2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Report

I don't have any pictures to post of the day yet, but our Christmas was very nice. On Christmas Eve, we spent the afternoon and early evening with Mike's family at his mom's. The kids had a great time playing with their cousins and watching movies on Grandma's TV, and then had a blast opening presents. Jenna got a doll from Grandma that talks, and she just loves it - I don't think it was out of her hands the whole time we were there. On Christmas morning, the kids slept in until 8:00!!! That was our gift from them. When they got up, we called my parents and they came down to watch the opening of the presents. Jenna and Jack opened stockings, then ate breakfast while waiting, then tore into the presents. Jenna helped everyone open their presents, and Jack was just happy to be part of all the action. Lots of fun presents for both kids and round two later this week when we see my brother and his family. After hard play all morning, both kids napped well and then my parents came back for dinner and brought more presents. Jenna got lots of great clothes, and immediately put on her new princess pajamas...now I will have to figure out how to get them off of her!

All in all, a very nice day and now we're looking forward to celebration #2 with my brother and his family this week...more to come and pictures to come soon!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Things I've Done

I saw this on a couple other blogs I read and thought it looked like fun...play along if you like. Copy the list and mark those you have done in bold....brings back some good memories!

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (oboe, in middle school!)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyworld/Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a Solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors (does New Jersey count?)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language (French, but I didn’t really teach myself, just took it in high school)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (many, many GS Cookies!)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

100. Ridden an elephant


Monday, December 22, 2008

Not so quick and easy

A few days ago, I realized that I had no gifts for our children's caregivers at our "school." My mom suggested I make each of them an embroidered towel, and I thought that would be a nice gift, and quick and easy, so I headed up to my mom's yesterday to make them while Jenna napped....how silly of me. 4 hours and 45 minutes later, I completed 4 towels. I didn't understand anything about all the color changes that go into the making of embroidery or the complications of things like a needle breaking in the middle of a design or a bobbin running out mid-heart. With my mom's help (they were done on her machine), we got through it and I have 4 really cute towels to gift tomorrow...now I just hope that they can figure out that they are handmade and not a $4 towel from Kohl's!

Tonight, I quickly finished up the last of my handmade gifts, foot warmers that I found on another blog here. I made one for myself and it is toasting my little toes right now. I hope these go over well with the recipients!

On a binding update, #1 is bound and has a hanging sleeve, completely ready to be gift #2, which I will post a picture of after the holidays. I am hoping to get the binding on Do you see what I see tomorrow so that I can hand sew it down over the next two days. After that, I have a charity quilt to do on the frame for my mom (got some better thread for this one), and then I get to do whatever I want! I am really looking forward to both of these!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

All lined up and ready to go

Christmas gift #2 is now quilted, trimmed, and ready to be bound, and it isn't even Christmas eve yet! It was my second "quilt" on the new frame and I had a really good time with it. I say quilt in quotes because both the first and second are panels. I did loops all around it, then took it off the frame and up to my Janome so I could stitch in the ditch. I hear you can do that on a longarm, but my lines are not anywhere near straight, so I knew it would be faster to do on my other machine. Once I finished that, I cut binding for it, Do you see what I see, and the first panel I did on the HQ16. I got them all put together and wrapped onto toilet paper rolls so they are ready to put on. Hopefully I will have time to do that tonight or tomorrow, and then I will have the hand sewing part ready to go, and that is easy to take along or do when the kids are playing.

My only issue on the HQ16 this time was thread breaking. I was, admittedly, using a cheap thread (Essential Thread from Connecting Threads), so I think that was the primary issue. I probably had a dozen breaks across the panel, and it definitely underscores for me the value of using a better thread....next item on my wish list!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One of Each

I got busy tonight after my bunco group was cancelled and the kids went to bed. After checking email and reading a few blogs, I took a deep breath and headed downstairs to see if I could figure out the bobbin winder for my HQ16. I had read a couple things about it, and it is a little intimidating because it looks like it is industrial. It turned out to be a breeze and I got a bobbin wound very quickly. I then got things going on the panel I started before Thanskgiving and quickly finished it up. This pass on it seemed a lot easier than my first night...maybe just less nerves from using the machine this time, or maybe because I have also been busy with free motion quilting on my Janome. A couple learnings from my first projects....even if it is a cheater, practice quilt, still use pretty thread...it is good to try different things in different parts of the panel and really good to hide bad quilting in a busy area of the panel...and finally, pay more attention at the end so you don't sew the panel top to the leader (this is the fabric that you attach the quilt to so that it rolls...it is re-used for every quilt and is just supposed to be pinned or basted to the quilt, not quilted to it - rookie mistake!). All in all, I am pretty happy with it...I tried different patterns in each part of the panel and really enjoyed the meandering and the loops; I will likely be using these a lot in the near future!

