Sunday, April 27, 2014

Longing for a Long Arm

I'm taking a little break from quilting. I should have/could have stayed up all night again working, but a girl needs her beauty sleep.  That decision has paid off! I am re-energized and ready to get stuff done! Yeah!

So, today, all I need to do is finish quilting the sashing on this quilt, make the binding, attach the binding, and finish the binding.  No problem, right? I can get all that done today, maybe? You know, after we take a trip to the county fair (today is the last day and I might cry if I miss it), and finish a couple loads of laundry, and keep up with a 2 year old and a 4 year old.  Incidentally, they were extremely patient with me yesterday when I was working on this bad boy all morning.  Very patient indeed.

Why is it taking so long? Lots of theories. First, I am a bit perfectionist and usually plan and plan to make sure it works out.  I am working on my home machine.  I continue to dream about a longarm, but haven't been able to do it yet.  Someday. This is one of the largest quilts I've quilted on this machine and it is a bear. Totally worth it, but a bear!

I am interested to see the blog series on Crazy Mom Quilts about how to complete your quilting on your home machine. She claims to have done king size; I'm not so sure about this. My arms and neck get tired of the battle and I feel really limited in what style of quilting I can do.

The second reason is that after all that planning, I still managed to get pucker that I didn't want and I couldn't handle it. I actually un-picked the bottom half, stretched it out and re-pinned.  It took several hours, but it was totally worth it! I am so glad I did it! This particular project is for my SIL and I want to know it's some of my best work.

I can't wait to see the finished product. So close, so close!

Monday, April 21, 2014

So Much To Do...

When I look at my number of posts this year compared to last year, I feel like I've been lazy and not getting anything done. I promise, I have been getting things done! I have my second commissioned piece that I've almost completed, and it's been my true focus. But, this time of year is just super busy! The weather is perfect, the days are a little longer, and the zoo's and park's are calling to us during the day! I guess we haven't been spending much time at home.

However, things are changing. The weather is getting warmer and less enjoyable outside.  I predict I will be spending a lot of time indoors very soon, and hopefully will get more done. I was flipping thru some of my project folders and was a little surprised, and concerned, with the number of UFO's I have right now. I need to get to work on these...

Early Bird Quilt. Just need to tear the papers and sew the HST's together. Looking back at it, I am super excited to see this one done! Need to get to work!

Teacup Quilt. These tea cups are deceivingly small and I need to make A LOT of them for this top! I wonder if I could make some bigger ones to offset the time it will take.  We'll see. I also thought about adding saucers to the base and 'shelving' fabric to break up the cups a little.  This is probably why this quilt is on hold; too many thoughts and no time to sit down and work it all out.  Soon?

Farmer's Churn Dash Quilt. I have been working on this one during down-times of the commissioned piece. I really like how it's turning out, and the blocks are pretty fast. I just need to get to it.

And of course, this is just the UFO's! I also have a dozen or so fabric sets picked out for various quilts that I really want to get to work on. Man, I really need to get to work! Hopefully this post will help inspire me to get to it!

I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced today to WIP Wednesday. Hopefully it will be the push I need to get some work done. Can't wait to see what others are working on; I can always use more inspiration! :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Less Sugar, Good...

We were running out of homemade jam, in fact we had run out of jam, so it was time to whip up a new batch.  After my first attempt with canning jam I practiced a lot with whole fruits.  Now, it was time to go back to using pectin.

I was a little worried because it didn't go well the first time, but I was feeling good and things went well.  They turned out bright and well-jelled.  Great consistency. Now I was ready for the next step; I wanted to try using less sugar.

I had read on a couple blogs about Pomona Pectin, including my fave Mel's Kitchen, and found it by accident at a local cooking store. Time to try it out...

I had some trouble following directions at first (surprise, surprise) but it seemed my mistakes were masked and it came out nicely. I am excited to taste it! The leftovers in the pot tasted wonderful so I'm pretty optimistic.

The strange thing is that the package said it should make 4 - 5 jars, but not quite. I got 2 and a small jar. I am going to try adding more fruit next time to see if that still works with the amounts of pectin and sugar.  Continue with the experimenting.  Love it!

I joined up with the Barnhop at Prairie Homestead.  Come check out all the great ideas for at-home projects.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New Block Challenge

I have not done a Block of the Month since maybe...2007? It was time.  But, I was interested in trying something a little different.  I think I found it.

