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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April NewFO

My intention for the April NewFO was to make the other pillow from McKenna Ryan’s Out & About patterns. However, I started following along with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014, and decided to go ahead and start putting the fabric I was making for the Challenge into blocks for a quilt. So, starting this new quilt is my NewFo for April.



These are all “made” fabrics using scraps of similar color and sewing them together until they are big enough to create the size I need. I’m making some blocks 6 ½ inches (unfinished) and the others 3 ½ inches (unfinished). The larger “made” blocks will then become the houses in the blocks of the quilt, and the smaller ones will become smaller house blocks that I’ll put in the borders.

I decided to put one together to see how it would work, so I used a bunch of Halloween scraps to make a haunted house for the quilt.



I’m not using a pattern, but making it up as I go along, so I don’t really know how it will turn out in the end. But, I think the basic block for the haunted house turned out fine. I still need to trim it down in size a bit; I want it to be 14 by 16 inches finished. But so far it looks OK with its stormy-looking sky and dead-grass yard. I will also add a front door and windows, along with some applique items on each block. I’ll probably add a gnarled tree and a black cat to this block; maybe even a ghost somewhere! Also, I might add a moon in the sky and a jack-o-lantern at the front door. I plan on adding items to each house block to give them a bit of individuality.

So, that’s as far as I got on the house block quilt. Head on over to Cat Patches to see other NewFOs.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April Accomplishments

I got quite a few things done in the sewing room this month.

First, I completed my goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes 2014 for April. I quilted and bound the Patriotic Star wall hanging. You can read more about it here at the linky party for ALYOF.



I also completed Part 2 of Bonnie Hunter’s Celtic Solstice mystery quilt from 2013. These are the chevron units.



I have to figure out what else I need to work on for the quilt. I believe the next thing I need to do is finish Part 4. If so, that will be a goal for May.

I spent quite a bit of time working on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014. I completed the blocks I wanted to make for April (purple), as well as catching up with the first three months of the year (blue, pink, and teal). I’m using these “made” fabric blocks as the basis for house blocks. You can read about that project here.



Also, for my NewFO Challenge project, I started the house blocks for the above RSC blocks. I started by practicing with a Halloween house block. Here is what I’ve accomplished so far.



I also worked on making a small pouch to hold cosmetics, etc.



I’m kind of winging it, and I need to tweak some things on it…and practice more on installing zippers! But I like the way it turned out. I’d like to make some more pouches and purses in the next few months to have ready as gifts for the holidays.

I also started working on the pieced borders for my Sawtooth Cats quilt.



This past weekend I put together some 9 patch blocks that my mom brought me from my grandmother after my grandmother passed away – 20+ years ago.



These are just the blocks I received. I’ll post more about this quilt later in the week.

Finally, outside of the sewing room, we got the front patio and walkway a bit farther along, and we got the garden planted. Yay! We have lots of peppers, tomatoes, squashes, and salad fixings growing in the garden. We also were able to construct (and put plants in) a new planter out front where we had to have some dead trees cut down last fall. Hopefully we can finish the walkway in the front yard before the summer heat hits us here.


That’s about it. I hope you had a productive April, and I’m looking forward to May!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Design Wall Monday

My design wall is a little empty. I only have one paper pieced sawtooth border for my Sawtooth Cats quilt. I think I will try to finish this quilt top in May. I have 3 more borders to paper piece, and (I think) 16 tails to hand applique on the cat bodies.




Stop by Patchwork Times to see what others are working on for Design Wall Monday.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Stash Report Week 17 of 2014

I didn’t post on the Stash Report last week, but there was nothing in and nothing out. But this week, I picked up some background fabrics for a quilt I plan on starting in May, so that’s 4 yards of Kona solids that came in. While I was at the store, I also saw a fat quarter bundle with some bright pinks and couldn’t pass those up. Here is what I brought in this week:



I did use up a little bit of fabric. I used about ¼ yard of fabric making this little zippered pouch.



I will probably make some more, and some of different sizes, in the next few months for gifts.

