Thursday, July 28, 2011

Make it work

Tonight is the premiere of season 9 of Project Runway, the only reality show I ever watch.  YAY!

Anyway - I have finished all the blocks of Pumpkin Hill.  I still have to do the appliqued panel that goes across the top.  Haven't decided on a background fabric for it yet, but that can happen tomorrow.  Here's the three rows... They are sewn into rows, but the rows aren't put together yet.


I'm not sure how the rows are going to go together... the top row is one length, the middle row is a little longer, and the bottom row is longer yet... I may have to add a coping strip to the top row... we'll see how much easing will do for me first.  One way or another I will make it work...

UPDATE:  Woot!  I got all the rows together without coping strips... a little easing here and there was necessary, but the whole thing went together really easily... Can't wait to get the top strip done - just a little more applique and I can put on the borders and call this top done - just will need backing and quilting!

Anyway - PR is starting... got to run!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sewing Mania

I still seem to be in overdrive here.  I finished another bunny hill block today.  This is how the quilt looked at 10 this morning...


I didn't like the green in that last block, so I switched it out for a different fabric, a more 'olivey' green plaid, before I did the applique.  Here is what that last block looks like now:


I get to do all the edge stitching now before I can call this one done, but the edge stitching goes really fast and it's fun to do. 

I had a wonderful meeting with my mini-group last night.  I made chili and the girls brought over salad, cornbread muffins, cheese and dessert.  The conversation was fun and we laughed a lot, made plans for another sew-in on my birthday next month.  What a great birthday present - I get to sew all day and my husband will take me out somewhere fun in the evening (at least I hope he will).

I finished my fall wall hanging too - it's now quilted, bound and labeled.  The appearance of it hasn't really changed from the last picture I posted, so I'm not re-posting the pic, but I'm glad it's done with.

I traced all the applique shapes for the first block of McKenna Ryan's Forest Hollow pattern.  Every feather on the owl's wings is a separate applique.  THIS is going to be challenging.  They way I feel right now, I can tackle anything... hope the feeling lasts.  ROAR!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Restless

I'm not bipolar, really I'm not... but I feel like I'm in a manic phase anyway.  I can't seem to sit still, I have to be doing something every moment.  I started on Bunny Hill block 5 and it's almost done... that was supposed to be my September block!  (August was the one I just finished with the two red birds on it - see last post on 7/24/11).

My minigroup meets at my house tomorrow night and I promised them chili.  I cooked the meat tonight so all I have to do in the morning is add the rest of the ingredients and start up the crockpot.

I have been chatting on Facebook, monitoring posts in all my groups, watching TV and cutting out appliques... I can't seem to stop DOING THINGS... What's wrong with me???

Not tired enough to go to sleep either... sigh.  I will work on block 5 of that BOM, and get it to the stage where all I need to do is the edge stitching... then tomorrow I will finish it up.

I also have to make some phone calls tomorrow... The toughest call will be that I have to deliver the sad news that I can't attend my friend's daughter's wedding.  We just had to pay a huge tax bill and can't afford the travel expenses any more.  Very sad because this was going to be our anniversary trip as well.  Now we have to stay at home and do something locally.  I'm devastated that we can't go because I haven't seen my friend in about 3 years and this was going to be a reunion for us.

Well... I'm off to work on my block again.. I will add a picture as soon as the appliques are attached.  I love fusible applique - it's so fast and easy.  I am SO not a hand applique person (I HAVE tried it and it's not for me).

Ok - I finished the fusing - here it is, sans edge stitching and embroidery, which I will do tomorrow:



I may be a little manic, but at least I'm happy... THAT doesn't happen very often ;)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Retreat Weekend at Home

Well, it wasn't exactly a complete retreat at home for me, but I did get some work done.  I cut and pieced a background for a new Bunny Hill block on Friday - it took me 3 hours, but I got it done.  I actually cut out and fused the appliques Sunday night while watching an old Harry Potter movie on TV. 






