Friday, January 31, 2014

Wrap Up For January

 I haven't managed to get this much sewing finished in a very long time.  I'm surprised steam isn't spewing out of my machine.  I was really pleased to  finish the Bungle Jungle UFO I chose as my goal for the Lovely Year of Finishes Challenge.  I haven't used my embroidery machine for a while so it was fun to use it to make the label.  

I didn't have an assistant this time, so I had to hang the quilt over the door of the coat closet in my hall

I made 49 blocks which surpassed my goal of 20 for the 350 Blocks Project at  Prairie Moon Quilts. I didn't count the blocks I made for the zig zag quilt since there were 220 two patch strip blocks and they were so easy..  This quilt will be my January project for Barbara's  NewFo Challenge on her Cat Patches blog.

This week I made eight blue four patch blocks made for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  They form the bottom row.  The row above them has the seven 16 patch blocks I made for the Goodnight Irene sew along.

Since February is a short month, I want to keep my goals modest.  The goal for the 350 Blocks Project is 30 blocks.   I plan on making, ten X blocks for the Goodnight sew along, 2 postage stamp blocks, 2 Happy House blocks, and to finish the Jungle Bungle quilt that I planned to finish in January.  Hopefully, I will find something exciting to round the number up to 30.  I am delighted to report that I did not buy any fabric for the month of January.  I'm not keeping track of how much fabric I used, I'm just happy none has been added

I will be adding my post to three linky parties.   The Rainbow Scrap Challenge at So Scrappy.   Barbara's  January Newfo Linky Party at Cat Patches and theLovely Year of Finishes at Sew Bitter Sweet.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Time For UFOs to Leave the Nest

It's been really cold the past few days here in New York  Actually, it's been cold the whole month.  Yesterday, it was nine degrees.  If this is the Polar Vortex, where are the bears?  Shouldn't they be napping up at the North Pole? Why can't they go home and take this weather with them?
Surviving the Polar Vortex

Now we return to our original program.

Although I am determined to whittle down my stack of UFOs, I have decided that I don't have to go it alone.  If birds and children can leave the nest, why not quilt tops that are sapping your quilting energy.

One of my favorite bloggers, Debra, has taken on a huge commitment to provide quilts for several very worthy programs.  Two of the projects have a special appeal for me.   The Family Promise Program of Montgomery County, Texas and  Bambi House  (Baby and Mother Bonding Initiative).  The Family Promise Program provides housing for families in crisis.  Families in the program receive training for jobs, budgeting, and parenting skills.  At the end of the 3 month training program, families are placed in transitional housing for up to 2 years.  Twenty families with an average of forty children cycle through the program each year.  Debra has committed to covering the beds of each family finishing the program with a quilt.  That's a lot of quilts.  

Bambi  House, is a program run by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for qualified female offenders.  Inmates in the program receive child development, life skills, infant first aid, CPR, health, nutrition, and substance abuse education. This forward looking program helps to break the cycle of abuse and neglect that often continues through generations.

 I have been overwhelmed with the amount of fabric and UFOs squirreled away in my sewing room, linen closet, under beds, and in my attic.  The load got  a little lighter when I mailed 5 quilt tops to Debra who will quilt them on her long arm and have them ready for the next "graduating class" at the Family Promise Program.

I sent the three Tetris quilts I made during Melissa's quilt along at Happy Quilting.  It was my goal to quilt them back in April, but it never got done.  Debra hasn't quilted these yet, but she will be using them for young boys in families graduating from the program

One of the tops I sent was just started in November.  I used over 100 novelty prints in the blocks.  My original quilt finished at 48 x 60, but Debra will be adding borders to make it large enough for a young boy.

I found additional blocks for a Disappearing 9 patch hidden in the back of a closet. What was originally to be a 53 X 66 inch lap quilt was enlarged and finished at 72 x 85.  Debra has already quilted it and it will be given to a single mom who is graduating the project this spring.

She has given me permission to show a great shot of the quilts when she received them.  

Here is the DP9 after Debra finished quilting it.  Her quilting and photos make my simple quilts look great.

You can see more pictures of finished quilts and the lovely pieced back Debra made for the DP9 on her blog.

