARS:
And I know that part of my desire to start a new project is the fact that I have to work on someone else's quilt, and I need to suck it up and get it done and start the next project guilt-free.

And I could just finish another UFO. This pile of pinks has been languishing for a few years:
And I really need to clean up the studio:
I'm easily distracted.

I still work on my hand projects during lunch and doctor appointments, but I doubt I'll get much else done.

If you don't see me for a while, you'll understand why. I will have another post some time in the near future about the making of Long May it Wave, and if I ever get photos of our grandnephew Lane on the quilt I made him, I'll post those, too.

Go quilt!

Friday, August 29, 2014

August 2014 Progress

For thinking I wouldn't get anywhere this month and not setting goals, August was GREAT! Let's get on with it:

Friday, August 8, 2014

United we Stand is Finally Finished!

Cindy on the left; me on the right
...and is now named, "Long May it Wave"! It was gifted to my dear friend Cindy who retired today from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas, after more than 28 years of faithful and dedicated service. She and I were pseudo-liaisons between our two offices and our relationship evolved over the years into friendship! I'm so happy for her I could bust, but I know I'll be picking up the phone or sending an email next week saying, "Can you fix this?"

Holy cow, what happened to July?

I mean, it has 31 days, right? Well, I'll tell you: two grandkids, two trips out of town, and more company. AND it's HOT and STICKY! The good news is that we'll have air conditioning next week (she says prayerfully).

Monday, July 7, 2014

July Goals

The year is half over and I am no where near where I wanted to be with my quilting goals, but I'm not surprised. I tend to be a bit "SQUIRREL!" when it comes to family life until I've had so much of it I retreat to the Bottoms Up! Studio. This past week was no exception. We went to Memphis on Thursday to prepare for my sister's annual fireworks celebration and cookout. The hubster and I cooked for 3 days. On Sunday, we picked up our step-granddaughters in Nashville and brought them home today for 2 weeks of fun.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 2014 Progress Report

Hello, Peeps! Hope it hasn't been too hot or soggy in your 'hoods. The temps haven't been as bad as they could be, but we've had a good bit of rain and it alternates between soggy and pleasant around here.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Just call me "Drama Mama" AND halfway-through-the-month progress report

It's been a wacky month here in our neck of the woods. Until this weekend I have not spent much time in the Bottoms Up! Studio. Due to the lack of air conditioning, I have to schedule my time in the studio in the mornings before it gets too hot. Last weekend I wanted to make a lot of headway because it was cooler due to a lot of rain we had that week and I scheduled a vacation day for Monday.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June Goals

Ah...June. Summer. Heat. Humidity. All that.

I'm struggling with the goal-setting this month after last month's failure to meet the goals I set for myself for May. While mindful of impending deadlines, I spent the warmer and muggier parts of May going down that rabbit hole that is Pinterest. And the Blogger's Quilt Festival. And other quilting blogs in general.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May 2014 Goals

I have a feeling less will be accomplished this month--the warmer weather is calling me outdoors. The hubster and I may be doing a lot more in the yard before the heat and humidity become too oppressive (which is usually by the last week in May). The Bottoms Up! Studio is screaming for attention; I need to get in there and tidy up and put away some things that don't belong there.

So I'm thinking I'll cut back on the goal-setting. I did great last month except for not being able to quilt one quilt or start a NewFO. Here's hoping I can do this!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 2014 Progress Report

The weather finally warmed up here and I spent a little bit of time outdoors, but most of my spare time was spent quilting; in fact, with rare exception I quilted every day. On with the show:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Moving forward - another missive and musing (and a flimsy!)



: changing place or position
: having a strong emotional effect : causing feelings of sadness or sympathy
: relating to the activity or process of moving to a different place to live or work

Definition from Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Funny, isn't it, how the word "moving" has so much meaning when it comes to quilting?

We have to MOVE in order to quilt. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

This Holy week

I paused for a moment when I realized that my trivial woes from my birthday are nothing when you reflect on Christ's suffering over 2,000 years ago. I am humbled, and I am grateful to God for everything I have (and everything I don't have). HE IS RISEN!