Then, I went upstairs and cut off the backing and binding for my "Do you see what I see" quilt which I finished quilting the other night. I need to bind this before my guild meeting in January to be able to get entered in a drawing for a free workshop next year, so binding is next on my list!

Today was my last day of work for the year, so tomorrow I will have lots of time to sew. I am taking the kids to their day care as usual and will then be home all day as we have the tile and drywall in our bathroom repaired. I am hoping to get Christmas project #2 started and completed tomorrow, and maybe to break that up a little I will cut the binding. Hopefully, I will get several hours in, then I can inventory Christmas presents and figure out what last minute shopping I need to get to this weekend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

End of an Era

I was very saddened last night to read on the Satellite Sisters blog that they are taking a year-long (and it seems permanent) break from producing their radio/podcast show. They have been on the radio for several years, but I just found them this spring when I bought my iPod. Since then, they have been my constant commuting companions. I really enjoy their discussion, humor, and the relationships they have with each other...something I miss having no blood sisters of my own. They still plan to post old podcasts, but it won't be the same. It almost feels like I've lost a friend...any ideas on how to fill the car time now?

On a quilting note, I got 3.5 hours in today and finished project #1 for Christmas. Project #2 is scheduled for Friday or the weekend..no pictures to post until after the gifts have been opened! The kids took great naps which enabled me to get a lot done this afternoon, then I was focused this evening and got it done. In the process of doing this, I realized that I have not given any thought to teacher gifts for the kids day care teachers. Last year, I made them these bowls...and I do enjoy making something for them.

Anyone have any good, quick ideas for this year? I need to be able to use my stash and make 4 by Tuesday morning! Oh, and they are 4 different teachers since the kids have all moved up to an older age room. Yikes!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Decorating the Tree

Mike went out last night and got us a beauty of a tree, and for a great price too (for those in or near town, Menard's on 38th street is our secret). He brought it in and put it in the stand last night and Jenna thought for sure that it was Christmas Eve and Santa was coming. It took a little convincing to get her to believe that it was only the 14th of December and that she had 10 more days to wait.

We spent the day today at my parents so I could play Euchre with my mom's group, and the kids had a great lunch, nap, and playtime. Jenna was hemming and hawwing (sp??) about coming home until I reminded her that she need to help decorate the tree. She then proceeded to the closet to get Jack's coat out and tell him he had to put it on so we could go home.

They both had a great time looking through the ornaments and putting them on the tree and it is so nice to have it all decorated....although once again, we'll have the green sheet under it for a tree skirt! My major goal for 2009 is to quilt a tree skirt for next year - someone, please hold me to it!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

November Accomplishments

You would think that it may have taken me this long to post about my sewing accomplishments due to a long list or something good like that....but alas, my month in the sewing room was lonely. I did get in 18 hours total, with most of my time being spent on free motion quilting a couple of projects. Following are the finished projects for the month:
- Snowman panel quilt that is now quilted and ready to be gifted.

- Baby wall hangings for my friend's twins who just turned one. I will get to give these in person and meet the girls when we head east later this month!

I also made good progress on a few others things....
- Lots of quilting on my Do you see what I see quilt...about 1/2 completed in November.
- Purchased, brought home, set up, and loaded first panel on my new HQ16! Lots more to come with this in the next few months!

I have a short list of goals for December, especially since I am making them halfway into the month!
- Finish presents (2 items to be disclosed later)
- Complete quilting on Do you see what I see and get binding ready, preferably on ready to hand sew.

If time allows, I would like to quilt a few panels on the HQ16 to continue to practice this month.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

Wow - it has been a long time since I have blogged or sewn. Starting on Thanksgiving, I have spent the past two weeks either sick, nursing a sick child, or studying for my SPHR (Human Resources) certification exam. All are now healthy, despite a nasty flu bug, and the exam was Thursday. After hitting the submit button, the screen went blank for what seemed like an hour (was probably only a minute), then a survey came up, so I completed that, and then my report came up and I passed. Wonderful news (especially since the company doesn't reimburse you for the exam unless you pass!) and this will be good for my resume in the future. I also gained an incredible amount of HR knowledge in the process, which should set me up well as I look for a new position later this year (still at Lilly, just in another part of HR).