Used year to date:    21.50 yards
Used this week:         .25 yards
Added year to date:  33.25 yards
Added this week:       5.25 yards
Total net used 2014: 16.75 yards
(green means I’ve bought more than I’ve used)

So, I’ve gone a little farther in the hole. But, I will make that up later in the year as I get some tops quilted. I’ll be linking up with the Stash Report over at Patchwork Times.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

ALYOF April Finish

Thanks so much to Melissa at Sew BitterSweet Designs and Shanna at Fiber of All Sorts for hosting the ALYOF 2014. I won one of the wonderful prizes for March! Thank you! I was really excited! I chose a charm pack from Stitches N’ Giggles, and Lori was really great at sending out my prize quickly. Thank you, Lori! I can’t wait to start working with the fabric. Here is a photo of the fabric in the charm pack:



It is From Outside In by Malka Dubrowsky for Moda. Very pretty!

My goal for ALYOF for April was to sandwich, quilt, and bind my Patriotic Star wall hanging (#6 at the April Goal Linky Party). Done!



It really wasn’t LOTS of work; I just needed to sit down and do it. I tend to procrastinate on the quilting part because I’m not always sure what to do. The most dreaded words in the English language for me are “Quilt as desired.” Plus, I do my machine quilting on my domestic machine and I only have 7 inches of space. Not too big a problem for wall hangings like this, but still tough. Hopefully that will change by the end of this year and I’ll get a longarm!

So, I started with ditch stitching the blocks, then I did a wavy swirl in the center string part of the star of the quilt. Hopefully you can see it in the following photo.



Then I just decided to continue with the wavy line through the string triangles, so I just made wavy lines back and forth.



Finally, I knew I wanted to do a meandering star pattern in the background (dark blue with white stars), so I got that done.



Then I finally got the binding on and stitched down. This was the first quilting project I have machine sewn the binding to the back, then hand stitched it down on the front. I always do it the other way around. It really wasn’t any different. I think it might make a difference to me if I needed to make sure my binding didn’t cut off any points on the front, but for this project, either way would work.

I also added labels when I sewed the binding on. I used some ribbon and a fabric pen to write the information, and now the ribbon can be used as the hangers for the wall hanging. I usually put a dowel rod through the hangers and hang it on a nail.




By the way, I did piece the back with a lot of OLD fabric. Some of these are from the late 1980s and early 1990s. I am trying to use up a lot of these older fabrics in the backs of my quilts. So this one has plenty of red, white, and blue in the back! Here is a photo of the entire back, then a close up photo of some of the fabrics.






So that’s it! Done! Yay! If you would like to see other wonderful projects by very talented people, head on over to the ALYOF Linky Party for April.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Purple Pouch



So, I decided to try to make a zippered pouch. I haven't sewn a zipper in YEARS. It was quite an experience to try it again. I made some mistakes with it, but I know how to fix it next time. I also would hand stitch closed the inside bottom seam instead of machine stitching it. I do like the diamond cross hatch quilting on the outside of it.


The pouch is 4 inches square on the bottom and stands about 4 inches tall. But when the zipper is opened, it is has a very wide opening. It would work great for cosmetics or to carry a little first aid kit in your purse. I'll need to get working on some larger ones as well.

I may need to link up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this Saturday for this one!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Design Wall Monday

I have hankies on my design wall this week -




The whole design wall won’t fit in one photo, so this is the top and the bottom (with a little overlap) of my design wall.

This weekend I decided to look through the dark recesses of my sewing room for some old projects that I need to work on, and I came across these hankies in a drawer. These were my grandmother’s and I got them after she died 20+ years ago. I put them away thinking I’d do something with them one day, and they’ve just been out of sight…so out of mind. I think it’s time I do something with them, so I will probably start a new quilt in May (for my NewFO Challenge project) and hopefully get it done in time for a Christmas gift for my niece. She likes vintage items and she is a big sentimentalist about family items. I have an idea what I want to do with them, but I’ll work on making a firm decision in the next week or so.

Head on over to Patchwork Times to see what others have on their design walls, and have a great week!


Friday, April 18, 2014

What I’m Reading & Craftsy Classes

The past couple of months I’ve been ready a variety of books on preserving food from the garden, along with self-sustaining living. I just finished a book on dehydrating food and I think that is what I will focus on this summer when it comes time to harvest the garden. I think that will work well for the squash, carrots and peppers we are growing. I still haven’t figured out if I will try canning this summer. I’ve never canned food, so we’ll see what happens (of course, I’ve never dehydrated food either, but I’ll give it a go!)

Other than that, right now on my Kindle I have a few books that I’m reading. I’m still going through the Anne Perry books again and I’m on Belgrave Square.

