A Bucket List

If you know me at all or have followed my blog even the tiniest bit, you would know I hate DISLIKE making long-term goals. Pretty sure it’s my self-diagnosed ADD (as most creative people are). So I’m a little annoyed when people make the proverbial “Bucket List”. I think it sounds morbid and a little like boasting about being soooo adventurous (this from a totally risk averse individual). While I am a planner, I would much rather live a little more by the seat of my pants with “by the seat of my pants” meaning planned out a week in advance. So it would seem kind of unusual that I would buy a jelly roll of a line of fabric called Noteworthy that is pretty much a bucket list. You can see it here in the gray square in the lower right and the yellow HST in the upper right.

IMG_0939

Yes, that’s right! I did say HST! And flying geese! I’m into self-torture I guess.

IMG_0902

Anyway, back to the fabric. What drew me to this line of fabric was really the playful doodles and the text! I love me some fabric with text. In fact, I just love letters. At one time I had two rooms in my house that had wooden or steel letters on the walls.

Even loving the fabric didn’t make this quilt top any easier. It took forever!! (See note above regarding ADD. Hmmph!)

IMG_1032

But I persevered and can cross another quilt top off my summer to-do list (which is totally different than a long-term goal list or a bucket list – just saying) making the current grand total up to 5 quilt tops that will need to be quilted when our most precious daughter returns to college, forfeits her room and I can spread out my quilting necessities without having to dismantle the work space each night. (Yes, that WAS one sentence.)

IMG_1027

I had a bunch of fun stepping outside with my favorite chair from my parent’s old farmhouse and this quilt.

IMG_1031

And then even more fun applying filters to my photos with an app I purchased for my iPad.

IMG_0995

IMG_1028

And because no post could be complete without mention of Mr. LB’s yard, I had to throw in these shots so you all could admire his beautiful Monarda (Bee Balm), Moonbeam Coreopsis (Tickseed)  and Perovskia (Russian Sage).

IMG_1038

This quilt pattern called for another different method for making the flying geese. I’m going to stumble on one that I really like one of these days. However, it left you with a lot of waste triangles. What, waste? No way, we must save every salvageable scrap larger than 1 1/2″. So I did and made all these tiny HSTs that are literally 1 1/2″ square. What will I do with them you ask? Hmmm, I guessing they will somehow make it into the back of this quilt. Which fully explains why this top took so long!

Random Thoughts

Blueberries are abundant at the farmer’s markets here in Wisconsin and what better way to start a day with a blueberry muffin. I found the most delicious, and quite easy at that, recipe for blueberry muffins from Food.com. This makes generous sized muffins and when I tried to squeeze them into 8 muffin cups I had a bit of a mess so, if you want my advice, go with the full dozen.

IMG_1034

Here they are before they got their delicious, and completely unhealthy, crumb topping. But if we are going to be real with ourselves, we ALL crave the crumb topping! Am I right?

GOOD MORNING!

IMG_1036

Fresh from the oven. Warning: these are fork worthy muffins when they are warm but they firm up as they cool.

IMG_1035

And because I’ve already mentioned my parents, that plate is also from them. My very favorite purple pansy plates many of which are sadly losing their bright colors. Makes me miss my mom and dad a little bit!!!

You can now wipe the drool from your computer/tablet/phone screen and go get some blueberries!!

Life is good! It just is!

TTFN!

Annette

Waging War

I have declared war on my works in progress, projects stash and scraps this summer. Well, not so much my works in progress because there really aren’t that many – some table runners that I have to appliqué and a hexagon quilt I screwed up on. The table runners mean pulling the old machine back out as my dream girl only does straight line sewing. The hexagon quilt, oh veh, it just needs more time in the time out drawer. Bad quilt! :P

IMG_0918

But I’m definitely making progress on some quilts that I’ve had the bulk of the materials lying around for quite some time. I’m calling this stuff my projects stash.

IMG_0903

I sewed together this Christmas quilt for our daughter.

IMG_0907

I completed this quilt top using Zen Chic’s Comma collection. Being a former typesetter, I’m in love with this line of fabric!! Reminds me of days long ago.

IMG_0910

IMG_0912

IMG_0917

I put together and quilted this table runner from the mistakes I made on Swoon. Love this little piece. I need to do more small projects.

