Jul 22, 2014

UFO Progress Update

In January I decided to challenge myself to finishing up some UFOs that I have hanging around. I blogged about it here and I proclaimed 2014 the Year of the UFO. I even added the 2014 UFO List to the right hand column of my blog. I have no idea what I was thinking when I did this! I am not into public humiliation and I believe I may have just set myself up for failure and some ridicule here! Oh well, my intentions were good. :-)

Fast forward to July (and I mean FAST foreward-the time has flown by!) and I have NO finished quilts. That is not to say that I have not been working on them though....

This Civil War Soldier Cot Quilt was my challenge finish for March. It had been hanging on my design wall for quite some time and I had no desire to finish it. I finally jumped in and sewed all the rows together and decided that the reason that I hadn't finished the top sooner was because it was not appealing to my eye. I didn't like it at all....so, I ripped all the rows apart and sewed them together differently and now my top is finally finished. 

The simplicity of this layout is much more appealing to my eye. And, it's done! It has now been moved from the "Unfinished Tops" to the "Needs to be Quilted" pile. That's progress, right?

The next quilt that had been on one of my design walls for a while is the Carson's Courtyard block swap that I did with my friends last year. Instead of sewing them all together into one queen size quilt, I decided to make my blocks into two throw size quilts. I was going to just sew on a white border and then maybe a piano key border made of 30's repros so that I could get the top finished in a hurry, but then I changed my mind. I saw another quilt recently that had two white borders with prairie points between them. It was such a clean and sweet looking border that I decided I would do my first ever prairie point project (try to say that three times fast!) 

I cut and folded and ironed more than 100 three inch squares to make the prairie points I needed. 

I have them on three sides now. One side to go, then the outer white border. Then this top will be ready to move to the quilting stack too. For the sister quilt I am thinking about a wide white border with some applique in it.  We'll have to see if that is still what I'm thinking about it when I get finished with this one. 

While digging for something else in my closet I came across these blocks that I made so long ago I can't even remember when it was. I know for sure that I made them BEFORE we moved into this house-so it was more than 8 1/2 years ago! Since it's July and they are so patriotic, I decided to lay them out and get them sewn up. It was a quick, easy project! This one is in the quilting pile now, too.

I finished another top recently too. Last July I got together with Pam and Anne and we cut out hundreds and hundreds of tumbler blocks to share between the three of us. Mine are finally sewn together and this top is in the ever-growing "to be quilted" pile! There are 756 tumbler blocks in this 64X81" quilt.

In the meantime Pam has her top done too and she added borders. I LOVE the way it looks!! Maybe I need to add borders too? 

And of course, Anne has totally finished hers-it's quilted, bound and snuggle worthy. That Anne's an overachiever! :) Showoff!

My friends and I are doing another block swap this year. It's just 9 patch blocks from Civil War fabrics. But they are beautiful and I think it's going to make a gorgeous quilt. We only have a few more months to stitch and mail and then we are finished for this year. 

Here's a little peek at all of my quilts hanging so sweetly in the closet, each awaiting their turn to be quilted. It's a little bit overwhelming. Make that a LOT overwhelming! 

Happy quilting.


Jul 18, 2014

Sofia and Grammy Day

This summer is absolutely flying by and I have had very little time for quilting or blogging. Instead I have been filling my days with family summer activities. We have attended the $3 summer movies, gone swimming at the neighborhood pool and been barbecuing. 

And, then we bought a boat this week-so "going to the lake"  is going on our list of summer fun soon. 

And, we also got a dog! What was I thinking? Am I not busy enough already? She is a doll though, so I am thrilled with our decision. 

But yesterday's fun topped it all. I started a tradition five years ago with my oldest granddaughter of having a special one-on-one day during the summer after kindergarten graduation. These "Grammy and me" days have been so much fun! Katelyn and I spent the day in Charleston, SC, visiting the children's museum, taking a horse and buggy tour, and shopping the outdoor marketplace. For our second granddaughter, Emily, I took her to her first horseback riding lessons. She was in heaven! The next year, Madison and I spent a wonderful day at Zoo Atlanta together. She is my animal lover, so this was right up her alley! 

