Saturday, January 30, 2010

My month in it really the end of the month already?

Hi out there in blogland! I can't believe the month is almost gone. It never ceases to amaze me how the time flies.  I remember being a kid and time seemed to crawl and now that I'm older I wish it would slow down! I was looking back on my goals for the month and have to admit that I have fallen short on some. I'm not going to get down about it, I am going to look at the new month as a fresh start and give it another go.  I have done well as far as my quilting goals go. I have one finish, the binding is on the string quilt (hand sewing will probably be slow going, but its nice to know its at that point, finally) I turned one stack of blocks into a quilt top and it is basted and ready for quilting.  Not too bad :)  I have been able to get on and blog pretty consistantly so I'm happy about that too.  I also got up enough guts to enter a quilt in the Quilting Bloggers Weekly Themed Contest.  You can check out the contest rules and get to their blog, see the quilts and vote by clicking on the button here
.Weekly Themed Quilt Contests  
I would love for you to vote for my quilt, but vote for your favorite.  They are all beautiful.  I haven't bought any fabric yet this year either.  I think I am going to save up for a shop hop that is going on in Amish country in March.  Maybe by then I'll have a few more finishes and more of my stash used up ;)
   As far as some of my more personal goals, well, I still have to work on those.  I'm thinking in addition to my quilting, I am going to focus on exercising next month.  I have very much let myself go since my LCE and feel that is the next big area to get back on track.  I've thought about joining a walking program sponsered by the parks, but am still not sure. It would defintly be a motivator.  Or if any of you out there are in the same boat as me, maybe we could help to motivate each other.  Maybe a weekly check in?  Anyhoo, that's big focus for February.
   Other than that, life has been pretty quiet...don't know weather to breathe a sigh of relief or start to worry what's about to go down next.  I think I am going to pick the first.  We all know tomorrow will worry about itself, no need to borrow tomorrow's worries for today.  So with that I look at the beautiful blue skies above me today, take a deep breath and head out the door for some fresh air.  Hope you all have a great weekend.  Warmest country wishes.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A little of this and a little of that

Good morning everyone! Well, I'm happy to report that my carpal tunel has calmed down a bit. I am very thankful that it can be dealt with by just resting!  I have been doing a little of everything to still be working on my quilting and not stress my hands too much.  First off, I have been trying to get things organized. Organization seems to be a constant battle waged in my sewing area. And no matter how dilligently and valiently I try to fight, the foe of clutter just seems to end up kicking my butt!  Not that I'm not going to keep trying, especially as I am getting things done it makes for less I need to try to find a place for.  I have gone through my huge box of scraps and sorted them into lights and darks and put them in clear boxes so I know what I have and where.  I also went through some of the stuff in DD's closet and tried to condense things. Since I have been working on that UFO list there is less clutter, and now its finally starting to show :D

I did break down and get started on my 9 inch scrappy sampler here are the first two block I've made. The one above is called Westland and has inset seams, so it was a bit of a challenge, but enjoyable! The one below is just a Flying Geese block.  Both of these helped me to use up a few of those scraps in the "light" and "dark" bins.  I'm not sure how big I am going to make this quilt, but I am going to do some calculating and figure out how many blocks in what size setting I would like to end up with.

Finally, I did get the tying on the behemoth done and the binding made.  For the binding I just went into my 2 1/2 inch scrap bin and started sewing strips together.  I figured if I had extra, great, if I am a little short I have a whole drawer of peices I can add.

In a little bit of fun news, my eldest mouseling turns 9 today!  I can't believe its been 9 years since I welcomed a precious bundle of joy into the world!  He will be spending his birthday with his dad today, but we had fun and celebrated a little bit all week, so that's cool. Happy birthday, buddy!!
Well, I am going to get on my way, I need to run and make sure I have a photo downloaded (which I thought I already had) because I am going to try to enter the weekly contest the Quilting Bloggers site is doing. I am also hoping to get the binding on the behemoth before I have to go to work today.  I hope you all have a wonderful day, and get to make some time for yourself.  Warmest country wishes!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

And number one is.....

