Saturday, December 29, 2012

So Long 2012...and good riddance

Time for some new goals and some insights...

There were a lot of negative happenings in 2012 that make me glad to move on to another year.  The worst of which were the passing of my mother-in-law in April (following the death of my father-in-law the previous November) and a period of job uncertainty this fall with my husband's position.  It made for very sad moments and some uneasy what-ifs.  However, it helped to find some perspective and comfort from those around me.  In the midst of it all, I took on lots of quilting jobs with my long-arm and successfully quilted over 50 quilt tops.  Most of my own projects were just making blocks for various projects and Quilt-a-Longs which were very fun!  Not alot to show for all that sewing time yet but, perhaps soon.

So, that said, let me try to be more cheerful about prospects for 2013. 
1.  I very much enjoy and will continue to quilt the tops that people bring to me; I loaded another one today.  I passed the 100 mark in 2012 and could come very close to 200 by the end of 2013!  That would be AWESOME! 
2.  I want to learn some new freehand designs and would like to regularly allow myself the time to do so ...and to post the results. 
3.  I would like to post more frequently and so, starting with the quilt I loaded today I will post my customer's quilts as I finish them...or perhaps once a month like a mini-quilt show.  That would be fun, wouldn't it?  Could I reach my 100th post this year??
4.  I'm going to keep track of the number of blocks I make this year.  I have several BOM's in progress and I love being able to add another "tick" mark.  For instance, I need 80 Cat Blocks for a quilt in progress and I am really close to having them all done; I've made 66 blocks and only need 14 more.  Would you like to see them?  And, I've made (5) 5" blocks just for fun.  How about those?  Would you like to see them, too?  Maybe I could post them in groups of 10.  I'd like to make at least 365 blocks this year!
5.  USE THOSE SCRAPS!  That's the #1 fabric related goal this year.  I have enough fabric for a lifetime as so many of us do.  I know I can't say I won't buy any fabric this year but it makes me feel good to use what I have so most of the projects I have chosen for 2013 (see sidebar) have been specifically chosen to use what I have.  I want to make the Easy Street Mystery quilt  and I want to base it on what I want to use up but I haven't chosen my focus fabric yet.  So, anything that gets added to the list should come from stash first.  All those BOM's?  They're all patterns or booklets or on blogs I've collected and I'm using my own fabric for each and every one. 

So, what are your goals for 2013?  If I knew how to do a linky thing I'd ask you all to link up but, maybe you can just put it in the comment section....Oh, so I guess I need to add more computer skills to the list, too.  Geez...I better stop now before you regret coming over here!  But, thanks for stopping by and I hope to hear from you!

Monday, September 3, 2012

53 and counting...

Happy Labor Day! And, Happy Birthday to my Dearest!

What did you do today? I caught up on some overdue tasks and had some time for sewing too. I think I need my own personal Labor Day every month to try to keep up with things; wouldn’t that be great?

I started 2 new projects today so, 53 and counting is in reference to the number of projects I have “in progress”, which may not be entirely accurate, could be more…. Maybe I should say "53, but who's counting??"

I had a fantastic time at the AQS Show in Grand Rapids. I liked the set-up and I loved having new territory to uncover…we found several shops in the area that we would happily go back to so, if you went I hope you did some touring also. I came back with lots of ideas and some new patterns but those aren’t the ones I started on today. I’ve been wandering around different blogs and found a project that suits my growing pile of scraps to a T, it’s called Scrap Vomit and was hosted at www.Imagingermonkey.blogspot.com. At this point you would have to go to her tutorials page to find the instructions. There is still a Flickr page for it, too. Here is my first block made up of 49 2 ½” squares; it’s Block A:


The next project I started is a Quilt Block of the Week with Barbara Brackman. Surely I can do 1 block a week, right??? She started a new blog for it and you can read about it here: www.grandmotherschoice.blogspot.com. Here is my first block:



Finally, my most current project is the Great Granny Square Quilt Along:  I completed my 11th block today but I'm only showing 9 of them here.  I haven't decided whether to make more to stop here....