IMG_0882

IMG_0877

I cut into some fat quarters I bought for the purpose of making purses and completed these two. (These will be for sale on Etsy in the foreseeable future – I promise!)

IMG_0900I had a quick finish last week with this quilt top called Pantone Pocket Change using an ombre jelly roll and a light gray background. Already have plans in mind for the quilting.

IMG_0888Finally, I decided to tackle this pile of disarray and cut these schnibbles into usable AND organized pieces. I’m doing a little bit at a time so I’m just showing you the before pix for now.

IMG_0914

I have four more items left in the projects stash. This lovely assortment of Malka Dubrawsky’s fabrics is for another Do Si Do quilt. I made this pattern once before for my sister Carol which you can see here. There is just so much cutting involved in this one.

IMG_0902Another top with, oh gawd, yes, HSTs and flying geese. I know, right? There is just some fabric that is more suited to traditional quilt patterns rather than the modern fabrics I’ve come to love so much more. I’ve had a jelly roll of Sweetwater’s Noteworthy for some time and this line is one that lends itself better to tradition. I will not be beaten by HSTs and flying geese! Bruised pretty badly? OK but not beaten.

IMG_0916

One more quilt top using this stack of fat quarters from Amy Butler. They were on sale; what can I say? I’m stepping outside the neutral comfort zone and going with a dark background on this one. I think it’s going to look very elegant.

Finally, our precious daughter would like a different bedcovering (#3) for her third year at college and has requested I sew a new duvet cover for the duvet that has been on her bed at home. All these wonderful quilts to behold and she wants a duvet. :( I was lucky enough to find 108” wide fabric that she liked for both the front and back. We are mimicking one she saw for over $250 on Pinterest for roughly $60. That will be a quick and easy sew. Perhaps I might even do a tutorial on this one. What do you think? Might you be interested in something like that?

My hope is that when she goes back to college, I will take over her room and quilt and quilt and quilt to my heart’s content turning all these finished tops (even the bad boy hexagon one) into actual completed quilts. Updates to follow.

Random Thought

This thought is not very economically friendly (so crucify me) but there are some things in life that you just shouldn’t have to re-use. Paintbrushes for instance – I think you waste more water cleaning out paintbrushes than what you are saving by saving them for the next project. I have a sister who would like to don a new pair of socks every day. I agree but mostly because I hate laundering and sorting socks. Mr. LB would like to slip on a new t-shirt each work day instead of wear his old ones. He insists they just fit better before they shrink. I have found my “new one every day” item and it is my running shoes. Well, I don’t actually run in them but they are runner colors – bright coral with light teal accents. Love them. However, I am a little perturbed that they’ve gotten dirty. Not with mud or anything, but just normal wear and I’m just not as pleased with them anymore. Dumb dirt!

Life is good! It just is!

TTFN,

Annette

Just Say No!

Having (and can I say successfully?) raised two teenagers, I am fully aware of all the evils of peer pressure. I remember someone telling me after they met our very high spirited son as a toddler that his somewhat defiant traits would bode well for him in the future because he was better equipped to ward off peer pressure. I think that was just someone trying to put a positive spin on the terrible twos/threes.

To some degree, I think we all fall victim sometime to the pressure of fitting in or wanting to belong. They even have a word for it in the business world – group think – but it all comes down to wanting to be like everyone else. And there it is! And to that I say “Phtooey!

I pretty much started quilting because I stumbled across Elizabeth Hartman’s tutorial for a mod sampler quilt. Here’s my version! Then I found out there was this whole universe of quilt bloggers and I started to see the same names popping up all the time. One of those names was Camille Roskelley. And if she isn’t just the cutest thing, with the neatest blog, and the most fabulous house and most adorable children. But I’m pretty sure her life isn’t as idyllic as it appears or what one might guess. I mean, three boys? That in itself could be the “someone yelling fire in a crowded room” moment right there.

IMG_0875
But Camille had designed this one quilt pattern that everyone was making! And then came up with the most adorable name for it too! Swoon! EVERYONE was swooning! (Or at least it seemed so to a newbie like me.) And I just wanted to belong. Once again, many moons after my high school years, I fell victim to peer pressure.

