Tuesday, December 30, 2008

waiting for the New Year

So, today I decided that I would wait on finishing up those quilts until the New Year starts so I can count them for next year. I also decided to tackle some of the projects that are sitting around, part way done before this year ends.

(Sorry everything is turned sideways, I'm having troubles with the pictures tonight. Just tip your head, and you will be fine!) I finished piecing two quilt tops that were sitting in the way. The first is a Chinese coins in greens and I like it very much. When I was cleaning yesterday, I stashed one of the pieces somewhere and had the hardest time finding it. I have no idea why I didn't put all of the pieces together, but I decided rather than keep looking for that piece, I would sew together what I could and pray that the piece turned up. Just as I was about to give up, I saw the piece in a bucket, tucked under a bag!

Then, the Bento Box I have been working on got my attention. Can you say UGLY? Well, this one is really ugly, but I learned a lot from this ugly quilt top. For this pattern to show up, you need small prints or solids, not the large scale prints I chose. The colors are ok, but I think more contrast between the different squares would be nice. After laying it out on the floor and stepping back to look at it, I though, how awful! This thing is just horrible. I should just shove all of these blocks in a bag and leave it for later. Then, I decided that I would never go back to it and to just finish it off. I probably could have pulled out a couple of the really bad blocks and added some better ones in, but I don't think it would have helped that much and I decided it just wasn't worth spending more time trying to make it better. I would get it done and ready to quilt and then give it away. Someone will love it. I've learned that there are so many different tastes out there that someone, somewhere is bound to like it and it will keep someone warm.

Then, I started working on the crib set for my friend at work. She fell in love with one on ebay that cost $545 and I told her I could sew it for much less. She bought most of the fabric and I hope to have everything done except for the quilt by Monday. She is due in March and is having a boy :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Goal reached 100 quilts in a year

and then there were none...

I put the binding on 4 quilts today to reach my goal of 100 quilts for the year. I still have two days left this year and now need to decide if I want to bind the other 4 quilts that are sitting here, or save those for next year's totals. I have about 60 quilt tops waiting to be quilted and of course patterns and ideas for so many quilts swimming in my head. I plan to do a mystery quilt on New Year's Eve day.

I also have to quilt the quilt for my friend at work and get that finished before school on Monday. So many projects, so many decisions. I sometimes wish there were two of me so I could do more things at the same time.


With the new year coming quickly, I can't stop thinking about the goals for the New Year. Every year, make goals like keeping the house cleaner, losing weight (I lost 35 pounds this year without trying--I'm seeing the dr in January about that one) and trying not to stress the small stuff. Every year, I can't seem to keep those goals. But, with each new year, it is nice to have that fresh start and to get to say "do over" and everyone understands that it is ok if you didn't keep your resolutions from last year. You get to begin again.

As I was cleaning the sewing room yesterday I unearthed a pile of printed patterns from the internet of so many free quilt patterns that I just had to try, but haven't gotten around to yet.

I decided that one of my goals for this year will be to try out a new pattern each week and share it with you. Of course, I don't believe I will be able to finish a complete quilt each week with working full time, but each week, my goal will be to complete a quilt top and share both the pattern and the picture here with you to inspire you to try new things as well. I have at least 50 patterns printed out and there are so many more on the internet that are free. I also am going to go through my many quilting books and pull one each month and make something from each book. If I can't make a quilt out of each of my books, they don't deserve to live in my house, taking up room on the shelf. By the end of the year, I will have made 52 different quilt tops and hopefully tried out different techniques and expanded my quilting skills.

When I first got my quilting machine, people told me that it would take me years to get good at it. Little did they know that I would be working at it constantly and get 100 quilts made in the first year. I rarely do anything half way. When I get a new hobby, I jump in with both feet and tend to go overboard. I raised birds for a while and had over 200 of them in my living room at one time. My kids raised and showed guinea pigs and we had probably 50 of those at one time too. So, I can't do something a little bit. Everything I do is in excess. I'm surprised I don't weigh 400 pounds :)

I plan on quilting as many of the tops as I can during the school year and then this summer working on them quicker. On a good day, I can quilt up to 10 tops a day, so I will stockpile the tops when school is in and then quilt away during the summer months.

