Monday, March 31, 2014

March NewFO Challenge

My NewFO for March is the Dinner for Two block from McKenna Ryan.

This is from a kit series called Out & About. I found this and another block pattern for this series in a local quilt store a couple of years ago and picked them up.

First, I picked out some batiks for this block…

then I sewed the background pieces together…

and then traced, fused and cut out all the applique pieces.

The noses of the bears were quite small, so I waited to cut those out until I was ready to fuse them.

Then I put all the pieces onto the background and fused them. I don’t always use my pressing sheet and fuse the individual elements together then place the elements onto the background and fuse them at the same time. I guess it really depends on my mood at the time. But with this block I just put them all down and fused them all at once.

I used smoky invisible thread to zig zag everything down as the quilting on this block. Finally I stitched a back on to it, shoved in a pillow form, hand stitched the opening, and now we have a new pillow for the trailer!

My other new start (and a finish!) for March is my tulip mini quilt for spring. It turned out pretty cute and brightens up my living room.

I’ll be linking up over at Cat Patches for the March NewFO Challenge Linky Party. Check out what everyone else started in March!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Stash Report Week 13 of 2014

This week I actually used a little fabric…approximately ¾ of a yard, including a pillow and the little tulip mini above. I also made a couple of small tops, but I’m not going to count those until I quilt and finish them. I’m hoping to have a big surge in fabric usage later this year by finishing some quilts!

I also bought 10.5 yards of some solid fabrics that I needed. I really have no solids in my fabric stash, so these will get used up. Actually I used a couple of yards in a top I made, but I’ll count that one later.

Used year to date:    17.50 yards
Used this week:         .75 yards
Added year to date:  21.25 yards
Added this week:       10.5 yards
Total net used 2014: 13.50 yards
(green means I’ve bought more than I’ve used)

I’ll be linking up with the Stash Report over at Patchwork Times.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 2014 Finishes

I’m so excited…I met all my March goals! Of course, because winter has hung around so long that meant we didn’t do any gardening, camping, or renovations. So I was able to spend plenty of time in the sewing room.

First, I met my goal for March for A Lovely Year of Finishes 2014. You can read about it here.

I also worked on the block for the Scrappy Challenge 2014 at Patchwork Times. This month’s block was a split nine patch, and I completed a scrappy hot pad for my dinner table. I’ll write about that and link up at Patchwork Times on the last day of the month. Here’s a photo of the finished hot pad:

I also completed my “Bless This House” embroidery project I started last fall. This was in the September/October 2013 Quiltmaker magazine. I didn’t quilt it and turn it into a wall hanging as they show. I just bought a frame at the thrift store and painted it, then framed the embroidery. It’s still up on my mantle. It may just stay there.

I also added the borders to my NewFO from February, the Family Tree wall hanging for my husband’s family.

This is not exactly how I wanted it to turn out. The border fabric in the kit does not have enough fabric to make matching borders, except for two or three of the smaller motifs in the stripes. I’m a matchy-matchy kind of person, so I really wanted the borders to all look the same. The length of the stripes were enough to fit on each side of the center of the wall hanging, but there were only two of each of the stripes in the fabric that I wanted to use. There were four stripes of the smaller motifs. I hope that’s not too confusing. Here’s a photo of the striped fabric so you can see what I mean:

I really wanted to use this scroll you see in the middle of the next photo:

or these blocks:

But there were only two stripes of each. I ended up using the leafy motif with the green background you see under the scroll stripe. It turned out fine, just wasn’t my first choice. And the top is done! I’ll get this one quilted up probably by summer.

I also completed Step 3 in Bonnie Hunter’s Celtic Solstice mystery quilt.

I think I will just work on one step each month and hopefully finish the top by this summer. I think in April I’ll tackle Part 2…chevrons. I’ve made some already, but for some reason I just can’t get into these units. I’m sure I’ll muddle through it though and get it done.

I started (and finished) my NewFO for March for Cat Patches. I’ll be linking up over there. Here is what I worked on:

It’s a block from McKenna Ryan’s Out & About kits called Dinner for Two. I made it into a pillow for our trailer. I’ll write about it on the last day of the month and link up at Cat Patches for the NewFO Challenge 2014.

