Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Red, White and Blue Blog Hop is imminent!

It starts bright and early tomorrow morning! I'm excited. Are you? 93 bloggers and 16 glorious days and of blog hopping joy and Red, White and Blue bliss. I cannot wait to see what my fellow bloggers have come up with.

My day is Monday, July 2nd. I'm feverisly working on my blocks and hope to have my final plan complete on time. As usual I couldn't just do one 10 1/2" or 12 1/2" unfinished block, I had to actually make it into something. If I can hold up in my studio for the rest of the day today and tomorrow, I'll be golden.
And did I mention there might be a giveaway or two on my assigned day? MMMAAAYYYBBBEEE. In fact, I'm guessing there will be a lot of giveways to be won during this hop. Here is the complete schedule for this awesome summer adventure. 

July 1st

July 2nd

July 3rd

July 4th

July 5th

July 6th

July 7th

July 9th

July 11th
Nancy R

July 12th

July 13th

July 14th

July 15th

July 16th

Simple words aren't enough to thank Jane and Madame Samm for putting this Patriotic Party together. It definitely promises to be filled with fireworks galore!

Mini Catch Up

No this is not a report with little information (ie mini), but instead a current report on the mini quilts that I have been working on since we returned from vacation. I was really happy to finish them and get them in the mail on time.

After a lot of pondering, I finally figured out what to add as my next round for the Modern Mini Mystery Round Robin piece that I had to work on this month. I tell ya, it wasn't easy. There were so many different ways I could have taken this and deciding which one was the right one was really difficult. 

Now you didn't honestly believe that I was going to show you the entire thing, did you ? You wish! Sorry to disappoint you but only sneak peaks are allowed and this is all I'm sharing with you. The big reveal of all 32 the finished quilts in late October/early November is going to be really exciting.

Next on my to Do list are the Halloween See Saw blocks. If you remember, this was one of my center blocks.

I forgot to take a picture of it before I added the next round, but Julianne added the Orange and Black checkerboard border with the Purple cat cornerstones. Very cool.

To build on the bit of Purple she introduced, I next added the Purple and Black striped fabric and beyond that the Natural Ghastlie Bramble. The detail is hard to see in this picture so here is a better one of the recent additions.
I felt it with all the busyness of all the pieced parts so far, it needed a couple of thinner simple borders at this point. I can't wait to see what Julianne adds next.

For my other Halloween See Saw block, I did remember to snap a photo of what it looked like before I added to it.

Edy blew me away when I saw what she contributed. I just love it. The circles echo the circles on the gals cheeks. But then I was stumped. What in the world could I add next that would work well with what she had done? I was really worried that I wouldn't figure it out and would just add a plain border just to get it completed and out the door. Well...I'm happy to share that the light bulb went off in my noggin while driving the kidlets to camp and as soon as I got back home, I sketched it out and then ran with it. This is what I came up with.

Euphoria! I am jumping inside I am so happy with how this turned out. I didn't want to add a completely pieced border but adding just a few Flying Geese here and there worked perfectly. And you do notice that not all of them are pointing in the same direction, don't you? I sort of copied her plan of adding different borders to different sides, but went a bit askew and alternated which side got which border. I used the Ghastlie Crewel Mauve, a Black with tiny white polka dots from my stash, the fun Green and Black Harlequin, the Ghastlie Forest Natural and the Ghastlie Bramble Smoke.

These Mini Round Robins are turning out to be a whole lot more fun than I evern imagined they would be when I started them. I'm seeing more ideas and am attempting tons of things that I don't think I would have thought to try before. They are most definitely expanding my quilting brain ten fold. I can't wait for the next installment.

One commenter recently mentioned that she is having so much fun with it that perhaps I might consider hosting more like this in the future, maybe one for each holiday. Evidently she is hoping to have a table topper for each season. Even before she said it, I had already started conceiving the next incarnation of the Mini Round Robin so stay tuned. You won't want to miss it!

Entering the connected world

The weekend before we went on vacation, I finally gave in, retired my poor exhausted basic Razor cell phone and bought an IPhone. 

To be totally truthful, I've been a bit scared to make this leap to the connected world. I really don't want to get caught up in the texting hoopla. My life is already ultra busy enough. I'm sure there are parts of it that will come in handy at times but you won't find me shackled to it all day long like so many others that I see.

A few months ago I saw on someone's blog a link to a company called Zazzle that sells cute cases including cased you can design yourself or quilting themed ones. Of course, that was what I was going to get for my new baby. Right?

Wrong! I hunted around their site for 2 days, had about a dozen choices held in my shopping cart and ultimately settled on this beauty.

