Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Does this happen at your house?

It was spin class this morning. I honestly don't know how Joseph can get my legs to a state of exhaustion so quickly! That means that I'm NOT in as good as shape as I would like. Well - my legs need to be stronger I guess. But cranked out another 31 KM in the class. All is good and there is no better feeling than walking out of the gym after one of those workouts! I could conquer the world!

But I seem to have a wee problem with my eye this morning. It's like I've a piece of sand under my eyelid. I tried flushing it out in the shower, but no go. Hopefully it will float away later today. Doesn't hurt, just annoying!

I did paperwork yesterday - not a lot, but enough. I spent the morning at a barbell class at the gym! We didn't lift a ton of weights - a lot of talking, but that's OK. Better to learn the techniques - I have the worst posture ever! I really need to work on that.

I also spent some time cleaning up the backyard. It was such a nice day and well - after a winter with two dogs, it needed to be done.

And that DAMN book. It's an Anne Perry and while it's hard to read - not the book itself, but it takes place in the last 1800's and so the style and language is completely different. And what can I say - sitting in the front room with the sun blazing in - it's hard not to have a wee nap! I really must find a more comfortable chair though!  I want one of those oversized chairs that has a good head rest so when I fall asleep, I don't wake up choking on my drool!!!  That was too much information - I know!

Let's not forget that it was beautiful outside yesterday and I had to take a walk. I just had to! I have several routes that I take depending on what errands I need to do. I made it to Loblaws where I bought this.

Liquid calcium
From my food diary, I know that my calcium intake is about half of what it should be. I have tried calcium tablets in the past. They are HORRIBLE to swallow and that's probably why I never persued them. I saw chewy tablets - expensive. There were gummies that I could eat. But I thought I'd try the liquid. Yep - that works for me.

So if anyone was thinking that I was deficient in calcium, I'm now good.

On my way home, I took a detour so I could stop by Tim's. I don't know why - it's this stupid Roll up the Rim and in the several weeks that it's been happening, I haven't won a single thing. Very annoying and very unusal as I've usually won sevral things by now.

Guess what? I won yesterday. Guess what I won?  A stupid DONUT!!!  Now how am I supposed to eat the darn donut?  I might trade it in for a scone. But that is also probably loaded with stuff I shouldn't be eating. Just my luck!!!   My god - a scone is 360 calories!!!!  I won't be having a scone. I could have an oatmeal raisin cookie for 210 calories. If I eat that on a day when I do spin class, it won't be so bad and if I walk to Tim's that's even better.  Isn't it insane to be this silly about the food that I eat?  But those pounds are coming off and I'm not ruining a good thing. It's all about awareness and choices!!!!

Even with all that other stuff, I did manage to get a table runner quilted. That was it - just one small table runner!!!

Table runner quilted!!

Does this happen at your house? I start the day off with a clean kitchen table. And by the end of the day, it looks like this?  Seriously - I have to learn to put things away!!

A mess from ONE day

Actually it looks a whole lot worse at the moment as I took some stuff from the office and put it on and around the kitchen table. Things that I want to deal with today. I'm trying to get stuff cleaned up in the office, as well as paperwork and I can't forget that I have slightly more than three weeks before the long arm goes in for servicing. There is NO time for delay, but I seem to find lots to delay myself!

Oh - one good thing happened yesterday. I went to write a pattern only to discover the pattern was already written!!!  Yeah!!!

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a super day!!!


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Third time's a charm!

I have to say that I'm a very lucky person. I was able to spend a great day sewing with friends on Sunday at my house and yesterday was Monday sewing. It just doesn't get any better than that and I'm very grateful for my situation that allows me to sew two full days in a row. But I often wonder if I didn't sew - what the heck would I do with my days?

I've gotten up early in the morning and sewed for years. What would I do at 5 AM if I couldn't sew? I guess I could go to the gym!

So a lot has happened in those two days and you'd better sit down because - well I did a lot although I don't necessarily have a lot to show for my time.

The first thing on the agenda was to fix this quilt. I wasn't happy with the direction of the print in the small squares. I'll be doing a post later this week with more details on this very subject!

