Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WIP Wednesday

For me to keep keeping track... 
I've highlighted the ones I'm actively working on (or should be working on!).
The rest are on the back burner.

Completed Quilts To Be Blogged
  • Crazy Clown Colors Quilt
  • Modern Houses Quilt
  • Advent Calendar Quilt (not going to blog about it until after Thanksgiving)
Seems appropriate that my black cat loves
the Halloween Quilt
Quilt Projects Needing Binding
  • Halloween Table Hexagons x2
Quilts Needing Basting/Quilting
  • Pinwheel Quilt
  • Minky Baby Quilt (I'm nervous to quilt the minky!)
  • Wonky Pinky Quilt
  • M's Quilt
  • Sorta Stacked Coins Quilt
  • Miss D's Quilt (Miss D pieced the top and I get to quilt it)
  • Halloween Quilt
Quilts Being Cut and/or Pieced

  • Ticker Tape Quilt (this one is ongoing & I'm in no rush)
  • Green Squares Quilts (making 2 matching quilts - I think I'm going to put these away until after the holidays)
  • Sew-In Quilt (only working on this during FRMQG sew-ins)
  • Halloween Table Runner
  • Repro Quilt #1
  • Repro Quilt #2
Quilts Not Yet Started

  • Kate's Kona Quilt (Kate wants a quilt like my challenge quilt, only bigger)
  • Habitat Challenge Quilts  (making two... eventually! At least one is due in October. Ack!)
  • Gift Quilt
  • Advent Calendar for Me
  • Christmas Table Hexagons (for me!)
Non-Quilt Sewing Projects

  • Unbloggable Christmas Gift x6 (cut, just need to sew)
  • Bath wraps for Kate and American Girl Doll
  • Another unbloggable, small gift
  • Bike Bag for Jack
  • Halloween Banner

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Plus Quilt

I pieced this quilt last spring from 5 charm packs. I wasn't wild about the prints and colors but wanted to use up the fabric. I was really quite pleased with when I finished the top, but then I had difficulty with the quilting.  I really wanted to do straight line quilting but was never happy with the results. The stitches were too uneven for me.  I put it aside for awhile. Finally, after I pulled out all the quilting, took my machine in for a tune up, and adjusted my stitch expectations, I was really happy with the results.

I didn't measure the quilt but each charm is 5 inches square (4.5 in finished) so I guess it is roughly 54 x 62 inches with the border.

I ended up liking this quilt so much that I'm keeping it for us to sit under by the fire up in the mountains (I took the photos up there on the ski run* this weekend). I also then made another Baby Plus Quilt. I have a few other charm packs that might get the same plus quilt treatment
I feel cozy just looking at it!
Pieced Back - Shows the straight line quilting
With wildflowers on the ski run
*Hard to believe that ski season is only 6 weeks away!!  Woohoo!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Daybook 9.26.11

Outside my window... I see my overgrown garden that is in desperate need of some harvesting. I always seem to lose interest this time of year.

I am thinking... that I can't possibly be less than a year from 40...

I am thankful for... my sister.

From the kitchen... cinnamon rolls baked by Miss D and a chai tea for breakfast. I admit the combo is a little much even for my enormous sweet tooth.

I am wearing... track pants, a lightweight hooded sweatshirt, and my old slippers. One of my standard drop-the-kids-off-at-school outfits.

I am creating... 
my one little Halloween project has grown into several projects. I'm kinda enjoying the themed sewing.

I am going... to clean the fish bowl and the hedgehog cage today. Poor creatures.

I am reading... Fall to Grace slowly when I find a few minutes here and there. Liking it so far.

I am hoping...
 that my lower back feels better soon.  I did something to it a few weeks ago, and it flared up again the end of last week.

I am hearing... chirping birds and my own typing.

Around the house... still thinking about paint colors for the dining room. Had an inspiration last night and might stop for some samples today. Light fixtures are up (hurray!) and mirror over the fireplace is up. Ceilings around fixtures should be painted this week. Now I just need to get rid of the donation boxes in my living room!