Amazing how different a little applique can make a plain pieced block (see my last post to see the block without the applique). 

I ran a Dungeons and Dragons game on Saturday - the end of the big fight at the end of a very long campaign.  They killed the last of the evil dragon's minions and slew the dragon.  There was one player character death and one npc death.  They didn't do too badly at all, but it was a very tough fight for them.   Still in all it was a fun campaign and I enjoyed running it.  I hope they enjoyed playing it - it took about two years for them to get to the end of it.  Now it's someone else's turn to run for a while.

I did get to see Harry Potter on Friday night, and Cars2 on Saturday night.  Is it just me getting older and more crochety, or are parents just too lenient with their kids in the movies.  There was a time, parents would just take screaming kids out of the theatre.  Last night, they just let them scream and talk all through the movie... They didn't even try to shoosh them.  Kinda ruined the movie - and yeah, I know it's a kids movie, so we expected some of that, but we DID go to a late night showing, hoping most of the kids would have seen it during the daytime or early evening. 

Today I went to the fairgrounds, but instead of working, I just dropped off a couple of quilts for the fair and then went out to lunch with my husband.  We found a really nice little place in old town Ventura called Nature's Grill.  Very good food for reasonable prices.  Then I came home, played on the computer and finally got restless and appliqued the block above.  I still have to do the edge stitching, but the pieces are on and fused....

Tomorrow I'm having my nails done again.  Gonna try to see if this new gel polish will make my nails strong enough to grow some.  My nails are incredibly brittle and break easily... I'd like to grow them without getting acrylics.  I had them done two weeks ago and haven't broken a nail in two weeks.  I'm hoping I can go another two weeks without a break. 

Oh, and I just have to share this - it's my cat Pan, being cute.   She looks like she's praying - but really she's just sleeping. 


Speaking of sleeping, it's getting late here... g'night!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Complications

OMG, Bunny Hill Designs makes the most complicated pieced backgrounds for their applique blocks.  I am doing their pattern 'Pumpkin Hill' as a sort of 'self-imposed-BOM'.  I just got to block 4 and it's huge and with a zillion pieces.  It took me almost 3 hours to make a background for applique:


Now, granted, their finished blocks, with the applique on them are very interesting, and probably far prettier than just slapping applique pieces onto a slab of a single fabric, but 3 hours to make one block?  I'm exhausted!  lol

I am supposed to be on a stay-at-home retreat this weekend, but with the completion of piecing this background, I have nothing else left to work on.  Which is fine.   I have a little clean up still left to do  - putting away all the fabrics I pulled for this block. 

Tonight I'm gonna see the new Harry Potter movie, tomorrow is for D&D and maybe seeing Cars2.  Sunday, I'm volunteering at the county fair.  My retreat weekend is being cut short by life.  That seems to happen a lot to me lately.  C'est la vie!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Caffeine High

My husband brought me a mocha this morning and I've been on a caffeine high all day.  I made an entire quilt today - it's not basted yet, but I finished the top in one day, all from stash.



If any of my minigroup sees this post, they'll be disgusted with me - We were all supposed to work on these quilts at the same time... over the course of the summer.  I just 'got the bug' I guess.  I still have to baste and quilt it, so I guess I'm not really done with it, but getting close.

Now it's time to reorganize and clean my sewing room again... I've made a mess of things with all the fabrics I pulled for this one, plus other quilts I've been working on.  Something for my 'to do' list for this week!  I have to get it done during the week because I've promised part of next weekend I'd work as a volunteer at the county fairgrounds.  I think I'm only working on Sunday but it's sure to be stressful, not to mention painful.