OMG I so love it! It is so ME. Bright. Loaded with color. Rainbow hues of course! Even the thin white lines in between the "blocks". How could I choose anything else. My insides get all giggly every time I look at it. I definitely see a new quilt to match this in my future.
A friend who is starting to venture into quilting, thanks to me of course, saw this yesterday and said it suited me perfectly and she can definitely see why I picked it. Yes it is embarassing to have my 5 1/2 year old and even my 3 1/2 year old know more about how these smart phones work than I do but I will figure it out in time.  Just don't laugh at my stumbling for a bit, please.

If you have any terrific apps to share, both ones that I would like and ones my kidlets would love, please share. I have yet to venture to the app store and the only ones on this at the moment are the same ones hubs has on his and the IPod Touch for the kidlets. The intimidation factor in trying to find great apps amongst the thousands available is big and I could use all the help I could get here. Cheap would be nice, free is even better.

I heard you!

L O U D & C L E A R! I will not be changing my blog name. Promise. Actually it was so wonderful to read all your comments and learn that you love my blog's name, the images and feelings it evokes. That is what I attempted to do and I guess I succeeded.

You all had a lot of other great things to say about my blog's layout and hearing that you can navigate around easily was a good thing. A good thing indeed. The header still isn't what I want and it will most definitely be getting a makeover soon. The rest....we'll have to wait and see how I feel about it once the new header is done.

Ann had some terrific thought producing comments, about what I want from my blog and the direction I want to take it in. While I only started it to blog about my quilting life and keep it separate from my personal family blog, I do see the day when I'd like to take it to the next level. 

Sponsors? I'd love to at some point but I don't know how to do that. Making money from my blog isn't my goal but if I could at least get some fabrics once in a while to help keep my budget in check or products to review, that would be cool.  Drawing isn't my cup of tea so I don't ever think that I'll be designing fabric but never say never. It would be ultra cool to make a quilt to be displayed at market one day. I'd probably feel as if I had died and gone to heaven!

I do have a tote bag pattern tutorial drafted and hope to be able to actually make one up soon so that I can share it with you. It's definitely different from most of them available and has a specific purpose so keep tuned for that. There is also a series of very unique blocks in my idea notebook that I might do as a Block of the Month series. Again, I need time to work on it. 

Ann also shared a link to a list of best blogs as compiled by Quilters Home Magazine so I'll be checking those out to see what I like and don't like about them. I'm sure I'll find loads of ideas to try out here.

So Quilts From My Crayon Box will remain Quilts From My Crayon Box but I hope in time that it will look even more wonderful and will bring loads of new readers to follow along on my adventures.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

May Mini Report

I can't show you the Modern Mini Mystery Round Robin I worked on last month, its a secret don't ya know, but I can give you a sneak peak of of what I added. And no I'm not going to hint at who's center block I worked on so don't ask.

I tried an experiment with this one, a totally different idea that popped into my noggin and it went with it. It turned out pretty cool, if I do say so myself. You'll just have to wait until everyone gets them back at the end to see for yourself.

This is what I added to Julianne's Halloween See Saw block. I loved her gals in the center so much! I've got ideas for my next round. She already added her next bit and sent it back to me so you'll just have to wait to see what each of us did.

And this what I added to Edy's adorable embroidered center and yellow bordered block. I can't tell you how many fabric options I auditioned for this...Purple, a darker Orange, Red, Straw, etc but ultimately I chose the Green spider fabric and the Black stars fabric and did a basket weave patterned border. Edy has been graciously patient with me for this round as it is quite a bit late (those teacher quilts really did me in for keeping on time with everything else) but it is finally completed and on its way to her. I'm sharing it now so that she doesn't have to wait any longer to see it.

I'm really loving working on these minis. The variety of colors and fabrics and design possibilities is a blast and it is great to get to work on something different each month. The June Modern Mini Round Robin is next (the July one is here already too) and then another round of both Halloween See Saw Swap blocks will come after that. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The last of the Tribute to Danny quilt blocks

The final block contributions for the Tribute to Danny quilts are coming in and I want to share the beauties with you.

This one came from Terrie (no blog) in . I love what she did. One minute it seems to me that the red is jumping into the spotlight, the next it seems the black is pushing to be front and center.

Next up is this pair sent by Micchonne in Nevada. Wonky stars are so cool! Love them.

Thursday's mail delivery brought this great block made by Sunny in Maryland.  I do love it so and really appreciate her taking the time out of her busy life to whip this one up for me.

Blogging buddy Melinda from Georgia sent this star block and it finally arrived Friday. Just lovely.

And last but definitely not least Deborah in California contributed this one. Love all the dots.

All told I received 33 blocks from fellow quilters far and wide and Thank You will never be sufficient to express how grateful I am to everyone for your help with this project.

Now I have to get my rear in gear and get them laid out and stitched together so that I can get them off to my long arm quilter friend. The event is the end of the month. today I'll be finishing up work on the minis and as soon as they are on their way to the next person, this one will be next up.

I can't wait to show you the finished quilts.

P.S. The envelopes arrived the week before, not last week. With me being on vacation last week, I didn't get to finish this post before I left.