Hmm - directional prints - a pain!
 So I had to rip out SIX of those little squares and give them a quarter turn and now life is good! This quilt is ready for quilting - this week. It's on the "URGENT to be quilted" list.

The little square is now in harmony with the big square
 I unearthed another one of my 2018 UFO projects. This project has been carried to many retreats and never made it to the top of the bag. Well - it's time to get it done! I had a huge bag of squares of fabric and a lot of the pieced patches that had already been sewn together. They needed to be combined and made into a triple four patch block. So I'd already done a ton of work on it and there it's sat for years!
Components waiting to be sewn
I taught this class years ago and one of my students had made a ton of those teeny four-patches. She gave me her extras and while I already had a huge quilt made of these, I decided to try a different setting with all the leftovers. This is the triple four patch block.

Triple four patch block
 And here's the thing - I'm not sure if I have enough of the 3 1/2" squares, so I had pulled fabric a while back that could be cut if I needed it. I also found some more of the smaller blocks in a bag. Do I need those?? Not sure so they are staying where they were.

Extra stuff if it is needed
 Oh, of course, I could not possibly sew all those together without making a slip-up! This has been fixed and probably already sewn into a block.

 Let's just say the sewing isn't the best. I think a blind person sewed them together. But part of that is that I didn't do all the initial sewing and cutting. Once I got the blocks together, I trimmed them down to 6 1/2". I worked on them in batches of 10 so there are 50 blocks ready to sew together into the quilt top.

Fifty blocks ready to go!!
 This was the situation at the sewing machine at the end of the day on Sunday. There is still LOTS of block components to sew together.

Block components
 I was a busy girl last night and more blocks got sewn. The stacks now look like this.

Fewer components - yeah!!
 Hmm - I'm thinking I'm still going to have to cut some more 3 1/2" squares - the question will be how many?

And now there are 70 blocks completed and trimmed.

70 blocks done!
 I'm not sure how many blocks there will be. This quilt is supposed to be square so the minimum would be 100 but those stacks look too big for only 30 more blocks. so I'm guessing it's 144. That means I'm halfway - well almost!

I know - I'm flitting from one 2018 UFO to another without actually finishing any of them. I couldn't work on borders of the Celtic Solstice when everyone is here. There wasn't room. BUT the blocks are all together and I've chosen the fabric for the first border. However, I realized that I don't know what width to cut it so I have to sew the blocks together for the second border (the blue/orange ones below). Then I can figure out the width of the white border. Then there is one last border, the binding and the backing. It wouldn't take long - OK - it will take the better part of one day to finish this one!

Borders for Celtic Solstice

This is the homework table runner for the ongoing class at The Hobby Horse. The blocks were partially completed so I could show the technique to the class. I finished off all 8 of the blocks and assembled the runner. Now I want it to be a bit longer as I LOVE it!!  So now I have to make four more blocks!!

I can see some interesting quilting happening on this one!

String pieced table topper

Let's not forget the pixelated apple quilt. I did make some progress on this on Sunday. But when sewing those scrap blocks, there's not as much need for enders and leaders!

Pixelated apple block 7

Then it was onto Monday sewing and this is what happened there. I got Block Five of the National Quilters Circle Block Challenge completed. It was mostly together from the previous week but I was missing a couple of squares of fabric. And now it's done!

Block 5
Then I started to work on Block 6 only to find that I had not cut all the fabrics required. This seems to be a theme. I should just throw the fabric in the car so that if I goof, I can run to the car to get it. But I'm OK with coming home and finishing the blocks off. It's easier than carrying a bunch of fabric around.
Block 6
This is going to be a BRIGHT quilt. Made from solids!

But I started the day with my favorite project - 150 Canadian Women. I needed to sew 8 blocks yesterday in order to get to the right sequence of threes! And I was a week behind and it took two weeks to catch up. So here are my eight blocks. I was so happy because I had NOT had to rip out any part of them and I had not miscut anything! Hey - I was on a roll and very happy although it took HOURS to get all eight of these blocks done.

