Wednesday, January 25, 2012

{WiP} Wednesday ~ 3/52

I had some successes this week, but no finishes that I can show you. :)

Stick a Fork In It!
I finished the dadgum frustrating block from Friday's post. I said I was tempted to throw it out and start over...well, that's pretty much what I did! I salvaged as much of the original fabric as I could, but just started over. I like how it turned out, but I'm glad it's done! That's one thing about bees, they definitely yank you out of your comfort zone! No mercy! :)  I love my bees, though. Here's a peek at the pile of trash scraps I generated:

  1. The Harrison Quilts -- I used the Fruit Stripe binding to bind my solids challenge quilt. Last fall, I bought The Binding Tool, and this is the first chance I've had to use it. I watched the video a couple of times, and went confidently to the cutting table. I held the ruler just so, I marked where I was supposed to mark, I held my breath and cut. Much to my dismay, it was too short. I had at least 6 inches of extra binding, and I cut it too short.  Mama was not happy! :)  So I went to bed.  I should know not to operate a rotary cutter after 11pm. The next morning I woke up and realized what my problem was, and what my solution was.  Now I'm debating whether to finish the binding by machine or by hand. 
  2. Christmas Cards -- I sent two out! Yay me!
  3. Bee Blocks -- No progress. I have my plan, I just need to execute it. Here are the lovely Hope Valley prints that Janice sent.
  4. Happy Quilt -- (aka Fruit Stripe Quilt). I'm moving this to the Back Burner.
  5. Unnamed Quilt -- I got the fabric cut for another baby quilt, and I'm excited to get started. And finished! I can't wait to see what it looks like. :) I think this can be done quickly (if I can stay off the computer!)
  6. Baby Gifts -- Hi, Kelly! :)
  7. Juice -- "Juice". That's what I've decided to name the little Chinese cabbage-sized human growing in my womb. "Juice" because that's pretty much all I could drink from mid-August till about mid-November. Yesterday I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and was quite surprised by this.

Look how round that bump is! I am 28 weeks along, and everything is progressing normally. :)

On the Back Burner
  1. Fruit Stripe Quilt-- the colored fabric is all cut, now I just need to cut the background.
  2. Mod Mosaic Blocks -- not urgent. Yet.
  3. Puppet Theater Backdrop -- not urgent.
  4. MQG Showcase Quilt -- I just have to get some other stuff done first.
  5. Secret Projects -- one down, at least 8 more to go! :)
  6. Maternity Skirts -- still too cold.
  7. Quilt-alongs -- I think I'm going with the Swoon Quiltalong, and I'll do the wonky star quilt for myself some other time. I just think my uncle (and aunt!) will like the Swoon quilt more than a wonky star quilt. I'm also holding off on starting Amy's Craftsy Block of the Month one because, for the life of me, I can't figure out what fabric to use!
  8. Juice's Quilt -- eh, he won't know the difference for at least 3 years. :)
  9. T-shirt Quilts -- no change.
  10. Sprout's Goodnight Moon Quilt -- gotta get other stuff done first!

Other than that, hahaha, I think it should be a quiet week around here.

I hope you have a great, and crafty week!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

(I linked up with Lee at Freshly Pieced. Check out the other WiPs out there. Intimidating and inspirational all at the same time!)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tangled in The Web

So, yes. I cleaned off my workstation.  Yes, I've been productive. The whole "everyone off the Internet for a whole day" thing helped on Wednesday. Thank you, lawmakers. :o)

Unfortunately, I've been productive doing things that I can't post about!!

What's the point in having a creative blog to show everyone what you're secretly creating when the people you're secretly creating for are reading same said blog?? :-(  Such is the life in this interconnected interwebby world, eh?

So, anyways, here's a picture of the mostly stuck on the design wall Happy Quilt for you:

I've got to cut some background fabric for it, and I can start piecing it, but I had to order a very small amount of fabric to complete it. I'm hoping to break out of this odd habit I have where I canNOT begin a project until I have all the parts for it. Even if I'm waiting on something miniscule to be used at the end. It's just wrong for me to behave and create that way! It's an incredible waste of precious, yeah. I want to stop that silliness. :o)

I also got the binding ready for the quilt I have to bind. The binding reminds me of Fruit Stripe gum. Remember that? It was good. Except the flavor lasted exactly 9.4 seconds.