IMG_0874
I had purchased a fat quarter stack of Denyse Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy and used the pink and orange colorway for a quilt for my daughter’s room at home. That left the gray/blue/green colorway and I decided to swoon along with all the other lemmings. :P

IMG_0860
I had just learned this great way of making flying geese and had bought the flying geese tool to go with it. This was going to be easy, right? You already know about my penchant for HSTs but flying geese rank right up there. This pattern has PLENTY of both. Because I am an orderly person, I like to make these “pieced” pieces all at once before starting to piece the blocks. It was after I had them all finished that I realized I made the flying geese opposite of what was needed. The background/foreground color was opposite. Ugh! (Lesson #1 – make a sample block before cutting/piecing all the pieces first.)

IMG_0856

I found some more Flea Market Fancy online in order to correct my mistake. Then it all had to sit in a drawer for awhile because it was bad and was being punished.

IMG_0866

I would work on it in between other projects quite half-heartedly. I don’t know if I will ever grow to like HSTs, flying geese or piecing triangle shaped things anytime soon. When they say working on the bias of fabric is difficult, they really mean it. (Lesson #2 – sometimes what you read on the Internet is, in fact, TRUE!)

IMG_0870

When it was finally done, I toyed with renting time at my favorite longarm quilting shop but I had just completed a Craftsy class on straight line quilting when I finished this puppy. And with my new sewing machine with the generous harp space, I figured I needed to do this one completely on my own with the tools and skills I already had acquired. Plus my daughter was going out of the country for two weeks and if I kept busy on a project, I knew I would be less inclined to worry until the cows came home.

IMG_0861

I backed it up with a DE-lightful line called Glimma by Lotta Jansdotter. I mean that name alone is so amusing. And I was able to use some of my errant flying geese to make a pretty decent pieced backing. Once, the back was pieced and the quilt was basted, I started falling in love with it.

IMG_0862

I quilted it with concentric diamonds and chevrons that follow the pieces of the quilt with lines about an inch apart. After nearly 3 weeks of no other sewing other than straight line quilting, I completed my Swoon quilt! I added a scrappy binding of the rest of my Flea Market Fancy and, in the end, I’m really pleased with it. (Lesson #3 – sometimes we are our worst critics.)

IMG_0865

When I figure out how to post this and some purses I’ve made to my new Etsy site, this quilt will be for sale.

Gosh, all this technology stuff is confusing!! I’ll let you know!

Life is good! It just is!!

TTFN,

Annette

 

 

Inspiration, Motivation, Affirmation and all those other Tions!

I read an article once about the effects to our psychological well being of “likes” on our Facebook statuses and photos. Wow! Online social networking has made us a bit shallow. I guess things haven’t changed all that much; just the medium from which we receive recognition has. We all need affirmation to some degree; we want to do a good job in our work and our hobbies; we want to be liked and we want the things we do and say to be interesting to others.

IMG_0796

Blogs are really no different and I guess I just called myself shallow.  :P  The Blogger’s Quilt Festival gives quilters who have connected with quilting and/or with each other in an online community to give accolades to one of their own and garner inspiration for future projects. I apologize to loyal readers who have seen this quilt so much that you probably feel you had a hand in making it. But I am entering my Pinwheel Paradise into the Quilt Festival. Yippee! My first quilt “show”!!

IMG_0795

I made this king-sized quilt for my sister, who at 54, got married for the very first time last month. It just took her a little longer to find Mr. Right!  At what a Mr. Right he is!! The wedding was beautiful, the bride was stunning and every little detail of the day was exquisite!!  I couldn’t be happier for my sister. If our mother were still alive, she would have made a really special quilt for her daughter.  With her gone, I just felt our sister deserved a little bit of handmade love from one of her siblings in an attempt to fill those very big shoes of our mother!

IMG_0802

This quilt truly was a labor of love and went from start to finish in just three months of working evenings and weekends with one marathon weekend!

IMG_0737

But I couldn’t be happier with the results and what I learned from the process.

IMG_0731

Here are the specifics of this quilt:

  • Quilt measures 100″x114″
  • There are 672 HST’s
  • Blocks are 12″ square and there are 56 of them!
  • Sashing and background are Kona Cotton in Snow
  • Batiks are Tonga Treats in (go figure) Rainbow
  • Sashing and batiks were all precut 2 1/2″ strips
  • Backing is Carolyn Friedlander Widescreen in Black
  • Binding is part of a Christmas collection from Blank Quilting in 2013.
  • Pattern is a modification of Pam & Nicky Lintott’s Pinwheel Paradise
  • I rented a longarm machine at The Quilting Connection in New London to do the quilting.
  • And the bride LOVED IT!!

