Thursday, February 14, 2019

Not In The RESTRICTED Section...

It only took 30 years, but my Harry Potter Bookcase quilt top is complete!!  You heard me.  COMPLETE!  There were a lot of days that I was certain it was never going to be finished.  It came down to these 3 blocks...the tea cup, Trevor, 
and Bertie's Every Flavor Beans.  I decided against embroidering the book names on the bindings for 2 reasons.  1) I would have wanted different fonts and I don't think I'd be happy with my workmanship, 2)  It would have taken another 10 years, 3) The printed bindings would have made it too hard to read.  Okay, that's technically 4 reasons.  But, you get my point.
Then, I used the Harry Potter fabric I've been saving FOREVER for the outer border.  It wouldn't be my first choice today but I've had it stashed away for this purpose for so long (at least 10 years) that I just can't make myself choose something else.  Quilting it is going to be a disaster, I'm sure.  My PP abilities improved greatly over the years and my older seams are not awesome.  Still LOVE it, though!  This may be the quilt my kids fight over when I die.
To celebrate, I started a new project.  This is the first block for Barbara Brachman's Hospital Sketches.  Periwinkle Wreath?  Something like that.  It was a nice change of pace from the overly complicated Baltimore Album of Roses project I've been working on.  I finished the wreath while watching Season 2 of Game of Thrones, roughly 10 hours.  10 hours to do 1 block of hand applique and I say it was easy.  Make me spend 3 on a paper pieced block and I'm whining like a baby.  I know, I make NO sense. 
Oh, I forgot to post this.  It's from a class I took last February?  Barbara Olsen's Cosmic Spiral.  I just happened to have the day of the class off and thought it was divine intervention propelling me to take a class that expanded my repertoire.  Perhaps the universe was urging me in a new and bold direction with my life.  It was not.  But, I did eventually finish the spiral...
Also, from Barbara Brachman, Stars in Her Crown blocks 3 & 4.  I'm really digging Barbaras, aren't I?

I accidentally left them on the pressing table together and look how nice they are together!  I considered combining the 2 projects to make 1 quilt but I think I've changed my mind.  I'd like to do a Circle of 9 set up for Stars in Her Crown and the swirl will mess my numbers up.  Now I want to bead the swirl and keep it as a small wall hanging.
Next time, we'll take a look at my Barn Sampler thing...I forget what they called it...

Friday, February 1, 2019

February Possiblilties

Staying inside is finally a popular idea, even for my husband.   With cold weather like this, Rich even requested I don't go out.  Nice, right?  Because of the that & the fact that I avoid housework at all costs, I had a little time this month to get the applique and embroidery blocks done for Jackman's Splendid Sampler group.  This pin head chick is... not my style...
They chose the fabrics and handed them to me.  I'm pretty sure it's a collection of Christmas fabrics.   I think I have at least 2 more to do before Feb 26?
 I know, not much progress on Stevie's Quilt but I'm slowly plodding along with it.  I had visions of getting it done before the quilt show in June but I'm pretty sure that's just another one of my pipe dreams.  I did finish my Cosmic Spiral from last year's class but forgot to take a picture.  That could make it to the show if I embellished it. 
I managed to quilt Jill's t-shirt quilt and even remembered to give it to Hunter when he was over the other day.  Seriously, I kept saying good bye, sitting down and then seeing the quilt on the stairs...  3 times.  I also got Melissa's quilt quilted but not bound.  I'm not too happy with the the way the quilting turned out on hers.  My machine wouldn't cooperate and then things just escalated from there.  Blood and tears were shed.  Things got ugly.  Now I'm just pouting about the whole thing.  I didn't even get it done by the end of January like I had hoped.  She literally pinned me to a date of estimated completion.  The turkey!  I may have to do a different quilt for her later.
So, can't say January was a total bust even thought I didn't officially finish my goal.  But, tomorrow's a new day and I don't work much in February so there's hope for me yet!  My goal in February is going to be finishing my Harry Potter Bookshelf!  Perhaps a show contender as well.