More time and room for new projects to fill the spot vacated by the 5 UFOs. If only I could get rid of the Polar Vortex the same way.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Still More Blue Rainbow Scrap Challenge Blocks

I love the look of blue against crisp white, but there was no way I was going to photograph my blue blocks for the RSQ Challenge outside in the snow.  It is 10 degrees outside and just started snowing.  Colder temperatures are predicted so it's a good day to stay inside and sew.

I have a project in mind that requires 4 patch blocks.  This week, I made 14 blue four patches and  three in assorted colors.

 I added more rows to my zig zag quilt.

Two more blue postage stamp block and two more Happy House blocks.

 I really love the dotted blue fabric I used below.  I bought a scrap bag at a quilt shop during vacation last summer and it was loaded with large pieces and wide strips of great blue fabrics.  This one is my favorite.  It is really vibrant when seen in person.

Unfortunately, I've been having so much fun working with my blue scraps and old stash that I haven't managed to finish anything else this week.

I did make three 16 patch blocks for the Goodnight Irene Sew along at Terry's Treasures.

I am participating in the 350 Blocks Project over at Shelly's blog Prairie Moon Quilts.  She has a great blog and the project is a good way to keep focused on piecing blocks.  The goal is simply to create 350 blocks in 2014.  Each month a goal is established, this month's goal is 20 blocks, and I have already passed that number.  I learned about the 350 Blocks Projects over at Susan's blog Desert Sky Quilts.  Sue is always doing something interesting and I am an acknowledged copy cat, so I steal lots of her ideas.

I'm linking up at Angela's blog, Sew Scrappy .  Make sure you check out all of the other great projects for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this week.  I can't wait to find out what February's color will be.

I am also offering a giveaway in connection with the Grow Your Blog Hop sponsored by the multi-talented  Vicki at 2 Bags Full.  It's a great way to find new blogs with all types of interests and many of them are offering giveaways.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Welcome Grow Your Blog Hoppers

Welcome to visitors from the Grow Your Blog Hop and regular followers alike.  Most of the posts on my blog are related to quilting.  I find that blogging about my quilting projects helps to keep me focused on them.
After reading the projects that quilters all over the internet completed in 2013, I realized that there were a few finishes that I never posted.  The three quilts below went to a quilt drive organized by Victoria Finley Wolfe of Bumble Beans.  They were sent to the Retreat, a shelter for women and their children who have left their own homes due to abusive situation.  Although it looks like I posted the same quilt twice, if you look closely, you can see they were quilted differently and the bindings and backings are different colors.

The pictures were taken before the quilts were washed so it is difficult to see the quilting.

 This quilt was started in the summer of 2011.  I kept putting it on my lists of UFOs to finish, but it didn't happen until September, 2013.  The pattern is from a tutorial by Sharon of Vrooman's Quilts  She made hers using a jelly roll. The background fabric is tiny primary color dots on white.  The accent blocks are tone on tone scraps. The grid quilting shows very clearly on the back.

In November, I was able to participate in a sew-in with some members of the Southern Connecticut Modern Quilt Guild.  The group finished  30 pillow cases for pediatric cancer patients and I took home kits and finished the 6 that are shown below.

As a reward for patiently viewing my quilts, you may leave a comment to be entered into a giveaway for two charm packs from Debbie Beaves' line of fabric "Lovely," and a cookbook, aptly named, Favorite Recipes from Quilters.  

Just leave a comment to let me know you stopped by.  The winner will be chosen by a random drawing and announced on February 15th.  Thanks for visiting and good luck in the drawing.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

More Rainbow Scrap Challenge Blocks

Starting the 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge with blue has been perfect for me.  This week, I found another group of blue 2.5 inch strips.  I still don't remember why I cut them, but I'm happy to be able to use them in a project.  I was able to add 3 rows to the Chevron Quilt I started last week.

I added 3 more Happy House blocks. I've decided that I will use red for all of the chimneys. They're a little drab, but I plan on using bright fabrics for the wonky sashing.

I also finished one postage stamp block and four 4 patch blocks.  The blues look very grey, but it's snowing here today so the light level is not very flattering.

This weekend, I plan to work on 2 UFOs.  First I am unsewing.  I cut the borders for my Bungle Jungle quilt and took a photo before I started pinning them.  After looking at the picture, I realized I had sewn two of the rows incorrectly.  I plan on finishing it over the weekend and cutting the borders for my RSC 2013 postage stamp quilt.
I didn't mark it, but you can see the fifth and sixth rows have 2 giraffe blocks and 2 aqua elephant block together.
It's Scrap Happy Saturday so I'll be linking up with the other quilters participating in the 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge  There are always lots of great projects to see.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Rainbow Scrap Challenge

For this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I have chosen 3 projects to work on.  The first is a zig zag quilt made with 2.5 inch strips from a tutorial at  Sewn Up by Teresa Downunder.  If I stick with each month's color choice, I should wind up with a 51 x 53.5 inch rainbow version of the Pere Noel quilt.

