Saturday, January 30, 2010

Old Gold and Blue - Plan B

As I mentioned before, I am working on a quilt for the auction fundraiser at my daughter's school.  It is in the school colors, gold and blue.



I made speedy progress until I reached this point.  In the photo above, you see the two panels for the quilt.  A third panel, with the school name, is supposed to go inbetween.  But once I saw it like this, I thought, uh oh!  Those wide open spaces call for top-notch quilting.  And I am not a top-notch quilter, not yet anyway (if ever).  I need more practice on my Bernina before I even attempt it. 

So after due consideration, I decided to put this version away.  With a little more quilting practice, it could be my contribution to  the 2011auction.  But in the meantime, on to Plan B.


Plan B is based on blocks like this.  Does anyone know the name of this block?  Something original, like 16-patch, perhaps?  Anyway, I need 61 of them and they are going together splendidly.  And the busy-ness will help hide any imperfections in the quilting. 

I have to get back to work!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Find - Thousands of Bolts

I found a great website for quilting fabric at terrific prices - Thousands of Bolts.  As they say on the site, "You'll know I'm crazy when you see the low prices."   Most of their quilting cotton runs about $4 per yard!



The photo shows what I bought.  I went to the site looking for some blue for a quilt backing (and found lots of 108" wide to choose from) but could not help looking at every offering browsing so ended up with a few other things too.  The green fabrics are destined for a future Christmas quilt while I am using the blue in my current "school" quilt project.  The selections tend to be from some months, even years, ago, but they are quilt shop quality from recognizable brands.  My selections came from Henry Glass, Red Rooster, South Seas Imports, and Westminister.  They have stock from all the major manufacturers, including Hoffman and Moda.

Thousands of Bolts would be a good place to check if you need more of a fabric you bought some time ago.  They just might have it. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In - Sensible Eating Plan

I am not following any particular diet plan, like Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, etc.  I am following my own plan, which I refer to as Sensible Eating.

Sensible choices - more fruit and vegetables; avoid fried food, cream sauces, anything overloaded with cheese.
Sensible portions - that means smaller than what I have become used to, especially in restaurants.  Plus, it is not necessary to eat everything on my plate.
Sensible approach to sweets - I am a sweet-tooth and chocolate is my drug of choice.  Eat only rarely, and in small amounts.  Most difficult step to follow!

For example, when my husband and I went out last Saturday, to our usual Saturday night date-night restaurant, I had five grilled shrimp on what they serve as a side salad.  It was enough.  I was comfortably full without being stuffed. I don't need to feel stuffed, in fact, I would rather not feel stuffed.  Must remember this more often!

The stats:

weight lost this week:  1.0 pounds
weight lost YTD:  5.0 pounds

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thank You, Thelma!

Thelma had a give-away on her blog, Cupcakes 'n Daisies, and I was the winner!  Lucky me, 'cause I won this pattern, Let It Snow from Farmhouse Threads (a new-to-me quilt pattern company).




Aren't those snowman faces cute!  If you saw my Christmas posts, you know I love snowmen and have a collection I display at Christmas time.  So this is right up my alley, plus, I think I can make it out of stash!  All I need is some black and some orange wool to use for the eyes and noses and I'll be set.  I think I can find that at the Quilt Festival of New Jersey in March. 

Thank you, Thelma!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Old Gold and Blue



I started a new project yesterday.  I got my inspiration from the Thimbleblossoms pattern shown but am making this quilt in blue and gold/yellow and will donate it to the Parents' Association for the annual auction held as a fundraiser for my daughter's school. 

I think this will go fast.  Check back for a progress update.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sewing Green




Look what arrived in yesterday's mail, from Amazon.com!  It is Sewing Green, by Betz White.  It has directions for making things out of repurposed/recycled materials at little cost.  I've heard this called "upcycling" and I like the term.  Betz White appears to specialize in making things out of old sweaters that she felts, but there is more in this book. 

I bought it mainly for this water bottle carrier - something I could actually use!




