Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Pete's favorite movie is the perfect title for my camp quilt. I dug really deep in my stash for this one, so there is a fair amount of bad and ugly fabric! I did throw in some good, or I never would have wanted to finish it. I'm really pleased with the end product. It will be perfect to sleep under at quilt camp and Girl Scout camp. (quilt holders: Julia and Josh, the boyfriend)The triangles came from a Keepsake Quilting Y2K collection. In late 1999, I purchased a beautifully packaged collection of 2000 different 4" squares. The project I had planned required 2" squares, so I cut them all down. I used one pile of 2" squares (quilt never completed, mind you), gave away the stack of 2" x 4" rectangles, and kept the other stack of 2" squares. When it came time to cut out this quilt, how smart was I to work out the block size to utilize those squares?

As ugly as some of those fabrics are, they actually do play well together. And they are a part of my quilting history, or my mother's. I blame her for that piece of poly.

Janet and I attended an applique class today with award winning applique artist, Maria Lage. The link will take you to a photo of a quilt that is absolutely incredible in person. She's brilliant at fabric selection. We had a great time, learned a lot and had cake. Happy Birthday, Maria!
I finished my flower when I got home. It's not perfect, but I like it. Now it needs a goldfinch. The pieces are tiny. If I keep going at this rate, I might be done before I see Maria next weekend. I'd like to have it ready for show & tell. Janet chose the cardinal pattern as her first ever applique project. I know she can do it! Everything else will be a piece of cake after this.

We're going to see Drumline Live tomorrow night. We can't wait!


Friday, February 27, 2009

To Do Today

Today, I'm machine quilting my scrappy camp quilt. I pieced the top last spring, after I saw Rosalie's quilt during show & tell at the getaway. It went together really quickly with old stash uglies and some newer fun fabrics. All the triangles started out as 2" squares from a Y2K collection from Keepsake Quilting. (I'll tell you more about that another day.) I purchased the flannel for the backing when the Fabric Place closed their store in Warwick. That was a sad day. I really miss that store.Half of the quilting is done already, not bad for 90 minutes work. I'm using the walking foot and only doing vertical lines. Fast + easy = done!
Also on the list for today:
  • get my tax info ready for Bill
  • work out
  • grocery shopping
  • post office- ship baby blankets
  • deliver Girl Scout cookies
  • attend Janet's troop's Girl Scout bridging ceremony
A long list and it's already 10:00! I'd better get to it!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mountain Baby Blankets

I stumbled upon a new project by Rachel Cox: Mountain Baby Blankets. Rachel is asking us quilty/crafty types to make baby blankets for the children in Appalachia. Please visit her blog for details. Some really beautiful quilts have already been donated.For now, I'm just sending what I already have done. I made the small quilt from stash with a minke back and Julia made the receiving blanket. They have been waiting for a home for a few months now. This is the perfect solution! I'll be looking through the stash again to see what else I can put together.

I joined Flicker today, so I could join Rachel's group. There's not much in my new photostream yet. Do I really need photos there, here and on Facebook?

I've been productive, crossing things off my list. The dining room table is still full, but it's more organized with neater piles!
  • Class handouts, samples and step-outs- DONE!
  • Handouts & samples for "midnight madness" craft- DONE!
  • Layer & quilt a twin scrappy top to sleep under at camp
  • Set up an Etsy shop
  • Make some paper pieced pins to sell
  • Keep up with the Quilt Along- DONE!
  • Start something for the Nothing But Scraps Challenge- I found a little top in the basement- does that count?
  • Attend an applique class on Feb 28- fabric selected
  • Send out the Guild newsletter on March 2
I'm procrastinating on the Etsy shop. Setting up a paypal account is scary for some reason. If you are happy with your shop (or not), please let me know. I need a push to just go do it!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Mess

To be fair, this is just one of my many messes! The plan is to CLEAR this table today. It is visible from the front door, which is really unacceptable. I played around in photoshop to add captions. I'd rather sit here in the sun than work down in a dark basement. But I should only bring up one project at a time. Ha, Ha!
I finished trimming my half square triangle blocks last night for Judy's Quilt Along. I'm happy to have step 2 done early.OK. Time to get to work. I hope to have "after" pictures for you later!