I’m also reading a new cozy mystery by Monica Ferris, The Drowning Spool. I’ve read all the others in this series and though I enjoyed the earlier ones better, I will continue to read them as they come out.

I also am trying to get through the first Game of Thrones book by George R. R. Martin. I don’t usually read fantastical type books, but I was kind of curious what all the fuss was about. We watched the first episode of the show via Netflix a couple of weeks ago and weren’t really thrilled by it and decided not to continue with it. But I decided I would try the books and see if I liked them. Still in the early stages on that.

Other than that, I have a few free Kindle downloads that I haven’t started yet. They are mostly cozy mysteries or non-fiction books that piqued my interest. We’ll see when I get around to reading them.

I’m also working my way through the Craftsy class “Art Quilt Backgrounds” with Judith Trager. It’s going OK. I may or may not ever use this technique, but I haven’t gotten to the screen printing lessons yet, so we’ll see how it pans out. So far, there are many other Craftsy classes that I have enjoyed more, but this is going fine.

That’s about it. What are you reading?


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mid-Month Check-In for April

It’s officially halfway through the month, so I thought I’d check to see how I’m doing on my April goals.

My first goal was to finish my Patriotic Star wall hanging for A Lovely Year of Finishes for April. Done! I will post a photo and more information about that during the last week of April for the ALYOF Linky Party.

My second goal was to finish Part 2 of Bonnie Hunter’s Celtic Solstice mystery. I’m getting there on that one. The individual units are pieced, I just need to finish putting them in pairs and piecing the chevrons. So I guess I’m about halfway there. That’s OK for halfway through the month!

Third, I wanted to join in the fun of the Scrappy Challenge at Patchwork Times. Well, that may not happen this month. I haven’t done anything on that, so we’ll see if I get around to it in the next two weeks.

Next, I wanted to participate in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014. Done! I got all the purple blocks done that I need for April, plus I caught up with the first three months of the year. Here is what I have so far.





The block on the bottom of the design wall in the above photo is my haunted house block. Here’s a closer photo.



The block is rectangular; it’s just the strange camera angle that makes it look out of whack.

This block is made in the same manner as the Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks and leads me to my final goal of the month…a project for the NewFO Challenge at Cat Patches. I was going to make the other Out & About pillow or start on a mystery quilt, but those haven’t happened. But, I decided to start the quilt I want to make with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks. These are all “made” fabrics using scraps of similar color and sewing them together until they are big enough to create the size I need. I’m making some blocks 6 ½ inches (unfinished) and the others 3 ½ inches (unfinished). The larger “made” blocks will then become the houses in the blocks of the quilt, and the smaller ones will become smaller house blocks that I’ll put in the borders.

I decided to put one together to see how it would work, so I used a bunch of Halloween scraps to make a haunted house for the quilt. I’m not using a pattern, but making it up as I go along, so I don’t really know how it will turn out in the end. But, I think the basic block for the haunted house turned out fine. I still need to trim it down in size a bit; I want it to be 14 by 16 inches finished. But so far it looks OK with its stormy-looking sky and dead-grass yard J. I will also add a front door and windows, along with some applique items on each block. I’ll probably add a gnarled tree and a black cat to this block; maybe even a ghost somewhere! Also, I might add a moon in the sky and a jack-o-lantern at the front door. I plan on adding items to each house block to give them a bit of individuality. I hope to get a few more blocks put together before the end of the month.

So that’s it on the goals. Monday was spent “making” fabric and yesterday was spent cleaning out the cats’ room (our extra bedroom). Now it is useable as an office for both my husband and me (along with the cat paraphernalia).

Today I need to uncover (then later recover) some plants and veggies in the garden. We had snow for about 4 hours yesterday, plus below freezing temps last night. We’re also due to get down close to freezing tonight, so I’ll need to at least cover the tomato plants tonight. Are we sure this is April? Later today I need to take the dog to the vet for her check-up and I’ll probably work on Celtic Solstice for a bit. We’re taking a long weekend to start work on an outdoor hardscape project (new walkway!), so I don’t know how much more sewing I’ll get done this week. I hope to at least work on bits and pieces of my many projects that I have going on between now and the end of the month, so we’ll see when I can sneak the time in.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!




Monday, April 14, 2014

Design Wall Monday April 14, 2014

I actually have things on my design wall this week!



