Sunday, January 31, 2016

Goals: 4 X 7 Sewing Challenge

For the last couple of years I've joined Sarah at Berry Barns Designs for her 4 X 7 Sewing Challenge. The challenge is to sew everyday and to sew for yourself. I love having the challenge of sewing everyday, even if it is only 30 minutes. It really helps to get a lot done.

My goals for this year are pretty simple I want to do lots and lots of quilt blocks. I have three bee quilts from the last two years that I would like to finish. I know you are thinking if you received your blocks why aren't they done, it is simple I want them larger. One of them is going to be a queen size quilt for my bed and the other two I want to be large snuggle quilts.  So lets get down to my actual goals.

1. Cross Quilt. I need 289 blocks for this quilt and I have 251 completed, so that means just 38 more blocks and I'm done. Wow I'm over 85% done, so if I can do a real push this month I might be able to finish all the blocks.  I don't know if I can 38 done, but I would love to get at least 20. Here are a few of my favorites I made recently.

2. Tic Tac Toe Blocks. I want to do a 5 x 6 layout on these blocks so I need 30 blocks and I have 21 completed. That leaves me 9 to do. I would like to get 3 or 4 more done this month. They are not hard blocks to do, but for some reason I struggle cutting them. My goal is to cut at least 4 this month, and if possible maybe go ahead and cut the 9 I need.  Here is one I did as a sample for my bee mates and it is still one of my favorites (yes I know I'm partial to purple).

3. Flying Geese Blocks. I want this one a little bigger so I need 42 blocks to do the 6 x 7 layout. The blocks I'm creating right now are only half blocks, so I really need 84 1/2 blocks. I'm doing this so I can mix and match a little easier when I go to piece the top. Currently I have 58 of the 84 I need, leaving me 26 to go. I would love to get all 26 done, but I don't think that will be possible. But I would like to get at least 5 or 6 done. I would also like to get 10+ cut just to have. The blocks sew together really quickly, so if I get them cut, I will have a much better chance of getting them sewn. Here are a few of my favorites that I've made recently (and yes I used Tula Pink's True Colors purple in this quilt as well...what can I say I love her designs and I love purple).

Now those are my main goals for my selfish sewing in February, but I have a couple of more as well. I want to get the back pieced for my purple quilt. I would love to get it quilted, but I'm nursing a hurt knee, so I'm not sure it will happen. I also want to get my blocks picked and samples made for my turns as queen for my two bees this year.  I'm the queen for The Stash Bee and The Bee Hive both in April, and I always have a hard time picking what blocks I want. And my last goal is to get all my projects organized. I have done most of it, but I still have a little left and I just ran out of steam.

If you want to join the fun of the 4 X 7 Sewing Challenge, just head over to Berry Barns Designs and you can learn more about it. I know from past experience it is lots of fun and you get lots done when you sew every day.  I've found that the momentum created during this month continues on for quite some time. And if nothing else you get to make some progress on projects for yourself.

Berry Barn Designs

One Monthly Goal - January Finish

Ok I don't know what happened to January, it just was just gone. I guess when you are on the downhill slope of life you pick up speed.  Even though it went by fast and we had a ton of things happening, I was able to finish my one main goal for January!!!!  Yeah!!!

Sharla's Box Trot quilt is quilted, bound, washed and on her bed. She loves it. The colors are bright and cheery and it is really long so it makes a great snuggle quilt. Hollywood loves it too, he tries to get it first.

Now for my list of other projects I wanted to get done, I did ok.

1. Bee Blocks - all done and sent out early in the month.
2. Selfish Sewing - I will be posting about this tomorrow, but know I did get some done.
3. Ariella's memory quilt - the rows are pieced and about half of those are attached to another row. So some progress. I would have loved to quilt it this month, but I've been hobbled by a bad knee for about a week and getting not much done at all.
4. Finish Organizing current projects - A lot is done, but I have about one more bin to go.
5. Piece the back for Sharla's Norway quilt - sadly no progress here.

