Friday, July 31, 2015

A Lovely Year of Finishes - July Finishes

I'm sad to say it is another only so so month.  I'm definitely off my game, but I'm still trying to plug along.  I'm going say I got about 50% of my goals accomplished. So let's review.

1. Bee Blocks. It was down to the wire, but they are done and in the mail. The 5 pointed star was harder than I was thinking and the Busy block turned out to be much easier. I think it is funny that they turned out just opposite of how I expected. But here are my blocks. The star and nine patch are for the Stash Bee and the Busy block is for the Bee Hive Bee.  I'm excited because I'm queen of my hive for Stash Bee in August.

2. Finish Test Quilt. I have not finished it, but I'm pretty close. In fact if all goes well it will be finished this weekend.  I've enjoyed it, and I think it is going to look pretty cool when it is complete. Unfortunately I can't show you any of my progress photos, because it is still a secret.

3. Cut Fabric for Midnight Mystery QAL. Both Sharla's and my fabrics are cut and in tubs just waiting for the next set of instructions. I am very anxious to get started sewing on this one. I really would have loved to have that first set of instructions a couple of weeks ago.  Yes I realize I'm impatient, but hey it is my only character flaw...ha!

4. Complete Blocks for Turning 20 BOM. I'm keeping up with this one really well. We get a new set of instructions every 2 weeks and have to make a 12" and 6" block with those instructions. I'm using Miss Kate fabrics by Bonnie and Camille and so far I'm loving them.  Here is the first set of blocks. My second set of blocks needs to be ironed, but I will try and show them to ya'll later.

5. Memory Quilts. I made no progress on these this month. I am trying to come up with a new strategy to help push me along with these.  

So it could have been better, but between dealing with the heat and sadness, this was just a so so month. I'm happy with what I got accomplished, and I'm hoping to get even more done next month. Today I'm linking up with Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts and Melissa of Sew BitterSweet Designs.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thankful Thursday...07/23/15

I was sad to see Quilty Thankful Thursday be discontinued, and when I was told I thought I would still try and do Thankful Thursday a couple times a month.  My plan had been to do a post the next week, but to be honest I wasn't in a thankful state of mind.  I lost my buddy pal that week and was really just pissed off at the world in general.  The next week, I was swamped and let the craziness of everyday life keep me from showing my thankfulness. But not any more, today I'm going to list some things I'm thankful about even if it kills me.

1. Sweet People. When I posted about losing Tucker, I had lots of family, friends and even strangers reach out to me and offer their prayers, thoughts and love. And I am so very thankful for each and every one of those notes. I can't put into words how special each and every note, call, and text was to me. I may not have responded to each of them, because I just couldn't get the words out, but thank you all so very much.

2. The Internet. I know it can be a wild and crazy place, but it is also so full of great information. Anytime I want to know how to do something I simply google it. I've found wonderful quilting videos, great recipes and even some odd info that really turns out to be helpful. Like...we were having a problem with flies. And I went out and searched ways to get rid of them. I have used fly traps in the past but they are pretty gross, and it was before we had Hollywood, and I'm not sure he would leave them alone. Then I came across an article, that talked about all the normal stuff, don't leave food out, etc., but it also mentioned that flies don't like the smell of lemongrass. So I bought some lemongrass oil and a diffuser and put it in the kitchen. It has been so great. In fact I bought a second diffuser...ok three more. Not all for lemongrass, we don't have that bad of a problem.  I turn them on in the morning, and our problem is down at least 95%. We still have an occasional one, but nothing like the 10-15 we were seeing each day. And they are dive bombing flies. So if you want to learn about something search the internet...just be careful and don't trust everything you read. And if you have a fly problem lemongrass really does help.

3. Bee Blocks. I've received almost all of my blocks for my turn as queen of the Bee Hive Swarm Johanna. They are so perfect that I can't wait to finish the quilt. I have enjoyed making my blocks each month, but I will admit receiving is pretty darn cool. And I get to be queen of Stash Bee hive 9 next month.  I just can't wait.

4. Great sales. I have to admit I think Sharla and I have gone a little nuts buying fabrics lately and we've definitely have to close the pocketbooks, but not before getting a few good deals.  The one I think I'm the happiest about is the jelly rolls I got on sale. I ended up getting 4 and they are all Christmas prints. My nephew and his finance as for a tree skirt last year on Christmas day. I'm going to do the Joyful Jelly Roll Tree Skirt by Fat Quarter Shop. I bought the Jingle line by Kate Spain to use for it.  I also go Joyeux Noel because Sharla liked that line and two of Evergreen by Basic Grey. If the tree skirt is easy (and probably even if it isn't), I'm going to see if my niece wants one as well as my sister-in-law.  If they don't like the Joyeux Noel or Evergreen fabrics then we'll make Christmas quilts for us to use.

