Monday, April 29, 2013


PLEASE HELP!! Does anyone want a pure-bred Samoyed dog under 1y/o for the price of coming to get her? 

Nala - April 14, 2013
Our neighbors need to find a new home for a Samoyed puppy they got last fall.  She's very smart, sweet, energetic, curious, plays well with others (got along with our cats and dog quite well) and just needs someone to pay attention to her and love her. She's spade and has all of her shots.  We just don't have the room right now otherwise we would adopt her. 

Our next door neighbors write: We decided that we needed to find a new home for Nala, our Samoyed puppy. We lead very busy schedules and aren't home as much as she needs and our kids are even busier so they don't play with her much and that's no way for Nala to live. We found a home for her and took her there last night but they have a baby kitten and it wasn't happy to see Nala. She's a great friendly dog. She is AKC papered and She went through the puppy training classes at Petsmart and knows many commands and hand signals. Shes potty trained. She loves long walks and playing. I can't bring her back here and break [our daughter]'s heart all over again. I need your help. Does anyone want a great dog?

Monday, April 22, 2013

What the frack?!

This is April 22nd??

Will spring ever arrive?!

Friday, April 19, 2013

April 19th - seriously??

This is the craziest spring I've seen in a long time. I got up yesterday at the normal time for my trip to school, took my shower, packed my bag and made my way to school. It's normally a two and a half hour drive one way and I'd gotten an hour into my drive, but less than a third of the way there.  I drove behind the snow plow for 6-8 miles at 45 mph and was still terrified of going off the road!  I knew then that even though I had an exam that morning, I couldn't continue driving to school.  So, I turned around and contacted my prof to reschedule my exam when I arrived home.  I don't regret not going - it snowed for the remainder of the day and the roads were very slick.  This is what the front and back yards look like this morning:

This is not what April 19th should look like! We certainly aren't far enough North for this to be justified. I wish I had the time to spend it in my sewing room, but at this point in the semester it is perfect for spending under a quilt while researching for final papers! The one good thing about this late winter weather is that neither the hubs nor I are tempted to be outside rather than doing school work!

Monday, April 15, 2013

And so it goes...

Losing my sewing companion has been very difficult. It has been a full week since we found her laying lifeless on the landing and yesterday was the first day that I made it all the way through the day without crying. Bedtime is especially hard since she would always sleep with us until that last night. I also haven't done any sewing - save for her shroud - since she died.  My sewing room is the other place I associate with her.  But life goes on, right?  We still have to get up every day and there are other furry ones who depend on us.  So, I did take the first steps in the next stage of grief this weekend and washed her kitty bed and the sheets I had used to cover my work stations. Clovey was our shedder. Seriously. She had the softest fur ever, but do you remember Schultz's Pigpen - the character who was surrounded by the cloud of dirt wherever he went? Yeah, imagine fur and you had Clovey. :)

Anyway, I have been avoiding acquiring new fabric and other such sewing stuff this year since my teaching contract with an online university has not been renewed, but I broke down a little this month. First, I came across this Steampunk Hufflepuff (Harry Potter films) costume. I LOVE it! I have wanted to make my Halloween costume for years, but between not having a sewing room for a long time and now being in school... well, it just hasn't happened yet. However, I am now planning to make a costume for this year. YEAH! We've have a ton of kids come for candy and I would love to hand it out in costume!  To that end, I found a Victorian era bustle skirt pattern online, but it is for a 28" waist which I do not have so I will have to alter it.  Fortunately, it was only $24.  Just in case I can't find a pattern for the vest, I began looking for other costume options. I have been eyeing some civil war era dresses by Simplicity for a while and was preparing an online order when I thought I should check the Hobby Lobby weekly ad. Lo and behold, they had Simplicity patterns for $.99 EACH!!!!! A limit of 10 per customer, so I picked up a few for me (including undergarments) and a couple for the hubs.  

While I was at Hobby Lobby, I also grabbed a half yard of some upholstery fabric to make some chair arm covers for our recliner which sustained some chewing damage when our dog was still very young last summer.

I was looking for a charm pack to round out what I need for a quilt for one of my sisters and found Blessings charm packs for a reasonable $8 each! Who can resist a deal like that!?  I also purchased some quilt patterns/templates and 10" squares of the gorgeous Fig Tree Quilts' Tapestry.  I just love the colors in that collection!

