Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What's happening?

When you hear the phrase What's Happening, do you think of that show from the late 70s? I do. Yes I am old enough to remember it but thankfully I look younger than I really am.
Anyways...to answer the question...not much really. And that is a bummer. Normal everyday life is busy as usual. Work. Laundry. Kids. Dirty dishes. The typical stuff that eats up creative time.

At least on Friday I was able to accomplish this!
While I'm still waiting for Joey's 100 Good Wishes quilt to come back from my longarm quilter, I finally have time to start getting to know Penelope. There are no deadlines on my calendar so what I choose to do next is totally up to me. Yippee !

I hadn't touched her since I brought her home and set her up 3 months ago. The 1st thing that needed to be fixed was the fact that I had one part of the carriage on backwards, so off came the take up bar so that I could turn it around. Let me tell you, lifting up a 75 lb machine and flipping that board around and then getting the machine back on the carriage in a good spot wasn't an easy task by myself but I did it. 

Once that was complete, I added the furniture mover pads under the legs to make sliding the frame out on the carpet when I want to quilt  much easier. I brought my laptop upstairs to my studio so that I could watch the How To videos while learning where to oil my machine, how to thread her and how to load a quilt. The fact that the Windows Media Player on it kept getting hung up made this part take much longer than it should have. I ended up watching them on the desktop in the 1st floor office, pausing it and running back up stairs to do each bit. At least I got lots of exercise. You can chuckle at me for being willing to admit that at first I pinned the backing onto the wrong bar and had to change it before I could load the top.

This is just some really cheap practice fabric that I bought from the big W store and some left over batting. For my 1st messy practice stitches I didn't want to waste perfectly good fabric and using this nasty stuff keeps me from feeling guilty about its eventual destination..the trash bin. I know that I will never use fabric from that place for anything but practicing. Trust me, it doesn't feel nice at all.

Unfortunately I had to go pick up the kids from summer camp right after I snapped this photo so no actually stitching was accomplished. Then Saturday we ran a bunch of errands and the rest of the day was spent cleaning for our pending Sunday to Monday house guest. To top it off I came down with a summer cold yesterday morning. I sure hope I'll be up to actually turning Penelope on and testing her out this week but only time will tell.

I hope you are able to find some creative time yourself this week.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I have a request

With all the shake out I think is still going on for many people when Google Reader shut down, so many thing that most of us had gotten very used to are changing and where that will ultimately lead us is currently unknown.

Obviously you've chosen some way to continue to follow your favorite blogs whether it be my personal choice Feedly
or you are lovin Bloglovin.
Or perhaps you are following by some other method. What ever method you use to find your way here, I thank you for continuing to follow my quilting journey. But the one thing that is still open ended for me is my reader count, how to know just how many readers I have. Like many other quilting bloggers, I like to celebrate my loyal readers and have had giveaways when I've reached another milestone, a party for my followers to thank them for finding my content worthy of continuing to read. It feels to me like I've "met" a new friend. I have a Bloglovin counter on my sidebar and I don't think Feedly has that ability available yet but now I have absolutely no idea whatsoever how many readers I really have.
No true way to count equals no reason to celebrate with a giveaway party.
Now you will read all over the internet that when Google shut down its reader it also shut down Google Friend Connect. But in truth that doesn't seem to be the case. Just this past week I joined a few new-to-me blogs through GFC and although I needed to manually add them to my Feedly list, they are also showing up in my Blogger list. Obviously if you don't use Blogger this isn't relevant to you but obviously the talk of the demise of GFC is a bit premature. Will it totally disappear in the future? Who knows but for now I'm going to continue to use it to join new blogs and to count my followers on my blog.

So what favor do I need from you? It's easy. If you originally started reading my blog by joining through Google Friend Connect you don't need to do anything. You are already in that count. But if you've recently found me and are following through one of the other reader options, I'd like to ask that you also "join" through my GFC. I would really like to know just how many of you there are, how many of my Bloglovin readers are already duplicates of my GFC number and how many of you there are that don't show on a counter here at all yet. Until a better option comes along (I truly hope something does eventually), that is how I will count my number of readers and then host another giveaway.