Of course, I will still keep working with some of my favorite patterns, the Stashbuster Buttonberry is one of my absolute favorites. I wonder how many of those I have made this year? I can make that top in about an hour after cutting it out and I have about 50 of them cut out already. I would like to have 200 quilts done by this time next year. Big goal? You betcha. But, I never do things in little amounts

Sunday, December 28, 2008

4 left

I finished quilt #96 this morning before church and delivered 9 of them today. The missionaries from Kazakhstan were visiting our church this morning and both the husband and wife came up to me and introduced themselves. I felt so blessed to be serving such selfless people who are willing to give up everything and move to such a faraway country to serve our God.

They said that the last time they were at the orphanage, the quilts were gone. They were panicked and asked the 'mother' what had happened to the quilts. She took them to a storage room and there, neatly folded and wrapped in tissue paper, were each of the quilts. She said the quilts were too precious to be used in the winter time and they were being stored until the spring. She had brought out the old, ugly quilts for the winter so these beautiful ones wouldn't get dirty and ugly. I told the missionaries to tell the 'mother' we could just make them new ones if these got dirty or ugly.

They also said that when they opened the first box of quilts, all 30 children started yelling, mine, mine, mine as they pulled the first quilt from the box. They said the smiles on the faces of the children were so wonderful. Each child knew he/she was loved from far away.

I was so glad to have gone to church today. I have a terrible migraine and felt like staying home, but knew that I had to go and deliver the quilts I had finished. I am so blessed to have gone and so energized to be working on more quilts.

As I think about my goals for the upcoming New Year, I am reminded that I started quilting last year as a ministry to share the love of God with others. God has given me a talent of making quilts and each day I am blessed to be able to used those talents to share the love of God with others. I may never be able to visit Kazakhstan in person, but each quilt I send is a hug from the Lord for those children. I also hope that I am teaching my own children to love all people. My youngest understands this the most I think. Each quilt I make, he asks me who it is for. I have one on my design wall now and he just asked me if it was for a child who doesn't have a mom or a dad. I hope each of my children grows up to share the talents they have been blessed with and in doing so shares the love of God with others.

After all, that is what we are put on this earth for.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

8...7...6...5 more

and now I have 5 more quilts to bind. One is half way done. I have 8 ready to deliver tomorrow to church to be shipped to Kazakhstan with the other 4 that are ready to go. It feels good to work through these quilts so quickly and to mark them off of the to do list for the year.

and then there were 9

I bound another quilt last night and can feel the muscles I used this morning. Who says quilters aren't body builders?

I have to wait until some more of the kids wake up this morning to get back to sewing. Maybe I should work on cleaning the sewing room some more while they are still asleep. Or, maybe I should cut fabric for the New Year's Eve Mystery I think I am going to try. I have always wanted to try out a mystery quilt and I think this year I am going to do it.

It is with a group called QTMysteryQuilts and you can join too on the Yahoo Groups page. It is also on the FabricaholicsAnonymous group and about 8 other groups, but those are the only two I belong to. I like this one because it uses 4 fabrics. But the presewing has me making half square triangles. I know, I said I wanted to get over my fear of half square triangles and what better way to do it than to jump in and just do it, but I'm afraid! How silly is that?

I guess I had better either go clean the sewing room or cut fabric and get over my fear. Either way, the day will be better for it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

10 to go

I completed 3 bindings today and only have 10 more to do before the end of the year to complete my goal of 100 quilts for 2008. I am still thinking about my goal for next year. I don't want to set it too high, but when I look around at all of the fabric sitting here, I would really like to put a dent in it and get this turned into quilts for kids.

I had set a goal of a box of fabric a month and started with a box that was sitting in the sewing room at the beginning of December. Today, I took the last pieces out that are useable and cut them into 6 1/2 inch squares and 3 1/2 inch strips. I am using the strips for bindings for these quilts and will use the squares to make the disappearing 9 patch quilt tops. I haven't really used up all of the fabric, most went into the 'to be quilted' piles with the quilt tops, but at least it has a purpose now, instead of sitting in a box. I have the next box ready. This one has mostly plaids and will make great backings too. It will also make great boy quilts. I think I will cut up a bunch of Turning Twenty blocks and bag those up for days when I don't feel like thinking. Most of the fabrics in this box go together because they are blues, browns, black/whites and will make great 'manly' quilt tops and backs.

