Monday, October 27, 2014

Design Wall Monday - October 27, 2014

For my stash report yesterday, I showed you the purchases from my retreat. I thought it would be fitting to show my finished projects from retreat for Design Wall Monday on Patchwork Times. 

I took several (too many) projects with me to retreat, but I had two that I really wanted to get done and I am pleased to say that I finished both of them. First up was the Urban Pods quilt using the Quick Curve Ruler.  This is the first time I've used the ruler and I really enjoyed it. The cutting all went very easily (even for a lefty like me), and I had all my curved shapes ready to go when I arrived at retreat.  The quilt took me a long time to put together because every piece was curved...three pieces for each of the 96 blocks!  It was slow but pretty easy sewing, and I took breaks as I went along (usually for snacks).  I trimmed the first set of blocks when they were done and then had the motivation to keep going for the second set of blocks.  In the end, I spent more than two full days (about 15 hours of sewing) making this top, and I love it!  The seams aren't all perfect, but I really like how the fabrics came together in the end. 
The second project was a notebook cover for my neighbor. Her birthday was last week, so she's lucked out two years in a row with me making her a present while I was at retreat :)  This was a pretty easy pattern too, and it worked better for me than the other time I had to do some basting/gathering of fabric and then press it to fusible. I wound up having extra fabric pieces cut - I did all the cutting in one pass, but must have misread a few of the details. In the end, the cover wound up being about 1/4" too small all around for a standard composition notebook (which is what it was supposed to cover).  I think it was probably due to the interfacing I used, so I will have to try it again with a lighter weight interfacing, or I will have to get on amazon to find a slightly smaller notebook! 
 The final project that I worked on was one that I brought along just to play. It is a pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Co. called Periwinkle.  They showed it in the book and main video with charm packs, but I bought the mini template and paper pieces and did it with a pack of 2 1/2" squares, and boy, was it fun!  I didn't realize when I started how all the lines would come together and make it look almost three dimensional. I really love how this one worked out and now must decide whether I want to use it as a wall hanging/mini-quilt or as a pillow. I am also not sure how I am going to quilt it, so if you have any great suggestions, please let me know! 

All in all, I am really pleased with all I got done at the retreat. It is nice to bring home finished tops/projects. And the best part is that I still have a few cut and ready to sew on at any time. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stash Report - Weeks 41-43, 2014

The last three weeks were focused on preparing for retreat, going to retreat, and then recovering and unpacking from retreat!  It was a great time, as is always the case, and I will post a more thorough post about it later. 

As far as the stash report is concerned, I realized that I hadn't counted in a 4 yard fat eighth bundle that I won from Sweetwater last month.  I shared a photo of it here. I did add a few things at retreat, but really curbed my purchases from what I have bought in prior years. I did pick up a few fabric packs to make little bags for Christmas/teacher gifts, and I also bought a small kit to make some Christmas ornaments. 

My usage included cutting out two quilts - one lap size, the other mini - a binding, and a notebook cover.  I am happy to report that I got them all put together at retreat. 

Over the next few weeks, I will be working on some Christmas gifts, some quilting, and hopefully some UFOs!  I am not sure that I will have that much more fabric usage this year...but that's okay - there is always next year! 

Fabric added last three weeks: 6 1/4 yards
Fabric used last three weeks: 4 yards

Fabric added year to date: 44 3/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 57 3/8 yards

Net fabric used: 12 5/8 yards

Hope you are having a fun fall with your stash! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

September Cooking

During the  month of September,I pulled out several recipes that looked good and I thought we made quite a few of them, but when I went to pull the "used" file yesterday, I found only two new ones!  We did revisit some that we've made in the last year and made them again, so it wasn't a totally boring month.  My tomatoes finally started ripening, so I pulled out the recipe I'd specifically held for that season and it made a delicious lunch salad.  I was surprised that the kids even ate this one since it was full of spinach.  I guess the yummy dressing was enough to make it palatable. They also discovered that they both like artichoke hearts (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree on this - my mom and I both love them!). Artichoke and Pasta Salad is another winner from Cooking Light, and I will definitely make it again on a warm summer day. 



The second recipe is Chicken, Spinach, and Noodle Casserole from Real Simple. The dish turned out well and I swear we got a picture, but it is missing. My only gripe with this dish was the "One dish dinner" headline.  While it baked in one dish, there were about four others involved in the preparation, so there was a lot of dishwashing to do in the end! We had our neighbor's son staying with us for the weekend and he gobbled it down. Our own kids balked a little and wound up with buttered noodles instead of the casserole, but that's fine, because it was easy to cook a few more noodles and leave them on the side. 

We will be back at it in October, and I have a goal to dig through the dessert recipe file a little more - that one hasn't had nearly enough attention this year! 

Stash Report - Weeks 39-40, 2014

I used a little bit of fabric over the last two weeks in preparation for my retreat in a couple weeks.  I am cutting out Urban Pods, a quilt top made with the Quick Curve Ruler. I made a couple test blocks before I cut out the whole top and they worked out pretty well, so I am well underway in cutting out the whole top. 
I also gave some fabric to my mom to make pet beds - it was a very old holiday print. That always helps the stash report :) 

I had one add last week - we were in Houston and visited a couple quilt shops and I picked up a FQ of a white on white - always a good stash builder.  I could have bought a lot more if I had checked luggage! 

