Friday, January 23, 2015

Flimsy X3

I had forgotten how satisfying it is to turn a stack of blocks into a flimsy - it really is the next best thing to sewing down that last bit of binding to me! Yesterday afternoon was very productive in my Quilting Room. Crossroads 2 came off the design wall first.
Next up was Crossroads 3. I played around with some different layouts and decided on this one with all the colors going in one direction because it allowed me to use the rest of my warm blocks.
Then came the inevitable stumbling block... instead of 20 blocks left I had only had 18. My first thought was to put them away. Then I looked one more time through my bin and tried to remember which white I used for background to make 2 more blocks. Suddenly the best solution dawned on me.
There is nothing wrong with a smaller quilt right? I will use the leftover blocks in one of the backs. Problem solved and now I have 4 more flimsies in the Ready to Quilt section of my UFO Collection.

Our son Micah flies back to New York tomorrow for college so we will drive down to Mpls./St. Paul this afternoon and spent the night with my sister. It's been great having him around for 5 weeks. And, best of all, I'm planning a trip east the last week of March so I won't have to wait too long to see him again.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Crossroad Blocks

If I'm going to have a shot at finishing some UFOs this month I have to get some flimsies made ASAP. Yesterday Elsa helped me organize my stack of Crossroads blocks that I made during RSC13.
She voted for a "girlie" arrangement featuring pink for the first set of blocks and I think she had very good taste. These blocks make such an interesting layout when they are assembled.
Now we have a more masculine set on the design wall ready to sew together. I quite like the chains of color created in these tops and I'm more convinced than ever that these will be my go-to scrap busting block for many years. I just love them!
I will have enough blocks for 4 tops using a 4x5 block layout. These are 12" finished blocks and my Project Linus chapter prefers donations around 48" x 60". My plan is to get all 4 to flimsy stage and get the backings made this week. Then I hope to finish 2 of them next week. The word is FOCUS!

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday@Freshly Pieced.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

January Blues

Check it out... my 1st blocks of 2015~
And, judging by my rather small collection of blue scraps, there won't be too many more bowtie blocks made today. Perhaps some crumb blocks?
Elsa is delighted to be back in her "helper" role. So far she has batted the cover to my seam ripper under my cutting table, chewed some painters tape off my Angler 2 on the dresser, attacked some blocks on my design wall and stolen my pencil repeatedly.
All in a day's work she says... I also carry stray bits of thread in my fur just for you Mom!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Feline Friday

Elsa was a lucky girl to spend 2+ weeks with my parents while we were on our Kauai trip. We have always boarded our cats when we are gone over the holidays because it's such a busy time and it seems like an imposition to have our usual helpers come in to feed them. When we had to put Tucker down unexpectedly it seemed like she would be so lonely either at home or at our local boarding spot.
When my Mom offered to take her I was at first worried about her chewing on my Dad's oxygen tube but then I realized that she could stay in their lower level just fine. Problem solved. I truly think that only a Grandma would fill her Christmas tree with Elsa's cat toys and unbreakable ornaments so that she could climb all over it to retrieve them. Am I right?

Mom has apologized in advance in case Elsa remembers this awesome game come December 2015! They had a great time together and it sure made our trip easier. My Mom got the best news ever in early January that she would not need weeks of radiation after all due to early detection and successful surgery. Life is good!
Sorry for the slightly blurry photo but this totally cracks me up. Tom came home from school last week saying that his 6th graders had shown him 2 iPad games for Elsa to try. So we loaded them them thinking "ya right" but guess what? She loves them, especially this red dot game. Can you see her personal high score in the top corner - go Elsa! This is GameforCats and Jitterbug has crawling bugs but she only seems to care about watching the ladybug in that one. Who thinks of this stuff is what I'm wondering.
This tower was the kitties Christmas 2013 gift. I thought it had enough rungs to hold them both... but I should have known that only the top rung was IT. There have been many skirmishes over it - Tucker used to go there instantly when he was peeved at Elsa just because it drove her mad. Even though he didn't really fit he still would sleep there. So the lower levels became toy storage as you can see along with a couple of her favorite boxes off to the other side of the loveseat. Elsa and I have a game where I pick up the toys and then she dangles off the top to push them back on the floor where they belong in her worldview.
It is also her 2nd favorite napping spot if my quilt covered lap isn't an option. She has a good thing going doesn't she? I'm linking up to sarah did it!.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

WIP Thursday

This post was intended for yesterday but the day got away from me. After a weekend full of football I'm making baby steps toward real progress in my quilting room.
But first I have to mention how thrilling it was to watch the NDSU Bison win their 4th straight FCS Division 1 Football Championship defeating Illinois State 29-27 on Saturday. WOW! It was a total nail biter as the Bison had to score a touchdown with less than 2 minutes to go for the win after leading for most of the game. Tom, Megan and I are all proud NDSU graduates!
And then, to top it off, we cheered THE Ohio State Buckeyes on to victory in the other National Championship title game against the University of Oregon (fixed!) in Monday night's 42-20 win. Megan's fiance Chris is currently attending Ohio State for a Masters in Health Administration degree. What a fun football weekend... if only our Minnesota Vikings were in the playoffs. Next year!
I spent my some of my football time sorting through various boxes of stuff that found a home in my quilting room during my days of no sewing. Then I looked through some books to get ideas for blocks to work on for RSC15 and settled on this scrappy layout using bowtie blocks. 

