Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Unfinished Projects

We all have them, right?  It seems to be the most common factor among quilters...we start many projects, and though we finish a lot...there are always more waiting to be finished.  It seems the New Year is a good time to take stock of what's what.  Today I looked through a stack of bins and found these five projects...I'm ashamed to say, these aren't the only unfinished projects, but I started to feel a bit overwhelmed, so I stopped there.  LOL  I'm hoping that if I focus on just one or two at a time, maybe I'll get some of them finished up!

This is Cathedral Stars from a Bonnie Hunter workshop I took almost two years ago!  Honestly, I'm not super thrilled with it...so my dilemma is, do I bother with finishing it or do I let it go to someone who is more motivated to finish it?  I think what I don't like are the secondary blocks with the black and red HSTs.  It's very similar to what Bonnie used in her quilt shown here and I was never convinced I wanted to use red and black, but not coming up with another option, I went with it.   I'm considering just making the star blocks and setting them without the secondary blocks...I think that would make a nice girl quilt for a donation or gift.  Almost all of the units are cut, it's just a matter of sewing them up.

This is a Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt...again, the strips are cut, I would just need to sew up a few more blocks and I could make a nice toddler donation quilt.  Not all these projects need to be LARGE quilts!

This is another project that I was soooo excited about at the time.  I would still love to have it finished, so why did it sit for all these years?  I started it probably 4-5 years ago.  I even lugged it to a couple of retreats and only to have it sit untouched.  Ugh...this is not supposed to be a depressing hobby!

This is a project I started for Quilts of Valor...nothing much to say, except I set it aside and never looked back!  Strips and foundation fabric are cut...ready to be sewn up and donated to the local chapter here in Cheyenne. 
 Do you sense a theme with the three previous quilts?...apparently, I like red, white, and blue.  :)

This is another one that I love...Scrappy Stars.  It was a sew along that a blogging friend hosted in 2012.  I would love to figure out a fun, simple (quick) setting for these.  I think I have over 20 blocks assembled now...this is an older picture.  Again, it would make a nice gift...it just needs to be finished!

So those are five projects that I'm going to focus on over the next couple of months...there are other things on my "to-do" list, but hopefully I can squeeze these in here and there and get 'er done!!

Happy Quilting!!
~Michelle


Monday, December 30, 2013

Mystery Quilt Update

After getting behind a couple of clues due to being out of town, etc., I'm happy to say I'm caught up with Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt clues.  Yay!

 I really appreciate the piecing techniques I've adopted thanks to Bonnie's teaching.  They are all just minor things that really do make a difference in the long run.  For example...the little spin in this 4-patch helps reduce bulk in the seam, which makes things a little easier to quilt through.  And, it helps two blocks fit together because the seam allowances "butt" up together nicely.

It's especially important with these pinwheels...that's a lot of bulk right there in the center when you just press to one direction...

I love the Easy Angle ruler too...and how everything fits so well together!  Look at that intersection and all the seams cross perfectly!  :)  Thanks for all the tips Bonnie!

I'm guessing we'll probably start assembling blocks soon.  I played with a few ideas, but I don't think I'm even close to knowing what we'll do with these units!  I think I'll be happy with all my color choices, whatever the layout may be....I kind of hope there will be more neutral added in, but who knows!!

If you want to check out everyone else's progress...head over to Bonnie's linky post.

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Checking in and catching up!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  Ours was quiet, but very fun.  We were invited to friends' homes on Christmas Eve and Christmas night and had a wonderful time at each place.  

It seems like December flew by in a blink of an eye, didn't it?  Is that a sign of getting older?  LOL  This "between" week seems to be the week to look ahead and look forward to accomplishing goals in the new year.  As always, I want and NEED to finish up projects that have been laying around or packed in bins much too long.  I think I'll spend some time over the next few days looking through those old projects and deciding which ones to focus on.  I've also realized that there are some things that I know I'm just not excited about anymore and I need to pass those on to someone who would enjoy them and finish them.  LOL

I also have a few must do's already on my list.  One is this quilt for my nephew's 16th birthday.  I assembled the center part of the top at retreat last year...in May!!  Why do I let things sit?  LOL  Oh, maybe because my house was packed up the week after retreat.  :P

Anyway...the pattern is Yellow Brick Road and last night I added the final two borders...I needed this quilt to be BIG as my nephew is already 6 feet tall.  It measures about 85" long, so hopefully that will work.  I think I'll quilt it with black thread and the binding will be the same black as that skinny border.  My hubby really likes this quilt already...so hopefully it actually makes it to my nephew.  LOL  If you click on the pic, you can see the fabrics are all outdoors-y type...but I hope it doesn't look Christmas-y.  :(  It seems more Christmas-y in this pic than it does in real life.  Oh well....it is what it is.

