Think about this.....

...the only thing scarier then reaching out to the unknown is settling for that with which we are comfortable.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Doll Quilt

Aside from working on Make it my Way, about all else completed yesterday was this adorable doll quilt (and pillow).

Doll Quilt
We are using this example to learn how to square a quilt after it's been quilted in a future guild meeting. Meanwhile, I wasn't asked to make a pillow but found a tutorial on how to do so and thought 'What the heck'.

Our neighboring towns' fire department delivers Christmas toys to the children who need them on Christmas Eve. They tour the town in the fire trucks and deliver the toys that way. Several of the children receive dolls and we are making quilts for the dolls this year to assist the lady who usually does them. Mine isn't very big, but I only have one doll around here to use as a model and hopefully this will be big enough for what is needed. If not, I'll use it for my doll.

I did get some Quilt U homework completed. I'm ready for Aprils class and started getting the supplies/instructions in order for the class I'm teaching; I'll continue on with that today. Dale's class may be another story. There are a few supplies on the list I do not have and will need to seek out this weekend...or maybe today if I leave early enough for guild.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Good News!

We just found out our eldest son, daughter-in-law, and grandson are moving back to the midwest! Enough of this California horse shit--Hurray!!!!!!

It was hard for me to sleep last night because we received the news late last evening. It's hard to let your family go when they get older, but even harder when they're three times zones away and the only time you can see them is by planning way into the future and making a big production out of getting there. They'll only be about six hours away now and we couldn't be more tickled.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (literally since that's what type of house we have), I did long arm yesterday, but only in the morning. The rest of the afternoon and early evening was spent working on this.

Viole! Spiderweb!

Spiderweb
This is the fourth in my Arcadia Avenue BOM so I'm staying right on track.

I prepared my five fat quarters for a brown bag exchange we're doing in a few weeks in the guild to round out the day and then called it a night. It was after that we received the phone call about the kids moving.

More long arming today, and then who knows where I'll be heading. Ya just never know, ya know?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Time Management

My blogging time will probably be delayed every day we have nice weather...at least until the bugs become too overbearing. This morning, right after I ate my frosted mini wheats, I began to haul a few rocks. I'm still trying to build gardens in the shaded section of the garage and after this morning, only need a few more rock trips to finish.

I'm all showered now and the laundry is started, so can consciously work in my studio without having the ole' guilt cloud hanging over my head.

I had to contact iCracked again. My iPad is freaking out thinking I'm touching the screen where I am not touching it. Apparently the gentlemen that helped me earlier this winter is no longer doing iCracked repairs because the number on his card hangs up on me whenever I call it. I have a quote in for another tech to contact me regarding this very frustrating problem. Thankfully I blog in Mac rather then Paddy.

Here's what came off DW yesterday.

Red and White Charity
Before I can load another quilt, I had to dust and clean DW (again) and then press out both the backing and the quilt top. This is some serious seaming!

Lots of seams in this one
Here's what went on DW after the charity quilt came off
Make it My Way
I don't particularly like this quilt; it may end up going to the DeGroot Reunion. I'm still deciding on its purpose, but we'll do a nice job quilting it up regardless.

After setting in the border on the above quilt, long arming was done for the day and I pulled out the BOM for this year...Arcadia Avenue. It felt good to sit down and actually starting piecing again. It's been a week or more since I've been able to just construct something on my machine other then bindings and it was wonderful!

I petered out around 8:00 and since the Arcadia blocks are so big, it takes a while to complete each one. I'll probably finish that out today and save the rest of the blocks for sew-in or camp since all the pieces are nicely cut and separated out well.

We'll do some more long arming today and see where the sunny day takes us as it happens.

Monday, April 27, 2015

"It's Spring, Sir."

With our random warm-ish days, we take advantage of no bugs and sunshine to clean up around the place from the dirt winter brought with it. Leaves that congregate in rock gardens, sticks in piles needing to be moved, garage clutter that has accumulated.