It feels good to work through fabric quickly like this, but then when I start working on a quilt that takes me a long time--well, a few hours anyways, to put the top together, I feel guilty that I have so much fabric that needs attention. I need to find a balance between making quick quilts and improving my quilting skills. Maybe two quick quilts for every slower one or something like that.

Christmas quilt--a day late

I finished my daughter's Christmas present this morning. I was going to have it quilted by a friend who has a big quilting machine because it is a big quilt and I just wasn't comfortable doing it myself. But, when I had to move Pierce, my quilting machine into the garage for the Christmas tree, I decided I had enough room to move around the table and really get to the quilt and I would just give it a try. The quilt barely fit on the frame as it was set up. I could have added one more bar and made the frame wider, but the thing already bows when you stretch it and I just didn't feel like working that hard. I quilted it in under an hour yesterday eventhough it was really cold :) Ok, it was about 60 with the sun shining, but that was cold for me. Then, I put the binding on this morning and it was done. I like the back as much as the front and she can flip it over if she wants to have a more sophisticated look to her room at college. It saved me about $100 to not have it done by someone else. I think that earns me $100 to spend at the quilt shop on more fabric, don't you think?

I decided that 2009 will be the year to get rid of my quilting fears. I was afraid to quilt this quilt because I didn't think I could do it and look, it is done and looks pretty good. My next biggest fear is half square triangles. I'm going to overcome that fear this coming year by practicing on them and trying out some new patterns. I got several quilting books for Christmas and I am going to give each one a chance to become a quilt, rather than sit on the shelf collecting dust.

I also spent the morning cutting binding strips so I can work on those quilts to reach my goal of 100 quilts for the year. Now that my daughter's is done, I only have 12 more to go.

And here is the picture of the finished Santa wall hanging. I gave it to my daughter's boyfriend's mom for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

13 more

I was counting the quilts I have finished this year and I see that I have completed 87 quilts so far. I only have 13 more to go to make 100 quilts for the year. I have 15 of them sitting waiting for bindings. I think that will be my goal, to get the binding on 13 of those guys so I can say I quilted 100 quilts this year. That's pretty good I think! I never would have set my goal that high as a beginning quilter and I am so happy that I was able to get so many quilts done and into the hands of kids who need them.

I wonder if I should set a goal for next year? How many of you set goals for the New Year?

I am trying to pick a project for New Year's Day. Last year it was the Sudoku Quilts. Those were really fun, but I still have a couple that haven't gotten quilted yet. They turned out bigger than I am comfortable quilting. I did have to move the quilting machine into the garage to make room for the Christmas tree, so I may just give a bigger quilt a try now that I have lots more room to move around the machine. But, it is so cold in the garage. I know, all of you people who have snow are laughing at me saying 60 degrees is cold, but I like hot weather, thank you very much :)

I am cleaning and organizing the sewing room and coming across some old projects. I sewed together a top that has been pinned for at least 9 months and it took me all of 10 minutes to finish it up. Now it is sitting in the 'to be quilted' pile, probably waiting another 9 months to be finished, but at least it has moved on and I have my pins back. I am also working on some crumb blocks and sorting through some strips and scraps and deciding what to keep and what is just too small to bother with.

I am hoping by the end of my vacation, I will have the sewing room cleaned out so I can work in there again and not have to use the kitchen table to cut fabric on anymore. I bought some bed risers and put them under the table legs on the cutting table in the sewing room and now the table is at a much better height for cutting fabric. Why didn't I do that long ago? It will save my back, that's for sure! I'm 5'11" and normal table height just doesn't work for me so having the table 6 inches higher helps a lot. Now to keep the table cleared off so I can use it is the next step.