I also worked on some blocks for my Kitties in the Middle quilt. You can read about that here.

Finally, I also made a quick baby quilt top. I will probably cut the borders down a bit before it’s done. We’ll see what I decide to do with it.

Along with those things, I also attended A Mountain Quilt Fest and got some pansies planted. I’m hoping the garden can go in soon!

That’s it! I’ll be linking up with Susan at DesertSky Quilting. Now I’ll have to figure out what to do for April. Gotta get busy!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

ALYOF for March 2014

I met my March goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes 2014. I got all the applique pieces fused and stitched down on the nine center blocks of Spring Bouquet. I also got the blocks stitched together, so now it is ready for borders. There are pieced and fused applique borders for this quilt, so I’m going to set this aside for a bit and get up the courage to finish it. Here’s where it stands now:

I’ll be linking up over at Fiber of All Sorts for the March Finishes Party for A Lovely Year of Finishes 2014. I was #1 on the March goals link up. You can see what everyone else has done this month here.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Design Wall Monday

Spring Bouquet is off my design wall and put away! Yay! I’ve completed all the sewing goals I set for March, so this week will just be playing in the sewing room. It is supposed be cold again this week so gardening is put off again and I should be able to spend some time sewing. Here is what is on my design wall and what I plan on working on this week…

I know this block has various names, but I saw it referred to as Puss in the Corner, so I decided this would be the perfect block to show off all the feline fabric I have accumulated. Here’s a little bit of it:

Can you tell I like cats? All the fabrics laid out and stacked up that you see have cats on them or are cat related, such as paw prints, mice, balls of yarn, etc. I still have almost this much sitting on my shelves as well, so I can make plenty of blocks! These blocks finish at six inches, and go together really quickly. I have a few more in a project box that are mostly done, so I’ll finish those up and start cutting some more fabric this week. Hopefully I can get a lot done. I don’t have any idea what I’m going to do with them, but since I’m able to fussy cut and show off the cat fabric in the center of the blocks, I’m going to call the resulting quilt Kitties in the Middle. Creative, huh?

That’s about it from here today. I hope you have a wonderful week and visit Patchwork Times for more Design Wall fun.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Stash Report Week 12 of 2014

I didn’t use any fabric this week and I didn’t buy any either. That’s a big surprise because I went to A Mountain Quilt Fest on Friday. You can read about that here.

Used year to date:    17.50 yards
Used this week:         0 yards
Added year to date:  21.25 yards
Added this week:       0 yards
Total net used 2014: 3.75 yards
(green means I’ve bought more than I’ve used)

I’ll be linking up with the Stash Report over at Patchwork Times.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Mountain Quilt Fest

Yesterday morning my husband and I headed over to the 20th Anniversary Mountain Quilt Fest in Pigeon Forge, TN. It was a fabulous day to be in the Smoky Mountains with the bright sun and temperatures in the mid-60s. We couldn’t ask for a better day to run up there.

The Quilt Fest moved to the new LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, and it was MUCH nicer than last year when the show was divided up into two separate locations. This year there was loads of parking and it was a lovely location…and we didn’t have to drive from one location to the next to see it all.

There was lots of room in the vendor hall, which was nice, because you weren’t bumping into anyone as you wandered through. The biggest surprise…I didn’t spend a dime! Ahhh! What’s wrong with me? Having my husband with me meant that I wasn’t going to leisurely stroll through the booths looking at everything like I would have done on my own. Plus, we were on a mission. We were looking for a long arm quilting machine. Right now I do all of my machine quilting (free motion quilting usually) on my domestic sewing machine…a Viking Rose with 7 inches of space. Not much space when you have a large quilt. I really wanted my husband to see what kind of space I could have with a long arm. He really did appreciate how much fuss it is to quilt on my machine once he saw what the long arms could do.

It was nice to see so many different brands of machines in one location and to be able to try them. I was considering a sit down machine, but I think we have decided to get a stand up long arm. We’re still going to wait a bit…maybe until the AQS show in Chattanooga in September…but I know a long arm is in my future and I’m pretty excited about it!

