Monday, December 31, 2012

One Last Post This Year

I know I'm pushing it close. It's almost 11pm here in CST, but I wanted to update everyone on the last of my finishes for the year.  First up, another baby blanket.  I love this color! We don't have anyone expecting right now, but there's always someone around the corner and now I won't have to scramble.

Next, I am able to cross this nursery rhyme quilt off my 2012 list! Isn't it cute? It's 37" x 46". This one also will be waiting in the closet for a new owner.

Finally, there's this cute little wall hanging I made the hubs for Christmas.  He used to live in the Florida keys and is a HUGE Parrothead (fan of Jimmy Buffett) so I thought this would be a nice trip down memory lane for him.  He was very surprised and pleased.  We try to do at least one handcrafted gift to each other each year.  I had wanted to do more, but ran out of time. 

So, that's it for this year.  I'm pleased with my quiltiness this year.  I've pushed myself and tried some new things.  I made the biggest quilt thus far. I have done some blanket-stitch applique. I've gained some confidence in my quilting ability and feel good about my progress.  Tomorrow, I'll talk about my expectations for 2013.  In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Finally! A Friday Finish!

I finished this batik jelly roll race top a month or so ago, but finally had the opportunity to quilt and bind it this week.  I think the collection is called blueberry.  In all honesty, I'm not sure I will use this pattern again.  It was easy enough, but there isn't enough variety between the strips and the changes between strips are oddly placed.  Even so, this quilt is growing on me.  The more time I spend with it, the more I'm liking it.

You can see the quilting a bit better in the second picture. I did in the ditch between the strips and a wave through the strips and the outer border.  I used a smokey blue thread, but I went through two spools (one full and one not) and part of a third.  I also realized that I don't have much variety in my thread collection - mostly white or darks (green, blue, purple and red).  I'm going to have to remedy that.  

Anyway, I was having some difficulty choosing a binding.  I had bought some 90" natural flannel for the backing and had enough left over for the binding as well.  I like using flannel for the back for added warmth and softness, but the natural cream color would be striking against the dark outer border.  So, I asked the hubs' opinion.  Essentially, the choice was between the fabric for the backing and the fabric for the border.  He said the border fabric would be better and he was right. It was perfect!

This is, by far, the biggest quilt I've ever made and completed.  All in all, I'm pretty happy with it... and the cats are thrilled! ;o)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Another finish...

My brother and his wife had a baby this year, so naturally, she gets a new Christmas stocking this year.  I had to get it done last weekend so that it would be included in the box I sent to my parents for Christmas.

Pretty cute, eh?

I'm spending the afternoon quilting the batik quilt top I made last month (?).  We're supposed to be getting 6" of snow today, but it only just got overcast.  I'm not sure I believe it, but at least we'll have a new quilt to cuddle under and a big pot of turkey soup if it does snow (carcass and veggies are simmering on the stove right now and I'll make pasta dough about 6pm).   I LOVE homemade soup!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Charitable Projects

In light of the tragic shooting in a Connecticut elementary school, I feel like I should say or do something but not sure what.  Then I found this project going on.  For those of you who want to do something, but aren't sure what there is this is a good opportunity.

Wishing everyone some peace and healing.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

12-12-12 Sale

Wednesday, as you all know, was the unique date of 12-12-12.  Many retailers had special sales to commemorate the uniqueness and my LQS was no different.  They sent me an email the night before (did I mention I'm on their mailing list?) saying that for every 12 fat quarters a customer bought, they would get an additional 12 for free!! Well, I couldn't pass up a deal like that!  So, even though I was in the middle of studying for my last final, I took a little time to visit the shop and pick out some fat quarters. 

I didn't go with any plan... which may or may not have been a problem.  I ended up getting quite a few reproduction pieces and a few ideas for quilts. Like this blue and brown option...

Or this black and brown...

I liked these flannels...

I always pick up any new hockey prints I find (because it's the best sport EVER) and a few other that will fit into my stash nicely. 

