Monday, September 30, 2013

End of Month Report - September

Yeah, I know. There wasn't an end of month report for August. Because August sucked.

The Dude: was wait-listed at our neighborhood school. Thank God, he got in, but we didn't know for sure until a week after school started. He's settling into the school routine quickly, playing soccer with an adorably pathetic team, and found a Cub Scout den with one of his new friends.

Plus, school bus. Best.invention.ever.

He will never admit it, but he sits here every day waiting for that yellow monster to regurgitate his boy.

And then he "helps" with homework.

The cat: died in early August. And it was horrible and sad and I'm still not really over it. Tycho is very clingy, to the point of obsessiveness.

Family: the Oklahoma house closed two weeks late - but it's sold. We found a rental home in Washington fairly easily...and it's a great layout...but it was painted by color blind people. Surprisingly, all of our stuff made it through the move mostly intact.

Adoption: hurry up and wait! The week we moved in, we got a call saying we needed to update our home study ASAP. So we did, and addresses with all the various government agencies, and my fingerprints with USCIS. And now we wait again.

Wedding: nothing major other than working on the Wedding Guestbook Quilt and getting my dress altered.

Running: ugh. None at all in August. I finally started again in September and it is a very slow build up. I decided against the Spokane Half, because I'm not even close to ready, but now it means I have to keep working to stay in shape even though I'm not training for anything.

On the plus side, Spokane has an insane amount of trails, so it's been easy to get out there. I can run all the way to Idaho on a trail, completely protected from traffic. It's a nice change!

Sewing: Progress but few finishes.


Finished Tops - both September NewFOs!
{How CharmingQuilt in a Day}

{H is for Henry - Art to Heart}

Slow Progress
16/36 blocks

Rows are pieced. Now to get them all together and add borders.

So yeah, not a lot of sewing. But I'm settling into a routine now that the boxes are unpacked and almost everything is semi-organized. Plus, I learned how to long-arm quilt, so I should be cruising through my lists a little faster. I've already got rental time scheduled for later this week and two tops ready to go.


Weekly Progress - Selfish Sewing Week

This past week was "Selfish Sewing Week" hosted by Imagine Gnats and Made with Moxie. I didn't really have time for true selfishness, but I used it as an excuse to put aside St. Paul's Cross for a week and just sew on whatever other project I felt like.

And after plodding through eight-blocks-a-week, it feels good to post all this.

Applique finished, borders on, backing purchased, quilting time scheduled.

{How Charming - Quilt in a Day}
More like Quilt in an Hour. Easy peasy pattern. I made it in girl prints first to test my math skills - I have three charm packs and three quilts to make, so I'm not quite following any of the given sizes of the pattern. And a good thing I tested - I miscounted the needed charms, so the twin boy versions will be smaller, but with added borders.

The twin boy versions are an order from my mother-in-law. The girl version will go to Project Linus, squeaking in just under the wire for 100 Quilts for Kids. It'll be first up in the quilting time scheduled for later this week.

Speaking of quilting time - so the Fifteen Minute Challenge this month was learn something new. {I know I've mentioned it once or twice.} Paper piecing and applique weren't quite new, but required a bit of relearning since I don't do them often.

This was my brand new skill for the month. Long arming! There's a place in town that rents time on their machines, and my husband is a big fan of "try before you buy a $10k machine."

{Just kidding. There's no way he's buying me one.}

I loved it. I mean, it's terrifying. Those machines are huge and they can whip across a quilt fast. But as someone who was tried and tried and tried at free-motion on my home machine, it was wonderful. I'm not at all anywhere near perfect, but my first attempts with a panto were huge strides beyond my attempts at home.

{Mine are the middle flowers. The perfect ones on the left and right are my instructor's.}
My freehand is still a little shaky - and I hate chalk; it disappears in seconds with all that vibration. I'll definitely be marking my quilts at home with a marker in advance once I get the confidence to go free hand.

And in unfinished projects, another pile of my sister's wedding quilt blocks, taped to cardstock and ready to go.

Another couple of blocks added to rows.

All that piecing led to lots of leaders/enders becoming blocks.

And in my most selfish sewing, I started piecing the back of Swoon. And it's a top-super-secret until the Blogger's Quilt Festival, so this is all you get.

Whew. Nice week, huh? I decided I'm going to try to piece four St. Paul blocks each week, freeing up time for other things so it doesn't get paper-piecing-tedious as fast. It'll take five weeks to finish, but I'm still on track for a Christmas finish. {Since I've missed her birthday and dissertation submission.}

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekly Progress - St. Paul's Cross

Another week, another slow bit of progress on St. Paul.

I added eight more blocks, and now I am taking a break for a week. I can't fully participate in Selfish Sewing Week - I have way too many commitments for that - but I can selfishly set these aside for a week and come back refreshed for another round of them.

After I finished the weekly quota of paper piecing, I moved on to another new-ish skill - applique.

{H is for Henry - Art to Heart}

Although this isn't exactly the hard part, I have all the letters cut out and fused down. I don't have matching thread, so I'll continue my studies on the blanket stitch before heading to the store.

I also added two more blocks on the Flirt rows and therefore a couple bits of leader/ender RSC, but didn't take a picture.

And I started taping squares to cardstock for my sister's wedding quilt.

September is "learn something new" month with the Fifteen Minute Challenge, so I refreshed my barely-existent skills at paper piecing and applique. On Thursday, I get to learn how to longarm quilt. There's a local place that rents time on their machines, so I'm hoping this will help clear off the list of unfinished tops!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pinterest + Lazy

One of the things I knew I wanted for the new place was a menu board. I needed to be able to plan the week out and not constantly ask people what they wanted for dinner...that would consistently still be frozen around dinner time.

