Sunday, July 29, 2012

I swooned this morning & had a light bulb moment!

The Merrium-Webster Dictionary defines "Swoon" as:
Verb- a: faint b: to become enraptured <swooning with joy>
Noun - a: a partial or total loss of consciousness b: a state of bewilderment or ecstasy 
2 a state of suspended animation 

Many of us in the quilting community know "Swoon," "Swooning," "Swooned" to mean either the pattern created by Camile Roskelley or the act of piecing the pattern created by Camile Roskelley. It's the pattern I used to create the blocks below (sorry, don't have a completed top picture even though it's waiting to jump onto the quilting frame).

If you don't know who Ms. Roskelley is, please take a moment to check her out. She's got a good eye and has designed several lines of fabric along with creating a few great patterns that are easy to understand and work through.  (This post didn't start out as an endorsement but clearly, I've become a fan.) Her shop is called Thimble Blossoms.

I'm making another Swoon top and while working on this block this morning I had a light bulb moment. 

The pattern calls for flying geese units and the method used creates left over triangles after trimming.  In the quilt top above, I took all those triangles and made square units then put them together as pinwheel units.  I sewed each of the already cut triangles together to make the square. That's what most of us would do, I think, right?     

Today I realized I could save myself a little bit of the headache. Why not sew the triangles together at the same time I'm piecing the flying geese units?

So here's what happened. I put the triangles up to the machine to sew.  

Then I looked at the flying geese unit I had sitting on the table and saw it.  Instead of trimming the excess fabric off, I could draw a second line to sew over and then trim. The end result means I have a pieced square unit from the two triangles already.  Much, much easier to chain piece this way rather than try to piece the triangles.

After sewing the square to the rectangle as called for in the pattern (fyi, the pattern has you cut 2 squares to sew onto a rectangle & then you trim along the diagonal), draw a second line (toward the corner, not the center) 1/2" away from the sewn line. (Be sure it's 1/2" because then you have a quarter inch seam allowance once you cut.)

Alternatively, you can do what I did which is when I drew the line to sew over onto the square that was going to make the  flying geese unit (that's the diagonal corner to corner line you see below), I then drew the second line. 

I lined the squares up properly with the second, shorter line to the outside of the unit.

WRONG (short line to the center): 

CORRECT (short line to the outside):

Sew the larger diagonal line first.

Then sew the shorter diagonal.

Once both lines were sewn on, cut 1/4" from each line (this should be right on the middle of both sewn lines).

When the flying geese unit is finished, there are now 2 square units, as well.  

I can pinwheel these.

Then again, perhaps I will use them to create different blocks. Doesn't this look like a whole goose flying with the color placement?

Or these, which might be made part of the sashing strips?  

I don't know, I'll have to play more but I love that something which is so simple, seems like such a great breakthrough for me. I feel like a creative genious although I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one who thought of this. I just feel like I am.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Crazy Girly Quilt

I started 2 quilts last year with nothing more in mind than improvised piecing. The first one I worked on was a little more structured and the subject of today's post.  It's a child's throw quilt.

The top was completed but then it sat until my 7-year old niece came to visit.  She saw it and wanted it. Hmm, would you have said no?

So, I threw it up on the frame and knocked it out in a couple of hours. Simple meander with little flowers.

I'll be sending it down to her at Christmas-time, I think.

Linking up to AmyLouWho's Sew and Tell Friday (2 other July finishes in case you are interested: Rainbow Trails and Sue Does Her Own Thing). Check out the other finishes if you want some good inspiration.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

FTF - Olympics!

Today's post is short and sweet. In honor of the events that bring the family together in front of the television and bring out our competitive natures as well as our country pride, my Favorite Thing this Friday is the Olympics!

(Picture from Yahoo webpage.)
Sorry you Aussie's, Brits, Irish, Canadians, etc.  I'm rooting for the good old USA!

It will be nice to watch the opening ceremonies and the games.  Glad it's time to whoop some sporty butt! (oh, wait, did I just throw down a challenge?! LOL)

Check out some other FTF's over at Shay's blog (if she's hosting this week, that is.)


Friday, July 13, 2012

FTF - Donation Quilts

I was looking at my quilt tops the other day and I had a bit of a talking to with myself.  I have a goal this year to create 6 charity quilts, start to finish. It's ambitious for me b/c I also have a goal this year to reduce the WIPs drastically.  So far, the charity quilts have been the motivation to finish the WIPs so I don't have tons of tops hanging about.