Speaking of Christmas...here is a Christmas quilt I forgot to add to this post.  This is another one that is hanging year round in my quilting room, so I overlooked it before.  This was a free monthly stitchery from Gail Pan about 6 years ago.  I love the little embroidery blocks, but I wasn't thrilled with how I chose to set it at first.  But over the years, it's grown on me.  :)

Do you have a Hobby Lobby near you?  I remember I visited my first Hobby Lobby at our first duty assignment back in 1985 in Texas.  I loved that store!  Since they were mostly in the mid-west/southern states at that time, as we moved around, I was rarely near another one...I might be lucky if I went once a year while at retreat in Indiana.  Finally, I live in a town with a Hobby Lobby!!  :)  I found a few fun things there yesterday...look at this spool rack.  I have it hanging just outside my sewing room as I don't have much wall space inside my room...but it's perfect for my totes!

I just love the spools... 

I found this flag decor in the clearance aisle...I've been looking for something for this wall in our breakfast nook and this was exactly what I had in mind.  Yay!

 I also found this pen holder or whatever you call it...but I liked it because it looks like a British phone booth and it'll be a perfect gift for a certain someone that lives in England right now!  (I hope she doesn't read this!)

I can't leave without posting one kitty pic...

Hope you all have a wonderful week!
Happy Quilting,
Michelle


Sunday, December 22, 2013

A bit of a blogging break...

I've taken a bit of a break from blogging.  There are times when life happens and there are times when you just need to let some of the extras go for a while.  About 10 days ago, my family discovered some heart-wrenching news and it just felt right that we should go "home" and rally together.  Although I can't go in to details at this point, I am thankful that we went and spent time, however short, with our families to hug and pray with them.

On the flip side...that means I lost a week of pre-Christmas prep time!  I am working feverishly to get done what I can, but I know that if it doesn't all get done, it's okay.  It's not worth the stress to make everything "perfect."  We are happy and healthy and just thankful for every day that we have!

I'm also now two steps behind on the mystery quilt...and again, I'm okay with that.  I do have the determination to finish it, so I plan to spend some time later this week catching up!

And our other news...we have a new kitty!  His name is Nick (as in St Nick, get it?)...perfect for a Christmas kitty.   

 He was a stray, apparently living under a neighbor's house.  Her dogs attacked him one day and my husband helped to rescue him.  His left leg and shoulder were a little injured from the dogs, but he was also suffering from exposure to the cold...it was the week of the sub-zero temps!  The neighbor (and owner of the dogs) took him to the base vet, were they kept him for a couple of days.  They were worried he wouldn't survive and surely wouldn't have lived another day out in the cold.  Last we heard, a couple of airmen decided to keep him, so we thought that was the end of the story. 


Until the night we returned from our trip...the two airmen decided they weren't able to keep him, so my hubby immediately jumped at the chance and said, "We'll take him!"  He's such a sucker for kitties...especially orange ones which I've always had a soft spot for.

He's about 8 weeks old and very active.  He needs to learn a few manners, but that will come.  He's hungry all the time and doesn't want us to be out of his sight, so he's already been a little shadow.  The other cats aren't taking to well to the idea, but I think they'll warm up eventually.  

Who wouldn't love that face?? 

Hope you all are enjoying this wonderful Christmas season!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle
Friday, December 13, 2013

Step 2 and Christmas Quilts!

I finished Step 2 just in time for the release of Step 3. Yay!  Boy, this step was not a fast one...those little units are deceiving.  Just because they are small does not mean it will be quick!  I love Bonnie's techniques though...the units come out perfect, no lost points, etc.

This is another reason it took so much time.  I did bonus triangles...so now I have 200 gold/black HSTs, and 200 neutral/black HSTs that will finish at 1".  What am I going to do with these?  LOL  Anyone have any ideas?