Now back to the show! The actual quilt show was in a large exhibit hall in the LeConte Center and it took us quite a while to wander through it. My husband made a comment that it was like going through an art exhibit. I think he was pretty surprised about the quality of work he saw there. The quilts were all amazing, and I have yet to enter any kind of show, but this one made me think that maybe I can do it. Maybe next year I’ll get brave and do it.

Here are a few of my favorite quilts I saw. This first quilt is the first one I saw when I walked into the exhibit hall:

It caught my eye right away. I love the “vintage-y” look of it and I like hand embroidery in quilts. This is called “State Birds” by Maxine Roberts of Greenville, TN. It has the official state bird of each state embroidered in alternate blocks. It was in the machine quilted bed quilts category. It didn’t win any ribbons, but it was actually probably my second favorite quilt that I saw.

This next quilt is called “12,000 Pieces” and is from Bonnie Hunter’s Pineapple Crazy pattern.

This was made by Carolyn Bucklin Mullins from Daniels, WV. It’s a machine quilted bed quilt and won the Quilt Appraisers Choice ribbon and a Second Place ribbon.

I love the colors in the next wall hanging.

It’s called “Bird on a Branch” and it was made by Pam Clark from Mississippi. The photo of the label on it is fuzzy, so I can’t read all the information on it and I can’t read where in MS she is from. Sorry! This was a very striking and lovely quilt.

The next one made me think of the ladies on the quilting email list I’m a member of.

This is called “The Quilting Bee” and it was made by Gail Sexton from Sunset, SC. This was actually part of a special display of past ribbon winners, and this was a Mountain Heritage Challenge Winner from 2009. I just love the bee’s fuzzy pink slippers.

My favorite quilt from the show is this one.

It is called “Balloon Bouquet” and was made by Gail Lysett from Castro Valley, CA. This is hand appliqued and hand quilted. It won first place in the category of Large Quilts. I love doing hand piecing and applique, so this one really struck me. Those balloons are about 2 inches across, and the quilting is done in one inch cross hatches. Here’s a close-up.

There was a LOT of work put into this quilt and I was just amazed by it.

So that’s about it for now. Today was a day of quilting machine discussions and spring cleaning. It was also another lovely day in East TN, but tomorrow should be cold and rainy and this next week is looking at colder temperatures…highs in the 40s several days, plus below freezing for a few nights. I think we have a couple of more weeks of possible freezing temperatures, so the garden may be put off a bit longer. I’m sure the warmer temperatures will get here eventually!

I need to run and tend to our very needy cat. She is calling me! Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Welcome Spring!

I am so ready for spring!

My lighting problem from yesterday was taken care of by my wonderful husband. I never heard back from the sewing machine store about a new light bulb for my sewing machine, but my husband had me check our trailer because he thought we had extras in there for the trailer tail lights. And lo and behold, we did! I will get that new bulb put in and get my Spring Bouquet blocks sewn together today.

I also spent part of yesterday afternoon planting the pansies I picked up yesterday morning. Since I can’t plant my veggies in the garden yet, I guess planting pansies will have to do.

Busy times ahead…we’re off to the quilt show tomorrow morning, then the next couple of weeks will be super busy with doctor appointments and such.

I hope you have a wonderful first day of spring!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Complaint Department

My sewing machine light bulb went out yesterday afternoon. After 16 years it went kaput. I didn’t realize how much I take that little bit of light for granted. Bummer. I went out to find a new one this morning but they didn’t have them in stock at my sewing machine store or at their store on the other side of town. I’m waiting to hear if the Sevierville store has them and can hold one for me at their booth for Friday when I go to the Mountain Quilt Fest. Keep your fingers crossed. I’m on the last block for Spring Bouquet and I’ll have to rig up my gooseneck LED light to sew until I get a new bulb.

I was also going to get some more gardening items today to get our vegetable garden going. Unfortunately the weather is supposed to get below freezing AGAIN for a couple of nights next week. I will have to postpone putting seedlings in the ground until after that. In the meantime, I did put some bean seeds into pots to sprout…I would have rather sown them in the ground, but I’m being impatient. I also picked up some diatomaceous earth for slugs in the garden (they nearly ate all the leaves in the garden the first couple of weeks last year), and some pansies to plant out front around the new patio. I’ll probably get to that tomorrow. In the meantime I will take the seedlings back outside from the sunroom to the patio until the cold sets in AGAIN next week. Then I’lll have to bring them back inside.