And who doesn't love a giveaway?
I'm really close to 350 and since it has been a while since I've had a giveaway here, I'll do it once that goal is reached. I have a basket full of goodies that I've collected for just such occasions and I'll pick a couple of them to offer up to one lucky winner.

So please, if you haven't already, join my list of readers through Google Friend Connect so that I can continue to share my love of quilting with giveaways for you.
P.S. If anyone out there knows of a better solution to this issue, I'm all ears.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Today's the Day - the 2013 Modern Mini Mystery Round Robins Revealed

Here it is - my Modern Mini Mystery Round Robin 2013 quilt

This is how my humble little block started back in January. While searching for an inspiration for this year's round robin block, I decided that I wanted a wall hanging for an empty space in our bedroom and these colors of Chocolate Brown and Blue came together to complement our room's decor.
Of course I had no idea what my group mates would do with this block. Would they stick with my color scheme or play tricks on me and take it in a totally different direction altogether? I had absolutely no idea but that is the whole point of this round robin, everyone gets to add what they want. 

When I finally received the envelope containing my quilt back home, just like last year I was nervous about opening it. Would I like it? Would I be happy with the quilt that they created for me? I sure hoped so and I wasn't disappointed. This is the beautiful quilt that unfolded before my eyes.
There is so much movement going on in this quilt and so many great shades of Blue and Brown and I know that it will look fantastic on the wall of our bedroom. 
I'm glad my little assistants were willing to help for a few minutes so that I could get these pictures but let me tell you, these were the only good ones I was able to get. They weren't cooperative for long.
The plan was to have this all quilted and bound before reveal day but because of finishing Joey's 100 Good Wishes Quilt, our vacation to Florida and my weekend trip to Vietnamese Culture Camp, there just wasn't time. Plus I want to quilt her using Penelope, my long arm machine, not on my domestic machine Lucy.

This piece has been hanging on my design wall for the couple of weeks since it came home and just the right quilting design inspiration hasn't come to me yet. I guess my mind has been filled with too many other things lately. Oh well, I know the perfect vision will come. 

Thank you so much to all the terrific ladies in my group...Caroline, Angela, Carol, Samantha and Renae. You did a wonderful job and I love it! Once it is completely finished and hanging on the wall, I will be appreciating it for many years to come.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Joey's 100 Good Wishes Quilt and a MMMRR Reveal Day Reminder

Recently I finished piecing together the top for Joey's 100 Good Wishes Quilt and before I went away for the weekend, I fixed piecing together the backing, after putting the borders on the wrong sides the 1st time. I cannot thank all of my readers that sent fabric and wishes for this quilt enough because it because of you that this idea became a reality. 

I desperately wanted to quilt it myself but since I really don't know how to use Penelope yet, I certainly don't want to screw this up and it is most important to get this quilt finished and off to Kris so that it can be given to Joey, I delivered it to my long arm quilter Dianne to do for me. We picked out the design and the thread and she promised to have it done quickly. I expect to get a call from her any day now.
I had doubts about whether or not I picked the right fabric for the sashing/border, was it the right Red that I envisioned, but once it was done, I saw that it turned out just as I had hoped it would. It will be another mad rush to get the binding done, only because I want him to have it as fast as possible.

Kris will be taking pictures when this quilt is given to Joey and I promise to share them once I receive them from her.

Oh and don't forget about tomorrow's big excitement. It is the Reveal Day for the 2013 Modern Mini Mystery Round Robin.
There are 17 mini quilts and 1 not-so-mini-any-more quilt ready to be showcased, the talents of each of the 3 groups of 6 ladies. I for one am always anxious to see what the original center blocks turned into. The party starts bright and early at 6 am EST so put the coffee pot on and join us, won't you.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mom Advice - Store Brand Sunscreen

Before we went on vacation last month, hubs and I hit the local big box store (the one that starts with a W) to pick up necessities for the trip. Of course one of those necessities was lots of sunscreen. I typically buy the Banana Boat Kids but this one was a double pack and figuring we'd go through a ton while we were in Florida, two cans were better than one and I bought it.
Now I will say that it did have a nice spray pattern for even coverage and it did work at keeping us from turning into beat Red lobsters, especially the really pale and pasty adults, but there were 2 really major drawbacks of this brand that I want to warn you about.

