Tuesday, January 31, 2012

FO Challenge

It's time to tally up what I've started in January as part of Cat Patches New FO ChallengeYou can link up to that with the button on the side bar.  I didn't think I was going to start much but as I was sorting through the stash and organizing the scrap, I had to step back and sew something.  I have this friendship star quilt pieced.

This was the beginning of my scrap quilt journey.  It needs backing and quilting so it is officially unfinished.

Then, because I need to have busy work with my hands at night, I started these Sunbonnet Sue redwork blocks.
As of last night, I have the embroidery work done.  Now it's a matter of deciding how I'm going to put it together.

I saw this pattern in the January 2007 issue of The Quilter Magazine and thought it would be perfect for a scrap quilt.
As I was doing the "scrappin", I cut 6" blocks of lights and darks until I had enough to make 144 blocks.  Last night I laid them all out on the floor and labeled them with little stickers because you can see there is a definite pattern going here.  Minnie had to stroll through it all a few times but I got it the way I wanted it and started sewing some of those blocks together this morning.
 Did I miss anything?  Oh, I haven't finished the mini quilt for my swap partner.  This is a swap hosted by Michele over at Quilting Gallery.
 To learn more click on the button on the side bar.  This one I will have to finish, however.  

This FO Challenge is going to be especially challenging for me as I am a finisher.  I have a hard time leaving projects left undone.  But, if I start enough of them, that may not be a problem.  I still have more spinning around in my head.  

I'm also a mult-tasker so I'm scorching dinner while writing this.  Time to shut up and save the food.

Monday, January 30, 2012


A strange title for a post, wouldn't you say?  But, that's what it turned out to be.  Last Friday I got an email newsletter from a nearby quilt shop stating that Saturday was the last day to bring fabric donations to the store.  It seems there are two groups making quilts for the veteran's home and homeless shelters and they are in need of fabric.  Quilters Dream Quilt Shop were offering a win-win deal.  Bring your unwanted fabric in and the shop will give you the percentage off of what your fabric weighs.  Since I've been in a cleaning frenzy in the sewing room, I gathered up all that yardage that's been on my shelves for a few years (I don't even know where it came from), bagged it up  and motored on down the road.  

 This lovely pile of goodies added up to 17 pounds.

I won't even miss it.

But, I didn't have the chance to go through everything so I missed another bag full.  Nonetheless, I got a 17% discount that day.

I needed more red in my stash so I came home with this.
 This will go nicely with the Sunbonnet Sue redwork blocks I'm embroidering.
 I worked steadily over the weekend organizing and I got this far.

 It really doesn't look like I have all that much but this is by no means all of it.  Just the basics. I'm glad my local hardware store had a sale on those shoebox containers..2 for $3.00.  I bought nearly all they had.

I still have the Christmas fabric to tackle which is jammed in this cupboard.

 And, then there's the closet.  I'm not showing a picture of that.  I'm embarrassed.  I need to take a break from the mess and do some sewing.  It's so beautiful outside today (in the 40s) that maybe a walk up to the library should be my first  priority. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012


We had visitors at the bird feeders yesterday afternoon.  Not an unusual sight in Minnesota these days but I'm always amazed when I see them waltz into the yard. 
This flock of 24 turkeys live in the woods just across the field from our house.  We live in town but at the end of the street is a corn/bean field  which was purchased by a developer.  Since the bottom fell out of the housing market, the field is leased to a local farmer which keeps it in it's natural state.  In the winter, the farmer keeps his beef cattle in the field; thus, the turkeys are always hanging around.  Last summer we had a family of 8 visit our yard every day.  We watched the babies grow and diminish from six to four as the summer wore on.  

This is the view from our back yard to the east.  The dark specks are the cattle
 I love having the field so close.  We feel like we live in the country even though we live in town.  