But these aprons made from men's shirts are cute:





And Miss Main Street might like this big tote bag made from old jeans. 




I think a trip to the local thrift store is in order!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Storing Tops Before Quilting



When I finish a quilt top, my usual practice is to give a good pressing, then fold and hang it on a hanger.  I then piece the back, press it, and hang with the top.  That way, they are ready to go to the long arm quilter or ready for me to quilt (I usually hand quilt the small ones) when I am ready for them.

If I have the fabric for binding, I hang that up along with the top and backing, so I don't accidently use the fabric for some other purpose.  Below, you see the backing and binding for Cider Mill, a quilt top I finished a while back but have yet to quilt.




I've found this method keeps the top from becoming too wrinkled and ensures the backing and binding fabrics get used for their designated purpose as they are taken out of stash so not in circulation for use elsewhere.  It is also a good way to store the unquilted tops as I have some hanging room in the closet in my studio, whereas the shelves are stuffed!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In - Rewards

I tend to use food as a reward.  Oh, that interview with the prospective new client went well; I'll stop at Starbucks for a Caramel Macchiato.  Or I'm at the mall shopping with Miss Main Street in the stores with the extremely loud music with incomprehensible lyrics; a stop at Hagen Daz would make a good pick-me-up.  You can understand why I'm carrying an extra 20 pounds.





So I need some new rewards.  While I like the occasional papaya, it doesn't give me the satisfaction of, say, a chocolate truffle.  But I'm trying to make it work.  Still, I think it would be best for the long term if I could adopt some non-food rewards.  One of my Christmas gifts was a gift certificate to a local day spa.  I'm planning to use it at the 10 pounds lost point. But I need some treats of the more daily or weekly variety.  Do you have any ideas for me?

The stats:

weight lost this week: 1.5 pounds
weight lost YTD: 4.0 pounds

Monday, January 18, 2010

Blooms In The Snow



I finished all the borders yesterday afternoon and now Blooms In The Snow is officially a flimsy, ready to go to the longarm quilter. I like the way it looks.  I am planning to use this quilt in Miss Main Street's bedroom next Christmas, where it will work with her light blue walls and rug.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Getting Closer To Completion



The borders on this quilt have taken me longer than I expected.  Well, there are five borders, one of which is pieced.  I have four on the quilt now, just the last white border to go.  Maybe tomorrow.

I've been hindered by distractions.  This catalog arrived in the mail, full of new ideas. 



As a result, I've made four new quilts, though just in my head. Fabric and thread have not yet been sacrificed!

First, I have to make something out of the Rural Jardin line.
 


Second, I am loving Minick and Simpson's Bar Harbor line, especially this print:




Third, they showed this pattern, along with the Garden Party line by Blackbird Designs for Moda.  I think the pattern might be a free download on Moda's site when the fabric line comes out next month.



Fourth, I saw this pattern.  Perfect for some stash I have waiting for the right idea to come along.  The pattern is called Log Cabin Shuffle by Glad Creations.  I checked out the  Glad Creations website and found some more patterns I like.



Then, as if that was not distraction enough, I've been reading Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog, by Lisa Scottoline.  It is a quick and amusing read, perfect book to take on the elliptical trainer.



Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In - Breakfast

In an effort to stay on-plan, I have two alternate breakfast menus:




1.  A cold cereal mix of Fiber One and Trader Joe's Ginger Cashew Granola.  I love this granola and mixing it with the Fiber One cuts the calories while upping the fiber content.




2.  Hot oatmeal - I make mine in the Crock Pot.  Mix 1 cup of steel cut oats with 4 cups of vanilla almond milk (a vegan milk alternative, sold near regular milk in the supermarket - lower in calories than skim milk and I like the flavor); cook on low for 3 1/2 hours, stirring several times during the last 90 minutes to keep the oatmeal from sticking to the sides of the pot.  This makes 4 servings.  I refrigerate in individual, lidded bowls, then add about a tablespoon of milk and microwave for 90 seconds to re-heat.  Liven up by mixing in one of the following add-ins:
  • 5 chopped walnuts and a tablespoon of pumpkin butter (or apple butter)
  • 1 tablespoon of low-sugar fruit spread
  • 1/4 cup of unsweentened applesauce
  • 1/2 a banana, sliced

With a cup of coffee (I take my coffee black, no sugar, even when not dieting so no way to cut back on calories there), this tides me over until lunch most days.  If not, I have an apple or clementine as a late morning snack. 

