Sunday, February 27, 2011

I'm going to pay for this...

...but I took ALL DAY on Saturday to do what I wanted to do. I figured I'd be more motivated at work if I took a teensy little break from it. You better believe that a large chunk of Saturday was devoted to sewing. I finished the blocks needed to make that extra row on my scrappy log cabin quilt, and then put the top together. It was technically Sunday when I put the last stitch in...

I also spent some time quilting my little ELLA name quilt. I went with a very Tonya-esque freehand Baptist Fan.

So I'm happy with how my weekend worked out - warm weather and sunshine, some sewing, a trip to visit my mom, yummy winnings at the kids' school fundraiser CakeWalk, karate, sleeping in, air hockey tournaments with the kids, videos with the family, and the list goes on - but I'll be kicking myself tomorrow when I realize how much work I have yet to do.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Another grueling week! So busy that I barely have time to speak or write complete sentences. I feel like all of my communication with others lately has been curt, hurried, much like a text message. So when I found myself with a few spare moments yesterday, I found myself thinking of how thankful I am for all of you and those emails and comments I get from you all throughout the day - it really lifts me up during this stressful time. When my few spare moments were over yesterday afternoon, before my husband came home and I had to go back to work (until 2 AM! Then back up again at 6 this morning! Ugh!), this is what I had come up with:

It goes out especially to Em, whose silly emailed photos always bring a smile to my face. Thanks for reading, and for hanging in there with me when all I do is whine about how busy/tired/overworked I am.

Oh, and I almost forgot. At some point this week I found the time to put the scrappy border on my first Birdie BOM. I love using up those 2.5" scraps, and I love how bright and cheerful it is going to be. Of course, at 2 months/block, it will take me two years to complete the top...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Remember me?

Oh, my goodness, what a week! I'm not going to go into details because that would just stress me out, but I can say, I sure am glad it is OVER! This weekend, I was so wiped out that I didn't do much. On Saturday, I took the boys to the park for 3 hours after Jason's basketball game. They rode bikes and skateboards and played on the playground equipment while I laid out on my Orphan Block quilt reading and soaking up the sun. If you are looking for a good mystery that takes place in a little town that I wish I could visit, check out Still Life by Louise Penny. To my delight, there are more in the series!

Today, I didn't really want to get out of bed. I finished the book and then hunger forced me into the kitchen. But not long afterwards, I was back on my bed, watching Gilmore Girls videos while working on my January Birdie BOM. Ah, Stars Hollow, another fictional town I would love to visit! And look, I am ALMOST done!

Look more closely and you'll see the DIRT on the block where Donald STEPPED on it. {sigh} Life with boys.

But surely, what you are hoping to hear from me is how LAST weekend went with Bonnie Hunter. So without further ado...

After work on Friday, I parceled my kids out to friends and arrived at dinner with Bonnie Hunter and the officers of the Guild only about 10 minutes late. When I walked in, it was surreal seeing Bonnie sitting there! A real live celebrity in our midst! They saved me a seat next to her, and I had a great time listening to her travel and quilting stories.

Then it was off to the trunk show and lecture. Again, my quilting buddies made sure I had a seat up front, but then Bonnie asked for HOLDERS and FOLDERS for her trunk show. I'm too short to be a HOLDER, but I did jump up to be a FOLDER and what a good idea that was. As she talked about her quilts, I got to fondle and examine and revel in them up close as we folded them. Some were new to me, but many I had either seen on her website or in her books and they were like old friends.

My face hurt at the end of the evening from all the smiling!

That night, Nancy came home with me, and we stayed up late cutting fabric for the next day's workshop and catching up. Then, we were up with the dawn to go to the workshop the next morning. I truly meant to make this workshop quilt. Here are Nancy and I in front of the Class Sample.

And here I am with Bonnie and the quilt I made for my mom 3 years ago.

But as I sat there and started sewing and cutting, I just couldn't get excited about making the same quilt, even if I do LOVE that quilt and even if it is in completely different fabrics. So, I started wandering around, and look what I found.

This isn't how you are supposed to lay this out, but I like the possibilities. Plus, no need to subcut into four pieces - fewer cuts and fewer seams to make this variation. So I started to play.

And play.

And play.

And play.

And I'm still playing.
I still don't really like all these florals, but I'm excited to clear them out of my stash. And wouldn't you know, my mom mentioned the other day that she loves florals. Hmmm, another quilt for her, perhaps?

And Bonnie sat down to play at my machine, too! I had just bought Tonya's book and mentioned how I couldn't figure out how to make an S. She volunteered to show me. I thought she meant with pencil and paper, but nope, she meant with my fabric!

This S (which I wore on my chest for the rest of the workshop) will definitely make it into one of my quilts one of these days. A treasure! Thank you, Bonnie!

I had to leave early to go to the Blue and Gold Ceremony for Cub Scouts. Here I am with my co-den leader helping to paint the boys' faces.

See their quilt hanging back there? They were so proud, and everyone kept ooohhhing and aaahhing and the boys just beamed! We're thinking of leaving the quilt on display at the church somewhere (the church is our charter organization), and I'm also planning to send some photos in to Boys Life and see if we can't be included in a future issue - all of the boys receive Boys Life Magazine, and I know they'd FLIP to see themselves in print! Thanks to whoever suggested that - genius!

Sunday was a day at work for me, but I was able to bring the kids along, and in my breaks we made Valentines for their classes.

(Cupid, he ain't!)
Then, the week began, and I swear I didn't get a chance to eat or sleep or hug my children or ANYTHING, I was so busy with work. I certainly didn't get a chance to sew. And this upcoming week is not looking much better. June, where are you? I'm ready for your long days and warm nights and quiet moments...

Monday, February 14, 2011

I challenge you!