We had family here yesterday for my birthday and Easter brunch. My sister and our friend Holly handled the decorations and had Easter baskets for everyone!

Hubster's basket

David's basket - all things Star Wars - Jack's had Transformers
Emma's basket

My basket!
Isn't the tablecloth fabulous? I want to make a quilt with those colors!

We continued our tradition of the birthday person making the meal. Hubster helped. He and I prepared Eggs Benedict our way--served on English muffins or a bed of smoked gouda grits (for this gluten-free girl) with country ham (instead of Canadian bacon), and eggs that were "poached" in the oven and covered with a lovely Hollandaise sauce (the blender way a la Julia Child). We served a bread pudding with fireball whiskey sauce and ice cream from Loblolly Creamery, and fresh strawberries and pineapple. Mimosas were free-flowing. It was lovely.
Prepping for the mimosas
After brunch we dyed Easter eggs and had so much fun! We haven't done it in years.

Today we are feasting on ham sandwiches, deviled eggs and rice salad.

Here's our menu, and as soon as I can find a decent recipe gadget, I'll add the recipes:

Saturday Brunch
Eggs Benedict the Sherman & Lloyd way
Blender Hollandaise Sauce
Smoked Gouda Grits
Bread Pudding
Fireball Whiskey Sauce

Sunday Supper
Ham Sandwiches
Rice Salad
Deviled Eggs

And I also wanted to show you some more photos from the tree cutting on my birthday. We have so much sunshine coming into our living/dining room now.

Before - our tree in front of the house; Bert and Sally's tree hanging over our roof in the back
After - look at all that sunshine!
I hope your Easter was wonderful. Go quilt!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sometimes you have to wait on your bliss

Today is my birthday! But instead of a peaceful, easy feeling, this morning was more like "What fresh hell is this?" <vbg>

The hubster decided to take the day off to make me what I wanted for lunch (he's such a sweetheart about that, as well as many other things). He was in my office yesterday and when my boss heard him mentioning that he was taking off today, he suggested I do the same. I reminded him that I was out of the office Monday and didn't think I should take off today--he said do it, so I did.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Random musings, a flimsy and an Occasional Tuesday Tool Tip

When I gave Rodney his retirement quilt last month, one of my coworkers asked me how long it took me to make it. I told her that I don't typically track the amount of time I spend making quilts because that turns it into work. I have to track all my time at work and categorize it into components which gets reported up the flag pole. Tracking the time I spend on my passion seems pointless because that's time better spent quilting!

I do have a vague sense of how long I spend actually quilting the quilt, probably because it is still somewhat new to me and I'm still learning how to use my longarm. So, I started wondering how much time I really do spend quilting.

As an experiment, I thought I would track how much time I spend quilting each day in April, or until I get bored of tracking the time.

Tuesday, April 1 - 1 hour
Wednesday, April 2 - 1 hour
Thursday, April 3 - 2 hours
Friday, April 4 - 1 hour
Saturday, April 5 - 2 hours

...and that's when I bit into the Tootsie Pop. (Gosh, I miss those things. Can't eat them any more. Had one a couple of years ago and it made me sick.)

But the baby bullseye is now a flimsy! I finished it on Sunday and put it on the design wall and thought, "Oh...no...I don't think so..."
Those borders did not make me happy. But I left it on the wall and it's still there and it's growing on me. I may shave off a couple of inches from the borders. I have the backing planned but I'm waiting to piece it because we're still 3 months away from the due date. I want to applique the baby's name on the backing and minds can change at the drop of a hat.

The "baby bullseye" is really a misnomer--it's not baby in size. The blocks finish at 12", while the original pattern by Country Threads has, I think, 9" blocks. I have more background showing than on the original pattern.

I will try to come up with any way to streamline the piecing of a quilt. I love quilts with lots of pieces but I do not enjoy cutting those pieces. I have an Accuquilt Studio die cutter and it's changed the way I quilt. The dies are spendy. If I see a pattern I want to make and I don't have the right die, I won't necessarily rush right to their website and order that die--I'll wait for a sale OR I'll adapt the pattern to the dies I have.