So, last night I headed back to my sewing room for the first time in December! I decided to work on completing quilting on my Do You See What I See quilt. I had to resolve some tension issues, but once that was taken care of, I quilted until I ran out of bobbin thread...and here's the result. I decided that I really like quilting on my new HQ16, so from here on out, my Janome will likely not be used for much quilting, except straight lines and stitch in the ditch!

I hope to get back in there later today (after my massage, which is my little personal reward for passing my exam), and hope to finish the quilting by the end of the weekend so that I can get it bound and ready to hang. I am very excited to have another quilt for me to hang at home!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Playing with our "new" toys

I had a chance this afternoon to set up the remainder of the HQ16, so it was ready to go tonight. While both kids napped, my mom and I watched the instructional video, then I attempted to load a panel tonight and realized that I didn't remember a thing from watching the video 4 hours earlier! It took a while, but I eventually got the machine threaded, needle changed, quilt loaded, and got down to business. Wow, can I just say huge learning curve? I thought that it seemed really easy when I tested the machine (and felt the same when testing others on muslin), but on an actual panel, it is much, much harder! So, lots and lots of practice is in my future....and a lot more panels!

Here's a picture of my "new" toy.

And here's a close up part of the panel that I worked on tonight...it is a little under halfway complete. You can see I have lots of room to improve! If the panel looks familiar, that is because this is the second one I've done. The first was when I was testing my new free motion quilting skills.

Finally, although I don't have a picture to post, I must comment on the fun that Jenna has been having for the last 24 hours too. In my work to clean out a part of our basement storage room last night, she discovered the strawberry case which housed all my childhood Strawberry Shortcake dolls. They were much loved by me, and I saved them for the hope of passing them on to a daughter someday. It turns out that someday was yesterday. Jenna has played with them just about non-stop since then and it is so neat to see her having such a good time. I will try to capture a picture of that tomorrow, as I am sure the first question out of her mouth in the morning will be "Mommy, can I play with your Strawberry Shortcake dolls today?"
Ah, the joy of new toys!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

She's Here...

I went today with Mike to pick up my new machine in Bloomington. She is gently used HQ16 and so far, she seems right at home in my basement. The kids have both displayed some interest, but Mike shooed them away, and I produced some recycled Strawberry Shortcake toys from my childhood for Jenna to play with so she could now care less that mommy has a new toy. It is about 2/3 of the way together and I am too tired to take pictures tonight, but I will post some before the weekend is out, hopefully with a panel on it! I can't wait to get started!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pending Purchase

I have just commited to buy another piece of hardware to support my quilting habit/addiction....and this is a big one! I am set up to purchase a used Handiquilter 16 next week! I am nervous and excited at the same time. Pictures to come when I get it home and set up...needless to say, Mike will be losing a sizable chunk of the basement to my new machine.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

October Progress

I am running late on the report of monthly progress. It has been a draining week both at work and at home. On an up note, Mike and I celebrated our 8th anniversary on the 4th and enjoyed a lovely dinner together at a great place we hadn't eaten before, Eddie Merlot's. Beyond that, I won't provide details except to say that Wed. night through Fri. afternoon were challenging to say the least.

On a brighter note, I had a pretty good month in my sewing room in October. I totalled 18.5 hours of sewing, lower than I would like, but now that good TV is on, I have been spending more time watching TV in the family room than jamming to Pandora in my sewing room! During the month, I completed the following:

- 2 headbands, one for Jenna and one for her friend Lauren's 4th birthday.
- 2 blocks for my bee - one for Lois and one for Kathy
- 2 Pinwheel blocks for the Quilters in Indiana lottery

- Went on a shop hop to Louisville with my bee

I also spent quite a bit of time working my quilting skills and learning a lot about adjusting tension and getting different threads to work together. I did discover 30 wt. Blendable Sulky thread and am loving the result in my quilting...more to come over the next few weeks.