Friday, January 25, 2019

A Domestic Life

I don't have tons to report but I thought I'd touch bases and say hi!  I managed to finish block 2 of Stars in Her Crown.  I matched my corners better on this one.  The outer edges are still a bit funky but I'm getting better.
 I survived my first class at Jackman's and here are my lovely students with their fun projects!  Such a great class!  Couldn't have asked for more enthusiastic and kind students for my entrance into the world of Jackman's.
I did some more baking as well.  This is a smash cake for a little girl that is turning 1 with a mermaid party.  Bethany's first birthday was Little Mermaid and this really brought back memories.  My cake skills weren't the same 22 years ago but what I lacked in finesse, I made up for in effort.  At least that's what I tell myself.
The inside of the cake.  She's got a photographer coming this weekend to do the smash cake and the party is next weekend.  Not something I'd have ever considered 22 years ago.  I'll be doing cupcakes for the actual party with some fondant mermaid tails!  I'll share pics of that whether I'm successful or not!  Full disclosure!
 My boys have been busy little domestic bees as well.  Hunter made this awesome sofa table for me.  It's absolutely perfect for holding my snacks and stitching debris while I watch tv.  Love it!!  Rich actually used it as a dinner table one night.  If you knew Rich, you'd know that he REFUSES to eat anywhere but the dining room table.
 I think I mentioned last month that Rich tore up one of the upstairs bathrooms while he was "convalescing" after his seizures.  We were just going to replace the tile... he had to tear out 3 layers of flooring which uncovered a leaking pipe we'd been looking for for years.  So after he re-plumbed, he had to replace the lower half of the dry wall so the bead board would go on correctly.  Put in a new medicine cabinet.  Replaced the lighting fixture.  Then the toilet broke when he but it back in place, so that got fixed.  Hunter did all the trim and floor boards and basically cleaned up his father's GIANT mess.  Then he put in that gorgeous tin ceiling!  I can't leave out  that Bethany painted the walls grey on Christmas Eve!!  What a girl!
 When it was all said and done, Rich decided to replace the faucet as well so he could just be finished!  How lucky am I to have such AMAZING men in my life?  I LOVE the new bathroom!  It's only 3' by 7', so I can't get better pics.  Sorry.  Just know it's fantastic!
 The man himself enjoying an early birthday lunch at Crown Candy in STL.  So happy to say it looks like he's gonna make it to 49 after all!
 Me, shocked that after all these years, I'm still just a domestic girl, trying to make a fabulous home for my family... All I ever wanted!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Get It Together, Woman!

I think I mentioned last time that I've made a HUGE effort to get my life in order.  I don't know if it's the peri-menopause or the partial empty nesting or the grey hair I found.  Maybe it was the seizing husband...I just have an overwhelming need to get my act together.  I really wish I'd taken before and after pics so you could get the full scope of my situation.  But, you couldn't open this cupboard without stuff falling out and causing bodily harm.  Now, my beads are grouped together by color.  I'm totally geeking out over it!
 I put my lace and rick rack on cards, as you do.  Disaster 2 controlled.
Disaster 3 was so bad, we couldn't open the drawers anymore.  Anyone need a Flash patch?  I have an extra.  Bethany came in and said, "This NEEDED to happen, girl."
I paper pieced the first installment of Stars in Her Crown with Barbara Brachman.  I did it in between appointments and think I should have taken more time.  My points don't match.  I don't know if I printed them correctly.  She sends out a picture and we're supposed to add the 1/4" around a triangle.  I skipped it by cutting the square in half and trying to make that work.  It didn't.
Our Crazy Quilt group decided on our 2019 project and I'm pretty excited about it.  We settled on bird blocks for each month of the year.  A list was made but I've decided to go rogue and do a flamingo instead of a pheasant.  Wild, I know.  Another bonus from cleaning out my studio was to sort through all my cool stuff.  It really sparked my desire to work on crazy quilting again, so I can't wait.

We're actually working on Lovebirds first.  We'll bring the block to the next meeting and work on them at the meeting.  We chose to work on our own projects this time instead of doing a round robin.  That is partially my fault, I think.  I couldn't manage to do my portion on time each month this last year...  Sorry guys.
Doves are actually for January but I may roll it over for next January.  I think we have the option to do 2 this month or roll it over.
Good thing I cleaned out my bead cupboard because I'm about to load up on some random bird paraphernalia!  As you do.
Here's the table runner I made for Jackman's a few weeks ago.  I just got a new bag of things last night to work on for them as well.
Here's a picture of Birthday Girl Carmen in front of the cake I made for her.  These were my first butter cream roses.  Incidentally, Hunter told me the other night that it's the best cake I'd ever made.  Crazy.  It was a Mayonnaise Cake made with a dark chocolate cocoa.  Those WW2 women knew what they were doing!

We also went to a holistic doctor to re-assess our (Rich and my) health.  The dude thinks Rich is healthier than I am!  I call bullshit!  He just had 2 seizures.  I, sir, am seizure free.  He then gave me a new list of foods that my body can't process correctly.  Bleh!  If I only ate what I was supposed to, I'd be as skinny as our Carmen!  That being said, I cut out rice, beans & milk and I do feel better already.  Dammit.