I baked  kolaches yesterday.  Only the second time I'd ever made them.  For those of you that don't know what a kolache is, you are missing out.  No. 38 refers to them as Bohemian biscuits but they are actually one of  Czechoslovakia's national pastries.  There are as many versions as there are Czech communities but the version I made are as close as I've ever come to making our community's version.  I filled mine with apricot but they also can be filled with prune, apple or poppy seed. 

 When I buy these at the store or bakery there's only a smear of fruit filling in the center.  I made sure there was at least a tablespoon or more.  A dozen of these little guys went into the freezer and we ate six yesterday and this morning.  This is all that's left of the ones I didn't put in the freezer.  Mm mm.

Snow is predicted for tomorrow so will continue my scrappin' project.  I think I need to take a break and actually sew something so I can feel like I'm accomplishing something.  Yup, I think that's what I'll do and I have the perfect project in mind.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More FMQing

I decided I needed a little more practice on my free motion quilting for January so I put together the sample quilt suggested by Sew Cal Gal.  I want to have something to show for the next twelve months.  I came up with enough flannel to make the sampler and it can be a baby quilt when it's done.
Oh my gosh, the pictures didn't go up in the order I wanted.  Well, you get the idea.  I really like this leaf design and I think I'll be using that one often.

I'm still working on my scrapping and sorting.
 The top picture is the cutting table and sorting into strips, bottom left is the 30s fabric that is done and the bottom right is the "crumbs" that are being thrown away.  I look at this mess and it just overwhelms me.  What have I started?  And I have so much  yet to do.  Maybe I need to have a cup of tea, or a glass of wine or bake something or start my taxes.  Or all of the above! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

More Scrap Therapy

I've been working on the scrap project, sorting and cutting and organizing.  Seems like that's the theme this year judging from the blogs I visit.  Everyone is trying to get organized.  

I hopped on over to the The Quilting Gallery and Michele has a new swap starting.  It's called New Beginnings Mini Quilt Swap.  I've participated in only one swap hosted by Michele and it was fun to see who and where my swap partner was from.  You have until Feb. 1st  to registerI started on my mini quilt, actually I have the top done but will only show you a couple of pics to tease you a little.

I used the batik scraps to make these 2 inch blocks

Those little guys will be put together like this.  Wait until you see the end result.  I'll post it when I get it completed and before I have to send it off to my swap partner.

Two nights ago I couldn't sleep.  I hate those times and I try to do something constructive when it happens.  Either reading or play a word game on the Kindle or knit hoping that by 3:00 a.m. I'll drop off.  But the other night I was awake all night until finally at 5:30 I went to sleep.  In the meantime, I did all of the above and managed to nearly complete knitting a sweater for Minnie.  She loves her sweaters.

This was the first time I did a cable stitch and it worked up real nice.

Now I know what I can do the next time I have one of those sleepless nights.  Anyone out there needing a dog sweater?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Blueberry Muffin Caper

The day started as usual.  No. 38 left for his OFS (Old Fart Society) meeting at the coffee shop and I headed for the treadmill for my 35 minute Walk To Nowhere.  Our plan for the day was to go grocery shopping in the city.  My friend Sandy called that morning and wondered if we could get together for coffee later, so that was on my agenda for the day.   We ventured off to the big city and did our hunting and gathering.  I wanted to stop at Hobby Lobby as I had a gift card I was dying to use.  I was thinking in terms of paper craft supplies for making cards but when I got there, I was overwhelmed with the amount of stuff to choose from and with No. 38 waiting for me in the car. Who can casually browse Hobby Lobby under those circumstances?  I decided I best come back another day on my own.