The 1st con was that it was very sticky. I sprayed it on my hand to then apply to the kiddos' faces and no matter how much I washed after, my hands still had a sticky residue for most of the day.

The 2nd con was even more bothersome and long lasting. Once we got back to the hotel and changed the kids' clothes, we saw that all of the edges of their clothes that got a little over sprayed when it was applied, was deep Yellow. Both the collars and the sleeves of their shirts were stained.
What you see below is after I treated and washed both of the shirts. The stains are permanent. I know it is tough to see and thankfully it isn't as pronounced as it was prior to washing but still....2 shirts are now ruined from one day of using this sunscreen.

I was recently telling my co-worker about this as he has 2 young kids and uses a lot of sunscreen too and found out that he has had this same problem with this exact same product.
Needless to say that I will never buy this brand or any other store brand of sunscreen again. The few dollars of savings isn't worth it if the end result is clothing that is ruined for good.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Stunning Stitchin Sunday

I was out of town for a long weekend, at a resort without the best internet service, so this week's edition of Stunning Stitchin Sunday is a bit smaller thank last week's. I'm sure you will enjoy all of the eye candy anyway.

Friday, July 19, 2013
I haven't participated in any blog hops this year yet,
too busy with sew many other things,
but I'm going to be in this one!

I have a couple of pincushions that I've been wanting to make and this is the perfect excuse to get them done. If you want to join in on the fun too, head on over to Madame Samm's place, Sew We Quilt, for all the details.

Reveal day is coming soon

There is only 5 more days of waiting until the 2013 Modern Mini Mystery Round Robin Reveal Day!
I hope you are as excited about seeing this year's mini quilts as I am.
The linky party will start bright and early at 6am EST on Wednesday, July 24th.
From the comments I've received from this year's participants when their quilts arrived home, there will be some really awesome eye candy for you to admire. It is always so much fun to see what has happened to each of the quilts since they started on their journeys.
There will be 18 quilters showing off their mini quilts, both on their own blogs and for those that don't have a blog of their own, on the blog that is just for them, Your Crayon Box.

You won't want to miss seeing each of these terrific creations so put it on your calendar and join us right back here next Wednesday morning. It promises to be a great time.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I'm a Stalker! Are you?

OK. So I admit it. I'm stalking someone.
But, honestly, it is in all good clean fun. My Secret Pal has no idea who I am yet and I'm trying to learn lots about her...what she likes, what her favorite color is, what is her quilting style, and any other little tidbit that will help me with coming up with ideas for her secret package coming her way soon.

If you've guessed that this has something to do with the It's A Sister Thing Swap, you are right. 
Not only am I stalking someone, but someone else is stalking me. Alright, yes I do know who my stalker is, but that is only because I organized this little party and I had to assign myself to someone. Trust me, I don't like to ruin surprises so I have no idea what my Secret Pal has in store for me.

For those of you who are participating in this summer fun, I hope you are enjoying your stalking so far. I'm sure that you will come up with the perfect little gift to make for her. Remember that your box needs to be in the mail by the last day of August. You still have plenty of time so enjoy the nice weather. Plus a reason to go shopping isn't ever a bad thing!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Thread Education

Which thread(s) to use in my long arm machine has been the topic that I have in recent months spent the most time researching and educating myself about. I've been online for hours and hours trying to figure out which brands and weights are not only the best for my machine but which ones also produce the best results without emptying my wallet.  There are so many options that I find it all extremely
 beyond imagination!
Obviously what I don't want to buy is any thread that other Voyager 17 owners haven't been able to use in their machines successfully most of the time and since I'll likely be ordering my thread 99% of the time online, I want to be able to stick with a few tried and true choices instead of bouncing all over the place. I want to be able to develop relationships with a few great shops that I can count on to carry what I want and need and provide excellent customer service.

Besides ease of use and overall appearance, price is the next consideration. More expensive doesn't always mean better and it is nice to be able to get the same results with a thread that also doesn't break the bank. Being an accountant of course cost matters a lot to me so I did a price comparison of some of the popular long arm thread options that I thought I'd share with you here. I'm only going to mention commonly used cotton and poly threads and not the specialty threads that aren't used as often such as metallic, glow in the dark, monopoly, etc.