Monday, June 25, 2012

May results and other things

I know, I know. June is almost over but I was soooooo buried getting the teacher quilts done that I didn't have time to post my results of my Crafting by the Numbers self challenge for May. I always say better late than never. Because of the teacher quilts, I spent a lot of time in my studio last month. It doesn't seem like a ton by looking at the number of days but believe you me, it was a LOT of hours all told. But since I'm not tracking hours just days, I'm only reporting as such.

May's frenzy resulted in  11 days of crafting out of the 31 possible or 35%. Year to date total is 49 days of 152 (32%). The total percentage is inching up, though ever so slowly but at least it is going up.

Onto other things. I have been getting a large amount of spam comments from Anonymous pain-in-the-ass folks that have nothing better to do with their lives than to hound my little blog. Really annoying but at least they are getting caught in the spam filter and aren't posting. For now I've switched my settings to not accept any more anonymous comments so I can see what happens. Hopefully they will move onto bothering someone else (though not any of my blogging friends).

I didn't post anything last week because I was out of town on vacation and didn't take my laptop. Now that I am home and the kiddos have started summer camp, I'll be able to get caught up on all my sewing that is waiting, get Lucy set up and running, find a new home for my current Brother machine, get some of the white walled rooms painted and post lots of fun stuff.  Plus I have some scrapbooking projects that have been on the back burner for way too long.

And keep on the watch for a great announcement in the next day or so. You won't want to miss this!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Walk a Little Slower Daddy

"Walk a Little Slower, Daddy," said a little child so small.
I'm following in your footsteps and I don't want to fall.

Sometimes your steps are very fast, sometimes they're hard to see;
So walk a little slower Daddy, for you are leading me.

Someday when I'm all grown up, you're what I want to be.
Then I will have a little child who'll want to follow me.

And I would want to lead just right, and know that I was true;
So, walk a little slower, Daddy, for I must follow you!

Happy Father's Day to all the special Daddies in your lives.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Guiding Young Discoveries

This is the final reveal of the teacher quilts. It too has been given tonight to its new owner. This one is named Guiding Young Discoveries. This beauty was for the lead teacher. She is represented by the very center purple rectangle and the rows of color around it are each of her students. Plus each of the pieced blocks around the center log cabin also represents one of the students.

The bright sunshine doesn't show the colors their very best but it still looks pretty cool if I say so myself. The pieced backing was the first free-flow, whatever-comes-to-me one that I've ever done and I do like the result. It was a bit of a tackle because after cutting off strips to save for the scrappy binding, I had a variety of sizes and shapes left. I just winged it and pieced them together until it was big enough.

The labels actually were put on the front of this quilt in the white center blocks at the middle of the very top and bottom rows. The top label had the name and a great poem that I found online. The bottom label had the school's name and the school year dates along with the names of all the kids in the class, along with my name, the name of my long arm quilter and the date. 

Again my quilter used green thread on this one in another swirly design (she knows what I like so well) and it broke up the big areas of white just enough. She truly understood the meanings behind the fabrics and the blocks so together we chose to not overdo the quilting and let the blocks shine instead

When the lead teacher opened the package, she started to cry immediately. Exactly as I expected her to do. I don't think in all her years of teaching she has received a gift nearly as precious. I had to laugh of course when she said "this is why you asked me what my favorite colors are".  As I said before, I wasn't sure how these colors would work together and how this quilt would come out but when it is all said and done, I'm very pleased with it.

Finished size is 86" x 81". Along with each of the quilts, the teachers were given a scrapbook. On each page is a picture of a student, a quote from the student about what they like most about that teacher and a piece of the fabrics contributed by that student's family to the quilt. This way the teacher can match up the quote and fabrics with each block in their quilt, similar to the 100 Good Wishes Quilt tradition. 

Making these quilts has fulfilled a need for me, to truly thank the people in my child's life that has such a profound influence on him. In this country, most teachers aren't appreciated as they should and I didn't want that to happen to my son's first teachers, the ones that would start the shaping of his school experience for years and years to come.

Expanding Young Horizons

I'm happy to share with you the other assistant teacher quilt, completed and given to her this evening after the Pre-K graduation ceremony.This one has been named Expanding Young Horizons. Finished size is 56" x 64". This quilt, in the blues and yellow, was the perfect one for her because she is expecting a new baby boy next month.

The same basic plan was used, having one pieced block to represent each child and a pieced backing of the leftovers. I really love the way this back turned out. It is almost as wonderful as the top.

The teacher who received this quilt is so sweet and kind but she isn't sure she wants to share it with anyone else in her family. I think it is OK for her to horde it for herself for a while, don't you?

The quilting is another swirly design in a variegated blue thread. As with the green teacher quilt, the quilting really completed the overall design.

