Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 In Review

If someone had told me on the 1st of September that by year end I would have finished 19 quilting projects and started a quilting blog... well, I don't know how I would have reacted exactly! But, life has a way of surprising a person. One thing I have learned in my 50+ years is that good things can come from bad. Every so often you get a wake-up call and all we can control in life is how we react. Easier said than done I know, but it helps to keep it in mind. Sometimes life really IS what you make it.

At any rate, here I am. A finisher after all these years. And, a blogger too. Who knew?

I read about Kelsey Sews 100 Day Hustle shortly after I decided it was time to start quilting again. Talk about perfect timing! I dusted off my UFO Collection, turned on my sewing machine for the 1st time in 3 years and set 20 ambitious goals. I'm proud to say that I finished 15 of them. I'm carrying over 3 goals to Q1 2013 - learn to FMQ, make 3 more stockings and finish my Four Patch and Friends quilt. The other 2 will wait until later in the year to be done.  You can read more about my finishes on my 100 Day Hustle Progress page above.

Here is a mosaic of my fall finishes. 16 are UFOs and the other 3 are projects that I started and finished this fall. You can see details including date started, pattern and size about each quilt on my Finished Quilts 2012 page above.
I really enjoy blogging. A LOT! I've learned so much and met so many wonderfully talented people over the last 3 months. I like the mechanics of deciding what to write about, taking pictures and being mindful of my quilting decisions. I guess I am a person who needs external motivation to get things done - some structure to keep me focused, but not a set schedule. I've always enjoyed setting goals but this feels so different. I hope I feel the same way at the end of 2013.

I'll be posting soon about my goals for 2013 and how I'm going to get my UFO Collection under control. As I've written before - I love Mondays, the 1st day of a new month and I am absolutely giddy about the start of a new year. It's time for New Year's Resolutions where ALL things are possible! It's going to be a BIG week ahead...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Quilt Room Reveal

OK... Here is my quilt room ready for lots of creating finishing in 2013!  One of my last goals to spruce up my room was:

4.  Use the wall space in the sewing corner to hang shelves, peg board, cork board, thread rack and other units to get stuff off the table. And, make it look pretty too.  Before...
and After!

A couple of cork boards, a white board (I write myself notes constantly!), a drawer unit full of notions and some fun words I found at Ben Franklin last week filled up my sewing corner nicely. I LOVE having my sewing table clear, but I'm sure it won't last long.

What do you think of my spiffy new chair? My son broke the arm off his desk chair, so I moved my old one downstairs and ordered this white one. No more cat hair or threads to either cover with a towel or burn through lint rollers to keep clean! The back is mesh and the seat is nylon. I like it - a lot!

Here's a tour around the rest of the room. Backing up a bit you can see my ironing board and my closet. And my $5 Walmart torch lamp that I cannot sew without. I also use the portable OTT lamp you see on my sewing table at night. Older eyes...
Remember this photo from an earlier post? It's still looking good in there.
Next we have an item that my husband and I do NOT agree upon... but I was laid up with my broken leg and didn't see it until it was too late. This exercise unit is HUGE! I was actually told I would hardly notice it... LOL. It has been known to store fabric, quilt tops and act as temporary hanging storage for dress shirts waiting to be pressed. Can you sew, press AND work your abs in your quilting space?
The bed is a trundle so we can create a big guest bed in here or 2 twins if needed. After our son goes to college it will probably be moved downstairs along with the Ab Monster. Then I'll have a huge design wall!
Here is my cutting table flanked by UFO storage. I can't wait to free up a few of these drawers in 2013! I do my major cutting in the kitchen but this works great for trimming blocks and other quick stuff. I've got 2 things left to go on the wall - my thread rack and a peg board for my rulers. I'm debating about 3 locations for the pegboard, once I figure that out I'll hang the thread in one of the other spots.
Almost done - swinging around to my design wall...
and storage shelves. I still have have sorting to do here but I can live with it.
There you have it! I feel so lucky to have this room and am inspired to get in there and sew the rest of the day away.

My last quilt room goal is also done. I will be blogging about this tomorrow when I wrap up 2012 and look ahead to 2013.  I'm linking up to Sew Darn Crafty@Sew Many Ways.

7.  Update my UFO list for 2013 with location and next step for each UFO.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Last Friday Finish of 2012!

Sew Many Santas is done! Another very old UFO... and my first attempt at hand quilting. I'm glad I opted for the hand quilting as I think it adds a really nice touch to this project. I just finished sewing on the eyes this morning (wanted natural light) and I am in LOVE with this little quilt. These Santas might have to join my snowmen collection for the winter as I'm not going to want to put them away any time soon.
I machine quilted the sashing using my 1/4 foot edge to stabilize the quilt before I started the hand quilting. After I was about halfway done with the hand work I attached the binding and hand sewed it down because the extra "stuff" was starting to get in my way. I should have done that right away as it made handling the top much easier for me.
I had a lot of fun doing the beards. Each Santa has a different pattern on his beard and I just went with it... no pre-planning or drawing them out.
I used jingle bells on 5 Santas and some old shank buttons from my collection on the other 4.
The eyes are teeny 1/8" buttons I found at The finishing touches of the buttons and the bells are just so cute. Love them.
The straight lines were tedious to quilt at first because I was trying to be way too perfect! Once I "loosened" up and reminded myself that no one is going to study them closely but me it got a lot more enjoyable.
The pattern for this project is Sew Many Santas from the book "Quick Country Christmas Quilts" by Debbie Mumm. I started this project in 2002... it's an oldie but a goodie.
This quilted tree ornament also comes from this book, I made a bunch of them one year for a family gift exchange.