IMG_0773

Feel free to go to The Blogger’s Quilt Festival site to see more entries and to cast your vote for “best in show” in all the categories but especially in the ROYGBIV category. Voting begins May 23. And I sure would LOVE it if you voted for me!!

AmysCreativeSide.com
Much thanks for your support!!!
TTFN!
Annette

 

From the inside of a Hyundai

About the only thing Mr. Left Brain and I have been doing lately is riding/driving in a car. Which is why it has been such a long time since I last posted. With abundant gratitude, much of that time is me riding and him driving. I proposed the idea to him that he should engineer a way to run my sewing machine off the power adapter in the car. (Funny, we used to call it the cigarette lighter.) I could get so much more sewing time in. But with some careful planning, I was able to bring Pinwheel Paradise along on one of our 32 hour round trips to North Carolina to see our daughter. Strategically, I was able to hand sew the binding during that trip.

IMG_0800

I’ve become so fond of striped bindings and this one is no exception. With all the color going on in this quilt, I decided to go with a black and white binding that had a touch of gold too. It was part of a Christmas line but I couldn’t tell you anymore which one. The backing is Widescreen in black by Carolyn Friedlander. Wow! I thought I died and went to heaven when I found out I wouldn’t have to piece this backing (not a favorite part of quilting for me)!

IMG_0802

I finished just in time for the big wedding. What a delightful weekend it was! I couldn’t be more happy for my sister and her new husband! I snapped these pictures in the rare Wisconsin sun right before leaving for the wedding. On Saturday, we laid it out on her bed and it was actually a lot larger than I thought with plenty of quilt for a pillow tuck and drape on the sides and bottom. However, I couldn’t give her any advice on getting her husband from pulling it all to his side. You know the saying – Friends turned lovers. First they steal your heart; then they steal your covers.

IMG_0796

Here’s a great detail of the quilting. I rented the long arm quilter at The Quilting Connection in New London. Angie was such a great help that day! This quilt was so big I did not think I would get it done in one day but she was so encouraging and had some great advice too. I really love the swirl pattern of this quilting – it gives it enough movement without competing with the pinwheels. It was relatively easy to do but provided a dense enough design. I’m going to practice this one a few more times until I can really be “as perfect” as possible with it before moving on to something else.

IMG_0795

I also got another finish checked off my to-do list. Sarah’s Purrfect Fortune was delivered to her dad to give to Sarah for her graduation from 8th grade later this month.

I quilted this one on my home machine with a grid 1″ apart. I love the dense quilting that this provides but it’s not without it’s problems. More than anything, I learned you really need to be patient when you are doing straight line quilting as it takes an awful long time.

IMG_0784

 

IMG_0791

My new sewing machine is a dream for machine quilting though. I used a flange binding on this quilt that is machine sewn – a bit speedier than the traditional hand sewn method.

Finally, I finished a media bag for my great nephew who just turned two to take to church and the library.

IMG_0818

This little guy loves tractors which I think is absolutely adorable. MY son’s first word was tractor (not mama, not dada, but tractor) because he would watch his grandpa (my dad) drive by on the farm tractor almost daily as Dad worked the fields.

IMG_0824

I digress. Such good memories though! I think it’s awesome that this little boy’s mom (my niece) asked me to make this book bag for her son. I loved taking my own kids to the library and I really believe they are avid readers still today because of that. I hope my great nephew will get LOTS of use out of this!

IMG_0823

More 1″ grid straight line quilting. Pretty sure I’m addicted.

RANDOM THOUGHT: My all time favorite book is the pink one in the back – Richard Scarry’s Best Story Book Ever!  I had it as a kid and I bought this edition for my kids when the first one was born. They’ve updated some things in it but I have the original text – the one with “The Handsome Pilot” and “The Pretty Stewardess”. If you have a minute, check out the link to see how social change can affect even the most minor things.

TTFN! Life is good – it just is!

Annette

 

I <3 April!

April is birthday (and anniversary) month for Mr. LB and I so we decided to go shopping for our respective birthday presents. He got a new set of irons which he subsequently took to the driving range in 80 mph gale force winds. Poor guy but he said he had a blast.

I, on the other hand, have gotten to use my new present extensively.

