Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Just a quick note as I'm ticking off my last minute list... every 3 years we are lucky enough to spend our Christmas in Kauai and THIS is THAT year!
Image from

Daughter Megan and fiance Chris flew out yesterday, son Micah traveled from Rochester, NY to Minneapolis this morning and is spending the day with my sister. Tom and I will drive down after school tonight, pick up Micah and fly to Kauai tomorrow.

Thanks so much for all of your kind comments regarding Tucker and my Mom. Her prognosis reports continue to come back very positive and we couldn't be happier. Elsa is spending 2 weeks with her Grandma & Grandpa while we are gone so that should work out fine. And time with the kids will be the best medicine of all for me!

I'm getting excited about 2015 and looking forward to getting back into quilting mode and of course blogging too. I don't foresee a year like this one turned out to be again. See you all in January...

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Our Sweet Tucker

Life continues outside of my quilting room and the last couple of weeks have been a bit rough. My Mom has been having some health issues and although we are grateful that they have been caught early it is still stressful to have lots of Dr. visits and information to process. She has outpatient surgery tomorrow and I will be spending the night because we head in to have stitches removed from last weeks procedure the following morning. I think she is MORE than ready to be done with this and will have a break before followup treatments start in January.

Tucker became very ill a few days before Thanksgiving and after a week of treatment that he didn't fully respond to we decided to put him down a week ago today. It is always a difficult decision when they are in pain. This picture is from a few years back when I was still sewing in our guest room but it is my favorite picture of him. It shows off his gorgeous eyes. Oh, Tucker...

He loved to keep me company while I sewed and was my quiet companion. The other cats he has shared our home with tended to be the dominant cat in the household and Tucker was content to observe life in a passive way. Even though he preferred the male members of our family he would sit on my lap when it was just the two of us and would hop down before anyone else came into the room. Like it was our little secret!

Elsa knew something was wrong with him and would often lay outside the laundry room door. She would poke her head in if the door was open but would rarely come in. I think she misses him and has been very clingy with me the last week. This picture was taken a few days before he got sick. I had gone downstairs to start another load of laundry and was surprised to see this on my return.

So, no sewing is happening. That remains the same.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My November Goal

Yes, that is right... goal as in ONE, singular, must get done goal.

I want to finish Strip Stacks in Blue & Brown this month so I get it to my son who is a freshman in college before winter comes in New York state. It will make me feel happy to think of him covered up with it as he has always been an under a quilt, throw or blanket kid.
It's been on my design wall for months. It is time!
Miss Elsa seems to miss our son too... she has started taking her afternoon naps in his desk chair.

I'm linking up to A Lovely Year of Finishes@Sew Bittersweet Designs.

October Reads

Look at this...
To me snow = sew! I'm thinking over my November goals and will be back with them later today. In the meantime I do have some books to recommend and I'm now well ahead of my Goodreads goal for 2014.
During my trip east to visit the kids I listened to 5 books in the car. I find that listening to words keeps me more alert than listening to music on long trips. I just realized I haven't blogged since I got back so will put that on my list to catch up on too. I had a wonderful time and the fall leaf display was stunning!

Here are my recommended 4 star books from my October list:
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I really enjoyed this book. I might be biased as a strong introvert but I found the mix of research and anecdotal segments in this book to be great reading. In fact, not only did I listen to it, but I got the eBook from the library to reread segments of it.
  • Eclipse by Richard North Patterson. This is an author I have liked over the years and I'm working through his entire library now. It was a good fit for an audio book with lots of action, twists & turns in the courtroom and an interesting African setting.
  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarity. Another great read by this author who is shaping up to be my find for 2014. Her books are a wonderful ride with interesting characters, serious issues and a heavy dose of fun too. I get totally absorbed in them right from the start and I love her writing style. I think my favorite is still the 1st one I read - The Husband's Secret - but this one is close.
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel. This book seems to fall into to the love it/hate it category for many. I've had it forever but it wasn't calling my name. Seeing the movie when it came out nudged it up the pile but I still wasn't compelled to pick it up until last month. Put me firmly into the love it category! For me the movie was a 5 star due to the stunning cinematography but the book is excellent in it's own way. The audio book's narrator was a pleasure to listen to.
So that sums up my October reads and I'm linking up to The Bibliophile Files@sarah did it! to see if I can find a few things to add to my To Read list.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Q4 Finish A Long Goals

Call me stubborn but I'm just replicating my list from Q3 since I didn't touch a SINGLE ONE of them. Take that missing Quilty Mo-Jo!