Mom gave me a table she used to have in the kitchen on Baker Street when she was a kid. It's yellow metal with the stainless steel-looking legs and while not particularly attractive, it is solid. I cleaned that up yesterday from the grain bin and mouse dropping stink it carried and we put it here in the studio for my new cutting table. It's a little smaller then the "temporary" table I was using, but the table has a drawer for my rotary cutters and smaller rulers.

Despite it being Sunday yesterday, no small projects were completed in here; just larger ones outside I'm afraid.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Charity Quilts

As our guild builds charity quilts, we are trying something new this year. With each quilt (other then baby/infant size) we would also try to donate a pillow case with the quilt. Fabric is paired up with the respective quilt and then we make the pillow case to match.

Sometimes the matches aren't perfect, but close enough for jazz.

Here is my quilt (on DW of course).

Red and White Blocks Charity

And here is my pillow case.

Charity pillow case...the red stripe is actually red...not pink!
After I completed the pillow case I then had the idea of how the quilting would look within the quilt top. How about this?

Meandering Musical Notes
After I worked on this most of yesterday morning and last night, I filled the time between working on our little art piece we learned Thursday night at guild. I don't have pics yet but will in a week or two (we were not yet instructed how we were going to finish the piece off and apparently it's different then a usual finish normally done). 

Today takes us to Lansing and no studio time will occur today (sad face). 

Friday, April 24, 2015

100!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the 100th quilt DW and I have quilted since he came home a little over a year ago! 100 baby!

Bright White and Color Blocks
A guild member asked me last night how many quilts I do in a week and he about fell over when I said between one and three. I don't think he understands that most of the tops are all completed and I'm just pulling them from my inventory to quilt up (and to practice with). He's a fairly new member who doesn't know my background, and I'll eventually set him straight about how I actually do complete that many in such a short period of time.

And...I HATE TV! TV is stupid. TV rapes us of precious time to do other more meaningful things. Which is also how I get so many quilts done. I don't plan my day around TV. I don't plan my night around it. I only listen to the dumb thing when I'm spending "together" time with Jim in the family room at night and even then, I usually doodle quilting motifs on my iPad or Magnadoodle, read a quilting magazine, bind a quilt, or...you get the picture.

I have a passion. I feel sorry for those who never find one or realize they have one. I eat, sleep, breath my passion because, well, it truly is a passion for me. Which is why I no longer have horses. I'd be out in the barn all the time with the horses. It may be a good idea for Jim and I not to look at lake property because then I'd be out by the water all the time. These are two other passions I carry with me but have no way to exercise them within my current life schema.

But I do have my fabric, my long arm, the sewing machines, a wonderful sunny room, and a drive to wrap people up in warmth; and love.

While I feel sorry for those floundering in life to find purpose; to find meaning; to actually LIVE, I have to remember they are responsible for themselves. Not me. Not you. Them. So while I feel sorry for them, I do not feel responsible for them. I try to share with others just what passion is and to get them thinking about what really matters in life (because all those people on TV just don't matter in my life; they aren't going to change anything I do, and I certainly am not going to change what it is they do either).

I don't want to my headstone to read: Here lies Colette who lived for the show Dr. Who. I would rather have it read something like: Here lies Colette who was passionate about life, not TV.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Three Days

You'll see why in a minute why it took me three days to do my row. It's actually pretty awesome (and I don't usually rant about my own work).

I did not do any of the stitching yet. I'm going to ask Cathy about that tonight to see if she would prefer any at all, or just minimalist stitching to keep the pieces down until she can get to it.

Mine, of course, is the top row.

Cathy S. Row by Row (missing a row though)
This is what my planning and extension tables looked like while I was working on this piece. It looked worse in person (which is why I captured a pic of it)

Messy!
Do you want to see the Orphan Block quilt? I think it turned out pretty cute and Lily has already claimed it as hers today during lunch.