Other than the mystery quilt, there hasn't been much sewing going on, so I thought I'd show you some of my Christmas quilts that are hanging.  

This is one of my favorites.  It's from a Fons & Porter magazine from 2007 or so.

Another favorite...okay, they're all my favorites!!  This is a freebie pattern from Patchalot Patterns...

This is my Snow Days quilt...sorry for the crooked picture.  LOL

This won a 1st place ribbon at the quilt fair this summer!  :)

And of course...The Elf Quilt.  I think the official title is "Busy Little Christmas Elves."  I LOVE this one and it's up full time in my longarm room.  It makes me smile.

This won a 2nd place ribbon in a quilt show two years ago!  :)

We have a busy weekend filled with Holiday parties and events...including seeing The Nutcracker.  A friend has three daughters performing, so it should be even more special!

Have a great weekend!
Happy Quilting,
Michelle
Monday, December 09, 2013

Mystery Step 2!

Are you all getting in to the Christmas spirit?  Every day, I'm filling up with more and more!  We've begun to experience our first Wyoming winter and if this last week is any indication of what's to come...it's going to be a chilly few months!  We got about 5 inches of snow Wednesday or Thursday and the temps didn't get much above zero until today.  This was Thursday's forecast and it changed somewhat over the weekend, but today we finally made it in to the (positive) double digits!  yay!


We are hosting an Open House on Tuesday evening for folks from hubby's unit...so I've been busy preparing food and getting the house ready for 50+ guests.  I am so thankful that I decorated BEFORE Thanksgiving.  It's been so nice to have that off the to do list.  

This is our second tree filled with miniature ornaments.  I've been collecting miniatures for quite a few years and last year I finally made the leap to add a second tree.  This one is set up in our entryway and I just love seeing it and it's colorful lights. 

I spent all day Sunday baking Christmas treats for the open house.  These are a few favorites that we make every year....including Peanut Butter Blossoms.... 

Snowballs....

and noodle candy...noodle candy is a long-time family recipe.  My Nana used to make it when I was a child...so at least 40-something years!!  There are a couple other candies and cookies I usually make, but this is what I made to serve at the open house.  The other treats I'll make to give to neighbors and coworkers closer to Christmas.

So...since you're probably here for the mystery quilt update...here is my progress on Step 2.  I was able to get everything cut and all 100 "right" chevron sides sewn.  I still have the left sides to sew, but that will have to wait until later in the week after the open house.  I switched out blacks where Bonnie had green and I'm using dark golds instead of yellow.  Let's hope it works in the final design!!  Check out everyone else's progress here!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Happy Quilting (and baking!)!
~Michelle


Sunday, December 01, 2013

Mystery Step One!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We sure did!  Our son came home from Mississippi and my mother in law came from California.  It was a fun filled weekend...we ate a lot, played games, and of course, made Turkey Cookies!


Both of them had early flights home this morning, so I had the rest of the day to play!  I decided to get started on the first step of the new mystery quilt and after a marathon day of sewing, here are all my units!  Yay!  Somehow I ended up with 129 of the blue/red units...about 30 more than I need!  LOL

I went a little crazy or more likely was distracted by the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, but I cut twice as many triangles as I needed.  Looks like there will be some more of these star points in my future!

I can show you these bags now...I made them both for birthday gifts.  The larger bag was for my mom and I didn't want to post the picture until she had a chance to open it.  These were both made from Moda Batik charm packs...but look how different the size is!  The larger charm pack was 5 1/4" square and the smaller pack was just shy of 5" square. 

I made 5 of these bags in November!  I still love the pattern...it's a fun one!

I'm in a little shock that it's December...but nevertheless, it's here and the Christmas season is upon us.  I have my first Christmas party of the year tomorrow at my quilt guild meeting.  Should be fun!

Hope you all have a great week and be sure to check in on Bonnie's page to see everyone's progress on the mystery quilt!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle
Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pre-Mystery Check In...

