Thursday, August 28, 2014

Some projects to share....

 Robin over at Life's a Stitch brought her "Favorite Things" wallhanging to retreat a few months ago...quite a few of us drooled over it and decided we HAD to have it!  :)  It was the freebie pattern for Primitive Gatherings Block of the Week a couple years ago, so a couple of the ladies already had the kit.  Conveniently enough, Primitive Gatherings was still offering the full kit for sale on their website.  I might have ordered mine right there at retreat...or maybe when I got home.  :)  Anyway, I love it....love working with the wool and these little squares are instant gratification as they really don't take long to stitch.  I think the cutting and prep work takes longer!  (well....maybe not, but it's close!)

I have the first six blocks done...each block represents the "favorite things" of the designer, which I think most of us that sew/stitch, etc, would love too!




I think this one looks wonky from the picture I cropped it from!  It's really not that crooked!

Wait until you see the next six....sooo cute!

And it'll come of no surprise...I added another project to my to-do list!  Terry from Terry's Treasures has started another Sew Along.  She picks the best projects and I just couldn't resist!  You must go check it out.

In an effort to use what I have, I'm using this layer cake purchased 4-5 years ago (I also have coordinating border fabric! yay!).  I was happy to pull this nice quality muslin from my stash...it's an extra wide fabric, so I think I must have bought for some practice quilting on the longarm, but it'll work perfectly for this project.  I love when it works out to use what I have!!  That gives me a little justification to start a new project....well, at least I tell myself it does!  :)

Now I just need to find a little more time for sewing!  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend...for those of us in the US, we have a long holiday weekend for Labor Day.  Yay!

Happy Quilting,
Michelle
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Overwhelmed!



I'm just overwhelmed by the response to my last post.  I honestly didn't mean for it to turn in to a "Love me, please!" post, but the comments and the private emails I received were truly amazing.  Blogging has been a big part of my life as it's brought friendships, inspiration, laughter, (positive) challenges, and most importantly a connection to those that are like me!  Moving around so much with the military, I don't always (rarely, actually) find people locally that share my quilt obsession hobby...but those blogging friends have been there, no matter where we lived!  So thank you so much for your kind words!  

I prefer blogging to other forms of social media....I never have shared much about my quilting life on Facebook.  In the last year or so, I've tried Instagram...it's okay for quick inspiration, but much less personal! 

Anyway...I'm here to stay for the time being.  No one knows what the future holds, and there is no point in worrying about tomorrow!

I sometimes use the word "mojo" when I'm referring to my motivation, or lack there of, and it got me wondering what does it really mean?  A quick search to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary and I find this:
mo·jo:  a power that may seem magical and that allows someone to be very effective, successful, etc.

Hmmm...I like it!  Of course, I know there is nothing magical about it...but there is something that clicks once in a while to kick in that motivated feeling!  :)

By the way, I haven't found my quilting mojo for the last couple weeks...in fact, I can't find my housework mojo, cooking mojo, laundry mojo....where's all the mojo??  If any of you have some to spare...send it my way, would ya?!

Here are a couple of pictures from my Primitive Gatherings Block of the Week from a month or so ago....I haven't made all that much progress that would change the picture much, so I might as well show these!

I am loving these projects and was doing so well keeping up until about the middle of July...I'm trying to not get discouraged about falling behind.  I'll get there...just have to cut myself a break!  :)

I love the little freebie too...I just got the finishing kit in the mail yesterday...I better get busy!

 Also from Primitive Gatherings is the FREE 10th Anniversary project I'm working on.  This one is still on the website and still in the works...so go download the patterns while you can!  The next border is published, so that's another thing on my "to-do" list.

Okay...enough blabbering....I just re-read this post and it seems to jump all over the place.  That truly is what my brain has been feeling like lately...

Hope you all have a great week!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle
Thursday, August 21, 2014

And now....