After we got home and put groceries away, I packed up some herbal tea bags and a couple of blueberry muffins I had baked the day before and escaped to have a visit with my friend.  Upon arriving home later in the afternoon, No. 38 proceeded to tell me about the blueberry muffin thief.  It seems he decided to have a snack when he saw that there were 4 blueberry muffins left on the counter.  He fixed himself a cuppa  and put it in the microwave then sat down in his lounger with his muffin.  The microwave beeped so he left his muffin on the table next to his chair and went to get his cup.
Across the room, Miss Minnie was keeping an eye on No. 38.  You see, he feeds her a bite of nearly everything he eats.  I remind him daily  how this practice is not healthy for her.  Maybe I should say I nag him daily; well, okay, I harp on the subject.  Nonetheless, she knows wherever he goes there's sure to be a crumb or two for her.  When he got up to retrieve his cup, which is no more than a dozen steps away, she spotted that unguarded muffin. 

You guessed it...
Only one tiny little crumb was left behind.  You can barely see it on the right hand edge of the table.   He said he didn't scold her because I think she felt guilty enough. 

Does this look like a dog with a conscience?
It's like she's saying, "It's not my fault.  Grumpa abandoned that muffin and I only rescued it."

Last night there were only two muffins left.  Another one mysteriously disappeared at some point in time and it wasn't me or Minnie who ran off with it.  I'm sure I'll be seeing those little blueberries  again some time today.  LOL

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Scrappy Result

Remember this?

Some of that is now this
The pattern is called Friendship Stars and it's from Sally Schneider's book Crazy for Scraps.  I used 2" blocks and 3 1/2" blocks.  It's not backed or quilted yet but I'm so happy that my scraps are being used.  Whoop-Whoop.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

FMQ Challenge

I've been practicing the free motion quilting, made my practice sandwiches and applied it to the flannel quilt.  I did the actual quilting to the quilt when we had the guild retreat last Saturday.  So, here are my practice pieces.

I used different colored threads to see how they would appear on the blocks of my quilt.  I liked the dark red on the front but when I looked at the back, it was too fussy considering the design of the backing fabric.
 The ecru shade didn't even look good.  I then settled on the forest green thread which looked good on both front and back.

 Don't you just hate it when this happens?  Good thing it was my practice piece.

 On to the actual quilt.  I finished all but the borders.  

And the close-up version

 I haven't decided how I'm going to quilt the borders, yet.  Maybe just a smaller version of this leaf pattern.

I'm definitely liking this FMQ Challenge.   I shared the information on the challenge with my guild members and hope they participate.  You can join in at any time.  Just click on the FMQ gadget on the right side bar for information on how to join.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Herding the Scraps

I had a blissful day creating a scrap quilt.  I'll back up.  I've been tackling a mess of scraps that have been hanging off of my door in one of those shoe thingies. 

I thought this was a good idea at the time but I found I don't use anything that's in those pockets because it's a balled up mess.  

I decided it was time to herd these scrap critters.

First, I ironed every piece and cut each piece into a strip depending on how large the piece was.  I cut 1/2 inch increments starting with  
1 1/2 inch and going up to 4 inches.

 I sorted the pieces in these containers as I cut.

I took each container and sorted the pieces by value..dark, medium and light. 

Then I put each color value into zip-lock bags and  nestled them into their respective container.  

Tell me this is going to work.  

I tried it out today by starting a scrap quilt.  I took the 2 inch container and cut  an assortment of 2 inch dark and medium squares.  Then I took the 3 1/2 inch container and cut 3 1/2 inch lights.   I have an idea in mind having to do with four patches and maybe a star design.  Hmm, yes, this is going to work.  I know one thing, I eliminated one eyesore in the sewing room and I have a creative vision of what to do with the scraps.  This is just a start.

 This little beauty is now in my closet with SHOES in it. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Retreat Day

It was a productive day at the retreat.  Well, of course it was productive.  Isn't that why we leave our safe sewing rooms with all our stuff and go somewhere else to sew?   We all did our own thing..finishing projects and starting new ones.  I managed to get most of  the quilting done on a flannel quilt I was saving just for this day.
I did the design from the first tutorial by expert Frances Moore of the FMQ Challange.  For more information on this challenge click on the gadget on the right side bar or go here.  I think I can submit my challenge for the month after doing this quilt.  I still have the borders to do so will wait to show you when that's done.

