Wednesday, April 30, 2014

ALYoF for April

I just could not go for 3 months without a finish for A Lovely Year of Finishes I decided this morning... which explains my need for a last minute post with flash photos taken after dark. I will be doing a proper Friday Finish post to give this quilt the photos it deserves!
The pattern is from the book Minnesota HotDish by Atkinson Designs. It was professionally quilted and I'll include all the details on Friday.
You can check out all the other finishes for the month by going HERE.

Traveling Stash Box Winner!

Mr Random chose:
Who is:
Jennifer - congratulations again and the box will be on it's way to you today!

Monday, April 28, 2014

MIssing Spring

Several days of wind, rain and dark skies are really wearing on me. When I ran an errand at noon today it was 38 degrees out. So of course I am seeking out bright colors to enhance my mood.
Instead of working on UFOs like I should be I am indulging in some crumb block play while listening to an audio book and watching Elsa leap from window to window entertained by the poor birds trying to stay warm and/or dry.
My husband put out the bird feeders yesterday and they have been claimed much to Elsa's delight! She also has a large rabbit to keep an eye on that we think has moved in under our front porch so she spends a lot of time on various window sills.
This has become a common sight over the last few weeks. Tucker tolerates Elsa on "his" space as long she is actually wanting to sleep. Fortunately he had a reprieve this morning when Elsa realized that my newest yarn project was gone from the high shelf. She is slightly obsessed with yarn!
I am in love with this yard (Tweed Stripes by Lion Brand) and am enjoying my first crochet project in a long while. This will be a long scarf and I think this simple double crochet pattern from inside the wrapper shows the colors off so well. It's a fun and quick project.
Last night we were watching a movie and Elsa totally crashed next to me. As soon as the quilt comes out she is usually ready for a nice snuggle - especially after dark when the windows lose their view. Since it looks like we are stuck in this weather pattern through at least Friday there will be lots of indoor time this week.
At least one member of the family isn't complaining!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Stitching and Knitting

Where has April gone? I can't wrap my mind around the fact that it will be May in a few days! The ice has gone out on our lake despite 2 afternoons of snow mixed with rain showers this week. One gorgeous 70 degree day on Easter really helped speed the disappearing act along I guess.

On Wednesday night I got caught up with my DVR while stitching Block #7 for Quilty Stitches - Lone Star of Paradise. The model block was worked in 3 colors but since I couldn't decide which color to add to my plan of using red & aqua in each block I went with a patchwork of colors.
Now I'm kind of second guessing myself as it looks a bit too much like the Friendship Star block next to it but I think as more blocks are added I can balance it out. Elsa liked it just as it is so I could put it down and give her some attention! Yes that is her shadow on the pic above.
While decluttering our closet I came across a couple skeins of yarn that I bought on a trip 2 summers ago in Asheville, NC and decided to knit them up. The 1st one is made from Katia Triana yarn.

As I was working on it I kept thinking how these colors reminded me of my Mom so I gave to her yesterday when she and 3 friends came over to see my quilting room. It just so happened she was wearing a green shirt for a perfect match. She sent me a text last night and said that while they were shopping after their lunch she received compliments from 3 people. It really did look great on her!
I'm about 85% done with the next one which I'll keep for myself. I think when I bought this yarn it was a little out of my normal colors but they are right up my alley now. This is Flounce by Knitting Fever. It is a little pickier to work with as you basically create your own stitches in the mesh but now that I've accepted that "roughly an inch apart" doesn't need to be measured with each stitch I'm liking it much better.
Once it is done I'm going to bake some bars for a benefit tonight, go for a walk and get busy in my quilting room. After showing off yesterday I'm ready to fire up Mr. Juki! Progress to be shared tomorrow...

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 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
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.