All of the BOM's I've done in the past were very prescribed, which was good when I was first learning to quilt.  They handed me the fabric and patterns and told me to cut here and sew there and make your block look like the picture, and like everyone else's in the group.  I learned soooo much about quilting from these get-togethers, but it was time for something new.

I've been looking on-line at some of the quilt-alongs, but they tend to move too quickly, and I struggle with keeping up, or getting the fabric in time. It also seems that the LQS's here don't do much of the BOM's anymore, or I miss them.

So, one of our shops, Quilters Market (awesome shop! Great fabric and people!) is hosting a BOM, but with a different approach. Basically, each month they give you two pieces of fabric that is not enough to complete the whole block.  They also give you a vague pattern/outline of how your pieces should be sewn together. They talk a little about construction and add a couple of tips, and then send you on your way to create. Everyone's blocks, consequently, come out very different.  Everyone gets to see their own pattern, design, and ideas in the fabric and pattern.

This Block Buster, Round #7, is called Aloha. The colors are tropical and the theme, for me, that immediately popped into my head was flowers. So...

My goal is to see flowers in each block pattern we receive. I immediately started thinking about how a flower could appear in this one.  Do you see it? There are actually two.  Maybe this angle is better...

I wanted to put the dark blue on bottom and lighter blue up above, but the fabric pieces we got wouldn't let that happen, so this is how it worked out. I added the green and the yellow, and I'm hoping I will have enough of each of those for all twelve blocks. I pulled from my stash; yeah for me, bad if I run out. The only thing I might change later on in the process is to add a little pink to the corners where the yellow "L's" are, just to break it up a bit.  We'll see what happens down the line.

Okay, I talked a lot. I am just so excited about this project! I haven't done anything like this in such a long time! I can't wait for the next block! My only glitch is what to do with 2 little ones while I'm at class. Dad might have to work a little over time for me...Mama needs to get her BlockBuster goin'!

That's just one of the projects I have going on right now. Lots of distractions. I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday. Can't wait to see what everyone else is up to.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Time to Move In

Sounds more exciting than it is, I suppose.  It does feel like a whole new home, though, when you move into a new purse. I don't change that stuff up very often, so it's pretty exciting when I do.

I was able to put this bad boy together pretty quickly.  It was something that I could piece quickly, and work on finishing touches here and there, which is something that's been a little more difficult when working on larger quilt projects.

I found this fabric in a neat shop in the Seattle area called Keepsake Cottage when I was visiting a few months ago. It's some Riley Blake prints that were on the clearance rack. I fell in love and was immediately envisioning a new purse out of them. The lining is a Heather Bailey print that I also found in clearance.  Such fun prints!

I did a really simple quilting on it, and of course added a BUNCH of pockets! When adding the pockets and straps on the exterior, I realized the striping would match up perfect and I couldn't resist.  It was totally accident, but it worked great!

The straps are a little longer than I would like, but it's all good! Now, I have a new bag and I can get back to work on the quilts I need/want to get done. I only have a mountain of project ideas that are calling to me.  Hopefully I can whittle that pile down a bit in the next couple of months. Here's to Spring Time Energy! Sunshine don't fail me now!

I'm linking up with NTT at My Quilt Infatuation and Finish Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts! Can't wait to see what everyone else is finishing up.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hooked on Bags

I am so hooked on bags right now, and I am not quite sure why. This most recent project is a result of my son commenting on how bad my current bag is looking. He was putting stickers over some of the worn spots.  Have you ever loved a bag that much?  It's hard to move onto a new one, but it's definitely time.

So I started working on this little number.  Yes, it's big! I am still a Mom of youngin's and I need lots of things, like diapers and anti-bacterial wash, etc. After getting it all finished, though, I decided it's too tall.  I am going to go back and shorten it a bit and re-attach the zipper.  For the record, I hate attaching zippers.  They are quite fussy and take time, patience, and of course a lot of practice. I guess I'd better get back to it.

I started taking pictures of the bag and decided it was more fun to take pictures of this...

We are really taking advantage of this wonderful weather we are having. Other than some wicked wind, it's been pretty awesome! Hard to stay inside when you have that right out your door.

Hope everyone is having a great week! I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday. Can't wait to see what everyone is working on.