I think I'll probably bind The Happy Quilt with the Fruit Stripe binding also, and change the name of the quilt to Fruit Stripe. :o)

I worked on a frustrating bee block that I can't show you (see interwebbyness above), and didn't get it done. First of all, I'm following a tutorial that isn't written quite as accurately and explicitly as I need. Second, this one isn't a mindless block, if that makes sense. There's a lot of attention required. And maybe a lot more patience and confidence than I have. I'm very tempted to throw it away and just start over. I just don't have the time or the energy to attempt to take something that is a failure and make it look fabulous, when, in the end, it's going to look like a failure anyways. I've already spent more time on it than I care to admit, and I'm just not sure that spending more time will make a difference. I'm ready to cut my losses and start over.

In a Truth Project update, I'm finding it really hard to live within the limits I set for myself. Some things are easier than others, of course, but some of them are just really hard! Last week we did really well with not eating out, but this week, we've eaten out twice. I did buy fabric, but I only bought fabric for projects that I have in mind, and are already in progress, so that's okay.  I did buy a sewing tool I could possibly borrow, but I'm not sure if I know anyone who actually has said tool, so I haven't used it yet, and I'm still holding onto the receipt. :o)  And I did have to buy an office supply item. I had to buy a new printer because our old one was possessed by evil spirits. And it was on super sale. And I know I'll be infinitely happier (right??). That printer was what blew my budget, though. And our trash can broke, so I need to buy a new one of those. Sweet little, angel-faced, Sprout loves to get stuff out of the trash can, so we need a robust one. With a lid. ;o)

Aww, just look at that sweet little face.

It's strange, though. Sorta. Yes and no. That in my attempt to cut out the "spirit of poverty", I'm feeling more strapped than ever!

The Truth is depressing, isn't it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

{WiP} Wednesday ~ Week 20!

WIP Wednesday at Fresly Pieced

(I'm linking with Lee at Freshly Pieced for {WiP} Wednesday)

I have less to report this week than I was hoping for (and no pictures! How depressing!), but I am very proud to report that my sewing table has been cleared of myriad junk that had taken up residence on it. So now I feel like I have no excuse I can sew like the wind! :)

Here. I'll show you a picture of that:

Oh, and I have so much to DO!!  It's pretty ridiculous, really.

I'm really glad I made my calendar last week, so now I feel like I can focus on what I need to finish first, and then can have some free brain cells to work on what I really want to work on. What a novel concept, eh? :)

Well, I wouldn't call them finished, per se, but I sure got a lot further than I was on the Harrison quilts. All the quilts for the kids are bound, and 3 of the 4 have the hand quilting completed.  Now I just need to tie up the loose threads, hand quilt that 4th, and get a binding on the quilt for the mother. It will feel so good to get those done! I know this. I know this.

I tried to work on some bee blocks on Saturday at our guild sew. I promise I tried!! Audrey even tried to help me, but the tutorial I was using wasn't very clear, and so I didn't bring enough fabric. Boo, hiss.

  1. The Harrison Quilts -- still here in this list, but I'm closer! Go me!
  2. Christmas Cards -- Oh, I crack myself up. I sent out 2 today. Progress? Meh. 
  3. Bee Blocks -- I have the fabric in my hands, now, to make 2 blocks for Janice. I also need to work on that one from above that didn't start off so well... :-(
  4. A Happy Quilt -- kinda secretive, but I've pulled fabrics and started cutting to make a happy quilt for someone. :) See the picture above? I found some cool, meaningful, inspirational fabric last week, and now I'm ready to go! (Oh, but I left out the meaningful fabric.)
On the Back Burner
  1. Mod Mosaic Blocks -- I have at least 3 that must be done for other people, and 24 that have to be done for me. (Stalled) 
  2. Puppet Theater Backdrop -- I moved the fabric a little. Does that count? :) 
  3. MQG Showcase Quilt --  I'm waiting till I get some other must-do projects finished before I start on this. It's all designed, though! 
  4. Secret Projects -- I made a list on my laptop of these gazillion secret projects... 
  5. Kelly's Baby Gifts -- I have a pattern! I have some fabric! I should be cutting it up!! Seriously, though. I'm a bit scared of following a pattern. I kinda believe that most pattern writers either (a) don't have a clue how poorly written the pattern is copy editors or proof-readers because they are TOO confusing and redundant and waste fabric like crazy, or (b) they do it that way on purpose so you have to buy the pattern. This, and flannel blankets. :) She knows that. (Hi, Kelly!)
  6. Maternity Skirts -- too cold to wear skirts!
  7. Quilt-alongs -- 
    1. I'm still on the fence about the Swoon one. I've changed my mind on the quilt I'm going to make for my uncle, and I'm MUCH more excited about this design!(see #11 below) It's not necessarily easier? But maybe? Anyways, I was inspired by THIS ridackulously gorgeous quilt by Jennifer.
    2. I'm still planning on doing Amy's Block of the Month at Craftsy, I just can't commit to any fabric, yet! Not inspired...YET! :)
  8. My Baby's Quilt -- no change. I've got the fabric, and the plan, but there are other things ahead of it.
  9. T-shirt quilts -- no change. Joann's has interfacing on sale this week, so I'll get some of that, and I need to wash and prep the shirts, but there's no urgency on this one, so it languishes.
  10. Sprout's Goodnight Moon Quilt -- I hope to finish it for her birthday in May.
  11. Uncle Phil's Quilt -- here's the fabric I get to use (so excited!)