I had managed to complete some projects before my world crumbled so I will take pictures and post them after my exam on Thursday.

Monday, April 8, 2013

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The Passing of My Sewing Companion

I'm sure that for many, today is a day like any other, but not for us. Sometime between 2:30am and 6am CST our sweet kitty Clovey died. She was 12 years old, but hadn't displayed any signs that she was near her end so we were shocked with her sudden passing.

The tears just keep coming. I can't seem to make them stop. I'm going to miss her SO much! Even the annoying way she would invade my sewing space. I'm at such a loss. I just can't believe she is gone.

Goodbye, Clove-Dove. I hope you rest in peace, my sweet kitty. I loved you so much!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Birthday Spending

My birthday was around Thanksgiving last year. One of the gifts I received  was a gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop (which was on my list). "What took you so long?" - you might ask. Well, I become a little paralyzed when I receive gift certificates. Part of me wants to spend it right away and part of me wants to wait a little bit to see if any new fabric comes out. Anyone else feel that way?

Anyway, I did end up spending the gift certificate two weeks ago and got this package this week. Here's what I bought:

1) 4 yards of Bella Solid in Sand, 2) two pieces of Kate Spain fabrics, 3) a charm pack and a half yard of Paris Flea Market, 4) a charm pack each of Old Glory Gatherings and French General Favorites, 5 & 6) Blue Tavern Inn by Paula Barnes, 7) Jubilee pattern.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

My Oh My

Every semester I'm optimistic that I can do more, but I'm always mistaken. Last week, I had an exam that took every moment of my time to study for it. I believe I did well enough, but the course kind of terrifies me.  To reward myself for getting through it (and for all the time I devoted to it last week), I spent some serious time in the sweat shop over the last 48 hours.  I'll tell/show you what I've been up to, but first a little progress report.

I'm making a wall quilt for February (yes, I'm aware that the time has passed... but there's always next year!). I'm using a Miss Rosie pattern called Speck.  I'm making both X's and O's using a charm pack each of Chemistry and Always and Forever. Since I'm using two charm packs and the pattern only calls for one - so naturally, I cut twice as many little white blocks for the corner. Unfortunately, that was not nearly enough. As it happens, I had to cut four times as many!! I ended up becoming so frustrated that I had to set them aside for a bit (before I threw them somewhere they didn't deserve).  This is how far I've gotten on that project:

So, I'm very behind on my BOMs. There was a bit of a glitch on my Memories of Provence BOM deliveries which meant that I ended winter break behind where I had planned to be. In addition, I keep getting two blocks a month and I haven't worked on it since January! I'm feeling bad about that.

Then there's the Blogger Girls BOM. The third month was just posted last week and I'd only completed the first month. So after I cleaned up the shop and put away my birthday purchases (tell you about that in the next post), I got down to business to at least get month two's blocks completed.  I'm doing the full-sized option so making two versions of each block which also means that I'm four blocks behind. But four blocks is a whole lot less than 7 or 8 behind (as with Memories of Provence). So, that's what I tackled first. 

I had cut out the background fabric and the colors for the first block and was in the middle of piecing it when I turned back to my machine (from ironing) and found this:

I tried to move her, but she wouldn't budge until I got the camera out. The turkey!

Anyway, I love the first version of this block. It's pretty much perfect.  The second version went through some changes. I initially planned on using three fabrics, but after constructing the first three stripes and auditioning the third fabric, I decided to repeat the second fabric instead. I'm happy with the results.

Here's a close-up of the version 2 second fabric. I love the little stars in the check.

The hubs was on spring break this last week and finished the trim for the back door we put in. The travels for his job this week as well. The most important thing, though, is that I have spring break next week!! I can't wait for this week to be over.  We just got some icky weather topped off with lots of snow. So not only am I looking forward to the "break" (which isn't much of one because I have lots of homework to work on before the end of the semester), but I'm also not looking forward to travelling in this crud. Oh well, it's just one more week, right? :) I plan to at least finish catching up on the Blogger Girls BOM.  Hopefully, I'll start on a birthday gift for my mom and another for my sisters. 