And finally, I added these.  I don't really have any Civil War/Reproduction fabrics, but lately I've really been drawn to a number of quilts that have used them.  So, I thought it might be time to start gathering some to use in a scrappy quilt.  I love them, but I'm noticing that I need more dark reds and browns.  I ended up buying two sets of 12 and getting two sets of 12 for free!

I took my final on Thursday morning and received a 98%!! WOOHOO! Beyond that, I graded Thursday afternoon and evening and got those final grades submitted.  Thursday evening, my hubby's college's football team played in the national championships for their division so we ate dinner at a local sports bar & grill where they had it on the satellite.  Even though the team lost in over time, it was a lot of fun and we're very proud of their first championship game!  Then Friday I did a little cleaning and sewing. The same tonight, with the addition of an awards ceremony (my hubby's colleague won tonight, but hubby won last year).  

I'm kind of missing my family tonight.  As I was working in my sewing room today, I thought a lot about them because I was cleaning up, making the kids' ornaments, and picking out fabrics to use in the stocking for the newest addition of my side of the family.  We have to get the last of the packages mailed on Monday so I need to finish these to include.  I'll post pictures soon.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Two Birthday Finishes

Last Thanksgiving (2011) was my family's year to gather together.  My niece was carrying around her other aunt's purse (also my sister - there are four sisters and two brothers). I asked her mom if she would want her own bag or purse to carry around.  MB said she'd rather have a quilt for her bed.  I've never made a quilt that was bigger than a baby blanket before so I told MB I would see what I could do.  That's when I started planning.

First, I knew that I would have to make one for her brother, too.  You know, it wouldn't be fair to make one kid a quilt and not the other.  Besides, his bday was first, but her quilt was WAY easier to plan.

Did you know that it is impossible to get Syracuse University fabric? Apparently,they do not license it which makes it terribly difficult to make a quilt for a young man who LOVES Syracuse basketball!  What's an aunt to do but get creative.  Last Christmas I kept an eye out for clearance t-shirts as I was also looking for the non-existent Syracuse fabric.  I found two so I snatched them up for $5 each.  Then the hubs and I were walking through a sporting goods store this summer and found a third.  Over the course of the last year, I gradually picked up fat quarters of basketball themed fabric to fill in.  I found a great flannel online that was sports-themed and basketballs were prominent.  That still left me wondering what to do about surrounding/framing the t-shirt panels.  I went to Hobby Lobby when they had a flannel sale, but was underwhelmed by the selection and the hubs said not to force it just because the nephew's bday was coming.  I ended up finding a GORGEOUS navy check flannel to use.  The final quilt is about 57"x 60" so I patched the back together with the sporting flannel, a strip of leftover squares, and then an 8" strip of the navy flannel.

Syracuse Quilt for HB1

As I said, her's was way easier to plan.  I went to the local quilt shop (LQS) and found the green kitty fabric.  Did I mention that my niece LOVES cats? Seriously.  The kid is crazy about 'em! So, I picked two complimentary colors, fussy-cut the kitties for the centers of the stars and added a white-on-white daisy print for the background.  Originally, I was just going to do a white border, but then I was going to do a checkboard along the top and bottom, but had enough leftover squares that I changed my mind and went all the way around and added a 4" white border around that.  Her backing is hot pink Minkee that matches the pink on the front and I bound it will a swirly pink flannel.  It was a total pain in the tush to quilt!!! I ripped out stitches three times last night before calling it quits for the night.  The Minkee, while incredibly soft, is also incredibly slippery and kept being brought through.  I finally got the tension and procedure right this afternoon and it took me 6 hours to quilt it.

Kitty Quilt for HB2


I just love these quilts and I'm pretty proud of them.  I feel pretty sure the kids will love them, too. And that's all that really matters. :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Easy Street Mystery

Have you guys heard about Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt, Easy Street?  You can see the latest linky post here.  Bonnie originally suggested a grey and white as neutrals, deep purples, teals and lime greens as colors for the quilt and many quilters are following that suggestion.  But there are several others who are creating their own color schemes.  I have to admit, while I like the  original color pallet I'm not in love with it, so I would probably choose a different combination of colors.  I was thinking chocolate brown and cream as the neutrals, and rich red, pink and tan as the colors.  Or maybe red, green and blue.  Or pink, green and blue. Or yellow, orange and red.  

