I’m taking what I can get

Look at that.  Last post was 2 1/2 weeks ago.  Fantastic.  It does feel like forever.  I have been resolved down to only a few minutes of quilting a day, if that.  I usually grab a few minutes when I’m pressing my kids clothes for school.  I’ll sew a few rows together and get them pressed and ready for the next five minutes I can find.

I don’t even have pictures for today.

Another reason could be that we have 5 baby kittens that are now adventurous and slowly weaning off mommy kitty.  It takes a bit of time for them to all figure out the litter box routine.  Fun times.

I’m also so depressed by the news lately.  Everything seems so bleak and horrible.  I even went so far as to change my opening internet home page to my bank, instead of MSN.COM because I just kept seeing these stories pop up of murder, tragedy, kids illness, and equally depressing all the hype around celebrities that seem to be at the other extreme end and is just too tiring to care about.

I know what I need, I just can’t get it right now.  Perhaps this weekend I can get some great sewing time in.  Nope – just remembered that I have a sleep study night to go through to be fitted for a CPAP machine.  Apparently I have severe obstructive apnea.

I have managed to complete all 20 blocks for my Great Granny Squared quilt.  I added in some bright and cheery colors from the High Street collection.  A charm pack of it was just enough to add into the mix.  I love the blocks and I hope my friend remembers that she asked for bright colors.  I’ll get a picture tonight of the finished set and show them off tomorrow.  That will make me happy too.

Hope you are having a great week and loving life and those around you!

Jennifer

Sherri’s Progress and My Block 9

I wanted to share progress pictures from Sherri who is doing the Reach for the Stars sew-a-long.  She’s keeping the pace and has completed blocks 5 and 6.

I don’t know what I did wrong with transferring her pictures, but her individual block pictures keep coming out super small.  But her group photo looks great!  Block 5 is that pinwheel bear paw block and Block 6 is the bottom left block.  Love them all in this picture, especially with the striking sashing attached!  You can really see the quilt taking shape now!  Thanks for sharing Sherri!

RFTS 3-30

 

I didn’t snap a picture of my Block 9 this weekend, so here it is now.  This is the last published block at the moment.  This may be one of my favorite blocks so far, and it was probably the easiest.

Picture taken on my desk, excuse the media cords cluttering it up.

RFTS Block 9

That’s it for tonight!  See you again soon!

Jennifer

 

Aaaahhhh, That Feels Better!

Wow, I needed that.  A few hours spent on quilting and piecing is the best therapy.  It isn’t free – but a lot more fun than an alternative!

I splurged a few weeks ago and ordered a 14 1/2″ square Creative Grids ruler from FQS.  It is the same size as the unfinished RFTS (Reach for the Stars) blocks with their sashing added:

14 5 CG Ruler

The hardest thing about the ruler was getting the plastic wrap off!

I was able to put the ruler to use twice already this weekend!  I finished Blocks 7 and 8 for RFTS:

RFTS Block 7

Reach for the Stars – Block 7

I was initially freaked out a little by the block, due to the light pattern instructions … but I broke it down into the components and it went together really well.  The longest part was selecting the fussy cut areas for my applique circles.

RFTS Block 7 Center

Block 7 – Center

Then I moved into Block 8.  At first glance, I thought … easy peasy!

RFTS Block 8

Reach for the Stars – Block 8

Well, poop.  Actually I said !@#$!@#$ a few times last night.  With no finished sizes given for the sub units, I tried to oversize my cuttings so I would be able to trim down, but then I didn’t know what size to trim down into!  Here’s a hint for you though … the center fussy cut square-in-a-square ended up being 4 3/4″ unfinished when I was done.  Perhaps it is suppose to be 4 7/8″, but it worked out well for me at the other size.

Hint #2 – I did try to follow the pattern – but when they show you piecing the two sides with the corner squares and flying geese unit – piece the flying geese unit first, then add the squares.   That is different than the instructions.  My Open Gate Quilts Flying Geese Ruler worked great for this step too.  Line up the side triangles to the pieced center triangle at the bottom first, and let the overhang fall off at the top points.  The side units will be 3 1/2″ by 12 1/2″ when you are done.