Eight more blocks for 150 Canadian women
HEY - what's going on???  Do you see what I see?  It was only when I laid them on the floor to take a picture that I noticed that all was NOT right in the block world.  Yep - the middle one is wrong. OH, CRAP!!!! 

Let's get out the seam ripper. There, now that's better.

Mistake is corrected

I laid that block out on the floor to retake it's picture only to discover that I had rotated the WRONG Square!!!!  Oh boy - let's try that one more time.

At last - the block is complete!

I think that give me 66 finished blocks. I prepped 7 blocks last night. I was only planning on doing six blocks but I missed one pattern when I was cutting so to keep the patterns in order, I just prepped an extra one. I may or may not sew that next week. Some of these are very fiddly. I'll see how it goes.

But if I keep up this pace, I could be done the blocks in 14 weeks. Yeah!!

Now it's time to focus on stuff that I need to get done for customers, for magazines, and for blog posts. It's all piled nicely on these two tables and will be the focus of my work schedule over the next couple of weeks. The more that I complete, the less I have to move in preparation for the next Sit n Sew day!! Wish me luck!

The projects that are on deck!

I have to say that everyone has been super good about the eating thing. I only had ONE person who brought forbidden food into the house! To protect her innocence, I won't say her name!  But that open container sat on the cutting table and I didn't touch one of those candies!!  I notice also that she didn't take the container home and it's now tucked away for the next sit n sew in case anyone has a sweet tooth. After that - it goes in the garbage!

Forbidden food at my house

 I've been really, really good about the eating thing and it's paying off. A good friend of mine who is also watching what she eats is also very strict! When you only have a certain number of calories to eat in a day, you choose very wisely what you eat. If you have that cookie, then you can't have the banana and nutrition wise, which one is better for you?  If you need to get enough protein, there is no room for fat. I seem to be doing great and my weekly average was right on for the percentage of carbs to protein to fat. I'm a happy camper! And it's off to the gym this morning to see what "fun" exercise program they have in store for us.

On that note, I've got computer work and I've got a date with the long arm so it's going to be a buy week.

Have a great day!!!!


Monday, February 26, 2018

Sit n Sew days are the BEST

Yesterday was yet another super sit n sew day! And we're going to make them a year-long event. For those that accepted my invitation on the blog last year, I'll be sending out a note with future dates! Unfortunately, there's NO ROOM to add anyone at this time. It's so nice to get together with amazing friends. The conversations - well we talked about a lot of subjects yesterday and you don't need to know what they were, but all were very entertaining.

I don't have a lot of time this morning, so I'm going to focus on what the others were working on and I'll show you what I was working on tomorrow.

There were eight of us but I didn't get pictures from everyone. Some people were just starting new projects - I should have taken a picture of Ronda's quilt that she finished - she did post it on Instagram - I could steal the picture from there.

Found the picture on Facebook.

Ronda's quilt
The pattern is called Crazy 8's which for some people, well let's just say it works for some and for others it doesn't (right Shelly).  Ronda bought a bundle of Organic cotton from The Hobby Horse last week. I saw the fabric but wasn't sure I liked them, but now that I see them in a quilt, there are pretty neat. Do I need them? Will I buy them??  Depends if I can find a good use for them. I can't just buy them!

Let's see what some of the others were working on.

France was working on something that looked a lot like paintbrushes!  Now, what would she be making a whole lot of fabric paint brushes for???

Are these paintbrushes?
Turns out, those "paint brushes" make a cute little bunny!!  Isn't that adorable! She's making them for her co-workers and she'll be putting a yummy Easter treat in the little bag.

Cute little Easter basket
 I bet her co-workers love her! Too bad I gave up chocolate or I would have been hinting!

Liz has been working on a project that she bought when we were on retreat last year? Or was that two years ago?  I don't remember. But she went to the local quilt shop where she was just going to browse and came back with a kit!!!  It's absolutely adorable. I believe she's now on the last block. There's still a lot of work to be done, but it's looking super cute!!!