Talk to you soon!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

One Monthly Goal

One thing became clear to me in 2018.  I am a space cadet.  Seriously, I can't stay focused on anything.  It seems to be getting so much worse the older I get.  Driving Rich around for the last month it became clear, I miss my turn, forget which store we were headed to first, why did I walk into a room?  Where did I leave my tea this time?  I've determined that I spread myself too thin.  So, nothing gets my full attention.
I've tried to focus my quilting by joining quilt a longs and challenges...  Only to spread myself thinner and then feel bad that I couldn't follow through.  I can be a crazily fervent participator.  So this year I've decided to declutter my life!  Bought myself a big calendar so I stop double booking myself!  And only chose one challenge and one quilt a long to start this year.
I figured OMG One Monthly Goal was the best for my current life goals.  This month's goal will be to work on Melissa's quilt, Dazzle and Shine.  She doesn't have one of her own that isn't falling apart, so that one gets first priority.  I did say "work on" rather than "finish" because my other goal is to be a more complete human being.  Perhaps not every waking moment needs to be stitching...  I could be wrong about that though, so don't quote me!  My quilt a long is going to be Barbara Brackman's Stars in Her Crown.  Because... I have to.  I can't stop myself.  I did stop myself from doing Lori Holt's vintage block quilt a long... so far...

You guys have any goals?  Personal growth you'd like to work on?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Happy 18th Birthday, Melissa

Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope you were all able to spend a wonderful day with family and friends.  Our Christmas was very quiet.  Rich had 2 seizures a couple of weeks ago, so we've been taking things easy.  Well, as easy as we've ever taken anything.

5 days after the seizures, was our youngest daughter's 18th birthday!  We are in absolute shock that we have all adult children now.  Just another reason for much introspection!  Melissa challenged me to make the most adorable, dairy free cookie that I could come up with instead of a Birthday cake.  So, I present to you the Birthday Llama, complete with party saddle and flower wreath.  I had a terrible time with the food safe pen.  They blob or they melt your frosting.  Takes some patience.
Melissa and I went to see the Moscow Ballet perform the Nutcracker earlier this month.  It was amazing!  She was so dazzled by the experience that she asked for a quilt to memorialize the snow fairy sequence.  This is the first time she's ever shown any interest in my quilting what so ever.  I can NOT screw this up!  So, I asked a few questions.  What it boils down to is that she wants a low volume, pieced quilt that is simple and "elegant".  Okay, okay, I can do that.  I'm calling it Sparkle and Shine.  This is as far as I got before I ran out of background fabric.
So far, she likes it.  But, thinks the key print fabric is a weird choice.  Trust me, that's as close to a compliment as I'm ever going to get.  I'll take it.  The way I'm making the blocks gives me 2 half square triangles per block.  Trimmed, they're 3.5".  I think they'll make a great baby blanket when I'm done.
I also made a display table runner for Jackman's Fabrics.  I remember taking the picture but can't find it now.  So, another time.  Actually, you know what?  I did work a little on the t-shirt quilt.  I made the backer.  Maybe over the new year I'll get it sandwiched and quilted.  Maybe.

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Year In Review

Every year around this time I like to re-assess my life.  My artistic life, that is...

Artistically, I took a few sideroads this year.  I worked a little on watercolor painting.  I'm not a natural, in case you were wondering... I worked on Hunter & Carmen's wedding.  That was a pure joy.  I do love butter and sugar.  And, just lately I've been crazy for sugar cookies.  The title of Business Owner is currently boring/stressing me out.  We'll have to see where that leads.  I've been signed up to teach classes at Jackman's Fabrics and do some of their displays.  No idea where I'll find time to do that but I'll give it a shot.

Looking through my UFOs from last year, I see I've made more than I finished.  Maybe this year will be different, maybe it won't.  I'm not feeling very comital, am I?

No Progress
Beloved Baltimore 
En Provence

Ready For Quilting
Pink Flamingos
Splendid Sampler
'Heather' Wedding Ring
John Deere T-shirt quilt

Still In Progress
Harry Potter Bookcase
Quilt Show BOM
Strawberry Shortcake
Baltimore of Roses

Valentine Quilt
Simple Folk
Baltimore Garden

I did just get a new bolt of batting.  So, if I concentrate, I could get the 'Ready For Quilting' list knocked out.  It would be nice to get the t-shirt quilt done by Christmas.  One a month doesn't seem unrealistic. Today, anyway.  'Still In Progress' are all going strong, except for Strawberry Shortcake.  In the mean time, here are pictures of some of my cookies and a baby quilt for Henry.  Incidentally, I've been commissioned to make 2 dozen Christmas bears for a children's choir next week.  Looking forward to that!

Clearly, I let the machine drag the fabric while I was quilting.  Hopefully the fabric will tighten up after quilting.  It still looks cozy.  And, honestly, he's gonna puke on it at some point, right?
Oh yeah, and a Santa pillow I made!

I'll check in next week, hopefully show that I have finished the top for Harry Potter!  But, I should be telling you that the T-shirt quilt is quilted...  I'll figure it out.  Something will get done.