What’s for Dinner?

WINTER IS OFFICIALLY OVER, but we are not really feeling the effects of that yet.  It has still been very cold, especially at night.  The snow should mostly be over, but we did have snow showers today.  Old Man Winter just will not let go of us.  I however, will look directly forward to spring and the possibility of the beautiful color of trees blossoming, flowers blooming, green grass, the beautiful blues of a crystal clean swimming pool and long light filled days!  Speaking of color, this weekend I am prepping for giving a lecture on color theory at quilt guild.  As a bonus, we will be raffling off door prizes of Joen Wolfrom’s Color Tool.  It should be an interesting night.

Also our “What’s for Dinner” placemats are due at the next Guild meeting.  I am sharing a picture of the plan for mine.  Also, since I am working on it this weekend I will share what it looks like right now.  It is almost finished, I have to add a napkin, silverware and maybe a beverage.   It is a project for fun, so I am just using an overcast stitch to finish the edges.  As you can see, mine is Breakfast for Dinner!

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I have also been working on a quilt for a class in May and I need to get a photo into the newsletter to see if anyone wants to sign up for the class.  I finished quilting it last weekend.  I am not thrilled about how the quilting came out.  I prefer the look of a thread that is more subtle and doesn’t show your quilting errors as much, but as Angela Walter’s says “a finished quilt is better that a quilt top”.

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Today is Goal Day with my daughter, Rebecca.  It has been a relaxing, fun filled day of planning and quilting and using the creative side of my brain.  We also got in some exercise too.  She is immersed into tax season with her job and this is one of the few days she doesn’t have to work 12 hours.  She is working toward relaxing and working on her reading and blogging which you can find here:  http://www.rebeccabookreview.wordpress.com

Well, speaking of What’s for Dinner, it is getting to be time to finish preparing dinner, I have cooked pork chops in the slow cooker with a ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and onion marinade.  It is a new recipe but I am not that optimistic.  I normally am considered an excellent cook, but my pork chops have always been on the miserable side.  If you have any great pork chop recipes, please feel free to send them to me, my husband will THANK YOU!

Cold Weather Quilting

This certainly has been a good winter in the Northeast for quilting.  We have had severe cold weather and snow, snow and more snow.  We have numerous days that our planned activities out in the normal world have had to be cancelled, and there was always sewing to fill in those dreary days.

One of my main concentrations right now is to improve my machine quilting and bring variety of stitches, as well as improve my stitching.  In January I finished a small quilt top “Floating Triangles” and machine quilted a spiral on the quilt top using a decorative stitch and my walking foot.  It was an interesting way to quilt and the distance between rows was fairly easy to measure by lining up the side of the foot on the last row.  See what you think…

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This table runner was quickly pieced using leftovers from a quilt made last year.  I like using these table runners on my coffee table and this pattern is a quick project that you sew the strips of fabric on and quilt at the same time.  I consider that to be my stabilizing quilting because I really like a lot more quilting than you would get just by putting the strips on, and so I have added all over quilting as well.

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This is another small piece that I had the ability to do some quilting practice on.  The background quilting is a combination of swirls, pebbles and leaves.  This block is a sample for a class we will be doing at Quilt Guild and I made 6 of the blocks incorrectly so I had to make another quilt top to demo the class.  I am hoping to start quilting the 2nd quilt top this weekend.

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I have found a Machine Quilting Blog that I enjoy and will recommend by Lori Kennedy, http://theinboxjaunt.com/  the tutorials are easy to follow and she has great ideas for practicing and improving your machine quilting.

My weekly sketchbook has been enjoyable; I have been working from a list of prompts that I picked out on line.  I do enjoy sketching and I am hoping that it will improve my creative abilities.  Also, a sketch may someday inspire a quilt.  I believe in pushing myself into art areas that I am not comfortable in, hoping to expand my experiences and improve my art overall.  I find it challenging and exciting at the same time.  How do you like to challenge yourself?  I hope your challenges give you joy!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year!

What a great time of year, a time to reflect on the past year and review if goals have been attained, and plan new goals.  What are your goals?  Are they geared at getting by or will they be in the direction of making your soul sing?