I chose to use the yellow for the binding instead of using a scrappy one and I think this turned out to be just right for this quilt. Again I did all the binding by machine. It isn't perfect but I know that no one will know but me.

There is a funny little story for this quilt. When I picked up Jammer from school the other day, this teacher was still there. She saw that I had a thread stuck in my hair and removed it for me. Of course I couldn't tell her that the thread came from the quilt I was finishing for her. Tonight she put 2 and 2 together and realized the connection to that small moment 2 days ago and the quilt she now held.  Speechless isn't adequate to the response she made when she received this gift and I know that it will be cherished and loved for many years to come. 

Growing Young Minds

The teacher quilts are totally complete and tonight they were given to their new owners. I'm proud to finally be able to share the finished quilts with you.

The name for this one came to me very easily. The green fabrics and the basics of what teaching means immediately led me to call this quilt Growing Young Minds. I think it really fits. Getting good outside pictures was a challenge, between struggling against the wind and rushing before the rain came yesterday to still more wind today but plenty of sunshine.

This wasn't the layout I drafted for this quilt. When I laid it out that way, it didn't look or feel right. With the help of a graphic designer, soon to be a quilter friend, we readjusted and came up with this layout. Much better. Each pieced block represents one student in the class and the scrappy border worked well.

I pieced the back with leftover scraps and I really like the result.  I think pieced backs are going to be more of my norm than not from here on out.

The white is actually a very pale pink that kept the greens looking softer and I chose to use the same for the border.

The quilting is a swirly design in green thread that really worked well to blend all the elements into one cohesive piece.

I am proud of how this quilt turned out and it was a major learning experience for me. Finished size is 46" x 62".
Because of the time constraints for getting this quilt done, I sewed both sides of the binding on by machine. While the binding is certainly secure, it didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. Until and if I ever learn to do that much better, I'm definitely going to prefer hand sewing the binding the more traditional way.

The young teacher that received this gift tonight was speechless. She is more of a quiet type of person and she is new into her teaching career and I'm sure she never expected such a meaningful gift. She was definitely moved and grateful. I hope it helps her to see just how special teachers become to their students and their families.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Winner, winner chicken dinner!

It is time to announce the winner of my 100th post giveaway. I still haven't figured out how to show the results of the random number generator on my blog and it seems like every time I have a giveaway, I'm in a rush and therefore have no time to search the web for the answer to the problem. I know that it is out there somewhere and I promise to find it some day. Anyway, Mr. random chose Number 3 who happens to be Lisa and she said:

LOL, the thought of naming my sewing machine never occurred to me. Which is strange since I name my cars. Ok, we'll give it one now. It's a Brother Project Runway, which makes me think of the Fab 5. So I think I'll name it Fabio! Congratulations on 100 posts. And thanks for the generous giveaway!

Congratulations Lisa and congratulations to Fabio for finally getting the love and attention he/she deserves by having a name. I have your address already Lisa so your package will be on its way to you shortly.

Pleasing the Quilt Court

I've fulfilled part of my sentence and have washed some of my quilts. On Sunday I was able to do the 3 teacher quilts plus Thistles and Vines.

I am tickled beyond measure to report that they came out beautifully. Not one of them ran. At all. I used Color Catchers but I forgot to throw them in with the green quilt and it still came out perfect.

Relieved that they didn't run? Absolutely. I was sooooo nervous. I kept watching the machine run (mine has a seen through lid). I kept thinking I saw color in the water but I think it was just reflections off of the steel tub. Each time until the machine finished its cycle, the bell went off and the lid unlocked so I could inspect the results, I was sweating bullets.

Jammer's Sound the Alarm quilt and Sunshine's Loving Sunshine quilt still need to be washed but they will have to wait until another time. The end of school is this week and I am super mega busy. With all the red fabrics in the Sound the Alarm quilt I am over the top anxious about washing that one. If any fabrics are going to run, it would likely be some of the ones in that quilt. I sure hope I can report later that my fears were unfounded but we'll have to wait and see.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Guilty as charged?

Reporter: These here within are the official minutes of the most recent proceedings.

The scene:  Quilt High Court
The Judges:  The Honorable Ms. Moda, King Kaufman, High Priest Henry, Magistrate Miller, Father Free Spirit, Reverend RJR and Barrister Benartex.
The Prosecutor:  Mr. Norman Stuffshirt, Esquire
 The Defendant:  Yours truly

Prosecutor: Your honors, the Defendant is accused of not ever washing any of the quilts she has made so far. Not one of them has had the final step of being made all soft and cozy completed. She has been derelict in her duties of being a finisher. 