I'm a little sad, I won't be entering anything of my own in this year's fair... the few things I've finished aren't really fair-worthy... maybe I'll enter my little lonestar wall-hanging.  We'll see...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WAYWO for July


I've been so tired lately.  I think depression is creeping in on me again.  I've even had to force myself to do fun activities.  Not sure why this is happening... there's been no change in my meds or anything.  Maybe it's the impending anniversary and birthday?  You know, those things we used to look forward to and are now just indicators of another start to the yearly 365-day trip around the sun.  Time to get back in gear and enjoy the journey.

In the meantime, even though I haven't been feeling exactly my best, I have been working.  I've been doing my blocks of the month, which isn't exactly taking anything off the UFO list, but it does cycle to the next month at least without getting behind.  I've heard it said that accomplishing tasks produces endorphins which increase pleasure.  If that's the case, my endorphins aren't working hard enough, or maybe it's just that I'm not?

Here is my latest folk art cat quilt, with the handwork done (I did the handwork on the entire quilt this month!, not just on the current block.  hooray for me!)  He even has eyes now!


I did the latest Henrietta Whiskers block (with handwork done as well):


I also finished block 3 of Pumpkin Hill, which I started by doing two blocks in June even though it's supposed to be a block of the month.  I figure since I'm doing this one on my own, not through a website or store or anything, I can do as many or few as I want each month.  I've since decided to stick to one per month.  Here's this month:


Until this year, I'd only done one BOM - it was online, I loved doing it, but I never put the blocks together into a quilt - another UFO I forgot about and need to add to the list.  This year I WILL put them all together and finish what I've started.  I have already cut the piano key border for the kitty quilt, with plans to sew the keys together as soon as the quilt is finished.  I have no excuses for not finishing except August, with birthday and anniversary is usually a busy month for me.  I will try not to make excuses for this labor of love.

Here's the rest of the folk art cats so far - with handwork done (including those pesky eye buttons):


So all in all, I have been productive.  I should feel good about that.  Time to get back to work and get those positive endorphins flowing.  Yeah!

WAYWO?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ceilings Done and I'm Still Working

My ceilings are done... the guys are just cleaning up now.  In the meantime, I've actually been working.  I made two postcards for an exchange that's due to be mailed by July 15th.  They are done and ready to go into the mail tomorrow.  I finished making the pieced background for an appliqued block I'm making.  So I have gotten work done, tho nothing is finished, it's all progress.  Here are my latest two folk art kitty blocks that I finished.  They still need a little handwork (mouse tail and feet, whiskers, buttons for eyes and such), but the machine work is done:



There's proof I've been working.  I can't wait til August - we get our 12th and final block for the folk art cat quilt.  Then I can finish putting it together.   Yay!  I wonder how many people are doing this BOM, and how many will finish...

Well, I've got to take a walk-through and pay my contractor... Then it's time for dinner and another contractor coming for an estimate on more work to do ... it just never ends.  While I love being a homeowner, there are times when I wish I lived in a condo and could depend on someone else to take care of exterior paint, raingutters, gardening, and all that outside stuff.  In the meantime, it is what it is... sometimes I hate that phrase but it says so much...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Minor Remodeling but Still Sewing

We are having our acoustical ceiling stripped in the bedrooms, hall and closets.  It took them all day to prep, strip and resurface the ceilings.  They are coming back to prime and paint them tomorrow.  In the meantime, my house is in utter turmoil.  There is plastic sheeting hanging everywhere, we have no beds, one of my cats had to be crated all day, poor baby, while the other two stayed in the living room/kitchen/family room areas just totally freaked out of their minds.  They aren't fond of strangers and upheaval.  My dog had to stay outside in 95 degree heat, poor old girl. 

Still, while they were spraying and scraping my ceilings, I managed to trace the pattern for an appliqued block I'm making, edge stitch another appliqued block and make the back for another quilt.  Yay!  I'm being productive!  It feels so good.  Two items get, if not removed from the UFO list, at least moved down to a different stage of completion. 