Good morning everyone.  It is bitter and chilly here, but I think we missed the brunt of the new snow today.  Listening to the radio on the way to taking my mouselings to school I heard there were several delays and a few closings south of us, so I am thankful we only got a dusting of the white stuff.  I also found a new background for my blog.  I think its cute and fitting for my style of quilting.  I almost didn't get it to work, my computer illiteracy was really showing this morning :( and had a couple unsuccessful tries, but here it is, and I'm happy!
   Now to my post title and why I don't have any quilty pictures to share just yet....
5. Waking up sick on your day off...when you planned to sew all day.
4. Having car trouble while you're quilt shop hopping.
3. Running out of thread a mere 2" before you finish the last seam you're working on.
2. Running out of the fabric you thought you had enough of for your quilt's border...then not being able to find any more of it. (Oh my, have I been there done that!!)
And number one on the list of things that make a quilter want to cry.....
1. Three words "CARPAL TUNEL SYNDROME" !!!!

Yup, my carpal has been flaring horrendously.  I have been able to get a little work done on the behemoth (its about half way tied) and I did get the tessellating cats basted, but thats about it other than organizing.(I"ll post on that another day)  And all I can say is I'll never doubt a person when they say they're in pain.  People joke about carpal tunel, and I uesd to think "Yeah, right, how bad can it be?" but now I know first hand how painful it is and how it can affect what you do.  The sad part....I developed it when I was working as a baker, not from excessive ammounts of hand quilting or typing, but that is what it affects now.  Anyhow, no point in stewing over it, just though y'all should know why there isn't anything pretty to look at this time.

I do hope to have some pictures next time.  I was at the library last week and borrowed the Block Party book and am starting to think hmmmm.....9 inch scrappy sampler?  I think I am going to cut and piece a few blocks here today yet.  Not that I need another new project, but hey, I have a finish for the year already and two others that are getting close. And to be completely honest, I'm kinda getting tired of looking at the same quilts day in and day out, I'm ready for something new and fun (for just a little bit).  After a little break, its back to tackling that list of UFOs ;)

Well, I'm off to do some blog hopping then to enjoy the rest of my day.  I hope you all have a wonderful afternoon.  Warmest country wishes!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Finally tally for my quiltathon

Hi everyone, hope your week has been good so far. I have had a relatively relaxing week, I did end up with 4 days off in a row, so I was able to get a lot done...ok, "a lot" is a relative term, but I'm happy with what I accomplished. I got lots of sewing time in, plenty of time with the kids, and my house still looks like a house, so how can I not be happy ;)
Since my last post I did go ahead and finish the tessellating cats top the way I had originally started to. DD loved the squares and now that the border is on, I think I like it too. It finished at 44" x 56", a nice size to carry around. I have a piece of flannel that I think will work as a backing, I just have to wash and iron it and see if will still be the right size. Then I need to get some batting and this one will be ready for quilting. I did get some of the behemoth tied, about 1/3 of it. Sometimes I don't realize how big something is until I'm sitting under it. This one is HUGE! I know I keep saying that, but honestly every time I go to drag this (probably)6 lb giant out, I still can't get over the size of it :O I was also able to get a couple quilt labels done. The kitty one is for the quilt above and the other is just one that goes into the collection ready to be used once I get a quilt finished. Ok, and I just realized the picture loaded sideways, sorry :S
Even had time to make one of these.....yummy!