Me: In my own defense, I have the following arguments to put forth:

     *I have 2 small children that keep me busy and I am lucky to get any time to sew at all most weeks.  No one can disagree that family must always come first no matter what.
     *One said child nicknamed Jammer was so impatient to actually put his Sound the Alarm quilt on his bed to snuggle under that I barely got to snip the thread on the last binding stitch before he whisked it away.
*Younger child known as Sunshine also was very impatient about receiving her completed Loving Sunshine quilt but so as to be able to call it "Mines" and not because she actually wanted to use it which to date she has not done. Her temper is so nasty that I desperately don't want to bring on her wrath unnecessarily by taking it away when she isn't looking.

*I returned to work, although part time last October, and between that and now having a much bigger house to maintain, my To Do List is forever long and I'm never getting caught up. The kidlets have a play room but still insist on bringing practically everything from there into the Great Room where I step on (mostly cars) or have to navigate around just to walk in there. Good cleaner-up-ers they are not (and therefore that job falls to me).
*I will also admit that I've been a big huge chicken. Petrified in fact. I love my finished quilts and I'm scared to death of the colors running and ruining them. I've heard about those things called Color Catchers that are supposed to help and I did actually buy some but because having clean undies is way more important and required than having soft quilts, those must take precedence in the laundry schedule.
*So I plead Guilty as Charged and ask mercy of this esteemed court. I hope the honorable and respected judges take my circumstances into account when deciding my sentence.

See there your Honors, she admits her guilt publicly. She has no defense, Her arguments are not relevant to this case. Her circumstances are no different for every other quilter in this world and should not be considered during your deliberations. I rest my case!

Reporter: The judges whisper amongst themselves for a very long time. They scan through many official quilting books while glance up at the accused now and again. Head nods of agreement and shakes of disagreement can be seen by the audience. The Prosecutor looks smug and assured of the verdict and the Defendant seems genuinely remorseful.

Chief Judge: This court has considered all the evidence and the accused's own statements, consulted the bibles of quilting and have taken into account our own experiences. While we certainly don't condone her behavior, we have to acknowledge that she is not a seasoned sewer and is still learning the ways and laws of this profession. Each judge on this panel had to admit that we were in her shoes ourselves in the beginning. So this Quilt High Court hereby states the Defendant is indeed Guilty as Charged but with Extenuating Circumstances and therefore is sentenced to immediately remediation of the situation along with 100 hours of house arrest sewing service in her studio, to be served as her family responsibilities allow.  Mr Prosecutor, while we know that you are inclined to seek out and try every quilter for this breach of quilting etiquette, we gently remind you to tread lightly. This is meant to be fun for all and we will never grow and expand our club membership if you are constantly scaring the bejesus out of everyone by bringing them up on charges before this court.

Reporter: Stay tuned America to hear the Prosecutor and Defendant's reactions to the verdict and as well as further investigation by this news seeker if she has indeed reformed her ways and is here on out correctly following in the footsteps of hundreds of quilters before her.

Friday, June 8, 2012

I Am So D.O.N.E and Lessons Learned

The past few days, stitching the final bit of the 3 teacher end of year thank you quilts, this is the way I have felt. D.O.N.E.! At this point I just want these projects over with and onto their new owners.

In part, I hate that I feel this way and it bugs me but I think I know why. First I have been working on practically nothing but these quilts for a long time now and I'm more than ready to start something new. The only quilt that I worked on longer was Jammer's 100 Good Wishes Quilt but that was so different; it was the realization of a dream, not only to have it turn out better than I ever thought it could but also the very beginnings of my life of quilting.

The other slight let down aspect of these projects that fact that none of them are what I originally planned to do. Because of the addition of one more student to the class and the need to revise the projects accordingly, what I envisioned in the beginning is not what they turned out to be. The first plan would have been so much cooler I think and I guess I am mourning that loss a tad. I know the teachers will love them all and they will be so appreciated for years to come, but I still can't help but wish for what might have been.

So looking back I've had a number of lessons learned along the way.

First and foremost, I will never do another project like these ever again. While I love the idea of giving a teacher a more meaningful end of year gift and I'm sure that I will be making quilts for them for years to come, I won't do it the way I did it this year. I don't mind the idea of being the "mom that makes quilts for teachers" but from now on I will be choosing a pattern and the fabrics myself. I don't ever want to end up with a 'change in the number of students in the class' problem that throws my project in total haywire again.  And even though I fully expected that some of the parents would buy fabrics from the big chain stores, some of them were absolutely horrible to work with. My seam ripper got more use than normal and the cussing came out of my mouth with frequency. Plus it is obvious that some people don't know their colors. I gave them very specific color guidelines based on each teacher's favorites but some of the fabrics I received were anything but those colors and that made it all the more difficult to blend them into something cohesive. Overall these quilts were a lot more work than they should have been and if I don't want to spend 6 months on these projects each coming year I'm going to have to do it my way.

