Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Day

Christmas Day we spent at my brothers place. Mikaela enjoyed playing with her cousin's toys.

Mathew wanted to get into everything.

He loved this ball.

We brought the four-wheeler and daddy pulled the sled with the cousins.

Daddy and Uncle Jim pulling the sled. We had a blast being pulled in the sled all over the pasture. Even I took a turn.

Mikaela loved being out in the snow. We just don't have that much at our house right now.

She even got to help Uncle Jim feed the cows.

She really warmed up to Uncle Jim and was mesmerized by being out with the cows.

She loved riding in the tractor.

We had a very relaxing and fun Christmas Day doing things we don't normally get to do.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve we got ready for mass and Mikaela was so excited to wear her new dress.

We took a family picture before mass.

After we got home Mathew guarded the presents.

Mikaela with her presents before we started opening them.

It was a fun night opening presents. We are on toy overload, but had a great time.

December Sewing in Review

I started out December strong, well the first hour of it! I finished this purse in the wee hours of December 1. It's the Barbados bag and I'll be teaching it in February. I have one started for me, but just didn't find the time to get it made.

Then the month went rather south and I didn't get a whole lot accomplished. We were gone, working our 3rd job, and sick for most of the month. I did finish this Day Break Sample for a class I plan to teach in January. It's a fun little block to make and the class will be a starting point for the whole quilt if anyone is interested. I'm teaching a series of classes this year using the Hex And More Ruler and the Sidekick Ruler. This uses both.

I've always wanted to do a Swoon class, so I finally decided to do it as a one block class. That way people can make a wall hanging or table topper, before committing to the whole quilt. Since the class is during Stock Show I made a western fabric sample, but I also have modern fabric blocks done as well. I still love this block and now that I've made several I've gotten it figured out how to press to make them easier.

I also made this hexie ornament for an exchange with friends. It didn't turn out how I expected, but it was okay.

I worked a lot on my Buggy Barn hexies during work breaks and have almost all the sashing done. Now I need to figure out how I will finish it.

For our niece and nephews this year I made embroidered towels with the kids names. I think they turned out pretty cool. Mikaela helped pick the colors and she has decided she wants one too, so I'll have to get on that. They are quick and easy to do once I make up my mind to set up the embroidery machine.

I was playing with the V5 software when I was making the towels and designed this sweatshirt for Grandma Leslie.

Then I screwed up and forgot to change the design, so I made a second one for Grandma Ann.

Then I made the one I had originally intended for Grandma Ann. It has all 5 grandkids on it. Ed and Steph are expecting in March and I'll try to add the new baby's name, if it will fit. Someone said they just need to plan to only use either the G or D. Grandma Ann loves to accessorize, so hers have some jewelry she plans to wear with them. The 3 sweatshirts are all from my mom's "stash" of embroidery items, so I just went with the sizes that fit.

One of the quilt shops in town is closing and last week I went for their 50% off stuff. I picked up a new stashbuster ruler, a wall hanging hanger, and some yellow batik that will match some horse batik I already have.

For Christmas I received awesome gifts from my little bro and his fiance. Two rulers, a seam ripper and nippers. It was so exciting to get quilty gifts.

I needed a quick gift, so I made up a fleece blanket with embroidery on it. I plan to give it later this week and then will share the embroidery. I didn't have time to commit to a quilt, so a blanket will do for now.

This year I won the staff UFO finish competition. Per capita we beat the customers and Tammy gave me this great box. It already has my mini professional tote in it. It's a WIP that will turn into a UFO tomorrow unless I get some major sewing time tonight. I have the front and back made. The pattern is quite a bit different than the full size professional tote, so I am learning a lot and ripping a lot when I don't read the directions quite right. It's definitely a pattern where people will want to take a class to make it.