I'm really enjoying having a UFO list.  While there is this sense of being overwhelmed, I can at least see what needs to be done, and work on each thing in a semblance of some kind of order instead of drifting aimlessly from project to project. 

Tomorrow, the work will resume - they will paint and then it will be done, life will get back to normal on Thursday.

On Friday, my mini-group will be holding a sew-in.  I can get more work done!  I have so much handwork to do, I may just work on that and leave my sewing machine at home.. we'll see.  I love sew-ins... a chance to do what I love among the companionship of friends.  Sometimes it gets very lonely sewing at home alone most of the time. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Fairy Quilt Godmother

My Fairy Quilt Godmother is done at last.  Her name is Thimbletine.  She has purple skin because she is MY Fairy Godmother and that's just the way she rolls.  Her hair and skin are sparkly with fairy dust and she looks kindly on all I do, even my mistakes.  I'm going to hang her in my quilting room when I get her quilted.  Here she is:

Thimbletine    




 You can get your very own Fairy Quilt Godmother at Paper Panache.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

UFO Sightings

I was going to wait until fall to quantify all my UFOs.  Why?  Because so many of them are in bins in the garage.  And it's awfully hot out there - too hot to work in the garage.  But, as was pointed out to me, why wait?  Just list the ones I can get to in the house or remember offhand.  What a great idea!  So I did... There were 27 of them that I could lay my hands on or recall from memory.  I know there are people out there with a hundred or more, so I don't feel so bad.

I'm making a commitment to finish at least half of these this year.  I hope I can keep that commitment.  I'd like to commit to finishing half before I start anything new, but I doubt that will happen so by the end of the year is it.  Here's my list:


MY UFO LIST:

1.       BOM – Folk Art Cats block 11
2.       BOM - Henrietta Whiskers block 7
3.       BOM – Pumpkin Hill block 2
4.       BOM – Forest Hollow block 1 (cut tree – see block 8, first)
1.       Night Garden – back made, ready for quilting
2.       Flower Garden – has back, back needs piecing
3.       Tiger, tiger – needs quilting finished
4.       Kokeshi doll quilt – needs quilting finished
1.       C&C Oriental SS – needs back
2.       Houses – needs back
3.       African stars – needs back
4.       Flower Garden batik – needs back
5.       Batik blocks – needs back
6.       Parrot nebula – needs back
7.       Portrait of Dad – needs back
1.       Plaid stars – at the LAQ, will need binding
2.       Plaid exchange – at the LAQ, will need binding
1.       Log cabin - outer border?
2.       Black & gold crazy cats – needs outer border
1.       Fairy godmother – needs piecing
2.       Patriotic postcards – need stitching and backs
3.       Native Americans – need piecing? Or just backs
4.       Kimono & cherry blossoms quilt – need to find it L - in garage somewhere
5.       Max lent memorial quilts – in garage, need to find pattern
6.       Iris wholecloth – needs sleeve
7.       Fall wallhanging – pick fabrics


There are a couple of things not on this list that probably should be:
I committed to help make a couple of charity quilts with my mini-group this year
I committed to making a set of batik blocks depicting a beach theme for an exchange in November
I committed to making a 12" white on white pieced block for a tablecloth
None of these commitments have been started yet... sigh

Having this list done really has helped me realize just how much I have in some mid-stage of completion.   I know from experience that having a list and getting to cross things off it is an amazing feeling.  Really makes me feel like I've accomplished something.  I'm looking forward to that!

Anyway, I am having fun at least.  I've been working on my Fairy Quilt Godmother* block while I've been locked up in the house the past 2 days.  The heat outside has been in or near triple digits so I've been sequestered inside with the AC on at full blast.  If our power died, I don't know what I'd do...

*Fairy Quilt Godmother - a 'mystery' block from Paper Panache.  Go look at the 'Parade of Fairy Godmothers'.  These blocks are so interesting because they are all unique and so much fun!  Better yet, design your own and make your own Fairy Godmother - it's FREE!