IMG_0754

Ahhhhh! (Again, with the angels singing!) OMG! It’s a Juki TL-2010 Q. I’ve waited so long for this little workhorse I can’t tell you how good it is to finally own it. I already knew all its features by heart; I’ve had the Juki cut sheet posted on my refrigerator since last September. So I just walked into my local sewing center (which happens to sell and service Jukis) and bought it. The big selling point of this machine is the harp space which should make free motion quilting that much easier. I haven’t tried FMQ on it yet but it sews straight line like a dream. One of the things about my old machine was that I could not get it to sew a consistent ¼” seam allowance – a very, very important thing in quilting. The reason for that was that the machine allowed you to change the needle position left and right. This is a great feature but every time I turned the machine off and back on, it reset the needle position and the seam allowance was always “off”. In fact, the seam allowance would get “off” just through use. The Juki’s needle position is fixed. So while I miss the ability to move the needle to and fro, I also love the fact that the needle doesn’t move to and fro willy nilly. (I just had to say that “to and fro willy nilly”. It’s so darn cute!) The fixed needle position makes for consistent sewing. Sew happy!!!

IMG_0752

My first project on it was this pillow to match the quilt I’m making for my sister in honor of her wedding. I did the FMQ on my old machine but sewed the backing (with a zipper) and piping on my new one.

IMG_0748

 

 

IMG_0749

I used this tutorial for the zipper backing – best one I’ve tried yet. I adore the striped piping! This is the same fabric I’ll use for the binding on the quilt. In fact, does this binding not look so much fun all rolled up and ready to go on that quilt?

IMG_0762

With Pinwheel Paradise waiting to be quilted, I moved on to my next deadline which is a commissioned quilt for a young lady graduating from 8th grade this spring.

IMG_0744

It’s a simple stacked coin pattern that I made from a 6-pack of Tonga Treats in Napa – I just cut the 6” strips down to 3” strips before stacking them. (I couldn’t resist taking this photo with the morning sun streaming into my kitchen while I pin basted this quilt.) Her favorite color is purple so it had to have plenty of purple in it but I wanted some contrast too.

IMG_0758

To that end, I used Tonga Escargot Dawn for the sashing and for some additional purple pop, Tonga Pig Tails Purple for the outer border. (I seriously would love a job naming fabric, ice cream flavors and/or crayon colors.) The backing is Robert Kaufmann Interweave Chambray in Wisteria – a beautiful muted lavender that is quite calming.

IMG_0763

I had wanted a little patchwork on the back, as I usually do, so I added a few cats from Oh Fransson!’s CatVent Quilt Along. The gift giver suggested the name A Purrfect Fortune combining the stacked coin reference and the cats.

IMG_0756

I’m straight line quilting it on my new Juki with a 45 degree angled grid at 1” intervals using Aurifil #2545. (Realy Aurifil? Numbers? Not colors? You seriously need to hire me!) I was worried it might be too heavily quilted but I really believe that it is just right. I’m hoping it will be a “soon to be” finish but because this still is a work in progress, I’m linking up to Lee’s Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Random Thoughts

  1. We had a bit of transparent precipitation last night in the Midwest (aka rain). It is amazing how a little moisture can give you ever so slight glimpses of green coming alive. Oh, how hope springs eternal.
  2. Have you ever had a most amazing meal that it gave you (what I call) food apathy for anything else to be eaten? We visited my nephew and his lovely wife, who is Italian, and they made us homemade pizzas (read homemade dough, homemade sauce, fresh mozzarella and fresh Italian meats from the Italian market) and cooked them on their own outdoor wood fired pizza oven. I adore pizza so I’m easy to please on the pizza front, but these pizzas were so ah-mazing that they literally ruined my taste buds for anything else. I currently have apathy for all foods (with the exception of desserts, of course) having lost interest in eating all together. Now, this could be a terrific weight loss plan but, in reality, it is quite the opposite. I’m eating everything in search of that one thing that will stand up in comparison to those glorious pizzas. Oh woe is me! This may require another 3 hour round trip visit to said nephew’s house just to reawaken my taste buds once again.

Life is good – it just is! TTFN!

Annette

A VIP WIP

The weekend before last, Mr. LB went to Minneapolis to visit with our son and have some father/son bonding time. They went to the auto show and picked up one of these for me:

IMG_0741

A girl can dream, right?