Well, hopefully anyway....it's been over two months since my last post.  You know the drill...life just gets busy and some things get put on the back burner.  In my case...my blog definitely was put waayyy down on the priority list! : /  

Things are slowing down now and I've been thinking about the future of blogging and my blog specifically.  It seems that folks are moving toward other forms of social media to share their quilting hobby...Instagram, Facebook, etc.  The traffic on my blog (and all blogs, I believe) has slowed down and people taking the time to comment has slowed down even more.  I've seriously wondered if I should even continue blogging...is it worth my time?  Is anyone even out there??  I have not been able to keep up with reading my favorite blogs the last couple of months either...but when I have a few minutes here and there, I find I do enjoy reading what you're all up to.  So it makes me think...if I still enjoy keeping up with what others are doing, maybe they like hearing about my quilty stuff.  Hmmm...something to ponder on for a while.

Part of the reason I've been sidetracked from quilting, sewing, blogging, etc., was this was the summer of DRIVING!  In May, June, and July, I went on five separate road trips (sometimes by myself, sometimes with the hubby) to Indiana, Idaho, California, Texas, and Delaware.  Whew...  I think in a 45 day period, I was on the road for 20 of those days!  June is also the peak month for change of command ceremonies and "going away" events here on base.  Then July brought Cheyenne Frontier Days -- a huge rodeo and state fair type event...which for us meant preparing our house for the Historic Homes Tour, eight official dinners/socials, five concerts, and three rodeo events in a two week period.  Whew...needless to say...we were ready for a vacation after it was over!

I had a few days to recover before it was time for our local guild's quilt show...of which I was a co-chair.  Lots of coordinating, planning, preparing for the whole year, but those last few weeks really put the pressure on... The show went off with a hitch, thank goodness!....and this week, I've basically been a hermit...enjoying the fact that there is almost nothing I -have- to do!  Yay!

 I don't have many pics from our travels as most weren't leisure/sight-seeing trips, but I did have to share a little about a special stop I was able to make to Missouri Star Quilt Company!! 

Meeting Jenny was really exciting.  She was so friendly and welcoming.  I got to see where she films her tutorials and in fact, they were setting up to start filming.  I met her son, Alan, too, and he had just finished his first quilt.  Did I mention this entire family is really tall?!  :)

It was totally worth it to go a little out of my way to stop and visit the shops...yes, shops!  There are 4 quilt shops in the little town of Hamilton, Missouri, owned by the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Really great place and I'll be sure to go back when I'm traveling through again!

Another highlight was attending my niece's high school graduation...it was a rarity to have our entire family together (we are the only family members that live out of the area and it's hard to get both of our kids there at the same time now that they are both grown with careers and living out on their own in different states)  This picture shows my mom and her four children and their spouses and children.  Awesome!


Well...I think I'll stop for now.  I have not accomplished much sewing this summer either (no surprise there!), but there are a few things I can show you.  I did actually make a quilt from start to finish for that little guy in the picture above...for his first birthday.  But, wouldn't you know it, I forgot to take a picture.  I've been trying to get one from family members, but you know how that goes sometimes...

Until next time...

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle
Friday, June 13, 2014

Wooly Stuff

I've been kind of in a wool frenzy lately.  A few weeks ago, I pulled out this kit I've had for a few years.  I bought it at Huckleberry Patches in McCall, Idaho, back when we lived in Idaho.  I thought it would be a good car project, but realized it's too floppy for the car.  I had better results stitching it at a table where it could lay flat. I'm waiting for some pumpkin orange perle cotton to arrive, then I'll be able to finish the applique stitches.  I'll show a picture when it's finished!

This is another oldie!  A few of us bought these at Back Door Quilts in Indianapolis a few years ago during retreat.  Mine sat in the package until recently.  The draw to these kits were the fact that they were pre-cut AND had fusible on the back of each piece.  Well...it turns out, I didn't like it!  It's very thick and if you look closely, the black background wouldn't "stick" to the grey backing and now it's kind of puffy and loose.  Weird.  I've tried steaming the heck out of it to shrink it down, but so far no luck.  It's okay...it fits nicely on this table with a vase on it, and then you can't see the puffiness too much.  I've used fusible with other projects, but I prefer to cut most of the inside of the shape out before fusing, then the piece isn't overly stiff from all that fusible.  Click here for an example of cutting away the fusible, it's with a cotton project, but it's the same process.