P.S. I bought a Neti pot this week after reading the Shnoodle post and comments. I actually feel better with no drugs! Pete wants to try it to see if it helps with his allergies in the Spring.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thinking Day

My Girl Scouts celebrated Thinking Day yesterday with 9 other local troops, ranging from Kindergarten Daisies to my 9th grade Seniors. We've never been able to have our event on Feb 22 before, which is actually Thinking Day. It was a fun, intimate group, compared to the several hundred girls who usually attend this event. This is a terrible picture, but here are my girls, representing Italy, singing a Rosemary Cloony song, Bocha Me Bambino (Kiss Me Baby). What can I say? All they think about is boys! After this song, we taught everyone the Tarantella, which is an aerobic workout. After sitting through some informative presentations, everyone needed to get up and dance. I had tied ribbons to our tambourine, to the dismay of of our resident drummer. Each troop prepared a dessert from their chosen country, so we made pizzelles. No leftovers. : ( How cool is that stone fireplace?

An adorable Daisy troop sang a counting song and the birthday song in Chinese. I didn't have the heart to tell them that China is not a member of WAGGGS.

We spent Saturday afternoon helping Pete with a Boy Scout project. Since Julia & I weren't feeling well, we didn't go up to see Mark. If we had known there is a new American Girl store in Natick, that probably would have tipped the scale.

Loser Monday update: No loss/ No gain. I'm happy that I haven't gained back the pounds I lost in week one, even with the traveling last week. Now it's time to get down to business. I need to follow the plan and work out! And stay away from the Girl Scout cookies!

Janet and I are off to the LQS to stock up for the applique class next weekend.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Quilt Along / Quiltathon

For today's Quiltathon, I'll be sewing up my half square triangles for the Quilt Along. I cut out all of my squares last night and drew a diagonal line across the lights. When I'm ready to sit at the machine, I'll sew 1/4" on both sides of the line, cut them apart, press open and trim. It works for me.

When I was at my sister's house this week, I photographed the table runner I made for her last Fall, in situ. The tumbling blocks are made from woven tubes of fabric, so it's reversible. It was fun, but I haven't made one for myself yet. I was happy to have the Turn-it-All tools to turn all those tubes. The pattern is from Dream Weaver Patterns.

And I never took a picture of the matching game I made for Lily for Christmas. There are a dozen pairs of squares with novelty animal prints on one side and they all have purple fabric on the back. There is Peltex interfacing on the inside, one row of stitching near the edge, and I cut them out with a pinking blade. Super fast, easy, cute and fun! The drawstring bag holds them all. The best part is that Lily already knows all the animals and she actually plays with it. For now, they keep the squares face up for her to find the matches. When she gets a little older, it can be a memory game, with the pictures face down. The tutorial is on the Michael Miller blog.This is the first day in a week that I have woken up without a headache. My nose is still running, but I feel much better. I won't be making the trip to see Mark Lipinski, though. There's too much to do around here.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

To Do List

The first weekend of March, I'll be going to a quilt getaway weekend. I've been going since I was pregnant with Julia, 15 years ago. The only one I missed was when Pete was 3 months old. I didn't think it was fair to Bill to leave him with an infant and a 2 year old. OK, the truth is he would have been fine, but I didn't want to leave my baby.

I'm thrilled that I've been asked to teach the Saturday workshop for the second time. We'll be doing a miniature version of Linda Warren's Dimensional Design #2, Easy Overlay. Her original design measures 65" square or 95" square. My version is 30" square and more manageable in a large group setting. You can purchase the pattern from Valley Fabrics.Here's what I need to get done by March 6:
Class handouts, samples and step-outs
Handouts & samples for "midnight madness" craft
Layer & quilt a twin scrappy top to sleep under at camp
Set up an Etsy shop
Make some paper pieced pins to sell
Keep up with the Quilt Along
Start something for the Nothing But Scraps Challenge
Visit Mark Lipinski on Saturday
Attend an applique class on Feb 28
Send out the Guild newsletter on March 2
And I suppose I should clean the house, cook meals, work out and drive kids around.

Yeah. I can handle that. I work well under pressure!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Two Annas, plus a Lily

I missed Two for Tuesday, so here are two Annas on Wednesday.
Baby Anna with Great-Grandma Anna (my mom). Anna is so cute and so tiny! Babies grow so quickly, it's hard to remember when ours were that small.Lily is a bundle of energy. It's hard to get a good picture of her while she is in constant motion. Elmo is her favorite! So why didn't I add some Elmo fabric to her quilt? I'll need to make an Elmo pillow, bag or pajamas for her birthday.