Secondly I realized that the vast majority of the parents have no clue as to what I am actually doing and therefore while they have an appreciation for the idea of something homemade and more lasting than a gift certificate, until they see the finished quilts next week, they will have been totally in the dark as to all that it took to create them. That did give me leeway to make whatever blocks I wanted to make without any expectations from them but some of the thoughtless comments I received (from one parent in particular) showed me just how clueless they are. From what I learned about her later from the class mom, this is how she typically is to everyone so I'm trying hard not to take it personally but it still stings. Now don't get me wrong, I know the parents are very appreciative and will be flabbergasted when they see them, but it is always that one or two in every group that leaves a bit of sour taste in your mouth.

Third since I didn't have a ton of time to get these quilts actually made, I used block patterns from a variety of sources and guess what I found out? No matter how careful I was and how accurate my seam allowances were, many of the blocks came out slightly different sizes. Different sources definitely has different results. It was a good thing the differences weren't that huge and I was able to ease them all together without a ton of wrestling. One book, instead of having sizes to cut of the pieces in the instructions had paper templates and I found that I don't care for them at all. What a pain in the $%&@ to figure out what sizes to cut instead of actually cutting out each individual template for the one block I was making.  I got pretty good at cutting a square 3 1/4 and a half.

No matter what, these quilts were a learning process for me. They stretched my thinking and gave me more than enough stress in working out the changes to last a while. At least until next school year that is. I'm already on the lookout for just the right plan for the 2013 versions and since both kidlets will be at the same school, I need to make not 2 but 4 of them. I'll probably start them in October so I'm not rushing like a mad women come June to get them finished. Rushed I do not like to be.

Shopping Hiatus

Guilt. Lots of guilt. I have it in abundance. Over all the money I've spent in the past 1 1/2 months on my quilting obsession. Being an accountant and keeping the bottom line in mind isn't always a good thing.

Besides as I mentioned before and realized more clearly when I did my mini clean up of my studio last weekend, I have plenty of projects and stash to keep me busy for a while.

So I've decided that with a few specific exceptions, I'm going on a shopping hiatus for the summer. Of course I made this resolution after I bought a few more goodies last Sunday. I heard about a going out of business sale at Quilt Kit Market from Kristen and just couldn't resist helping her clear out her inventory. I bought this full size Sophie by Chez Moi kit for a whopping $35. It will be a good quick project to have on hand for the next unexpected gift needed.

This kit was also irresistible. How could I not like something Halloween- that is this cute? It will be the new  decoration on my front door this fall.

What else did I indulge in? Well....I bought this Tropicana Batiks jelly roll for $27. I just love the combination of colors in it and might already have plans for it.

Lastly I added a little something to my order for a future giveaway prize though I'm certainly not going to tell you what I chose . In total I spent just under $100 but it was still $100 that I didn't need to spend. Yes I will be happy to have these beauties but more guilt also came with the "Pay Now" button.

My plan? Try hard, really hard to be good through Labor Day.  My Quilting To Do List has been updated with all the projects I have ready to go or are in the serious planning stage and the only purchases I will be making outside of this hiatus are specific ones that I need for 3 of the items on that list.
One of those "needs" is some yardage for a Christmas quilt. I finally decided what I'm going to do with the Fruitcake jelly roll that I won from Kristen last fall and I needed to get the rest of the coordinated fabrics before it disappeared totally since it already scarce. Last night I found what I wanted at Sew Fabulous Quilt Shop for $4.50 per yard. At least I got a great bargain.

My other allowed purchase will be: 1) Backing and binding for another baby girl quilt due over the summer 2) 4 yards for a swap I'll be announcing soon and 3) Sashing, border, backing and binding for the Tribute to Danny quilt, due at the end of July. I'm actually hoping the quilt shop in his home town will actually donate some/all of this.

There is a motive besides just keeping my guilt at bay and wallet closed. I hope to attend the big quilt show in Philadelphia in September and if I do get to go, I want to be able to spend as close to guilt free as I possible can.  These 3 specific projects are far from the only ones on my list. There are actually over 25 plus another 9 stacks of precuts in my stash that I have yet decided what to do with. Hopefully if I can be successful and only work on that which I already own, I'll be able to enjoy my fall and shop to my heart's content.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

100th post and giveaway!

Hmmmm. What to write about? My 100th post should be a really good one, right? It should be hilarious and thought provoking and inspirational all at the same time.

I have a bunch of posts in Draft mode, maybe I should just finish up one of those and use it. Perhaps something else totally awesome will come to mind. Wouldn't it be terrific if the light bulb in my brain went off while I was in the shower (my typical place to dream up ideas) and the perfect little spark would form?

Oh the heck with it. My brain is in a fog yet again this morning. The never ending sinus pressure and drainage is driving me a bit insane. By this afternoon I will be breathing easier but the mornings are murder, murder I tell ya.

And I know you only want to know about the giveaway anyway. So here it is....(3) one yard cuts of Hip Hop Hearts by Ro Gregg.
While doing that bit of studio clean up over the weekend, I spotted them and wondered why I ever bought them. Oh yeah...I thought I might make something for my BFF....she loves prints like these. The problem? She doesn't like brights! She likes more subdued shades.