RFTS Block 8 center

RFTS Block 8 Center

You could certainly change this up and make 4 complete flying geese units with 4 corner squares and a center ‘square-in-a-square-in-a-square’ unit.  You will have a few more seam lines in that black star – but it might work better for you if you are doing this block.

RFTS Block 7 - 8

RFTS Blocks 7 and 8

I wanted to give up after I realized I would have to unpick the whole thing (except the center flying geese units).  But I persisted and was done at around 2:15 am.  So glad I made it though!  They look great.  Added the sashing strips this morning and got a group shot on my design wall:

RFTS Blocks 1-8

RFTS Blocks 1 – 8

What’s next you ask?  Well – there is still Block 9 instructions for RFTS in the latest issue of Quilters Newsletter, and I also got Block 10 this week from FQS on their 2013 Designer Mystery BOM.  It will be a row of flower blocks!  Cute I tell you!!\

DMBOM Block 10

I love that I am going between bright, happy colors and the soothing, calming colors in Reach for the Stars.  Variety is a spice of life!

Tomorrow I will share pictures from Sherri Crisp in Knoxville.  She has more blocks done for RFTS too!  I just didn’t want to picture overload you.  You can jump over to Dawn’s blog post (here) and see the pictures though, if you are in a hurry!  She has posted since then also, with more participation pictures – go check it out!!

Have a great, wonderful, quilty, relaxing, fun weekend!  (See how a little quilt therapy cheers me up??)

Thanks for stopping by – I love your comments too!

Jennifer

 

Season for day dreaming?

Is there a time of year that is more susceptible for day dreaming?  It may be now for me.  I find it hard to concentrate at work or even to go to sleep at night.  I should probably remove my slideshow of inspirational, bucket-list quilts from my work desktop.  They are really distracting sometimes.

I have recently ordered two books that I am excited about.  It will certainly keep me going in my current state of mind.

One was a recommendation from the blog Pretty by Hand (Ms Kristyne).  She promoted a series of craft/sewing/quilting books recently.  CLICK HERE to go to Kristyne’s post.  They are written by Tone Finnager, but all seem to have a marquis title of “TILDA”.

Tilda’s Fairy Tale Wonderland:

Tilda Book

This author apparently has quite a following.  The description of this particular compilation in Amazon.com is:

A beautiful collection of brand new Tilda projects, featuring seasonal designs in Tone Finnanger’s quirky style. Each chapter is themed on a classic children’s story, such as Pinocchio, Bambi, The Nutcracker and The Princess and the Pea. Projects include new doll designs (ballerinas, princesses, soldiers and various animals), as well as gifts and decorations using the latest range of Tilda fabrics and products.
Can’t wait to dive into it and see what little projects my daughter and I can conspire to make!

The other book I purchased with the help of a birthday gift certificate from my brother.  Which is good because it is a pricey book!  I ordered it from Fat Quarter Shop and it should arrive tomorrow.  You can read more by clicking HERE  to view the FQS item page for this book.   There are a couple of other pictures from inside the book that are nice eye candy too.

Michelle Yeo Book

I love the colors in this cover quilt.

Anyone else have these books?

I have made one more GGS block (half way now!) and I cut the pieces for Block 7 of Reach for the Stars.  I hope to piece that block tonight.

All righty then – I’ll see you next time!

Jennifer

A Post for March 30th

I can’t think of a witty title for today.  It is now Sunday evening, and I’m about to prepare dinner.  I have done a little sewing, specifically on my Great Granny Squared quilt.  The friend whom I intend to be the recipient of this house warming quilt just closed on her home a couple of days ago.  I hope to get this one done in the next month to be timely in the delivery to her.

9 Blocks done!  Laid out on the driveway.  You can see Nora’s little foot in the picture – she was helping when the wind started to blow:

GGS 9 Blocks

I never did find my Birds & Berries fabric – but I KNOW I have it.  I couldn’t wait though and found a layer cake on Etsy and got it Saturday in the mail.  Here’s a close-up of the first block using some of those vibrant colors (especially love the purple!):

GGS Birds Berries Block

I have 11 blocks left to make.  And even though I didn’t find my Birds & Berries fabric, I did come back across a box that had 4 charm packs of Wee Play by Sandy Klop (American Jane).  I really, really want to make something with her collections.  I also have some precuts of Potluck that is more recent.  I had purchased 4 yards of the Moda Weave Black to possibly go along with it (inspired by a quilt done by Ms Cupcakes ‘n Daisies.  She named it  “I’ll Take Mine Black“).