In 2012 and 2013, I  watched Sheila's Sew Cook and Travel blog each month with serious envy.  She made Happy, Scrappy House blocks from a free pattern on Bonnie Hunter's blog.  They finish at 7.5 inches and when borders are added they are adorably wonky.

I'll also be adding to the Rainbow Postage Stamp blocks I made last year and making some four patches with the extra 2.5 inch charms.

While shopping at K Mart this week, I stumbled upon a jewelry presentation and a raffle.  If you  listened to the presentation, you were eligible for a free piece of jewelry.  My daughter was browsing so I stopped and listened.  The woman giving the demo was very nice.  I really felt sorry for her when no one bought any of the jewelry, but it didn't stop me from picking out an item when they pulled my ticket.  I picked the faux diamond stud earrings that supposedly retail for $79.99.   I placed  them in front of a swatch of blue fabric since it is blue month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  

I don't think anyone will mistake them for the real thing, but I will enjoy wearing them.  They are my favorite style, free.

Don't forget to check out all of the great projects for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge over at So Scrappy.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Blog, What Blog??

Happy Epiphany!  Although our Church celebrated the visit of the Three Magi to the Christ child on Sunday, January 6th is the traditional date for Epiphany.  My mother's parents were from Poland and like many European, Central, and South American countries, Poles consider Epiphany an important religious holiday.  Each year, I put on a make-shift turban, an old bathrobe, and occasionally a fake beard and knock on the door singing "We Three Kings of Orient Are."  I present a small gift to everyone in the family and we eat a special dinner.  The three sided candle below is always lit during dinner.

No matter which path you follow in life, whether religious or not, I hope, like the Wise Men, you seek truth and goodness.

For the past four months, I have totally ignored my own blog.  Thanks to those of you who emailed me to make sure I was okay.  My apologies to anyone who did not receive a timely reply to their comments.  I have been reading blogs, but have left very few comments.  I've resolved to follow fewer blogs and spend more time actually commenting on the blogs that are important to me.

After reading many posts across the internet about quilters' plans for the New Year, I realized how helpful it is to set goals early in the year to keep projects on track. Some of the challenges I participated in during 2013 did keep me focused and produced good results.  You can see the buttons for the projects I will be participating in on the right hand side of the page

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge was a great way to use up scraps and stash so I will definitely participate again.  I am using 20 of the postage stamp blocks I made during the challenge last year as my January UFO for A Lovely Year of Finishes at Sew Bitter Sweet Designs. There will be one more row of 4 blocks.  With our Christmas tree still up, there isn't enough room on the floor to lay them all out.

These Disappearing 9 Patch blocks will be put together for a baby quilt. The baby is already here, so there's definitely a need to finish it immediately.  The Moda Bungle Jungle and Riley Blake Zoofari fabrics are adorable.  I originally planned to use my precious stash of Strawberry Fields fabric for the quilt, but the parents are using a jungle theme and love elephants.  Luckily, I found most of the fabrics on sale.

There are a few new challenges and Quiltalongs that I will be participating in this year.  I am overwhelmed by my stash.  It's easy to be captivated by the lovely new fabrics that seem to appear everyday. Unfortunately, I have completely run out of room.  The Elven Garden is hosting Fabriholics Anonymous No Buy until June, 2014.   I don't feel guilty about my stash, but I do have to thin it out.   I will be making an effort to use my stash for any new projects.  I will allow myself to buy background fabrics as well as sashing and backing when necessary. I won't fret if I fall off the wagon, but I already own lots of lovely fabrics that are waiting to be used.

The Goodnight Irene Sew Along at Terry's Treasures has also caught my eye.  The blocks will make a pretty top and there are lots of fabrics in my stash that will be perfect for it.  I joined the Sugar Bowl Club at the Stitchery Dickory Dock blog on the theory that a new block and a recipe each month will keep me interested and productive.  I hope to start on my January blocks this week.
Thanks for stopping by.  It's good to be back.