And I pulled some charms from my bins to continue my ROYGBIV Chevron Quilt from RSC14. True Confession Time: the only row I finished last year was the Blue!
Continuing in the vein of unfinished RSC business I set up this UFO in my Quilting Notebook... my Crossroads blocks that were made for RSC13. I have enough blocks to make 4 quilts for Project Linus and I would love to finish 2 of them this month. You can find this handy Project Sheet at Pixels To Patchwork by clicking HERE.
2015 is the year I am actually going to USE them! I'll post more about my Quilting Notebook soon.

Friday, January 9, 2015

What's the Word?

I am one of those people who loves making lists, resolutions and grand plans. However my follow through can leave a lot to be desired and this has been a life long problem for me. I seem to have either the attention span of a gnat or I can spend hours down a rabbit hole on one passion/project/task. The in between balancing act where life really happens is my ongoing struggle.
Image from http://www.bloglovin.com/viewer?blog=3846115&post=2614358967
In 2013 I chose FINISH as my word for the year and I went all in by finishing 65 quilting projects that year - a whopping 57 UFOs and 8 new projects! So it might be understandable that I felt pretty confident heading into 2014 with "only" 43 UFOs.

My word for 2014 was SIMPLIFY and, as I posted HERE yesterday, I did manage a lot of simplifying in 2014. The part that went missing for the most part was the finishing. Achieving 90% or 65% of a goal isn't nearly as satisfying as 100%. My thing is to make great progress early on, then lose focus and move on to the next shiny object. Over and over. And as my regular readers know my quilting went completely dormant while I worked off blog on other things.
Image from http://moneysavingmom.com/2011/11/21-days-to-a-more-disciplined-life-discipline-demands-focus.html
So instead of feeling free to choose a Fun Word for 2015 I've selected another Working Word. One that I hope will motivate me to zero in on the task at hand but also allow me the flexibility of choice that I need. I might be chasing 10 rabbits in total as I work towards my goals but I'm going to do it one step at a time. Thoughtfully and with purpose.
Image from https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/4f/50/bd/4f50bd791392d3e71b85095fb478adcc.jpg
I've learned a lot about myself over the last few years and I think 2015 is the year that it all will come together. Some FINISH, some SIMPLIFY and a LOT of...
Image from http://www.smallfryblog.com/2014/10/03/fryday-jenna-14/?crlt.pid=camp.dH2hJhJyL6tY
FOCUS.

November & December Reads

Surprise... another catch up post! I missed the December Bibliophile Files link up over at sarah did it! so today will be two months in one. My Goodreads Challenge Goal was to read 130 books in 2014 and I ended up with 151 on my list. Unfortunately I set up my 2015 goal while on vacation and forgot to take a screen shot of my 2014 final tally so I'll sub in a cute picture of Elsa instead.
She hasn't seen my real camera in awhile and seems puzzled don't you think?

Out of the 24 books I've read since I last posted I do have several that earned 4 star ratings from 5 of my favorite authors. I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite among these - they were just that good! 
  • One Plus One by JoJo Moyes
  • Eyes of a Child by Richard North Patterson
  • Deadline by John Sandford
  • The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
  • The Son by Jo Nesbo
I've set my Goodreads Challenge at 150 books for 2015 since I plan to continue my 2 pronged reading plan of listening to library audiobooks while walking/crafting and trimmed the unloved/unneeded books from my personal library. I'm adding a new twist this year however.
Each month I'm going to pull at least 5 books off my shelves to read/reread and these are my January selections. It's easy to be drawn to new books as they appear on my iPad library app so I'm thinking this will keep me focused on working through the books I already own.

I missed the Elsa sniff test pic but she approves as winter reading involves a quilt to cover me and a spot for her on my lap. If I'm not under the quilt she will stand next to me on the sofa and paw at the quilt resting over the sofa back as a not so subtle reminder to get with the program! Some of you have commented on how big Elsa has grown and she would like you to know that she is a petite girl at 9.6 lbs. under all that fur.

Elsa is a total sun worshipper and this is her usual spot during my computer time if the weather is cooperating. This pic really shows off her pretty colors. She has a little bit of everything... stripes, splotches and the back of her legs are all black. Her fur is so soft and fine that she barely sheds at all which seems impossible.

Since I wrote the last paragraph she has flopped over to warm her other side. Smart girl!