Saturday, February 28, 2015

4 X 7 Sewing Challenge Final Update

In my earlier post I said I would write about this tomorrow, but I changed my mind. Today is the last day of the 4 X 7 Sewing Challenge and I really want to thank Sarah of Berry Barn Designs for leading this challenge. At the beginning of the month I said I wanted to get at least 30 blocks done and I'm happy to say I completed 84. Wow that is a lot of blocks!!! With the blocks I received from my bee mates, those done in January and those done this month I am up to 147 completed blocks or just a smidgen over 50% done.

This week I did lots of purple and blue blocks, not sure why, but here are some of my favorites. In total I did 30 blocks this week. I've gotten much faster as the month has gone along. I have also cut a lot more backgrounds and even more crosses this week. Here are some of my favorites from this week.

Now I tried to sew, cut or iron at least 30 minutes every day. Some days I did more, but some days I did just the 30 minutes. I will be honest and say I know that two days I didn't do anything.  But overall it was a great experience and I am so glad to be half done. I started a spreadsheet to track my progress, but also to make sure that I didn't get too much of any one color. I was surprised to see that purple wasn't my highest amount, and neither was pink, which are probably my favorite colors. I have done more blue blocks than any color, but that is followed closely by pink then purple.  Here is a graph of how the colors layout.

I don't want a lot of brown/black blocks, but I think I need to add a few more and I really need to beef up my yellow, green, red and orange. So I have a ways to go, but overall I'm in good shape. Some blocks I had to pick a color, but they really could fall into several buckets. I just want to make sure it has a balanced feel.

It was fun to take some time for selfish sewing, but at the same time it was hard for me, because I wanted to work on projects for others as well.  So I think in March I'm going to try and focus on sewing at least 30 minutes a day, just not focusing on do so selfishly. I'm headed over to Sarah's blog to do my last link up for this challenge.  :)

A Lovely Year of Finishes: February Finished

It was a short month but I still got lots of things done. I'm very content with where I ended up for the month. But I'm always hoping for more, guess I'm just a little greedy.  So let's see what I did get done.

My first goal was the blocks for Callie and Beau's signature quilt. All of the blocks are cut, 70% are sewn and 50% are trimmed and ready to go. I'm so happy with them, they are bright and cheerful and I think they will be very happy with the results. I'm going to trim the pomegranate ones tonight and hopefully get the coral ones done on Monday/Tuesday. I still want to tape the white edges with painters tape so people don't sign in the seam allowance, but that will be easy enough.

The second goal was to complete all of my bee blocks for this month and they all went into the mail on Thursday. So they weren't early, but they weren't late either. I did union jack flags for Carla for the Compass Quilters Bee, and I struggled a little at first but was able to figure it out and get three for her.  I also sent her the one that was a little short, in case she could use it. And I was able to use some of my bluebonnet fabric since the blocks were red, white and blue.

I also got Meghan's fish blocks done for Stash Bee. I made them and then realized I sewed them wrong and messed them up when I was trying to fix them, so I just cut new ones and these look much better.

And lastly for my Bee Hive queen Barbara I made a Tic Tac Toe block.  Her color choices of dark purple, light purple and white were awesome, because I love those colors.  I had an issue with the points on my test block, but I asked for advice from the group and it really helped.

I did finish quilting the memory quilt on the frame and started piecing the next one.  I need to focus more on those and will do so in March.  I've just done a little more selfish sewing this month.  Still can't show them, because I want them to be a surprise.

I didn't make my last goal at all, nope not anything. But it will get done at some point.

I did do lots of selfish sewing and got lots of my cross blocks done, and you can see them in my post tomorrow.  For a short month a lot was accomplished, and I'm happy about it.  For today I'm linking up with  Melissa of Sew BitterSweet Designs and Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thankful Thursday #11

Ok everyone it is time for me to recognize things I'm thankful for this week. I like the idea of picking 5 things, whether they be big or small. It helps me keep the right focus.  So here is my list for this week.

1. Good Customer Service. In this day of crabby checkout people, anonymous online ordering, and general it is all about me mentality, it is nice when you receive really good customer service. I order from Fat Quarter Shop because I always get quick shipping, and they have some really good sales. This week they had an awesome sale on fat quarter bundles by Art Gallery. The bundles were 16 fat quarters of mixed Art Gallery lines in the colorways of Ruby, Harvest and Blue for $21.99 per bundle.  Since I'm always looking for different fabrics for my cross quilt and I love Art Gallery fabrics, I ordered one of each bundle. With the bad weather this week it took TWO days to arrive, yeah I know I'm spoiled. And the fabrics are beautiful, but as I was folding them so they could go into my bins, I noticed a couple of them had flaws. These flaws were not the fault of Fat Quarter Shop, they would have happened when the fabric was woven. I started not to even tell them, because the prices had been so good, but I thought I would reach out and ask. I photographed the flaws and sent an email to them. They responded quickly and with several options for me, which I thought were more than gracious. I love that they took such good care of me as their customer, and I am thankful that good customer service still exists.