For this bullseye quilt, I cut 20 background squares at 13-1/2". I have circle dies in 8", 6" and 4" sizes, and cut 20 circles in each of those sizes. I stitched down all the circles to the background squares:

Then I placed the blocks on top of my die that cuts four (4) 6-1/2" squares:
Ran the blocks through the cutter, shuffled the blocks and ... voila!
I know there are plenty out there that think it's a whole lot of work doing it the way I do it. The beauty of this system is that the blocks are cut exactly the right size and it's a pleasure to sew these blocks together. Because the background block was 13-1/2", the cutter has trimmed down the blocks to size. I love it.

So I hope you've had some time to quilt this past week. It's just starting to warm up a bit here. Our heater is still on but we're supposed to hit the 80s this weekend. Sounds like a great time spend more time in the Bottoms Up! Studio.

Go quilt!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

April Goals

After the mad rush to complete Rodney's retirement quilt, I find myself in some down time while I ponder what I'll do next. I want need to do some general tidying and organizing in the Bottoms Up! Studio, and I want to find a UFO to finish. 

I spent a few minutes in the fabric cave where The Bins reside. The first one sticking out caught my eye. I opened it up and there was the Christmas half log cabin I pieced in 2007 (I think). 
 Can you tell I like low contrast quilts?

The top is pieced and needs borders. I should be able to complete it this month if I can steady my nerves enough to miter the borders. Yes, I've been quilting for over 20 years and have NEVER mitered any borders. 
Border fabrics...maybe
I will start a NewFO this month but don't know yet what it will be. As much as I like the current Leaders and Enders project, Lozenges, I can't seem to get worked up about going through my scrap heap for it. Instead, I will probably cull from my yardage. It is not in my makeup to cut down scraps to usable strips because I applique, and that stops me dead in my tracks. I'll continue to hoard my scraps and use them for something else and come up with another game plan for my own Leaders and Enders project.

I must stay in touch with my longarm (who needs a name) so she doesn't feel neglected and I don't have to reintroduce myself every time I meet her! I'm cleaning her up and getting her ready for LeiLani to use her to quilt some baby quilts, but I'll need to spend some quality time with her as well.

So, I'm actually going to set some goals for this month since I have no deadlines until June; I make more progress when I have deadlines.
  • Finish the baby bullseye quilt top - rows need to be pieced and add borders
  • Finish the Christmas half log cabin UFO top - add two mitered borders 
  • Quilt one quilt (!), I have a stack waiting...
    Just one of the stacks of flimsies
  • and complete 10 Trick or Treat blocks.
And to keep me on track, I'm linking up to A Lovely Year of Finishes at Fiber of All SortsI'm not going to have nearly the amount of time I had last month to quilt, so it will be interesting to see how much I can accomplish.

Go quilt!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March 2014 Progress Report

Great quilting weekends, an ice day and vacation contributed to lots of progress this month! Let's get on with it:

Rodney's Retirement Quilt is finally finished! The pattern is Three Tours from Fons & Porter, but I resized the quilt using 8" blocks and lengthened it a bit. The finished size is 55" x 70".

Swiss Mocha - Finally Finished - started in 2005! What I learned on this one--I cannot wait 2-1/2 months to get on the longarm. I quickly get rusty. And I overthink things. And I tend to like things densely quilted. This quilt did not need a dense design, but it got it. Finished size is 67" x 76".

In progress:
Trick or Treat - I am still enjoying the back basting method for applique! This month I completed 9 blocks--I would have completed more if not for the stitching down the bindings on the retirement and Swiss Mocha quilts.

Baby bullseye quilt for a grand nephew - the blocks are pieced and being joined into rows:

No NewFO this month. I was going to start the Leaders and Enders Lozenges project at Quiltville, but was so focused on completing the two quilts and working on the baby quilt that I ran out of time. Perhaps I'll start Lozenges in April. I also want to choose a UFO to complete now that Swiss Mocha is done.

Shopping in my Stash: I bought 4 yards of fabric this month for borders and backing on the baby bullseye quilt, and used 1 yard for binding, so I'm -1 for the year which means I'm not doing so hot. No worries; I have plans for using it.

How was your March? Here's hoping you have beautiful spring weather for April and get to quilt!

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