So all told for my quiltathon days, here is my tally:
1. Finished the Irish Chain quilt
2. finished one quilt top
3. Made considerable progress in tying the string quilt
4. Made one quilt backing
5. Made two quilt lables
..... and made one yummy winterberry pie ;) I'm also proud to report that as of yet, I have not bought any new fabric this year. One of my big goals is to use up what I have on hand before I start buying new. I went to the library Tuesday and picked up the Block Party book and am going to try something Eileen mentioned in her blog. As I am sorting through everything I am going to cut pieces to make blocks and make them into kits and set them aside for when I am ready to move on to something new. That way I just pull out the kit and everything is ready to sew. I think its a pretty cool idea. At this point, though, I think I am just going to relax today. I have been feeling a little down the last day or so. I wish I could explain it, sometimes I just feel overwhelmed and some of the feelings I had before my LCE creep back. Its been tough, but I know this too, will pass. Just been tough to keep my eyes forward, and not fear the "what ifs", but I know I can't let that fear overwhelm me. I need to focus on what I can do, what I can change, what is positive and where I am going so I can reach the goal I want to reach :)
I can't believe the weekend is upon us already! I am going to try to get out there and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. Its appearance has been pretty fleeting around here lately. I hope you all have a good one, and find a little time for friends, family and all the things that make you happy. Warmest country wishes!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Checking in :)

Good morning everyone! Its an absolutely yucky, gray, dreary day here. I heard on the radio this morning that we are in for more snow. Not that I don't like snow, but I hate the pressure shifts that come with the changing weather. Lets me know I'm getting older...can't believe the aches and pains I can get sometimes...oh, well. I still like the saying, "I may grow old, but I'll never grow up." No matter how "old" I get, I hope I always keep a young spirit :)

Yesterday the mouselings were off from school. We decided to just have a pajama day and hung out at home and watched movies and played. We watched everything from Nickelodeon movies, to Veggie Tales to the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was especially fun since my little ones have only seen the newer version with Johnny Depp. It was fun to listen to them compare the two. I also got to spend plenty of time sewing, although judging by what I've actually accomplished so far, it doesn't seem that way :S

First off, who has a pile of this laying around? Yup, its a big pile of scrap muslin. I like to back my quilts with muslin sometimes (not too expensive and can give me one big solid backing) but I end up with all this scrap, and hate to waste it. Ok now, who has this around the house too? Shame on you if you didn't raise your hand...or maybe lucky or well organized you ;) Yes, this is just one box of the many scrap boxes I have.

Wanna see what happens at my house when the two of these things get together?

Ta Daaaa! One creative quilt backing! This one used up most of my bleached muslin scraps. Ok, I think this would be a pretty cool quilt in its own right, so I may develop a pattern for one kind of like it. I was thinking that if this were an actual quilt top I would call it "On a Wing and a Prayer" because that's pretty much how it came together. Just starting sewing and sewing and half way measuring then sewing some more.... and the shocking thing to me was that it came out pretty square! I really like it though so this one will have to go on the back of something I know I'm keeping. I still have enough scraps to make another one too.

Oh happy day the binding is done on the triple Irish Chain too!! Somebody do the happy dance with me, celebrating my first finish of 2010!! (I figured y'all have seen enough pictures of this one that I just wanted to show one more of four pretty, bound corners)
Finally, I got a good start on the tessellating cats top. This one is going to be a cuddle/car quilt for my daugheter so she can have one she can carry around, take in the car, and feel free to use for anything. I don't know if I'm crazy about the squares at the top (there is going to be another row at the bottom as well) but she likes them. And if she likes them, that's all that matters.
I still have today off, and possibly tomorrow (there was a death in my babysitter's family) so I am going to try to get more done today while I still have some time to myself. My goals for today are to get the kitty top finished and to start tying the string quilt. So with that I am heading on my way. I hope you all have a wonderful day and find some time to do what you love. Warmest country wishes!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sewing away the "weekend"

