Monday, August 26, 2013

We are all children of chance

"Remember to be gentile with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun." --- Kent Nerburn 

I stumbled upon this quote today when thinking about the start of school in this area and all the changes that are occurring for various people that I know, but to me it also can relate to those UFOs we all have around some just seem to be easier to make progress on or finish while other lay dormant waiting for a season to shine or become reinvented. In this last week of August I strive to have more projects shining than laying around and this weekend was a great example of getting things done. 
Designer showcase completed -- ready to be sent out for the secret sister swap along with some other goodies that I hope she likes. 
August BOM completed 
Guild Mug Rug completed 
I tried my hand at pebbling -- not super happy with it but this was a great chance to practice and it looks far better on the front with all the busier fabrics and I may still fill in some of the gaps. 
My friends that quilt with me know I throw scraps and threads on the floor when I sew, so I cleaned up my work space and started working on string blocks to use up some of my scrappy strings. 
25 blocks so far and no real solid plan for these yet but I am loving them and they are so much fun to make. I am running low on variety of some colors so this may be an ongoing project for a while till I make more scraps or get donations from my sewing friends. Between these and crumb blocks I use stuff most people throw away, meanwhile my trash is filled with these "sprinkles" of fabric, strings, threads and fabric dust. 
So in the spirit of blossoming projects and hopefully being able to link up for a Friday finish, here's what's on the agenda to try and complete this week. 
Bind City Scape -- at least attach the binding to the front (ya'll know how much I hate binding).
Bonus BoM -- would like to have it completed for the meeting 9/3. I'm probably going to cut these pieces at lunch today. 
catch up on BoW blocks -- currently 8 behind and more may be coming tonight but they are on an accelerated release to help people wanting to complete by the holidays so this is no rush.

Lots going on this weekend and even more things planned for next month and that is in spite of instances like this, that derail the creative process. 
September is going to be a busy one with family birthdays (Mother in Law and hubby), Quilt Carolina Shop Hop and gearing up for Asheboro Fall Festival in early October, which I got my letter of acceptance for over the weekend. 
This one is going to be special for me because as a child I went every year with my mother and marveled at the creativity of others and now it's my turn to participate and hopefully help fulfill holiday shopping lists and pass along my love of quilting. 

Happy quilting everyone and may your creativity blossom. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Small Victories

Ever have one of those weekends (weeks, months, years) where you feel that no matter how much you try nothing seems to be getting finished or going according to plan? Well if you said no, your either a) the luckiest person ever or b) a liar.

For me this has been an ongoing thing and those pesky guidelines they just keep coming (some are then going). Last week I wanted to get my commission project ideally finished but more realistically I wanted to get it pinned so that I could take it Friday to the arts event in Yadkinville and show it off to the future owner. I spent one evening moving furniture and stretching it out in the living room only to figure out that my backing and batting were to small for the finished project (OOPS -- yeah that's a more appropriate 4 letter word to go there). So I took the top with me to the event and it was very well received and the customer is eagerly awaiting the completion and we picked out new backing -- new deadline is 9/21. The event was slow but there was a great deal of interest in custom projects. I didn't get any pouches made for the event but need to start working on this soon because the next big event is in early October and this would be a nice addition to the booth. I did meet a fellow modern quilter that is also a photographer and can't wait to see the pictures that she took of my quilts. 
After an evening of all this quilt talk, I was geared up for quilting this weekend and had a list of things I wanted to accomplish -- sadly most of them were not achieved. Saturday we decided on a whim to go to IKEA and get more display cases. Well while I was there I also picked up some fun fabrics that I have seen around and already have great things planned for both of them. 

Fabric painting
Sunday, I finally made it into the craft room --- only to be faced with cleaning things up before  I could get started in trimming up a bag of scraps that a friend brought me so that they could be stored. I pulled items to work on but still no sewing. I did however have a helper --- this was the best of the bad places that he wanted to be while I cut scraps. 
Sometimes I had 2 helpers -- double trouble -- good thing I didn't need that ironing surface guys. 
Monday I had a late morning dental apt so I took the day off work thinking great I will have the house to myself and I can knock some stuff out before the apt and go to the quilt shop in the evening before my embroidery class to stretch that quilt for pinning. I decided to make red velvet brownies to celebrate the birthdays of 2 ladies at the quilt shop and after they got in the oven I got a call from hubby saying he needed my help because he had forgotten his work keys -- another delay in quilting but at least one yummy thing was being crossed off the list. 
That afternoon when I got back home I was determined to put some time in on the sewing machine before heading up to Sewingly Yours. The next deadline is the end of this month so I decided the sister thing swap item was the place to start because it is larger than the mug rug I need to put together for the guild swap. I'm in the groove of FMQ and another call from hubby. He's been having trouble with his hand for over a month and finally is ready to go to the doctor about it -- I agreed to go, knowing that if I didn't and if the wait was to long he wouldn't stay. I ran to drop off the brownies and then off to the doctor we went. I wasn't able to go to the meeting so instead when I got home I finished up quilting the designer showcase. 
I put her daughter's name in the stitching and a few other words relating to things that are important to her,
and here is the top view all squared up and now I'm ready for binding. I will finish this within the week and mail by Saturday along with my other finish this month of small squares for that fun swap. 
Along with this project I need to also complete -- the guild mug rug, stretching that commission quilt, binding the City Scape and finish designing the guild travel pillow swap (now that I know who my partner is and started looking for ideas on Pinterest). 