With only 40 hours in so far this month, I just haven't gotten a lot accomplished. Looking back I didn't do too bad though. I have a quilt retreat coming up in January and then sewing with friends in February, so I hope to get more accomplished. I have 40+ UFO's on my list for this year, so I hope to get it down to under 10.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013 Quilts in Review

2013 was the year of the UFO at the Sewing Center and with the incentive to complete as many projects as I could, I took off. I accomplished a lot and finished some UFO's I never thought would see the light of day. The ones that are left - they are all the big ones I can't finish with my frame in the small size. So I didn't work on them. I have about 10 or so of my own left and 10 or so of mom's left. All of them are fairly big, so I hope to complete at least 1 from either list each month next year. I also have some challenging quilts I want to start next year, just to take my quilting to a new level.
I finished this Briar Rose quilt made of scrap batiks. I plan to make another one from my regular fabric scraps, so I have been cutting up scraps and sewing sets of squares as a leaders and enders project this year.

I used up some of my Let it Snow batik to make a throw for the couch. I love the fabric and still have plenty to make something this year. I also made a table topper and pillow to match.

I used up some scraps to make this Teacups baby quilt for a class I taught. It's a baby size quilt.

I made this Peaks quilt out of 12 fat quarters for a sample for the store.

This quilt is a a Chevron quilt I made as a sample for a class I taught.

This one was a new quilt I made. It's an English Paper Pieced star I pieced in 1 month . It's a wall hanging.

I finished this Unity wall hanging. I thought the pattern was for a bigger quilt, but with only 1 1/2" strips, it finished very small.

Scrappy Hugs and Kisses was a fun quilt to make with leftover batik strips. I have enough leftovers to make a scrappy batik Trip Around the World next year.

I pieced some leftover batiks into this diamond. It's very small with 1/2" hexie's, but was a new project for me this year.

The Thangles BOM started as a fun project in 2009, but with lots of problems I just didn't enjoy the colors or the finished project, so I put it off for a long time. This year at retreat I finished the top, so I was able to get it finished this year.

Frolic Star Surround was made from a Quilt a Long. I love the blocks and did it after it was over, but still enjoyed making it. I used scraps from Frolic.

My oldest UFO was completed, thanks to a Year of Lovely Finishes. I made this appliqued wold for Paul. I started it in 2008.

This quilt was Mikaela's quilt for Christmas. I wanted to make a large Carpenter Star, so I used a piece of minkee and matched the colors to it. I used all Stash fabric to make it.

These are just a few quilts I made this year. I completed 55 UFO's, 60 NEW projects, 14 Samples, and 14 of Mom's UFO's. All in all I feel very good about how much I got done. I have projects lined up and waiting for next year. I have 1 sample I need to make before the end of the year and then it will be one to new projects.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thanksgiving night & Black Friday

The kids and I spent Thanksgiving night and Black Friday helping my dad and Ann at their new house. The kids were so cute and loved playing in the new space.
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Even bedtime was different sitting in grandpa's "BIG" chair.
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Friday was beautiful, so we went for a wagon ride to feed the kitties.
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The kids loved Grandpa's big wagon.
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The horses came over to say hi too. This is Mikaela's favorite Butterscotch.
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She wanted her picture with Grandpa and Grandma and Butterscotch.
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Back up the hill we went. The temps were in the 50's so I had the kids dressed a bit warm, but they had a good time.
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Mathew loved climbing on the loveseat.
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He knew when he was doing something he shouldn't have been doing.
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It was fun to spend time at the house, helping them get it all situated and in place.

Finish it Up Friday

This week has flown by and I didn't get nearly as much accomplished as I would have liked. I am still behind in buying gifts and getting ready for Christmas. Tonight some sewing friends and I are having an exchange of Christmas ornaments. I decided yesterday to make a hexie stocking. It didn't turn out quite how I envisioned, but still cute.

It didn't take nearly as long to sew the hexies as I expected.