And in other news, if you're still with me. I L<3VE Vistaprint products. Today's LivingSocial deal is for $50 worth of their products for $10. I love it when they do that!!!  Click HERE for the link if you want to get the deal.
That's all for now! Have a great week - good luck getting your WiPs into your DuNs pile. :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

If You Fail To Plan...

Yes, I am aware that my WiP list is long and intimidating and kind of ridiculous. :-)

Sometime between yesterday and today, I realized that as I jumped from one project to another to another I need to come up with a PLAN. I need to figure out which projects need to be done and when. What fabric needs to be bought for each project, and when. Who is having what kind of baby, and when. So I printed out a calendar, got out a lovely pack of pens, and I'm ready to


I really think this will help me stay true to my fabric-buying restriction and not get caught at the end of the month with a bunch of fabric, and no diapers!! :-)

I'm actually pretty excited about one (probably two) quilts on the horizon. I've decided to admit to the world that I'm not ever going to even start my Bottled Rainbows quilt, and use the solids for these two quilts rather than buying more identical fabric. You know I love me some rainbows, so I'll be using the solids to make a couple of new, oh-so-lovely quilts. And actually working within my stash rather than buying new fabric. Win!

And so far, I've done better this week about eating out. Yay me! The added benefit is that the girls seem to have better days in the digestional department when we eat at home more than we eat out. :)

We have a FRMQG guild sew tomorrow, and I'm taking two things: the Harrison quilts to bind, and some mod mosaic blocks to work on. I hope to have something good to report next week!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

{WiP} Wednesday ~ Week 19

WIP Wednesday at Fresly Pieced

(I'm linking with Lee at Freshly Pieced for {WiP} Wednesday)

Oh, there are SO many projects in my head that I want to DO!!

And I'm totally feeling the pressure and stress from the fact that life as I know it will end (for a while) come early April, and I just want to get things done Done DONE!!

Problem is, I spend most of my potential sewing time in a horizontal position. My unhappy uterus prefers it that way. Although my tail bones don't really prefer it that way! They start to hurt after awhile. Hurt this way, hurt that...oh, it's fun being pregnant me.

So, I do what I can, when I can. And hope for more sitting-up time tomorrow. Or the next day. :o)

But I have SO many little things that I need to get done, too, for various collaborative projects, so I need to write those down. Some might not make sense to you, but that's okay. Maybe they are supposed to be secrets. The real trick is going to be if I remember what the code means from one week to the next! :o)

  1. Last week I reported that I was making a Dresden Plate block for Kelly. I finished it, and I love it!
    FRMQG Block Swap ~ Kelly's Dresden Plate
    I don't want to make an entire quilt of Dresdens for myself, but I really do think it's a gorgeous block. Kelly picked some really great, cheery colors, which I think pretty much makes this block.  
Ummm...Yup. That's it. I did ONE thing this week. Granted, it's been a very busy week with loads of FRMQG stuff, but not much sewing got done. :)