Hi everyone, hope your weekend has started off well. Here in my corner of the world it has warmed up quite a bit. There is still a little snow on the ground, but for the most part it is all melting away. Its still gray and dreary outside and after my shift tonight I am off Sunday, Monday AND Tuesday, so I am going to do my own quiltathon. Well actually I am inspired by Judy's blog, and although I am not "officially" joining in, I am quilting along in spirit and extending my quiltathon til Wednesday afternoon when I have to go to work. I am hoping to get the Irish chain done, the behemoth tied, and I am thinking I may work on blocks as well as setting some blocks into tops, and piecing some backings so I know where I stand when it comes time to baste some of these. The picture above is the one I am using as a "UFO buster" banner and shows some of the quilts I want to get done. Well, I am taking off again. Gonna try to get my car washed while the weather is still nice :) and I will be back soon with progress pictures. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Warmest country wishes,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Some progress and a quilty question

Hi everyone! Well, first off I am happy to report that the behemoth is BASTED!! Yippee!! It went surprisingly well. And I think I have found my favorite surface to baste comforter covered bed. (Yes, I don't have a quilt on my bed right now...yes, I can hear the audible gasp. lol) Actually the comforter on my bed has velour on both the right hand and left hand side and boy does it GRIP the fabric. I can get the backing nice and tight and it stays pretty darn well. So even though I had to baste this monster in chunks and move it from area to area to do it, it ended up basted very nicely. Now to get to the local Jo-Anns to get some pearl cotton to tie it...I couldn't imagine quilting something this huge and this heavy ;) Now, as I was basting this one the question came to mind, why do I do what I do...why do I quilt. I have had people ask me this before, and since my mind tends to wander when I'm basting or sewing down binding, I've been thinking on it, and have come up with several reasons. First off, I, like I'm sure many of you out there, tend to have a very giving spirit, and quilting allows me to give something from the heart. I have made several gifts for friends, family members, and others I thought could use a lift, as well as for raffles and give-aways. There is nothing like the reaction of when someone receives a quilt and realizes how much time and effort was put into it. It lets them know they are special.
a baby quilt I made for a co-worker

Second, it gives me a sense of healing and sanity. I'm not quite exactly sure how taking a perfectly good piece of fabric, cutting it into tiny pieces, then sewing it back together again can accomplish this...but it does! I guess in my mind, maybe its that is shows that something beautiful can come from something broken and chaotic. And if that can happen with fabric, then it gives me hope that it can happen in life as well. The last bit of my life definitely falls into the "broken and chaotic" category, but I keep working away and slowly but surly it is beginning to look like it is turning into something beautiful once again.
quilt I made and donated for a raffle / fundraiser at work.

Third, I love the feeling of having a connection to the past. Now in the past our grandmothers, great-grandmothers and others may have made them purely for functionality, but in their way, those quilts were still beautiful. I love having something that ties the past and present together, and looking at a quilt covered bed does that for me. I guess another thought I have on that is we live in a world where so many people want instant gratification. So many can't imagine taking months or even years (or heck, even a week) to work on something. They want it NOW. I look at the on-line quilting community, as large as it is, and suppose I still fear that with a younger generation wanting everything instantaneously that quilting will become a lost art. I can happily say I am keeping it alive, and hope to pass that love to my daughter, and even my son! As a matter of fact my little one helped me with the "unpinning" process on the Irish chain quilt, and wanted to know when she could help me with pinning again :D
quilt made for the house I used to live in made especially for the space it occupies.
Finally, quilting just make me happy! I love the feel of fabric in my hands. I love going into a fabric shop and seeing all those colors and textures. Like the old saying goes, I feel like a kid in a candy shop! I love the creative process and being able to express myself in fabric. I love the whole quilting process from creating (or picking out) a pattern to choosing fabrics to cutting and sewing the blocks, to the actual quilting and binding. I feel like I've accomplished something wonderful when I put that last stitch in the binding. It just warms me heart and soul.

Well, it is a beautiful day here in my neck of the woods. Its supposed to warm up into the 30s and the sun is shining. I think I'm going to make my way to Jo-Anns, purchase what I need then drill away at the house work as well as quilting :) I am also going to go check out a blog mentioned in one of my friend's blogs about a quiltathon weekend. I have a good chunk of Saturday off as well as all day Sunday so I may just join in. If not officially, in spirit anyway.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday!! Warm country wishes!!
Country Mouse

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ta Daaaaa.....

