Sunday, June 30, 2013

Q2 in Review

I'm really enjoying the 2013 Finish-A-Long Challenge hosted by Leann at she can quilt. It seems to work well for me to break the year down into quarters, set some broad goals and then break them down further into monthly goals. I like having a range of UFOs to choose from when I go into my quilting room... but it also helps my focus to basically ignore the rest of my UFO Collection. I don't think my quilting DNA will ever allow me be a "One and Done" quilter but I'm successfully becoming a FINISHER!

I also like keeping a separate page for each quarter on my blog which adds to the focus factor (see the tabs above). I can take a peek there and see immediately where I'm at which is so visually motivating and not at all overwhelming.

I have two big goals for 2013:

1) Average one UFO finish a week. Yes... I want to finish 52 UFOs this year! And, I'm challenging myself to donate 50 quilts to Project Linus along with some other quilters from the Yahoo! Stashbusters group.

2) Learn to FMQ. This is a goal I carried over from fall 2012.

I finished 9 of 13 UFOs on my list for Q2:

1. Pastel Tulips, 2. Bright Blue Strings, 3. 9 Patch Novelty, 4. Scrappy HSTs, 5. Shabby Strings, 6. Watercolor Spring, 7. Come Sail Away, 8. Kitchen Sink Strings, 9. Scrappy Summertime

I also moved 2 of the remaining 4 to flimsy stage:

1. Minnesota Hotdish by Atkinson Designs, 2. Thimbleberries Jacob's Ladder

So I'm feeling pretty good about Q2!

As for the year as a whole, I'm still ahead of the curve with 32 UFO Finishes in 26 weeks but I've fallen behind on my goal for 50 quilts donated to Project Linus by only finishing 5 this quarter (total of 17). I will need to start focusing on those kid's projects in the later part of 2013 for sure.

Learning to FMQ is on back burner status by my choice - there is just too much going on now that summer has arrived. I'll get going on that goal again when the days get shorter and winter looms large. I'm still loving to quilt with my walking foot so it's all good!

Since Q3 Goals aren't due until the second of July I have some time to think them over... I do know those flimsies will be at the top of the list!

I'm linking up to Q2 Finishes@she can quilt.

June in Review and July Goal Setting

June was a great month for me!

I finished 4 UFOs:
1. Come Sail Away, 2. Kitchen Sink Strings, 3. Scrappy Summertime, 4. Autumn String Set for Heartstrings

I also moved 3 projects to the flimsy stage, made yellow blocks for RSC13 and finished one WIP:
1. Schnibbles "Gentle Art", 2. Minnesota Hotdish by Atkinson Designs, 3. Thimbleberries Jacob's Ladder, 4. Birds in the Air in Yellow, 5. Crossroads in Yellow, 6. Schnibbles "Hat Trick"

But BEST of all I finished painting and moved into my new quilting room (post HERE)...
with my Dream Cutting Table in it (post HERE)!
I finished all of my June Goals but one:

1-UFO#1 Scrappy Summertime-DONE!
2-UFO#2 Autumn Strings-DONE!
3-UFO#3 Come Sail Away-DONE!
4-UFO#4 Kitchen Sink Strings-DONE!
5-NewFO Project-DONE!
6-And Sew On Block
7-RSC13 Blocks-DONE!
8-Finish 1 WIP-DONE!
9-Heartstrings Blocks-DONE!

Looking ahead to July I'm aiming for:

1-Finish 4 UFOs
2-Design Wall Up
3-NewFO Project
4-And Sew On Blocks - June & July
5-RSC13 Blocks
6-Finish 1 WIP
7-Pound Some Nails

Not much new here project wise but I do really want to get my Design Wall in place and start to put things on the wall... time to make my new quilting room a full-blown Quilting Studio!

My July project for A Lovely Year of Finishes will be the Thimbleberries Jacob's Ladder quilt shown in my 2nd mosaic. I'm itching to get that one quilted and on the wall in our family room.

NewFOs in June

I've broken my own rule on the last morning of June by starting a NewFO even though I haven't finished my last one. Bad Deb! After holding firm all month on not starting June's Schnibble "Dulcinea" I just couldn't resist a little fun sewing when I woke up early this morning before I put the covers on my machines and gave them a goodbye pat.
I've had this tutorial pinned for months and I saw a finished one on Threadbias the other day which put it into my MUST MAKE SOON mental list. So this is the start of my rule breaking June NewFO Project - you can find the tutorial for this Fabric Basket at Pink Penguin HERE.

May's Schnibble "Gentle Art" NewFO did make it to flimsy status in June and is hanging in front of my closet ready for quilting when I return. The awesome hangers are from, you guessed it, IKEA!
April's Schnibble "Hat Trick" NewFO made it to the Finish Line last night. Boy I love this one! It will find a home on a wall in the guest room (old quilting room) in July.
I might be in a bit of a grid quilting rut... but it just looks so great on scrappy projects I can't seem to stop.
I've saved the cutest NewFOs around for last... we were just sitting down for dinner last night when I spotted one loon parent and one baby near our dock. I had seen both parents with twins (1st time in years on our our lake) earlier in the week when I was out on my paddle board so I anxiously watched for baby loon #2 to appear. The eagles are baby loon predators so it's a dangerous time when they are this small. By the time I'd grabbed my camera and crept out onto the dock the whole family was there!
Tonight I'll be seeing this - the Vegas strip in all it's glory...
I'm already drooling anticipating tomorrow's breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris Casino... cafe au lait in a big sipping bowl for starters... yummy.

After my June In Review and Q2 in Review posts go up later today I'll be on hiatus here until the 2nd week of July. I'm excited to view my fireworks this year at The Roman Tower at Caesar's Palace - I hope you all have a safe and fun 4th of July!

I'm linking up to Barbara's June NewFO Linky Party@Cat Patches.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Yellow and Scrappy Sewing

As June rushes to a close I've got my yellow Birds in the Air blocks for RSC13 in the DONE! column - I made 8 of these in yellow to add to my collection.
 As I was bending over to pick them up I was struck by how nice they look on point!  Hmm...
And I have my June UFO Finish for A Lovely Year of Finishes to share today too. This quilt is one of several that I have started from the book "Quilts from the Heart" by Karin Renaud. The pattern is called Bordered Square but I'm calling mine Scrappy Summertime because of the theme I used when I picked my charms for the block centers.
Photography on long grass has it's challenges! My husband is waiting to mow just before we leave for Vegas tomorrow so please imagine that the quilt actually lies quite flat.

Here are a couple of my favorite blocks. As I was quilting this yesterday I remembered how I had picked the surrounding 2.5" squares to match the colors of the center block. So fun! I love this pattern and think I'll be giving it another go in the future.
One more block and a good luck at the walking foot quilting I did using white Auriful.
I found this great ocean print in my stash to add to the summertime theme.
A charming boy I know who just turned 5 and lives in California will be receiving this quilt once I have a label on it in July.

I'm linking up to ScrapHappy Saturday@soscrappy, Scrap-Basket Sunday@Kim's Great Quilting Adventure and The June Finishes Party for A Lovely Year of Finishes. Whew!

Friday, June 28, 2013

2 Finishes on Friday

Things are cooking in my quilting room and I've got 2 finishes for Project Linus that are fully baked~!
"Come Sail Away" is a simple pattern of my own I call Noodle Recipe because it uses 2.5" strips which at the time were known as noodles in the online swaps I participated in. A perfect quick and easy charity or baby quilt!  It measures 40" x 40" and I made a bunch of tops using this pattern in 2006.