My problem with cleaning the sewing room is I work for 10 minutes and then discover a project or pattern that I have been looking for and have to stop to study it or work on it and get distracted. Like I said, I hope to finish cleaning the room in the 2 weeks of vacation I have. If not, it will be an ongoing project for 2009.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oh, Christmas Tree

We got our Christmas tree yesterday at the Christmas tree farm. Of course, I don't have to tell anyone who knows me that I got lost getting there. I got lost at the airport too, when I went to pick up the car and then come around to pick up my daughter and her boyfriend after they got her bags. I had two choices for which way to turn coming out of the parking lot and I picked the wrong way. I have 100% chance of getting lost no matter where I go.

Back to the tree. It was drizzling rain and cold. But, we started this family tradition last year and this was daughter #2's turn to pick the tree. She was not about to let me forget that it was her turn to pick and she did not want to go to the grocery store and get one that had been cut down months ago. I found out today they are giving them away for free.

We walked the whole lot and she finally picked out the perfect tree. We brought our own saw this year because last year they only gave out rubber ones. Really. It had to be rubber. And daughter #1 picked out a tree with a 10 inch trunk and it took us 3 hours to cut it down. Really it did. But, our saw this year was really lame. I don't remember it having broken teeth when I used it last to cut down the cherry tree in the backyard. So, we borrowed one of theirs and cut this tree down in 10 minutes. It was a good thing, or we would have frozen to death. Now, don't laugh at me all of you people who live where there is snow. You chose to live there. It was 45 degrees outside yesterday and that is cold! I thought I was going to die! But, I didn't.

We got the tree home and put it up and it is PERFECT. Just the right height and super wide and holds all of the ornaments with enough room for more. Two of our light strands don't work and I have no idea why I saved them from last year, so the lights are a little skimpy, but I love the tree. I'm so glad we went out in the cold and got it instead of getting one from the corner store.

And then today, my oldest got the best news. She got accepted into the creative writing program at her college. Very few freshmen get accepted their first try in the program. I knew she could do it. But, I'm her mom, so it doesn't count. We celebrated with some ice cream cake and balloons.

One of my former students came by to visit today. He joined the army and they are kicking his butt. That's a good thing because I never could. He was one of those kids who drove me crazy and I'm so proud of him now. He gives me hope for some of the kids I have now who never get their work done.

She is home

Sorry I didn't post yesterday and left everyone wondering if she made if home. With the plane crash in Denver on Saturday, it was a little scary. I tried to get her switched from going through Chicago to going through Denver and am now glad that all of those flights were full and we couldn't switch her flight. She made it safe and sound, although very late on Sunday morning. What better birthday present for me!

Yes, I celebrated my 25th birthday again yesterday with my oldest coming home from college and then getting Christmas tree in the rain, going out to dinner and finally the family tradition of looking at Christmas lights.

I will post pictures of the adventure later, but wanted to let you know that everyone is safe at home now.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


My oldest comes home from college today. At least that is the plan. Her first flight has been delayed about 45 minutes and I hope she makes the second one. That one was delayed 30 minutes because of all of the cancelled flights from yesterday through Chicago.

Waiting is hard.

I tried finding things to do to keep me busy. I went out shopping today. Bad idea.

I cleaned the kitchen. That was not fun.

I think I will do some sewing. Or take a nap. Her plane gets in at 11pm if it isn't delayed any more.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Finally Friday

Vacation is here. I have pictures to share.

Binky Patrol was on Sunday and I collected about 80 quilts and afghans for the babies at NorthBay Hospital and the A Baby is Coming program and the NICU. I couldn't believe there were so many quilts dropped off this month. December is usually a slow month for our group, but one of the ladies got together for Thanksgiving with her entire family and cleaned out the garage and had a Binky Party. They set up sewing machines and had a huge ironing machine called a Mangle and went to town. She brought me 51 quilts they made. Of those quilts, there were some tiny Santa quilts for the preemies in the NICU. Those weren't made on Thanksgiving, but were made using the pattern I posted here from the Santa block. My friend took that pattern and simplified it so she could make it quicker. How cute are these little quilts? I wish I could get in the NICU and see how it is decorated with all of these little quilts!

Here is a shot of all of the quilts and afghans in the trunk of my car. I forgot the camera at home on Sunday.