5. Little Things. Over the last couple of weeks there have been a lot of little things happen that just make me happy. I ran to the farmer's market Saturday morning, and when I got home Sharla had emptied and loaded the dishwasher. At Starbucks the drive thru line was long and slow, but when we got to the window the girl gave us our frappuncinos for free. The road over the dam has opened back up and so the morning traffic has been reduced. I found 32 cents in the driveway (score for my piggy bank).  I went to the grocery store and actually remembered three things not on my list, which saved a return trip. July is almost over and we've not hit 100 degrees yet (but it may happen today). Each of these things has made me happy, and I'm thankful they occurred.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Piggy Bank Challenge 2015-2016

Ok it is time to start saving again for the Piggy Bank Challenge 2015-2016 or the 3rd annual, which ever way you want to list it.  If you read last week Sharla and I were able to save over $450 together last year. A pretty awesome feat if I do say so myself. So we are signing up for the challenge again this year. But we are making a little change. While we love McGee and DiNozzo, they are difficult to use. Dumping a change purse full of coins is time consuming through their little slots and they are tight and don't want to give the money back to us. Sharla ended up tearing a bill trying to get it out of McGee.

So we are switching to boxes. I changed at the end of last year, and it was so much easier to just dump my change into my box on my desk.  If they get full before the year is up, we will empty them into a zip lock bag.  Here are the boxes we are using, I just got them at JoAnns. Sharla's is the burgundy/green and mine is the purple/green.

Now for what we're going to buy with the money we save, that is easy.....FABRIC!!!! We are pretty set with our supplies, so that leaves the thing we are really love and that is fabric. We will look at lines that are available next year when we count the money.

I will say that we were successful because we didn't use our change. Whenever we got it, it went into a coin purse and we dumped that weekly.  It was a big change of habit for me, because I always used my change to pay. But holding it back really adds up quicker than even I realized.  We did toss in dollars on occasion. I think we will try to throw more paper money in this year to see if we can break $500 next year. Also it doesn't that Sharla and I are competitive, so we would often count what we dumped and lord it over the other if we more. I know we can be silly, but competition does help.

Now if you want to join the challenge, get a bank or box and start pinching those pennies and also link up with Val @ Val's Quilting Studio, which I will be doing today.

Val's Quilting Studio

Saturday, July 11, 2015

2015 Finish Along: Quarter 3 Goals

Last quarter I really sucked at my goals. I wanted to do so much, but life just got in the way. I like making lists because it helps me keep on track, but what I found last quarter, is that although I made the list here, I didn't write it down anywhere to see in my sewing room.  So this month I'm going to make a list that I can tape to my fabric cabinet as a reminder.

1. Sharla's Machine Cover.  This is small and should be easily accomplished and I'm making it number one, so that I can get a sense of accomplishment to spur me on to bigger and better things.

2. My Purple Quilt. I had planned on finishing this one to donate to Hands2Help, but didn't get it done. I still want it done, and I will either use it or save it to donate at a future time.

3. Memory Quilts. I have to get on these, because one I just want them done, but two the people they are for would really like them I'm sure.  One is done and quilted, the second is partially pieced, and the patches are made for 3 and 4.  My goal this quarter is to get the second one completed and the third one pieced. But if I can get all four done, I would be really really happy. I'm happy they have moved on from this stage.

4. Table Runner. This is another one that should be a fast finish.  Sharla completed the top, and I just need to get it quilted and bound.

5. Gypsy Queen Mystery Quilt. I'm testing the instructions for a mystery quilt.  I will be done with the top in August, so I would like to get it quilted this quarter. I'm working right along with the instructions, and I've really been having fun making each section. I can't show you the pieces I've made so far, but I can show you the fabrics I picked.

6. Sharla's Box Trot. I really want to get this one done because I bought wool batting for it and I want to see how it quilts but also how warm it is.  I want to do a quilt for my bed and this one will tell me if I want to use wool batting or not.

7-10. I have Sharla's Flirt Quilt, Sharla's Norway Quilt, My Class One Quilt and Sharla's Class One Quilt. I'm grouping them all together here since I don't have photos of them.  But the tops are complete on them so I would like to get them done.

And yes I realize this is basically the same list as last quarter, but they all still need to be done. I have several more things I'm going to add here, but I'm not sure they will make it to the completed quilt stage in this quarter.  I still want them on my radar, and if things work out and I do get them all the way to completed all the better.

11. Cross Quilt. I am about 75% done with the blocks, so with a little effort I should be able to complete the blocks and hopefully get the top done.  If I complete the top, I'm definitely moving it up the list to quilt because it will be big enough for my bed.