Road Trip block  
 When the embellishments are on the blocks, those little guys are zip lining!!!

A few more of the cute cute cute blocks
 And here's the pattern. It's by McKenna Ryan.

Road Trip by McKenna Ryan
 I have several of these patterns (not Road Trip - different patterns) and every time that Liz brings this, I so want to start one of mine. I even pulled the pattern out yesterday after everyone left. As if!!!  But I could try to do it in the evening after I've shut down the sewing machine. But I like reading in the evening.

Joyce was finishing up an amazing tote bag! She'll be teaching this bag at The Hobby Horse in May. It's called Brooks bag by Auntie's Two. She used foam for the body of the bag. It's got a magnet closure and gorgeous buttons on top.

Brooks Bag
 I would say that if you're interested in taking the class, you had better call soon because a number of us were interested in taking the class!!!!

Pam was working on these cute little blocks from Happy Hollow.  Oh, my god - they are the cutest!!  Do you know what this is??

Ruby red slippers!

These are Dorothy's ruby red slippers from Wizard of Oz. She still has to put the bows on the shoes, but they are adorable. 

Diane was working on half square triangles on a quilt that has a very nice block. I didn't get a picture, but the block was super nice. Do I need to make it? No, but I liked it! And Sharon was working on a Border Creek mystery. One that I don't have and I'm NOT starting another one!  No way!!!! 

Hmm - while I like sit n sew days, there's a huge danger here. Do you see what I see?  I want to make what the others are making and I don't even have time to finish what I have! But I was good - I'm staying focused and I got loads done. I'll share tomorrow.

Have a super day!!!


Sunday, February 25, 2018

One of these seams is not like the others

Have you ever had one of those days when EVERYTHING is going your way? That must have been the case for me yesterday. I felt great and I was motivated so I took advantage of the situation.

First - a quick update. I did pop to the gym strictly to do my weigh-in. It's so crazy busy on Saturday that I couldn't imagine working out with all those people. I do prefer to go first thing in the morning during the week. So here's the good news - my weight is DOWN and my fat percentage is also DOWN!!!!  Let's just say that I'm a happy camper. I don't work out every day - I'm managing to make it to the gym twice a week. I want to increase that, and it will happen. I do manage to get my 10,000 steps in every day or almost.

So it's not exercising that's dropping the weight. It's EATING. While I can eat anything I want (and yesterday I had TWO small cookies - 65 calories for 2). It's about choices - since I had those two cookies, I didn't have a banana. And it's also about portion size. I'm not hungry and more importantly, I don't crave sweets at all! I'm shocked, but maybe it's a good idea to do a D-TOX program BEFORE you attempt a lifestyle change (notice - I did NOT say diet - this is NOT a diet) to get rid of those cravings in your body?  I've no idea, but overall, this has been a breeze (more or less). The lifestyle change certainly seems to be liking me and I like it. As a result, I think I can keep this up for the rest of my life!  Yeah!!!!

So what got done yesterday? You better sit down because you're going to be tired.

I had loaded this quilt the night before so I was ready to go. The quilt is done and just needs to be trimmed so it can be delivered tomorrow.

Customer quilt - DONE
 Then I was still full of energy and I thought I would plunge ahead and quilt something of mine. So I loaded this quilt - I'll tell you the story next week. It's pretty cool. But it's done, the quilt is trimmed and ready for the binding (which is made) to be put on.

My quilt - DONE
 You see what happens is that when I'm quilting, I have loads of time to think. I do some of my best thinking when I'm quilting. I love it - it's very relaxing. What can I do next? I've so much that needs to be quilted.  Hey - I need something quilted on a domestic machine (you'll know why next month). So I basted this table runner (OK - so I basted with the iron!). The table runner is small and it didn't take long to get it quilted. The quilting is quite different from the other one I quilted yesterday (there are two identical table runners) but that's part of the plan. Remember - I said that I try to make my projects do double duty or triple duty if I can!

Table runner - quilted!!
And before I shut the lights out, I loaded the next project on the long arm ready for later today or tomorrow. Another one of mine!  What is happening here? Who invaded my brain?