2. Progress. I am so thankful that I am making progress on not one, not two but three different projects. So far this week I've completed 15 blocks for my cross quilt, started on 15 more, and cut out more background fabric.I have also sewn and trimmed on Callie and Beau's signature blocks and have finished the primrose, red and goldfish blocks. I have also started piecing the second top of the memory quilts. And to top it all off I've finished my bee blocks for this month and they should go in the mail today.  Here are the signature blocks that I've finished.

3. Warm Quilts. We don't get really long cold weather here in Texas, but we do get the occasional ice/snow day. This week we had a couple and I was so happy to have extra quilts to use.  I keep the temperature at the house fairly cool in the winter, so I can snuggle under a quilt, but this week I slept under two most of the time and for a while I used three.  It was so warm and comfy it was hard to leave the bed. I also liked that I got to put my hard work to good use.  I'm thankful for each quilt that was piled on top of me and this is still one of my favorites and I used it this week.

4. Old TV Shows. I like to have something going in the background as I sew/quilt.  Sometimes I play music, others I have Netflix going.  I will listen to the same shows over and over, because I'm doing it more for noise than really watching.  But last week I found the old Dick Van Dyke show on Netflix and have really been enjoying playing them.  The series originally ran from 1961-1966, and yet it is still funny today.  Yes there are things that are very dated in it, but cast was really great and the comedy was funny without being crude or vulgar. I'm very thankful that I have the opportunity to view these classics again. If you've never watched the show I think you can see episodes on youtube or I know you can see them on Netflix.

5. All The People I Follow.  Yes I'm thankful for all the people I follow on Instagram and with Bloglovin for posting such great pictures from QuiltCon. I wasn't able to attend, but it was so wonderful to see all the quilts, and even better was to get other's people's takes on them. There were some that I loved, others that weren't my taste, but for those of us who were stuck at home, it was fun to what was happening. So I want to thank all of those that posted, and I'm thankful for them as well (a double dose of thanks).

So that is my list for the week.  I hope each of you have lots of reasons to be thankful. I'm linking up with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl for Thankful Thursday.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

4 X 7 Sewing Challenge Update

I have been a busy beaver this week, ok maybe that is stretching it but I did get things accomplished. I completed my 15 blocks early this week, partially because I spent a little extra time on Monday and Tuesday working on them, and partially because I've gotten into a groove and can do them easier now.

The cross blocks are coming along nicely.  At this point I 109 completed blocks or 37% of the blocks done. And I would guess I've done 45-50 blocks this month, which is really what I wanted to get done. Besides this I got other things done as well. I got the majority of my fat quarters, and large scraps sorted into bins. When I rearranged the sewing room last month I brought in another book case to hold these.

The picture sucks because most of my great work has been done late at night this week.  Besides organizing, I also completed all of my bee blocks for the month. No photos yet, because my rule is I can't show them off until they are in the mail. Which I hope happens on Monday or Tuesday, but that will depend on the weather.

I also completed all of the red blocks and goldfish blocks for Callie and Beau's signature quilt. Well I finished sewing them, I'm still trimming them. I also got started on the pomegranate blocks and am about 1/4 done with them, but have to cut some more white. That will just leave me the coral blocks. So I'm moving along well with those as well.

I'm hoping to get a quilt on to the long arm this week, most likely it will be Sharla's Box Trot quilt and I still have work on memory quilts. Sharla is busy finishing quilts to show me up, but she can only finish the tops, they don't get quilted without me (hehehe). I am hoping to finish Callie's blocks next week, but it will be a real push, but possible.

All in all I'm very happy with what I've accomplished this week. I had a nice mix of selfish sewing and getting projects for others done. I love working on my cross blocks, but once this month is over, I'm definitely going to slow down on them, I want to get other things off my list as well. For today, I'm linking up with Sarah at Berry Barn Designs.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thankful Thursday #10

Happy Thursday everyone, I hope you are having a wonderful week. I will be honest and say I was hoping for a snow day on Monday or Tuesday. Not that I really wanted snow, I just wanted to sleep late. But unlike a lot of the US, we didn't get any bad weather.