Wee Play Packs

I have also decided on a quilt to make for my upcoming grand-daughter.  Well, step grand-daughter.  I really struggle to think of myself as a grandmother yet since I have a 5 and 7 year old at home.  Denial, denial, denial.  I’m in my early 40s, so it isn’t impossible .. but… denial, denial, denial.

Sunbeams Quilt Kit offered by Fat Quarter Shop… fabrics in Mirabelle collection by Fig Tree Quilts.

Sunbeams Quilt Kit

The backing fabric is shown closer up here:

Sunbeams Backing

The mommy-to-be said she was doing her room in yellow, so this felt really perfect.  I hope it goes together fast though – she’s due in June!

I hope you had a great weekend and was able to enjoy some sunshine today.  We are feeling the spring weather finally coming around.

Next time – the next block in Reach for the Stars!!

All my best,

Jennifer

 

A rare Home Ec project

Good grief, when will Spring finally get here?  I’m still wearing my fleece jacket at work and bundling up the kids for school in the morning.

One bright spot of Spring is a window valance that I completed last week.  Well … completed … just means that I have the top done.  I need to actually QUILT it …  Picky, picky.

I was inspired by a post from Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life (click here to see it).  She had taken the pattern by Fig Tree Quilts called Canned Pears (you can buy it here!) and made a wall hanging.  I looked at it and thought that it would also play well as a window valance in our kitchen – but I liked the look of the offset pears in the main pattern.

Here is my window valance outside on a community bench:

Pear Valance Bench

And a little closer:

Pear Closeup

I scaled down the pattern size about a third to make it fit 5 pears with a mini-charm border.  The whole thing ended up around 40″ x 18″ (roughly).

All of it was made with the Mirabelle collection by Fig Tree, with just a few squares of Honeysweet in the top border row.

Here is my old window covering. Very, very sad. It is a just a twin sheet we had that was folded and clipped up to a cafe rod.

Old Window

 

AFTER:  New, custom Fig Tree Window!

 

LIGHT ON

Pear Valance 2

Another LIGHT ON:

Pear Valance

 

LIGHT OFF:

Pear Valance Light Off

 

The lighting in my kitchen is really bad for this – so just take my word for it that the colors are bright, springy and wonderful!

I already have the backing, just need to layer and quilt.  This is my first project for the home that isn’t a standard quilt.  I’m so glad I took a chance!

Thanks for visiting!  See you soon!

Jennifer

 

Break in the Action

Hello!  I’m not sure why things are so hectic lately, but I can’t seem to get any quantity of time at the sewing machine lately the past month.  I have been working on some projects, which I will share one today and another tomorrow.

For now, I’m trying to get ready to go to a 4 year old’s birthday party – then move on to a birthday party for two 40+ year olds.  My brother and I share a celebration each year at my parents house – usually on the Saturday that falls closest to his (since he is after me).

But for my progress work … I have added three more Great Granny Squared blocks from the pattern book by Lori Holt of the same name.

GGS Blocks 5

I have started with a fat quarter bundle of Bluebird Park by Kate & Birdie Paper Company.  As I work more with the blocks, I feel like I want some more punch of color – more blocks that have saturation included.  I remember that somewhere … SOMEWHERE … I have either a small bundle or a layer cake of Birds & Berries by Lauri and Jesse Jung.  Very similar colors and I think it would be the perfect match for what I want:

Birds and Berries

Now, I just have to find the time to go through all my boxes and closets to find this fabric … :)

Another progress report is from Jennifer Thacker who is sewing along with a small group of us doing the Reach for the Stars quilt, as featured in a 7 part series in Quilters Newsletter.

Jennifer has completed Block 3 and it is just beautiful!  I love her fabric selections in the block.  Jennifer doesn’t have a blog of her own, and I am so glad she is letting me share her progress with you on mine!

JT RFTS Block 3

Have a wonderful Saturday and first weekend of Spring!  I woke up sneezing about 10 times in a row, so that’s how mine is going.

See you tomorrow with my next update!

Jennifer