This list will include the best retail price that I have found on the web and the cost per yard. Since all the cones have different quantities of yards on them, it is best for comparison to break it down by cost per yard. Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of buying wholesale so if you do, you'll need to recalculate these yourself.

Cotton 40 weight
*Signature $.00231 per yard, 3,000 yards, from Heart Beat Quilting
*Signature $.00199 per yard, 6,000 yards, from Heart Beat Quilting
*King Tut (the solids, the variegated and the tonal) $.00874 per yard, 2,000 yards from Sew Thankful

Cotton Variegated 40 weight
*Harmony $.00619 per yard, 3,000 yards, from Bobbin Central
*Signature $.00431 per yard, 3,000 yards, from Heart Beat Quilting

Cotton/Poly 40 weight
*Signature $.00198 per yard, 3,000 yards, from Heart Beat Quilting
*Signature $.00182 per yard, 6,000 yards, from Heart Beat Quilting
*T40 $.00274 per yard, 6,000 yards, from Bobbin Central

Cotton 50 weight
*Cairo Quilt $.00433 per yard, 3,007 yards, from Bobbin Central
*Masterpiece 3 Ply only $.00759 per yard, 2500 yards, from Sew Thankful 
Poly 40 weight
*Glide $.00124 per yard, 5,000 yards, from Bobbin Central
*Isocord $.00236 per yard, 5,468 yards, from Sew For Less
*Omni $.00191 per yard, 6,000 yards, from Longarm Store
*Permacore $.00150 per yard, 6,000 yards, from Heart Beat Quilting
Poly Variegated 40 weight
*Affinity $.00655 per yard, 3,000 yards, from Bobbin Central
*So Fine 40 $.00966 per yard, 1650 yards, from Longarm Supplies 
Poly 50 weight
*Premo Soft $.00369 per yard, 3,007 yards, from Bobbin Central
*So Fine 50 $.00365 per yard, 3,280 yards, from Sew Thankful

Poly 60 weight
*Bottom Line $.00333 per yard, 3,000 yards, from Sew Thankful

Which type and weight combination will be my favorite? Who knows at this point. I'll try them all but knowing which brand is the best deal for each I know will help me a great deal in the future. When I see a great sale I'll be able to stock up. I always say...saving money is never a bad thing. 

Monday, July 15, 2013


 My friend Bea sent me this picture and I can't not share it with you.
Of course I love it and wish I could have this for myself. It would look fantastic on the door of my studio.

This pretty much sums it up very well I think.
Thanks Bea!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Stunning Stitchin' Sunday

Since I'm starting on my new adventure of actually quilting my own projects, I'm paying a lot more attention to the actual quilting done by others, the up close and detailed pictures that allow me to see the design(s).  There are so many great ideas and tons of inspiration on the web that I want to save those ideas for the future so I'm starting a new regular series
On Sundays I'll showcase terrific quilting stitching and designs that I discovered recently saw while reading others' blogs. I can't promise that I'll post this weekly but I'm going to try. Here is the 1st group to Oooh and Aaah over. Enjoy!
1. ODC: Obsessive Crafting Disorder, 2. Ridge Top Quilts 3. Made By ChrissieD, 4. Happy Quilting, 5. Sami's Quilts & Crafts, 6. Treadlemusic, 7. Darling Jill Quilts, 8. Darling Jill, 9, 10 & 11. Pumpkin Patch Quilter, 12. The Cuddle Quilter, 13 & 14. Beaquilter, 15 & 16. Confessions of a Fabric Addict 

Likely all of us can use new inspiration for quilting our own projects and I hope this series does just that for you. These photos are borrowed from the owners' blogs with their permission and you'll be able to find the original images and quilters by clicking the coordinating links!
Have a great week!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

2nd Qtr Report: Crafting By the Numbers

It is no surprise that I had a lot of days of crafting of some sort during the 2nd quarter considering the fact that I completed 6 quilts during that time. Whew! Trust me...I'm not going to do that again. I'm formulating different plans for teacher end of year gifts for next June, something definitely smaller. Any hew at least all this work will boost my total for the year so far.