1. Finish Memory Garden. This flimsy is from the book "Patchwork Showcase" by Nancy Mahoney.
2. Finish Warm 16 Patches. This flimsy began from a collection of 2.5" strips from an online swap group that I assembled into 16 patches and added the alternating hourglass blocks to. I love the color palette of this top.
3. Finish Scrappy Strip Stacks. This flimsy was made using the pattern "Strip Stacks" from G.E. Designs and is ready to baste together, quilt and bind.
4. Finish Strip Stacks in Blue & Brown. Another "Strip Stacks" set of blocks that need to be finished to find their way to Micah before his 1st year of college is over!

5. Finish Path and Stiles in Thimbleberries. These blocks are from one of the Nickel Quilt books by Pat Speth. Some of the 9 patches and rail fence sections originated from a Yahoo! Groups online block swap 6-8 years ago. The blocks are partially assembled and I plan to send this lap sized quilt out to be professionally quilted.
6. Finish Blue & Yellow Strings. I had these blocks on my design wall for a time and I can't remember why they got put away once again. They will be made into a keeper cuddle quilt for our master bedroom.

7. Finish Autumn Ridge. I believe that the blocks are about 2/3's done and the rest of the strips are cut and ready to sew together. This newbie UFO is from the Black Mountain Quilts book "Days to Remember". Instead of purple I have subbed in black/brown fabrics to match our decor.

Same song... second verse! Wish me luck...
Finish Along 2014
I'm linking up with Katy@The Littlest Thistle.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

September Reads

I'm pretty shocked at all the reading I did in September and I guess that must have been the "therapy" I needed most to adapt to my empty nest. I set aside a pile of my TBR (To Be Read) and my Re-Read books and mowed right through them!

Only one of them earned a 4 star rating and that was Room by Emma Donoghue. I highly recommend it and am passing it along to my daughter Megan who I think will enjoy it too. It is written from the point of view of a very young boy and, while dark in subject matter from an adult point of view, is fascinating from his. A book unlike any other I have read.
As you can see my bookshelves have had a makeover and are looking trimmer in the book department. No more double stacks of paperbacks! And I freed up some space to store some of my paper crafting supplies since this room has turned into my Junk Journal/Smashbook Studio. Here is a peek inside a Junk Journal I recently made for a swap.

My partner requested vintage and said she loved Paris so I used Pinterest to search for Paris themed items to print, cut and distress to make them look old. On the right is a paper lunch bag filled with cards to journal on. Here is the cover made from a cereal box cut and covered with paper and cardstock tags.
These are so much fun to make! I guess it's clear that my free time in September was spent with pretty paper and books instead of pretty fabric. I'm linking up to the Bibliophile Files at sarah did it!.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

See You In a Few...

Early this afternoon I'll head out on my road trip east to visit two of my favorite people:
Our daughter Megan and our son Micah. We had a family photo shoot in July before Moving Month started and our photographer did a fantastic job. I'll share more later on. And I can't forget a most welcome addition to our family - Megan's fiance Chris. They got engaged in June while looking for their apartment in Columbus, OH and are planning to get married in June 2016 after Chris finishes graduate school. It's so exciting!
Aren't they a striking couple? They simply belong together and we are crazy about him too (and that's no small feat for my husband who is VERY protective of his little girl!).

My coffee cozies are packed in my bag and I'll wait to attach the buttons so I can custom fit them to their Starbucks cups. I can see making LOTS more of these... maybe I'll work on small projects when I get back before tackling my UFO Collection.

Since I had this to contend with it was easy to pull out enough thread to go and leave the rest until I get back! LOL

I hope to post my September Bibliophiles and Q4 Finish A Long link ups while I'm on the road... fingers crossed. See you in a few weeks!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Coffee Cozies on a Blustery Day

Happy October everyone!

Normally I would be doing a Month in Review/Goal Setting post about now but I seem to be at least another month away from such a feat. I just can't figure out 1) where the time is going and 2) why it is so hard to get into a sewing habit again. Since I'm going to be gone for 12 days visiting the kids this month I'm not even going to bother with goals. Hmmph! But a big YEAH! to seeing my kids and getting to stay with family & a college roommate I haven't seen in years along the way.
I am actually doing some sewing today because our forecast is for a high of 40 degrees with wind, rain and maybe a little snow. Ugh to that, but a good reason for a sew day. I had seen these adorable coffee cozies on several blogs a while ago and thought they would be perfect for my daughter and her fiance. The apartment complex they live in has a free Starbucks machine in the lobby which is quite the yummy perk!
Image from The Fat Quarter Shop
So I downloaded the free pattern and watched the video HERE before ordering some new mini charm packs. Because we all know there is nothing more motivating than sewing with new fabrics right? Even though we have a few plenty on hand.
I had planned to use Elementary but when I flipped through the stack of Figures it won me over. It's a different color palette for me and I am loving the coral fabrics especially. So much so I decided I need one for myself too with some of the leftover charms.