  1. The Harrison Quilts -- same status as last week. Although I do believe I moved them from the chair to the box.
  2. Christmas Cards -- I got one letter written to send in the card. But I haven't sent that card. I'm not winning this battle right now.
  3. Mod Mosaic Blocks -- There are 13 people in the Mod Mosaic bee, and with them sending me 2 blocks, I will have 24 blocks made by other people. The quilt I want to make for me will be at least 48, so I've got some sewing to do!!  Plus, since it's the same block each month, just different color choices, some of us have chosen to sew ahead, and I already know what the February blocks will look like. So I need to make 2 for Laura, and, slowly, over time, 24 for me.  Personally, I think it's pretty cool that I can make ahead! Especially with the baby coming...
  4. Puppet Theater backdrop -- it's not going to be hard. I've got the fabric, I just need to sit down and sew it into a little curtain. Should take about 8 minutes. But the girls won't care, so it's not a real priority. :)
  1. MQG Showcase Quilt - have you heard about this? There will be a showcase of modern quilts at the Fall Quilt Market this year? RIGHT ON!!!  The call for submissions is open through March 2nd, and I've got one in my head that I need to convert into fabric. Tout de suite, Maynard!
  2. Secret Projects - in code, but hopefully coded so I can remember!
    1. SBLL - end of Feb
    2. MMKT - end of Feb
    3. PPDD - on-going
    4. L&OCG - on-going
  3. Kelly's Baby Gift(s?) -- It's okay. Kelly knows I'm going to make her something. She and I just don't quite know what, yet. :o) -- due end of Feb. NO!! Ack!! Earlier than that!! Shoot. Better get on it. Flannel blankets are for sure,
  4. Maternity Skirts - a week or two ago, I pinned a couple tutorials for converting regular skirts into maternity skirts. There's a consignment shop in town that periodically has ridiculously good sales, so I went and bought 8 skirts for $16, and plan to slice and dice them a bit, add a big belly panel, and hopefully end up with a decent maternity skirt or two! Right now, I've got one. And I'm NOT buying any more!  It's hard, though, because some of the skirts are really cute, and I don't want to cut them in case my plan goes ary, and I've now ruined what could be a nice post-partum skirt! Oh, sewing can be so risky. :o)
  5. Quilt-alongs - sigh. I've been sucked into a couple of really good ones. There are just so many good QALs this year! Dangit! 
    1. is hosting a free block of the month class, taught by the lovely and talented, Amy Gibson. And it is REEEEEEdiculously popular. Holy frijoles, Batman. I just need to settle down and settle on a fabric line I want to use. It's all video, and it's all fun and friendly and really great for new sewists!
    2. Katy of I'm A Ginger Monkey is hosting the Swoon Along. Now, I my mommy brain isn't that bad. I know I cursed the day the Swoon block was created. And cursed the day(s) I had to make one. But the finished quilt is really gorgeous, and my aunt wants me to make a quilt for my favorite uncle, and he loves stars, and I have some gloriously gorgeous blue and green fabric that he would love, and I already have the pattern, and 2 other girls in my guild are going to do it, too. So, basically, it's a labor of love, right? Remind me of this when I'm, again, cursing the day the 65 triangles and 81 pieces were created. :o)
  6. Bee Blocks
    1. do.Good Stitches {Faith} Circle - Oh, right. We're taking January off. SWEET!!
    2. Bee Happy Bee (which, by the way, is the bestest bee on the face of the Earth) - we're making 2 blocks for Janice -- one "maker's choice" with triangles and flying geese and pinwheels, and the other with a set-in circle.
  7. My Baby's Quilt - I know what fabrics I want to use, and I kinda know what pattern I want to use, but that's as far as I've gotten! I know full well that he won't know if I don't get it done before he's born. :)
  8. T-shirt Quilts - I think I mentioned this before? But I'm going to be making 2 t-shirt quilts, over time, along with a friend of mine who has a bunch of t-shirts from days gone by. One of mine will be for Dave, from his shirts, and the other will be for his cousin, made with shirts from her high school athletic events. Step 1: wash the shirts that have been in a gray bin since 2004 and have been carted all over the globe. :o)
  9. Sprout's Goodnight Moon Quilt- my child loves the book, Goodnight Moon. She wants to sleep with it she loves it so bad! Well, yesterday I saw a Goodnight Moon panel and some backing fabric, so I got it. I figure a quilt is better than a book, right? It shouldn't take me too long, since it's a panel, and all. And it will save me from having to tape-mend the pages of her lovey.
Oh my goodness. I can't even look at that without thinking I'm insane!! Now, we should all realize that I realize that these aren't all going to be done anytime soon. Some of them are truly on-going projects that don't have any urgency, so they will stay low on the priority list.

The main reason I wanted to get all this down is so that I can have a place to refer back to when I feel like it's time to rest on my laurels a bit. This list isn't about impressing anyone or making anyone think I'm off my rocker. It's for me. Somewhere that won't get covered up with junk. :)

With that, I wish you all the best this week! I hope you and I both get a lot accomplished! :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mmm...That's Pretty!

"Mmmm...that's pretty!"  

