Sunday, August 28, 2016

August quilt 2- Grace's next quilt

Right on time to have a second finish this month AND before I get to leave for mega staff meeting, I finished up this quilt for my daughter.

The pattern is called Candy Pinwheels by Faith Jones. It was in the Winter 2012 issue of Quilty and it is one that I have wanted to make for awhile. When I saw it took a LOT of fabric and my shelves were overflowing, it was time. The original pattern uses 36 fat quarters but only 4 7/8" strip from each one. I wanted to use them up and don't like cutting that 7/8" so I cut 5" squares and quadrupled it all. It made it twin sized--well, except it is a bit long. I probably could have added more along the side instead of the end. Maybe someday she will have an extra long twin mattress.

The backing is a flannel from JoAnn that I bought about 6 months ago during one of their crazy flannel sales. We were hoping for a mermaid I had seen but ended up with the unicorns and just put it in a corner. Thankfully I remembered it since it was not on my backing shelf.

We are talking about painting her walls sometime, since the yellow as been there since she was born. She's looking at some pale aqua colors. I'm looking at it as a chance to clean out the room.

And just for authenticity, this is all the stuff I pulled off the bed to put the quilt on and take that picture:
You would think we live in a cold climate with all those blankets and quilts.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Books in August

I hadn't been reading tons this summer but it finally got so hot outside that it was time to stay inside and read. We've made a few library trips this summer and at the last one I finally loaded up--and then ordered a few more on Amazon. Now that it is cooler outside (and we sprayed for mosquitos), I am even finding my way out to my hammock again for some reading, although that it a bit less productive since I tend to fall asleep!

Reading in August:

Turning Japanese by Cathy Yardley -- wandered around in the fiction section of our library and found this one

Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey. One to reread.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (this one is taking me awhile, mainly cause I need breaks from it)

Present over Perfect by Shana Niequest

 and still reading Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans.

Once I finish that one I plan to read The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty before I need to return it to the library, and Color your Cloth by Malka Dubrawsky. My daughter and I are making some fabric dying plans!

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Our daughter turned eight last Sunday so our weekend was full of celebrations. In honor of her eighth year here are eight random things from the past week or so.

1. The birthday girl

2. She wanted to decorate her own cake for the family party.

3. The art exhibition from the class she took this summer at Firehouse Art Center kicked off that weekend as well.

Her pottery- a bobcat unicorn (horn broke in firing) pot with dragon wings and a lion tail.

4. She celebrated with a few of her friends on Sunday with a swimming party at the local Y.

5. Wednesday afternoon we made a short journey to Tiger Safari. I love planning little trips when everyone else locally has started back to school, something I know homeschooling families love yearround. Our schools started Thursday. The kids enjoyed the park, which reminded us a lot of the Little River Zoo we used to have here.

6. Sports season warning: races and games are starting soon so there may be lots of action shots soon. Here is one of the start of a recent cross country preseason match.

7. I am getting closer on my latest quilt project. I finished up the main blocks yesterday and am now trying to piece the rows and the mini rows inbetween the larger pinwheel blocks. It is all laid out in the middle of our living room floor, so that will be a HUGE incentive to finish it up. This one will be for my daughter.

8. I've been trying to do the 30 Days of Quilt Design challenge from the Stitched in Color blog and am up to day 10. I've taken lots of pics over the last couple of years for quilt inspiration and have been digging through those to put those ideas down on paper. It will be nice to have them all together in my notebook! I've also tried a few from other inspirations. Here are a few

And that's eight random things. Now I'm off to see if I can make any progress on the quilt on the floor before someone trips and rearranges it all.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

land and sea - August quilt 1

It has been incredibly hot here this past week or so. We are outside in the early mornings but then tend to take refuge inside the rest of the day. I still try to find a few indoor things we can do outside the house though because the longer we are in our house, the bigger the mess! We made a trip over the weekend to the Science Museum (along with most of the people in the metro area). And neither of them ducked away from the photographer!

Thankfully inside our house is where my sewing machine hangs out too so I've been able to finish up one more quilt. My kids probably appreciate it too since that means I am not walking around asking them to pick up their mess for a bit! While I was working on the scrap quilt I kept finding stacks of 4.5" squares leftover from previous quilts. I used some in the scrap quilt but set aside the rest to see what I could do with them. I pulled out the brighter colors, leaving some soft greens and blues. I added darker reds and a few more fabrics that I had on the shelf, many for quite a while. These are not really colors I use much.

As I thought about what to do with them I saw this 4 Patch HST quilt on Patch the Giraffe blog (it's midway down the page). I sewed together my blocks and put them on the design wall.
It was interesting but way too much going on for me.