So her loss is your gain and yes in case you want to know, I have something else more her taste in the planning stages. This giveaway is open to my followers. I appreciate those of you that read my ramblings but I want this giveaway to celebrate those of you that stick around a while. What do you have to do to win?

1) Tell me your sewing machine's name and what inspired it. What do you mean your machine doesn't have a name? Shame on you. She/he is a cherished member of your family and deserves a name. So if your beloved doesn't already have a name, now is the time to bestow one on her/him.

2) For a 2nd chance, get one bloggy friend (or more) to become a follower and make sure they tell me that you sent them. Each person that you bring to the party gives you one additional chance to have these lovely fabrics as your own.

That's it. Easy peasy lemon squeezie. International participants welcome. You have until midnight Monday June 11th and I will pick a winner Tuesday morning.

Now I need to get my back side in gear, drop Sunshine off at daycare and get to work. I hope you have a positively lovely quilty day!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Skip Hop

Strange title for a blog post? Perhaps. But it sums up what I decided to do this weekend...namely skipping my local Shop Hop. Really! And I'm happy about it. And relieved. After my shopping spree during the NJ Shop Hop last month and acquiring Lucy last weekend, I felt the need to curb my spending for a bit. Plus the fact that 1) I've recently visited half of the shops in the past month while helping my friend research machines so I've seen all they have to offer 2) hopping is fast and furious work and there isn't much time to browse leisurely (which I prefer) so my friend and I decided to do the other shops on mini road trips over the summer months and 3) it is impossible for me to NOT buy something when hopping and I certainly don't need anything at the moment (curbing the spending plan ya know) overall skipping this year's hop is a good thing. I did buy the shop hop bag weeks ago and therefore I will be able to take advantage of the 20% off-all-you-can-fit-in-the-bag-sale that happens for one week in Nov. By then I will feel ok about buying again.

So what is/was the plan for this weekend? Well...yesterday afternoon I sewed on the binding on the blue teacher quilt but it was raining all day yesterday so no pictures. Hopefully the weather will cooperate today and I can get the shots to share with you.

After that little bit was complete and while I struggle with deciding on a name for that quilt (amongst also getting the mountain of laundry done), I decided to do a quick cleanup of my studio. It has been a jumble for weeks while I worked on the teacher quilts and I just couldn't take it any more. Messes and me do not go together!

I figure you'd like to actually see what my studio looks like, bare white walls and all. As soon as mid July rolls around, the deadlines are over and a couple of trips are complete, some of the wall painting in this house is going to commence but until then, the starkness continues.
I so love having my own space, where I don't have to put it all way just to have dinner and I can see what's going on. Plus the gorgeous light that streams in those windows is absolutely wonderful (even though it washed out this photo). This is how I left things at 11:30 pm last night. My little body was bushed and although I really wanted to finish the sprucing up, I gave in and went off to bed.

On the right you can see my design wall with some of the Tribute to Danny blocks. There are a bunch more but they kept falling off from the breeze I created every time I fluffed out the teacher quilt to lay on the floor and clip the binding over. I promise that I will put them all back up soon and share a photo of the beauties together. The pile on the floor are the other 3 quilts that desperately need bindings: Jammer's 100 Good Wishes Quilt, Miss M's 100 Good Wishes Quilt and the Pretty in Pink baby quilt. The table covered with the vintage cloth and hosting some of my scrapbooking things and the kids' 100 Good Wishes scrapbooks is my mom's vintage Singer, all nicely tucked up inside. At some point I'm going to set her up for the kids to use. No reason not to let them get more into this quilting thing if they want too. Under is my magazine basket and to the left is my drawer bin with thread and other miscellany in the bottom, my scraps in the middle and all the envelopes and lovely notes sent with the Danny blocks in the top bin. Sitting on top is my basic sewing box that hubs is allowed into if he needs to sew a button back on a shirt, not that he ever does that and I end up with that task, but a girl needs a sewing box and I hunted for 2 years until I found one cool enough.

I'm sure many of you will think I am batty because I love the desk I use for a sewing table. Yes it sits higher than a typical sewing table and my machine does not recess into it but I actually prefer it that way. It makes me sit up straighter and I've found that I have a lot less back stress and aches this way.

Again to the left (I am right handed after all) is my awesome cutting table that I bought off of Craigslist last fall for my birthday. It is mega huge and really sturdy and I paid a whopping $75 bucks for it. A better deal than the flimsier ones from Joanns. I can easily clear it off to take the overhang if I am working on something big. The scrapbook tote against the wall works perfectly for my rulers, scissors and cutters etc. All the pockets make it easy to grab what I need and then put it back to help keep the mess under reasonable control. Underneath are my basket for strings (I hope to do something with these at some point), the trash can, the cross stitch projects that are meant as Christmas gifts if I ever finish them and my 2 baskets of projects in waiting (that grew from 1 basket recently). This is just proof that I need to stop buying and get sewing more...I want some of those projects actually done.

