2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Snow Much Fun

Earlier this week, we were blessed with about 12" of snow..and especially blessed since it fell on a day we didn't have to go anywhere (gotta love my part-time schedule)! The kids watched it from inside most of the day and then Jenna asked to go out in the afternoon. She had a blast, but I didn't get any pictures because I was shoveling and/or trying to console Jack, who didn't think he could walk in it.

Today, Jenna got to go out on her own with Daddy and had a blast. She built a snow mountain, threw snowballs at the dog, and did a little sledding on our cul-de-sac. We've hoping this bodes for a good, long sleep tonight :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Late Night Motivation

Lately, it seems that I don't even get up to my sewing room until after 9:00. With two small kids who wake up early (ok, not early by some kid standards, but they still often wake me from a dead sleep) and a job, that doesn't leave me much time in the evenings for quilting. Lately, I have made myself work on something, even if small and just lived on caffeine the following day.

Tonight, it was 10:30 before I got started, but I made some good progress....got the binding cut, sewn together, and pressed for my red, white, and blue quilt. This is the largest quilt I have "made" to date. I put made in quotes because I actually won all of the blocks, so I really just assembled it! Here's what 336" of binding that is ready to be sewn on looks like.

The next thing that I did surprised me even as I was doing it because I have thought about doing this for months, but have never actually made any concrete actions in that direction. As I was putting away fat quarters from making the cats earlier this week, I spied my Joann fabric scraps. I found a piece that could easily make a shelter pillow and I actually made it! It only took a few minutes, but I hope it will be well used and loved. I got this idea from the Stashbusters yahoo group, which I was a member of briefly last year. The suggestion was to keep all your non-usable scraps in a bag by your machine, and when you have enough, make a pillow out of them them. Then, donate this pillow to a local animal shelter where it can be easily washed and used over and over. Here's what mine looks like - the two bags full of scraps and the pillow with them inside. My mom is going to bring another bag tomorrow and then I will close it up and take it over to the shelter, with hopes that they can use it!

Here are the two bags of scraps - batting, selvages, etc.
And the almost finished shelter pillow!

All this in just an hour...it is motivating to see what you can get done even with just a little snippet of time...now off to read myself to sleep!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Cats

Those who know me well are probably thinking "what does she mean cats? She is a dog person from the word go." Alas, not actual cats...fabric cats. In my bee, we make a block for the hostess each month. The benefit of this is getting to increase our personal skills, discovering some blocks that we didn't know existed previously to someday add to our wish list, and, once per year, getting a set of blocks for our own from the other members.

Barbara was the December hostess and asked us to make cat blocks for a quilt she'll make for her daughter. They are paper pieced, which isn't an issue for me because I love paper piecing (it is sewing on a paper foundation and basically just following the lines). After two cats, I have confirmed my adoration for dogs..but I am happy with the way they turned out. They are not assembled as Barbara has to add some additional fabric. We actually made two blocks for her this year since she was ill last year and didn't have us make one then. The odd piece up to the right of each one is part of the border. She asked us to include all the fabrics we used in our cat in the border as well. If you do love cats, the name of this pattern is #5 Sawtooth Cats. Sorry, but I don't know the designer (if you want the info, just leave me a comment and I will email you the info). This will be the last I see of cats for a while....now dogs, I may have to take on!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lottery Blocks

I am back in the quilting groove again. I was able to get into my sewing room last night after an early bedtime for the kids, and again tonight after the same scene repeated itself (sweet!). One of the swaps that I participate in on my Quilting in Indiana group is called a block lottery. It started last year and to begin, everyone made the same block in Christmas colors - here is mine:
We sent them all to the hostess and then she picked a name out of the hat and that person became the winner of the block lottery for the following month. The winner then posts on the group which block she wants and in what color/style. I made most of the blocks last year and really enjoy doing it to expand my skill set and try some new things...most of these are blocks I wouldn't pick to do myself, but after I make them I often like them far more than I thought I would! I was very lucky last year to win the lottery in only the second or third month. I chose a very simple pattern and received something like 30 blocks. It was great fun and you can see a picture of what I did with them here (and I am currently working on binding that quilt...with hopes to have it completed soon).

My mom won the lottery in December, so got to name the blocks for January. She asked everyone to make state blocks on muslin to commemorate their favorite states. I decided to make New Jersey (in red below) and Michigan (the blue one). New Jersey was an easy choice because it is my mom's birth state and I had many wonderful trips there to visit my grandmother while growing up. It is really a beautiful state and I especially like the city she lived in, Budd Lake. There is the best pizza place in the world there...but I digress. I chose Michigan because it is where I went for college and during my four years there, I fell in love with the state. I wouldn't mind going back there to live someday, especially if I could live on one of the Great Lakes.

Next items on my list: the 2nd cat block for Barbara in my bee, and finishing the binding on my red, white, and blue quilt. More to come later this week (hopefully!).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Trying to get motivation

I have not been in my sewing room for over a week...and am having trouble getting the time/motivation to get back in there. Part of it is the weather...we were in the negatives earlier this week and all that I wanted to do was curl up under a quilt and watch TV, so I did! It has warmed back into the 30's this weekend, and I have gotten some of my motivation back, but with no time to do anything. The kids have been busy, we've been cleaning the house, and blah, blah, blah. So, today, both kids were down for a nap and I thought I'd start on my blocks for the Quilters in Indiana block lottery, especially since my mom won this month...two minutes into it, Jack was up and ready to get out of bed (he had already slept 2+ hours) and Jenna decided she didn't need a nap, so here I am...maybe I will get a chance to make some progress tonight....