I've not had much time for blogging the last few days and the little bit of sewing I have done is top secret, so I can't share it just yet...but I thought I'd pop in and share the fabrics I'm using for Bonnie Hunter's upcoming mystery!  I'm switching up the colors from her choices, but I vowed to use fabrics from my stash and surprise, surprise, look at what I picked!  Those that know me well won't be surprised.  LOL


I love them!  Actually, I could use a few more blues and reds thrown in there, so I might splurge and pick up a few more as the weeks go on.  Now to decide which colors to switch out with Bonnie's colors, you know?  I wish I knew which, if any, of her colors will be more dominate...but I guess that's why they call it a mystery!  :)

We've been busy with Thanksgiving festivities on base, I made a turkey last week that was delish!  I had a bit leftover, so I made a turkey gumbo that was even better!   :)  This week, I put out all our Christmas decorations.  It's a bit early, but with our son coming home for Thanksgiving and then holiday parties starting the next week, including a large open house we're hosting, now was the best time to get it done and out of the way.  Thanksgiving falls a little later this year, so really there is less time before Christmas arrives!  I hate to feel the pressure of all the preparations, so I'm happy to have that out of the way and hopefully it's one small step towards less stress!!  So, since these signs are so popular...I found this one extra special.  :)


I'm so thankful for my family and friends...including my blogging friends.  I get so much inspiration from all of you and look forward to "seeing" what's happening in your lives and what you're working on.  My wish for you is a very Happy Thanksgiving spent with friends and loved ones!

God Bless,
Michelle

Friday, November 15, 2013

Tumalo Trail

It's finished!  Whew!  This was an incredibly fun quilt to make.  I find it interesting too that it wasn't one of those "I have to make this" kind of projects.  It started out when I had a bin full of mini 9patches I had been making as leaders and enders.  I started thinking to myself..."what am I going to do with all of these?"  Of course, I pull out my favorite Bonnie Hunter books and see what she has that uses mini 9patches.  I find the Tumalo Trail quilt in the Scraps and Shirttails 2 book, which I don't ever remember really taking much notice to before, but as soon as I saw it this time, I said, "That's it...that's what I'm going to make with my 9patches."  I also had a bunch of the HSTs sewn...enough for about half of the blocks, so it was a perfect choice!

I kept sewing 9patches as leaders and enders...then Jo over at Jo's Country Junction put out a challenge to finish up a "Bonnie Quilt" before the next mystery quilt starts.  Well, that's all it took, I was up for the challenge!  I only had units for about 1/2 the blocks, so I really had to step it up!

This quilt came together so nicely...I just love it!  I decided to explore and look for a fun spot for a photo shoot.  I found a little creek down by the "Fam Camp" (RV Park) on base and decided that was the perfect spot.  There is this old grove of trees next to the creek, but it was really just too grown over.  I couldn't get the quilt fully laid out because of all the twigs and branches...

The quilt is almost covered by all those branches!

I got back in the car and pulled away, only to find this little fence (you can see the back side of that grove of trees on the right of the picture).  Perfect!  One problem...it's ALWAYS windy in Wyoming...always.  This shot was pure luck....

 ....as this is what the quilt was doing most of the time.  LOL  At least you get a glimpse of the back.

Across the little dirt road, there is another railing crossing the creek...this is what the quilt did the entire time on that railing.

I tried to lay it out on the grass for a full shot, but that was near impossible because of the wind and I was afraid it would blow into the water!  So it was back to the house and under my porch where there is a little protection from the wind.  It measures 67" x 67".  I love adding the 1" piano key border, especially to scrappy quilts.

I pulled out my 1.5" strip bin and had the borders zipped up in no time!  Believe it or not...this is the bin AFTER I pulled all the strips for the border.  I think they multiply on their own...

Since the quilt was so busy already, I used a simple quilting design called "Quirky."  It's one of my all time favorites.  (you can click the picture for a larger view)  I found this backing fabric a couple years ago in Lancaster on the $3.99 table at Sauders Quilt Shop.  Perfect!

I just love looking at all the fabrics and can remember which other projects most of them came from!

I think the skinny sashing is awesome too!  Can you tell I love this quilt?!

I had a few leftover 9patches, so they made it in to the border...

 Whew...if you've made it this far, congratulations!  That was a lot of pictures!  I'm so happy this quilt is finished and I met the challenge!  I have plenty other UFO's...I just wish I was always this motivated!

I'm ready for Bonnie's New Mystery quilt...are you?

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle