Friday, August 30, 2013

#LDSI - Labor Day Sew In!

It's a three day weekend, and you know what that means.  It's time for a Sew-In!

Yes, it's the Labor Day Sew In, and I think all of our international friends should start their own movement to have Monday off work honor the workers by playing hooky and sewing all day taking a moment to appreciate a day of rest.

As usual, some people get to start early, so I'm posting this now in case today is a better day to call in sick work some sewing into your day than Monday.  We'll be over on Twitter using hashtag #LDSI for the next several days.  Tweet along, whether you're sewing, shopping for fabric, or just dreaming of quilts. 

On Twitter, I'm @QuiltinJenny and would love to chat with you.

Other bloggers who have posted about the sew in (some of whom are hosting giveaways):
Also, Pam of Hip to Be a Square Podcast has posted a very special, extra long episode! She tweets as  @Pantsfreesia.
Plus all your favorite quilters on Twitter.

Hope to see you there!

PS...if you write a blog post about #LDSI or if I missed yours, send me a link and I'll add to the list over the whole weekend.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

#TBT - Throwback Thursday - Celtic Cross

Quiltin Jenny

It's Throwback Thursday here at Quiltin' Jenny, and I hope you'll link up and share your own creative adventures from your pre-blogging days.

Last week I promised to show you another quilt I made using the fusible bias tape and the Celtic Quilting Technique from this book:

I'm not really telling the story in order, but in 2002 I made a quilt to donate to my kids' school for their annual auction.  I'll tell you about that one next week.  Remind me!

Anyway, I made a quilt for six years straight, and five of them raised over $2000 each!  It was very validating and had a very high work to glory ratio.

This quilt was made in 2004 with Deuce's third grade class.  It's hard to see, but the background of this quilt is all neutral fabric bricks.  On scattered pieces of plain muslin, I asked the kids to write a question to God.  These were absolutely precious and innocent and sometimes heartbreaking questions like:

"Dear God, how many galaxies are there?" [ed: that's my boy!]

"Dear God, why can you see me but I can't see you?"

"Dear God, why did you give us free will?"

"Dear God, why do people doubt you?"

It took a lot of organization and planning (STOP laughing!!) to make sure the design didn't go through any of the bricks with writing on them, but I did it.  It finished somewhere in the 70" square range, so this was also the largest quilt I had ever quilted on my machine at the time, and I was a wreck.

I'm still thrilled with how it came out, and it's still one of my very favorite quilts I've ever made.  A friend was the winner, and it makes me so happy to see it hanging in a place of honor in her home.

Link up below and let's see one of your blasts from the past.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WiP Wednesday - Star Surround and Batman's Quilt

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I'm linking up with WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

I didn't get to my Star Surround top yesterday. It's been a little bit of a slow reentry from the weekend retreat and still getting into the school year. Last night was mini-class night, where we walk the high school kids' schedules, and it was a little bit of emotional overload after doing so well for the past week. Being in the band room, where my boy spent so many happy hours, just did me in. I miss him!

So today I decided I'd get this top pieced.  I had hoped to show you my blocks for Batman's quilt, but I got eight of the nine blocks done at retreat and realized I was missing four squares of Kona Snow for the eighth block. Curses!  Those are on my to do list.

I love how these are turning out and can't wait to get that top together as well.

What are you working on?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - Recovering from Retreat

It's Menu Plan Monday and I'm trying to recover from our awesome retreat weekend.  I had a great time and got so much done, NONE of which was laundry/grocery shopping/cooking/cleaning.  Now I'm paying the piper for my mini-vacation, and glad to do it.  First on the list: Menu Plan Monday!

My user name on My Fitness Pal is QJ2013 if you want to be friends.

MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

  • Sunday - dinner out to celebrate FIL's birthday
  • Monday - Sweet and Fiery Pork, brown rice, oven roasted green beans
  • Tuesday - Mini Class Night at the High School- kids get leftovers
  • Wednesday - Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats, yellow rice, salsa
  • Thursday - Grilled Chicken Kabobs over quinoa
  • Friday - Football Friday! We'll eat at the game
  • Saturday- Pollo Sabroso, leftover yellow rice, tossed salad
What's on your menu?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

#TBT - Throwback Thursday - Stained Glass Windows

Quiltin Jenny

It's Throwback Thursday here at Quiltin' Jenny, and I hope you'll link up and share your own creative adventures from your pre-blogging days.

Today I'm featuring two quilts that I made after taking a class (I think it was at Tiny Stitches).  We used this book for guidance:

The technique is so simple but striking, and the design choices are endless.  In fact, I'll have to show you another quilt next week that used this fusible bias tape in a slightly different way.  Remind me.

