Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!!! The last NewFO of 2013, for better or worse.

It's that time of year again. The pages of my calendar have exhausted themselves and a new one is ready to go up on the wall tomorrow. Switching out from a Hobbit calendar this year (my but some of those Middle Earth characters are lovely to look at--they saved the best for last, Legolas is December!) to a beautiful Patchwork Place Quilt Calendar for 2014. I see some great ideas brewing already looking at those lovely quilts and patterns to boot! Yippee!

I'm linking up with Barb at Cat Patches for the final NewFO 2013 Challenge. Thanks again for having this great idea to keep us thinking outside the box to make new projects. And for making it okay to not always finish them! Although my closet shelf is looking a little weary from the projects waiting to be quilted... Maybe that will be my challenge for 2014, to get those quilts quilted so I can restock my pin box without having to always go out and buy more pins. I'm sure I'm not the only one who does that. LOL!

Earlier this month I had a booth at a local monthly Honey Beezz flea market that features booths with everything from antiques, collectibles, neon signs, jewelery, crafts, and, yes,  quilts. We're new in town and there is a growing interest as more vendors sign up each month. I'm planning to get busy making more small things like pot holders and mug rugs, in addition to having a few quilts on display. I'd like to make more memory quilts on commission, so I'll be starting a very special one for myself in memory of my brother who died of AIDS nearly 19 years ago, and will use it as my display. Time will tell...

These little mug rugs were fun to make. The stockings are 4" pieced blocks with the letter to Santa fussy cut for fun. The little nine-patches are just that LITTLE! Those were 1" strips, so the finished blocks are only 3/4" each. Not sure I'll do that again, but it was fun playing. 

I also had a tree hung with several lace covered ornaments that I made on my Brother Quattro 6000D embroidery machine. I love making them and people seem to really enjoy the gorgeous and rich look of something that is really quite simple to make. My son actually asked me if it wasn't cheating, letting the machine do all the work. Maybe, but nah!

I joined in with thousands of other quilters on Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice mystery quilt this month too. I got the first clue all cut out and maybe a dozen units made, cut most of clue 2, and stopped there, being overwhelmed with finals, Christmas and now being sick. I vow to get back to it next week when I'm feeling human again!

At a Sit and Stitch Saturday in December, I helped several gals figure out the Stack and Slash technique that I have used several times in recent years. I used a bunch of Christmas fabrics out of my stash and will be sashing my blocks in the deep blue with snowflakes, using Marti Michell's Sashing Stars template set to make gold corner posts & star points. I'm not done playing with the block layout yet, so this one will definitely be for next Christmas.

Finally, I had found in my Facebook stream a pattern that I loved. Designed by 17-year-old Doug Leko, this my version of his free pattern Christmas Packages. I love how it turned out and now that it's pinned (yes, the box is nearly empty again), it's time to get yet another one quilted! I'm thinking about ditching the blocks and ribbon cross pieces, and then doing FMQ bows with tendrils down into each the body of each package.

I was busier than I thought, wrapping up finals, celebrating my 60th birthday by sharing a Skyscraper rootbeer float with my grandkids and celebrating Christmas with all of my kids and grandkids. I'm afraid New Year's Eve is pretty boring here this year. Two days after Christmas I got this year's bug and am still feeling poorly, but a little better each day. Instead of some bubbly, I'll be celebrating with my Robutissin, a full vaporizer, and a quilt in front the TV watching Doctor Who. Wishing you all blessings in the new year!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Monday, December 16, 2013

Celtic Solstice Monday Link-up Part 3

I've jumped in with Bonnie Hunter and thousands of other quilters to work on her Celtic Solstice mystery quilt. This post is linked up with Bonnie's Celtic Solstice Monday Link-up Part 3.

We've received three clues so far, but with my schedule of finals through December 8, spending the first week post-semester regrouping, then displaying some of my quilted items at a 3-day flea market this past weekend, and now trying to get ready for Christmas, I'm slow getting started.
My good friend started the Honey Beezz Flea Market in November and will hold it the 3rd weekend of every month indoors at the local Knights of Columbus, in Lawrence, Kansas. She is providing a booth for me and her mom to share that will feature her mom's crocheted items and my quilted and machine embroidered items. I have been talking about marketing my quilts and trying to get some commissioned memory quilts to help support myself while I'm in school. Having this exposure at the monthly flea will be a great way to get the word out! With my days with grandson Jacob gradually decreasing as he started daycare/preschool two days a week this year, I need to bolster my income and really am not ready to go back to a regular job yet. So, working the booth actually gave me quite a few hours this past weekend to work on cutting out the first clues. The traffic wasn't high enough to keep me real busy, so I multi-tasked and took a cutting board and rotary cutter and my entire bag of Celtic Solstice fabrics with me. Before the event wrapped up on Sunday at 3pm, I had successfully cut out all of Clue #1 pieces and about 80% of Clue #2 pieces. I still have to get to Clue #3, but that will have to wait a few days.

