Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"And Sew On" Blocks

I am caught up with Kristi@Quiet Play's paper pieced BoM called "And Sew On"!  I'm making my blocks with a layer cake of "Sew Stitchy" by Aneela Hoey and my grey dotted background is from "Ruby" by Bonnie & Camille.

May's block is called "Keep Calm and Press On". Isn't it cute? I always seem to make a mistake when doing these blocks - this time it's a dent next to the iron that should be ironing board pins instead of background.
And here is "Snip it Real Good" for April. I still need to embroider my thread curling down through the scissors. No mistakes on this block!
 5 blocks done and 4 to go...
The end result will look something like this. A few of the remaining blocks make me think I'd better start them  as soon as they are released... they look like multiple day projects! I have some yardage of the pins print on white that I'll be using for my sashing.
I'm linking up May's block - click HERE if you want to see more of them.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Another May UFO Finish

Watercolor Spring has made it to the Finish Line! The pattern is called Strait of Georgia from "More Fat Quarter Quilts" by M'Liss Rae Hawley and it was inspired by a fat quarter bundle I bought from Keepsake Quilting in 2004. Watercolor Spring is my May Finish for the 13 in 2013 UFO Challenge hosted by Aunt Marti@52 Quilts in 52 Weeks. You can see other UFO Finishes in the May Parade.
Most of the fabrics in this top are from a Hoffman line called "Morning Mist". The florals are gorgeous with their softly shaded details.
I found this pretty pastel confetti background fabric which adds a little interest to the top. It was professionally quilted in March with a large floral panto.
The daffodil fabric was my favorite in the fat quarter bundle and I found some yardage online to use for the border. I was very happy to have enough left over when I trimmed the backing off Shabby Strings to cut the binding strips.

I'm not going to show you the polka dot flannel backing! I think this will go on my wall next spring.

This was the scene in our screen porch yesterday. My husband was restringing his fishing rods and had lots of help from Tucker, J-Meow and Jax! Somehow the old fishing line kept coming out of the plastic bag...
I'm linking up to Freemotion by the River.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Shabby Strings is Finished!

I put the last stitches on the binding for Shabby Strings this afternoon and hurried outside to take some pictures. How nice it is to have the lawn ready for quilt photos!
The blocks for this quilt are from a swap with two online friends from the HGTV Quilting Forum. We discovered that we shared a love for shabby chic fabrics and agreed to cut into our stashes and exchange string blocks in 2007/2008.
There are so many of my favorite Robyn Pandolph and 3 Sisters fabrics in these blocks.
We had very few fabrics that overlapped between the 3 of us, which makes the quilt super scrappy.
And, we each had our own way of using colors that makes this quilt really stand out. It's easy for me to look at the quilt and identify who made which blocks and the quilt would never have been this beautiful without the mix of blocks.
 It was professionally quilted in March.
Shabby Strings measures 56" by 68" for a perfect lap size cuddle quilt.
This is my May finish for A Lovely Year of Finishes and I'm so happy to link it up! I am also entering in into The Festival of Strings by Rachel@Stitched in Color and linking up at Shabbilicious Friday@Shabby Art Boutique.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Moving Forward

Today I finally opened up the box, took out Shabby Strings and Watercolor Spring and trimmed them for binding. I posted about how my LAQ mixed up the backings when she quilted these tops for me HERE in late March.

After two months, I guess I'm ready to accept reality and move on. Unpicking the quilting on two lap size quilts would have been not only tedious but might have made me even more unhappy with them. It probably was just wishful thinking on my part to even consider it. I picked out a different binding (lavender floral with tiny roses) for Shabby Strings that works with both sides of the quilt.
These fabrics are just so pretty!
I'm thinking there will be some downtime during the next week that will be perfect for hand sewing the binding while I'm resting my painting arm. I still need to get a few UFOs to the Finish Line this month.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

As we head into the first holiday weekend of the summer our outdoor view is actually starting to resemble the date on the calendar! Some of the leaves are starting to pop and 3 days of rain has given our lawn some much needed moisture.

My daylilies are growing like gangbusters.
This Nanking Cherry shrub is providing my first bloom of the season.
And the dock and boat are in and ready for summer fun. A few warm days and the water should be good for my first paddle around the lake. I'll do a post in June about my love for SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding).
I've also got flats of bedding plants stored in the boat garage ready to plant... our forecast shows that tonight is the last night of near frost so maybe I'll get some into pots between graduation parties and family time this weekend.

Last night my husband and I moved furniture up and down the stairs for a good workout! I feel like I'm working on a puzzle of sorts as we are shifting furniture between 3 rooms. Our walkout hallway to the lake is our "staging area" and I'm down to just a few boxes and my old cutting table. I've also been doing some purging of boxes in our storage room and making regular trips to the local thrift shop and the dump over the last 2 weeks.

Here is a peek into my new quilting room. The furniture is pulled away from the walls so I can prime, paint and steal in some sewing time too. I'm failing miserably on my May goals, but it feels GREAT to be clearing out unneeded STUFF all over the house and while I'm in that mode I'm running with it! Trust me, the Urge to Purge doesn't happen often enough around here...
This morning I'll get the room taped and ready for priming tomorrow. I've decided to use a light buttery shade of yellow instead of the lemon yellow currently on the lower walls. It's starting to come together and now that the machines are in there I'm super anxious to get the walls done!