All in all I'm very happy with where I'm at for the month. My big goal is done and progress has been made on other. Now if I can just start feeling better and if Sharla can slow down on her doctor appointments I could get more done.  But I know February is going to be tough, I think Sharla and/or I have a doctor's appointment every week, so my days off will be filled with more driving than sewing.  Today I'm linking up with Heidi at Red Letter Quilts

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Stash Report / Sunday Stash

First don't worry I haven't fallen off of the use my stash train yet, and since I've not purchased any fabric I've decide to take a page from awesome "Molli Sparkles" and rediscover some of the fabric I own.  But before I get to that I want to report on my progress to use my stash.  So far for January I've made bee blocks and finished Sharla's Box Trot Quilt (and since we share the stash, any finish/purchase for either of us goes into the totals). And for the record I don't count the fabric as used until it is a totally finished quilt or it leaves my house (i.e. bee blocks). With this weeks finish I'm now standing at 15 yards used for the year...yeah!!!
I know that isn't necessarily a lot of fabric, especially when I look at how much I have, but I'm happy with it. I'm really happy that I haven't broken down and bought fabric in the first month and I have been tempted. On the Box Trot quilt I took the usage directly off of the pattern except for the backing, and I only increased the backing a little, but I put down what I actually used.

Now that the number crunching is out of the way, it is time to show something pretty. Since I've not bought anything this month, I went through my stash to show you something I found there. I will say that I love just going though my fabric and petting it. Anyone know of a job where I can be paid good money to sit and pet/fold fabric?  I have been trying to get all of my fabric projects organized, with the fabric, backing, and pattern all together or at least noted where everything is stored. What I've discovered is I have great taste in fabric, well maybe I should say is I still love the fabric I have. 

The fabric I'm showing today I bought at the Dallas Quilt Show several years ago. I think this is one of my all time favorite fabric lines and it is call PB&J by Basic Grey. One of the shops was selling a 5 yard bundle of the floral prints from the line and I couldn't resist.  I decided to just do big blocks of the fabric with the red grunge from the line as sashing and then I found some of the same light blue floral for the backing.

I have another quilt I made with this same line using a jelly roll and I use it all the time. There is just something about the colors in this line that speak to me. The only thing I would change on this quilt if I could would be the backing fabric. I would have loved to use the yellow floral. It is my favorite print in the line because it just reminds me of sunshine and springtime. But the line was already on the way out when I bought the bundle and I was lucky to find any of the prints in enough quantity for the backing.

I wish I could say I'm starting on this one next, but I'm am really trying to work on those memory quilts on my to do list. Then I have Callie and Beau's wedding quilt. So it will be a while before I can break out my rotary cutter on these beauties, but in the mean time I can still look at them and pet them occasionally to make myself smile.

Friday, January 22, 2016

First 2016 Finish-A-Long Finish / Friday Finish

I actually finished this last weekend, but between me being sick, Sharla having eye surgery, and just a crazy week, I've not had time to photograph it until now. I'm happy it is done and so is Sharla, she has been wanting this for a long time. I think it was on my list every month last year, but I just never got to it.  Box Trot is no small quilt it was 63 x 93 1/2 before quilting, which is a twin size. It is nice and long, which is really nice.

I tried photographing it both inside and outside, because it was very hard to get the bright colors on this one to show in the photos. I can say this is Sharla all the way, bright and cheerful to the max. The fabric in the boxes is wavy and it really looks wonky in the photos.

As you can see above I quilted it in random loops, and it was fun to just let go and quilt. No real plan just going loopy crazy. I also really love the backing fabric for this one because it was so busy that any mistakes (yes I do make some) were easily hid from sight. It is also the fabric for the outer border. We used the wavy line fabric for the binding and I love how it looks.