The 2 quilts that were completed in April were Friends Together Forever, the Little Artists' quilt and Crimson Diamonds. They were both projects auctioned off at the kids' school annual fundraiser dinner. I worked 12 out of 30 days which equates to 40%.
May was busy, busy, busy with all the work on the 4 teacher quilts. Looking at this calendar, it looks insane (which I sort of was for doing this in the 1st place) but it really wasn't all that bad overall and the results were definitely worth all the time and effort. I was busy in my studio 20 of 31 days which becomes 65%.
The beginning of June was another flurry of sewing as I finished up the 4 teacher quilts...Tending Young Gardens, Nurturing Young Explorers, Guiding Creative Thinkers and Inspiring Grand Ideas. A few days after school was over we went on vacation and once we got back home it didn't take me long to get back in my studio. June's results came to 11 days of a possible 30, so 37%.
The total to date for this year is 78 days of crafting out of a possible 181, or 43%. Not bad, not bad at all. As one would expect, we have more summer fun planned so I don't know what the next few months will look like when I do my next report but that's OK. Summer is all about enjoying the great weather, friends and family. Whatever sewing or crafting of another sort that I am able to do is a bonus.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Modern Holiday by Amanda Murphy - Blog Tour Tagalong

I've never hidden the fact that I love all things Amanda Murphy...her patterns and especially her fabric lines.Way back when I started this blog, I stumbled on hers, we chatted a bit back and forth via email and I found her to be genuine and so friendly. She was so willing to offer up advice and I so appreciated it at the time. I hope to meet her in person before too much more time goes by.

If you haven't heard yet about her 1st book Modern Holiday that is now available, you've must be living under a rock. The instant she announced on her blog that this book was in the works, I got all excited and told hubby that I had just found one thing that he could get me for my birthday this year. I want it, I want it bad!!!!!
Photo borrowed from Amanda Murphy Designs blog

The fun news is that she has a blog hop tour going on this week and next week to celebrate the book and while I could keep quiet about it here on my blog so that you won't enter the daily giveaways and it would give me a better chance of winning a copy, that wouldn't be me and it wouldn't be nice. 

While I'm not a part of the official blog tour for Modern Holiday, I thought it certainly wouldn't hurt if I made myself a Tagalong on the hop.  No Amanda didn't ask me to do this, it is of my own idea and choice, but since I love everything Amanda comes up with, I am more than happy to shout from the roof tops that you should BUY THIS BOOK!

From the pictures Amanda has shared on her blog and those on the blogs of the official blog tour hosts, I can tell that I am going to love everything about this book. I already know that I want to make my own version of the Advent Calendar. My kids love the count down to Christmas. 
Photo borrowed from Amanda Murphy Design blog

I already have a plan for this pattern.
Photo borrowed from Sew Sweetness

These stockings are just adorable and I love that they are in non-traditional colors.
Photo borrowed from Sew Sweetness

This tree quilt would be phenomenal in Blue, White and Silver and would look great on the big tall wall in my great room. I love having some decorations that are wintry and can be left up after Christmas to enjoy.
Photo borrowed from Amanda Murphy Design blog

This is one curved design that I actually want to make!
Photo borrowed from Sew We Quilt

Isn't this pillow adorable. It would go really well with my couch. I haven't made any pillows at all yet for it but this one is on my list now.
Photo borrowed from Amanda Murphy Design blog

To make it easy for you to follow the blog hop, here is the entire schedule. 

Modern Holiday Blog Tour (July 8th-24th)

Monday, July 8th - Stash Books and Amanda Murphy Design 
Tuesday, July 9th - Sew We Quilt 
Wednesday, July 10th - Sew Sweetness 
Thursday, July 11th - Me and My Sister Design 
Friday, July 12th - Fat Quarterly 
Monday, July 15th - Bernina (We All Sew) 
Wednesday, July 17th - Diary of a Quilter 
Thursday, July 18th - Ellison Lane Quilts 
Friday, July 19th - A Quilting Life 
Monday, July 22nd - Aurifil Threads 
Wednesday, July 24th - Amanda Murphy Design
I'm crossing my fingers that I am luck enough to actually win my own  copy of Modern Holiday being given away during this blog tour but if not, you know that I'll be encouraging hubs to buy this birthday present a bit early.