Ok, well, almost "ta da" be completely honest the binding isn't totally stitched down yet, but it is on, and I just couldn't wait to share a picture. I am excited because the end is in sight and a few more nights of hand stitching and this one will go in the "done" column!!
Here is a close up of the baskets and the vine work I did around them.
Next on the agenda is this group of blocks. I have to set them yet and just can't quite decide how to do it. I set so many in the "traditional" way that I think I want to try something different. I am going to be spending some time perusing some quilt books, magazines and blogs to see if something strikes my fancy.
I am still trying to get the behemoth basted, jeez what a task!! But I keep working steadily towards that goal. Slow and steady wins the race (or finishes the quilt) right? ;)
Finally, I wanted to share a joke I heard on an inspirational program I was watching...made me giggle. There were three men traveling through the wilderness when they came upon a raging river. The first one prayed, "God, please give me the strength to cross this river." He then dove in and swam across in about 2 hours. The second one prayed, "God, please give me the strength and the tools to cross this river." POOF a boat appeared, he climbed in and rowed across the river in a little more than an hour. The third man prayed, "God, please give me the strength, tools and intelligence to cross this river." POOF he became a woman, took out a map, looked at it, then walked 5 minutes up the trail and walked across the bridge there over the river.
Sorry for such a short post, but I am terribly time crunched today, I just couldn't wait to share some pictures though. Hopefully next time I will be able to visit a little longer and have more good stuff to share :) I am off again, hope you all have a wonderful day! Warmest country wishes,
Country Mouse

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Aaaaahhhhh.....a me morning :D

Good morning, all! I actually have a morning to myself. The kids are with their dad, and although I miss them terribly when they aren't with me, its nice to have some time to just relax and BREATHE! Good morning from Kilala too. Yup, that's my kitty looking at ya there. One of the things that my ex kept after the split was the cat. Xerxes was an awesome kitty, and I miss him terribly. So much so that I went out on my birthday a few months ago and got this cutie. She was only about 6 weeks when she came home with me, and although she's about 6 1/2 months old she is still totally kitten! Zipping around the house and getting into all kinds of stuff...and boy do I love her. She gets along well with our dog too. Here is a picture of the two of them. Can you believe it?
Sheba, our dog, is a lab/mastiff mix and is such a good girl. She is a great protector and loyal friend. When I'm done here I'm making sure to make time for them too. Despite the cold I'm thinking a walk with Sheba and some lap time for Kilala. Since I had time to myself, I'm enjoying a yummy breakfast out while I'm dropping in today.

Now, I was thinking to myself, "What fun is a quilt blog if there aren't any quilt pictures?" Well, they can still be pretty darn fun, but a quilt definitely adds a little more, so I wanted to share a picture of a little quilt that will be getting the binding attached when I go to attach the binding to the triple Irish chain. Yes, you heard right, the triple Irish chain is quilted and ready to have the binding attached. I am sooo excited! I am trying to find the best place to take a picture of the whole quilt so you can see all the quilting (almost 2 whole spools worth of it) and as soon as I do, I will get it posted. I have already decided that I'm gifting this one to my boyfriend's mom. I think she'll like it. As I was finishing up I started thinking about the next one I am going to baste (the string quilt), and I think I'm going to call it the behemoth. It's huge (102" x 108"), heavy (foundation pieced on muslin with a flannel backing) and I have to admit a bit intimidating :S But then I started thinking, so was my life after my LCE, and one lesson I've learned is to you have to try to move ahead without fear. For me this can be particularly challenging, but the truth is very often things are not as impossible as they may first appear to be. And you can make it through even the toughest situations and be stronger for it in the end. So with a deep breath and a positive attitude I am going to attempt to get the behemoth basted tomorrow :)
Well, I am going to take some time to cruise around blog land before I go ahead and get on with my day. I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend and can find a little "me" time of your own to relax and enjoy! Warmest country wishes,
Country Mouse