Anyway, with Mr. LB out of the house, I had most of Friday and Saturday by myself – just me, fabric, thread and my sewing machine. <Insert the sound of angels singing here.>

IMG_0714

I have this deadline looming over my head that needed some serious attention. And you know, while I don’t like making long term goals, I’m always up for the challenge of setting goals to accomplish in the short term. Sort of like lists but just in my head.

IMG_0716

You see one of my sisters is getting married at the end of April. Who doesn’t love a wedding? But the cool thing about this one is that my sister is 54 and this is her first marriage. I guess she was just waiting for Mr. Right!! So, this wedding, this marriage deserved something BIG! Something REALLY big! Something COLOSSAL!

Well, really it’s just because they have a king-sized bed.

IMG_0712

I had started this quilt way back in December thinking I had plenty of time. It’s the Pinwheel Paradise quilt from one of Pam and Nicky Lintott’s jelly roll books. After all they had been engaged a whole year without setting a date; I figured it would be awhile. It was at Christmas that they announced they would be marrying April 25. What? April 25? As in 4 months from now? All work on other projects had to cease. Now you know how hard it is for those of us who are deficit in the attention department to work on ONE thing until it’s done, right?!?!

IMG_0718

So on aforementioned weekend, some serious sewing was to commence. I was about half way done with the quilt and set a goal to complete 17 blocks that weekend. With 56 blocks in this quilt, this thing is BIG! (see above – 100″ x 110″) and each block took about an hour to complete – there’s a lot of coordination of the colors, HSTs to be made, pressing, pressing and more pressing. Oh gawd the pressing!

IMG_0719

The weekend started out real strong and I even initiated an Instagram campaign that my (six) followers could join in on (HA!). By Saturday morning at 2am, when I finally called it a night, I had completed nine blocks.

IMG_0724

 

IMG_0721

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, I took a break from sewing to lay out the remaining block colors.

After a couple hours rest and some much needed housework, I was back at the drawing (well, sewing/cutting/pressing) table.

IMG_0733

By the time I laid this block out on Saturday afternoon, I was wishing they would sew themselves. But I persevered.

IMG_0731

By Saturday’s end, the last set of HSTs were cut, sewn and trimmed and 15 blocks had been completed.

The cool thing about this quilt is once a block is sewn, and subsequently a row is sewn, the vertical and horizontal sashing is also added. I can’t imagine the logistical nightmare it would have been to sew all the blocks and save the sashing until the end.

IMG_0728

No, I don’t sew over pins. (If you could see me now, you would see that my fingers are crossed behind my back to protect me from the lie I just told).

Mr. LB and our son (he was on spring break) came back about 8pm on Saturday and I called it quits for the day recognizing that you CAN have too much of a good thing. (We went to Culver’s for some much needed nourishment!)

IMG_0737

By Sunday afternoon I had reached my goal leaving seven more blocks to complete this past week.

IMG_0740

Which I finished on Friday. Since then, the borders have been added and I have a date with Angie at The Quilting Connection for quilting on April 11. And . . . . that’s the last you’ll see of it until she sees it.

So a Very Important Person Work in Progress indeed!  I think you’ll agree!

This post, I’m trying something new and I’m linking up to Freshly Pieced’s Wednesday Work in Progress!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Because the post is already so long, I’m forgoing Random Thoughts. Please forgive.

Life is good! It just is!

TTFN – Annette

 

 

A Brave Post!

There hasn’t been a lot of sewing going on because we were traveling one week and then had our daughter home with us on her spring break. I wanted to spend what little time I had in the evening with her so quilting took a bit of a hiatus. I did work a bit on Cats 2 which I’m calling Caterwauling.

I finished quilting this wall hanging in a marathon session on Sunday after we dropped her off at the airport. Let me tell you, straight line quilting at ½” on center is good therapy for the “missing your kids” blues.

The week we were traveling we had been in Blacksburg, Virginia at the Virginia Tech campus for our daughter’s indoor track conference championship. I’m grateful that she runs long distances to make these trips worthwhile. I pity the parents who travel 13 hours to see their kids run a 55m dash indoors or do three jumps or throws.

Bravery Example #1: She ran the 3K on Friday and the 5K on Saturday. Whew! I tire just thinking of it. (For those of you unfamiliar with indoor track: the track is 200 meters so a 3000 meter race is 15 laps and the 5000 meter race is 25 laps. Mind numbing I tell you! A standard outdoor track is 400 meters. Fewer laps – same distance. :P) She did so well taking seventh and fifth respectively in the Big South conference. Mr. LB and I are both so proud of her!