"Oooh, look at that! It lays flat!"

"Gosh...that's just pretty!"

This is what I said about 134 times last week as I was making this lovely little block:

FRMQG Block Swap ~ Kelly's Dresden Plate

I made it for Kelly, who is in the Front Range MQG with me, and we're both part of the in-guild bee. This is the first Dresden Plate that I've made, and while I've always respected the Dresden and thought they were beautiful, I never really had the desire to make one.

That's why quilting bees are SUCH good things! They force you out of your comfort zone and make you do things, and try things, and stretch in ways you probably never wanted!

Honestly, the only thing about making the Dresden that I didn't like was cutting the blades! And even when I sewed all the blades together and they didn't quite lay down like I thought they should, I still didn't dislike it like I've disliked making other blocks.

In this case, I jumped on Facebook, went to The Modern Quilt Guild Facebook group and said "Help! My Dresden is warbly. How can I get those blades to submit to my will?" And within a minute, maybe two, I had two really good suggestions, and then more followed later. I was able to snip a little, press a little and work out the kinks to get the circle to lay down flat, and I was pleased!  :)

Next challenge was putting on the hide-my-edges circle. Applique. I'm not afraid of it, at all, but I wanted it to be a good circle, and I wanted the look to be clean, not raw-edged. My friend, Susan, who is also in the FRMQG, told me this trick:

Take fusible one-sided, sew-on interfacing (I used SF 101) and put the fusible, bumpy part against the right-side of the gray polka-dot fabric (cut into a square larger than the circle you want to cut), and then trace your circle with a pencil of fabric marker, and stitch around that line, with a smaller stitch-length for easier turning. Trim a 1/4" outside that seam line (I used pinking shears), and you've got a circle! Next, cut a little slit in the interfacing, and pull the polka dot fabric out through the hole and push out the edges. (I'm not explaining this right!). Next you iron it into place on the Dresden, following the directions for the fusible interfacing. The circle should fuse to the Dresden, provided you laid your interfacing right! :)  After that, I took some thread and did a little whip-stitch all the way around. Happy!! 

I think a lot of Dresden plate tutorials have you do something very similar, it's just that you use two pieces of the same fabric, right sides together, stitch a circle, cut a slit, etc. But how in the name of all things holy, do you get it to STAY while you sew?  This way, it's fused down, but not stiff like other fusibles, and it worked like an absolute charm. Charm! Loved the technique. Thanks, Susan!

I really love that little block. :) I don't see myself making an entire quilt of Dresdens any time soon, like Mary did, but I definitely think they are more beautiful now than I did before.

And, in other news. Truth news...being financially responsible is HARD!!  Not eating out for lunch but once a week? HARD!! I think I've used up all my mulligans through March! :)  Ugh. Why does convenience have to be so expensive??

I'm going to do better this week, though. That's my vow. It's tempting to just take that off my list, but I know that a lot of my disposable income goes to Chick-fil-A lunch out, and if I'm going to reign in my spending, then I need to not be eating out. And not buying fabric. So far, so good, there. It's been tempting since there have been some ROCKING good sales, but I don't need any new fabric right now, I'm being good.

HOWEVER...tomorrow night, the FRMQG is having a meeting at a new-ish fabric shop in Denver called Snappy Quilts, and we're having the ladies from Sweetwater come and speak!! Yes, you read that right. Yes, you can be jealous. I am SO


Excited to meet at Snappy Quilts, excited to meet in Denver (we usually meet in Monument, north of Colorado Springs), excited to meet some new friends, excited to hear the ladies of Sweetwater talk about how lucrative fabric design, and pattern writing, and book writing can be. (hardy har har, I know...there ain't NO money in it!).  I'm glad the weather is cooperating. :) And I know it's gonna be a fabulous night. Well, for everything except my budget. :-/

I hope you have a great week!

Friday, January 6, 2012

100 Days of Modern Quilting ~ Day 5

Wow. What a wake-up call this morning when I saw that my TNT quilt was featured on 100 Days of Modern Quilting today!

I mean, I knew they were doing it, I just didn't know when. :)

So, WELCOME to all of you who have come over here from the 100 Days feature!  If you're interested in the original post, and all the new things I tried (like spray basting the hexies before I sewed them on), the original post is HERE.

And, FYI - the hexies were all cut with the Accuquilt Go! Studio cutter hexagon die.

I am really SO excited about this feature on The Modern Quilt Guild. I can't wait to see all the quilters that are featured, and learn some new techniques, and get inspired, and add more things to the want-to-do list that seems to grow more quickly than the baby in my belly...

