Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Traveling Stash Box Give-away

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Easter! I was at a family reunion and we had a wonderful long weekend together.

Today I have a Traveling Stash Box to share with you. It's kind of funny because I had this exact same box visit me in January 2013 and the contents have changed 100% over that time... thanks to all of the wonderful places it traveled in between (20 by my count!).

This box contains a great assortment of fabrics:
Lots of fun notions, 3 charm packs and some washi tape:
Sorry about the reflections on these pictures - that is a charm pack of Salt Air in the top right corner above. The box contains a nice bundle of patterns and booklets too:
It's amazing how my efforts to Simplify around my home have affected my shopping habit... I am keeping these items from the box (yes, just 2!).
And I am adding 2 fat quarters that make me think of spring and a charm pack to the mix.
The rules to receive this box are fairly simple. You must be an active blogger to receive this box.
  • The definition of a Stash is a secret store of valuables. For quilters it is a collection of usable quality products. The stash contains fabric, patterns and notions. ALL FABRIC IN THE BOX IS AND MUST CONTINUE ON AS QUILT SHOP QUALITY. THE FABRIC SHOULD BE NEW AND UNWASHED. 
  • PATTERNS/BOOKS should be new or in a gently used condition. (No free patterns from the Internet) Books take up a lot of space and the box is limited, so please include fabric instead of a big book.
  • Other items such as tools or notions should be packaged and in new or gently used condition. Nothing should be old or tattered.
The Giveaway for this box will remain open for one week. YOU MUST BE AN ACTIVE BLOGGER to receive The Two Sisters Travelling Stash. This box is limited to travel within the United States only. Please leave a comment and the winner will be announced on April 29, 2014. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Binge of Cross Stitch

I had fallen off the pace of Little Miss Shabby's wonderful Quilty Stitches Sampler Along and decided that I could stitch along to the NCAA final game on Monday night. That proved so addicting that I kept stitching yesterday afternoon until I'd finished all 3 blocks.
It's a toss-up between the Barn and the Friendship Star block for my new favorite!
I'm using the color palette from Bonnie & Camille's Marmalade line as my inspiration since this sampler will end up in my quilting room. It's just as fun to stitch with these colors as it is to sew with them.
Here is a pic of all of the blocks from Corey's blog... she is posting a block every two weeks. I am loving this project!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Q2 & April Goal Setting

It's not a good sign when it's the 6th of the month and I'm forcing myself to sit down and write this post! I am pretty much an all or nothing person... most of my best work is done in binges. Mainly because I either give myself permission to ignore the other stuff or it just happens that way no matter what I do. And some days I just don't want to get with my program no matter what it consists of. Like reading two books instead of finishing my taxes. LOL

Goals for Q2 Finish-A-Long:

Given my present state of mind I think I'll go light on my goals. I've got a couple of trips, my son's graduation party to get ready for and the weather is finally starting to come around. While we still have a lot of snow some bare ground can be found which is pretty exciting. Here are 8 UFOs I would love to finish this quarter.

1. Minnesota Hot Dish, 2. Blue & Yellow Strings, 3. Warm 16 Patches, 4. 10 Path and Stiles Blocks, 5. Scrappy Strip Stacks, 6. Bouncing Balls II, 7. Hugs & Kisses, 8. Picnic in Serenade

I'd like to finish 3 of these in April and am going to pick (for the 3rd month in a row!!) Minnesota Hot Dish as my goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. It just needs binding for heaven's sake!
The rest of my April goals are listed on my sidebar. I've got some catching up to do on my QALs but I think I just need to get STARTED on SOMETHING!

Here is a funny picture of Elsa totally crashed on my legs last weekend. We were watching March Madness and she was more than happy to really stretch out - don't you think her paws look like little flippers?
I'm linking up to these fun places.
                                 My Button        Finish Along 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March Reads

In March I learned that listening to audio books while decluttering works almost as well it does while sewing... except when I'm making lots of decisions and have to listen to the opening chapters 3 times! It helped that I had several of the books on my shelf so I found that reading the 1st 3-5 chapters and then switching to the audio book solved that problem.
I had my 1st 5 star read of the year - We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver was a riveting, dark and disturbing read. I doubled down and watched the movie too which was equally thought provoking. It is NOT a book that you will enjoy in the traditional sense of identifying with a character or feeling affirmed when you close it. I could not put it down and I'm still thinking about it so I had to give it 5 stars. Consider yourself warned that it is not a pleasant read.

I also had 2 solid 4 star reads that I recommend without reservation:
  • The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg (Re-Read)
  • Election by Tom Perrotta (Never Read)
The main character in The Art of Mending is a quilter which added a little more interest for me. 

Last but not least I trimmed my bookcase by 3 boxes and also mailed about a dozen books to new readers via Paperbackswap.com. I'll take a new picture for next months post. My goal is have my collection contained on one bookcase by the end of the year.