Orphan Blocks
And finally, DW already has some new and colorful attire. Behold!

Bright White and Colorful Blocks
It's been a pretty productive few days. Tomorrow I have some calls I need to make, some cleaning I need to do, and some cooking I should tackle, but it was fun enjoying it in here for a couple of days without the outside world running interference. 

Guild tonight and then the weekend has me off and running (again). I'll be able to slip in here between all the other stuff, but it'll be hit and miss on what it is I actually do get done...if anything?!?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Day 2

Yesterday the question was 'how long will the row by row project take me?'. Yesterday was a full day having not come out of the studio until nearly 9 pm; and it's not finished. Far from it actually.

Two out of the three blocks are appliquéd. I'll finish that third block this morning (hopefully). Once they are pressed down the stitching will commence. Fortunately, the recipient does not want a lot of stitching done prior to receiving the rows. If all goes well, I'll be able to actually get a pic later this afternoon of my submitted row. That will bring us to three days total--for just one row.

Since yesterday was spent entirely on this one project, no long arming was completed and the Orphan Block quilt still hangs out waiting for me to remove it. Maybe tonight I can get it off the machine and if the quilting gods are with me, get it bound up. Crossing my fingers!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Guild Row by Row

I don't think people realize just how much thought goes into creating something that seemingly looks simple.

Take my guild row by row for instance. When I opened the box, this is what I was given to work with. There is actually one row missing from a previous recipient but look at all the work in these three rows alone. With all that work, one had to think up what to do in each of these designs, so imagine the brain power in this so far!

Kathy S. Row by Row
Two of the rows given are very detailed and very busy. This tells me I have to find a happy medium between busy and not-so-busy and within the same color frame/theme.

Yesterday, I started out with my broad search. This includes Google Images, Pinterest, quilting blogs, magazine web sites, my collection of books and magazines, and YouTube.

After narrowing down to about a dozen ideas, I then had to search out the resources in which to build the row. Unfortunately, everything I was coming up with was either too simplistic or too busy (again); or even too small. I sure wish I knew how to draw!

I walked away and long armed for the remainder of the afternoon because I wasn't coming up with any ideas.

Jim came home and I started asking his advice on what I could do. Unfortunately, he wasn't any more help then the other resources.

After puttering around some more in here and taking care of my days' supplies, it hit me. I had a book I was working on in January way up high, out of the way and not with all my other books (unusual, I know). It was stashed with some of my batik fabrics because that's what's used in these patterns.

Ha! Let's take a look!
My row inspiration
It appears there are three blocks/ideas in here I would like to use for Kathy's row. I try to locate suitable fabric (that was tough actually) and design the background to set the appliqué pieces on.

While all of this is a physical process, there is still thought in each of these steps to ensure correct order and placement in and around each of the units. It took one whole day to come up with an idea, and it'll take another day to build the background and start making individual pieces. Let's see how long it takes to get the whole row done.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Orphan Blocks

This is what we have on DW right now.

Orphan Blocks
These are all the sample blocks I made to decide just how many more I wanted to make, if any at all. Some of them were just "one hit wonders" because they were used in the two magazines I was testing blocks for at the time. Some were samples from classes. They have no color scheme. They have no pattern theme. They just are.

But they needed a home and I thought, 'Self, these are just cluttering up the studio and need a place to settle'. I rounded all the orphans up, worked on the design wall to get them together in some sort of organized chaos and it'll make a wonderful car quilt, or picnic quilt, or lay-around-on-a-Sunday quilt. I'll wash it a couple of times to give it that cuddly feel before letting it loose around here, or there, or wherever.

I have a lot of homework yet to finish for my Stitchers Garden class. We'll start there today. We did our row by row exchange Thursday night, and I should probably dig out Kathy S.'s box and see what's up in that. I pieced a charity quilt on Saturday at sew-in and will have to get that on the frame sometime this week, and Carol R. gave me a cute new pattern called Beach Bovines by Amy Bradley that would look absolutely adorable in this years fair.

