Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I don't think I can count this as my first finished project for 2008. I had a friend at work make a baby quilt and she needed it quilted. I think it turned out great for a first time quilt maker. She called me one day and had me help her fussy cut the first of the blocks. What a quick learner, because she thanked me and sent me on my way. I stopped by one night after work and helped her put the first block together and again I was sent on my way. After a couple of questions, she handed over the finished quilt top. I embroidered the baby's name on the border and did the machine quilting. I found a wave pantograph pattern to match the surfboard and Woody theme of her quilt. I think the design was probably a bit beyond my abilities, but I didn't let it stop me. I can't wait to see what the quilt looks like with the binding completed.

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping

I did a little reckless fabric shopping this weekend. Managed to take in Urban Arts & Crafts in Kansas City, Missouri. This store has a wonderful selection of Amy Butler fabric. Instead I purchased a piece of Michael Miller kids fabric.

After I got home, it dawned on me why I liked it so much. I made a quilt for a friend's new baby out of the same line.

Quilter's Station in Lee's Summit, Missouri, was on the list also. Taking a 3 year old was entertaining to everyone in the store, especially since there is an incredible fondness for fabric. The current obsession is with horses, so all I could hear her screaming from one rack of fabric was "Mommy, I MUST have this fabric." How could I refuse? I will use it to make a pillowcase for her bed. Everyone was laughing when this discovery was made.

The last stop was Prairie Point in Shawnee, Kansas, for the end of year sale. This is where some serious damage was done. Jelly rolls are my new favorite thing, which I would say is bordering on an obsession. I really like the Moda Oak & Reel fabric line and since it was on sale, how could I not take it home? Then there was the whole display of Valentine's fabric. Again, I couldn't pass it up. More cheater cloth that I can't seem to live without.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Shopping Day

My sister came to town last night. No sewing for me today or tomorrow. We are going to head off to Briarcliff Village and check out the new stores. There is an arts & crafts store that I keep hearing about, so I think we will have to head in there.

I have been working on a baby quilt for a friend. My hope is to have it finished Monday. I think I'm going to have breakdown and get some freehand DVDs to help me with my efforts. I have been trying to use pantographs and have nothing but trouble. My guess though is that I have developed some really bad habits that need to be broken...soon.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas

Wow, we survived Christmas. What a great day it was for us. Family came in from Omaha, so it was definitely fun and exciting. We haven't had a big family Christmas in a long time. I think the picture below is the best one from the whole day. Someone insisted that Santa was going to bring Woody from Toy Story. Thankfully Grandpa came through. If that doesn't scream shear happiness, nothing will. Not sure how it can be topped with a birthday coming up shortly.

I was the recipient of a very cool Ott light. I can't wait to get it hooked up in my sewing area.

I also received a gift certificate to one of my favorite quilt shops. Even though I said I wasn't going to by fabric, the gift certificate is my get out of jail free card. Once again, great way to rationalize, huh????

Friday, December 21, 2007

Productive Evening

2 posts in one day. I can guarantee this won't happen all the time.

I'm going to blame my productivity this evening on the contents of the cotton candy bag that I consumed. It was sitting on the table and I just couldn't help myself. If I didn't eat it, it would go bad. OK, OK way to rationalize the fact that I shouldn't have eaten it. Oh well.

Tonight I put a quilt on the frame for a friend. I will post pictures of it tomorrow. I'm having some camera issues and I need someone to look at the settings with me. So, back to the quilt, it's got butterflies on one side and soccer balls on the other. Basically it's two tops. I've never done anything like that so trying to line everything up without the extra fabric was definitely a challenge. Since I'm somewhat of a newbie at the machine quilting, I have learned all the tricks yet. I'm not 100% pleased with the way it came out, but I'm going to have my friend be the judge. Here's at least a look to tease...

I did have a supervisor the whole time I was stitching. After climbing on everything possible, Shiner finally perched on top of the shelf holding some of my fabric and projects. Better for him to be up there supervising than trying to lay on top of the quilt top that's on the frame. That's the usual battle I have to get a quilt top done.

As I'm typing I'm being buzzed by a miniature helicopter. Boys and their toys. I'm so glad I didn't buy one as a Christmas present.

How Creative Are You?

Couldn't resist. I saw the link on a blog I read and had to try it out.
Some days I don't think that's true, but today I'm feeling it.

You Are 68% Creative

You are beyond creative. You are a true artist - even if it's not in the conventional sense of the word.
You love creating for its own sake, and you find yourself quite inspired at times.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Feeling Fabric

What is it about feeling fabric that can tame the savage beast? I have yet to figure out why touching fabric can take me from a cranky state to a normal person again. Is it the slick feel of the fabric? Is it the colors that I'm looking at? What's the psychology behind it? For a while, I had fabric hiding in my desk draw at work for just those occasions. Then I decided to make something with it and took it all home. While I'm on a mission to stash bust, I really think I NEED to venture out to my LQS at lunch at pick up some fat quarters to replenish my drawer.

With the end of the year just around the corner, all the work craziness is coming to a head. If I hear one more person ask me if I can get something done today because they are going on vacation, I might SCREAM. As my husband would say, that's a YP (your problem), not an MP (my problem). I've been good at smiling and nodding today, but in the back of my head all I keep repeating is "You've got to be kidding me!"