Here is a shot of my little dogs. I took them in for grooming a couple of weeks ago. I asked that the one dog have as much hair left on her as possible because both dogs were severly matted when we got them. They left the back hair on her. She looks really weird, but since it is so cold out, it is like having a permanent coat on. Once her other hair grows out a little, I will have it all cut to the same length.

This shot is of the quilt I'm giving to a student at my high school who has lymphoma. She is undergoing chemo and I thought this quilt would bring her comfort. I was really pleased with the quilting on this one and love the color combo. My friend Nancy did the sewing on the quilt top on this one.
These last ones are of quilts I am giving as gifts to the two teachers' aides I work with. One is finished and one is still in progress. I will have to get that one back and finish it up and bring it to her house before Christmas. I just ran out of time to finish it.
And finally a picture of #1 son in his band concert last night. I could really hear him above all of the other kids and he really did sound the best. He loves to practice and is really, really good!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Come to my church

I'd like to invite everyone here to my church. I know that most of you cannot come in person, but you can still come and visit on the web. I love the internet for how it brings us all together.

I love my church, not for the building, we meet at the community center so there is nothing pretty about it, but for the pastor and the people and especially the pastor's wife. She was so encouraging to me when I wanted to start the quilting ministry. She is a quilter herself and when her children were born she was given quilts made by the people of her church and it really touched her so she understands what a quilt can do for your heart.

So, come to my church and listen to the sermons. You don't even have to get dressed up :)

The funny thing about my pastor is he is my doctor's brother and if you can't see them, they sound exactly the same. They look pretty much the same too. My youngest thinks they are the same person and is afraid he will get a shot if he misbehaves :)

Of course, if you are ever in the neighborhood, we would love to have you join us on Sunday morning.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

200th post--eating lots of frogs

I saw this last week on another blog, sorry blog owner, I can't remember which one and have been thinking a lot about this over the week. Take a second and watch the video on what it means to eat a frog. Basically it is chosing the worst thing you have to do on your to do list and getting it done and over with so you don't have to think about it for the rest of the day.

I have been eating a lot of frogs lately since watching this video. I am the master procrastinator. I will walk over a piece of laundry that is sitting on the floor and think to myself that I should really pick it up and put it in the laundry room, but instead, have other things I want to be doing so it sits there for a long time until I finally decide to get the laundry done.

Today, my frogs were the dishes, which could have sat all day until dinner time, but took 5 minutes to load in the dishwasher. My most hated task is unloading the dishwasher. I don't know why, but putting things away has always been a dreaded chore. Maybe because there isn't room for everything so my things don't have a place. The saying A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place really has no meaning when you have too much stuff. I've tried FlyLady and kept my sink shiny for about 15 minutes. She says you can do anything for 15 minutes and she was right!

I have a hard time getting rid of things. I blame that on genetics. My dad's side of the family are all pack rats. Yesterday my daughter's boyfriend came over and asked if we had an old phone book. Of course, we have about 5 of them. You mean you are supposed to recycle them each year? He wanted to try to rip one, like he had seen in his physics class or something, but they only had the one and his mom wouldn't let him rip theirs. Now, see, if I had thrown it away, I couldn't have given it to him. That's why I keep things. For just in case. But, I digress.

My second frog was the laundry. At least I started it. I have a tendency to dump the clean clothes on the sofa for 'later' when I feel like folding them, but today I actually folded and put most of them away. At least the first load. There are 10 more to do so this is a mighty big frog

The third frog is the t shirt quilt for my daughter. Not that I hate the quilt, but it is so big and it is taking so long and I would rather make 10 little quilts than one big one. I just have the backing to finish piecing and then I'm going to call my friend who does long arm quilting to see if she can squeeze it in before Christmas. If not, I will try to fit it on my little set up. Or give it as is and then have it quilted after Christmas.