I used a flannel from my stash to back it and picked the lime binding to match them both. The quilting is a simple grid using white Auriful thread. I love the splashes of orange in this quilt!
My new cutting table (click HERE in case you missed it!) has been completely broken in with sandwiching and trimming now. I have NO excuse to put off sandwiching anymore!
I had just set the trimmed quilt and binding down and when I turned around after clearing up my scraps guess who had sneakily made it his own? LOL... only a Mean Momma with finishes on her mind would disturb that comfort!
Finish #2 for today is "Kitchen Sink Strings" which I'm estimating a start date of 2008 during my Era of All Things Strings. This quilt measures 42.5" by 56.5" and contains a little bit of all kinds of fabrics (a few shabby chic blocks, some Christmas, Easter and I guess what ever I had in my string bin). This one doesn't have a centering strip of one color and I really like the random scrappy look.
The pastel corner fabric shown here was used to make the crib layette I made in 1991 when I was pregnant with our daughter. Vintage! I used fleece for one step batting/backing per my usual string finishing method and used a variegated Star thread for quilting.
And, I used a new binding foot that I had bought back in April after a recommendation of this Ebay store by Teri who blogs at Patchwork Playground and shares my Juki TL2010q love. It worked like a charm - I attach my binding to the back, then pull it over and butt it up against the left edge of this foot to sew it down from the front - easy peasy! Thanks Teri!
I'm linking up to TGIFF@Blossom Heart Quilts, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop@Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Feline Friday@sarah did it!, Let's Make Baby Quilts@Michelle's Romantic Tangle and Finish it Friday@Crazy Mom Quilts.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Flimsy X2

I sometimes have to stop and wonder at myself in my former quilting life as UFO Maker.

Exhibit #1:  Thimbleberries Jacob's Ladder (as it looked this morning)
This quilt's pattern is from the book "More Nickel Quilts" by Pat Speth who is one of my favorite scrappy quilt designers. I'm not certain of the start date of this quilt but I'm guessing 2007/2008. All of the 5" charms are Thimbleberries fabrics as are the borders and I do remember feeling rather challenged by the piecing and matching the corners up.

My question to self is this - once the hard part is done (yay!) why not sew 8 more seams and just, you know, FINISH it? The question of my life, that one...

I like this angled photo showing the ladder piecing. My cutting table is doing double duty today!
And here is a close-up of the border fabrics. I have a burgundy print that will be used for binding... I'm planning to walking foot quilt this one myself and I think I already have a plan. It measures 60" x 60" and I plan to hang in on the wall in our family room where the 1st picture was taken.
Exhibit #2:  "Minnesota Hotdish" by Atkinson Designs
Same story as Exhibit #1... the hard part is completely done. I have the middle AND the piano key borders done - an inner border and 4 cornerstones are missing. One clue to solving this UFO is that I have 2 fabrics that I must have been deciding between as they are both stored with the pieced sections.

But I'm pretty sure what turned this towards life as a UFO since 2006 was that I read ahead in the pattern and saw that I would have to adjust those piano keys and that sounded kind of futzy so let's put that off another day! Or another year...

I see a bug photo-bombed me!

The background fabric is a beautiful floral white on white print. I'll be sending this top out for professional quilting as I want her to work her magic in those white spaces and it will hang on our master bedroom wall when complete.
I'm gleefully checking these two flimsy's off my To-Do List! As in FINISHED!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Last WIP Wednesday in June

Time is just flying by... here is my list from last week to get me started.

What's Hot!:
  • Planting annuals DONE
  • UFO #1 Scrappy Summertime - assembling top, sandwiching, quilting
  • UFO #3 Come Sail Away - sandwiching, quilting
  • RSC13 blocks - just about done for Saturday's link-up DONE
  • "Gentle Art" Schnibble - assembling top DONE
What's Next:
  • Everything else on my June Goal List!
  • "And Sew On" Block for June
  • Finish "Gentle Art" Schnibble
  • Minnesota Hotdish to flimsy stage
  • Four Patch & Friends to flimsy stage
  • Thimbleberries Jacob's Ladder to flimsy stage
  • Sandwich & quilt Kitchen Sink Strings
Here is a picture of "Gentle Art" made from Bonnie & Camille's "Marmalade" line. I'm thinking some simple grid quilting will do the trick!  I can't wait to get this up on my wall in the quilting room.