As I sat down to write this post I wondered what I should be thankful for this week. Nothing extraordinary is happening in my life, good or bad. It is the same old stuff. And I realized that is what is wrong with too many of us, we aren't thankful for the little things in our life. We are always thankful for the big things like jobs, homes, cars, food, family and faith.  But if we were as thankful for the little things we would be happier in general.

So I picked five smaller things to be thankful about this week.

1. dog.  I'm thankful for all three of my dogs, but I'm just a little more thankful for Tucker this week.  Towards the end of last year we had a scare with Tucker and it was a case of being very close to having to say goodbye to him.  But thankfully he got better and is doing better these days. He is old, blind and sometimes can't find his way to the backyard in time, but he is also faithful, loving and makes me smile.  He follows me from room to room and loves that I now work from home 85% of the time.

2.  No leftovers. Now my nephew might disagree that this is a good thing, but it seems like we have been throwing away too many leftover recently. But as of right now we finished all of them in the frig for dinner last night. So I'm thankful there are none because it means none will be thrown away.

3. Tools. Yes I admit I love tools that make things go faster, but sometimes you don't even realize how something so small/simple can really make things go faster. When I'm working on my cross blocks I always chain piece, and I had read about a little tool that lets you cut your chain piecing apart quickly. I found a version of it at my LQS and thought I would try it. I will admit I really do love it. It makes cutting the blocks apart very quick and easy. Can I do it with scissors or snips, yes, but this let me cut them, and stack them because both hands are free. There are a couple of different versions out on the market, and I've even seen some homemade versions. But what I really like about this one is that it is small (about 2 1/4 x 2), so it doesn't take up much space beside my machine.

4. Morning Coffee. I don't drink a lot of coffee, but I normally have a large coffee in the morning. Most of the time it is an iced coffee because I sip it while driving and not burn my tongue. I look forward to my morning coffee, and am thankful to have it everyday. I know that on the days I don't have one, I'm much grumpier. And every now and then an afternoon frappuccino doesn't hurt either. Hmmmm maybe I will need one of these today.

5.  Selfish Sewing. I've been trying to sew for at least 30 minutes a day as part of the #4X7SewingChallenge and have really liked the results. I decided to focus on my cross blocks for the month. I have already finished 15 for this week, so I will spend some time cutting more blocks and then some time organizing the sewing room. But it is nice getting things done just because I dedicate a small amount of time each day.

None of the items above are major life changing things, but I'm thankful for them because they bring joy to my life in one form or another. I'm linking up with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

4 X 7 Update and Grow Your Blog Giveaway Winner

Happy Sunday everyone, I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day yesterday. I was a little under the weather, nothing serious, just felt punkish. So I did get some selfish sewing done this week. But not as much as last week.  I cut back because I had to start working on some other projects.

I completed 14 crosses, most of them were from the Tula Pink FQ bundle I received last week. I have to say I love this line. Since I'm just cutting a small piece off of each fat quarter I didn't try to do much fussy cutting, but there are a couple. I know it is silly but I love the skunk block, it appeals to the red-neck in me. My favorite two blocks this week are these two.

And here are the other 12, which I really like too. I think it is just that I love this line of fabric. Next week will be more of a mix of fabric lines. Although I still have more to cut from the Moonshine line, it isn't what I cut this week.

I also got several more blocks cut this week. I try to cut during long phone meetings or on the nights when I just can't think well enough to sew. I will admit that I didn't get any sewing done yesterday. I worked on bee blocks and then felt bad, so I spent my selfish time taking a nap. With this weeks 14 I'm now at 94 blocks or 32% complete.

Also today is the day I announce the winner of my Grow Your Blog Giveaway. I was so happy to see that I got 103 comments, and I read them all. I tried to respond to most of them, but somewhere along the way, things got a little wacko, and I lost my way.

The winner was lucky number 38 which was Janie who said
Illinois and it is 34 degrees. Love your Texas quilt.
I've already emailed Janie and gotten her address and the prize will be going out in the mail this week. I hope everyone enjoy the hop, I know I found several blogs to follow and some very interesting people.