I Pinterest-researched the heck out of it, settling on this design.

And I was going to make it.


But then this magnetic wipe-off board was in a back-to-school sale. And really, then I can write things that conflict with dinner plans right on the board and know that I need to pick a crockpot {or straight-up-lazy pizza night} for that day.

Bonus: the index cards? Also on sale. {Cut in half, they are the perfect size.}

And I was looking for magnetic strips to attach to mini clothespins. Really. But there were these magnets in the same section that had the days already on why reinvent the wheel?

And the Keurig boxes covered in scrapbook paper? I even saved two boxes! And then found the magnetic cup thing with notepad and mini-pen. Now my husband will quit asking me where the grocery list is. {In theory.}

I stuck some magnets on the provided sticky-things and - done!

I did keep the idea of colors designating the protein. The recipe source, suggested side dishes, and ingredients needed are written on the back of the card.

The cards are stored behind the list, with the ones from that week going to the back of the pile to encourage some variety.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekly Progress - Paper Piecing

This month's Fifteen Minute Challenge is to learn something new. Well, paper piecing isn't quite new - I learned how to do it waaaaaaaaaaay back in September 2011. But I have done exactly one paper piecing project {barely} since then.

And relearning hurt.

There's just so.many.steps.

The first couple of days, I made a whole bunch of the parts, then tried to assemble them all into blocks at once. But there's a Y-seam. And I missed the intersection on the first three blocks, which became frustrating to the point that I might have quit if the fourth one didn't come out okay.

After that, I switched to 1-2 blocks a day. Harder to chain piece. But slightly less stabby.

And so, at the end of the first week, I have a whopping eight St. Paul's Cross blocks to show for my effort.

After all that work for eight blocks, I went into normal speed piecing mode on Saturday. Polished off all the blocks for Flirt and started assembling the rows.

Which finished off all the red RSC leader/enders. Then I pulled out the light blue bin, sorted and pressed and got to cutting. My next stack of leader/enders is ready to go!

And my last bit of weekly project arrived in the mail! 17 Kona and Bella in greys and purples, which will be sliced and diced for my sister's wedding guest book quilt.

{The bottom blue-grey might not make the cut. I need about five more greys, so we'll see what it looks like when the pile is complete.}

Monday, September 9, 2013

Weekly Progress - Swapping

My mom was here last week, so there wasn't much sewing. We did do a lot of general house organizing {sometimes you just need someone else to look at the fridge and say, "that weird shelf is for soda cans."}

And we undertook a big sewing/playroom swap. Just rotated everything 90ยบ around the room, so that the sewing stuff lines one wall and the kid stuff lines the other. Now the cutting table has the best light by the front window {bonus: can see the bus stop} and the storage units are right by the TV cable.

Obviously there's still plenty of boxes to be unpacked and organized - but we're getting there.

And I started relearning paper piecing for St. Paul's Cross. Ugh. I remember why I hate paper piecing. My first block was totally off. I've got everything printed to the same scale now and I'm getting better at remembering all the steps. Still, not my favorite piecing method!

I didn't add anything to the design wall this week. {Flirt Marks the Spot}

And barely added to my RSC pile. But I did do the math and I think I need to do 14 of these little blocks each month...which means I'm now 42 blocks behind and haven't even started cutting baby blues!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Weighted Blanket and Cover

A fairly quick project, once I got the concept. My niece has been pulling at her hair at night, so I suggested a weighted blanket to hopefully curb that tic.

{Someday I won't have moving boxes in the corner of my pictures. Someday.}

The weighted blanket tutorial is on Confessions of a Fabric Addict

I read it about twenty times before I understood that all those 4.5" folded strips were envelope pockets, not pocket pockets. I'm blonde.

I pieced together several of the 7" strips from leftovers of the 9" strips, because goodness knows I wouldn't want to waste one bit of a $2 estate sale sheet set. I also used the fitted sheet first, which made for a delightfully askew little blanket.

But that's okay, because the cover was done from a not-quite-grain-printed panel, so everything is just a smidge...slanted. {Not just my photography!}

The panel was "Close to my Heart" by Faye Burgos for Marcus Fabrics. I assume the butterflies in the middle are the same, since they match. Brown dot from stash, pink side borders from Connecting Threads. Back is purple dot minkee.

Despite {or because of?} the wonkiness of the fabric, it all fits together well. I quilted the top of the cover, since it was pieced, with more of the purple sheet on the back.

And as a plus - since my mother had to carry it in her suitcase, I got out of having to fill baggies with polybeads! My sister is handling that fun part of the activity.

Oh, and total sidenote - the bridal shower I threw for my sister is featured on Hostess With the Mostess today!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Weekly Progress - Almost There?

There was a bit of sewing this week, but there is still so much organizing to do that the sewing room just didn't become a priority. My mom is here this week - and the Dude finally goes back to school - so hopefully we can finish things up and actually feel like we live here.

I pieced together a cover for the weighted blanket, basted it, and drew the primary quilting lines. Have to get this done during break times this week so it can go back with my mom! It's my lone NewFo for August.

{I so need an upright design wall!}
Finished off another set of the rectangle-snowballs for Flirt Marks the Spot.

I also did some prep work - sketching out two rainbow quilts for my mom to take back for her neighbor's approval, figuring out the design for my sister's wedding signature quilt {25 quarter yards of different biggie!} and pulling out my notes on St. Paul's Cross.