I'm glad to have this one done, one because it has been hanging out for far too long and two because Sharla is really going to enjoy using it. So one off the list, and now to get working on the other projects I need to do. Today I will be linking up with  Fabric Frenzy Friday @ Fort Worth Fabric Studio, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Needle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation, TGIFF @ The Quilt Journal and Finish It Up Friday @ Crazy Mom Quilts. And this is one off my 2016 Finsh-A-Long list too!!!!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

2016 Finish-A-Long - Q1 - Goals

I have to admit as much as I love lists, I almost didn't do this post. I seem to do better with short term goals, because I don't know what I want to work on in March. Last year I really didn't do go with these goals, but I am hoping to better this year.

I have a long list of things I want to get done, and I'm sure I won't get anywhere close to all of these things done, but hey it is worth it to at least write them down and try. I'm breaking my list down into a couple of different categories.

Tops I have finished and need to quilt

1. Sharla's Box Trot quilt. It is loaded on the long arm, but this week has been crazy, so I've not started it yet, but I hope to get it quilted this week.

2. Sharla's Norway quilt. It is a turning 20 quilt and has been sitting on the shelf way too long. And I've searched and can't find a photo of the completed quilt. I will try and get one soon.

3. My Alternating 4 patch quilt. It is one of the first quilt tops I made and it is time to get it done. I think it would make a great quilt for Hollywood to use under my desk.

Tops I need to piece and quilt

4. Ariella's Memory quilt - I've made very little progress on this one, but the blocks are pieced and need to be sashed. All the memory quilts have progressed past this stage, but I can't show the progress until they are all done and gifted.

5. Samuel's Memory quilt - It is in the same place as Ariella's.

6. Tina's Memory quilt - It is in the same pile as the other two.

7. My Midnight Mystery quilt - I'm still working on the top, but would love to get it done and quilt this quarter. I figured out this week that I didn't complete my courthouse step blocks, so I'm a little further behind than I thought, but I think I can get back on track and finish it this quarter.

8. My Turning 20 BOM quilt - To be honest I'm not loving the revealed quilt, so I think I'm going to change the layout. I like the blocks themselves, but not their finishing layout. This may end up as a donation quilt simply because I'm not loving it. But I would like to get it finished.

9. Callie & Beau's wedding quilt - I would like to have this finished by their first anniversary, which is in April. I have the blocks back, I've purchased the backing, now I just need to get to work.

10. My Cross Quilt - this started as a bee quilt in 2014, but I wanted it larger and I've been making blocks here and there forever.  I'm down to only needing about 30 blocks and I will be done with that portion. If I can get them done, and it put together that would be awesome. It will be the first bed size quilt I've done.

Quilts that need to be bound

11. Angela's Memory quilt - I need to bind it and to bury the threads on it it. But I can't gift it until they are all done, so I need to get to work on all of them.

With 11 items on my list I would have to get 1 per week done for the rest of the quarter, which isn't really possible, but I am hoping to get at least some of the done and off of my list and out of my house (well at least 5 of them because they are definitely going elsewhere). Today I'm going to link up the A Quilter's Table, but there are lots of places you can link up if you want.

2016 FAL

Friday, January 8, 2016

Friday Finish 01/08/16 - Bee Blocks

Not only are my bee blocks done, but they are officially in the mail, well my guess is they are still in the bin at the post office but they are out of my hands. Now in case you don't realize it, it is the 8th day of the month and I'm done with my bee blocks...woohoo!!!!!  I even had three sets of blocks, Stash Bee 2016, Bee Hive 2015 (the last one for this bee) and Bee Hive 2016, so not only early in the month but three different bees. I wish I could say this will be the way the rest of the year rolls, but we all know that ain't going to happen.

So let's look at the lovelies I made. First up is Bee Hive 2015 and I made Checker blocks for Beckey. This is a really easy block and because you end up with double the HST I went ahead and made two blocks. She picked a bright and cheery combination of color which included yellow, orange, blue and cream. It is hard not to smile at these colorful blocks.

