Tuesday, July 31, 2012

OPAM (One Project a Month) - LITERALLY!

I finished one project this month. I changed the name on my daughter's classroom wallhanging. Is that lame, or what?

Of course, I set a new land speed record for starting projects I didn't finish:

Pineapple Scrap Quilt

Glorified Indigo Nine Patch Quilt

Merry Mayhem Mystery Quilt

August Wool Applique Banner (don't get excited, it's only fused on)

Aurifil Designer July Block

Vintage Rouge Christmas Quilt (I actually finished the July blocks, but BOM's don't count for an OPAM finish)

Halloween Panel Wallhanging for Jen's classroom (front, back and batting have been trimmed to right size - wow!)

Block 11 of my 12-block Baltimore Album (I did take it to court last week until Uncle Fester the Bailiff had to make a point of saying there will be no reading of newspapers, no listening to iPods...NO SEWING (evil stare directed at me).

Wool felt pumpkin table runner (I ironed all the wool felt I bought at Hershey for this and got sidetracked)

The Halloween embroideries project I started.

The Christmas wool applique/embroidery project that I swear I will finish before this Christmas.

I know, I know, you've all been there, done that, have the t-shirt. But as a self-diagnosed borderline obsessive-compulsive, this drives me absolutely crazy. Mind you, it doesn't stop me from starting something else, but the fact that I've got all of these projects in baskets, on design walls, in plastic ZipLoc bags drives me C-R-A-Z-Y.

And it doesn't help that I surround myself with cute little hiding places for all these projects. It actually enables me. Oooh...look at that cute little suitcase, it's perfect for the Vintage Rouge...or wow, these great magnetic close boxes are on sale at Michaels this week...what can I put in them and stack on the studio floor?

And what really doesn't help is that I get sidetracked and spend more time organizing than working sometimes.

(Case in point, the 'wool drawer', folded and arranged by color this weekend).

Sigh.  Hope your finishes are coming along a lot better than mine these days. Tomorrow's a new month. Hopefully I'll finish some of these projects before I start on something new.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What Happened To the Month?

We're 3/4 of the way through the month and I have no finishes to post. What is wrong with me? I've got the Aurifil block to do, the wool applique....clearly, Project Indigo and the pineapple aren't going to be anywhere near finished, nor is the mystery quilt top that just needs to be sandwiched and quilted. I am slipping! Me, the woman who can do it all, has done nothing. The horror!


I'm a solid third of the way through Project Indigo:

I got a bug up my butt on Friday and made a stop at the grocery store for caramels and pretzels and marshmallow fluff. The intent was to make caramel dipped (and rolled in jimmies/sprinkles) pretzel sticks, and 'no fail' fudge, and even the Linzer cookies filled with Nutella that I never got around to making this past Christmas. Hey, it was going to be rainy and cool, and just the perfect time to play in the kitchen.

I started out great guns Friday evening...I made little appetizers which were thin sliced French bread, brushed with oil and a Tuscan seasoning, toasted, then topped with lightly grilled mushroom slices, and finally thrown into the oven with Fontinella cheese slices on the top that needed to melt. Yum! And I served it for dinner with shrimp bisque. (I was too lazy to make the salad, and the hubs didn't care either way if he had one.)

After dinner, life got in the way, via my neighbor calling earlier to say she had sent her hubs out for wine, and why don't I come down for a bottle...er drink. Oh sure, I'll run down for a a glass of wine. I got home at 12:30 and fell asleep on the couch.

So, the big plan was to play dessert chef today....nope. Instead, I spent the afternoon in the studio playing on the computer and watching sappy romance movies on the On Demand. It was 4:30 when I finally hopped into the shower.

After dinner, I was obligated to work on Project Indigo. Dear daughter phoned and invited me to brunch tomorrow, with a stop at Chartreuse (the shabby chic, once a month, designer's co-op staged in a big old barn in Buckeystown). And I've got a Groupon for the two of us to paint some pottery, so we may wind up doing that afterwards. Doesn't look like there'll be much going on in the way of stitching tomorrow.

I need some serious motivation if I'm to get anything done between now and Thursday--which is the day we head up to Hershey, PA for the quilt show. Woo hoo!

Until then, I hope you are all making progress on your projects, and if not, that you've got some damn good excuses and are enjoying whatever it is that you are doing.

Paco looks like he needs me to vacate the studio and head for my bed....much more comfortable than his (note the little tongue hanging out).

Friday, July 20, 2012

Moving Right Along (At a Snail's Pace)

So, I slept on it, and I decided that since I was being all scrappy with the indigo, I'd just add another blue and white background print to the mix. Now, that went all fine and dandy until halfway through cutting the block components it dawns on me that I don't have enough of this fabric (I have 2 yards) to cover all of the remaining blocks. Not to panic, I had one more 2 yard cut of blue on white print, so I tossed that one in as well.