So, TTFN, I'm off to Harper's for a sanity check.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cheater Fabric

I have been pondering why cheater cloth is really called cheater cloth. I have come to the realization that working with cheater cloth is sometimes more difficult than making all the blocks from scratch. My friend came to work today with a quilt that she picked up last week while in Denver. She explained that the store was selling numerous class samples in order to make room for the new 2008 class samples. When she unfolded the quilt, I had to smile because it's cheater fabric that I have in my stash. I think I collected blue fabric for my sashing rather than green.
I realized that I have a lot of cheater fabric in my stash. Maybe 2008 can be the year of "cheater" quilts.

Speaking of 2008, I've been thinking about all of the unfinished projects I have in plastic shoe boxes. I really need to make a list and commit to finishing some of the many things I've started. While looking at the boxes and their contents, I encountered the unfinished New York Beauty from a class I took about 3 years ago. I'm committing that this will be the first top I complete in 2008. Unfortunately, there are only 4 completed blocks and I think I have about 20 (or more) to go.

After looking at the unfinished projects, it dawned on me that I have a lot of finished tops that just need to be quilt. Since I'm such a glutton for punishment, I opened the box they are living in and decided to count. 20 finished tops that need to be quilted. YIKES. I didn't count the 3 quilts that I have in the pile that aren't mine.

With that said, I should have plenty to blog about in 2008.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

20 Minutes

This morning I needed 20 minutes of me time so I headed down to my lair. I manged to put the borders on a baby quilt. I don't know why, but it makes me think of Green Eggs & Ham every time I look at it. I'm a jelly roll addict and have discovered that I can make 2 baby quilts from one roll. Makes me feel like I'm being really productive. The second quilt from this particular jelly roll (Celebrate Spring by Moda) is still sitting in a shoe box on the sewing table. Maybe this week I can spend some time with it.

I finished the names for the Christmas name tags yesterday. That was time well spent for me. It required getting the manual out for the embroidery machine, but I did finally learn how to do something that I was struggling with.

This afternoon we are going on a family outing to Union Station to see the Christmas train that came to town. I think Grandma and Papa are going with us, so it should be a fun family event. We are hoping to check out the Christmas lights on the Plaza and some of the brightly decorated neighborhoods on the way home.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

All I Want for Christmas...

All I want for Christmas is a personal quilting retreat weekend. I submitted my formal request this morning to Father Christmas. I'm hoping that the response will be a positive one and not one filled with hysterical laughter. The way I see this playing out is I get an entire weekend (Friday night to Sunday afternoon) to retreat to my sewing lair (aka the basement) to do nothing but sew. The two other inhabitants of the house will need to pretend that I'm not on premise and make the best of the weekend without me. When I emerge from my lair to use the bathroom or forage in the refrigerator, the rules will be that I'm invisible. I truly think the scenario is doable for everyone involved. Getting them to buy into it will be slightly challenging. I figure this could be just as hard for me as well. It's fun to see what's going on when you hear lots of hooping and hollering coming from the living room.

Option 2 also submitted to Father Christmas was to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Omaha (minus me) for a long weekend. That makes the pretending not necessary and possibly easier for a 3, almost 4 year old to play along with.

This has to be the best gift I have ever asked for. I'll keep you posted on what Father Christmas brings me.

Ice and Ornaments

Well, we survived the ice storm that descended on the KC area. The weather forecasters hit it right for once. It wasn't as bad here as it was in some areas. The trees are still ice coated. Although some would say they don't think it's very pretty, I do.

The ornaments for the ornament exchange at work are done and it's not the night before. I'm getting a bit better at being more timely. Since the idea of the exchange was to make home made ornaments, I perused Martha Stewart's website to see what I could come up with. While ornaments don't look the ones on the site, I'm please with the way the turned out.

My hope for the remainder of the week is make some serious time with the sewing machine. I have 2 quilts for friends that I need to quilt and 2 baby quilts that I would like to try and at least finish the tops for. Oh well, with that said, I'm sure something will take up my time and keep me from my basement sewing area.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Time...I Need More Time

Ok, so I thought blogging about my quilt projects might help me get motivated and finish some things. Good idea...not working. This week I have been getting ready for a holiday open house that we are having on Saturday. I really didn't think it would take that much time. Ok, so what was I thinking????

The one crafty thing I can so that I've worked on this week is with the embroidery machine. I managed to figure out how to get purchased designs into the Singer software and make names. Very big accomplishment for me, since it meant that I really had to get the manual out and honestly read and follow directions. Winging it wasn't working, so I broke down and got the book out. I will have to post pictures once I get the items stitched out.
One of my quilting friends asked for name tags for her Christmas presents. She has decided to go green and make fabric gift bags for all her presents this year. The name tags I'm going to make for her, then can be pulled off the bag and used the next year, right along with the bags. Very cool idea.

I really do wish that there were just a couple more hours in each day. If there were, I really think some of my unfinished items might be completed. Oh well!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Productive Weekend

This weekend was very productive. I managed to complete 10 bags for my favorite photographer so that her clients can get everything home in one piece. I need to figure out a quicker way to get the company logos on the bag. My machine takes 20 minutes to stitch it out. Short of buying a nice industrial machine, I'm not sure what will speed up the process. It was nice to be able to hide out in the basement though and get something accomplished. The paging ("Mommy are you done?" "Honey I can't find remote." "Are you almost done?") from DH and DD was minimal.

I took my little munchkin to the local ceramic store on Saturday and we painted Christmas ornaments. We met a friend and her 3 kids at the shop, so the paint was flying. Somewhat messy, but I think everyone really had fun. It's so much fun to see what the ornaments really look like after they have been fired. Can't wait to get the call to pick them up.