I'll have another post before I head east on Sunday to show you the finished cozies. I can't tell you how much I am going to miss this furry girl while I'm on the road.

Elsa was watching over my extra papers this morning while I was drinking my coffee and making lists for the trip. Doesn't she have a look of reproach on her face? Or maybe it's just my guilty conscience.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Sewed Something!

In mid July my Mom and I met her Minnesota siblings for lunch in a nearby town to celebrate my aunt's birthday. Afterwards we decided to shop our favorite places there - a perennial nursery and a quilt shop. This morning I decided I HAD to get into my quilting room and came across the package of goodies I snagged that day.
The Stash Baskets pattern was in the 50% section and caught my eye right away. Just imagine having some of those to use instead of boring plastic bins! The shop had the Bareroots pattern stitched up and also had some of the cute little bags sitting around. I thought they would be a great way to use up those mini charm packs that seem to find their way into my shopping cart often.
I have some precuts of both of these holiday fabric lines so was happy to add these from the clearance section and as I was drooling over a gorgeous table runner sample one of the sales women steered me to the kit for an easy sale. There is something to be said for REAL shopping vs. online shipping.

So, about 2 months later I have a few four patches...
and some soon to be four patches laying on my ironing board.
Perhaps this little kit of charms is just what I needed to awaken my Quilty MoJo. I'll be gone until Monday celebrating a cousin's wedding in Dallas so I'll share more next week.

Friday, September 5, 2014

September Goals

I thought long and hard about setting ONE goal for the month:


But I will give it a try with 3 short & simple goals instead.
Never too hot to Stitch!
1.  Do this month's orange blocks for RSC14 and catch up on one prior month.
2.  Start 1 new project.
3.  Finish 1 old project.

My Something New project will be one of these pillows from the book PillowPOP - either Flying Rainbows (above) or Crimson Stones (below). These are the projects chosen for a Sew Along on Threadbias for the month of September. Since I love this book and need some new pillows I had better get on the stick and make one!
My Something Old project will be my Memory Garden UFO so that I can hang it in my entry way this fall. It just needs to be sandwiched, quilted and bound. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm going for small & easy here. This will also be my September project for A Lovely Year of Finishes.
But, most of all, I need to JUST SEW SOMETHING! Pronto. Stat. ASAP.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Summer Reads

After a bit of a layoff I'm getting back on track with linking up to The Bibliophile Files@sarah did it! this month. It seems that all of my travels did a number on my reading in August as I've fallen slightly behind my goal pace according to Goodreads. 
While I used to be able to read anywhere when I was younger I have found lately that I have a hard time concentrating when there are other things going on around me. The car radio, pretty scenery, thinking about the next toll both or the next stop all kept me reading and re-reading the same paragraphs for miles! Or being distracted by sights like this.
A dog in a backpack on a motorcycle on the Interstate in New York... yes, really! And very happy about it too by the looks of things.

In my last Good Reads post on July 15th I was working my way through Vince Flynn's series of books featuring Super Spy Mitch Rapp.  Since then I've finished reading all about Mitch and now am taking a break from that genre (I can only take so much adventure I guess!).

My 4 star reads during July and August were:
  • What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  • Lost by Michael Robotham
  • Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch
  • Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (re-read)
  • Eat Like a Woman by Staness Jonekos
My favorite was What Alice Forgot - I really enjoyed the premise of the book and the characters were vivid, funny and enjoyable. This was my 3rd book by Moriarty this year and I've liked them all very much.  Lost was a fast moving police procedural with lots of twists and turns. Summer House with Swimming Pool was, like his last book Dinner Party, dark and rather disturbing. Koch seems to write his characters to repel us rather then attract us. But I couldn't put it down and thought about it long after I was done reading it.

Peace Like a River was a pleasure to read... great story, engaging characters and I enjoyed it just as much the second time around. I found Eat Like a Woman to be filled with solid information on good nutrition, how women's dietary needs are unique and how to plan balanced meals. I took lots of notes.