I don't have lots of goals for the month of November. I would like to get the few Christmas gifts that I am planning to make completed, or at least well on their way. I also want to continue to make progress on my current UFO and my other free motion quilting projects. Beyond that, I will be spending time studying human resources information to prepare for taking a certification exam in early December.

I will also be anxiously awaiting the arrival of the first snow and Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays and the best meal of the year, especially the canned cranberry sauce that looks just like the can! Can't wait for it!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Costumes and Candy

It was a good Halloween in our home. Jenna has been asking when it will be Halloween since the 4th of October, so it was fun to wake her up this morning and tell her it is really here! Both kids got to wear their costumes to "school" and they had a parade through the halls. After work, Mike picked them up and took them to see both sets of grandparents, which they really enjoyed (kids and grandparents). We got one good picture before we took them out for the first year of real Trick or Treating. Jack didn't quite know what to think of it, but Jenna thought it was pretty cool. We let her have one piece of candy before bed, and she is soundly sleeping now - quite a day for the kiddos.

Here are the butterfly and the monkey (along with me!).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Starting Over Again

I was quilting like a fool earlier in the month, trying to get comfortable with free motion quilting. I even bought a special bobbin case to see if that would help at all, and I didn't see any difference - ugh! After a few tries at that, I got a little fed up and moved on to other projects, which brings me to this post.

In my bee, we have a UFO (unfinished fabric object) challenge that I had to open my big mouth and start. The goal is to randomly work on a UFO (I stole the idea from Jen) and keep the pressure on each other to get it finished. The prolific online quilters do one UFO a month, but aren't so big on the pressure thing (they are however, very big on the cheering when someone gets one done, which is nice). Our bee is not quite so prolific, so we decided to do one per quarter. So far, mine have been two small projects, a wall hanging and a christmas stocking (the cross stitch was done, just had to make it into a stocking). This quarter's UFO is a former mystery quilt that was supposed to look somewhat like this when it went together...

I didn't like the layout at all, so I experimented with a few different layouts, and even went so far as to sew the blocks into rows, but I was never quite happy with it. In the end, and with the assistance of my mom, I decided that the blue in the "plus" blocks was just too dominant, so off they came. My mom was nice enough to rip them out for me one day when she didn't have anything else that was occupying her hands. So, then I was left with 12 churn dash blocks and didn't know what to do with them. In January, we had an excellent speaker at our guild meeting, Sharyn Craig, who told us just what to do with orphaned blocks and how to rework a quilt so that you actually like the outcome. I was very inspired and came home that night and decided to add strips to the outside of the blocks to highlight the colors in them that I like, mainly the blue polka dot, which was supposed to be my focus fabric, but didn't get enough attention in the other layout. So, tonight, I got back to them and finished up a few blocks with a new sashing fabric. I like the result so far and plan to do a few more yellows and a few of the fabrics in the bottom right.

I don't know if I will use the strong coral color, because I think I only have enough of it for one block and it might stand out too much. Don't know what will happen with the blocks when they are all added onto, as it will be a little too big for a wall quilt and a little too small for a lap quilt...I guess that will have to be Part 2 of this story!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Making Progress

Well, my main goal this month was to work on the several quilt tops I had lined up and get them quilted, free motion quilted specifically. I got three of them basted together at our sewing day early in the month, and got started on this one. It is a little of a cop out, as I just stitched in the ditch. Between all the pieces and the pattern, I thought it was too busy for anything other than that. It is slated to be a Christmas present for an unsuspecting friend (I hope!). It will be bound in the gold as well.

Next, I got started on a playmat for our friend Richard. His mom was going to buy him one from a catalog until I poo-poo'ed that idea and told her a quilted one would be much better. I started with stitch in the ditch on this one, then took a deep breath and started the FMQ'ing. It went very well. Lots of different sized stitches, but overall I am very happy with it. I started with the road and then meandered around all the buildings and construction vehicles. The last thing I did was a wavy stitch around the outside which I really liked.

Now I am on to a thank you gift for another friend. It is in progress, and I got to work on it a bit this weekend...but I will wait to post photos until I've got it done.