I need a nap.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Anna's Quilt

Anna's quilt is done! I'll take better pics in the sun tomorrow. We'll be traveling early to go visit the girls, so I wanted to leave you with the completed quilt.I used Sulky rayon thread for the quilting. I like the sheen on a girly quilt. The back of the quilt is a whole piece of this gorgeous Kaffe Fasset fabric. No piecing required. In my spare time this weekend (ha!), I made a Black Apple Doll and covered photo album with the leftover Kaffe fabric.Hope you all have some time to relax this week.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Love

I am loving Anna's quilt so far. Blocks are assembled and I'm ready to add borders. I might take a break from sewing today to watch some races at the state swimming championships.

Quilty Love to You,

Friday, February 13, 2009

Quilting Along with Judy

I'm asking myself, "Do I have time for this?" The answer is, of course not. But I want to play, too! So I'm participating in Judy's Quilt Along at Patchwork Times: Bear in the Farmhouse. I work well with deadlines and under pressure, so proving that I have finished a step before receiving the next one could really work for me.Here is step 1. Fabric selection is complete. Yeah! I met the first deadline. I probably won't have enough of the stripe, but it's the only thing in my stash even close to 2 yards. It was fun to dig really deep in the stash for those 90's pinks and mauves and really old printed muslins. Where Judy used yellow, I'll use pink. The multi-color pile will be the 1/2 square triangles. I wish I had a better green. And the solid chocolate brown will be the narrow borders and binding. I just bought that last week for Julia. I can get more.

OK. Enough fun for now. Back to work on Anna's blocks. I did some sewing early this morning, but felt like I needed a nap. I really just needed to eat more. My breakfast was not balanced, so I crashed early. Trying to lose weight? Eat more! Go figure.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

3 pounds lost- hope I never find it again!

I went to my second weight loss class at the gym today. I lost 3 pounds the first week! I'm learning a lot about what food to eat in which combination at what time of day. I love being back in the gym working out. The focus of this plan is fat loss, not so much weight loss. I feel like I'm building muscle already.

I'm busy today getting ready for a Girl Scout Leader meeting. It's a lot of work being a GS volunteer. Besides running my own troop, I am the Service Unit Manager, which means I am the "lead volunteer" for the 48 troops in our community. I love the girls, and the special events, parties, camping and ceremonies. If only the adults would follow directions, fill out their paperwork, register for events, and come to meetings, we'd be golden!

I'd rather be sewing! I made a few blocks for Anna's quilt to bring to show & tell last night. I can't wait until tomorrow when I can sew all day!

Go for a walk, eat your protein and have a great day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's a Beautiful Day

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and we have a new, healthy baby in the family. The amaryllis was a gift from my mother-in-law. I love that they bloom in the dead of winter, when you need to see something beautiful.

Julia knew right away that she wanted Anna's quilt to be pinwheels, so we're going with Whirlygiggle from Crazy Mom Quilts. I redrafted the pattern so the two pieces are identical, and the blocks finish at 5". I made 2 sample blocks last night with scraps from Lily's puff quilt and I just got back from the quilt shop with this lucious fabric. I thought I was going to buy a lovely, traditional print, but the Kaffe aisle always pulls me in. I love this print! The comination of pastels and brights will make for a much more interesting quilt. I had a big piece of white, so I got all those pieces cut last night. I ran into some guild ladies in the shop. They wanted to know if the top would be done for show & tell tonight. I wish! Unfortunately, I do have other commitments. Like baking cookies for the refreshment table and driving kids around after school. Here are the ATC's that I made for this month's theme: Words of Wisdom. The background fabric is from the Beatles collection and says All You Need is Love. I'm not sure which one I'll swap. The pieced heart is a paper-pieced pin that I made this morning. I'll tell you all about those another day. Gotta go put the fabric in the dryer.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's a Girl!

Lily has a new baby sister named Anna Marie (Annie). I can't believe the needle test failed me. The racecar quilt will go to the proud daddy, to keep him warm through those long NASCAR races. I'l be at the LQS when they open in the morning, buying some beautiful new fabric. Any pattern suggestions for a baby quilt I can finish by Sunday night?

We can't wait to meet our new little princess!

Two for Big Girls

Next in our Two for Tuesday series: Big Girl Quilts.

Lily's Big Sister Quilt is done! I finished the binding and sewed on the ric-rac this weekend. I love the ric-rac! I should use it more often. The quilt looks perfect on our kitchen wall. I think I'll keep it there until I need to pack it. Scratch that. I need to take it to Guild show & tell tomorrow.