Next up is the block I made for Diana, my hive momma for Stash Bee Hive 3. She picked a block using Christmas colors and called it a Christmas wreath. I have lots of pinks and purples, but Christmas reds and greens not so much. But I did find enough to make the block and I really love how it looks. I think the finished quilt will look awesome. And I really like how all the different low volume fabric look in it.

Last up is the block I made for Ruthie the first queen of my Bee Hive 2016 group. She picked the same block as Beckey, so it is definitely a checker month. But as I said before this is an easy block and you can make two very easily. Now Ruthie picked a different color combination and I really love it as well. She picked pink, grey, medium blue and navy blue which really look sharp together. I'm still deciding what block I'm going to pick during my reign as queen, and this one is definitely in the running.

I dropped these all off at the post office this morning, and I included some charms in each package just for the fun of it. I calculated approximately how much fabric I used for the blocks and the charms and added that to my fabric usage spreadsheet. I don't count fabric as used until the project is completely finished, which normally means quilted and bound, but bee blocks are the exception. And since they left my house I'm counting them as used. That means week one and I have used about 1 1/2 yards of fabric and I've bought none...yeah!!!  I know these aren't big finishes, but they are finished and that is what counts!! Today I'm linking up with Fabric Frenzy Friday @ Fort Worth Fabric Studio, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Needle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation, TGIFF @ Quilt Matters and Finish It Up Friday @ Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

One Monthly Goal - January Goal(s)

I'm very sad at the ending of ALYoF as are others, but luckily for me Heidi at  Red Letter Quilts is starting OMG or One Monthly Goal.  The idea is the same, you set your goal(s) early in the month and report back your progress at the end of the month.

As always I have a hard time setting just one goal, but rather than a long list I'm going to try something a little different this year. I am going to set my one goal for the month and then have a small list that I want to work on as well. Hopefully this will help me stay on track without getting overwhelmed.

My OMG is to quilt Sharla's box trot quilt. It has been on the list forever and I do mean forever, but this is the month to get it done!!! In fact it is loaded onto Abby (my longarm) and I had hoped to start on it today, but it will most likely be tomorrow night before I start.  It is a nice sized quilt (65 x 93 or so), so it will take me a little while to get it quilted. But the goal is for it to be quilted and bound by the end of the month.

Now for my short list of other projects to do this month

1. Bee Blocks - I have 2 out of the 3 I need to do already done, and I hope to get the other finished so they can be in the mail by no later than next week.

2. Selfish Sewing - I want to have at least 10 more cross blocks, 2 tic tac toe blocks and 2 flying geese blocks done by the end of the month. And I would like to get the rest of my cross blocks cut, I'm getting close to then end and want to get them done.

3. Ariella's memory quilt top. If I push I think I can get the top done and maybe even quilted by the end of the month. I'm trying to break them down to one at a time rather than the group of four to see if it helps me get them done.

4. Finish organizing my current projects. I have some backing fabric that should be arriving this week and I want to make sure it gets matched up with the other pieces and have everything documented. If I am still missing known projects at the end of the week I'm just going to move on without them. I don't want all my time to be spent searching, I would rather be sewing.

5. Piece the backing for Sharla's turning twenty Norway quilt. If I can get it quilted as well that would be great, but for now I will be happy to have the backing prepped.

That is it, not that I don't have a zillion other projects, but these are my tops ones for January. I even created a Google Keep January board to help me stay on track. I will be linking up with Red Letter Quilts.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Year of the Stash - The Manifesto

I'm sure that those of you who really know me probably spit out your coffee when you read the title of this blog post. Sewing from my stash...we all know I'm a fabric collector at heart and manifesto is a word I don't use in my life. Well strap on you boots and get ready for 2016 ride that I call life. I've made some decisions and I'm making some changes. Now to be honest I wouldn't have picked the word "manifesto", I got that from Jenn @ A Quarter Inch From The Edge, but it is a perfect word to use.  Here is the definition

Now Jenn has a wonderfully written manifesto and I could basically copy most of it word for word and it would work for me, but I wanted to put my own touches on it. And since we all know I'm a big time list maker, I'm doing mine in the form a of list.