Next time: what I bought with my bday money!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Packaging is everything

To me, quilting is about aesthetics. Part of that aesthetics is in packaging. I know others have written about it, but I feel that this is important enough to reiterate the point.  I'm currently participating in two fabric clubs - one for civil war/reproduction fabrics and the other for batiks. They are supplied by different companies, but both are well-known among the quilting community (which is part of the reason why I have obscured their logos). So here are the packages that arrived for January's deliveries.

Reproduction Delivery
Batik Delivery

As you can see, their approaches to delivery are very different.  While the batiks were packaged in such a way that you could see a bit of each of the fabrics included, the repros were stacked and folded which made it difficult to determine any of the fabrics except the top. You can see the fabrics include in the repro package below.

They are so pretty, why wouldn't you want to show them?  You would think that a company whose sole purpose is to sell fabric, kits, and tools to make quilts would have a better concept of the benefits of aesthetics. I just don't get some companies. Opening a package that is also beautiful is a special treat, but by the same token, opening a package that looks thrown together is a disappointment.

That is all. Just saying my peace/piece.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Making a little progress

Classes began again on January 7th.  My classes were scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday and Monday night I went to check what rooms I had to go to only to discover that my afternoon class had been moved to Wednesday morning at 9am. Now, keep in mind that I live nearly 3 hours away from campus and this would mean getting up at 4:30am Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday to get to my classes in time.  Luckily, I had an understanding professor and I only have to get up that early on Tuesday and Wednesday instead.  I still have a crap-load of reading and homework each week, though. It's taken a few weeks to develop a  routine... to be honest, I'm still working on it.

I did get caught up on my Memories of Provence BOM. Of course, the next round of block kits arrived the following day. But for a night I was caught up!

And I started to work on my February wall quilt. I honestly haven't made much more progress than where I was in this picture, but I have made some by stealing a half hour here and another there.  

I may (or may not) have this done in time for Valentine's Day, but it will be close.

Finally, there are apparently big plans in progress for my mom's 60th birthday. So when I'm not reading or taking notes in class... I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do for it since I won't be able to travel for her day (her birthday falls in the middle of April which is pretty much the worst time for me to get away).  I have a few ideas, but I'm not very thrilled with the plans yet.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Blocks Progress

Wow. I can't believe this is my 100th post! I feel like it should be commemorated in some way, but I'm at a loss as to how... so, sorry about that.

I want to talk a little about my block progress tonight.  I'm feeling good about my 2013 to-do list so far. I've completed the two versions of block 1 for the Blogger Girl BOM.  It's the same block, just different color choices.

Blocks Progress by busybeavers
Blocks Progress by busybeavers
Blocks Progress, a photo by busybeavers on Flickr.
I'm really loving the black, brown, tan and cream colors together.  There's just something about the combination that is really speaking to me for some reason. It's not normally my style, but I'll take it!

Next, I made some progress on the Memories of Provence BOM as well. I completed block two and I've got block three cut out and ready for sewing tomorrow.
Blocks Progress by busybeavers
Blocks Progress, a photo by busybeavers on Flickr.
I just think these colors are striking as well. I love the blue in this block, but the red in the next one. I think I'm going to be quite pleased with these quilts.

Classes begin Monday, but I don't have to drive to campus until Tuesday this semester so my plan is to get the Memories of Provence block three sewn together and the Christmas BOM block one cut out tomorrow. Then to sew the Christmas block(s) together on Monday. I'm happy, happy, happy with this progress.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Updating the Sweat Shop

The hubs bought me a quilting frame that I can use with my day-to-day machine, but will give me the flexibility of a big, long-arm machine for Christmas.  I'm very excited about it, but the layout of the sweat shop was not very conducive to using this new, fun tool.  The hubs wanted to get me a new long table, so yesterday we went looking.  Something you should know about me is I hate thrift stores and garage sales. I just don't really want to sort through other people's crap, but I also knew it'd be the best place to look for a good wood table.

We went to two thrift shops and one Goodwill place without any luck. We talked about it and I wanted to check the local Habitat for Humanity's ReStore before heading home.  If we didn't find anything there, we would go home and regroup (do research and find more stores). We stopped and they had three tables that were just about perfect, but I wasn't sure they'd fit in the tiny room.  So we agreed to run home and take some measurements (Why didn't we do that before we left?), sadly, by the time we got back, one of the tables had been sold. So we snapped up the remaining two. 