The stats:
weight lost this week: 2.5 pounds
weight lost YTD:  2.5 pounds

Yep, I'm happy with that!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Magazine Clutter - Organize It!

Do you have lots and lots of quilting magazines saved because they contain one or two projects you might get to someday?  Well, I do!  In fact, the magazines are starting to encroach on my fabric stash space so I was pretty excited by Cathe Holden's filing system designed to corral magazine clutter that I read about in the blog post found here.




I think I will set up a system similar to that described in the post, except limited to quilts and related items like tote bags.  I've already thought of categories:
  • scrap quilts
  • Christmas quilts
  • Halloween quilts
  • baby quilts
  • juvenile quilts
  • sampler quilt settings
  • star block quilts
  • quilting motifs and ideas
You get the idea.  Do any additional categories come to mind?  Please leave me a comment!

Dresden Plate




I had my quilting friends over to my house Sunday afternoon for a few hours of craft and gab.  We are an informal group meeting on an irregular basis, pretty much when we feel like it and can all get together, which winds up being every six weeks or so. We usually do handwork when we get together.  Two of the ladies were hand sewing binding down, one worked on her English-pieced hexagons, and I hand appliqued a few Dresden Plate blocks.


I started these blocks a few years ago, inspired by a quilt in the Alex Anderson Neutral Essentials book.  I work on it every now and then, when I need a handwork project.  I have thirteen blocks that now need the center circle added then I will need to figure out the setting and size.  I think I will need to make more blocks to get the quilt to a decent size.  This quilt is on "my list" for 2010 to finish this year.  I think I need to get my friends together more often if I am to have any hope of finishing it this year!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I Am Tempted, Very Tempted

Very tempted!  Kelllie at Don't Look Now is hosting a Joseph's Coat Quilt Along.  It started a couple of months ago.  At the time, I thought it looked interesting, but not quite interesting enough for me.  Well, I've changed my mind and am seriously considering getting started on this quilt.  I know, I know, it is not on "my list" and I am already working on several projects.  But the quilting siren calls! 

I printed out the list of materials and so for now I'll think about it and scout out fabric selections.  One idea that crossed my mind is to use these Kaffe Fassett blue prints, available at Hancocks of Paducah.  I've had an itch to try out some "Kaffes" and have a couple of his books as inspiration.  Maybe the time has come.




So don't be surprised if you see more about this quilt here.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sneak Peek - The Blocks Are Finished



I finished all 24 blocks for Blooms In The Snow and have them laid out on the design bed, ready for adding the white sashing.  Will I get it finished this weekend?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In



My midlife metabolism (or lack of) has caught up to me.   It is a constant battle to balance the food intake and exercise schedule to maintain equilibrium, and lately, I've been losing the battle.  So, like apparently 50% of America, I am going on a weight-loss diet. 

My goal is to lose 20 pounds by July 4.  I'm taking two steps, besides eat less and exercise more, to make reaching my goal a reality. 
  1. Write down what I eat; I bought a little notebook for this purpose.  The idea is that if you have to write it down, maybe you won't eat the hot fudge sundae afterall.
  2. Go public.  That's why I am telling you.  Statcounter says there are about 500 of you a month (I'm very flattered!) so I figure if I have to tell you how much I lost each week, it will help keep me on the eating right path.  I think this is the philosophy behind Weight Watchers meetings. 
So, not to bore you, but every Wednesday, I'll have a short tally of how much I lost during the past week, and the total loss so far.  And maybe some chatter about what's helping me stick to the plan. 