Thank you to Alissa and Latifah and Elizabeth and Jacquie, and everyone else behind the 100 Days of Modern Quilting feature. I know you guys have put in a TON of work, and we all appreciate what you do to bring us together and lead us in modern quilting. :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

{WiP} Wednesday ~ Number 18

WIP Wednesday at Fresly Pieced

Yay!! I'm so glad we get to start up with {WiP} Wednesdays! I need a place to keep track of what I'm doing so I don't get depressed and think that all I do is sit in bed on the computer and don't make anything and don't get anything done!

Which, is kinda true. I spend WAY more time sitting in bed on the computer than I would like, but my body seems to like it WAY more than me sitting at my sewing machine, or leaning over the cutting station. And, unfortunately, when I'm pregnant, it's body over mind. :-/  Such is life...and the creation of it. :o)

So far in 2012, I have one finish. The Rosary Bag I made for Caitlin, the USAFA cadet we sponsor.

Caitlin's Rosary Bag

The more I look at the pictures, the more I like it. I still contend that the construction of this tiny bag was not enjoyable, and I still contend that it's not perfect - far from it - but it looks home-made, and I think that's kind of charming. Plus, I just know Caitlin wouldn't have appreciated a perfect one any more than she appreciated this one. Does that make sense? She was super surprised, and touched, and happy to have it. And I actually made a gift that surprised and touched and made someone happy. I took something she said a long time ago and made it real for her. THAT is a gift worth giving - perfect in lots of ways. :o)

Now. Onto The List. The actual {WiP}s that cry to me from my sewing room as I'm lounging in bed.

1. The Harrison Quilts ~ I am ashamed to admit that I still have not delivered these quilts to the homeless family in my church. I've stalled on binding the quilt for the mom. I suck. I'm going to try, this week, to make some progress. Keep me on track, okay? Honestly...I realize that this is totally something I can finish while lounging, but I've got quilter's block, or something. :)

2. FRMQG Adventure Bee Blocks ~ In the Front Range MQG, we do a bee block exchange once a month, and this month I'm making a Dresden Plate block for Kelly, and she's making my "bubbles" block. It's my first Dresden Plate block, and I think I'm just oblivious to it's difficulties, because so far, the worst part has been the cutting. Of course, I've only sewn the top seam on each little blade and haven't even begun to join them, but I got something accomplished!

Dresden Blades for Kelly M ~ FRMQG Block Swap

3. Christmas Cards ~ Even though this isn't quilt-related, I think this needs to go somewhere. I still haven't written and sent out my Christmas cards. Again, I realize this is something I could do while sitting in bed, don't remind me. :)

4. Mod Mosaic Bee Blocks ~ Yes, I joined another bee. I'm a lunatic. I realize this, but Yolanda promised to help me when I get overwhelmed, so I'm going to take her up on it! :)  This is a new bee that she just started up, and it's going to be fun! We all make mod mosaic blocks in each other's color combo with fabrics from our stash...which is good. This is my month, and the blocks folks are making for me are SO wonderful!!

Mosaic of Blocks For Me!

My goal is to make as many blocks as get made for me (and then some), so I can make a lovely, and large, rainbow quilt of monochromatic strips, like this one. RIGHT up my alley.

Top Secret Project Baby Quilt top finished!

5. Puppet Theater Backdrop ~ Dave asked me to make a backdrop for the puppet theater he made the girls. I have the supplies, I just need to cut and sew.

There are also LOADS of other things on my list that I need to start...and finish!  The baby is due April 14th, so I need to get some stuff accomplished before then. Otherwise, it'll be a long, long while before I really complete much.

Soooo, with that, I will get up out of bed, feed my children, maybe take the girls to the park while the weather is nice...and cross my fingers that I'll get some more sewing done today.

Have a great week, and I hope you get more accomplished than you expect!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One Last Christmas Gift ~ Well Received

Caitlin's Rosary Bag

I finished the rosary bag I was working on yesterday with plenty of time to spare, looks atrocious! I will not, repeat NOT, be sewing a teeny bag with linen and satin again ANY time soon. Ugh.

