Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Sewed Something!

In mid July my Mom and I met her Minnesota siblings for lunch in a nearby town to celebrate my aunt's birthday. Afterwards we decided to shop our favorite places there - a perennial nursery and a quilt shop. This morning I decided I HAD to get into my quilting room and came across the package of goodies I snagged that day.
The Stash Baskets pattern was in the 50% section and caught my eye right away. Just imagine having some of those to use instead of boring plastic bins! The shop had the Bareroots pattern stitched up and also had some of the cute little bags sitting around. I thought they would be a great way to use up those mini charm packs that seem to find their way into my shopping cart often.
I have some precuts of both of these holiday fabric lines so was happy to add these from the clearance section and as I was drooling over a gorgeous table runner sample one of the sales women steered me to the kit for an easy sale. There is something to be said for REAL shopping vs. online shipping.

So, about 2 months later I have a few four patches...
and some soon to be four patches laying on my ironing board.
Perhaps this little kit of charms is just what I needed to awaken my Quilty MoJo. I'll be gone until Monday celebrating a cousin's wedding in Dallas so I'll share more next week.

Friday, September 5, 2014

September Goals

I thought long and hard about setting ONE goal for the month:

Just Sew SOMETHING!!!

But I will give it a try with 3 short & simple goals instead.
Never too hot to Stitch!
1.  Do this month's orange blocks for RSC14 and catch up on one prior month.
2.  Start 1 new project.
3.  Finish 1 old project.

My Something New project will be one of these pillows from the book PillowPOP - either Flying Rainbows (above) or Crimson Stones (below). These are the projects chosen for a Sew Along on Threadbias for the month of September. Since I love this book and need some new pillows I had better get on the stick and make one!
My Something Old project will be my Memory Garden UFO so that I can hang it in my entry way this fall. It just needs to be sandwiched, quilted and bound. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm going for small & easy here. This will also be my September project for A Lovely Year of Finishes.
But, most of all, I need to JUST SEW SOMETHING! Pronto. Stat. ASAP.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Summer Reads

After a bit of a layoff I'm getting back on track with linking up to The Bibliophile Files@sarah did it! this month. It seems that all of my travels did a number on my reading in August as I've fallen slightly behind my goal pace according to Goodreads. 
While I used to be able to read anywhere when I was younger I have found lately that I have a hard time concentrating when there are other things going on around me. The car radio, pretty scenery, thinking about the next toll both or the next stop all kept me reading and re-reading the same paragraphs for miles! Or being distracted by sights like this.
A dog in a backpack on a motorcycle on the Interstate in New York... yes, really! And very happy about it too by the looks of things.

In my last Good Reads post on July 15th I was working my way through Vince Flynn's series of books featuring Super Spy Mitch Rapp.  Since then I've finished reading all about Mitch and now am taking a break from that genre (I can only take so much adventure I guess!).

My 4 star reads during July and August were:
  • What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  • Lost by Michael Robotham
  • Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch
  • Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (re-read)
  • Eat Like a Woman by Staness Jonekos
My favorite was What Alice Forgot - I really enjoyed the premise of the book and the characters were vivid, funny and enjoyable. This was my 3rd book by Moriarty this year and I've liked them all very much.  Lost was a fast moving police procedural with lots of twists and turns. Summer House with Swimming Pool was, like his last book Dinner Party, dark and rather disturbing. Koch seems to write his characters to repel us rather then attract us. But I couldn't put it down and thought about it long after I was done reading it.

Peace Like a River was a pleasure to read... great story, engaging characters and I enjoyed it just as much the second time around. I found Eat Like a Woman to be filled with solid information on good nutrition, how women's dietary needs are unique and how to plan balanced meals. I took lots of notes.

So there you have it... 8 months down and 4 to go. Next month I'll show you how my bookshelves are starting to dramatically thin out at last! Miss Elsa thinks I should finish this post and feed her dinner. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A New Attitude

One of the perks of being an empty nester is having fewer obligations on my time. My husband is an "out and about" kind of guy while I LOVE being a homebody. Fortunately we have learned over the years to make this work - he has lots of "out and about" friends and hobbies while I relish my online groups, creative hobbies and quiet time at home. Not to say that I'm a total hermit but I am happiest when I have plenty of time to putter around the house.

So, now that I've had a little time to settle into our new life... miss the kids...worry a bit over the kids... find out that they are both thriving so far (Woot Woot!) it's time to move ahead and this cover page I made for my planner last week pretty much sums my New Attitude.
You all know how much I love fabric, but I have always been a collector of paper as well. Notebooks, journals, Post It Notes, cute refrigerator pads, to-do lists and scrapbook paper just to name a few. On the flip side, paper is also my #1 nemesis when it comes to organizing & filing important papers. Funny how that works!
I'm choosing to embrace the fun side of my paper addiction with some new (to me) takes on paper - Smashbooking and Junk Journals. When I first heard of Smashbooks I was immediately intrigued by the reference of the UnScrapbook because I was never able to get into that craft. It just seemed too formal somehow. After watching the video HERE I was hooked! It's a lot like like scrap quilting - kind of messy, informal, creative and just plain fun. The first page of each book really sums it up well.