One of my favorite things... my extra large, leopard print, fleece PJs I bought from Costco a few years back. Love 'em on cold nights!

A few plans for the rest of the week: tennis lesson, lunch with a friend, a (sorta) long run, and playdates for the kids today; no tennis games scheduled this week (yet!); "coffee" with a friend later this week; hoping to schedule a massage and get to a yoga class; normal swim team practice; track and field day for the kids; other than Matt having to work more than usual, I'm feeling pretty good about the week.

Here is a picture I am sharing: Oscar getting a drink from Bristle's bowl. Bristle is fearlessly unaware and always comes up to check him out!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

I love my birthday.
We spent the weekend in the mountains with Miss D to celebrate, 
and tonight when we got home, we had our little family birthday party.
Can't think of a better way to spend my favorite day.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Right Now

I'm sewing & she's reading. It's good just to be near each other.

Also can be filed under "This Makes Me Happy."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Baby Plus Quilt

Another baby quilt. This one is intended for a baby girl. Just waiting to figure out which baby girl.

My first plus quilt I pieced last spring (but have yet to blog it!), and I liked the first plus quilt so much that I decided to make this baby version. The first one is significantly larger and made with full charm squares. This was made using 2 Sweetwater Sunkissed charm packs with the charms cut into 2.5in squares and pieced. The back is Kona Ash (I think!) pieced with some leftover charms, and the binding is a solid pink from my stash.

Parting with this one won't be easy for me...

See? Can't keep Oscar away from quilts!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Things That Make Me Happy

Bristle trying to intimidate one of the snails

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Calvin's Baby Quilt

Since I'm blogging about baby quilts...

I intended to have this quilt completed for my trip to Minnesota back in March, but the quilting was really giving me a difficult time.  I wanted to do some straight line quilting, but I just wasn't happy after I had a few lines completed.  So I ripped it all out and contemplated what I wanted to do for several months (ie I moved on to other projects!). When I planned to make a second trip to Minnesota in September, I knew I had better get moving on this quilt.  I decided to just do meandering quilting which I think ended up being a better choice.  Baby Calvin finally received the quilt as a 7 month old instead of a 7 week old. Fortunately it is a pretty big quilt (although I forgot to measure it!) so it should give him lots of snuggle time. Some photos from my hotel room...

Finally Finished!
Pieced Back


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wonky Baby Boy Quilt

When I learned that my friend Siri had a baby boy last week, I whipped this quilt up for little Luke. The blocks are wonky 9 patches set in a rectangle.  The backing is pieced from squares that I didn't finish turning into 9 patches. The fabrics are just a mix that I pulled from my stash.

Front View
It's smaller than it appears in the photos - about 27"x32" 
Back View
Trying Too Hard to be Artsy
I'm really happy with how it turned out! I'm sending it off today, so I hope that Siri is too busy taking care of her boys to read my blog!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This Makes Me Happy

A buck at the tennis courts this morning.

Ps - won my doubles match! My partner & I are now 3-0 for the fall league season.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Organized Christmas Progress

My last update was a few weeks ago. I'm still working steadily although having visitors and traveling put me a bit behind.  I'm hoping to be mostly caught up by the end of this week.  Here are the weekly to do's that I gave myself. I've highlighted what still needs to be done for the last 2 weeks.  I actually seem to be doing better on the holiday prep than my Houseworks tasks...