Really, all in all, I have absolutely nothing to complain about, but I’m so ready for spring!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Design Wall Monday - March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you’re wearing green today!

My design wall looks quite a bit like it did last week:

Spring Bouquet is coming along. The missing block is the one on my sewing machine that I’m working on now. I hope to finish stitching down the fused applique today on that block. Then I’ll just have 3 blocks left, with two weeks to go in the month. I think I can get it done. I think I can, I think I can…

I’m hoping this one is done and something else is on my wall by next Monday. I would also like to get these nine blocks sewn together, then I’ll just have to work on the borders. I don’t think I’ll get much more done in the sewing room this week. I hope to finally get the garden going this week, so I’ll be busy with that Tuesday and Wednesday.

I also plan on going to Quilt Fest in Pigeon Forge on Friday (I think!), so nothing will get accomplished then…other than maybe some shopping! I also want to check out long arm quilting machines while I’m there. I’m hoping my husband will come along with me to check them out with me. I want him to see how much nicer the space of a long arm (even a small one without a frame) will be for me to quilt on, rather than the 7 inch space I have on my sewing machine. It’s tough to shove a quilt into those 7 inches! We’ve been talking about this and investigating this for a year or so, and with our daughter out of college now, it just might be time to get serious about it!

Have a wonderful week and I hope spring gets here soon!

Check out what everyone else is doing over at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Stash Report Week 11 of 2014

I didn’t use up any fabric this week, but I bought a couple of fat quarter bundles while I was out running errands.

That’s a total of 2.5 yards bought this week. If I go to Quilt Fest this coming weekend, I’m sure I will pick up a bit more fabric J.

Used year to date:    17.50 yards
Used this week:         0 yards
Added year to date:  18.75 yards
Added this week:       2.5 yards
Total net used 2014: 3.75 yards
(green means I’ve bought more than I’ve used)

I’ll be linking up with the Stash Report over at Patchwork Times.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

March Progress

I set several “sewing room” goals for myself for the month of March. Now that it’s almost the middle of the month, let’s check on my progress…

Goal # 1 - for March for A Lovely Year of Finishes, I want to finish up the blocks for the Spring Bouquet Block of the Month.
So far I have 4 of the nine blocks completed. I should complete the fifth one today. I do very little in the sewing room on the weekends, and I will probably be out running a few errands tomorrow, so I may only get through five blocks before next week starts. Still, that’s over halfway by the middle of the month. If I work hard at it, maybe I’ll get them all done next week. So, I’m progressing nicely on this one.

Goal #2 - make a potholder for the March Scrappy Challenge over at Patchwork Times.
Done! Except I didn’t make a potholder…I made a hot pad for my dining room table. I needed at least the eight blocks I made to make much of a pattern design. The more I see it, the more I like how it turned out. I don’t usually do super scrappy stuff, but I think I could make a large quilt using this block…even without a “theme” or color scheme. I like the scrappy-ness of it. I’ll show more of this when I link up at Patchwork Times at the end of the month.

Goal #3 - for my NewFO over at Cat Patches I want to make some more mug rugs.
Well, sorta, but not quite. I did get started on a NewFO, but I decided to do something other than the mug rugs. I started on a block from a McKenna Ryan pattern that I've had sitting on a shelf for a couple of years. The block is “Dinner for Two” and it’s from the quilt pattern “Out & About”. So far I have all the applique pieces fused to the background. I will be making this into a pillow for our RV.

Goal #4 - I also want to finish this embroidery project.
Done! It’s framed and sitting on my mantle.

Goal #5 - I would like to complete the top (and possibly quilt) the Family Tree wall hanging.
I haven’t done a thing on this. However, this morning I figured out how I’m going to do the borders, so I may get to work on this sometime today.