Hope you had a great weekend!

Stephanie





Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Closet under the Stairs, part 2



Yahoo!   After a 15 hour day of shuffling, bending, crawling, sorting, and assembling the closet has been reorganized into the Ultimate Storage Area!  I can’t believe how much stuff I was able to get in there.

View down center of closet
Left Side -Note lighting


 Here’s what I ended up purchasing: 2 standard 3-shelf bookcase units; 1 set of tall wire shelves 18” deep (at right) and 2 sets of short wire shelves also 18” deep (at left).  I also bought 8 fabric cubes, (10) 16 qt bins and (3) 28 qt and (2) 66 qt bins.  Total cost:  $253.38.   I reclaimed from other areas of the house a tall bookcase, a couple more magazine file boxes, and a couple of other totes.



Bookcases-Right Side
ALL my magazines and notebooks and ALL of my little plastic drawer units fit in the bookcases with room to spare.  The wire shelves which are rated to hold 150 lbs per shelf hold most of my project bins.  One of my favorite things about the re-do was being able to separate every project into its own container.  No more P-I-G-S, baskets, baggies, piles, trays or stuff otherwise strewn about; they’re all gone.




 The Shelf Project has been dismantled.  I REMOVED that large shelving unit and one bookcase which visually cleaned up the space a lot. All of those projects have their own bin. 


I found a better spot for the ironing board when a plug became available again after removing the bookcase.

Since then I also found out I needed to LABEL every bin!  I used to know where everything was but when it gets moved around to this extent I had a heck of a time finding a couple of things.  I used index cards and a large black marker to label every bin because ya know I really DO want to make these projects some day!

Hope you enjoyed this little show and that it will inspire you to do something with YOUR stash!

Happy Organizing! Next step...SEW!

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Closet Under the Stairs, part 1



Another reorganizing project has begun!  I read something on someone’s blog quite some time ago and although the idea stuck with me I’m sorry to say the blogger’s name did not.  This gal had made a “Batt Cave” for all of her tubs and rolls and packages of batting and it was stored in a small closet.  I thought that was so cute and wished I could do something like that.  Well, many months later, it occurred to me that I actually do have access to a closet but I had kinda forgotten that it was even there because once again, it was a forgotten area.  Who knows what stuff actually lurked in there.  And, did I really want to know, let alone deal with it??  I guess the answer is YES.  I wanted to make better use of that closet and have my very own “Batt Cave”. 

 
The Stuff
 
 
 
So, out came everything from the closet.  Egads!  How did all that stuff fit in there?  Well, it fit because it’s actually quite a good sized space.




More Stuff
The Empty Closet

I measured all its wonky angles and cleaned up the scuffed walls with a Magic Eraser then I made a sketch and started researching my shelving options.  I’ve got all this stuff out in the middle of the floor so I needed to decide on something pretty quickly!  I bought some shelving units today so next time I will show you what it looks like all properly organized!  I can't wait.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Does anybody use their living room any more?

Does anybody use their living room any more?  Well, we rarely do, what with having a family room and a sunroom to relax in, the living room can go unused for months at a time so, I’ve taken it over. No, I did not set up my sewing machine in there. I have a new spot for my desk and computer! I previously shared an office with my husband and it’s not that that didn’t work out but…this is waaaay better.