This great sign was bought during the winter and today it will get hung on the wall right above this spot. I'm tired of waiting to get this room painted before I hang things on the walls. They can always come down and go back up after, right?

And this is the other side of the room. I'm not even going to tackle the closet until I get some shelves in there even though I'm itching too. Once I get the cleaning and organizing bug I prefer to keep going until it is all done. The dresser was a pass it on from our old neighbor which holds my stash, my scrapbooking tools and small supplies. You can see all my paper bins on the top. Where originally my stash took up about 2 1/2 drawers, once I added the bounty from the NJ Shop Hop and the leftovers from the teacher quilts, it now almost totally fills 4 drawers and the scrapbooking stuff is crammed into the top one. Reason #2 to quit buying for a bit and use up some of what I already have and have plans for.

On today's agenda: finish the clean up in this room, deal with the cut offs from the blue teacher quilt (the batting bits go in a bin in the closet) bind the purple and green teacher quilt and get labels for all 3 printed. The last teacher quilt will be picked up tomorrow after work and then I only have a week to get them all totally done. 

In closing I thought I'd share a pic of my kidlets this morning with the babies. This morning they were doing as they typically do and race around the 1st floor in a harried frenzy. Whether it is just them or them pushing the strollers (a little added racing element?) my kids love to go round and round and round down the hall, through the kitchen, racing past the dining room and then rounding the corner in the playroom/future library before hooking a right at the stairs and starting it all over again. And again and again and again. They make me dizzy. Usually they are going too fast for me to get a good shot of them but they agreed to stop for a moment so I could capture this one.

Next up will be my 100th Post post and a little giveaway so stay tuned!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

What's in your mailbox?

The new stand overflows with quilting magazines, both the regular bimonthly editions but also the plethora of special issues that are so abundant these days. How to choose which ones are the best and deserve your subscription dollars? It is a quandary that every quilter including myself faces. Certainly none of us has luxury of a bottomless wallet or unending storage space to be able to buy them all, not to mention the time to actually read them.

I started with a subscription to McCall's Quilting.
 It was part of my birthday present from my mom. I like it but I don't love it. Ya know what I mean?  There are definitely a bunch of fresh new ideas in it but also a lot of traditional quilts just made with current fabrics. I still have another year on this subscription before I have to decide whether or not to renew it.

With more of my birthday money last year from Mom, I took advantage of a 2 for 1 deal. The first was for Quilters Newsletter.
It is a really nice focuses mostly on art type quilts and that is just not me. At all. Granted some of the quilts are stunning, like the one on the current issue's cover as you can see in the picture, but overall I just don't get much out of it myself. This is one I won't be renewing.

The other subscription of the 2 for 1 deal was Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting.
 I'm not sure how I feel about this one yet. Yes it has some new ideas but it is heavy on traditional quilts/blocks/layouts. I don't like that it seems like a catalog for their kits that they sell themselves. A decision about whether or not to continue having this delivered by my mailman will need to be made soon but I'm going to percolate on it for a bit first. If I were to guess today, this one will get cancelled too.

Knowing that I'm definitely not renewing at least one of the above magazines, I started checking out the other options. Forget about Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims' Quilt Life. Boring. I don't need their recipes thank you very much and the rest of it.....nothing to hold my interest. I've read American Patchwork and Quilting but since I can get practically all of its contents for free on their website, it doesn't make sense to pay for a print copy.

Recently I sent in my check for a year of Quiltmaker.
From the single issue I bought, this one could be promising. Final judgement will have to wait though until I have read at least 3 of the coming months' offerings. But it does bug me that I received a renewal notice already before my first copy even arrived.

Others under consideration are: Quilt, The Quilter and Quilter's World. 

So what do you read and more importantly why? What do you want in a quilt magazine?

For me I want insights into new fabric lines coming out, great info on cool must have tools and quilting gift items (there isn't nearly enough of this), book reviews, new quilt block designs and layouts along with old time blocks made and set in innovative new ways. Plus I love seeing out-of-the box ideas like the one I saved for painting quilt blocks on a wall. It is much better if the magazine includes techniques, not just those for beginners but others for those of us who are beyond the basics. That is how I learned what Trapunto is. I've even saved a few articles on such things as how to prepare your quilt for your long arm quilter, the differences in the various long arm machines (in case I ever delve into that arena) and how to plan to make a quilt for raffling success. It is these sorts of articles that sets one magazine apart from the others. I want more, oh so much more, than just a bunch of patterns.

So talk to me gang! Tell me what your mail carrier delivers to  your mailbox. Are there any other worthy contenders that I'm leaving out? Is there a perfect magazine for me? I have yet to find it.