Then it was off to finish cutting those white/black squares for the pixelated apple quilt. I don't know why I'm so excited about this project, but I might as well take advantage of that excitement and get as much done as I can. So this is block 7 laid out and ready to sew.

Block 7 of the pixelated apple quilt

But I'm wasn't done - I didn't want to have to pick up the blocks for the Celtic Solstice quilt so I plowed ahead. While I was sewing the rows together, something didn't feel right. I never had the orange touching the orange before? Why is that?  Oh shoot - can you see what I did??

 I had to rip out the corner of that one block and rotate the square. It's all good now and hopefully, there are NO more mistakes in the quilt. But I kept going and now the quilt is in TWO halves. One more seam and those quilt blocks are together. All that remains are the three borders. I'll need to hang it on the design wall to figure out exactly what I'm going to do. That's not for today. But I'm going to get that last seam done for sure. Don't forget - it's "sit n sew" today and I've got all day to sew!!!!

One more seam for the Celtic Solstice blocks

I'm super excited about the amount of work that I'm getting done. It's very exciting to see things actually getting cleaned up! I do have a number - a fair number - of quilts that either just needs the borders put on, or maybe the backing needs to be made or the binding. And then there is a fair number that where the blocks just need to be sewn together. If I keep up this pace - well, I'd better hire a long arm quilter for sure!!!!

But I'm trying to sneak a couple of my own quilts in from time to time and I think I'm down to 7 customer quilts in my possession and a few more that will be coming so I'm in good shape there. But I'm NOT taking any more until my machine comes back from its spa day. Oh and I think there are 4 magazine quilts to finish as well. So I really really am in very good shape.  It's all in the attitude - stay positive and I think the change in eating habits has helped a LOT. I'm also drinking a lot more water which is probably good for me.

I have everything organized for today - a very simple matter of tidying up which I love and when the ladies leave later today, I can spread out one of those quilts that needs some borders and figure out what to do. Oh yes - life is good!!!

In case you haven't seen or heard this, I stumbled across this article about Ken Burns (a US filmmaker) and his love of quilts. It's pretty cool and in the NY Times no less.  There's also an interview on CBC and some pictures of his exhibit of quilts at the International Quilt Study Museum in Nebraska (on my bucket list).  Look at the quilts on the CBC site in the Museum - they are beautifully displayed.  Oh my - I want to collect antique quilts, but I'm poor!!!

Here's a request for some of you. If anyone can direct me to a good site for what things need to be put in place for aging parents. You know - wills, powers of attorney and all that jazz - we need to start getting everything in place and if you have suggestions, or things that absolutely made your life better or worse because it was or wasn't done - please e-mail me with the links or comments.

On that note - I'm out of here. I have a few things to get done before the ladies start arriving.

Have a great day!!!


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Be careful what you wish for.....

A quick word about food before we get to the quilting part of the post. Yesterday was the first day in ONE week of tracking what I eat that I went slightly over the calorie intake. We did go out for dinner but that wasn't the problem. It's very handy on the food app that you can scan an item and all the information on the label is uploaded to the app. That makes it very easy to track the information. The only thing you have to be honest about is the portion size. Does your portion size, in fact, match what's on the label? I've been very good with this.

I didn't overeat yesterday - I wasn't hungry - but there were no spare calories and because it was raining, I didn't get a chance to go for a walk. As a result, I was below my 10,000 steps. I'm not worried, but imagine if every day was like that? Yep - that's how that weight just eases onto our bodies!  One thing that would be super helpful is in the restaurants. They indicate the calories beside each dish and trust me - at first, I poo-pooed that idea, but I scour the menus looking for a dish that is reasonable from a calorie perspective and from the contents. Boston Pizza has an amazing Mediterranean Chicken Salad that is to die for! I love it and less than 500 calories.

Why is that important? My total calorie intake for a day is slightly less than 1,600. So you see the problem if you have a meal that is 1,200 calories.  There's no room to eat anything else or barely!