I love being in the front room. When I sit at my desk I can look out the front window. I can see who is coming to the front door.  My quilting library is right here, too.  There's a couch to stretch out on.  I really enjoy this space. Doesn’t that sound fabulous?? I still need to hang a couple of pictures or quilts but other than that it didn’t take long at all. All we did was swap out an antique cupboard for my desk and add in a little table for a printer. The cupboard holds my husband’s camera equipment so it really belongs in his office anyway. The couch and loveseat stayed and provides comfy seating when I want to catch up on everyone blogs or nap or catch the morning sun. This room suddenly has new life and purpose. I'm so glad to have put this unused space to good use.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sort by Color


I picked up two new books last week (drooling):  Amanda Jean and Cheryl's Sunday Morning Quilts


AND Mary Elizabeth Kinch and Biz Storms' book Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts.  I would love to start one of their projects but first things first to which they both attest. My scraps need to be in some semblance of order and visible or they will remain where they are into eternity.  And, then I will also mention a third blogger/writer extraordinaire, Judy Laquidara, who reminded me in her book Weekend Quilts about big batch cooking so one can spend more time creating and less time in the kitchen (not that I mind cooking but I’d usually rather be sewing).  So, today’s effort combined all these forces into a burst of productivity which ended with a delicious dinner on the table and several drawers filled with scraps just waiting to be picked up and sewn into something marvelous;  all done in an hour and a half I might add.  So here are some pictures which will hopefully encourage you to do the same; believe what they say as they do know what they’re talking about in this regard to be sure! 
Bag-O-Scraps

Before:
Your basic storage drawers

The drawers got cleaned.  Chicken put in the oven.  Dump the scraps out on the floor and start sorting.  Don't over think it.  Listen to some good music or a podcast.  By the time the timer rang the drawers were filled!  I still need to label them but at least I can add to or take from with ease!  I can't wait to put them to use.  I also liked, rather loved, Amanda's cute fabric boxes but these will do for now.  My drawer categories are: Browns, reds, blues, purples, white/black, modern, golds, batiks, greens, selvages, block parts.  Oh, and I also added some too small bits to my "dog pillow bag" which also got a better place to sit so I will be more apt to throw stuff in and fill it up.  I'm so pleased! I hope you will give it a try too!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Layer Cake Blocks for 2011!!!


I hope you haven’t given up on me!  I finished the December Layer Cake blocks some time ago but just got to taking pictures this morning.  I also put all the blocks up together on my design wall using two basic settings.  I think they will still go through several changes before I settle on the final versions.  So, here's what I've got:
December Block:  Ladies Wreath
For this block I chose to use just 2 fabrics.  It's composed of half-square triangle units and squares of background.  It uses most of the layer cake square for each.  You could choose to use scraps from previous months if you like. 
Cut:
Layer Cake December Block
From background (light):
(4) 2 1/2" squares
(6) 2 7/8" squares, cut in half once diagonally

From dark:
(6) 2 7/8" squares, cut in half once diagonally

Pink and Brown Test Block-December
To save time when you cut the squares for the HalfSquareTriangle (HST) units, layer the fabrics RightSidesTogether (RST) and cut them at the same time.  Take them to the sewing machine as they are now perfectly matched, stacked and ready to go!  Piece them all, press seams open and then lay the units out as shown in the block picture.  Pay attention to the direction of the HST units so it looks like a wreath/circle.


Now for more fun stuff.  Get all your blocks out and let's see how they look together.
14 blocks set straight with sashing
If you made all the blocks you should have 14.  You need to make one more if you like this setting.  (I'll post another one later this month just in case you choose this one.)  That would make a small wall quilt about 36 x 56. 
If you like this setting you'll need: 1 1/2 yards of border/sashing fabric cut as follows:  Cut longest pieces first along the length of fabric.
(10) sashing strips 8 1/2 x 2 1/2
4 sashing strips 28 1/2" x 2 1/2"
2 border strips 48 1/2" x 4 1/2"
2 border strips 36 1/2" x 4 1/2"


Diagonal Set with Alternate Squares
Perhaps you would like something a little larger.  If you do then you could set the blocks on point and alternate them with a plain block like this.  Using the same fabric for setting triangles and the border makes the blocks look like they are floating.  I used only 12 of the 14 blocks.  That would give you a quilt that measures about 42 1/2" x 54 1/2.
From 1 1/2 yards border fabric cut:
(4) 4 1/2" border strips x length of fabric.