Here's how it's going to look. I only made a couple with the third print because I wanted to be sure it was going to play nice with everyone. It's a little jump off the page at you right now, but in the end, I hope to integrate it into the top without having it draw all the attention. (Wish me luck!)

A little closeup of all three background prints.

So,  last night I decided to finish cutting so I could chain piece as much as I could. Some of those stacks are a bit higher than average, so I don't really want to leave them unattended for very long.

 And because I'm borderline OCD, I had to buy a box to store them in until I'm ready to sew them.

Once I finish piecing this, it'll be off to a longarm for quilting. Too big for me, and the indigo is too special to not send it out. Recommendations appreciated.

And once that happens,  I've got to go back and remember how to continue on the Pineapple scrap quilt, which was the class I took at the Mid Appalachian Quilters Seminar last Friday. Nine blocks down...not sure how many to go.

And now, I'm going to have to agree with Paco.....it's a good time for bed. Goodnight!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Welcome To My Nightmare

 I'm sure you've experienced that sinking feeling when you're halfway through a project and it suddenly dawns on you "Houston, We Have A Problem".

I've decided to do a mass cut for the missing pieces needed for this 1,265 piece quilt. I'm happily cutting my way through the loose 9-patch blocks and it dawns on me that I most likely will not have enough fabric left over to add the two borders.

Now I've weighed my options, and I can either pull another fabric that coordinates and intermix it (this will involve taking 3 connector (the block on the left in the photo below) blocks apart and resewing), or I can find the fabric, which has probably been out for 5 years. After a while, I did seem to find it (waiting for seller to confirm) on eBay, so now I'm at a standstill to figure out which option I'm going for.

I'm going for perfection on this one. If only because I've cut into the South African Indigo I've been hoarding since I started quilting.

I think the best thing I can do is go sleep on it. This decision-making is exhausting.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Little of This (Organizing), A Little of That (Puppy Tales)

Haven't done any real sewing since the weekend. Needed to be sure I was all prepped and packed for the Mid Appalachian Quilters seminars this weekend. But I was feeling a bit organizational, so I needed a Dollar Tree/Big Lots fix to quell that restless urge to rearrange things.

First in the cart were these zip pencil bags from the school supplies aisle.The minute I saw them I knew they'd create a perfect little organizer for trims, or threads, or applique pieces, or small projects.

 A few binder rings....

And all that's left to do is find something to put in them.


I liked using 3 rings better than one because the packet could stand up on the desk.

One can never have enough of these little $1 plastic baskets. I pick them up every time I'm in the dollar store.  I use them to sort out projects I'm waiting to do, both in the studio and the workshop. Keeps all my parts and instructions together, and I can see at a glance what I've got staged and ready to work on and make my choice..

Overflow from the shelves are lined up on the floor of the studio closet (the door to which is normally shut tight (I'm almost embarassed to show you the mess inside)...you'll see why in a bit). When the doors are open, Tucker's always checking to see if there's anything for him in them.

His new favorite is the one with all the wool felt I just purchased for the Hannah and Harrigton BOM from Raspberry Rabbit. Maybe he's looking for the bunny  that torments him in our backyard.

How could I not buy this little caddy for a buck? It's the perfect size to use on my sewing table in a class, and it'll hold everything I need, right at hand---my rotary cutters, scissors, threads.....

Speaking of a buck....anyone in the market for a demonic little dog?

Tucker is in training for the 'Most Misbehaved Dog Ever' pageant. He runs off frequently now (into the street, and he does not stop to look both ways before crossing--fortunately we live on a cul de sac). The other day one of our neighbors was standing with her door open accepting a delivery from UPS. This little devil ran across the street and right past her (she never saw him) and up her stairs, the hubs in hot pursuit. I'm sure her cat wasn't amused, but her 4 year old daughter was tickled pink that Tucker had come to play in her room.

When he's not busy proving to all that he's a flight risk, he's climbing up, and into, and out of  the bath tub to the vanity, where he helps himself to my various moisturizers, Latisse, make up brushes and anything that will fit in his mouth for the arduous trek back through the tub (yesterday he snagged my last pair of good tweezers (my first pair being dropped into the bathroom drain by the hubs attempting to remove a tick (I know) from one of the dogs.)

The other day I realized that he's figured out how to get up on my desk (we're finding pens and PostIts and other office-y things in his dog bed. Is nothing sacred??!!

When not taking things that don't belong to him, tearing up cardboard boxes and toilet paper rolls (did I mention he's part gerbil?), or pooping in the dining room, he's honing his ultimate cage fighting skills on poor Paco. Okay, Paco is a bit larger than he is, and Paco does weigh double what Tuck weighs (which last time we checked was just about 5 lbs), but there's times when Paco just wants to be left alone and not body slammed through the sliding glass door in the rush to get outside (and chase rabbits, squirrels, deer, the neighborhood fox, or small children.) Seriously, Tuck, can you cut Seizure Dog some slack once in a while?!