I finally caught up with all four months of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014, so those blocks are all up there. I plan on using these blocks to make larger house blocks. The smaller blocks on the wall will be made into houses for the borders of the quilt. Today I put together a Halloween House just to get a feel for it before I start on the colored blocks, so that’s up on the wall, too. I still need to trim this block down a little and add some applique, etc. to enhance it a bit. I’m not working from a pattern…I’m just making it up as I go along. We’ll see how it turns out.


Head on over to Patchwork Times to check out more Design Wall fun.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stash Report Week 15 of 2014

While I was out this week I picked up a couple of fat quarters that I thought were cute…I just couldn’t pass them up!



Yesterday I received my prize from A Lovely Year of Finishes for March. I got a wonderful charm pack from Lori at Stitches N’ Giggles.



Thank you Lori! It is From Outside In by Malka Dubrawsky for Moda. Here are the fabrics in it.



I would also like to thank Shanna at Fiber of All Sorts and Melissa at Sew BitterSweet Designs for sponsoring ALYOF. I was so excited that I won something!

I also had a finish this week. Yay! I finished my Patriotic Star wall hanging that I’ve been working on for April’s A Lovely Year of Finishes. I’ll write about that later in the month. I’m so glad it’s done and it will be ready to hang for 4th of July!

Used year to date:    18.25 yards
Used this week:         3.25 yards
Added year to date:  31.75 yards
Added this week:       1.5 yards
Total net used 2014: 11.75 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, April 12, 2014

Rainbow Scrap Challenge April 12

I made a couple more smaller purple blocks this week.



I think I will stop with four small and two large blocks. That should work and if I need more I’ll make them when I put the quilt together.

I also worked on catching up with the previous months’ colors. I still need two more small pink blocks



but I got all the teal blocks done.



I still need to do the January blue blocks. I’ll try to get them done before the next color is announced.

I’ll be linking up over at SoScrappy with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014. Go check out what everyone else is working on, and have a great weekend!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What's Up?

Not much sewing has been going on here the past couple of weeks. I started stripping and scrapping some fabric I had after clearing out my fabric shelves. I have several piles of fabric, about 18 inches tall each, sitting on my sewing room counter that are NOT going back into my fabric shelves. They will be used for scrapping and quilt backings. A lot of them are floral prints from the 1990s that I got from my mother-in-law’s fabric stash, and others I have had forever. I will get them used up, though.

Other than doing a bit of yard work over the weekend, I did get some block sewing done. I made a couple more small blocks for the April Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC), but I’ll show them on Saturday at the next linky party. I also worked on catching up with the RSC from previous months and was able to get some blocks done for March (teal):



I’ve also been working on Part 2 of Bonnie Hunter’s Celtic Solstice and I have most of that done. Hopefully by the end of the week I’ll have that step complete and I’ll show it off.

Otherwise, we’ll be doing some more yard work this week…the weather should be lovely through the weekend…and I will try to get caught up with January and February RSC blocks, blue and pink, respectively.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Stash Report Week 14 of 2014

All I bought this week were items for the yard, so no fabric in. I only worked on making blocks this week, so no finishes, so nothing out either. That should change sometime this month!

Used year to date:    18.25 yards
Used this week:         0 yards
Added year to date:  31.75 yards
Added this week:       0 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.



Saturday, April 5, 2014

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014

This is my first time linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. You can see other links here.

I’ve decided to use the colors each month to make up some “made” fabric. Some call it improv and others call it crumb fabric. Whatever you want to call it, I’m stitching up all the little bits and pieces of scraps in one color family to make some fabric to use in blocks. I have an idea of what I’m going to do with these blocks once they’re done, but that’s a long way off and things can change. But for now, I’m just going to build the blocks.

Purple!



I’m making both 6-1/2 inch and 3-1/2 inch squares, to finish 6 and 3 inches, respectively. At the moment the smaller squares will be in a border, while the larger squares will become part of the blocks of the quilt.

My plan is to make several squares each week this month, so I should have quite a few by the end of April. I also need to work on catching up with the previous months’ colors.