Girls Rule was started at a getaway weekend workshop on string piecing in 2002. I pieced the whole top that weekend, using cool girl novelties. It hangs in Julia's room, decorated with her flair.
I quilted it after a class with Kathy Sandbach. I learned so much in that class that I actually use ever time I machine quilt. The class was worth every penny, and then some.It was fun to try a different fill pattern in each block. I love the flowers in the sashing, "girls rule" in the bottom border,
and the girls with different hair styles in the other borders. This is one of my favorite quilts.My apologies for the blurry photos. I wonder where the tripod is hiding.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Shopping Day- Crafts & Shoes

I had fun shopping today, first with Mom, then with Julia. Mom was crocheting a baby blanket for the new baby and ran out of yarn. So we started at JoAnn's. Not what she wanted, so we got some at Michael's. It's so convenient that they are at opposite ends of the same strip mall! I was very well behaved. I bought 3 yards of dark brown solid (40% off coupon) for Julia to make one of these with her collection of large prints. On the way into JoAnn's, there was a bin of the Eco-friendly batting on clearance. I hope this doesn't mean they won't be carrying it anymore. I like it, so I bought 2 packages.
I really needed a new cutting mat, so I got this one for 40% off. I love the light green and yellow. I have a smaller one in bright blue, and it's too dark. (see below) I hope these light colors will be better.
The only things I bought at Michael's were these cute decals, similar to this post. I 'll have to wash off the layer of winter crud (salt and sand) before I put them on the car.Then Julia & I went shoe shopping. That was fun! She's going to a dance in a few weeks and she needed shoes to match the dress which is cream colored with metallic gold accents. The high heeled sandals are actually gold metallic. Then a pair of champagne gold flats for when her feet start to hurt. Yes, those heels are awefully high for a freshman, but keep in mind that the boyfriend is 6'2" to her 4'11".

And red flats for me in the same size and style, because they are so cute! I love Payless. 3 pairs for $50.

Yesterday, I started working on the Geese in the Forest block of the month. I prefer working with small paper-piecing patterns, so I reduced the 6" block to 3". I'll be using batiks on a white background. I'm not sure about the background, but I love the batiks. I can't wait til the next installment! See the blue mat? It was really hard to cut those green fabrics on it.
Someday soon, I'll show you how small my paper-piecing gets.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Big Sister Quilt

Here is Lily's Big Sister Quilt (BSQ). Almost done! I'm saving the binding (hand work) for the Monday night quilting bee at the community center.
It is made almost completely from stash with leftovers from a Weed whacker quilt. The only thing I needed to purchase was a yard of green print for the border. I had one in the stash that just wasn't right. I think I'll add a wide ric rac trim between the borders.
I quilted it with swirls and loops, my standard free motion deal. I didn't wear the grippy gloves, like I usually do. I wanted to, but I couldn't find them until after I was done. It figures. So my stitches are not as even as I'd like and my shoulders are pretty sore.
I added a few surprises in the quilting, a few flowers, hearts, stars and a big letter L.
The back is pieced from 9" squares and a few Twisted Happy Blocks. I made the label with leftover border blocks and pieced it into the back. I've never done that before, but I like it.OK, I'm ready to meet a new baby (boy!) and play with Lily! The delivery is scheduled for next week, so only a few days to go. We'll be traveling to visit them during winter break.

I'm starting a new weight loss plan today. Maybe I'll add a pounds lost tally in the side bar.

P.S. I should have mentioned that I tried the new Eco-friendly batting for BSQ and the racecar quilt and I like it. It's very thin, but stable. It has enough cotton to grip the fabric, so no puckering. It can be cut with a rotary cutter and doesn't leave any fuzz stuck to the board. It seems to wash well, too. I like it better than the lumpy bamboo batting.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Successful Season

Julia's first high school swim season ended last night. Over the course of the last few months, she improved by leaps and bounds. She finished last night with her personal best time in the 50 yd freestyle and she beat someone for the first time. (It's really hard to take action photos with a point and shoot camera.) Also in the pool last night was Rhode Island's own Olympic swimmer, Elizabeth Beisel. She's a nice girl (so I've heard) and everyone in the RI swim community is really happy for her. Watch for her again in London in 2012.Bill transferred our files to the new hard drive last night, and might install it tonight. I hope to have new quilt photos posted by the weekend. I've been machine quilting the Big Sister quilt and I should get the binding on later today.