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, " 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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