This year Sofia graduated from kindergarten, so it was her turn. She had first said she wanted to go to the zoo, but changed her mind and opted for the Georgia Aquarium (even though she had just been there in January.) A bubble bath and sleepover started the festivities on Wednesday night. On Thursday morning we headed to the aquarium, with a short stop at Dunkin Donuts for some munchkins to eat along the way. 

There is so much to see and do at the aquarium and even though I have been at least 6 times before, I enjoy each and every visit. And it's always fun to go and see it through the eyes of a child. Sofia said her favorite thing was the dolphin show, but every single thing we did was a blast for both of us. 

Our first stop was the jellyfish. They are so graceful and serene. 

Sofia loved all the colorful fish and beautiful living coral reef in the Tropical Diver section.

The penguins are adorable! And since you can pop your head up in acrylic tubes in the middle of their habitat you can get up close and personal.

A fish themed face painting is a must-do activity!

When you walk through the acrylic tunnel in the Ocean Voyager section you feel like you can just reach out and touch giant fish.

The touch pools are always favorites with the kids. Sofia got to touch a sea star and in this picture she is touching a ray. 

We had a fabulous day!!

May 26, 2014

Where Did May Go?

May has always been notoriously busy in our home. When the kids were growing up it was all of the end of the school year activities, Spring sports coming to a close, and church activities winding down for the summer vacation. With four kids in the house, it was BUSY! 

May doesn't seem to have changed, even though I am so much older. It is still the busiest month at our house-but now it's the grandkids that are keeping us busy. 

Katelyn's our oldest granddaughter. She's 10 and just finished fifth grade-and what a year it was! She made awesome honor roll grades, was on the Odyssey of the Mind team at her school, played trumpet in the school band, and played soccer. She's a busy girl!

Emily, who is 9 1/2 and will be in 4th grade in August, is Katelyn's middle sister. She had a busy month too. She made the A and AB honor roll all year and won a regional poster contest for EMS awareness week. 

Madison is Katelyn and Emily's youngest sister. May was a huge month for her-she finished 2nd grade, celebrated her 8th birthday, and had her First Communion. It doesn't get any bigger than that. 

Sofia was in kindergarten this year. Now that she is finished, we get to have "Grammy Day" together. (A tradition I started with Katelyn when she finished Kindergarten-we spend a whole fun day together, going somewhere of their choice.) Sofia's dance recital is this Thursday night-so May will continue to be busy until the last day.

Sofia's sister, Chloe, turned 4 last month and was in preschool and dance this year. Her recital was last week and she was precious!!

Even though Ella wasn't old enough for preschool or dance, she did a lot of growing up this year. Sofia and Chloe love their youngest sister and have so much fun with her now that she is 2 1/2 and "so big". She's growing up so fast.

Oliver is our youngest, at 15 months, and as our only boy, he is quite spoiled by his three older sisters and three cousins. Apparently he is working on his driving skills so he can get his license soon :-)

Tomorrow we are hoping to find out if our eighth grandchild, who is due mid-October is going to be a girl or a boy. The excitement of May continues.

We also celebrated our son Matthew's birthday and Mother's Day this month. To add to the fun, I was so lucky to have my mom here with me for a two week visit this month. We were busy going from band concert to dance recital, and from honor roll award ceremonies to last day of school picnic. It was a fun and fast two weeks! 

I hope that everyone else had a fabulous May too.....and I hope that the long days of summer are just a bit slower. 

Happy Quilting.


Apr 28, 2014

Quilting Stencils

I have had "quilter's block". It's kind of like writer's block, but since I'm a quilter and not a writer, it's my quilts, and not my books, that aren't getting finished. I have been unable to move forward from this point. It has everything to do with inspiration and nothing to do with skill. I am perfectly capable of quilting but, I have hit a wall. And I have been standing in front of that wall too long. It's time to climb over it or blast through it. 

I have LOTS of quilt tops that need quilting. Nothing special-just a nice all over pattern to get them finished will be fine. But you can't meander every single quilt in your stash~that's just plain boring! I needed inspiration. Like a lot of my solutions, this one started with my friends. And they don't even know it. :-)  Anne has been finishing one UFO after another this year. She sends her quilts out to be quilted, and sends me pictures of them when she gets them back. Her quilter has been doing beautiful overall patterns with swirls or flowers or whatever suits the quilt. I love them and thought to myself that maybe I should have bought a long arm with a frame so that I could do pantographs. (I'm not confident enough yet to attempt this free style!)