1.  Organize Projects - I will document all existing fabric that I have purchased for specific projects and put all the fabric I have for that project into a bin. I will make a list of the projects, noting the bin where it is stored, the pattern I've picked to use (if I have one) and if the project is mine or Sharla's. Now to be honest Sharla and I have been working on this since Christmas and have most of our projects all organized. We have a couple of projects we know we bought but haven't found yet (which means we put them somewhere for safe keeping).  Here is a sample of part of my list.

2 . Organize Fabrics - The second part to the organize process is group the left over fabrics by color or type. I already have bins for fat quarters, but where I have yardage it has been just randomly stored with the above projects. By removing them from my storage cabinet I've freed enough space to sort by color groups, and I also have one shelf for pre-cuts that haven't been assigned to a project and another for batiks. At this point I don't plan on purging anything, but if I find things that are no longer what I like, I will destash it. I am also going to organize my scraps, which right now is just one big bin. I am going to sort it, if it is a decent size it will go into the FQ bins, if it is too small for that, I will cut it into squares (2 1/2") and if it is too small for that it goes into the dog bed scraps. I'm saving tiny bits to stuff beds for my dogs. 

3. Buy Less Fabric - I know I should say buy no fabric, but I'm realistic and that isn't going to happen, Can I resist for an entire year, probably not. But my goal is to buy mostly to complete projects. I know I have projects where I still need to buy sashing, backing and/or binding, so those are allowed without question if I am working on the project. New fabric for the sake of new fabric is to be limited as much as possible. I am also allowed to purchase fat quarters for bee blocks, if necessary. Since a total lock out on buying is not reasonable, my goal is to use more fabric than I buy. I plan to track all fabric used (and it isn't used until it is quilted and bound), this will be estimates based on the pattern or my best guess and I will track all fabric purchased, and my hope is at the end of the year the used will far outweigh the bought. I will track with a simple spreadsheet and update it at least monthly so that ya'll can hold me accountable. I probably should make a rule that Tula Pink fabric doesn't count, because we know I can't resist it, but I'm going to try and be strong.

4.  Cut My Fabric -  I need to learn not to be scared to use my fabric. I have some lovely fabric and as we were organizing it over the last week, I fell in love with several of the bundles all over again. And because I love it I'm often afraid to cut into it, but no more. I know I will enjoy the finished quilt even more than the pretty bundle of fabric. Sometimes I think I want to wait for the perfect pattern to come along, but that is just my fear talking. So when I am ready to start a new project I need to look first at my stash and pick from it. I have fabric that I have had for 3+ years, like Marmalade that I adore, so I need to get brave and start cutting.

5. Be Happy - If I use only fabric from my stash or if I go hog wild and buy a quilt store, I want to be happy with my decisions. So I won't beat myself up if I buy fabric and I will celebrate when I used from my stash. I want quilting to be fun and joyful, not something I dread. Overall I want to use my stash more this year than ever before, and I will.

Ok that is my manifesto, with it and five dollars you can get a cup of coffee. I'm going to link up with Jenn @ A Quarter Inch From The Edge, and you can write your own manifesto and do the same if you would like.
                                                 A Quarter Inch from the Edge

A Lovely Year Of Finishes - Final Link Up

I can say that I'm very sad to the the end of A Lovely Year of Finishes, being the list maker that I am it was a great place for me to track what I needed to get done each month. Last year I did eleven out of the twelve months, missing one because I was busy and forgot to post my goals. So lets see what I did get accomplished last year.