Now....Here is a NEW project to share.  Primitive Gatherings is hosting a 10th Anniversary Stitch Along.  This one is a freebie and she'll be posting steps about every 2-3 weeks.  This is the center block and she hinted that it will be a small, medallion style wall hanging.  I've heard of some folks doing it in cotton and embroidery too!  This block will finish at 6"!  Those are some teeny tiny pieces!  I used wool from my stash and did the applique with DMC floss.  There is one boo-boo, but my daughter said I have to stop pointing out my boo-boos so I'm not going to tell you where it is.  LOL  Can't wait to see what's next!

I also joined Primitive Gatherings Block of the Week called Sunflower Gatherings.  If you haven't checked it out on her blog, you must go see.  She hasn't revealed the whole quilt yet, but there have been plenty of peeks and it's gorgeous!  I couldn't resist!  I'm waiting for an order of a few colors of perle cotton before I can finish the applique on these, but they are cut and ready to go!  More small pieces, as these blocks finish at 10".  This is week one... 

and week two....there is some overlap to the blocks as there is a setting block in between each applique block.  Aren't they gorgeous!? 

And as a bonus...this little freebie block is included each week!  There is an adorable little quilt to make with these at the end...you can see it here.  These need stitching as well...and they will finish at 2.5"!

See why I couldn't resist??!!  I'm so enjoying these wool projects right now...I hope I keep up the momentum!  :)

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle



Home Improvements

(Warning!  Lots of pics!  You can click on them to get a closer view!)

I really, really love this old house we live in.  I truly feel honored and blessed to live in a house that has been a part of history and often think of the people that have lived here before us in the last 100+ years.  But...as a "renter," I'm glad I don't have to pay for the up-keep.  There is ALWAYS something that needs attention on these houses...whether it's indoors or out.

The last couple of weeks (obviously, because winter has finally passed), we've had all kinds of activity going on....
First was some repair work to the outside brick...I'm not exactly sure what they were doing, I think checking for cracks in the mortar and patching cracks and holes.

Also on the agenda....tear down this garage.  We had to have all of our "stuff" out by April 30th, but of course it sat empty until the end of May.  We really didn't keep a lot in there, just yard stuff, tools, and bikes.  My car would fit (barely), but with no automatic door openers, it was kind of a pain to use.  We only used it when there was a hail storm.  LOL  The truck wouldn't fit at all.

The garage was not as bad as it looks here...I think they took nails and other hardware out and that left the paint all scrappy looking...but the roof was sagging and needed to be replaced.  I think the Housing Contractor figured it was cheaper to replace the garages than to keep repairing these older buildings.

Who wouldn't like this job?  He just started pulling on the roof with the front of his Bobcat....

...until it started to come down.  Only took a day to tear it down and load it in to two dumpsters...


Bye, bye garage....we will be getting a brand new one!  They are doing about 40 garages at the same time, so I don't expect it to be done for a couple of months.  I'll be sure to post a pic when it's finished!  :)

Now it's looked like this for the last week...except that today I think the foundation is completely gone.  They seemed to pause work on it while another crew did this:

New sidewalks/walkways!


and along the side of the house....

and the parking pad on that same side of house....(you can see the old parking pad/sidewalk in the picture of the brick repair above.  We didn't know they were doing this until we came home and it was gone!)
  
Here is the new, expanded parking area!

They also put all this in...we had no idea they were doing this area, so I didn't get "before" pics, but this was asphalt all the way to the garbage can storage area.

And this!!  This is the other side of the house...you can see a sidewalk leading up to the stairs...that was there, but to the left of it was grass!  They took out all that grass and replaced it with concrete!!  What???  We also didn't know about that part!  It has something to do with drainage as the concrete now has a slight slant to it...to keep the water from seeping into the foundation of the house.  Really?  After 100 years, it's a problem now?  LOL

But look!!  Pretty new walkways....