Other than that, I have just been doing bits and pieces of things in the sewing room this week. I’ve spent the last week and a half cutting scraps up and trying to sort through my fabric. I have piles of fabric sitting on my counter in the sewing room that I will use for scrapping and quilt backs. I also got the above mentioned purple squares done, I’ve cut some fabric for an I Spy quilt, and I’ve worked on Part 2 of Bonnie Hunter’s Celtic Solstice. Hopefully I can finish that next week. I’ll probably spend the rest of the month just continuing on with the same little projects, along with my one ALYOF goal. We’ll see what the next few weeks bring!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Scrappy Challenge for March Finished

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



Judy’s block called for cutting 3-1/2 inch squares and 3-1/2 inch half-square-triangle squares to make a Split Nine-Patch block. I had a bunch of 2-1/2 inch scrap strips cut, and a box of 2-1/2 inch half-square-triangle squares already sewn together. So I scaled down the block and used those. I cut off squares from the 2-1/2 inch strips for the squares in the blocks.

I needed at least the eight blocks to make a pattern with the Split Nine-Patch, so this project is bigger than a potholder. I decided to make a hot pad instead. It measures 12 by 24 and fits nicely on my dining room table. Here are the two arrangements I looked at:


Arrangement #1


Arrangement #2

I decided to go with the dark center and outer corners in Arrangement #1. I was able to get through this quickly and got it done during the first week of the month. Here it is all quilted and bound:



This is WAY more scrappy than I tend to make “scrappy” projects. I usually at least coordinate colors, fret about placement, etc. The only parameters I put on this was that I decided not to use any Christmas or Halloween fabrics (I have plenty of those scraps). I literally just grabbed a block and placed it, with very little fussiness about where it went. This was a bit out of my comfort zone, since I can be a control freak, but it turned out OK anyway.

Funny thing…I’ve been stripping and scrapping my fabric the past week and I’ve decided to actually use this block to make a quilt from all the scraps I have (though I’m sure I could get several out of my scraps!). I really like the way this turned out.

Check out the other March projects for Scrappy Challenge 2014 over at Patchwork Times.

We had a storm come through at about 4 am today, so the dogs came barging in our room scared from the thunder and lightning. I’ve been awake ever since, so I’m sure a nap is in my future for the afternoon. Until then, I’m off to strip up some more scraps and probably put together some blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014.

I hope you all have a great day!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April 2014 Goals

It’s April Fool’s Day. I don’t “do” practical jokes, but if you do, I hope you have a fun day! I’ll be at the grocery store this morning, then at the dentist this afternoon for a check-up; other than that it will be a quiet day at home. I will probably spend the remainder of the day with housekeeping chores and maybe get back to the sewing room tomorrow.

It’s time I write up my sewing goals for April. I don’t have too many things planned for this month. Hopefully the warmer weather will be here and we’ll be busy outdoors.

First, I will again participate in A Lovely Year of Finishes 2014. For this month, I want to get my Patriotic Star wall hanging quilted and bound.

Next, I want to finish Part 2 of Bonnie Hunter’s 2013 mystery quilt, Celtic Solstice. This part is making chevrons. I started it back in December, but this part bogged me down. I will probably just pick a day early in the month to do nothing but these units.

I will also participate in the Scrappy Challenge 2014 over at Patchwork Times. I’ve had a lot of fun making the blocks Judy has posted and plan to make a potholder and possibly more blocks. We’ll see what she comes up with for April.

I think I’ll also try to complete a block and link up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014 over at So Scrappy. I think the color for April is purple. Plus I will try to complete blocks for the first three months…blue, pink, and aquamarine. I have some blocks in mind for this.

Finally, I’ll also participate in the NewFO Challenge 2014 over at Cat Patches. There are two projects that I’m considering. One is another pillow for the trailer with one of McKenna Ryan’s Out & About blocks. The other is a mystery quilt from my email quilting group. I’ve not started it yet, and April 1 is the final clue. I will probably actually start both projects, then I will figure out which one to link up with.

That’s it. It doesn’t seem like much, but hopefully I can complete it all. In addition, I will probably work on some blocks for various UFOs and WIPs I have going.

What do you have planned for April?


ALYOF April Goal

My goal for April is to sandwich, quilt, and bind my Patriotic Star wall hanging.



This is made with string blocks and is a pattern from the Craftsy class “Quick-Strip Paper Piecing” by Peggy Martin. I enjoyed the class and can recommend it, especially if you are not familiar with paper piecing or string piecing. I like to do both, so it was fun for me. I was also able to use some patriotic fabrics I've had since the 1990s!

I completed this top last year, and would like to get it done to hang up for the 4th of July.


I’ll be linking up at Fiber of All Sorts for their Goal Setting Party for April right here.