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.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

June Reads

I'm so late on linking up my June reading to The Bibliophile Files@sarah did it! that the link is actually closed but I'm going to post this anyway since I've already written it and will link up June and July next month.

According to Goodreads.com I'm still on pace to meet my 2014 Reading Challenge Goal of 130 books.

4 of the 9 books I read in June were from the Vince Flynn series about the adventures of Super CIA Agent Mitch Rapp. He is one Bad-A$$ Dude I am telling you! Yesterday I loaded the last 3 books in the series onto my iPhone so as soon as I finish my current audio book I'll be back to walking along to Mitch's latest assignments. They are great books to get me out the door so I can find out what trouble he is going to get into next.

The only 4 star read on my list was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows which was on my To Be Read Shelf. I tried to listen to the audio book last winter but had to abandon it as the book is written in a series of letters and it was far too confusing to try to follow who was writing to who. It is set shortly after WWII in England and I thought it was a charming read about a serious time in history.

I might note that I'm a tough rater of books. The vast majority of my reads fall into 3 star which for me means I liked the book and would recommend it to others who like the genre. 4 star means I really liked the book and feel that most readers would enjoy it too. 5 star means I LOVED the book, can't stop thinking about it and will tell everyone I know about it!

At the opposite end of the spectrum 1 star means I either didn't like the book enough to finish it or I muddled through it only to be very disappointed by the ending and felt it was a complete waste of time. 2 star books mostly fall into the bad plot twist/insipid main character(s)/horrible or implausible ending type of read where I liked most of the book. Or the occasional "off-book" by one of my favorite authors.

My rating stats for June were one 4 star, six 3 stars, one 2 star and one 1 star.  Not bad.
The above photo was taken recently as storm clouds were moving in. We are lucky to face west on our lake and we enjoy some spectacular sunsets. This time of year the sun sets close to the channel to the next lake on our chain and it doesn't get completely dark until almost 10 PM. Oh the lovely long days of summer in Northern Minnesota!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Q3 Finish Along Goals

Given my lack of sewing lately this list might seem a bit on the optimistic side... but I am pretty certain that once we have returned from delivering our son to college in Rochester, NY in August I will be finding my quilting room to be a haven of comfort.

I'm putting some "golden oldies" back on the list but am also digging deep into my UFO Collection to pull out some new UFOs to the blog for a total of 7 UFOs to focus on this quarter.

1. Finish Memory Garden. This flimsy is from the book "Patchwork Showcase" by Nancy Mahoney and is one of the newbies. I plan to use it as a wall hanging in our entry way this fall.
2. Finish Warm 16 Patches. This flimsy began from a collection of 2.5" strips from an online swap group that I assembled into 16 patches and added the alternating hourglass blocks to. I love the color palette of this top.
3. Finish Scrappy Strip Stacks. This flimsy was made using the pattern "Strip Stacks" from G.E. Designs and is ready to baste together, quilt and bind.
4. Finish Strip Stacks in Blue & Brown. Another "Strip Stacks" set of blocks that need to be finished up within the next month so the finished quilt can travel with our son to college.

5. Finish Path and Stiles in Thimbleberries. These blocks are from one of the Nickel Quilt books by Pat Speth. Some of the 9 patches and rail fence sections originated from a Yahoo! Groups online block swap 6-8 years ago. The blocks are partially assembled and I plan to send this lap sized quilt out to be professionally quilted.
6. Finish Blue & Yellow Strings. I had these blocks on my design wall for a time and I can't remember why they got put away once again. They will be made into a keeper cuddle quilt for our master bedroom.

7. Finish Autumn Ridge. I would LOVE to have this quilt on display in our family room in time for fall. I believe that the blocks are about 2/3's done and the rest of the strips are cut and ready to sew together. This newbie UFO is from the Black Mountain Quilts book "Days to Remember". Instead of purple I have subbed in black/brown fabrics to match our decor.

I think this mix of UFOs will be enough to keep me busy this quarter and set me up for a VERY productive Q4 to close out 2014. We might be talking 1 UFO Finish a week again like I did in 2013!
Finish Along 2014
I'm linking up under the wire with Katy@The Littlest Thistle.

Friday, July 11, 2014

So Much to Share

Now that I've received my first "You haven't been blogging - is everything OK" series of emails (thank you ladies for caring enough to check in with me!) I decided I'd better find a quiet moment and do some writing.

My life outside of quilting is FULL right now. So much has happened and more is on the horizon... and for a person who has lost the art of multi-tasking this means I am scattered all over the place. But, just for this summer, I am trying hard to embrace this uncomfortable feeling. Why? Because by mid August life will suddenly shift back to a new normal.
image from http://blogs.aaslh.org/what-is-change-at-your-historic-site/
Over the last 4 weeks our daughter got engaged, my husband and I spent a week in Vegas with 3 other couples, I had a nasty skin infection on my foot that was treated 5 times by 4 doctors in 2 cities, we hosted our future in-laws over the 4th and summer sort of arrived. Our son started his first job and we have had lots of college related tasks on our agenda.  Eye, dental and medical checkups for everyone. Plus normal life!

In early August our daughter and her fiance are moving to Columbus, OH where he will be attending grad school in hospital administration at Ohio State and she will be going to nursing school. A week after I return from helping them move we will be loading up a vehicle to take our son to Rochester, NY where he still start college at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology).

Since I've been spoiled by having my kids at home or 2 hours away with lots of visits this is going to be very new and different. And while I am over the moon excited about seeing them challenge themselves with new opportunities and proud to bursting of who they are becoming my eyes are getting a bit wet as I write this post. It feels very real right now.
image from http://bobchoat.com/2014/03/01/
So... I WILL be getting back to quilting all too soon because we all know that creative therapy works wonders in times of change. And I do hope to get back in the habit of blogging and will try to share more about my non quilting life. And since I can't have a post without a picture I'll leave you with a pic of Elsa in her favorite daytime napping spot. Yes, she has her own quilt!
I will also thank you in advance for your support as I will need it. Shall we say that the UFO Countdown will be on the move again this fall? I think so.