I even had time last night to make this Day Break table topper. It's from a Jaybirds quilt pattern and I am just making the table topper as a sample for a class I'll be teaching in Jan. I have another one cut out in the opposite colorway. Start to finish I made it in under 3 hours, including piecing, quilting, and binding. As well as bedtime routine with the kids.

I used the quarter inch foot for the quilting.

I love the warm colors of the fabric.

This one is not the true colors, but shows the quilting better. I am so happy to have this one finished and know it goes together super easy. I really like how it turned out and can see making more of these blocks.

I'm linking up at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

So Little Sewing

December has been so different for me. I just haven't been sewing and I am starting to feel it. I'm crabby and not myself when I don't get to relax. I did finally decorate my cubical at work, only to find out we'll be moving next week. This is a cardinal wall hanging mom made and I finished.
I also put out this cardinal table runner with my quilt shop and fabric shop Christmas houses on it. These houses just make me happy and I didn't have room for them at home.
Last night, after an especially bad day and feeling crabby and out of sorts, I made myself sew. I had matched up and marked all the half square triangles to make this western Swoon block. I Love this block and look forward to teaching it in the new year. It felt so good to make this and it took me right at 1.5 hours. It used to take me closer to 3 hours to get a block made, but now I have figured out how to press and match up the fabrics so they all go the right direction. I even chain pieced the entire thing.

So now that I have it completed I'm looking forward to getting my Day Break table topper done. I have it all cut out and ready to sew. I plan to cut out a mini professional tote at lunch. We'll see how that goes. At least I have all the fabric for it and just have to buy zippers.
I feel much better and more relaxed after sewing last night. I have a nasty head cold, but hopefully that will go away by the weekend. We've rescheduled Mathew's party, since we were all super sick last weekend.

December EPP Review

splish splash stash

Since it's mid-December it's time for the monthly link up at Splish Splash Stash. I made quite a bit of progress getting the borders on the Amish star, only to realize they don't come out right and I don't like the look of the border. So I am carefully taking it off and going to add a solid 1" border and then put another border of the background fabric on. This will probably wait until the new year since I am just not feeling it right now. Too many other projects taking my time.
I did pick this little table topper up though and start working on it. I have gotten the last two pink flowers attached and am working on the cream sashing. Now that I have enough pieces cut with a little more variety, it has been fun to work on this again. It's going to finish at about the size it is now. I think I'll be able to get the top done before the end of the year. I love these hexie's because they sew up so quickly. These are 3/4" ones.
Our hexie group has been pretty quiet this month, so I am lacking inspiration. I've been sick for a few days along with the family, so my motivation left as well. Hope to do a bit of stitching over the Christmas break.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Finish it Up Friday

This week has been just about as bad as last week for lack of sewing time. I do have a finish for Finish it Up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts. I spent most of the week cleaning up from the past week, reorganizing, and doing laundry. I love being gone, but it's a lot of work to get everything back in shape. I was determined to get this Christmas quilt done before the holiday. I fixed the bottom, quilted it a little bit and then put the binding on it.

It's not perfect, but is unique. The top made by Grandma Elaine, the backing made by mom and I and the final quilt finished by me.
While I was shop hopping last weekend I picked up a new hexie ruler, some pink glue refills, Aurifil thread, and a stain remover.
A couple weeks ago Mikaela helped me quilt a wall hanging for their bedroom. She was so excited to help, so I took her picture. I just now am getting them on to the computer.
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She was so proud of helping mom with the quilting.
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She held the left side while I guided her with the right. I'll have to find more projects that she can help on. Since this was a wall hanging it didn't really matter that the loops were wonky. She had a great time helping me.
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Slow December Sewing