Here's the official report: 
Fabric added last two weeks: 1/4 yard
Fabric used last two week: 4 3/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 39 5/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 53 3/8 yards

Net fabric used: 13 3/4 yards

Hope you had a great week with your stash! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September 2014 Accomplishments & Four Goals

I didn't spend too many days in my sewing area this month, but I do feel like I got a lot done!  I also got some new things started. I spent 12 1/2 hours in the sewing studio, not counting time for stitching or my other new craft. Here's what I did in that time: 

- Made a baby blanket
- Made two laminate bags
- Sewed all the buttons onto finished cross-stitch projects
- Finished another cross-stitch - this time into a cube
- Made the first of three rows I got during the Row by Row Experience. 
- Helped my daughter Jenna start sewing!  She told me that she wanted to make a doll quilt, went through my scraps to find strips, pressed them, and started sewing them into pairs, then quads. We didn't get further than that due to a few other things keeping our calendar busy at the end of the month, but I have no doubt she is ready to get back to it. 
- Finished quilting Crossroads/Plan B quilt top. I need to get it trimmed and get the binding on so that I can show it off at Shipshewana. 
- Started cutting out and made two test blocks for Urban Pods quilt using the Quick Curve Ruler
- Started my Craftsy class on crochet and made a chain and a swatch. I had a great time learning this new craft and I am looking forward to finishing the class so that I can make one or two of the projects. 
 Oh, and I almost forgot - I also won this great bundle of fabric from a Sweetwater giveaway!  What a nice surprise to see my name and then receive a Fat Eighth bundle of Elementary in the mail. 

My four goals for September seemed pretty achievable at the start of the month (don't they always!), and I got to work on them pretty well. 
1. Quilt my UFO that is hanging on the frame -- finished
2. Cut out a quilt with my Quick Curve Ruler -- started but not finished
3. Finish baby blanket -- done and gifted and I even got to cuddle the baby 
4. Sew buttons and findings on all my "almost finished" cross stitch projects. -- finished

In October, I am headed to a retreat in Shipshewana, Indiana. This will be my fourth year at this retreat and I am really looking forward to it.  I have one quilt cut out and one partially cut out (see #2 above), and I hope to get one more ready before I leave, but if not, that's okay.  I have plenty I can take and cut out there.  Here are my October goals: 
1. Quilt one of the tops that I have from friends
2. Get myself in order for retreat and have a great time there
3. Finish a quilt top
4. Make a new purse/bag

Hope you have great plans for your month!  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Stash Report - Weeks 35-38 2014

It has been quite a few weeks since I last posted a stash report and I haven't been doing too much, but I have been busy - especially at work and with the kids. In the midst, I have been sneaking in a little quilting time here and there. 
It started with a birthday, and with a birthday comes fat quarters from my bee. I got a nice assortment of black & whites, so I should be able to finish my easy street leftovers quilt . I also got some nice quilty/crafty gifts for my birthday - including having several books spiral bound, a new travel iron, and a cross-stitch kit. 
After all the birthday celebrations, I got going on a few things that used some fabric -- I finished a cross-stitch into a flat fold display, I finished a baby blanket, made a couple laminate bags, started cutting out a new quilt and made a couple test blocks, and started working on one of my row by row shop hop kits.  It didn't result in that much fabric used, but I feel like I've been getting some good things done. 

I did add another yard of fabric which was left over from a quilt back my mom made and matches a FQ pack that I have, so it will give me enough background fabric to make a pattern I bought earlier this year. 

The result of all those changes over the last four weeks is: 

Fabric added last 4 weeks: 2 3/4 yards
Fabric used last 4 weeks: 2 1/2 yards

Fabric added year to date: 39 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 49 yards

Net fabric used: 9 5/8 yards

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A new kind of finish

Several months ago, a friend of my mom's told me that her secret to all her lovely finishing of cross-stitch was a website called The Twisted Stitcher. I went to Michael's earlier this year with a 50% off your whole purchase coupon and got myself set up to make the flat fold and the cube.  As I looked at the details of each, I decided to start with a flat fold and then work my way up to the box.  I picked out one of the many projects I have finished stitching that is waiting for final finishing and got started. I am not going to show you all the steps in the process, because you can easily get them over on the site linked above, but here's a few steps in my process. 

Stitching and mat board cut to size

Gluing fabric to mat board

Weighing it all down for a couple nights to make sure it sticks together well.
The finished product! 

From the front, on top of the same fabric that is used in the flat fold
The project took me about an hour to complete and I really enjoyed the process. I made one mistake and have the fabric going the wrong direction on the back of the whole piece, which is a bummer, but most people probably won't look at that part anyway!  It does need some cording or a ribbon to finish it off around the edges, so I will keep and eye out for something that will match it well. 

Now that I've made one, I am looking forward to the next!