Friday, July 22, 2016

#2106 Mid Year Review

At the end of December last year I set out some resolutions, and now it is time to see how I am doing with them. I always wish I were doing better, but to be honest, I'm ok where I am right now. It has been a very hard year so far, and although I'm not as far along on things as I would like, I have made some progress so that is good. But here is the list I made and where I am on each item.

1. Use More/Buy Less - I was doing really good with this one until the last month or so. I don't think I purchased any fabric before May of this year. I did win a couple of giveaways, but no purchases. Then I fell off the wagon hard. In May I bought fabric for a quilt for Mecca and then in July Sharla and I have bought lots of fabric with money we saved in the Piggy Bank challenge and then we found a stash we made doing a garage sale 2 years ago and we bought more fabric with it. But we've tightened our belts again, and hope not to purchase anything else unless it is used to complete a quilt.

2. Quilt for Others - I'm quite happy with my progress on this one. I've bought fabric to do a quilt for Mecca and Tom, it will be my first king sized quilt. I also had everyone in my two bees this year make blocks for a quilt for Cole. So that is two quilts for others that are in the works. I also have Callie's and Beau's wedding quilt working as well. So I'm making progress, slow but progress. I have Mecca's quilt laid out in EQ7 because I wanted a guide to look at as I pieced. It is the Courtyard Tiles pattern I bought in May and the fabric is Bread n Butter by American Jane.
3. Balance/Organization - I still struggle with with one. I want to do it all, but often end up getting nothing done. I am still working on this one and will most likely continue to work on it forever. But the important thing is that if I'm working on it, then I'm at least trying to be balanced.

4. Stop Comparing Myself to Others - I'm doing better with this one. I still have moments where I get down because I've not gotten as much done as someone else, but they are fewer and farther between. Instead of being down because I've not gotten as much accomplished as I might want, I'm excited to see what others have done. And if I am having a down day, then I just don't read the blogs, that way I don't get further down. Have I stopped completely, no, but I'm better and that is good enough.

5. Keep Moving Forward - This one is hard to quantify, but I am saying I'm doing it. Earlier this year I had (and to some extent still do) some pretty terrible knee pain. I ended up getting not 1 but 2 injections in each knee. But I didn't let it totally sideline me. I may not have gotten as much done, but I have gotten some things done, so that is progress. I maybe moving forward at a snails pace, but for me movement is movement.

Over all it I've been doing ok this year, but as always I want to do better. With everything that has happened this year, there are days when I don't even want to get out of bed, but I do. So I'm going to continue working on my list and hopefully at the end of the year I will have even more progress to show. I will be linking up at Quilting Jetgirl today.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

4th Annual Piggy Bank Savings = Money for Quilting Challenge 2017

Last week I revealed our savings from last year's piggy bank challenge and now it is time to sign up for this year's challenge. Sharla and I have done this for two years and although we didn't save as much last year as we did the year before, we are signing up for it again. But I'm changing the rules just a little for us. We used to stop every weekday morning for coffee and every afternoon for tea at a local McDonald's, but trying to cut back on calories and spending we've changed that practice and rarely stop now. That was our main source of change. My plan this year is to weekly drop some paper money into my box along with my change. I am hoping to drop a minimum of $5 per week or at least $20 per month.

The first year I got very cute little banks which were a monkey and a duck which we named McGee and DiNozzo, which is what we still call our savings.

Now they are super cute, but very hard to empty especially paper money, so last year I bought two boxes at JoAnn's to use. These work much better. I keep mine on my desk and Sharla keeps hers on her dresser. They held up well, so we are going to use them again this year. 

As of right now, my box has $5.68 in it so I'm off for a good start to this year. Which is change I found cleaning out my nightstand and this week's $5. And in case you're wondering yes we still have the original banks, but now they are just used as decoration to make us smile. If you want to play along, find yourself a bank, cup, jar or box and start saving. you can check out the link up at Val's Quilting Studio.