Peek at my newly organized sewing space
Calendar & Creativity Week (week before last)
  • Clean & Organize Sewing Room - DONE!
  • Clean & Organize Craft Cabinet
  • Clean & Organize Art Shelf
  • Inventory Unfinished Projects - DONE!
  • Make Kids' Craft Binder
Holiday Prep:
  • Plan Holiday Travel - October Vacation, Thanksgiving, Half Marathon & Christmas/New Years - DONE!
  • Review Handmade Gift List - DONE!
  • Create Seasonal Calendar - Nutcracker, Puppet Show, Gingerbread Houses, International Craft Fair - Sorta DONE (it is a bit early for some tickets but I have to buy dates on my calendar)
  • Start Piecing a certain handmade Christmas Gift
  • Finish specified quilts - DONE!
Me and Mine Week (last week)
  • Declutter Master Bedroom - DONE! (mostly...)
  • Complete Decorating Projects in Master Bedroom
  • Tackle Clothes Closet - DONE!
Holiday Prep:
  • Inventory Gift Wrap - DONE!
  • Make Christmas Card List - DONE!
  • Update Needed Addresses
  • Buy Address Labels - DONE!
  • Print Address Labels
  • Order Christmas Cards - DONE!
  • Buy Stamps (at post office tomorrow)
  • Plan Personal Pampering Sessions
Close to Home Week (this week)
  • Declutter Jack's room
  • Declutter Kate's room
Holiday Prep:
  • Seasonal Spruce Up Exercise - DONE!
  • Decide on Halloween Costumes - DONE! (although there is some work to be done!)
  • Make Halloween Banner (started)
  • Plan Advent
  • Start Advent Calendar Quilt
  • Send Baby Gift (packaged and ready to go out tomorrow!)
  • Review Needs for Oct/Nov/Dec Birthdays - DONE!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Daybook 9.19.11

Outside my window... crisp and sunny

I am thinking... about what order to do today. And of all the calls and emails I want to get done.

I am thankful for... warm days and cool nights

From the kitchen... I am in the mood for some quick bread. Maybe zucchini muffins?

I am wearing... old Levi's, an old sweatshirt and old slippers.  Need to change into my tennis clothes and gather some running clothes for later.

I am creating...
some Halloween projects!

I am going... to have to go to the grocery store today.  No getting around it.

I am reading... nothing. I don't think I've read more than an email or a catalog this last week.

I am hoping... that all my pets stay healthy. I was worried about both Bristle (the betta fish) and Boots (the hedgehog), but both seem to be acting happier again.  I think they were both cold.

I am hearing... the washer and dryer spinning and Boots (the hedgehog - we moved him to my office) snorting in his sleep

Around the house... 
I'm a tad frustrated that my dining room light fixture is still not hung. Won't go into the details. Hopefully this week. Still working steadily on the Houseworks Holiday Plan. I'll try to do an update on my progress soon.

One of my favorite things... planning vacations!

A few plans for the rest of the week: tennis lesson followed by a run today; doubles match tomorrow; haircut, time with Miss D, school used book fair and yoga later in the week.

Here is a picture I am sharing: from my Minnesota trip last week. My friend Michelle and I in front of our Freshman dorm.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kona Solids Challenge Quilt

I finished 2 quilts yesterday! Thanks to the FRMQG informal sew day for the time (and help!) to get them done.  They are both in the washer right now and will be ready to go to their new homes soon (although I admit I am going to have a tough time parting with both of them!). Since I'll probably show these quilts off later this week, I thought this would be a good time to catch up on showing off some of my other quilts. This first one being long overdue for blogging...

This is my Robert Kaufman Kona Solids Challenge Quilt.  All the participants in our guild were given a charm pack of solids in the bright colorway. The rules for our quilt guild were that you had to use at least a little bit of every charm color and you could only add one other fabric to the quilt top.  This is the quilt that came from my charm pack. It was a work of faith, because there was a lot of random slicing and sewing.  But I'm happy with the end result.  Kate loves it and wants another for herself.  I have the charm packs and backing for a second, similar but bigger quilt.
My finished top
Quilted with wavy lines all in one direction
One big piece for the backing
& solid binding
Oscar loves quilts too!
If you want to see what others did with their charm packs, you can check out the FRMQG flickr site for local examples or the MQG Kona Solids flickr page.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bracken Cave

We made a trip to Texas WAY back in June to celebrate my parents' 40th wedding anniversary.  Our first night together with all my family, we visited Bracken Cave which is the largest bat colony in the world and home to some 20 million bats - mostly mama bats and their babies. There emergence each evening is amazing and lasts for hours and hours.  I had seen it years before with my sister, but I was just as excited to see it a second time and share it with Matt and the kids.

Like most experiences, the photos don't do it justice. But it gives you a glimpse of what it is like as the bats spiral up and out of the cave and fill the sky. We even saw a hawk swoop down a few times to grab a bat out of the air.