I have also decided that I will be putting myself on a fabric diet for the next month in preparation for the upcoming Quilt Carolina Shop Hop. NO new fabric until then unless it is absolutely needed to complete an item that is on a deadline and nothing in the stash will work -- I may go into withdraws but I'm going to try my best, it may be a very long month. I'm so looking forward to this event and hope to get a travel group together for a day trip to the Raleigh shops. 
Happy quilting everyone -- let's hope the next 2 weeks are more accomplished than the last 2 have been. 

If your over at Lily Pad Quilting don't forget to vote in the pets on quilts contest -- I'm number 45 in the cat group. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lost Cats

So glad to see that so many of you enjoyed my pets on quilts post earlier this week, I thought I would do a follow up. All of our kitties we've ever had have found us in one way or another, some have stayed with us a short time and others much longer. My kitties on quilts post from earlier this week is proof of that and one of the most common questions I received is how many cats I have -- 4 for now. Well this is now .... 

Tuesday night I was catching up on blogs and vegging out instead of working on my UFO projects and something caught my (and 3 kitty's) eye, there was a small black cat running around in the parking lot. Now we have strays by the house quite frequently but this one was a new one and seemed very confused. My husband has a soft spot for black cats and decided he was going out to check on it, so with a be careful warning from me he went out the door to check on this cat. I'm expecting the cat to run, fight or cower away (as strays do), instead he leaped into my husband's arms and proceeds to lay on his back -- this is obviously not stray behavior and he is someone's cat. So the hubs calls me outside to bring some food and water so that we can check him out and try to figure out where this kitty may have come from. None of the neighbors had seen him before so we took him in for the night and planned to expand our search on the following day. I decided it was time to work on the little blocks swap project and not have a totally wasted evening. I knocked these cuties out and will be mailing them later in the month -- once I get some feedback as to which ones people like the most as I made 7 extra ones. (YAY a finish this month). 
So as I am preparing to put them away for safe keeping I hear a kitty jump onto the table and plop down -- basking in the light of the desk lamp I'm sure. This is not OK. I turn to shoo whoever this is off the table (thinking it's Doodle) and this was the face looking back at me. 
Someone has made himself awfully comfortable real quick. I get him down and he  then goes to sit on the sewing pedal (running a few stitches) before jumping into my chair. I see you mister trying to win me over -- but it's not going to work. I don't want to get attached because I know you have a home, somewhere. 
Yesterday evening my neighbor came home during one of the rare instances I am outside and she asked me if I had seen the little black kitty because her daughter is worried about it. (See I knew it was someone's kitty) I told her we had brought him in for the evening hoping to find out where he belonged and I would go get him for her. She says "oh he's not our cat, he followed us home the other night from the old horse farm and he was the only kitty up there." This place has been empty for a few years now since the SPCA shut them down and the other houses in that area are rentals that change tenants regularly. This is looking more like a pet dump situation -- I tell my husband what the neighbor reported and he says "OK, let's start thinking of a name." -- and with that we became a 5 kitty household once again. 
"I like this quilt you are making for me." 

We've been a 5 kitty household before it's no big deal to us but now we do need a name and I am looking for suggestions. He's solid black with gold eyes, very talkative and super affectionate. I'm open for suggestions. 

Happy quilting everyone -- I hope I am able to get lots of sewing done this weekend with all this kitty distraction in the house. I really would like to have a few more finished projects this month. We'll see. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pets on Quilts -- How could I not enter

Lily pad quilting is hosting a fun hop/contest and it combines 2 of the things I love most in the world --- fur babies and quilts. I'm entering for the cats on quilts category. My readers are lucky to get through a post that doesn't have a kitty on a quilt (or multiple kitties on a quilt) and my Instagram followers are not immune to this either. So grab your allergy medicine if you need is and join me in a look back at some of my favorite Pets on Quilts moments. 
Hurley on Garden Window
Hurley and Kahn on City Scape
Kahn helping with the star Wars t-shirt layout
Hurley and Doodle on 3 quilts 
Doodle on her favorite quilt that she balls up into a pillow
Nugget looking for skipped stitches
Nugget helping with quilt design
Hurley supervising quilt design
Hurley is so happy that City Scape is ready for binding
Nugget helping add boarders to a custom quilt
Hurley and Captain pretending to not be on this quilt (notice the feet are under the quilt)

And few older pictures that I love are pets on quilts made by my great aunt
Sigmond (with Doodle in the background)
a group photo from 2007

Thanks for indulging me. 
Hope you enjoyed my kitty photos. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Two roads diverged in the wood

And that has made all the difference in me. 