Goal #6 - I also would like to complete another step in the Celtic Solstice mystery quilt by Bonnie Hunter.
Done! I was able to finish Step 3 yesterday afternoon. I was a bit overzealous and sewed too many half-square-triangle squares into pairs for pinwheels, so I did a bit of ripping of stitches. But I got it done!

Goal #7 - Finally, we just got a new computer, so my personal goal for this month is to learn Windows 8…Yikes!
This was my personal goal for the month. And really, it was no big deal. I’m fine with Windows 8. I heard so many bad things about it, and other than our email works differently and I now go to our ISP website to get my mail, it was not the problem I had feared. It will work out fine for us.

So, I’m doing OK as far as my goals for this month. This weekend will be devoted to the garden and picking out tile, cabinets, fixtures, etc. for the bathroom re-do. It’s a tiny bathroom, so it shouldn’t be too bad. Hopefully we can get started on it soon (and be done with it soon!). Our goal is to have everything here at the house to install before we begin ripping anything out. We always seem to run into something else when we renovate…problems tend to pop up unexpectedly and we have to fix those things before moving on in the project. I think with such a small space there can’t be too many things that can go wrong, right?!

Next weekend is the Pigeon Forge Mountain Quilt Fest! Can’t wait! 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lots of Dirt!

We finally have our new planter almost ready to go for the garden. Yesterday I got newspapers down and hubby brought home some dirt…lots of dirt!

Newspapers covering grass and weeds – let’s hope this works!

The garden (almost) full of dirt

We’ll need another load of dirt to finish filling the last few feet of the planter. We figured this is almost twice as big as the garden space we had last year. Sunlight is at a premium in our yard due to all the very tall trees, both in our yard and our neighbors’ yards; plus our trailer which casts a large shadow. This seems to be the spot that will get at least 6 hours of sunlight each day.

We’ll put more dirt in it Friday, and fill the red pots (I’ll plant a few things in the containers), and we will probably go ahead and add dirt to where we had the garden last year - the 6 by 6 foot wooden planter you can see in the background of the photo. Then the seedlings can go in the ground this weekend! In the meantime, I’ll need to bring the seedlings in the house tonight until Friday afternoon…we’re due for lots of rain tonight and tomorrow, then temperatures below freezing Wednesday and Thursday nights. Then, I think winter will be gone!

Today will be a wonderful sunny day in the 70s! Perfect! I’m ready to open the windows and have a nice breeze blow through the house. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Design Wall Monday - March 10, 2014

Here is what is on my design wall – Spring Bouquet:

I was able to get the applique on the second block stitched down this weekend, with a little help from my friends:

one cat, and

one dog

One-half of my animal kingdom joined me in the sewing room yesterday for some stitching.

It was a pretty productive weekend with the block done, some knitting accomplished, and the garden started. The weather just may cooperate now so we can get some more seeds planted this coming weekend.

I’m linking up over at Patchwork Times. Head on over to see all the design walls.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Stash Report Week 10 of 2014

I used ¾ of a yard of fabric this week, and I have a nice new large hot pad for the dining room table to show for it. I’ve been staying home and away from the fabric store, so nothing has come in this week.

Used year to date:    16.75 yards
Used this week:         .75 yards
Added year to date:  18.75 yards
Added this week:       0 yards
Total net used 2014: 1.25 yards
(green means I’ve bought more than I’ve used)

I’ll be linking up with the Stash Report over at Patchwork Times.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Week in Review

The weather forecast is for highs in the 60s for the next week…however, it will then turn cold again with highs only in the 40s later next week. This seems like the eternal winter. I was hoping to start planting seedlings in the garden this coming weekend, but that may have to wait at least another week. I’ll keep them warm in the sunroom for now and spend the weekend working on other things around the house. We’ll probably also make sure the garden is ready to go for the following weekend.

This week I did get a few things accomplished in my sewing room. I was able to complete the fused applique on the Spring Bouquet blocks that I showed on Wednesday. I may be able to stitch down some of the applique this afternoon, unless I decide to knit.

I also completed my embroidery project and painted the frame. It is all now put together and ready to go on a wall somewhere. Right now it’s sitting on my fireplace mantle.