What I really need to do is go Christmas shopping, but that frog is just too big. I think I will have to chop him up in little pieces. I will need a suit of armor first. I did as much shopping online as I could and now it is hitting the stores. I'm afraid. Very afraid...

quick Christmas table topper

Here is a pattern for a quick Christmas table topper. Not that I have time for another Christmas craft, but maybe...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thank you Dad

Today, I had to sit and wait for daughter #2 to finish up her art project after school. This was going to be my early day. I could come home right after school and rest, but she was absent last week and this was the final day to finish making the clay vase so the teacher could fire it and so she had to stay after. She said she would only be maybe 45 minutes so I ran after the boys, picked them up, dropping the older one at home and bringing the younger one to pick up my daughter. He wanted to come with me. After waiting an hour in the car for her (it took her about 2 hours to finish the project) he really didn't want to come pick her up anymore, I thought about all of the times my dad sat in the car waiting for me when I was a kid. There were probably 100 or more band practices and at least 50 hula lessons (yeah, I'm that good) and ballet lessons -- don't ask me to dance please--and after school projects and candy striper at the hospital and...the list goes on and on.

I'm sure I said thanks before, but I doubt I really meant it like I do this time. So, Dad, thanks for sitting there in the car, waiting for me all of those times. Thanks for not complaining when I took just a little bit longer, or had to go back in to find my jacket or clarinet or whatever I left behind. Thanks for giving me all of those opportunities as a kid.

I can never pay you back for those times, but I am paying them forward to my own kids and hope that I am half as patient as you were.


I haven't posted this week and here it is Friday again. With my three jobs at work, life is getting to be hectic. I have not worked this hard in a long time. I am a full time teacher of high school science, which is fun, but takes a lot of prep time. There are labs to set up and since I am always in the front of the rest of the teachers (each time I try to get behind everyone, they all slow down) I am the one to set everything up. I am slowly learning that if I don't set up for everyone, they will take my lab set ups because I don't get there before everyone else does in the morning and so I have to set it up again. I might as well just set up enough for everyone the first time around so I have what I need when I walk in every day. It just takes time. Complaining about it has done no good so far. People just look at me and say, well, we thought you set it up for us, or we needed it and it was there, so we took it. Getting frustrated and telling the principal does no good because everything things we should work together, which means everyone thinks I should do all the work anyways and not complain about it. Once you accept your role in life, you are much happier. But it has taken me a long time to get to this point. I still complain a lot and still forget a lot. Just this week, I set up a lab for myself and then came in and it was taken from me. I don't know why I was surprised, but I was and that threw my day off. So, the next lab, I set up for everyone else too.

Then, there is the BTSA, beginning teacher support program (what's the A for?--assistance?). We had a meeting this week that went until 6:30 and was 30 minutes from home. We could have easily met at our school so we didn't have to drive so far because all we did was talk about what we need to get done, but no, we had to all get together far away. At least they fed us good food. That's always nice.

And then there is the peer tutoring program. That is taking the most out of me. It is every day after school. It is like teaching another class and only getting 3% extra money for it instead of 20%. There is a lot of coordination between the tutors and students needing help. I can't make it today, I need extra help, Why isn't my tutor here? Then, if someone doesn't show up, I have to help the kid with subjects I haven't taken in years! I mean, who paid attention to History in high school? Sorry history teachers, but that stuff was boring to me! Then of course, there are the parents, who care more about this than the students do. The kid shows up for 10 minutes and says they are done and then the parent asks why the kid's grade isn't going up. I'm not sure I want to do this again next year. Things are going much more smoothly than they were at the beginning of the year and there are some really great kids in the program, so I'm sure I'm just ready for vacation, but I sure could use a day off. Oh wait, that is tomorrow :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I finished the quilt for the cross country coach today. It needed one more piece of border fabric since it is so tall and skinny and then had to be quilted and bound. I was going to leave the binding until tomorrow but decided I had no idea what tomorrow had in store for me and I wanted this done by Monday so I had better get it done tonight.

Here is the first of the Santa faces. It still needs eyes and a nose and moustache, but it is quilted (not like in this picture) so that should't take too much time. My friend took the pattern and simplified it so there are only a few pieces and now it should go together much faster. If only I hadn't cut out so many to begin with!