Our family had a busy weekend too. Jack had his first haircut (and hated it), and now he looks like such a big boy. We had a fall festival at the kids day care, so went to that for a bit yesterday. Then today, we made the big trip to the pumpkin patch to pick out some pumpkins for carving (and maybe pie if I get really brave). We met Richard and his family there, and all the kids had a great time. The pictures from the weekend are all on Mike's camera, so I will have to post them later. The house is now silent, as the kids are wiped out, sound asleep and Mike is at softball. I am looking forward to a quiet night watching TV and working on some cross-stitch. This time of year is when I appreciate the mute button on the remote so much so that I don't have to listen to those political commercials. I strongly believe in voting and will definitely be at the polls this year, but boy am I tired of the back and forth crap! Will be nice when it is back to injury lawyers and car salesmen!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Belated Thanks and a Little Finish

I have been very delinquent in blogging about some quilty gifts I received in August! During the same week, I received three great surprises:

#1 - A pair of socks from a gal at work who knows of my love of quilting. I had been on a project team with her for about 6 months and see her infrequently now, so was really touched that she thought of me when she purchased these.

#2 - A thank you card with some cash in it for a cross-stitch I had done for a friend. Very unexpected, as the cross-stitch was something I didn't expect any payment for! (no picture of the cash :)

#3 - This fantastic bag from Jill, who I cheered for during the quilting hours contest in July. She blogged all about making this bag and I thought it was really cute. Imagine my surprise when it showed up on my doorstep! The real reason that I haven't taken a picture of it between then and now is that it has been in use! I have the opportunity to go to a workday once/month, and also spend some time sewing at my mom's, so this bag has become a staple for me - it is the perfect size to keep thread, scissors, and paper-piecing supplies in - THANKS JILL!

Finally, a little finish for me this week. I started this wool penny rug in November of last year, because it looked easy enough to finish before Valentine's day. I only worked on it at bee and guild meetings, and as you can see, didn't put a whole lot of time into it! I just now completed it, but look forward to using in next February!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Sometimes, there are certain quilts that I just look at over and over with a longing to someday do them. An online buddy of mine recently blogged about having a list of quilts she wanted to do, and I have been thinking about that since then...so I thought I would share some of the quilts that really inspire me and make me think about "the big ones" that I want to do someday.

First off, this pattern is called Mexican Stars. I don't actually have it, but I have seen it and been very close to buying it more than once. I know that I probably should have just picked it up the second time, but there is something about the little bit of curve in it that has held me back. Next time I see it, it's mine (or would be a good Christmas present....hint, hint).

Second, an art quilt with dimension. For a real art quilter, this one probably doesn't seem that far out of the box, but it is worlds from what I am doing these days, and I just love it. In this quilt from the Sister's show, the little red and cream quilt was dimensional, a separate quilt, quilted into/onto the main one.

Third, and not too distantly related from 2nd, a quilt that mixes a traditional block with something non-traditional, like this amazing one, also from sister's.

Fourth, a double wedding ring in contemporary colors/fabrics, or with photos. This one is from our guild show last year, and I love it. I'd like to do something similar or incorporate photos from trips/adventures in my life into the rings.

There are more...but without accompanying pictures:
- A big log cabin quilt (I need to post at some point the little log cabin zoo I made for Jack)
- A bear's paw quilt
- T-shirt quilt with a cool setting like the one my mom made me with my Girl Scout shirts (guess I need to take a picture of that one too)
- Something for Christmas with a reindeer on it - either applique or with reindeer fabric
- A curvy quilt(probably more than one...I have a kit that I need to make up called Curvalishish, and a book called Blendable Curves)
I am sure there are more...but those are the big ones for now. Keep an eye on my upcoming goals in months to see if I start to take on any of these challenges!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

September Progress

It has taken me a few days to get to this post. We had visitors from Finland this week and had a great time with them. Our family had an exchange student, Johan, when I was a sophmore in high school and he fit into our family so well. I've been lucky enough to visit him twice in Helsinki and he came here for my brother's wedding 9 years ago. This time, his parents sailed across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2 and spent some time in New York before making a quick trip to Indiana. Jenna and Jack had a good time with Kaj and Riita and I will post the pictures of the neat gifts they brought the kids as soon as I take them.

Sewing started off really well this month, then waned as the new TV season started! However, my cross-stitch has picked up quite a bit over the last two weeks and I am nearing completion on the two projects I am working on there.

