Saturday, May 31, 2014

#quiltystitches Blocks 9 & 10

Here it is the end of May and what a month it was! Graduation, Mother's Day, Half Marathon and lots of family time held my focus in May. I'm thinking I will have to do a post and share some pics of my family soon... I kind of hold back at that but I do understand the enjoyment of getting know the blogger behind the quilts.  

In the meantime I can share the last 2 blocks of Little Miss Shabby's Quilty Stitches cross stitch sampler. I did the pinwheel block yesterday while avoiding the midday heat & sun.
Our weather pattern dramatically shifted overnight to a cool and rainy forecast through Monday so this morning I finished up the Petals block while drinking my coffee. I MUST make a Petal quilt!
I'm hoping to catch a track meet weather permitting early afternoon and then I will be hustling to finish up my May Schnibble X Rated for a post tonight.

Here are the kitties the morning after our son's graduation party... I think I could have easily curled up next to them! Tucker was quite the social one joining in the fun but poor Elsa spent most of the day hiding in our lower level or under the bed.
Here's to (I'll say it again) more quilting in June!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Quick Post

Another week gone by with lots of off blog activities but I do have a few things to share today.  I finished another ruffle scarf this week in blues to toss on with my jean jacket to jazz things up a bit. Now I will start to resist the ruffle yarns and move onto some of the other yarns in my stash.
The 8th block for Quilty Stitches (button on my sidebar for more information) is also done which means that I am caught up. I have got to make a granny square quilt one day but the cross stitched version will have to do for now.
We are heading back to Fargo, ND today for our second weekend in a row. Last Saturday our daughter ran her 2nd half marathon and my husband ran it along with her.  She finished 15 minutes ahead of her 1st one and was thrilled. This weekend we are going to watch a college track meet. My husband and I met at NDSU as runners and now one of his high school track graduates runs on the team. In between I'll do some shopping for our son's graduation next weekend. It is a most busy May!

I love this picture of Elsa out on our screen porch showing off her crazy tail in the sunlight.
Warm sunny days like this are still rare around here. Some afternoons I let Elsa and Tucker out there anyway and then they come scurrying back in. It looks like spring is due to arrive next week - fingers crossed!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Getting Back into the Groove Edition

It's been forever since I've done a WIP Wednesday post and benefited from the focus they bring to my quilting so here's to getting back on track. I've got 3 projects that are getting my attention this week:
1. Strip Stacks in Blue & Brown has been reassembled (thanks to an old blog post pic) on my design wall. Our early sun seems to have disappeared so this photo is a bit on the dark side. The blocks are about 1/3 assembled I'd guess but since they are so large it's not going to take long to make this into a flimsy which is my #1 goal for the week.
2. I've started the 8th block of Quilty Stitches which is a Granny Square block. I'm planning red for the center and pink for the next round of squares next to the orange. I know I say this every time I post about these blocks... SO MUCH FUN! No need to attach a due date here as it will be done quickly.
3. After missing several months of Schnibbles I am looking forward to making X Rated. I own the book and have had this one mentally marked for some time. I've decided to use Field Notes by Blackbird Designs for this one on a cream background. My goal is to get the pieces cut this week.

Wish me luck that my quilty Mo-Jo hangs around for a while!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

April Reads

Good progress was made on both of my reading goals for 2014 in April. My 1st goal is to read 130 books this year and a quick peek at my Goodreads tally shows that I'm right on track just in time to link up to the Bibliophile Files@sarah did it!.
My 2nd goal is to consolidate my book collection so that it fits comfortably in my large bookcase. I've done a bit of rearranging in our guestroom so that both bookcases are on the same wall.  The smaller one will be departing and I'm planning to replace it with either a chaise lounge or an overstuffed chair and ottoman for a most cozy reading corner. Depending upon what my husband is watching on TV there are nights where I'd welcome a quiet place to read. And I've also decided that each guest room (in my empty nest future) should have a purpose besides sitting empty waiting for guests!
Since I've also been using these shelves to accumulate some items for decorating this room perhaps they will look a bit spiffier next month. One of the main shelves has been emptied of books and is now storing some binders/keepsake boxes and the piles that used to be on top of the smaller bookcase have dwindled. 5 months in and I'm feeling A-OK about reaching both of these goals.

I have another 5 star read to recommend - Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese which I found to be fascinating both in story and in setting. Much of the book is set in Ethiopia which is a part of the world I know very little about. For me the book started a little slowly but I couldn't put it down after I was half way in.