I made this quilt for our bedroom in the class, and immediately realized how I would do it better the second time.  I decided to make a second quilt and give it to Gram for Christmas that year.  She was living in an assisted living facility, and I thought it would be a wonderful way to brighten her room.

This really is square.  It's just hanging wonky because it's been folded up for awhile.
Now I have them both, and wonder what to do.  Is it selfish to keep them both?  My cousin actually asked if she could have it, and I said no.  But maybe I should send it to her.  Or maybe I should send her the first one and keep the one that was my grandmother's. 

I'm normally very generous and give away most of my quilts, but this one isn't begging to go live in Colorado.  What's that about, do you think?

Link up below and let's see one of your blasts from the past.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

WiP Wednesday - Ready for Retreat

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I'm linking up with WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Today is less about a work in progress and more like a packing list for retreat this weekend.  It's always a challenge to figure out how much to bring.  
  • Batman's quilt - catch up to the Star Surround Quilt Along
  • Spiderweb Blocks - these are perfect leaders and enders for anything else I'm working on
  • Hexies - a good hand project for late night talks
  • QOV Block Drive Components - like the Spiderweb Blocks, these are great leaders and enders.  I have eight more foundations already cut, so I'd like to get those all done and mailed off to Alycia.
  • Social Tote - this is a long shot, but I am bringing the supplies just in case I run out of things to work on. 

Today I'm also making my mini pressing surface (ala one of these tutorials from Oh, Fransson! and American Quilting) to bring along.  I spray painted my table yesterday; today I covered it with the Insul-Bright and fabric.  It took no time at all and is just what I wanted!

Notes:  I used Krylon Indoor/Outdoor Satin spray paint in Island Splash.  I cut a layer of Insul-Bright about 1 1/2" bigger than the tabletop and a layer of home dec weight fabric about 3" bigger than the tabletop.  I staple gunned it down and voila!  It probably took me longer to buy the supplies than to make the whole thing.

I'm so looking forward to my retreat weekend.  I think some time spent sewing and hanging out with friends is just what the doctor ordered!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Star Surround Quilt Along - Building Block Surround

I'm trying to get back into my routine after the emotional upheaval of the last week.  Luckily I have people around me who are helping make it okay.  The Pit Boss took me out for Chinese food and then we watched Identity Thief and laughed our heads off.  The #twilters have been giving me cyber support for days.  

And then my BFF took me out for lunch and a pedicure.  I was thinking of getting a nice crimson, but then I saw the name of this Opi polish - No Room for the Blues - and had to have it.  She also brought me a little present.  It's an Alabama jelly watch set to Central Time.  Seriously?  Love you all!


I haven't been sewing so much because it's been busy, but I took the time to complete the next step of the Star Surround quilt along.  We're building the outside parts of this block, and I'm getting so excited about how it's turning out!

All in all, I'm hanging in there.   I've talked to my boy and he sounds good.  Each day it will feel a little less strange, and eventually we'll get used to our new normal.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - The New Normal

It's Menu Plan Monday and we're settling in to a household with just the four of us.  My grocery bill was the teensiest bit smaller and the table is set for four.  Oh, and we're back to the healthy recipes!

Our celebrations these last couple of weeks didn't do my weight loss any favors, but was key to my mental health since I rarely drink (ice cream is my preferred vice).  As The Pit Boss says, our grocery list for this week should be easy - lettuce, quinoa, fish, water, air.

My user name on My Fitness Pal is QJ2013 if you want to be friends.

MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

What's on your menu?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Long Weekend

We're home from taking Deuce to school, and it's been a long weekend already.

There was a lot of this...

...and this...

...and this...

...before we got to this. 

I'll have to write more about it later.  Right now I'm processing my slightly quieter house, my slightly shorter grocery list, and the giant lump in my throat.

Friday, August 16, 2013

FMQ and Finish It Up Friday - TGIFF and Whoop Whoop!

Free Motion Quilting Friday

Today is Free Motion Quilting Friday over at Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project.

The rules are simple:
  1. Link up with a post that features something about Free Motion Quilting (FMQ). 
  2. Somewhere in your post, you must link back to Leah's site, or you can just post the FMQF button in your sidebar. 
  3. Comment on at least a few of the other FMQF links. Share your love of free motion quilting and make this weekly link up a fun way to connect!  

It's done!  It's done!  I can't believe it's done!

And, like, a month before the 3rd quarter is even over. (*Note:  for a tutorial of this quilt, see this blog post.)

This quilt has so much therapy sewn into it, I can't even tell you.  From way back in the crazy spring, all through this roller coaster summer, and finally, today, as I drive my boy to school, it is done.