That’s her in the front. Not a great photo but you can’t believe how hard it is to take photos when you are incredibly excited and cheering your lungs out for your kid. Literally! Mr. LB lost his voice for days.

Anyhow, traveling that far meant about 26 hours in the car for us. I had set the goal of knitting three pairs of mittens during the time. I did accomplish my goal but I can’t tell you how bored with knitting mittens and being in the car I’ve become. But I was back knitting on Tuesday morning when we drove to work.

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile you would know about my mitten project. I have just finished pair #67 with 33 more pairs to go. I think we still have a bit of winter left so if you are in need of a new pair of mittens or want to plan ahead for Christmas, any of the ones pictured here are for sale at $10/pair. As in the past, ALL PROCEEDS go to Friends of Haiti. Just leave me a comment – if you are local, we can arrange pick up. If you are willing to pay shipping, I’ll gladly ship anywhere. This is most likely the last time I’ll be offering them until next fall.

I’m anxious to finish these mittens because I got this a few weeks back:

And I really want to make a garment for myself. I know very little about garment sewing and even less about garment knitting. This book’s emphasis is on knitting garments that FIT and FLATTER. But first the scary part . . . . . you have to take pictures and measurements of yourself and ANALYZE them.

Like most women, I don’t like photos of myself. If you’ve noticed, I don’t even have a profile picture on this blog and I’ve been at this since October. And my Facebook profile photo is the back of my head. Lovely, right?

Awhile ago, this Dove commercial was circulating Facebook. It has come back around and I happened to watch it again as I was planning out this week’s post. If you haven’t seen it, it is an absolute MUST SEE! (If you want a bit of humor, watch the male satire version too.)

And then my daughter put this on my sewing machine:

What a sweetheart, right? How can I tell people and hear people tell me how beautiful she is and how she looks just like me and not feel beautiful myself?

So here’s Bravery Example #2:

Acccckkkkk! Now it’s out there. Me! In living color! On the web! My daughter helped me with this exercise. The good news (well, good for knitting garments at least) is according to Knit to Fit, I’m considered evenly proportioned and not top heavy or bottom heavy. But the coolest thing the author says in this book is that while it can be uncomfortable seeing ourselves in pictures, most people focus on our face when they speak to us and those that know and love us do so because of our personality and not our outwardly appearance. Duh, right?

So when all the mittens are knit, I can move on to knitting garments – and it will be one of these two from the book.

IMG_0704 IMG_0705

(Apparently this model is, like me, evenly proportioned. I’m honestly envious of THAT hair!! I KNOW I could look amazing in either of these sweaters with THAT hair!!!) I’m so ready to get started! However, I have enough WIPs in the sewing field, I’m NOT going to do the same with knitting. So stay tuned!

Random Thoughts

1. February remains the longest month of the year! So glad that’s done for awhile again. I truly believe that Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day are there just to keep us from jumping off a cliff during the endless cold and snowy winter days.

2. The black bean brownies were delish! You should definitely try them! Don’t be fooled into thinking they are healthy though. There are still plenty of calories in them – especially when you consume ½ the pan by yourself. However, no adverse effects were felt in our household. I think you know what I mean.

TTFN! Life is good – it just is!!

Annette

Carol’s Summer Garden

We could use a super-sized dose of summer cheer. Unfortunately, our weather in the north is unwilling to play by the rules – “Hello! It’s supposed to be in the 20′s in February and 30′s and 40′s in March!” Clearly Mother Nature did not get the memo this year.

So, how about some cheery pictures of my first finish of 2014? Besides the cats, of course.

Warning: Lots of pictures ahead! If you are reading this blog from a reader, you may want to go to the actual website as sometimes readers will parse some of the pix.

Carol’s Summer Garden is for my sister who has THE most beautiful perennial gardens this side of the Mississippi! I do believe she is one of my biggest cheerleaders and besides all her other wonderful qualities, she’s a super sweetheart!  You can read about my progress with this quilt here and here.

I was hoping for a reasonably warm day to snap some pictures outside. That wasn’t happening but we had some nice sunshine on Saturday so I bundled up and gave it a whirl. Our household enjoys irony and I thought it a bit ironic that I should photograph Carol’s Summer Garden in the snow.  :P

Despite the blustery wind gusts, I got a few shots before moving back inside. The sunshine really made the quilting stand out though.