Now the landscaping crew needs to come by and repair/fill in the grass and it'll be done!  They are working on the neighbors sidewalks as I type this.

Hope you all are enjoying your summer!  I know we are...and I'm still amazed that just one month ago today we had 12" of new snow!  :)

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Checking in....

Whew....life has been crazy the last couple of weeks.  I haven't even turned my sewing machine on since I don't remember when.  :(  We've had lots of events and commitments at the base, along with some visitors that have stopped by during their travels across country.  All of that has kept me on my toes and off the computer!  

This last weekend, we went to California for our niece's high school graduation.  We've missed so many family events, so it was nice to make it to this one.  We surprised everyone with our own daughter, Megan, being there too!!


The graduation party turned in to a family reunion of sorts...as our son was also able to make it (he missed the graduation by just a couple hours, but it's a long way to travel from Florida!!)  We knew he was coming, but it was a surprise to everyone else...especially at 2am, when I told my sister there was someone at the door...and there he was!!  My two are the two all the way on the left in the picture below.  This is all my siblings, their spouses and kids.  What a rare occasion!  Everyone but my immediate family lives in California...and my kids haven't been back in 5-6 years....so to get them there at the same time was a miracle.  I was sooooo happy to have them both together though!!


Here is a picture of us....this makes my mommy heart smile.  With those two going in different directions and with us still moving around with the military, these moments are few and far between.  
♥♥ LOVE ♥♥
I love this pic of the two of them....kind of sums up their relationship...always teasing and picking on each other!

We were also able to squeeze in a few hours with some of hubby's family too.  This is hubby's sister and her family.  There is never enough time to see everyone, so we try to do the best we can with a short amount of time!

Another niece has a birthday next weekend, so I was able to give her gift in person!  This is the Goodnight Irene quilt from the sew along earlier this year....

I found the perfect backing at Hobby Lobby....Yay!

Things are not quieting down, but I'm going to try and catch up on blogs and remember to post a little more often!  I've got a few more things to share, so stay tuned!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Back from Retreat!

I made it to retreat!  We ended up with 12" of snow over Mother's Day and into the next day.  The interstates were closed and the wind was blowing the snow into a blizzard!  The roads opened up Monday afternoon, but the wind was still blowing like crazy through the night on Monday.  Honestly, I didn't make the final decision to go until Tuesday morning.  LOL  But I woke up about 4:30am Tuesday morning, and just said, "Let's go!"  So, my husband helped me load the car and I was off!  As always, it was a fun filled time of fellowship, sewing and lots of laughs.  It was really wonderful to see these ladies and I'm already looking forward to next year!

I made each of the girls a little fabric box.  It's a freebie pattern found HERE, with a slight modification found HERE.  They were fun and easy to make and sewed up pretty quick!  

For the first day and a half of retreat, I worked on these babies....the points to my Points of Pride quilt.  I really wanted to make some progress on these because I get easily distracted while working on them at home.  LOL

I think I did pretty good getting 26 or so made....


I also assembled the center of my Narragansett Blues quilt top....still needs borders.  This went together fairly quickly since I had all the 4 patches sewn already....


I was able to get this mini assembled into rows...and yesterday after setting up my machine back in my room, I couldn't resist sewing the rows together.  :)  It's a Schnibbles quilt called X-Rated and is for the upcoming Schnibbles Parade in June.  It's made with brown charms from a swap I did with my previous guild.


 We also had a group activity and we all made a Jelly Roll quilt...you know the one...they are called Jelly Roll Race, or 1600 quilt, etc.  Everyone enjoyed making them and they all turned out great!  I didn't use a purchased jelly roll, but instead used blue strips from my stash.  I plan to add a border of some type and make it a little bigger.

Here are 6 of the eight ladies that participated and their quilt tops!  It was lots of fun! (you can click on the picture for a closer view of the variety of fabrics used!)

 It's always sad to see retreat come to an end...now it's back to reality.  LOL  But the best part...all the snow was melted by the time I got home!  Yay!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle