Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Month in Review

I'm happy to write that my knee is feeling much better (cellulitis) after 2 days on antibiotics. Today I watered my flowers and am able to get up and down the stairs without pain... so I'm thinking a little sewing might be just the thing I need to help me say so long to July and move ahead to August!

To sum up July's quilting quickly:

1. I finished one UFO - Charm Quilt #1.
2. I made teal blocks for RSC13.
3. I got my design wall up.
Other July observations:
  • I was out of town for 10 days
  • I spent 4 days nursing my sore knee
  • I read or listened to 13 books
  • I did a lot of knitting and started crocheting again for the 1st time in decades
  • It has been the windiest summer month I can remember!

My July Goals ended up looking like this:

1-UFO#1 TB Jacobs Ladder*
2-UFO#2 Puppy Baby Quilt*
3-UFO#3 ABC Charm Quilt*
4-UFO#4 Charm Quilt #1-DONE!
5-NewFO Project*
6-And Sew On Blocks
7-RSC13 Blocks-DONE!
8-Finish 1 WIP*
9-Design Wall Up-DONE!
10-Pound Some Nails
*In Progress

Therefore August is going to look a LOT like July:

1-UFO#1 TB Jacobs Ladder
2-UFO#2 Puppy Baby Quilt
3-UFO#3 ABC Charm Quilt
4-UFO#4 Charm Quilt #2
5-UFO#5 Charm Quilt #3
6-NewFO Project
7-And Sew On Blocks (June, July & August)
8-RSC13 Blocks
9-Finish 2 WIPs
10-Pound Some Nails

I'm going to try again with my Thimbleberries Jacobs Ladder Quilt as my August finish for A Year of Lovely Finishes.
July flew by like the wind so I hope August lingers a bit. Our weather has been rather fall-like the last 10 days and that makes me a bit sad.

I'm linking up to Nothing But UFOs@A Passion for Applique, Fresh Sewing Day@Lily's Quilts, The Year of the Finished Project@Never Too Hot to Stitch and A Year of Lovely Finishes@Sew Bittersweet Designs.                                                        .

Monday, July 29, 2013

Just Sitting Around

Why is it that Friday night tends to be when health issues flare up? My knee was noticeably sore and by midday Saturday it was making any kind of movement miserable.  Ironically I had just read on someone's blog about their quilting being sidetracked by cellulitis and had commented on my experience with it about 3 years ago. It comes on quick and is so painful... I get it right along my scar line below my knee joint and it looks like I have 2 knee caps with the swelling.

After deciding I could wait until clinic hours today vs. heading to the ER over the weekend I gave up my quilting aspirations and settled in next to this...
and this...
and got busy while listening to an audio book. I inventoried all my needles and hooks on Ravelry, I sorted through the UFO drawer above and picked one up to finish.
This pretty yarn is Sorbet by Trendsetter. I had started making a skinny scarf at some point but I decided to start over with a wider one so I cast on 15 stitches on big needles and used a seed stitch (K1, P1). I love the colors in this yarn and the eyelashes of black and bronze really make it pop!

So while my July Quilting Goals are on hold I'll be working on UFOs of another craft and keeping my knee elevated until I see the Dr. later today. Back to the needles!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Crossroads in Teal

My fling with teal for RSC13 has come to a close... and I have already started stocking up on shades of teal in my stash because I love, love, love teal!!
Yes, I know I've said that other months too about other equally lovely colors, but sewing with teal this month makes me want to surround myself with it and wear it every day! I'm obsessed.
I had enough scraps to make 8 Crossroads blocks (tutorial HERE). After 7 months of making these blocks I am still fascinated by how they look together.
I'm not doing any Birds in the Air blocks in teal until I sit down and count up my blocks and figure out how to use the rest of my background fabric that I posted about last Saturday. I definitely want some red blocks in the mix and will see what other colors are coming our way. I might break down and cut up some teal stash in the end!

Goodbye sweet teal... I'm linking up to ScrapHappy Saturday@so scrappy.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Friday Finish

I'm sharing my 1st UFO Finish of the month today... this is one of five charm quilt tops I have in my UFO Collection. I'm not feeling very creative with names so for now I'll leave it at Charm Quilt #1! I like the way I stacked the charms in the corners on this one to give the background charms a diamond design.
I quilted it with white Auriful using freehand walking foot curves... it's been several months since I've done that and I need to use this method more. My husband walked in as I was working on this one and asked "Can you just go wherever you want?". That made me smile and drove home what is so enjoyable about it - fast, easy and FUN!
Swaps were really my thing 6-8 years ago and I have a big stack of 6.5" charms to make many more quilts. I do have a soft spot for novelty prints! Favorites in this quilt include the paint tubes and dogs above and the tools and dragons below.  And the cats of course.
Flannel remnants were pieced together for a cozy backing on this 42.5" square quilt and I think the black & white striped binding adds a nice touch.
Charm Quilt #1 will be donated to Project Linus and is UFO Finish #33 for 2013 and #49 since I started quilting again last fall. I'm getting oh so close to crossing the halfway point in my UFO Countdown on my sidebar~!

I'm linking up to TGIFF@What a Hoot QuiltsCan I Get a Whoop Whoop@Confessions of a Fabric AddictLet's Make Baby Quilts@Michelle's Romantic Tangle, Link A Finish Friday@Richard and Tanya Quilts and Finish it Friday@Crazy Mom Quilts.

July Finishes

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Daylily Season!

I'm such a fan of daylilies. They are available in numerous colors, are low maintenance and I think the clumps of greenery look nice too. The only downside is that the blooms do only last for one day! My daylily display is just getting underway and I'll post more pictures as my late bloomers kick in.

This pretty peach colored version is right outside my quilting room window. I love the ruffled petals and the lime green center.
This is one of my favorites... such a pretty color contrast and the long pointed petals make the blooms huge.
Some soft buttery yellow.
This variety has a nice burgundy ring at the throat.
Hyperion daylilies are a classic variety (introduced in 1925 according to Mr. Google) that are quite tall and the blooms are highly scented. I love the lemon yellow color too!
Daylilies are also my husband's favorite flowers... the only perennial he approves of in our landscape beds around the house because they grow in such nice tidy clumps and don't try to take over. Many of these were planted during our 1st summer here (2002) and they still look great - so he is right!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Design Wall!

If you look at my July Goals on my side bar you can see I've got a lot of projects in progress... so it feels very good to mark the 1st DONE! on the list.
I followed THIS wonderful tutorial at Oh, Fransson! and I think from start to finish this was a 90 minute project. I bought my 1" foam insulation boards at Home Depot and trimmed 10" off the top (the boards are 8' by 4') to make them fit leaning up against the wall. My scientific measuring method was to draw a line as high as I can reach!
Here is the backside as I'm applying duct tape around the stapled down edges of my Warm & White batting. I'm thinking when my batting starts to get too "thready" down the road I can do a recover with white flannel and extend their life armed with a lint roller.

Now to start filling them up with quilt art! The colorful UFO on the left is my current leader/ender project Arkansas Crossing from the book "Quilts from the Heart" by Karin Renaud. On the other side I just pulled a couple of pinwheel blocks from another UFO in the bin.

I'll be replacing them soon with this UFO which is on my Q3 Goals List. This is an older Robyn Pandolph line called "Folk Art Christmas", the pattern is "Christmas Fantasy" from a 12/2003 issue of McCall's Quilting magazine and I'm determined to have this draped over our sofa come December!
My quilting marathon is underway with this month's 4 UFOs. This is July UFO#4 being basted.
My husband leaves later this morning for a poker tournament in Iowa so there will be LOTS of time spent in my quilting room the rest of the week... I'm still hopeful that I'll score a "Perfect 10" on my July Goals!

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday@Freshly Pieced.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Golf, Needles and Hooks

Yesterday was one of those days that wandered down it's own path. My husband enjoys golf and I was keeping him company with my morning coffee when Phil Mickelson started lighting up the British Open. I can't say I'm an avid fan of golf... but I do love watching the improbable happen in ANY sport! So I grabbed my knitting needles, brewed some more coffee and settled in.
I finished up these dishcloths, started rummaging through my bin and found these.
A while back I was wandering the craft aisles at our Wal-mart looking for something and the cute dishcloths caught my eye. I haven't crocheted in years so I added the package of hooks and the Pocket Guide to Crochet to my cart.

Yesterday I started looking through the dishcloth book with one eye on the TV and then I remembered those Craftsy emails I'd been getting all week about sale classes... sure enough there was an intro level class called Crochet Lab on sale for $9.99. Click to purchase!

I set everything aside to watch the last 3 holes of the Open and had both arms raised just like Phil as he sank his putt on 18. Exhilarating!
Photo from

Here are my samples of single and double crochet from the Craftsy lessons I watched yesterday afternoon. I do love the format that Craftsy uses... watching made it so easy to pick up those stitches. I felt like I had last crocheted yesterday instead of decades ago! The class finishes off with 2 projects that I need to round up some yarn for... an iPhone/iPod cover and granny squares. I last made granny squares in Junior High so that will be fun!  I'll have to pull out the afghan that my Mom put together for me for a photo session.!!! What can I say to describe this AMAZING site? I had signed up in March but hadn't really taken the time to explore until yesterday. I burned several hours looking at patterns, looking up yarns from my stash and getting completely inspired. I started the multi-color chevron scarf last night using a free Ravelry pattern called "One Skein Chevron Scarf" (I figured I might as well practice my double crochet on something real!).
I'm hoping to get my stash set up by the end of the week (this is drawer 1 of 3) and start a Ravelry "to-do" list.  My user ID is asimplelife so if you are on Ravelry let me know.