January Goal January Finish - Tessellated Leave - Done and I love it!

February GoalFebruary Finish - Callie & Beau's Blocks - Over 50% complete, and I'm calling it a win!

March GoalMarch Finish - Finish Callie & Beau's Blocks - Completed and Gifted

April GoalApril Finish - Pouches - Done and used on our trip.

May Goal - May Finish - This is the month I forgot to list my goals.  :(

June GoalJune Finish - Bee Blocks - and they got done, but so did my Grande Scrappy Tiles which made me very happy.

July Goal July Finish- Bee Blocks - all done and mailed on time, I think my favorite was the 5 point star

August Goal August Finish - Bee Blocks - done and mailed just in the nick of time, but I didn't like the curved piecing

September Goal September Finish - Bee Blocks - Yes I got a little boring this year on focused on Bee Block a lot, but they got done and mailed on time.

October GoalOctober Finish - Dog Gone Cute Quilt - which I did finish, but I made 4 small quilts to hang on my wall rather than one big one.

November GoalNovember Finish - Trey and Jessica's Tree Skirt - finished just in the nick of time!

December Goal December Finish - Secret Sewing, which started as one table runner for Christmas and ended up being three and all three were done and gifted.

Overall a successful year. I hope to focus more on quilting and less on piecing in 2016, but who knows what will happen.  I'm sad that The Lovely Year of Finishes won't be continuing, but I totally understand that change has to happen. Thank you Melissa and Shanna for all you've done over the last three years and I wish you the very best going forward!!!!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Best of 2015 Linky Party

I've started writing this post about 10 times, and I change my mind on which posts are my top 5. If you go with most comments, it is always the giveaways, which were fun, but not really my favorites. Then, I I thought to go with my favorites which would be some of my Thankful Thursday and #100DayOfHappy posts because those were things that made me happy. Then I finally decided on my finishes, which were pretty meager this year, but that just meant they were even more special to me. So I decided to put them in order that I finished them.

1. Tessellated Leaves - I did this as a test quilt for Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl and I have to say it was lots of fun to make. I want to do another one in a rainbow colorway, but I have to get other projects done first (but I have fabric to do it...hehehe).

2.  Grande Scrappy Tiles - Again another test quilt but this one was for Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs. I love the colors on this one, the pinks and purples are just right up my alley.  And this one goes together quickly because the blocks are big.  In fact I'm really thinking about using my Tula Pink Moonshine to make this one again. I think the mix of sizes of the blocks would show off the fabric so well.

3. Dog Gone Cute Blog Hop.  I have to admit that these are probably the most favorite thing I've made this year. Yes I know I'm a little...ok a lot dog crazy and these were just too much fun!! I still have to make my Marley block and get them hung on the wall. But hopefully you will be seeing Marley shortly.

4. Trey and Jessica's Tree Skirt - This was a year in the making...ok not really but they did request it last Christmas and luckily I got it done in time to give it to them at our family Thanksgiving dinner. They both loved it, and I hope they get to use it for years to come!!! I will say this was probably my most challenging finish, I had to cut pieces on an angle and use bias binding, two things that were new to me.

5. Christmas Table Runners - Ok they were Christmas gifts not made with Christmas fabrics. It was a challenge because I didn't decide to make them until after Thanksgiving, and although they were fairly easy, time is somewhat limited in December. I think they were all well received and if I had to pick a favorite it would be the one I made for Mecca and Tom. But then I do love flying geese.

I have to say there were other posts that I really loved too, like Quilty Thankful Thursday #19 because it showed pictures of Callie and Beau's wedding, and #100 Days of Happy - Part 2 because it introduced Marley as part of our family. And I had some sad posts like the one where my precious baby dog Tucker passed away. But overall I was glad to find that most of my posts were happy, and in reviewing for this post it was lots of fun going through them again. If you want to post your Best of 2015 you have until tomorrow to do so on Meadow Mist Designs blog.