I'm linking up to The Bibliophile Files@sarah did it! and including a gratuitous Elsa and Tucker photo because a post needs at least 1 photo. Elsa believes in a top down approach to co-bathing!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March in Review

Who would think that a month of no finishes and VERY little sewing would feel... well... GREAT? That would be me thanks to this challenge I joined mid March.
Image from http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com/40-bags-in-40-days-2014/
I have cleared out closets, cabinets, drawers and our storage room. Places that caused many guilty feelings about being unable to make decisions or get on top of things. I can't tell you how many bags of shredded paper have left my home. Or articles of clothing that I never wear. Or VCR tapes when we haven't had a VCR in years. So much stuff!
I've essentially doing in 40 days what I thought would take the whole year. And it feels wonderful to know EXACTLY what I have and where it is. And I'm a little lighter physically too.
Moving a few gems each Sunday when I weigh in! It's surprising how many steps I get in while sorting through stuff and finding a better home for it. Up and down the stairs many times a day with a box or bag in my hand.
My quilting room is calling my name and now that I'm almost done with our indoor spaces I'm ready to sew. I think it's time to start real life again... where you do a bit of this and a bit of that. And wait for spring to arrive so I can declutter our garages & shed.

Happy April everyone! I can't wait to mess up this room.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rescued by Elsa

Lilypad Quilting is holding a Rescue Me! Linky Party all about our furry rescue friends and Elsa says "2 Paws Up" to share her story today.
In mid December my husband dropped us off after dinner with friends and went to pick up another friend to go to a local basketball game. My cell phone rang and a question was asked "Should I bring home a stray kitten?". Temperatures were going to be in the -30's that night so I said yes thinking it might be feral and we could at least put it in our semi heated garage overnight.
Turns out she had been trying to get into our friends house all day and had run into the bushes when my husband went to get her. After hearing his call she ran up his leg and nestled herself into the neck of his coat where she stayed until I met her for the 1st time. She was shaking but purred non stop for about an hour going from lap to lap. I started calling her Elsa because of the ruff around her neck which reminded me of Elsa the lion from the movie Born Free.
The next day she cuddled up in the nearest quilt on the nearest lap and caught up on her sleep. She also gave herself a head to toe bath which fluffed out her soft fur. She captured all of our hearts that day!
 Well, maybe not Tucker's...
Our vet checked her out during the week and pronounced her healthy except for a case of ear mites. No one appeared to be missing her so she became our early Christmas present. One of the best ever!
She is the sweetest kitten and is determined to make friends with Tucker. He enjoys watching her antics but doesn't appreciate being chased by her or jumped on very much.
She has an uncanny habit of watching us at all times and is very talkative. Sometimes when she is too tired to respond she will give a silent "meow" which makes us laugh.
 She is fascinated by my quilting room and all of the "toys" it holds!
And she loves to carry her small toys in her mouth from room to room like a puppy. Her only lasting issue from her life as a stray is that she is very afraid of the outside world. She hides when people come and go and buries herself under a blanket when she visits the vet. We are curious to see what happens when spring comes and we open up our screened porch.
It truly was a blessing when Elsa found her way to us!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Blast from my Past

My Mom has been doing some Simplifying of her own and recently returned a few things to me. Since I'm still clearing out closets, drawers and bins I thought today would be a good time to share them.

This is my very 1st quilting UFO. I had a red, white & black bedroom as a teen and somehow got the idea that I wanted to make a quilt. At that time my Mom had taught me to sew clothing but quilting was all new.
Let's just say that cutting the logs from tissue paper was extremely tedious... and when they didn't always go together perfectly my enthusiasm left the building! My Mom at some point picked up the blocks and remaining fabrics and put the quilt together. It was on one of the bunk beds our kids slept in at their house for a time.
She was a pioneer as I now see looking at the extra block and the back of the quilt because she used QAYG to get it done. My Mom used to do alterations as a part time job so is a whiz with a sewing machine. And, she is very organized with the left over fabrics all bagged up so I can do a little patching. How fun is that?

I used to do a TON of embroidery when I was young - mostly pre-printed dishtowels and pillowcases. I had totally forgotten about these until I unfolded them.
I can totally see sashing these with 30's prints to make a sweet baby quilt!
And it makes me smile to see that even back then I was kind of anal about planning my projects... note that there are 3 babies with blonde hair, 3 with brown and 3 with black.  I guess I didn't know any redheads back then!

Thanks again Mom for making my day!
Elsa is having a blast exploring every new space and container that gets sorted through. Yesterday she even got Tucker involved after she flung one of her favorite stuffed mice in the midst of the mess. She carries them around the house in her mouth like a dog carries toys. So funny.