Now that I've said that, I've got one charity quilt completed

and one additional top completed.

I have been thinking of donating this next top to a local ACTS Shelter to have on hand when a young one comes in. It's a design I tried but wasn't in love with and has no home. I thought a child who needs comfort and a little fun in his/her life might like it.  What do you think?

So, that would be three.  I also have squares cut for a fourth top but haven't put them together yet.

I think I'm doing okay but at the same time I'm still dissatisfied and think I need to do more.  I actually feel like I'm being called to do more. I've felt that way for awhile, now but again, I've been putting it off so I am not taking on more than I can chew with family and work added to the mix.  This makes me feel guilty.

I need to get my house in order, and do it now, because my 'waiting' for the right time is pretty much over. I don't know when I will officially reach out to the group I'd like to be a part of but I know it's going to be this year at some point and probably sooner rather than later. It's not as big a deal as I'm making it sound, it's just a bigger time commitment than I'm used to being able to give.

Anyway, it brings me to my FTF today. My favorite thing is creating and donating quilts to charity.  I love knowing that each stitch is carrying prayers, love, blessings, good will, healing and comfort to someone in the world.  I love hearing the stories others tell when they give a quilt away and I enjoy hearing about the good feelings the givers get in the process.  It's such a wonderful circle of love.

In the last couple of years, I've made and donated 3 quilts and 2 blocks for a quilt.

As I readied this post today, I paused in uploading my photos to read another's post.  Please have a read, it's a great example of how one donation, can have a great impact.

Alycia Quilts: The Start of Healing

That said, if you don't have time to make a whole quilt, perhaps make a top and partner with a quilter who will quilt it. Send it off to your favorite charity.  Children's Hospitals often have need for comfort quilts... go small.  All I'm asking is, if you haven't yet, please consider donating.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Check out Shay's blog for other FTFs this week!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Weigh In Wednesday

I'm not posting my weight, it's sad... okay, I am posting it b/c the whole point of these posts is honesty.  I have gained. I'm hovering between 168 and 164.


My brother said it best when we were chatting yesterday.  He commented how when we were in our teens and twenties, if we gained 10 pounds, we could lose it in a month or two  but as we've hit 30s and closer to (and in 40s), it takes 4-6 months to lose it and how we always start out with great intentions and motivations but somewhere in the 3rd month, we say, "screw it, I don't care anymore."

I couldn't have agreed more. That's the wheel I've been on the last two years. Truly.

Great intentions, crappy long term follow through. 

I've broken a few spokes off the wheel these last 6 months, though. I've really changed how I eat although I do need to stay diligent regarding that.  To that end, I caved and spent a lot more money than I needed to and bought a Vitamix. I have been eyeing it for over a year and I have been trying very hard to get teens and myself on the path of natural vs processed choices. I learned that for us, a big part of hte problem was convenience and speed.  We want to do something quick and easy when we are hungry.  Soups and smoothies, dips, sorbets, ice cream and even some doughs can be made in a snap in this machine. Especially useful b/c it came with a recipe book. PLUS, it can be cleaned in 1 minute.   Super great.

See? Homemade Caprese Soup on Day 1.

Today I started the day with a Green Smoothie. Awesome!

As for exercise, I've started swimming laps.  My goal by the end of July is to have 3 days in the pool for an hour and 3 days on the elliptical for 30 min.  On the elliptical days, I also want to have finished a series of reps for sit ups and push ups and tricep work. To help me along with this, I have a waterproof case and earphones so I can listent to music and keep myself going. It rocks.  (Sorry, but the photo is from
I've decided to break my workout goals up into weeks and months. I am hoping that by removing the vagueness of saying "I want to exercise 3x per week," I can find more motivation to be committed to it.  I'm also trying to really focus on how much energy I tend to have and how good my mood is after exercising regularly.

How do you get yourself motivated to move and how do you keep your motivation?

Have a good week!

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Rainbow Trail" is now complete

I feel like I'm on a roll with some of these finishes. I realized it's because I've finally got and am keeping an organized space.  Part of that organization is putting my completed tops on an old VCR rack. I just hang them all and when I have no more rods, I get to quilting!  See?

To illustrate, I decided it was time to put the postage stamp quilt on the frame so I could quilt it. I finally decided on a pattern last night, larger swirls all over. As I was getting ready to pull it off, I saw the small top I made for St. Patrick's Day. I knew it would be a quick finish and so I pulled it off the rack instead.