Following are my accomplishments during the September:
- Jolene Star table topper top completed (picture after I quilt and bind it)
- Sara's quilt top finished and backing fabric purchased
- 3 baby gifts completed - fabric book, 2 blankets

- 2 headbands for my friend's daughters
- Log Cabin block for the Quilters in Indiana block lottery (green and cream log cabin...can't find that I took a picture of this, but I sure thought I did...hmmmm)
- Patchwork illusions - now called "Do you see what I see" - top completed
- 2 buck-a-blocks (now I am only three behind)
- Mom's block for our bee
- Pillowcase for Cooper for his 5th birthday
- Babydoll bib for Jenna's baby
All that in 21 hours of sewing this month.
My goals for October are:
- Free motion quilting/quilting - I have four quilts that need to be quilted, so I want to make good progress on them this month. Two are christmas themed and I want to give them well before the holiday, one is Sara's quilt (thanks to those who gave me good ideas on how to quilt it), and then Do you see what I see.
- Quilters in Indiana block lottery block
- Bee block(s) for Kathy and potentially Suzie
- Start something new
- Work on my last UFO for this year - a mystery quilt that wasn't working for me, so I am winging it and trying to fix it into something I like.

I will also try to be better about taking pictures and blogging this month.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

5 and a half days

That's how long Jenna can go without a nap. She went all week without napping...not unusual for a day or two, but we are starting to think that she may be ready to drop the afternoon snooze. Today, after a bike ride around the neighborhood with Dad and Jack and a visit to a local quilt show with me and Gran, she just couldn't go any longer. She didn't fall asleep in the car on the way home, which really surprised me, but within about 5 minutes of throwing herself on the living room floor for some injustice that we reigned down on her, she was out!

Loss of the afternoon nap is a sad prospect for me, because I often get in a good hour or more of sewing during the golden time when both she and Jack are napping (that's on the days that I haven't dozed off on the couch too). The unintended benefit from the lack of a nap is that she is now passed out sound asleep by 7:45 or 8, which gives me a much nicer window of opportunity in the sewing room. By that time in the day though, the light isn't as good, so I don't like to do much cutting, and I am often on the tired side, so it is hard to get motivated to really get something going.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Do You See What I See, etc.

This is my newest quilt top...I am calling it "Do you see what I see" since it is an Illusion quilt. I hosted the Karen Combs class for our guild earlier this year and had a great time making these blocks. They are pieced into the purple batik background and I already know how I am going to quilt it! I am hoping to get it completed next month, so I can show it at our guild and be entered in a drawing for a free workshop next year. We have a great slate of speakers lined up for next year and I would love to win a workshop.

In other quilting news, I have been working diligently on baby presents, in accord with this months goals. I have two completed and three in progress. Plus, there is a new baby, so I am up to 6 total right now. The ones I completed are for babies #1 (born May 2006 - yikes!) and #4 (born in July of this year). Pictures to follow once they have arrived at their destination.

Today, my mom and I did a little impromptu shop hop when I decided to take the afternoon off work because the weather was just too gorgeous. We headed east of town to Zig Zag Quilts, where I found the following items: a few FQs for a block I need to make this weekend, pillowcase fabric for a friend's son who is celebrating a b-day soon, and a book for Jack for Christmas (I am so proud of myself for shopping early!).

Stop #2 was an accident, as we kept going straight instead of turning and mom commented that we were really close to another shop, so we kept going to Ruth's Legacy. I bought a couple FQs there and helped mom pick out 30's fabric for a lap quilt for her mom's cousin. That was a difficult task for us, because neither of us likes 30's fabrics. We managed to power through it and pick some out that will probably look very nice when they are put into blocks with Kona Snow. The best deal at this shop was all the solids at $2/FQ. I stocked up on a few colors I don't have.

Stop #3 was the one store I actually wanted to go to, Quiltmaker's, because they are having a 25% off everything sale this weekend in honor of the owner's husband's birthday (don't you just love the occasions a quilter can celebrate?). I picked up the backing and binding fabric for Sara's quilt and a pattern that is made in repros, which I also dislike strongly...however, they had it made up beautifully in batiks. I threw in a couple sale FQs as well that I thought would make good headbands, my latest fun project.

We made a surprise stop at a friend's house on the way home and enjoyed showing her all our purchases, then headed home. All in all, a fun afternoon.