And I enjoyed several 4 star reads too:
  • Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
  • Wave by Sonali Deraniyagula
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  • The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller (Re-Read)
  • Plainsong by Kent Haruf (Re-Read)
  • The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Ordinarily for me movies based on books are trumped by the book about 95% of the time, but since The Silver Linings Playbook was so different from the movie I can't say that. I think they both are great! Because Sue Miller is one of my favorite authors I might be a little biased towards her books. I just find her women to be such real & interesting characters. Happy reading!

Tuesday Archives: Cats & Charity Quilts

Val's Quilting Studio

This is one week that I couldn't resist linking up over at Val's as I love cat novelty prints and I also love making kid's quilts for Project Linus. After browsing my finished quilts pages I counted up 7 of them which was more than I could remember so thank goodness for blogging! If you click on the quilt name it will take you to the finish post for more information about each quilt.

First up is Bees & Cats:
 Citrus Cats:
 Ballerina Cats:
 Cats in Dressy Hats:
 Cats on Skis:
 Garden Cats:
Garden Cats was a favorite of my husbands who thought I should keep it when I finished it in winter 2013. So I put in my quilt closet and now it has found the perfect owner.
It serves as a play spot with Elsa's favorite mice toys (there is a 2nd one hidden under her paw) as well as a cozy place for a solo nap on the love seat across from us at night. She carries these mice all over the house and "buries" them. I recently had to replace my washing machine and we had quite a laugh when the servicemen picked up the old one. There were about a dozen cat toys including lots of mice mired in dust balls under there!

Our grand cat JMeow is also a fan of these mice so I don't think Elsa can take credit for hiding them all. But she sure was happy to see them.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Month in Review

It's kind of sobering to think that 2014 is already 1/3 done. My oh my where do the days go? Since May is looking to be rather busy for me with 3 weekends of activities including our son's graduation and the expectation that spring WILL arrive this month with all of the related tasks I'm going light on my May goals.

But first I should quickly review April... 1 quilt, 2 scarves and Quilty Stitches blocks made it to the Finish Line in April. With so much going on in my life outside of quilting last month I feel quite good when I look at this mosaic.
I am really digging in and trying hard to change some ingrained habits which is rather challenging. Boring stuff like processing papers, drinking water, getting daily exercise and shedding stuff from all corners of our home. Not very blog worthy topics. I've also been spending time getting back to using a daily planner which is a habit I abandoned along with my career in 2001. You might actually see a bit of this process on the blog in May because it is making a difference already.

But, let's move on to May - a bright and shiny NEW month to explore! Here are my goals for May:
  • Finish Warm 16 Patch
  • Finish Strip Stacks in Blue & Brown
  • Get Caught up with RSC14
  • Stay Caught up with Quilty Stitches
  • May Schnibble X Rated
For A Lovely Year of Finishes my goal will be to finish Strip Stacks in Blue & Brown. I'm thinking it would make a nice graduation present for our son. He has always been one to pull a blanket or throw over himself while watching TV or napping. It makes me so happy to see him wrapped up in one of my quilts over the last year!
I'm planning to get back to a regular blogging schedule in May as well. To say I've missed it would be an understatement.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Minnesota Hot Dish

How happy I was to wake up to blue skies and sunshine for picture taking this morning! An overnight rain precluded me from venturing outside but my indoor location (guest room floor) did just fine.

I am unclear about the exact start date for my Minnesota Hot Dish quilt. I'm pretty sure I bought a bundle of fabrics to get me started and I remember shopping for some blue & yellow florals to add to the mix. When I picked this UFO up again last summer the center part of the quilt was completely pieced as were the piano key borders so it was just a matter of choosing the inner border/cornerstone fabric and finishing up the borders.
I sent it out to Kathy at Stitch by Stitch Machine Quilting to work her magic and she delivered in spades. After a phone conversation to discuss ideas she went right to work. I am in love with the swirls on the main section of this quilt!

The quilting on the borders is so lovely... the feathers and the loopy swirls are just perfect for this quilt. I'm so glad I was able to capture the quilting in my photos. I decided to repeat the inner border/cornerstone print on the binding as you can see. Thanks again Kathy for making my quilt a true work of art!
The backing is muslin so no pictures. This quilt will hang on a wall in our master bedroom so I am especially pleased that it lies completely flat.

The pattern is called Minnesota Chain from the book Minnesota Hot Dish by Atkinson Designs. There are 3 patterns in this book based upon using value differently when constructing the blocks. The more traditional pattern reverses the placement that I used but I really like having the chains be the dominant part of the quilt. I would love to make this pattern again one day. The book has one made up in 30's fabrics which is just charming!

I'm linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday@My Quilt InfatuationTGIFF@Quokka QuiltsCan I Get a Whoop Whoop@Confessions of a Fabric AddictLink A Finish Friday@Richard and Tanya Quilts and Finish it Friday@Crazy Mom Quilts.