My semester is almost over (both teaching and taking classes) and I am anxious to get creative in my sewing room.  Dr J has completed his section of our Christmas gifts, but I still need to do my part, and there are two Christmas quilts I was hoping to get to, and his quilted gift.  I can't wait to get in there!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Birthdays and Provence

My birthday fell during the Thanksgiving break.  Given my final paper and exam schedule, I was able to take a little time to sew.  The hubs was very worried about the gift he bought me for my birthday.  He'd spent the majority of the allotted amount on this one item and he had a hard time coming to terms with it.  He kept saying that he hoped I liked it and I could return it if I wanted.  Needless to say, he wasn't instilling the utmost confident in the gift!

Anyway, I opened my gift first thing after breakfast (which the hubs made me!).  Imagine my surprise and supreme pleasure to find he had bought me this little baby!

It is so nice! I loved using it on my projects.  Speaking of projects, I finished the project I was working on in the last post.  I really like it and I believe the young man it is for will love it!  I'm hoping to put the borders on the companion piece and get that quilted on Thursday after I hand in my first final exam of the semester (I handed in two final papers last week).  If I can get the two mailed to their owners Friday, then I will post final pictures this weekend.

The other project I worked on was the Memories of Provence Block of the Month (BOM).  I first wrote about this in October, here.  I was able to find a quilt shop willing to allow me to join so late in the game.  Karylee at Quilt Sampler was awesome and mailed block one to me right away.  So, that's what I sewed on my birthday.

Isn't it gorgeous?? I love it just as much in person as I did in the pictures.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Maple-Orange Marmalade glazed, smoked turkey breast; baked sweet potatoes; stuffing; and rum-maple pumpkin custard pie.  So good, so filling!!

I'm so grateful for so much this year... including my supportive husband, a warm home, and plenty of fabric to keep me company.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fulfilling a Promise

So, I mentioned my sister's sister-in-law (EBG) a couple of posts ago.  Last year, she contacted me shortly after Thanksgiving about making Christmas stockings for her and her husband.  I told her my typical price, but offered a significant discount since she's nearly family. She agreed and I promised delivery before the following Christmas. 

Then news arrived that EBG had been notified that she was going to adopt a baby over the summer.  I knew I needed to make the new baby a stocking as well at no charge.  First, I chose the fabrics and then I cross-stitched the name plates.

Waiting for assembly
Here are the final projects:

The package went out in the mail this afternoon.  I expect it to be delivered on Monday.  

I have another stocking to make this year - my brother and his wife had another baby girl. Unfortunately, it will have to wait until after the semester is over since it doesn't have to be there until December 22nd and I have two other projects for special little ones whose birthdays are well before Christmas.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

More Progress

Stack of twos

Pressed stack.
I'm making steady progress on this project.  I know a young man who would be thrilled to hear that... if he even knew about this project.

Monday, November 5, 2012

What I'm working on...

I finally have a Friday Finish to post this week, but you'll have to wait and see it on Friday.  I'm mailing the package tomorrow and it would arrive by Friday.

In the meantime, here are some teasers for my current project.

There are over 300 3 1/2 inch squares in the shoebox. 

I've been able to spend a little time in the sweat shop this weekend and hope to continue the trend this week. I'm working on a newly reworked schedule and I should be able to get 30-60 minutes on most days to sew.  I have to say that I LOVE the navy flannel I'm working with. It is just simply the most gorgeous blue and SO soft!

I'm feeling more and more confident on this project.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Not your average baby gift

My youngest sister married the boy-next-door, literally.  And while I had not been living at home for years by the time my parents moved to that house, I have known her husband and sister-in-law (EBG) since before they were teenagers (more than a decade). So when I heard that EBG was adopting a baby with her hubby, I made appropriate plans to send her something (stereotypically late, but none-the-less). 

I saw a tutorial for a baby towel here and knew that's what I wanted to make for her.  So I grabbed a towel and chose a coordinating fabric.

It didn't take long to make and I like it a lot!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lunar Halo

This is tonight's moon from our front porch.

Tighter view

The full view

They call this a lunar halo.  Folklore has it that it "means bad weather, rain, or other foul atmospheric conditions are on the way."  Appropriate even here in the middle of the country where we will not receive the brunt of Sandy, but we'll surely receive residual effects. 

Stay safe everyone!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Entry Curtain

The entry has a smaller window next to the door that my in-laws have agreed to make a stained glass for, but for now I wanted something that would allow the light in without losing the privacy. I had some fabric from the bathroom curtain left over, but not quite enough to cover the whole window which meant I had to find a solution if I wanted to use it.  So I ran to  the local Hobby Lobby to look at their upholstery fabric. The first one I considered is this one: 

I like it, but it is rather formal.  So, I kept looking and found this:

I LOVE this fabric! Our entry walls are the same color as the darker grey medallion.  My intention was to make a curtain of just these fabrics, but then I thought that I liked the silk as well and it would be appropriate for the holiday season.  So then I thought about making two tops and attaching the gauze-like fabric with Velcro.  

I started to plan these curtains, but as I took before pictures I realized just how close the window is to our wall quilt.

This poses a bit of a problem because I do not want the curtain to clash with whatever wall quilt we have up. So, back to the drawing board.  I had some black canvas fabric left over after making some potholders for a friend.  So, I decided that simplicity was best in this case and made this curtain:

I like it. :o)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


in my stats class.  This is not your normal "Oh, I just work so hard and am barely squeaking by" kind of struggle.  No, this is the "I am in serious jeopardy of failing b/c I haven't passed two exams so far" kind of struggle.  I've never done this poorly.  I even got a tutor after the last exam in hopes of just kicking ass on this morning's exam.  Except, I did worse.  I don't know what to do and I'm scared and depressed right now.  

Sorry this post isn't very craft-related, but I can't think about that right now.  I can't think about anything except my misery in statistics right now. So, there you have it.

***UPDATE - I heard back from my professor and am happy to report that I will not fail. I may have to take it over in the Spring, but I won't fail!  I'm still struggling with my emotions, but this is such good news!!!***

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What I've been up to...

Did you notice the new header? I've been playing around with Picmonkey and created two new headers (one for each blog).

I'll be honest, not much of my time has been spent in the sweat shop.  I just don't have time to spend there.  The semester is bad enough, but October is a little ridiculous with deadlines.  Combine that with a week's worth of freezes which meant we had 5 huge boxes of green tomatoes to process and a long table of partially ripened tomatoes.  So the last couple of weekends, we've spent making green salsa, beet relish, pepper jellies, mustard, etc.

Drying tomatoes
Canning - half of this is green salsa!
Last week, we bought a couple cheap bookcases for the dining room and I thought I should get a bigger one for the sweat shop.  You can see here that I had completely outgrown the one I had there. The plan was to move this smaller one to the bedroom for nick-knacks and bedtime readings after I had cleaned out all the totes of clothes.

Old bookcase
 The hubs put the new one together and the following day I switched the bookcases.  This looks much nicer, no?
New bookcase

The top shelf has a few marketing/business books about growing a craft business (obviously that's been placed on hold), half pint jars full of safety pins and buttons, business cards, and sewing patterns.  The black basket on the next shelf holds my quilting and purse patterns. There's also a jar of taffy and a couple of Christmas books.  Then there's quilting magazines, then the quilting books, and finally, the crochet and cross-stitch books.  I'm quite pleased with it.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Yesterday, as I was driving my massive 2.5 hour commute home from class, I had an epiphany.  Despite loud, upbeat music to motivate me on my drive, five hours round-trip still gives me a lot of time to think.  An unfinished project randomly jumped to mind. I began this project a couple of years ago, but lost interest in it as I was trying to complete revisions on my Masters thesis. Once I'd lost interest it was very hard to get back into it.  It somehow didn't fit the intention for beginning it anymore and every time I thought of it in a re-purposed manner it didn't quite fit that either. But yesterday, I knew exactly what the purpose of this project is meant to be!!  The more I think about this change in purpose, the more I am committed to it.  That's a good sign, no? 

I'll post pictures when it's complete.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Memories of Provence

I want this pattern! I just read Thelma's post over at Cupcakes 'n' Daisies about her BOM rehab.  She was grateful for the encouragement to finish half-started projects.  This is where I first heard of Memories of Provence by Monique Dillard at Open Gate Quilts.  Have you seen it?

Photo Courtesy of Open Gate Quilts
Isn't it beautiful?  How did I not know about this before??  I am fond of Dillard, but had never seen this BOM before.  I've been searching for an hour for the pattern, but can only find links to BOMs that are 2-3 months into the deal.  What am I going to do if I can't find this pattern? I want!  I'm sending an email to Open Gate to see if it's even possible to find the pattern w/o signing up for a BOM.  Any suggestions?

Monday, September 24, 2012


I am in between teaching sessions right now.  My last set of classes ended September 16th and I finished grading their final assignments on Friday Sept. 21st.  My next session of classes doesn't begin until October 8th which means I do not have any teaching obligations until October 7th when I have to prep the online classroom(s).   This also means I have a little more time that I can spend in the sweat shop which is good because the holidays are just around the corner!

The timing couldn't have been better. This last week was incredibly stressful.  I had two exams and a class in three days.  One of the exams was in Statistical Methods which is not my strong suit.  I get the math, I just don't get the interpretation (what does getting this number mean? I have no clue).  I've gotten a tutor as a result of my grade on that exam.

Anyway, I needed sewing therapy.  I've been working on a Jelly Roll Race quilt.  I'd heard you could finish it in an hour.  I think those people who said so are on crack.  There's no way you could finish it in an hour - two or three possibly, but definitely not one.  It took me an hour to prep the strips and sew them together end to end.  Then another to create the bulk of the quilt and another 15-30 minutes (approximately) to cut and sew on the borders.  Here's the flimsy on our bed. (Please excuse the boxes and totes, I am slowly working through the closets and prepping for a charitable donation.)  Obviously, the double-wedding ring quilt is the quilt we have on the bed during the summer - so ignore that peaking out as well.

I used Coffee Cake Treat Strips that I had found on sale ($29.99 instead of $39.99). I'm still not sure how I feel about the quilt top.  It's pretty, but not what I was expecting.  I really thought there would be more diversity of strips together.  Instead, most strips are placed every other strip which is a bit too close together for me.  I bought that fabric collection because of the neutrality of the colors.  I think it will be a nice addition to the living room.  We have a fleece blanket on the couch promoting the hub's favorite NHL team, and an afghan for my recliner which is fine for the fall/spring, but in the dead of winter, the afghan's composition (holes between stitches) makes it not as cozy as the fleece or a quilt. was having a sale a couple of weeks ago and I bought a nice 90" wide cream/natural flannel for the backing.  I will quilt it next weekend.  I'm really looking forward to this quilt this winter! 

Then it was on to the next project.  This one has a deadline and I needed to complete it while I'm on "break" from teaching.  I'm afraid this is all I can show you right now, but not to worry.  Once I send it out, I will post pictures.

So far, I'm pretty pleased with the project.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Women's Suffrage/Grandmother's Choice

In full disclosure, I feel that I should reveal that my BA and MA were both in History and Women's Studies. My specialization was the politics surrounding the US Equal Rights Amendment.  Since changing my field to Political Science, I am still following my heart and pursuing research in gendered policies, but am now able to continue my research into the 21st Century.  

That being said, I am fascinated by Barbara Brackman's newest block of the week project: Grandmother's Choice

I have always been attracted to this type of memory quilt and Brackman is certainly not the first to offer a pattern to commemorate women's history.  I think it is important to remember the women who came before us.  Prior to this I was not financially in a position to work with a BOM or BOW and obviously, I am not able to complete this project right now, but I am saving the instructions and block PDFs that she is posting and hope to get to it this winter.  Brackman has outlined some color options for those commemorating the US and British suffrage movements.  I know exactly the colors I will use.

So, let me ask you this: Are you participating in this BOW?  If so, what attracted you to it? Or are there other BOM/BOWs that you are participating in and what are they?