The nice thing about all this - it doesn't take long to monitor and it's definitely an eye-opener. I also put the new batteries in the scale so now I can have that number connect to my app.  Isn't this all so exciting??

Yesterday was a quilting day. I managed to get this quilt done.

Customer quilt - DONE
 I don't normally do custom work because it's very hard on the back - even on the long arm, but this one was fairly "easy". I just stitched in the ditch between the sashings and quilted the outer border. I believe the owner is going to hand quilt in each block once she puts the binding on. I just have to trim that this morning and it's ready to go!!!  She used wool batting in it and with the loose quilting, it's very fluffy!

As I was quilting that one, I was trying to schedule the next job. I have a big one to get done for pick-up on Monday, but I thought I could slip one of those table runners in before I loaded the big one.

I did a free motion all over pattern on this table runner and I LOVE IT!!!  I won't show you close-ups until the class sees it next month, but I'm sure you can zoom in somewhat to see. Whenever I do these kinds of things I try to have every project of mine do double duty and you'll see this one in some other blog posts as well. I rather like it!!!

Table runner of mine - QUILTED
 Now that it's quilted, I can trim it and make the binding from that backing fabric.

I did get a chance to get some sewing done as well and I'm happy to say that block number 6 of the pixelated apple is DONE!!!  It's sewn to block number 5 and YES - all those little seams are twirled on the back. This quilt is flat as a pancake!

The back of Block 5 and 6 of the pixelated apple
Here's what the quilt looks like now. I haven't sewn that new section on yet, but it's in position.

6 blocks of the pixelated apple

Isn't it great how all those shades of red work together? Some are very orange/red and some are burgundy, but together, they look awesome.

Time to lay out the next block and you can see the pattern in the background. This was from a class by Tamara Kate that we took at Quilts at the Creek last year.

Getting the next block ready
 I decided that I didn't have enough variety of the white/black, so I've been cutting more white/black squares. I had already cut strips, so it's easy enough to cut the squares. A bit more cutting before I can proceed.

Prepping the black/white squares

I had to go into my stash to cut the strips as I had used up everything that was in my scrap boxes.

I got three rows of the Celtic Solstice sewn. They are NOT sewn together yet, but I hope to get more work done on it today because I have to get it off the table by tomorrow morning. I don't mind if it's in rows, but I don't want to have to lay the blocks out again.

Three rows of Celtic Solstice are sewn

I also pulled the backing yesterday and it's at the end of the quilt.

Now here's the "be careful what you wish for".  A number of years ago, I got the bright idea (from Maria) to make pet mats from scraps. Not being happy with just the meager amount generated by myself and our sewing group, I put a plea out to people for scraps. Well - the amounts that I received grew exponentially and soon I had bags and bags and boxes of scraps.

What I didn't do was qualify what I wanted in scraps. I wanted the cutoff ends that people have when they cut a project. What I got was ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.

I quickly put a halt to the collection process. A while back, I had to move all the scraps into the cold room because I was trying to clean up under the long arm which is now full of my ongoing projects!  GO figure!  But I'm constantly digging in the bags of the good stuff under the long arm and the piles are getting smaller, not bigger so that's a good thing.

I've potentially found a new home for some of the scraps and so I decided to dig out a couple of bags so I could deal with them.

The first bag was a disaster. I think this person just went to their studio and threw in everything. It was full of crap!! Odds and ends of velvet - little pieces. OK - so that technically is scraps. But there was a whole lot of other things in there as well.

This is the contents of the bag. I spent some time sorting.

Contents of a "scrap" bag
 I sorted out the fabrics. The pile at the bottom of the picture is all cotton (mostly) and some big pieces that could be used to make quilts and there are some smaller pieces that are perfect for scrap quilts. It's currently in one bag. The other stack in the back is knit fabrics for T-shirts. I might donate that or I have a person that might be able to use that. Unless someone wants this???   I'm happy to give this to anyone who wants, BUT you cannot take it unless you have a use for it. The last thing we all need/want is to clutter up someone else's house.

Yardage found in the scrap bag
 The disturbing thing is that I found FIVE needles in the bag and as many pins. Seriously????   What is the matter here - can we not sort through some of this stuff and take responsibility for it?