It's a rainy, overcast day so what a perfect time to get back in here and do my thing.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Not Much

Not much to report on this end. I spent the morning at the vets office with Lily for an update on her shots and then came home and basically long armed most of the rest of the day until I had to leave for guild.

My orphan block quilt is on the frame but haven't shot any pics of it. I'm having fun experimenting with different motifs within each block since each one is so different then the next.

Had sew-in today and worked on the Stitchers Garden block and then moved along to my Jenny Doan project started a few months ago. Picked up two more charity quilts, but didn't dig into those today at all. I'll maybe start one of those tomorrow if I get sick of the Jenny piece.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Oogey (Or is it Oogie?)

Which ever way you spell it was how I was feeling yesterday. It surfaced as soon as we arrived to class during set-up. Not only did I forget my foot pedal (which can be overcome by using my hands-free sewing button) but I forgot my regular shank and sewing foot for Mike. I had used my walking foot last here in the studio and that's what was on him.

Since we were doing pin tucking yesterday, the walking foot was of absolutely no use whatsoever. I sat there (or shopped) for the entire three hours...and continued to feel worse. After arriving back into Charlotte, I realized we still hadn't found Lily's leash/bungee and so had to run to the store to get her a new one for her vet visit this morning. Can't take the dog to the vets without a leash.

I am feeling a little bit better this morning, but still a little shaky and off balance. At least my screaming headache has subsided to a dull roar. I didn't do anything else quilting yesterday since I was so out of it and will hopefully be better when I return later today to get something new on DW and get organized for sew-in this weekend; I think I may work on Arcadia Avenue and perhaps, another charity quilt (if I can pick another one up at guild tonight). And of course, what I should have done in class yesterday is sitting there with nothing completed.

Having said all that, there are no pics today.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Crashing

I think my hard drive is starting to crash. I can hear it grinding away back there and the response on my computer is becoming so very slow. I guess since my computer is seven years old, it's probably only fitting.

Here's what I did yesterday.

Scrappy Stars
Today I have class in Portland and was with the window guy this morning prior to having to leave. I'm getting new windows in the studio! I am so, so, so excited!!

I'll be able to open the front windows and get some wonderful spring/summer air in here and the windows behind Mike and Jay will be much less drafty in the winter.

The window guy seemed pretty impressed with my work, took a few business cards, and said he may have me do a portrait piece of the dog they just had put to sleep last week. The dogs name was Ben. We clicked right away and I feel like this will be a commission in the future.

Off to class to fill my brain with more fun things to do on my sewing machine.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

iPhoto

I can appreciate the folks at Apple, Inc. for proactivity in bugs and fixes within applications. Yesterday, another update. This one included iPhoto.

Today, while importing what I've done over the past few days, had to read and pay attention to what I was doing because the application has taken on a completely different look.

But we got it and here's what's been up.

This first quilt was made with orphan blocks hanging around here and will probably get donated this fall.

Orphan String Diamonds and Horses
 The next little quilt is what I picked up from guild two weeks ago and will also go to donation.
Peaceful Colors
I just took off the third quilt from DW since blogging last and will grab a pic of that later tonight after I get the binding attached.

Where have I been since last week? Jim and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. We spent time together doing errands, enjoying each others company, going to my moms for a celebratory dinner, and coming home to a nearly gone maple tree the boys took down while we were there. We putz around the house, didn't do anything really special, but it was one of the best anniversaries ever because we were together.

Spring pulls me away from the studio too. There is yard work and warmer temps to enjoy before the bugs all come crawling out for the season. I love the two weeks in spring without them before they become unreasonable. If I had my druthers, I would rather have the cold weather then the bugs.

But last night our weekend together came to a close and I was back in the studio finishing the quilt I worked off and on with over the past five or so days.