Here is the design wall I set up in my oldest daughter's bedroom. That was the only wall in the house I could find that was big enough and empty enough. I had to move a couple of pictures, but put up 2 yards of 72 inch felt I got at JoAnn's on sale last weekend. It isn't sticky enough to hold the squares, but with pins it works just fine. I am thinking of running a hair brush over the felt to make it fuzzier and think that might make it work better so I don't have to use pins, but for now, it is good. Right now, it is holding my daughter's t shirt quilt. The funny thing is, the pattern is called twist and shout, but all of the blocks are twisted the same way, so maybe I should change the name to just twisted! I didn't realize I was making the blocks wrong until I put the whole thing up on the design wall. I'm going to like having this so I can lay things out and step back to look at them while I put a quilt together. Before I just had to lay things on the floor and shoo the dogs and cat off of them. Of course, I had to clean the floor before starting any of this and that was always a pain!

And finally, this is the quilt that the foot broke while I was making. I tried to quilt it with a flames pattern. Some of the lines look like flames, some not so much. But it was something different and I'm sure some little boy will love it.

implementing the plan

Today I decided that why wait until Jan 1 to start my plan to work through my stash. There has been a box of fabric sitting in the way for at least a month now and I grabbed it and started sorting it. There was a whole bunch of really nice fabrics in there and I knew I wanted to keep all of them. Most of them were whites and off whites, creams and such and I don't want to make a whole quilt with those colors, but they will come in handy when piecing other things. So, I emptied a drawer in my dresser that holds my nicest fabrics and put those fabrics in the now empty box.

Then, I took those fabrics and started sorting. I picked out fabrics for several of the quilt tops that were needing backing. Some were in large enough pieces that they are ready to quilt. Some will need sewing together to be ready to go. I think I got at least 5 backing pieces out of that box. Then, there were two very large pieces from the original box that matched other quilt tops. If only I could have found some extra time in that box as well so I could get all of these quilt tops finished up, that would have been nice too :)

So, I am left with a box about half full of fabric scraps. There are about 6 that would go nicely together to make a black/white/pink quilt and I think that would be pretty neat. It is out of my normal range of colors and now I have to decide on a pattern for it. I would not cry if I can't use the rest of the fabrics before the end of the month and need to gift them to someone else. Nothing in that box is a favotite, but they are all nice fabrics that someone could use to make nice quilts.

I will have to see what I can get done by the end of this month and how well this idea works.

Having a plan

I like to have plans, whether things come out the way I had planned or not, it is nice having an idea where you are going sometimes...

My plans for getting the fabric stash more under control for next year is to pick a box out of the garage or shed each month. Some months will be carefully chosen, like when I need to work through Christmas fabric (this time in July--not December!) and other months, I will just pick a random box and I plan to work through the fabric in that box during the month. At the end of the month, whatever is not used will be donated on Freecycle. I have found several other charity crafters and quilters through my local Freecycle group who are very grateful for my leftover scraps. That way I'm not storing what I'm not going to be using and someone else will get the benefit of some wonderful fabric pieces.

Just last week I went through some projects that had been donated to me this summer. My mom and I went through them once and she picked out a couple that had some promise and actually finished them up. I finished up a whole bunch of them and these were the leftovers that I decided I would never get done. I offered them up on Freecycle and a lady came to get them for her daughter's 4th grade class to teach them geometry.

Win-win. The fabrics got out of my house and found a home where they will be used and appreciated.

I can't do it all and by giving things away to others, I will be able to use up all of this stash eventually. My great fear is that one day I will run out of fabric and not have enough. I have no idea why I get afraid like this because as soon as I give some fabric away, I get a phone call that someone has more fabric for me. I just need to learn to be more trusting.

I also have a plan to work through all of the quilting books I have purchased over the couple of years I have been quilting. I have probably 100 or more books on the shelf. In 2009 I will pick a book a month and make one quilt from that book. If there is no quilt that I can make or want to make from that book, out of the house the book will go. Not sure where the book will go, but it won't get to live on my shelf anymore. This will also force me to try new things instead of the same safe quilts I have been making this last year.

So, off of this computer and to work on those Christmas projects. I worked on a Santa wallhanging yesterday. All it needs is button eyes and a moustache and nose and it is done! Turned out cute, although the binding is a little wavy. Oh, well, can't be perfect, now can it...