It looks SO homemade. Like something a 9 year old might make in 4-H. I seriously doubt I'll be joining the Pretty Little Pouch Swap in, oh, the next 4 years. :)

I used KelbySew's Zippered Pouch Tutorial, which is really quite good. My problems with creating this pouch are ALL MINE!!  First, I made it pretty small (4 x 3.5"), which made it challenging. Second, I should have shortened my zipper since the pouch was so small, but I didn't realize how small it was going to become until it was too late. I wanted the pouch to be small, but it just added another level of challenge. And, third, (sigh), I decided to use linen for the outside and satin for the inside. Fire. And. Ice. It wasn't THAT bad, really, there was just more coaxing than I expected. :)  And the left and right side of the zipper aren't perfect/identical/symmetrical/whatever.

The good news is, though, that Caitlin really seemed to love it. She was genuinely surprised, not expecting me to (a) remember that she'd wanted one, and (b) figure out how to make one, and (c) actually take the time to make something for her. She had mentioned months ago that she wanted to go and buy a bag to protect her rosary, but, luckily for me, she never did. :)  She seemed pleased with the fabric choices, and the size, and the Chi-Rho symbol on the front, though she didn't know what it was, and I didn't remember enough about what I read on Wikipedia to tell her! Good thing Google is so handy, right?  She didn't even seem to notice all the flaws! Jackpot!

And, really. I saw the ones in the store. I saw the ones online. THIS is so much more appropriate for an 18-year old, I think. She wouldn't like tapestry. She wouldn't like pleather, she wouldn't like denim, or crochet or felt.  I mean, I guess if I took the time to make one like that for her, she would appreciate it, but those just aren't HER!  I am going to think that this one is much more her style.

And...she loved the Barnes and Noble gift card inside. :)

So. There you have it! A late Christmas gift that counts towards the 2012 finishes! And it makes me feel good that she was so excited and surprised about it. I'll sleep better at night.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Truth Project: Day 1

Day 1 of my Truth Project went well yesterday. 365 more days to go, right? :)

To be fair, we went to church and came straight home. I didn't have a chance to spend any money (other than on the Internet, of course!)

Which is a good thing since I discovered (truth) that I have $3.72 in my regular checking account. Shocking, I know! :)  I have cash in my wallet, and money in other places, and money from Christmas, but as far as my daily disposable's slim. And the next time my funds get an injection? January 9th. This should be a challenging week! And nutritionally creative, I'm sure. :)

Onto crafty things...

We sponsor a cadet at the US Air Force Academy, and a long time ago, she mentioned wanting to buy a rosary bag, to keep her rosary safe. Well, I decided yesterday, or the day before, to make her one for Christmas -- and put a gift card inside, of course...can't give an empty pouch, now can I?  So yesterday I started searching for tutorials to make a sewn rosary bag. Umm...they don't exist. :-/  So I somehow figured out the sorta/kinda measurements, and cut some fabric. Then I decided that I wanted to jazz it up a bit, so I searched for something meaningful, and found the labarum, or Chi-Rho.  It looked simple enough for me to hand embroider (poorly), and I'm still working on it... (I know the Chi isn't finished, so it looks a bit silly right now.)  :)

My plan (haha) was to take my time and finish it up in the next few days, then mail it to her because cadets don't get much fun mail.

But...about 9:00 this morning, I got a call from her asking if I could pick her up from the airport. Tonight. (Her flight was delayed and she'd miss the shuttle). Of course I said "Yes", because that's what sponsors do, but I realized I need to put my embroidery and sewing skills on hyper drive to get this done for her tonight! It's not a difficult project by any means, it's just that I have limited sewing time during the day.

And the weather is GORGEOUS today, so I was planning on taking the girls to the park for a picnic.

Picnics in the park are more important than late Christmas gifts. :)

So, there's my truth for the day. I'll post pictures of the posted rosary bag when I finish. It's not going to be fancy, but it'll be done. And heck, I might just write a tutorial in case anyone else in the crafting world wants to make one. :)

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Truth. My Goal for 2012.

I want to be honest. I want to be open. I want to be vulnerable on my blog, but for whatever reason, I tend to keep it all sunshine and roses. (Right now I'm going to type until I'm done, and then I'm going to hit "publish" editing. K? You've been warned!)

Now, I know this is my sewing blog, and I've got another blog that is supposed to be about my life, but I think what I'm about to say and do will best be done here.

I'm going to try a couple of new things in 2012.

First, I'm going to try to be honest and vulnerable about something every day. Or so. :)  Whatever works out. I just want to say what I really feel somewhere.

Second, I'm going to try to be way more financially responsible in 2012. And I'm going to post my can-buy and can't-buy list here so (a) I can refer back to it, and (b) if you see me in Target with a bunch of stuff from the clearance rack, you can say "Ummm...Melissa...what's this???"  Keep me accountable, will ya? Because I don't have the will-power to do this on my own.