But every other day, I'll be back to the regular quilting content.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Update

Regular readers may notice I just added a couple of buttons, over to your right, so you can subscribe to my blog by email or in a reader.  I use Google Reader myself; it makes it easy to keep up with all the blogs I MUST follow.

Also, I experienced a little trouble with my blog poll of a couple of posts ago, the one asking you to vote for the quilt name you think I should us on the scrappy quilt.  So, if you could scroll down a couple of posts and vote again, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Nine Patch



I'm making progress on my Sweet Menagerie Nine-Patch (pattern at Moda Bake Shop here).  I am thinking of calling my version Blooms in the Snow, a name that fits with the Glace fabric I am using and also honors the pattern designer, Roslyn Mirrington of Bloom.

Anyway, I highly recommend this pattern if you are looking for something to make with a jelly roll.  It goes very fast.  First, a major part of the cutting is already taken care of when you use a jelly roll.  Second, the construction is easy to handle in small amounts of time here and there, like the hour-a-day method.  I may well have the top completed by this weekend.  Check back!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Name That Quilt!



My scrappy string quilt needs a name.  I've thought of four so far:
  1. Petits Fours - the mix of pastels reminds of these little cakes, but I seem to always name my quilts after food!
  2. Sugar Frosted - for the white criss-cross strips, which remind of icing.  But ditto about the food.
  3. Summer Romance - because of the pastel florals used in the quilt.
  4. Splendor in the Scraps - because I used scraps and stash and it came out splendidly!
I'd appreciate it if you voted for your preferred name.  Results to appear in a future post.  If you have thought of another name for me to use, please mention it in the comments.  Thanks for your help!


 










I used a lot of scraps and small pieces to make this quilt, mostly saved from some of my favorite fabric collections from 3 Sisters - Paris Flea Market and Seaside Rose, as well as a liberal sprinkling of Robyn Pandolph designs, rounded out with odds and ends on hand.  This quilt came nowhere close to busting my stash but it did make a noticeable dent.

I pieced the blocks using a paper foundation.  This works well for the sewing stage but I find it a pain in the patootie to remove the paper afterwards.  If  I do something like this again, I am thinking of looking for some very thin, non-fusible interfacing to use for the foundation and then leaving it in place.  Not practical for hand quilting but I think it would work for machine quilting.  Has anyone done this and do you have any recommendations for the foundation? 

Friday, January 1, 2010

Quilting To-Do List for 2010

I'm making a list of quilting things I'd like to accomplish this year.  I figure if I write it down (or type it here), that's a step in the direction of making it happen.  But I consider it a fluid list, subject to change if my creative muse takes me in a new direction.

1.  Good Tidings, from Miss Rosie. Directions are in an issue of Australian Homespun that I just happen to have.

2.  Brand New Day, another pattern from Miss Rosie. This is a WIP I blogged about in December.  I am making it with my hoarded Folkart Christmas fabrics designed by Robyn Pandolph back in days when she designed for Moda.

3.  Another applique quilt - I am thinking of a design from the Quilting with My Sister book that would make a nice wall hanging for my sewing room.

4.  School Spirit - a gold and blue quilt for the Parents Association auction at my daughter's school

5.  Finish my Dresden plate UFO - this is my portable project.  I knew it would be a long-term endeavor when I started it (in 2007 I think) - long-term, not life-time.

6.  Make something that is atypical for me.  I think this will use my turquoise and aqua fabrics, the fat quarters I've been collecting for a couple of years. 

7.  Skill expander quilt - My skill expander in 2009 was Shasta Daisy, my first machine applique quilt.  I have a WIP based on a variation on the kaleidoscope block. I have not worked with an isosceles triangle before, and a block with 8 pieces coming together in the center is a challenge for me too.   

That's seven goals on the to-do list, which is probably more than enough.  I am sure to be side-tracked by fabric I can't resist and new patterns I see.  But I have good intentions.

What about you?  What are your quilting plans for 2010?

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