Fast forward to two weeks ago. My friend, Judy and I were shopping together at our favorite quilt shop, A Scarlet Thread, and I spied a rack with some quilting stencils on it. I was hit with inspiration, like I had been hit with a lightning bolt! One of the stencils was a continuous line design with dragonflies. Judy was so encouraging. She said that she has used stencils and "pounce" with great results and that I could do it too. So, I bought it. 

When I got home I decided that I needed more stencils like this.....so I went online to The Stencil Company and found five more stencils that I could use for an overall quilting pattern. They arrived in just a few days and now I am ready to start quilting! Wish me luck! I'll let you know how it goes :)

Happy Quilting!


Apr 21, 2014

New Summer Pajamas

I love pajamas! They are the snuggliest clothes I know. There are some days that I just don't bother getting dressed and I spend my entire day in my pj's. If I have no where to go and I am not expecting any company, then it's a perfect day for a "pajama day". Pajamas are my favorite clothes to sew in too. Nothing binding or restricting my movements if I am quilting, cutting or piecing. 

Since the weather is getting warmer, it's time for some new pajamas. But instead of going to the store to buy new pajamas, I decided to make them. My favorite thing to sleep in is a tee shirt and shorts, so that is what I decided to make. I bought 4 new tee shirts and then headed to the fabric store with them to find coordinating fabrics. In one afternoon, with a lot of help from my trusty serger, I had 4 new pairs of pajamas for summer. 

Now that the weather is finally warming up, I am wearing them to bed-and some times all day the next day too!

Happy sewing!

Apr 18, 2014

A Trip to Texas

Facebook has been a fun way for me to reconnect with friends from the past and keep up with friends and family who are so far away. 

In the last few years I have been fortunate enough to re-establish friendships with three women I first met over 30 years ago. Our husbands were all in the Army and we were stationed at Ft. Stewart, GA together. Through the years and many moves we had lost contact with each other. Thanks to Facebook, we are now all friends again. In the Spring of 2013 two of the three girls came to my house for a visit and last month I went to Texas for another reunion. 

This is Hope, Sandy and me at my house last year.

This year we had a wonderful time! Hope was a terrific hostess and showed us the town. We were busy every minute we were there. 

We were so happy to get together! This is me, Hope and Karen.

We went to the George Bush Presidential Library, the Stockyards in Ft. Worth and the beautiful Ft Worth Water Gardens.

Hope and Karen at the Stockyards

Karen and I at the Water Garden

I even sat on a bull! Yes, he's real!

Hope is an extremely accomplished quilter. She designed, hand pieced and hand quilted this beautiful quilt that adorned my bed! I felt like a queen sleeping under it. 

We have decided to make these reunions an annual event and hope that all four of us will be together next year. 

Apr 14, 2014

Stella Maude

I am so happy for my friend Anne. She is such a talented lady. She and a friend of hers, Kelly, are the program co-chairpersons for their quilt guild and they have been a huge success. 

They designed a monthly program for their guild based on the color wheel and using twelve log cabin quilt blocks. Each month they made a block using a different color from the color wheel. It got everyone to use colors that weren't in their stash or were outside their comfort zone. The program was a huge hit and so Anne and her friend made that quilt into a pattern. They have sold it to several quilt shops and lots of their friends. 

With that adventure under their belt, Anne and Kelly decided to tackle another idea that had been simmering on the back burner. The result of that idea is their first book! I would like to introduce you to Stella Maude. She was a real woman---and such a character! Each block in this quilt tells a story about Stella Maude's life. They are adorable and make Stella Maude come to life.  

This picture of Stella Maude was taken by the quilter when she was finished working on it. 

Here is Stella Maude at a quilt show-the vendor sent this picture to Anne. 

Just take a look at this adorable book. It's already spiral bound for you so it lays flat while you are tracing pieces or reading the instructions.

Stella Maude was unique and folksy. So is this quilt book!

Congratulations, Anne and Kelly on a job well done. Those of us who know you are so proud!