I'm happy with the results for this week. I got more blocks done and I also got started on Callie and Beau's signature blocks and got some of my bee blocks done. It is amazing what you can get done if you put your mind to it. I will be linking up with Sarah at Berry Barn Designs for Week 2 of the 4 x 7 Sewing challenge.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thankful Thursday #9

I know that I am blessed, but some days it is harder to see through all of the yuck that is going on in my life. I could tell you all the horror stories about the car being in the shop 4 times in 3 weeks, the nut cases calling tech support at work or the rude people in line at the store, but I'm not going to do so. I want to try and focus on the good things in life and doing these posts each week really help me. This week I'm thankful for lots of things. First is my local quilt store that will cut a fat quarter from any of their fabrics. I stopped in on Tuesday and picked up a couple of already cut fat quarters, but as I picked up bolts the ladies happily cut fat quarters for me as I shopped. The only down side is that I kept shopping while they cut, so it was a vicious cycle (but one I love). I am also thankful for online quilt stores. My local store doesn't carry Kona, and Callie's signature quilt uses Kona solids. I ordered enough (or so I thought), but realized I was going to be very close on a couple and short on one, so I needed more. I placed an order with Fat Quarter Shop on Tuesday as well and it arrived yesterday afternoon. One day service isn't bad at all. Now I'm lucky enough to live in the same state as the shop, but they shipped it out the same day I ordered. I did snap a quick photo of my order. I got some more low volume fabrics for my crosses and mini charms for a future postage stamp quilt. I also had to get another Bloc Loc ruler because mine has run away.

I am also thankful for my bee mates in the Compass Quilters, because I received another package of cross blocks last week. They are just so cute. I love everything about these blocks. And they came for the wonderful Diana at Red Delicious Life.

I'm also thankful that I got to spend some time organizing the sewing room. Now my back isn't that thankful, but I am. I still have some work to do on it, but it is coming along nicely. I moved Sharla's sewing table to the family room. She prefers sewing there because the sewing room is too cold for her. Then I moved my table to where hers was and moved in a new bookcase. I still have to move a few things around, but at least more things are up on the shelves and not scattered hither and yon. No photos yet, but hopefully soon.

Lastly I'm thankful that I get to express my creativity with quilts. After working with my niece to create the pattern for her signature quilt, she expressed concern that it would be a lot of work for me. I explained, that while it wasn't easy it was something that gave me joy.  Joy in creating and joy in giving. How can I not be thankful for something that gives me joy.

I hope each of you finds joy this week and lots of reasons to be thankful. I am linking up with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

4 X 7 Sewing Challenge Update

If you follow me on Instagram you know that I had some success and some failure this week on my sewing challenge.  I did sew/prep at least 30 minutes every day on my cross blocks. I had planned on kicking off my sewing on Sunday during the Superbowl, but ended up cutting fabric, which was a great help for the week, because I pretty much had enough to keep me busy. Then the rest of the week I worked on sewing and ironing. First I completed the 20 from January that I started and then I went to work on a new batch of a little more than 20.

All went well until yesterday, when I had hoped to finish last weeks batch.  But alas I sewed the wrong side of the rows together in 2/3 of the blocks, which meant ripping and sewing again.  I did that last night and got the blocks sewn but not ironed.  This morning I ironed them and completed 25 blocks. Here are a few of the completed blocks.

This morning I counted and I have 80 blocks, which includes bee blocks I've received so far from the Compass Quilters, the 20ish for January, the sample blocks I made and the 26 I did this week.  That means I'm just over 25% done....yeah.  I also cut out more blocks this week at different times when I had a spare moment or two.  So I'm hoping to get another 25 blocks done this week, although I think I'm going to have to find a different container to hold my completed blocks.

I got the lid on, but just barely.  I also did a count of how many of each color I have.  I want the colors to be some what balanced. Not exactly the same number in every color but not 100 pink and 15 of each other color.  I am already seeing a trend...with 20 pink, 13 purple, 12 blue, 9 yellow, 7 green, 7 red, 7 brown/black and 5 orange. But I'm not concerned because most of the blocks I did last week were using scraps from my Looking Glass quilt which was pink and corals. I do need to get some more orange into the mix.

I'm excited about next weeks blocks because I got my Tula Pink Moonshine bundle and started cutting it.  I love those fabrics so much that I just had to add some to this quilt. Right now I count scraps from 11 quilts that are going into this quilt and there could be more before I'm done.

I am linking up with Sarah at Berry Barn Designs Week 1.  It is not too late to join in and do some selfish sewing this month.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thankful Thursday #8

Happy Thursday everyone, I hope each of you is having a wonderful day/week.  Today I am thankful for my sister Sharla and thankful that today is her birthday.  Now if you know Sharla, you are most likely aware of why I am thankful for her.  She is kind and loving, but has a wicked sense of humor that makes me laugh quite often.