Unfortunately, because precious girl lives so far away, I will miss out on my very favorite thing - wrapping a new baby in a new quilt.  But my in-laws are planning a trip to visit them, so my wonderful mother-in-law will stand in for me, cuddle her close,  and whisper to Baby Reagan how loved and cherished she is by people she doesn't even know yet.

I was worried about the quilting being too dense, but this came out of the dryer so crinkly and wonderful.  I adore the purple polka dot binding and the sweet little girls and the pieced back.

Thanks for cheering me on and helping me with design choices when I channeled all the out-of-control-ness (that is totally a word!) of my son moving away into choosing the exact right shade of pink thread.

I love this quilt community for so many reasons, not least of which is that you never seem to question my sanity when I go off the rails.  I just want you to know, I'm there for you when it's your turn to be a little crazy.  I got your back.

I'm linking up today with lots of awesome bloggers, including Finish It Up Friday with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts, Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday and, for the pure fun of it, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

    Thursday, August 15, 2013

    #TBT Throwback Thursday - The Mother-in-Law Quilt

    Quiltin Jenny

    It's Throwback Thursday here at Quiltin' Jenny, and I hope you'll link up and share your own creative adventures from your pre-blogging days.

    Picking my first quilt for the first week of this meme was a no brainer, but picking the second?  More challenging.  For one thing, I can't even say for sure which was my second quilt.

    So I decided to feature the quilt in my button (up there!  You can grab it for your blog!).  It was my first mystery quilt, and the one I call my mother-in-law quilt.

    I learned to quilt at a shop in Roswell called Calico Quilter, which closed several years ago.  After my beginning quilting class, I took a few others.  I know I took a machine quilting class, and I also took a mystery class called Plain Vanilla. This was supposed to introduce us to the beauty of neutral fabrics, and we knew it would be a lap/baby sized quilt that could easily be made bigger.  I'm pretty sure there was a kit, because I can't imagine picking all of these out by myself at that point.

    We started by cutting strips and then equilateral triangles in two sizes (I think about 2 1/2" and 5") with this "specialty" ruler.  Once we figured out how they go together, the quilt went quickly and we had a large chunk of it done by the time we left that evening.

    It took a long time to quilt this, because I knew I wanted to do a clamshell pattern and we had been advised not to hand quilt these quilts because of the many seams that come together.  I eventually used a roll of Quilting Made Easy that you stick on for one of my very earliest attempts at machine quilting.  I'm actually quite happy with it, and the clamshell is still one of my favorite quilting motifs.

    Why do I call it my mother-in-law quilt?  Back when The Pit Boss and I were engaged, someone jokingly told my wonderful MiL to be that her only jobs were to "show up, shut up, and wear beige."  Although her role was so much greater than that, I have thought to myself many times that it's not terrible advice for any MiL, especially the mother of the groom.  In a way, it's advice that my MiL has taken and made me treasure our relationship.  How?
    • Show up:  She's always there for us.  She's there to celebrate - most recently by hosting Deuce's going away dinner and making his favorite country fried steak and gravy with a side of fried corn for a ridiculous number of people.  When he was a baby, she would often "stop by" when the weather was bad and watch him so I didn't have to haul him to the grocery store or hair appointment.  She's given us advice - when asked! - about everything from buying our first house to grout color in the bathroom remodel and everything in between.  She and my equally beloved father-in-law are wonderful sports about coming to my parents' house at Thanksgiving when the hordes descend so that we aren't juggling multiple houses or balancing many meals on one chaotic day.  
    • Shut up:  In some ways I am like my MiL; in so many more I am the opposite.  I can never manage to keep my mouth shut, even when it would be so much easier and more pleasant to do so.  I'm working on it, but I have a problem keeping my opinions to myself.  There are times - hopefully less recently than in the past - when I'm certain that the way I was doing things was making my organized and logical MiL absolutely crazy, but she bit her tongue and let me figure it out.  She was always happy to help when I ask, and I am more likely to ask because I never feel judged or looked down on.  
    • Wear beige:  Okay, this one is a stretch, but my MiL has never been one to create her own drama or try to upstage anyone.  She's not entirely comfortable being the center of attention, and accepts gifts and compliments with humor and humility.  She loves celebrating other people, and opens her home to whomever would like to come to dinner or just to fish off the dock for a bit.
    All of these things make it so easy to want my MiL around more and to value her opinion.  We have so much fun, and I know how lucky we are to celebrate with both sides of the family together. I hope that when the day comes - not now, but not so far away - when I am a MiL myself, I can remember these bits of wisdom and have as positive a relationship with my own daughters- and son-in-law.  This quilt is a reminder of that for me.  I may have to use it as a gag when my daughter-in-law lets the grandchildren run wild or my son-in-law plays too much golf, but it will be there!

    Link up below and let's see one of your blasts from the past.

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