Sunday night we fly out to Vegas for 8 days... my husband's second job is playing poker so he will be getting his fix while I read a lot, bake by the pool, shop, enjoy some good food and a show or two. LOTS to do before then!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bloomin' Tuesday

The shades of lush green outside are really something this summer... it's like all the late spring snow and waiting for warm weather has just made the plants and trees explode with growth the last week.  As I type this post I am once again enjoying one of my favorite scents.
The late blooming lilacs are showing off and this is the view from our master bedroom south window.  Let's just say this window is only closed during rain showers because it is so delightful to fall asleep, wake up and browse BlogLand with wafts of lilac breezing in. Not to mention my new quilting room gets the same effect downstairs. I feel like Tucker sniffing the air all the time!

Miss Kim is a compact variety of lilac and is slow growing here in northern Minnesota so she is finally hitting her glory years I'd say. Not only beautiful, it also has the most intense scent of the ones I have planted. She is a winner on all counts!
I don't know the name of this one, but I like the long delicate blossoms and the pinkish tone of the flowers.
This beautiful yellow butterfly evidently agrees with me!

Opposite of the lilac "grove" this weigela shrub is in full bloom and has sent a few branches into my view as I'm working at my cutting table.
My front yard garden has nepeta and a geranium (bottom left corner) blooming at the moment. Nepeta's common name is catmint. A few years ago when Simon was still with us I had the cats out with me while I was cutting this garden back in the fall. Both cats spent the entire time laying on top of the trimmed nepeta stalks like it was their lilac.
See what I mean about GREEN!

My azaleas were blooming last week but I didn't get them into a post so I'll add them in today. First, this baby one that I'm thinking I'll have to move to a sunnier spot. We are surrounded by trees which I love but that means that full sun time is prime real estate for my plants and shrubs.
And this one on the south-east side of our foundation which is obviously in a happier place!

Last on today's tour is my bridal leaf spirea... which sadly is beloved by our deer population and gets decimated each spring no matter why I do to try and deter them! I might try wrapping it in chicken wire after I trim it back in the fall because I just love them and would like to have a full plant just once.
In quilting news I'm working as I posted yesterday to get my Q2 remaining UFOs to flimsy stage as a minimum. This is my Minnesota Hotdish top by Atkinson Designs laid out on my family room floor so I can adjust the piano key borders. The quilt has cornerstones that are the same fabric as the inner border.
And, I got my IKEA Bygel bars hung yesterday on one end of my cutting table but found I need bigger S hooks to fit my rulers so for now I've the tools that were in reach stored there. I like it!
I'm linking up to Freemotion by the River and getting back to work... enjoy your Tuesday everyone!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sunday was Funday

Tucker and I had a great time playing around in the quilting room yesterday. He seems to like the new cutting table almost as much as I do and even had a little nap on the corner I wasn't using.
Then he fiercely guarded my rainbow stash drawers while my husband and I were moving some furniture around. Note the common thread of laying on fabric in any form!
His last bit of assistance involved testing to see if my sewing table extension supports 16 lbs. of solid cat... it did!
I brought two UFOs to flimsy stage yesterday - this is Kitchen Sink Strings...
and Scrappy Summertime from the book "Quilts from the Heart" by Karin Renald.
I even brought out my Pfaff for her specialty which is adding borders. Pfanny (decided she needs a name now that I have Mr. Juki and Julia!) allows me to add borders or sew long seams with very little pinning and no measuring because of her IDT (built in walking foot). No wavy borders when Pfanny is on the job!
And yes, I had to do an all points search for her manual since I could NOT remember how to thread her! Since all of the UFOs left on my Q2 Goals list involve adding borders or long seams my goal today is to move each of them to the next stage - flimsy. Then I'll be all set for a sandwiching & quilting marathon... I'm still hoping to get my 4 UFO finishes in for June. How can it be almost the end of June already?

I'm linking up to Design Wall Monday@Patchwork Times.