So, it was a great Sunday at my house! Do you savor unexpected days like this as much I do?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Teal and a Problem

I've finished the teal blocks for my UFO and have them laid out on my quilting room floor.
I see a little rearranging is needed to better scatter those dark blocks before I start sewing them together. I've found the perfect border & binding fabrics in my stash. The pattern calls for one wide border, I'm thinking about adding a thin inner border but will see.
Before I get to my problem - we are talking care of a friends guinea pig while they are on vacation. Tucker is spending a great deal of time watching Mr. Worthington eat. He is also fascinated with that water bottle!
As I was getting ready to make some Crossroads blocks for RSC13 this week I realized that I am almost out of the background fabric I am using for both my Birds in the Air and Crossroads blocks. I pulled the last of it off the bolt - only 1.5 yards. Eek! I knew I was getting low and looked for more at JoAnn's the last time I was there and since then have checked online too. Considering that I bought the bolt of 200 count Roclon bleached muslin sometime before 2009 I shouldn't be THAT surprised!

I'm thinking that I'll use what I have to get my Birds in the Air blocks to an even stopping point and continue making my monthly Crossroads blocks using the closest match I can find. Yes, they will look a little off (especially to me!) but I don't think the Project Linus recipients are Quilt Police Members.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Mid Month Edition

July 17th... yikes. Let's double down and do a mid month check on my July goals for extra motivation (I think I need a plan)!

July Goals:


I've got 4 UFOs pulled for July. I'm waiting for extra wide muslin I ordered from to back my Thimbleberries Jacobs Ladder quilt which should be here by the end of the week. Wall quilt means muslin backing in my book! I'm planning to walking foot quilt along the diagonal ladders and then add some diamonds in the middle of the blocks, but I'm not sure what to do in the borders yet. Ideas anyone?
We have a new baby in the extended family who was born last week and this little UFO will be for him. I finished assembling the top yesterday and have coordinating backing/binding ready to go. I'm thinking about quilting it with the serpentine stitch on my Juki F600 to change things up.
And, since his "big" little brother hasn't received a quilt from me because he was born during my 3 year quilting hiatus I've decided to finish this ABC Charm quilt for him. The charms are from a swap on the HGTV Quilting Forum.
Last night I was trying to decide what to do about borders and had pulled out several fabrics to audition. Then as I was flipping through a 2003 quilting magazine that has the pattern for one of my other Q3 UFOs I found an easy solution. I'm just going to do a border round of the sashing with cornerstones... problem solved! I think the B&W polka dot binding will look great.

UFO#4 will be one of these charm quilts. Guess Mr. Juki will be getting a quilting workout soon!

5-NewFO Project

It looks like a 2 NewFO month as I just can't resist either of these Quilt A Long projects.  July's Schnibble is "Lincoln" - I already have the pattern, love it and found the perfect charm packs in my stash to make a patriotic version - Democracy by Sandy Gervais.
I've been pretty much MIA on the Threadbias Pretty in Patchwork QAL but the July project is one of my favorites in the book so I'm all in. I've always wanted to do a Maple Leaf quilt and I just love this modern layout. Not to mention that I have a file box FULL of lovely fall prints and I'm only 2 UFO Finishes away from a UFO Reward Quilt! I'm ordering the background solid today (Moda Bella Natural) and by the time it arrives I should be "legal" to get started.
6-And Sew On Blocks - getting started this weekend
7-RSC13 Blocks - underway for Saturday's link-up
8-Finish 1 WIP - this will be my Gentle Art Schnibble from May. 

9-Design Wall Up
10-Pound Some Nails

I'm planning for a big month end "reveal" post of my quilting room with enhancements. I might even have to start calling it my studio!

So... full steam ahead on July goals. Sometimes the hardest part for me is making decisions - now that I have a plan it's time to sew. I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday@Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bloomin' Tuesday

Since we got such a late start to our beloved summer in northern Minnesota I am giving in to distractions like this...
 and this during these July days. Coffee on the deck or in the adjoining screen porch is a must!
Didn't our son do a great job of watering while we were in Vegas? I'm excited to see little tomatoes - fingers crossed that our growing season will be long enough to enjoy them on BLTs. I have to grow them on the deck to keep the critters away.
This garden in our front yard is all about hiding our septic pump. I have tried to keep it a more formal garden for years but have given up and let it sprawl as it sees fit and then I fill in with the gaps with some annuals each summer. I do like it "messy"!
I just LOVE how this black-eyed Susan is climbing all the way up the hanging pole!  I hope it starts wrapping itself along the branch next.
I'm not showing the ground garden below because it has been decimated by rabbits and I will be putting wire fencing around it from a stop at Home Depot on our way home Sunday. They evidently don't like begonias but have devoured my snapdragons, pansies and petunias and some of my hostas. I spray for deer but this year it's been all about the rabbits!