Thursday, January 7, 2010

As if I needed more motivation ;)

Hi everyone! First let me say I can't believe how much snow we've gotten and we are due for more! Yes, I know I'm strange, but I just love the snow and how beautiful everything is when it is covered with it...well, except maybe the roads :S The other day we had perfect "snowman snow" so my little one went out and made her first snowman of the year. I wanted to share a picture of her with her creation as well as a few other snowmen we found in the neighborhood. Hope they make you smile like they do us :D

On to quilty news. I am making great progress on the triple Irish chain quilt. I decided to do heirloom style quilting in the large open squares...well, my version of heirloom quilting anyway. I tried to take a picture to show, but I don't know that its that good. Hopefully you can see the "square" vine with leaves and the flower in the center. I have 12 of the 13 open spaces done and hope to get the last one done today before work. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the quilting goes once I get motivated! Makes me wonder why I don't get to finishing my quilts sooner.

I have the batting for the king size string quilt, and am deciding on the setting for the black and white quilt. I also recently found out a co-worker of mine is pregnant with a girl, so I am thinking I am going to get the baby Irish chain done for her. Yeah, making progress!!! :D
Finally, to explain my post if the weather and desire to move on with my new life aren't enough for motivation, I was going through my quilting stuff earlier this week (now mind you I live in a smaller place now, so some of this stuff is stored in my little one's room). As I'm taking inventory, she comes up to me, looks me in the eye and says, "Mommy, can you get your quilting stuff out of my room? Its getting crowded." :S lololol So now, if nothing else I am on a mission to make my mouseling's room "less crowded" :D
Well, I am off to get some stuff done before I have to head into work. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday!! Warmest country wishes,
Country Mouse

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Looking forward

Hi everyone, its hard to believe a new year is upon us already!! I've been spending the last week or so contemplating the last year. So much has happened! Then I thought of something I said to my son that got me thinking even more. My son likes to dawdle...loves to look at EVERYTHING around him and take it all in. Now this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but he tends to fall behind. So one day while we were out, he was falling behind and I looked at him and said "Hey buddy, I need you to keep up. You need to watch where you're going. If you're always looking at where you've been, how will you know where you're going?" That last part is what made me think. If you're always looking at where you've been, how will you know where you're going? So that being said, I have made a promise to look forward. Not that I won't remember where I've been...I just am making the choice that I don't want to live there anymore. Despite the hardships I've faced, I've seen the sunlight peeking through and that's where I want to go, so that is where I will focus. On whats ahead, where I want to be, where I am going :)
That being said, I have set some goals for myself in the coming year. I have made a list of all the quilts I had started before my LCE and am determined to either finish them or purge them by November 24 of this year. I can't help but think about where I was when I work on them, but they're all beautiful and deserve to be finished by someone. I have updated my list on the side to keep track of these. I have also set some personal goals for myself. I have to admit I have really let myself go in some areas and I just want to get back on track. Among these are to exercise regularly, begin reading from Day by Day with your Health Coach (a devotional written by a Christian exercise instructor) and the Bible, to try to save a little money each week, and finally to do a little something everyday that will give me a lift (this could be blogging, cooking myself a good meal, making sure I make time to sew, getting a little trinket long as it is something that gives me a lift). I think these are perfectly attainable and will do my best to stick to them.
Finally, on the quilt front, I have basted and started to quilt the Triple Irish Chain. I'm pretty happy with it so far, and promise to have some pictures to share soon. I also have everything I need to get my string quilt done, and have decided I will also try to get my Black and White quilt together as well. It feels sooooo good to be making progress towards my goals:)
Well, its cold and snowy here today, so its the perfect day to get some more quilting done and that's were I'm headed. I hope that the new year will bring you all much happiness, health and wonderful wonderful things. Here's to looking forward to a great 2010! Warmest country wishes.
Country Mouse