While I was quilting, something struck me to check. We always talk about just how many quilts I've done so far (my spreadsheet says 98) and we also talk about how many stitches I've put through DW in a little over a year. I checked while I was talking to mom today and can you guess? Drum roll please...

...9.3 million!!!

Here's another tidbit of information. Quilters generally charge by the square inch. The least amount of charge around here (for those who do charge that way) is $.05 per square inch. Now a nickel doesn't sound like a whole lot, but when you do 98 quilts in various sizes it really does add up.

On my spreadsheet I also keep track of the size of each quilt I do (and other useful/useless information). Based on $.05/sq.in. and by multiplying out the amount of square inches I have already quilted, I would have spent over $18,000 getting them quilted outside the home. I think DW has just paid for himself!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Outside

The only reason I came into my studio yesterday was to empty the trash. While it was a cold, damp, misty day yesterday, I needed to be outside and do some work. I wasn't in the most creative mindset and manual labor always gets my head back into perspective so I took it out on some post-winter chores needing attending.

Tuesday I finished this quilt.

Batik Blocks
And then I re-dressed DW with this quilt top.

Orphan String Diamonds and Horses
I'm trying some dot-to-dot quilting in this piece and not very successful I might add, but it's very new to me and like everything unfamiliar, practice will improve my skills.

After completing half the quilting on the above top I moved along to a charity quilt kit I picked up last week at guild. I completed the top and am having a hard time with how I'm going to quilt it. It's just kind of hanging out here on my pressing table waiting for me to come up with some type of divine inspiration I think.

I feel like I need to work on my blog design (again). I'm bored with it and actually want to shorten the name of the address. I have no idea how to accomplish this but either I delve into this today or very soon it needs to be done.

Meanwhile, if it's not a quick fix and if it proves to try my patience, I'll move along to learning/practicing more dot-to-dot and getting that charity piece on the machine.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Larger Quilts

I thought I would be moving into some larger quilts on the frame, but after organizing the spare bedroom in anticipation of our Easter guests, found another batch of smaller quilt tops buried underneath the larger quilt tops.

I think a run to Fields Fabrics is probably in order to get all the backing fabric needed. These need to be finished and the closet needs to be cleaned out.

Here was the weekend project completed yesterday.

4-Piece Block Charity Quilt
I have a similar quilt on the frame right now that I made a few years ago, but it's one of mine and not a charity quilt.

I have no idea where today is going to take me. I have people coming to measure doors and windows, mom needs assistance on her new iPhone, and I after lunch we'll have to see what comes to mind.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ahh, Basketball

While MSU is fighting for advancement in the final four, I'm making snacks for the game watchers here at the house and settling in at the studio. It's bad luck for our Spartans for me to watch the game, and frankly, I'd rather be here.

My father is one of the watchers in the family room, and I couldn't wait to show him the "mystery" art project I've mentioned here on my blog. He absolutely loved what I made, and since no real quilt productivity occurred since Thursday, thought it would be a great time to show the reveal.

The piece is not quite finished yet, but the idea is shown with the pic below.

My dad during the 1970's
I'll finish it later this spring and present it to him for his birthday in June.

I'm going to long-arm a charity quilt I have on DW right now and then maybe work on another baby charity quilt I picked up Thursday night for my sixth charity quilt for the year. Ahead of schedule (I plan on doing one a month this year), but just in case life gets in the way will be able to keep my goal alive.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Another Day

I was able to actually complete some of the tasks mentioned earlier this week.

Here is the new Arcadia Avenue block called Northern Lights.
Northern Lights
This block looks pretty good by itself, but look at it with the other two blocks.

Three Arcadia Avenue Blocks
After ripping papers off and constructing the Northern Lights block it was time to move over to the long arm. I really miss it when I don't get to long arm on those crazy run-around days.

My goal was to get this piece finished prior to going to our guild meeting and I made it with about a half hour to spare.