Val's Quilting Studio

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Piggy Bank Challenge - Reveal

It is time to tell everyone how much Sharla and I saved last year with our piggy bank challenge. I am sad to say it wasn't as much as the year before, but we changed several of our buying habits and just got less change. However, a penny saved is a penny earned and we are happy that we saved what we did.

So for the year I saved $127 and Sharla saved $106, which totals to $233, which we have already spent. It didn't take us any time at all to pick out what we wanted, and we were able to catch a couple of sales, which made those pennies go even further.

Do you want to know what we bought? Well we both love Blueberry Park and we both love the Bright bundle, so we both got a fat quarter bundle. We are still what pattern we want to use for them, but right now the top choice is Big and Bold by Cozy Quilts Designs. As you can see below we've not even unwrapped the bundle, because it just arrived.

Next Sharla has been eyeing North Woods by Kate Spain for several weeks, and so she decided that she was going to get it. And although it is a Christmas collection, the fabrics aren't all Santa's and reindeer so I think she will use it for more than Decembers. We created a pattern off of something she saw but then we couldn't find again. So we used EQ7 to create a layout that will work for her. And she just had to open the bundle when it arrived, what can I say she gets a kick out of petting fabric.

And lastly, if you read my post last year I was eyeing a line called Tucker Prairie, but somehow I just never bought it. I love the colors, but whenever I would go to purchase it something else would catch my eye.  Yes I know my eye wanders a lot. When I was shopping I saw lots of things I liked, but I kept thinking of a pattern I purchased during May is for Makers called Picket Fence. And I wanted to make it and I found a couple of Tucker Prairie layer cakes and as they say the rest is history.

I still need to buy the background fabric for the Picket Fence and backing for all three of these, but for now I've used up my budget and we are very happy with our purchases. We will be doing the challenge again next year, because it is a great way to save a little or a lot depending on how much change crosses your path.  If you want to see what others saved you can check out the linky party at Val's Quilting Studio.

Val's Quilting Studio

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday Finish - Tic Tac Toe Quilt

I was so happy earlier this week because I finished my Bee Hive 2015 quilt. Then all the events of last night happened and I was so sad.  I totally understand being angry enough at someone to hurt them, but I don't understand being angry and taking it out randomly on someone because of the uniform they wear, the color of their skin, the person they love or the religion they practice. I almost didn't do this post, because celebrating my little victory seemed shallow against the tragedy that occurred in Dallas last night. But then I decided that I wasn't going to let the stupidity of someone else rob me of my joy. So I will continue to pray for those involved, but I will also celebrate the joys in my life.

Last June I was the queen of Swarm Johanna for the The Bee Hive 2015 and I received some awesome blocks. I wanted the quilt to be my chair quilt for watching TV, so I added some extra blocks to it. I ended up making it approximately 60 x 72 (5 blocks by 6 blocks). I love the pattern, because the blocks are easy to make, and I love when it is put together you get a secondary pattern.

I asked for colorful "X's", grey corners, and low volume backgrounds and my bee mates did an awesome job.

I used a 108" backing I found at my LQS for the backing and binding. It is mixture of greys, black and blue which I thought worked well with the front.

I quilted it in a simple all over meander, and once it was washed it crinkled up very nicely. All in all, I'm very happy with this quilt and I can't wait until it is cool enough for me to use it. And I can't think all of my bee mates enough for their wonderful blocks!!!

And for those of you wondering what happened with my neighbor's dogs, well three of them were labeled as dangerous dogs (the full Akita and the 2 Akita mixed) and won't be returning unless my neighbor builds a fortress in his backyard. The judge originally labeled all four dogs as dangerous, but there was one lab mix that didn't have any Akita in it that we allowed to deemed safe and returned to the family. The lab mix was also not involved in the incident and had not shown any aggression at the shelter. All in all it was just a sad situation that could have been avoided if my neighbors would have fixed the fence and socialized their dogs.

I am linking up my finish with Can I Get A Whoop Whoop @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict,  Finish It Up Friday @ Crazy Mom Quilts, Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday @ The Carpenter's Daughter Who QuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation and Fabric Frenzy Friday @ Fort Worth Fabric Studio.