Friday, December 5, 2008

big hug

Today I finally took in the blankets from the last Binky Patrol meeting waaaaay back in October. I have been loading and unloading them from my car for almost 2 months. Next Sunday is the next meeting and I knew I had to get them over to the hospital before then. When the kids and I walked in today, the ladies looked at me like they had seen a ghost! They said they had just been talking about me and here I showed up. One of the ladies was wondering if they should give me a call because they have a Holiday party coming up and wanted to give blankets to the mothers and babies and they were out of blankets. Here I show up, just in the nick of time. Now, how did I hear them from 20 miles away? I knew I would get those blankets over there just when they needed them the most.

I hope to collect another 20 or more at the next meeting. The December meeting is usually the least productive, but watch out for February. That one is the most productive. Everyone who missed the December meeting shows up in February with extra blankets. But it always works out perfectly.

As we were leaving, one of the ladies told me to wait. The new director wanted to thank me. She came out and gave me a great big hug! I've never met her before and she wanted to just say thanks for all of the quilts and baby afghans that we have donated over the almost 5 years our Binky Patrol chapter has been going. There are days when I wonder if I will have the energy to keep doing this and then there are days like today, when a big hug sends me home to work on more blankets!

Oh, and yesterday the 2nd foot that I ordered came in the mail and this one actually fits the machine. I'm back in the quilting business. I finished up the quilt that has been patiently waiting and now this weekend I have plans to finish up the quilt for my daughter's cross country coach and get some more quilts on that machine and test out the new foot. If it is going to break, I want it to break quickly so I can get my money back.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Yo-Yo bell ornament

Here is a really cute Yo Yo Christmas bell ornament. My Christmas list is getting longer and longer and my time is getting shorter and shorter. I am hoping to be over this cold by the weekend so I will have some energy to work on projects.

new foot

Well, the new foot came yesterday and it didn't fit. It fit the machine, but the hold where the needle is supposed to go through the foot doesn't line up with the needle. So, when you turn the wheel and the needle comes down, it comes down right in the middle of the plastic part of the foot. Do you have any idea how frustrating that is? I'm so glad I ordered two different feet from two different places. I am going to be calling the first place sewingmachinesplus today and letting them know that the part they say will fit my machine will NOT fit my machine. They did this with the needles they sold me too. They were really good about just letting me keep the wrong ones since I had a machine that would fit those wrong needles, so now I have 100 free needles. But I don't have a machine that will fit this wrong foot, so they will be getting that back. I was just so excited that the foot came so quickly and then of course when it didn't fit right, was so disappointed.

I am hoping the second foot comes today and that it actually does work. Of course, this foot also came with the cover place and cost over $40. But, again, the original cover plate didn't fit the machine either, so...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Another Christmas project

Here is a Nativity wall hanging that I'm going to try as well.

Yesterday I cut out a whole bunch of the Santa pieces and hope to get some time tonight to start stitching. I have no idea why I cut out more than one of a project before trying it out, but when I get some fabric out and start cutting I just can't seem to stop. I start thinking of all the people I want to make them for and just keep going until it gets to be bedtime and then run out of time for working on the actual project.

The Nativity set requires some applique, which I've never done before, so I think I will start with just a couple of them (my youngest son's teachers would love this one I think) and I will change the border because that is a lot of friendship stars which will require a lot of little triangles which I also am not good at sewing. I'm thinking one star in the corner would be nice and then a blue border around to show night time. Dark blue. Yesterday when I went digging for the Santa fabrics, I had a hard time finding any blue or red fabric in my stash. I have a ton of greens, but have used up most of my blues and reds for the Quilts of Valor quilts I'm working on. I guess I know what I need to be on the lookout for when I hit the sales :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas projects

I've decided to start some projects for Christmas. Maybe some will be gifts, maybe some will be for myself. Maybe some will be for next year! This first one is a 12 inch block of a Santa face.

Looks easy enough to cut and piece. I think I might even start on it tonight. In fact, I think I might make more than one and have one for a gift. The kids have so many teachers that it is hard to buy presents for all of them. I'll keep looking for more easy and cute looking Christmas projects to share with you all.