At the beginning of 2014 I was challenged to make some quilting goals for myself, by my lovely and high achieving daughter, Rebecca (http://rebeccabookreview.wordpress.com).  I accepted the challenge and set a goal for myself to complete 2 quilt projects a month, any size, and to document these goals by starting a blog.  I did complete both of those goals, just barely!  Here is a listing of the quilts:

A.J.’S QUILT JANUARY 2014
VALENTINES JANUARY 2014
POD QUILT FEBRUARY 2014
REBECCA’S WEDDING MEMORY QUILT FEBRUARY 2014
STAR QUILT MARCH 2014
2ND BABY QUILT MARCH 2014
BLOCK CHALLENGE APRIL 2014
ART QUILTS APRIL 2014
DRUNKARDS PATH WALL HANGING MAY 2014
MIDNIGHT BLUES MAY 2014
CHRISTMAS PLACEMATS – 6 JUNE 2014
PINK BABY QUILT FOR JOHN & ROBIN JUNE 2014
BATIK BOXES JULY 2014
SATSUKI JULY 2014
SMALL QUILTS GROUP AUG 2014
RETREAT 2014 QUILT AUG 2014
FAN DANCE SEPT 2014
HOLE IN THE WALL GANG QUILT SEPT 2014
BROOK’S HALLOWEEN PLACEMATS OCT 2014
BECKY’S ENGAGEMENT QUILT OCT 2014
COVERED BRIDGE QUILT NOV 2014
SMALL STAR QUILT NOV 2014
MODERN JELLYROLL QUILT DEC 2014
SMALL PURPLE LIGHTENING QUILT DEC 2014

I think this little Valentine quilt was my favorite:

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In addition to the quilting, I started the blog.

After some reflection, I am adjusting my goals to better achieve what I hope for in 2015.

  1. Improve my machine quilting by reviewing or completing all of my machine quilting classes on Craftsy,
  2. Make at least 6 bed size quilts this year
  3. Make most of my Christmas presents for 2015
  4. Try to increase my blogging to twice a month
  5. Sketchbook journal once a week

There it is!  I guess by publishing this, I am committing to these goals for 2015.  What about you, have you made any commitments to yourself?

Happy Holidays

This is a bittersweet Christmas for our family because it is the first Christmas without my Dad and the second Christmas without my Mom.  We didn’t really have time to mourn my Mom last year because we were consumed with making everything ok for my Dad.  They were Mom and Dad to 4 of us, Gramma and Pop Pop to 8 grandchildren with 8 spouses, and Great Gramma and Pop Pop to 11 with 1 still on the way.  Christmas Eve was spent at their house every year, with lots of food, drink, song and love.  The family that live in our state will be together this evening, celebrating and sharing food, drink, song and love at the home of the oldest Grandchild and her Husband, trying to make new memories for 4 of the Great Grandchildren.  We are all thinking of them, and missing them, hoping that they are singing Christmas carols together with the choirs of angels

On these special days, may we appreciate those who we choose to spend the day with and those who we may come in contact with accidentally.

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You can be sure that I will be quilting on Friday!!!

November Update

Thanksgiving is approaching and Christmas will be right around the corner.  It is a busy time, but a great time to enjoy all of the aspects of the holidays especially spending time with your family.  I am thankful for all of the people in my life, our wonderful extended families and our friends.

Co-incidentally this weekend was Rebecca and my scheduled goal day.  My plan for the day was to start to quilt a jelly roll quilt top that I made during the September Retreat.   I need to get it finished quickly to show at the next Guild meeting because we decided to put it into the Jan class program and make it a quick class or an open sew.   I did get started on the quilt and I got quite a bit done, but some cooking of homemade Tomato and White Vermouth Cream Soup and gourmet toasted cheese sandwiches also was part of our day.  The day was capped off with dinner and and a movie with our husbands, we watched “Chef”.  The whole day was fabulous!  Next month it will be time for Rebecca and I to start planning our Challenges and Goals for 2015.  That is how this blog started as a result of the 2014 Challenges and Goals.  I will let you know how they are changing for 2015 soon.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my younger sister and her husband took us to a resort in the Berkshires for a relaxing weekend.  We had a wonderful time away and a chance to have great conversations as well as wonderful wines, meals, and sights.  We had spectacular views of fall foliage although it was a bit windy and chilly, the fresh air felt great as it chilled our cheeks.   The photos that I took over the weekend were instrumental in inspiring the quilt that I made for our “Telephone” challenge.  The “Telephone” challenge consists of one person making a quilt, taking a photo and passing the photo to the next person.  The second person makes a quilt inspired by the photo that they received of the 1st quilt.  The second person passes a photo of their quilt to the 3rd person, and so on.  At the end of the year, all the members of the group bring their quilts to see.  The last picture is the resulting quilt.