So I decided to add spread out the blocks a bit (these pics were taken by my phone to get a better overview and not so good!).
This was better, but still blah. I felt like I had made this quilt a hundred times. Because the blocks were offset I had two leftover, but thought I could use those on the back. I left it on the design wall and moved on, looking through magazines for ideas for another stack of fabric I had pulled off the shelf. I kept noticing quilts with the blocks on point. That was a more dynamic look, and I thought it could look even more so with the HST. As a bonus I discovered that by rearranging them on point I could use all of the blocks on the front again.

I liked it so much I finished it up (after doing a bit of research on how big to cut those setting triangles along the edges). The binding is a brown and white polka dot.

I used some more scraps for the bag, making a little triptych at the top and soft blue fabric below.

I like the chickens and sheep.

Because so much of this was a scrap quilt, made from bits and pieces of previous quilts, I plan to give this one away. It is small, a baby quilt most likely. I am just waiting for inspiration about who needs it and then it can be on it's way.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

the beauty of scraps -- July quilt 2

I pushed through over the weekend and Monday, finishing my scrap quilt for our guest room.

It is the first bed sized quilt I have made for our family that didn't seem too small when I was finished, probably because I laid it out on the bed itself as I pieced it.

I thought about a scrappy binding to use up more of them, but in the end decided on the black and white. The scrappy binding and a couple of other choices I considered got lost against the rest of the quilt. My design assistant (daughter) agreed.

The backing was two fabrics I had on hand, and you can kind of see them here. I wanted something that did not require a lot of piecing to avoid competing seams on the front and back. One was a white stripe and one was a floral, both gifts.

I chose a loopy daisy for the quilting and that did not go so well. Some, like the daisy on the left below look ok, but others ended up more like the "daisy" below on the right. It was difficult maneuvering so much weight!

Today I visited a camp for foster kids and a Salvation Army Getting Ahead class graduation. As I think back on the day and am looking at this quilt, it was a day centered on hope given to those in the low times of life. Being at the camp was depressing on a lot of levels, yet for those children the camp is a huge blessing and provides hope through the love poured on them by the adults there. The hope that the Getting Ahead class has instilled in their graduates--that getting out of poverty is possible and that regardless of what mess they have had to work through in their lives, they now have more tools for a better future--that was powerful. As I look at this quilt now, it is one more example of this hope, that regardless of the bits and pieces and mess of our lives, we can still hope. God can put those bits and pieces back together and help us make something amazing, unique, joyful and useful out of our lives to be a blessing to others, as others were a blessing to us.

Friday, July 15, 2016

a quilt for the birthday boy

One of my friends is caring for a little boy. As he is a foster child, I didn't make a quilt at first like I often do with new little ones since I wasn't sure how long he would be with them, but as his first birthday approached, I started thinking more and more about it and then got to work.

It is a simple patchwork with some fun prints worked in. I was also able to add in a few leftover squares from other quilts, just to mix up the options a bit. I backed it with flannel since it is way more snuggly that way.

When I make these patchwork quilts I tend to end up with squares leftover since I sort of randomly cut them out of a good mix of fabrics and hope for the best. I'm sure at one point I had a better guideline. This time, instead of adding these leftover squares to the scrap bins again, I grabbed some of them and made a matching patchwork top.

There were a few glitches while quilting that I hope were resolved for awhile by oiling the bobbin case and the walking foot. I was so happy I was able to finish the quilting at home last night, and had made at least two back up plans so that I could finish in time for the birthday party this weekend. So grateful for this on-time finish and for families who are able to share their lives and homes with children in need of one!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

quilt Q3 finishalong goals

Last year I participated in a Finishalong with Adrienne of On The Windy Side. It was a little extra incentive for me to finish some project, especially some that I had stuck in a bin and avoided to work on newer ideas. As January came around and I took a look at my schedule, I knew I could not commit to one more thing. The spring was crazy. It is now time to signup for Q3 projects for the 2016 Finishalong and now, at least for the next quarter, I think I can do this. Not one of those epic lists but a few finishes at least, including two stacked on my table ready to quilt.

1. Full size scrap quilt. I finished up the backing the other day so this one just needs me to dedicate a few hours and get it back on this bed.

2. Birthday quilt for E. The party is Saturday so I need to get it done quick.

3. Candy pinwheels. I plan to make this one larger than the pattern to have less leftovers.

4. Another half square triangle pattern.

5. A black and white checkerboard for an August birthday.

6. A charity patchwork out of these leftover blocks I found while working on the scrap quilt (plus a bit more thrown in)

Six quilts. Two per month, and with two ready to quilt. This I can do--as long as I don't get distracted by some other great new project!

2016 FAL