Just so you know, this is something that has been brewing inside of me for a little while now. I'm not one for resolutions because I feel that we always have a chance to start over and start fresh. And I totally believe in forgiveness and that I don't/won't need to feel horrible if I fall...wait...when I fall. But I want to be able to have the freedom (and the encouragement from friends) to start fresh again and not feel ashamed and guilty.

See, here's the thing...and we all have "things", you know? Idiosyncrasies. Money is one of mine. We didn't have a lot growing up. We had what we needed, and enough of what we wanted, but we didn't have a lot. And when my brother went to college, we had even less. And while it is true that Dave and I are in a TOTALLY and COMPLETELY different financial state than what I was in when I was a child, the feelings about money still linger. And I know that we are stewards of what God has given to us, which is part of why I want to do better. But the reality is this: I often feel poor.

There. I said it. We have enough. More than enough. And yet I feel poor. And it's largely because I make bad choices with my budget and with my spending.

Also, since this has been brewing inside of me for a while, this isn't actually something I've discussed with Dave. Not that he would care. Because, well, he wouldn't. (truth)  My personal decision to be more financially responsible will not affect him one way or the other. He won't love me any more or any less, he won't respect me any more or any less, he won't support me any more or any less. It won't change his life at all.  So why should I bother discussing it with him?  And, okay, to be fair, my decision to be more financially responsible shouldn't  have any affect on the way he feels about me. He should love/respect/support me regardless, which he does, but this just won't matter to him.

And also, too...I'm not doing this to shout from the rooftops and be like "I'm going to be GOOD this year! Be proud of me!" I hope to do this quietly, which doesn't make any sense about why I'm blogging about it, but I want people to help keep me accountable, and I don't really have many local friends who are close enough to me to really help me do that.

I don't know, yet, if I'm going to report here on the blog when I've been good and when I've fallen, but maybe. Maybe I'll post on Facebook something like "I just couldn't resist getting a Coke at the 7-11." I don't know. I mean, I'll know in my heart and in my head when I've fallen, but maybe y'all don't want to hear about it.

But what I do know is that I've written out a few can-buy's and a few can't-buy's for me to have and refer to throughout the year. Obviously, there are certain things I won't limit myself on...such as food...but maybe I can be better about that stuff, too!  So here are the cans and can'ts:

Can Buy
  • Necessities - such as diapers, clothes for the kids, cat litter, etc.
  • Eat out for lunch 1x a week/the girls and 1x a week for dinner/all 4 of us
  • Fabric and supplies for gifts or charity projects
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Educationally nutritional stuff for the kids
  • Gifts for others
  • Absolutely necessary clothing for Melissa (like undergarments) :)
  • New saucepan since I burned the good one I had...otherwise no kitchen items!
  • Make-up that costs less than $5
  • Party supplies for whatever parties we might have, but borrow what I can.
Can't Buy (because we already have enough of these things!)
  • Fabric just because it's pretty and I want to have it (to "stash")
  • Thread just because it's on sale.
  • Paper and pens and blank cards and office supplies (unless we're out).
  • Toys for the kids (except birthday/Christmas gifts).
  • Clothes for me. At all. Maternity or otherwise (unless it's a necessity, see above)
  • Sippy cups. Hah!
  • Fabric for "ideas in my head" -- I can only buy fabric for projects I will actually DO!
  • Convenience store candy/snacks/drinks
  • Any dishes or kitchen items (except the saucepan I mentioned above!)
  • Sewing tools I could borrow
  • Colored nail polish
  • Wrapping paper and accessories
  • ANYTHING on clearance. (Unless it's on the "can buy" list already) - but nothing "just because"
  • Shoes for me. At all. Unless it's a necessity.
Just so you know, I am offering myself one "Mulligan" each month. I don't know, yet, how big I will let that mulligan be, but I know I'll fall off the wagon, and I want to give myself one forgiveness pass without guilt...and then the rest of the times I fall, I'll have to figure out how to make restitution. :)

There are a lot of other things going on in my family life right now that are challenging and stressful to me, so maybe if I can cut out the "spirit of poverty" in my life, I'll be able to look at those other things with more clarity. And I promise to honestly, openly, vulnerabe-ly share those things, too. :)

With that, I will save and hit publish. THIS is my goal for 2012. It'll be tough, and I'll fall, but I hope I don't fail. :)  Thanks for listening.