I also completed eight blocks from the Scrappy Challenge at Patchwork Times. And my goodness, are they scrappy! Here are the eight blocks I made:

I’ve put them together to create a 12x24 hot pad. This will go on my dining room table to place hot dishes on. It is quilted and ready for binding. I’ll talk more about this later in the month when I finish and link up at Patchwork Times. Here’s my progress:

That’s about it. I have a pretty open day today, so I’ll probably work on a lot of little projects. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Blocks Fused!

I finished fusing the applique pieces on the Spring Bouquet blocks today.

Now I have to start stitching down the applique pieces tomorrow. Hopefully it will go quickly and I can have my goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes done early this month. These are the center blocks of a medallion quilt so I’ll have more applique and piecing to do for the borders.

I also cut the pieces for the block for March for the Scrappy Challenge at Patchwork Times. I may start the day tomorrow by piecing the blocks together. We’ll see what the morning brings.

Hope you had a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tuesday Happenings

I was able to work on my Spring Bouquet blocks this morning. These are my goal this month for A Lovely Year of Finishes. I fused the applique pieces onto two blocks. I already had three blocks fused and on one of them the applique pieces are stitched down. Here’s what I have so far:

I also finished my embroidery project yesterday that I wanted to complete this month. I have to paint the frame for it, then put it in the frame and it will be done. Here’s the piece:

While I was out today I picked up the paint for the frame, so I should be able to get that done tomorrow.

This afternoon was a trip to the eye doctor and stops at Michaels (for the paint), the pet store (dog and cat food), and the grocery store (stuff I forgot when I went shopping this weekend). This evening should be nice and quiet…beans in the crock pot and sandwiches for dinner.

Have a great week!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Stash Report Week 9 of 2014

I used a little bit of fabric this week…1/2 yard. Nothing came in.

Used year to date:    16.25 yards
Used this week:         .50 yards
Added year to date:  18.75 yards
Added this week:       0 yards
Total net used 2014: 2.00 yards
(green means I’ve bought more than I’ve used)
I’ll be linking up with the Stash Report over at Patchwork Times.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

ALYOF and March Goals

For March for A Lovely Year of Finishes, I want to finish up the blocks for the Spring Bouquet Block of the Month:

It seems appropriate since spring will be here soon. I have received all of the kits for the blocks and borders for this quilt, but I fell behind after the second month. So, I only have the appliqué pieces for two blocks fused and stitched down. I haven’t had this one for long…I just started receiving the blocks about a year ago. My goal is to fuse and stitch down the remaining seven blocks.

This should be an easy goal to reach (unlike my February goal!). March will probably be a busy month here…we have several outdoor projects we’re going to be working on; we’ll be starting a bath renovation; the garden needs to get going; and we’ll probably try to go camping at least once. These blocks should go together quickly, so I’m thinking I can get seven blocks done. Even if I can only get one done in a day, that will still leave me with 24 days for everything else!

I’m going to be linking up with A Lovely Year of Finishes 2014 for March over at Fabric of All Sorts. Head on over and see what everyone else is working on for March.

I also have a few other goals for March:

Make a potholder for the March Scrappy Challenge over at Patchwork Times. I’ve enjoyed following along with Judy over there, and I think I might also pick a color scheme and do a block in that color scheme from each month, then make a sampler quilt. We’ll see how much time I have.

I would also like to complete another step of Celtic Solstice from Bonnie Hunter. I've completed the first step and have the borders done, and I've done some work on each of the other steps. If I can finish one step each month, I should be able to complete the top by summer.

For my NewFO over at Cat Patches I want to make some more mug rugs. I like how quick and easy they are, so I will probably make some of these for gifts.

I also want to finish this embroidery project:

This was in Quiltmaker magazine last fall (Sept/Oct 2013) and I started it back then, but haven’t finished it yet. I could probably finish it up in a day if I just sat down with it. I would also like to do some more embroidery projects, but I want to get this one done first. The frame is something I picked up at a thrift store, and I’m going to paint it and frame the embroidery when I’m done.

I would like to complete the top (and possibly quilt) the Family Tree wall hanging:

Finally, we just got a new computer, so my personal goal for this month is to learn Windows 8…Yikes! Going from XP to Windows 8 will be interesting. Wish me luck!