So there you have it... 8 months down and 4 to go. Next month I'll show you how my bookshelves are starting to dramatically thin out at last! Miss Elsa thinks I should finish this post and feed her dinner. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A New Attitude

One of the perks of being an empty nester is having fewer obligations on my time. My husband is an "out and about" kind of guy while I LOVE being a homebody. Fortunately we have learned over the years to make this work - he has lots of "out and about" friends and hobbies while I relish my online groups, creative hobbies and quiet time at home. Not to say that I'm a total hermit but I am happiest when I have plenty of time to putter around the house.

So, now that I've had a little time to settle into our new life... miss the kids...worry a bit over the kids... find out that they are both thriving so far (Woot Woot!) it's time to move ahead and this cover page I made for my planner last week pretty much sums my New Attitude.
You all know how much I love fabric, but I have always been a collector of paper as well. Notebooks, journals, Post It Notes, cute refrigerator pads, to-do lists and scrapbook paper just to name a few. On the flip side, paper is also my #1 nemesis when it comes to organizing & filing important papers. Funny how that works!
I'm choosing to embrace the fun side of my paper addiction with some new (to me) takes on paper - Smashbooking and Junk Journals. When I first heard of Smashbooks I was immediately intrigued by the reference of the UnScrapbook because I was never able to get into that craft. It just seemed too formal somehow. After watching the video HERE I was hooked! It's a lot like like scrap quilting - kind of messy, informal, creative and just plain fun. The first page of each book really sums it up well.

After joining a few Facebook groups and buying the above Smashbooks to get started I happened across Junk Journals. These are like Smashbooks without the premade book because you make your own out of papers you have laying around. If you Google Junk Journals or search for them on Pinterest you will see what I'm talking about.

One of the Facebook groups I've joined is called 365/30 Lists for Planners and each month one of the members posts a list of 30 prompts. I have a section in my ARC planner where I'm keeping them for now and I am really enjoying this sheer play time. This month I'm choosing to play with paper and fonts. In the future I plan to dig out my untouched scrapbooking supplies, play with watercolors and even try some journaling.

I've also joined a Junk Journal swap. I'm excited because there are lots of newbies like me so I think it will be a great way to jump in with a deadline to spur me on. Don't worry that this is going to turn into a scrapbooking blog... but I'll share some of my projects periodically. Quilting is still #1!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesday Archives

Val's Quilting Studio
Val's topics for this week are Flying Geese and Flowers which made me laugh a bit because I am rather intimidated by flying geese but I ADORE flowers. I think one day I will have to make a quilt full of flying geese so I can get over my fear.

I could show you plenty of flowers but I've narrowed my selections down to my favorite 2 quilts. The 1st is my Four Patch & Friends which I finished in January of this year which is made of 2.5" strips of floral fabrics. To see more pictures and read all about it my finish post is HERE.
Flowers #2 is a little quilt I made in 2013 for the Year of Schnibbles. The pattern for this one is "Hat Trick" and instead of cutting up a charm pack I decided to use some of my 2" watercolor squares collection.
I have already designated 2015 as the Year of the Florals as I want to explore watercolor quilting and dig into my large stash of florals shown below. I have a stack of roses, stacks of Robyn Pandolph fabrics (one of my favorite designers!) and a stack set aside for one of my favorite books - Blended Quilts by Marsha McCloskey & Sharon Yenter. And more. Yes I do have a thing for florals!
Tomorrow I hope to get my act together for my 1st WIP Wednesday post in, well, forever.  Until then hop over to Val's Quilting Studio to see more Flying Geese and Flowers.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Catching Up With Quilty Stitches

                                                     Little Miss Shabby
The last block in this series has been released and one of my goals for the week is to get caught up. I did some stitching earlier in August between moving trips and was able to finish 1 of the 5 blocks I have left.

I also got a good start on two others. If you look closely at the top pic you can see that I ended up doing some un-stitching on block 12 because I didn't like how my colors were going together. Usually I do them in order but since I knew that block 13 would use red & aqua (all of my blocks have these 2 colors in them) I skipped ahead to that one. Then since I'd already skipped ahead I figured why not start the other 2 as well. I think I might have been on moving overload!

The colored pencils were a find when I was shopping for our son's graduation party last spring... I love that they are 2 colors to a pencil. So I dug them out and starting coloring in my templates. As you can see I've already changed my mind (again) on the Economy Block and am going to flip the orange and pink around.

Block #16 will be an easy one - all in red. The picture of the finished layout is from Corey's blog Little Miss Shabby. This project has been SO MUCH FUN!
And here is a closeup of my Slow Sunday Stitching... I'm linking up at Kathy's Quilts for the first time in weeks.