12. Bee Hive Quilt. I was the queen of the Bee Hive Swarm Johanna last month so blocks have been coming in from my mates. I want the quilt to be a little larger than just what I will receive, so I need to make some more blocks. I would like to get at least 20 blocks done this quarter.  The blocks aren't hard, so that is totally doable if I will precut the pieces. I don't think I will be able to get the top pieced this quarter, but if I get enough blocks done then it can go on next quarter's list.

13. Stash Bee Quilt. I'm not the queen of Hive 9 until August, but I need to get my tutorial written. I've already prepared one block, but I would like to have several examples done.  It is another one that I want to make larger, so the more samples I make the fewer I have to make later.

14. Mystery Quilts. I am participating in two mystery QALs. My goal for this quarter is to stay on top of the steps. Midnight Mystery by Meadow Mist Designs gives instructions on the first Thursday of each month. Turning Twenty's BOM mystery givens instructions on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month.  Both should be easy to keep up with as long as I keep myself on track.

15. Bee Blocks. I've been very good about getting my blocks out on time each month and I want to continue to do so. Both bee's I'm currently in have been lots of fun and great learning experiences. It has been fun doing different blocks in color combos that I might not have picked for myself. I've had some that I want to do for myself and others that I don't, but that is what is cool. I learn without having to make a whole quilt.

As always I've made a long list for myself. but I believe I have a better chance of getting it done if I put it on a list. I've already typed up the list to go on to my fabric cabinet. It's not fancy, but it will be a constant reminder to me of what I need to do. Today I'm linking up with On The Windy Side.

2015 Finish-Along

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Piggy Bank Challenge - Finish

Ok Sharla and I got a couple of piggy banks last July and have been saving all of our change. I found a cute little monkey for Sharla and a duck for me and we named them McGee and DiNozzo. Yes we are NCIS fans. We made a conscientious to save all of our change. At the beginning we were dumping change about once a week from our change purses, but as time went on we did it less often. But still trying our best not to use our change. I will admit I stopped using my bank, because it was easier to dump the change into a box on my desk but I did consistently save my change.

During the last part of the year we changed our routine somewhat and Sharla wasn't getting much opportunity to get change, so when we found a jug of change that my dad had started we added it to her batch.  We also decided to split the total, but since we are within $6 of each other, that really isn't necessary.

So here is the break down

Now that is some savings!!! I will admit that at one point this year my nephew had been collecting quarters from his tips and I bought a bunch off of him and dropped them into my box. I also traded him some big bills for $1s and that is where I got my bills. Sharla started dropping in bills when she wasn't getting much change. Over all we did wonderfully. Unfortunately my bank no longer has coin counters on site.  So I'm not sure how we're going to convert all of it to bills, but we're going to have to, because we both have our eyes on things we want.

Sharla is eyeing Farmhouse by Fig Tree Quilts

or Canyon by Kate Spain

And I'm debating between Tucker Prairie by One Canoe Two

or Eden by Tula Pink

But all of these are coming soon, so we have some time to decide. And who knows we might be able to kick in just a little extra and get them all. It was a fun challenge and I was really surprised by how much we ended up saving. And I'm sure we are going to do it again soon. I'm linking up with Val @ Val's Quilting Studio.
Val's Quilting Studio

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

So Very Very Sad

This is going to be a sad post and it doesn't really involve quilting, but I hope you will indulge me. Today is a very sad day for me. This morning when I got up to feed the dogs, Tucker was laying in the kitchen, but he didn't respond when I called him. So I walked over to shake him awake, but he didn't awake. My precious baby dog died in his sleep last night.

Now the rational side of me recognizes that he didn't suffer and even more important he saved me from having to make that awful end of life decision for him. But that doesn't help my broken heart.

From the day we brought him home with Cooper he was my little buddy pal.  He was always glad to see me. His tail was docked when he was born, and since he couldn't wag a tail he would wag his whole buttock.  My dad claimed not to like dogs, but he was a sucker for those two. Tucker was so smart he even learned to drive...ok maybe not.

As he got older he had lots of health issues, but he still gave lots of kiss and he still wanted to be wherever I was. There is a dog bed in every room of the house, because even after going blind he would find his way to me. He was also my quilt buddy, and I learn never to let my fabric or quilt hit the ground because if it did he would find his way to it and lay on it.

I'm so sad he is gone, but I'm so grateful that I got 11 years to love and be loved by him. When he came into my life, I never realized how big a part of my life he would become. He was my faithful companion, my fierce protector, and best of all my snuggle buddy.  
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went"....Will Rogers

Goodbye my little Tucker...Tucker Joe...Tuck Tuck...Tuck-a-Luck...Tuck-a-MoMo...Tuckie. You will be sorely missed.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Lovely Year of Finishes - July Goals

Last month I completed 3 out of 5 of my goals, which ain't bad. This month I'm hoping to do even better. Well I'm realistic enough to know that I won't complete them all, but just the process of setting goals helps me to get more done, so I will always aim high.