35 6th graders are due at 11:00 for an end of the year cookout and swimming invasion party along with 2 teachers (my husband is one of them), 2 aides, a lifeguard and a friend who does all the grilling. You would not believe how much noise they make! I will be long gone before they arrive... this is so NOT my thing.

Monday, May 20, 2013


We are having much needed rain today and since my husband was busy putting down fertilizer on our lawn yesterday a timely one at that. I love the sound of steady rain on the roof. It's a good day to make some to-do lists and try to narrow my focus - things need to start hitting the done column ASAP around here!

A week ago today my daughter and I made our first visit to IKEA in Minneapolis. What fun! I think we both left with more ideas than we came with and I know I'll be back soon. We actually made a second trip back later after some time at the Mall of America for some items we forgot to pick up after seeing them in the showroom for a total of 3 trips through the checkout! My daughter is moving to a new apartment so between the two of us we covered the whole showroom and then some.

Then we spent the night with my sister who lives in St. Paul so it was nice to mix in some family time too. We made a stop at Trader Joe's on our way out of town and had a full truck of goodies to divy up between us before my daughter headed home Tuesday afternoon.
Something that wasn't on my list but is the first thing I've put to use is this wonderful LED light. I have no idea why I only bought one... I guess I thought at $9.99 it couldn't be that powerful.
Look at that bright circle of light! My eyes are so grateful and I will be getting one for my other sewing table next trip. I think I'll pick up some extras for my next blog giveaway too.
My big purchase consisted of two Expedit shelving units for my dream cutting table that I posted about HERE. I also bought one of these cute carts (love the color!) that I thought would be handy for shared supplies between my two sewing tables.
My Gardz primer was delivered last week so now I need to get moving on my painting project. We have company coming this weekend so I want to get my machines moved out of the guestroom and get my worktables cleared and moved too. Busy week ahead...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Robotics and Scrappy Sunday

After being so focused on quilting during our long winter I am finding it hard to find a balance between sewing time and all of the other activities going on. End of school year events, graduations, yard work... May is a busy time of year!

Yesterday our son's Robotics Team competed at the State Tournament. Robotics is fairly new in Minnesota but is rapidly growing with over 180 teams state wide. As our son says "It's a sporting event for nerds!". Our team was very excited just to make it to State (first time) and ended up being the 3rd ranked team out of 30 in the qualifying rounds, winning their quarterfinal alliance match and competing for the state title!
Photo from - Robotics Venue at U of M Campus
This years challenge was to build a robot from a starter kit that shoots frisbee discs into the slots that you can see at the top of the competition area. There is also a climbing pyramid that the robots attempt to climb for extra points at the end of the match. It involves strategy too as you can play defense to block the other teams robots from getting clean shots.

Teams compete with 2 other schools in Alliances which are random draws during the qualifying rounds and the 4 highest ranked teams get to pick other teams to join them for the finals. 3 robots from 3 schools vs. 3 robots from 3 schools compete against each other (and the clock) to score the most points. Another element of strategy - do you pick a high scoring robot or one that plays good defense? I can't tell you how many times I laughed hearing some of the team names (The Fighting Calculators was my favorite!).

A bit of background on our son... he is 1)very smart 2)very introverted and 3)prefers to do his activities on his own. When he was in golf my Mom and I went to one of his events and he was not at all happy with us! I was used to following all of our daughter's activities and wanted to do the same for him, so it has been a learning experience to adapt to his wishes.

Because of this we didn't travel to the meet. We were able to watch the alliance matches online and saw his team receive their 2nd place trophy and medals while communicating via text with our son. Last night they returned to the school with an escort of our local fire brigade and we met them in the parking lot. I actually got a big hug from him (very rare!) and loved seeing him so animated and beaming with his medal draped around his neck. We stayed up late hearing him tell us as all about their trip and their day.

I just love it when kids are able to enjoy success, especially when it is unexpected which seems to make it even better! And, while I would have liked to experience the event firsthand, it was pretty special hearing about HIS experience through HIS point of view last night. He was happy and that's all that mattered.

I did get to some scrappy sewing this week. After finishing my RSC13 blocks I was still in a piecing mood so I pulled out one of my UFOs to work on. This is Weed Whacker from I'm making these blocks in sets of 4 using 6 2" strips in different combinations, I had 16 blocks made and added 20 to my bin.  I need to decide how big I want this top to be, the blocks are 9" finished.  They are fun to make and qualify for easy mindless sewing.
Yesterday while I was burning nervous energy over the robotics competition I cut 5" charms and coins for a HGTV Quilting Forum swap I'm participating in. Yellows, blues and brights are the themes.
I'm linking up to Scrap-Basket Sunday@Kim's Big Quilting Adventure.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Blocks in Blue

I finished up my blue blocks for RSC13 this week. I have always loved blue & white together so it is no surprise that I really enjoyed making these blocks!
I made 8 Birds in the Air blocks (tutorial found HERE). I pulled out my teal/aqua charms but left in my light blues because I like the interest they give the blocks and I have plenty more light blues in my stash.
And I finished the last 3 Crossroads blocks (tutorial found HERE) for a total of 8.
Five months into this challenge and I'm still loving these blocks and enjoying this challenge so much! I wonder what color we will be creating with in June...
I'm linking up to ScrapHappy Saturday@soscrappy.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Spools and Crossroads

Once I got settled in yesterday I had a productive day of sewing. I finished up my spools for my "Gentle Art" Schnibbles and played around with some different layouts before I turned off the lights last night. I don't think I've ever made spool blocks before and they are just too cute.