No quilt photos today... I'm saving them for my WIP Wednesday post tomorrow.  I'm linking up to Freemotion at the River.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Not a Lot of Teal

July's color for RSC13 is teal - a color that I love but evidently don't quilt with a lot as I have very little in my scrap stash. As I was pondering this earlier in the week I remembered that I have a UFO in my Collection that has quite a bit of teal in it. Moving a UFO closer to the Finish Line is always a good thing!
So I pulled it out and made 2 more sets of blocks which pretty much wiped out the 2.5" strips I had pulled for this project some time ago. I'll have to dig through my strip drawers and see if I have enough to make one more row of blocks this week. After I add a border I'll have a nice sized older girl quilt for Project Linus.
Then I can cut the leftover ends into bricks and make a few Crossroads blocks. I really do love teal and brown together!

We are off to a family wedding this weekend... my youngest cousin is getting married and I'm really looking forward to it. I think he was about 4 when I was the 1st of the cousins to get married 29 years ago... crazy! Then tomorrow we are going to Meet the Parents - our daughter has been dating a wonderful guy for about 18 months and it's finally working out to meet his family. Talk about a great weekend filled with family old and new!

I'm linking up to ScrapHappy Saturday@soscrappy and Scrap Basket Sunday@Kim's Big Quilting Adventure.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

One of my creative Facebook friends shared this picture from Quilting Daily on Monday and it has been stuck in my mind ever since.
Now, to be fair, I quit cleaning my house years ago. I struggle with domestic chores... I procrastinate, I get easily distracted and I end up feeling guilty because I'm so inept at staying on task. Our daughter who was always looking to earn extra spending money did our weekly cleaning during her high school years. We both were happy with that arrangement!

Then when she went off to college it was barely a month before I fell and broke the top of my tibia into pieces. Enter our cleaning person who has become a friend over the last 4 years. She LOVES to clean our house and I really don't so once again we have a win-win situation.

Since I was house bound except for being taken to Dr. appts. and PT for 12 weeks after my accident it is very natural to be home when she is here - I know where she will be when and I move about the house accordingly (often clearing surfaces in the next room one step ahead of her). We talk about our kids and what's going on in our lives each week, she admires my quilting projects and of course I love how she cleans our house.

So really I am drawn to the second part of this saying "start decorating her soul instead". I just love the sound of that! Isn't that why we quilt or create in a nutshell? Simply stated, it's just a beautiful way of expressing how important it is to find happiness.

Perhaps one day I'll get my act together and find joy in housekeeping (could it be like learning how to finish UFOs I wonder?) or maybe I'll develop a passion for cooking (which would certainly decorate my husband's soul too). I surely hope to decorate my soul one day with grandchildren to love! But for now, it's all about being creative for me. How do you decorate your soul?

I'm linking up to Really Random Thursday@Live a Colorful Life.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

WIP Wednesday

After a week in Vegas I'm transitioning back into normal life - goodbye to this...
And hello to this!
We eat breakfast every morning at Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris casino. The food is divine (I am hard pressed to pick a favorite on their menu), the cafe au lait in a bowl is yum and the outdoor patio allows for awesome people watching along the strip. I highly recommend it!

I was thrilled a few months back when my daughter asked if I could make her something for her 22nd birthday so this is my WIP for the week - this super cute makeup brush holder from Quality Sewing Tutorials. The fabric behind the brushes is a laminate so I had to get busy online before I left for Vegas to find some. Have you ever sewed with laminated fabric? I'm excited to give it a go.
As you can see... Tucker is soooo HAPPY to be having his breakfast again at 7 instead of midday when our nocturnal son gets up. LOL

Let's look back to my list from 2 weeks ago and see what's what in the quilting room.

What's Hot!:
  • UFO #1 Scrappy Summertime - sandwiching, quilting DONE
  • UFO #3 Come Sail Away - sandwiching, quilting DONE 
  • Makeup Brush Holder
  • Design Wall 
  • Finish a UFO
  • Q3 Goals for Finish-A-Long
What's Next:
  • "And Sew On" Block for June (and now July)
  • Finish "Gentle Art" Schnibble
  • Minnesota Hotdish to flimsy stage DONE
  • Four Patch & Friends to flimsy stage
  • Thimbleberries Jacob's Ladder to flimsy stage DONE
  • Sandwich & quilt Kitchen Sink Strings DONE
We have a family wedding this weekend out of town so it's a short week of sewing for me.