The pattern is Do Si Do designed by Faye Hoch with Twin Cities Quilting – a fabulous quilt shop in Minneapolis. It is an easy pattern that is fat quarter friendly and fun to put together. (I have already purchased material to make another one.)

I added a pieced border of my leftover blocks and strips to make this quilt a whopping 110″x95″. The fabric collection is Snap Pop by Sandy Gervais for Moda which I purchased through the online quilt shops Burgundy Buttons and Old South Fabrics.

I adore the striped binding fittingly called Snap Pop Cloud Rain Squiggle Stripe.

I added a little “Snap Pop” into the backing using Mosaic Rain from the collection and Bella solid Lime. I quilted it at The Quilting Connection in New London with a lot of help from Angie there.

The colors are amazing and just squeal Summer!!

In the meantime, can you just picture curling up with this on a sunny window seat right now with a good book? Hopefully watching the snow melt outside?

Random Thoughts

  1. I gave up caffeine in a very small effort to improve my (women’s) health. I still drink coffee but choose decaf instead. I really miss how I just didn’t get tired during the day. Now, around 2:00, one may find me napping at my desk.
  2. I’m going to try making some black bean brownies today. Not really sure why other than I want to get rid of a can of black beans that has been sitting in the cupboard for about 6 months. I’ll let you know how this one goes. With beans the primary ingredient, literally, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Life is good! It just is!

TTFN

Keeping the WIPs Under Control

I don’t think I am unique as a quilter when I say that I typically have several projects going on at one time. Most of my peers are on board the same ship. The quilting community even has some clever acronyms for our plight – WIPs or works in progress, UFOs or unfinished objects. We all know that it is because we get bored with a particular project or it may not be going well so we ditch it and start a different one. Picking out fabric and starting is often the most fun part of the process. It’s when you are in the middle of it and realize you need 672 of those pesky half-square triangles that it all gets a bit mundane and you lose a bit of focus.

I currently have 4 projects in varying stages of completion but you already know that I have several others that I have fabric for but haven’t started. You may not think so but it takes an awful lot of discipline to not start those too.

In 2013 my beautiful and talented daughter started a Christmas tradition I hope she continues. She bought me a quilting book. Owning quilting books is another secret passion. They are beautiful to look at and touch – especially the matte finish covers (I’m a very tactile person) – and they provide an amazing amount of inspiration. Continuing her tradition, I got this book from her this past Christmas:


It seems only fair that I make this said daughter, who adores Christmas, a quilt from the book she gave me. I had an Amazon gift card that was burning a hole in my e-mailbox so I picked up this.

Now I just need to decide, should I make this one:

Or this one:

Of course, it is taking just about everything out of me to NOT start just yet. Sensibility tells me I HAVE to finish some of the other WIPs – primarily because some have deadlines. In the meantime, I would love to know what you think. Which one should it be? Do you have parts of your daily life – hobbies or to-do items – that become WIPs or UFOs? I would love to hear from you.

Random Thoughts:

1.  Sadly, I said good bye to a great co-worker last week because he took a job elsewhere. He’ll be missed. I know this because I’ve worked at enough places to realize you say you’ll keep in touch but over time the things that bound you in common interest are lost. I truly wish you all the best Mr. F! The place is already not the same without you!

2.  The chicken rice soup from The Pioneer Woman that I spoke of previously was phenomenal!

Mr. LB made her perfect potato soup while I was away with my sisters on Sister Weekend. Equally as good! I could get into this whole soup for dinner gig! More importantly, I could definitely be down with Mr. LB cooking dinner!!

TTFN! Life is good – it just is!

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

Tallgrass Prairie Studio

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman | Ree Drummond - Full RSS Feed

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

Simplify

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

The Intrepid Thread

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

SewCraftyJess

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

Shush I'm Quilting

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

Quilting Is My Therapy

All about machine quilting!

Sew Mama Sew

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

Red Pepper Quilts

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

Pile O Fabric

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

ps i quilt

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

Oh, Fransson!

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

noodlehead

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

Moda Bake Shop

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

Moda Lissa

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

Maureen Cracknell Handmade

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

In Color Order

An unabashed exploitation of fabric, yarn, color and exclamation points!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.