Five needles in the bag of scraps
 I shall never again make a call for bags of scraps because people just didn't get it.

Here are the other two bags I picked out and they literally were scraps. Nothing huge in the bag - it was all the cutoffs from cutting. And that's what I wanted.

Now to find the bag with the pillowcases or the fabric samples that I was using to make bags to hold the scraps. Then I can make a couple of pet mats.

Two bags of TRUE scraps
 I also found this bag of yo-yos. What to do with a bag of yo-yos?  Well, when I was on the internet last night, someone posted a picture of some fidget quilts that they had made for Alzheimer patients and they had yo-yos on them.  PERFECT - so if anyone is into making those type of quilts - these yo-yos can be yours!!!

Bag of yo-yos

I learned a valuable lesson with this scrap exercise. By the way, I did sort through the entire bag and I did find a home for everything! Or it got sorted into like things and will be dealt with when the appropriate bags are full.

But I'm also cleaning up M's room. I should take a picture. The poor girl won't recognize the room anymore. Well - it's not that bad, but it's going to be totally different in a bit. She has a long desk/counter in the room and right now, all the cupboards are empty and everything has been put in boxes and is sitting on the counter. Do you know how much JUNK can accumulate over the years?  Oh yes - we all know. Well here's my task for you - find one of those trouble spots in your house or preferably your studio and get your butt in gear and DEAL WITH IT!!!!   Your family doesn't want to touch your JUNK!!!! If you think it's useful, it probably isn't. If you have opened bottles of anything - makeup, craft supplies, etc. - TOSS IT!!!!!   And how many DRIED UP pens does one household need?  My goal is to go through a box a week in M's room. Once that is cleaned up, well, I have big plans for that room!!!

Let's not forget that I'm still dealing with the mess in my office. This is the ONLY room that looks like a hoarder lives here, but it's coming - slowly but surely!!!!

I had to laugh as I read Helen's comment yesterday.  Helen -- before I went to work, I used to ask myself, how could I ever hold a day job because there just wasn't time. Well, I did find the time, but a lot of things suffered. Now that I've been given that gift of 50 hours, I'm not wasting a minute!!!

On that note, I'm out of here. I've got quilts to quilt, patterns to write although I don't normally do any of that on the weekend, I have no choice this weekend. And tomorrow is another sit n sew!!!!

Have a great day!!!!


BTW - I see that Miss Lexi was busy this morning. Check it out!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Sit n sew days are the best!

Yesterday was a sit n sew day. I'm so thankful to have such great friends to share my passion with and I'm very grateful to have the ability to spend time with them as we share our passion. There were seven of us and we had loads of laughs, and I'm always learning new things. Like last time, I learned that I can peel butternut squash with a vegetable peeler. Who knew? And we share recipes, as well as trials and tribulations of our lives.  It makes you realize that whatever you're going through, you're not alone! Thanks to everyone who came yesterday!!!!

Well - not only was it a fun day, but it was a super productive day. A SUPER productive day!!!

Have a look at what happened...................  Sorry - I only took pictures of my stuff. Next time, I'll try to share!

Some of this happened before and after the group left. It's so motivating to have all that empty space so I made good use of it.

I started the day off by getting this quilt top done! I'll tell you more about it another day. Let's just say the top is done.

Quilt top - DONE
 I also got the backing and the binding ready so this one is ready to go on the long arm. I need it fairly soon so it won't be going into the "to be quilted" pile. It's in the "URGENT need to be quilted" pile.

Backing, binding, and quilt top - ready for quilting

Then it was onto this table runner. I cut the runner and pieced it.
Runner completed
 Next up was to make the backing and the binding!

Runner, backing, and binding = DONE
Then I had a couple of runners that I had made, but they needed backing and bindings. So I got the backing and binding completed for this runner.

Runner, backing, and binding - DONE
Not done yet!!  I have this table runner and while I didn't have to make the backing because the runner fit on the fabric, at least it's chosen. I'm going to make the binding from the same fabric as the backing and will make the binding after the runner is quilted.