She is going to hate that I put a photo of her here, which just make me laugh even more.  Today is her birthday and I'm very thankful for that.  Why you ask...well she gets her birthday off from work, so that means I didn't have to get up at 6:30 to take her to work.  Sleeping until 8:30 was ooohhh so nice.

Since I'm working today, she is just staying home and sewing, and trying to stay warm since we had a small cold front come through last night.  Now for me that is a great way to spend a birthday, doing something you love in the comfort of your own home.

I do have a couple of other things to be thankful for this week.  I've been making good progress on my cross quilt.  I selected it to be my "selfish" sewing project for the 4 X 7 Sewing Challenge, and have finished my 20 blocks for last month and have 20 more about 1/3 done.  I've been working on them for about 30 minutes to an hour each day.  I also got my Tula Pink Moonshine bundle yesterday. I blogged last week that they sent the wrong bundle and let me keep it for free.  So this has been like a buy one get one free deal.

This is my second bundle of Moonshine, the first is going into a quilt all on it's own, and this one is going into my cross quilt and my stash. I also received the rest of Callie's fabric, so I'm hoping to get it ironed tonight and start cutting on it tomorrow.  I have lots of blocks to make by April.

All in all it has been a good week for me, and I'm thankful for that fact. I'm linking up with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl for Thankful Thursday.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Lovely Year of Finishes: February Goals / 4 X & Sewing Challenge

Well it is February and time to set some goals.  I'm actually doing two things in this post, setting my goals for A Lovely Year of Finishes and my goals for the 4 X 7 Sewing Challenge.

If you've been around this blog for any length of time, you know I can't just set one goal. I need a list. But I will pick my main goal that I really want done the most. The rest of the list is more to keep me on track than anything.

So my main goal for February is to assemble blocks for Callie and Beau's signature wedding quilt. Callie asked if I would be willing to do a quilt for people to sign at her wedding (which is in April) and of course I said yes. We talked colors over Christmas and she picked out what she liked from the Kona solids. And the plan was to go shopping for prints the Saturday after Christmas. But both she and I got sick. I ordered the solids and when they arrived I worked up a quilt just using the solids and she liked it. Then last Friday we did a face time session and redid it a little and now we have a plan using only solids. I ordered the white on Friday as well so as soon as it arrives, I'm off to the races. I'm only going to make the blocks, I will assemble the quilt after they are signed at the wedding. Here is the favored layout and then the fabrics.

Now my second goal is to complete my bee blocks. I am in three bees, so I have several blocks to make. I like all the blocks picked but I think the most fun will be the Union Jacks. I can't wait to do one of those with some of my Texas fabric. The other two blocks are a Bear Paw and Tic Tac Toe blocks, so all will be fun.

Third on my list is to finish quilting the memory quilt on the frame, and to get one more pieced. Yes I realize that these were on last month's list, and be prepared they will be on every list until they are done. Which I am hoping is soon.  

And my last goal for the month is to quilt at least one quilt. I have list of completed tops, but I think I want to do Sharla's Box Trot quilt. I picked this one because I purchased wool batting for it, and I am very excited to see how it works. Plus it is a bright and cheerful quilt just perfect to work on during the dreary month of February.

Now do I have more to do yes, but I will be happy if I complete these items.  I am also going to participate in the 4 X 7 Sewing Challenge lead by Sarah at Berry Barns Designs. This challenge is much harder for me, because it based on carving out 30 minutes per day to sew selfishly.  Now sewing everyday is a challenge enough, but I'm surprised at how hard it is to sew just for myself. Don't get me wrong, I have a long list of things I want to do for myself, but just look at my earlier goals, not one of them is really for me. Well, I consider them for me, I enjoy doing for others.  But for February I'm going to do some selfish sewing on top of the list above.  I thought about it and decided that I wanted to do more cross blocks for my bed quilt.  I am calculating that I will need almost 300 blocks to make a queen sized quilt. And even with what I receive from my bee mates, I will have lots and lots to do.  Last month I got 20 partially completed, so I want to complete those 20 and get more done.  If I were to pick a number I would say at least 30 more done, but I'm hoping for even more.  

So I'm going to be very busy this month.  But I much prefer to be busy than bored.  In fact I'm planning on moving my sewing machine into the family room today so I can watch the game, ok so I can watch the commercials and sew.  Today I am linking up with Melissa of Sew BitterSweet Designs and Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts for A Lovely Year of Finishes 2015, as well as Sarah at Berry Barn Designs for 4 X 7 Sewing Challenge.