From remaining border fabric cut:
(6) 8 1/2" alternate squares
(3) 10" squares and cut twice on the diagonal for a total of 12 setting triangles (2 extra)
(2) 9 3/8" squares and cut once for a total of 4 corner triangles.

After inner quilt top is complete, cut border strips to length by measuring through the body of the quilt top and cut the side borders to that measurement (approximately 46 1/2").  Measure again from side to side for the top and bottom borders and cut the borders to that measurement (approximately 35").
Medallion Setting
 Here's a medallion setting for the blocks which would also be good for a wall hanging.  This one would measure about 40" square.  This arrangement uses 13 blocks. 
I'll give cutting numbers for this one at another time.



I have some other ideas in mind as well.  I'll post those as soon as I can. 

Until next time, happy sewing!
Stephanie



Monday, January 23, 2012

THE SHELF PROJECT


THE SHELF PROJECT

I, too, have a rather lengthy wish list when it comes to the projects I’d like to get done this year.  In the simplest terms, I want to finish everything on the shelves in this picture therefore my New Year’s List will affectionately be named THE SHELF PROJECT.  (No fair looking at the tubs to the right, ignore them, ignore them.)



Identifying them from top to bottom although they won’t be worked on in this order:

Top Shelf:
A Christmas Tree Skirt kit I just purchased in December of wool applique on red velveteen, not started.

Placemats for my Mother, not started.

Hundreds of half-square triangle units from a guild exchange in 2010.

Pillowcases for Chaucie’s Place; an ongoing effort, I make them from time to time as needed.

Second Shelf:

“Carousel” pattern from Cozy Modern Quilts book; needs borders pieced. (2/27-done!)

Fabric for 2 Mondo Bags, one for me and one for a gift.

“Etchings” fabric waiting for something….

Third Shelf:

Fabric for a Schlep Bag

Mini-Christmas stockings kit, 3 down, 2 to go

Orca Bay Mystery-just a few strips of blacks and shirtings are cut

Fabric for a Halloween Twister-lap size using 10” squares, not started.

Some Cheddar fabric for some little nine patches (2/26-put away for now)

Leftover fabric waiting to be put away…in the tub and plastic mesh basket (2/26-Cleaned up)

Fourth Shelf:

These items are all finished!  Call it my inspiration shelf…someday this whole shelf unit will store only finished projects!!

Fifth Shelf:

2012 QP Second Saturday project, in progress and up-to-date

Pieces for Double Delight, a good leaders and enders project

Black and Red fabrics for a Hexie quilt, not started.

Sixth Shelf:

Supporting cast members for several projects including:

Pink and Brown Pinwheel Quilt, in progress (2/26-making progress, 23 blocks done, 7 to go)

Layer Cake Sampler from last year, continuing on through this year; need to get current (2/27-December blocks done; working on setting-see post of 2/27)

Insulbrite for more grocery sacks/gifts; to work on as needed.
So, there you have it.  I added this shelving unit to my space late last year and it just magically got filled with stuff to do so I’ll tackle it first…in hopes that someday I’ll get to my other shelving unit which has even more projects started and collected waiting their turn.  Not to mention the FLOOR PROJECTS, items which do not even fit under the table, on the shelves, in the drawers, or anywhere else but the FLOOR!

I’m happy to report that there are two projects no longer on the shelf J because I have been working diligently on them since January 1!  One is ready to hand-sew the binding down; the other has borders almost completed and will get its backing soon too. 

Besides sewing goals I started swimming again.  And, I’ve had to get really tough with myself about NOT becoming the couch potato I could so easily be…I started walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes every night no matter what.  I just started last weekend (I kind of missed that Jan 1 start because it took an extra couple of weeks of pondering to get some goals together but I still want to complete 366 days).   So far I’m 7 for 7.  Want to try it too?  Just leave a comment. 

One of things I will not be spending much time on is blogging so don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me for awhile!  It means I’m happily working away at THE SHELF PROJECT.  I will post occasional updates.

Best wishes of the New Year to you and your family!

Stephanie