Blue Polka Dot String Quilt
It's really, really heavy. Because the strings are put onto a piece of muslin during construction it adds yet another layer to the quilt. It wouldn't seem like this would add so much weight, but lugging it around last night was an eye opener. It'll certainly be warm for somebody to snuggle under during those chilly evenings.

Today was errand day. I purchased something called a VersaTool made by Handi Quilter specifically designed for DW and my new table. Now I'll be able to ditch and straight-line quilt! (The similar tool purchased earlier was too thick for my hopping foot so it wasn't working out at all).

We have several things coming up during our guild year; a BOM, construction of our own quilt blocks/quilt top, a challenge, a brown bag project, dolly quilts, and more. My head was swimming during my drive home but it all sounds like a lot of fun. Hey, anything with quilts is a lot of fun, right?


Thursday, April 2, 2015

New Row

Carol's theme for her row-by-row is butterflies. What a great theme and I had plenty of ideas, which is unusual. I generally struggle to figure out what to do but with this row I had to narrow the playing field down from about six or seven of my ideas.

It took an hour to get it down to two and then my fabric stash and her color theme won out the decision. Oh, and what method I had constructed the other blocks was also a factor. I don't want to do all of my contributions as paper pieced blocks.

The bottom row is how the finished project turned out.

Butterfly Rows
All of yesterday was spent working on this piece. The butterfly bodies and the head are three dimensional and this took some extra time to work in. And, after finishing the row, found I was a half inch short on her row requirements, so I had to set in a border to extend it out a bit.

Hopefully today I can commence with the projects I mentioned on yesterday's post; long arming, pulling papers, assembling blocks. You know, the usual stuff.

We have guild tonight and Carol R. has thrown out a challenge. I already have my idea and can't wait to get it started, but I have to snug up some of these other things first before I can even think about working on anything new.

But just to remind myself, the challenge is themed "Sayings" and it can't be any larger then 24"x36" finished size. Method of completion is totally open and she wants the piece completely finished (not just in "top" mode) by our guild picnic. This one should be really fun!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Funeral's Stink!

The only aunt I had on my mom's side passed away. All of yesterday was spent in Hamburg, MI attending the family viewing, funeral, luncheon, etc. I hadn't seen some of my cousins in over 40 years. Some had changed, and some not at all. Funny isn't it?

It's like my quilting and abilities thereof. Some things change, like the way I bind my quilts now. And some things don't, like the way I still hate attaching labels (even though I know I should be attaching them on each and every quilt). 

My abilities have changed too. I've become more daring in the level of quilt I will tackle whether through making a top or what I'll long arm in the quilt. A few of my abilities haven't changed at all. I still get one corner on every quilt that I struggle with in squaring up correctly, no matter different techniques I pursue or research I do to try and fix it. Perhaps that's just my quilting signature?

Whether we want to face it or not, change is inevitable. Deal. As my Aunt Nancy would have said, "Don't sweat the small stuff and just move on." So I do.

Here's what happened on Monday. I finished the Sugar Block BOM 2013.

Sugar Block BOM 2013
Not my usual colors, but nice nonetheless.

DW was reloaded with the latest string quilt and I'm just running a meander throughout the top and borders with a few loops in the thin border.

DW's latest clothing
This quilt doesn't look like much until you can see the whole thing, but it's a great way to use up all of those strings; the braided border helped in that respect!

I should probably dig into my row-by-row tote to see what's going on in there. We exchanged last Thursday and I haven't even opened it up with my Chicago trip and the funeral activities. I'll work on the string quilt some more today and pull the papers off of the third block pieces in the Arcadia Avenue project. 

I think my UFO shelves are becoming overwhelming. I need to think about this a bit more and start tackling some of those. I received my Garden pattern back from Carol and feel like I have enough batiks around to start working on the last Judy Niemeyer pattern I picked up. I also drafted a pattern from Keepsake Quilting I saw that would be darling to do with all the homespuns I've been collecting so lots to do. Happy dance!