It took me about 2 hours to complete this and I feel so good for crossing off another UFO.

How are your projects going?


Friday, July 6, 2012

Project Gingham - "Despite the Memo re: Gingham Day, Sue Does Her Own Thing"

At the beginning of June, I browsed over to Live a Colorful Life and saw she was one of three people hosting a giveaway with gingham fabrics. I wasn't going to enter. While I like gingham, I just had no vision for it for quilting. I'd go so far as to say I was beginning to hate it b/c my mother gave me a few of her gingham fabrics when I started quilting and I wanted to get rid of them but just couldn't do it for some reason. To know me is to know that I then felt like they were useless clutter taking up serious fabric space. However, something compelled me to enter the giveaway and then to hop over to Occasional Piece - Quilt and Krista Stitched and enter their giveaways, too!

Even as I left the last comment, I wondered what was wrong with me. That the last thing I needed was more fabric I had no idea how to use, even though I promised that if I won I'd make something and post it on July 4. I contented myself with the fact I wouldn't win. OF COURSE, that's where I went wrong! I shouldn't have thought that. Or maybe I should be glad because I think I came up with something kinda cool. It's TOTALLY out of my typical style and I learned a lot so let's get down to it and share with you what I did.

Go take a look at the other participants creations. There's some nice creativity out in blog land and for the loving gingham crew (which I'm now firmly entrenched), it's some good inspiration for this nice fabric.

Elizabeth, of Occasional Piece-Quilt
Krista, of KristaStitched
Cindy, of Live A Colorful Life
Rachel of The Life of Riley
Suz, of PatchworknPlay
Kris, of Duke Says Sew What

Additionally, I'm linking this post to 2 other linkee parties I like to participate in. Sew and Tell Friday by AmyLouWho (although it's only through Instagram this week #sewntell) and Favorite Things Friday by Quilting in My Pyjamas b/c Gingham is once again a favorite of mine thanks to this project!

Now, onto the details. I started with the winning green, yellow and brown bundle and an idea. The idea came initially as a joke in one of the giveaway questions, "what would you do with the gingham?" I replied, "something with the NY Beauty block, Dresden plates and Sunbonnet Sue."
I then pulled all the gingham fabrics I could find from my own stash.
After that, I pondered. I knew I wasn't obligated to the idea I threw out but I also couldn't shake it and so I decided to challenge myself by using each of those three patterns. Between Sue and the red gingham, a picnic scene was easy to imagine. Green gingham for grass, red for a blanket, blue for sky and brown for a picnic basket and Sam's clothes.

So I cut out a Sue and Sam. Immediately, I knew I could not have Sue in gingham. I'm not sure why, but she had to be different and stand out. Since this was due to be revealed on July 4th (I'm sorry I'm late everyone), I chose patriotic fabric for her dress.

Since most picnics occur in the sunshine, well, the NY Beauty became the sun.

But how can I get dresden plates in there? And how to use the the flowered gingham I had? Wait, fields of flowers and a fence. Yes!

I realized that this meant I needed to be conscious of depth in the design now and that was my most difficult part. I made a mistake with the pink bushes on the bottom right, where I should have reduced their size as I went toward the middle.

Despite noticing it was off somehow, I didn't figure it out until after all the quilting. I certainly wasn't going to change it then! LOL

I decided to quilt each part differently in an effort to keep a pictorial look. The sky is simple waves and the sun, radiating out.

The flower fields, well, accented to look like fields at a distance, I hope.
The grass is in small, spiky type design. I felt like it was an EKG line as I was quilting it so that's what I'll call it. "EKG continuous line design." -grin-

I have it all quilted and ready to bind when a friend comments I should quilt little ants into it. Brilliant, but since I don't want to reload it onto the frame, I pondered embroidering the ants after the fact. However, during a little sewing room clean up, I ran across a scrap stash and found fabric with ants on it. How lucky was that? I put Steam-a-Seam strips on the back, painstakingly cut them out and then ironed those babies on. The result went from a quilt I was proud of and liked to a quilt I was proud of and really brought a smile to my face.

I am proud bring to you, "Despite the Memo re: Gingham Day, Sue Does Her Own Thing"
Since my mom's birthday is in a couple of weeks, and since she loves Sunbonnet Sue and Sam, plus most of the gingham was hers to begin with, this little baby is going to her as a birthday present. I know she'll be tickled.

And now you know, between work and this little bugger, why I haven't been posting.