I'm linking up to Can I Get a Whoop Whoop@Confessions of a Fabric AddictLink a Finish Friday@Richard and Tanya Quilts and TGIFF@Sparrow In Flight.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Box From My LAQ

On Christmas Eve my friendly UPS man delivered one of my favorite things... a box containing quilt tops from Nancy Clayburn of Quilting by Design who does my long arm quilting!

First out of the box came this UFO. The pattern I used is called "Down the Garden Path" from an April 2002 issue of McCall's Quilting. It started with a set of Faye Burgos for Marcus Brothers fat quarters I bought from Keepsake Quilting.

When I took the top out of the closet earlier in the month to measure for the backing I had a moment of panic! Look at the pattern closely to find the line of dark red squares that are bordered on both sides by the light background floral.
Here is a close-up where you can see the line I'm talking about in the upper right hand corner. Well, it just looked so odd to me and I was afraid I had sewed the top together wrong. I went on a mad scramble for the pattern and found that it was not wrong - whew! The pattern reverses direction at that line but it took me awhile to stop seeing it as a mistake.
Nancy did a big diagonal feathered design which I really like.
I had bought the darker green floral for backing fabric, but was WAY short on yardage. I have no idea what I was thinking... but luckily I had enough leftovers from the quilt top to piece a backing along with a 1/2 yard of coordinating fabric I found in my stash. Another whew!
UFO #2 is the cover quilt from the book "Quick & Easy Romantic Quilts" made using Robyn Pandolph fabrics. She is my favorite designer and I just love her lines. I admit to a bit of a hoarding issue with my stack of Pandolph fabrics... it's hard for me to cut into them sometimes!
 Nancy described the quilting as "windy meandering".  I think it suits this top perfectly.

 Here is the backing fabric. So sweet!
I will get the bindings attached and be all set for hand sewing when the NFL playoffs start in January! Both of these are going on my 2013 Q1 Goal List (more about that in another post).

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Since we spent the last two days with my side of the family celebrating Christmas, today is a between day for us. My daughter and her boyfriend left in the early afternoon to go home as she will be at work tonight and tomorrow. I can't say I've ever done 4 loads of laundry on Christmas Eve!  In a bit my husband, son & I will be watching either "Elf" or "A Christmas Story" together and will watch the other one later in the week. Tomorrow we will go celebrate with the in-laws.

I've got one Christmas stocking done... and 3 in progress. I'm using the "Christmas Patchwork Stockings" pattern by Thimbleberries and I'm using Thimbleberries fabrics as well. The other 3 stockings are pieced, one is square patches, one is HSTs set on the diagonal and one is HSTs set as pinwheels. I'm linking up to Patricia's Christmas Stocking Hang Out over at Quilting Lines.

 I love this themed fabric and will be using it for the back of the other stockings.
I want to wish this to each and every one of you!  Enjoy every minute of this wonderful season...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree... How Lovely is thy Tree Skirt?

We place our Christmas tree in the center of our main floor living space so that we can decorate all sides and enjoy the beauty from everywhere. From this angle taken from the dining area you get a peek at our kitchen on the left and our front entry way on the right. But, for the last few days, my eyes have been looking DOWN!
Side angle showing a star...
 Closeup showing the trio of trees...
 And another side shot.
Here's the view from the kitchen into the living room.  
One year when the kids were young they counted the ornaments. I can't remember the total but we have hundreds... maybe we'll take an inventory when we put them away for another year. I used to be all about cross stitch in the 80's and early 90's so the tree is loaded with stitched ornaments! We used to exchange handmade ornaments each year for many years on my Mom's side of the family which added many beauties to the branches.  
The cross stitched deer on the top left is special because my daughter made it with her Grandma when she was 8. I always love seeing the elementary school projects (gingerbread man on bottom left). My daughter and I made the glitter name balls the year our son was born. And, since my husband is an elementary teacher his students add to our Minnesota Viking collection each year.
We give each other ornaments that reflect our interests (fishing) and we collect them when we travel (Kauai Santa on top right)
and the Paris skyline below. So many wonderful memories make our Christmas tree truly the centerpiece of our Christmas decorating and putting it up our favorite Holiday tradition.
Our old tree skirt shown below was made by me for our very 1st Christmas tree after we were married in 1984. I had a set of handmade 12 Days of Christmas ornaments made of felt with beads & sequins to decorate with. See how it's grown!
Vintage Christmas calicos cut from a tissue paper pattern and yarn tied. I can only hope for 27 more years of love and memories with the new tree skirt!
Closing with the beauty shot.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2013 NewFO Challenge

One might ask what is a quilter who has 79 UFOs doing joining a NewFO Challenge? Especially when this quilter has a self admitted issue with loving to start projects?

Barbara over at Cat Patches has assured me that I can count a project as small as a mug rug or zip bag as my NewFO for the month. The premise of her challenge is to start a new project each month. Since my UFO Reward Plan gives me a new project start for finishing 10 UFOs these are the large projects I have in mind for 2013.

UFO Reward Projects:

1.  I want to make the cover quilt using Serenade. I am so anxious to work with a fabric line made in this decade!
 2.  A quilt from one of these books using this Nostalgia jelly roll.
 3.  A 5 & Dime quilt using these fabrics as focals.
 4.  A Disappearing Nine Patch quilt with these charms and red centers.
 5.  This quilt is from Scrap Basket Surprises. I've got lots of Christmas 2.5" strips all ready to go.
On the months where I don't qualify for a UFO Reward Project I'll start one of these small projects or a mug rug. I'd like to have more seasonal quilts to decorate with and also make some gifts during the year. But, I have to finish them during the month or I can't play the next month. I am determined to keep my focus on UFOs during 2013.

I'm linking up my list here.  Come join the fun!