Having this task to work on sure made the hours fly by! For Clue #2 I have all of the green and yellow pieces cut and have started the neutrals. 
I was also delighted to sell my first quilted item--a stacked tree that I made last year. Below is the one I made and kept for myself. The only difference in the one I sold is I didn't sew the tiny bells on each point.

Other items that I had in the booth were several mug rugs that I made and a dozen or so machine embroidered lace covered ornaments. It was a fun event to be part of and I look forward to getting more small items made for the months to come.
My son-in-law has finals through the end of this week, so I still have Jacob through Friday, which is putting a hitch in my plans to finish Christmas gifts I'm making. He's such a blessing to have with me three days a week, but at 18-months, he's into EVERYTHING! I'm cherishing every day he's here and letting the projects go for now. Looks like the weekend and early next week will be a crazy rush to get done by Christmas! I'm sure I'll manage... We always do, right?

Once I'm past Christmas, I'm looking forward to a real break since my SIL will keep Jacob home with him until classes start up again on January 21. Hopefully that will give me plenty of time to catch up on Celtic Solstice, as well as some other projects left hanging as my semester got crazy. I'm sure enjoying seeing everyone's color choices and how the blocks are looking. Even with the same color selections, fabric choices make each one look so different!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Friday, December 6, 2013

My first mystery!

Finals will wrap up Sunday night and thank goodness this semester will be OVER! I'm so ready to be done and get back to some quilting, especially with stuff I still want to make for Christmas gifts. I've enrolled for Spring semester, but only one class, so hopefully it won't get nearly as crazy as this semester did! Now that I'm going to get a nearly month-long break, we'll see how organized I get. I certainly have plenty of projects I'd like to get to! Plus, with the cold hitting the entire country, I'm ready to stay in and stitch! We had our first dusting of snow. It was such a dry snow that it all blew away by today, but we're supposed to get more on Sunday. Maybe...
The view out my upstairs sewing room window.
My friend Shirley told me that the date of month of the first snow (in our case the 5th of December) indicates how many snows we will have this winter. I asked if this meant days, and if so, I was okay with that! Just 5 days of snow for the rest of the winter would be awesome! Unfortunately she replied that it is 5 snow storms, that may last 1-5 or more days. Well rats. I liked it the other way. However, if we can get away with 5 snows like this one with narry a dusting, I'd be okay with that too. My snow shovel can stay in the garage unused as far as I'm concerned!
In the meantime, I'm diving into my very first mystery quilt! I've joined Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice Mystery. Most of the group started with Clue #1 last Friday, but I've been buried in finals. Today, Clue #2 was released and I have yet to cut into a single piece of fabric, but I know I'm not alone. From what I've learned so far, there are hundreds (thousands?) of quilters from around the world in on this mystery that will take ~6 months. I've pulled my fabrics from my stash, purchased just 3 FQ's in each of the four colors on a recent shop hop to mix & match for the scrappy look, grabbed some neutrals out of my stash, and am just about ready to cut my first pieces. I'm going to be using an Aurifil 50 neutral to piece this entire quilt. My machines and I love working with Aurifil!
Who knows whether it will actually be completed within the six months or not, but at least I'm giving it a shot and am using my stash as much as possible to use up random fabrics that haven't fit into other projects so far.

I find it interesting that I (anyone else out there?) continue to buy FQs, but then they just collect in the drawer. I guess they are meant to be in scrappy quilts and I'm just starting to get into that arena. I have plenty of fuel to build those fires. LOL! Now to let go of those FQs or scraps and bless & release them into a scrappy project.

While I do have a sewing room upstairs, I'll be working on the Singer 301A that I learned on as a kid. This was my auntie's machine that she taught me to sew on. It went from Auntie to my mom to me to my older daughter and now back to me. I LOVE having it sitting in my kitchen so I can sew while Jacob plays. Now that he's getting bigger (18 months already!) he plays nicely and I can actually do something while he's here three days a week. Let's hope I can keep this baby humming now that school is about out!
I'm heading downstairs to make my first cuts and assemble the first of many, many blocks for this project. If you don't see me here for a while, know that I'm happily cutting and sewing blocks for my own Celtic Solstice Mystery!

More snippets from the sewing room soon,