Thursday, June 21, 2012

One Row Down...

and a pretty good start on the second!

Isn't the fruitcake the cutest?

Speaking of Fruitcake, is it strange that it's looking a little like Christmas around here? It must have something to do with the weather (the temperature will be 100 around these parts today) that is putting me in the mood for a cold weather holiday. When I was choosing a project to take with me this past Saturday to the DCMQG sewing day I knew I needed to take one of my WIPs. While there were plenty to choose from, I found myself drawn to my Fruitcake quilt that I started last year. I made six more blocks to add to the collection.

I have found myself daydreaming about cuddling under this quilt this Christmas with some cocoa and a child (or two) to keep me company. We'll see how that works out for me...

I just love these snowmen!

While I've enjoyed my little bit of Christmas sewing I think it's time to get back to the baby quilts! I will keep working on my Christmas cross stitch in the evenings though. That is too much fun to be put away!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

WIP Thursday?

As usual I'm a little late to the party. I try to post with everyone else on Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced, but this week has really passed me by. However, that doesn't mean that I don't need/want to show everyone in blogland my lack of progress! Oh no, I want the world to know how unproductive I am!

Just kidding! I'm not unproductive, I'm just not very good at quilting so it takes me a little while. Especially when I make a mistake. Then, not only do I have to pull out the stitching, I also get extremely frustrated and have to step away for a little bit to work on something else. Now a smart person would work on something they already have in progress, correct? Especially if said person's projects are taking over their basement, right? Well, I've never claimed to be smart or sane because I've started something new!

You won't blame me for wanting a break from quilting when you see this photo. I'm apparently the worse baster in the world because look at this:

Isn't it awful? I have about 8 inches of quilting to pull out and then I'll try it again. I'm going to try to finish it this weekend. That will be hard to do because this weekend will be busy, but it's what I want to do. I'll let you know what happens.

My other quilt project is going pretty good. Last Saturday I met with the Quilting Angels and finished the blocks for my next Quilt of Valor. Now I just need to arrange these in a pleasing manner, sew, and then attach the borders. By the way, I hate attaching borders, so I don't know why I keep choosing Quilt of Valor patterns with them. My next one won't have one, much less the two that are required for this quilt!

My new project is a Christmas cross stitch I bought a couple of weekends ago. So far I'm loving it! It is so nice to curl up on the couch after the kids are asleep and work on this project. It is very slow going, but so relaxing. I'm positive I won't finish it by Christmas this year, but I love it just the same.

So far just two bells, the letter C and the beginning of a lower case a, but it's still progress. I'll keep you up to date on the project as I go along. My plan is to quilt in the morning before the boys wake up and cross stitch in the evening while hanging out with my beloved.

I hope everyone else is making heaps of progress this week with their work. Hopefully, I'll remember to update my progress next week on Wednesday. WIP Thursday just doesn't have the same ring to it...

Take care!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thirteen by Thirteen

I was inspired by Jenn of All Trades to create a wishlist of things I'd like to do by the end of the year. I know I won't be able to do some of these before New Year's, but it's nice to have goals right?

1. Join my local quilt guild. I have been thinking about doing this for a little while and I'm hoping this year I'll make it happen. My plan is to go to the first meeting of the new session in September. There are many reasons I'd like to join this guild. First, they are a successful guild that started with 10 members and has grown to over 100 and I'd like to see how they did that. Second, the meetings are during the week, twice a month, so I'll be interested to see if I have more luck attending these meetings. I've had a hard time joining in with the two other groups I sew with on Saturdays (Quilting Angels and DC Modern). I'm finding that now that my 3 year old is involved in more activities it's not so easy to sneak away on Saturday mornings. I don't know how moms with school age children do it! Finally, I would love to participate in their Annual Quilt Show. While I had a great time at the show yesterday and could appreciate the beauty of the quilts displayed, I would love to see patterns, designs and fabrics that are more "my style". Know what I mean? Also, I think it would be so cool to see one of my quilts on display.

2. Make some progress on WIPs. I'm not going to specify a number because I feel like that would be setting myself up for failure. I will know when I'm making enough progress. I'll know when life is too busy or when a special project needs to take priority and I don't want to feel bad about it. I would just like to finish some of the things I've started so that my craft area won't be so crazy. Besides, the more quilters I meet, the more I realize that EVERYBODY has WIPs. It is just the nature of the beast, so no more guilt especially if I finish a few this year!

3. Begin working on Christmas crafts this summer and have at least one Christmas project finished by the time we get our tree. I love Christmas and nothing would make me happier than having a house full of awesome handmade Christmas items, but I need to be realistic. I also need to finish something for my family this year. HAVE TO DO IT!

4. Open an Etsy shop. I've been toying around with the idea for a little while and I think this year I'm going to do it. I've had several people ask me if I sell some of the items I make and I always respond "Oh no, I'm not good enough to sell my quilts". It finally dawned on me that the reason they are asking is they might actually buy my stuff. I'm a little dense sometimes, what can I say?

This won't be my top priority for this year, but by New Year's I'd like to have either accomplished it or be very close. Don't get me wrong I know I'll never make a living selling my quilts, but even if I could recoup some of the costs of fabric it would be worth it!

5. Do more work with Quilts of Valor. I do a decent amount of sewing for the organization, but I'd like to get more involved. I'll give more details on this later this month. So excited!

6. Learn to bake really good bread. This isn't something I will work on until Autumn rolls around because it is too bloody hot here in the summer to leave my oven on for an extended amount of time. I've always wanted to learn how to make bread, so I'm going to try it. I'll, of course, let you know how it goes and share any good recipes I find with you.