I'm going to order some red stripe for the binding and one of the other prints I didn't use for the inner border. This is also the first time I've used a line by Bonnie & Camille (this is Marmalade) because even though I love their collections they don't really fit my home decor. I'm thrilled to put them to work in my quilting space now. It's crazy how much orange has grown on me in the last 6 months and now I'm totally crushing on red!

I also worked on my Crossroads blocks for RSC13. I'm including a picture of my machine so you can see my Angler 2 that I used to make quick work of the HSTs for the spools. I also like to add a dab of painter's tape on my machine plate just below the foot when I'm making small HSTs as I find it hard to keep them straight on the last half of the stitching. I'll also be using it to make my Birds in the Air blocks this month too now that I've dug it out.
I've got 5 done and plan to make 3 more. Even though Sapphire Blue is the color of the month I decided to add some lights. When I laid out all four colors to take pictures last month I found that the Hot Pink January blocks were my least favorite (much to my surprise!) because they seemed flat next to the other blocks with such a wide range in value. If we have a pastel month I think I'll do a baby quilt instead of these blocks. Just one more of the valuable lessons learned via RSC13!
I'm linking up to ScrapHappy Saturday@soscrappy.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sewing Schnibbles

Today I'm working on my May Schnibbles "Gentle Art" using charm packs of Bonnie and Camille's Marmalade line. I'm feeling quite distracted so am making my blocks in groups of 5 to keep my attention from wandering off. Some days my mind seems to race with thoughts and I just need to slow it down - breaking a task in smaller tasks allows me to at least get something done in my quilting room. Do you have these kind of days too?

I need to decide which prints to buy some yardage of which is not easy in this pretty line. I just noticed that I have the cabbage rose prints on the top of each pile - can you tell I love big florals? The tangerine is calling my name!
The first batch of 5 are pressed and done. I was having too much trouble trying to pair up these fabrics so settled on one neutral background, I'm sure I'll find a good use for the lighter charms in another project.
Tucker was enjoying the view last night as the sun started to set. He is an inside cat and LOVES having the screen porch to watch the world from. If I can't find him in the house all I have to do is start unlocking the porch door and he suddenly appears.
Love how he is silhouetted by sunshine!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ice Almost Out!

I love to watch the water sparkle with sunlight! This is our pretty view on the lake side of our home. Just a bit more ice to go along the west & south shore of our lake which should happen before the sun goes down.
Here is what it looked like 4 hours earlier from down by the shore.
Once it gets started it goes quickly! Some years it just seems to disappear... other years the wind blows it down to one end of the lake and I can watch it move.

This picture was taken on Monday evening from our screen porch. I heard my first loon calling on Monday morning so I knew there was open water on the lake somewhere! You can see the open pockets of water but the ice around them was still a few inches thick.
This is the latest ice out we've had in the 11 years we've been on the lake. Now to get the dock and boat in! Can you see why my quilting time decreases in the summer?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Quilting Room Update

I took a day off from all things wallpaper yesterday and now I can move my fingers again and not flinch every time my fingertips come in contact with a surface! After coming to the conclusion that the dried wallpaper paste is not coming off without damaging our drywall I've moved on to plan B.
Tomorrow I'll start sanding the big globs down and do some patching while I wait for a delivery of Gardz from Amazon to arrive next week. Let's just say that our textured drywall will have a little more texture in places than it used to. Gardz will basically seal the glue to the drywall so that I can prime and paint without having to worry about it peeling or bubbling. 

So, I'm feeling about 100X better than I did on Sunday night and I'm very grateful for online DIY Forums. Add in no falls, broken bones or ambulance rides - hey, life is good!
I've now moved on to more fun things like deciding which shade of yellow to use on the walls! As you can see, the non wallpapered part of the room is already yellow and I'm staying with it. Yellow is my favorite color and it has looked great in this room for 12 years.  

I picked this sign up on my last trip to visit my daughter and am using it as my inspiration for this room. Not only do I love the saying but the colors too. I'm going to punch it up a bit with touches of red which I'm excited about, it's been years since my red kitchen when we first got married.  Actually... what I'm aiming for looks a lot like this fabric collection!
I've started collecting what I can find to sew some fun accessories including this month's Vintage Schnibble pattern called Gentle Art.
Certainly I need plenty of spools in my quilting room right?
Even Tucker says Hmmpfh! to removing wallpaper! He is seriously miffed at the lack of lap time lately and seems to be wondering where the top bunk in that room went to. The windowsill is kind of cramped for good bird watching.