Backing ready for this runner

 I made two of these runners and so I chose the backing for the second one and made the binding. It's ready to be quilted as well. 

Backing and binding ready to go
 While I'm piecing all this stuff, I was madly doing my enders and leaders and I'm happy to report that I have another block for the pixelated apple - DONE!!!

Five blocks - DONE!!!
 But that's not all. I'm madly sewing on the next block and it's almost completed as well.

Block six - almost done!
 Rose brought this quilt top to show me. This is a project that she was working on at the last sit n sew day. I love the quilt top and there's a bit of a story behind this one.

Rose's bonus quilt
 Back in 2012 (or was it 2011), we were both participating (and probably not aware) in a Mystery quilt by a local designer. There are two sizes in the pattern - you can make a queen size or you can make a lap quilt. Rose was making one of each!  I was making the queen.

While I didn't get it completely finished as the clues were published, I was following the clues page by page.

Rose had been warned about a potential construction issue with the outer border. I didn't know about that issue and so I made all the border blocks with sashing on one side, figuring that the next step would be to use that sashing between the blocks. NO - when I turned the page, I realized that those bits of "sashing" were, in fact, one of the outer borders that had now been chopped up into lots of little pieces. It was silly to do that and I shelved the project for years.

Rose decided that the quilt without those blocks was big enough (I think it's 105 with the borders) so she added one final border on the quilt and had all these blocks leftover so she assembled them into a quilt. Now that's clever!!!  I have the same blocks made - I might just dig them out since I'm being so productive these days.  I will add sashing to my blocks (if I have enough fabric).

Let's just say that I (as well as a lot of other people) were not happy with the designer that she would put on a skinny border in bits and pieces. I told her so (politely) and she said - her testers were OK with it. Seriously????  It's a mystery quilt, but the integrity of good quilting practices shouldn't be compromised because of a mystery.

I'm going with Rose's design!!!  Thanks for bringing that quilt!!!  And I'm going to dig my version out.  2018 UFOs - be damned!!!

In the Quilter's Patch quilt, there are three blocks with inset seams. They are a bit of a challenge because of their size. I gave in to Diane (who did make an effort) to sew the inset seams and I gave her a pattern that used half square triangles instead.  It took all of 5 minutes to come up with the alternate in EQ8. I LOVE EQ8.

Eight-pointed star block by Diane

Phew - just had a dig around in the containers under the long arm and I found the mystery quilt, the blocks, the pattern and some bits. I'll have a look later today to see what needs to be done to complete the quilt and the BONUS quilt!!!  And just like that - I'm off!!!  But it's a UFO so I don't feel so bad about that.

BUT the big news of yesterday was this. One of the UFOs on my list for 2018 is a Bonnie Hunter mystery and look.  I'm making amazing progress.

Celtic Solstice
 I finished the second set of blocks yesterday and I have one row sewn together. I have to get the rest of the rows sewn together before Sunday morning as there is another sit n sew day and it's going to be a full house.  These days are super productive for me. So with these days and my Monday sewing, there really is a chance that I can get some UFOs finished. I think I could engage a long arm quilter full time in order to keep up with me!!!

This is the fabric that has been sitting in the project box for Celtic Solstice - waiting to be made into borders or binding. I hope by Saturday night that this will be empty (or filled with the bits from another project).
Fabric to finish Celtic Solstice

WOW  - I'm exhausted just looking at all that I did!!!  And all the while, not overeating. I'm tracking EVERYTHING that goes in my mouth and actually eating less than the calories that I'm supposed to be eating every day. Not by much but that's all a good thing!!!  I'm feeling great and every day, I take a walk to do errands. Yesterday we walked to the bank and Tim's on the way home. Which is a challenge to hold the leashes of two very strong dogs and a cup of tea and not spill any!!  I'm getting good at it and it's my upper body workout!

On that note, I'd better get some paperwork done this morning and I have a quilt to get off the long arm this afternoon and load another quilt so I can quilt it tomorrow.

Have a great day!!!