On a different note, I have to share a couple of quotes from Jenna this week because she has just been too funny. She has not napped all week, which is challenging, but she then goes to sleep by 7:30 or 7:45, so it makes the evenings really enjoyable....anyway, here are a few recent "Jenna-isms."
Me to Mike at the dinner table: "Did you see that gas when up to $3.95 today?" (this was last week before the hurricane)
Mike: "No, where?"
Me: "The one I pass on the way home from work."
Jenna: "Mommy....(long pause)...did you pass gas?"
Jenna to Jack: "Jack, get off, you're ow'ing my toe."
Jenna: "Gran, can I have some raisins?"
Gran: "Yes, they are in the fruit bowl, can you reach them or not?"
Jenna: "Not"

Monday, September 8, 2008

Work Day

Today was work day for my bee. We get together on the first Monday of the month and bring our machines and projects to work on. Anyone in the group (and others who we invite) can come and go as they please from 9 am - 4 pm. I have never been there at 9..usually because I have a kid or two in tow. Today, Jack had his 18 month check-up (all is good), so I headed over with both kids after we were done there. It is actually easier to take both of them than just one of them because they really do play well together when we're there. The room is big, so there is plenty of room for them to run around. Jack always does seem to gravitate towards the power strips at some point in the day, but it takes a lot longer for him to do when Jenna is there too. They both took a good nap today, so I had lots of time for sewing - hooray!

Today I made some great progress on a couple projects I was stuck on. The first is the wall hanging for my friend Sara. She saw this fabric at a local quilt shop when we were shopping with her mom for another quilt and I said I would make something for her with it if she bought it. Well, her mom was so excited by the prospect that she actually bought (most of) the fabric. We've since added to the original purpose. The outer border is on the bias, which is the part I needed help with. I didn't know how to fold it to get the longest possible strips, but a couple friend there today showed me how to do it...let's just hope that I can remember long enough to be able to do it again next time. Here's a picture of the finished top. Any thoughts on how to quilt it? It has to be easy, because I am going to do it myself and I have only FMQ'ed a couple things. If you have any ideas, please leave me a comment!
I also made progress on my patchwork illusions quilt, but that will have to wait until I have the top together for the big reveal...I am getting closer, so hopefully in the next few weeks, I will be able to post a picture of that.

Here are pictures of a couple of the other projects that some of the others there were working on.

Barbara's paper pieced wonder - she is entertaining different fabrics for the border.

Kathy's fabric foundation pieced blocks...getting close to all done,

but she didn't like working on the fabric foundation at all!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

August Report

I completed a whopping 24.5 hours of sewing & quilting during the month of August. This was quite surprising to me, because I also spent a whopping amount of time watching the Olympics! I didn't spend much of that time in my sewing room multi-tasking, but rather spent a lot of it holding down the couch at my house or my parents house!

As mentioned in a previous post, I achieved all of my goals for the month - the first time I have done so! Woo hoo - here they are:

My high level goal statements last month seemed to work well for me, so I am going high level again! September goals include:

  • Blocks for bee and Quilting in Indiana lottery
  • Catch up with baby gifts/quilts/cross-stitch (5 to catch me up to present! And I have friends with babies due for several more months...so I need to catch up so I can keep up over the winter!)
  • Finish a quilt top...I have a couple in progress and would like to get one of them done
  • Put away all the fabric I have bought over the past two months which is now piled in stacks all over my sewing room!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Plan B

Well, our plans to head to Cincinnati for the AVP tournament were foiled when we called to find out that they only had standing room seats. We decided that wasn't wise with the hot day predicted and two toddlers, so we went for plan B. We met Mike's sister's family at Brookville Lake for an afternoon on their boat...and then plan B turned into plan C when the boat had trouble. Plan C was great - we followed them back to their farm outside Greensburg, IN where they have a whole bevy of animals. The kids enjoyed swimming in the pool and then had a blast visiting with all the animals.

Jenna was quite the helper, feeding the outdoor dog, two barn cats, the goats, miniature donkey, miniature pony, and chickens, and throwing fish food into the ponds for the catfish and bass. She also checked the chicken coop for eggs and found one!

It was a great day and the kids loved seeing all the animals. Oh, and Jenna got to ride Belle the horse too. She rode Belle at Thanksgiving last year and was really nervous. This time she jumped right on and had a blast. Here are some pictures of our adventure!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

With a day to spare

A week ago, I reviewed my list of goals for the month of August and realized I had better get cracking on a few things, so I did and am happy to report that I have achieved all of my goals for this month with a day to spare! More detail on the list of accomplishments in a couple days as we are taking a quick overnight to Cincinnati tomorrow, but I just had to share the next to last of my accomplishments...the final block in the Carol Doak BOM series....now I just have to figure out how to set all 12 blocks in some way other than boring...I think I will enlist the help of my friend Dan who is a graphic artist in hopes that he will see something inspiring in them!