Other members worked on their projects:    Ruth was playing with some of her 60 degree triangle designs.  I did take pictures of our members working on their projects but neglected to ask them if they would mind having their pics on my blog.  So for privacy reasons, I'll not show them hunched over their projects.  But, believe me, we all worked very hard.  Oh yeah, there were a lot of laughs and  food.

We had Subway sandwiches brought in

And everyone brought more goodies.  

As you can see, we didn't go hungry.

We also had some show and tell. 

This scrappy quilt using fall fabrics got my juices flowing as I'm attempting to herd my scraps.  

This one was made with Christmas scraps.  The background fabric was the word JOY swirled around.   

It was a fun day and I came home renewed.  Isn't that the whole idea of retreats?  Back to herding.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Retreat Day

I'm off to the quilt guild retreat.  A day of sewing, sharing and visiting.  Number 38 refers to this day as a gossip day (well, he had another phrase in mind..)  We don't do that.  It's a day to get some quality sewing time and sharing with quilty friends.  I've been kind of frantic the past two weeks with holidays and family matters so feel like I'm behind in everything quilt related, sewing related, organization related.  I did do some scrap therapy this week.  I think I mentioned that in an earlier post.  This is what I have to contend with:

I save every bit of scrap and I just can't do that anymore.  More later.  My ride is almost here.  Have a fun Saturday.  I know I will.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Joni's Day

That last couple of days have been bittersweet.  A time of tears and laughter and family gathering.  I had no idea how many lives Joni touched.  People streamed into the funeral home for visitation for several hours.  My cousins traveled many hours  to attend either the visitation or the funeral yesterday or both.  And, the picture boards had photos of my family members that I've never seen.  Joni's daughters did an incredible job gathering memories.  I told them they could become professional funeral planners.   Joni kept a photo album of all 103 foster babies.  They weren't just snapshots, she took the babies to a professional photographer and had 8 x 10's done up.  I'm sure a copy went to the adoptive parents when the baby left Joni's care.

I just have to share one more thing.  After the funeral yesterday, everyone was invited to Applewood Restaurant for the lunch.  Joni was hostess/server there for 30 years.  This was not the traditional ham sandwich/hot dish funeral luncheon.  The owner put out the full-blown Sunday buffet including salad bar.

There was roast beef or was this prime rib?  It was delicious

There was chicken and fish

and, ham.
It was a grand gathering of all my nieces and nephews and their kids and many friends.  Joni brought us all together again.  She'll be missed.

Tomorrow I shall be back in the swing of things.  Stuff has piled up; however, I did make my 2012 list of projects which I may need to prioritize somewhat.  And I did some scrap herding the past couple of days because it's rather mindless..ironing and cutting and sorting.  My quilt guild is having a retreat day on Saturday so I'll be sharing some of that in the days to come.   Time, now, for a cuppa.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's All About Family

I've been hesitating to post until I feel more balanced but I think by sharing I'll get there faster.  On the 12th of October I posted about my sister  Joni and how life can change unexpectedly.  Joni passed away on Friday.  She has been having regular dialysis but hasn't been improving.  On Friday she was running a temperature and was at the hospital for dialysis.  When she got home she laid down for a nap and never woke up.  She left quite a legacy of service and caring for people and love for her family.  She fostered over 100 newborn babies for Catholic Charities besides raising 5 children, caring for her 11 grandchildren after school and worked as a server/hostess at Applewood Supper Club.  She was the face of Applewood.  Joni was 10 years old when I was born and she took care of me up until she went to high school.  I must have been the perfect child; hence her love for taking care of babies.  :)  Every time we had a phone conversation she would  say "I love you, little sis" before she said goodbye.  She adored her family, her bowling team, holidays and her lifelong friends.  I love you Joni.