Kate & Mira watching and waiting
Jack & Sonny in the rocks
My sister-in-law Jenifer protecting herself in her rain garb!
My sister showing a bat to the kids
(She's had her rabies shots so she's okay to hold bats)
Did I mention the smell of all that bat guano? Phew!
Bat Watching
Mouth of the Cave 
Filling the Sky
Trail of Bats 
Bats at Dusk

Thursday, September 15, 2011

How Scary Is This?

That's some thing-a-ma-bobber in my furnace.  And see the burn marks? From loose wires and maybe some condensation leaking.  A house fire waiting to happen.  Fortunately I had the furnace checked today, just like I do every fall.
So this is my public safety message - 
Go Schedule Your Furnace Check Right Now!!

Back to Mt Princeton Hot Springs

When my parents were here a couple weeks ago, we stopped for the afternoon at Mt Princeton Hot Springs. I love this place.  Something about sitting in hot water next to the river.  It was interesting to see how the springs were different from just a month ago when the river was higher. Wanted to share a few photos.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WIP Wednesday

It's raining.  A lovely soaking rain.  I should be doing spelling words with the kids, but instead I'm letting them watch a little tube while I get a few important things done. Important like my Works in Progress (WIP) list!

I've completely lost track of where I was with my WIPs so I'm starting a new list today.  Here goes...

Completed Quilts To Be Blogged**
  • Calvin's Baby Quilt
  • Plus Quilt
  • Baby Plus Quilt
  • Crazy Clown Colors Quilt
  • Kona Solids Challenge Quilt
Quilts Needing Binding
  • Modern Houses Quilt** (top pic - so close to being done - I might finish tonight!)
  • Advent Calendar Quilt (binding is actually done, just need to fix a bit of the quilting)
Quilts Needing Basting/Quilting
  • Pinwheel Quilt (2nd pic)
  • Minky Baby Quilt (I'm nervous to quilt the minky!)
  • Wonky Pinky Quilt
  • M's Quilt
  • Sorta Stacked Coins Quilt
  • Miss D's Quilt (Miss D pieced the top and I get to quilt it)
Quilts Being Pieced
  • Ticker Tape Quilt (this one is ongoing & I'm in no rush)
  • Green Squares Quilts (making 2 matching quilts - I think I'm going to put these away until after the holidays)
Quilts Being Cut
  • If It's a Boy Quilt** (3rd pictomorrow I'll know if I'm sending the Baby Plus Quilt or rushing to finish this one!)
  • Sew-In Quilt (only working on this during FRMQG sew-ins)
Quilts Not Yet Started
  • Kate's Kona Quilt (4th pic - Kate wants a quilt like my challenge quilt, only bigger)
  • Habitat Challenge Quilts** (last picmaking two... eventually! At least one is due in October. Ack!)
  • Gift Quilt
  • Advent Calendar for Me
  • Christmas Table Hexagons (for me!)
Non-Quilt Sewing Projects
  • Unbloggable Christmas Gift x6 (cut, just need to sew)
  • Bath wraps for Kate and American Girl Doll
  • Another unbloggable, small gift
Yikes! That's 20+. So obviously I get back logged at the basting/quilting step. Going to really work on getting some of those quilted over the next couple of months. And I actually I will like having a stack of quilts to hand bind when we are up in the mountains during ski season.

**These are my priority projects over the next month.

And now it is time for spelling words.

This Makes Me Happy

Fresh chard from the garden for my mid-morning snack. A chard & feta omlette. Yum!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Minnesota Morning

As I've alluded to already, I was in Minnesota this last weekend. I always love a weekend away, especially when I get to see friends that I don't get to see often enough.

I woke up early (really early!) on Saturday morning to take a few farmland photos.  It's something I've been wanting to do since I took my photography class 2+ years ago. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect morning.  The mist on the fields was beautiful and the light was amazing.  I don't want to bore you with all of them, so here are a few of my favorite landscape photos (a little frustrating that they look better on my computer than on the blog...).