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Now , it is time to get back to quilting, and finish up some Christmas gifts.  There isn’t much time left!  Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday, may it be healthy, happy and safe!

Fall Quilting

Wow, that month went by super quick!  It was just full of wonderful exciting times!  Here is an update on some of the things that happened this month.

My family has the task of cleaning out our parent’s house and getting it ready to sell.  It is a task that no one looks forward to, but my brother and my sisters and some of our children worked together to spread some of the most loved belongings out and we shared the time and memories in a relaxed and loving atmosphere.  On that Sunday, my daughter and my husband had arranged a surprise birthday party for me.  It was quite the surprise and since my brother and sisters were already in the area, we were all together.  I have been very lucky in my life to be able to say that I still love them, as well as all of their spouses and children, with only a few hiccups in those relationships.

The following week I was lucky enough to attend a new quilting retreat in Willimantic for 4 days.   The accommodations were nice as each room had a private bath and a full size bed, and the color and inspiration in the sewing room was amazing.   It was mostly sewing with a little time for shopping and a visit to a thread museum.

I was able to complete a jelly roll quilt top, the mystery quilt top, a drunkard’s path quilt top from squares that I made at the June retreat, a floating triangle quilt top, and I quilted the donation top that I made at the fair!  It was productive.

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When we were shopping, Debbie (my co-chair for Guild Program) and I picked up wool and made kits for our October meeting to demo and give out to all the members.  It was received well by the members and everyone got to take home the kits.

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My friend Sandy and I have been taking a Zentangle drawing class on Tuesdays which is very relaxing.  I hope that I can translate it into quilting designs.

In between all of this, I was able to sneak a quick trip to Nashua to attend a surprise birthday party for my Niece.  What a great time we had, she was totally surprised!  Her sisters handled the food and planned it with the help of her husband and there were friends and family of all ages celebrating with her.    With all of this, I am surprised that I find any time to work, never mind quilt!

Now, I am looking forward to this weekend coming up, my younger sister and her husband are taking my husband and I to a resort in the Berkshires for a relaxing weekend.  I am hoping that there is some foliage left because I will be taking my camera, and of course I will take something to hand sew, a kindle, and some Zentangle supplies.   Just think ….  no laundry, cleaning or cooking while we are there!  What a life…..

Welcome September

Welcome September!!!  This is my favorite month of the year for a number of reasons.  It means apples from the orchard, pumpkins, cooler weather especially in the evening.  It feels wonderful to sleep all curled up under a quilt!  I love the air when it is crisp and clear and I also love the light that is cast through the changing colors of the trees.   I change all of my decorative quilts to fall quilts to take advantage of the beautiful golden light that shines into the house.  Another reason that I love this month is that my birthday and my daughter, Rebecca’s birthday are a week apart during this month.  We take a Friday off to spend it together, do some shopping and enjoy a nice lunch.  This year for the 1st time, I will be attending a retreat that is new to me.  Attendees can choose the # of days that they spend during the week at this retreat and I have chosen to attend Thursday through Sunday.   So as you can see, I really have a lot to look forward to this month. 

Since the fair, I have been in the mode of organizing what I have in the house for quilts.  It is time to clean out some stacks of older items so I finally started an Etsy site where I will list items to sell.  It will be a variety of items that I made earlier and some more recent items as well.  The most difficult part of this endeavor seems to be the photography, which I would like to be able to do myself.  The camera that I have is older and so I asked for a new one for my birthday.  I hope that it will be fairly simple to operate and still get nice photos.  Actually, that has been the hardest part of doing this blog, getting photos that are clear enough to share this year of quilting with you. 

While cleaning out the top of my closet, I found 2 UFO’s.  The 1st item was a set of 20 blocks done in a “Take Five” pattern with Jane Sassaman fabric.  When I finished the blocks, I wasn’t crazy about how they looked too much bold color.  So I decided to cut in half, insert a white strip, then cut in half again the other way and insert another strip.  I have them packed to take to retreat to finish.

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I also found a wall hanging that had some hand work done on it and some hand quilting also.  I decided to complete with machine quilting and additional machine embellishment.   I completed it on Monday a.m. and just have the tacking of the binding to do. 

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Also, exciting news, my daughter Rebecca, and her husband Kris closed on their 1st home last Friday and we helped to move them in over the Labor Day weekend.  We are very happy for them and wish them much joy in their home.  She has started hanging quilts already!  Being an only child of a Quilter has some advantages.  

The retreat is in 1 week and I am sure that I will have much to share!