I'll be back on with the final list of accomplishments, hours, and Sept goals Monday or Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Little bits of progress

I haven't posted about sewing for a while, but am working on finishing up projects this month. I have taken on mostly small things that just need to get done and have finished quite a few so far. I worked tonight on another one with my mom here. It is so nice to sew with her...but the time really flies! Especially since I have to be up and at 'em in the morning to get to work on time.

Here are a few of the blocks I have completed recently...this one is for a member of one of my online groups who is in the Navy and currently deployed. 20 from our group are making red, white, and blue blocks and sending them to another member who will put a quilt top together. She will be starting on it soon, and I will link to it when finished. Mine is the Africa star from Carol Doak's Mariners Compass book.

I also finished making my blocks for the Quilters in Indiana block lottery the other night and they have been sent away to Rhonda, the winner this month. She already has received about 20 blocks and I can't wait to see what she does with them. They are so much fun...and I really like the red, white, and black color combo, so may have to do something with those colors.

Tonight, I was multi-tasking....trimming up blocks to 12 1/2" for a lap quilt that will be finished sometime in the next 2 years, and making some pillowcases that will be sent off to a friend soon. Not going to post pictures or say anymore about that now...but will share after she has them. I was remarking to my mom tonight how I remember making my first 2 pillowcases, and how it was so hard and took me all day! Now, I do them late at night after a full day at work because they are so easy! Progress feels just great.

Well, I should head to bed now....I guess I am still a little overtired from 2 weeks of watching the Olympics way too late...I just tried to put hairspray instead of toothpaste on my toothbrush! I caught myself just in time!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Our friend Richard

Richard is the son of a good friend of ours, Sara (who is a faithful reader of this blog - thanks!), and is three months older than Jack. He is tall for his age and follows Jenna around like she is leader of the pack (she doesn't think there is anything wrong with that). Last weekend, I took the kids to Mike's and Sara's softball game and we went to Mug'n Bun afterwards. The kids were wiped out, as it was close to normal bedtime when we arrived and they had just spent an hour running around the ballpark, but they had a good time anyway.
Side note: if you live in the area, they have great root beer floats at Mug'n Bun...10th and Lynhurst.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What a blog

I hope you will take a minute to venture over to Cake Wrecks. Make sure you read the older posts. Mike and I were just referred there from Jen's blog and have been laughing so hard we are crying...well, at least I am! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My favorite things

Back when I had my old (short lived) blog on yahoo, I started what I hoped would be a series on my favorite things. I only posted one favorite thing there, Pandora radio, which I still love....however, since getting my iPod earlier this year, I have become addicted to podcasts. I don't listen to the radio or CDs in my car anymore...it is podcasts all the time. That leads me to my favorite podcast...The Satellite Sisters. It is a group of 5 sisters who do a 3 times/week show that is about an hour long. They talk about lots of current events, news, movies, and have lots of fun laughing and sharing stories. I really enjoy their shows and encourage you to check them out. If you don't have an iPod or iTunes, you can listen to them directly on their website. The youngest sister, Lian, is also writing some very funny posts with random thoughts from the Olympics on their blog.

On a quilting/sewing note, it has been a very slow week in my sewing room, as I have been parked nightly in front of the TV watching Olympics (much too late)...maybe I will get back to making some progress when they conclude!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Next Big Quilt

Since the beginning of my quilting "career" in late 2003, I have completed mostly small projects. Wall hangings, baby quilts, purses, etc. This year, I took a big leap and finished my first twin sized quilt (the Red, White, and Blue Lottery Quilt pictured in this post), which had not only a pieced top, but also a pieced backing (in case you've been on the edge of your seat, the darker side is the backing). Now, I am ready to take a really big plunge and start a king sized quilt to adorn the new bed that we bought back in March. I am sure that it will take me a while to complete this one, and I am hoping to start on it this month. As it is a wide range of colors in batik, I am going to prewash all the fabric (ugh, something I never do) in hopes of avoiding bleeding issues. I will post progress as it goes, but here's a "before" picture of the fabric and the pattern.