The 5th anniversary is traditionally celebrated with a gift of wood and five years ago I married for the 2nd time in my life to a great guy I met at a crossroads in my life and that has made a huge difference in the person that I am today and every day. He is super supportive of my hobbies and interests and even helps me design some of my projects. As I mentioned a few weeks ago me anniversary gift was upgrading my sewing machine. So when it came time to get his gift I was stumped (hehehe wood puns). He is a hard person to buy surprises for and I am terrible at keeping secrets from him. I found an awesome thing online and decided that was the gift and placed the order – only to find out it would not be here in time but it would be here for his birthday (not fixing the current delima). I thought and thought about it and nothing came to me. Finally yesterday (on our anniversary) I decided go out and look one more time. Lucky me I found a great gift and I’m super excited about it so I rush home get everything ready. We exchange gifts and he’s excited about what I got him but I can tell something’s not right there’s a splinter to this gift. He already ordered the same thing online and it’s in transit currently and should arrive Monday – Dam. 

My little gift of course was pur-fect. (Chris 1 – Kaite 0) 

Out to dinner we go. One of our favorite restaurants just opened a location in Winston so I thought yeah this is going to be great and some redemption for gifting something he already had. We decided to take my car because I noticed the gas light came on before I got home and it would keep me from having to stop before work this morning. We get half a mile from the house and my husband says the car isn't acting right and about that time all these lights come on, on the dash board so we pull off and the engine looks fine, figuring it’s just needing gas we attempt to take it back home and it sputters out completely. We hike back to the house get the other car and proceed to the gas station, making it back to the car about 45 minutes later. (Chris 2 – Katie 0) 
Starving at this point we press on go to the restaurant – at least dinner will be great. The new location is not homey like the other location but the food was still great --- at least mine was. Chris had to send his steak back because it had no flavor but then he got ribs and was happy with those. He looks at me and says I know in a few years we're gonna laugh about this but I surely hope or next anniversary is better than this one. I guess I had better start planning now. Maybe we could go to Hershey, PA for that one -- it is traditionally the candy anniversary. 
On the quilting front -- it's going to be a slow weekend for quilting as we are heading to the in-laws for the weekend but I am hoping to be able to attend the sew in on Sunday if we get back in time. 

Things I  would like to accomplish by Monday (but probably won't)
- completing the little blocks for the flicker swap 
- constructing and attaching the final boarder to Jim's quilt
- 4 block of the week blocks 
- 2 block of the month blocks
- making a few small pouches for the event Friday
- Mug Rug for guild swap 
- finish Designers showcase for sister swap 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Making Progress

I was thinking about how I approach big tasks and I like how these quotes from Emerson and Ronald Reagan sum up how I feel and how they relate to my approach to creative endeavors and new things in life. 

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
Ralph Waldo Emerson 

There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.
Ronald Reagan 

This past weekend was one of progress and I am happy to report that several larger UFO's are now closer to be completed and my time frame is looking more realistic.

A biggie was getting that City Scape quilted and ready for binding. Unfortunately for you all Hurley has decided that this quilt is not ready for photographing at this time but it has been approved by quality control at this time. I am hoping to find a great spot to be able to hang her up so that I can get some great shots soon. 
With the inspiration of the quotes above, here's the crazy thought I have been toying with --- I am considering entering this quilt into the local fair this year. One of my goals was to be displayed this year and I feel that this would be a good opportunity. Any thoughts? 

Another large UFO was an upstarted commission project that I am hoping to have completed by the 16th (EEEKK). Hurley was supervisor in charge. 
I got the top pieced over the weekend -- ran out of the main fabric and had to regroup. 
Then as I was preparing to do the borders I ran out of the inner fabric but was easily able to get some more on Monday. Yesterday I am piecing the borders and ran out of the larger border fabric when I went to attach the last side. This just seems to be one that keeps me in the quilt shop all most as much as working on the project. I would show you but Nugget decided that this is his quilt. 
Well here's a look at the boarder and this is another one I will be taking outside pictures of asap. The colors weren't what I usually go for but I am liking how it is turning out. 

Happy Quilting everyone and here's hoping for more completed UFO's this month.