After getting them home, I tried rearranging the furniture, but was getting frustrated because stuff was not working right. So, I left for the night and brought my graphing paper and measurements with me. I sketched it out and figured out what would work in the 9x11 room.  The drawing on the left is what was in the room and the right is how it is now. My sewing U is facing the double window.

These are from the door.

The tables we bought (for $25 total!) are from a hotel renovation (we think).  They each have a single drawer and a space for plugs - although, only one still has the plug, but that suits my layout perfectly!

Because it means I am FINALLY able to unpack this beaut!

I am so happy to have two cutting spaces, a new place for my serger, and plenty of room for my new quilting frame.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 Unfinished Projects (UFPs) Update and 2013 Plan

At the beginning of 2011, I recapped my progress on projects here and in 2012 here.  I think this is a good thing to do each year and helps keep me honest.  I always think I'm going to get more done and I get a lot done normally, but not always.

In 2012, I planned to complete:

  • Haunted House large wall quilt
  • Four anniversary wall quilts
  • Two Christmas wall quilts
  • In progress - Witch and Candy wall quilt - all cut out, but needs to be pieced, quilted and bound.
  • In progress - Full quilt (blue, green and pinks that I began in the 12th grade which no longer fits my style, but we could use another quilt around the house.)
  • Nine patch, Mother Goose baby quilt - need to finish piecing, quilt and bind
  • Winter Penguins wall quilt - almost done, I just have to finish the binding
  • Three potholders for a friend
  • SIL3 new baby gift
  • SIL4 new baby gift
  • Mary's Tea Cozy
  • Two Christmas stockings to fill an order

  • I think I got a lot accomplished last year - especially since I have no idea what the two Christmas wall quilts I planned on making are.    AND I made some progress on the witch and HS quilts which I think is even better!  

    In 2012, I plan to complete (among gifts I can't mention):

  • In progress - Witch and Candy wall quilt - all cut out, but needs to be pieced, quilted and bound.
  • In progress - Full quilt (blue, green and pinks that I began in the 12th grade which no longer fits my style, but we could use another quilt around the house.)
  • 4 Anniversary Quilts
  • 3 Canvas pouches for the hubby's chisels
  • Valentine Wall Quilt
  • Memories of Provence BOM
  • Blogger Girl BOM
  • Oxmoor Christmas BOM
  • August Wall Quilt

  • This year, I plan to take on a couple new projects as well - like applique.  I had hoped to begin applique, but in all honesty, I didn't have the time.  However, this semester, I have almost two hours between classes on two days a week. While I expect some time will be spent reading and working on school work, I also expect to be able to work on some handwork. The hubs bought me a book on how to applique for Christmas (he's the best!) so I'm hoping that will help encourage me to take this leap.

    I'm also hoping to complete a few Block of the Months (BOMs).  I signed up for one paid and one free BOMs by Monique Dillard.  The paid one is Memories of Provence using pre-determined fabric and the free one is Blogger Girl for which I have some fat quarters in black, brown and tans.  Then I also want to complete the Oxmoor Christmas BOM.  When I married into this family, my MIL was completing two of these - one for her and one for my husband's youngest sister.  She told me at the time that she had wanted to make one for all her children and with those finishes the girls would be complete. For any number of reasons, ten years later, my husband still doesn't have one. So the last time we were visiting them, I grabbed the binder with the patterns.  This BOM is about 20 years old, but I've got a lot of Christmas fabric and I think I can modernize it a bit.   If it's not too difficult, maybe I'll make my sister(s) one, too.

    Finally, I want to work hard on limiting my spending on quilting and supplies.  My teaching contract was not renewed and I have a sizable stash that I can draw from.  I have so much Christmas fabric that I have not opened a single fat quarter pack from this year's club.  I've decided that until I use a significant amount of it, I'm withdrawing from the fabric club.  I've also been acquiring fabric that I know my sisters like so I don't think I will need much (if anything) to complete their bday or Christmas gifts. 

    So those are my sewing goals for this year.  What are yours?