7. Sew something other than quilts. I don't care what: pincushions, purses, pillows, aprons. Just something else.

8. Start doing cross stitch again. I have been thinking I wanted a project to work on in front of the TV in the evenings after the boys are asleep. I'm not a big TV watcher, but the hubs is, and I miss him when he's upstairs watching TV and I'm in the basement. I love my new sewing space, but I do feel very isolated when I'm down there. I bought a new cross stitch kit this weekend and I'm eager to start working on it this week. It's a slow process, so I don't expect to have it finished this year, but it will be fun. Besides, this way I don't have to feel guilty about "wasting" time watching TV.

9. Spend more time with the DC Modern Quilt Guild. This is separate from #1. This group is very casual which is one of the things I like about it, but the founders of the group want to see it grow into a more active group and I'd like to be a part of making that happen. We really are a great group and I think we could do big things together! I don't have a specific amount of meetings I want to go to just more. Anything would be an improvement! I've been a pretty slack member!

10. Learn how to knit and stick with it. My poor mother in law has tried to teach me multiple times. She even bought me classes at an awesome local shop for my birthday a couple of years ago. I had a great time doing it, and it isn't hard, but I just never stick with it. Unfortunately, once I take a break everything I learn goes flying out of my mind. My hope is that between the books I've purchased, my mother in law's guidance and my memory (ha!) I can at least finish a scarf this year! I'd settle for a washcloth! If not, I'll take the beginner's class again and not stop until I've "learned" how to knit.

11. Do a major purge of all the "stuff" in our house. We live in a tiny house and we are filled to the brim with stuff. I haven't decided my plan of attack yet. I'm either going to spend one weekend going through stuff to either pack/give away or I'll do one area of the house at a time.

I tried the trick of packing away some of the toys and then pulling them back out at a later date for Hurst and it was amazing! This weekend has been like Christmas! He didn't want to go to the park this morning because he wanted to stay home and play with his "new" toys. Now I know why my mother did that!

12. Tackle some house projects. A short list:

Paint our downstairs
Paint our front porch
Install a sump pump in the basement (husband, are you reading this?)

There are more, but these are the most pressing. This part of the list will depend on time and money, so we'll see how it goes. I would love to accomplish all of these, but if only two happen I'd be satisfied.

13. Organize my craft supplies. My hobbies are starting to get out of control, and I've promised myself that this year I will get my act together. After years of cramming in hobbies when I had a few minutes here or there, I've decided I deserve a calm, soothing space and a dedicated time of each day to call my own. I have the space, it is just out of control currently and that does not lead to a very serene crafting experience. There are several factors that I think will help alleviate this problem. Here's what I have in mind:

1. Organize my fabric using Jeni's tutorial
2. Finish some of my WIPs.
3. Decide once and for all what to do with my fabric that I bought years ago that I don't use and never will. I can't decide if I should sell it or just donate it to the Quilting Angels. Either way, I want it out of our house. It is taking up precious room that we don't have. I'm hoping to make a decision soon. Does anyone have any tips to offer on selling calicos from about 10 years ago? They are good quality quilt store fabrics, I just don't want them anymore.

Wow, so there it is! I better go get busy and stop typing! First I'm going to print out this list and put it somewhere I'll see it everyday.

If you are still reading this thank you! I know it's long, but sometimes I love to make a really long list. It give me the feeling of organization even if that isn't the reality of the situation!

Anyone else care to join me? If so, let me know! We can encourage each other!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Northern Virginia Quilt Show

Today I had the great pleasure of going to the local annual quilt show. Just in case you're reading, THANKS for taking care of the boys honey!! I had a great time!

What I love about this quilt show is quilters of all levels are allowed to submit quilts and there is no judging. No pressure, just a lot of fun and a lot of beautiful quilts. Sadly, there aren't many what would be considered "modern" quilts in the show, but they are spectacular! I'm always amazed by the talent of other quilters. Everyone says it just takes practice, but I'm not so sure...I think some people just have IT.

Here are just a few pictures I snapped from the show:

Gotta love a Scrabble quilt!

I thought these bright, polka-dotted baskets were adorable!

I had to take a picture of the Mount Vernon quilt. Not only do we live about five minutes from this beautiful part of history, but my husband is a huge history buff. As soon as he saw it he thought I should make one. Sorry buddy, way too much work for me!

I really wish I could have gotten better pictures of this pair of Pickle Dishes made from Kaffe fabrics. Absolutely breathtaking! I would love to try this pattern one day. Maybe I'll bust into my stash of Kaffe...

I thought this was incredible! Those are teeny, tiny yo-yos if you can believe it! Aren't they cute?

I have wanted to make a scrappy spiderweb quilt for ages, and this really made me want to dig into my scraps.

There is even a spider in the middle. So clever!

I had to snap a picture of this quilt because it was inspired by the Rappahanock River and the Northern Neck of Virginia which is where I grew up. It is a really beautiful part of the state!

Finally, a close up of a large scale Ruby Hexagon. I couldn't get a good full shot of the quilt, but this close up not only shows the hexagon, but also the beautiful quilting. Makes me wish I had bought more of this line when it was available...

I had a great time admiring the quilts and browsing the vendors, but I really couldn't wait to get home to my machine. I am so close to finishing the quilting on the baby quilt I'm working on. I hope by tomorrow I can finish it up!

I hope you liked this abbreviated tour of the show. There were many, many other quilts displayed, but these were my favorites at least the ones I was able to photograph. It was crowded!