1. Bee Blocks. My goal every month is to complete and mail my bee blocks on time. This month I have two blocks to make. For Tiffany in the Stash Bee it is a 5 pointed star block that is paper pieced, in reds and low volume. I am very excited about this one because I love 5 pointed stars (maybe because I'm from Texas). The second block is for Emily in the Bee Hive and she picked the Busy Block. Both blocks as paper pieced, which is always a challenge, but I'm getting better and better at it.

2. Finish Test Quilt. I was asked to test a quilt for a QAL that starts in late August. I've been working on it slowly, but hope to get some real progress this week. So far it has been a lot of fun. She is giving us the instructions just as you would get them, only at a little faster rate.  I can show you the fabrics I chose. I've added a button on my side bar for the QAL which is called the Gypsy Queen Mystery Quilt Along.

3. Cut Fabric for Midnight Mystery QAL. We got instructions for cutting last Thursday, and I want to get all mine cut so I'm ready for the next set of instructions. Sharla and I are both doing this one together. I even bought a couple of bins that we can have somewhere to keep all our pieces in between instructions. My fabric is on the cutting board, and I'm hoping to get it all cut today.

4. Complete Blocks for Turning Twenty Block of the Month. We have our fabrics picked, a couple still have to arrive, but we have the base fabrics. The schedule for this one is two blocks on the first and third Monday of each month. This one will move a little faster than the other ones, but it is actually only 4 blocks per month, so that shouldn't be too bad.

5. Memory Quilts. I have to make progress on these. I struggle to do them, but I need to get them done. My goal is to finish at least one more top this month. I would like to get it quilted as well. But I don't know if I have that in me.

Now you may have noticed a theme this month, mystery QALs. It is funny neither Sharla or I have never done a mystery QAL, and now she is doing 2 and I'm doing 3. It is funny how they came along. The first was the Midnight Mystery QAL, which is being lead by Meadow Mist Designs. I've tested quilts for her before and loved them, so we thought we'd try the QAL. Then on one of the blogs I read they mentioned they were doing the Turning Twenty's first ever Block of the Month. Now they are calling it a BOM, but since we don't get to see what we're making it is really a mystery QAL. Sharla loves Turning Twenty, and so do I, so we just couldn't resist joining. Then I was offered the opportunity to test another QAL. I go from never having done one, to doing 3 at the same time. Yes I claim my own crazy. But no matter what I will be busy which always makes me happy!!!

Today I'm linking up with Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts and Melissa of Sew BitterSweet Designs.

2015 Finish Along - Q2 Finishes

I have to say quarter 2 sucked.  I could give lots of excuses, but more than anything, I just didn't work on the things on my list.  New projects appeared and I was busy with lots of other things.

I had ten items on my list and I only got one of them done.  I did finish one of the memory quilts. I can't really show it to you, because they are a surprise.  Well they know I'm making them they just don't know what they look like.  But here is the back of the one I completed.

Now I did get other things done, they just weren't on my original list.  I completed all my bee blocks on time...whoo hoo.  I finished Grande Scrappy Tiles. I got more cross blocks done.  I wish I had gotten more done, but life happens.

I'm linking up my one small finish with Adrianne at On The Windy Side. I hope to do better next quarter, but we will have to see. I can say this, I'm not pushing myself as hard, because I want to enjoy the process more than just complete things.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Winner Winner

I'm so sorry I was supposed to do this yesterday, but I had the day off and I was a very very bad girl. I slept until 10, something I never do anymore. Then I watched movies, did minor house cleaning, and just vegged the day away.  I didn't even sit down at my computer to read my blogs. It was a simply marvelous day!!!!

But today I've been up since 7:15, and I've got lots to do including announcing the winner of the Sea Star pattern by Meadow Mist Designs.

I had 56 comments and I used to pick a number for me and it picked the luck number 37. Well it was lucky for one person.

Now I used excel to help me number the comments and it showed number 37 to be Liz Horgan. I have emailed her and will be sending her the pattern shortly.

UPDATE: Liz won the pattern on a different site and asked me to pick another winner. So back to the random number generator for #14

So the winner is now Alexis Borsboom. I've sent her an email and will be sending her the pattern shortly.

Now if you love the pattern and weren't lucky number 37, Cheryl has it on sale through July 11th for an awesome price of $6.00.  I can say honestly her patterns a very well written and easy to follow, so you won't be disappointed.  Here are the links to the pattern...Etsy (Here), Craftsy (Here) or Payhip (Here).