This morning, I don't have the time necessary to properly describe my wonderful weekend with Bonnie Hunter, but I do have the time to say this:

I bought Tonya's Word Play Quilts book from Bonnie during the workshop, and had a chance to read it cover to cover yesterday. I challenge ANYONE to read that book and NOT run right to your sewing machine and start sewing! It's so fun and inspiring! So, of course, the first chance I had, I ran right to my sewing machine and started sewing...

I'm working on a Pay It Forward gift for a high school friend a reconnected with on Facebook who is constantly posting about how much she adores her little daughter, Ella. I haven't seen this friend for over 20 years, but I figure I can't go wrong with a gift for/about her daughter. And how exciting to finally cut into my Urban Circus fat quarters!

More about my weekend when I have more than 5 minutes to sit still. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Prepping for Bonnie Hunter

One day until Bonnie Hunter arrives!!!

First, on Friday night, she is doing a Scrap User's System lecture/trunk show. I want to sit RIGHT UP FRONT so I can see. I learned my treatment of scraps from her website, and I love that I always have pre-cut squares ready to pop into a project.

Then, on Saturday, she is doing the Scrappy Mountains Majesty workshop. This was the quilt pattern that introduced to me to Bonnie Hunter in 2007, and I made this quilt for my mom for Christmas that year. I've been a Bonnie Hunter fan ever since.

I'm thrilled to making another one, as my mom's quilt is one of my favorites, but what theme or color scheme? Hmmmm.... Nancy is making one in Christmas fabric, so originally I thought I would, too, but only a few fabrics in I realized that I didn't have the variety of Christmas fabrics that I wanted and I didn't want to buy more. Back to the drawing board.

What I do have a lot of, and what I almost NEVER use, is FLORALS. For some reason, florals just never speak to me. What the heck? I thought. This will be a way to use up a bunch of them. So last night I started cutting, and managed to cut out all the lights that I will need, plus a couple extra (since I always make mistakes). And, in true Scrap Users fashion, whatever leftover scraps I had into either 2" strips or the square sizes that I collect - 1.5", 2", 2.5", 3", 3.5", 4", 4.5" and 5".

It was a calming and cathartic exercise, as I have been pretty overwhelmed at work, not just with the quantity of it, but also the unbelieveable things that some of our clients/customers say and do.

Tonight, I'll be back down there cutting out darks.

I hope I will like all those scrappy florals together, but even if I don't, at least I will have moved some stash that wasn't otherwise likely to move. Do you know that I found a fabric with a 1989 copyright date in the selvage? Obviously a floral that someone else didn't want and gifted to me. That's OK - I'll gladly take your discards and cast-offs, and one day, they will find their way into something BEAUTIFUL!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Done and done

The boys practiced their square knots and finished up the Cub Scout quilt. I can't wait to have them display it at their Blue and Gold ceremony on Saturday. Even though the birthing process was a hassle at the time, now, the quilt is DONE and done feels great!

I've had some squishy mail lately. First, some unexpected Katie Jump Rope scraps from Angela - thanks, Angela!

And then the fabric for my February Bee Block. Pink and brown - pretty!

The instructions were to make a 9.5" Shoofly block and add scrappy sashing to two sides. My first instinct was to make one of those scrappy sashing blocks a mini shoofly block, but I goofed and the points got cut off - that's OK for a quilt that I'm keeping, but not for a block that I'm sending off to someone else.

So I substituted that mini shoofly with a mini 9-patch - I don't like it as much, but it'll do. I hope she likes it!

Monday, February 7, 2011

I was a Breech Baby

I have a feeling that explains a lot of things in my life. I seem to never do things things the "normal" way, or I do things backwards. Or, in the case of this weekend, inside out. Ugh.

No sewing on Saturday because I spent the day with my mom - wonderful! But that meant I just had Sunday to sandwich the Cub Scout quilt because we meet tonight to tie it. In my infinite wisdom, I decided I needed to "birth" this quilt, since I wouldn't have much time before this Saturday's ceremony to bind it, and I'd rather use that time preparing for Bonnie Hunter (I did tell you that Bonnie Hunter is coming this Friday and Saturday, right? And that I get to have dinner with her before Friday's trunk show? Oh, I am SO excited!!!)

Who cares that I've never birthed a quilt before. It can't be that hard, right? I laid out the quilt, pinned it and sewed around the edges.

Then, I trimmed it down nice and neat, and started turning it "right side out". Hmmm, something isn't right - the batting is on the OUTSIDE!!! Out with the seam ripper. It took me half an hour to pin, sew and trim, and another hour and a half to rip out the seam.

So, two hours later, I was back where I started. When I was giving birth to my first son, they called that "failure to progress", and gave me a C-section. Apparently, I'm not much more facile with this birthing process. About half way through the seam ripping, I considered "an emergency C-section" of my own. What if, instead of WASTING all this TIME ripping seams, I just trimmed all the borders down by 1/4". Who cares if my borders aren't the same width as my sashing strips, right? I could avoid all this seam ripping and just sew around the new perimeter. I was tempted, but I didn't. While this quilt isn't going to be a masterpiece, I did want to do as nice a job as I could for the boys. I'm curious, though, would any of you gone ahead and cut it down instead of all that frogging?

I had hoped by now to be able to show my completed Birdie BOM block. I've been working on it at basketball games and practices for two weeks now, plus through a movie. I've discovered why it is called a Block of the Month - it is going to take me ALL MONTH to finish the darned block!

I eased some of my frustrations last night with some mindless pressing - all the bonus triangles from previous projects that I've been sewing together into HSTs as a leader/ender project these days. One day, there will be enough to make some crazy quilt that is a conglomeration of leftovers from lots of different quilts.