Considering I've sewn for only an hour of December on my machine, I do not have much to show for the month so far. I literally finished this purse in the wee hours of December 1st. The kids went to bed on Saturday night and I stayed up and made the bag start to finish in about 4 hours. It's my only finish for December so far.
It's a sample for a class I'll be teaching in the new year called the Barbados bag. I really like the size and shape of it. I have fabric to make myself one, but it will have to wait until my samples are done. Deadline is Dec. 21st, so I need to get a move on.
Daddy was hunting on December 1st, so Mikaela and I spent the afternoon decorating the house of Christmas. She really wanted pretty lights outside and it was gorgeous - in the 50's, so I got out the ladder and put up my lights from college. Apparently they aren't pretty enough because she told her daddy he needed to buy some prettier lights and put them up. It's become a joke with us, since this is the first year in at least 4 that we aren't the scrooges on the street.
We also cleaned and decorated inside, putting up the stockings mom made and some of her Christmas houses. I love to see these and remember mom. It's also fun to have the house all decorated for Christmas except the tree and we'll do that this weekend.
Mathew turned 1 on December 5th. Since we were pretty busy, we gave him a few gifts and will have a party next weekend. He gave me his bottle, crossed his hands and fell asleep the other nights. It was just too precious. Wish his sister fell asleep this easy.
Here's a picture of him on his birthday, first thing in the morning before we headed to daycare.
He didn't want to sit in the chair.
This weekend my aunt and uncle kept Mikaela while Mathew stayed with Grandpa and Grandma. Aunt Janie made Mikaela a scarf and she picked out the yarn.
She also helped Mikaela color and cut out her hand prints for ornaments.
And they made glitter snow for the snowbabies. She had so much fun spending time with my aunt.
My college roommates and I got together for a quick night of supper and the Tonic Sol Fa Concert. We've been going to #TonicSolFa since we were in college and now have been trying to get together for their Christmas concert in Sioux Falls about every other year. It's so fun to go out with our husbands, catch up on our lives, and just enjoy seeing each other. I can't believe it has been 11 years since we graduated! I'm the short one on the far left.

Hopefully this week I'll be able to do some sewing after I get back into a routine. Last night my final paper was due for my finance class. It is turned in and I now await my grade. Hopefully my TA is approved for Winter quarter and I'll graduate in March. I thought about sewing, but need to clean and put stuff away from the weekend, so I decided going to bed was a better idea. Here's hoping tonight is a little more productive!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

November Accomplishments

While November was not quite as productive as October, I still feel like I got a lot done.
I quilted up this small quilt while practicing different free motion stitches on my machine. I'm anticipating teaching a free motion sampler class in April. It also was bound.
I pieced, quilted, and bound this quilt for Mathew for Christmas. It has minkee on the back.
The major accomplishment and the one I am most proud of is finishing my Wolf wall hanging for Paul. I've been working on it for 5 years and it feels so good to finally have it done!
I made this fabric book up for Mikaela and Mathew. It was our activity for day number 3 of Advent. Both daddy and mommy read it several times.
I made these samples up for a hexagon table topper class I taught. While they were good and illustrated the point, I don't think they were as helpful as I imagined.
The almost finished topper to show how it was to look.
I quilted Christmas coins. I'm still not sure if I am leaving the last section, so I haven't put the binding on it yet.
Mikaela helped me and we made this wall hanging for their bedroom.
I also pieced and quilted and bound the minkee Carpenter Star quilt for Mikaela for Christmas.

December has seen a slow start. Hubby and I are working the 3rd job every night this week and while it is going fast and is easy, it's a little too much with small children. I just do not have time to get everything done I need to do. We'll be done tomorrow night, so I am not going to get too bent out of shape. I still hope to get a lot done before Christmas and then I am hopeful to get all my samples finished too.
My goals for December are lofty, so I figure if I finish half I'll be lucky.
- Rubic Star Border
- Quilt & Bind Mini Sampler
- Barbados Bag - Yellow/Gray
- Western Swoon Wall Hanging
- Day Break Table Topper
- Advent Calendar
- Bind Christmas Coins (fix maybe)
- Blue/White Quilt for MIL
- Mathew's Tag Blanket
- Mikaela's Robe