After joining a few Facebook groups and buying the above Smashbooks to get started I happened across Junk Journals. These are like Smashbooks without the premade book because you make your own out of papers you have laying around. If you Google Junk Journals or search for them on Pinterest you will see what I'm talking about.

One of the Facebook groups I've joined is called 365/30 Lists for Planners and each month one of the members posts a list of 30 prompts. I have a section in my ARC planner where I'm keeping them for now and I am really enjoying this sheer play time. This month I'm choosing to play with paper and fonts. In the future I plan to dig out my untouched scrapbooking supplies, play with watercolors and even try some journaling.

I've also joined a Junk Journal swap. I'm excited because there are lots of newbies like me so I think it will be a great way to jump in with a deadline to spur me on. Don't worry that this is going to turn into a scrapbooking blog... but I'll share some of my projects periodically. Quilting is still #1!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesday Archives

Val's Quilting Studio
Val's topics for this week are Flying Geese and Flowers which made me laugh a bit because I am rather intimidated by flying geese but I ADORE flowers. I think one day I will have to make a quilt full of flying geese so I can get over my fear.

I could show you plenty of flowers but I've narrowed my selections down to my favorite 2 quilts. The 1st is my Four Patch & Friends which I finished in January of this year which is made of 2.5" strips of floral fabrics. To see more pictures and read all about it my finish post is HERE.
Flowers #2 is a little quilt I made in 2013 for the Year of Schnibbles. The pattern for this one is "Hat Trick" and instead of cutting up a charm pack I decided to use some of my 2" watercolor squares collection.
I have already designated 2015 as the Year of the Florals as I want to explore watercolor quilting and dig into my large stash of florals shown below. I have a stack of roses, stacks of Robyn Pandolph fabrics (one of my favorite designers!) and a stack set aside for one of my favorite books - Blended Quilts by Marsha McCloskey & Sharon Yenter. And more. Yes I do have a thing for florals!
Tomorrow I hope to get my act together for my 1st WIP Wednesday post in, well, forever.  Until then hop over to Val's Quilting Studio to see more Flying Geese and Flowers.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Catching Up With Quilty Stitches

                                                     Little Miss Shabby
The last block in this series has been released and one of my goals for the week is to get caught up. I did some stitching earlier in August between moving trips and was able to finish 1 of the 5 blocks I have left.

I also got a good start on two others. If you look closely at the top pic you can see that I ended up doing some un-stitching on block 12 because I didn't like how my colors were going together. Usually I do them in order but since I knew that block 13 would use red & aqua (all of my blocks have these 2 colors in them) I skipped ahead to that one. Then since I'd already skipped ahead I figured why not start the other 2 as well. I think I might have been on moving overload!

The colored pencils were a find when I was shopping for our son's graduation party last spring... I love that they are 2 colors to a pencil. So I dug them out and starting coloring in my templates. As you can see I've already changed my mind (again) on the Economy Block and am going to flip the orange and pink around.

Block #16 will be an easy one - all in red. The picture of the finished layout is from Corey's blog Little Miss Shabby. This project has been SO MUCH FUN!
And here is a closeup of my Slow Sunday Stitching... I'm linking up at Kathy's Quilts for the first time in weeks.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Nest is Empty

August has been moving month and now that the kids are both settling into their new lives it's time to get back in the groove here at home on several fronts - blogging and sewing for starters. But first I should backtrack through our travels.
On July 31st I met our daughter in Mpls/St. Paul to help her get the J cats to their new home in Columbus, OH. Her fiance will be attending graduate school for Hospital Administration at Ohio State and she will be continuing her nursing studies. That's Jax looking at the camera. JMeow was sedated for the trip as he gets very anxious and throws up in the car. We got a lot of funny comments from toll booth workers and fast food window employees along the way! And we both were covered in fur of course after 2 days on the road.

After move in day we had several days to explore Columbus, meet up with extended family and enjoy their wonderful Zoo before I flew back to Mpls/St. Paul and drove home on August 6th. Then the list making, shopping and packing began to move our son to college at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY.

The three of us left on August 13 spending nights in Rockford, IL and Cleveland, OH before arriving in Rochester after a visit to Niagara Falls. Our son moved into his dorm on August 16 and started his Honors Program Orientation activities while we attended some parent sessions. Then we said our goodbyes, met some relatives for breakfast the next morning and headed to Columbus, OH to visit our daughter Sunday night. Then a LONG day of driving on Monday and we were home.
Neither Tucker or Elsa are much for cuddling in the morning after they have been fed so they obviously missed us!

I will admit to intermittent crying between Columbus and Chicago on Monday... I had thought the goodbye part would be the hardest but watching our son stride off to his evening activities on Saturday without hesitation made me so indescribably happy! I don't think it sunk in until we said goodbye to our daughter on Sunday night. All of the decisions, planning and moving are done - it's time to settle into the empty nest and watch them grow from a distance. And, one of the blessings of a large extended family is that they both have familiar faces nearby. What a comfort for this mom.

My husband goes back to work next week with teacher's workshops but until then we have some time together before I hit the UFO Collection in earnest and get back to a regular blogging schedule. I am more than ready to sew.