Since there are no quilting pics to share, I'll share one of Jenna from the week. I got her some new snow/winter boots yesterday, because she's grown out of the ones from last winter. They have princesses on them, which she loves. When I arrived home and handed her the box, she stripped out of her footed PJ's (which she'd worn all day) and proudly put on her boots.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ready to Hang!

My Valentines panel is done and ready to hang...now I just have to decide where to put it for the next month. I was very tired on Friday night, but finally convinced myself I had enough energy to put it on the frame so that I would be ready to go when I had time over the weekend. I went down to the basement about 9:30 and didn't come back up again until 11:30 except for one trip to borrow Jenna's magna-doodle so I could practice the quilting design I wanted to use! It went really fast once I started quilting, and I got a second wind, so I just kept going and before I knew it, I was done. I knew as I started that I wanted to do something other than loops, which I'd gotten pretty comfortable with on my last panel. I originally started with the idea of echo quilting the hearts, but I did the first one and it looked horrible, so I ripped that out and went back to the loops for the border.
Once I got to the panel part in the middle, I decided to try topsy-turvy hearts. I practiced them for a bit on the magna doodle, and then just started. I am really pleased with how they came out!
Next up for the HQ16, a charity quilt for my mom....looking forward to it!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Every Little Girl's Dream

Didn't we all dream as little girls of becoming a princess? I guess for Jenna, it means you have to dress the part too....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ready for the next holiday!

After taking down decorations from Christmas, the house always seems so bare. This year, I also purged a wreath that hangs above our fireplace, so have left my Christmas picture there because it is so bare...need to work on a rectangular quilt for that space...anyway, I was inspired tonight to start working on something to put up in place of all the Christmas stuff and didn't want to work on anything too complex, so I put together my Valentine's panel top.

It is a panel in the middle with borders and cornerstones (the hearts) and I think it looks really cheery. I got it a few years ago for a steal. I think it was $10 for the panel, borders, and binding. And speaking of binding, I also cut that tonight and it is pressed and ready once I quilt this (that is a miracle, as I usually procrastinate like crazy when it comes to prepping binding). The backing is also from my stash. I will cut the backing and batting tomorrow and hopefully get it on the frame before the end of the week. I love that panels are so quick and so cute, but I really wish that the fabric manufacturers could figure out a way to print them straight!

P.S. I have been thinking about it all week and finally posted my goals for this year. This isn't everything that I plan to do, but these are the major items I would like to accomplish by 12/31/2009. It feels like a lot...but I am up for the challenge!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

December Accomplishments

I got a lot accomplished in December, despite only sewing from Dec 11 - 23, due to studying for my SPHR exam and the holidays. I was very happy to have a total of 18.75 hours of sewing, boosted significantly by the two days that I was home and the kids were in day care!

These are the things I finished this month:
  • Quilting completed on Do You See What I See, binding made, machine stitched on, started hand sewing it down.
  • Made 4 labels with my mom's label program, sewed on one of them.
  • Made 3 fabric baskets, which I thought I took a picture of, but can't find anywhere. One went to my SIL for Christmas, one to my mom for her b-day, and I am keeping the third. This was a very fun project and I plan to make more. I was pointed to this tutorial to make them. I made them with denim instead of linen because I had it handy and I did like it.
  • Quilted baby animal print on HQ16, made binding for it.
  • Quilted map panel, made binding, and bound in 3 days! This was a Christmas gift for my nephews.

  • Embroidered 4 towels for child care teachers.
  • Made three rice bags from this tutorial - kept one (and LOVE it!), gifted one to my MIL, and gifted one to my dad.

I am thinking on some goals for the year, which I will probably post on a sidebar, but this month, I would like to:

  • Finish binding Do You See What I See before my guild meeting.
  • Start and finish Valentine's wall hanging.
  • Complete blocks for the Quilters in Indiana block lottery and my bee.
  • Decide on a UFO to finish for a Quilters in Indiana challenge.

That should be enough for the month, as I have lots going on at work.

Trip Report

The day after Christmas, we loaded in the car and headed east to visit my brother and his family in Maryland. Mike had to work that day, so we didn't pull out of town until 4:45. We drove half-way the first night and then finished up the trip on Saturday. It was a looooong drive, especially because Jack slept very little and had an allergic reaction to the scrambled eggs he ate for breakfast on Sat. morning. The saving grace was the DVD player in my mom's car. It kept them occupied for many hours, and we had headphones so the whole car didn't have to listen to Elmo and Arthur!
Upon arrival, we were thrilled to meet Alex, my brother's third son, who is 7 weeks old. I enjoyed cuddling him and feeding him, but it reminded me that I also love having kids who are a little older and more independent :) We also quickly moved to their living room to exchange presents, and within a matter of about 10 minutes, it was pandemonium (in a fun, good way).
Over the course of the next 4 days, the four older kids played well and visited the Air and Space Hanger, The National Zoo, and a couple local restaurants...all in all, a great time was had by all and the kids really enjoyed playing together. One of the highlights was a picnic table brought into the kitchen so they could all eat together. Daisy the dog especially liked this arrangement, and by day 2, Jack was very adept at saying "no, no Daisy dog."

While there, I was also lucky enough to have a chance to visit with my friend Kristen and her twins. We are good friends from college and she was in our wedding, but we hadn't seen each other in three years (and three kids ago!). It was fantastic to see her girls and have a little of a chance to catch up with her, but a much longer weekend is needed!

On the last night, my mom requested a picture with all the grandkids and the grandparents...much easier said than done. We had the kids in their matching shirts that Susan got them for Christmas, but they just didn't cooperate...first one, then another decided they just didn't want to be in a picture. At the end, my brother and I wound up sitting in the picture in hopes of getting something decent...and this is the best we had!