He's the 4-year old, hyperactive son I never had. (Thank God for that!)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

To Kaffe or Not To Kaffe, That is the Question (and we have a winner)

We've got a winner. Random number generated 24, and the 24th comment made on any of the posts was made on the original post on July 5th by Robin:

"These are neat - would make great tote"
Congratulations Robin, I've sent you an email off list to get your mailing address.
Thanks for playing everyone. We'll have another giveaway shortly.
Been busy this afternoon cutting into my South African indigo for next Sunday's class with Gyleen Fitzgerald. I already had everything prepped for Friday's class with Gyleen, though I'm second guessing my border fabric now and don't have anything in my stash to substitute. Not sure where I'm heading with that...use what I bought, or make a trip to the quilt shop ... or ......

I could break open the secret stash boxes.

This one looks like a good one, let's see what's inside....

Oh my....it's the Kaffe Fassett stash, and there are definitely some 1-1/4 yd cuts in there. And there are definitely some fabrics I love in there....but no, can't do it. I can't use my Kaffe to wrap a scrap quilt. That would be a travesty.

I'll give it a bit more thought, sometimes it helps to sleep on these big decisions :)


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Alterations to the Wallhanging Are Coming Along

(Giving you another chance in the fat quarter drawing tomorrow :) )

It's hot, I'm crabby, and the hubs is a dead man. Just popping in to show you a bit of progress on the wall hanging, then I've got to get ready to head out to a family birthday party...hubs-less.

You might not have known that I married to a man with no family values, who thinks that playing softball for 9 hours in 106 degrees is far more important than attending a milestone birthday celebration for a close family member.

Now, he could have done what just about every other guy on his team has done at one time or another...not played two games and come home in time to go to the party, missing 2 games (hardly life altering, as they're also playing tomorrow), but no it's far more important to not let down a softball team that was thrown together at the last minute to play in this tournament than it is to fulfill a family obligation and not piss off your wife.  Oh well, his life will be miserable for the rest of the week...at least.

Fortunately, my daughter has not inherited his skewed sense of values and she and her husband will be picking me up and accompanying me to the event.

Moving on.

I started out cutting and folding a paiece of fabric to fit over the piece I needed to alter. Then I aligned the fold with the stitching line on the original piece, pinned it, and stitched along the original stitching line.

Then I pullled it up and pinned it down, temporarily.

I used invisible thread in the bobbin so you wouldn't notice the seam line, and apparently, this is what I used when I made the piece to begin with. (pretty brave for a newbie quilter at that time)

Next I traced my letters upside down on some fusible web, fused them to the new fabric and cut them out.

And I fused them to the new fabric panel.

Now this is why I've only pinned the new panel down....I'm going to applique the letters down, and I don't want the stitching to go through the layers of the wallhanging. Once I applique them, I'll stitch that panel down and quilt on top of it. In the end, it should look like I never made any changes. Check back tomorrow.

Enjoy your evening, and don't cry for the hubs....he knows there is now wrath like that of a woman scorned. Been there, done that, plenty of times. He never learns.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's Been So Long, I Almost Forgot How to Quilt

Well, okay, I exaggerate a bit. But I did start out with the wrong size needle--I was using a 90 and it was taking the batting back out with the bobbin thread. So I switched to a 75 and it was great, and then I went downstairs for dinner (the hubs made a fritata), and when I came back to the studio, the first thing I did was bend the needle...I have no idea how that happened. Anyhow, I managed to finish what I set out to do, which was quilt my sister's table runner that has been sitting in my studio for a couple (or maybe a few--hangs head in shame) months now.

My sister loves this table runner pattern and uses it all the time. It looks pretty good with the Jinny Beyer border fabric.

Next up:

I made this for my daughter 5 years ago, when she first started teaching. I wasn't a quilter then...I was just starting out. But I was pretty good at applique, having made that HGTV Strolling the Block monthly applique block quilt, and I saw this pattern and figured I'd give it a go. I even quilted clouds into the sky (I thought I was so darn clever, heh heh).

I should have had the foresight that my daughter would not be 'ms. entwistle' forever and not satin-stitched each of those letters to the background, but what's done is done, and now needs to be undone....she's 'mrs. reed' now.

I'm thinking I'm going to cut a panel of fabric, back it with a cotton batting (better to cover the existing background), and fuse/stitch it over top, and quilt around the letters to try to make it appear to be part of the piece rather than a patch.

Check back tomorrow and see how it turned out.

My work here is done.....just wanted to give you another opportunity to win the drawing (smile).

Sleep tight!